Archives

Incite Politics

Trotter: The rhymes of ’75

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Trotter: The perils of surplus consciousness

The problem with surplus consciousness (basically, the condition of people who know an awful lot about the world and its problems but are in no position to do very much at all about them) is that it is possessed by only a very small percentage of the population. Too small to allow a political party based upon its possessors to be anything other than a small but helpful adjunct to a party, or parties, with much deeper socio-economic wells . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Moving beyond the politics of kindness

If you need a popular culture reference, just think of House of Cards’ President Frank Underwood’s Chief-of-Staff, Doug Stamper. H2 didn’t bury any actual bodies in the desert, but she certainly knew the location of every one of Labour’s metaphorical graves; whose body lay buried there; and who had put them in it . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Hybrid vigour

Tom Wilkes was known as the ‘Master Builder’ of the National Party. According to historian Barry Gustafson, author of The First 50 Years: A History of the New Zealand National Party, the former soldier, insurance agent and sports administrator “was certainly quite a remarkable political organiser, probably the greatest in New Zealand’s political history.”

Gustafson illustrates Wilkes skills by detailing the growth of National Party membership in the Auckland Division of the party between January and August 1938:

“On 31 January 1938 the Auckland Division had 4,288 members; by 28 February, 6,783; by 31 March, 9,477 . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Of defunct politicians, moribund philosophies – and why they still matter

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

How to stroke the electoral cat without getting scratched

The greatest mistake in party politics is to confuse the needs of one’s staunchest supporters with those of the entire electorate. Unfortunately, it’s an error to which political activists are notoriously prone. Staunch supporters care the most; attend the most meetings; make the most noise. Worse still, they’re the sort of people political activists are most inclined to agree with – the people most like them. It’s always difficult to avoid the errors of our own ways!

Simon Lusk’s rejection of Social Investment as the prime policy vector for National’s re-election, in favour of . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Attacking the enemy’s strategy

The essence of successful strategy lies in ensuring that your opponents are responding to your decisions – not you to theirs. Or, in the words of the Chinese general, Sun Tzu (545-470BC) “What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.” The challenge confronting Simon Bridges is, therefore, to devise a strategy equal to the task of seizing the political initiative from the Labour-NZF-Green Government – and not letting go.

For the past 14 years the National Party has been guided by the strategic thinking of Steven Joyce. That period may be divided into . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Succeeding in the power game

Strong political leadership does not, as a rule, encourage the full and unfettered flourishing of democracy. Stripped of all its theoretical finery, politics is a power game – and its most accomplished players are notoriously unwilling to share. They get away with this selfishness because most people are not all that excited at the prospect of being governed by a committee. Historically, people are much more likely to put their trust in the strongest and/or the most persuasive member of their tribe. Such individuals do not suffer rivals gladly: not if they have enough power to do something about them . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Chris Trotter: A matter of trust

On the face of it, you’d have to say that allowing party members to vote in Labour’s leadership elections was a big mistake. Two leaders have been elected under the new rules: neither of whom proved equal to the task of expanding Labour’s vote. David Cunliffe led Labour to its worst defeat since the 1920s, and Andrew Little was about to take Labour’s Party Vote into the teens. What saved the day was a rule allowing Labour’s caucus to choose the party leader, unassisted, but only if the position becomes vacant within three months of . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

Incite Politics

Chris Trotter: Bill English’s legacy of Catholic-flavoured conservatism

Bill English's departure signals a waning of Catholic influence in the National Party. In its place, expect to see a return to the party’s historical roots in the hard-core Protestant conservatism of New Zealand’s proud Scotch-Irish heritage. The conservatism of Bill Massey – the Reform Party leader who rescued New Zealand’s farmers and businessmen from the revolutionary socialism of the “Red” Federation of Labour in 1912-13 . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.