Trotter gets it, shame the rest of the left don’t

I respect Chris Trotter. Sure he is a left-wing commentator but he is at least intellectually and politically honest.

His post today about the failure of the left-wing to understand middle New Zealand is telling, especially as we witness Labour going full retard on the Panama Papers.

BRINGING DOWN JOHN KEY has become an abiding obsession of the New Zealand Left. As if all of New Zealand’s problems have their origins in the actions of a single individual. As if the Prime Minister hasn’t been shaped by the people he governs every bit as much as they have been shaped by him. As if Key’s uncanny ability to extricate himself from scandal after scandal hasn’t been made possible by the electorate’s willingness to look the other way while he does it.

All of which suggests that the Left’s obsession with bringing down Key isn’t about the National Party Leader at all, but about its own inability to attract and hold the same level of popular support that keeps him in power. All of which raises the possibility that the Left’s real problem isn’t with Key at all – but with the democratic process itself.

The left really don’t like democracy. Look at the way they tried to shut down my voice with Dirty Politics. They generally aren’t honest brokers in politics, preferring instead hacking and consorting with criminals.

Over the past fortnight, for example, the Left has been outraged by revelations contained in the so-called “Panama Papers”. These have been seized upon as conclusive proof of John Key’s determination to transform New Zealand into a tax haven.

That the New Zealand-related documents contained in the Panama Papers might be interpreted as the legal firm at the centre of the controversy, Mossack Fonseca’s,  back-handed tribute to this country’s reputation for honesty and fair-dealing does not appear to have occurred to the implacable prosecutors of the Left.

Similarly failing to register with them is the indisputable fact that the formation of trusts (both foreign and domestic) is a perfectly legal activity engaged in not only by dubious South American businessmen, but also by thousands of ordinary New Zealand families. The purposes of these legal instruments is much the same in both instances: to shield the assets of their beneficiaries from the fiscal and/or administrative exactions of the state.

That is why John Key is not about to get on his high moral horse about trusts. Not when to do so would put him offside with tens-of-thousands of his most loyal supporters!

Half of Labour’s caucus uses trusts. Hell, even David Cunliffe used a trust to launder his own donations for the leadership challenge and David Shearer reportedly has millions in an offshore bank account.

The Left constantly fails to register the brute realities of living in a society driven by the neoliberal imperatives of twenty-first century capitalism. In a world where the interests of the successful individual trump everybody else’s, avoiding and/or evading tax has become an industry in its own right.

Whether these sovereign individuals are the heirs to old family fortunes, or the lumpenproletarian leaders of methamphetamine-distributing street gangs, makes little difference. Large piles of cash must first be sanitised, and then they must be protected. If the Panama Papers prove nothing else, it’s that law firms dedicated to providing such services are not confined to the pages of John Grisham novels!

It takes a touching degree of innocence, not to say naiveté, to assume that the whole nation will rise up as one against the spectacle of extremely wealthy individuals and families setting up trusts in foreign lands to avoid paying tax at home. The Left clearly does not grasp the huge number of people who, aspiring to become extremely wealthy individuals themselves, observe the depredations of the One Percent with feelings more akin to admiration than disgust.

Trotter really does get it.

The New Zealand Left’s animosity towards John Key is, thus, curiously reminiscent of the early Christian Church’s animosity towards the Roman Emperor, Nero. In both cases we are presented with a minority utterly convinced of its moral righteousness, and absolutely unwilling to compromise its principles. Unsurprisingly, such stiff-necked insistence on their own rectitude, asserted aggressively in the midst of an avaricious and morally undemanding society, not only got these groups offside with their neighbours, but also with the authorities. Finding themselves under political pressure, it is hard to blame either Nero, or John Key, for making scapegoats of their unpopular critics.

Not that John Key has gone so far as to transform his left-wing opponents into human torches! Like Nero, however, he has boosted his own popularity at their expense – and they hate him for it.

The Early Christians worked Nero’s name into their identification of the Beast of the Book of Revelation: “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

The New Zealand Left is equally obsessed with numbers – even if, in the case of John Key, they are the numbers hidden in the spreadsheets of the Panama Papers.

Labour are becoming irrelevant. I would lay good money on a bet that Labour is haemorrhaging support at the moment and Winston and National are the beneficiaries of that.


– Bowalley Road


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  • jaundiced

    Chris Trotter confuses me. Sometimes he can be extremely lucid.

  • Dave

    Coming to a Rouge Morgan poll near you soon, the premier (Drum Roll please)

    Mr 5%, Angrierrrrrr Anddddyyyyyyy

  • metalnwood

    Bringing up Shearer and Cunliffe, very good in the context. One that was obviously happy paying zero tax on all his income and one that was happy to use a trust to not protect his assets and only so he could use the private protection of them.

    No wonder they have not said anything themselves. Between the two of them they have done what labour thinks is the worst of these trusts.

    • Positan

      What are the odds against Helen Clark NOT having a trust into which her tax-free UN income has gone?

  • Mav E Rick

    The left totally personalise the political debate to their own determinate. The “john Key Flag, is one very recent example. Because John Key has been very successful personally, they try to label him as a bully and a crook. If Max (JK’s son) does an instagram post, he is ridiculed and so it goes on. They have lost the true perspective of life and judge everyone by their own selfish but greedy, insecure lives.

    • waldopepper

      the left hate success. quite simply, they are a bunch of life’s losers, resplendent in their own mediocrity.

  • Andy Garner

    In response to a comment on his blog, Chris Trotter sums up Labour’s election hopes of winning the next election with their current ‘strategy. This so telling:

    “Not while it foolishly personalises what is both a cultural and
    structural problem… Not while the NZ Left continues to rely upon
    the most puerile kind of political analysis. Not while it demonstrates
    how very little it knows about – let alone understands – the motivations
    and behaviours of its fellow citizens.

    For the Left to win it
    needs to know how to reach the people whose votes can make it the
    government. Inciting moral panic ain’t the way.

    Perhaps someone should research how many Labour and Green MPs have set up family trusts – and why”

  • In essence, labour could be accused of attempting to destablise New Zealand economically through its single minded pursuit of John Key.

    Labour need to find their own John Key, who I suspect is currently among the missing million!

    • Dumrse

      I suspect Labours John Key is at primary or secondary school at best. By the time each of the Labour MP’s has had a turn at being the party leader, their JK will be close to graduation and will be installed as Labours youngest ever leader. They are toast for the foreseeable future.

      • OneTrack

        They are toast because they have nothing to offer New Zealand.

    • Rob

      They will never be able to manage that with their Union Controlled selection.
      Surely they must see that they made a big mistake in changing the selection rules.

  • Usaywot

    It begs the questiopn – how come someone as intelligent and articulate as Chris Trotter supports Labour?

    • Dog Breath

      Probably because he is a closet centraliist and does not realise it.

  • taxpayer

    “the Left’s obsession with bringing down Key isn’t about the National Party Leader at all, but about its own inability to attract and hold the same level of popular support that keeps him in power.”
    Yes this is what I have been thinking too.
    JK has been doing a good job, lots of people agree and his easy charm, unashamed Kiwi accent and straight talking are all vote winners.
    Where as the left are lumbered with Angry Andy and the Material girl for their charming, vote winning leaders, Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

  • Graeme

    That must be the best he has ever written.he must be changing his political outlook.

  • Hard1

    Trotter writes like a man who has been scammed.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Seems he is biting the fans that feed him.