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UBI (1). Memes and Paradigms.

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, January 12th, 2014 - 226 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, economy, Economy, equality, human rights, poverty, sustainability, welfare - Tags:

 

This post is a follow up from.  http://thestandard.org.nz/ubi/

(Thanks for all the comments to date.  Still digesting them).

The way human beings process information means that  memes and slogans  are powerful ways of influencing people.
We are all aware of the persistence of memes like “we cannot afford super”, “bludging beneficiaries”,  “poverty is unsolvable”, people will only work if forced” etc……….

Propagandists know that if you repeat a meme or slogan often enough it becomes truth, even in the minds of those who should know better. The extreme right wing know this. Which is why they often just endlessly parrot the same mindless slogans.
More thoughtful people try and counter memes with facts and figures. Trying to persuade with reality.

In fact we  need to counter memes with our own.

“We cannot afford super/welfare”.
With;  We did in the 30’s to the 70’s when New Zealand was supposedly much poorer. Or, “We do very well out of the unpaid contributions of the elderly,  (and mothers,  carers, and all the other unpaid community workers). ”.

“Bludging beneficiaries”.
With;  “Those on welfare are you and me,  given a bit of bad luck or ill health”.

“People  are inherently lazy and need to be forced to work”. (I consider this a piece of projection from the greedy section of the right, who cannot conceive of anyone doing anything without reward).
With;  Most people contribute to society if they can.

“Poverty is unsolvable”.
With;  We solved it for the elderly in New Zealand.  (less than 3% in poverty).

A paradigm shift happens when someone challenges the accepted way of doing things.
When, for example, they ask.  “Why should electric vehicles be the same as fossil fuelled ones?”.

Those growing up after the 80’s will find it hard to imagine the paradigm shift, that was the rise of Neo-liberalism, in the 80’s, in New Zealand. The colossal untested experiment, it really was,  and the huge shift of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the richest of us.
Fairness, inclusiveness, equality, and the right of everyone to a decent life, was basically accepted by the left and right wing in New Zealand.  It wasn’t perfect, of course, but the existence of the ladder to a decent life, for everyone, was a large part of our national goals. Something we were, rightly, proud of.
The great neo-liberal experiment has succeeded in changing our social paradigm to a much more “dog eat dog”,  unequal and mean spirited society. The promised economic gains have only eventuated for a very few.

I don’t want to paint us into a corner and say that a UBI is the only answer.  (Thanks McFlock)  It is not,  it may not even be the right one.  (More on pros and cons next post).  Big changes  without deep thought,  examination, research, discussion and consensus,  is something we should leave to the other side.
But. In exploring ideas like this (Thanks Weka) we are, hopefully, starting a paradigm shift away from Neo-liberal acceptance of meanness and inequity  towards inclusiveness, equity, fairness and the right of all of us to a decent and hopeful life.

Why should we accept poverty in a country which has more than enough resources for everyone?

New Zealand once led the world in social policy. New Zealanders, of all political colours, are proud of our world leading human rights and social welfare initiatives.

Dauphin was the “town without poverty” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome
New Zealand could be, “The country without poverty” .

226 comments on “UBI (1). Memes and Paradigms.”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    New Zealand could be, “The country without poverty” .

    This would be a competitive and sovereign differentiator which would put us ahead by leaps and bounds. Talent and capital would seek to move here from all over the world, and made in NZ products/services would refresh what has been a recently flagging premium image.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “We cannot afford super/welfare”.
    With; We did in the 30’s to the 70’s when New Zealand was supposedly much poorer. Or, “We do very well out of the unpaid contributions of the elderly, (and mothers, carers, and all the other unpaid community workers). ”.

    In the case of super:
    1. People are living longer now than ever before
    2. We have a bulge of population called “the baby boomers” that didn’t exist in the 30′s to 70′s.
    3. Day to day living is more expensive now than in the past. A basic example being electrical appliances: modern households, including the elderly, have many more electrical appliances now than in even the 70′s. Power prices have risen stupendously since then, as well. In order for the elderly to not live in poverty, superannuation today needs to be a greater quantum compared to the past.

    These three points multiplied together is why we cannot continue to afford superannuation for everyone when they turn 65 (and IMO, nor should we).

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.1

      There is high youth unemployment, Lanthanide, it is extremely important that there are jobs for those just starting out in life – demanding that older people keep their jobs ignores youth unemployment and will exacerbate it – creating 100% employment and higher rates of pay rates would go a long way toward being able to ‘afford’ superannuation – we can already afford it now – it simply means we need to agree to spend a higher percentage of taxes on super.

      This issue of superannuation ‘affordability’ is about ‘not wanting’ to pay it – not ‘not being able’ to afford it.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Sure, if you believe in the lump of labour fallacy.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          The lump of labour fallacy is a fallacy. Get over it.

          Meanwhile, youth unemployment over 25% is real in this country. Despite various forms of lip service, it is actually considered acceptable by the elite and the political class in this country to use these young people as an economic buffer stock bearing the brunt of multiple economic misconceptions (like the labour lump BS you spouted).

          Get off your privileged high household income horse and take a look at the real world for a few minutes.

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1

            You’re saying there’s a fixed amount of labour available in the economy.

            Cite.

            Here’s mine: http://www.economist.com/node/21547263

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              How many of the world’s economics problem has the economist solved in the last 5 years? Any?

              Yet you still put your faith there? Perhaps the cargo planes will one day return with gifts anew?

              And I repeat my call for you to step down from your privileged viewpoint, put down the false theories, and take a walk in the real world for a bit.

              • Lanthanide

                So you don’t have a citation for your statement that the economy does indeed have a fixed number of jobs.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  There is clearly a problem in the world with a decreasing amount of people prepared to invest their money into the type of business that creates jobs. I believe that the idea is to have ‘as few workers as possible’ – this is commonly referred to euphemistically as ‘efficiency’ and leads to ‘greater profits’. Never mind about distractions re ‘a fixed number of jobs’.

                  Or, what? Did you really believe it is because people are lazy and don’t want a livelihood that there is unemployment?? LOL

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well, smart, well qualified people are the people who are leading this world to disaster BL.

                      It pays to remember that some times.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      No CV I simply don’t buy that.

                      A certain group of people are leading the world to disaster – some are well qualified and many are not – That is, we all are involved in that group.

                      The quality I would place as causative of the problem amongst the leaders of that group is aggressive self interest- not education. Social circles and wealth are strong contributing factors.

                      There are more followers than leaders. The problem with the followers is a willingness to follow blindly, anyone with social standing and who ‘sounds’ like they know what they are talking about.

                      People gaining social standing at present have to be in the ‘right circles’ and have the ‘right attitudes’. Eduacation does factor into the equation here.

                      There is increasingly less social mobility due to the above requirements and obstructing those who can and want to gain an education is one tidy way to decrease social mobility – therefore there is an increasingly small pool of people whom are ‘the leaders’ on suggesting what way the status quo ‘thinks’.

                      Those many people with an education who know we are headed in the wrong direction have a problem with gaining a platform as do those without an education who also know such things.

                      You cannot tell me that education is the causative aspect of the problems we face and expect me to agree with you. I know it is not. If anything, it is quite the opposite.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      In fact, CV, I put forward a proposal that it is due to greater amounts of people gaining higher education that false economic assumptions and the uselessness of government policies based on them are being exposed for what they are.

                      “The authors point out that people are becoming more educated – among 25 to 59-year-olds the proportion with university degrees has gone up from 4% in 1981 to about 25% in 2011.”

                      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/nov/26/working-people-in-poverty-report

                      (The article is about education not being such a guarantee for finding work as it used to be – yet I link to it for the statistics it provides)

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.2

              If the lump-of-labour argument were correct, you would expect to see that a high employment rate among the wrinklies would be offset by a low employment rate among the youngsters, and vice versa. Not a bit of it. High elderly employment rates are associated with high youth employment.

              They show an amazing ability to lie. I’m looking at the same graph as them and see low youth employment rates and high elderly employment rates.

              You’re saying there’s a fixed amount of labour available in the economy.

              No, we’re saying that there’s a limited amount of work to be done and as productivity increases the amount of work available decreases. This is why every politician in every developed country pushes for more and more exports – to increase work availability. They fail to realise that the developing countries are doing the same thing and that the total amount of produced goods and services must surpass what is actually demanded.

              International trade must bring about increasing poverty – just as we’ve seen in NZ over the last 30 years.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.1.1.2

          I don’t know what the ‘lump of labour fallacy’ is.

          I believe that the ‘we can’t afford superannuation’ is a fallacy.

        • greywarbler 2.1.1.3

          I believe in the lumpenproletariat. – google –
          (especially in Marxist terminology) the unorganized and unpolitical lower orders of society who are not interested in revolutionary advancement.

          free dictionary
          1. The lowest, most degraded stratum of the proletariat. Used originally in Marxist theory to describe those members of the proletariat, especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed, who lacked class consciousness.
          2. The underclass of a human population.
          1. (Sociology) (esp in Marxist theory) the amorphous urban social group below the proletariat, consisting of criminals, tramps, etc
          [German, literally: ragged proletariat]
          (esp. in Marxist theory) the lowest level of the proletariat comprising unskilled workers, vagrants, and criminals and characterized by a lack of class consciousness.
          [1920–25; < German (Marx, 1850) =Lumpen rag or Lumpen-, comb. form of Lump ragamuffin + Proletariat proletariat]

          And people in this group may come from old groups as from young, depending on the lack of interest in providing reasonable living options for them. Holding off paying any super till later in life is a TINA. And that is lazy policy from lazy minds with no interest in the subjects of that policy and no will to find a better way.

    • felix 2.2

      Lanth:

      Yes, we waste way too much resource on endlessly replacing our crappy appliances. Think about why. We didn’t always do this. We didn’t always need to.

      And yes, energy is far too expensive. Again, think about why.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        1. I didn’t bring up the lifetimes of appliances, but yes, it’s a pity that things are disposable these days.

        2. Because we don’t live in an authoritarian country where people are prevented from doing whatever they like with their money. If we did, I’m sure we could seriously restrict what people used electricity for, there’d be considerably less demand and it would be cheaper (since we’d only need the hydro and little more).

        Rising energy prices will cause demand destruction, but that doesn’t really solve the problem of high energy prices, merely the frivolous use to which energy is currently put.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          you somehow forgot to mention the hundreds of millions in private profits (ie excess customer charges) being extracted out of the energy industry.

          • Lanthanide 2.2.1.1.1

            That doesn’t change the underlying fundamentals that we must now rely on more expensive energy generation mechanisms than we did in the 30′s to 70′s.

            • felix 2.2.1.1.1.1

              That’s not a fundamental. It’s not a given. It’s simply an assumption you’re accepting without question.

              • Colonial Viper

                hydropower from dams built 50 years ago and long since fully depreciated, suddenly got more expensive in the last 10 years. Weird…

                • Lanthanide

                  Yes, it sucks the way that the electricity market works, and I think it should be reformed and that NZPower (or whatever it was) is a great idea.

                  But it doesn’t change the facts that:
                  1. Marginal electricity production these days is more expensive than it was in the past
                  2. If you take that marginal electricity production away, there will be power shortages

                  So, by #2 we rely on electricity that by #1 is more expensive than it was in the past, regardless of whether the hydro power is being charged at an appropriate price or not.

                • jcuknz

                  I assume the money is being stockpiled to build more dams to replace those whose back areas are filling up with sediment but apart from one up in Hawkes Bay somewhere I’m not aware of any happening, or any good areas suitable for future dams. The centralising of activity in Auckland, so far away from generation, makes hydro hardly a growth industry I think.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep. More like a sunset industry to extract maximum rent from. All the best sites to build hydrodams on in this country are already gone. Some sites suitable for smaller dams (<100MW) still exist, but with significant environmental or conservation costs.

                    • jcuknz

                      With so much water around us and two tides a day I wonder why tidal generation is not being promoted.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Because tidal generation is not very efficient and very difficult and costly to do well. Turns out that seawater is actually quite corrosive, and something that is literally designed to stay 24/7 in the roughest sea conditions isn’t cheap to build.

                    • jcuknz

                      When people talk about efficiency I wonder if they are not missing the point and that there should be a whole raft of powersupplies being used and it doesn’t matter if one is efficent or more expensive than others … each has their place and the less harmful to the planet should only be used as the last resort when others fail to meet demand,

                      Maybe if every building had solar panels there would be no need for the more expensive generators but the problem with the competative market is that each is supposed to pay for itself.

              • Lanthanide

                It may not be “a fundamental” or “a given”, but it is actually a fact.

                Funnily enough, coal power plants are more expensive to run than hydro dams, because in one case you have to go and dig up the fuel stock and in the other it just falls out of the sky into your conveniently placed lake.

            • KJT 2.2.1.1.1.2

              But, But, Bradford promised us competition and privatisation of the electricity supply would make power cheaper.

          • felix 2.2.1.1.2

            I think Lanth might be young enough that he believes that’s natural.

        • felix 2.2.1.2

          Lanth, there is no reason the price of electricity needs to be determined by supply and demand.

          None whatsoever.

          • Lanthanide 2.2.1.2.1

            That is true, I suppose.

            In general market economies have been found to be the most efficient, however.

            • felix 2.2.1.2.1.1

              Nonsense. It’s a monopoly.

              • Colonial Viper

                What is this “efficient” weasel word BS which has been doing the rounds over the last few years?

                • felix

                  It usually means “fastest way to funnel the cash upwards”

                • Lanthanide

                  Capital is a scarce resource and so we should strive to use it in the best way possible.

                  For example, we shouldn’t be building Roads of Notional Significance that have cost:benefit ratios of under 1 because it isn’t an efficient use of money, and we should be insulating houses because it has a cost:benefit ratio of over 6 in terms of reducing costs on the health system.

                  Market economies are a simple system that generally encourage capital to be invested efficiently.

                  • felix

                    “Capital is a scarce resource”

                    Financial capital is just credit. It’s not scarce at all.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Well there are rules in place that artificially limit it, as much as CV would like to overthrow them and print as much as he liked (although even in his case, capital is still limited, ie the government is supposed to tax enough back out of the system so it doesn’t go into hyperinflation).

                    • felix

                      Not really. Credit is just credit regardless of who creates it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Lanthanide doesn’t appear to understand the difference between “credit” and “capital”, nor the economic transformation process to turn the former into the latter, a transformation process which is utterly broken at this stage.

                      And of course, “financial capital” is not a resource, it’s an artificial control fraud to prevent labour and needed work/resources from coming together for the good of society.

              • Lanthanide

                Whether it’s a monopoly or not, it is still a market economy: producer sells something to a buyer, and sets a price in the process.

                The price is a signal to the buyer as to how much they should buy, and a signal to the producer as to how in demand the good is. Price goes up, producer should try and supply more of the good to maximize their returns.

                So by tying electricity prices to supply and demand, we ensure that we are pricing electricity at a level appropriate so that new generation can be built. If we charged too little, we may find ourselves in a position where there was more demand for electricity than could be supplied, and insufficient funds to build more generation. If we charged too much, already-built capacity would be idle, which by definition is inefficient.

                Not sure why I have to explain basic economics here.

                • felix

                  You don’t.

                  Why do I feel like I have to explain basic owning-a-power-station-and-distribution-network to you?

                  There simply isn’t a market for electricity in the simplistic way you describe, and pretending so is a large part of the reason your bills are so high.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Ok, please explain owning-a-power-station-and-distribution-network to me, and the way in which we don’t have a market in electricity of the type I’ve described.

                    I would genuinely like to know how I am wrong – this is not sarcastic or snide at all.

                    • felix

                      A market of the sort you describe requires more than one seller.

                      The electricity “market” does not. It is a monopoly.

                      None of your simple market theory applies.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Lanth is a computer engineer who has been learning economics 101 as if it is a real discipline. God help us all.

                    • Pasupial

                      La

                      Have you considered changing your nom de clave to ACTinide? I think it would be more in synch with your expressed worldview. Plus the chemical properties of the two elements are similar, although Ac is radioactive; which also seems appropriate.

                    • Lantahnide

                      Pasupial – I support NZ Power and raising the retirement age to 67. Both of which are Labour policies.

                • tracey

                  “we ensure that we are pricing electricity at a level appropriate so that new generation can be built”

                  but we don’t just price for that, we price for shareholder profit/dividends and very high salaries.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.2.1.2

              In general market economies have been found to be the most efficient, however.

              No they haven’t. In fact, the high prices we’re paying for electricity would indicate that it’s less efficient.

              • Lantahnide

                Efficient at *what*, Draco?

                Note: I haven’t had a powercut in literally decades (earthquakes excluded).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Efficient at *what*, Draco?

                  Providing society with what it needs.

                  Note: I haven’t had a powercut in literally decades (earthquakes excluded).

                  Really? Aren’t you lucky – I had three in one night not too long ago. Then there was the fuse that blew in a substation in West Auckland.

                  The best example of the “electricity market” failing though was when around 50m+ people lost power across the USA and parts of Canada as the private system went down due to too much demand.

                  Under normal conditions a society needs an over supply of most things so that under abnormal conditions it still has enough. The market won’t supply that which results in unnecessary pain and suffering.

                  • jcuknz

                    I wonder if the American powercuts were not from over demand but rather that the private companies do not have a distribution system which stands up to the adverse weather conditions …. as occured in South Canterbury a year or so ago, nothing to do with earthquakes which is a reasonable reason for power failure.

                    But to the theme of this thread I believe that pensions and healthcare can be afforded with what we have … it is simply a question of allocating the money appropriately and standing up to pressure groups wanting their pet baby ahead of all others ….

                    If anything with the rise of efficiency in the workplace and fewer people required to run the country we should be starting superannuation earlier as Mr Muldoon organised …. four days a week employment perhaps with longer hours though not for manual workers busting their guts and health.

            • tracey 2.2.1.2.1.3

              lanth is a she I believe

              • Lantahnide

                Nope.

                • tracey

                  oops. dunno where I got that from.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  How come you are spelling your name wrong Lanthanide?

                  By the way, for someone who appears sold on economic theory, are you aware that there is a big problem with the fundamentals of that theory?

                  “The main scientific underpinning of the laissez-faire doctrine is the theory that free and competitive markets bring supply and demand into equilibrium and thereby ensure the best allocation of resources. This is widely accepted as an eternal verity, and in a sense it is one. … But when we examine the relevant assumptions closely, we find that they do not apply to the real world. …

                  …As I have shown elsewhere, the condition that supply and demand are independently given cannot be reconciled with reality, at least as far as the financial markets are concerned–and financial markets play a crucial role in the allocation of resources. Buyers and sellers in financial markets seek to discount a future that depends on their own decisions.

                  …If the supply and demand curves are not independently given, how are market prices determined? If we look at the behavior of financial markets, we find that instead of tending toward equilibrium, prices continue to fluctuate relative to the expectations of buyers and sellers. There are prolonged periods when prices are moving away from any theoretical equilibrium. Even if they eventually show a tendency to return, the equilibrium is not the same as it would have been without the intervening period. Yet the concept of equilibrium endures. It is easy to see why: without it, economics could not say how prices are determined. ” – Soros

                  http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-capitalist-threat

    • Colonial Viper 2.3

      Oh give me a break Lanth; if the Reserve bank were to credit the Cullen Fund with $25M per week, we’d be able to afford Super as is to the 22nd century easy.

      • Lanthanide 2.3.1

        Yes, and what would our currency be worth? How would our trade partners react?

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1

          It’d be fine. Currency will be worth lots. We add to our money supply all the time. This is no different. Our trade partners Australia, China, US, UK, EU they’re all printing their own currencies. Nothing unusual. Money isn’t holy scripture you know. You can make more.

          • Lanthanide 2.3.1.1.1

            “Currency will be worth lots”. Totes convinced, thanks.

            • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1.1.1

              I understand the current and future basis of the value of the NZD. Not sure that you do.

              • Lanthanide

                Look CV, I’ll fully agree with you that printing money is the way to go, *when* I see a convincing argument that this is true.

                So far it all boils down to “trust me” or “trust the government”.

                • Colonial Viper

                  But printing money is the way that all the big economies ***have*** been going.

                  FFS man have a look at the RNBZ’s M1 and M2 measures for the last 20 years.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    More specifically, where do you think all those additional billions of NZD now in circulation and in deposits came from, if they weren’t *created out of thin air* (via account input keystrokes)???

                    • Lantahnide

                      Banks don’t actually go to their computers and type in $1,000,000,000 you know.

                      Which is what you’re suggesting the government do.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Banks don’t actually go to their computers and type in $1,000,000,000 you know.

                      They do it piecemeal, loan by loan: A little bit here, a little bit there and pretty soon you’re talking serious money.

                      It’s how the rich have been stealing from the rest of us for recorded history.

                      Which is what you’re suggesting the government do.

                      Against real value creation and not charging interest. It is the interest the channels the majority of wealth into the hands of the few.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Banks don’t actually go to their computers and type in $1,000,000,000 you know.

                      Yes they do.

                      When the bank agrees to give you a $800,000 mortgage to buy a new place in Davenport, what they do is credit your bank account via keystrokes. No money has to move to your account from their account. It is purely an arithmetic operation. They don’t have to go to the vault to move $800K in cash from one drawer to another drawer. On their electronic books they balance out the credit transaction into your bank account with the $800,000 debt that you now owe them.

                      You can then draw the deposited credit out to spend as if it were real money.

                      A bank completing 10,000-20,000 mortgages over the course of a couple of years will credit into the mortgage market that total $1,000,000,000 you quoted. (Of course they will also start receiving repayments over that time).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Creation of money happens all the time. It’s just done by the private banks. So you’re position is trust the profiteers. Considering the amount of corruption that the private banking system has been proved to engage in over the last few years I’m truly amazed that anyone still has that attitude.

                • tracey

                  Don’t the US and UK have it as a cornerstone policy to get out of the recession?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    That’s what they tell the public. But the actions of the power elite completely stymie progress for the people. Austerity destroys jobs and destroys public services just as they are most needed.

                    Meanwhile, the banks and the elite 0.1% are richer than ever, acquiring public assets at every turn. Coincidence?

                    • tracey

                      “Meanwhile, the banks and the elite 0.1% are richer than ever, acquiring public assets at every turn. Coincidence?”

                      Funny how little outrage at that particular group of criminals. Far from just forgiving them, they are back getting huge bonuses!

                • KJT

                  Printing money for employment and infrastructure is exactly how New Zealand, and the USA got themselves out of the 30′s depression.
                  We are, even now benefiting as a country from the results. You mentioned hydro dams. There was also, forests, schools, rail, roads and other real investment.

                  We are, ironically, getting out of the GFC due to US printed money, spent in China, which the Chinese are, in turn, using to buy our milk powder.

                  Muldoon’s mistake was that he borrowed the money.

                  Key’s borrowing for unaffordable tax cuts will equally end in tears.

                  • Ennui

                    As Galbraith noted, “Keynes was for a time, not for all times”. Galbraith fully understood that creation of credit was fine when supply of goods and services was not the issue: money in circulation was. During the Depression there was plenty of oil and coal in the ground, there was plenty of raw resources, plenty of industrial capacity to utilise. There was just no money or anybody with money who was prepared to invest (aka take a risk). And why would you risk capital if it was appreciating in value (deflation). By creating credit / printing cash the Depression was short circuited, on the basis of matching the new money against future production (effectively cancelling the debt).

                    Today that option is a thing of the past. We may “grow” a few areas, we will be lucky to create “solid state sustainable sectors” and we will have a lot of delining sectors. For the future aggregate decline is what all economies are facing. We look down the slope of resource diminution, the end of the fossil fuel era.

                    In short, Lanth is on the right track, even if he does not share this analysis.

                    • KJT

                      You don’t think it is worth investing printed money in employing people in developing sustainable infrastructure, transport, industries and renewable energy, Then?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Today that option is a thing of the past.

                      Sorry, but that’s absolute nonsense, and a total misconception of the nature of energy/resource depletion.

                      We have plenty of under utilised labour, we have plenty of work in our society which needs to be done, we have plenty of factories and workshops operating under capacity, we have far too many schools and care homes who are desperately short staffed, YET you say that we cannot create (via a few keyboard strokes) the money needed to solve those problems?

                      Seriously, get a grip man.

    • KJT 2.4

      Linked to it because I do not feel like explaining it all over again.and again.

      http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/on-new-zealands-retirement-income.html
      “The finance industry have been creaming their pants, for a return to the halcyon days, before the tax rebates were removed from superannuation savings. When they got to play with our money for free, and the negative returns and high charges were ignored, because of tax payer subsidies.

      Egged on by the neo-liberals who prefer the elderly, the unemployed and the sick to starve in the streets, as an incentive to scare working people into accepting starvation wages, while they continue to get 17% increases in wealth, the finance industry is dreaming of getting more of their sticky hands on our wealth, with private super funds.

      Since the 70′s they have been constant in the meme that we cannot afford super. A meme that has been driven entirely by the self interest of those, who are too wealthy to need super and too mean to pay taxes, and a greedy finance industry.

      Unfortunately, it is true, that if you repeat bullshit often enough, even those who should know better come to believe it.

      We cannot afford super is code for, “we should leave our elderly to beg on the streets”. So that wealthy people can pay less tax and the finance industry can again lose our savings for us”.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.4.1

        +1 KJT

        I have a dim and distant memory of there being an loud objection in the early ’80s re a super-scheme being canned – or not started at all. I have a strange feeling that Winston Peters may have been one of the objectors – I have memories that the stats re aging population being cited now were part of the objection: ‘that we have to think ahead and save’ for this time.

        I was only a child at the time. Can anyone recall and confirm whether these memories are correct or not?

        • KJT 2.4.1.1

          The national super scheme was canned by Muldoon when he started a PAYG scheme with retirement at 60. Basically as an election bribe.

          Muldoon had rather a lot of support as many people at the time had recent memories of being ripped off by the finance industry in employer schemes. Mine would have lost 4% over 3 years without taxpayer, and employer, subsidies.

          If we had continued with the super scheme it at the time, like the Aussie one, it may have made a lot of money up until recently.

          However, like all Ponzi schemes it will eventually collapse. Most similar schemes, albeit mostly private or local State, in the US are running out of money to pay out the promised pensions.

          In my opinion starting a similar scheme now, such as Kiwisaver, is too late. Contracting resources and economies preclude the “hockey stick” growth in money supply necessary for the “magic of compound interest” to pay for retirement..

          And. Don’t forget that the current generation always pays for the current retirees by foregoing some resources, so that retirees can use them. No matter how it is financed.

          Cheaper long term to pay more taxes now to build up New Zealands capability in future, than to donate even more money to a finance industry which will most likely waste it in financial games, requiring even more taxes to bail them out.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.4.1.1.1

            Thanks KJT

          • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.1.2

            Don’t forget that the current generation always pays for the current retirees by foregoing some resources, so that retirees can use them.

            QFT

            That is something that most don’t understand. The payment for retirees is coming out of the people presently employed – it isn’t coming out of a bank account.

    • aerobubble 2.5

      I disagree. The wealthier a nation the more expensive to live it is. So the argument that we cant afford super isn’t about the cost, because a wealthier society finds it easier not harder to provide its citizens with the basics. What, we-can’t-afford-super actually means is distraction from the way wealth is used within society. The more olds with money, the more they buy, the more economic activity, the more jobs. Take the US, its inefficient use of its citizens, breeding inequality, ill-health, disengagement, means a smaller economy with more costs, gangs, crime, jails, etc. American politicians hate America, its implicit in their politics, and why, because they personally get richer by creating greater inequality.

  3. felix 3

    Excellent post KJT. The comments are demonstrating just how ingrained the neoliberal myths have become in the generations who don’t remember anything else.

    • aerobubble 3.1

      Thirty years and massive printing of money, that’s the result of Thatcherism. Yet some Moro guest still thinks the greater the division, the greater the dominance, the great therefore the leader. Yet history, world politics, is replete with divisive dominant leaders of nations who held their countries back for decades, nah, centuries if they were unlucky.

  4. Will@Welly 4

    Lanthanide – the actual cost of hydro production – existing – has not gone up. The cost of new electricity production has risen, but the “market” determines that we must pay as if as all electricity is produced from new plant. Absolutely outrageous and fraudulent..
    Both major parties have toyed with National Super, the one thing that is universally accepted, had Roger Douglas’s scheme in 1974 not been scraped by Muldoon in 1976, this country would have been wealthy. National proves time and again it cannot manage the economy.
    Many baby boomers don’t want to retire at 65, infact many baby boomers see 65 as the new 50, so maybe there should be an abatement for those receiving National Super over 65, while still working/earning. We also need a thorough investigation/discussion regarding “family trusts” and their usage – too many hide money in them for “genuine” tax avoidance. My feeling is any abatement would need to be set quite high so that it wasn’t seen as purely punitive.
    Might I also suggest we need to raise those same thresholds on beneficiaries who also work part-time. Earning $80.00 a week before entitlements start to cut out are still the same as it was in the 1980′s. Ridiculous.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      I never actually said that hydroelectricity price has increased. See my comment at 11:14pm above.

      • Will@Welly 4.1.1

        Yes, but was has happened under the “market reforms” is that existing plant is revalued each year/every 2 or 3 years, and then appraised as if it were new. It is not. The “book value” of the company then inflates, and so to get a proper return on their “investment”, they hike up prices.
        In 10 years our electricity prices have more than doubled, in some cases upto around 150%.

        • felix 4.1.1.1

          Lanth is a child of the revolution. He thinks this is a natural state of affairs.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2

          And yet the proper thing to do would be to ignore the supposed value of the plant. The charge then would only be to supply the electricity workers with a reasonable living standard. The most efficient way to do this is through a state monopoly.

  5. Sacha 5

    On the right track, but we need memes and associated stories that *positively* convey another New Zealand. Reacting to the right’s memes is still letting them set the agenda and the framing.

    Superannuation is an investment in security for our elders after a life of contribution. Or it’s a ‘burden’ on taxpayers. Saying it’s affordable doesn’t shift the conversation away from costs to benefits.

    The Greens have been really good at this over the last few elections, in images as well as words. Is “a richer New Zealand” another way of saying “the country without poverty”?

  6. RedBaronCV 6

    Super also protects the asset base of all but more so in the case of those with modest assets. No super then assets get eaten up in retirement so no more of those modest inheritances. Poorer families then have no assets so trickle up it is. Look at solid death duties on estates over a certain amount. Deal to trusts. BTW the current trust review is looking at extending the maximum life of a trust. Go figure that.

  7. SPC 7

    Simplify the concept.

    Bring it to the realm of the conceivable.

    There are only four groups without income now – identify them

    1. students without the allowance.
    2. those with working partners and so are not currently eligible for the dole (savings in WFF reducing this cost)
    3. those doing voluntary/caring work.
    4. those able to work not working or seeking work.

    1A – make a student allowance universal for post graduate study.
    2A – pay the dole to those with children under 5 who have working partners (later look at extending this 2B – to those who have children under 12 as per the DPB).
    3A – pay a dole rate to those doing this who have working partners.
    4C – leave to later, and introduce with universal student allowances for undergraduates.

    • karol 7.1

      I agreee those groups should get an income.

      But there are some on benefits struggling as much or more than those with no income and a working partner – especially single parents (most of whom are single mothers). They need an urgent increase in support, and removal of all Bennett’s shonkey “responsibilities”.

      • SPC 7.1.1

        karol, it would be easier to get society acceptance of helping that group of women (largely women) if there was a sense that other women (largely the non working partners are women) were also supported while with their children.

        At the moment the most supported moves are a WOF for rental housing (to reduce the power bill and make homes more healthy) and food in schools, not an increase in cash benefit to the parents.

  8. just saying 8

    Death duty, CGT on all properties above the first $200,00 on one family home, financial transaction tax… these are amongst a blitzkeig of changes that a Labour-led government, if it was genuninely labout-led , would make in the first few months of tenure. Just for a start.
    But it won’t. Genuine change is still not desired by the Labour Party, and maybe even the majority of people. Still, such was the case when Douglas and co did their radical overhaul of almost everything.

    Courage is required. Maybe, much as it chokes me to say it, we need another dose of National from this year’s polls. One term of a weak Labour Party maintaining a weak holding pattern whilst pretending to be ‘doing something’ about the myriad of problems that got them elected, and pretending to stand for something, in the face of doing nothing real and having neither the courage nor the convictions? Well I don’t know, but I fear it could make things much worse it the medium term, for those most adversely affected by the current regime. It could lead to a further embedding of the memes and paradigms of the status quo, and not too far along, maybe more lives lost and blood shed

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      The need is one of building strong grass roots understanding of the changes required, the real alternatives available, and the ways to apply pressure to political parties and Parliamentarians (of whatever stripe) to ‘do the right thing’.

      Courage is indeed required, and it is the courage to realise that political parties will only do what is needed, if they are made to do it.

      • just saying 8.1.1

        Do you think a term of Labour-led government in Labour’s current incarnation will foster or damage that grass-roots movement for change?

        Right now it seems to me that nothing could reinforce ‘there is no alternative’ than the populace voting in an alternative government which provides no actual alternative.

        Any movement towards significant change will only be harmed by another betrayal from those with actual power who are supposed to be on our side – surely?

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Where betrayal at this stage needs only be a meek left wing pushing on a piece of string.

          I mean, you’ve correctly identified that there is a real danger of a weak one term Left govt with only a 2-3 seat majority, one which is nervous and hesitant about it’s mandate and it’s vision, and is quickly replaced by a confident talking National aided by clever PR and press.

          • tracey 8.1.1.1.1

            are you considering challenging curran for labour party selection TL?

            • Bill 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Isn’t she already challenged enough?

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Hi tracey, I’ve made my views on related matters crystal clear and in writing, to the local party structures in Dunedin. Nominations for selection close Feb 28 (the date has been brought forward from Mar 31 as there is a possibility of an early election) and I can likely provide you with an update before then.

              Bill :P

  9. Ennui 9

    There are some real basics missing above: one of the key factors driving the disparate wealth scenarios is that capital has been allowed to seek a safe return aka a “rent”. This has been made more extreme by the sale of assets that are supposed to underpin an economy to the wealthy.

    For example each time you and I use electricity with the sale of state assets we end up paying a share of the bill to the shareholders who are no longer completely the state.

    If we want to turn around the imbalance in wealth we really need to get serious about stopping it at source: we should be ensuring monopolies are heavily regulated, we should be ensuring that corporates pay tax and don’t socialise their risks. We should be regulating the finance rackets that gave rise to the likes of John Key. I regard all of these as necessary to get rid of the “parasite” layer that sits over and devours the wealth generated by the productive parts of the economy.

    I want to see smaller business risk takers rewarded, not some government employed fat cat with no income responsibility. Any fool can run a monopoly, or spend the states funds, they are not worth a cent of their privileged pays. Until we create an environment where risk is rewarded and “rents” are discouraged we wont create either jobs nor a tax base to redistribute wealth with.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Monopolies need to be state owned, transparent and the amount paid to the workers there set by referendum. Of course, the pay of all public servants jobs should be set by referendum.

      Any fool can run a monopoly, or spend the states funds, they are not worth a cent of their privileged pays.

      I figure that they’re worth about $100k/year but, then, I think that of the mega dollar CEOs in the private sector as well.

      Until we create an environment where risk is rewarded

      What risk?

      we wont create either jobs nor a tax base to redistribute wealth with.

      You’re still looking at things backwards. The government creates the money, the size of the economy is defined by the size of the governments spending* (multiplier effect will apply to some extent) and any deficit in the governments budget is caused by there not being enough taxes.

      * This is true even now with the private banks creating so much money.

      • Ennui 9.1.1

        Draco, risk is really simple: it is in most cases the money put at risk when a business is started. It is what the business owes you personally.

        When I start or invest in a business it is my own cash (money I have saved, borrowed etc but for which I have ownership or maybe a loan of someone else’s money) that is at risk. I cannot think of any person who started a business and risked their money for the sake of being a social nice guy and providing Joe Blow with an income. So when you risk losing your own shirt you are not there to put buttons on some other buggers shirt. You take the risk with the expectation of reward.

        Of course, we could go down the line of getting rid of free enterprise altogether, we have seen exactly what results that achieved when tried.

        “Looking at things backwards”….with regard to the government creating money I think you have a very different view to my own. Money is debt, it gives you a call against goods and services as the purchasing party in a transaction. Your view seems to be to create more debt out of thin air, and give it a claim against existing and future goods and services. If future obligations and debts are ever going to be paid there will have to be an expansion of the goods and services available to pay that obligation / debt.

        What you are proposing in the printing of future debt (money supply increase) is going to debase existing money via inflation as there will in a declining economy less goods and services. You propose making everybody poorer in effect.

        • tracey 9.1.1.1

          maybe if everyone were poorer it might snap some out of their drone-like belief that if they just work harder the wealth of the top 1% WILL SOON BE THEIRS.

        • Crunchtime 9.1.1.2

          Money is being debased already and everyone is already getting poorer. The median wage in NZ in real terms has been declining for decades.

          So what would be different?

          • Ennui 9.1.1.2.1

            It would get worse, faster.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2.1.1

              BULLSHIT you have absolutely no basis for making those assertions, and absolutely no basis for determining that private banks should continue to have 99% control over the money supply of the world.

              • Ennui

                Settle down CV, where did I ever support private banks? All I am proposing is that anybody printing more money will just perpetuate the current mess, and probably make it worse.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Nah I’m over it.

                  If you can’t see the difference between QE for Wall St, and sovereign money issuance for Main St, there’s no point discussing the issue further.

                  An additional point being, instead of increasing the money supply to ordinary people, consider how well shrinking the money supply to communities is working across the world. That strategy is known as AUSTERITY.

                  • greywarbler

                    CV
                    That Wall Street / Main Street comparison works as an explanatory tool well, very succinct.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  All I am proposing is that anybody printing more money will just perpetuate the current mess, and probably make it worse.

                  No, actually, it won’t. It has to be done properly of course:

                  1.) Private banks need to be banned from creating money
                  2.) Taxes need to be properly set so as to get present excess money out (i.e, 90% on incomes over $500k etc)
                  3.) Public servants pay scale set
                  4.) Government creation of money set against either funding new infrastructure (mines, drilling, roads etc), their maintenance or other government services.
                  5.) Taxes set so as to balance money created

          • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.2.2

            What would be different is that the private banks would no longer be able to create money and charge interest on it meaning that the inflation (debasement) that we see at the moment would cease and we’d be able to go to a sustainable economy rather than the pursuit of growth at all costs that we have.

            • greywarbler 9.1.1.2.2.1

              DTB
              What you say would be that without interest to pay, we would get more efficiency from each dollar spent, more bang for our bucks. If that is how it works let’s go, with a limited regime.

              We used to lend money at 3% and 5% to first home buyers on a 25 year principal and interest mortgage. Now that would be something that if turned on now would keep the economy turning, reduce stress, eventually cut down extra welfare payments for accommodation. There could be a policy of duplex or two-storey housing and these would be designed with good features, windows double insulated, etc. so well built so we have attractive but more efficient housing. People who qualified, on some basis of reliability of finance handling, would be able to choose from three or four designs, and choose internal colours. (And outside wouldn’t be painted grey, dark grey, black, brown, mud brown, as seems popular with trendy colour advisors these days).

              I’ll vote for that.

        • KJT 9.1.1.3

          “What you are proposing in the printing of future debt (money supply increase) is going to debase existing money via inflation as there will in a declining economy less goods and services. You propose making everybody poorer in effect”.

          Aren’t the banks doing that now? And charging us for it.

          Unfortunately they mostly invest in existing speculative assets they see as sure bets..

          Resulting in the sort of unbalanced inflation we see in the Auckland housing markets.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.3.1

            +1

          • Ennui 9.1.1.3.2

            Yes KJT, you are 100% right on what the banks are doing and what happens as a result. It is fueling a bubble that is propped up by existing price expectations and actual housing demand (fueled by immigration justified by growth economics : thats another story). It will pop and leave an unpayable debt.

            Interestingly people like Nicole Foss reckon that the printing of cash (QE) wont halt deflation. Money printing merely enables the exisitng interest on debt to be payed for another day, whilst actual money in circulation is declining faster than goods and services decline in availability.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.3.2.1

              whilst actual money in circulation is declining faster than goods and services decline in availability.

              And the reason why it’s declining is because?

            • Ennui 9.1.1.3.2.2

              It is because the vast bulk of the money “created” by the banks gets paid into supporting existing debt interest, it gets put into accounts rather than spending, and it goes to non productive speculation (e.g Wall St financial vehicles). The amount actually circulating against goods and services is declining. (Got that from an interview on RT).

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.4

          So when you risk losing your own shirt you are not there to put buttons on some other buggers shirt.

          Except you’re not going to lose your shirt are you? And if you borrowed the money then it’s the person who loaned you the money that will lose.

          If you borrowed that money from the government (0% interest) then the governments taxes will, eventually, pull the money out of circulation if your business failed. If your business is successful then the government gets the loan paid back as per normal and it gets the taxes that you pay which will allow it to support someone else to be entrepreneurial. Effectively, the entirety of society would be taking the risk and not you personally.

          Your view seems to be to create more debt out of thin air, and give it a claim against existing and future goods and services.

          Nope, the government creating money doesn’t create debt.

          What you are proposing in the printing of future debt (money supply increase) is going to debase existing money via inflation as there will in a declining economy less goods and services. You propose making everybody poorer in effect.

          Nope, that’s entirely your own construction.

          What I propose is that the government creates money to spend into the economy on infrastructure, the extraction of the countries resources and other government services including the UBI. That money would then be removed from the economy via taxes and direct charges. There should not be a deficit so the result would be no increase in the amount of currency in circulation.

          • Ennui 9.1.1.4.1

            Draco In short:

            Except you’re not going to lose your shirt are you? And if you borrowed the money then it’s the person who loaned you the money that will lose.

            You may be surprised to learn most people who start businesses dont use bank money (mainly because banks wont loan it to them). And even when they do borrow bank funds the bank deposit holders are at risk. Somebody has to pay debt.

            If you borrowed that money from the government (0% interest) then the governments taxes will, eventually, pull the money out of circulation if your business failed. If your business is successful then the government gets the loan paid back as per normal and it gets the taxes that you pay which will allow it to support someone else to be entrepreneurial. Effectively, the entirety of society would be taking the risk and not you personally.

            The whole concept of borrowing from the government is splendid in principle, the mechanics make sense. Now hark back to the track record of countries that tried that noble experiment. That is a debate we need to have because the balance between incentive and freedom of the individual, and societal control and obligation is fraught with issues.

            Nope, the government creating money doesn’t create debt.
            Money is debt. Debt is money. I subscribe to this school of thought.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_theory_of_money

            (Ennui said)What you are proposing in the printing of future debt (money supply increase) is going to debase existing money via inflation as there will in a declining economy less goods and services. You propose making everybody poorer in effect.
            (DTB said)Nope, that’s entirely your own construction.

            Disagree entirely. Whether this is a good or bad thing however needs to be debated.

            What I propose is that the government creates money to spend into the economy on infrastructure, the extraction of the countries resources and other government services including the UBI. That money would then be removed from the economy via taxes and direct charges. There should not be a deficit so the result would be no increase in the amount of currency in circulation.

            My version is “What I propose is that the government is the only creator ofmoney to spend into the economy. All monopolies, utilities and essential services will be owned by, and provided by the government at cost . There should not be a deficit, money supply should match the supply of goods and services .

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.4.1.1

              You may be surprised to learn most people who start businesses dont use bank money (mainly because banks wont loan it to them). And even when they do borrow bank funds the bank deposit holders are at risk. Somebody has to pay debt.

              And I did point out both ways that the money would be taken out of the economy if the money was borrowed from the government. I’ve also said previously that the UBI needs to be high enough to support someone into business.

              Now hark back to the track record of countries that tried that noble experiment.

              Which countries were those?

              That is a debate we need to have because the balance between incentive and freedom of the individual, and societal control and obligation is fraught with issues.

              Hypothetically the individual should have the same incentive and freedom as they do now. loaning money from the government should not give the government any more control than loaning from the bank gives the bank control now.

              • Ennui

                Draco, I think you know darned well which countries I am referring to. The are the former Communist block whose despite current protestations to the opposite did actually try and build a Marxist economy. Not only did this collapse (Orlov provide a great summary of why plus why the USA will follow suit) BUT the human right abuses inherent in their model were as bad as anything market based systems generate. To propose a repeat of that seems to me to be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  To propose a repeat of that seems to me to be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

                  Good job I’m not then.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.4.1.2

              My version is “What I propose is that the government is the only creator of money to spend into the economy. All monopolies, utilities and essential services will be owned by, and provided by the government at cost . There should not be a deficit, money supply should match the supply of goods and services .

              We’re using slightly different language and you’re being more specific about what government should do but, generally, we seem to be in agreement.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.5

          What you are proposing in the printing of future debt (money supply increase) is going to debase existing money via inflation as there will in a declining economy less goods and services. You propose making everybody poorer in effect.

          Apologies kind sir, but this is fucking BULLSHIT

          You do not need to create a dollar of debt just to produce a dollar of credit, which is the way that the private banks do it. The way that a currency sovereign does it is not to issue debt based CREDIT, but to issue debt-free MONEY.

          Otherwise it’s as stupid and obtuse a mindset as saying that to print a hundred dollar note, the Reserve bank needs to go one hundred dollars into debt.

          I mean WTF.

          Re: debt – anyhows who cares if the US owes $17T of debt. It’s just spreadsheet entries, and most of that debt it owes to itself anyhows.

          Write off all debt every 49 years as the Ancients did, they understood that you could not morally enslave whole countries on the basis of book keeping.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.5.1

            I’m over this bankster led monetary stupidity.

            For those interested in Modern Monetary Theory please get on youtube and watch some of the presentations by the likes of L Randall Wray, Warren Mosler and Stephanie Kelton.

            Or google some of their papers.

          • Ennui 9.1.1.5.2

            CV, a few years ago I would have agreed with you. So to talk “bull shit”….”debt free” money comes under this heading. Money is a claim against some goods or services, which need to exist to be claimed against. We are probably describing the same thing i.e a balance between money and good / service supply equals zero balance aka no debt no credit….a “solid currency”.

            Where we diverge I suspect is that “growth” (the phenomenon that has allowed supply to catch up with credit created) is world wide now an aggregate impossibility. Your model requires growth OR a quitting of all debt (the wise Solon’s solution). Solon recognised that debt enslaved free citizens for the benefit of the few, in the same way as has happened today.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.5.2.1

              Where we diverge I suspect is that “growth” (the phenomenon that has allowed supply to catch up with credit created) is world wide now an aggregate impossibility.

              I feel like throwing something at you mate. In the nicest way possible.

              A) This nation is letting tens of millions of unused labour hours going to waste annually.

              B) It also has schools, hospitals, social service providers, who are woefuly understaffed, who are leaving necessary work undone.

              What’s your problem with the issuance of debt free, interest free money (money which does not require GROWTH to successfully meet the pay back of exponentially growing interest accruing debt) in order to bring A and B together?

              Money is a claim against some goods or services, which need to exist to be claimed against.

              Yes SOOOOOOO?

              Are you saying that we’ve run out of goods and services to claim against?

              The 250,000 children in poverty can’t have any more goods and services to claim against than they are receiving now?

              If you like, we can confiscate, or tax, existing money hoards in order to replenish the govt money supply, if that makes you feel better. Instead of creating more money out of thin air.

              • Ennui

                Throw something at me please. The goods and services you refer to are available but nobodies buying, nor will buy unless they are paid for with other outputs of goods and services elsewhere in the economy. What we are arguing here is resource allocation and the structure of the economy. .

                I don’t contend that the things you want delivered are unaffordable, they are exactly what a balanced society should be using its economy to deliver. I do contend that the money is currently there, it is just going to the wrong places. And I also contend that the money is going to decline in the future so we will have to curtail or find new ways to deliver our wish lists.

                • Colonial Viper

                  So what practical solution do you have? If government is going to provision itself and society with adequate resources and services, then in this current economy, it must do so with money.

                  Following on from that, there are only 3 sources of money for the Treasury; that of issuance, that of taxation and that of borrowing. I propose that the modality of “issuance” now also be used more as it creates less political cost to the Government in power than that of heightening taxation. What should not be considered is the mode of borrowing which does nothing but enrich the bankers and add to exponentially increasing debt (to which you have correctly made the point that such debt is, in this modern time of struggle, become plainly unrepayable).

                  So the source of sufficient money for the Government coffers is the crux. I do not read you making any argument that there are unsufficient services and resources available for everyone in NZ to have a decent life despite the end of exponential growth; indeed your statement is that this is largely a question of resource allocation and priorities. However, with your insistence that issuing new money will somehow make things worse (an assertion that I still bitterly dispute) I can see no alternative proposal from you.

                  And I also contend that the money is going to decline in the future

                  Do you mean to clain that the ‘purchasing power’ of the NZD is going to decline in the near future? If so, then what you should more properly refer to is our nation’s real terms of trade.

                  so we will have to curtail or find new ways to deliver our wish lists.

                  I think the implication by Generation Zero and others that we are going to be able to have our non-fossil fuel cake and eat it, will indeed be proven wrong.

                  But a reduction of material standard of living, as you know, does not necessarily mean a reduction in actual quality of life. In fact, for most people, their day to day quality of home, family and emotional life could conceivably increase, even as access to consumerist trivialities declines.

                  • Ennui

                    CV, Nothing much I disagree with there, so a few points on what I would do:
                    * I have always disagreed with allowing finance to be the tail that wags the dog: if I was in government the first act I would do is repeal the Reserve Bank Act, dismiss the current crop of Treasury economists and make sure that the economy was not left to the “market”. The “market” should be the servant of government policy and not vice versa. Money creation would be entirely in the hands of the Minister of Finance to approve.
                    *If I were Minister of Finance I would fund all necessary social spending out of current infrastructural returns (the profits SOEs make etc) and heavily regulate utility prices to make them more affordable. At the same time I would completely rejig the tax system to ensure avoidance was minimised and corporates were made to pay their fair share (the avoidance of tax by multinationals etc is at the heart of our current funding shortfall).
                    * My other response would be to create a Transition Authority charged with “environment and economic continuity planning”, their role being to recognise the coming changes to resource and energy supply availability. This would be the prinmary mechanism for addressing environmental issues and creating employment. This would create the conditions where we could continue to enjoy a “good” life.

        • Bill 9.1.1.6

          The money debate aside….I actually have some sympathy for people who try to set up a business. All that stress and the huge number of hours and upskilling in so many areas they may not previously had experience of….all in the hope that it all pays off and they get to ‘relax’ to some degree at some point in the future. And, of course, it can all go belly up.

          Where I begin to lose sympathy, is where those self same people have, at the outset, had alternative collective business models pointed out to them, but have chosen to reject such scenarios because, essentially, they refuse to shift their perspective from one that insists one must ‘get ahead’, distrust others and reap ‘all’ – the lions share of – potential benefits to/for themselves.

          • Molly 9.1.1.6.1

            Agree. It is hard to find examples in NZ of collectives such as Mondragon, or alternative business models such as B-corporations which have a quadruple bottom line.

            And yet, there are people and communities supporting each other and providing services – who – with a bit of support and guidance could make these projects self-supporting – or businesses – albeit not ones with huge profit margins.

            I don’t know whether we have many mentors or resources for this kind of programme, but it would be of use in helping change the current one-size-fits-all model, and would provide local services and goods to local communities.

            Also, need to set up the ability to directly invest in small to medium size businesses – using mechanisms other than shares. Watching Transition 2.0 (documentary on Transition Towns) recently – one example had a bakery taking loans and the interest was paid back in the form of one free loaf a week. The loan would be repaid in full in a couple of years. There are other ideas out there and they need to be shared – and not legislated out of existence.

      • Tim 9.1.2

        “Monopolies need to be state owned” ……
        That’s the truest, most fundamental principle I’ve yet seen since the neo-libs came to power and saw an opportunity for wealth transfer upwards, then implemented the programme to do just that.

        ….except that I wouldn’t characterise it necessarily as ‘STATE ownership’ – or indeed even ownership as such. But if we must, then PUBLIC ownership – whether that’s by way of the ‘state apparatus’, OR community/local body institutions.

        In the meantime, and until that inevitability, heavy regulation (given the record of stolen/privatised assets to date) is the natural progression.
        It’s an important distinction because there’s one thing neo-libs have been successful at – and that’s denigrating the concept of the democratic state, (taking care to NOT use the word ‘democratic’ in their narrative), and being allowed to define it on their own terms.

        ‘Nanny State’ for example. The neo-libs believe the state should merely be the enabler of market forces (the natural leveler supposedly). The more you look at it – the more it becomes fascist (of course we’re not allowed to use those dirty words!)

        As for the monopolies themselves …. What fucking PEAbrain ever considered (other than an opportunist with an agenda) EVER considered that various grids – electricity, water, gas, copper (characterised by those with that same agenda as a ‘local loop’), roading, railroading, could ever be left to ‘the almighty market’ without adverse effect, without winners and losers, and WITH democratic principles as their priority?
        This thread is about memes and paradigms (erk to the terminology – it’s actually part of that neo-lib BS-speak used to corrupt and disguise).
        And I’m not commenting as some romanticist pining for the way things used to be. Considering the record of those monoplies and their performance over the past 3 decades – speaks for itself really. Wake the fuck up Labour!
        When you do, and when you get over yourselves, I MIGHT …. might just flick you a vote, but sure as hell not in the meantime till you’ve a proven record. (Thrice bitten, etc)

  10. One Anonymous Knucklehead 10

    I think a more combative, emotive approach will work better. Logic and reason are inaccessible to most of the target audience.

    “We cannot afford welfare!” “We could afford it perfectly well when it was your free education.”

    “Bludgers!” “Do you mean people like you who got free education?”

    “People are inherently lazy” “Yes, you slack prick, try exercising your mind for a change!”

    • KJT 10.1

      A possible approach, but you are buying into the Neo-liberal meme which sets the generations against each other.

      Education was not free. It was paid for by a 60% top tax rate, paid, mostly by those who did not have tertiary education. The numbers were also much more restricted, which meant in effect it was even more for the children of the well off than it is now.

      Student loans have allowed a big increase in the number of University entrants, for one.

      A plus for a UBI, for high PAYE payers, is that parents on higher tax rates will no longer have their children’s living allowance cut because of their income. It particularly grates when you see the children of much wealthier tax dodgers getting the allowance.

      Many who complain about the cost of student loans are also against the higher progressive tax rates which used to pay for “free” education.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1.1

        It was free to those who received it, and your response misses the point. If I were to be looking for a reasonable, logical argument, either of your responses would be perfectly adequate.

        The response is intentionally emotive, pushing the wingnut’s buttons by implying that they are both a bene and a hypocrite, while providing further ammunition to counter the belligerent: they benefit from the roads and the rule of law we built too. If you want to go all eloquent on their ass quote Elizabeth Warren, but I expect most wingnut minds would start to wander after the first couple of sentences.

  11. lonelyavenger 11

    Roger Douglas announced a minimum family income scheme in 1987 before it was quashed and he was sacked by Lange. A UBI should not necessarily be a complete anathema to right wingers.

    • tracey 11.1

      agreed

    • Crunchtime 11.2

      interesting that.

      The thing about a UBI is that it should be seen as a sensible thing to anyone who wants to improve the economy. Giving the poor unconditional money means you remove disincentive to work, removes incentive to work “under the table”, adds more money into circulation because poor people are more likely to spend it, and more likely to spend it locally. The list of benefits goes on and on.

      It speaks to how the National party aren’t just ideological right wingers, they are corporate toyboys.

      Corporate toyboys. There’s a meme for you.

  12. red blooded 12

    Getting back to the topic of memes/slogans: I still remember the saying promoted by Hilary Clinton (supposedly based on an African proverb) – “It takes a village to raise a child”. This may seem a bit cloying but it encapsulates many ideas about collectivism, about the nature of society and its impact on us as individuals, about social responsibility… It enables discussion of tax policy, support for parents (including solo parents), education policy, housing, benefit levels and living wage requirements, the effects on our wider society if we ignore the needs of the young (& especially the underprivileged young). I’m not suggesting that this motto is reused (it’s somewhat tarnished by its association with the Clintons), but something aspirational and far reaching like this that strikes a human note can be a game changer because it resets the lens through which we view any policy discussion. Plus, positives are essential. It’s not enough to say what we are against; people want some kind of vision (even if it is the tarnished “brighter future”).

    “Being brighter about the future?” “Creating real opportunities for real people”?… I don’t necessarily have the slogan sitting at the ready, but I hope Cunliffe et al are on the case, because they need to shape the discussion, not just to react.

  13. Bill 13

    “We cannot afford super/welfare”

    Those who are retiring were all young and in need of economic support before they reached working age. And families were generally bigger back then and only half of the adult population (males) were fully engaged in the workforce. So, how does the ‘we can’t afford…’ argument run again?

    “Poverty is unsolvable”

    Well, that’s true enough. Poverty is an inevitable product of the market economy – I mean, what other result can be expected from an economy that has a central feature of making some richer at the direct expense of making others poorer?

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      And yet things like Super eliminated the large majority of elderly poverty as it occurred pre 1930.

      Re: “the market economy” human civilisation has always had markets; what is new is the obscene triumph of corporate led ‘free market economics’ trumping at every turn the processes of citizen led politics.

      • Bill 13.1.1

        Can we get our heads around the difference of markets (ie, (usually) discrete places where things are traded after some fashion) and a market economy that sets down the rules by which things will be produced and distributed?

        The two phenomena are immensely different and, really, shouldn’t have the same word attached to them. Even in a democratic economy there would be trading…ie, markets or market places. But the rules determining production and distribution would be a world away from those of a market economy.

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1

          Yep…it is why I used the term “free market economics” in order to be a bit more specific.

        • Ennui 13.1.1.2

          Well said Bill. As per my comment prior I concur, it is the rules by which things are traded which are paramount. My vision of an economy has a strong bias toward severe regulation of monopolies / infrastructure and necessities, with a high level of municipal / state ownership. I contend that if this were to happen the cost of merely living would fall significantly as power bills etc would reduce.Enterprise would be as free from these restrictions as possible and encouraged to be creative and productive without having to support the parasitic sector.

          I would also encourage collective bargaining and set pay scales…suppose what I am saying is unionism is desirable in order to prevent the executive of organisations assigning remuneration to themselves and not the workers. On that note I would also see the state sector return to a realistic non commercial model, government departments would have Heads of Department as opposed to CEOs..and they would be on a set pay scale, not a contract with bonuses etc.

          • Bill 13.1.1.2.1

            Maybe some day there will a thread where we can debate the various pros and cons of a centrally controlled or command economy as against a democratic one ;-)

            Anyway…is there anyone left anywhere who still seriously believes that market economies will some day deliver us anything other than the bad shit it delivers?

            • Ennui 13.1.1.2.1.1

              We should be debating this Bill, because it is at the heart of our current ills. For the record I think Adam Smith was very prescient with regard to centrally controlled command economies: he saw this phenomena as monopolies and cartels which in effect are “command” structures.

              I would contend that by allowing one group of individuals to capture natural monopolies by way of a variety of means we have created command economies that benefit only the owners at the expense of everybody else. We have allowed banks to create enough cash for them to subvert everything. We have allowed corporates to abuse copyright to create monopoly positions (think Microsoft). This has created the 1%.

              Having said that I think of the Nomenklatur of the Communist era as being their equivalent of our 1%. For the same reason.

              • Bill

                So, it seems we agree that both market and command economies promote elites.

                And it just follows that any mixed economy (heavily regulated market economy) would also promote an elite or a potential path to privilege, yes? I mean, whoever is doing the regulating (occupying a particular point in the regulatory system) would either promote their own interests or the interests of external actors who manage to ‘capture’ the regulatory process.

                And so when you say My vision of an economy has a strong bias toward severe regulation of monopolies / infrastructure and necessities, with a high level of municipal / state ownership I’m just seeing potential for capture and the emergence of an elite or forms of privilege….again.

                Same when I read I would also see the state sector return to a realistic non commercial model, government departments would have Heads of Department as opposed to CEOs..and they would be on a set pay scale, not a contract with bonuses etc.

                The only way I can see to avoid patronage or graft or privilege etc, is if we organise the economy by democratic means. So workers and communities develop mechanisms to communicate directly with one another and decide what is to be produced and where production ought to be distributed to.

                Obviously, if any organising authority is then vested in an external or separate structure, we wind up back at square one with all the usual potential for capture – and everything that flows from that.

                • Ennui

                  You are right, the only solution I can envisage is “democratic”. This might include judicial checks and balances, fixed / single terms, etc to avoid “capture”. The trouble with democracy as we know is that it is inherently corruptible, but it is the best system we have.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The trouble with democracy as we know is that it is inherently corruptible,

                    I disagree with that. Democracy is only corruptible if decisions are made behind closed doors. The TPPA comes to mind.

                  • Bill

                    Well, how about we dispense with ‘democratic’ and concentrate on democratic?

                    Any ‘judicial checks and balances’ imply that there be a judicial system sitting separate to that which is subject to checks and balances. So, there’s one potential area of capture right there.

                    But then it gets worse with the idea of ‘fixed/ single terms’ which kinda locks in the idea of ceded authority and almost ensures or guarantees capture.

                    Anyway. The problem with the system we have (and that your comment sign-posts reforms of) is that it’s inherently corruptible and, more importantly, that it simply isn’t democratic.

                    • Ennui

                      Bill, I think we need to come up with an answer: it is down to ethics in my book, but that has its won issues like what are ethics, and how do we inculcate….

                    • KJT

                      How we can actually have and retain, democracy is a whole nother conversation.

                      Note that not many in Government, even on the extreme right, dare to publicly question that we should have welfare, including super.
                      They are restricted to sneakily chipping around the edges because they lost that debate long ago.

              • Naturesong

                We have allowed corporates to abuse copyright to create monopoly positions (think Microsoft)

                Are you sure you are not talking about patents rather than copyright?
                We have only seen the extreme abuse of copyright in the last decade (my assertion).
                The law changes and FBI going after Kim Dotcom to my mind is both the thin end of the wedge, and the tip of the spear (potential civil lability becoming criminalised – law suit via police with guns)

                • Draco T Bastard

                  There’s many abuses from MS and other IP. Patenets and copyrights are part of it but the other big part comes from the EULA which forbids reverse engineering and the fact that an OS should, IMO, be an open standard and not a closed proprietary one.

          • tracey 13.1.1.2.2

            “suppose what I am saying is unionism is desirable in order to prevent the executive of organisations assigning remuneration to themselves and not the workers”

            which is precisely what has happened in NZ and hence despite the decimation of union members in the workforce the demonising of unions cannot stop til
            it’s 0% of workers.

          • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1.2.3

            I would also encourage collective bargaining and set pay scales…suppose what I am saying is unionism is desirable in order to prevent the executive of organisations assigning remuneration to themselves and not the workers.

            Make all private businesses cooperatives and disallow shareholding.

            On that note I would also see the state sector return to a realistic non commercial model, government departments would have Heads of Department as opposed to CEOs..and they would be on a set pay scale, not a contract with bonuses etc.

            QFT

            I like a $20k minimum and $100k maximum for public servants plus the UBI of $20k.

      • Bill 13.1.2

        My point about Super stands regardless of when it was introduced. Through the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, the people now claiming, or about to claim Super were children requiring 100% economic support – in a New Zealand that had about half the working population that it has today (in terms of ratio of total adult population)

        Also…since a huge amount of pension investments sit in oil (so they’ll be worth zero soon enough) and since we don’t get to have a market economy and a reasonably viable future – is the discussion about the future affordability of Super much beyond merely academic? Kinda ignores big trunked animals filling small and confined spaces, no?

  14. captain hook 14

    It is not entirely co-incidental that neo-liberalism arose on the back of the widespread adoption of post modernistic theory (only your own truths count) and the computer revolution where the spreadsheet ruled everything.
    Now we have the internet but the people who should be using it to revolutioneise the polity are dumbed down, resentful and just as greedy as the neo-liberal protagonists.
    Political parties in New zealand operate on the basis of “TURNS” and excluding outsiders so the spoils are restricted when the the opportunity for patronage arises.
    Till there is a major paradigm shift then no change can or will occur.

    • just saying 14.1

      I understood that post-modernism was mainly about ‘beware of the big story’ – the unquestioned meta-narrative that underlies beliefs and understandings etc. Not about “only your own truths count”.

      • Bill 14.1.1

        heh – according to post-modernism, fairly recent studies done on an Egyptian mummy that determined the death was due to (was it TB? I can’t remember at the moment)…anyway, post modernist arguments hold that death could not possibly have been due to TB because TB wasn’t a recognised condition in ancient Egypt.

        Seriously.

        Another respected piece of nonsense from one of these post modernists (and sorry, can’t remember the name of the guy – some-one else might be aware of the details)…he held that the Gulf War hadn’t actually happened – that it was just ‘a story’ unfolding on TV screens.

        And so it goes on…intellectually bankrupt nonsense that insists it’s all just stories and since it’s all just stories, then the stories, of course, take presidence over any (to some of us) obvious reality.

        • karol 14.1.1.1

          And it’s easy to cherry pick some of the most out-there research.

          But other stuff, eg, this from Paul Gilroy (one of my London lecturers, who was into a poltical postmodernism – does a lot of anlaysis of media productions, but also connects them to people’s real experiences) – his analysis of a movie on slavery and how it connects to contemporary experiences in Obama’s US.

          • Bill 14.1.1.1.1

            Yup. So he contests that the basic underpinning of plantation slavery persists today, though it expresses itself somewhat differently. – The particular experience of the slaves is not posed against a universal meaning but infused with it. McQueen’s bold challenge to the continuing enslavement of people for profit allows no happy ending because slavery and unfree labour are still far from over.

            Not quite sure I understand what the penultimate sentence is actually getting at…the ‘not posed against’ but ‘infused with’ bit. (I can’t understand why or how the two things could ever be separate given the subject matter)

            Anyway, didn’t I say essentially same thing, but just more plainly, the other day on Open Mike – that plantation slavery and wage slavery are basically the same thing?

            http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-11012014/#comment-755853

            So again…what’s the point in developing a discipline that encourages people to use language and terminology that obfuscates understanding and that creates an ‘in crowd’ who elevate themselves and exclude those without ‘proper’ understanding of and training in the language used?

            • karol 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Gilroy is brilliant in many ways,but…. yes, some of his students, my fellow students, criticised Gilroy (and some of the set texts) for use of obscure language. Gilroy’s response was to refer to a Public Enemy song/music, that began with an ear-jarring sound – it challenges people to attend, take notice, and reconsider past assumptions – jolts them out of their complacency. Gilroy said, difficult language focuses your your mind so you have to think about what you are reading, rather than digest it uncritically.

              I don’t actually agree, but can understand his point.

              • Bill

                I can understand too, but….well, my ‘rule of thumb’ is that if a political idea can’t be conveyed in a way, such that an illiterate person can grasp what is being said (and not via ‘dumbing down’ either), then it’s time to go away and think again.

                • karol

                  I agree with that on anything – basedon my teaching experience, when I have to try to explain things so others can understand, I really start to understand the ideas/arguments much better.

                  It’s easier to explain things in straightforward laguage when I really understand them well – although, sometimes in a rush, I don’t always get to that point.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  That is a good point Bill.

                  Tend to view it as a sign I understand something well if I can explain a subject I know something about to someone who doesn’t have that knowledge.

                  Of course it helps if that person has an interest from the outset – that might be an obstacle with subjects such as politics – people have been right put off!

            • Puddleglum 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Hi Bill,

              Yes, I was about to quote the same two sentences when I read it.

              I think the ‘penultimate sentence’ means that the film is not trying to say, ‘Ooohh, look how terrible slavery was compared to the fact [i.e., universal understanding] that slavery is behind us now’. Rather, it is posing it’s own universalism of continuing slavery through people’s enslavement to the profit motive.

              And it is that universalising – which I think is correct – which led me to think that Gilroy was not being a postmodernist in this piece but, quite the opposite, was criticising so-called ‘postmodern culture’ (i.e., the media, discourse, Hollywood, etc.). There’s a difference between theorists who believe that today’s culture has more and more aspects of what has been called the ‘postmodern’, on the one hand, and scholars who are postmodernist in their work and theory, on the other. The first studies the postmodern in culture (potentially even from a realist or materialist perspective). The second adopts a postmodern ‘theory’ of knowledge, truth, reality, etc.

              I’d put Gilroy with the former on the (slim) basis of that one column (he, or karol, may see it differently).

              The column sounded more marxist than postmodernist, to be honest.

              Relativism, btw, is another version of scepticism, which has a long history. In fact, postmodern theory (whether of today’s culture or of knowledge, reality, etc.) seems to me to be another circuit of the age-old, pre-Socratic debate over ‘the one and the many‘ (very much on the side of the ‘many’, the particular, the individual).

              The word ‘physis’ meant the one thing that was the essence of all things (fire, water, atomic forces or whatever). Hence ‘physics’.

              Personally, I think many postmodernists confuse the notion of the ‘universal’ with the notion of the ‘absolute’. The two are different. ‘Absolutism’ is to be avoided. Universalism not so much.

              Universalism actually unites by drawing on the notion that there is a commonality amongst the experienced diversity. E.g., the idea that because we are all human, we deserve to be treated with human dignity – the notion of being human is, in this usage, a universal which incorporates, supports and allows for diversity rather than suppressing it. Typically, in this usage there isn’t too much focus on what it is to be human. The ‘point’ is simply that we should all be seen as human – i.e., the same sorts of things so that what applies to one applies to all.

              Of course, the answer to the question of what it is to ‘be human’ will always be largely socially constructed and that construction can be used as an absolute set of criteria with which to oppress or exclude people (e.g., the idea that some people are ‘sub-human’ or ‘non-human’). Same word (‘human’) but, in the first ‘language game’, used as a uniting universal notion; in the second language game it is used as an oppressive absolute.

              The essence of a concept is its grammar (its uses) – not the superficial word in itself.

              The tricky thing, of course, is that in the flux of debate and argument it can be hard to see the grammar in use – as opposed to the words being used.

              That’s why politicians try to hit ‘buzz words’ that resonate positively even though the way they are using them betrays a quite different set of likely outcomes.

              Edit: And, back to the topic, the first word of the acronym ‘UBI’ is, of course, ‘universal’.

              • Bill

                pfft so, assuming your understanding is close to what he meant or means – (seems like a reasonable punt) – could he not have said (quite simply) something along the lines of – ‘the film challenges assumptions that slavery belongs to the past’? Apparently not. Far better to bamboozle readers with….’stuff’.

                I’m mischievously amused that you point to his column sounding more Marxist than post modernist. In the link I provided below, (14.1.2.1.2) Chomsky traces the emergence of post modernism to Stalinists and Maoists within French academia who, finding they had to disown their dearly held beliefs in the 70′s, set their energies to inventing a new bandwagon they could all jump aboard. Possibly just co-incidental, but the only time I was exposed to post-modern thoughts in Uni (politics and anth) was when an avowed marxist lecturer showed some film of someone – name escapes me – that she was apparently quite taken by. My initial and lasting impression was of modulated white noise.

              • karol

                Very good explanation, pg.

                Rather, it is posing it’s own universalism of continuing slavery through people’s enslavement to the profit motive.

                I don’t know that I would call that universalism – rather that has some continuity from past to the present – more trans-temporal, and maybe trans-national.

                Gilroy was very critical of both Marx/ism and Freud/pyschoanalysis.

                He tended to see the enlightment, rise of the age of reason etc, as being an integral part of European imperialism, colonisation etc. Cartesian analysis, etc all arose in the context of European travels to other parts of the world, the civiling mission, etc, and frequently incorporated imagery and concepts from those experiences. Including the master-slave dynamic.

                He tended to see Marxism and Freud as continuing the kinds of universalising concepts of the enlightenment project – and that subordinated the “racial other”.

                That’s if I remember correctly – going back a few years now.

                • karol

                  PS: pg,

                  I agree with your explanation of the difference between different kinds of postmodern theories – critiques of postmodern culture etc. and postmodern theory of knowledge.

                  However, in the popular understanding they all are part of an academic trend they call “postmodernism”.

                  Actually, Gilroy is as much within tthe postmodern theory of knowledge. His ideas are “post-modern” in that they are a critique of “modernity” – the culture and approach to knowledge that resulted from the European enlightenment. Of course, such crtiques do tend to be universalising – a common criticism of postmodern theories.

                  The master-slave dialectic is very central to Gilroy’s theories – like Marx he began with a Hegelian dialectic – but they diverge from there. (Although, as I recall, Gilroy was very much agauinst the “neoliberal war on the poor”).

                  My understanding: Gilroy is critical of the European post – enlightenment approach to knowledge. It’s proponents are the “master” in the master-slave dynamic. The master is never fully conscious of “himself” ie his role in the dynamic- partly because he thinks he is providing an objective account of universal truths.

                  The slave, as a result of the “terror” of hir subjugation, is more fully aware of themselves, and their position in the master-slave relationship – its a specific position and understanding.

                  It’s pretty much like the idea that the people in the dominant groups in society, have less understanding of the subjugated people than the subjugated have of the dominant groups.

                  Gilroy also seemed to like Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble”, seeing a similar dynamic in gender and sexual politics: gays/women (subjugated) and heterosexuals/men (dominant groups).

                  PS: Bill. I think Chomsky may have a particularly slanted view on that.

                  My understanding was that “postmodernism” first became prominent in US unis, and that they drew on some of the European intellectual writings (Foucault, Baudrillard, etc). But European academics and politics, had a much stronger previous socialist tradition.

                  Foucault did start off as a Marxist. My understanding is that European (including Brits) left wing intellectuals turned to focus more on culture around the late 60s/70s, as a way to explain why the working classes hadn’t followed Marx’s prediction in staging a revolution – a kind of focus on “false conciousness”.

                  I think it’s fairer to say the Europeans began with a socialist tradition, and not necessarily a Stalinist or Leninist one. Socialism, Marxism were very much conidered unacceptable in the 1970s US unis – met a few refugees from those US institutions in London in the late 70s and 80s.

                  • Ennui

                    PG / Bil / Karol, would love to join in this thread, somebody please write an article. I dont have time but have long been suspicious that modern rationalism has become a tyranny of the mind, of the body politic, the economy, etc etc. Would love to see it explored further.

                    PS I think it’s fairer to say the Europeans began with a socialist tradition, and not necessarily a Stalinist or Leninist one. True, western socialists grew out of the Fabian tradition, from a “Christian” ethos. If you read some quotes from Pope Francis you might see some of the tradition of “Christian socialism” that his namesake practiced a millenium ago…..heres a few:
                    Money has to serve, not to rule.
                    There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude on the part of political leaders
                    These days there is a lot of poverty in the world, and that’s a scandal when we have so many riches and resources to give to everyone. We all have to think about how we can become a little poorer.

                • Hi karol,

                  Thanks for all the extra explanation. Completely accept your account of Gilroy’s approach – I was working from a quick read of one popular column on the internet by him.

                  I think the ‘master-slave’ relationship (dominant-subordinate) is pretty basic – just in terms of its prevalence in history rather than its ‘naturalness’. I also agree that there’s nothing like being on the sharp end of that relationship to make you aware of it.

                  One of the things that irritates me the most about those who take their privileged position as relatively easily available (today) to all, is that it just demonstrates a complete lack of appreciation of the incredibly complex set of factors that produce that privilege for them and, correspondingly, produces an utterly simplistic understanding of people who are not supported by that complex set of factors.

                  Where I may differ from you – and others – is that I see both modern and postmodern cultural forms and approaches to knowledge as variations on – and repetitions of – the same theme.

                  Both began as attempts to liberate people from oppressive systems: The Enlightenment Project, it’s easy to forget, was a progressive project that took aim at the rulers of the day. In retrospect we can criticise what it produced as being absolutist, domineering and serving the interests of elites and power (e.g., through justifying colonisation and appropriation of land as ‘efficiency’ of resource use to improve the overall lot of humanity) but it was premised on the (perhaps mistaken) assumption that rationality was a way to be free of arbitrary power and oppression.

                  Sadly, I think postmodernism (as a ‘project’) is following much the same trajectory. Beginning as an attempt to liberate; evolving into an, at best, neutral deconstructor of both oppressive and liberatory movements and, at worst, an obfuscator of oppression and suffering (this is where the criticisms that it is fascistic in potential arise).

                  I think the reason many realists (and Marxists) in the social sciences criticise it is because they think it obscures and diffuses our understanding of the operation of power – rather than shining a spotlight on it.

                  @Bill, the person you were thinking of in relation to the 1991 Gulf War was Jean Baudrillard. It is a bit unfair, though, to claim that he actually believed that it did not take place – despite the titles of his three essays written before, during and after the war it seems he was criticising the presentation of the events and saw them as an atrocity, not as a war.

                  • karol

                    pg, I tend to see both Marxim and post modern theories/research as having something to offer – that they can be at times complementary.

                    I also quite like Marxist/post-Marxists such as Manuel Castells nd David Harvey.

                    I also think there’s something to both Marxist and Foucauldian (more post structuralist than postmodernist) theories of power – particularly in today’s complex and globalised world. There is something of a ruling and subject class. However, it’s not totally clear cut, and power can operate a little differently in specific circumstances – thus I’d go with the post structuralist notion of looking at local instances to see exactly how things occur (while keeping in mind the overall powerfulness of the elites etc.)

                    There’s something to Foucault’s notion of power being actively produced in various circumstances, within a world of interwoven networks, and with specific people having power in some circumstances and not others.

                    • Yes, the idea of networks of power has some value but networks are also nested and, in our world, tend to resolve into hierarchies.

                      For example, a working class man (or upper class man, for that matter) can exert power over women and children within the context of a nuclear family. Yet, the exertion of that power in that circumstance, I would argue, is only possible (systemically tolerable) if its outcomes are consistent with the operation of power at another level – the level that actually supports the very existence of nuclear families as ways to arrange people.

                      An exception to male (or parental) exertion of power within the family, for example, is the case of compulsory education, most of which is done in institutions beyond the family. While the history is complicated, compulsory education has arisen largely because of the needs of the economy rather than to liberate or develop individuals. The nuclear family (and extended family for that matter) had to have its power over the education/socialising of children taken away, or at least reduced, if the economy was to thrive.

                      In general, the ‘upper’ level might be some hybrid of economic, cultural, social or religious hierarchy but however it is composed it has the ability to exert downward power onto the actors within the nuclear family – or any other lower levels – to influence and even determine how power gets exerted there.

                      So long as the outcomes of the exertion of power at a nested, lower level of a network are not too inconsistent with the exertion of power at a higher level then that exercise of power will be tolerated or even encouraged. If, however, it starts to threaten the exercise of power at the higher-nested level then power from that higher level will be brought to bear down into the lower level as a ‘corrective’.

                      Put simply, I don’t think there is the kind of arbitrary flexibility in where power resides – or can be actively constructed as residing – as is sometimes implied in the kinds of analysis of power you mention. There are constraints that arise out of that networked complexity that produce quite general and predictable patterns of power distribution and exertion.

                      But I may be wrong, of course :-)

                    • karol

                      Somewhat nested power, pg – but not neatly so – a man may have some power and status in his family, and in his community, but not so much at work or politically. If he’s Maori he may be disadavantaged by the judicial system, perhaps via his activities on the streets, or at entertainment venues. I woman may have considerable political power, but may be physically abused within the home.

                      Corporates have a considerable amount of power, but the personnel within each corporate is not static – some individuals may be quite powerful when part of it, but once they leave, have little power.

                      The Marxist model tends to be a bit rigid and inflexible. My main criticism to it prior to encountering the likes of Gilroy, was that it failed to account for women, colonisation, sexuality, etc. Marxism can be bent a little to accommodate such diversity, but that remains inadequate. Ultimately, it is a model from a European male perspective, where industrial capitalism and it’s role in production is central. The home, community, social activities are peripheral.

                      That of course, still has a significant explanatory value. But I find some more recent theorists, like Manuel Castells, Sheila Rowbotham, take into account more recent developments in society and the understanding of it’s diverse populations and activities – they reach places that Marxism alone can’t.

      • karol 14.1.2

        Yes, and related post structuralism – is more about looking a specific instances of experience and reality, rather than the over-arching, universalised objectification of “reality”. Post structrualism is more about social practices, processes and experiences – social research.

        Postmodernism has more to do with arts, humanities, architecture and the media saturated world.

        These cover a range of theories, studies and ideas – they can’t easily be reduced to a set of slogans or memes.

        Postmodernism is also all about image over substance – I am wary of trying to find simplified slogans for the left – so much of that is part of the neoliberal, PR, marketing, managerialist approach to politics.

        • just saying 14.1.2.1

          Just trying to understand where CH is coming from.
          I’m no expert, but I had thought that PM challenged the status quo – ie unquestioned assumptions. Which might lead to the ridiculous at times.
          I’ve heard the ‘there is no truth’ line a lot, but that seems to be taken out of context.
          Anyway, happy to learn more.

          • karol 14.1.2.1.1

            Yes. The relativism of which ch writes, is a characterisation from the sceptics.

            There are diverse problems with many “postmodern” theories (especially those coming from the US), but it also provided some excellent critiques of past theories and approaches.

            It’s more about the way “truth” is socially constructed – ie through human reasoning, language etc. All our understandings of the world are filtered through representations of the world, via language, numbers, graphs, images, etc. But this does not mean it involves a denial of material reality, the evidence from hard science, and people’s daily experiences. It also does not mean people ignore, or do not try to understand other people’s experiences – it just indicates that we need to be wary of how we make sense of other people’s experiences.

            Some like David Harvey – treat the postmodern as more of a characterisation of late capitalism – and takes a fairly marxian perspective on it. – more about postmodernity, than being an scholar of/via postmodernism.

            And Harvey has been producing books on the topic throughout the whole “neoliberal” period.

            • just saying 14.1.2.1.1.1

              sigh

              Thanks for the link.

              Back to all that again.

              …it just indicates that we need to be wary of how we make sense of other people’s experiences. And our own

            • Bill 14.1.2.1.1.2

              It’s more about the way “truth” is socially constructed…

              So, (something like) there is propaganda and spin. And the dynamics of and source of both can be traced and explained. And we are bound by our ‘times’…our cultural or historical perspectives….which in turn shapes or limits the scope of our ‘possible’ outlooks/understandings.

              Nothing unique or post modernist about any of that. Don’t know why then, it has to be dressed up in jargon (as post modernists do) that ‘no-one’ understands.

          • Bill 14.1.2.1.2

            Okay, this is a, some might say, cynical dismissal of post-modernism. Ten minute vid. I reckon it kinda gets to the heart of the matter though. http://www.zcommunications.org/on-science-and-postmodernism-by-noam-chomsky.html

  15. captain hook 15

    if you combine the two then you get the ‘real’ big story.
    it is no tonly just one thing but a cocatenation.
    think big dude.

    • just saying 15.1

      Didn’t mean one “big story”. There are several.
      I don’t understand the above

      edit – btw I shoudn’t have called the ‘big story’ a meta-narrative

  16. captain hook 16

    meta narrative schmeta narative.
    post modernism is all about confusing people and not telling the truth about anything.
    red herrings and bullshit.
    The big story is telling people lies and taking their money while promising something that is never given.
    Is that meta enough for you?

  17. greywarbler 17

    Funny I put a comment – then I refreshed using Home. Found it in the Comment list. Then I click on it and I go to the page but not the place. Then I go back to the Comment list but can’t find it. Then I refresh using Home, then I find it on the Comment List then…..

  18. Crunchtime 18

    None of the responses to the memes in the article are catchy enough. Maybe we need a think-tank to come up with more catchy ones ;)

    “We can’t afford super/welfare”

    Response:

    A Universal Basic Income is better for the government AND the economy.

    “Bludging beneficiaries”

    Response

    We need to help people out of the benefit trap.

    “People are inherently lazy and need to be forced to work”

    Response:

    This is utterly insulting… People inherently feel the need to work to feel they are a valued member of society.

    AND/OR

    Replace benefits with a UBI, remove disincentive to work.

    “Poverty is unsolvable”

    - yep, “We solved poverty for the elderly” works

    • KJT 18.1

      Agree totally. I hope someone with more ability with words comes up with better ones.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 18.1.1

        Same – and in the meantime….

        “Bludging beneficiaries – People are inherently lazy and need to be forced to work”

        >> Lets create 100% employment
        >> People want a livelihood
        >>Efficiency = no jobs for many and more profits for a few

        or: – Policy-makers are inherently lazy and need to be forced to create jobs
        or extended version: Policy- makers are inherently lazy and prefer to take perks from big money and blame the victims of their self interest and poor policy making – rather than improve their performance.
        (Last two perhaps a tad humorous)

        “Poverty is unsolvable”

        >> We can’t afford poverty

        • Crunchtime 18.1.1.1

          Yeap, the briefer the better. Politicians are too lazy to create jobs – I like that one :)

          Full employment is something that has been pushed successfully by Labour parties of times past, definitely needs to be up front and centre this time too

          “Stop victim-blaming” is good – covers a lot of bases

          How about “Cut corporate benefits”

          “Spend taxpayer money where it will make the most difference”…

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.2

        I like “we solved poverty for the elderly”. Hits the right emotional buttons.

  19. tricledrown 20

    Most people only use the benefit for short periods to tide themselves over till they find a new job.
    Now with more and mor partimework and casual work the benefit system should be way more flexible those earning over $80 pw should not have their benefit cut by 70 cents in the dollar that’s a massive disinsetive.
    Then if you have more than one partime or casual job you pay secondary tax this is another huge disincentive.
    If Labour and the greens can come up with a simpler system they will get lots of votes.
    Likewise small businesses are being crippled by paperwork and govt formfilling.
    Most small businesses make a barely liveable wage.
    When they need to access welfare working for families etc the mountains they have to climb are ridiculous.
    Labour and the greens could easily have gone stop pay as you earn system for small businesses to make it easier to survive for small businesses.
    Small businesses are way more common than ever.
    The left are failing to attract these voters even though they are in the lefts income
    demographic.
    By changing a few rules having a simpler taxation system around low incomes this would make it much easier for beneficieries low income casual partimers small businesses to employ a lot more people.
    The only thing National have done is cut taxes for businesses
    That has attracted thes voters that normally would vote Left.
    A simple policy change that would allow small businesses owners to access WFF much easier.
    Time for the left to think outside the square.
    After the last election Chris Trotter identified this area where Labour failed to attract voters.
    Labour Greens are you listening.

    • greywarbler 20.1

      Benefit cut by 20c for every $1 earned. I think that stupidity crushes poor people’s attempt to improve their living, and is made worse by taking it off the gross value of the earnings, then taking tax off the earnings. $10 earned, – $2 of benefit so then $8, then tax off the $10 at what? 15% – $1.50 off earnings and $2 off benefit, net in the hand $6.50. Then there is GST of 15% on just about every $ spent. (Does that $2 come off accommodation benefit first?)

      It can be seen that a UBI that accepts a person’s need for an income in a cash society, and then encourages earnings in intelligent ways would be better.

  20. Philj 21

    Xox
    Hi Lanth,
    Check out Dr Geoff Bertram (Economics) , of Victoria University, on the Internet, for a NZ history of the rip off electricity prices. He explains how this has evolved over the years.

  21. Michael Gibson 22

    The people of NZ can afford to see to it that everyone who lives here gets enough to eat, somewhere warm and dry to live, and enough basic medical care to life their natural lifespan. In 2014, NZ will be richer than it has ever been. The only impediment to this outcome is lack of political will, as the political class calculate that it is against their interests to do whatever it takes to achieve basic social justice. Sadly, far too many of the middle classes (and the poor, too) swallow the vile propaganda chundered out on behalf of the rich that social justice is: (a) unaffordable; (b) inefficient; (c) morally corrupt, …. . Will things change this year?

  22. ecossemaid 23

    I see the photograph that starts this thread: Memes and Paradigms.
    I just wonder what he would think of Memes and Paradigms?
    I cant make assumptions yet educated guesses.
    To me it looks as he has had the living daylights sucked from him, could be alcohol, drugs misuse, bereavement, family break up, loss of employment, welfare withdrawn. Well the speculation could go on for ever. Yet lets face it he’s not in the best of shape, is he?
    How do we help the voiceless victims like him/her or/them?
    I tell you what, we will gather round our wifi hot spots by the pool, pour a glass of white, put the soothing music on low and lets pat each other on the backs and discuss Memes and Paradigms and write on our internet blogs….that’s really going to help him!
    I wonder if he knew he was the pictorial centre of a frenzied, high brow, left wing glitterati , more time on hands than is useful.
    What he would say?
    “What!…Stuff Your Memes and Paradigms..Please Help Me”
    Can we afford to ignore him and not try and help him or argue between ourselves about the nuances of memes and paradigms as to why we cant?

    • KJT 23.1

      What makes you think we are not?

      Helping people like him directly and practically, I mean.

      Some on here have the time because they are disabled, ill or out of work also.

    • just saying 23.2

      Not everyone talking here has the facility to drink wine at the hifi hot-spot by the pool, some of us are the man in the picture (which I can’t see but can imagine) past, present, future, or all three.

      What are your suggestions?

    • Bill 23.3

      Yeah, ecossemaid. I get your point – at least up to a point. But seeing as how I’ve been the guy on the bench/ in the ditch/ begging on the street/homeless and am also part of this discussion, well…I lose your point.

      Frameworks of reference are useful – even essential – firstly to understand why this stuff is going on, and secondly, to reject what’s going on and maybe develop effective countervailing strategies to it. Without the frame of reference to aid understanding, we can too easily become ‘kept in line’ by being kept in the dark ….everything’s in its right place/ it’s the natural order of things/things have always been this way/it’s down to the individual/ there are no systemic reasons behind this/ the meek will inherit the earth/ there’ll be pie in the sky when you die….and so on.

      Oh. And when I was ‘that guy in the picture’, I never needed ‘help’ so much as for people to stop contributing to the shit. See, ‘help’, as I understand it, though utterly necessary and appreciated in the immediate short term (who the fuck doesn’t want a meal after not eating for two or three or four days!?) does 5/8ths of sweet fuck all in the medium to long term.

      Take *that guy* off the park benches and another will take his place and the ‘assembly line’ delivering people to shit situations will go on and on and on. Until, as I said, we stop contributing to the shit. And that brings us back to recognising the shit…(in part) through understanding the memes and paradigms and then (hopefully) intelligently using our understanding to be done with the shit.

      Granted, most people…or too many people anyway…stop at the point of intellectual understanding and never take the next, necessary steps that their understanding demands of them. That, to my mind, is the state of hypocrisy that much of the left, particularly the liberal or social democratic left falls into.

  23. vto 24

    Talking of memes, shove one back in the faces of those who oppose…. this one…. time after time after time after time….

    New Zealand is more than rich enough to provide every single person in our lands with a good roof over their head, decent provisions and a quality living standard. The problem is the current income and wealth distribution system. It is fucked. It pushes excess to some and insufficient to others. The existing wealth and income distribution system needs changing to a new system. Simple.

    Now repeat.

    over
    and
    over
    and
    over
    and
    don’t stop

  24. tricledrown 25

    Apathy and dissolusionment of our electoral system hasn’t helped.
    Geoffrey Palmer kept on harping Monday morning Noelle mcathys show thar the 800,000 who didn’t vote .
    Are those who are most affected
    By lack of wealth distribution.
    Those 800’000 are mainly young poor and polynesian.
    We need to get them to vote.
    Networking door knocking etc
    This demographic are smart phone savvy twittering facebooking viral videos etc.

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    Bowalley Road | 28-07
  • Regional roading omnishambles
    As soon as I saw the details on National’s $212 million regional roads package, I knew something was amiss. National has a history of funding economically dodgy road projects because, well, because they just love the smell of bitumen in...
    Polity | 28-07
  • Gordon Campbell on National’s electorate deals
    Column – Gordon Campbell For all the talk yesterday from Prime Minister John Key about National being transparent about its electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu, that transparency is entirely front-loaded. Yes, we know a lot about how Act and...
    Gordon Campbell | 28-07
  • Govt fudging figures over Transmission Gully – Green Party media rele...
    The government is fudging the figures over Wellington road project, Transmission Gully, the Green Party said today.The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said today it had let the contract to a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for "a net present cost...
    Greens | 29-07
  • New Zealand criticised by Pacific Island leaders
    New Zealand needs to listen to Pacific Island leaders when it comes to climate change action, said the Green Party today. Discontent with New Zealand and Australia is rife at the 2014 Pacific Islands Forum leaders' summit which commenced today...
    Greens | 29-07
  • National’s desperate oil drilling agenda exposed
    A Wall Street Journal article exposing the Government's attempts to lure deep sea oil drillers to New Zealand shows National will stop at nothing to open up our coastlines to deep sea oil, the Green Party said today.The article outlines...
    Greens | 29-07
  • Out of touch Brownlee gets numbers wrong
    Gerry Brownlee has shown how badly he is managing the rebuild by getting his figures wrong on how many houses are needed in Christchurch, Labour’s EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says. “Gerry Brownlee today tried to poor cold water on the...
    Labour | 29-07
  • Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate...
    At midday tomorrow, Annette Sykes will officially launch her campaign to win the Waiariki electorate seat for MANA in the upcoming general election. “A key goal for MANA this election is to mobilise our people to vote, especially rangatahi, and...
    Mana | 28-07
  • Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job
    It seems that Conservation Minister Nick Smith has again been caught out interfering to allow more pollution in our rivers, the Green Party said today. Last year the Department of Conservation submission on the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was suppressed after...
    Greens | 28-07
  • Public deserves electoral integrity
    National's deals with spent political forces ACT and United Future will be met with a deepening sense of unease over the manipulation of MMP, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says."These parties have no electoral mandate and will return to Parliament only...
    Labour | 28-07
  • Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges
    Amid strong criticism of the value of the National Science Challenges from some of the country’s senior scientists, new figures show administrative costs are skyrocketing while the level of investment in actual science remains a mystery, says Labour’s Innovation, Research...
    Labour | 28-07
  • Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?
    Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built under Gerry Brownlee in the last two years, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove....
    Labour | 28-07
  • Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation
    The National Government should allow scientists and businesses to get on with innovation rather than allow Steven Joyce's heavy hand to direct it, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today. Dr Norman was responding to reports today that several...
    Greens | 27-07
  • CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights
    CERA has spent $1.8 million on 7286 flights from Christchurch to Wellington in three years – a huge waste of money as Cantabrians still wait for solutions, Labour’s EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says. “Of course CERA officials do need to...
    Labour | 27-07
  • Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again
    Nick Smith has yet again completely overstepped the mark as a minister – this time with a threat to muzzle Fish and Game if they don’t keep in line with Government’s views, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “Nick Smith...
    Labour | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    “It’s great to have Georgie on board” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP.  ”She’s strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven’t had any – and won.  That...
    Mana | 27-07
  • Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills
    The Green Party today launched its plan to protect New Zealand beaches from oil spills. The plan is the second component of the Party's environmental priority this election: Rivers clean enough to swim in again, and beaches safe from oil...
    Greens | 26-07
  • Auckland rail use spike shows need to start link now
    The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link."We...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now
    The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link."We...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Puhoi-Warkworth decision doesn’t stack up
    The Board of Inquiry decision on the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway gives the green light to a project that doesn’t stack up, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Labour would spend $320 million immediately to fix the accident black spots, put in...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Key must stand Brownlee down during investigation
    The wise thing for the Prime Minister to do is ask Gerry Brownlee to hand in his transport warrant and to stand him down for the duration of the CAA investigation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “It’s not good enough...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Puhoi highway won’t help Northland roads
    The draft decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant resource consent to the proposed $1.65 billion Puhoi motorway doesn't stop it being a waste of money, the Green Party said today. "The Puhoi motorway is an unnecessary waste of...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Green Party to focus on issues not sideshows
    The Green Party has launched its creative for the 2014 election; Love New Zealand. The Green Party campaign focuses on the issues where there is concern that we do not love New Zealand enough; our increasingly polluted environment, increased poverty...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Coleman must come clean about FBI briefing
    Former Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman must come clean about when he was told the FBI was investigating Kim Dotcom, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Jonathan Coleman has previously said ministers were not aware of the American...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Regional economies need tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Kiwis to get the final vote on amalgamation
    New Zealanders will get the right to have a final say on any proposed local body amalgamations, says Labour’s local government spokesperson Su’a William Sio releasing Labour’s Local Government policy today....
    Labour | 24-07
  • Dr Rajen Prasad’s Valedictory Statement
    Draft Hansard Parliamentary Record. Subject to correction. Bula vinaka. Namaste, Mr Assistant Speaker. Thank you very much. Tēnā koe. I am a lucky migrant and am privileged to have received as much as I have from this country for over...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Darien Fenton’s Valedictory Statement
    Nga mihi nui - kia koutou. I acknowledge all Members of Parliament I have served with and I do so without rancour or criticism. Over nearly nine years in parliament I’ve found that despite furious debate about political difference, most...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Immigation and Kim Dotcom – Harawira
    “I just got a call from National Business Review reporter, asking whether there was any contradiction between my thoughts on immigration in 2009 and now, particularly given MANA’s newly minted relationship with Kim Dotcom” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 24-07
  • Nats to announce 2nd crossing without rail
    Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says it has been leaked to him that John Key will rule out a rail option when announcing an accelerated timeframe for Auckland’s $5 billion second harbour crossing next month. “I understand the Government’s plan...
    Labour | 24-07
  • “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira
    “I’m sorry I can’t be at parliament for the valedictory speeches of Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Tai Tokerau, ”but I’d like to add my own best wishes as they reach the end...
    Mana | 24-07
  • ACT trying to have it both ways on zoning
    ACT Party candidate David Seymour’s campaign against changes to school zones in the Epsom electorate looks hollow given his party’s commitment to the abolition of school zoning altogether, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It’s disingenuous for David Seymour to...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Interest rate rise will hit the regions
    The latest interest rate rise will hit the fragile regional economies of  New Zealand and hurt exporters by putting more upward pressure on the exchange rate, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.  “The regions are already hit by dropping  export...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Burning the flag or accepting the evil
    Burning the Israeli flag in Auckland in protest over the murder of innocent civilians in Gaza is nothing to be ashamed of” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “Calling for both sides to stand down when one side...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Photo op disguises abysmal failure
    John Key’s opening of four Housing NZ units in Bexley today is nothing more than an insincere photo op designed to hide the Government’s failure to rebuild the housing stock destroyed by the earthquakes, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto...
    Labour | 23-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”, and calls it “an outrageous use of taxpayer money”. “But the only thing that is outrageous, is how outrageously stupid Jordan Williams was...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    The Green Party will help schools install solar and save money on their power bills by investing $20 million into solar PV systems in schools. The $20 million is expected to:Help around 500 schools install solar over three yearsResult in...
    Greens | 23-07
  • Extent of job losses at Invermay remain hidden
    Despite growing concern in the agriculture and science sectors, both AgResearch management and the Minister responsible are continuing to hide the true extent of job losses at AgResearch’s Invermay campus, Labour’s MP for Dunedin North David Clark says. “Science and...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    “MANA is launching its te reo Māori policy this morning ahead of the first reading of the government’s Māori Language Strategy Bill this afternoon”, saidMANA deputy leader and candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. “MANA’s policy is based on a love...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Connectivity Upgrade to close digital divide
    Labour will close the digital divide with its Connectivity Upgrade to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of a growing, more connected economy and have the right to access quality broadband, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.  “The digital revolution...
    Labour | 23-07
  • New parents deserve support – Labour will deliver
    ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Laila Harre to run against Key in Helensville
    Another full house in Rotorua as part of Internet MANAs road trip Another day, another full house for the Internet MANA road trip. John Armstrong understands the energy now swirling around Internet MANA, and the latest announcements of Georgina Beyer...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Waiting for Gower’s Twittering of indignation…
    .   . Key has made his call; deals with ACT and Peter Dunne are in – a deal with the CCCP (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party), is out; . . Now we can look forward to TV3′s political commentator, Patrick...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • National’s desperate oil drilling agenda exposed
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: National’s desperate oil drilling agenda exposed Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 | Press Release A Wall Street Journal article exposing the Government’s attempts to lure deep sea oil drillers to New Zealand shows...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Owner of Kiwis’ favourite tacos takes bold stand for climate action
    MIL OSI – Source: Oxfam NZ – Headline: Owner of Kiwis' favourite tacos takes bold stand for climate action The maker of Old El Paso tacos, Betty Crocker cake mixes and Haagan Daz ice-cream has today committed to industry-leading measures...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Out of touch Brownlee gets numbers wrong
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Out of touch Brownlee gets numbers wrong Gerry Brownlee has shown how badly he is managing the rebuild by getting his figures wrong on how many houses are needed in Christchurch, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood: Weekend at Bernie’s lll – ACT in Epsom
    While no one will be surprised by yesterday’s deal to prop up ACT in Epsom, the audacity of it is still astounding. ACT is a political corpse. Their sole MP has been found guilty of electoral fraud and bides his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • So how’s all the ‘ Labour Party man ban’ hysteria working out for you...
    Remember all the screams from the media at the so called ‘man ban’ of the Labour Party? Labour’s attempt at gender equality was really just more evidence of Labour’s man hate,  feminists were taking over, heterosexual red blooded men burnt at the stake....
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Paul Henry; the issue is you, not flag-burning
    There will always be reductive, dangerous and reactionary responses to different forms of oppressive violence by our western, often biased, mainstream media. These reactionary responses purposefully distract from the real issues and those who are at the root and the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Oh now John Armstrong and Vernon Small want to talk about policy?
    The audacity of the mainstream media seems to know no end. This week both John Armstrong and Vernon Small had the hilarity to demand a focus on policy and not ‘gotcha’ politics… John Armstrong: The ‘gotcha politics’ disease is afflicting...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“I’m sorry I can’t be at parliament for the valedictory speeches of Tariana Turia...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Burning the flag or accepting the evil
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Burning the flag or accepting the evil Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press ReleasesBurning the Israeli flag in Auckland in protest over the murder of innocent civilians...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid” Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press ReleasesJordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”,...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches te reo Māori policy  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Annette Sykes, Press Releases, Te Hamua Nikora“MANA...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | Press Release Our Solar in Schools policy will allow them to save money on electricity – money which can be...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Media Release: New report on GP costs for 6-17 year olds
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: Media Release: New report on GP costs for 6-17 year olds 24 July 2014 Free doctor’s visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • 3 reasons why I can’t care about Gerry Brownlee’s airport security fias...
    I find it very difficult to get upset about Gerry Brownlee barging through airport security for 3 simple reasons. Firstly I think airport security in this country is a total farce. Why we need to be conditioned to security searches...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • How the Opposition win Epsom now Key has cemented Goldsmith into place
    One fear I had this election would be that National listened to Matthew Hooton and removed Goldsmith from the ballot box to leave the race open enough for David Seymour to ensure an ACT Party victory. Thankfully National Party hubris...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Now Conservative Party has been killed off, is a vote for NZ First a vote f...
    Are Winston and John Key new Best Friends Forever?   Colin Craig and his Conservative Party have been cleverly played and tricked and trapped by National. Whatever promises and flirtations Key made with Craig last year have eventuated into nothing....
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away ...
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Best National Party Billboard
    Best National Party Billboard...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate...
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Posted on July 28, 2014 by admin in Annette Sykes, Press ReleasesAt midday tomorrow, Annette Sykes will officially launch...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Something Fishy About Nick Smith’s Game.
    NICK SMITH’S crude intimidation of the Fish and Game Council points to the bleakest of environmental futures should National be re-elected on 20 September. It is now considerably clearer than 60 percent of New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams that...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | Press Release Fish and Game is supposed to advocate for clean and healthy rivers, it’s the law. It...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Key’s odd personal hypocrisy in Epsom, his kiss of death to the Maori Par...
    Aside from tricking Colin Craig into running in an electorate National can crush him in, John Key has announced three things in his election deals that are ill thought out. The first is his deal with the Maori Party. At a time...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Public deserves electoral integrity
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Public deserves electoral integrity National’s deals with spent political forces ACT and United Future will be met with a deepening sense of unease over the manipulation of MMP, Labour Leader David Cunliffe...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges Amid strong criticism of the value of the National Science Challenges from some of the country’s senior scientists, new figures show administrative...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing? Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • UNEMIG: Disgraced hotel operator still hasn’t learned
    MIL OSI – Source: First Union – Headline: UNEMIG: Disgraced hotel operator still hasn’t learned A publicly disgraced Auckland hotel is still not paying their workers the minimum wage, according to the Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG). Last week the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Christchurch CHEP workers walk off the job again
    MIL OSI – Source: First Union – Headline: Christchurch CHEP workers walk off the job again Workers at Brambles-owned CHEP Christchurch have walked off the job again today to protest the employer’s refusal to negotiate an improved pay offer, according...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Why it’s all over for the Conservative Party
    Whatever flirtations were made months ago to Colin Craig by National strategists, the polling must have come back showing them too much of their soft urban vote would walk if Key was in Government with Colin Craig.  The necessary inside muscle to...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Balance in the NZ Herald and has something gone terribly wrong at the Heral...
    So the ‘balance’ in the NZ Herald this year for the election will be… Guest columnists will include the acerbic Cactus Kate from the radical right, former Labour candidate Josie Pagani and broadcaster Mark Sainsbury. Right, so that would be...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | Press Release “The heavy hand of Steven Joyce is destroying New Zealand’s innovation economy.” The National Government should allow scientists and businesses...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights CERA has spent $1.8 million on 7286 flights from Christchurch to Wellington in three years – a huge waste of money as Cantabrians still wait...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again Nick Smith has yet again completely overstepped the mark as a minister – this time with a threat to muzzle Fish and Game if they...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Phew – National Party hubris seals strategy
    The National Party are bot listening to Matthew Hooton. Phew. Hooton has crunched the numbers and based on past polling National always drops 6 points come election day. National aren’t listening. Barging through the need to cut deals with all...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Noam Chomsky on the TPPA
    Noam Chomsky on the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Unacceptable secrecy around labelling people terrorists
    It’s good to see the Sunday Star-Times attempting to get more information from government agencies about Daryl Jones, the Kiwi killed in a US drone strike in Yemen.  The paper is right to complain about the government’s refusal to provide...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • A critical deconstruction of John Key – what’s behind the facade?
    Aspiring national leaders need a popular narrative of their rise to power.  Once in office, the narrative can be refined to fit the requirements of leadership and re-election.  Such is the purpose of John Roughan’s John Key: Portrait of  a...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Radio Live – off Mark
    The Top Marks lasted five weeks on Mediaworks radio station The Sound. This may have something to do with last being relevant in the mid-1980s when there were only two commercial FM licences in Auckland and they were on one...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression
    .   . Wellington, NZ, 26 July – About 600 Wellingtonians, and from further afield, met at the Cuba Mall Bucket fountain under a wintery sunny sky, to protest Israel’s continuing aggression in the Gaza strip, which – at the...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Greens call for shipping lanes backed by Maritime Union
    MIL OSI – Source: Maritime Union of New Zealand – Headline: Greens call for shipping lanes backed by Maritime Union The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced 27 July...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    MIL OSI – Source: Maritime Union of New Zealand – Headline: Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through a Bill reforming the fishing industry. Maritime Union of New...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga  Posted on July 27, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“It’s great to have Georgie on board” said Hone Harawira, MANA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers What does Amnesty International think of the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 23 July? What should happen next?Amnesty International welcomes resolution S-21/1...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 | Press Release Like New Zealand chose to go nuclear free, we can add to our national...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Shasha Ali – I am an indigenous person but I will never call ...
    Yesterday was indeed a politically hectic day in Aoteaora New Zealand, especially if you are an activist that cares about both human and non-human animal rights. Protest actions were organised to demand an end to factory farming from about noon, and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine or ‘Pro-Peace’?
    Latest protest for people of Gaza in Auckland In the past couple of weeks I have heard a lot of people say that they are neither Pro-Israel nor Pro-Palestine; they are pro-peace. This is a stand that I respect. Everyone...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • So we can’t feed the kids, the poor OR the sick now?
    Let me get this straight. We can borrow $10 billion in tax cuts over the last 6 years for the richest NZers, but we can not feed the kids, the poor or even the sick now? Revealed: Warning over hospital food...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Kim Dotcom has said it, Laila Harre has said it and now David fisher says i...
    Fascinating piece by David Fisher in the NZ Herald breaking down how many opportunities the Government had to listen to officials and stop KDC entering the country and concludes KDC should never have been allowed in… It prepared papers for the...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • You, Me and the GCSB Public Meetings
      The GCSB and TICS legislation rushed through Parliament by John Key represent the largest erosion of civil liberties this country has seen since the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. In the post Snowden world we now know a mass surveillance state operating...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Harré: It’s Game on in Helensville
    Harré: It’s Game on in Helensville Internet Party Leader Laila Harré will stand in John Key’s Helensville electorate because “the Prime Minister has some explaining to do”. Ms Harré wants to debate Mr Key at candidate meetings in his own...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Ministers condemned for failing to meet Papuan journalist
    West Papua Action Auckland is shocked that that Ministers Coleman and Tolley have decided against giving even a brief time to meet with visiting Papuan journalist Victor Mambor (Chair of the Papua Chapter of the Association of Independent Journalists...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Cliff Curtis Apolitical
    While I respect my cousin Annette Sykes commitment in engaging in the political process, I do not endorse or support any political party. I respect all candidates who make the commitment to stand for political office. It requires and takes...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • National getting students into science
    National Party Hutt South candidate Chris Bishop today supported the government’s launch of A Nation of Curious Minds: He Whenua Hirihi I te Mahara, a programme to boost community involvement in the science sector....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • NZ NGOs respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza
    NZ NGOs are responding to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip with news today of an upsurge in violence and an increasing number of civilian casualties....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • ACT Candidate for Epsom delighted by second endorsement
    ACT Candidate for Epsom delighted by second endorsement David Seymour, ACT Candidate for Epsom 29/07/2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Colin Craig (sic) Launches New Website
    Colin Craig today advised that his web presence was not large enough, especially when compared to similarly polling parties such as the Internet/Mana Party. “After extensive discussion and advice from my full time legal team, and my IT part timer...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Spat between Minister Smith and Fish and Game overdue – ACT
    With the latest spat between Minister Nick Smith and Fish and Games Bryce Johnston hitting fever pitch, ACT Primary Industry Spokesman Don Nicolson says a review of the Fish and Game legislation will be an ACT ambition in the next...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Maori King challenges Ngapuhi leader to front up
    Following his strong condemnation of the Maori King, Tuheitia yesterday, Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has received a challenge this afternoon from prominent Kingitanga [King Movement] supporter Mamae Takerei....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • ACT Speech to Waikato Conference: Race has no place in law
    David Cunliffe recently apologised to a Women’s Refuge symposium: “I don't often say it – I'm sorry for being a man … because family and sexual violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men.” The Prime Minister accused Cunliffe of being insincere....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Greg Campbell Chief Executive of Wellington Regional Council
    Chair of Wellington Regional Council, Fran Wilde today announced the appointment of Greg Campbell as Chief Executive of the Council. Greg Campbell will take up the role in September following the departure of outgoing Chief Executive David Benham...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • We are going to campaign harder
    “It was great news to learn that John Key says I am his recommendation for Epsom. While the Prime Minister is an important person and he is my pick to remain Prime Minister, John Key is just one voter. I...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Why Green isn’t the best colour for water
    Why Green isn’t the best colour for water Ian Mackenzie is Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson and was on the reference group for the National Objectives Framework. An opinion is also running in the New Zealand Herald. The Green Party recently...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Rainbow Wellington General Election Candidates Forum
    In many ways the transgender community is in a similar position now to that faced by lesbians and gay men a generation ago. It is having to face many of the same difficulties, often based on the same ignorance and...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Defence Lawyer Disgust!!!
    “ The Sensible Sentencing Trust is horrified by Defence Lawyer Steven Zindel's comments at the Sentencing of a Man Jailed for the Rape of his 4 year old daughter .”...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Ōhāriu deserves better than a rort
    The National Party's deal with Peter Dunne is a rort and shows the people of Ōhāriu are being taken for granted, Labour candidate Virginia Andersen says. "Peter Dunne has been placed on political life support by the National Party. His...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • FMC Backs Fish and Game’s Role on Freshwater
    Federated Mountain Clubs today reinforced its strong support for the New Zealand Fish and Game Council's statutory role in advocating for anglers and hunters interests in freshwater. FMC President Robin McNeill stated that the Federation's 17,000 members...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • The Letter: Key Gives Nod for Seymour in Epsom
    This afternoon the PM acknowledged the importance of Epsom to National’s re-election prospects when said he wanted National’s supporters in Epsom to vote for ACT’S David Seymour. We always thought David could win Epsom, for which he has been campaigning...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Forest & Bird supports Fish and Game’s freshwater advocacy
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is concerned over allegations the Fish & Game Council has been threatened over its advocacy for freshwater quality....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Time for Epsom to say “no deal”
    “Epsom voters will be disgusted by the deal announced today to try and once again gift their electorate to the ACT Party”, says Labour candidate for Epsom Michael Wood....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Petition for release the of seven Bah
    At the invitation of the Honourable Annette King the New Zealand Bahá'í community is presenting a petition to the House of Representatives asking the NZ government to demand the release of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Capital gains in the capital city
    Victoria University will today be hosting a public debate on the merits of more comprehensive capital gains tax—a step which taxation expert Associate Professor Dr David White considers would be beneficial for New Zealand. Organised by student group Beta Alpha...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Te Kupenga supports efforts of anti-violence campaigner
    Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – National Network of Stopping Violence Services (Te Kupenga) wholeheartedly endorses statements made by DJ, Kickboxer and Anti-Violence Campaigner Richie Hardcore this morning on TV3’s Firstline about the role of men...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • iPredict Ltd2014 Election Update #28
    The chances of a fiscal surplus in 2014/15 continue to plunge and are down to 50%, according to the combined wisdom of the 7000 registered traders on New Zealand’s online predictions market, iPredict. The forecast surplus is now just 0.22%...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • TPPA is a bad idea
    “Currently New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Mexico are still negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Officially talks finished last August, but the reality is that they keep...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Getting privacy right in our data future
    Privacy Commissioner John Edwards welcomes the release of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum’s report....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good
    Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy. The conference is hosted jointly...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Paddock to plate, and smart roads possible
    New Zealand’s international brand and exports could grow significantly with the creation of a data sharing ‘eco-system’ according to a paper released by the NZ Data Futures Forum today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ngapuhi wants to overthrow Maori King
    Ngapuhi is planning a hui for the end of the year – organised by iwi leader David Rankin – in which the future of the King Movement will be discussed....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Housing warrant of fitness little help for sick children
    A housing warrant of fitness has been promoted as a way of preventing sickness among children in poverty. The attached report shows that such a regime would have little impact on health outcomes but would come at a considerable cost,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Upcoming Fabian Events in Auckland
    Sue Bradford ’s PhD thesis, 'A major left wing think tank in Aotearoa—an impossible dream or a call to action?' looked at why no major left wing think tank has developed in Aotearoa and whether the left in 2010-2013 was...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Senior Citizens, Not Senile Citizens
    The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the merits and costs of the “ No car? No problem! Getting around your community without a car” brochure, released by the Office for Senior Citizens. The brochure’s purpose is to explain to senior citizens...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • NZ Troops Hone Their Skills in Queensland
    Around 260 New Zealand troops are on a 25-day Australian-led warfighting exercise in Townsville, Northern Queensland....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Maritime Union backs Green Party call for shipping lanes
    The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban
    Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban The Auckland Council has announced that they are abandoning the rodeo ban on council land, put into place in 2008. This was done with virtually no consultation, says SAFE, the animal advocacy organisation....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor
    Ministers Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor Police Minister Anne Tolley and Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman have a rare opportunity this week to gain first-hand knowledge about Indonesian police and military activities in West...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Minister Right to Give Fish & Game a Serve
    Reacting to Radio New Zealand’s report concerning allegations that Conservation Minister Nick Smith warned the Fish and Game Council that it acts like a 'rabid NGO', Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through a Bill reforming the fishing industry....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ivory trade laws look set to tighten following petition
    A petition mounted by an Auckland schoolteacher has won the support of a powerful Select Committee and has moved the New Zealand closer towards a fully enforceable ivory trading ban....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Bilingual guide a demonstration of leadership
    “Waikato River Restoration: A Bilingual Guide” to the Waikato River that saw Tainui Waikato, Landcare Trust and the Waikato River Authority working together is a demonstration of rangatiratanga or leadership says Race Relations Commissioner...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    "It's great to have Georgie on board" said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP. "She's strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven't had any - and won. That...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Sir Bob Harvey
    SUSAN Sir Bob Harvey was behind the transformation of Norm Kirk, and one of New Zealand's most popular Prime Ministers. He also advised Bill Rowling, David Lange and Helen Clark, the latter as Labour Party President. Wild Westie a new...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Rod Drury
    Xero boss Rod Drury told TVNZ’s Q+A programme what the political parties are offering at this election is