Chris Trotter argues Labour is no longer a tradition. Rather it has become a brand – and Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson are changing it

Chris Trotter argues Labour is no longer a tradition. Rather it has become a brand – and Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson are changing it
PM Jacinda Ardern

By Chris Trotter*

What has happened to Labour? Since claiming 50.01% of the Party Vote and a clear parliamentary majority, the party is undergoing a strange and alarming metamorphosis. From the party of Helen Clark: which at least attempted to preserve the historical ties (however tenuous) to Labour’s original political mission; to a collection of politicians who are happy to exploit the Labour brand, but have set their faces against anything resembling traditional Labour policies. The extremely unusual phenomenon of a party in full, headlong retreat from an unprecedented electoral victory merits some form of explanation.

At the heart of Labour’s perplexing defeatism (what other word can one apply to its wholesale adoption of conservative economic and social nostrums?) is its repeated experience of defeat. For three elections in a row, following the fall of the Clark Government in 2008, Labour failed to crest 40% of the Party Vote. (Indeed, Clark herself only managed to secure a Party Vote above 40% mark twice in her whole 15 years at the top of the Labour Party i.e. 2002 and 2005).

The Labour caucus’s ingrained defeatism was reinforced mightily by the catastrophic defeats of 2011 and 2014 when first Phil Goff and then David Cunliffe dragged their party well below 30%. While the shot in the arm provided by Jacinda Ardern’s 36.89% in 2017 was, unquestionably, a powerful stimulant (she had lifted Labour’s Party Vote by a very creditable 11.76 percentage points) it still left Labour trailing National by 7.56 percentage points. Even on a good day, it seemed, New Zealanders’ preferences lay elsewhere.

Now, there will be plenty who object that Labour is being too hard on itself. Supporters of “The Left” (whatever that means in 2020!) will argue that when the votes flowing to Labour, the Alliance and the Greens are added together the strength of progressivism in New Zealand is much more accurately presented. They will point out, for example, that tallying the votes of the progressive parties in 1999 produces a figure, 51.64%, not too far short of the 59.04% progressive triumph of 2020.

Unfortunately for “The Left”, that is not how Labour reads these numbers. As any honest representative of either the Alliance or the Greens will attest, Labour does not look upon unashamedly radical MPs as comrades in the struggle for a democratic-socialist/eco-socialist future, but as politically unhinged interlopers: unwelcome competitors in a steadily shrinking electoral market. Far from drawing comfort from the support flowing to its left, Labour registers only how very meagre that support is. On a really bad election day, Labour may attract 25% of the Party Vote, but when has the Green Party ever managed to attract even half that level of support? Answer: Never.

The Labour caucus’s scorn for the radical Left extends well beyond the Greens (and, before, them, the NewLabour Party and the Alliance) to include whatever remnant of left-wing activism might still exist within Labour’s own ranks. In the aftermath of Helen Clark’s departure in 2008, it became clear to many not-very-left-wing Labour MPs that this remnant was disconcertingly large. Large enough, certainly, to impose a surprisingly progressive election manifesto on Phil Goff in 2011. Large enough, by 2013, to impose David Cunliffe upon a parliamentary caucus who hated his guts. Still large enough, even after Cunliffe’s disastrous showing in 2014, to deny (by a whisker!) the party leadership to Grant Robertson.

The picture of the crestfallen pair, Robertson and Ardern, as the news of Andrew Little’s narrow victory was announced, is worth several thousand words.

Even more telling, however, was the naked fury on display at the Labour Party’s annual conference held in Ellerslie in November 2012. This was the conference where it first became clear to the dominant, Robertson-led, faction of the Caucus that the party membership was slipping from its control, and that its purblind adherence to Helen Clark’s and Michael Cullen’s lacklustre variant of Tony Blair’s “Third Way-ism” was not what the party wanted.

Having successfully persuaded Andrew Little to step aside (with a lot of help from Labour’s Maori MPs) putting forward Jacinda Ardern as his replacement was the Robertson faction’s last roll of the dice. Indeed, it was probably Labour’s last roll of the dice. With internal polling indicating that if something dramatic wasn’t done to arrest the Little slide, then Labour could easily slip into the teens and cease to be a viable Opposition party. To say that “Jacinda” saved Labour’s bacon is to understate her achievement quite considerably.

The rest, as they say, is history. But the history before the history remains crucial to understanding why the government elected on 17 October is so committed to serving-up the thin gruel of warmed-over Blairism. At the very centre of that commitment is the Ardern-Robertson duumvirate’s unshakeable belief that the Labour Party’s traditional leftism has, for at least three decades, been unsaleable to a majority of the New Zealand electorate. Hence their abiding fear that even the slightest suggestion that traditional Labour leftism has become the driving force behind government policy will see its support tumble back into the 30s – or worse.

The admiration and deep affection in which the Prime Minister is held by so many New Zealanders has its roots in her conduct during crises. Be it the Mosque Shootings, or the rapid onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ardern’s responses were instinctive, almost impulsive. In both situations there were no rulebooks to consult, no standard remedies to apply. She dug deep into the person that she is and found all that was necessary to meet the challenges that rose before her.

But, crises – by definition – are not permanent. Eventually, the rulebook returns – along with the standard remedies. In these circumstances, the instinctive, impulsive “Jacinda” is reabsorbed into the cautious and conventional politician she has always been. For a time, Ardern’s superb communication skills will help to deflect the voters’ attention from her rock-solid adherence to the social and economic status-quo – but not forever.

The proposition upon which the Ardern-Robertson duumvirate is betting the whole Labour house is disarmingly simple: that the eventual exposure of this government as a bunch of fiscal and political conservatives will not harm its chances of re-election. They know that it is much less damaging for Labour to bleed out a few angry left-wing voters to the Greens and the Maori Party, than to precipitate the mass desertion of the tens-of-thousands of former National Party voters who lifted Labour’s share of the Party Vote from 37% to 50%.

Thirty years of beating-back, shutting-down, and ignoring the raised voices of the Left has hardened Labour’s leaders to the heartfelt appeals of unions, NGOs, and other assorted do-gooders dedicated to serving the poor and disadvantaged. For Ardern and Robertson – and, it should be noted, the newly appointed General Secretary of the Labour Party, Rob Salmond – the question to be resolved is not whether the case advanced by “The Left” is right or wrong, but how many votes will it cost/benefit Labour at the next election.

When Helen Clark became Prime Minister in 1999, the transformational periods of “Rogernomics” and “Ruthanasia” were barely a decade old. Moreover, traditional Labour leftism, as manifested in the Alliance; and the Greens eco-socialism; were crucial to her ability to govern. Meaning? There was only so much revisionism she could get away with! In 2020, however, the neoliberal revolution is 30 years in the past, and those who remember fondly the New Zealand that preceded it grow fewer with every passing winter. Labour is no longer a tradition, it has become a brand – and Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson are changing it.


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. He writes a weekly column for interest.co.nz. His work may also be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com.

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88 Comments

I would not call Labour party's success in gaining voters during this special time based purely on the dismay of the opposition party and short-term memory of voters a real and sustainable success.

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Yep, the true indicators of success are complete and permanent elimination of the election process, empty threats to trading partners and a few genocide campaigns.

CourtJester,

Indeed. A few "hard labour/re-education" camps dotted round the country should do the trick. With his CCP affiliations, Xing would be ideally placed to advise on the best way forward. Democracy is so messy and often inconclusive.

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The additional support they have received is from swing voters who were either scared of Covid, or were disillusioned with National due to their continued instability.

That support is temporary, and in the case of the Covid effect, it is very temporary. National's instability is also temporary, and is something that seems to happen to every party once it ceases to be the government after a number of terms.

In effect Labour has dragged itself into the centre, and had to make promises regarding capital gains taxes, wealth taxes and renege on a bunch of other policies that it would traditionally support.

Labour will be trying to figure out if they can keep everyone happy over the next few years and try to retain the swing vote that they have received on this occasion. Doing nothing is their best policy because it is what they do best, and is what the swing voters that have voted for them expect. If they go down the road of implemeting some weird leftist policies, then they will be back to the mid 30s in terms of support soon enough.

It will be a touch balancing act for them.

It may be temporary. However National's last big defeat in 2002 did not see them lose as many electorate seats as they did this time.

Electorate voting is often much stickier than party votes - not uncommon for a party to win a particular electorate but lose the party vote in that same electorate.

Voting in 2020 does seem to have been different, with the wave of electorate losses, including many previous strongholds from National.

Thus I think the standard "reversion to the mean" narrative is ripe for questioning. Probably this is temporary, but Labour may have a real chance at solidifying some lasting change in the electoral landscape, in a way that didn't happen after National's devastation in 2002, if they can play their cards carefully. Which I think is exactly what Jacinda and her strategists are setting out to do.

By doing very little?

10
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This term of Parliament hasn't even started.

I think people are making way too premature judgements on what this government is going to achieve, or not. Really we need to wait until March-ish next year to get a clear steer on their legislative agenda (they passed more legislation in 2017-2020 than any of the National governments did from 2008-2016 in 3 years). The 2021 budget will be the real signal for their direction.

It's quite clear that in 2017 they over-promised and eventually under-delivered. This time they haven't over-promised, and people are already expecting them to under-deliver on that. Given this is now an experienced government and set of ministers, and they don't have coalition partners to squabble with, the fairest approach is to wait and see how they do, don't pre-judge them.

I agree Labour should be given the opportunity and time to initiate meaningful and measurable change BUT if they fail to deliver the electorate may not be quite so forgiving in 2023. Labour may find themselves in a sword of Damocles situation if they're not careful

Yes.

Yes.

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Hmmm yes it's really just a choice of which team we want to implement neoliberalism, the red team or the blue team.

That tends to be what Labour voters say. It's a shame you voted wrong, don't try to brush it off though! I voted TOP, there are plenty of options!

Own your personal voter failings, don't try to socialize your mistakes like Labour. Take some personal responsibility.

What on earth are you on about? I voted for The Sustainable NZ Party. Did I say anywhere above I voted for either Labour or NZ?

Very tiny tiny minority you're in if you voted for them.

And that all comes down to which one has the most popular neoliberal leader. Aren't the last 8 elections Clark, Clark, Clark, Key, Key, Key, Ardern, Ardern?

Yes, it’s like looking at the Club Champion board at a regional golf club.

Labour will increasingly be irrelevant.

Just like Trotter if this is the bast he can do.

He is on the money here. Power for power's sake.

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CT's visit of history aside, he is largely correct in attributing Labour's victory to Jacinda Adern the person and her unprecedented conduct during successive crises. Her simple humanity that was so eloquently portrayed after the mosque shootings, and the courage to put life before money when COVID came along (which ironically has led the country back to money far faster than the rest of the world) has presented a simple, but very clear message to the world - our Prime Minister values people as the basis of this nation.

But CT is correct, without policies that will actually correct the ills faced by many middle and lower income kiwis, JA's light will soon lose its sparkle. Labour have a massive opportunity currently that no other party has had since the introduction of MMP, and they now have to show their true colours. And if those colours are not what they've sold to the public, they will just be opening the door to the opposition to kick them to the kerb.

I guess the question is whether it is possible to make the middle and lower income kiwis richer without making everyone poorer.

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As opposed to making the upper class kiwis richer while making everybody else poorer, as is the case now.

Are you sure they are poorer? Its hard to measure, but I remember a lot of poverty in the 80s and 90s in NZ, unemployment rates in double digits, etc.
Plenty of middle class NZ have million dollar houses, they are much richer than 20 years ago. Its almost like the middle class has been split; those who own houses (potentially excluding recent buyers) and those who don't. I'm not saying this is a good thing, just that it isn't just the rich getting richer but a lot of the middle class too.

It's paper wealth. How do they realize their gains? Do they all need to sell and move to small provincial towns?

Well I guess there is no wealth divide then...

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Oh blah:

- 20% increase in house prices (past year)
- Terrible OECD Child Poverty Rates
- 4th highest incarceration rate (behind the likes of Turkey, American and Israel)
- 20,000+ on social housing list
- Low wages continue, fruit rots on the ground
- Excessive state/lobbyist propaganda
- Near total stifling of wannabee productive startups
- Socialisms for the 1%, criminal justice system for the bottom 50%
- Drug reform, ruled out
- Speculation tax, ruled out
- Bluetooth Covid Card [fumbled]
- No policies

Jacinda is probably one of the worse PM's in living memory. OMG, she hugged followers of Islam .. crown her forever Queen .. FOR-E-VA QU-EEEE-EN~!! - ridiculous. My fellow Kiwis must be either Boomers or just really thick to elect a party like Labour. Probably a bit of both I'd say.

Add to that list the promise of innovation and rebuilding critical supply chain locally, which was completely undermined when signing the RCEP.

We're somehow going to fast-track our way to prosperity by selling milk and tertiary qualifications to other RCEP countries.

If it increases our export receipts by the ~2bil hoped for who cares? RCEP is a good lever to hopefully encourage an FTA with Eurozone and UK, it also might entice the US to rethink the TPP membership. Remember we already have individual FTAs with many of the RCEP countries so I'm not sure what the complete undermining risk actually is - other than imaginary.

Not sure?

Nonsense.

Don't want to articulate, you mean.

Actually .. no. I just think it's another tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theory expounded by those who have no skin in the game - something you excel at

C'mon Zack, all of the above is a legacy from the previous National Government, and that Government offered nothing different (and this comment makes you look like a Trump supporter post election)! Their first term was heavily reliant on the agreement of NZF and the Greens who torpedoed a few policies. Now they need no one. Now they can do what ever they like, but the questions are what is it and will they? So will it be more of the same - rich getting richer, more homeless Kiwis who can't afford a house over their heads resulting in more child poverty, tax payer funds subsidising rental housing investment, more struggling health care and so on? Or does Labour actually stand for some thing that is of value to the majority of Kiwis, not just the top 10%?

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You only get three years to blame the last guys. It's on Labour now.

Labour have ruled out making progress on housing. Like they have ruled out making progress on drug reform.

Labour under Helen Clark decided instead of dealing with housing, they work create Working for Families. Now young, single, responsible Kiwis compete for jobs [low wages] with birthers who are subsidized .. and the housing Ponzi scheme continues.

Labour have an outright majority and they refuse to make changes. I find it disgusting; you .. trying to paint them better than National. Now, go hang your head in shame and read a book.

I don't paint them better than national Zack. I just acknowledge their message and now expect them to live up to it. They have an opportunity that hasn't been given to any other party since MMP was introduced, now as stated the question is will they live up to their own message?

Sorry, I was a little harsh .. just trying to give Labour a kick up the backside

No worries Zack, I too am trying to hold them to account. I do enjoy the debate, but get a little frustrated when some try to shoot a messenger rather than discuss their message or opinion. The trick for us though will be to stay on message for the next three years, to ensure our Government and politicians are accountable to the people. We are after all in a democracy.

Labour is like some big companies Ive seen with a great sales team but very poor manufacturing and delivery teams.

That's what voters judge their candidates on - personal appeal and charisma. Meritocracy is dead in polling booths and job interview rooms.

I am not saying merit elsewhere means guaranteed results but you can't put a bunch of people who've run nothing in their lives in charge of running a country and expect them to perform under pressure when required to make the tough decisions on matters of great complexity.

Meritocracy was never alive to start with. It was always just an inanimate idiom for capitalist to hide behind while they wealth and connections networked their way to the top of the ladders.

She's progressed from fish and chip shop lady to waffle queen.

I will say it again, 'Blairlite"

And look at what happened to UK Labour after Blair left.
The UK conservatives learned a lesson though, they went more centre. They spent a ton of money on Crossrail and cycling while our National lot sat there criticising any urban progress.

That'd be the same National govt that forced through the Unitary plan? Tell me, how is Labour's rapid transit network rollout shaping up?

Actually under Bill English (and Bridges as transport minister) they were a bit better. But they seem to have reverted to be anti progress again.
Can't really judge Labour too much on their last term with the NZ first handbrake on. But they need to make progress in the next 3 years.

The NZ First handbrake from NZ First, the party they were always going to need to govern? I don't buy the handbrake excuse. Besides, NZ First had nothing to do with the total balls-up that was light rail, other than quietly euthanizing it when it had already become a huge unwieldy PPP monstrosity. That it got to that point is on a) Twyford for stuffing it up and b) Ardern for never actually disciplining him in the first term for it, at all.

Third Way fabianisn with a dose of influence from the cohort of Rhodes scholars.

The key message would seem to be very simple: history says that political power in NZ goes to those who hold the allegiance of the Centre. Within an MMP system, it then becomes important for a Centrist Party to have an ally well to the right or the left who has no power except within an alliance with the Centrist Party.
KeithW

Keith looks like ardern has already put the greens in their place by ruling out increasing sick leave this year.

Increasing sick leave is a Labour policy and far from being ruled out. Ardern wants it in place by April 1 and was never intending to implement it this year.

I think the effects of QE and asset hyperinflation will force radical change next election.
What were the conditions that bought Hitler to power, Trump and Bolshevics?

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So basically NZ wants middle of the road, no change, no surprises, and has got it for another 3 years, maybe 6. Asset owners will be happy to vote for the status quo, particularly if it shields them from revolution.

Can't wait for the 2nd Town Hall reset in six month's time.

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The in-decisive direction NZ is heading in will lead to the eventual rise of a charismatic decision-making head-kicker ala Muldoon or Douglas

Probably sooner than eventually. MAGA USA has shown that exasperation with neoliberal repression is not just a left-wing thing.

Those both occurred under FPP.

F--- Peter and Paul?

Social democracy, including labour parties in the anglosphere have been gradually shifting towards the right since the fall of the Iron Courtain. It is hard to tell exactly why but one would could think they have been trying avoid identifying themselves with those that lost in the cold war in the eyes of the voters which the right wing kept doing anyway as a means of scaremongering.

It’s now a fixed game now globally, so old political definitions are redundant.
‘Democracy’ in line with the dominant media line, corporate business and the ‘hopeless’ contender.
You could apply this commentary to NZ 2020

https://m.theepochtimes.com/exclusive-victor-davis-hanson-on-the-2020-el...

Here is the simple maths.
Say the bottom 30% are being looked upon by the next 30% above them
And a party says, we want to raise taxes to give more to the bottom 30%.
it is the next 30% up who fear paying for stuff for the bottom, who , they feel, do not deserve it.
Plus, the higher 30% are most un-PC, and do not favour affirmative action by the State.
There is also the lack of ability of bottom 30% to vote, and when they do, the fact that 25-35% of them vote for Parties other than Labour/Greens.
then, you have all the NZ legislation and future which is voluntaristic and set against any Party of government attempt to DO anything without 5 years consulting and no upsetting the default setting of "State bad, Private capital good and new public management theory.
Chris Trotter knows all this and he knows Left ALWAYS drifts Right.
And that is why Trump won because he got so many working class votes from people sick of democrats doing nothing for them for all their big talk and liberalism.

Good points. I still think Labour could do much more progressive stuff without losing much of the middle NZ vote.
It will be interesting to see if we see a 'NZ Trump'. The failure of the left has been cited as a reason for the emergence of Trump. The working class becoming disenfranchised with the Dems, Labour etc.
Labour may see opportunity in being centrist but they also need to see the risk.

The failure of ‘The Left’? That assumes ‘The Left’ are the ones making decisions when in reality it is the centre(third way) and right making all the decisions. The actual left hasn’t been allowed anywhere near the levers of power without being under threat and suppression, to make any real progressive economic change for the average joe for quite some time.

Here's a question Mike, and for the others who monitor this forum; your 'number' delineate a 'traditional' socialist solution of taking from the 'haves' to give to the 'have-nots'. why not do something different like create real jobs for them, that create genuine opportunity? Since Rogernomics we have seen so much industry plundered and jobs exported that the bottom of society struggle to get a leg up. By giving them benefits we perpetuate dependency which is not good for any one, but I suggest largely unavoidable. But why not put money into creating industry in places that would benefit from it? Stop exporting logs for instance, but build mills to produce finished timber, and even treated timber to international standards. Develop a structure to support and build SMEs to employ people. People will say why - one answer crime and prisons. They are a blight on our society. We cannot get rid of them, but we can give people better choices than the ones they face now.

I agree with the general gist of your argument murray but there's a big furry fly in the ointment - most of our industry and pretty much all our commercial scale forests are offshore owned. We'd need to create new industries from scratch and right now the Govt hasn't shown much interest in supporting that, with some minor exceptions.

Offshore ownership is not impediment to job creation and economic impact from ‘new business’.
Key is to see what advantages NZ has for manufacturing or service industry located here.... not many if any.

Resilience, and less crime. Manufacturing provides a tech base for us to be able to produce more of what we need here rather than import it. It provides both skilled and unskilled jobs for our people, giving them better choices and options for their lives. Prisons are expensive and entirely unproductive, and a big cause of them being too full these days is Rogernomics. Recognise this and work to produce decent jobs at decent working conditions everywhere and people are not forced into the gangs and criminal activities to survive. Make it so a kid who is not academically inclined can leave school at 15 and still find a job where they will be paid reasonable money for a 40 hour working week, and overtime if they are needed to work longer. Paying them a benefit cripples them, giving them a good job builds a future - for them and the country.

Money spent supporting business's to do this will cost less than the benefits and prisons. Make housing genuinely affordable and unsubsidised by regulating the rental market and we start to have a much fairer society.

We are good at creating industries, but when they are sucessful we sell them off. Often leading to closure.
It's like keeping existing customers - much easier than finding new ones.
We need to retain ownership of the newsucessful enterprises.

Not disagreeing with that approach. But I never mentioned benefits.
If the State does do anything for the bottom 30% however, generally it uses fiscal policy and that mans more tax.
More State borrowing only benefits bond holders getting the interest.
Unskilled and semi skilled work is what has been exported to China and India from EU and USA mostly.
That suppresses wages and inflation. Suppressed wages mean less demand or consumer spending hence more borrowing required.
hence lower interest rates.
If the State does not periodically reset this mess and redistribute wealth on an ongoing basis, the system automatically generates more wealth inequality.
That is message Picketty puts across
By the way, Right commentators on her usually only do "price rises in Auckland" and keep off more obvious "politics"
But in the end it all comes down to power
Those who own lots of houses and rent out a lot, and have no need to work, accrue more power incrementally, each year.
Supporting that by valorising landlordism, simply supports the increasing inequality by not doing anything about it.

The cohort that is immediately above the Govt. welfare cut-off point is almost always worse off than those that qualify for welfare. And therefore there is a tendency for those that just missed out to change their behaviour to qualify, ie do less.

That is why it is important to incentivize behaviour or provide support for that cohort to 'jump' the other way into productive activity rather than backwards, but don't leave them in that middle ground. Unfortunately, due to policy, this middle ground is growing.

If the incentive is to qualify for Govt. support, you naturally end up with fewer people having to pay more tax to support such a system.

For a 'controlling' type Govt., the more people come to rely on them, the more guaranteed their voter base is, but the trick is, 'how do you convince all the others that are working, and less likely to have voted for you, to keep paying for it.

We will soon find out.

Pretty much traditional politics Dale; the left try to make more people dependent on them, and therefore more compliant, the right try to make the upper echelons richer, which as the same end result on the lower half as the left's policies. No win for anyone. Needs to change.

Agree

Brilliant expose of Labour's true nature - conservative centrists.

Herein lies a major challenge for the National Party. If Labour are centrists, then National need to push further to the right. And/or fight the battle on leader personality , which is a sad state of affairs.

No, what they have to do (I'm not saying this is right, but it's politically correct) is fight in the center and win. These elections are always won by who captures the most centrist votes.

Well what can they do when the population have been through thirty five years of neo-liberal indoctrination into a false belief system that taxation and borrowing actually finance the government. Voters are now obsessed by government debt levels without even any understanding of what they represent. MMT should be taught in schools and mainstream economists put out to pasture where they belong.

"mainstream economists put out to pasture where they belong." - haha yeah, in the paddock next to MMT theorists. Make sure the MMT proponents are behind deer netting with a double hotwire

Obviously you have not spent many years studying it as I have. There is truth and there is falsehood, mainstream is the later. MMT makes complete and logical sense when you take the time to study it.

Well if it's so sensible and logical why isn't it being initiated?

MMT is a description of how our monetary system is already operating it does not need to be implemented, we only need to better understand it.

So if you're going to introduce a new description of what is already operating - what's the point? Seems a waste of effort to me, won't change anything other than introducing new terms to describe existing actions.

We would get better policy choices if we understood what the governments financial capabilities really are. When the government deficit spends it creates a surplus in the private sector that creates our savings, isn't that a better way of thinking of it than only of the government being in debt, it is our savings created. So why does the government borrow back this money it has created? Mainly so that the Reserve Bank can maintain its interest rate settings. As we see with QE when the government repays its borrowings interest rates fall almost to nothing. Also MMT tells us that taxation doesn't really fund the government either, it only deletes money so as to control the money supply.
A paper here from the Levy Economics Institute that explains that taxation and borrowing cannot finance the government. http://www.levyinstitute.org/publications/can-taxes-and-bonds-finance-go...
An article here explaining sectoral balances and how government deficits create our savings. https://gimms.org.uk/fact-sheets/sectoral-balances/

Like I said.. more theoretical claptrap spouted by academics in lecture halls. It's a free world so believe what you want.

Something is either true or it is not, there is no middle ground. Claptrap is what we hear from the mainstream. As economist Prof Bill Mitchell says, university economics courses teach fake knowledge and their economists all suffer from groupthink unable to admit they are wrong. It only takes an application of common sense to see that what they say cannot be correct. What is the source of money in their model and where does it come from? Only the NZ Government has the authority to create the NZ Dollar Currency and it cannot legally come from anywhere else. Banks can only create debt based credit, money that carries an equal debt liability that must be repaid, we cannot save up that money. Are there any other sources of money that you know of? And don't forget that NZ runs current account deficits that loose money from the economy?

Your argument is simplistic and unthought out Hook. You seem to be angry at something you don't understand.

MMT taught in schools ? Well maybe alongside the pilots course for flying pigs.

Yes perish the thought that students might actually learn the truth rather than mainstream neo-liberal propaganda.

MMT is what every country in the world is doing now. You don't think that's worth thinking and learning about?

What happens to Labour when JA moves on? It is dangerous to have your success centred on a popular leader. Look at National and what happened when Key went off to work on the next item in his bucket list.

As per my comment above, NZ politics has sadly descended into a personal popularity contest where policy counts for little.

As it is in many countries. I think the media have a big role in this.

Wow! Chris Trotter has nailed it. As much as I dislike his message, he is accurate. 'At the very centre of that commitment is the Ardern-Robertson duumvirate’s unshakeable belief that the Labour Party’s traditional leftism has, for at least three decades, been unsaleable to a majority of the New Zealand electorate'. Power for power's sake I guess and a creeping towards a post Blair Britain like regression. Kia ora and good luck to the 25% of our people whose economic situation is already at bottom.