Conviction leaders…where are they?

The world needs leaders with conviction, what I call a gut politician. New Zealand desperately needs the same. Leaders like Margaret Thatcher who did what was required because it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately we get the limp “aspirational” politicians.

The nostalgia of the past week following the death of the former Conservative prime minister has shown that voters want a sense of moral mission.

The magic word of the week was “conviction” – which replaced “aspiration” as the one every political leader had to utter as many times as possible in every public pronouncement. There was no longer any question, apparently, about whether “conviction politics” was a good or a bad thing, or whether it was an optional extra for political leaders. (How did that notion ever get off the ground, anyway? After all, what is the alternative: lack-of-conviction politics?) Convictions are simply strongly held, principled beliefs. What business would you have pursuing power if you had no strong principled beliefs about what was right for the country?

Unfortunately, until about 20 minutes ago, it was fashionable to imply that there was something faintly demonic about being a conviction-led leader: that it was tantamount to demagoguery or just implacable bloody-mindedness. And no one was more guilty of perpetrating this fiction than the present generation of Tories. But let’s not go over that ground again. I have said it before and I repeat it here: the great Modernising Terror is over.

The events of this past week, when the ragged anti-Thatcher protest failed to gain any traction, and the nation seemed united in respect and admiration (to the manifest surprise of the BBC), snuffed out any remaining flicker of doubt. It is safe now to speak with reverence about what the Conservatives accomplished in the 1980s. Something like real politics is back. Even if nobody is absolutely sure what it might consist of, we have a pretty clear idea of what it should look like. It is fairly crucial that the people who espouse it sound as if they believe in something. Using the word “convictions” all the time without embarrassment is not quite the same thing as having them. But it’s a start. 

Is David Shearer such a leader? Doubt it, David Cunliffe? Not likely. John Key? Nope. Steven Joyce? Hardly. Where are our conviction politicians.

The age of big arguments is over: free-market economics won the ideological war of the last century. All that remains are managerial quibbles over the precise degrees of regulation – the fine tuning of government intervention – that are needed to keep those markets running in a successful and equitable manner. What is left of democratic politics is a contest between competing groups of administrators. It isn’t about passion any more: it’s about practical competence. All of which certainly sounds plausible from a detached, historical point of view.

The trouble is that this is not how the people see it: they continue to have a grander and nobler idea of what it means to lead a nation. The democratic process itself, strangely and wonderfully enough, is still regarded as a great thing: something worthy of fine ideas and larger-than-life characters, of heroism, and a conception of running a country that goes beyond the superintending of fiddly detail.

More than anything, they want – as the nostalgia of last week made undeniably clear – a sense of moral mission. Government should be about something. So the present lot of Conservative leaders now realise that they must transform themselves from looking like managers who may be trusted to take common-sense decisions, into the bearers of a sacred duty on which they will never renege.

Precisely the situation New Zealand faces. We have had “managers” running the country. Helen Clark first and John Key next. Both lacked conviction.

The thing about true conviction – which distinguishes it from histrionics – is that it is consistent: that its practice follows from its preaching. If you say that you believe in something strongly enough to stake your political life on it, then you stand by that principle and see it through, even in the face of unpopularity or concerted attack. That’s the whole point.

Let’s see the end of focus group politics, where the country is governed by a small leite and 20 people in a room with clipboards. National runs the risk of becoming poll and focus group driven fruit cakes.

 


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  • Bafacu

    Crusher!

    • Apolonia

      What about Trevor, as a conviction politician he has a conviction for fighting in public.

      • le sphincter

        John banks is looking like a conviction politician too.

        But hes one the government majority depends on , either that or the Maori party wags the dog for the next 18 months

  • Mediaan

    John Key is a consensus politician and a superior manager. It’s democracy. He governs by keeping people working hard and encouraging us to get along with each other. He has a top brain, he works hard, he is affable.

    Thatcher appealed because people want a leader they can rely on.

    They want a top person they can leave things to, forget economic and social issues of the day, just get on the train and go to work. She established and maintained her standard. Even the phony accent was right, despite being desperately wrong, because it fitted her wonderful leader image. Denis Thatcher was a star too in his quiet way.

    For a “conviction politician”, try Adolf Hitler.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Mediaan, I don’t think you’ll find Key is a consensus politician. From what I see, he is concerned about all NZ’rs, including those at the bottom of the heap. He understands that solutions to NZ’s problems will crush those people in the mid to lower quartiles and believes that he can offer those solutions, without crushing them, and without pushing NZ Inc to the brink. It will just take longer. Pushing for a surplus in 2014/15 for instance, could barely have been contemplated in 2008, after Labour left the country facing permanent deficits. Labour often bleat about 7% unemployment. Flip this around and we have 93% employment in the worst economic times of a generation. Not bad really.

      • Mediaan

        “Not a consensus politician (because) he cares about all NZers including those at the bottom of the heap”?
        Utterly bewildered by this remark.

      • NotForTurning

        He understands that solutions to NZ’s problems will crush those people in the mid to lower quartiles

        HELL YEAH! Bring it on!

        and believes that he can offer those solutions, without crushing them,

        except you can’t. it’s a simple case of mathematics.

        “Freedom is the Freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4” (George Orwell)

        There simply isnt anywhere enough money to “cushion” bludgers

        • Dave

          So, Evolution or revolution. I would prefer Keys slow and steady approach any day. As IVV stated above “Flip this around and we have 93% employment in the worst economic times of a generation. Not bad really” I add to that, the worst string of NATURAL disasters NZ has seen in a century! Lets not forget the rebuild package, the buy pack etc. Or that the Nat’s took over after one of the least strategic governments in NZ’s history, the country was BROKE!

          • NotForTurning

            So the idea that you can sustain 93% employment in NZ’s current situation is due to only one thing: the extreme socialist, i.e. communist policies pursued by the current government.

            For there to be creation, there must first be destruction!

            The ax must be laid to the root of the tree!

      • unsol

        Well said, but he is a little too soft. He has shown he has balls recently though re calling Labour on their petty politicking etc.

        • NotForTurning

          but he is a little too soft

          FFS!!! In lots of ways Key makes Hellen look hardcore. And Hellen still cut taxes more than Key!

    • Mediaan

      Or maybe Keith Joseph, a mentor of Mrs Thatcher.

      He got made Housing Minister after a Night of the Long Knives, so-called, and a re-shuffle of cabinet. He espoused “conviction politics”. Thus positioned, as one might suppose, to do just what he liked, without much regard for public opinion, he started a huge building programme that produced 400,000 new homes.

      Did I mention he came from a family that had long owned Bovis, a leading UK home builder?
      http://www.bovishomesgroup.co.uk/investor-centre/reports-and-presentations/reports/view-year-2012/

      • NotForTurning

        Heh. I’d forgotten that. But just so we’re clear – what you’re saying is: Labour’s KiwiHouse policy is precisely what Thatcher’s government did.

        perhaps it’s not so bad then.

  • GregM

    The last PM with some vision and conviction was David Lange in my opinion. And yes, I did vote for them.

    • NotForTurning

      In contrast, Lange was a traitorous leftist – the damage he did has in no way been undone!

      Now: Ruth. A real conviction. Did more in a single budget than anyone else ever.

      • GregM

        Disagree. The Lange Govt of 1984-87 was arguably the most right wing we have ever seen. Agree about Ruth, Pity she didn’t get the chance to finish what she started.

        • NotForTurning

          The Lange Govt of 1984-87 was arguably the most right wing we have ever seen.

          Oh for goodness sake! Spitting on the US and UK Alliance; driving lots of farmers to bankruptcy and suicide; trampling on the cops; whacking up taxes massively (GST) and doing nothing at all about NZ’s culture of bludgerism – is rightwing

          Muldoon was Right Wing at least as far as protestors was concerned: smashing the anti-tour terrorist.

          Ruth actually cut benefits in nominal terms – uniquely among politicians in the Welfare West. Roger really cut nothing.

          • GregM

            Muldoon was a socialist, the bludgers loved him.

        • unsol

          Ruth was great – good lady who had a good vision. And yep, I agree re Lange govt.

      • There is an enormous naiveity about Ruth Richardson and she is the most unprincipled politician of all.
        She opposed all reforms of the 1980s – not because she disagreed with any of them, but because she felt that she should hold Ministerial office and not the people opposite her.
        Reading Hansard from the 80s you could be forgiven for thinking Ricardson was 50 miles to the left of Anderton!
        When she deceitfully got into government she broke all promises in 3 weeks, put through an unnecessary Budget (all the Treasury advice about a $5 billion deficit was untrue and they simply made it up to con her) – and it destroyed the National party electoral base for a decade from the 1993 election until Brash gave the Orewa speech.

        • NotForTurning

          broke all promises in 3 week

          and changed NZ – for the better for high-value Kiwis – for a generation.

          It took Hellen the best part of 10 years to destroy what Ruth did in those three week – but destroy it they did.

          Now more than ever, NZ needs another Ruth, one with the courage to “finish the job”

  • LesleyNZ

    But Whale you cheered and clapped them all last week.
    Last week here also showed exactly what a lot of gutless MPs we have who lack in conviction. The majority thought they did the right thing. They did not. And now the PM John Key giving his blessing for gay icon and poster boy Maurice to appear on the Ellen show – proves this.To have a conviction like Maggie Thatcher you also have to embrace Christian belief and principles.

    • In Vino Veritas

      “To have a conviction like Maggie Thatcher you also have to embrace Christian belief and principles”.

      No you don’t Lesley. You just have to have conviction, and conviction is not the sole domain of Christian believers.

      • LesleyNZ

        You do if you want a conviction like Maggie Thatcher had. Hitler also had a conviction – but his conviction was based upon an evil conviction and belief.

        • In Vino Veritas

          Therefore Mahatma Ghandi had no conviction? Benjamin Franklin none? Charles Darwin? Andrew Carnegie? Thomas Edison? Sigmund Freud? Albert Einstein? And there are so many more non-christians that are not evil.
          One should not forget that Hitler was a Catholic, and a formal member of the church until his death.

          • LesleyNZ

            Of course they all had convictions BUT to have the conviction like Maggie Thatcher had you also have to embrace Christian belief and principles. Hitler being a Catholic means little. If he was a formal member of the Catholic church until his death then it tell you a lot about the Catholic religion. Maggie Thatcher had a Christian faith and that faith is what guided her politics. If you read this you will understand more:
            How Margaret Thatcher’s Christianity changed the face of Britain
            http://godandpoliticsuk.org/2013/04/18/how-margaret-thatchers-christianity-changed-the-face-of-britain/
            Excerpt: Her Christian faith was personally important and, more significantly, it moulded her political policies and decisions. One of the most important themes for Thatcher was national revival, leaving behind the failures and defeatism of the 1970s to be replaced by the confidence, strength, and optimism of the 1980s. Thatcher believed this revival, so vital for Britain’s economic success, was mainly spiritual and that the spiritual values were Christian. For Thatcher Christianity and her brand of Conservatism were two sides of the same coin.

            ‘What form did this Christianity take? In part it was typically non-conformist. She advocated hard work, thrift, self-reliance and independence. The values of the entrepreneur were firmly rooted in the Gospels. Alongside the emphasis on independence was a belief that people were generous, and that the British people could be trusted to be benevolent and charitable. She knew there were selfish exceptions, but on the whole she believed people would be protective of their families, kind to their neighbours, and charitable in their local communities. Further such benevolence was morally superior to state intervention which removed the possibility of moral choice and responsibility from the individual.’

          • Mediaan

            Interesting aspect, there.
            Thatcher was of course a Methodist, who got on very well with Jews. She was, in her early life, a leading figure in the Britain-Israel Friendship Society.

          • LesleyNZ

            What are you trying to imply?

          • Mediaan

            Lesley, I was supplementing your description of the religious side known of Baroness Thatcher. What did you think I was “trying to imply”, ffCs.

          • LesleyNZ

            Why do you get so mad?

          • Mediaan

            Please try to avoid argument ad hominem.
            You had left out an important point.
            Your remarks about Thatcher and her Christian faith shaping her, etc, made it necessary for somebody to add that she was not anti-semitic.
            Quite a lot of Christians are. Refer Crusades.

          • LesleyNZ

            I don’t know any Christians who are anti-semitic. There was a semblance of religion in the Crusades – similar to the Irish situation. It is a hard one to understand because if the Crusades hadn’t happened – we would be in a very different world today. Thank you for your informative supplement Mediaan.
            Margaret Thatcher, the British PM who praised Israel’s ‘pioneer spirit’http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/margaret-thatcher-the-british-pm-who-praised-israel-s-pioneer-spirit.premium-1.514374

        • johnbronkhorst

          hitlers beliefs were largely socialist, central control type beliefs. Especially when it came to the economy.

          • LesleyNZ

            And evil.

        • NotForTurning

          Yeah – but at least the roads he built are still going strong 60 years later.

          What’s Key going to leave us with? Trillions of debt!

          • johnbronkhorst

            Notice, as the Russians failed to do, all the roads in Germany at the time went EAST, so that like the Romans (and hitler loved the Romans) he had efficient roads to move his army, not necessarily his economy!!!
            Besides our endebtedness is about to come down, as soon as the budget is in surplus…which it is heading toward.

          • NotForTurning

            Sure Key might have fiddled the govt’s books – but both core govt spending is undergird by massive borrowing, and the balance of payments as a whole is utterly terrible.

            Nothing a Ruth or Thatcher or Abbot couldn’t fix pretty damn quick really

          • Already fixed!
            Let me explain where you are wrong –
            1. The deficit has almost disappeared so there is no massive borrowing
            2. The “balance of payments” disappeared in March 1985 – when the Dollar was floated.

          • LesleyNZ

            And while the roads were being built the family trees of many German Jews and other European Jews were obliterated. Would much rather have crumbling roads. What has John Key and roads got to do with each other?

  • Jimmie

    You could argue that Jim Anderton and Winnie the liar were once conviction politicians.

    You could argue that Colin Craig is a wannabe conviction politician.

    I doubt that NZ will ever have a PM who could considered a conviction politician while MMP exists.

    By definition (to me anyway) a conviction politician is one who stands by their principles even in face of stern opposition (or have a vision in their head of where the country should be going and lead that way come hell or high water) – not gonna happen with the wheeling and compromise that MMP involves.

    Also kiwis are too individualistic and tall poppy killers to support someone who stands on their convictions as they tend to be fairly exclusive by nature (I’m right, everyone else is wrong sort of attitude)

    • Dave

      Jimmie. I think that should have been CONVICTED for Winnie the Pooh!!

  • John Key wants enormous amounts of productive investment in the economy leading to more exports and employment. Simple as that.
    He is of course quite correct for that to more or less be his top priority, and probably why he simply ignores the Labour party.
    Why would you need to be a ‘conviction’ politician in NZ? – as it says above, the big stuff has already been settled.
    So convictions about what? to do what?

  • NotForTurning

    We have had “managers” running the country. Helen Clark first and John Key next. Both lacked conviction.

    Bullshit. Hellen & Co were openly avowed “socialists” which mean they were in practice communists. That’s a conviction if ever I saw one. Remenmber that Hellen undid every single one of Ruth & Rogers’ reforms – yes, right down to the independence of the reserve
    bank!

    Key – he was “elected” as a prettier face than Klark to maintain all the Klarkist policies.
    Which is just what he’s done.

    Now Australia is about to elect Tony Abbot – so we may soon see another conviction politician in action! I can’t wait – nothing smashes the communist left like rubber bullets and water cannon!

  • NotForTurning

    Let’s see the end of focus group politics, where the country is governed by a small leite and 20 people in a room with clipboards.

    How about we govern the country on behalf of the 10% or so of high value Kiwis who pay for everything for everyone else. For the Whale Army, basically!

    • unsol

      “who pay for everything for everyone else. For the Whale Army, basically!”

      Are you saying that the whale army does not contain high value kiwis?

      And you realise your comment is nothing short of endorsing socialism……handful of elite controlling everything for the masses. Next step being to get the masses to the point where they can govern alone….= transition to communism?

      • Polish Pride

        The masses could govern alone via direct democracy with Senate oversight and a robust constitution and it doesn’t need to be anywhere near communism. In fact you could have a system where you no longer have to have anything taken from you and your family to ensure someone elses needs are met because the government says so.
        It simply means redesigning the system to work for mankind rather than man having to work for it in order to survive.

        • NotForTurning

          “redesigning the system to work for mankind”

          by definition means

          communism.

          there is no such thing as society, community, or “mankind”.

          There are high-value, high worth individuals, and there are bludgers. That’s all.

          • Polish Pride

            Go and read up on Resource Based Economy or watch Zietgiest moving forward. Take the planning out of the equation and replace it with a reactive system (just like Capitalism is now) give the vote to the people via direct democracy backed by a robust constitution and supported by a Senate function that works for the people.
            Welcome to a System designed to work for mankind and is not communism……just common sense.

          • Polish Pride

            Their will be a sense of community on the factory floor that you own but if that is your view on the world then I’m not surprised that you aren’t aware of it.

      • NotForTurning

        Duh. The Whale Army pay for everything else. Time for government to govern for the whale army. Government of the people, by the taxpayers, for the taxpayers – if that’s the way you want to put it.

    • Polish Pride

      How about we take a step back and redesign the system to work for everyone without having to take from one group to give to another just as the policies on both sides of the political spectrum are designed to do.

      • spollyike

        Yes direct swiss style democracy, that is what a country like ours needs.

  • unsol

    Judith Collins, Paula Bennett & Hekia Perata would come close to being aspirational leaders. Definitely no male MP that I know of. Joyce would be a good Deputy.

    The problem is the world is vastly different compared to what it was like when Thatcher was PM. We have an overwhelming PC infested society that is filled with bleeding hearts, woe is me/woe is them than good common sense policies that can see the forest for the trees.

    And no I am not talking about Marriage Equality – it was not a PC issue. Further, that horse has bolted, so get over it.

    I am talking about this stupid ingrained idea we have in this country that people have to be supported financially from the cradle to the grave. Welfare has extended beyond what anyone, including Savage could possibly have envisioned.

    But so has the level of poor choices, number of children living in poverty – whose illiterate wastrel sperm/egg donors (that are not fit to apply for a license called ‘parent’) can’t even be bothered looking after properly, & the massively increased sense of entitlement we see these days where having children – regardless of where you are on the low to middle/early upper income scale, is somehow the responsibility of the State just because you are too pathetic & immature to live within your means.

    Welfare is the epitome of everything that is wrong in this country. And currently no one in govt has the balls to change anything.

    Yes real wages have failed to keep up with the real cost of living & yes this is thanks primarily to that fuckwit Helen & her evil accomplice Cullen who kept taxes far too high & failed to put a lid on the housing market.

    But like ME. It’s over. The horse has bolted so you have to focus on the now.

    Which means cutting back welfare – perhaps transitionally to wean people off it, and getting it back to what it was designed for…..temporary assistance for those faced with circumstances beyond their control. Exception being life-long disabilities….which does not include addiction or pregnancies!!!

    We need a leader who makes it their priority to ensure that every single person in this country not only treats children as a privilege rather than a right. but that they provide for that child/ren on their own merits. We need people to make choices on the basis is that the average wage means you can do the average things as an individuals, not as a family of 7!

    If this happened there would be no child poverty, no child abuse (both things which cost this country more money than we can ever afford) and no stupid people complaining when a recession hits that they cannot no longer afford the 60% of their gross wage going on their $700k home. Instead there would actually be money for things that matter – children who are born with or suddenly develop serious illnesses that require special medical treatment which currently, are funded for primarily my donations.

    I consider this stuff to be the most important as children are our future and at the moment, everything in this country is telling them that they don’t have to be self-sufficient. This creates lazy, disaffected, irresponsible & emotionally immature adults……who would actually be worse than the Winston Peters of this world if in government. But don’t get me wrong – this crap has been building for decades. Remember those in their 20s, 30s & 40s feeding off the taxpayer’s tit via benefits or WFF are a product of their parents upbringing; this is the new breed of parents who are often PC helicopter parents where what little Johnny wants, Johnny gets. They see smacking as physical abuse and they think that if they want to have 3-4 kids (the new 2 for middle income NZ) then they should be able to do so. And they do. They never think twice yet complain that they are struggling….despite getting $10k plus a year from the govt to help fund their $400-500k house & petrol for their loser cruiser.

    So question is, who has the balls to turn this country around, to tell everyone to grow the fuck up and accept we are a tiny country with limited income & resources so we cant expect the State to pick up the tab for everything?

    Three people spring to mind: Judith Collins, Paula Bennett & Hekia Perata.

    And don’t try the tl:dr crap on me. Solutions require more than 1 liners or a couple of paragraphs.

    Being committed complainers & come up with something.

    • johnbronkhorst

      “And don’t try the tl:dr crap on me. Solutions require more than 1 liners or a couple of paragraphs”. ..True but do try to paraphrase at least some of it!!!

      • unsol

        Paraphrased? This kind of issue is normally explored in 10,000 word plus dissertations & reports. Policy documents or MSD Social Reports on social issues are huge and often written in a way general plebs would struggle to discern.

        The above is in simple layman’s language. Like I said, it is not something that can be discussed properly via one liners or a couple of paragraphs

        If people want to discuss real issues in a way that has meaning & the option of solutions then they must break from the blog mode.

        Otherwise they just join the long line of uncommitted complainers; real issues can’t be resolved with mere sound bites. :-)

        • johnbronkhorst

          Steady…steady…don’t bite so hard!!!!

          I read it, but here, you are preaching to the quire. Get this TRUTH to the not so, should we say, well read among the population.

          • unsol

            My reply wasnt getting at you – general grumble at everyone for flling up these posts with one liners instead of proper robust discussion. I know my style goes against the norm for easy breasy blogging style, but it is getting to the point now where I think we need to stop dicking around & be serious. We don’t know all if we are preaching to the choir (:-)) here at all – so many readers do not comment & with the carrying on about threatening to throw or change votes post ME, well, I think the Nats could be in real trouble. Act is non existence, CC is a dodgy one trick pony & John Key does tend to come across wishy washy. Too easy going. People like strong leaders – that is how Helen survived. She had a zero tolerance for bullshit and many liked that about her. I am actually amazed that she even got booted out especially give the big fat WFF carrot she had dangling. So I think we need a different approach on here as all the crap being thrown at the govt is starting to take its toll. Anyway, that’s my word count for the day! :-)

          • johnbronkhorst

            “My reply wasnt getting at you – general grumble at everyone for ”
            Jesus…you don’t think I’m that thin skinned do you? If so I’ll change my name to…”Give me my flag back Norman”

          • Dave

            John Norman is welcome to keep the flag as a memento of his time here, i would like to introduce his passport to a shredder followed by an eviction ceremony! Could be the best party NZ has seen for years.

          • unsol

            You never know jbh – plenty of people can give shit & can’t take it….you’ve observed & commented on it yourself! And tone is difficult to convey via this medium

            Hmm give me back my flag Norman – if we replayed that video over & over that would be enough to secure the Nats votes for sure. Who could forget that squealing. Absolutely priceless; aspirational he is not!

      • sorry to sound thick but what does tl:dr mean?

        • Dave

          Too long didn’t read. And I agreed with JB

          • Ahhhh *click* thanks for that Dave

          • unsol

            I had to google it when I first saw it (in relation to someone else I’ll have you know!) :-)

          • unsol

            Yet like jbh you have not stated who would be an aspirational leader and why, plus what they could do or what you would want them to do differently – what direction do you want the country to go in? Who is the best person for the job? Agreeing my comment is tl;dr yet failing to provide pertinent answers is case and point don’t you think?

            The debate below doesn’t count – waffling on about Thatcher vs Hitler or Lange is irrelevant.

            Who is relevant now? Who do you want in charge to take the country in the direction you think fit? Gareth Hughes? Socialist Cindy? Simon Bridges? David Parker? Metiria Turia? Dr of Nothing Important Norman?

          • Dave

            Unsol. I have to place my posts between clients hence a partial reply had to wait.

            The current government has adapoted a slow and steady change regime. The change is being implemented quietly and progressively and not creating huge waves and issues for them to mop up, but there is change, hence why NZ under Nationals governance is recognized internationally as doing very well. The alternative is to adpot a (Thatcher style) “Balls of Steel” approach, and change everything today, in turn likely creating revolutionary change, and likely with it the same conditions England experienced in the Thatcher years.

            If you want a truely aspirational leader, look at Churchill and Jack Welch (GE) or for NZ, Rob Fyfe of Air NZ, one of the best leaders NZ has seen in decades!.

            Personally, I would like to see the height of change wound up two notches, but as long as the job is done whilst minimizing friction, then progress is being made.

            As to NZ’s Political aspirational leaders, I agree with Collins and Bennet, but definitely NOT Parata, she bleats a lot, but there is not conviction & substance behind the words, in fact she is a bully not a leader at all. Key is also aspirational and has a softer conviction, but slow and steady is his mantra. The other surprising leader is Joyce, 75% aspirational and conviction.

            Tried to keep that short whilst answering your points -:)

          • unsol

            See, 238 words just like that…and that is, as we know, merely skimming the surface! ;-)

            I really like Joyce too but then I think to be perceived as a leader you perhaps come across as more ‘media’ friendly than what he is perhaps happy to be. He doesn’t tend to give a lot a way – great for business, not so good for politics.

            I don’t know about Perata. I like her in Education – have agreed with all decisions bar one & I think she is gutsy.

            But what NZ thinks – I guess time will tell.

            And yep, Rob Fyfe is fantastic – totally the business man yet comes across as a socialist/one of the people (the whole doing the janitors work for the day etc) so seems to appeal to everyone. Maybe we should get him to enter politics. He’s easy on the eye too…he’d probably the best looking MP ever!

          • Dave

            Since your running word counts Unsol. Your original was 770 words – TLDR i rest my case, your honour.

          • unsol

            770 words is but a mere blip compared to what this topic needs.

            In order to rest your case you have to first establish the point: I stated issues such as aspirational leaders vs the direction we want this country to go in can not be discussed via one liners or a couple of paragraphs

            You responded by saying you agreed with JBH, I prompted you to reply so you offered 238 words by way of analysis – while woefully short of the detail these kinds of topics need, it still made my case & point (238 was more than a couple of paragraphs).

            Polish has introduced resourced based economy….consider that your cue….go for it!

          • Polish Pride

            I have a feeling that Norman might in fact be trying to move us towards a Resourse Based Economy as his end goal and not socialism or communism as many on here think. Although not enough people understand the concept or the potential so it is unlikely he would come out with conviction over it.
            If this were the case it would mean an end the culture of taking from someone to give to someone else

          • unsol

            To be truly resource based then he would have to start drilling…unless he imagines we eat all the cows & sheep & all grab a rake & start turning the land & export wheat & corn? Haha! Imagine that!!!

            Question is, do you favour such an economy? I suspect from previous discussions (hows that house on a prairie going? :)) you might be!

          • Polish Pride

            I have a feeling he is looking at the bioffuel path and its potential with hemp.

            Do I favour such an economy yes most definitely as it would solve many of the problems we face as a country. I would make two changes though.
            I’d still have people having the vote and I wouldn’t set it up as planned, I’d retain a reactive system as we have with Capitalism. Planned economies failed to deliver under communism and the reactive side of Capitalism has worket well for decades.

            The prarie is going well thanks for asking.

        • johnbronkhorst

          That is the part I cut and pasted from unsol’s comment above. But Minarchist_kiwi, is correct.

    • spollyike

      “def no male that i know of” What a fucking feminist, it’s since women were allowed in parliament we have had all the trouble don’t ya know…..

      • unsol

        Haha….if only that were true eh.

        Need another history lesson spolly?

    • Polish Pride

      So question is, who has the balls to turn this country around, to tell everyone to grow the fuck up and accept we are a tiny country with limited income & resources so we cant expect the State to pick up the tab for everything?
      Why would you leave it to politicians and political parties that haven’t been able to fix many of the problems face our society for decades. Both sides Left and Right have policies based on taking something from one group and giving it to another.
      For the left it is taking taxes from the wealthy and resdistributing it to those on lower incomes.
      For the right it is watering down labour laws so that penal rates could be removed or reintroducing youth wage rates policies that enable companies to pay workers less for a days work. At the same time they take taxes from the wealthy and give them to corporates in the form of corporate welfare.

      It is because of this paradigm that we bounce from left to right and back again every 6 years or so and nothing really changes. There is in fact very little difference between L vs R policy wise (at least up until the NZ power announcement) and this is why we have not really experienced any real meaningful change in the past 20 years or more.

      What is needed is a discussion first on what the New Zealand we as New Zealanders want to be living in, in 10 to 20 years time should look like.
      It is hard to come accross as a leader with conviction if all you are doing is continuing to maintain the status quo.

      • unsol

        “What is needed is a discussion first on what the New Zealand we as New Zealanders want to be living in, in 10 to 20 years time should look like. It is hard to come across as a leader with conviction if all you are doing is continuing to maintain the status quo.”

        Comment of the day PP – but such discussions are too difficult for most :-)

      • Polish, I own a factory and employ quite a large number of people; you complain about the reintroduction of youth rates – that is a wonderful thing to get young folk into work.

        If you think I, or any other businessman, intends to pay an inexperienced teenager straight from school $700 per week you are dreaming.

        You can stamp your feet and mainline ‘Marxism 101’ as much as you like but here in the real world spotty 17 year olds don’t get paid that kind of money.

        • Polish Pride

          No Minarchist I did not complain about anything in fact I rarely do.
          What I did was simply state the reality on left vs right policy and the fact that both are based on redistribution of wealth.

          You by your own admission are more than happy with a redistribution of wealth policy from the right that benefits you (as are most) but are no doubt unhappy with the lefts redistribution of wealth policies because they will be taking money from you as you see it.

          I am not having a go at you for this but pointing out that although both policies are based on a redistribution of wealth model but that effectively take from one end of the spectrum to give to those at the opposite end. People fall all the way along that spectrum and It is this that keeps bouncing from Left to Right and back again once every 3.6 or 9 years.

          We should be looking at a model that does not require a redistribution of anything from one group to the next. But that meets the needs of everyone as a starting point.

          If you own factory I’d be surprised if you couldn’t automate almost everything and run a skeleton staff if you were given the resources to do so.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Hekia Perata?????? are you insane.

  • ‘Conviction politician’ logically means someone tied to dogma or ideology and that sort of thing is outdated.

    Most of the people tend to be centrist these days judging most issues on a case by case basis; they are right wing on some issues (the economy, taxes and spending) and ‘left wing’ (for lack of a better term) on other issues (perhaps gay marriage or asset sales).

    Because most people (who actually vote) either are – or aspire to be – stakeholders with a house, car, family, good job or business, sense of community they tend not to be particularly ideological.

    To put it cynically if you follow policies which ensure 4% economic growth due to investment and exports, rather than pork barrel spending; taxes are low-ish; the PM and Cabinet seem competent; unemployment (amongst the right sort of people) is pretty low – then you can cobble together 45 – 48% of the votes from the ‘stakeholders’.

    Under MMP that is victory (with the ‘right’ Governor General who actually decides these things) and can be repeated almost indefinately.

  • spollyike

    Rodney Hide, Don Brash, or Crusher! People prepared to stand up against activist groups and fight for equality for all NZ’ers. Definitely not Hekia, the useless kowtowing token maori in education.

    • rockape

      And where are rodney and Brash now, confined to the list is failed politicians.

  • rockape

    Occasionally there is a need for conviction and usually those leaders come to the fore when their is a need. Thatcher, Churchill Stallin Hitler were all leaders whose time was right. Do we need a leader who will polarise the voters right now;probably not. Would he achieve anything under our present electoral system ; probably not. Helen Clark was not an inspirational leader and slowly moved the country in the direction she wanted. Had she beenMore inspired and motivated she would have been a one term PM. The same applies for JK, I am sure he privately thinks GW is a joke but right now to stand up and say so would drive those who”want to save the World” away from National. There is a time for inspirational leaders and a time for pragmatic leaders. The last 20 years and the present has probably been the time for the latter.

  • St_Hubbins

    Bob Jones and his NZ Party in 1984 were the last I can remember.

  • johnbronkhorst

    “In total in 1979, 29,474,000 working days were lost in industrial disputes, compared with 9,306,000 in 1978.” source..wikipedea ,in the UK.

    • NotForTurning

      So John Key doesn’t need a hammer to crack the nut

      except that NZEI PPTA PSA MUNZlers etc are effectively compulsory.
      He probaby doesn’t need a sledgehammer: but legislation to fire unionists, then riot police with water canon & baton rounds will come in damn handy.

      Besides: even bigger than the unions, Key needs to smash welfare — benefits, heal & education. And that would take a sledgehammer (literally when it comes to schools & hospitals, although bulldozers will be more effective)

      • johnbronkhorst

        NZEI etc….pussies!!!!!

        • NotForTurning

          well why hasn’t Key wiped them out then?

          I guess it’s harder to stockpile childcare hours than it is to stockpile coal

  • I could name several people who are very astute and would run rings around anyone in Wellington! They are astute, hence the reason they dont wish to mix with career politicians!!!!

  • Zac

    Helen Cark was a conviction politician, John Key is more a show pony.

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