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The Standard

Real social security; real jobs – not bennie bashing

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 am, March 27th, 2013 - 55 comments
Categories: ACC, benefits, child welfare, families, greens, jobs, labour, nz first, paula bennett, phil goff, unemployment, welfare - Tags: ,

Yesterday, I watched a lot of the speeches, mainly by opposition MPs, in the committee stages (parts 1 and 2) of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.  Green, Labour and NZ First MPs highlighted much of the evils of this piece of legislation.

Today on the Daily Blog,  Sue Bradford has posted (“Destroying lives to win votes: National’s anti-beneficiary rampage continues“) an excellent  summary of what the Bill does and doesn’t do.  She outlines the punitive measures included in Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Act, that passed last year, and summarises the latest Bill as follows:

The second bill going through this week adds to this by (among other things):

• Replacing a number of current benefits, including the Sickness Benefit, with one ‘Job Seeker Support’ category, subject to a wide range of compulsory work tests and sanctions if tests aren’t fulfilled to Work & Income’s satisfaction.

• Introducing a Work Ability Assessment …

• Adding even further sanctions to those who don’t meet Work & Income requirements, including drug testing. …

To add insult to injury, there is zero Government commitment to job creation either – decent jobs at decent wages being the best solution to unemployment and poverty. …

These changes to our welfare system are all about making extra profits for big business while shoring up National’s vote at the next election from people who just need to have a section of society to hate and despise. I hope you will join me and groups like Auckland Action Against Poverty in exposing and opposing this for the vicious game it is.

Jacinda Ardern, whose performances can be patchy, gave a couple of very good speeches for parts 1 and 2 in the committee stages yesterday.  The first speech laid out a lot of the destructive aspects of the Bill, and the underlying government agenda.  In the second speech, she exposed some of the dodgy medical assessment processes.

Ardern is concerned that one of the most important parts of the Bill, on medical assessments, provides no information on how the assessments will work (around 7 minutes in the video).  She refers to a submission from CCS Disability Action, which expresses concerns about the UK-style contracting out of assessments.  Labour has tabled an SOP asking for the processes to be used for medical assessments to be debated in the House before any changes are passed.  Ardern says that “any government who denies our ability to do that, is a government that has something to hide.”

Ardern then refers to the worrying approach of Dr David Bratt, Chief Medical Adviser.  She refers to a recent presentation by Dr Bratt: Ready, Steady, Crook: Are we killing our patients with kindness?   Ardern says:

He openly spreads the notion that access to social security is bad for people’s health.  Do you know what’s bad for people’s health Mr Speaker: an undignified system that doesn’t focus on people’s strengths and abilities to get back into work; a system that doesn’t focus on their wellness; a system that instead allows them to squander (?) in poverty without the means necessary to even ensure they are one day employable again.

She goes on to argue that Bennett’s “cruel to be kind” approach had been tried back in Ruth Richardson’s time, and it had failed resulting in an increase in harm and a rise in child poverty.

Ardern also made excellent points about the way Bennett’s focus is on demonising single mothers, and ignoring the fathers.  She says she missed the memo on immaculate conception.  She exposes the myth of families aspiring solely to a life on welfare, and the destructive impact of the work overload on case managers.

Nevertheless, Ardern continues to focus on getting people back to work, rather than the importance of social security for those unable to engage in paid work for whatever reason.

The Greens focused more on other aspects of the role of social security. Mojo Mathers focused on the barriers to paid employment for disabled people.  She is concerned that the Bill is following the UK’s failed model that focuses on work assessment.  She also argues against the social obligation aspects and their negative impacts on parents of children with disabilities.

xtasy has frequently commented on the TS, about the problems with the medical assessments, and on Dr Bratt in particular.

NB: Phil Goff  showed he can produce some very good speeches.

55 comments on “Real social security; real jobs – not bennie bashing”

  1. One Tāne Huna 1

    The sooner “Dr.” Bratt is hauled before the ethics committee the better.

    • just saying 1.1

      What ethics committee is Bratt accountable to?

      And the medical assessors hired by the MSoD aren’t accountable either because the medical council will not hear any complaint from a patient, because MSoD is the client, and only the client can complain about mistreatment, negligence, or malpractice

      This is exactly the same barrier that prevents ACC claimants from having complaints about non-treating (ie toady assessor) doctors, heard. The medical council has been aware of the anomaly for decades but has not chosen to review the rule.

      These people are untouchable.

      • One Tāne Huna 1.1.1

        There appear to be layers of corrupt sophistry set up between Dr. Bratt and his kind and normal medical ethics. However, the NZ Medical Association, for example is reviewing its code of ethics and seeks submissions. The new draft document (pdf) adds several clauses to the “Doctors in a just and caring society” section.

        The existing code requires that medical professionals “Adhere to the scientific basis for medical practice while acknowledging the limits of current knowledge.”

        Where is the scientific basis for “Dr.” Bratt’s assertions about welfare and addiction?

        I suggest that “Dr.” Bratt’s methods be subjected to professional scrutiny, and that the opposition parties apply pressure to the medical council and any other appropriate authorities to investigate his activities.

        • xtasy

          One Tane Huna: That Code only applies for “medical practice”, but Bratt is an ADVISOR, so he is in that role for his employer (MSD) NOT BOUND by the Code of Ethics of the NZ medical profession!

          • AsleepWhileWalking

            And the Regional Health and Disability Advisors hide behind that very same cloak, passing judgement over Doctors notes, or that of other registered health professionals while they themselves have no durisdication other than MSD decided to employ them to do this.

            • xtasy

              AsleepWhileWalking “strong”: Yes, you are right, and it has all been designed to be this way, by MSD!!!

              The same will happen with the new regime they will bring in with outsourced “specialist assessors”. They will “merely” make recommendations, and then WINZ staff will make the ultimate decisions, in virtually all cases relying on those recommendations.

              Chicken and egg debates will distract from and avoid pinning down responsibility.

              Trouble is, the assessors may in many cases not be delivering a “health service”, they may only be “advisors” or “assessors” of types. Where the present law in NZ still kicks in is, where a medical practitioner or similarly qualified person under the relevant Act sees a person face to face to assess (not just on papers) for a third party, or their own client, then they are still bound by the ‘Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights’!

              This may be somewhat different with outsourced service providers, as it will depend on how they will set it all up and do the assessments for work capacity or anything else.

              The government is of course NOT HONEST on the planned medical and work capacity assessments, and hence they have not come out with details, still wanting the law with the legal provisions to allow them to outsource and do such assessing passed a.s.a.p., without revealing details.

              Parliament and the public are being conned something big here. The law should NOT be passed and consented to until it is clear what these future assessments will look like, until they will have been scrutinised and debated, evaluated on legality, fairness, objectivity, scientific reason and more.

              Outsourcing and not allowing any legal accountability is contempt of fair process and natural justice. This is a BIG ISSUE.

              • just saying

                Trouble is, the assessors may in many cases not be delivering a “health service”, they may only be “advisors” or “assessors” of types. Where the present law in NZ still kicks in is, where a medical practitioner or similarly qualified person under the relevant Act sees a person face to face to assess (not just on papers) for a third party, or their own client, then they are still bound by the ‘Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights’!

                Actually they aren’t. The H&D commissioner has stated that he has no jurisdiction to hear complaints unless they relate to sexual or physical assault. Because MSD is the client. This issue has been around for a long time.

                • xtasy

                  just saying: This is not quite true! Read this PDF to be found under this link:


                  If there is a face to face encounter during an assessment, the H+D Commissioner is still going to be looking at it. Trouble is, the present one is pretty useless.

                  All the Commissioners that hold office – and the Ombudsman – have been installed to be buffers to keep people from taking issues to court. And they only deal with the tip of the iceberg of issues in the end. I have ample knowledge and experience with this.

                  The whole system is designed to stifle any efforts by aggrieved to get justice.

                  In some ways, it may be better to have the US system to be able to sue and get the shits out of so many poorly performing, and harm creating medical and other practitioners, and also engaging in consultancy.

                  It does indeed stink to heaven what goes on in NZ. I have had to deal with a mental health flatmate, who was totally treated like crap, and the ADHB used Privacy Act and more to cover up. Sadly she was in an abusive relationship, so the abuser was on good terms with her psychiatrist, working for ADHB, so they all covered up, she in “co dependence” and as a “disempowered abused”.

                  NZ is a SHIT SOCIETY, for standards, and I have volumes of records proving this. So the “nationalists” here can stick this SHIT up their noses about NZ being world class and so. It is a total dirty lie, like so much about this country.

                  • just saying

                    Yeah I’ve read this before.
                    It says the non-treating doctor must comply with the code, not that the patient may complain to the H&D if they have a genuine grievance about their treatment (outside of assault).

                    I know of more than ten people who have been told by the H&D that their complaints about assessors are outside of the H&D jurisdiction, and to take their complaint to the “client” whether MSD or ACC.

                    I agree with you about the real role of these so-called watch-dogs. However with a well put together case and decent legal representation a minority of patients can get some vestige of justice. I’ve won a case, though, of course, not against a non-treating doctor.

                    But even this slim chance is denied patients of non-treating doctors.

                    • xtasy

                      just saying:
                      “I know of more than ten people who have been told by the H&D that their complaints about assessors are outside of the H&D jurisdiction, and to take their complaint to the “client” whether MSD or ACC.”

                      Well, that is interesting.

                      I know of a case where an examining doctor (technically “assessor”) for a third party is being investigated by the Commissioner at present.

                      It may have depended on how those people presented their case.

                      Using the wrong choice of words and explanations can lead to a swift fob off, and the Health and Disability Commissioner does not seem to be obligated to assess and examine each complaint of such nature, but the paper from the Medical Council says at least, that he may or can.

                      So it may depend on how well a complainant words and argues her/his case. I agree though, that there is far too little scrutiny, and there is a lack of redress that can be ensured and enforced.

                      Few will even succeed to file a case before the courts, get legal aid perhaps, or have the brains, knowledge and skill to argue their own case successfully. MSD and WINZ have Crown Law, paid for by the taxpayer by the way. They can get the best lawyers if they want or need to, and a person representing her-/himself or with a newbie legal aid lawyer will have a shit show. Justice does exist in theory, and seldom in practice.

                • xtasy

                  The Commissioner will not look into complaints about 3rd party assessors, if they only did the assessment “on the papers”. That means if the assessment was done without a face to face encounter and interview, then the Commissioner will not bother with it, as it is considered outside of their scope.

                  Yet when there was a face to face examination and interview, which was done as part of an assessment, then the H + D Commissioner may actually look at it, as that is within the scope of his/her office.

                  • just saying

                    I know of a case where an examining doctor (technically “assessor”) for a third party is being investigated by the Commissioner at present.

                    That’s interesting. Let me know how it turns out.

                    I was told (face to face) by the commissioner, in a crowded meeting, that the office would not investigate any complaints about doctors commisioned by third parties unless sexual or physical assault was alleged.

                    In the cases I know of, which the commission refused to investigate, the complainants were explicitly told that the office had no jurisdiction to investigate complaints about “third party assessors”. The cases were in regard to face to face assessments.

                    I will be delighted if there has been a change of policy.

                    And please don’t patronise me Xtasy, as I said, I have taken a case against a doctor and won. So I know every step of the process

                    They can get the best lawyers if they want or need to,…

                    No, they get who the medical council appoints – been there tried to get someone else.

                    • xtasy

                      “MSD and WINZ have Crown Law, paid for by the taxpayer by the way. They can get the best lawyers if they want or need to, and a person representing her-/himself or with a newbie legal aid lawyer will have a shit show.”

                      I am not sure, whether you misunderstood the above, perhaps, just saying?

                      With that I meant the “third party”. But you will be right with lawyers representing the assessor, getting a lawyer appointed by the professional organisation (Medical Council).

                    • just saying

                      They can get the best lawyers if they want or need to, and a person representing her-/himself or with a newbie legal aid lawyer will have a shit show.

                      Sorry, I misread and thought you were talking about the complainant in the whole sentence, not just the second half.

                      When the medical council decides to prosecute, they appoint (and pay for) a lawyer for the plaintiff. The doctor chooses his or her own lawyer. Usually a QC if the charges are serious. Inevitably a better representative than the lawyer appointed for the plaintiff.

          • One Tāne Huna

            I think that “advisory” status should be properly tested by a court of law.

            He took an oath. Just because some wingnut government passes a law doesn’t absolve him.

          • Mary

            I understand that currently this is accepted as the way things are, but surely this could be challenged? Surely a medical professional, with a current practicing certificate or not, is subject to the prevailing ethical rules? For example, the disciplinary authorities certainly have jurisdiction over those who try to practise after being struck off, whether it’s doctors, nurses, lawyers, etc. Surely if Bratt is dishing out medical advice, to whomever, this potentially brings him under the scrutiny of the relevant ethical complaints body? Perhaps this needs to be tested?

            • xtasy

              Sorry, Mary, Dr Bratt is not performing a role in delivering “medical services” in his role as Principal Health Advisor. Only a medical practitioner or other professional registered under the Health and Competency Assurance Act (I believe that is the right name) AND performing medicine, or delivering medical or health care and treatment services, is bound directly by the Code of Ethics, NOT any person, practicing or not, who is merely giving “advice” to another party, not receiving such health care or treatment services.

              And the Health and Disability Commissioner’s code will not apply to advisors either.

              Other codes for psychologists, counsellors and the likes have their limitations also.

              The law would need to be changed, or a new law brought in, to cover advisory activities. Naturally the agency, department or company that employs or contracts with such an advisor, has means to discipline for breach of contract.

              BUT have WINZ or MSD done anything to even raise some warning words to Dr Bratt and his bizarre claims and comparisons in his presentations (comparing beneficiaries with drug takers)??? NO, and that speaks for itself. Bratt’s master is apparently condoning what he is doing (using WINZ and MSD symbols and their names on his presentations)!

            • xtasy

              What comes to mind re his misdeeds is perhaps “discrimination” based on employment status (being unemployed, which in NZ usually goes hand in hand with being a beneficiary). So the Human Rights Act may be of some use there. But someone would neet to take it up. And then, is he strictly “discriminating” after all? Well we know he does in his peculiar ways, but the words he uses are “pseudo-science” and bizarre, largely unproved claims, not necessarily intended to discriminate.

              He does after all arrogantly pretend to “do good” and “want to rescue” clients from “suffering”.

      • Olwyn 1.1.2

        That is something I did not know, and I find it shocking. The DoS may count as “the client” but the DoS is not a person getting assessed by the doctor. This is extremely fishy, since it means that people who are not medical experts are in the position to determine whether or not a complaint made on medical grounds is worthy of further action.

        • just saying

          I, amongst others, have tried. I suspect it would require political intervention.

          Btw it is worth mentioning that Labour set this direction, and have always been aware of the injustice and inquity in patients’ inability to complain. This suited their purposes just as well.

          Unfortunately it is very seldom that anyone “important” is adversely affected

          • Colonial Viper

            Setting up torture rack mechanisms which the Tories can then crank up real tight in a subsequent term.

            Thanks Labour! Just fucking brilliant work, as usual.

        • One Tāne Huna

          I wonder whether this corrupt arrangement would survive judicial review.

          • xtasy

            Judicial review is possible if a decision by a Medical Appeal Board can be seen as in breach of the law (e.g. natural justice). Otherwise judicial review is only possible for certain administrative, legislative or executive decisions made. A decision or recommendation by an outsourced assessor will not fall under a category where judicial review may be sought. Also a simple administrative decision by a WINZ case manager will not necessarily do so. But within the Social Security Act there are steps for reviews and appeals that can be taken.

            If a “statutory” decision seriously restricts or denies a person a right, then JR may be an option though.

            For medical appeals section 53A is relevant!

            If a decision by a “judicial” kind of administrative body, like such a Medical Appeal Board, does not comply with the law, then judicial review is an option, indeed the only further legal step that is possible. It has to be filed at a High Court, but one should get a lawyer (not easy to get for such “civil” cases under legal aid).

            There the issues continue for the average beneficiary, not having the means to pay a lawyer themselves.

            See some basic info on judicial review:


    • xtasy 1.2

      As a “Principal Health Advisor” Bratt is NOT offering medical SERVICES, that is the problem. He is not employed as a GP (which is his qualification), as a doctor to perform and deliver services in the health area.

      He is “merely” an advisor (a damned biased, bizarre and poor one for that sake, but still accepted “advisor” for his employer, MSD), and that does enable him to get away with this, as only “practicing” doctors or other registered medical staff under certain Acts are accountable to standards in law and the Code of Ethics for the NZ medical profession.

      So Bratt is like a smart eel, getting through all the gaps, and he knows he can get away with all these bizarre claims and comparisons.

      The one who could make a difference is his employer, and guess, who that is.

      The MSD cannot pretend they do not know that he presents such one sided, scandalous presentations on pages bearing Work and Income logos.

      They do apparently condone this, there is NO other answer, and that is the bloody scandal. MSD are ultimately responsible for letting a staff member get away with using biased, unqualified, unscientific information, and by making absurd, unfounded claims, which also pressurise and “blame” clients that are supposed to be looked after by MSD!

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Goff is a strong, passionate speaker once he gets going. Good off the cuff, and able to talk through opposing static from the government benches or from a journalist.

    I’ve only met Sue Bradford once, and she impressed me with her insight into beneficiary issues.

  3. Rogue Trooper 3

    WINZ are already “overloaded”; heard it from case-managers directly.
    Bennett / MSD ignored numerous MOH advice that these reforms (sanctions in particular) are going to cause as much harm as they attempt to alleviate. Watch and see.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Usual strategy; if the Nats can’t undo something they don’t like, they underfund it until it is crippled.

      • Ennui 3.1.1

        That is standard Nat practice BUT what if there are no funds?

        PS I could get a short term extra 10% budget saving plus out of the Public Service if the executives were put into a set pay scale the way it used to be. Around Wellington I still see far too many fat cat bloated “public servants”. And you and I are paying for them.

        • Colonial Viper

          It’s a problem. And they’re followed around by a younger set who aspire to be exactly the same, if not fatter. Striving for the wellbeing of the nation and serving the public good? Don’t be stupid.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 3.2

      Some of the workload of CM’s is self inflicted – declining assistance that the beneficiary is eligible for leading to a review of decision creates massive increases in workload in a very short time.

      Do this enough and the system starts to collapse. Today I spoke with a benefit rights advocate and was told that because MSD are obstructing review of decisions, I should try writing the words, “I want to review your decision not to assist with _____”, as opposed to, “I am reviewing the decision not to fund____”.

      I can’t see a hell of a lot of difference, but apparently it is designed to prevent the ministry from saying that:
      – they haven’t made a decision yet (this can drag out months or forever)
      – they are waiting on information about _____
      – they are waiting to see if there is a cheaper option (even when multiple quotes are already provided)

      My advocate warns me that MSD will still likely run obstructions. It’s what they do.

      These are common phrases they use to usurp the legal process. Does the minister know this is happening? I doubt the minister cares.

      And in the meantime who is paying for the costs or going without? The client’s who are being disentitled on a daily basis.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 3.2.1

        My son’s having issues at moment so I’ve had to put my advocate hat back on for him.

        The advice I gave him applies to all:

        Always fill out an application form – do not accept any verbal no we can’t do that
        Always ask for a decision in writing before you leave – most letters are computer generated and can be printed off
        Food grant declines have a 24 hour review period if declined – while it’s a review by staff it must be by a manager
        If you have used your annual food entitlement and the reason for needing food is outside your control e.g. Paid for an ambulance to go to hospital then managers have the authority to go over those limits


        If you have access to the internet somehow understand the policy and what you can and can’t get. Print it off and take it in with you if you think it will help.

        Policy is here:


        The better informed you are about entitlements the less difficulty there should be.

        Keep receipts and provide evidence such as payslips and bank balances – yeah it can be a pain to keep em and I’m hopeless at it myself and as it turns out so is my son but to be honest you shouldn’t put anyone in the position of trying to work out if you are telling the truth or not.

        One issue I’m hearing about from my kids friends is around the non-telling to people than you can still be paid a benefit when you have left your job/ been fired.

        While you might get a 13 week stand down you should be told you can be paid if you do what they call recomply.


        Too many kids in my view just get told that they will get a 13 week stand down without an application even being taken, let alone being tod about this other info.

        Also if there was good reason for leaving your job e.g. Sexual harassment, employer not paying your wages, being paid less than minimum wage, bullying etc then no stand-down should be imposed.

        Some things the staff can’t do anything about such as if you spend your six weeks holiday pay by paying off all your bills or if your income is too high to get any help.

        I’d also suggest if you can, fill out an application on-line if you lose your job / seperate, etc

        This gives the clearest date for seeking assistance and if you get delayed in getting an appointment there’s a application in place.

        There’s a few others that post here who probably have more current knowledge who might be able to add more but hope this is useful.

  4. Ad 4

    Imagine if those kind of measures were applied to those seeking to become directors on banks, or public companies, or other entities with public scrutiny like Fonterra …

    … at the other end of town, South Canterbury Finance cost the taxpayers $805 million. That’s our taxed money yours and mine. Surely such company directors are New Zealand’s most damaging beneficiaries.

  5. Ennui 5

    Nice post Karol, BUT I have one major issue.

    It is not the speeches and well placed opposition to the governments “reforms” which are basically designed to “save money” and in the words of the Dead Kennedys “kill the poor”. I totally believe that benefits are there because we cannot rely upon the public or private sector to create jobs.

    So Karol, where are these jobs coming from? Let me give you an employers viewpoint.

    We as employers need infrastructure and legal services etc from the government so we pay taxes. These we expect will create or maintain positions which we benefit from, which is fine so long as we are making profits and paying the tax to support this. At the moment we have a severely constrained economy, so there is no extra tax to create government jobs.

    We could of course “create” credit to pay for these jobs but all we are doing then is creating debt to be paid by tax in the future. Which worked fine when economies could grow, but as an aggregate economic growth ended with peak energy and peak resources, and will now decline (permanently). So that wont create sustainable public sector jobs. Did I forget we also have a financial crisis ongoing since 2008 based around debt.

    Now us employers….we stick our necks out on the basis that we invest some cash on the principle that the extra work performed will pay for the employee and leave a profit (otherwise why do it)? We don’t do this as a charitable act, we do it for private gain. The cash we invest is “ours” (or a debt we personally incur). And when times are tough we don’t take the risk. When it gets tougher we retrench (or go bust), lay off staff, cut wages.

    Times are tough now. So where are the jobs going to come from? Where are the taxes going to come from?

    • ghostrider888 5.1

      and then there is “Too Drunk To F*ck” (Punk is not dead, only just having a snooze by the Marshall).

      • AsleepWhileWalking 5.1.1

        We don’t need jobs as much as we need to mobilise people into business IMHO. It is easier and quicker for people to find something needed and turn it into a business than it is to try and re-suss the job creation model.

        • Colonial Viper

          BEEEEP! Well intentioned but wrong, I’m afraid to say.

          The real economy is being deprived of cash, aggregate demand is down, and foreign corporates are siphoning money out of NZ. Expect small business failures to climb and jobs to be destroyed. Yes a few people will do well in niche markets that they identify, but the investment capital is not available for this to occur on a wider, bigger scale.

          The other nasty truth of our money system: large scale job creation can only happen with large scale debt creation.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      So where are the jobs going to come from?

      The public sector. Build more wind turbines (lots of ship building and heavy engineering in that), upgrade existing rail to electric and extend the lines, start building up the infrastructure to run trolley buses in towns and cities. Buy up enough farms that the country can be fed no matter what happens to the international markets.

      Where are the taxes going to come from?

      Don’t need taxes first – just print the money. This money can also be loaned into the private sector at 0% interest. A lot of those government services carry a user charge and so that’s one part of the taxing system, income tax is another and land tax a third. There’s probably more that can be done.

      Under the scenario of the government printing money at 0% interest the government will always run at a deficit (it’s not really a loss, after all, it’s only money and the society gets the social good of whatever the government spent money on) due to the dead weight loss of profit. The trick there is to make it so that accumulating money won’t be of any benefit.

  6. johnm 6

    John Yankee represents the market and money both of these categories are amoral.The Market and Money know no Motherland and hence come before the persons who have no money but only New Zealand as their motherland. Can you not see the cruel immorality of that attitude? :-(

  7. Ennui, this is why capitalism is an outmoded system.

    It relies on the profit motive which is killing us. The market is no good at matching supply and demand because goods will only be supplied when profitable and then at the expense of destroying the planet.

    Instead we need to socialise production.

    We would do this by regulating business to make it pay the true costs of public subsidies plus taxes. Then we would offer to socialise those companies that can be made to produce something useful. Instead of privatising public assets we socialise private assets and take the risk out of business.

    As collective shareholders of productive assets we all decide what is to be produced to meet the needs that we also decide as consumer collectives. We decide to create jobs for all who want to work by spreading all the now ‘social’ labour around at reduced hours.

    For the time being everyone would get back what they put into work, minus a surplus that becomes a public fund for social and economic development.

    This is all very straightforward and rational, and the first stages regulating and nationalising strategic business could be done by a left social democratic government. This assumes that NZ workers wake up and vote in a left government that breaks with neo-liberal orthodoxy and introduces a full frontal nationalisation program.

    However, monopoly capital would unleash a thousand dotcoms on us, capital strikes and Rimpac marines to protect their private property rights. So any plans to socialise the NZ economy would have to be based on a powerful social movement capable of defending NZ from US and/or Chinese invasions. Even then we would only get away with it if US and Chinese workers kept their military occupied at home.

    • So, job creation is a simple matter of completely changing everyone’s political views, putting a left-wing govt in total control of the economy and fighting a desperate war against the rest of the western world? Sounds great – when do we start?

      • red rattler 7.1.1

        People’s political views are conditioned by capitalism so they think that individual competition is natural.
        But possessive individualism came only with capitalism.
        As I said above when they ‘wake’ up to the con the solutions will seem very obvious.
        Workers cooperate when they produce.
        Workers produce the wealth.
        Without bosses cooperation will become the norm.
        Workers can run the economy and cooperate with workers in other countries to swap their products. There is no need for rapid industrial growth dependent on fossil fuels.
        Socialism today has nothing to do with growth as such but rather production for need.
        Our survival depends on using technology to conserve nature and sustain our existence without destroying the planet.
        The transition from capitalism to socialism is mainly a technical problem solvable by cooperation.
        The only difficulty is that the rich ruling class will not give up without a fight.
        But when it comes to a fight, they are few and we are many.

        • Psycho Milt

          Well, there is also the difficulty that so far, every time it’s been tried it’s resulted almost immediately in the enslavement of the population by a murderous totalitarian dictatorship. Oddly enough, commos never seem to mention that one…

    • Ennui 7.2

      Quite frankly the socialist model comes out of the same stable as the capitalism of neo liberalism. Both of them depend upon industrialism, and centralized banking control. Both follow materialist constructs, both doom us to ecocide and resource depletion. Both are control freaks which enslave individuals.

      The good news is that neither are any longer possible as the tools required utilise vast energy resources that are on their way out. We will be building on a strictly local scale within the forseeable (and probably on foot).

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        oth of them depend upon industrialism, and centralized banking control. Both follow materialist constructs, both doom us to ecocide and resource depletion. Both are control freaks which enslave individuals.

        One has moved on, the other hasn’t.

  8. David H 8

    But at the end of the day, a bankrupt NZ would suit the rapacious thieves in big business around the world. And John Key is delivering it to them on a plate. They are setting us up to become another Greece or Cyprus.

  9. xtasy 9


    “Ardern then refers to the worrying approach of Dr David Bratt, Chief Medical Adviser. She refers to a recent presentation by Dr Bratt: Ready, Steady, Crook: Are we killing our patients with kindness? Ardern says:

    He openly spreads the notion that access to social security is bad for people’s health. Do you know what’s bad for people’s health Mr Speaker: an undignified system that doesn’t focus on people’s strengths and abilities to get back into work; a system that doesn’t focus on their wellness; a system that instead allows them to squander (?) in poverty without the means necessary to even ensure they are one day employable again.”

    I heard a bit of Jacinda’s speech re this, and I was for once SO PLEASED, to hear this come from her lips. I felt, my much persistent efforts to raise awareness on all this appalling stuff, that already has been going on since even before the start of Future Focus, ARE FINALLY PAYING OFF! The messages are reaching the ones in Labour and other parties, and advocacy groups, who have all been informed about this, to take it up and challenge the existing process, certainly also the new processes to be put into place soon, kept secret so far.

    The FIGHT must go on!

    Good on you, writing about this again!

  10. Jenny 10

    $2 billion to well off SCF investors and speculators.$1billion to an insurance company that wouldn’t pay up, and not even the slightest suggestion of misappropriation, or fraud. And the directors of AMI are still taking people’s home and contents insurance and collecting their bloated salaries.

    Not to mention a number of other less heralded bailouts and pay offs.

    These are the biggest Social Welfare bludgers in the country.

    Roger Kerr already one of the richest men in the country was gifted $100 million by the taxpayer. There were no suggestions made in parliament on how he should spend it.

    The war on beneficiaries is needed to pay for all this largess for the rich.

    Honesty in Advertising

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 10.1


      Someone worked out once that the money Faye Richwhite had to eventually pay following the wine box enquiry was equivalent to what had been saved by the benefit cuts.

      If they had paid their proper dues at the time then the cuts needn’t have happened.

      It a sad indictment of course that our much vaunted left wing labour government of 9 years never reversed those cuts except for vote catching baby boomers on super.

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