Political commentator Chris Trotter has endorsed the National-led coalition government. Last week, in his new conservative role as a defender of the status quo, he attacked Green MP Chloe Swarbrick for being a political 'extremist'... 

IT WAS not a coincidence that soon after Chloe Swarbrick announced her intention to run for the vacant position of Green Party co-leader, the local Zionist lobby moved against her. Her use of a Palestinian rallying call at a demonstration, over two months previous, was suddenly of renewed interest. Once again, Swarbrick found herself being accused of 'hate speech' and 'antisemitism' by the very same people defending the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children in Gaza. 

Of course, it is a well-worn tactic of the well-funded Zionist lobby to attack critics of Israel as 'anti-Semitic'. Even Jewish critics of Israel are routinely accused of 'antisemitism'.

But, against the backdrop of Israel's brutality in Gaza, accusations of 'antisemitism' against Israel's critics are wearing thin. The sight of local Zionists like David Cumin and Juliet Moses accusing the popular and well-liked Chloe Swarbrick of 'offensive' behaviour while they themselves continue to defend Israel's war crimes has been grotesque. It has probably only convinced ever more people that Zionists like Moses and Cumin have had their humanity extracted in favour of an unthinking loyalty to a neo-fascist ideology. 

Arriving late to the 'Let's bash Chloe circus' has been former left wing commentator Chris Trotter. Despite professing to a Christian faith, the slaughter of thousands of innocent Palestinians has apparently also left Trotter unmoved. It is worth noting that he is on the board of the Zionist-controlled Free Speech Union. It has not only failed to condemn Israel's actions in Gaza but has remained silent even as Israel has continued to deliberately target journalists in Gaza. According to UN reports, since 7 October, over 122 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza, and many more have been injured. Trotter himself has never made any mention of this. 

In a column first published by the Otago Daily Times on Friday, February 16, Trotter attacks Chloe Swarbrick from another direction. With the Green Party MP signalling that she would like to see the Green Party adopt a more consistent progressive politics, he has accused of her not only being a revolutionary zealot but an enemy of 'democracy'.

These are absurd accusations. What Swarbrick has actually said is that she is not interested in defending and maintaining the status quo. Why?  Because she says 'Conventional, incremental politics has failed to rise to the challenges we face — those intertwined climate, inequality, biodiversity, and housing crises.'

While Trotter would like his readers to believe this is an 'extremist' position, it is a widely held view that much of the left worldwide has already embraced. In campaigning for a Green New Deal, for example, US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has expressed a similar view to that of Swarbrick's: 'We must confront the economic order and try to replace it with something that is rooted in both human and planetary security, one that does not place the quest for growth and profit at all costs at its centre'.

Similarly, Naomi Klein, author of Everything Must Change: Capitalism versus the Planet, has observed that, 'When we talk about climate change, we have to accept the fact that we’ve waited so long, procrastinated so long, we’ve allowed the problem to become so much worse. We’ve now reached a point when no non-radical options are left on the table.'

It is Trotter who is out of step with political developments, not Swarbrick. But his attack on the Green MP comes at a time when he has abandoned Labour and endorsed the new National-led coalition government.

Chris Trotter's support for the left has always been problematic, and it has never extended beyond support for the Labour Party. But, in the aftermath of Labour's election defeat, he has finally given up on Labour as well. After years of preaching that the only sensible and pragmatic course of action for the left was to continue supporting Labour as 'the lesser evil', Trotter himself has, ironically, given up on that failed strategy as well. He has finally woken up to the fact that Labour is a political dead end. But because his ingrained conservatism prevents him from moving to a more consistent socialist or progressive politics, his new best friends are now Chris Luxon, Winston Peters and David Seymour.

Unsurprisingly, Trotter's new right-wing views have been embraced by conservative media outlets ZB Plus and The Platform. Bizarrely though, his attacks on the left are being collated by the Democracy Project under the heading 'From the Left'. That's prompted Martyn Bradbury of The Daily Blog to write: 'How does Democracy Project keep pretending Trotter is left wing anymore? It’s like pretending ACT is a friend to the working classes.' Bradbury and Trotter were once close political allies.

While Chris Trotter might accuse Chloe Swarbrick of being an 'extremist' it is he who is the true extremist. Swarbrick is by no means perfect, but she is convinced that there remains a world to win. In stark contrast, Trotter's extremism lies in continuing to defend the present economic order that has not only benefited the few at the expense of the many, but threatens to kill the planet as well. 


  1. "Never extended beyond the Labour Party"?! Come on Steve, I was one of the founding members of Jim Anderton's "NewLabour Party" - the policies of which were well to the left of Chloe Swarbrick and her Green Party comrades. When the Alliance absorbed the NLP in 1991, I staunchly supported it at every subsequent election - from 1993 to 2002. After that I voted Green. Right up until 2023 when, in order to vote Labour, the Greens or TPM, their supporters had to agree that 2 + 2 = 5. Or, if you prefer, that transgenderism's erasure of women's and girls' rights must be accepted; and that the Maori of 1840 had no idea they were transferring sovereignty to the British Crown. (Even if, just 20 years later, at Kohimarama, they reconfirmed they had done exactly that.) With Labour, the Greens and TPM ruling themselves out of serious contention, I was left with the choice of either abstaining, or voting for NZ First, the party best place to exercise a restraining influence on National and Act. That is what I ended up doing. Where there were no good choices, I opted for the least worst option. What did you do, Steve?

  2. I was a foundation member of NLP too - and I've got the certificate to prove it. I was at the public meeting in Sydenham where Jim Anderton launched the NLP. I also supported and voted for the Alliance. Since then, I haven't voted. I have not, unlike you, peddled illusions about the Labour Party which you continued to do right through from Clark to Ardern. Indeed, I think you described me as 'sectarian' and 'ultra leftist' for not supporting Labour.

    I have, many times, stated my opposition to identity politics and that's still my view. But I'm encouraged by some of the comments that Chloe Swarbrick has made and that she, at least, is aware that identity politics remains divisive. I can live with that, for now.

    Given the anti-working-class measures that this Govt has already announced - fully supported by NZ First - it's not credible to describe NZ First as 'the least worst option'.

  3. The "anti-working-class measures" of this government are no better or worse than any conservative ministry since the time of Bill Birch and the Employment Contracts Act - which indisputably was an anti-working-class measure! One which, I I remember rightly, the labour movement, or at least its leadership, refused to fight. I support Labour when its in office for the very simple reason that every once in a while it actually does something useful and vaguely progressive - like Working For Families and KiwiSaver. The last time National did something useful and vaguely progressive, Keith Holyoake was Prime Minister! My apologies for the "sectarian" and "ultra-leftist" jibes, Steve, but honestly - you've called me much worse!

  4. It's not a convincing argument, by any means, to say that you can support this Govt because it's just like any other conservative government. Have your politics really arrived at a point where the reactionary Winston Peter is preferable to anything the left might offer? But, I guess, if you are capable of defending genocide in Gaza, then supporting Peters is small beer.

    1. I haven't defended genocide in Gaza, Steve. Mostly on account of the fact that there is no genocide taking place in Gaza. Appalling loss of life; appalling suffering; indisputably - but not genocide.

      If you look back at what I've written on the Israel-Hamas War, you will find that I argue that Israel's retaliation, while undoubtedly what Hamas expected and planned for, was, equally indisputably, the worst course of action Israel could have followed.

      The way you hurl accusations, Steve, regardless of the evidence, or, in too many cases, the established and easily verifiable facts, does you no credit.

    2. It does you no credit to say that the destruction of Gaza and the slaughter of over 30,000 people is not genocide. The International Court of Justice says there is a case to answer, but you, apparently, know better. If you're going to be an apologist for Zionism, like your mates on the board of the Free Speech Union like David Cumin, then front up and admit it.

  5. There he goes again.

    To acknowledge Israel's right to self-defence, as the UN has done, does not make one a Zionist, Steve. Likewise, to say there may be a case to answer re: "Genocide" in Gaza, is not the same as saying the case has been proved.

    All the international jurists I have heard agree that proving Israel guilty of genocide will be extremely difficult - and is unlikely to occur. Ask yourself, would the Allies have been found guilty of genocide for the bombing of Dresden? The Nuremburg judges said "No."

    And, for the record, I am not on the Executive of the Free Speech Union. That is an elected position and I have never stood for election. I remain a member of, and a donor to, the FSU - nothing more.

    Proclaiming guilt by association is not the sort of behaviour one expects from such a staunch defender of human rights as yourself, Steve.

    Find a more worthy target for all that anger.

    1. To claim Israel is engaged in 'self-defence' is an absolute lie, but it is the argument of people like you who continue to support Israel's barbaric actions. What is Israel 'defending' itself from, exactly? Two million people starving in Rafah?

      According to the website of the Free Speech Union, you are a board member of the FSU and not just one of its ordinary subscribers. The FSU is a group controlled by supporters of Israel, like yourself, which is why it has not condemned Israel's actions in Gaza. And, despite claiming to be a champion of free speech, it has not seen fit to condemn Israel for the deliberate targeting of journalists in Gaza. Israeli troops have killed over 100 journalists, who are protected under the Geneva Convention. This, in itself, is yet another war crime that Israel has committed. But not only has the FSU said nothing, neither have you. And I think this just about sums up where your politics are at now.

      For your information, Chris. From the FSU website:

      Our council members
      The governing Council of the Free Speech Union is made up of a group of New Zealanders from across the political spectrum who believe that free speech is a value worth defending.

      Dr. David Cumin – Academic
      Dr. Melissa Derby – Academic
      Stephen Franks – Lawyer
      Ani O’Brien – Writer and Political Commentator
      Chris Trotter – Political Commentator
      Jordan Williams – Lawyer
      Dr. Roderick Mulgan – Barrister and GP
      Steve O'Hagan – Information Management Specialist

  6. Trotter caught lying again. Pathetic man.

  7. I reiterate, Steve, I am not a member of the FSU ruling body. If they say I am, then they are misleading the public and I will certainly be asking them to remove my name from the list of present council members.

    1. Still listed as a council member, Chris. I'm surprised that it's escaped your attention for so long.


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