So completely does Trump dominate the global news cycle that, even here, at the bottom of the world, political experts have begun speculating as to whether New Zealanders might be in line for an Antipodean version of “The Donald”.
Others object that the Americans have, as usual, come late to the party. New Zealanders, they insist, have had their very own populist political leader for nigh-on a quarter-century. His name? Winston Peters.
But identifying Peters as the New Zealand Trump merely pushes the question back one space. Instead of asking: Does NZ have its own Donald Trump? The question now becomes: Can Peters replicate Trump’s extraordinary success?
The short answer is: No. Trumpism could only be established in New Zealand by a politician drawn from the ranks of one of the major parties. Such a person would then have to take his or her party by storm: over-ruling and over-powering its existing power structures with the assistance of fanatical supporters drawn from both within and without the party.
Chris Trotter explains the damage Labour have caused themselves in the past week:
WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY WEEK it’s been! Two years of exemplary discipline within Labour’s ranks have been unceremoniously ditched in favour of rank insubordination and revolt. Poto Williams’ intervention and its aftermath have left Andrew Little’s carefully cultivated image of unity and loyalty in tatters. No amount of “robust and honest conversation” can hide the fact that a depressingly large number of Labour Party members would like nothing more than to punch their supposed “comrades” in the face.
Williams’ decision to publicly challenge Little’s recruitment of Willie Jackson represents the breaching of a dam behind which huge amounts of anxiety and anger has been building up since November 2014.
It looks like having a good dose of the same sort of stuff I suffer every day from the left-wing has caused a bit of an epiphany with Chris Trotter.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION has long been regarded as the cornerstone of liberty. Indeed, without the ability to speak our minds freely the whole notion of liberty begins to unravel. Freedom of expression is vital in at least one other respect – it helps us to arrive at and recognise the truth. This is important because, as many philosophers and religious leaders have observed, it is the truth that sets us free.
Open warfare has broken out within the ranks of Labour with a sitting electorate MP, Poto Williams, attacking list candidate Willie Jackson and now the unofficial mouthpiece of activists, The Standard, also weighing in trying to discredit him.
Chris Trotter writes at The Daily Bog about the outbreak of internecine warfare, just when Labour are trying to suggest they are a government in waiting.
POTO WILLIAMS’ very public criticism of Willie Jackson’s return to Labour has done huge damage to her party’s re-election chances. At a stroke, her ill-disciplined and (presumably) unsanctioned outburst has undermined the positive perceptions created by the joint Labour/Green state-of-the-nation event of 29 January. All of those “good vibrations” (to quote TV3’s Patrick Gower) have been drowned out by the high-pitched screeching of identity politics. Too wrapped up in their quest for a gender-balanced caucus to recognise the strategic importance of Andrew Little’s eleventh-hour recruitment of Jackson, Williams and her supporters have cost Labour tens-of-thousands of urban Maori (and Pakeha!) votes.
Little’s own quest: to reconstitute Labour’s “broad church”; is clearly considered secondary to the Labour Women’s Council’s determination to achieve a gender-balanced caucus in 2017 – as mandated by the Party’s recently revised constitution.
The recent recruitment of Greg O’Connor to contest the critically important Ohariu electorate has ruffled more than a few progressive feathers. (The Left deems the former policeman to be a rock-ribbed social conservative.) With the surprise return of Jackson to Labour (on the promise of a favourable position on the Party List) these already fragile feathers have started flying in all directions.
Guest Post: Sheree Trotter is Te Arawa. She is the co-founder of Shadows of Shoah and a Ph.D candidate at the University of Auckland. This article was first published 19/01/17 on Shalom Kiwi
Despite some people claiming that our coverage of UN Resolution 2334 was a beltway issue of little importance to New Zealand the New Zealand mainstream media eventually decided to cover it. Over the past three weeks, the New Zealand Herald published in total 46 articles, letters and opinion pieces on UN Resolution 2334. It was good that they covered it so well but was their coverage balanced? According to an article on honestreporting.com, it wasn’t. Twenty-three items were for the resolution, fourteen were against and nine were neutral.
Mainstream New Zealand media published some opinion pieces which drew attention to the imbalance and faults of UNSC Resolution 2334 and gave some historical context for the Arab Palestinian/Israel conflict. The unusual alliance with the undemocratic nations of Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela to sponsor Resolution 2334 led to serious questions within New Zealand and abroad.
A diplomatic crisis with Israel ensued…
…Some commentators have crossed the line from legitimate criticism of Israel into anti-Semitism or straight-out lies. Below are a selection of the worst offenders, in chronological order. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ignorant and hateful writing we have seen.
Chris Trotter, the ever observant student of modern political history points out why Bill English may be boring but why he may also squeak into power again despite the ear to ear grins of the Labour party.
“WITH FIFTY-ONE PERCENT SUPPORT in the latest CM Research poll, the Labour Party is cruising towards the Year’s end on an enormous wave of public support. What is the secret behind Labour’s winning political formula – a formula which has so far eluded all of its competitors? To hear Helen Clark, or Michael Cullen, or Steve Maharey tell it, the story of Labour’s success is a simple one: “Under-promise and over-deliver”.
According to this theory, New Zealanders no longer believe in big promises – so don’t make any. Nor do they expect “the gummint” to do very much of anything to help them out. So, keeping those small promises, and, even more astonishing, actually doing a little bit more than you promised, leaves the voters feeling pathetically grateful.
More cynical observers point to Labour’s utter infatuation with opinion polling and focus groups. Its apparatus for taking the public pulse is state-of-the-art, and provides the political leadership with more-or-less instant feedback. Knowing how the electorate is responding to Government policy allows Clark and her ministers to remain in lock-step with public opinion. As the French revolutionary, Danton, is supposed to have remarked, seeing a throng of Parisians passing below his host’s window: “Excuse me, I am their leader – I must follow them.” Read more »
Chris Trotter has an interest piece on The Daily Bog about Bill English and Paula Bennett…and it is brilliant:
Those high-drama, high-risk moments in a nation’s history, when the political adrenalin is coursing through the body politic, are precisely the moments when rushing to any sort of judgement – let alone action – is the worst possible thing politicians, journalists and political activists can do.
John Key’s resignation, for example, was just such a moment of high political drama and risk. People got excited. Adrenalin flowed. Our collective judgement was shot. All sorts of stupid mistakes – and statements – were made, and all sorts of silly stories were published and posted. What the country needed was someone to drive it around for a while and give it a chance to decompress.
Because Bill English is not some sort of Jesuit torturer just aching to draw blood with his newly acquired political instruments. Nor is Paula Bennet a whip-wielding Westie dominatrix in spiked heels and a leopard-skin corset. These two human-beings are nothing more, nor less, than National Party politicians – and by no means the worst of their breed. Read more »
Chris Trotter has written what is really one big long sledge against Labour and Andrew Little…and it is spot on.
IS OUR LABOUR PARTY capable of learning anything from the US Democratic Party’s stunning electoral defeat? Andrew Little’s recent string of lacklustre media performances offer few reasons for optimism.
Donald Trump won the White House because he made politics exciting. Newshub’s Paddy Gower was in the US for the final days of the presidential campaign and interviewed Trump supporters who’d been waiting in line for 11 hours to see their champion. Eleven hours! Forgive me for being harsh, but honestly, I can’t see too many Kiwis being willing to wait in line for 11 minutes to see Andrew Little.
And that unwillingness is not entirely attributable to the Labour Leader’s complete charisma by-pass. Possessing the wit and movie-star good-looks of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, certainly wouldn’t impede Little’s political career, but it is not enough, on its own, to guarantee Labour’s electoral success.
Bernie Sanders is hardly what you’d call a matinee idol (more like the voter’s cranky old uncle) but that didn’t prevent him from electrifying huge crowds of young Americans. What lured all those millennials away from their I-Pads had nothing to do with what Sanders looked like. What made them “Feel the Bern” were the things Sanders said.
And even Justin Trudeau could not have become Canada’s PM solely on the strength of his illustrious parentage and pleasing countenance. Indeed, his Conservative Party opponents regarded his sense of political entitlement and youthful good looks as powerful negatives to be exploited.
Canadians, they argued, had no need of a pretty, upper-class dilettante with nothing more to offer them than a famous name. And if that had been all Trudeau offered Canada, then the centre-left New Democrats would have won last year’s election. What finally sealed the deal for the Canadian electorate was Trudeau’s strategic flair and the boldness of his party’s policies. These, combined with the Trudeau family’s indisputable lustre, were what gave Justin and his Liberals their historic victory.
No, Little’s lack of glamour is not Labour’s problem. What’s crippling his leadership – and his party’s chances of winning next year’s election – is that neither he, nor his colleagues, seem capable of inspiring the slightest enthusiasm or excitement in the electorate.
Chris Trotter has finally woken up to the abject failure of the media and to the chattering classes.
DAMN AND BLAST HILLARY CLINTON! Not just because she lost – exposing in the process the appalling political judgement of the Democratic Party. And not just because her failure has saddled the world with President Trump for at least four years. Those sins, on their own, more than merit political damnation. But there is another sin for which I would like to see Clinton blasted. The sin of exposing the vacuity of contemporary journalism and the powerlessness of the mainstream media. Because, to be perfectly honest, Clinton’s failure is my failure too.
Then Trotter embarks on a typical left-wing hypothesis complete with jargon that no one even knows what it means.
The story has its beginnings in the Watergate Scandal. I was just 18 when Nixon was driven from the White House by what everybody said was the investigative journalism of, among others, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and The Washington Post. For one brief shining moment journalists were hailed as heroes and journalism was portrayed as a force so powerful that not even the office of the President of the United States could prevail against it.
Forty years on, however, it is clear that Nixon’s fall owed as much to the deliberate and secretive manipulation of the news media as it did to the efforts of the courageous journalists, Woodward and Bernstein. After all, the latter’s’ key informant, the infamous “Deep Throat”, turned out to be no less a buttress of the American “Deep State” than Mark Felt, the Associate Director of the FBI.
In the movie, All the President’s Men, Deep Throat is portrayed as a reluctant but principled whistleblower from the dark heart of the Washington bureaucracy. A more probable explanation, however, is that Felt represented a Deep State faction determined to drive the mentally unstable Nixon out of the Oval Office. In 2016, it is equally probable that a highly-motivated Deep State faction, this time based in the FBI’s New York Field Office, used the news media to prevent Hillary Clinton from re-entering the White House as President.