The Axis of Nasty evaluated by left and right

From the Left: Merger a powerful alternative

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born,” wrote Antonio Gramsci, the famous Italian intellectual, “in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”.

A little melodramatic, but it captures the thinking behind the memorandum of understanding between Labour and the Greens: both parties recognise the only future is a Labour-led government.

Of course, signing an agreement does not an election win make. But the signal is important: the two parties are moving past their old ambiguous relationship and preparing to form an alternative Government.

However, in John Key’s New Zealand most Kiwis feel content.

The challenge for the new left is to offer people an alternative. Combining the “Parliamentary arm of the workers’ movement” with the “Parliamentary arm of the environmental movement” is a powerful statement, but is it a reason for people to turn out and vote for it?

In a country where the Government is selling off state houses amid a homelessness crisis, where health and education are taking funding cuts in real terms, we desperately need an alternative.

For me, this is it.

From the Right: Time is finally right for clear-cut alliance of the left

Formalised ties between the Greens and Labour is an idea whose time has finally come.

Despite clamours from the left in the 2014 election run-up, a formal Green-Labour campaign then was a non-starter in a field cluttered by Kim Dotcom, Hone Harawira and Colin Craig. The kind of “open relationship” announced yesterday would have left too many questions about who else would sneak into government under the covers. However, the potential alternative government outlined yesterday instantly looks stronger.

John Key has often used the image of a many-headed left-wing monster in government to unnerve the electorate. The effectiveness of that scare tactic is diminished in 2016.

Forget “nice to haves” such as electability and charisma: right now, Labour lacks the talent in its caucus to assemble a credible Cabinet.

The injection of sensible heads like Shaw, Kevin Hague and the politically competent Metiria Turei as potential ministers will lessen that pressure.

Labour may rue giving up its wish to regain political superpower status in favour of a first-among-equals deal. But it needs both the Greens and New Zealand First to regain government. It’s probably worth getting Winston Peters used to the idea.

So essentially we have the unions and Greenpeace getting together by instructing their parliamentary wings to unite against National.   Looks like Russel Norman is still running things.


– Morgan Godfrey is a Wellington-based political writer and First Union media officer, Ben Thomas is a public relations consultant, former National Business Review political editor, and former National Government press secretary.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.