Pillows and soft toys dumped outside Jacinda Ardern's office.
David Parker : A great day for multinational corporations!
Trade minister David Parker has signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Santiago, Chile. With Labour supporters having lost the will to oppose the CPTPP now that Labour is in power, the absence of a progressive political party on the New Zealand landscape has never been more obvious.

SEEMINGLY INTENT on continuing with the pretence that democracy matters, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that there will be a parliamentary debate on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Since the Green's, on paper at least, are the only parliamentary party that are actually opposed to the CPTPP, it's not going to be as much a debate as an opportunity for parliamentary M.P.'s to slap each other on the back and congratulate themselves about  what a great little deal the CPTPP really is. In terms of democratic spectacle, the Nuremberg rallies are more interesting.

While the polls all show that the majority of New Zealanders are still opposed to the CPTPP the bottom has fallen out of the anti-CPTPP protest movement with Labour supporters having decided they can learn to love the CPTPP - or, at least, keep their mouths shut about it. They betray the country's best interests with their silence.

What the anti-CPTPP protest movement is discovering is that without an independent and uncompromised political party that can articulate its concerns and help organise the resistance, it doesn't have a lot left in its arsenal other than petitions and some poorly attended rallies. They won't convince the government to change course.

As on a whole slate of issues and concerns,  the Labour Party cannot be relied on for bringing about the real change that we need. It is too invested in the status quo, in the way things are right now, a system which preserves its power, protects entrenched parliamentary incumbents, and allows the one percent to dominate and prosper. The Green Party is also entangled in that status quo, its lacklustre opposition to the CPTPP all too apparent.

If real systemic change is going to happen, it’ll have to come from a new and independent progressive party, one committed to giving government and political power back to the people.

As Sue Bradford has noted, we find ourselves in a position where "no parliamentary party seriously champions a future which will start to move us beyond capitalism and the legacies of colonisation."

While Sue rightfully also observes the lack of such a progressive party exposes  a "glaring organisational gap on the left of New Zealand politics that has never been greater or the need to fill it more urgent", the ugly fact is,  that come 2020, even many of today's opponents of the CPTPP will grudgingly call for a Labour vote because Labour is supposedly the 'lesser evil'. Under that convenient two word description many travesties and outrages will be concealed. And not only will we find ourselves no further ahead in breaking the grip of neoliberalism, the nearly million folk who now no longer vote will still be without political representation. 

Are we going to allow this to happen?


  1. Three white capitalist old men celebrating a cosy deal for multinationals. Are we surprised?


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