all Matt's columns

Matt McCarten: National is taking NZ back down memory lane

Herald on Sunday
November 29th 2009

John Key's year-long honeymoon is over. Or, at the very least, it's the beginning of the end.

The first hint that his Teflon existence was about to expire was the fallout from Rodney Hide and Hone Harawira's overseas trips. Both problems, created by Key's junior coalition partners, were avoidable and self-inflicted, but National gets some of the public opprobrium by dint of its association.

Matt McCarten: Right to demonstrate supported - pity about the reason, though

Herald on Sunday
Nov 22nd 2009

I was in a dilemma about the Orwellian-named "march for democracy".

The march yesterday, organised by various conservative organisations, was less about democracy and more about the need by social conservatives to impose their will on others.

The pro-smackers point to their avalanche of referendum support as proof they represent the masses. But their referendum questions were crafted to give the desired answer. Their question was really a version of "who's against responsible parenthood and warm apple pie?"

Matt McCarten: Harawira feeding frenzy has panicked Maori Party

Herald on Sunday
Nov 15th 2009

Talk about a long week in politics. Famous Ngapuhi son and MP Hone Harawira sent an inflammatory email to one of his nemeses after being attacked.

Mainstream media, other political leaders and the chattering classes have gone into a hysterical feeding frenzy. Even old war horse Winston Peters came out of retirement to join the stake-burning.

As a result, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has summoned the chairs of the Maori electorates to a hui today. If we believe the media spin, she wants him out.

Rodney Hide, who was toast last week, must be thanking God for his deliverance by the Harawira distraction.

Matt McCarten: Mobilising to challenge 'feudal era' management

Herald on Sunday
8th November 2009

Every thinking New Zealander should go and see Michael Moore's film Capitalism: A Love Story that is now out in cinemas.

I've been a fan of Moore ever since his first film, Roger & Me, which had him chasing down Roger Smith - the then head of General Motors - after Moore's father and thousands of other auto workers were laid off in Flint, Michigan.

His television series, The Awful Truth, was compulsory viewing each week.

His Oscar-winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine, and his last film Sicko, posed serious challenges to corporate capitalism. Moore's latest film is the most politically potent of all.

Matt McCarten: What happened to the true meaning of Labour Day?

Herald on Sunday
1st November 2009

Last Monday was Labour Day. Our forebears ensured this day was legislated so that workers could take a day off to celebrate the role of workers.

There used to be a time when the role of the working class was central to the politics of New Zealand. The partnership between capital, labour and the state was understood. The welfare state, underpinned by a living wage, was negotiated. This arrangement created an egalitarian society that was the envy of the world.

Matt McCarten: Key's sortie into enemy territory outflanks rival

Herald on Sunday
October 25, 2009

I attended the Council of Trade Unions biennial conference in Wellington this week. It was the first time in a decade that trade union barons turned up when Labour wasn't in power.

Previously Helen Clark arrived feted by an adoring constituency with the prerequisite standing ovations. There's a new sheriff in town and we had for the first time, I'm told, a leader of the National Party turning up in the enemy's territory as the main guest.

It must have stuck in Labour leader Phil Goff's craw that John Key got prime billing on the first day while he had to share the second day with the Greens' Russel Norman.

Some of the old Labour diehards muttered about threatening a walk-out and other mutinous acts.

Matt McCarten: Sharples cops the blame for a National disgrace

Herald on Sunday
October 18, 2009

After Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was smacked down by his National Party allies, it looked as if this weekend's Maori Party annual conference was going to be a very unhappy event.

What got Government ministers upset last week was Sharples' support for Maori Television's deal with Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development) on sponsoring a bid for the free-to-air television rights for the Rugby World Cup.

Government sources claimed it was not an appropriate use of taxpayers' money. Nor was it seen as practical for Maori Television to think they could do it, given they had only 90 per cent transmission coverage of the country.

Matt McCarten: Bus lockout a cynical move by bosses

Herald on Sunday
Oct 11, 2009

Aren't the ads by Auckland's private bus companies patronising?

They pay their advertising agencies to air expensive ads which inform us they have locked out their workers and taken buses off the road, because they apparently care about the safety of their passengers.

The truth is, it's a bully-boy tactic used by bus driver bosses to enforce their will on their employees.

It is breathtakingly cynical to use 80,000 commuters as a tool to deliberately whip up the emotions of frustrated passengers to intimidate bus drivers into settling their employment contract on the owners' terms.

Matt McCarten: Egg on face silences Georgia's apologists

Herald on Sunday
Sunday Oct 4th, 2009

Refreshingly, there have been a couple of international investigative reports this week that have spoken truth to power.

You may recall, during last year's US presidential campaign, the Republican candidate John McCain lambasted his opponent, Barack Obama, for not automatically championing Georgia when Russia invaded South Ossetia.

At the time, Russia claimed - to a disbelieving international news media - it was actually Georgia which had attacked Ossetia, killing hundreds of people.

Matt McCarten: Gadaffi views needed serious consideration

Herald on Sunday
Sunday Sept 27, 2009

What I find disturbing is the dumbing down of real news and cartoon characterisation of opponents of conventional wisdom.

I'm not sure if it's deliberate or unconscious actions by international news agencies.

A bit of both, I suppose.

I found the superficial reporting of Libyan leader and African Union president Muammar al-Gaddafi's United Nations speech this week pathetic. Obviously Gaddafi intended to be deliberately provocative in telling First World leaders some uncomfortable truths.

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