NZ First congress from the inside

This is one of the best political party insights I have seen – a journalist became a paid up member of NZ First and observed the people and the policies from the inside of their congress in the weekend.

Branko Marcetic at The Spinoff:  I joined NZ First and went to their conference to find out what they’re really up to

To its supporters, NZ First is the only party that truly gives a damn about the average Kiwi, and its policies are born of fairness and common sense. To its detractors, it’s a hotbed of racism and intolerance that threatens to bring Trump-like authoritarianism to New Zealand.

In an attempt to cut through the noise and get a sense of what the party truly is about in 2017, I decided to immerse myself, and look at the party as an insider. I paid the $10 fee to join the party, and signed up to attend the conference — my first for any party — as an observer. The intention was not to indulge in “gotcha journalism” or attempt to lampoon other attendees, but to engage with and better understand the men and women that make up a party so often defined by sensational headlines.

The weekend gave me an insight into a party that is almost universally expected to hold the balance of power come September 24.

Despite the party’s association with anti-foreigner sentiment, immigration was rarely touched on across the weekend. In fact, if there was a prevailing theme weaving through the various speeches, discussions and debates at the 2017 conference, it was a steadfast opposition to neoliberal economics, a belief that New Zealand had gravely erred in the embrace of deregulation and globalised trade since the days of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.

If you want to get an excellent insight into the NZ First party the whole article is worth reading.

Peters aside there are a lot of people who believe in the party and what it stands for.

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  1. sorethumb

     /  18th July 2017

    But the biggest changes made by the Lange government were these:

    The immigration policy review in 1986 was part of a much larger agenda for change in New Zealand (Bedford 1996). It was not essentially a change in state policy with a primary focus on one region of the world, as Parr (2000:329) suggests, although clearly through the 1980s and 1990s immigration from countries in Asia was a highly topical issue for both politicians and the public. The attitudes of New Zealanders in the mid-1990s towards immigration may not have reflected the positive perspective on the value of diversity in our society that is contained in the Review of Immigration Policy August 1986. But this does not mean that the globalisation of immigration to New Zealand was an “unintended consequence of policy changes in 1986”. It was a deliberate strategy, based on a premise that the “infusion of new elements to New Zealand life has been of immense value to the development of this country to date and will, as a result of this Government’s review of immigration policy, become even more important in the future” (Burke 1986:330). The data on arrivals, departures, approvals, refugee flows and net migration gains and losses reported in this paper indicates that “the infusion of new elements” into New Zealand society is proceeding apace. There is no suggestion in immigration policy in 2002 that this will not “become even more important in the future”, as Burke (1986) assumed in the mid-1980s.
    The New Zealand public’s views were “not conducive to the population of New Zealand[ers] becoming more diversified globally.” [From localism to globalism? New Zealand Sociology, 15(2), 304-. 335] but (in fact) the benefits were *immense* [we knew and they didn’t.

    And as Chris Trotter writes:
    “SONJA DAVIES was only in Parliament for six years. But, she could hardly have chosen a worse six-year period to be a Labour MP. Her time as MP for the Wellington seat of Pencarrow (1987-1993) coincided with the crescendo of Rogernomics and the splitting of the Labour Party. It was not a happy time for the celebrated feminist and trade union fighter, and she was only too happy to hand her seat over to Trevor Mallard and get out.

    It wasn’t just the awfulness of life in the Labour Party in the late-1980s and early-90s that depressed Sonja Davies. As a shrewd observer of both local and international politics, she rapidly became aware that New Zealand was passing through a period of fundamental cultural and economic re-orientation. What concerned her most was how little New Zealanders were being told and, therefore, how little they knew, about the changes that were radically reshaping what it means to be a New Zealander.

    “If people had any idea about the scale of these changes,” she confided to me early in her first term as MP for Pencarrow,” they’d be horrified. It’s been decided that New Zealand’s future lies in Asia. That’s got massive implications – but most people haven’t a clue. No one asked them and certainly no one’s telling them.”

    Significantly, the corollary of the free movement of capital, goods and services across international borders – the free movement of peoples – remained largely unexamined. Most New Zealanders simply did not realise that if their country was determined to trade freely with the whole world, then, more and more, its population would come to resemble the people with whom it was trading. If most of those people hailed from Asia, then New Zealand would, indeed, become “an Asian country”.

    So this was known and discussed by arrogant Labour MPs. They also gave residents the vote which Spoonley describes as “unusual” – a one way street if you didn’t like it, since migrant votes come to determine the election. And they set up the yapping dog Devoy.
    A Gramscian revolution – no shots fired.

  2. Gezza

     /  19th July 2017

    That article was a good read PG. Do you think NZF conferences are any more chaotic than Labour’s or The Green’s?

    National’s are probably run like a Nuremburg Rally by comparison.

    • I don’t know, I’ve never been to a Labour or Green conference.

      From a distance National and Labour seem to stage manage their’s a lot. Greens seem to have a selflove-fest.

      • Gezza

         /  19th July 2017

        They should watch that! They’ll go bloody blind!

      • Gezza

         /  19th July 2017

        I haven’t watched Winnie’s speech yet. I’ve bookmarked it for a watch sometime today. I couldn’t get to it before midnight because Al kept banging on all night about a lot of rot about the Maori Land Court & God know what else that needed responding to! Also I had to find me tyre pressure gauge.

        If I’d just dried the dishes & put them away when I washed them I wouldn’t have even had to look for it! Still, life’s fulla lessons eh?

        • I went and saw Winston’s speech at the NZ First conference in Dunedin last year. Here is what I thought of it:

          • Gezza

             /  19th July 2017

            He was much as he often appears – an eloquent hero for some, and bullshitting, hypocritical, abusive, complaining political charlatan to others.

            Probably sums it up. I imagine his personality hasn’t improved since last year.

            • Did I say that? Surely not. Must be fake news.

              There’s no doubt a substantial chunk of people adore him. Others abhor him. I’m somewhere in between those two, but tend towards the latter description you’ve quoted.

            • Gezza

               /  19th July 2017

              👍 Yup. It’s a quote. 2 positive. 😍 6 negative. 😠

              I thought it was a reasonably well-balanced & objective description – all things considered. 🤔 😬

            • Gezza

               /  19th July 2017

              Well, 5 negative, to be fair – unless you consider “politician” to be a negative as well, in which case – my first comment’s still good. 👍

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