Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Spring Timing

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  • Joe Wylie, in reply to BenWilson,

    If you want to make strong statements about the incompatibility of the NZ Greens with NZ Labour, then Tasmanian state government wrangling is not a particularly powerful example.

    That seems unnecessarily high-handed. While there are obvious differences between the Tasmanian and NZ situation, the experience of the first real power-sharing by Green politicians in this part of the world has to be of some relevance. Tasmania happens to be where Bob Brown, arguably the most significant and successful Green politician in Australasia, made his political career. Also Brown and other Australian Greens have visited NZ in the past as advisors to the local party.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BenWilson,

    My point was anecdotal. I didn’t really want to make a big deal out of it,

    Ha! You think that works aroun' here? ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    Furthermore, Auckland holds a third of the population of NZ. As an administrative proportion of NZ, it is bigger than any state of Australia. It administers a gigantic chunk of NZ’s infrastructure. But collective interest in the politics is way lower.

    The political interest in local body politics in NZ (Auckland is no exception) is, at least in part, down to the relative impotence of local government in NZ. Their only taxation authority is rates as permitted by central government, their only legislative authority is that permitted by central government, etc etc. They have no absolute power over anything, not even over their own configuration.
    When central government can (and very happily will, as demonstrated by the EDFZ) usurp pretty much any and all powers from local government on a whim, why bother getting invested in local stuff? It's just going to get fucked over by the bastards in the Beehive whenever they don't like how things are going, as we have seen with the current government and its relationships with Canterbury and Auckland.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to BenWilson,

    My point was anecdotal. I didn’t really want to make a big deal out of it, other than to say that comparing the behaviour of a national political organization to regional one is suspect, because people don’t think about them in the same way at all.

    When I lived in Sydney my perception was that State politics were fairly important to most people, certainly more important than council politics usually are to NZers (Sydney council politics OTOH, seemed fairly irrelevant, having interest levels more like local board politics over here).

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to SteveH,

    I love how the Aussies have "Shires".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I did not at any point say that Tasmanians aren’t subject to Tasmanian laws. But NZers are not subject to laws from any higher source than our own Parliament and that is a major point of difference to a state government. The buck stops with Parliament, here.

    It wasn't clear to me that you understood Tasmania was a state or that states and feds shared legislative responsibility but otherwise, sure.

    Do you want to be specific about what claims I made that you’re disputing? The Commonwealth government collects more than 5 times as much tax as the State government. This is what I meant by it’s comparative importance to people. This cascades down to far more massive influence over all aspects of major government expenditure.

    This is a bit of a distraction to the main issue? That said, although the Commonwealth budget shows revenue and expenditure, it may not be obvious that the State's are constitutionally responsible for delivery (defence, foreign affairs, employment being key exceptions) and that the expenditure side of the Commonwealth budget consists of huge Specific Purpose Payments made to the States for delivery. The intergovernmental agreement on the transfer of funds is here and it explicitly notes that:

    The Parties recognise that the States and Territories have primary responsibility for many of the service sectors covered by the National Agreements appended as schedules to this Agreement. The primacy of State and Territory responsibility in the delivery of services in these sectors is implicit in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia and it is not the intention of the Parties to alter the Constitutional responsibility or accountability of the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

    Incidentally, while my experience is only in education, over twelve years under both Lib and Lab state and federal governments, I can't think of an instance where these payments have not been made.

    The point leading to this discussion was that in Australia, the Greens and Labor aren't best mates and the examples given were of State politics. They could've been federal, although there's only one lower house Green.

    I do think this - the similar levels of discomfort between these parties on both sides of the Tasman - is relevant to this thread and the discussion of the NZ political situation but this other stuff, about the respective roles and responsibilities, not so much.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    It’s just going to get fucked over by the bastards in the Beehive whenever they don’t like how things are going, as we have seen with the current government and its relationships with Canterbury and Auckland.

    You can add Wellington to the list as well, and it’s not just about Key’s ‘dying city’ remarks either. There seems to be an undercurrent of sour grapes when it comes to relations between NZ’s major urban centres and the current lot in the Beehive.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    There seems to be an undercurrent of sour grapes when it comes to relations between NZ’s major urban centres and the current lot in the Beehive.

    Well, when MP number 2 (and the Minister of Finance) is a sheep farmer from rural Southland who's never actually worked anywhere except the farm and Wellington, and MP number 4 (and the Minister of Everything Else except Christchurch) is a businessman from the 'naki, is it any surprise? The government is dominated by MPs from non-urban electorates, many of whom make money from ownership of farms, so of course they're going to have a provincial mindset that views those dirty city-dwellers with suspicion if not outright disdain. The attitudes towards intensification vs sprawl and better public transport vs more motorways prove that.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Wallington,

    I was never intending to promise that Labour and Green could not work as a coalition in NZ.
    I have my doubts because both parties here seem to express a lot of the same level of emotions and thoughts about similar issues in a proven context where they ultimately tore each other to pieces.
    I won't be posting comments on this blog again.
    Little kiwis and their ignorant prejudices do not need any factual, historical or even much thoughtful input from an Aussie journalist who has practiced the craft for 50 years. 25 on each side of this gulf of understanding and ignorance. I am gobsmacked by how many NZers go and live and work in Oz and never see what's happening there. Not au revoir... Goodbye

    Waikawa Beach • Since Sep 2013 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Wallington,

    I was never intending to promise that Labour and Greens could not work as a coalition in NZ.
    I have my doubts because both parties here seem to express a lot of the same level of emotions and thoughts about similar issues in a proven context. Historically they ultimately tore each other to pieces in Tasmania.
    That one of your correspondents wishes to reduce and demean this... Casting it into the context of Noddy and Big Ears fighting it out over the Mayoralty of Toy Town is simply pathetic.
    I won't be posting comments on this blog again.
    Little kiwis and their ignorant prejudices obviously do not need any factual, historical or even much thoughtful input from an Aussie journalist who has practiced the craft for 50 years... 25 on each side of this gulf of misunderstanding and ignorance. I am gobsmacked by how many NZers go and live and work in Oz and never see what's happening there.
    I love reasoned and informed argument but trans-Tasman xenophobia is just stupid... And far too prevalent.
    so it is not au revoir... But goodbye

    Waikawa Beach • Since Sep 2013 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Can we go back to first principles here: just why should we believe that the known history of the Australian Labor and Green Parties should have much relevance for the future of the NZ Labour and Green Parties? Might be similar party names; but not the same people.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Phil Wallington,

    Come, come, there's no need for theater. Most people are supporting you.

    This is a bit of a distraction to the main issue?

    Totally. Ozzie's experience might be relevant but surely that can be challenged without generating flounces.

    The point leading to this discussion was that in Australia, the Greens and Labor aren’t best mates and the examples given were of State politics. They could’ve been federal, although there’s only one lower house Green.

    Indeed, whereas NZ has had significant numbers of them for over a decade. We do actually have our own experiences to go on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Phil Wallington,

    both parties here seem to express a lot of the same level of emotions and thoughts about similar issues in a proven context. Historically they ultimately tore each other to pieces in Tasmania.

    Well that’s handed NZ to National for another 6-9 years.
    But … as someone who’s voted both Green and Labour, and will contemplate both this time, I see a much larger set of shared values, esp around ‘social justice’ issues, but expanding to the Treaty the environment and the economy. The similarities seem far more important than the differences, which may be why they both feel an occasional need to snipe and carve out niche positions to differentiate themselves.
    Of course they could tear each other to pieces. Families fight, politicians have egos, it can get vicious. The left has a tradition of factional fighting, yada yada.
    But if they do, their leaders – Cunliffe, Norman, Turei – know damn well they’ll be on the political scrap-heap doublequick, and no redemption. If they don’t have the sense and maturity to work well together, they don’t deserve to govern.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    My understanding is that there are two sorts of Labour activist in NZ: those who would have joined the Greens, but their Aunty wouldn't have a bar of it, and those who would have joined National, but similarly would suffer the wrath of Aunt(ies).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I like to think that people might be able to learn from history. If Tasmania has a lesson to teach, maybe it can also be learned from.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yeah. But you don’t need history to work out a meltdown between Labour and the Greens in government would be a major betrayal of both’s voters, sink the careers of their leaders, and could make both parties unelectable for a decade.
    No guarantee it won’t happen, but very powerful incentives to make it work.
    With no idea of the personalities and policies involved in Taz, or how it unfolded, I’m just unable to comment. But it’s a fairly rural state of half a million. In my probably ignorant stereotype, it’s a West Coast sort’ve electorate – with rural elements, miners and foresters, and a good dose of hippies and “alternatives”.
    Ie- not the same profile as NZ.
    Totally off topic: I’m dead keen to go to Dark MOFO. Anyone been?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to BenWilson,

    Indeed, whereas NZ has had significant numbers of them for over a decade. We do actually have our own experiences to go on.

    Ben, yup, it’s also useful to recognise that the NZ experience is a variation on a theme that can be observed internationally and across different electoral systems.

    I also have to say, as a less active but equally long serving member of this remarkable community, you could consider the way you respond to new and alternative voices (to be really clear, I don't mean your responses to me).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    … as someone who’s voted both Green and Labour, and will contemplate both this time, I see a much larger set of shared values, esp around ‘social justice’ issues, but expanding to the Treaty the environment and the economy.

    Is that the same Labor/Greens that denied Maori there legal ownership of the seabed and foreshore.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to steven crawford,

    s that the same Labor/Greens that denied Maori there legal ownership of the seabed and foreshore.

    Pretty sure the Greens didn't vote for that piece of ... dumb. Is 2014's Labour the same Labour as 2004's?
    I hope not.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Williams,

    you could consider the way you respond to new and alternative voices

    OK, noted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    I have been puzzling about the New Zealand Labour/Green schism for a couple of decades. There are so many similarities in basic principles, yet so much hair-splitting of policy detail.
    To me the main difference lies in some Labourites who are entrenched in smokestack industrial-age concepts and thinking, and who refuse to admit the world has changed, and New Zealand society has changed hugely since the 1970s.

    I wish we could all be nicer to each other -- find the common ground and talk out the differences. That would be true to the spirit of MMP rather than the reluctant and grudging coalitions of the past.

    That goes for discussion here too Ben and Phil: PAS works because people, even when they play not-so-nicely, don't keep going and going until they have the last word. Boring and it squashes debate.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to BenWilson,

    you could consider the way you respond to new and alternative voices

    OK, noted.

    Ben - I thought you were perfectly respectful and responded fine. You argued the statement and didn't insult - there are some regulars here who can be actually abusive to newcomers and yet I don't see them called out (or not often).

    It's be a real pity if you felt you couldn't comment for awhile for having your tone misunderstood. Already PAS can feel like a shadow compared to the past since so many interesting commentators never comment here anymore.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Pretty sure the Greens didn’t vote for that piece of … dumb. Is 2014’s Labour the same Labour as 2004’s?
    I hope not.

    Different Labor party, and different Greens. The human rights progression, that did mitigate the strange colonial transgression, would have to be the rights of the child to not be belted by ignorant parents. But that was the old Greens that introduced that politically suicidal idea. I wonder how this Labor party/ Greens will deal with any coalition partners such as Mana should they may depend on them to form a government. Should they take people like Sue Bradford, Annette Sykes and the like seriously?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Hebe,

    Chaos theory…

    New Zealand Labour/Green schism

    after The Rupture
    who will be Left behind?

    The full continuum includes:

    United Future – Groomed Earth
    National – Sold Earth
    Conservatives – Square Earth
    Act – Bizarro Earth
    Labour – Salt of the Earth
    Maori – Our Earth
    Independent – Promise the Earth
    No Vote – Scorched earth
    Greens – Heart Earth

    and other less frequented frequencies.

    Lend me your ears …
    6 months
    that’s all we’ve got
    we’ve got 6 months
    it isn’t a lot*

    what’s more they act like light, and smoke, too
    mutable particle waveform hybrids
    if you know where they are,
    you don’t know their speed
    but if you know their speed,
    ya don’t know where they are at
    most of the time they are
    neither here nor there…

    Most importantly
    If ya know where you are
    everything else
    is relative…


    *apologies to Mrs Jones little boy David

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    (Does that leave NZ First as Flat Earth? possibly a label more suiting the Conservatives though.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

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