Satire from within can be the cruellest

I don’t know if Scott York is still active in the Labour party or not but his illusionment appears to have a big DIS in front of it.

(Notre that Scott is the person who first wrote about the beige Badger).

He has written A brief history of the Labour Party at Imperator Fish.

October 2008

When the voters learn what we know about John Key – or what we will soon know once Mike Williams returns from Melbourne – they will be appalled. We now know what the H in H-Fee stands for. It’s “Hasta la vista, baby!”

July 2009

The honeymoon is finally over. John Key is an empty vessel, a man without any convictions, a rich prick who will say anything to be elected. We are in the midst of a global financial crisis, but let’s focus on issues of character and integrity, and not allow ourselves to be distracted by all that other stuff.

August 2011

The honeymoon is finally over. There is a mood of change in the air. The public are falling out of love with John Key. Everywhere I go people tell me they think John Key is an untrustworthy unprincipled swine. His lies are finally coming back to haunt him. This could be the turning point!

January 2013

The honeymoon is finally, finally over. People are finally seeing John Key for what he is – an entitled member of the 1%. We need to double down on our strategy of relentlessly attacking the Prime Minister at every opportunity. If we absolutely must mention jobs, the economy or housing, let’s do so in a way that frames John Key as being uncaring and in the pay of big business. We can’t afford for our ideas to stand on their own merits.

September 2014

These dirty politics allegations are shocking, and they reveal to all the world the true nature of John Key and his nasty attack machine. This will be hugely damaging to Key’s reputation. Ordinary New Zealanders will be disgusted at this behaviour. It’s time to ramp up our attacks on Key and his associations with the Dirty Politics crew. I sincerely believe that this scandal will be completely game-changing. This election is anyone’s to win! Oh, and I suppose we could throw in the odd mention about how stuffed our economy is, if there’s enough time.

April 2015

These ponytail-pulling allegations are dynamite. They speak volumes about the character of the man in charge of our country. John Key has lost it. There’s no coming back from this. He’s completely lost the female vote. Watch as his support slowly ebbs away. Target all fire on the PM!

May 2016

This Panama Papers business is alarming, but it’s also the opportunity we’ve all been waiting for. John Key is super wealthy, and we don’t like him, so it stands to reason that he must be up to his neck in all of this. Quick, type his name into the database! Nothing? No, there must be some mistake. Try again. Again, damn you! Well, not to worry. He must use a different Panamanian law firm. He’s still a smug rich prick, and that’s what counts. That’s the message we need to ensure the voters take out of this.

He also looks into the future:

September 2021

The economy is in a downwards spiral, the world dairy market has collapsed, and global warming and a series of natural disasters have devastated the country. But politically I feel as if we have turned a corner. People are finally focusing on how out of touch John Key is. We just need to drive the message home. Dig up everything you can on the guy. Do we know anyone who knew him at school? Did he steal anyone’s lunch money? Did he ever get a detention? Could there be some connection between John Key and Bernie Madoff that we haven’t yet uncovered? Let’s leave no stone unturned this time, guys. Let’s give our leader some powerful ammunition. She needs something to throw at Key during Question Time today.

April 2027

Our new leader really got some blows in during Question Time today. I’ve not seen any of our 23 leaders since Helen Clark land so many punches. He had Key floundering when he asked about Key’s association with the guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who got done for tax evasion back in the 1980s. I reckon we might just have picked up a few votes today from all the people who follow Parliamentary proceedings, or at least the three of them who aren’t fiercely partisan in their party loyalties.

June 2042

We’ve got Key on the ropes this time. He really is demonstrating to the public how out of touch he is, and who he is really working for. The public won’t stand for this. The honeymoon is finally over!

February 2044

If Prime Minister Key has a weak spot, it’s his lack of integrity and his fundamental dishonesty. That’s where we need to focus our attentions.

His father John was just the same.

Don’t Labour need a new chief press secretary? Someone with Scott’s communication skills and sense of realism could do very well for them.

Satire from within can be the cruellest – and the most accurate.

If you have read all this here (it would have lost it’s impact edited down) please click on this link to register a hit for Scott to reward him for his work.

A brief history of the Labour Party

More UBI discussion

Labour have succeeded with one thing – getting some discussion going on a Universal Basic Income.

Gareth Morgan has been promoting his interest at the Morgan Foundation blog:

Scott Yorke (I think still an active Labour supporter) posted The terrifying cost of Labour’s UBI at Imperator Fish.

This has been reposted at The Standard – Imperator Fish: The terrifying cost of Labour’s UBI – where there is a good comment thread with a lot of discussion on numbers.

And Rob Salmond continues his spat with Matthew Hooton on behalf of Labour with a post at Public Address – Eleventy billion dollars!

In this morning’s National Business Review (paywalled), Matthew Hooton estimates Labour’s Universal Basic Income Policy could cost up to $86 billion.

This is the latest in a series of escalatingly absurdist claims about the UBI, starting with David Farrar’s $38 billion, John Key’s $76 billion, and Stephen Joyce’s 80% tax rates.

By next week, I expect Cam Slater to estimate the UBI costs $240 billion, New Zealand’s entire GDP.

Salmond goes on the critique Hooton’s numbers, then concludes:

Instead, all these insane figures are part of a deliberate, coordinated strategy of scaremongering, coming from many of the usual Dirty Politics suspects, aimed at shutting down an important policy debate just as it’s getting started.

But I think the media and the public are smarter than this crowd give them credit for. They can see this con-job a mile off.

So the Labour strategy seems to be to create a fuss and complain about all the discussion they have generated.

Hooton makes this point in response:

Labour still has quite a few MPs in parliament. I would have thought if Labour wants a public discussion on a UBI those MPs should be getting involved, rather than putting a staffer up on Public Address to rebut a column in the NBR. But far be it for me to give Labour political advice.

Labour seem to have an aversion to sensible advice.

Hooton defends and explains some of his numbers.

Just a few brief(ish) points.

1) For those with a subscription or working for someone who has one (and I think students at some universities), the actual column is here:

2) The column makes clear at the outset this is an idea not policy. The word policy appears only once, and in the sentence: “It’s difficult to think of a policy proposal with more going for it.” I don’t know why Rob claims I said it was Labour Party policy. The column also makes clear I support a UBI in principle and I outline the key policy benefits, especially around EMTRs, administrative savings and reducing indignity for beneficiaries. I mention the huge amount of work that Lockwood Smith did in opposition in the 2000s trying to make something like a UBI work. (In fact, and I don’t mention this, I first encouraged him to do so when he became National revenue spokesman after the 2005 election).

3) The $86 billion gross cost assumes:
(i) a UBI is indeed “universal” in that:
(ii) everyone gets it from aged 18 until they die;
(iii) there is a top up for children under 18 as with the current Jobseekers’ Allowance and Working for Families;
(iv) it is enough to survive on, and
(v) there are no financial losers among existing beneficiaries.

4) Rob acknowledges I discussed the potential $25 billion saving if the full $86 billion model was implemented. He seems to have missed the bit when I said tax changes would be needed to bridge whatever difference remains, specifically “higher income and company taxes, new taxes on carbon and capital gains, and a tougher IRD.” Is there anyone who thinks a UBI can be implemented without those things?

5) I criticise Andrew Little’s “little helpers” for calling people liars for trying to put some numbers around a UBI. Labour has called for a discussion and public debate on its idea.

6) It is perfectly OK for Labour (or its paid proxies) to say that the $86 billion gross cost is too high. But then they need to say which of the assumptions in 3 above should be relaxed. If they won’t relax any of those assumptions, then $86 billion gross is a fair estimate of what the policy would cost.

7) If a party wants to have a public debate on a major policy idea, that is great, but how can people debate an idea if they are told they are liars for considering the fiscal side? For example, if a UBI of the type I describe in 3 above could be implemented at a cost requiring tax increases of only $10 billion I would be all for it. Who wouldn’t be? But how can anyone even begin to consider the matter without some parameters, including fiscal parameters? To initiate a discussion without providing some information on the fiscal implications is entirely disingenuous. It would be like National saying “we’re thinking of $100 a week tax cuts for everyone”, refusing to give further information and then calling people liars if they tried to work out what that might cost.

Let the discussion continue – thanks to Labour initiating the UBI debate, but no thanks to how they have conducted themselves in discussions.

Crimson Cryer a Little critical

Scott Yorke is at his self-deprecating best showing how Labourites will Support Andrew Little.

A lot of Labour Party and other left-leaning folk have been bleating about Andrew Little and how disappointed they are that he is the new Labour leader.

But these people aren’t doing the party any good by moaning in public. What’s done is done, and it’s time to fall in behind the person chosen through a largely democratic process.

So what if our dreams for a better New Zealand under the inspirational leadership of our chosen candidate are now forever shattered? That’s no reason not to fall in behind Andrew Little.

Little’s vicious and spiteful supporters may have denied us the one thing we desperately wanted for the party, but that’s no reason to take it out on Andrew Little, or indeed those vicious and spiteful supporters, bastards all of them. It’s their fault he’s leader now, that your candidate didn’t make it, and that everything is now utterly ruined.

But let’s stay positive.

There’s no point in crying over spilt milk, because the milk had probably been poisoned anyway by Little’s union mates, and nothing will be achieved by dwelling on this disgusting travesty of justice. I intend to give Andrew Little my full support, and so should you.

Don’t dwell on the past, because focusing on this monstrous injustice will not do anyone any good. Don’t let your entirely understandable rage get the better of you.

Support Andrew as leader, because we need unity as a party, and the worst thing we can possibly do is show the world how divided we really are by this appalling result. You may well regard Andrew Little’s election as Labour Party leader as the final nail in Labour’s coffin, but don’t be too hasty to rush to judgement. Room can always be found for a few more nails.

So our candidate didn’t make it. Big deal. Harden up. It’s not the end of the world. The fact that our chosen person lost the contest may well mean the death of a once-proud party, but life will go on.

This was signaled in a post early in the contest: Random thoughts on the Labour Party leadership contest

Don’t fret

It’s a tough choice for those of us Labour Party members and affiliates who get to have a say in the contest. Each of the four candidates has a lot going for them, and while I currently have a favourite, I’m still not sure how I’ll rank numbers 2 to 4.

But there’s no need to panic if I get it hopelessly wrong, because I will probably get another go at it within the year.


Everyone in the party wants unity, and members want to know that whoever wins, the caucus and membership unite behind them.

I agree. We must all put this division, dissension and wrangling behind us, because it puts voters off.

Accordingly, I pledge my absolute and unwavering support to whoever wins this contest, unless the person I rank number one doesn’t win.

Yorke is well known as the Crimson Cryer. He claims this title was earned due to his stoic pro-Labour proclamations, but this alleged photo of him after the election is probably closer to the mark.


Imperator Fish crosses the line

Satire pushes boundaries, even shocks to impact. But this from @ImperatorFish is a nasty, disgraceful attack on Jamie Whyte and the ACT Party.

Politics Explained: It’s all about the kids (I won’t repeat the details here).

Imperator Fish is a satirical blog run by Scott Yorke, who is active in the Labour Party. I think the post should be withdrawn and an apology be given.

UPDATE: Scott makes it clear he doesn’t think he needs to retract or apologise to ACT and Whyte, to the contrary he continues to promote his post:

Latest post: Politics Explained: It’s all about the kids

And on Kiwiblog:

SBY (115 comments) says: 
February 28th, 2014 at 9:06 am

Thanks for the blog traffic this morning, Pete. Much appreciated.

Keep that outrage going.

Labour/Green economics – denial or ignorance?

David Farrar points out A bizarre argument made by Danyl at Dim Post – Chart of the day, dead Wood edition, which graphs the share market since the Labour-Green power policy announcements. Farrar comments:

I’m amazed Danyl is trying to argue that as the overall sharemarket is up, then the destruction of value in some companies doesn’t matter.

Yes the NZX is up.That is because global investors are buying shares in Xero like it is the next Google.  It isn’t much use however to the person who only has shares in Contact Energy.

To use an analogy, it is like someone going into your street and burning your house down, but then telling you not to complain about it because the value of the rest of the street has risen.

Contact, Trustpower and Infratil shares are still lower since their drop after the power announcement. They haven’t “burnt down”, but a valid point is made.

There seems to be a wave of denial or ignorance of how sharemarkets work sweeping over the blogs on the left.

Anthony Robins at The Standard also did the graph trick – Economic apocalypse – not – he first called that post “No value has been destroyed”.

And similar from Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish (including a graph): Business elites denounce threat to their profits.

By way of example, the NZ Power announcement spooked the capital markets and led to a massive destruction of shareholder value, which in turn resulted in a loss in the value of many Kiwisaver funds. This potential disaster was only averted when the sharemarket continued to go up and up, resulting in an increase in the value of those same Kiwisaver funds.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when Scott is doing satire, or who he is satirising. At least he admits the aim of sabotaging power company assets:

I’m failing to see the problem. These companies have been doing nicely out of a business model that has resulted in too many people paying too much for their power. Of course their value was going to go down.

It doesn’t seem to have eroded confidence in the capital markets, though, eh?

Market confidence a Labour and Green government are looking less likely after attempt at market intervention, eh?.

Business elites making a lot of money out of an existing electricity model that few people actually understand but which appears to have failed, have slammed the plan. Critics have included the CEO of Mighty River Power, whose salary exceeds a million dollars a year, and stockbrokers who stand to profit handsomely from an uninterrupted partial float of the energy SOEs.

Critics of NZ Power will no doubt be hoping that its flaws will be evident to those cleaners on minimum wage, or solo mums on benefits, struggling to find the money to pay their power bill, and who might have otherwise be tempted to vote for either Labour or the Greens.

The profit bogey man and “poor people” sympathy appeal. This is remarkably similar to Metiria Turei’s latest column in D Scene:

We know that families are really struggling with increasing power prices. At the same time power companies are making even greater profits.

Stripping out excessive profits from the electricity sector is a smart Green solution.

The sharebrokers that are going to get a cut out of selling off our power companies are upset. Returning the excessive profits to New Zealand families will hurt the fat commission they are eying up.

Both Labour and Green camps seem convinced they are socialist saviours. In denial of market and business realities. And probably political.

Scott questioned me when I said “And Labour, which was already struggling with financial credibility”.

If you keep saying that enough, do you think people will believe it?

Some in Labour must surely believe it – John Armstrong in his Saturday column:

“This is part of National’s strategy to make next year’s election a referendum on which party can best be trusted with the management of the economy – a matter of some issue where both parties’ private polling has Labour far behind National”.

I would be as confident betting on financial credibility being the deciding factor in next year’s election as I would betting on a very uneasy sharemarket and plummeting business confidence if a Green Labour finance team take over in the next government.

It’s hard to know whether Labour and Green politicians and supporters are in political denial, or if they are ignorant of how business confidence and sharemarkets work in the real world. Possibly both.

Is it sensible comparing Labour and United Future policies?

Simply put Labour’s policies are vague, negative and sparse, versus United Future’s comprehensive list of policies.

In an April 1 post Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish inadvertently raised an interesting point. He was presumably trying to mock United Future policies compared to Labour’s.

A couple of weeks ago I was trawling through various political sites for inspiration. I was planning a post attacking United Future’s Peter Dunne, and during the course of researching my post I came across the United Future website.

I had expected to find there a trove of daft ideas to inspire my attack, but I came away surprised at how sensible most of the party’s policies sounded. I’d always regarded Peter Dunne as a bit of a joke, a one-man band allowed to continue in Parliament due to a nudge-nudge-wink-wink deal with National over the Ohariu seat.

But once I read United Future’s site I realised there was a lot more to Peter Dunne than met the eye. I immediately cancelled my anti-Dunne post.

I doubt that Scott bothered to actually look at any UF policies, but there are a clear, comprehensive range of policies  (see below).

In comparison Labour’s policy web page is paltry and vague. A David Shearer signed statement says:

Right across the economy we will make fundamental changes. We will replace a simplistic hands-off approach with a smart hands-on one.

Shearer simplisticly keeps referring to hands off versus hands on, but does anyone actually know what having Shearer’s hands on Government would mean? He doesn’t even seem to be have his own hands on his leadership.

Labour’s policy approach is vague and at times contradictory – for example Clayton Cosgrove and David Parker seem to have different ideas about how Tiwai should be handled, see Labour’s conflicting priorities with Tiwai. And David Shearer was typically vague, saying that  “the Government should have stepped in earlier” and been “more hands on”.

Labour’s website policy page links to detail in an old policy document…

Our 2011 election manifesto remains Labour policy unless we specifically announce a change to it, although all policies in the manifesto are under review as Labour builds toward the 2014 election.

…but some of that has already been discarded, or again, Shearer doesn’t know if his hands are on or off:

Labour gone cold on GST-free food

Labour is considering going back on one of its major election promises – GST-free fresh fruit and vegetables.

It says it has to prioritise, but the tax break would be the third major policy the party’s scrapped since the last election, if they go back on it –  and the Government says it’s impossible to know what Labour now stands for.

“If we can’t afford policies then they will have to go. GST off fresh fruit and veg is one thing we’re looking at,” says Labour leader David Shearer.

“We’re going to have to throw out some of the policies that are going to cost us a lot of money,” says Mr Shearer.

GST-free healthy food would cost $317 million, and would be tricky to enforce.

Mr Shearer says its savings and jobs policies are more important.

“How does that fit with GST off fresh fruit and veges? Can we do it all? I doubt if we can. We’re going to have to prioritise,” he says.

So Mr Shearer’s refusing to say outright whether the policy will definitely go, but all signs point to it being too costly, too difficult and too low down the list.

Is Yorke really seduced by this “bold rhetoric promising economic transformation, jobs and growth”?

Labour’s policy page has “the new policies you see below are the start of our new way of doing things.” Five policies are listed.


The housing market is failing thousands of Kiwis. The biggest barrier to home ownership is the difficulty of getting on the first rungs of the housing ladder.

Over the past 50 years the number of new affordable homes being built has dropped from a third of all new homes to just 5 per cent.

That’s why Labour is taking a bold hands-on approach to help Kiwis into their first home.


Many of National’s policies have passed their use-by date. Economists, many governments and major institutions such as the IMF realise that the world has changed. They know new answers are needed.

New Zealanders understand this too and know that we must change as well.

Kiwis want real and innovative solutions to take this country forward. They want a Government that sees problems and gets stuck in to fix them rather than try to explain them away.

That’s why there is significant support for major Labour policies, including KiwiBuild, raising the retirement age, universal KiwiSaver, updating our monetary policy and a capital gains tax.

It’s time for a hands-on government, one that is committed to making a real difference in people’s lives.

That is really Labour’s “bold rhetoric promising economic transformation, jobs and growth”.


Under National, education is going backwards. They are adopting tired ideas from countries with education systems that are less successful than ours.

Increasing class sizes and putting unqualified and unregistered teachers into classrooms are not strategies for success.

National are happy to spend $36 million on National Standards that measure the problem; Labour would rather spend that money fixing the problem.

Once again Labour leads with negatives.


National is taking us down a path to fewer jobs, lower wages and more of our young people seeking better opportunities in Australia.

The gap between the rich and the rest of New Zealand has never been wider – and it’s growing. It’s a lack of well-paid jobs that is sending 1,000 Kiwis a week to Australia for better wages.

It’s disappointing that John Key said he would give New Zealanders a reason to stay in New Zealand, and now he’s setting new records of Kiwis leaving for Australia.

Labour’s plan has concrete steps to create more jobs and better opportunities for New Zealanders.

Negative, negative, negative, vague.


Labour wants Cantabrians to have more control over the rebuild.

The rebuild will only succeed if Cantabrians can have their voices heard and respected. David Shearer spent over 20 years working in disaster zones around the world. He knows first-hand that locally driven recovery is the only way that works.

You can’t rebuild Canterbury from the top floor of the Beehive in Wellington. The vision of the future has to come from the grassroots right here in Canterbury.

John Key and Gerry Brownlee just don’t understand. They see local people as a barrier to progress instead of as the key to recovery.

Under National, CERA has engulfed the functions of councils, elections have been cancelled, and people dealing with insurance issues have been abandoned.

A Labour Government would put people back at the centre of the recovery.

They don’t promote being more hands on because they are implying Labour would be more hands off in Canterbury.

If Labour lead the next government the Christchurch rebuild will be well under way. Making major changes to how that is being done risks being disruptive. Apart from the standard negatives this policy is little more than a rhetorical nod to Christchurch, at best too late.

Those are Labour’s five policy topics on their website. They focus more on attacking National, with a bit of vague waffle about what they might do.

Mocking United Future policy as sensible is risky for Labourites, especially when looking at the lack of common sense in their own paltry list of lamentable rhetoric.

In comparison United Future have a comprehensive policy list that says what they propose, and don’t concentrate on whinging about their opponents.

And – who in Labour would want to see David Shearer having a policy debate with Peter Dunne?


Practical Policies for New Zealanders

Extending my blogging

One of the great things about blogging is if you do enough of it eventually new opportunities will come up to be have even more exposure.

Imperator Fish has announced today:

You will see a few changes to this site over the next few weeks, but hopefully nothing too major. Mostly just a change in design to be consistent with the party’s colours and logo, and the introduction of a new author, a fellow United Future traveller. I’m sure Pete George needs no introduction to most of you, and I’m delighted he has agreed to contribute.

And it’s good to see that Scott has looked at a party site that actually has a comprehensive list of policies, the Labour Party website is as lacking in policy detail as David Shearer’s brain.

And if you thought I might be overextending myself don’t worry, there are other ways of being seen in the blogosphere. Using a ghost writer makes this easy, all I had to do was wait until my stand-in was familiar enough with how I think and how I write.

This has been announced today at The Standard:

I have decided to end my self imposed exile from commenting here,
I’ve put a lot of time into thinking about it – at times and have made the decision to become a full time blog commentator. I can fit in a lot more now as I usually get up early, it’s when I enjoy doing most online, and then dabble during the day when I feel like it. But in the main I am needed to bring balance and fairness throughout the blog-sphere.

I can no longer stand by and watch the Standard become an echo chamber, Standard moderators keep shutting out diversity by banning anyone who blinks out of step with the comrades and the blog risks becoming further unbalanced. I for one gave some very fair comments that added a lot of balance, without which The Standard has become hopelessly left leaning and I for one can’t stand by and let that happen. As I like to say if you don’t let shit happen shit happens.

There are slight teething problems, my quote was actually:

“If you don’t let shit happen you’re a bit stuffed.”

But that’s pretty good for starters.

It won’t be long before I’m competing with Martyn Bradbury…

The stats are in and we have exceeded my wildest ambition. The Daily Blog in its debut month achieved 196886 page views! The appetite online to hear the other side of the story is larger than I had hoped.

But I’m achieving more than Bomber, he is using other people to fill up his posts, I’m replicating myself so I’m sure I’ll be exceeding my own wildest ambitions before long.

Just what everyone wanted, more of Pete George around the blogosphere.

Blog reaction to cabinet reshuffle

David Farrar at Kiwiblog posted a preview – Reshuffle expectations – in the morning and was quick with a response at 12.20 (the announcement was at noon) – Key kept that close to his chest – . He was happy that the reshuffle exceeded his expectations.

Well John Key managed to surprise me and most other people, and has done a quite significant reshuffle, with a substantial rejuvenation of the Ministry.

I’m delighted that the PM has been bolder than expected, and effectively brought forward what I thought would be a year end reshuffle. And I’m looking forward to the new Ministers making a difference in their new portfolios.

There was a moderately active comment section with 51 responses so far.

Cameron Slater at Whale Oil was also quick off the mark with John Key has announced his new cabinet.

John Key has announced his new cabinet, and has axed Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley.

I can understand Wilkinson, she was inept. Someone in Bill ENglish’s team had to get the axe to cover for Hekia Parata and so it was Kate. But I can’t for the life of me work out Phil Heatley…is John Key saying that Phil did a worse job than Hekia?

Although there is some renewal bringing back Nick Smith and promoting Carter shows that Key is still beholden to Bill English, and rewards tired old faces.

The renewal looks promising with Simon Bridges rising into cabinet and taking on the Labour portfolio. Let’s hope he is small-dicked about his job in that role.

Notably he doesn’t comment on Nikki Kaye. There were 18 comments.

Slater also lists the full cabinet, and follows up with two more posts Which National MPs could leave John Key up Shit Creek? (4 comments) and The Dangers of Shafting Comrade Kate (15 comments).

Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish attempts some cynical humour from a Labourite point of view in John Key’s Reshuffle Analysed.

The biggest winner is Dr Nick Smith. He returns to Cabinet after his fall from grace last year, and is appointed as Minister for Creating a Perception of Crisis in Order to Justify Savage Cutbacks in Entitlements.

The biggest losers are Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley, who have been dropped from Cabinet altogether. Both have failed to perform, and their inability to communicate with the smoothness of someone like Hekia Parata will have counted against them.

Gerry Brownlee is to lead a new Insulting Everyone He Meets Ministry, which will tie in with his existing role as Minister for Ruining Christchurch.

John Key said his new Cabinet line-up was a strong one, and would bring a renewed energy to the task of doing very little to address the nation’s biggest problems.

He acknowledged that a number of MPs had been unlucky to miss out on Cabinet positions.

“I feel for the likes of Tau Henare, Melissa Lee, Maggie Barry, Katrina Shanks, John Hayes, and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.

“Any one of them would have made a superb Minister of Foot in Mouth. But Gerry’s doing such a fine job I just had to leave him there.”

A curious double dig at Brownlee who didn’t figure in the announcement or any coverage.

This post didn’t generate any comment.

Bunjii at The Standard had a pre-dig at the expected changes in

There was some comment before the announcement and some afterwards totalling 37 comments but it was more factual and subdued than critical which suggests an acknowledgement that it was a good announcement (for National).

“Why parties of the left can be so vicious”

A comment by ‘kiwi in america’ at Kiwiblog (kia is an ex Labour Party member) with my two bobs worth added:

I’ve often pondered on why parties of the left can be so vicious in their approach to politics even to their own. Being identified as a Rogernome inside Labour in the late 80′s early 90′s was a recipe for constant nasty attacks.

One of Clark and the sisterhood’s key goals was to purge the party of the heresy of Rogernomics and they succeeded. Anyone with an inkling towards free market policies, regardless of the fact that they may have been in Labour because of its history of seemingly more compassionate social policies, was driven out.

When all that remains is the more doctrinaire activist core, you are dealing with people for whom the process and power of politics is THE biggest driving factor in their life. They eat, sleep and breath politics and the goals of a progressive nirvana.

When I got out of the vortex of the ‘beltway’, the machinations of the inside of a major political party and the distorting world view of the permanent campaign, I realised most people are not driven by politics but rather family, sport and work/business.

Now there are ambitious and driven people on the right in politics but fewer of the pathologically life controlling win at all costs types that you find frequently on the left. Because centre right party activists tend to come out of the broad middle of society, they tend to gravitate towards policy proscriptions that fit more comfortably with the aspirations of mainstream society. Such policies require less of a ‘sell’ and so the persona, image shaping and policy spin for a broad church right of centre party like National requires less contorting and flossying up than on the left.

Parties of the left in the Anglophile countries find themselves led by (or dominated by) people more out of step with the middle of their country. This is because their party’s internal structures favour the ideological and highly committed and allow them to rise more swiftly through the ranks than an equivalent person farther to the right of a centre right party. Centre right parties have more centrist instincts politically and have more formal and informal mechanisms to block more hard core ideologues.

Leaders/senior MPs of left leaning parties then must face the electoral reality that their privately held views and preferred policy outcomes are too far to the left of the broad middle where electoral power lies and so the more politically astute of them must make themselves over, tone down their rhetoric and engage in more elaborate word games, messaging discipline and in some cases outright Orwellian doublespeak.

Pretty soon left leaning politicians trying to get elected in a centrist world realise that the tried and true electoral recipe is one based essentially on deceit – the demeanising and outright lying about your opponents on the right and the masking and spinning of the true left ideology so as to appear more electorally appealing.

Anything that gets in the way of this campaign of masking and deceit has to be dealt with. I feel this is one of the reasons why the left are so nasty because, when they run up against the truth (that implimentation of their true progressive policy pathway has never worked), they can’t cope.

I’ve tried to have calm rational fact based core principals discussions with doctrinaire lefties with whom I have enjoyed long friendships and they just cannot get past their ideology. They resort to distorted talking points, propaganda and outright falsehoods when even the most easily proven facts are raised.

It explains why The Standard and Red Alert are so heavily censored. The left never believe that they are voted out because a majority of people don’t like their policies, they always believe it was because their policies weren’t properly explained, or the media were out to get them (laughable given how far the NZ media tilts left) or that the great unwashed were duped by ‘smile and wave’ John Key.

– kiwi in america

I have had a different (non-party) background to kia but have leant Labour-ish in the past. Over the past few years I have had extensive discussions on blogs right across the political spectrum. My experience with people from the centre-right and the left are very similar to as kia describes.

There can be nastiness and censorship on the extreme right, for example Redbaiter. And Christian conservatives can never be swayed, and some can tend towards nastiness too, especially in discriminatory topics like homesexualism. And there are a view nasty and abusive nutters, some fueled by evening alcohol.

But most political argument is uncensored and on an even playing field, certainly robust at times but fairly respectful of the right to have differing views.

In contrast on left wing blogs if you are deemed an enemy of the ideology you are condemned to neverending personal attacks and attempts to discredit and drive away. And the left wing blogs are far more likely to actually drive opposing views away by harrassment and banning.

My political views and blogging style are both relatively moderate and I rarely resort to personal attacks. I aim to introduce discussion points and promote debate. I confront things I think are wrong, lying or offensive, but usually with argument I try and back with facts. I can sometimes be provocative, and long winded, and boring. I sometimes get accused of link whoring – sometimes that’s justified, mostly I believe I add value to discussions and link to more detail.

I am periodically criticised on right wing blogs, with some commenters trying to ‘encourage’ me to shut up or not bring up certain topics ot link to things they don’t like. I’ve had differences of opinion and debate with bloggers – Whale Oil, David Farrar and Keeping Stock. WO and DPF moderate very lightly but do warn and ban sometimes, KS a bit more, but I’ve never been blocked from commenting or banned on their blogs. I have built a rapport with all three (minor but mutually respectful).

On left wing blogs I’ve been widely targeted, harrassed and abused, some of it quite vicious. Most of this seems to be because I have been deemed an ideological outsider. Blog moderation has usually supported this active discrimination.

I’ve been banned or blocked or deleted on a number of left wing blogs – The Standard, Dim Post, Red Alert. Some bans, blocks and warnings have been when I was the one being attacked and abused.

Clare Curran told me she banned me from Red Alert because she doesn’t trust me. I think that’s unfounded and bordering on paranoia – MPs from Red Alert don’t seem to trust anyone who doesn’t grease up their PR and bow at their greatness, going by the number they ban.

And as an example, yesterday I’m aware of three bloggers from the left (people who run blogs or are blog authors) who have taken aim at me – Lynn Prentice of The Standard (it’s hard to know how much is game playing, I admit I bait him), Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish) and Andrew Geddis (from Pundit but on another blog). It’s amusing, but I think their attention, snarkiness and arrogance reflects more on themselves.

The general theme here is that blogs and bloggers from the left are much less likely to tolerate opposing views and are far more likely to censor what they don’t like. They also seem to decide and never forget, once an enemy, always an enemy seems to be their way.

I don’t think this is something that can be changed (try suggesting improvements to lprent!) It’s just how things tend to be.

But this isn’t a totally right versus left impression. I’ve already mentioned some aberrations on the right. And some on the left are accommodating and will debate respectfully – for example, most MPs I have been able to establish discussions with have been from the left. Most Green supporters have mostly been fine to communicate with (with one notable exception).

Hissiness and nastiness seems more persistent through the ranks of Labour and Mana.

– PG