As New Zealand confronts a massive economic crisis and with Prime Minister John Key signalling attacks on the working and living conditions of ordinary New Zealanders, the time is ripe for a real economic alternative to be put forward - one that defends the interests of ordinary people and not the business class.

Although some of its apologists claim there is still hope for Labour, the sheer bankruptcy of the Labour Party has been underlined yet again - less than a month into 2009.

John Key's 'Jobs Summit', which will signal further attacks on working and living conditions of ordinary folk, should be attacked by a Labour leadership that claims traditional social democratic principles. Instead we've had the exact opposite from Phil Goff: he thinks the summit is a good idea and is just peeved he hasn't been invited.

Similarly Goff is in favour of Key's campaign to introduce what amounts to a wage freeze for New Zealand workers - despite steeply rising prices.

Of course none of this should come as any surprise since Goff, a politician hostile to the left, basically wants to try and win the 2011 election on the same platform of policies that led to Labour's defeat in 2008. Withering and dying, nothing has changed within Labour.

And the same can be said of the Labour intelligentsia, that loose collection of media pundits, bloggers and journalists, who have reacted to the defeat of their government by saying and doing....nothing.

This comfortable and middle class strata can be still be found in Camp Labour. No-one has packed up their ideological kitbags and headed off to the more invigorating pastures of socialist politics.

Chris Trotter has thought about it but, in the end, he just couldn't do it. His solution? He wants the socialist left to join him in Camp Labour. Hi de Hi! Is he having a laugh or what?

I saw Trotter sharing a laugh or two with National man Mathew Hooton on TV3's Sunrise the other morning. It revealed a lot about where Trotter is at these days - a bit of repartee and a few laughs on breakfast TV. Hi de Hi!

And what of his fellow Labour apologists? I've scanned various pro-Labour blogs for criticism of the Goff-King leadership, for any indication of soul-searching, for any admission that, hey, we were wrong about Labour after all.


Martyn Bradbury on the Tumeke blog!, for example, has simply trained his sights on the National Government - forgetting that old saying - 'people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'. He can't credibly complain about National's neo-liberal economic policies when he supported the neo-liberal economic policies of the Clark Government.

Similarly the condescending and smug Russell Brown has got nothing to say about his beloved Labour Party ether. In fact he's been recently getting all worked up about Bill Ralston attacking the 'Violence is Not Ok' campaign - in which Brown appears. Reading Brown's blog I'm left with the strong impression that Russell Brown is mostly interested in Russell Brown. Russell Brown is an endless source of fascination for Russell Brown.

While Brown fiddles, economic conditions worsen by the day.

The complacency of both the Labour Party and their groupies will be severely tested in the coming months.

The economic crisis and the anti-worker measures implemented by the Key government will starkly lay bare what is at stake for the New Zealand working class.

Labour and its supporters will be asked again - whose side are you on?


  1. This is the sad thing about the state of New Zealand politics, there is simply no representation in the corridors of power for the poor and underprivileged. At one point in time this might have been the greens but they've just become obsessive about changing the environment through shower heads and market solutions.

    Now we've got a recession caused by greed and big business which will be used as an excuse to drive down wages and fatten profits. On top of taking wage decreases New Zealand workers will be propping up these failed businesses with their taxes, taxes that should be set aside to provide health care and education for those who need it.

    And where has the Labour Party been in all this? Missing in Action. Labour never heeded the call for greater regulation in the finance market, infact its response was to prop up failing banks. So much for being a party for the workers.

    This recession has nothing to do with New Zealand workers, it wasn't made by them, and they certainly didnt benefit from it, but now thanks to the identical responses from National and Labour, they'll be the ones paying for it.

    In true Labour apologist style, Trotter in his latest blog (quote below) calls on 'all New Zealanders' to make sacrifices.

    "But, if the Prime Minister ends this Phoney War against the recession by requiring genuine equality of sacrifice from all New Zealanders, then they will readily dedicate their "blood, toil, tears and sweat" to its defeat."

    Last time I checked this crisis was created by the greed of a few, they should be the ones to pay for it.

  2. I read Trotter's latest post - which is his syndicated newspaper column - with a growing sense of disbelief. He's calling for ordinary New Zealander's to pay the price of an economic crisis not of their making! Unbelievable. This is a truly dismal column.

    I was prepared to give Trotter the benefit of the doubt but this column reveals exactly whose side he's on - and it isn't the New Zealand working class. Trotter and Labour deserve each other.

  3. And whats disconcerting is that the media routinely goes to Trotter for a 'left perspective'.

  4. Nice to see thoughtful comments about Trotter, i.e. avoiding the use of the word chardonnay.


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