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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Elections 2017: See you on the other side

Readers may have noted the lacks of posts here recently which has been because I have a) other things to be doing with my time, and b) there seemed to be nothing left to comment about in regards to the electoral process.

As of today I have been commenting, reading, writing, researching and generally thinking about NZ politics since I started this blog (ironically on September 23 last year) at a near daily level and the only change is that I have, for the third time in my life, come full circle and realised how loathsome and degrading politics really is.

Yes that’s right, not one, two, but three times I have now come back to the inevitable conclusion, towering above me like some dark monolith, that politics is a wretched soul destroying pursuit which delivers minimal outcomes for maximum pain.

The signs were all there for those who do read this blog to see and for me the heady rush of politics soon degraded into something akin to bitter cynicism which needed to be stomped out rapidly and without mercy lest it infect the rest of me.

But to cut a long story short the end came quickly when I watched Steven Joyce lying his heart out and caring not a damn that all and sundry knew he was a dirty little doggie that had been caught soiling the rug.

That said this is not to ascribe some saintly virtue to any other party or politician this electoral cycle because all have been behaving just as expected by making promises they are unlikely to keep or acting just so in order to get votes.

And I find myself again faced with the rather dark, and bitter, realisation that a much younger self had in 1996 when I voted for the first time almost instantly regretted it. Long story short I voted for Winston on the basis of his promises to remove national and felt like a heart broken lover when he sidled up with National post-election.

But this is not all negative as I have had plans to wrench the content of this blog away from the increasingly narrow focus it had developed on NZ politics and more accurately NZ politicians and political parties, and it took getting to this state to motivate me to do it.

So apart from some post-election coverage readers will notice a shift in content on this blog as I return to some of the wider topics I covered when I was over at Kiwipolitico and here on this blog.

There are plenty of great blogs out there doing NZ politics and by simply focusing on just that I was painting myself into a niche I was never happy, or comfortable, being in.

So after this Saturday I will be returning to some of the things I have been wanting to do and will be putting NZ politics on the backburner until something significant of note happens.

In post terms this means more posts about places in the world that interest me (and those requested by readers); more posts dealing with issues facing our society (both NZ and the wider world) and more material which is less about politics and more about anything else I am wanting to write about (history, culture, military affairs, art and perhaps even some of my fiction). Who knows I may even find time to review a book or film from time to time.

I am not sure if readers will like this change but at the end of the day I blog as an outlet for me rather than for other people but I do enjoy it if others do get something from my oft demented output.

So good luck space-monkeys, see you next week and don’t forget to vote (whoever it is for).


PS – No post about Gareth Morgan and TOP will be posted pre-election (even though it has been written) as there was just not enough of substance in a political party that is less than a year old to do anything with so that post has been shelved until after election day when we can see what kind of future the party has. 


  1. Completely excellent EA. Good resolution. Repeat, excellent, your best post of year.
    The prime reason I came here, is that I knew you were not 'fucked in the head ' as we say, and have a sense of balance and realism. And sense of humour .
    The number of fanatics I click on, go over to their blogs, and I wonder what their family think. By about 11 am in the morning, I like to go over to do photography, films and general living and household. At night I send girl to bed and wander back over the internet again. I come back to NZ soon, and I can hardly wait to drift out in the afternoon to river spots near Spencerville and the Waimak, and general cruising near trees and farms . Then there is all the home and garden to be with.
    I wouldn't mind if you did some writing on your reading stuff. Also nearly forgot > almost a certainty I send you $50. You can give me detail, the wager must go through.. I learned long ago when I was doing signs for Greens Alliance [ 1999 I think] and then ACT party, and now NZF that we are just fodder for them. So now I just scream at Winston, and as usual he doesn't hear too well. We could lose both Prosser and Denis O'Rourke in Christchurch. Denis is not easy to work with either. One other good habit I developed last year was never going near NZ MSM > either TV or Newspaper. Nil at home. So unless you people tell me what is happening it didn't happen at all. I see I'm still on as lolita's brother > paul scott

    1. Hi Paul: Yes I think there might be a payoff for me come this Sunday but were we giving the money to charity or something like that.

      I also recalling making a bet with someone else along similar lines but again cant remember who exactly.

      NZF has had a rough run this election but I think that is less to do with Winston (although he does seem to be slowing) and more to do with populism being much more widespread and hence not just an area he can tap into.

      However lets see how they do on polling day, you never know.

  2. "Long story short I voted for Winston"


    1. What can I say, I was young and stupid and believed what he was saying. I can thank him for fixing that problem for me though. Never again.

    2. "Never again."

      Didn't you post something last year about how it wasn't necessarily a bad thing to be a Trump supporter

    3. I did but that does not stop me from deciding that I got sucked in when it came to voting for Winston in 96.

    4. It's easy to say "never again", it's much harder to practice it isn't it E.A?

    5. Huh? You have lost me there. I have not voted for Winston since 96 so I dont get it.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Looks like you've got a fan E.A!

    2. I too supported Winston Peters in the early nineties. It happened when I was living in Tai Tokerau, Kaikohe to be precise, where the Peters family had long standing connections, and at a time when Maori historic allegiance to the Labour Party had been strained to breaking point by the policies of the Lange/Douglas government. Peters reaped the benefit of the disgust with Labour, and marae throughout Tai Tokerau, and wider afield, rallied to support New Zealand First. When so many felt betrayed by NZ First in turn, there was a wholesale shift to the Maori Party, and yet another disappointment which prompted many to decamp with Hone Harawira to the Mana Party, which then swiftly imploded, prompting to a mass swing back to the Labour Party. The difference between now and 1984, however, is that people no longer trust the politicians. They do not have faith in the Labour Party. They have just run out of other options, and they are profoundly cynical about the entire political process.
      The European electorates have been through parallel cycles of hope and disillusion. Should we be embarrassed by that? Only if we have failed to learn from our experience, and one valid lesson we can draw from the past four decades is that it is not enough to change the persons, parties or even policies of government. We must construct an entirely new system of government, and to do that we must first detach ourselves from the present regime. Negativity, fear and loathing will not do the trick. In allowing ourselves to be consumed by loathing for the parties which make up the regime, we only become enslaved to it. The time has come to step back, to cease participating in a broken system, and to find better ways of doing things. Have a pleasant and productive sabbatical EA.

    3. "The difference between now and 1984, however, is that people no longer trust the politicians. "

      I have to say having read a lot of primary and secondary sources on the 1984 election, 'trust in politicians' was not a phenomenon on widespread delay. In fact distrust with politicians was the main explanation for the (comparative) success of Bob Jones' New Zealand party.

      Distrust in politicians is a very old phenomenon. Pretty much a constant. There has never been a time when politics or politicians inspired feelings of trust. And like many very old phenomenons, each new generation of political analysts thinks it's new.

      I don't doubt that in analysing the 2053 election, some amateur pundit will wisely explain that "Unlike the 2010s, people don't trust politicians anymore".

    4. I'm doing some reading about the 84 election and from what I have read so far it seems that voters simply did not know what they were going to get if they voted Labour, so while trust in politicians may or may not be a constant what makes 1984 so biter is that few knew what they were getting and the shift between promises and reality was greater than expected.

    5. " few knew what they were getting and the shift between promises and reality was greater than expected"

      This may or may not be true but it's completely irrelevant to the point I was making.

    6. "trust in politicians may or may not be a constant"

      What I said, E.A, is that distrust is a constant. Not trust. Please try and read what I'm writing if you're going to respond, it's quite frustrating otherwise.

  4. Distrust/trust, opposite sides of the same coin so that point is irrelevant.

    Currently there is no specific "trust" barometer but political polls do provide some indication but its party only so the only other measure out there is those "most respected occupation" surveys that we get from time to time and I dont know if those were being run in 1984.

    But we do know individual party polling goes up and down so that could indicate that "trust" does fluctuate to some degree in line with party fortunes.

    Politicans as a class, seem to be universally loathed today but there is no measure I know of to say its always been so to the same extent.

    So we don't know if trust/distrust is a constant but we can extrapolate from Labours rocky road in the 84 to 90 period that all the good vibes that helped them get elected after Muldoon was well spent by 1990 and Palmer doing sax solos on the Beehive balcony.

    The public trusted Labour enough in 84 to vote it in and did not trust them enough in 1990 to keep them in.

    1. "The public trusted Labour enough in 84 to vote it in"

      The public trusted National enough in 2017 to vote them in. Does that show trust in politicians in general?

      Sometimes I wonder if you and are even in the same universe, E.A, or speak the same language.

  5. Now who is flip flopping?

    You said before that distrust is a constant yet you are asking if an election outcome shows trust in politicians?

    I think in many cases its shows trust in the system more than trust in individual politicians because the options of something non-democratic are demonstrably less fair for most people.

    As its stands 78% of the voting populace can probably be said to trust the system at a minimum and possibly also have some trust in politicians (as a potential by-product) but given that any poll which considers such things always has occupations like nurses and teachers near the top and lawyers and politicians near the bottom I think that trust is mostly for the system.

    The shifts between parties as the outcome of various elections, I would argue, does show a shifting preference and to some degree trust in various political parties and politicians but given that such outcomes change over time such things are not constant.

    So overall voter turnout = trust in the system and party share = trust in parties and politicians but that trust in actual parties and politicians is secondary to trust in the system (given how politicos seem to be universally loathed and not generally trusted) and voters are, in most cases, simply choosing a preference from a range of options which is some cases may not be their first choice in a perfect world but are constrained by the limited amount (and quality) of candidates to choose from.

    Also i don't know what universe you live in but I enjoy mine.

    1. "you are asking if an election outcome shows trust in politicians?"

      Once again, you're mistaking my critique of your argument for my own argument. It was your assertion that the 1984 election outcome showed trust in politicians.

      You said we can see there was trust in Labour in 1984 because they were elected.

      I'm trying to point out that this metric doesn't make sense by applying it to the current election, or any election, because there's always someone elected, so by your metric (electing someone = trust), there's always trust.