Friday, November 24, 2006

Nicky Hager - the poor leftwing rich boy

You wont hear the NZ media say much about Nicky Hager being a wealthy socialist. Pointing out the wealth of political activists tends to be more fingerpointing towards those on the right than the left, and the hardcore leftwing credentials of so called “journalists” like Hager are neglected to maintain an air of impartiality. There is none – Nicky Hager is no more impartial on the New Zealand political scene than Brian Tamaki or Roger Kerr, but the media would always remind you of their backgrounds. Hager, living a life of leisure from inherited wealth has an explicit agenda, and it is a deception in itself for him not to be upfront about it. The agenda was clear with Corngate, he wanted the Greens to capture a far higher proportion of the leftwing vote from Labour, so that a Green-Labour coalition would see the Green’s socialist agenda commanding far greater influence than it does. Now his agenda, with Brash having nearly led National to victory, is to discredit Brash and the National Party – he wants Labour to be re-elected in 2008.
Hager’s book has a foreword by Marilyn Waring, a woman more than happy with National under Muldoon, except for Muldoon and the conservative social/foreign policy agenda. Quite frankly it is clear that Marilyn Waring is a complete oddity, being a socially liberal socialist who was a National MP – a bit like Trevor de Cleene the socially conservative economic liberal who was a Labour MP.
Hager’s book is timed brilliantly following a difficult time for Labour. A time when in order to save its reputation it passed legislation to retrospectively legalise its own illegal actions – which Hager totally ignores – a time when Labour committed to paying back to the state the money it took for its campaign against the law and against advice from the Electoral Commission. Hager cares little for this, for it is clear which side he is on, and is the side of Labour closer to the Greens, certainly no side of National.
His disingenuous statement in the preface that “a millionaire belonging to the social group that enjoys most privilege, in his first major speech as leader, subtly attacking many of the poorest people in New Zealand” ignoring that Brash was identifying a major issue for much of the New Zealand public. This was tiredness at funding based on who your ancestors were, and a state funding system that often saw a small number of Maori obtain substantial wealth through state patronage.
Hager says it is easy to spin and manipulate, and how the media and electoral law are weak in responding to this. He admits he could have also written a book about Labour, funny how he hasn’t - he could have written two in parallel or one that covers both, but then his bias would be difficult to hide and the effect of the book would be neutral, and Hager is anything but neutral.
The truth about Hager does come out in his book though. His concern about individuals and companies making donations to political parties and influencing their policies doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to unions or iwi. He seems to think that laissez-faire economic policies are not about principle or what is effective, but about granting privilege – whereas ignoring that free-market policies are about abolishing privilege – the privileges granted incumbents, monopolies or subsidised industries against consumers, competitors and taxpayers. Hager doesn’t understand economics.

Furthermore, Hager’s interpretation of the 1980s/1990s reforms speaks volumes about his agenda. Apparently foreign companies bought up most major New Zealand businesses. Apparently that is a bad thing because somehow Hager himself could influence a New Zealand privately owned business better than one with those horn in the head and snake tongued foreigners – the xenophobia against foreign businesses is a common leftwing bogey, shared in fact by the fascist far right. He doesn’t like university fees, presumably he likes middle class students and the sons and daughters of lawyers, accountants and doctors to get educations paid for by everyone else compulsorily.

He makes various claims about the public health system and poverty, presumably Hager’s concern about poverty is because he’s never had any. His nonsense about scuttling hopes for an egalitarian society is curious, since there is little evidence he does much materially for this.

In short, he is a vapid little socialist muck raker. His allegations about the SIS involvement in the Maori Party have been dismissed. The Corngate scandal was about nothing whatsoever – at worst it was the application of science to a principle that was impractical to follow, and one that did not risk life or property. It was Hager caught up in the genetic engineering scare – remember that? Notice how genetic engineering scares a lot less people now?

Without reading Hager’s book I believe his allegations will run to:

- National Party MPs/officials having communications with the US Republican Party and getting tips on campaigning, with moral support (remarkable! So people with common philosophical positions in politics discuss tactics – wow!);
- National Party MPs/officials having communications with religious/conservative groups that would either provide funding or support campaigning to get National elected (the Brethren link). Again what a scandal that voluntary civil organisations in a free society would choose to work with a political party that they believe would advance their goals;
- National Party MPs/officials discussing policies such as tax cuts, closing some government departments, education and welfare reforms that would see more choice and a reduction in the size of government. Outrageous that National would want to promote policies consistent with its constitution;
- Generous donations to the National party directly and through third party organisations by wealthy people. Hager clearly doesn’t like his own kind not supporting the socialist parties he warms to.
- National Party’s affiliations and supporters wanting to promote policies to make the rich richer and poor poorer and oil the wheels of capitalism with the blood of welfare recipients. You see Hager, like some on the left, see and portray their opponents as selfish and evil, who enjoy seeing poverty, who enjoy seeing people failing in their lives – you know, like those on the left who cheer whenever anyone wealthy faces significant loss of some kind.

Nothing in Hager’s book will excite anyone who isn’t already on the far left of politics, the types who think wealthy people, religious people and foreign companies are all evil and selfish when they support free market policies – but who would embrace them if they helped fund the Labour Party to implement statist socialist policies. National under Brash has promoted a clear agenda of modestly less government, of a classical liberal approach towards race relations (treating everyone the same), of less government intervention in the economy, being tougher on welfare and more choice in health and education. Or you could believe Nicky Hager and it is about leaving the poor to starve, making workplaces less safe to save money, letting health and education collapse and institute some sort of Christian neo-conservative social agenda.

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