Grant Robertson : Further entrenching New Zealand's deepening inequality
Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson are proving to be loyal allies of our wealthy elite.

A COMRADE of mine on Twitter, Kerry Harpur, regaled me with this amusing and revealing anecdote about Finance Minister Grant Robertson a couple of days ago:

'I bumped into Robertson campaigning this week. He assured me they had polled many renters who were very concerned about the effect a CGT would have on their property investing relatives. I asked for evidence of this remarkable poll, but he had to rush off.'

If Jacinda Ardern's furious backpedaling on a capital gains tax was disheartening for those who really believed her 2017 election campaign claims that she would be a leader of change, Robertson's abject failure to alter the tax regime and so further entrenching New Zealand's deep inequality would of been yet another kick in the butt. I imagine that a few more would of blown a kiss of farewell to Jacinda Ardern yesterday as they departed to join the growing ranks of those who no longer vote.

Even in a midst of a massive economic crisis that has already far outstripped the impact of the 2008 financial crash and even in the midst of the crippling coronavirus pandemic, Labour has failed to do anything but prop up late capitalism against the interests of ordinary people.

Last week some 5,000 New Zealanders lost their jobs. An increasing number of folk have been left distressed, shocked - and some suicidal - by a bleak future closing in on them. Its a future of no jobs, a lack of security in existing jobs, increasing difficulty in accessing basic welfare services, unable to put food on the table, unable to find affordable accommodation.

Unlike for  Labour Party apologists like Chris Trotter who tells us 'we must live' with economic hardship and despair - none of which, I might add, Trotter himself is facing - the crisis underlines that we need real change and not the feckless gestures of Jacinda Ardern. We need solutions to the absolute failure of neoliberalism.

Too many folk have no future to look forward to. Its up to the left, as it inches toward a recognition a new left party is well overdue, to provide the tangible prospect of real change. It can do that with a strong alternative economic argument and some real solutions that puts the interests of people first, rather than the demands of capital.

While the Labour Party is finished as a progressive force, that can't be said for the left. The left is by nature progressive. It changes. And change is what we need now.


  1. You'll get no argument from me, Steve, against the proposition that Labour is very far from being a traditional left-wing party. What I'd like to hear from you is a convincing argument that such a party is possible in the current socio-political circumstances. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride - and revolutionaries would no longer be forced to gnaw on their disappointments.

    1. Will ever such a party be possible in your world, Chris? What exactly are you waiting for before you might commit yourself to such a project? Rather then dismissing the over 700,000 folk who no longer vote as politically irretrievable, why don't you commit yourself to working for a party they can get excited about? Otherwise we might all think your just trying to excuse your continued loyalty to Labour.

      You seemed quite excited about Kim Dotcom's new party back in 2017, even describing Dotcom as a 'revolutionary'. I didn't hear any grumblings about 'current socio-political conditions' back then. Maybe its just the prospect of a party transplanting Labour on the left that really worries you.

    2. Yes, you're right, Steve, back in 2014 (not 2017) I did exactly as you are now advising me to do. I got behind Mana, urged others to do the same, even voted for them. In the cold light of day, of course, my vote was entirely wasted.

      Political romanticism is fine as a short-term therapy, Steve, but long-term it is self-indulgent and counter-productive.

      Oh, and since it is clear you have forgotten, I am one of those who walked away from Labour in 1989 to set up NewLabour - a Corbynista, if you will, before Corbyn hit the headlines. The NZ working-class stayed resolutely at Labour's side throughout.

      Wishful thinking can be fun, Steve, but it is no substitute for serious political analysis.


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