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The Standard

Are we a caring country?

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, November 9th, 2011 - 123 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, labour, national, poverty, welfare - Tags: , ,

At the end of last Sunday’s Insight program on RNZ, which focused on the issue of poverty, one of the experts featured (Ruby Duncan from charity Oasis) left us with this:

Children are dying, children are being killed in their own homes, we know all about that, how much do we care?

It’s a very good question.  How much do we, as a country, care about the poor?  I think the answer is complicated, and I also think that it is the issue that most clearly distinguishes the political Left and the Right.  I wrote about this last year, but I’m going to repeat some of the words now.

Here’s a triplet of facts. 1) Every “developed” country needs a welfare system to take care of those who are, for whatever reason unable to support themselves. 2) The majority of welfare recipients are exactly the cases of genuine need that welfare systems are designed for. 3) A minority of welfare recipients are lazy bludgers who game the system to try and extract benefits when they could support themselves.

I don’t think anyone seriously questions point 1 anymore. The Left won that argument. What still separates us clearly into Left and Right today, it seems to me, is how we respond to 2 and 3. A Lefty will generously support a comprehensive welfare system to provide a decent quality of life for those in need (they accept the minority of bludgers as a cost of doing business). But nothing shrivels a Tory heart like the idea of sharing their wealth. While unable to deny the need, they become so obsessed with the small minority of bludgers that they can’t help but attack the system, and in doing so they attack the support for the overwhelming majority of perfectly genuine welfare recipients.

Now in the run up to the election, as both major parties have released their welfare related policies, we can see exactly this difference very starkly portrayed.

National’s policy is all about trying to drive people off welfare, all about trying to stamp out the bludgers. For that reason it is punitive and damaging to the majority of genuine welfare recipients.  National’s policy is divorced from reality because it fails to take any account of three important facts:

  • First, there are no jobs to drive people in to.  Unemployment is up 50% under National.
  • Second, since National took office there are 60,000 more people on benefits.  These people didn’t suddenly get lazy, they got shafted by economic forces beyond their control.  They’re already looking for jobs that aren’t there, so there’s no point in pushing them any harder.
  • Third, “The vast majority (81 per cent) of people on UB [unemployment benefit] have received it continuously for less than one year. Less than one percent of people had received UB continuously for 10 years or more”.  This idea that there’s a huge number of people sitting on the dole as a “lifestyle choice” is simply bollocks.  People want to work.

In contrast Labour’s policy accepts that we should simply help in cases of genuine need – the vast majority of welfare recipients.  In particular there are around 200,000 children living in poverty in NZ, and that is simply unacceptable.  Extending the WFF tax credit to beneficiary families with children under 18 will put an extra $60 a week in their hands (phased in by April 2018).  The cost of paying more to some small percentage of bludging beneficiaries is far outweighed by the benefit of lifting children out of poverty.

Oh and just by the way, Labour’s policy makes more economic sense no matter which way you look at it.  Child poverty costs New Zealand $6 billion annually by some estimates.  Spending to reduce child poverty has a massive return on investment.

So there you have it.  The classic split between Left and Right on welfare.  As ever the Left is working to help the majority in genuine need, while the Right is so obsessed with the small minority of bludgers that their only aim is to make the system more punitive for all.  Which approach better serves the children of New Zealand?  How much do we care?

123 comments on “Are we a caring country?”

  1. sdm 1

    No the split between left and right is not about ‘caring’, its about who should fix the problem. Many on the left wish to abdicate their responsibility to the state, so that ‘others’ are deemed to be responsible for fixing the problem. They can then sit back and sip their pinot, because they have voted in such a way so as the ‘rich pricks’ pay more money to help the poor. They havent actually done anything.

    You can always defer your responsibility to the state. We have a moral obligation to care for those less fortunate, rather than just relying on the state itself to do it

    • fmacskasy 1.1

      “You can always defer your responsibility to the state. We have a moral obligation to care for those less fortunate, rather than just relying on the state itself to do it”

      What does that mean?

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        They mean to ignore the economic savings by collectivizing aid and
        so recreate holes in the system so the few at the top can look down
        on others.

        Welfare is a program designed by the state, for the state, and of the
        state. Those who hate the state, those who want to game society
        for their own religious, economic, or personal reasons hate
        welfare.

        The state has a duty to the long term needs of society, as stated
        by its people, to save money and increase opportunity to make
        money, not for a select few of taxpayers(who it seems don’t pay
        their fair share) but for even those who legally claim benefits.

        Because the benefit is a direct response of the state to the problem of
        saturated supply, there is not enough work around for everyone.
        So the public and private sector work together to create work
        as idle poor hands have the tendency to take away power from
        those who fail to achieve this goal.

        But there are the few, back by the deluded, who believe that
        this balance is a opportunity to abuse the poor, and corner
        profits for themselves. The profits of the last three decades
        were always temporary, we were always likely to shrink
        back to old time government through concensus for
        the common good, a social community.

        The state has the duty to include everyone, its wrong for
        the left to susgest that there is anyone on welfare gaming
        the system, anyone lying to WINZ has a right to have their
        lies brought before them in a court of law. I find its
        disgraceful that 3.) is included above.

        Welfare recipients are no more or less criminal than anyone,
        and when they leave jail after serving their time they can
        claim welfare again. It therefore seems very silly to
        claim anyone without evidence to the contrary on
        welfare is criminal since any false positives will cost
        the state a hell a lot more money in jail costs and
        compensation later. The idea that we’d create
        a welfare system that manufactures criminals, those
        misleading WINZ falsely and so commiting fraud,
        is staggering, since this is in effect an error of
        management in creating a trap for the poorest.

        There are uncouth people who become powerful and
        justify their power by criminalizing and claiming those
        sane are insane, for their ownn needs.

        The courts fail the poorest, children, when the law
        cannot stop obvious discrimination against them, but
        the court can’t change the law, only government can.
        As i have said in the past, NZ does not respect human
        rights, ask any poorer person in NZ about consumer
        rights, or any migrant about how money grabbing
        NZ really are, money talks in NZ, no more obvious
        example could be provided that shows that basic
        dignity has a price in NZ – and so little protection
        for human rights..

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      “abdicate their responsibility to the state”.

      That’s so stupid it’s not even wrong. People organise a co-ordinated response and you call it “abdicating responsibility”. Your ‘moral obligation’ looks like a painting by Hogarth, we’ve been there, we’ve seen the revolting outcome of private charity as the only safety net.

      “Pay more money to help the poor”. Once again, a one-eyed mis-characterisation. We pay tax for the benefit of all, and the rich benefit the most of all.

      • aerobubble 1.2.1

        Exactly, the wealthy are not our rulers, the rich are rewarded by the legislative
        regime or the times, they are not owed continuity for the rest of time at the
        exense of child poverty, or any kind of poverty.

        we have enough to feed, cloth, provide health
        to everyone.We don’t bceause the system is gamed by those
        with too much wealth.

    • Tania 1.3

      sdm
      We are the state you idiot

    • Lanthanide 1.4

      sdm – how many ‘rich pricks’ are out there doing actual hands on work? Surely they’re all too busy Working Hard For Their Money that they don’t have time to help out those less fortunate.

      • seanmaitland 1.4.1

        I earn enough to be called a rich prick by people (even though I’m not even close to being a rich prick).

        I pay enough tax (around 50k of my income ends up as crown revenue) – however after that, my moral obligation is to provide and care for my wife and son, and extended family. The problem I have is the Left want to take more money off me and give it to welfare programmes and then they claim they have a social conscience and are “caring” for spending the money I earnt.

        I am fine with paying the amount I pay – I am not fine with more being taking off me under such hypocrisy.

        Oh, and after taking my money and spending it, the ‘left’ will still call me a greedy rich-prick and look at me with disdain – simply because I work my butt off.

        • r0b 1.4.1.1

          Yeah and the other side to that argument is that the right take tax money off me to spend on things that I don’t approve if (like pollution subsidies for business under the ETS, or enforcing national standards). So we all pay taxes for things we don’t like sean, taxes are the price we pay to live in a functioning society. [Huh – I shouldn’t comment just as I have to go off line – later!]]

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.4.1.2

          If you’re including yourself in the group Labour intends to tax more, you must be earning $150,000, and therefore by your calculations you have $75,000 pa to spend on whatever you choose. $205 per day. Poor puppy.

          • sdm 1.4.1.2.1

            He still earned it. Its his money to do with as he pleases. Not yours

            • McFlock 1.4.1.2.1.1

              Earned and retained and guaranteed as a means of exchange by virtue to living in this country, rather than hunkering in gated community somewhere hoping the extremists don’t put a firecracker under his arse.
                
              How much society chooses to extract for these services is up to the democratic process, not your syphilitic delusions of property rights.

        • mik e 1.4.1.3

          Go to Australia mate land

          • Reality Bytes 1.4.1.3.1

            Not really practical, Maitland would probably earn more in Australia and therefore risk paying up to 45% tax on income. Even if Labour comes back into power and reverses the National’s top-tier tax cuts back to 39%. Maitland may be better off in Australia economically, but the feeling of being punished for being successful would surely be more pronounced over there at 45%

            I do think Gareth Morgan’s 20/20/20 tax scheme is a good idea though. I agree we need to retain people and reward success for those who contribute and aren’t dodging tax! Good on you Maitland for not weaseling out of your helpful contribution. I appreciate it, and don’t think you should be knocked for your efforts.

            But on the other side of the fence, Maitland should appreciate that if his tax dollars are used well, it shouldn’t make him feel ripped off, the well-being of society and our shared infrastructure has intangible benefits for Maitland benefits too. I’d rather have sensible proactive (if a little bit more expensive at first) approach than a cheap ambulance at bottom of the cliff, pay for it later approach.

            Personally I think this is Labour’s Achilles heel, if they turned around and said we’ll do one better than Nats and further lower the top tier tax rate they would be unstoppable and virtually guaranteed electoral victory, as they would neutralize the only point of difference that the Nats can claim the high ground on in some circles.

    • millsy 1.5

      So you would dismantle our public schools and hospitals and have health services provided by charities who PICK AND CHOOSE who they help then?

      I dont see anything evil about taxing the wealthy to pay for things such as health services and schools. In fact the rich should have the shit taxed out of them. For years the rest of New Zealand have had to give up their services so the rich could enjoy lower taxes, and opt out of society by building gated communities and sending their kids to private school.

      Hundreds of hospitals were closed around the country so Bill Birch could cut taxes in 1996.

    • sdm is obviously a person who is lucky enough to have a job, how many people on welfare can afford to sip pinot. I bet there is many on welfare through no fault of their own who would live to sip a pinot.

      • sdm 1.6.1

        But I will say this Maggie, my charitable contributions including time and money are literally tens of thousands of dollars…..

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Fear of bludgers is a smoke screen. The left has not “won the argument” on the welfare state; it is quite clear that many on the right would vote to dismantle it.

    • felix 2.1

      How are you defining “winning the argument” though?

      If you mean bringing your opponent around to your point of view by appealing to reason, then you’re probably right. There is a hard core on the right who will never agree with sharing responsibility.

      But I reckon if your opponent is so ashamed of the vulgarity and selfishness of their beliefs that they won’t voice them in public, you’ve probably “won the argument” insofar as is possible.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        Well, to me winning the argument would mean that we could turn our backs and trust wingnuts not to attempt to destroy the gains society has made.

        • felix 2.1.1.1

          Know what you mean. I don’t think they’ll ever be convinced though, we’re going to need to figure out how to put safeguards around those gains so they can’t rip it all apart every time they get elected.

        • Ari 2.1.1.2

          Well in that case nobody ever wins an argument in politics. 😉

        • seanmaitland 2.1.1.3

          No offense, but these gains you talk of are rubbish.

          50% of families relying on government welfare (WFF)?

          ludicrous numbers of youth unemployed because they have been priced out of the job market?

          people getting paid to breed by the state in lieu of working?

          I could go on, but thanks to 9 years of welfare state activity from Labour, we have a shitstorm on our hands that we cannot get out of.

          And you guys sit around saying that the solution is to throw more free money at them and let them sort it out themselves…….

          I’m absolutely astonished at the stupidity and hypocrisy of the “Left”.

          The historical Labour party figures will be rolling in their graves at what a disgrace Labour has become.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.3.1

            SM no offense, but your biased mis-characterisations have no factual basis. Take your assertions on youth unemployment about people being priced out of the job market. You are aware that this is the subject of peer-reviewed study? Google scholar is your friend – substantiate your assertions, go on, find something current.

            When you fail, I’ll laugh, because you still will have no respect for the facts, and you’ll continue to regurgitate false attack lines you heard somewhere.

            Your beliefs are lies and until you’re prepared to confront that fact, you deserve them. But no-one else does.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.3.2

            “No offense, […] people getting paid to breed by the state in lieu of working?”

            Nope, much offense. Dick.

            BTW, Saint Key’s mum had state assistance to raise that sociopathic little scrote, but I still don’t begrudge her a single penny. Do you?

  3. SukieDamson 3

    Tax Avoidance vs Benefit Bludging. Compare & Contrast.

  4. National’s approach over the past three years has been little different to Labours had been previously.

    You can’t compare Labour’s current policy Hail Marys, they aren’t going to happen.

    • Which particular dimension do you occupy Pete?  In that dimension is John Key a sound financial manager?
       

      • felix 4.1.1

        The dimension in which the best way to create political change is to snuggle up to Peter Dunne and never voice an opinion?

        • Pete George 4.1.1.1

          I’m getting a good response to some of my opinions on the trail in Dunedin North.

          I’m offering something distinctly different, and not reciting the same old lines like some other candidates.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      National’s approach over the past three years has been little different to Labours had been previously.

      Only you have been an ardent supporter of National Standards and DoC staff firings.

    • Ari 4.3

      If this is a radical hail mary policy lineup, I’d hate to see what a mainstream boring Labour policy launch is like, because while this has touched a couple third rails, it hasn’t exactly proposed solutions to even a majority of what we need to fix about our society.

  5. Jenny 5


    Mana: Press statement 8 Nov. 2011

    “I might sound like a bit of a cynic but a promise to fund something in 2018 is really no commitment at all because so much can happen in the intervening period.”

    Sue Bradford

    • The Voice of Reason 5.1

      Quite right, Jenny. To quote the esteemed English philosopher Karl Pilkington, you won’t get anything done by planning.

    • Isn’t the ‘phase in’ to be completed by 2018 (rather than everything happening on that date and nothing before)?

      More generally, Labour’s policies on children/mothers/parents look like they will make a difference. People working in child-related agencies are supportive.

      The problem with National’s policies is that they increase stress in the family on the assumption that such stress motivates better parenting and greater efforts to find work. This shows an extraordinarily impoverished and simplistic understanding of human motivation.

      Because of that, National’s approach is likely to be counter-productive and produce more of the ‘dysfunction’ it is supposedly aimed at reducing.

      Sadly, I think that just this kind of poor and simplistic understanding of motivation is quite common in New Zealand.

      • bbfloyd 5.2.1

        100% agree with that statement…sad as that may be…

      • seeker 5.2.2

        @puddleglum

        Your comment was so well put, especially

        “The problem with National’s policies is that they increase stress in the family on the assumption that such stress motivates better parenting and greater efforts to find work. This shows an extraordinarily impoverished and simplistic understanding of human motivation. ”

        with “iimpoverished and simplistic understanding” being the unfortunate operative phrase of most of national’s undertakings-to our children’s detriment. Not a wisp of wisdom in sight.

  6. M 6

    Brilliant Anthony

    This stood out for me:

    ‘But nothing shrivels a Tory heart like the idea of sharing their wealth.

    That’s the nub of the problem which makes me think they haven’t been socialised properly.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      They are brought up to believe that the world is divided into good people and bad people (who you can identify because they look different). The idea that there are bad people all around breeds fear, which turns to hate and then becomes right wing policy.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Time for the undeserving wealthy to pay back into the resourcing of the society which enabled them to collect their wealth in the first place.

    • Dan hansen 7.1

      Do you see the irony / hypcritical nature of you implying that all wealthy are undeserving vis a vis a common complaint on this site that the right think that all poor are deservingly so?

      Or are your blinkers that opaque?

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        Feel free to demonstrate a link between deserving-ness  and material wealth or lack thereof.

        • Dan hansen 7.1.1.1

          Its not me that contended that there is a link – its a combination of hard work and good luck.

          Thats my point..the left thinking all rich are undeserving is just as silly as the contention that the right think all poor are deservingly so

          • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1

            If it’s a function that includes luck (and I would suggest that luck is not always sufficient to determine wealth, but it is always necessary) and luck is not determined by deserving-ness, then (to quote the great man Clint Eastwood) “deserving’s got nothing to do with it”.
             
            Nobody deserves poverty.
            Nobody deserves wealth.
            Everybody deserves a fair shake in life.
             
            No inconsistency whatsoever.

  8. Herodotus 8

    r0b in this post you conyinually refer to “Poverty” without ever addressing at what level is poverty applicable. Labour (Kings) basis of 50% of median wage is some removed academic novelity for me. If we follow this then the likes of Rod Pedrovic for the last few years has been living below the poverty line, if only those in real poverty could match Petrovic live style but his income was below the poverty line!!. If you want to put a financial measure in, then refer to disposable income, not gross, and have an understanding of cost of living and what we expect individuals and family groups should be able to experience.
    Here we go on about income- What about the jobs we close an eye to that are paid below this level and allow overseas workers to fulfil these jobs & be paid below the poverty line e.g. fishing boats, fruit pickers etc
    And why tinker with WFF and allow beneficaries to be eligible. If the benefit is inadequate then make it adequate- Or am I missing something with my KISS approach??

    • felix 8.1

      Your last paragraph is spot on.

      Apply it to wages as well and we could do away with WfF altogether.

  9. Tom Gould 9

    Not possible to have a serious debate in this country on the big issues of public policy, as Goff has just proven. Despite trying to have one, the media got bored after a day or two and decided headlines and sound bites are much easier, so that was the end of that. Today, the Labour health policy came out, aimed at trying to deal with causes rather than symptoms, and the Radio Live head of news, Kevin Hercock, says ‘a list a bullet points, where’s the detail, where’s the money coming from?’ Ryall says ‘borrow and spend’. Game over, folks. Tabloid MSM rules the day, and Key is their hero and patron.

  10. Excellent piece, Anthony – well sussed.

    I’ve detected a very real global resurgence of opposition to neo-liberal policies. The recent banking crisis and recession illustrates vividly that leaving things to the “invisible hand of the free market” is an invitation to abuse and disaster.

    It’s the ordinary folk who’ve paid for Wall St’s excesses, and this narrative is becoming stronger.

    More and more people now probably have a cleaere understanding that social welfare is all that separates us from being a civilised country looking after it’s vulnerable – to a Third World state where everyone is left to fend for themselvres.

    It strikes me as ironic that our neo-liberals condemn social welfare at every opportunity. But when it comes to which country they want to live in – NZ is #1. And countries with no welfare are not very desirable. No one wants to go live in India or Somalia.

    In effect, neo-libs want the benefits of living in a First World society – but don’t want to pay for it.

    Classic bludging.

    And when it comes to “bludging”, nothing compares with the highly educated and well-heeled who know precisely how to rort the system: http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/greed-is-good/

    • Gosman 10.1

      Weirdly though most developed nations are swinging to the right rather than to the left and pursuing traditional Right wing economic policies rather than left wing ones. I would suggets the left is good at b@tching about how terrible things are but less able to articulate an alternative which is attractive to the voting public. Simply Taxing, Borrowing, and Spending more doesn’t seem to be able to cut it anymore.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        neo-liberalism is failing all but the top 1% to 2%. The other 6.9B people in the world are being royally screwed.

        The fact that many major world governments have been co-opted by the Bankster Occupation is merely speeding up the process.

    • Galeandra 10.2

      In effect, neo-libs want the benefits of living in a First World society – but don’t want to pay for it.

      Very much in evidence stateside where antique infrastructure disintegrates on the altar of anti-taxation, a problem highlighted recently when powerlines came down everywhere in the unseasonally early snowfall.Some people faced 2 to 3 weeks without power.How they must love the neo-con revolution.

      • fmacskasy 10.2.1

        Galeandra,

        I seem to recall something similar about America’s roading and bridges – which came to public attention when a bridge somewhere in the US collapsed without any apparent cause, sending several cars hurtling into a deep river. If I remember the articles at the time, the collapse seemed to be blamed on aging infrastructure and land of adequate maintenance (much like our railways from 1992 to 2008).

  11. stever 11

    Good article, R0b.

    It’s a common phenomenon that, when you don’t want to do something, but also realise that your reasons for not doing it are things you don’t want to admit to, you look for “reasons” for not acting that look more principled, and you adopt those.

    Lots of people in this country don’t want to contribute to the state, because, in the end, they are selfish. But they don’t want to admit that. So, in the case of social security (and much better term than “welfare” I think), they cling onto the tiny, tiny minority of people supported by social security who are not keeping to their part of the contract, i.e. they are avoiding finding work etc., and use that as an excuse to attack the vast majority who are keeping to their side of the social bargain.

    Sadly, a lot of people in government and other powerful sections of our society appear, by their actions and words, to think this way.

    Pointing out at every opportunity just how small a proportion of the total the cheaters are is important, because it leads to the question: “Why do you insist on doing this?”—and the honest answer is: “Because I’m selfish, but ashamed to let you know it”.

  12. Tombstone 12

    Here’s a thought – JOBS? Is it possible that if we focused more on JOB CREATION rather than welfare reforms that people would naturally take up those JOBS thus exiting the welfare system without the need to have been bullied into doing so? I know it sounds crazy but to my mind it seems fairly logical to me. A good start would be …. let me think …. TRAINS. We can build those here and that would CREATE JOBS and put money back into the local economy which is a good thing right? So why don’t we say NO to the Chinese and build them here? How can National expect people to believe that they can create the thousands of JOBS needed to get people off welfare and back into WORK when they keep on sending those much needed JOBS off shore? That seems a little bit arse about face to me and if not then I can only but summize that Key is merely plucking feel good figures out of thin air in the hope that the sheeple of NZ will buy into them and vote National. Either way it’s all a little insidious if you ask me. The problem is the JOB MARKET – there are NO JOBS. John Key has indeed plucked a figure out of thin air but what he hasn’t done is explain in detail where those JOBS will be created and who will be creating them. Would Key care to elaborate? Thought not.

    • madagascar 12.1

      You’ve got it in one.

    • Afewknowthetruth 12.2

      Tombstone

      For the kind of ‘level playing field’ needed for trains to be built in NZ rather than in China the Chinese currency would have to be revalued upwards against the Kiwi by around 300%.

      The chance of that happeing within the present economic framework is exactly zero.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        Or the benefits of building them here also put into the accounting which, under this government, also has a zero chance of happening.

      • mik e 12.2.2

        Probably closer to 30% afew but the quality would be better given that all Chinese made so far has been substandard

    • Draco T Bastard 12.3

      Is it possible that if we focused more on JOB CREATION rather than welfare reforms that people would naturally take up those JOBS thus exiting the welfare system without the need to have been bullied into doing so?

      Well, if we want a rational economy what we’d be focussing on is two questions:

      What is the economy?
      What is the economy for?

      The economy is the environment around us and the resources contained within it. What the economy is for is to ensure that the Earth can continue to sustain life including us.

      Instead we focus on money and becoming richer (having more money) which can only be achieved by using up those resources at unsustainable rates (consumerism).

      The real point about increasing productivity is that there is less work, on a proportional basis, available. This isn’t a negative but it is being used as one – to take resources away from many people and give it to the rich/ownership class.

  13. JS 13

    There is a nasty vindictive steak in New Zealanders which is manifesting very strongly at the moment and is causing people to vote against their own best interests just because they don’t want their neighbour (or their neighbour’s child) to have a hand up.

    We can counter this and keep our own integrity by speaking up and helping out where we can on a one to one or local community basis. Little actions will become big movements for change (look at the Occupy movement). In this respect the election is a just a little blip as we are in a time of rapid change and it’s how we work together that will get us through it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      “Nasty vindictive steak (sic) in New Zealanders…” well to be fair the phenomenon is observable in many countries – a symptom of the systematic dismantling of the middle class – you don’t see the shit you’re being fed, so long as there’s someone more downtrodden to look down on.

  14. Oh, please. This isn’t a Labour Party policy, it’s an appeal to Labour’s voter base to get out and vote. The only reason they’re offering it is they know they won’t be in government and have to implement it. The cynicism of it is really quite insulting.

    • felix 14.1

      If they’re so resigned to not being in govt, then why are they so cynically trying to get their voter base out?

      Make sense, you don’t. Conflicted, your theory is.

      • madagascar 14.1.1

        So they can warm as many seats as possible in the opposition benches.

        At the moment they are bleeding votes to the Greens (hooray) and also loosing the battle for the swing voters to National – there may be quite a few sitting and list MPs from labour feeling quite uncomfortable about their job prospects come the end of the month – hence Psycho’s comment above.

      • Psycho Milt 14.1.2

        If they’re so resigned to not being in govt, then why are they so cynically trying to get their voter base out?

        Any organisation will attempt to minimise the extent of a loss. They’re cynical, not defeatist or just plain stupid.

        • felix 14.1.2.1

          So they’re resigned to not being in govt but they’re not defeatist?

          Clearer, you could be.

          • Psycho Milt 14.1.2.1.1

            I guess I could point out the difference between “resigned to not being the next govt” and “not bothering to try and minimise the extent of your loss and keep as many of your MPs as possible in Parliament,” but there’d probably be no point.

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.2.1.1.1

              A few weeks ago, almost everyone had written the French team off as underperforming and disorganised, and that the All Blacks would win by an easy 15-20 points.

              Haha.

            • felix 14.1.2.1.1.2

              Yeah PM, I doubt you’d be able to make a point either.

            • fmacskasy 14.1.2.1.1.3

              And yet, Milt, if Labour is consigned to defeat – why should you be worried? Or motivated to comment?

              It’d be like me posting shite-loads of commentary about NZ First. Care factor: zero.

              Perhaps those who support National/ACT are picking up on a real anti-Nat undercurrent? The question is, how strong is that undercurrent.

              Case in point. There is a family living in our street; very low incomes; they’ve never voted before.

              But this time, they will all be out voting. Every single one of them.

              They are the ones who are ‘invisible’ to pollsters – no landline.

              I wonder… is this the “underclass” that Dear Leader referred to? Because it appears that they are concerned enough about their (lack of) prospects to go out and vote.

              • And yet, Milt, if Labour is consigned to defeat – why should you be worried? Or motivated to comment?

                Because I have no enthusiasm for National govts and would prefer a Labour one, albeit only in the sense that one would prefer a broken arm to a broken pelvis. Labour won’t become the govt this time round, but might next time – which means, given that the people formulating policy now are quite likely to be still doing it three years from now, the honesty and integrity of those people does actually matter.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’m fighting hard in my nearby electorates for a good turn out. I suggest you do the same. Or not. Up to you.

                • Galeandra

                  You might like to think about the impact of the 80’s & 90’s on people like me who were Labour and got burned off in the great reforms. What point is there in promoting policy which is so out of step with the discourse in the media and Joe Public’s mind if Labour’s purpose is electoral gain?

                  I’ve been Green for the last four elections,am by instinct anti-right, and I find myself now working for the local Labour candidate who is a former student of mine, and really competent and compelling candidate for leftwing views.During this I’ve met a significant number of people on their doorsteps who seem quite defeated by things as they are, and are in consequence politically ‘uninterested.’ Their last decades of political experience have simply shown them that political self-promotion and careerism trump their needs most of the time.

                  At what point can we say that cynicism has ended and that there is a genuiness in Labour’s spirit of concern and opposition to systemic selfishness & class-ism? A real commitment to policy and planning which will make a difference? Probably now, when a prescription which won’t win an election is put out there for the public to consider. The prescription will work its way through the body politic and over time reduce the effects of the narcissistic neo-liberal malady that afflicts it.

                  In the meantime, consider the paucity of people who work for the party, who are willing to flagwave, phone list or doorstep for the party. That infrastructure of committed workers takes time to repair. Surely the policy and political leadership being shown on the hustings is as much about infusing a new generation of workers for the cause, as it is about winning votes on the day?

                  • At what point can we say that cynicism has ended…?

                    I’m not sure, but on thing I am sure of is that a policy that amounts to “Vote for us, we’ll give you money” definitely does not mark the end of that cynicism.

                    • clandestino

                      It’s simple ya psycho. Wages aren’t meeting the cost of living. You want a civil society? Is it that hard to get that without significant redistribution life will become a hell of a lot more unpleasant for everyone.

  15. Roy 15

    “There is a nasty vindictive steak in New Zealanders which is manifesting very strongly at the moment and is causing people to vote against their own best interests just because they don’t want their neighbour (or their neighbour’s child) to have a hand up.”

    I think it’s a nasty racist streak actually, and it is causing people to vote against their own best interests because they assume most or all beneficiaries are Maori or Pasifika people, and they don’t want them to have a hand up.

  16. Tiger Mountain 16

    There are only two types of people in our society, beneficiaries and those that will become beneficiaries (barring perhaps several hundred super wealthy). Welfare including national super and WFF in work tax credits are part of the price of striving for a civilised society. Though personally I would like to see collective wage bargaining extended so the middle classes could try and obtain a better income from employers.

    The rest is wedge politics. But there surely are dark vindictive curtain twitching kiwis around.

    • King Kong 16.1

      I am not sure that someone who worked for 45 years paying taxes towards their retirement would appreciate being called a beneficiary.

      • Roy 16.1.1

        No, superannuitants don’t like being called beneficiaries but the reality is that they ARE beneficiaries, national superannuation IS a benefit, and they need to get over that fact and stop pretending otherwise. Most of them will not have paid enough in tax during their working lives to cover all the superannuation they are going to receive between age 65 and death, either.

      • mik e 16.1.2

        Thats what ACt calls them

  17. DavidW 17

    The one thing that sticks out for me is that with welfare, driving rules (speed limits, alcohol limits), drinking age, in fact many many areas of society that are subject to Rules of one kind or another, the old saying that the few who abuse a privilege will stuff it up for the many who don’t.

    It would seem that the only real difference between the parties is how you look at “the few”. Labour tend to ignore them or add to the bureaucracy surrounding the system (i.e. increase policing) while National tend towards creating incentives to change (and disincentives to not change). In the end it boils down to which approach you would prefer.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Simplistic BS. National’s “incentives” don’t work, being based on a false premise. All they do is fail, and usually make things even worse. How long do you think we can afford the luxury of “preferring” this approach?

  18. JS 18

    That economist Kim Hill interviewed on Saturday (who has seen most of predictions come true), predicts the end of capitalism in the next 3 or 4 years. It is going to be a bumpy ride but something more caring and sharing will come out the other side. So this election is not that important becuase the new government is likely to soon collapse under the crisis, and will have to move to a more cooperative model.

    • fmacskasy 18.1

      Something “more caring and sharing”?

      Or, something more akin to desperation?

      I keep thinking that the rise of fascism in Europe occurred because of the mass unemployment, poverty, and economic instability caused by the Depression…

      God help us if history is repeating. Because this time, atomic weapons proliferate.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2

      Well of course he does: he writes lots of books that essentially make the same predictions; appearing on the radio to talk about it is his marketing strategy. So much for the man, what about his ideas? Well, it turns out they’re based on Hindu idealism, and rely on a society where everyone does yoga and is vegetarian.

      I mean, I’m all down with that, but I can see how a lot of folks are going to need persuading…

    • Gosman 18.3

      Ah yes the Economist who thinks the solution to the world’s problems is increasing production and productivity via some ill defined mixed ownership model. Sounds pretty much like Marx’s fantasy land vision for the world which proved to be such an unmitigated failure.

    • dave brown 18.4

      JS agree 100%. But the ‘other side’ may take some time, and we need to be prepared.
      The Egyptian spring got stymied by the SCAF. But it hasnt stopped the revolution. The Syrians are getting killed by the score every day. Yet more defectors from the military are now fighting back. The Libyans got drawn into a brutal civil war where the people’s cause got hijacked by the oil companies. It remains to be seen if the armed people can unite to defend a real independence from imperialism. In Greece and Italy the collapse is already on them. NZ cannot be far behind.
      Is OWS prepared for the state force that will be unleashed against it? Perhaps. The pacifism has quickly become justifiable self-defence and a move to re-occupy evicted sites. For every arrest, torture or killing the resistance redoubles again and again. There is a point where a movement takes over and individuals lose their fear. And the reason is that the movement captures all the legitimacy lost by the regimes of the 1%. You only have to listen to Danny Glover’s speech as Oakland to see that.
      But as people have commented here, there is a nasty dark side to NZ society – a lumpen petty bourgeois streak of inhumanity towards others who can be scapegoated as undeserving. Its the mark of a white settler racist society of mainchancers now hit by bad times and looking for someone to blame.
      So things are going to be much nastier before they get better and I am thinking that those of us on the left have to form a self-defence community to protect all of us who will suffer in this fight. In particular I am thinking of youth who are vulnerable to hard times without support networks. So whatever comes of this election, OcuppyEverywhere needs to keep going and provide the groundwork for the new society we want to build.

    • insider 18.5

      From what I heard his predictions were incredibly broad so as to not be useful, or brilliant in hindsight. Kim tried to point that out at one stage, but he didn’t note the irony.

  19. Afewknowthetruth 19

    ‘Are we a caring country?’

    That is a very odd question.

    A country is a designation for an area of land on a map, usually coloured to distinguish it.

    The word ‘nation’ does imply a group of people living in a politically designated region.

    The word ‘society’ suggests people interacting.

    Perhaps we could rephrase the question as:

    ‘Do we live in a caring society?’

    or

    ‘Do New Zealanders care about inequality and the suffering of the less fortunate?’

    or

    ‘Do NZers know what morality is/”

    Bearing in mind that NZers have been carefully trained over a period of many decades to be selfish, greedy and acquisitive, it is not too surpising that is how many of them have become. The natural tendency of communiites to care for those within the communities has been largely ‘beaten out’ by global commerical interersts: hence, many NZers were more concerned about the price of [fake] rugby jerseys than how many children in their community were (are) malnourished.

    It is intersting that the vast majority of ‘Christian’ churches have failed (miserably) to provide a role model based on the teachings of Christ.

    Ultimately, most of what we are witnessing is about social control and exploitation of the masses via brainwashing.

    We will start to see the REAL character of NZers shortly after globalised economic arrangements start to seriously break down, which will be some time between 2015 and 2020.

    It will make very little diference which bunch of ‘clowns and criminals’ gets into office after the coming elections, since none of them have any realistic strategies to deal with the economic, energetic and environmental meltdown which is underway.

    ‘The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the US department of energy has calculated, in a sign of how weak the world’s efforts have been at slowing man-made global warming.

    The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

    “The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Programme on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said.’

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2011/11/201111402622633852.html

    Needless to say, the vast majority of candidates who are offering themselves for election don’t REALLY care about such matters (or don’t understand them).

    It will be the children who will suffer the dire consequences of all the stupidity and greed that have characterised western societies for decades …. in a few years from now.

    • Gosman 19.1

      “Bearing in mind that NZers have been carefully trained over a period of many decades to be selfish, greedy and acquisitive, it is not too surpising that is how many of them have become”

      Where exactly did this careful training take place? I can’t remember too many classes at Primary or Secondary school where ‘selfish, greedy and acquisitive’ were topics pushed on students.

      Also curious that over these many decades is the 9 years where the Labour Party under Helen Clark was in charge. I didn’t realise it was part of their policy mix to push ‘selfish, greedy and acquisitive’.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.1

        Truthiness can seem strange at first glance.

      • fmacskasy 19.1.2

        When 763,136 New Zealanders voted for Robert Muldoon’s National Party, in 1975, they effectively voted to end compulsory super-savings. They preferred to put superannuation “on tick”, to be paid for by future generations.Instead, they preferred to “spend up large” on property speculation (using borrowed money from overseas).

        If that isn’t shortsightedness and selfishness – then what is?

        By the way, Gosman, I expect you to pay for my retirement. Make sure you have deeeeeep pockets.

        (And no, I didn’t vote for Muldoon. Never have. Never would.)

        • Gosman 19.1.2.1

          Don’t worry Frank I have deep pockets and short arms 😉

          By the way I see your blog has been infiltrated by the leftist conspiracy theorist called Travellerev. I admire your scientific way of thinking Frank even if I don’t agree with your conclusions necessarily so be wary of her propagating her rubbish least you get tarnished by association. It is your blog so you can do what you want but she really is out there.

      • Puddleglum 19.1.3

        ‘Training’ in this instance is not quite as explicit as you seem to assume, Gosman.

        I presume what was meant is that changes to economic and social structures (including media discourse which follows economic restructuring as a reliable causal consequence) intersect with ‘human nature’ to make it more likely that self-focused behaviours (e.g., individual accumulation of resources and the corresponding emotions, like avarice and greed, to allow that and make it more effective) arise in the population.

        If you think at the population (social) level rather than at the individual level, it’s pretty clear how individuals get ‘trained’ by the contexts and circumstances in which they develop and come to act as adults. 

        Present structures encourage more individualistic approaches to living and, consequently, the assertion that others’ are morally inept or, at least, have no call on any other individual for their assistance.

        A repeated, longitudinal survey of attitudes in New Zealand (I think carried out by some North Island university business school?) shows just such a shift over the past 30 years. I thought that was part of what those on the right were ‘celebrating’? That we had become more selfish and self-concerned and believed that no-one had the right to expect assistance.

      • Afewknowthetruth 19.1.4

        Grosman.

        During the nineteenth century a small, but determined, band of selfish and greedy people managed to push the indigenous people off large tracts of land; once they acquired the land they sold it off to others at great profit or set up very profitable business prediated on extracting wealth from the land. The descendents of those sociopaths form the ‘upper’ echelon of NZ society.

        However, until the 1980s there was not a great disparity within most communities and the bulk of society was reasonably egalitatrian.

        The brainwashing phenomenon commenced in the US, where Edward Bernays, nephew of Freud, realised there were great profits to be made (for himself and others) out of manipating the masses. His first great success was to overturn the social stigma of woemn smoking by declaring cigarrets to be ‘torches of freedom’ [at a time when women were very much repressed]. Bernays and his associates were repsonsible for the painful deaths of hundreds of milions of people and the addiction ‘slavery’ of cigarette smoking. (excellent BBC documentary Century of the Self)

        The Second World War interrupted some of the social conditioning towards comsumerism, but in the 1950s consumerism went into hyper-drive in the via radio and television. The mission was to overturn the frugal make-do, reuse, recyle society that had existed from the dawn of time and create a society of ostentatious consumption by the masses. Think ‘Bewitched’, ‘The Beverley Hillbillies’, ‘Dallas’ ……….and all the advertisements that interrupted such programmes.

        It took a little longer for the global corporations to hook in NZers, but once television was set up primarily as an advertiser medium intterrupted with occasional content in the late 1980s it was open slather. Anyone who watches television is subjected to a near constant brainwashing to persudae them that owning and using stuff is meritorious…. bigger houses, bigger cars, higher performace cars, bigger and better utes, fly here, fly there, eat this, eat that, get rewards for buying stuff you don’t need and fuck the planet a bit faster via ‘Flybuys’. Add to all that the millions of tonnes of advertising literature put into mailboxes every day and plastered all over every city in NZ.

        All of this selfishness, greed and planetary destruction is because ‘you deserve the good life’.
        The fact that you are stealing from the next generation doesn’t enter into the equation, of course. Just keep consuming till you can’t.

        Then get dropped like a stone by ‘the empire’ when you are of no further use to ‘the empire’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.4.1

          Your vision of the world is so backward,s AFKTT. Everyone knows the shadowy group you refer to is called “The Illuminati” not “The Empire”. Please try and keep up!

        • fmacskasy 19.1.4.2

          “Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.”

          – Andrew Maxwell, Irish Comedian (on the London riots)

          That has to be the summation of our consumerist societu.

          • Puddleglum 19.1.4.2.1

            Yep.

            I get the sense sometimes that the mentality of the ‘right’ operates something like this:

            Make a world full of temptations, injustice and grinding hardship as a test of ‘moral character’. When someone fails this ‘test’, grind them even deeper into the dirt – then repeat the test. 

          • Hami Shearlie 19.1.4.2.2

            Hey Frank, stop quoting the National Party Manifesto!!

          • Gosman 19.1.4.2.3

            “…Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise…”

            Interesting. So this is a bad thing is it according to left wing thinking?

            If so then the only solution seems to be that advertising should be retricted based on whether or not someone in the target group might be able to afford the item advertised. How will this be policed and what is the implications for freedom of speech?

            • Draco T Bastard 19.1.4.2.3.1

              Actually, advertising should just be banned due to it’s psychopathy.

            • clandestino 19.1.4.2.3.2

              How can you seriously believe that it’s a good thing a large proportion of your compatriots suffer constant status anxiety. But nah, you’ll just come up with some specious constitutional argument that requires less than critical thinking.

               

  20. randal 20

    of course we are a caring country.
    we care about, leaf blowers, horizntal planers, vertical grinders, motorbikes, speedboats, v8 races, trips to machu picchui. what do ya think we are. numbskulls or soemthing.

  21. Afewknowthetruth 21

    ‘The empire’ I refer to goes way beyond so-called secret societies. It is all-encompassing and includes banking institutions, corporations, politicians, courts, the police, the military, lawyers, the construction sector, the advertising sector, mainstream media, most of the education sector, most of the agricultural sector, fishing, forestry and local government.

    All of the aforementioned (and many other sectors of society) are constantly engaged in promoting the narrative of the industrial-military-financial complex which is destroying the habitability of the planet we live on. The bulk of the popuace self-censor to keep the narritive they have adopted intact.

    Anyone who challenges the narrative of ‘the empire’ is labelled ‘an extremist’, ‘a nutter’, ‘a conspiracy freak’ etc., and is generally ignored or ridiculed or persecuted; if the ‘offender’ persists or becomes effective he/she is incarcerated or murdered.

    However, after millenia of looting and polluting we have reached the point at which a significant portion of society recognises ‘the emperor has no clothes’ and that ‘the empire’ is dying. That portion must inevitably grow as the narrative of empire (you too can become a tycoon if you try hard enough) fails to an ever graeater extent

    The coming years will undoubtedly see numerous acts of profitteering and acts desperation on behalf of the elites, to ensure that they are the last to suffer as it all goes into decline.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      The fantasies you subscribe to have traditionally been associated with the Illuminati, who, if you remember, are omnipotent and invisible. They rule the world in secret, manipulating countries to their own ends. Sound familiar? Why yes, what a coincidence – it’s the exact same narrative you’re pushing.

      • Afewknowthetruth 21.1.1

        OAB

        Some of the the fantasies you subscribe to are predicated on ignoriung fundamental laws of physics and chemistry.

        I’d rather stick with irrefutavle facts than play ‘conspiracy theories’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1.1.1

          You have a problem here, because the only areas on which we differ is that I find your fatalistic panic tiresome and your conspiracy theories laughable. So remind me which part of Physics and Chemistry you’re blithering about please.

  22. vanakast 22

    “The Left won that argument.”

    That “left” is closer to the contemporary right than the contemporary left. The contemporary left is a desperate joke, driven by jealously and entitlement.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 22.1

      Oh too funny. You think I’m jealous of the fact free zone that the right has become? Do you think I’m jealous of the right’s dismal economic record (dismal as in “nowhere near as good as the Labour Party’s – the party that doesn’t get ratings downgrades)? Or how about your utterly bankrupt education policies? Am I jealous of your fear of your fellow citizens? Or your racism?

      Worry about your own motivations, fool, ‘cos you don’t know shit about mine.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.2

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

      Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.

      Sums up the RWNJs perfectly. Not wanting to admit their own psychopathy they project it onto others notably those who they see as their enemies.

    • ropata 22.3

      Will Cain: “I find the one thing [the protesters] have in common revolves around the human emotions of envy and entitlement,” he said. “What you have is more than what I have, and I’m not happy with my situation.”

      Matt Taibbi: When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money.

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/owss-beef-wall-street-isnt-winning-its-cheating-20111025

  23. johnm 23

    No We are not a caring society:
    1. We’ve allowed housing to be used as a wealth creator with easy finance grossly inflating the value of housing stock while wage slaves rent the same houses and pay of the owner’s mortgage which he/she cashes in on huge capital gains. Result housing is unaffordable for many young kiwis wanting to start a family. Those that buy have to pay the overinflated asset bubble price with all the additional interest to the banks! Whew!
    1a. The political class are cashing in to exploiting poorer kiwis that’s why they won’t impose a capital gains tax or if they do its when the asset bubble is long over as now!

    2.We burdened our young kiwis with crazy kiwi student loans, like a mortgage just to get off!
    3.We’ve done nothing about child poverty except Labour at this point.
    4. We have a wealth worship cult : We’re excepted to go WOW! when a billionaire appears like Oprah.
    5. Many of us think its great to elect a currency speculator from an American Shady Outfit now bust as Prime Minister!
    6.We are a divided society in terms of wealth and income and the richer lot love it!

    7.God Help Us! If the polls are right we are going to vote smarmy Key in again!! despite the grounded in reality offer from Labour: 1. Raise the minimum wage 2. Help beneficiaries with children 3. Keep our in common assets for the good of all kiwis

    But no the selfish greedy large minority don’t care they will vote Key in again

    No wonder young people can’t wait to get out!

    The bosses and the rich want it all their own way they were so greedy for money they ignored all safety procedures at Pike River. A Japanese mine expert was so shat scared of an explosion he couldn’t wait to get out! Typical NZ.

    • johnm 23.1

      Typical Wage Slave: ” I am desperate for a job to support my family at a minimum wage set by our beloved leader who dresses better than I could ever hope to do except at marriages and funerals If I am not good enough I will be dismissed after 90 days but if not I can then rent my Landlord’s house (He already has 8 of them) and pay and pay for ever and ever until I have paid his mortgage at which point I may be discarded as he cashes in his untaxed Capital Gain, selling the house, I will have done my lowly part to help make Master Key and his flash suited mates richer. I would have liked to have bought my own house but these clever business operators got in first with easy money and credit from the banks who cash in too! Me and my lowly kind were too slow our own home was taken from us by the greedy ones who worship clever smart tricks to cash in on a bubble bid up by their very own selves!

      From” the road to serfdom” There are now 47,000,000 serfs in the U$$$ surviving on food handouts beaten down they’ll probably work eventually for peanuts with about the same social status as tame monkeys!

  24. fender 24

    Debate with the right is futile. I’m disgusted with where our country is heading. A civil uprising is all the right will take notice of. Prepare for the” Mad Max” future ahead. No gates or walls will be strong enough to keep the 99% at bay. They say you get the leaders you deserve and I say they deserve the results their failed policies create.

  25. RedLogix 25

    The children and grandchildren of that same fell mob who loved Muldoon, are going to vote for a slicker, smarmier version of him this election.

    Although time will come with Key, as with Muldoon in the 80’s and 90’s, you couldn’t never find no barstard who ever said he voted for him.

    • I voted for Rob, got a problem with that? Thought not, at least he was fun and real, unlike the plastic people who run the country now.Key like Aunty Helen are so false thinking of them makes me vomit.

      Elections now days are socialist wankfests.  

      Appalling child abuse stats prove governments don’t care about kiwi kids.
      We have the world cup. 

      Who was charged with the murder of the Kahui twins Mr DumboKeystoneCop?     

      Children don’t matter bro we got control.

      Yeah right. What a sick country!

      Rant over.

  26. randal 26

    we are not a caring country.
    we say we are like little kids who think that if they say something then it is true.
    if children continue this behaviour in the face of reality testing then it becomes a serious mental illness and hey looky here we got one.

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    . . It’s not often that Ministers of this increasingly desperate and inept government make a statement that is unerringly accurate – but on Friday 15 May, on Radio  NZ’s Morning Report, GCSB Minister, Chris Finlayson did just that. Minister… ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    13 hours ago
  • Truly Depressing
    Yesterday a thought crossed my mind that was so appalling that I decided not to mention it to anyone for at least 24 hours so I could b sure it was a real notion and not just an emanation from… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Document Shows Elizabeth Warren Is Right About TPP
    Article – Zaid Jilani As opponents and advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continue to battle it out, the debate over the agreement has largely focused on the issue of trade whether jobs will be lost or gained, what the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    22 hours ago
  • Singing the Budget Blues
    Despite our 'rock star' economy over the past three years it has not increased Government income to the level expected and the Government has not been able to deliver its promised surplus. If income doesn't change, but priorities shift, then the… ...
    24 hours ago
  • Submit on Mill Rd
    Julie-Anne Genter, the Transport spokesperson of the Green Party has put out the following press release on the Mill Rd project that we have written about here, and here: Take 5 minutes and make a submission on Mill Road Auckland Transport is… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 day ago
  • Budget Blues
    Twenty five dollars a week can’t be bad, can it? For families on the breadline, it’s surely better than nothing and every little helps. And when the total spend is $790 million, that’s not peanuts, is it? – even if… ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 day ago
  • Punakaiki Fund and Snowball Effect
    22 May 2015 Punakaiki Fund will soon be presenting an offer through the Snowball Effect platform. We are pleased to announce that we have selected Snowball Effect to present our fund raising offer to members of the public. Equity crowdfunding… ...
    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 day ago
  • Game review: Republique
    Score: 6/10 Republique is an episodic stealth game set in a dystopian society. You play a hacker who is aiding the escape of Hope, a young woman trapped in this world. Though the games attempt to deal with heavy themes… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    frogblogBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs are taking it to the Government in the House over their destruct...
    ...
    1 day ago
  • The price of rotten cops IV
    Remember the Nelson Red Devils case? Back in 2012, drugs and firearms charges against 28 alleged gang members were thrown out because police abused the court process by forging a search warrant and an arrest warrant to build the credibility… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Best and worst New Zealand flag designs
    Dan Taipua, Dave Bell and Lucy Zee review some of the designs submitted for the for the new New Zealand flag. Check out the full gallery of designs here. ...
    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Friday May 22
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    1 day ago
  • A hard rain is a’gonna fall.
    Although I am loathe to prognosticate on fluid situations and current events, I have been thinking about how the conflict in Iraq has been going. Although I do not believe that the Islamic State (IS) is anywhere close to being… ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 day ago
  • Got business out of town? Need a hire car?
    Whether you are heading of town for a conference or taking a break and need a hire car, your TEU Member Advantage program has you covered.  Use your member benefits to access either reduced car hire rates or excess on… ...
    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the OIA
    In the wake of revelations that Prime Minister John Key had systematically and repeatedly bullied, sexually harassed and assaulted a cafe waitress, the New Zealand Herald published a piece exposing the victim. It seemed like retribution, and the involvement of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    frogblogBy Eugenie Sage
    1 day ago
  • Calling Peak Car?
    There’s often a lot of discussion around the future of transport – particularly in cities. We’ve talked many times before about how transport trends are changing, how we’re seeing people drive less and catch PT more, how changing preferences amongst younger people in… ...
    1 day ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
    The prohibition against torture is one of the cast-iron features of international law. You're not allowed to torture people, and you're not allowed to return or extradite people to a country where there are substantial grounds to believe they will… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    1 day ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    1 day ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    2 days ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    2 days ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    2 days ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    7 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    10 hours ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 day ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    5 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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