The way some histories tell it, Europeans came to New Zealand keen to establish a Little Britain in the South Seas. Not so, says Chris Trotter. Most nineteenth century immigrants wanted something better than the misery and oppression of the world they had left, and Trotter reveals just how close they and their descendants came to building a new one. On each occasion, however, their achievements were resisted, and ultimately overturned, by those who saw New Zealand simply as a source of profits. Trotter pulls no punches in describing the methods these partisans of profit used to ensure there was no Left turn: jamming radio broadcasts, political arson - even murder. From Massey's Cossa cks to Muldoon's riot squads; violence and repression have been the Right's weapons - not the Left's. Charting the evolution of New Zealand's unique brand of democratic socialism, Trotter offers insightful and often surprising verdicts on the leading participants, including John A Lee, Peter Fraser, Fintan Patrick Walsh, David Lange and Helen Clark.
Passionately argued, infused with poetic imagery and comprehensively researched, No Left Turn is a unique and indispensable contribution to our political and social history - an inspiration for anyone who puts money second and people first, and a deliberate provocation to everyone else.
Chris Trotter is one of New Zealand's leading political commentators, and regularly appears on radio and television as well as having long-running colunns in the Independent Business Review and the Dominion-Post. He is also editor of the current affairs magazine Political Review,which he founded with the late Bruce Jesson. He lives in Auckland.