Happy birthday Labour, here’s a kick in the nuts from the SST

Jonathan Milne is brutal in today’s Sunday Star-Times:

At 100, like many centenarians, this country’s Labour Party is looking wobbly and confused  – much like its befuddled counterparts in Australia and Britain.

When one celebrates one’s 100th birthday, it is customary to do it with some fanfare, not to mention the obligatory telegram from the Queen.

This week, the New Zealand Labour Party celebrates its 100th birthday. You’d barely know it. They’re really not trumpeting it.

Among the socialists and unionists, radicals and moderates that met in Wellington at the start of July 1916 were some who would go on to become great leaders, most notably Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser.

These were men of conviction: One of the principles that united these activists in 1916 was opposition to the First World War, and Fraser held so strongly to these principles that, later that year, he was sentenced to a year’s jail for sedition.

Savage is widely credited as the father of the welfare state; his mild bespectacled image still looks down from framed photos hanging above some New Zealand mantelpieces.

Where are these leaders of conviction today? Perhaps the reason the centenary celebrations are so muted is that Labour has nobody who can credibly stand in those shoes. Andrew Little is the party’s fourth leader since the party lost the 2008 election; each leader has shown progressively less willingness or ability to enunciate what it is that distinguishes the Labour Party of 2016.

Here endeth the history lesson. Now for the knifing.

At 100, like many centenarians, this country’s Labour Party is looking confused and befuddled. It appears to have forgotten what it stood for when it was young and vibrant.

Under Little, this party that once stood against unthinking imperialism has campaigned to keep the Union Jack on New Zealand’s flag – perhaps keen to safeguard that Royal telegram! This party that once stood for workers making new lives in a new land, now wishes to stop immigrants investing in property in New Zealand; this party that once stood for diversity now makes overseas investment policy by tallying up “Chinese-sounding names”. Little is busy battling defamation claims, rather than fighting for Labour principles.

It’s sad but true. The poor old dear just wants to die but the grandson leading the family now just also happens to be suffering from political dementia.

 

– Sunday Star-Times


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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.

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