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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Chris Trotter: Make or Break


He Puapua threatens to do to New Zealand’s Right what Rogernomics did to its Left.

IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS the New Zealand Right will face a battle for its very survival. If the combined votes of Labour and the Greens add up to a parliamentary majority in 2023, then the rules of the political game will be changed fundamentally. Capitalism as we have known it, along with our liberal-democratic political system, will be changed profoundly.

The re-foundation of New Zealand (a name which the new Labour-Green government will likely consign to the dustbin of history) will make it virtually impossible for the traditional Right to stage a comeback – at least democratically. Why? Because there will be literally nowhere for the force of a right-wing majority to be brought to bear. The restoration of the status quo ante will, constitutionally, cease to be an option.

Over the top? Don’t you believe it. This is how top-down revolutions work. The first decisive changes are made, and then, if the revolutionary government is re-elected, those changes are embedded beyond the capacity of practical politicians to reverse.

Still don’t believe me? Well then, cast your mind back (or grab a good history book) and review the processes by which the reforms of “Rogernomics” were first implemented and then rendered permanent by the Lange-Palmer-Moore Labour Government of 1984-1990.

More importantly, consider the behaviour of the National Party following the 1990 General Election. In spite of Jim Bolger’s promise to restore the “decent society”, his National Government refused to unwind the economic changes of Roger Douglas and his allies. Indeed, the National Party’s Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson, ably assisted by Jenny Shipley and Bill Birch, turned out to be the one which placed the capstone on the Neoliberal Revolution. By 1993, the social-democratic state erected by the First Labour Government and its successors had been almost entirely dismantled.

Nearly 30 years later, no serious attempt has been made to rebuild it.

This is the key point to take away from the Rogernomics experience. Unless a top-down revolution is stopped in its tracks at the very next election, the chances of rolling it back at some point in the future are reduced to something very close to zero.

Not only will the public servants, business leaders, politicians, academics and journalists controlling the revolutionary process win the time needed to make the necessary legislative changes, but they will also enjoy sufficient time to change the ideological environment in which politics is conducted. By 1990, six years after the neoliberal revolution was unleashed, there simply wasn’t the will in either of the major parties, to launch a counter-revolution. Jim Anderton’s New Labour Party, the only political party unequivocally committed to reversing Rogernomics in 1990, received just 5 per cent of the popular vote.

That’s why 2023 is so important. If the National Party and its ally, Act, are not unequivocally committed to rolling back the ethno-nationalist changes already imposed: the Maori Health Authority; Three Waters; Te Putahitanga; and to repudiating entirely the whole He Puapua blueprint; then by 2026 it is almost certain that neither of the right-wing parliamentary parties will any longer want to. By then, the ethno-nationalist constitution imposed upon “Aotearoa” will be seen by virtually the entire political class as no more than the application of simple “common sense”.

That’s how hegemony works.

Rolling back the He Puapua Revolution will not, however, be easy.

Perhaps the biggest problem confronting the parties of the Right will be a mainstream news media resolutely opposed to giving the ‘hate speech’ of ‘racism’ a platform. Unless National and Act conform to the new ethno-nationalist orthodoxy, they will find it next-to-impossible to secure even-handed media coverage. Rather, they will be presented as fronting a racist, white-supremacist campaign to preserve the ‘privileges’ of ‘colonisation’. Increasingly, the 2023 election will be framed as a life-and-death struggle between the retrograde ideologies of New Zealand’s past, and the Labour-Green promise of a re-founded, te Tiriti-guided, ‘progressive’ Aotearoan future.

The parties of the Left don’t even have to be nasty about it. All they have to do is adapt the crushing line from the movie “Don’t Look Up”. In the movie, whenever a right-wing Boomer makes an unforgivably racist or sexist remark, the stock response from the people in charge is: “He’s from another generation.” Confronted with National’s and Act’s promises to roll back the He Puapua blueprint, Jacinda Ardern and Marama Davidson have only to smile sadly and shrug: “They’re ideas from another generation.”

There’s no worse fate than to be killed with kindness!

The Right is also likely to be hounded by the already shamelessly politicised Human Rights Commission. (Act has, after all, promised to abolish it!) The Commission will call out the parties of the Right for their ‘racism’, ruthlessly and continuously branding their policies as ‘white supremacist’ and ‘colonialist’. With the endorsement of the HRC, other groups will use Labour’s new hate speech law to embroil the right-wing parties and their leaders in court case after court case.

The $64,000 question is not whether these sorts of tactics will lead to polarisation, but exactly where the break in the electorate will occur. If most of those over the age of 50 are driven into the arms of the Right by the He Puapua blueprint then the election will be a damn close-run thing. If, however, it is only a solid majority of the over-60s who opt to stand up for New Zealand (as opposed to Aotearoa) then Labour-Green will likely edge out National-Act. Obviously, effective polling and focus-group work will identify the trends long before Election Day.

Which, inevitably, brings us to the last and most important question: Is the leadership of the National and Act parties capable of withstanding the unrelenting pressure of the ‘racist’ accusation that most New Zealanders currently go to almost any lengths to avoid? Does Christopher Luxon have the mental resilience to confront charges of racism head-on and, Jordan Peterson-style, out-argue his accusers? Does David Seymour? Or will the old saying “explaining is losing” cause them to throw in the ideological towel and join the merry ethno-nationalist parade?

Upon the answer to this question will turn the future of the New Zealand Right. If, as happened to the Labour Party after Jim Anderton and his followers broke away from it in 1989, the new ideology simply swallows up National’s members and parliamentarians, then the He Puapua blueprint will, like Rogernomics, become firmly embedded in New Zealand’s legal and administrative infrastructure. Moreover, it will do so with the same impressive level of cross-party support – quite possibly surpassing the 75 per cent required for major constitutional reforms.

The New Zealand Right thus has no choice but to transform the 2023 General Election into a make or break proposition. If, however, it is electorally broken by its Labour-Green opponents, then politics in Aotearoa-New Zealand will undergo an irreversible sea-change. The constitutional re-foundation of the country suggested in He Puapua will swiftly render the old Left/Right ideological conflicts redundant. By 2026, Aotearoans will be battling politically over very different issues.

Chris Trotter is a political commentator who blogs at bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz

21 comments:

Janine said...

The problem is the media. I commented in a previous post about the newspaper " Der Stümer" and its impact on the promotion of anti- semitism in WW2. I am reading about the 1921 Tulsa race riots where the local newspaper and its editor were greatly responsible for similar incitement to atrocities, violence and hatred against African Americans to the extent a whole township was burnt to the ground.

One hundred years later some of our newspaper editors seem totally ignorant of history. Factual and balanced reporting is a necessity now. The opinion writers are even more uninformed. True, their focus is now on targeting any alternative opinion. They are anti free speech, they deride the vaccination opponents and some are even targeting individuals. They falsely report the protest marchers who are just ordinary Kiwis. They promote and encourage those who preach false history narratives.

New Zealand tv media are not much better. So yes, it's true the conservative parties need to step up big time or we will be a very, very, divided country. They need to promise NOW to roll back these divisive policies and defund the media. The MSM should be self- funding.

Why should we, the New Zealand taxpayer be paying over $100,000,000 for this government propaganda? At least 50% of us thinks its morally wrong.

Graham Adams said...

Brilliant analysis. The mainstream media has already boxed in David Seymour and (previously) Judith Collins with their cries of "Racist!" whenever either Act or National criticised He Puapua.
Luxon so far seems too timid to stand up to the media — perhaps because he has seen how Collins was treated.
The "alternative" media needs to lead the public to demand discussion of the stealthy ethno-nationalist agenda being forced on them.
In a sense, the non-mainstream media needs to open a path for politicians like Seymour and Luxon to follow.

Anonymous said...

You have put into words the thoughts I have had for quite some time
I totally agree with your summing up of the situation in this country
We are sleepwalking toward a total change in our way of life
Does National and Act have what it takes to nail some colours to the mast?
Act maybe but National? We will have to wait and see

Anonymous said...

This article is onto it and insightful, but there are a few core issues that point to a forecast of disappointment.

The 'Right' such as they are in NZ are perceived by my generation (40's) as an incompetent joke.
No major principles, no bold directions, and only the weakest of approaches to 'opposition', lamely nay-saying the left and their leaders for point-scoring purposes rather than principle.

It also doesn't help that there is a new, key, and PIVOTAL divide in the making, brewing, preventing any kind of victory for the right overall until it gets resolution;

"Those godless heathen children" / "The deathknell of religion"
You know who's one of the most unpopular people in NewZealand?
Brian "Flow-a-dollar" Tamaki.

And you know what? Huge swathes of my generation, that might be inclined to support right-of-centre policies (because lets face it, NZ is pretty 'lefty', historically speaking) see ANY association with religion as being only two steps removed from BT, if even that.

This, if it hasn't been noticed, presents a MASSIVE problem for the right, as 'unity is required' between the 'theological' support base traditionally associated with the right, and the 'profoundly secular' modern post-leftist-childhood-rebellion-phase, 'religion out of politics' new voters that would be more than inclined to support an opposition to the 'wave of woke' left, if the opposition could just shut up about that middle eastern cult thing.

How the HECK can the right, as an institution, cater to, woo, and support my new, valid, growing, and vital demographic whilst still carrying water for anti-libertarian pro-religion values like anti-abortion stances?

It may be that the issue is simply that 'duality' of left and right is insufficient for political basis, and needs a new focus, course and plan.

Perhaps, and this is just me trying to be helpful and offer ANY solution to the issue,
perhaps the strategy should be to 'kill the right' as a concept, no longer fit for purpose, and find a new way to rally what amount to conservative, national, local values.

DeeM said...

Hardly ever agree with Chris but on this occasion I think he’s right,,,,pardon the pun.
Articles like this don’t come along very often, When we look back we may remember this as the one that showed the future path for New Zealand….sorry, Aotearoa.
I really hope not, though!

DeeM said...

Hardly ever agree with Chris but on this occasion I think he’s probably right.
Great article.

Jigsaw said...

As usual Trotter has let his hatred of the Douglas changes cloud his vision of the future. Helen Clark didn't wind back the Labour changes from the Lange government because to do so would have been economically stupid - it was economically necessary to move forward.
The proposed He Puapua changes are social and political and far more fundamental that the Douglas changes. They will turn us from a democracy into an ethno-state with a fascist slant.
There is always a way back from such changes should they occur but the further down the track the changes have gone then the bigger the price to pay for coming back. A price in social upheaval and violence.

One Law for All said...

Your wishes coming true Cris, a permanent leftwing/socialist/communist one party govt in NZ

Ray S said...

Excellent summation !
At present, its a bit like a train wreck in the making. The bridge is down, we are running along the tracks toward the train to try to stop it, but nobody can see us or the bridge.

In some ways, I'm glad I wont be around to see the final and total destruction of my wonderful country.
Would that I could be involved in action to circumvent the inevitable. Elections dont work.

Top down revolutions never work and bottom up finish up as a sort of status quo system after many years.

Perhaps we need a benevolent dictator.

Doug Longmire said...

You have portrayed a chillingly accurate scenario of the planned destruction of New Zealand as we know it. The abolition of Western democracy, replaced by a tribal/racist dictatorship, is under way right now.
The crucial support team for this revolution is, of course, the bought media which is actually more like a benign Pravda.
By coincidence I am re-reading George Orwell's "1984", and the similarities with New Zealand are striking and scary.
I really despair at what sort of apartheid, communist nation our children are going to inherit.

John Watson said...

The National party has to 'cleanse' itself of religious zealots, 69% of National MP's voted against the EOLC Act, while 62% of voting Kiwis voted in support. Not one National MP took the trouble to canvass their electorate with an independent poll. This 'born to rule' attitude of ignoring the wishes of the electorates is what will consign the Nats to the dustbin of history. Speaking for myself, and I suspect many others, I have absolutely no wish to vote for anyone who suffers from the God delusion. And the sooner Tamaki, and all the churches have their tax free privileges revoked the better. Talk about a rort......

Anonymous said...

Watching this slow-motion train wreck from offshore makes me very glad I left New Zealand.

I despair of the National party in party in particular to gain traction on this issue. Sadly, ACT has probably peaked in support and is also evidencing the same problems as Labour - reliance on one person, the remainder of the caucus being non-entities.

The ruthless determination of the Maori caucus to use its power to implement these changes is not adequately perceived by ordinary voters, nor is the fact that these changes will (and are intended to) divert money to Maoridom in staggering quantities. These facts are hidden or glossed over because mainstream media has been paid off and where any objection is raised, the race card can be played.

I think the outcome is inevitable. Its disappointing in a way that the New Zealand I grew up in will disappear, if it hasn't already; but I take comfort in the fact that I at least have a far, far better lifestyle now and I will not be paying a cent in tax in New Zealand ever again.

Anna Mouse said...

These are not economic changes. He Puapua is a foundational social and politcal change which is democracy denied.

If anyone believes that 16% of a population based on ethnicity should have more power than the rest then they believe in apartheid.

This is the destruction of New Zealands liberal democracy though a socially and politically engineered ideology that will not sit well with almost all New Zealanders.

If this occurs New Zealand will become a feudal tribalist scamble for the power and the money.

It is not and should not be accepted that based upon your ehtnic makeup you either have or have not opportunities.

RRB said...

The current situation is largely due to weak National party policy since the Muldoon era. NZ in the 1950s was the 4th most affluent country in the world - we are now 40th largely due to the National parties refusal to repeal bad laws. The 3 waters policy was due to Chris Finlayson and John Keys refusal to control him while the rest of the National parties MP's played dumb mutes. Since Muldoon we have had three Marxist Labor PM's and innumerable closet communists/Marxists dismantling our democratic capitalist system.
Our children have been brainwashed to believe older white people are evil and Maori's are victims of colonisation.
There has never been a successful socialist country and NZ citizens may learn the hard way that freedom is more important than they have been taught to believe.
The next election will decide if NZ becomes a Fascist/Marxist country, just like Cuba or Venezuela.

robert sintes said...

At 77 years of age I despair at how rapidly the very things my father in law fought for in North African and Italy...democracy.... one vote one person....freedom of expression...one nation...one people....all being destroyed before my very eyes. I will never forget my father-in law crying in retelling the number of Maori bodies he witnessed stacked up in a room on the Monte Casino railway station.. with blood running over the tiles and onto the tracks...

He is buried on sacred Maori ground in the North...just where he wanted to be....One nation..one people. He would be both ashamed and saddened at what is happening in New Zealand. God protect us all from this divisive madness. Rob Sintes

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic article, and like everything in life one may not agree with everything Chris has written, BUT the issue he is actually writing about is bang on.
Its true that most of the media are so left they fall off the cliff, but that's not the real problem because the public can change that if we want, switch it off, its rubbish anyhow. The problem is Public Disengagement & Laziness .We are a country who sit and take what's dished up, too lazy to run a bath and always too late to get up and and be shocked at how something happened that effects them and then think that is unfair but never on the front foot to challenge policies or even believe that a Government would do something terrible. Mostly "WE GET EXACTLY WHAT WE DESERVE" and until peoples mindset changes and they become engaged politically the juggernaut will continue
PMR

anrky_al said...

Irrelevant old white guy scared of the future. Time to retire.

Unknown said...

That's why we need to bring forward young Maori leaders who see the dangers of what is happening around the racial division around He Puapua and are able to articulate well in opposition to it.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is demographics!

It seems Mr Trotter has just discovered this. Maori 17% and Pacifica 8% are 1/4 of NZ already, and pakeha are a bare majority (technically 70%, but that includes those of mixed race, who always identify with fashionable minority status).

And those racist activists have made clear (as does Tau Henare in these comments) that future NZ is 'Aotearoa', with a privileged Maori elite grubbing at the same trough as the other liberal capitalists, but with far more clout now.

Chris, you lament 'old NZ'. But any nation is based on its rule of law, and that rule of law in NZ is being altered irrevocably by liberal politicians from all 5 liberal parties (Act & National liberal right, Labour & Green liberal left, Maori Party liberal Maori nationalists), based on the demographic shift of several generations to a multicultural population.

The pioneers who built NZ (both pakeha and Maori) are supplanted by the new racist liberal elite, who are building their apartheid 'states within a state' bureaucrcay in NZ.

At least you had the guts to call it out partially, but call a spade a spade. If NZ reverts to a Maori elite getting a lot of NZ tax dollars to own & run a parallel system, that is really a reversion to a pre-nation of competing tribes (represented most often by the gangs, now joined by a corporate Maori elite, along with new diverse ethnic mini states - Chinese, Indians, etc).

This is how any state dissolves.

John Hurley said...

Funny how they blend indigeneity and anti-racism.
Multi-ethnic states politics are ethnically based. It looks as though the majority ethnic group was always the problematic part of the equation.
Unfortunately immigration has been the cool-aid to a generation of domestically based businesses.

Unknown said...

I've been in NZ for 4 years. Racism has been the single most loathe some aspect.
Some seem to believe that Racism is any criticism of Maori & Pacific people. For me it's about treating people differently because of their ethnicity. By that measure this Government is the most racist in the world.
Your benefits, your university grades, your access to grants, the funding of buildings, the access to project funds, your access to vaccination, even your acc as to crossing the border - all predictated on race. White privilege?