Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Joined the Green Party

Week four of the news drought and still the muse is unamused at the menu. Instead, here's something off the menu from last year. It is the introduction note I sent to the Greens after I joined the party:

I recently joined the Greens on Winter Solstice, after Russel Norman's realpoliltik dropping of the QE policy. That showed political bravery and pragmatism from the Greens, both in suggesting new policies, and dumping old ones that can't be sold to the public. Next year's election is pivotal to the long term future of New Zealand. Booting QE clears the deck for a clear and concise platform to take to the people next year and seek their mandate.

The Greens MPs have shown to be an outstanding Opposition to the Key government, with a better bang for buck ratio than the rest of the Opposition parties combined. Putting aside a few speed wobbles, the party is changing up and consolidating its base, without losing its purpose. I can well imagine expanding on that success, eating into the Maori and Blue Green voting blocs, as well as Labour's bloc and the General Enrolled Non Vote.

But enough flattery. Let me introduce myself. My name is Will. I was born in Palmy on a political animal farm. My first political battle was when I was eight, accidentally leading the faction of Labour Party kids on a school playground at lunch time on Election Day 1978, as a plane flew overhead trailling the banner "Labour is Winning!".

Labour didn't. The old man's Labour lost the Manawatu electorate contest to National's Michael Cox, although Labour's Joe Walding regained Palmerston North after the narrow loss to National in 1975. The lesson here? Every seat is marginal, given the correct circumstances.

Since then I have scrutineered, stuffed envelopes, leaflet dropped, petitioned, databased, policy wonked, and generally volunteered across part of the political spectrum. In chronological order: Labour, Act, Libertarianz, Act, Labour, ALCP and now Greens. If that seems a bit messy, it makes more sense when mapped to my position on the Poltical Compass, which defines me as a Left Libertarian. In short, Ayn Rand was a nutjob (Please excuse the perjorative term. I just wanted to annoy the NSA/GCSB).

I voted Greens in 2011, partly as a protest to Labour's disarray, but mainly because the Greens offered a better alternative team and platform. As a Half Deaf, I was especially pleased to have helped Mojo Mathers enter the House. There is still a long way to go for Disability Rights, especially as National mimics David Cameron's welfare crackdown on the sick and infirm in the UK here in NZ.

I intend to not only vote Greens next year, but hope to encourage others to do so as well. Now more than ever, there needs to be a party that stands with the people, not just giving them lip service such as the main two parties continue to do.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Gated Reverb and Other Sounds of the '80s

One of the great tragedies of the NZ Left is that they have swallowed whole the myth of the Fourth Labour government. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Lange is still revered as a saint instead of the dithering Billy Bunter he was, and Rogernomics is still vilified as voodoo economics.

The Douglas revolution was all but air-brushed out of the Labour Party narrative at the 90th anniversary party at the Beehive, and at other times it is passed off as an aberration. In reality, old Labour MPs such as Joe Walding supported Rogernomics whole-heartedly.

Alas, the false narrative has become the accepted history. This may or may not explain why the party is currently resorting to circling its ever-decreasing wagons.

The tragedy can be summed up in one day; December 17th 1987. Here's Mervyn Wilkinson Hancock's take on it, from the excellent The Sixteen Members of Parliament for Palmerston North 1871-2005, Chapter 15, pg. 511:

Lange broke Cabinet collective responsibility and cancelled the package with his cup of tea. It was clear enough that Lange was exercising a veto power that he did not have, but what can you do? Lange pulled a Muldoon v Fitzgerald where the courts could not go to enforce it, in Cabinet.

Fast forward to today, where Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn complains that the Greens are the only party with a Universal Basic Income policy. If you throw that Rogernomics promise of $370 a week in 1987 dollars into the Reserve Bank's Inflation Calculator, it comes out in 2014 money just shy of $700 a week. That's a reasonable sum for a subsistence family to live in some dignity.

Instead, we're stuck with this hopelessly complex bewilder-beast of WINZ which dribbles out far less to scrape by on, enforced by pains in the forests of paperwork and performance art.

NZ, I love you, but you piss me off.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

News Drought

We're into the second week of news drought here in NZ. Nothing continues to happen. In lieu of news, mirages are common. They look like news at a distance, but upon closer inspection are nothing but the shifting sands of time.

For example, a Kiwi Sleb's Lear jet joins the search for the AWOL MH370. It looks like a match made in clickbait heaven, but turns out to be less than the sum of its parts. Traces of the missing Malaysian airplane continue to elude the search team over the South Indian Ocean, who have only found an ocean full of unrelated human flotsam and jetsam so far. Alas, the man-made Plastic Gyres of inorganic refuse are not news either.

Another cyclist is dead. Police are considering whether to press charges against a 70 year old truck driver who ran over and killed a 22 year old student nurse cyclist.

Sharla Haerewa was wearing a reflective vest and bike lights for Africa, as well as apparently riding in the designated cycle lane. If the police don't charge this truckie with careless driving causing death, THAT would be news.

It would be even better news if the Dutch way of law was introduced here, where the burden of proof always lies with the person in charge of the multi-ton speeding hunk of metal. Fair trade for the freight-friendly Roads of National Significance, eh.

The thinking person's gym bunny, Rachel Smalley, Punk'd herself with a live mic, inadvertently setting off a wrestling match with some self-identifying heifers. It's a fight as old as nerd versus jock but, like alcohol and other drugs, it is a cleavage that feminism has yet to resolve to its satisfaction.

It looks like I picked the wrong week to join Twitter. Just as I join in search of news and novelty, Herald journo David Fisher calls it quits. I can see his point. The signal to noise is so lopsided, I get an idea what SETI must feel like. It's like being in a Kakrafoonian Pub.

At least Towel Day is only a month away. A hopeful thumbs up til then. You're never lost as long as you know where your towel is.