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Chris Trotter: Acquiring a taste for rat

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Incite Politics

There’s method in Labour’s working-party madness

There are many reasons why political parties are reluctant to offer voters too much in the way of detailed policy. Fear of having it stolen by electoral competitors is the most popular explanation. But, there are other fears. Party leaders are often extremely wary of giving either their caucus colleagues or (God forbid!) the party membership too much say in setting policy. The risk of embarrassment is simply too great. Drawing outsiders into the process is even more risky. Such collaboration leaves political parties vulnerable to accusations of being in the pockets of what the Americans like to call “special . . .

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Separating National’s better angels from its inner demons

The spilt must be real. The emergence of a new force on the right cannot afford to be tainted by even the faintest whiff of inauthenticity. That any new right-wing party’s parliamentary representatives will, most likely, be National Party renegades and defectors poses huge – but not insuperable – obstacles to voter acceptance. If the new movement’s aims and objectives are sufficiently radical: offering centre-right voters a clear and decisive break with its predecessors’ deficient default-settings, then, eventually, cynicism will be laid aside and disbelief suspended.

But what force could possibly induce National Party supporters, members and . . .

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Cometh the hour, cometh the conviction politicians

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Not a bloody clue: National respond to Grant Robertson’s budget

The National party opposition’s response to Grant Robertson’s first budget has been as underwhelming as the document itself. Simon Bridges’ insistence that Robertson had delivered a “tax, borrow and spend” budget was as absurd as it was unimaginative. Indeed, it confirmed the first impression of many on the Right that Bridges wasn’t (and still isn’t) ready for the responsibilities of leadership.

Set against the performance of Amy Adams, National’s Finance Spokesperson, however, Bridges response to Robertson’s budget was masterful. Adams is clearly out of her depth in her current role and should be replaced . . .

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Knowing what you’re going to get

THE LIFE of the NewLabour Party was a relatively short one. Launched by Jim Anderton on May Day 1989, it contested the 1990 election in its own right (receiving a creditable 5.16 percent of the popular vote) but was then absorbed into Anderton’s broad-based political coalition of anti-National parties, the Alliance, in 1991. The NLP soldiered on for nearly a decade within the larger grouping, until finally winding itself up in 2000.

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the NLP was its insistence on producing a comprehensive election manifesto setting forth the party programme with considerable . . .

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Does the New Zealand right need its own Steve Bannon?

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Trotter: The rhymes of ’75

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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