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Peter Dunne would like a political party he can vote for at the next election

Peter Dunne would like a political party he can vote for at the next election

By Peter Dunne*

I want a Christmas present I do not think Santa can, or will, deliver me. I am not being selfish or unreasonable, but just realistic, because what I want is a political party I can vote for at the next General Election.

As one who feels currently disenfranchised, I have been looking at what the two main parties have to offer. Both have their good points, but are too bogged down by their negatives to be real options. 

I quite like National's pragmatism and realism, but it is too beholden to the top end of the business community for my liking, and still far too inclined to see its role as doing their bidding. Besides, there is a nasty, punitive streak evident in the attitudes of some of its newer MPs that is disturbing, and a group of hard right activists outside Parliament trying to pull the party more in their direction that is downright scary.

Labour's social policies have always held appeal, but the fact that it is still lock-step with the unions when most New Zealanders are not is a turn-off. Also, its obsequious adherence to political correctness is nauseating. I wish it would actually stand for something, rather than just pandering to every passing cause.

Both parties are still in the rigid "my party, right or wrong mould", with limited capacity to compromise, or reach across the political divide. I well recall the advice a very distinguished former MP gave me many years ago that he joined his particular party simply because he agreed with more of what it stood for than he disagreed with. I have always thought that was the appropriate balance. It would nice to see more evidence of that type of thinking in both Labour and National today.

In my quest, I have even looked at the Greens and ACT as well. The Greens have increasing credibility on environmental issues, especially as the ravages of climate change become daily more apparent, but, oh dear, they do go off at  strange and tangents every now and then, that leave one wondering. ACT is still too trapped in the neo-liberal time warp of the 1980s to be at all relevant today.

As I am a generally tolerant and reasonable person focused on the opportunities that lie ahead for our country, rather than the restoration of yesteryear, I cannot possibly consider New Zealand First. Nor am I am bigot or a racist, which seems to be a precondition for belonging to that party.

What I want is a basic, progressive  liberal party which believes in social justice, equality and equal access for all to opportunity, built on sound, environmentally sustainable market led economic policies, and where the government is there to help those in need, but otherwise lets people get on with their own lives. I want a party that is no slave to vested interests, and is transparent and open in the pursuit of its principles.

Of course, we used to have a party like that - UnitedFuture - whose policies people kept saying they liked, and that it was important we be in Parliament to promote them, but all that notwithstanding, when the crunch came, they just did not vote for us in sufficient numbers to make it all possible.

For those other middle ground people who feel similarly disenfranchised right now, it seems a simple enough proposition. A party of people like us to represent people like us. Yet, sadly, I do not think even Santa can make it happen!

So, in the meantime, it will be back to just dreaming. Dunne Speaks is taking a break for a few weeks, to focus instead on enjoying Christmas celebrations with family, but will be back early next year ever hopeful of finding a solution to this conundrum, and a party to vote for.

May I wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a successful New Year.

*Peter Dunne is the former leader of UnitedFuture, an ex-Labour Party MP, and a former cabinet minister. This article first ran here and is used with permission.

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Perhaps what Peter Dunne really wants is a better political system that is able to produce political parties that he wants.

The current system only enables voters to choose between an incompetent party and a less incompetent one.

He should run for parliament.

He did very well with the worm that took the wind out of Bolger’s sails. Yes people did swing over to what was perceived as good commonsense policies. But the subsequent tie up with those religious elements was unwise and the usual silly stuff that those sort of parties invariably indulge in, turned more off than on

Peter Dunne will never get the party he wants because modern liberal, progressive thought does not allow much room for people to get on with their own lives without interference. He should take heart that politicians are becoming increasingly impotent, and therefore irrelevant.
One of the few silver linings of Trump is that he has illustrated that the public sector isn't some impartial, non-partisan entity but a nearly all-powerful bloc that has its own agenda. When the Mueller fishing trip gets Trump gets kicked out or sabotages his election chances, the technocracy will score another victory. Sure Trump is an idiot, but its not a good precedent. I see no reason to think the NZ public sector would do things any differently.

Is this you putting your name forward to be a TOP candidate for the next election Peter?

I'm pretty sure they fit exactly the characteristics you outlined...

TOP has no values nor any vision. All TOP is is a limited set of random policies that don't link back to any goal, vision, or set of values.

Now now, this isn't the NBR, how about some reasoned analysis and facts in the place of name calling?

Their vision and values are clearly outlined on their website, and link through to their policy suite which is arguably more comprehensive than what is outlined by any other party.

If you take the time to have a read and listen you'll find that they are well aligned to what Peter has outlined above.

Which name did I use when name calling?
I have expressed an opinion about the party. Perhaps you could send a link to the particular web page that shows me their overall values, vision, and goals.
Otherwise all you are doing is trying to do is set antagonistic divisions related to which news site one might possibly read if they dare criticise dear leader Morgan.

"TOP has no values nor any vision" - granted this isn't a name but it amounts to as much - its a demonstrably false caricature/description.

Fair enough if you don't agree with what they put forward, but again claiming they don't have any vision or values is demonstrably false. gives an overview of what they are about - I'm sure there's plenty more info on their wider website.

Gareth Morgan hasn't been the leader of TOP for over a year and has a limited role now as reported on this site on a number of occasions.

I'll be sure to send Todd an apology note.

Merry Christmas

Firstly, regarding this name-calling thing. This is as much a name calling as all of Peter's opinions above as to why he doesn't like all of the parties. i.e. there is no name calling - you are using this retort as an easy way to silence people who are opposed to your (read somebody else's) ideas. aka lazy.

Secondly, thank you for posting that link. Have you actually read it? Not once on that page did they explain their vision or values. The only thing there was about a goal, being: "Our goal is ultimately a fully informed public". Okay, so how about getting into journalism?

I even looked through the constitution (really making us work for it). The best I could find there is in the "Objects" section, with the first object being: "Prioritise a prosperous, fair and equitable society.", alongside other objects such as honouring the treaty, having a written constitution, and nurturing the environment.

You could call the first object values I guess, but really it is pretty vague, and the overall objects list is more just a random bunch of specific policies again.

The point is that they decided on a few opportunistic policies, rather than being lead by a vision and set of values. This is called political opportunism - finding a small niche in the market with a few random policies that appeal to enough voters to get across the 5% line.

I stand by my original "name-calling" as you call it.

I liked this article. while I do not fully agree with PD on his analysis of the parties, I pretty much agree with the overall sentiment. For example I don't think National is very pragmatic at all, nor is labour in 'Lock step with the Unions" as the pendulum needed to swing a little back towards the workers. I feel he misses NZ First, but then i might be reading a different message then him from them.

Having said that his article is about having a balanced political party that can fairly balance left v right policies to get the best for all NZ'rs, emlpoyers and employees, and the vulnerable. I think he largely gets it right.

Right now I would struggle to vote for any of the main parties. My main problem with National is their capture by the Chinese and immigration lobby.. And Labour with their over the top PC. Greens with their support of drugs. NZ first on their poor choice of politicians.....

i don't disagree, particularly about the poor choice of politicians, and I don't think this problem is limited to NZF. the problem is these are the people who have put their hand up for it and got voted in. I suspect the really smart people don't want a bar of it...

Perhaps Dunne should stop looking to Santa and look at what he has got, as it sounds like what he wants is a coalition government , one where labour's nauseating political correctness would be offset by NZFs lack there off, one where Greens environmental policies and sound thinking could flourish but there wacky policies are kept in check by Labour. A government where Labour's progressive policies can move forward but is more beholding to it's elected coalition partners rather than to Unions. In fact I would say MMP has delivered the most representative and balanced government for a long time.

Mr Dunne - for you Christmas has come early.

ACT is not in govt, hence the nauseating political correctness. Although you would have thought NZF could have balanced that out, but it seems they have been given one policy (the billion dollar fund) and now have to agree to everything else from Labour, including the signing of the latest UN dogma.

Yes, signing the global compact on migration is treason. Merkel has stated that a UN two thirds majority yes vote will effectively make it binding.

sorry yes meant NZF, have edited

Representative of urban Wellingtonians maybe.

I would rather vote on an individual. One that goes and represents the values exposed which made me vote. Not one that spews forth and then heads down to Wellington to be told how to vote.

Parliament wasn't actually set up along 'party lines', it was set up for individuals as politicians. It has become corrupted as politicians have lost their independence - do as the leadership group says, or down the road.


Would you ever get any kind of agreement on anything with a bunch of individuals with their own agendas on every topic?

Agreed. As a Christian I struggle with either party. Labour offers a social justice and charity streak that is in line with my values, but they also have a distinct social engineering agenda - of the liberal type - which is so at odds with my values I can't vote for them.

National have more conservative social policies/outlook but really seem to be money at all costs. I do like that they expect people to help themselves but sometimes they get a bit tough.

I thought Colin Craig may have offered a middle ground...need I say more?

A lot of people I know voted for Winston as they thought that he would go with National and they hoped he would reign in their China love and selling of the country. We know how it ended and many people felt betrayed.

What I would like is an honest politician/party. One who isn't ideologically driven and doesn't change the laws because of the latest social fad or media pressure.

For what it's worth I think Bill English would have been great.

It is fine that you are a Christian, however, government and religion must stay apart. Under the right sort of govt you can exercise your rights as a Christian, however you should not seek to impose them onto others who do not share the same beliefs, therefore a liberal govt should serve you well.

You are right in that I don't want to force my beliefs on to anyone else, and religion and state have been separate for a long time now (I believe Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic monk, was one of the first to suggest that church and state should be separate in the 1200's). But that does that mean a person should leave their beliefs at the door to Parliament? The left certainly doesn't.

I also appreciate that NZ is a secular country and the freedoms that brings, which we all enjoy. And a central liberalism is good for everyone but I feel that we have moved so far left that Christians (religions in general) feel excluded and ostracized and certainly under represented.

Interestingly, Mr Finlayson said in his farewell speech in Parliament yesterday that, NZ is returning to a two-party state anyway. Effectively conceding that National has and will have "no mates".

(By the way isn't SUNLIGHT a great thing. See Winston for a list of the details!

It's all supposition. No one's going to get a vote in the next 12 months. Let's give CoL a chance. They'll hang themselves eventually. I hope the Nats can get their act together (no pun intended) & move to middle ground with some real ideas for the 450,000 small & medium size businesses out there. The big business boys are bullies, we know that, but there's probably a million votes out there in SMB land to be had if they had half a brain. The Nats also need some humility. There's still time. It'll take two years to hang Trump.

I want a proper right wing libertarian party. Slash taxes, slash immigration, slash the pension. Not ACT, who are more big state socialist than the democrats in America.

Surely freedom of movement and open borders is essential to being a true libertarian?

Unfortunately, not many people who think they crave a libertarian life actually know what it is.

Yep and when libertarianism can't be defined and is merely the same economic/political left vs right argument.

I'm a right libertarian and not an anarchist, so I believe in laws for some things, and in a government that is limited but nevertheless exists. If you go full libertarian of course, you believe in open borders... but then you also don't believe in public property, so any "freedom of movement" is trespassing.

No, no you can't redefine the term to suit yourself.

This is however pretty much exactly what every individual libertarian does IMHO.

I respect more true libertarians as their position is more consistent. Rather than "liberty for me but big government for people who don't look and sound like me" libertarians.

Libertarians always seem to struggle with maintaining the limits of the state when something in particular the state might offer suits them. Ayn Rand famously took her Medicare and Social Security checks in the end when suffering lung cancer. Oh well, it was in her self interest after all!

Actually I dont, libertarians only want Govn / services when it suits them to do what they want (in broad terms) at others expense to suppress others. So actually I "like" anarchy in this sense as at least they are intellectually honest, ie you get nothing but give nothing.

Sell the healthcare system, sell the transport system, sell the education system?


Fortunately for the rest of us,such a party is highly unlikely to gain any traction in NZ. Just look at how few vote for ACT.
There are no perfect societies,but I much prefer the Scandinavian model. I want comprehensive healthcare,education,social services and infrastructure and those have to be paid for.

I resent being taxed ever higher and higher to prop up low IQ people who make terrible life decisions and pay for pensions I'll never receive. The wheels have to fall off the social welfare bus sooner or later - let's rip the plaster off now.

Of course that won't happen. NZ will have 10 million people in a couple of decades, GST will be 25% yet we'll still be fighting "child poverty".

Your answer to what you see ahead is no answer at all. But, I guess you are assuming you will never be in a position to need social welfare yourself.
Welcome to the ragpickers dump, all, stake your claim.

"low IQ people" - so they are at fault for their low IQ? I assume you believe it is heritable? Can we punish people for something they have no control over? Is a disabled child at fault for their limitations and less deserving?

The new social darwinism emerging worries me. We know where it led in the 1930s. You might consider yourself to be a part of the UberMensch but definitions can change. You never know, you might have a head injury and find yourself one of those low IQ people who need propping up.

One year in high school I was put into the top maths class but I was at the bottom of that class which was fairly miserable. I managed to get transferred to the second to top class and that was much better as I was near the top of that class instead of at the bottom.

This made me think that a sort of class or caste system is not all bad. If you embrace your class you can find happiness and find fulfillment. You can seek, if you want to, to be the best in your class. This provides more opportunities for more people to excel.

Knowing and accepting your place in society and seeking to do the best you can with what you have is probably a recipe for happiness.

OMG, sounds like a middle aged white guy who has no idea. ie it seems maybe you were bottom in the logic class. ie your view is ass about face, the very point of a class system is you cannot move classes. The fact you could move shows that an egalitarian even meritocracy system has far greater fairness and better outcomes.

Too idealistic. You need to accept that there are are all sorts of classes. You cannot have "egalitarianism" when it comes to things like mathematical proficiency or something else innate, like beauty.

Egalitarianism threw the baby out with the bathwater and resulted in higher levels of depression and suicide.

Good grief.

All I am advising is that people should strive to be "best in class" without reaching their highest level of incompetence.

How are you going in the darklord class?

then leave....

and yet the Libertarians here in NZ did try 2(?) elections back and got no where.

Easy really, do a TOP, form a party and pay for it yourself, go for it.

If things stay as they currently are with Labour and the Nat, I will not be bothering to vote at the next election.Usually its a case of voting for the "Best of the worst" but its hit an all time low and has dropped below the point of me not giving a s*#t.

Ditto. A plague on both their houses etc.

PD's impetus in this article is perhaps more widely shared than he realises. But the catch is that what he wants may not now be achievable under the sorry combination of our very own version of the Deep State - the unelectable, unfire-able ones Who Know Best - central and local gubmint bureaucrats - and a motley assortment of politicians whose main purpose in life is to get elected and re-elected, by whatever means will get them past Go.

A Santa - in the sense of a benevolent dictator - might just do the trick. But like the proverbial tiger, the hard part about That ride, is the Getting Off.....

Ha, I came to that conclusion after John Key's first term.

What I've wanted to organise since is enough people to create an additional option on their voting papers: None of the Above. Get a big enough bloc of voters doing this and a message would be sent.

Of course this would require a unified society that has a common goal, a common understanding of what we are trying to achieve and finding a balance between the individual and the whole.

You may be Interested, then, in Angelo M Codevilla's musings: After the Republic is now a classic. The closing para:

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.

Things have not reached quite that pitch here. But then again, there's France.....

A GOLD standard

and then have no economy as such?

Solve most of the climate change problems as would stop people ability to burrow to consume

Good ol' Peter Dunne, but I still like the possum he's keeping on top of his head!

Days to the General Election: 29
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.