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The 80/20 purity rule

with 11 comments

I was amused the other day when co-blogger The Vet, teased me a little about not being an 80/20 bloke – one who’ll take the 80% he agrees with, while accepting the 20% he does not agree with but that comes with the package – and instead being a bit of ideological purist.

As such I decided to run back through NZ elections I’ve been able to vote in and try to recall who I voted for and why.

1981 – Social Credit
Yeah, I laugh too. But under FPP getting rid of Muldoon meant picking the party most likely to defeat National in each seat and where I was registered that year meant that SC was the party most likely to do it. Bit of a shame in that I rather liked our MP Marylin Waring.
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2002 – National / National
Sure, every one knew English was going to be buried and deservedly so given how useless National were that year. But the prospect of Clark getting 50%+ of the vote for an absolute majority scared the crap out of me.
1984 – New Zealand Party (Bob Jones)
Amazingly I found that was I was stuck in Remmers, darlings. As before, that meant voting for the party most likely to beat National, although it helped in this case that I agreed with Jones’s notions of freedom from government rules and regulations. Once again I was saddened that the electorate National MP, Doug Graham in his first run, seemed very good, but that’s politics for you.
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2005 – National / National
Clark simply had to be beaten. Brash? Meh!
1987 – Labour
Finally, I got the chance to vote for them, and to do so in a positive way rather than as merely a protest or negative vote. Wall Street was in the movie theatres, and the future was so bright I had to wear shades.
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2008 – National / ACT
Given that a National win seemed likely, it was already clear that Key and company were going to be squishes so backbone would be needed. The cunning players of National were happy to go with both the Maori and ACT parties, nullifying the “extremes” of each.
1990 – Did not vote
I was just too damned busy in the USA to figure out how to vote remotely. In any case everybody knew Labour was going to be buried (though I don’t think anybody saw how badly they would be), although I still would have voted for them as I had little time for “Spud”.
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2011 – National / National
Ok, so the ACT Party was a busted flush and MMP sucks. But who the hell would have wanted Goff and Labour in power? Still, voting National felt like a purely defensive measure.
1993 – Labour
I was still registered for Wellington Central and the Labour MP was Chris Laidlaw whom I took to be a smart chappy (Rhodes Scholar and all). Plus I really enjoyed his old rugby book, Mud In Your Eye.
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2014 – National / National
Same again. God, Labour were awful. All the same, every day I woke up to find some new rule and regulation that made life more difficult.
1996 – Labour
Same again, and MMP didn’t mean much. It would not be until I returned to NZ that I found out what a completely wet drip Laidlaw was. I blame Frik du Preez.
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2017 – National / National
Same again. Despaired of the idiots who voted for Winston on the basis that National needed a spine (true) but that a man with thirty years of utu would deliver it. The overall result didn’t surprise me. The only positive thing in National that I could truly say I voted for, was Steven Joyce.
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1999 – Labour
Back from the USA just in time to vote and it was apparent to everybody that the wheels had fallen off Shipley’s government. Also Clark and Cullen did not seem likely to try and turn the clock back, especially given that the worst troglodytes had decamped to Anderton’s Alliance Party.
2020 – ACT / ACT
Again, more defensive than anything else, since there were policies I didn’t agree with and Seymour struck me as a professional politician and sap. Still, kudos to him for having taken on what may have seemed like a dispiriting challenge and bring ACT back from the dead.

So there it is. Who will I vote for in 2023? At this stage I’ve no idea. Labour perhaps, on the theory that ideas should be tested to destruction. In hindsight we had to have Muldoon if we were ever going to move beyond him and the system of which he was the last gasp.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 31, 2022 at 9:10 am

Personal Protest coverage from Lindsay Mitchell

Obviously there’s a lot of coverage of the Wellington Anti-mandate protests on Social Media site like Facebook/Twitter, but I should have been checking out Lindsay Mitchell’s blog as she’s had quite a few posts with personal observations and links to social media.

From the parliamentary occupation site this morning, a row of caricatures. I guess to the protestors the parties are indistinguishable. Their response is uniform. ‘We want you to go away.’ By my first-hand observation and conversations with protestors, be assured. They will not.

To be amongst the protestors is both calming and exhilarating. There’s a strong sense of trust in one another which has been long denied by lockdown separations, physical distancing and masking. People are working together to overcome adversities thrown at them by nature or the state. They know here, they can talk freely. For the first time in ages they actually feel safe in a physical community beyond the internet. 

But MPs – all of them – want you believe the protestors are ‘unsafe.’ That the city streets are being made unsafe by their presence. Now the protest site is ‘unhygienic’ and ‘contamination’ lurks. Faeces has been spotted (so have many well-cared for dogs attached to the protestors.)

Those who long ago lost trust in government can recognise alarmist media reporting and political propaganda when they see it.  

I’d choose to sit with these people any day over a parliamentary select committee.

Or Protest Day 8: Answer me this:

Where is the Maori Party when so many of the protestors are their whanau?

Where is the ACT Party when so many of the protestors are pleading for our legislated freedoms?

Where are the Greens, the very party of protest?

Where is Labour with a list ranking full of so-called activists?

Any ideas?

Oh I’ve got at least a couple of ideas about all this:

Crystallization, Madness and Tyranny

It is a fascinating moment when this sort of crystallization happens in a mass culture like America’s, because seemingly overnight even the definition of legitimate speech (or thought or action) also changes. Tocqueville observed that quite abruptly a person can no longer express opinions or raise questions that only days before were acceptable, even though no facts of the matter have changed. At an individual level, people who were within the bounds can be surprised to find themselves “tormented by the slights and persecutions of daily obloquy.” Once this occurs, he wrote, “your fellow-creatures will shun you like an impure being, and those who are most persuaded of your innocence will abandon you too, lest they should be shunned in their turn.”

Freedom and other anti-government slogans

SHE’S A SLOW LEARNER

But I guess that St Jacinda deserves some (small) credit for picking up on the repeated calls from both National and ACT to open up the border and consign MIQ to the dustbin of history. Her attempts to mirror Kim Jong-un’s way of dealing with Covid have been disastrous for the country. But, to be fair, socialists luv state control. It’s in their DNA and push on thru Jacinda’s smiley face and ‘kind’ persona and she is a socialist through and through right down to her fish and chip wrapping hands.

I guess you could cut the government a little slack early on in the pandemic as there was no songbook to sing from … it was decision making on the fly. But over the last little while the government has been reactive rather than proactive in chartering a way forward. Big on talk; slow on action.

You saw no better example of this than the way Robertson belatedly threw ‘Chippy’ under a bus as the Bellis scandal unfolded.

So better late than never I guess. Now I await the storm of protest from various assorted medical professionals who sang and continue to sing from Kim Jong-un’s isolation songbook.

Written by The Veteran

February 3, 2022 at 1:46 pm

Two classes of New Zealanders

It’s been a staple of Leftist politics and language since the days of Marx at least, and of course it is a template that can be applied to events further back in history than his time, notably the French Revolution and the Glorious Revoluton of 1688.

Whatever names were given it in different time periods and situations – Feudal Lords vs Peasants, Business Owners vs Workers, Colonialists vs Colonised, Us vs The Other – it has always basically amounted to Oppressor and Oppressed.

I think two quotes are applicable here, the first being the complete one rather than the usual shortened version, since the second part is eerily close to where we are now and where we are going:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

In this situation we should also not look to George Orwell’s dark vision of Nineteen Eighty Four but a different future dystopia, one that has appealed to me more as the years have passed since the great Counter-Culture revolution of the 1960’s.

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”

I have of course made sure that the tags on this post are not just for the Labour Party, but also for National, ACT and the Greens.

I was informed that these were OTT comparisons to NZ

Vaccine certificate will be central to the new ‘traffic-light’ system – RNZ

It is that sort of comparison that causes the opponents of the current Lockdowns to be ridiculed. And no, you won’t be able to convince me that basically I am (and just about everyone I know) is just the same as the Nazi SS.

It’s certainly time to re-visit this goodie, even if she has resigned, because luckily you’ll still be able to laugh without a vaccine certificate.

Advice from the peanut gallery

There’s an interesting post this morning from the Point of Order blog, David Seymour and Judith Collins meet Daniel Hannan.

The article talks of the fusion between Liberal and Conservative politics, using the British Conservative MP Hannan as one of the more clear-headed and articulate examples.

Basically it’s giving advice to both New Zealand political leaders, while also taking a rather subtle swipe at them:

“We classical liberals were few enough before 2020. The median voter was always to our Left on economic issues and to our Right on cultural ones. As is often pointed out, the political centre of gravity in Britain is ‘fund the NHS, hang the paedos’. The epidemic has made us even more of a minority. Around the world, people are more frightened and therefore more authoritarian.”

“Thatcher’s brand of Manchester liberalism never colonised the Conservative Party. At best, it formed a contingent alliance with mainstream Toryism – an unequal alliance, it should be added, for the free-marketeers were always the minority.

This reminded me another recent Spectator article focusing on ructions within the US Republican Party, where the Never-Trumpers appear to be fighting a rear-guard action, but which quoted Thatcher:

At the level of principle, rhetorically and in Opposition, it opposed these (left-wing Labour Party doctrines of planning, regulation, controls and subsidies) … and preached the gospel of free enterprise with very little qualification. 

Almost every post-war Tory victory had been won on slogans such as ‘Britain Strong and Free’ or ‘Set the People Free’. But in the fine print of policy, and especially in government, the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the left. It never tried seriously to reverse it. Privatization? The Carlisle State Pubs were sold off. Taxation? Regulation? Subsidies? If these were cut down at the start of a Tory government, they gradually crept up again as its life ebbed away. The welfare state? We boasted of spending more money than Labour, not of restoring people to independence and self-reliance. 

The result of this style of accommodationist politics, as my colleague Keith Joseph complained, was that post-war politics became a ‘socialist ratchet’ — Labour moved Britain towards more statism; the Tories stood pat; and the next Labour Government moved the country a little further left. The Tories loosened the corset of socialism; they never removed it.

The Conservative MP’s who allowed this to happen naturally became Thatcher’s opponents and they were known as “The Wets”, a term that Thatcher herself coined that has come to describe all such Right-Wing politicians in the Western world. Thatcher’s formidable personality, intellect and the sheer brute force of election success, kept these people on the back foot through the 1980’s. They got their revenge in forcing her to step down at the end of 1990 and appeared to have “won back” the party with the rise of the hopeless John Major, followed by an unexpected close victory in the 1992 general election. Until the rise of Brexit they once again became the face of the party, as they had been pre-Thatcher.

That article also included a quick vignette of the similar opposition that faced Ronald Reagan in the 1970’s from the old guard of the Republican Party. Reading the following is a reminder of what the status quo of mainstream Right Wing parties always amounts to:

  • Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dismissed Reagan as “a minority of a minority” who “has been taking some extreme positions.”
  • New York’s Republican Senator Jacob Javits: Reagan’s positions are “so extreme that they would alter our country’s very economic and social structure and our place in the world to such a degree as to make our country’s place at home and abroad, as we know it, a thing of the past.”
  • Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy said Reagan’s candidacy was “foolhardy” and would lead to a “crushing defeat” for the Republican Party. “It could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in American political life.”
  • Former President Gerald Ford: “I hear more and more often that we don’t want, can’t afford to have a replay of 1964.” If the Republican Party nominates Ronald Reagan “it would be an impossible situation” because Reagan “is perceived as a most conservative Republican. A very conservative Republican can’t win in a national election.” Asked if that meant Ford thought Reagan can’t win, Ford replied to the New York Times: “That’s right.” The Times story went on to observe that Ford thought “Mr. Reagan would be a sure-loser in November” and that Reagan held “extreme and too-simple views.”

I appreciated the above points being concisely summarised in this quote:

In other words, there’s nothing new here with this alarmism about “political extremism” from GOP Establishment figures about a conservative outsider and his supporters having the nerve — the nerve! — to invade what they see as their private club.

A club with the best manners and temperament too. Quiet. Civil. Good food and drink and good conversation that stimulates the mind but does not upset the stomachs of well fed and credentialed people. One can go home from the club, there to read the newspaper and chuckle about the silly things the Leftists are getting up too, while knowing that it’s really nothing important to get upset about or – god forbid – fight against.

To sum it all up? The Renew America Movement is nothing more than the umpteenth rejection of conservatives by Establishment Republicans. They stand for the socialist ratchet. They are the embodiment of what Reagan called the “pale pastel” Republicans.

Reagan and Thatcher the extremists eh? Perhaps, but to borrow a phrase from our Lefty brethren, they were on the right side of history.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 16, 2021 at 9:52 am

Because reasons – and shut up

This is quite good from ACT.

I wonder why National has not been able to put together pithy stuff like this? It’s perfect for the TwitFace ere of communications, especially in getting around the bought-and-paid for whores of the New Zealand MSM.

Mind you, ACT are still following much of the government’s “strategy” that leads to nonsense like this. I assume they’re using National as a shield in doing so, like racing cars that slipstream behind others, waiting for a chance to pass them.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 5, 2021 at 4:00 pm

7 reasons why ScoMo is likely to lose the next election

Not my title but one from Arthur Chrenkoff at his Australian blog, The Daily Chrenk, which I happened upon even though I don’t follow Aussie politics much.

“ScoMo” is the Social media nickname for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who won an unexpected victory at their last general election.

Each of the reasons is lengthy and detailed but I’m going to extract the quotes that I feel apply to Centre-Right political parties around the world, but especially National and ACT here in NZ.

Reasons 1 and 7 are not applicable here. The first asserts that the State governments have reaped positive public support while the Federal government has not. The last deals with the government’s slim majority.

2. We’re all in this together, but some animals are more equal than others

If you are on public payroll, as more and more Australians increasingly are, or if a substantial part of your income derives from government payments and support of one kind or another, as again is the case for more and more Australians, COVID really doesn’t matter… Of course the public servants and the government support recipients are two demographics which already lean heavily towards Labor and the Greens.

“The laptop class” of professionals in the private sector who likewise a) still have jobs, and b) can perform them from anywhere with an internet connection is probably evenly split electorally.

By contrast, the hardest hit by lockdowns and border closures are those in the traditional Coalition base: business people, particularly small and micro business owners, a lot of whom have seen their dreams destroyed and livelihoods go to the wall or are at the very least are seriously struggling.

I’ve not looked into the NZ data for these categories but I suspect that we have a higher proportion of the population dependent on the government, a laptop class trending more to Labour/Green, and a smaller proportion of small or micro business owners.

3. Do tread on me

Australia has never particularly been a libertarian polity, certainly nowhere near the United States in that respect.

[but] the pandemic has revealed just how passive, compliant, reliant and authoritarian the majority of the population is. It helps if you don’t have a skin in the game (see the point above), but this does not explain the whole phenomenon. On the other hand, those more mindful of liberty, a less intrusive and powerful government, fiscal responsibility, cost-benefit analysis, rational risk assessment etc. are clearly in the minority in Australia – but they are also traditionally part of the Coalition base.

Even more so in NZ, as the chart of a recent survey of nations on the topic of Covid responses demonstrates.

4. The policy non-manifesto

What does the Liberal Party stand for anymore? Arguably, Liberals are not a party of small government anymore. They’re not a party of fiscal responsibility and good economic management anymore either, having presided over the past 8 years over a monumental blowout in government debt (John Howard and Peter Costello must be crying themselves to sleep every night) and virtually unrestrained spending.

On cultural issues, there is but a feeble pushback, if any, against the triumphant march of identity politics and wokeness. The Liberal Party’s traditional advantages in national security and immigration don’t count anymore,

By contrast National set an excellent track record on debt in their last term, continuing on from the days of Bill Birch and Michael Cullen, and while spending growth was higher than I would have liked the government was at least on a path to being a smaller part of the economy. But there’s no evidence that will apply in future, thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Also, as they repeatedly remind us, “National don’t do Culture Wars”, which was acceptable in the days of the abortion and gay marriage debates, but is not acceptable as wokeness gets pushed into our public schools, healthcare, other government functions and frankly right in our faces every day, unlike theories in academia (the ones that don’t escape into the wider culture that is).

5. Vote for us, we won’t be quite as bad as Labor

The apparent lack of core beliefs (political survival and managerialism don’t count) in turn translates into an inability to sell the voting public any particular vision for the government, and give them reasons to vote for the Coalition rather than the other mob. Having abandoned any tangible commitment to smaller government, less spending, less debt and so on, Liberals have trashed their historically main advantage over and point of differentiation with the left.

How can anyone in the Morrison government argue with a straight face that they are a party of good economic management while Labor will spend, spend, spend, and drive Australia into debt? Sure, as in we will spend only $200 billion while those economic vandals on the left will blow out the budget with their irresponsible $205 billion promises.

Sounds familiar. I’m rather reminded of the last NZ general election where National promised a debt level of $155 billion, as opposed to the outrageous and profligate $180 billion of Labour.

6. Vaxed, unvaxxed and dangerous

This is the real Achilles’ heel of the government; everything else could have been forgiven or overlooked if it the rollout worked. Vaccination was going to be the solution to all our COVID problems; instead, it turned out to be another COVID problem.

As with “Reason 1″, the question is why the Australian Liberal government deservedly gets brickbats for a slow vaccination rollout with planning and management mistakes, while the NZ Labour government has not? Behind those mistakes are reasons unique to each country, but those differences should not explain the different sense of accountability.

I’d guess that it’s down to two reasons.

First Adern probably being a better communicator than Morrison.

Second, the Australian MSM traditionally being more feral than here, with a better Left/Right balance to start with and a willingness of Right Wing media to go after the failures of a Right wing government in exactly the way the mainly Left MSM in NZ have not done so over Adern’s myriad failures.

All up though, those reasons suggest that National are in for a very hard road to regain government any time soon, short of exhaustion with Labour’s failures or simply making themselves look like Labour in all but cosmetic appearance.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 31, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Quote Of The Week

This goes to ACT Party David Seymour leader in Christchurch yesterday and I have taken the quote from the NZHerald coverage. Speaking about Prime Minister Ardern he said:

` “In fact actually she’s good in a disaster – I’d go so far as to call her a disaster Prime Minister.”‘

So true, so true!!

Written by pdm1946

September 28, 2020 at 7:27 am

Posted in ACT Party, New Zealand

SOME FRIENDLY ADVICE FOR ACT

Tonight in Russell the Duke of Marlborough will host the first in a series of ‘Meet the Candidates’ meetings for the Northland electorate.

The candidates from National, Labour, Greens, NZ First along with Mike Shaw (Independent) will be present. The ACT candidate has sent his apologies … apparently he’s off campaigning down country with the ACT Party roadshow.

Memo to ACT. If you are going to stand a candidate in an electorate then it is somewhat arrogant and thumbing your nose at voters to have your candidate campaign outside the electorate in favour of showing up where it counts.

Written by The Veteran

September 16, 2020 at 8:52 am

Posted in ACT Party