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Must watch TV tonight

Written By: - Date published: 12:37 pm, August 29th, 2013 - 79 comments
Categories: equality, tv - Tags: ,

Inside New Zealand: Mind the Gap: A Special Report on Inequality

Bryan Bruce’s new documentary on Inequality in New Zealand will screen tonight (Thurs 29 Aug) on TV3, 7.30pm (Click for sneak preview).

Bryan’s last documentary INSIDE CHILD POVERTY triggered a nationwide debate on the plight of our poorest children when it was broadcast in November of 2011. Now the veteran investigative journalist is back with MIND THE GAP in which he reveals why inequality is bad (even for the rich) and what we can do about it.

79 comments on “Must watch TV tonight”

  1. geoff 2

    Pretty fucking good so far!
    The right wing nutters will be positively frothing over this one.

  2. Colonial Viper 3

    can’t get to a TV but I hear it is good. Go Helen Kelly!!!

    • Pete 3.1

      Hopefully it’ll be available on demand. It’s very good so far. I agree with the idea of a Tobin tax.

    • karol 3.2

      I forgot. Was watching Citizen A. Will catch the doco on plus one.

    • Comrade Coba 3.3

      Time for a militant male figure to front the CTU. Hard core action is needed if Nact get back in next year. Helen has been great however while we are changing leaders.

      • karol 3.3.1

        So you’re saying it’s not a job for a woman? What century are you living in?

        Helen continues to do a great job.

      • Rosie 3.3.2

        Er, Comrade, clearly you’ve never been in the presence of Helen Kelly. Either that, or you’re just being a dick on purpose.

  3. Paul 5

    Best documentary in NZ for 20 years.
    How did the corporate media allow its telecast?
    Destroyed the neoliberal lie.

  4. Linz 6

    Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I have the old Bob Dylan song running through my head, The times they are a-changing.

  5. BM 7

    Shame everyone was watching police 10-7

    • vto 7.1

      http://thestandard.org.nz/keys-earthquake-fun/#comment-687717

      What happened to you on this thread today BM? You and your general approach to issues were exposed as a complete and utter sham and you ran away.

      • BM 7.1.1

        Coding.
        It would be great to sit around and argue all day but work needs to be done.

        • vto 7.1.1.1

          ha ha yeah right.

          The thread is still there and there are many posters and facts and arguments for you to answer – all of which expose your total nonsense and lack of thinking.

          Why not go back now and try to answer them? You know, for your own credibility like

          • BM 7.1.1.1.1

            As enjoyable as that sounds, I will have to pass.
            I’m about to turn off the computer for the night and go have a read.

            • vto 7.1.1.1.1.1

              ha ha. owned

            • Paul 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Do it tomorrow then.

            • felix 7.1.1.1.1.3

              Still be there tomorrow. Guess you can answer it all then, eh?

              Unless you’re too busy tomorrow of course. And the next day. But then you won’t be able to trool the standard all day I guess, being so busy and all.

              • North

                Cop out BM. I guess you’ll be like the PM and fastidiously ensure that you NEVER see the programme. Moral cowardice.

  6. Rhinocrates 8

    I can just imagine Russel Brown’s response – first, he suggests a mediocre band and links to a couple of vids, then he plugs his own show, then he brings up some minor point about how the media handling has been less than perfect… but oh, who gives a fuck?

    Sorry, but Hard News doesn’t seem to have gone into an entropic decline so much as driven off a cliff. What the Hell happened? Really? It was good once, really good.

    • Sanctuary 8.1

      you got the right thread brother?

      The main right wing response to this doco will be to try and ignore it, just like the way that champion of liberty Farrar strenuously ignored the GCSB bill. The answer is to sharpen up those fake gmail addresses and get concerned trolling on kiwiblog folks!

      Anyway, I am going to get a red tee shirt made that says “I am a Socialist”. I feel socialism’s day is coming again!

      • Rhinocrates 8.1.1

        Sorry, just rather disillusioned with the bourgeois liberals. Probably rather belatedly. I had my hopes of being an aspiringly secure middle class type myself once.

        Turns out I’m one of the precariat, since I don’t work in the media.

        Otherwise, I agree.

  7. NZFemme 9

    Extended interviews with a few of the economists are available:

    https://www.facebook.com/mindthegapextra

  8. Pete 10

    And here’s what David Cunliffe said on Facebook:

    Who else is tuning in to watch Bryan Bruce’s doco ‘Mind The Gap’ at 7:30 on TV3?

    Remember the days when families could live off one income?

    The graph shows a market failure which has made this near impossible for most families. We’re working harder and longer than ever before, but wages have remained flat. The failure of wages to keep up has meant many families are living in poverty. It hurts me to think that 270,000 kids live in poverty in this country. Part of the solution is a Living Wage for all Kiwi workers, and fairer workplace laws.

    I’ll lead a government that is prepared to tackle this injustice head on.

  9. chris 11

    Excellent documentary. Sadly it will go whoosh over the heads of a lot of kiwis.

    None so blind etc. etc.

  10. geoff 12

    I’m still a little stunned that that was an actual show on the actual telly in ackshul NZ.

    That was fantastic.

    Somebody buy that man an Emersons.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      I recommend the Porter

    • Bill 12.2

      A pint of Lion Nathan? Nah.Where’s your principles guys! Gimme a pint of Invercargill Brew (Pitch Black anyone?) – or a pint from a fair few other other independent brewers over a (diminishing or soon to be diminished) corporate brew any day. A-hem. Cheers :-)

      • NZFemme 12.2.1

        Yeah, but Emerson’s is just a five min drive away for me! And until I can figure out how to keep my fermenter at a more stable (warmer) temp so I can brew my own, Emerson’s will suffice. At least while Richard is still running the joint. (He is still isn’t he? Even though it’s been sold?)

        • Bill 12.2.1.1

          sheesh – did you just get me advertising? I think you did! Emersons and Invercargill Brewery and more besides, in riggers, on Lower Stuart St down towards the court. Castle Macadam Wines. (Shame on me!)

        • Pete 12.2.1.2

          If you’re after a Dunedin microbrew, what about Green Man?

  11. Ximena 14

    I’m unable to see this doco here but I get the gist of what its about. Good to see some switched-on minds in New Zealand. The socialist movement is starting to gather some strength in Australia too. We need to take a giant left hand turn away from neo-liberalism, our children and their children deserve a full-time job and their own home. Life has become to hard for those left behind in the market economy.

  12. Clement Pinto 15

    I like the idea mentioned in the doco of setting the maximum possible pay rate for any job in the country as a set multiple of the minimum pay rate.

    For example, if the minimum wage is say $15/hr (or $30,000/pa), then the nation’s max pay for any job could be say, a multiple of 50 of that (or some agreed number by an independent panel of experts or a majority in parliament)=$750/hr (or
    $1,500,000/pa).

    The only way the top max rate could increase is by increasing the minimum rate first. So, if the min goes up to say, $40,000, the Max goes to $2,000, 000

    This way, the gap between the rich and the poor will be maintained and the life will be fairer for all.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      You can accomplish an effective maximum pay rate by introducing a 89% income tax rate on income over 10x the average wage (which is roughly $49K pa, which translates to a threshold of around $490K pa).

      Let’s say you earn an extra $1M pa over this threshold…you’d only get to keep $110,000 of it.

      Of course this will inevitably lead to all kinds of gaming, including CEOs in Auckland being contracted to corporate subsidiaries based out of Delaware, etc.

      One way to combat this is to withdraw the operating licenses for organisations with set ups deliberately designed to evade these tax rules.

      • Epping Road 15.1.1

        What “operating license” do you mean, do you propose the government should issue operating licences to businesses so that they need the government’s permission before they can employ anybody? Good thinking genius, yeah that will definitely work.

        • framu 15.1.1.1

          maybe, just possibly, settle down a tiny bit

          so the words “operating license” might have conotations – but, do we or do we not have laws that require businesses to be registered and behave in certain ways?

          Sole traders are of course a bit different in regards to registration – but they wouldnt be included in the scenario CV is outlining

          think of that as the “operating license”

    • Bob 15.2

      CP – Good idea, as long as this was linked to the minimum paid wage within a company rather than the minimum wage set by the Government. This way good employers can pay their CEO more if they pay their staff more, rather than waiting for the Government to raise the minimum wage.

      The only issue is, then you would have people complaining that inequality is growing by a factor of 50 i.e. for every $1 a minimum wage worker gets, a CEO could get an extra $50, thus growing inequality by $49 in one foul swoop.

  13. Steve 16

    Good on Bryan Bruce for producing a documentary that cuts through the neo-lib bullshit and exposes the lies that we have been force-fed for the last 30 years.

    I sense the winds of change are at last blowing through this country. People have a keen sense that the current consensus is not working. The left must articulate a new way forward that throws the neo-lib idea on the scrap heap where it belongs.

    The fear of the old guard is palpable as more and more of their lies are being exposed.

  14. karol 17

    The doco didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. But I think it’ll be news for a lot of Kiwis. It’ll be news many Kiwis will either not accept, or forget about once they get back to their daily activities.

    However, it’s the steady drip that changes cultural attitudes. The doco explained the issues clearly and in terms that are easy to understand. It supported the argument with visual images that are more likely to stay in people’s minds than words alone: the family living in tents, the guy keeping a record of his household’s budget, the graphs of wealth being sucked upwards while the middle-class is under pressure, the figures of benefit fraud compared with tax evasion…. etc, etc…

    The doco needs to continue to be widely available so people can continually be reminded of the reality of a large income/wealth gap, the damage of a “me” society, and a need for a “we” society.

  15. Anthony Blomfield 18

    was a bit surprised so far many assumptions with not a huge amount of Facts.
    i.e. He just suspects the new Class System as working how he Supposes.

    Blaming poverty on Roger-Nomics and Neo-Liberalism seems sad.

    There are many factors.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Rogernomics and neoliberalism being the most powerful of them.

      I’m surprised at how many assumptions you present yet so few facts, Anthony Blomfield.

    • karol 18.2

      A 1 hour TV programme cannot present all the facts and evidence without sending people to sleep. The experts interviewed and stats presented indicate solid evidence behind the claims made in the programme.

      You want evidence?

      NZ world leader in inequality:

      Aotearoa New Zealand has one of the worst rates of income inequality compared to other developed or wealthy countries. In two decades from mid-1980’s to mid-2000’s NZ went from being one of the most equal to become one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

      Inequality increased faster than in any other OECD country.

      Most of the increase was due to larger rises in overall incomes for the top 20% of income earners.

      Incomes for the bottom 20% actually decreased over the two decades from the mid-1980s.
      […]
      [sources]
      Inequality: A New Zealand Conversation

      Household Incomes Report 2012

      Social Report 2010 – Income Inequality

      Inequality in NZ: How bad? Does it matter? What can we do about it?

      Children’s Health Monitor on Inequality

      OECD on NZ Income Inequality

      OECD 2011 Divided We Stand

      OECD 2008 Growing Unequal?

      Inequality a New Land Crisis Max Rashbrooke (ed)

      Closing the Gap (NZ) on the evidence and claims in the book The Spirit Level.

      Are you proud to be a Kiwi? Of course you are! New Zealand has been a great place to live, work and bring up children.

      But now we have some of the highest levels of social problems–drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, imprisonment, obesity, teenage pregnancies, infant mortality–in the developed world.

      And also, in the developed world, we now have one of the higher income gaps.

      Watch the video below, where Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of “The Spirit Level”, explain why poor social outcomes are a direct result of income inequality.

      But, I guess some people would rather just ignore the weight of evidence showing the damaging impacts of a high level of income inequality?!

      • Anthony Blomfield 18.2.1

        I guess I agree the state of things is not so great.

        I still believe it is the remanding Government Regulations no?
        and not a consistant justice system that are at fault?

        i.e. Giving Corporates Tax Payers Money should be a criminal offense.

        second Governments should have to be accountable for every law they pass.

        PS: One way to address this 1% of people in the world control most them money is to remove the Government regulation that they enforce what is the Legal Currency of the country.

        Open up free markets to print and distribute other currencies to citizens or allow citizens to trade to each other in any currency. This would effectively make the fortunes of many “Wealthy People” null in some circumstances.

        But all that said… Good to see a Documentary addressing real issues in NZ.

        And I think the Selling of the State assets how National has done is sad.

        But I just did not like tying it all in to “Rogernomics” failed.
        Open to debate

    • risildowgtn 18.3

      Evidence of these factors??

  16. Winston Smith 19

    Must have a word with my National paymasters about their slip in allowing this sort of program on tv, you know being that TV3 is in the pocket of the govt

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      The fact that a single exception is so notable, proves the rule.

      • Winston Smith 19.1.1

        Well I wasn’t happy about INSIDE CHILD POVERTY playing before the election and JC attacks on JK (though that appears to have abated) suggests National are slipping when it comes to controlling the message

        What are we paying these guys for if this is what they produce?

        • fender 19.1.1.1

          “What are we paying these guys for if this is what they produce?”

          Exactly what Key will be asking, considering Mediaworks were given a $45 million loan!

          • Winston Smith 19.1.1.1.1

            Exactly! Heads need to roll and I still haven’t recieved my pay yet from Crosby/Republican/National, its not good enough

            • fender 19.1.1.1.1.1

              You didn’t really expect them to keep their word and cough up your pay did you?

              Many business owners will tell you that it’s often the richest that are most reluctant to pay their bills.

  17. shorts 21

    the beauty of this documentary was its simplicity – simple plain language that anyone could understand… now if only enough can view the thing so it doesn’t just end up as a piece of content to be added to NZOnScreen as a historic artifact of how we once were

    Thank you to TV 3 for showing the doco at a family friendly time

    • Rosie 21.1

      +1 shorts. There was information within the doco that many readers here would be familiar with already, but for me hearing it put so plainly was really helpful. Bryan Bruce has a knack of getting info across clearly, without cluttering his message. So many interesting points to last nights show.

      Should be compulsory viewing for all NZ households, especially those one’s who continue to live in a bubble and think that nothing has changed.

  18. framu 22

    my only two complaints..

    1)the bits with people dressed up as zombies – waste of time that could have been used better

    2) the making of an argument, which opens the door to an obvious and on the surface easily believable rebuttal, but not firmly closing the door on said rebuttal

    but hey – have i made a doco and got it on TV? – well no i havent.
    And i get that a 1 hour (well about 45min after adds) cant deal with everything

    Is there an online resource to add depth? It feels like that would be neccessary for such a wide ranging topic

    It feels like a common thing from the left – presuming that the wider audience is already up to pace with an issue, then gifting the naysayers a free go to attack through lack of time to add the required detail

  19. burt 23

    Brilliant…(not)
    It was very unbalanced. Poorly presented as a series of patsy questions with little or no critical analysis of the conclusions.

    One thing that struck me was close to the end – The idea that we shouldn’t follow economic theory is very valid and should be explored more – however the kicker which showed how bias the presentation was followed that…

    We shouldn’t follow economic theory – it should follow us – followed by we should legislate to put morality back into business….. So we don’t follow a prescription for how our economy works – but we create a prescription in law for it ….

    From my perspective there were a large number of valid messages and thoughts we should all consider – but presented like that it came across as a partisan rave

    C-

  20. burt 24

    For example… Much was made of the decision to follow neo liberal policy in the 80’s and how wrong it was – yet there was no facts presented about how dire the economic conditions were that preceded that. NZ was a mess … we were 9/10’s broke and that was a direct result of decades of poorly though out popularism via socialism.

    If we want to make a point of taking a wrong turn – we need to clearly understand why we were at that cross road in the first place.

    • framu 24.1

      “no facts presented about how dire the economic conditions were that preceded that”

      actually burt, there was – but it was admittedly a pretty short bit

      “little or no critical analysis of the conclusions. ” – but i can agree with that. (regardless of our assumed differences)

      But i still think it was a good starting point to a topic that would take a vast amount of time to cover the ground properly

    • jaymam 24.2

      “NZ was a mess” for several reasons. What were they?
      Muldoon said “I know the New Zealand economy better than any other living soul”.
      “Think Big” was a mistake and resulted in huge borrowing. Subsidies to famers were rightly removed. NZ spent a huge amount on cars and still does. House and land prices are now the main problem why people are poor. Cheap State Advances loans and capitalising the family benefit for a house deposit, were working. Who got rid of that?

      • burt 24.2.1

        Muldoon was probably more socialist than the Labour party are today. His think big was much like the nationalise everything mentality we still see today in left leaning parties.

        So sure, his policies were a disaster – just like they would probably be today.

        The problem is half thinkers equate Muldoon with National when in reality – Labour want to repeat his arrogance of we know best and state owned everything is best.

        • fender 24.2.1.1

          “Labour want to repeat his arrogance of we know best and state owned everything is best.”

          [citation needed]

          PLEASE read this

        • Murray Olsen 24.2.1.2

          Think Big was all about privatisation of profits which flowed from socialisation of development costs and risks. It had much more in common with such projects as the roads of national insignificance than it did with anything proposed by left wing parties. The main difference is that there was a better strategic argument for building some of the Think Big stuff, even though it was often still a not very good one.

    • beGone Craven SpyBill leopard 24.3

      @ Burt,

      Your questioning of the dire circumstances that the Muldoon era created is something that I would like to know more about too.

      I think they wouldn’t have included this information in that documentary in order to keep the message simple and easy to understand – it was only 45 minutes of information, after all.

      I am suspecting that the collapsing of economies in the West around the 1970s had a lot to do with the boom subsiding that was created by the war.
      Also the consumerist boom possibly levelled out (everyone had bought the new consumer goods that were on offer; new stoves, fridges cars).

      I suspect that at that point, the people making the most profit needed to start accepting less, and they didn’t do so, instead placed increasing pressure on those further down the chain to take the cuts, and allow them to keep the good profits they were experiencing.

      I believe this continues to occur today; it appears that people get used to boom profits and continue to refuse to tighten their belts when the boom is over and leave the other classes to do so; thus creating more poor. Neo-liberalism was simply the mechanism that enabled this to occur. Quite frankly, I think the problems occurring today are really that simple.

      Am interested in others ideas and knowledge on this era.

  21. Sable 25

    The real problem is falling or static rates of pay, rising inflation and taxation combined with the expectation that one person will do the job of two people. As a result we are seeing large numbers of unemployed and people who are employed but are so badly paid they may as well not be.

    This is down to both National and Labour undermining working conditions by watering down employment laws. The result, predictably, is poverty at one end of the spectrum and increasingly outrageous wealth at the other.

    Just take a look at what’s happening with McDonald’s in the US. People have clearly had enough of these ugly neo-liberal policies:

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/-/world/18714250/us-fast-food-workers-strike-to-supersize-wages/

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