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Changing times, David Grant

>The New Zealand Labour Party 1916–2016
Peter Franks and Jim McAloon
Victoria University Press, $50.00,
ISBN 9781776560745

Researching a history of conservative political parties in New Zealand would be relatively straight-forward. The Reform/National Parties have, from their early beginnings to the present day, varied little ideologically – from centrist, to centre-right, to right – leaving the “far-right” tag essentially to those on that fringe, such as the Democrats in the 1930s, and ACT in more recent years. The same cannot be said of the New Zealand Labour Party, which veered from doctrinaire socialism under its first leader Harry Holland to, at the other extreme, unabashed neo-liberalism under David Lange (but led essentially by Roger Douglas) in the mid-to-late 1980s.

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

Putting the Treaty in a discursive context, Jim McAloon

Before Hobson
Tony Simpson
Blythswood Press, $38.00,
ISBN 9780473312848

Tony Simpson has been writing history for a general, rather than academic, readership for a long time and to good effect. His aim in this book is to situate the Treaty of Waitangi in a long-run context. Most studies of the Treaty deal with the first four decades of the 19th century as a prelude, to be got through as quickly as possible; conversely, many studies of New Zealand in the Tasman/Pacific context after 1769 or 1788 have the Treaty as a postscript. Simpson explores the period in considerable, and sometimes discursive, detail and his perspective is welcome.

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Posted in History, Non-fiction and Review

Scots collective and singular, Kirstine Moffat

Unpacking the Kists: The Scots in New Zealand
Brad Patterson, Tom Brooking and Jim McAloon
Otago University Press, $70.00,
ISBN 9780773541900

I have always enjoyed the inventiveness of collective nouns, favourites being an exaltation of larks and a worship of writers. If these are extended to national groupings, what springs to mind in relation to the Scots? In spite of my Scottish birth, I have to confess that my initial musings were decidedly stereotypical: a frugality of Scots; a dourness of Scots; a tartan of Scots; a presbytery of Scots. I am not alone. In the 1486 Book of St Albans, there is a reference to “a disworship of Scots”, while Google offers “a filth of Scots”. It is precisely these limited kinds of national stereotypes that Brad Patterson, Tom Brooking and Jim McAloon seek to challenge and complicate in their thoughtful, authoritative Unpacking the Kists: The Scots in New Zealand. Throughout, the authors argue that the history of Scots in New Zealand is one of complexity and diversity.

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

The inequality divide, Tim Hazledine

Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis Max Rashbrooke (ed) Bridget Williams Books, $40.00, ISBN 9781927131510 Judgements of All Kinds: Economic Policy-Making in New Zealand 1945-1984  Jim McAloon Victoria University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9780864738974 Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis is more than

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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review and Sociology

Capitalists or cavaliers, Stevan Eldred-Grigg

No Idle Rich; The Wealthy in Canterbury & Otago 1840-1918 Jim McAloon University of Otago Press, $39.95, ISBN 1877276235 Rich and poor have always fought a war of words – turning at times to fists, batons and cavalry charges –

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Posted in History, Non-fiction and Review
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