Posts Tagged ‘Chris Trotter’

Trotter take on liberal left & immigration

April 17, 2008

An interesting post from Dominion Post columnist Chris Trotter. Fresh from a savaging at the hands of the liberal left last year, after he presumed the police had a case against those arrested in the Urewera 19 raids, Chris now challenges the liberal left to answer Peter Brown and NZ First’s implicit questions on (Asian) immigration.

This is good, bold writing from Trotter – it is nice to see he has not been cowed by some overhyped personal attacks (though he should seriously ponder his position on the Urewera 19 and the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’). That said, Chris seems to drift off the plot towards the end.

NDU secretary Laila Harre claimed that Brown’s comments were not backed by any “organised political movement” (well, she could be forgiven for thinking NZ First were not organised 😉 ) Responding, Trotter poses two questions:

“What sort of society is New Zealand becoming?” And, “Are New Zealanders ready to embrace that sort of society?”

Sadly, Chris then wallowed in a sea of despair that pakeha (European) New Zealanders may not allow minority ethnic migrants to realise their equal place in NZ, because pakeha had been so slow giving Maori such recognition. Fair point, pakeha have been tardy Maori a fair deal (and still have a way to go!), but for different reasons to their treatment of more recent migrants. Maori have rights under the Treaty of Waitangi which – if honoured – would see them own a major chunk of NZ’s natural resources, which explains (though doesn’t excuse) pakeha tardiness in recognising rights over the resources that pakeha want to control and profit from.

By contrast, the issue with newer migrants from non-Anglo or Maori ethnic groups (which was Brown’s general point) is concern over integration, financial costs of migration (older, sicker, baby-breeding migrant costs) and the general issue of whether a society should be allowed to democratically decide to remain homogenous (and hence it’s cultural identity) in some aspect.

That is, is it legitimate for pakeha and/or Maori NZ to say “we don’t want a bunch of non-Maori or non-Anglo” migrants because we think they:

  1. May not respect the historic importance of the Treaty of Waitangi
  2. May inadvertently undermine the importance of our religious and/or social views – that is, change our culture from a Judeo-Christian and Anglo rugby-mad culture
  3. May simply not make much effort to form a community (‘what can NZ give me, and if a better deal is on offer from another country, I’m off’)

Note here that some Maori may hold such concerns exactly because many pakeha migrants ticked all 3 boxes above!!!

The example of Yugoslavia is interesting – did it work? Did Tito manage to make a country of disparate ethnic & religious groups into a multi-cultural society, or were they just oil and water co-existing until the state was weak enough to be split into homogenous smaller states as now? (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro)

Trotter is right about one thing – it would behove the liberal left to answer these questons rationally and politely, rather than just rant and bully. The Green and Labour party liberal left rammed through a whole raft of social engineering laws in the last year or so against massive public disapproval, and are likely to pay a heavy price in this year’s election. The only thing that may save them is fear of the extreme liberal capitalist National party…

I await the debate over a multi-cultural society, integration vs assimilation immigration with interest.

Decapitating Dear Leader

January 27, 2008

It seems Dear Leader’s days may be numbered – at least if you believe erstwhile left-wing commentator Chris Trotter. Trotter, whose controversial appearance (due to his Ruatoki raid comments) at Labour’s last conference in Takapuna cemented him firmly back onside with Labour, has posted calling for minister Phil Goff to oust PM Helen Clark.

While I agree with Trotter’s analysis, especially:

A worryingly large chunk of Labour’s core constituency has become alienated from the Helen Clark-led government, and it is to be seriously doubted whether they can be persuaded back while she remains Labour’s leader.

This vital chunk of culturally conservative, economically stressed voters, a great many of them married men in their thirties with young children, large mortgages and high aspirations (both for themselves and their kids) could represent as much as 5 per cent of the electorate.

I’m less inclined to agree that John Key “has got ’em”, nor that Labour’s solution is to behead Clark. David Farrar’s post about Trotter’s article has a fun selection of comments, including this about Trotter from ‘Brownie’:

I wonder what happened to him? He used to be a thorn in the side of the right. Now he’s merely a pimple on the bottom of the left.

and Bryce Edwards notes the very astute analysis from another Trotter article:

Only a prime minister who had lost the plot both strategically and tactically could have come up with something as extravagantly self-defeating as the Electoral Finance Act.

Labour’s trouble stems from Clark and Finance minister Cullen being the only in Cabinet who appear to have a pulse above the shoulders. Supposedly strong ministers like Annette King, Lianne Dalziel, Trevor Mallard and even up-and-comer David Parker have demonstrated mostly stubborn defense of the indefensible (aka civil servant blunders) that translates to electoral suicide.

Meanwhile, ministerial handbag Judith Tizard annoys anyone within a 5km radius, while thankfully the puerile Tim Barnett and George Beyer are on the outer (kinda literally).

Clark and Labour’s probable solution lies with forced promotion of the capable Chris Carter (to more portfolios) and David Cunliffe (to portfolios that matter – say health), and rapid and forced induction of new ministerial talent. Having a Cabinet who have to focus most of their cranial capacity on the intricate task of breathing rather detracts from their ability to sate the electorate’s outrage over unaffordable housing, rising violent crime and climate change that so far has only had solutions in name.

Unhindered by the ‘new ethical way of doing politics’ the Greens espouse, Labour may even want to contemplate forced retirement of dross to bring their predicted next-term talent (Kate Sutton, Jordan Carter, etc) in now, to blood them and possibly drop a few in Cabinet on minor portfolios for some good news. The mooted replacement of Ann Hartley by Sua William Sio will not help – Labour have the Pacific vote wrapped up; it is the Gen X pakeha vote they are losing, and to which they must appeal with talented Gen Xers.

Question is, do Labour have them, and the bollocks to usher in such talent in time to save this government? That is Clark’s true test of leadership.