Posts by Tom Semmens

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance,

    You know one telling little thing about our media that has amazed me? Not a single newspaper or magazine has bothered to get it’s book reviewer to read and review Lusk’s book. Is it because they lack book reviewers, or they lack the curiosity, or they so part of the game that they don't need to review his book to know what it about and assume the public are stupid to care? All of the above?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government, in reply to BenWilson,

    You asked me to tell you what I think would be constructive, and I have. I didn’t see the internet party calling for devolution.

    You got any better ideas?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government,

    OK here is my thoughts. First of all, Labour – like all the Anglosphere social-democratic parties – needs to re-define it’s mission, what and who it stands for and what it wants to achieve. Managerialism as a status quo poor cousin to a well funded right wing party is not an option. Identity politics has failed, because the progressive left is just wedged against the majority on issues that don’t put food on the table. Labour is a party of revolutionary change, it needs to define what it wants that next revolutionary change to be and to promote that vision. Watching Greenwald and Snowden in the town hall reminded me that people will come out a cold night and cheer if you give them a bold but achievable vision. And to me, if dirty politics and the dropping participation rate and the irrelevance of gotcha politics amongst elite cadres tells me one thing it is that our democracy is broken, and it it needs a social democratic party to fix it before a constituency for economic reform can be rebuilt to challenge the neo-liberal hegemony. So I would like to see Labour dedicate itself to a great democracy project. It would have three parts.

    1/ – Electoral reform:

    – Term limits. When even the Green leadership starts exhibiting comfortable job for life syndrome you know it time for term limits. And show me a politician offering to clip the wings of fat cat politicians who ever lost votes. No more jobs for life on a party list.

    - Campaign finance reform. Forbid parties any source of income except from membership fees that are capped by the electoral commission. State fund parties based on polling, number of MPs and membership with party membership the main criteria. So, for example, for every financial member the party get X dollars of state funding per year. No more elite cadre parties where palace courtiers decide who gets on the list or makes it for candidate selection.

    – Fixed election dates, electronic voting, every voter gets a $20 gift voucher which they can bank or donate to charity.

    - Election day would be a paid public holiday like Xmas- paid upon presenting your employer with evidence you voted. Otherwise, don’t vote – don’t get paid for your day off.

    2/ – Media reform:

    - Digital citizens: All New Zealand households will have a right to free broadband internet access to any .govt.nz site, via a government ISP. The portal would contain a VoIP option and access to Broadcasting NZ

    - Sell of TVNZ, but forbid whoever buys it from using the name NZ in the title, or calling it’s channels TV1 0r TV2. Create a new state owned TV company incorporating RNZ, Kiwi FM and a new online entity (bcnz.govt.nz). Fund it properly by a 21st century “broadcasting fee” – a levy collected by the ISPs on all internet accounts for every gigabyte downloaded.

    - Forbid foreign ownership of the NZ media. Forbid any one company from controlling more than 30% of any print or broadcast media outlet (bye bye Sky monopoly). Make any not-for-profit media company or owning trust tax free.

    3/ – Deepening democracy: Participation in the community is the the warp and weft of a civil society. It builds the ties of deep democracy and devolved power to communites is the best way to create a better society.

    - The replacement of all benefits with a non means tested UBI (plus top ups). The UBI will be payable to all New Zealanders regardless of income upon the completion of 208 hours of community or voluntary work per year, unless you are exempted (sickness or having small children being obvious exemptions).

    - create community juries for about every 25-40,000 people run on weekends and in evenings at local halls and schools where minor offenses are dealt with. The jury will consist of 8-12 locals plus an advisor and a presiding official. They juries will decide guilt and a range of summary punishments. All convictions are wiped from the record after 12 months.

    - Devolve various central government powers to new local authorities modeled on the lines of Swiss cantons. The new local authorities will be free to organize themselves as long as they respect basic principles of democracy, central government laws and protect minorities. They will have the power to levy various taxes and be responsible for all the current territorial powers plus transport, housing, education, and some environmental laws.

    There. It is all about democracy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    So we’ve gone from “Labour picks bad candidates who under perform” to “Labour picks good candidates who perform as expected but tarnish their personal brand”. This is not exactly convincing material.

    Whereas you appear to have completely failed to understand we got wiped out last night and just offer a load of lame excuses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government, in reply to BenWilson,

    For the third time now, tell me how better you think it should be done. Because you’re long on bitter recriminations and short on real ideas.

    I have finally had the time to do a big long post on this actually, but given I am about as popular as a pork chop in a synagogue around here I think it would really take up to much room. I guess I am asking for permission.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government, in reply to steven crawford,

    You obviously don’t know anything about Deborah, or rural New Zealand

    After last night, who in current Labour party culture does? You? Not bloody likely! It certainly isn't me, I was convinced the polls were out by 5%. More fool me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government,

    I think it’s your enormous influence over the party that Tom is bitter on...

    I am not bitter on anything. I think she would be a great candidate one day, but her selection in Rangitikei set her up to fail, represents a tin ear from the selection committee and presents her in the future for a constant narrative as a "failed candidate sliding in on the list". Is that how a functioning and well informed selection panel should deal with promising candidates?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government,

    Wait, wait, Tom.

    What I am saying is in Rangitikei Labour went backwards against a second term government. Russell more or less hung on to the core Labour electorate vote, but Labour got a complete drubbing in the party vote.

    Why are you even bothering to defend the party organisational culture after such a comprehensive rout?

    WE GOT SMASHED. Time for accountability.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    I am not counting the election Clark lost because she dominated the party in a way that ensured discipline.

    And if you think I am exaggerating the scale of the rejection of the current Labour party and the domination of liberal identity politics, look at Rangitikei, a seat contested in 2011 by none other than Josie Pagani and this time by that favourite daughter of PAS Deborah Russell. In 2011 Pagani got 8902 electorate votes and Labour got 6723 party vote. In 2013 Russell managed 8521 votes and a derisory 5673 party votes for Labour. Yet Deborah Russell was touted as a great candidate, someone with a bright future. Wrong candidate for the seat, pure and simple. A local farmer would have been better.

    What idiot couldn't see that an university feminist academic was not the ideal candidate for a rural conservative seat? As it is, she has probably had it now, because she failed politics 101 of doing well in an unwinnable seat before promotion.

    You could make the same argument for Tamati Coffey - the wrong candidate in the wrong seat for the mood of the electorate who did nothing to dent National despite being "high profile". At least he didn't go backwards.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sole party of government,

    Given the (second) total and devastating rejection of the Labour party as envisioned by the PAS liberal elite, why would anyone even bother reading the prescriptions here? A lot of people still don’t get it. The Labour party created under the iron grip of Helen Clark in the 1990s to paper over the ideological victory of neo-liberalism fell apart when she left and has been rejected, twice. A third time will be fatal. I am sorry, but the PAS view of progressive politics had been tried and found to be an utter catastrophe.

    The time of reckoning for Labour, first for betraying it's voters with the neo-liberal revolution then for selling out and going up the blind alley of identity politics, is now at hand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

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