Philip McKibbin is the author of Love Notes: for a Politics of Love, published in New York by Lantern Books. www.apoliticsoflove.com

As New Zealand adjusts to the reintroduction of COVID-19 restrictions, divisions between us are worsening. The timing of the outbreak is unfortunate. The fact that it occurred so close to an election has given politicians struggling for relevance, like those of the National Party and New Zealand First, an incentive to ‘politicise’ the crisis (or, more accurately, to use it to advance their own political agendas). We got through the first outbreak of COVID-19 by cooperating. …

As the social and economic reality of the COVID-19 pandemic sets in, many of us have suddenly and unexpectedly found ourselves in positions of extreme vulnerability. Kiwis working across a broad spectrum of industries — tourism, hospitality, the arts — are facing what, for many of us, is an unprecedented threat to our livelihoods: many are losing income, some have already lost jobs. And as a lot of us have been saying for a long time now, many Kiwis have been living with financial hardship for years.

There is something the government can and should do right now, which would…

As the coronavirus outgrows SARS and begins to spread around the world, it is provoking something more threatening: xenophobia. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has promoted an outburst of anti-Chinese sentiment — even in countries like Aotearoa New Zealand, where, so far, zero cases of the virus have been reported.

The government has implemented a ban on tourists travelling from Mainland China, in a bid to protect New Zealanders. Yet there is a greater danger to our well-being than the coronavirus, and that is xenophobia — or, more specifically, Sinophobia, anti-Chinese sentiment.

In places as diverse as Canada…

Chlöe Swarbrick and James Shaw (Parliament TV)

Philip McKibbin is a New Zealand writer. His recent book, Love Notes: for a Politics of Love, is published in New York by Lantern Books.

Chlöe Swarbrick’s ‘OK, Boomer’ comment in New Zealand parliament has gained a great deal of attention. The 25-year-old dropped the phrase in a speech about the Zero Carbon Bill last week, reportedly in response to a National MP’s heckling. Reactions appear to have split along demographic lines, with millennials (those reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century) celebrating Swarbrick’s comment, and baby boomers (those born in the years following WW2) criticising it.

As a…

Source: https://gg.govt.nz/image-galleries/appointment-new-ministry

Most people believe that New Zealand’s government is loving. Many liberal New Zealanders clearly think this way, and internationally, its reputation seems to be even stronger.

The reasons for this are not what they would like to believe, though. One reason our government is perceived as loving is because the Prime Minister herself has suggested it is. When Jacinda Ardern formed her government, she declared that it would be ‘focused, empathetic and strong’; and when she spoke at the United Nations last September, she talked about ‘kindness’. Another reason is that things are pretty dire everywhere else…

When I talk…

In the wake of the white supremacist terrorist attack in Christchurch in March, most of us were appalled at the divisive language that surfaced. Some of this was directed at Muslims, and much of it at people of colour. It rang out against the outpouring of love that we showed one another.

Among all of this was the suggestion that Pākehā were to blame for the attack. This suggestion took several forms, but as an example, consider Anny Ma’s tweet, a grab of which was also widely shared on Facebook:

Aotearoa New Zealand is a deeply racist society. (I…

I presented this talk to the group Everything Matters at Saint Mary’s, Addington, in Christchurch, on Thursday 4th July. I wish to thank Rebecca Finch for the invitation, and for the important community work she is doing.

We live in a strange world, where no one dares to look beyond our current political system even though it’s clear that the answers we seek will not be found within the politics of today.— Greta Thunberg

Thank you for coming along this evening. Even though it is very cold outside, I am going to resist saying ‘in spite of the weather’. I…

Rory Stewart, British Conservative MP and contender for the party leadership, made headlines last week after declaring on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ that, ‘the key word that we need to get back to, which is a word which is so powerful, and nobody ever uses in politics, is the word “love”.’

I’m not sure I ever thought I would write this, but the Tory is right (in more ways than one).

When I first read his words, I was sceptical. For one thing, the claim that ‘nobody ever uses’ the word ‘love’ in politics is — simply — wrong. In recent…

The anti-abortion laws spreading across the United States of America are an assault on women and girls. Not only do they further corrode any semblance of moral leadership the U.S. might still be thought to possess, they reveal a profound lack of love for America’s people.

In other parts of the world, the need for loving politics has become very clear. This has been partly in response to the unloving example the U.S. has set. It is true that some American politicians recognise the need for love in politics: congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated, through her words and actions, that…

The Politics of Love is being heralded as the solution to many of humanity’s current problems, and suggestions are already being made that it should be viewed as a new form of humanism. But the Politics of Love is not a form of humanism — and thinking of it as such denies its potential.

Humanism is a system of thought that takes human beings and our experiences as its starting-point. It arose in opposition to religious systems which privileged the otherworldly — such as Christianity, which centres God. Where humanism puts people at the centre, the Politics of Love centres…

Philip McKibbin

I am a writer from Aotearoa New Zealand. www.apoliticsoflove.com

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