I'm a relative newcomer to the blogosphere. It's only in the last two years that I've been taking it seriously and posting on a regular basis.

But I think I've been out in the blogosphere long enough to draw some conclusions about the local scene.

One of my fundamental disappointments is the paucity of blogs that are written from a consistent socialist perspective.

While there are several blogs run by various small parties and groups (eg Socialist Aotearoa Workers Party) there are few explicitly socialist and anti-capitalist bloggers.

In fact we could all comfortably meet in a very small room. Quite possibly, if illness struck, the room would be empty.

There's your truly of course and then, well,...I'm struggling to come up with any sort of reasonable list.

Bryce Edwards would be joining me in the small room for coffee and biscuits. A political science lecturer at the University of Otago, his Liberation blog is a must read if you want a solid and well researched left wing perspective on New Zealand politics.

This year Bryce was bloggng about MPs and their travel and accommodation expenses fiddles long before it made the news in the mainstream media.

You should bookmark his blog for 2010 if you haven't already done so.

Oliver Woods also used to have interesting perspectives on New Zealand politics but his last post was in June - a kind of downbeat post about the failure of the left wing in New Zealand. I'm hoping its his university studies rather than a general disillusionment with left wing politics that has prevented him from blogging.

I'm now struggling to come up with anything else that comes close to being a socialist blog. I'd like to be proved wrong but I don't think I will be - the cupboard is mostly bare when it comes to local blogs written by socialist writers.

At this point though I would also like to mention Letters from Wetville.

While its not an explicitly socialist blog, Sandra interweaves some political comment in between in her posts about her life, her garden and her family. This is a warm-hearted blog that I've enjoyed reading throughout the year.

Overall the New Zealand blogosphere isn't as 'out there' as its often assumed. In fact it isn't 'out there' at all.

The general assumption is that blogosphere is more radical than the local mainstream media (which wouldn't be hard anyway) but the truth is that the blogosphere generally mirrors the conventionalities of the New Zealand political scene.

Essentially the debate occurs within that dreary neoliberal consensual framework that many of us are heartedly sick of.

Two of the more widely read blogs Tumeke! and The Standard, devote most of their time to firing buckshot at the National Government.

Some of the writing is okay and hits the target, but both blogs always leave me underwhelmed with their conclusion - either explicit or implicit, - which is that the way forward is to support Labour and its brand of neoliberalism. I'll pass on that invitation.

After nearly a quarter of a century of solid neoliberalism, the Labour Party of 2009 bears little resemblance to what might be considered to be a traditional social democratic party. Unfortunately we're stuck with a a lot of bloggers who aren't anti-capitalist - just anti-National.

Chris Trotter on his Bowalley Road blog offers a thoughtful analysis of the New Zealand political scene but his blog is marred by his support for Labour - which can lead to Trotter wildly contradicting himself within a few weeks. His love-hate relationship with Phil Goff is a good example of this.

Chris should just come out and admit that he is a right wing social democrat.

I'm still hoping the New Zealand blogosphere might tilt in a more left wing direction in 2010 but I'm not holding my breath. What we have now is, realistically, what we will have come 2011 and the next general election.


  1. Kiwipolitico has some pretty good posts.

  2. Thank you Steve. Although I've not managed to keep up the Blackball working class history project blog at all, we are looking at opening the museum in Easter 2010, probably on the Saturday. I'll post more as we have firm details, but it would be lovely to see you there if you feel like a trek over the hill to a special place in the story of workers' organisation in New Zealand.

  3. Hi Steve,

    I am very complimented by your words! Frankly, and I am not simply returning your kindness, I would say that you articulate the most interesting yet coherent and consistent left-wing message of any blogger in New Zealand.

    My main reason behind not blogging is actually neither of which you suggested luckily! Nearly six months ago now I moved to Singapore for a job in the media/advertising industry. If you from time to time see a Singapore or Malaysian IP address visiting your blog, that's me - though I often read your posts through feeds on my phone rather than online!

    Your post has encouraged me to publish some thoughts I had already been writing down on my holiday here in Malaysia about why I left New Zealand, and about the political dilemma that New Zealand faces. I keep a close eye on developments there, don't worry! I have been itching to blog again, but my job's time constraints (I'm sure you know how it is!) mean that 70 hour workweeks dont gel with time to put together long pieces of which I am far too fond!

    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and keep an eye on my blog in the coming days.

    Best regards from Seremban, Malaysia


  4. Oliver - thanks for the news on your current blogging status. I'll keep tabs on your blog as always.

    Sandra - Thanks for the invite. I've penciled it into my diary for now.

    Anon - I'm not overly familiar with Kiwipolitico to be honest. I'll read more of it in 2010.

  5. You might want to pull up an extra chair in that small room for the team behind UNITYblog. It does come from an explicitly socialist and anti-capitalist perspective, like the blogs of the small Socialist Aotearoa and Workers Party groups (though I suspect you know that, as you have a link to it on your home page). It has steadily built its visitor stats this year, perhaps by offering lost of up-to-date content. I think that some of the UNITYblog team would come to the small room if Bryce was bringing biscuits.

  6. Anon - I read the Unity blog quite regularly and I do enjoy it.

    I was really talking though about blogs that are written by individuals rather than blogs that are essentially on-line vehicles for various parties and groups.

    But you are still weloome to join me (and Bryce) in the small room for coffee and biscuits. The toffee pops are on me..

  7. yup, sad but true, you and Bryce are about the only regular lefty blogs around
    readingthemaps.blogspot.com has all sorts of stuff on it, not just politics, and is worth a read too
    apart from those three, its pretty dire . .

    Mark E

  8. Hi Steve,
    I used to write a blog from a socialist perspective, though I got busy with study and for most of last year just posted videos and short comments, I may start writing more for it again this year though now I've graduated. Its at http://lossenelin.livejournal.com

    The other reason I write less on it is that the Citizen Journalism website instablogs noticed my writing in The Spark (published on the Workers Party blog you mentioned in your post) and I now write professionally for them, you can read that blog at http://byronclark.instablogs.com thats also been a bit dead lately as I've spend the summer doing seasonal work out in the wop wops and have to bike 10km for internet access, but I'll be writing for that probably at least twice a week this year.

    Really enjoy your blog by the way, especially for information on local government in Christchurch, the Press and the Star do a useless job of reporting on our politicions, so glad I have this blog to go to!

  9. Byron - thanks for the details about your blogging. Instablogs is a new one on me.


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