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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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    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites Rapists To “Call In and Defend Yourselves...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites #Roastbusters Rapists To “Call In and Defe...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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