sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

Chris Trotter argues the National Party has been reduced to angry incoherence and wonders what arguments it could offer that could slow Labour’s momentum

Chris Trotter argues the National Party has been reduced to angry incoherence and wonders what arguments it could offer that could slow Labour’s momentum

By Chris Trotter*

The cyclist was a middle-aged white male whose Lycra riding-gear struggled to contain his bulging biceps and tree-trunk thighs. The kids were in their teens and early-twenties, dressed for summer, and much more interested in exercising their First Amendment rights than their muscles. It was too much for the cyclist. The “Black Lives Matter” posters they were pasting-up “triggered” (in the political vocabulary of the bill-stickers) a dark and ugly incident.

And, of course, it was all recorded on one of the youngsters’ cellphones. The cyclist’s assault of the young women. His destruction of their posters. The final attack on the young man. CNN broadcast the whole violent sequence to the nation. Viewers heard the loud objections of the youngsters: their demands to know WTF he thought he was doing; the young women’s screams; the outrage of the young man. The cyclist’s final rush at his only male opponent. The sound of fists striking flesh and bone. The young man’s cellphone tumbling into the weeds. And through it all, the cyclist said nothing. All the world heard was the inchoate grunting of his rage.

Only in America? Oh no, not at all. Displayed on that video is the political dynamic by which not only the US Presidential Election of 3 November, but also our own General Election of 19 September, will be decided. Neither of the contending forces are new. On the contrary, they are as old as civilisation itself. The questions it raises are, similarly, perennial. How is the dominant political order to be maintained? How are the critical hierarchies of social control to be protected? How is the manageability of women, the young, and the marginalised “other”, to be preserved? The nasty incident recorded on the cycle-track strongly suggests that the old solutions: physical intimidation and violence; may no longer be enough.

If this sounds altogether too hifalutin, then answer this question: Why did the National Party swap Todd Muller for Simon Bridges? Though no one in National is ever likely to be so candid, or so blunt: Bridges had to go because he simply could not project the measure of masculine authority so crucial to the success of a conservative leader. Fairly, or unfairly, Bridges could not shake the impression of a boy sent to do a man’s job. Like a boy, he blurted embarrassments and failed to strike the right tone. Too much bluster, not enough lustre. So long, Simon!

Unconvinced? Then answer another, closely related, question. Why didn’t those liberal-conservatives so determined to be rid of Bridges, and so anxious to make National competitive with Labour, choose a woman to lead them? After all, it’s not as if they didn’t have at least three strong contenders for the job. All of them, Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams and Judith Collins are now ranked in the top four of National’s caucus. Nevertheless, the Number One slot still belongs to a man.

Who, it must be said, is not performing any better – at least not in terms of National’s Party Vote – than his predecessor. Why is that?

To answer that question we need to return to the muscle-bound cyclist who did not speak. Symbolically, he perfectly embodies the central contradiction of the dominant neoliberal ideology. It still reigns supreme in terms of the way things are done, but it is unable to offer any kind of credible explanation for its followers’ repeated failure to deliver. When confronted with loud and persistent demands to justify their policies, those at the top of the social pyramid have little or nothing to say to those at the bottom that is even remotely reassuring.

Recognising this failure, neoliberals have reached instinctively for the authoritarian weaponry that has lain, like so many buried rifles, at the heart of neoliberal ideology ever since its spectacular migration from the periphery to the heart of Western political discourse in the 1970s. It is no coincidence that the “crisis of democracy” identified by those at the summit of the post-war world corresponded with the dramatic and noisy arrival on the political stage, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, of social groups hitherto kept off it: workers, women, people of colour, sexual non-conformists and the young. At its simplest, Neoliberalism required a “hardening-up” of Western society. In its estimation, the latter had become too generous; too tolerant; too inclusive. Or, to put it another way: too feminine.

Inducting the best and the brightest of these noisy interlopers into the ranks of those whose job it was to present the “reforms” of neoliberalism as decisively conducive to both individual empowerment and social justice provided only a temporary respite. The clamour of those cut and damaged by capitalism’s increasingly sharp edges did not cease.

Breaking up the incipient alliance of neoliberalism’s victims, by digging up the rifles of red-baiting, racism, sexism, homophobia and extreme nationalism, eventually became the only reliable means of defending the status-quo. The problem with this “solution” was that it necessitated an alarming escalation in the violence and coarseness of political life. An escalation that was bound to generate an equal and opposite reaction from those against whom it was directed.

That the New Zealand National Party has struggled to stay afloat in these powerful political currents is undeniable. It was among the first to reach for the weapons of right-wing populism by making Rob Muldoon its leader in the mid-1970s. So powerful was Muldoon’s political grip, however, that the deregulation and privatisation deemed essential to remedying the excesses of the post-war social-democratic state had to be left to the Labour Party

The problem, of course, was that every attempt to further harden New Zealand society elevated the level of electoral risk. Don Brash may have been persuaded to unearth Muldoon’s rifles, but he could not make enough of them shoot. Recognising this, John Key, like Helen Clark, made a valiant effort to square the circle of individualism and inclusion. But even his superlative political skills could not conceal the task’s evident impossibility forever.

Enter Jacinda Ardern: emotionally “transformational”; intellectually conventional. Unlooked for events: the Christchurch Massacre; the Covid-19 Pandemic; have called forth from New Zealand’s prime minister reserves of empathy that have made it almost impossible for voters to see her as anything other than the mortal foe of hard-faced and sharp-edged neoliberal capitalism. Simon Bridges seized upon this popular perception as an excuse to dig up National’s populist rifles. Aghast at the prospect of their party leader dragging them down into the coarseness and aggression of Trump, his more liberal colleagues intervened. But toppling Bridges has brought National no closer to finding the words capable of toppling “Jacinda”.

Like the conservative American cyclist confronted with the demands of a new generation for economic and social justice, National has been reduced to angry incoherence. What arguments can it offer that will slow Labour’s momentum?

The only person more eager than Muller to find an answer to that question is, almost certainly, Ardern herself. It is no easy task to ride the tiger of empathy. Even harder, perhaps, is working out how to get off its back.

*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. His work may be found at He writes a fortnightly column for

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



It's all about the perceived message.

When Labour swapped right before the last election. The message was a clear "we must change, so must you"

When National swapped leader. The message is still "We will sell out to China"


Natinal Party = China

Everyone knows where China stands today not only in NZ but rest of the world and going future China's standing will detoriate much more.


@tai Bollocks !

Helen Clark signed the Free Trade Agreement with China , and Phil Goff did the negotiations in 2004.

It was the worst deal ever for New Zealand , one sided in the extreme , allowing them to buy our property without reciprocity

Now we have 40% of our trade with China , and we are attached by an umbilical cord to China as a result of this stupidity

The last time I checked , both of these politicians lived on Planet Labour .............not Nantional


You can sell goods to a country without selling your soul. The fact Chinese agents are sneaking big wads of cash to the National Party to fund its election campaign shows that China knows who they can control.

To be fair, there was a lot of inflow to Labour when Jacinda took over.

A bit of a dollar each way approach.

Boatman you are correct. Difference between shaking hand hand and selling oneselves.

To quote Labour "The translation of 'Let's Do This' is an auspicious Chinese idiom that is known widely by Chinese constituents and resonates well"
You want close ties it Labours Huo decision "to translate Labour's 2017 election campaign slogan 'Let's do it' into a quote from Xi Jinping"

"Jacinda" is sourced from the latin word "Hyacintha", Hyacintha was also the name of a famous western women raised in the Chinese lowlands whose nickname was "Jinping' which translated to a small native cuckoo of that region of China. Watercolours of the Jingping cukoo were captured by a European artist "Henry Adern" who married Hycinthia in the 1800s before emigrating to NZ. Henry also had a child to a Chinese Concubine named Xi Li. The direct descendants of Henry are Jacinda Adern (great great great granddaughter of Henry and Hyacintha) and Xi Jingping (great great grandson of Henry and Li). The Asian Division of the Illuminati has been infiltrated and the a plot for NZ domination of China discovered with coordination of Jacinda (a deep plant code named "cuckoo" as she has been raised by a culture that is not hers) and Xi. This takeover will coincide with Huawei's 5G roll out in NZ. To protect oneself from the 5G rays 6 raisins should be inserted in each ear to prevent penetration of the Covid 19 signal. Stay vigilante true Kiwis.


Only 40%? Thought it was more. I'll be really worried when China and/or the US owns 40% or more of our land and production capacity - or did Wyatt Creech and his latterday cronies already achieve that milestone?

Boaty, I agree. But I have a view of HC politics and in hindsight when one views what she actually did, her politics were more about HER power and privilege and career than it was representing the people.

Keep digging Boatman - you might reach China

While the China fta did allow that, I doubt it was foremost in people's minds that it would happen, however that agreement did leave us able to introduce legislation that could have stopped foreign buying of property. The real fly in the ointment where that went was when the Key govt signed the fta with South Korea which specifically disallowed such legislation, and we had then to offer the same terms to China, which is why this govt had to get creative to do what they could to slow foreign buying down.
The China we signed the first fta with is much different from what it is turning out to be now, for all intents and purposes it was heading the other way.
The other problem was the preferred investor category, where basically people could immigrate here by investing, it was also a Labour led initiative, but excluded residential property as a means of investment, but in 2011, guess who added residential investment to the preferred investor category.
It would be very helpful if you bothered to avail yourself of whole stories when you relate them.

What's the current valuation CV of your Greenhithe 10 acre Ranch today? Boatman
You still doin' alright?

>The message was a clear "we must change, so must you"
Yep the message was to up the PR campaign, create every slogan you can think of all aiming for the year of delivery.

@ noncents ..............utter nonsense , you are forgetting that almost 40% of our trade is with China , and it was Helen Clark who signed the FREE TRADE AGREEMENT in 2008 after about 3 years of negotiation by Phil Goff and his team

I remember thinking then , it was a Trojan Horse

Look, both Labour and National are in Deep with China. We all know that.

But, like I said it is about perception. At this point, Labour are not perceived to be "Pro China".

National took the Agreement to, totally, new level when Wong Key sat in the big chair. His rein, which ended by giving seven days notice, if continued by English would have de-colinised Enzed.

De-Colinised. This totally-not-race-obsessed comment stream sure is an intellectual tour de france.

Incorrect descriptive word - decolnisation, sorry. But I think you get the gist of my statement- total ownership and therefore dictatorial control of Enzed. Our population of five million is a small town to China.

It was indeed Helen Clark and a Phil Goff who turned their backs on our traditional export markets and went all in with China when they signed up to that free trade agreement.

They didn't have an option with the start of the EEC. It should make a difference now that GB is in the process of disengagement. Hopefully, forthcoming negotiations will prevail in our favour.

The UK into EEC was in the 1960s. NZ had diversified and adjusted etc well before the Clark lot lit up the landing strip in China.

1973 I believe

There is a question around empathy as a method of administration and governance, in what it draws and attracts from the populace.


It's a question of style over substance. I don't really care what politicians say - 'messaging' and 'controlling narratives' is a tedious game played by bloated superficial comms teams working against NZ's best interests, producing hay for low-information voter-sheep. I'm interested only in what they do, which for this govt prior to lockdown has been almost nothing but low quality spend-ups, mouthing of platitudes, and failing to deliver on anything promised. On that basis they shouldn't retain power. But the sheep, with bellies full of propaganda, doled out by mostly partisan media, will likely vote for them.

The problem that National faces is that they are in large part the same, but where it matters most actively worse (e.g. selling NZ out from under young and upcoming generations of NZers). So while you bleat, National yet fails to offer a credible alternative.

Close to three years ago, you pinned your hopes on the COL. I admire your patience that they will transform anything.

Incorrect. I've never voted for Labour in my life. I admire your stamina in insisting the opposite over the last years.

It doesn't take voting for Labour to notice that National doesn't have much to offer young New Zealanders at the moment. After voting for National all my life at least I was able to recognise that they had run out of anything to offer young and coming generations of NZers. (Hey, you yourself have also changed to ACT, have you not?)

Rick, prey tell what is it that This coalition actually is offering young New Zealanders?
Reality is that National are far better equipped to cope with rebuilding NZ than this mish mash lot of unachievers!


So cite some National policy you think will benefit young New Zealanders, that they would be better off voting for National?

Not sure what drives your deep uncritical loyalty to Labour, whether it is family, friends or pecuniary, but your pretense that National do not boast far greater depth of talent than the omnishambles that is Labour's cabinet is just laughable, the bios of just about every National MP leave almost every Labour MP in the dust. Ardern and Robinson do not an effective or credible govt make in the absence of competent cabinet.

Telling that you went for the source then a strawman re "depth of talent" rather than arguing that National have something in particular to offer young New Zealanders from a policy point of view. Not sure what drives that deeply uncritical approach.

I think you have a valid point. Listening to numerous global feedback in the last year or two. It appears that people want empathy, rather than specific action.

Aussie Bushfires, most people seemed to appreciate that ScoMo couldn't do anything, they just wanted him to actually understand and empathise with what they had gone through/lost.
Covid, again most people (Worldwide) seemed to accept the various lockdowns, but were happier if the leader appeared generally upset at having to do it.
Current BLM protests, the laws (and for the most part enforcement) are already in place. But the protesters want the leaders to understand why they are unhappy, and show support in that way.
Chch shooting, the haphazard/debacle of the changes in gun laws have been forgotten. Jacinda's empathy will not.

Their are plenty of worthwhile leadership candidates in the National Party, you just need to look further down their party list. Ironically you'll find quite a bit of ethnic diversity there too. But it gets very white and male toward the top.

At every election I can remember there's a cry from the incumbents supporters along the lines of the opposition have no one. When the opposition eventually get elected there's always surprise at the talent that comes to the top.

Except that with Labour not a lot bubbled to the top. Probably the same for National too, but they project the mirage of leadership and talent better

They selected a smart, accomplished and experienced wahine Maori in Anne Tolley's old seat this weekend - but strangely news outlets did not give that the same level of coverage they did as the criticism of National as being "pale and stale".

I wonder why that is.

To true. I voted for her, simply as a vote for someone who is smart, thoughtful and came across as genuinely prepared to be representative of the electorate .
I completely got the wrong end of that. Agree with the sentiment on missing important news, but my mind immediately swung to Kiri Allen and that's whom I meant I voted for.

You're going to be spoiled for choice this time around - a proper contest between two not-awful candidates. Where do the rest of us sign up?


I didn't realise was going to be a political mouth piece for Labour.
Such biased lop sided journalism from someone who professes to be a political professional.
So its race and then onto the woman band wagon...just a poor article in my opinion.


Chris Trotter is a master of spin and full of Labour BS .

I am surprised that a well respected site like gives oxygen to someone with such an agenda in the run up to an election .


Chris is of the left, but it's not like he pretends otherwise, and he is principled, and runs counter to various regressive tendencies of left (free speech!), he's well informed and writes nicely, and has an interesting takes on things. I disagree with him on much, but value his voice.

More to the point, he makes an accurate point here. At the time of the coup, I too wondered why it wasn't a female they put forward. Kaye, and Adams would have received a positive response from the NZ public, if not some surprise. I personally believe Collins has burnt her bridge irrespective of her capability, but Bennett is also a strong possibility too?

You don't waste your "talent" on a lost cause.

Do you think they should set up their own party? Time to flush the old, stale, male, colonial blue party?

Although that is the exact point of MMP. My guess is the costs are too prohibitive for it to ever happen.

No the point of MMP is so you don't have democratic ability to vote any of the swine out.


The opening paragraphs of this article is very much the antonym of principled. You may value his rhetoric, I'd rather he advocates for his team in a principled and logical manner.

Sadly, it appears that is going down the same path as prior to the last election. Their primary political reporter in the montsh leading up to the election had a strong bias towards Labour, and after the election, left to work for Labour directly instead of by proxy. That really taught me that even has an axe to grind and is not objective when it comes to political news reporting.

It's hardly surprising that journalists, who self identify as left:right wing at about 4:1 according to a 2013/14 Massey study occasionally lose their objectivity and also work towards getting into high paid left wing govt coms jobs.
Chris is a known quantity, and it's good to hear voices from across the spectrum. The rest of interest's writers are pretty good at avoiding obvious bias.

Well said Foyle on your 'Chris is of the left' comment. Back in the day I worked for The Independent Business Weekly where Chris was also a columnist. By his own admission our late editor, Warren Berryman, was right wing but was very fond of Chris and highly respected his work. Others such as the late Roger Kerr and Roger Douglas also respected Chris. Cheers.

Warren Berryman, Pat Booth, Keith Aitcken.....OG's.


All die hard national supporters have to come to terms that this election too will be Labour.

National and China is synonyms.

National and it's supporters have to learn to distinguis between being friends and being master.


Chris, its also the grip which the evangelical right holds over the National Party that needs examining. I spent a couple of years working with a company that was almost exclusively staffed with white, male rightwing...baptists. They seem to be able to use their christian morality to justify the most aggressive behaviours. I was very suprised. Very hard on their staff, dismissive of legal responsibilities and regulations and horribly racist and sexist to go with it. I stopped working with them due to the open bigottry that was on display. Its become my view since that same biggotry runs right through the national party too.

Wonderful - you give substance to my point about the religious in our society in other articles. They think they are special.

A non-denominational chap turns up at the pearly gates and is greeted by St Peter. "Welcome, welcome. Let's show you around a little before you let us know where you want to go" St Peter pulls the door open and reveals a hall with a variety of doors lining it. He opens the first and reveals a group of happy people going about their business, "These are the Methodists". At the next, and going through the same with similar scenes he say's "these are the Protestants", The Hindu's, Budhists and so on. But at one door he pauses, scratches his chin, puts his finger over his lips, bidding the chap to silence, and tip toes past the door to the next. The chaps looks at the door and asks "Hang on, what's here? why the secrecy?" St Peter says "Oh no secrecy, that's just the Catholics. They think they're the only ones here!"

Priceless! Thank You Murray 86! We haven't heard from the Bish Brian Tamaki lately...what is the matter with his excellency?


"Enter Jacinda Ardern": A Counselor Troi-style empath with little to show in the way of actual achievements, propped up by the a leader who plays into the exact right wing populism so eagerly decried in this article, with an understudy who is immune to discipline, who has enabled a type of pork barrel-ism unseen in NZ and that would make most Republicans blush.

I'm all for calling out the Nat's weird authoritarian lurch to the right after a decade of success with relative social liberalism but let's be frank about this: The 2017 election, with all its undeliverable promises and supposedly urgently needed reforms that still haven't yet been implemented was equally dishonest. I'm not sure the country suffering endless disasters until we all forget this government's terrible track record is a sustainable strategy.

Chris Trotter has a bloody cheek ........... this COL Government was 100% enabled by a ageing male right wing racist bigot who famously said "Two Wongs dont make a white "

Need I say more ?


Ardern is actually the new Muldoon. Economically incompetent, with a band of clueless acolytes.
Chris Trotter is often worth the read. But he needs to work out the Ardern Muldoon similarities. This is not one of the good columns.
As for tossing in the colourful but disconnected cyclist story - pleeeease.

Yeh why lump him in with cyclists (other than he has a bike)? Maybe he plays golf too? Or has a regular poker game?
Disclaimer, I ride a bike but I wouldn't ever introduce myself to someone new as 'Hi, I'm a cyclist'


'Lycra clad cyclist' is leftie code for aged white hegemonist male hierarchy member. Astute Chris Trotter is well aware the idiot featured bears little resemblance to most of middle NZ attitudes but nonetheless parades the stereotype as representative of this mythical tribe. His marxist world view needs to allocate people into oppressor and oppressed communities, each with its neat but lazy labels; trumpist, neo liberal, progressive etc. That a significant majority of national voters consider trump a repulsive buffoon, favour government regulating the excesses of capitalism and hold socially progressive views, is discarded in his need to keep alive his largely fictitious tribe of red necked kiwi neanderthals.

It is somehow 'ok' to use stereotypes when aimed towards one type of person, but absolutely not the other?

It's no longer a stereotype if a factual pattern of behaviour confirms it.

The irony!

Yes, I felt it was a reasonable effort.

Bloody roadie.
MTB rules ;)
Actually thought it was great comparison.
It was that he was a Lycra clad cyclist, it was the fact he was silent and violent. Absolutely no need for him to justify his actions, he just IS.



Can you actually point to the policy decisions that back up your assertion that labor are “economically incompetent”.

I’m genuinely interested. Labor have barely departed from the policies of National in terms of the wider economy.

Economically Incompetent. Could give you a big list but here's one. Making as many people as possible dependent on the government for income.


'What arguments can it offer that will slow Labour’s momentum?' ..... how about 'abject failure to deliver any of the transformational policies solemnly promised by Ardern, chronic incompetence of multiple ministers, and cabinet racked by deep philosophical divisions'. Just for a start.

The problem is the masses don't seem to mind.

What is there to mind when 'one of us' is in charge. You know, like, she's active in social media, gives really deeply intelligent speeches on the telly, plus, and, really cares about poor people. And she's wearing recycled earrings which completely shows she cares about the environment, dolphins and all that.

Most NZ media will not run anything that might threaten Ardern's ascendency. They save all their opprobrium for anyone who dares to criticize her govt, run her comms team's attack lines and puff pieces practically verbatim. So how exactly are the opposition supposed to reach or influence voters when the 4th estate has become the propaganda arm of the govt?

Even her fanboy Trotter recognises that she'll soon have to face the post C19 economic reality with his comment 'even harder, perhaps, is working out how to get off its ( the tiger of empathy) back'. Robertsons buying the vote of middle NZ by creating an elite dole cohort with borrowed money shows how desperate they are to delay hard decisions. Superficial smiley bobbing head face number one or tilted head serious face number three on the news will not be enough when the welfare opiates wear off. Her besotted media acolytes will continue protecting her but the real pain is yet to be felt and when that begins a desire for journalism that cuts through the hagiographic mush will rise. Whether that will be in time for the election however is doubtful.

I love the English language. The word "Hagiography" could have been created for Ardern it's so apt.

Is this in a world without Hooton, Hosking, Duncan Garner, Newstalk ZB and the reporting in mainstream media over the last couple of years? Seems more like an emotional reaction to events of the last couple of months, where NZ has had decent results vs. COVID-19.

Perhaps also a reaction against Ardern replicating Key's smiley face success.

I would agree in generally lamenting the trend of politics toward popularity contests, but I am not sure how that can be unwound in a world where news and social media sell advertising via sound bites, and increasingly deceptive political advertising (National's recent examples) and troll-farm usage is the well as common resort to Orwell's Two Minutes Hate via continuously provoking outrage through tweets, conspiracy theories, Facebook ads etc.

Perhaps the left's suggestion of civics education in high school?

So because there exists some right wing commentary, we should accept our state broadcasters being party mouthpieces? Todd Muller has faced more scrutiny than any minister in the last three years, and he's only been in the job about two weeks. 7 Sharp might as well be the Grey Lynn Mum's Club. The less said about a certain reporter's 'No matter what we report, the polls don't move' frustration from the Key era, the better I suppose.

No, that's not the statement that automatically follows. Point is, there seems to be plenty of folk that claim that X or Y reporter is biased and always biased against their preferred tribe. Unless you have better data and evidence than "my team feel like they are unduly hard on my team" there's really not much to go on. It's just like all the fans claiming the ref is biased against their team.

Muller seems to have caused his own suffering by claiming he was elected because he had a better plan, then when asked about said plan saying he'd asked Amy Adams to come up with a plan.

Well , the tides going to turn on the pm , and the silent often hidden majority are over being spoken to like children "and the golden rules are etc " so maybe the polls won't pick up the outgoing tide , cos if the silent majority are like me , they wouldn't engage with pollsters , so maybe the margin of error could be in for an all time blow out , and the pm will fall into the trap of believing her own bs

"The cyclist was a middle-aged white male".

I thought the modern NZ media was supposed to be colourblind? Not always it seems? Bias reporting to suit an agenda is not good. Please leave that to Fox news and CNN.

You could add the BBC to that list.

Gates is the fourth largest cash provider to the BBC. So it's not a public utility, but has sold out. Scrap the license fee, or better still, disband the propagandists. Link

Gates definitely part of the problem.

The Gates Foundation is the charity, but it's owned by the Gates Trust, which is a for-profit entity to benefit Gates, and that's where the billions are, including Microsoft stock, and the for-profit investments in the vaccine manufacturers. Link

Maybe Trotter has gone gay? He was transfixed by the lycra and bulging thigh muscles.
Gay is fine but that bit did mess up his article somwhat.

I'm fascinated by NZ's dairy mafia.


Sometimes I despair about the polarising propaganda that David publishes. Sometimes I try to wean myself off, but the comments bring me back.

This article was a new low.

Not sure that I will be able to use the word journalism anymore in good conscience when discussing

So you and Roger would silence the views/opinions you don't like? As opposed to offering balanced critical discussion? I am not a leftie by ideology, but I do value views from both sides of the spectrum. I would add that over time I have found both yours and Roger's contributions valuable and engaging, even when i haven't always agreed.

I enjoy and appreciate looking at a wide range of viewpoints myself. I do not enjoy political hit pieces that depart significantly from reality. The opening analogy was odious and obvious in its bias. I can point out the ugliness in this highly charged opinion piece just as I will point out the errors in a Trump tweet. I will look at a wide spectrum of views. I will enjoy a discerning discussion regardless of the political spectrum. Yellow journalism, not so much.

I'm not sure about being odious. I'm a white, older male and I suppose middle class, and I go to gym regularly for my health and fitness, but I agree with CT's implied view that people of my ilk and age dressed in Lycra are not a pretty sight. CT is probably guilty of implying a stereotype, but then he would likely fall into the group that that stereotype fits. Mirrors and all that. No I looked past the opening and looked at the message, and like all of CTs articles recently, I found it interesting and thought provoking. You will note that I too wondered why National are not putting women in the running. and i tend to agree with CTs contention that old, stale, male, pale, white colonialism is past its 'use by date'.

I am curious though - I have not seen the original news article. Was here in NZ, or the the US?

Wow... I'm guessing you forgot to use the /sarc tag!

Nope, dead serious. I don't have a precious ego. i don't think that because am male that I am better at a job than a woman, or that because my ethnicity is European that I am better than a Maori, African or Asian. My philosophy is that I cannot claim that because of an accident of birth which i had no choice or control over that somehow i am better than someone else. i do however try to be intelligent, use the gift that God gave all of us - our brain, as much as possible, recognising my limitations, learning from others perspectives and experiences. And most of all i try to do no harm. I am not afraid to think, ask questions and learn. I don't stand bullies very well (and my military background usually means I challenge them), and am not good a playing politics. My integrity is my gift to myself and I try to hold a high standard.

A range of ideas and opinions is what makes this site good.


Kelvin Davies is the ultimate proof of why appointing on the basis of identity is a really stupid idea.

But if you want to play the diversity game, can Labour explain why so few in their top 10 are female? National has twice as many women.

Or does diversity only matter when lefties use it as an opportunity to criticise National?

well of course it has been sidelined - 3 months of wall to wall jacidna love ins every day -- and the resplendent association that many people made with the excellent civil servants being Labour and not 30 year bureaucrats

Fact is - given that amount of air time -- that we did not hear anything from her own incompetent cabinet - wheres Kelvin/Clarke when you need a muppet - and that to be fair they absolutely achieved what they set out to do - and elminated the virus from our shores -- Labour polling at ONLY 58% i would see as a pretty good outcome for National - thats still over 40% not voting for her despite

National only need to sit tight -- talk exclusively about creating real jobs real economy etc for the next 6 weeks and let the lay offs continue, the impact of less hours on household budgets take effect, watch the house market start its fall and the last 2 years of FHBs start to sweat, watch commercial property empty, new builds be cancelled / go on hold and that number will start dropping back into the 40;s quick enough

then 6 weeks out -- announce a radical and bold job creation strategy - plenty of green based options -- plenty of stuff focussed on young people -- and let it play out -- keep sending the Winston is RED message - make it a straight fight !

Bearing in mind - that with this governments commitment to borrow 50 bill this year and 200 bill over their next term --- there is very little limit to whaqt they can announce - nobody will be able to cost all the election promises this time around -- lllies for all -

and if national cannot come up with something radical and attractive to teh country with that type of budget - they dont deserve a shot anyway

There's an interesting piece on Kiwiblog today, indicating that even many left-leaning voters think there is left-wing bias in much of the media.

But came out as being reasonably balanced.

I think the left slanted comments overshadow the percieved balance.

Could we please have a female, instead of a middle-aged white male, as the token lefty.

'The nasty incident recorded on the cycle-track strongly suggests that the old solutions: physical intimidation and violence; may no longer be enough.

If this sounds altogether too hifalutin, then answer this question: Why did the National Party.......'

See that gap between the two sentences CT wrote above, was there another article to go between those two sentences or did CT go from Lycra to National party in one breath?

Sort of like some people went from CV19 social distancing to no social distancing for BLM march back to social distancing again without seeing the contradiction.

Q - "Why did the National Party swap Todd Muller for Simon Bridges?"
A - National needs to do a deal with Winston to win in 2020. Simon Bridges and Winston Peters really, really dislike each other.

Cynically assume the plan is. Winston will withdraw from the coalition sometime in July over some made up trivia and attack the government hard. By then it will be too late to change the election date and he will build himself back up to 5% plus in September. Muller will try to get National back up towards 40%. Act gets 2% + Epsom. The Greens will wither on the vine and not make 5%. Jacinda will win the largest slice of the vote at about 45%.

Winston decides.

Bridges was ok with Peters.

Peters, on the other hand, could never forgive Bridges for hammering him in the Tauranga electorate in 2008.

Utu at it finest.

Well , "the golden rules etc etc "
Am I the only one that's over being spoken to like a child by the pm ?
Sure Todd Muller might not be very media savy or have much in the way of solid policy to talk about yet , however the pm has me reaching for a travel sickness bag with the condescending children speak .
What happened to the team of 5million ?
We're not sheep that need to be spoken to like that ,,,
So I'm currently looking for something different.
Some one who talks as a public servant who relates to the reality of what many businesses now face vs someone who has mastered the art of metaphors and communication , yet appears out of touch with regional reality

National does not have to do a thing, just wait until the Green and Labour party talks about CGT, then watch what happens !

LABOUR has lost elections spectacularly over CGT in the past .............I would wager there will be no mention of CGT in the forthcoming election manifesto .

They will not go there

"How are the critical hierarchies of social control to be protected? How is the manageability of women, the young, and the marginalised “other”, to be preserved?" Indeed. Add to that preserving zombie conservative policies like low taxes for the wealthy, small government and budget deficits are always bad. National is doing no more than reflecting its base - much of which seems to spend a fair bit of time on these message boards...

Well Chris Trotter , I think Labour will slow its own momentum down due to in consistent policy and rule application ,,, thinking black power funerals during level 4 and Avatar crew vs America's cup staff and other funerals during level 4 etc etc , so no consistency , so I guess if Labour's going to shoot its self in the foot that easily , then National only need come up with an alternative and the tide will turn
And speaking of inconsistencies , the maga hat !! really and what does the burqa mean to many people ?
So , I guess if your white and central your views don't count , and if your left and vocal , your views are demanded to be exalted over all others .
Really ? give me a break ! PC gone too far

and now Chris , think border control failures and the Captain deserting her ship , can you can see what I mean?