On winners and losers by underground

Like the sadist I am, sometimes I like to watch Fox News, cheerleaders of religious conservatism, where the likes of O’Reilly and Hannity make the most ridiculous assertions. According to Hannity, Obama is a socialist because of the US’s increasing deficit, despite George W Bush’s efforts to plunge the surplus he inherited into the red. Yesterday, I enjoyed Hannity slating the network’s opposition for their criticism of the Fox-endorsed anti-Obama “tea party” protests. While I believe it is part of the media role to often advocate a cause, organising anti-government protests is hardly fair and unbiased. And who are the people protesting? They are not the millions who took to the streets objecting to Bush’s illegal war and the erosion of civil liberties. They are tens of thousands of people who voted for the guy that did not win a democratic election last year. They are the sorest of losers, who supported a failed president for eight years and have written off the guy who inherited his mess; a troubled economy and a fractured nation. They are Hannity and Co.’s rent-a-crowd.

In New Zealand, the Left have had to stomach a National Government for six months and, even more difficult, the realisation that John Key is not as bad as previously believed. Key’s empty rhetoric and lack of substance pre-election concerned many, but his inclusive, measured governance has caused a re-think from many. There are indications unpopular policy may be in the pipeline and their pre-Christmas rush and their 100-day inaction may have given opponents some amnunition, but for the time being it’s plain sailing for the Government. The losers of the last election will need to regroup and consider their moves for the future. Let’s not see the pathetic sore-loser response shown by the tea baggers across the Pacific.


What I want from 2009 by underground
January 2, 2009, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Life, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Happy New Year! Another year has been completed and a fresh year is upon us. 2008 was a bad year for most people, particularly with the economic recession. I had a good one, obtaining a graduate diploma in journalism, making great new friends and moving to a small New Zealand town with my incredible girlfriend to work at a community paper. Life couldn’t be better. So what would make 2009 perfect?

I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions. You tend to forget about them by February 1. And I don’t think I need to change anything major. I might want to eat healthier or do more exercise, but I can take it or leave it. Maybe I could swear less. I think I expect from others than myself this year.

I want to see more people smile in the street. I want more people to say hi to strangers. I want to hear less racist insults. I want all religions to either cease to hate, or cease to exist. I want sweat shops to close. I want rainforest logging to stop. I want cluster bombs banned. I want secret detention prisons closed. I want the death penalty banned. I want children to stop being sexualised or turned on to violence. I want intelligence valued more than ignorance. I want battery chickens banned. I want SUVs off the road. I want whaling stopped. I want people to stop abusing children. I want people to stop treating other people like shit. I want people to stop treating themselves like shit.

I want Barack Obama to prove me wrong. I want him to come down hard on Israel, to stop arming the illegitimate state to the hilt and blocking every international attempt to stop them bombing and massacring Palestinians imprisoned in an impoverished land like shooting fish in a barrel.

I want John Key and the National Party to prove me wrong, to take global warming, workers rights, minority rights seriously and put the well-being of all New Zealanders above the wealth accumulation of a fortunate few. National’s pre-Christmas undemocratic rush indicate where there intentions lie.

I’m sure I’ve left a few things out.

I think 2009 may be disappointing…

The good, the bad and the ugly – The ministers in National’s new government by underground

John Key has shown some promise, and left even his doubters reconsidering their opinions of the man, with the new ministers he announced yesterday. Of course those on the Left are never going to be happy with a National-led government, but there are some signals that, at least for the first term, National will be sticking to the centre ground. It is certainly a lot more pleasant than anything I could have imagined Don Brash coming up with had he won in 2005. The likes of Paula Bennett with the social development portfolio may temper National’s tendency to screw over those on the bottom of the heap, as will the inclusion of Tariana Turia and Peter Sharples from the Maori Party. Turia is minister of the community and voluntary sector and Sharples is Maori affairs minister, which must be reassuring for many Maori. National has given the Maori Party more than Labour managed, particularly when they dropped the ball siding with New Zealand First and Greens in 2005, shunning the more principled partners of the Greens and the Maori. National has trumped Labour in their post election arrangements here, although they have created a four-headed monster after warning of the perils of something similar from Labour. Another example of National Party hypocrisy, expect more to come! Continue reading

My impressions of future New Zealand Prime Minister Phil Goff by underground

A month or so back, I saw then trade minister Phil Goff speak at a pre-election foreign affairs debate at the Owen Glenn Building at Auckland University. Despite the high calibre of political minds present, an unfortunately small crowd attended, made to appear even smaller by the huge venue. It is a shame that more did not get to witness the debate, as one politician clearly stood out above all others. Labour’s Phil Goff left his opponents in his wake; Jim Anderton was the next most impressive, a strong debater with a quick wit, Gordon Copeland was good although naive at times, Keith Locke was knowledgeable but lack assertion, and Act’s Peter Tashkoff has been living in a cave. Even National’s Tim Groser seemed to agree Goff was in a league of his own, in that despite his clear trade experience he seemed more ready to point to Goff’s superb record than illustrate his own credentials or National’s focuses in the area. When questions were fired at the stage from the audience Goff readily took the lead, fielding most the questions no matter how hostile. Almost as though intimidated, most of the other debaters left him to it, with the exception of Anderton and perhaps Locke and Grosser. I still remember the fiery response Goff gave a Communist League candidate in the audience who launched into Goff on Afghanistan. The crowd seemed universally impressed, as did the candidates. Most remarkable was how he spoke. Whilst others stood, at times, timidly behind the microphone (Locke frequently had calls to speak up), Goff walked across the stage, right up to the audience and without amplification his voice still filled the auditorium. There is something immediately impressive about someone who can speak clearly at such a volume, good humoured, not aggressive, assertive and at ease. John Key is going to have his hands full in the debating chamber at parliament and in campaign debates in three years time. Continue reading

Not what New Zealand voted for, but what New Zealand wanted by underground

Considering National has had to adopt so many Labour policies, with National winning the election it is fair to say the only change most New Zealanders wanted was Helen Clark. Although I think the anti-Clark sentiment is completely unfair, the people have spoken, won over by a campaign devoid of substance and policy, rather built on empty rhetoric and sloganeering. With that in mind, it is safe to say, as most analysts have, that National have not a mandate to revert to the policies of the nineties. If the “hidden agenda” creeps into policy, they’ll be gone by lunchtime. The election was not a swing to the right for the electorate, as some have said. And Key appears to be aware of this, getting the Maori party onside has effectively weakened the bargaining strength of an Act party pushing round their weight and seek undue influence considering their small vote. To most people’s pleasure, they could find themselves undermined or cut out altogether. Winnie would be happy!

New Zealand has got what they wanted, a Labour Party without Clark. Although not in government, with Phil Goff at the helm, it is only a matter of time. Congratulations Goff, give ’em hell!

The next three years should very interesting!

Our saint has arrived! by naturalhighnz
November 10, 2008, 8:35 am
Filed under: New Zealand Election 08, Politics | Tags: , , ,

On waking up today I was greeted by the host of articles about our new, already beloved Leader. Stories of John Key’s desire to help “all” New Zealanders. A story of John Key’s fantastic sense of humour in the NZ Herald when he joked with his family that a puppy was not on the way, because that’s what Obama had promised his kids, but wait, maybe a puppy is on the way! The NZ Herald made light of John Key’s reputation for flip-flopping in this instance, and it really seems as though John Key might truly be Obamaesque change if you believe the Herald. The term “all New Zealanders” must be rather exclusive, because with a range of anti-union and anti-worker policies on John Key’s desk, it seems he is looking out for very different interests to Obama.

Personally, it disturbs me to think that a man like John Key can even draw on comparisons between himself and Obama, and that our beloved media are now even doing the work for him. It seems that if your a politician on the right of the spectrum you rarely have to lift a finger these days, as your profile will be taken care of by the media. Compare this to the misinformation spread about the section 59 repeal and its “perceived” law against smacking a child which the media perpetuated and it truly makes you wonder. The reality of the law being that only the legal argument of reasonable force was removed, but not what constitutes child abuse.

Thankfully in the face of the weakening media and the lack of background checks and research, we have a committed blogosphere where we can get a better handle on where things are actually going. Personally I look forward to be fired from my job after 89 days for no reason. At least it means I’ll get a range of work experience and will be doing my bit to get NZ back on track.


One day away from turning our back on all of this! by underground

Although the polls vary on who the next New Zealand government will in fact be, it appears as though the tide is turning on Labour and Helen Clark. Following the election in the US, voters are keen on some of that “change” action. Rather than an Obama-esque “change you can believe in”, it is more like “change for the sake of change”. And it isn’t going to be the sort of change most voters envisage. A National government will need the support of Act, so a change of government is a change in only one direction – Hard right. Remember Roger Douglas? Well he is who National will be buddying up to. Is that the change we need?

Besides, have the past nine years been that bad? Continue reading