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A Design for Living; Guest Post

Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, April 10th, 2016 - 56 comments
Categories: activism, Economy, Environment, political education, Politics, thinktank - Tags: , , ,

A member of Young Labour, TheSocialDemocrat, has suggested this manifesto as a starting point for defining the debate in the post neo-liberal era. There’s much that’s very, very good in it and it draws on the policy platforms of all the opposition parties while adding many unique ideas.

TS readers might like to suggest changes or additions to the list or ways that a coalition of support could be built for the best bits of this manifesto. TRP.

It is apparent that, in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, the neo-liberal orthodoxy has been called into question. This resurgence in intellectual and ideological debate from the Left is something that has been sorely missing since the Thatcher/Reagan Revolution of the 1980’s.

Economists, politicians, academics and others have been producing novels, papers, essays and more on where the Left must succeed. With the rise of far-right xenophobia in America and Europe, it is vital that the mainstream Left in New Zealand deliver an alternative vision to neo-liberalism.

As a Young Labour activist, I believe that we, as part New Zealand’s future, must lead the way in this debate (in conjunction with other young activists of the Left, of course). A broad coalition of diverse ideologies, including social democrats, Greens, social liberals, progressive Christians, trade unionists, NZ First supporters, community Independents and more must be built in order to realise this long-term goal.

This is why I have written this mini-manifesto. It contains some starting points as a way of moving New Zealand, the country we all love and wish to save, into a post neo-liberal future.

ECONOMY:

  • Make KiwiSaver compulsory, with an employee contribution rate of 8%, and a government and employer contribution rate of 4%.
  • Move towards a Flexi-Super system. Instead of having a fixed retirement of 65, move towards a system in which people can retire younger (minimum age of 60) and receive less KiwiSaver, or retire later (maximum age of 70) and receive more.
  • Upgrade our monetary policy, to ensure that the Reserve Bank places a strong commitment towards full employment, wages and growth, as opposed to purely inflation.
  • Review the current State-Owned Enterprises model, to see whether it is appropriate, and whether a co-operative model could be just as efficient.
  • Move towards free and fair trade deals with Japan, Canada and the European Union.
  • Cap CEO bonuses at 40% of their pay.
  • Create state-owned competitors in power and phone/net networks.
  • Nationalise the water industry.
  • Bring back a Research and Development Tax Credit.
  • Develop a green economy, with appropriate transition policies to help workers entering the process.
  • All business are encouraged to sign up to the ‘socially responsible business’ model, recognising their obligation to their employees, the environment, the community, consumers and shareholders.
  • Regulate speculation, and ensure a low interest rate policy that grows jobs and the economy.
  • Begin the process of breaking Fonterra up into smaller companies; ending its monopoly over the dairy industry.
  • Restricting abusive lending practices, aggressive credit-marketing and unfair interest rates.

EDUCATION:

  • Increase the school entry age to 6.
  • Increase the pay of teachers to the same pay as a doctor, however attaining a teaching degree will become more difficult, as only those with high grades will be allowed to work as teachers. A prospective teacher will have to pass a personality test, as well as other tests deeming whether or not they are fit to be a teacher.
  • Review the NCEA system to deem whether it is appropriate, including whether to eliminate most mandatory testing.
  • Revamp the school curriculum so that, at the end of NCEA Level 1, students will be given the option of carrying on with their schooling, with the intention of heading to university, or moving to attend one of our new ‘vocational schools’. All students who choose to leave school must attend a vocational school for at least one year. After this, they can enter the workforce.
  • Place a strong emphasis on removing inequality within the school system.
  • Abolish National Standards.
  • Abolish Charter Schools, with the buildings being used for our new ‘vocational schools’.
  • Eliminate funding for wealthy private schools.
  • Abolish university fees for three years, with any further study having a fee of merely $500.

HEALTHCARE:

  • Build polyclinics in smaller towns, where small operations can be performed, ensuring residents do not have to travel to larger cities to receive said operations.
  • Begin implementing a Disability Insurance Scheme, similar to the one used in Australia.

TAXATION:

  • Replace the GST with a Progressive Consumption Tax.
  • Increase the top rate of income tax to 40%.<
  • Implement a Capital Gains Tax, to be taxed at the same rate as wages.
  • Implement a tax on wealth, reaching as high as 2%, and push to make this tax global.
  • Cut the small business tax rate to 14%.
  • Inquire as to whether corporate tax should eventually be replaced by a Land Value Tax.
  • Crack down on personal and corporate tax avoidance, combating tax shelters and money laundering.

SOCIAL POLICY:

  • Reform the welfare system into a Basic Income scheme, in which all households earning less than $50,000 a year will receive a $500 weekly payment.
  • Leave the universal pension scheme intact.
  • Split Working for Families into two systems, one being the Best Start package, and the other being a Working Income Tax Credit, which will top up the pay of low-income workers.  Introduce a Best Start package, providing $60 a week to low-income families to address our appalling child poverty rate.
  • Ensure those who cannot find a job will be put to work in the ‘third sector’; working for charities or performing community work.
  • Increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks.
  • Introduce a fully-funded, universal childcare plan, available for children from ages 4-6.
  • Appoint a ‘Poverty Elimination Commissioner’, to advise the government on ways to reduce poverty and to oversee the poverty level and actions taken in NZ.
  • Create facilities in which all beggars/homeless citizens will be placed into, until they are able to move into a state house.
  • Introduce a free breakfast & lunch program in all schools.

ENVIRONMENT:

  • Eliminate all subsidies to fossil-fuel companies.
  • Start up a Green Living Fund, offering consumers a $4,000 rebate to begin living eco-friendly lives, including fitting houses with solar panels.
  • Start up a Green Car Fund, offering consumers a $2,000 rebate for all pre-2000 models.
    Revamp the Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure that it does a better job of combating emissions, as opposed to its current weakened state.
  • Ensure all future infrastructure is built using eco-friendly materials.
  • Place a moratorium on all fracking projects until enough research has been done to ensure that it is safe.
  • Implement a ban on plastic shopping bags.
  • Ban factory farming.

LAW & ORDER:

  • Legalise marijuana, MDMA and other non-addictive drugs, to be followed by strict regulation and taxation at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco.  Following on from this, create a New Zealand Drugs Board, so that citizens can only buy regulated drugs from the government, rather than the private sector, which will increase government revenue.
  • Decriminalise all other drugs, with the exception of crack cocaine and heroin, with a policy of users being sent to rehabilitation clinics, rather than prison. Properly fund walk-in clinics for drug addicts.
  • Prison reform, in order to place a much greater (almost universal) emphasis on rehabilitation.
  • Increase police officer numbers.
  • Repeal the GCSB Amendment Act.
  • Begin moves towards a New Zealand republic, complete with a flag change, to reflect our status as an independent nation (with a more democratic process than the last referendum!).
  • Amend the Bill of Rights to add the right to education, healthcare, housing, clothing, food, and an income in some form.
  • Lower the voting age to 17, and introduce legislation to automatically register people to vote once they turn 17.

TRANSPORT:

  • Fully fund the Auckland City Rail Link.
  • Invest in rural roads, to ensure a higher quality.
  • Develop a major rail link, that will be completely powered by renewable energy and will link most of NZ’s major cities to each other by rail. Passengers will be able to travel at high speeds and in comfort. The trains used will be similar to the TGV in France.
  • Retrofit all current public transport systems to ensure that they are powered by renewable energy.

HOUSING:

  • Build 1,000 new social houses every year, which will be energy-efficient.
  • Start work on the KiwiBuild program, which will build thousands of low-cost, high-quality houses to be sold at affordable to prices to Kiwi residents. All homes built under the project will be energy-efficient.
  • Ban non-resident foreigners from buying Kiwi homes

JOBS & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

  • Increase the minimum wage to a living wage of $19.50, provided it is at the equilibrium wage.
  • Create a ‘Youth Job Guarantee’, that would ensure that all under-25s have access to a good job, paid internship or training position within four months of leaving school.
  • Require worker representation on company boards, to develop more democratic and transparent workplaces.
  • Boost eco-friendly infrastructure development that can withstand extreme weather, creating jobs in the process.
  • Increase funding for skills and jobs training, as a method for reducing inequality and creating jobs.
  • Create ‘Industry Sector Councils’, which will bring together industries, unions and the government with the goal of maintaining a strong industrial sector.

TheSocialDemocrat

56 comments on “A Design for Living; Guest Post”

  1. Ad 1

    First off I’d like to congratulate the author for having the presumption to write about the whole. I get tired of the usual wish-lists, but you’ve made a real stretch here. There’s a myriad worth debating, but that’s not the point of what you’ve set out.

    Because so many of the ideas are existing policy platforms from one of the three Opposition parties, I’d challenge you to write an actual analogue letter to all three party leaders inviting them to form a common policy platform for the 2017 election based on those areas of common policy.

    So much of National’s 2014 attack was on the inability of the Opposition to propose a coherent alternative government. 2017 should be different. I think you can help.

    • TheSocialDemocrat 1.1

      Thanks for the feedback! That’s not a bad idea.

    • b waghorn 1.2

      “I’d challenge you to write an actual analogue letter to all three party leaders inviting them to form a common policy platform for the 2017 election based on those areas of common policy.”
      It would be a waste of time sending one to Winston.

    • billmurray 1.3

      A good design for living would be to get rid of Andrew Little, NO it’s not late and bring in Jacinda, anything that you have written pales in comparison to our crisis.

  2. Policy Parrot 2

    Just picking and choosing here…

    Don’t need to break up Fonterra, but the Government should buy a 37.5% stake in Fonterra, in return for 3/8 of the directors and of the shareholder vote.

    They then should use this stake to smooth the level of payout to farmers, i.e. a price range with a maximum and a minimum up to a decided system of quota, and then market price for any extra production.

    Why 37.5%? Because if something proposed the government was so abhorrent to dairy farmers that they couldn’t get even 20% of farmers on board, then it doesn’t deserve to pass the remit. (20% of the remaining 62.5% is 12.5%).

    • TheSocialDemocrat 2.1

      Why would you do this, as opposed to breaking it up?

      • Policy Parrot 2.1.1

        Because the primary issue facing the industry is not lack of competition, but damaging price fluctuations prompting overproduction and overextension.

        A more stable price would mean that farmers would less likely to do this, and holding cash reserves/ready liquidable assets in good times would balance out the bad times and help hold up the associated supplier industries in rural/regional towns.

        The Government can also use (some of) its share of the payout to effectively subsidise the price of milk as well.

        • TheSocialDemocrat 2.1.1.1

          Hm. I’ve always been a little iffy on subsidies, but you do raise some good points.

          • Policy Parrot 2.1.1.1.1

            Supplier subsidies are frequently bad because they encourage excessive production. But consumer subsidies on an important foodgroup (this is not about arguing whether milk is healthy/or ethical) will give those consumers on low incomes more money to spend elsewhere.

            • TheSocialDemocrat 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Fair point. I’ve heard several stories about subsidies distorting the market, and I presume they were specifically referring to supplier subsidies.

              • Colonial Viper

                I’ve heard several stories about subsidies distorting the market

                Indeed. We couldn’t possibly accept any ‘distortions to the market.’

  3. Craig H 3

    A couple of minor points – the compulsory age to start school is already 6 and has been for many decades. Obviously most children start at 5, but that’s a choice, not a requirement. Something that could be looked at is starting at the beginning of the school term, semester or year after attaining the age of 5 so there is a group of children starting together rather than individually.

    The second point is that for most small businesses, the company tax rate is meaningless because they pay all profits out to the shareholders as shareholder salaries, who pay tax at their individual rates via tax returns, so no company tax is paid.

    Lots of awesome stuff though!

    • TheSocialDemocrat 3.1

      Hm, that’s not a bad idea. Will look into that.

      To be honest, I’m unsure as to whether I’d keep the company tax anyway, seeing as a Land Value Tax may be more efficient.

  4. b waghorn 4

    Leave school kids starting at 5 if the parents want, some kids are more than ready.
    If drugs a made legal , limit there sales to Thursday Friday and Saturday.

    • weka 4.1

      Why the drugs thing?

      • b waghorn 4.1.1

        I caught a bit of the Sunday program this am and in Colorado one of the people interviewed stated that addiction rates had risen due to the increased availability of pot. I’m all for taking the crime out of pot and e’s but people do need protecting from them selves sometimes.

        • BM 4.1.1.1

          Yeah apparently heaps of people have turned into complete dope heads.

          • b waghorn 4.1.1.1.1

            Twenty store in one areas over kill its a bit like cheap booze shops that trade long hours in parts of our cities

        • Richard McGrath 4.1.1.2

          “…people do need protecting from them selves sometimes.”

          As a principle, the essence of the Nanny State.

  5. Olwyn 5

    Your amendment to the bill of rights act is the pivotal one, and the one that would be most fiercely resisted, along with your monetary policy upgrade to include employment. These two put together have been the great neo-liberal enablers, allowing them to trumpet commitment to (an impoverished version of) human rights, and fiscal responsibility at the same time. I think it is just brilliant that you have done this, for both now and the future. For as long as we still have to bargain with neo-liberalism, we need to be able to do so from a position that adds up to a clear left stance. And we also need an outline of the direction we will take when the neo-liberalism is no longer in the position to force our hand.

    • TheSocialDemocrat 5.1

      Thank you. I’m not so sure how fiercely it would be resisted, as I’m sure several ordinary Kiwis would support it. I imagine National and ACT would make some ridiculous claim about it bankrupting the country, though.

  6. The Chairman 6

    Before one advocates for compulsory KiwiSaver, shouldn’t one ensure the markets are not rigged and oversight is sufficient?

    • TheSocialDemocrat 6.1

      Could you elaborate further?

    • vto 6.2

      “Before one advocates for compulsory KiwiSaver, shouldn’t one ensure the markets are not rigged and oversight is sufficient?”

      You mean shouldn’t one ensure that the government will not confiscate part or all of Kiwisaver at some point in the future to save itself?

      • The Chairman 6.2.1

        No. I was highlighting markets can be and are manipulated and oversight is lacking, therefore forcing people to invest could result in ending in tears.

        How many pension funds have been lost on the market?

        Therefore, does this young Labour individual really want to be responsible for people losing their life savings?

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          How many pension funds have been lost on the market?

          Sure if you can call the outright thievery by the likes of JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs “lost on the market”, which sold billions in subprime mortgage derivatives etc. to pension and retirement funds as being rated AAA.

          When they knew it was actually toxic financial shite ready to implode.

          Which it then did, destroying millions of workers retirements.

          • The Chairman 6.2.1.1.1

            Indeed.

            Yet, we have this young Labour individual advocating for compulsory KiwiSaver.

            In fact, isn’t this (compulsory KiwiSaver) still Labour Party policy?

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Make KiwiSaver compulsory, with an employee contribution rate of 8%, and a government and employer contribution rate of 4%.

    Nope because that’s entrenching the present failed system.

    Move towards a Flexi-Super system.

    We could call it a Universal Basic income.

    Upgrade our monetary policy, to ensure that the Reserve Bank places a strong commitment towards full employment, wages and growth, as opposed to purely inflation.

    Wrong again as it still just entrenches the present failed system. We need a full overhaul.

    Review the current State-Owned Enterprises model, to see whether it is appropriate, and whether a co-operative model could be just as efficient.

    Actually, the old State Department providing monopoly government services is pretty much the most efficient model for monopoly services.

    Move towards free and fair trade deals with Japan, Canada and the European Union.

    Nope. Can all FTAs, drop out of the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF and then set standards for others to meet before we trade with them. Encourage them to do the same. Such a system would reverse the race to the bottom that we’ve had for the last few decades it also meets the most fundamental aspect of free-trade: Willing buyer, will seller

    Create state-owned competitors in power and phone/net networks.

    They’re natural monopolies and thus need to be a state monopoly service provided by government. Same applies to health and a few other government services.

    Regulate speculation, and ensure a low interest rate policy that grows jobs and the economy.

    Speculators used to be hung because they’re so damaging to society and the economy. Now, I’m not saying that we should hang them but we should be looking at long jail sentences for them.

  8. millsy 8

    Nice ideas, but it will take about 3 terms to implement them, in the face of a hostile business community, right wing media, Slater, Farrar and Treasury, possibly the Reserve Bank as well.

    Any party who wants to implement these will need to build a mass popular movement on the streets to back them in any confrontation, and back themselves to do them, not folding at the first hint of opposition, like Clark did in 2000.

  9. millsy 9

    Good luck in getting that all that through in the face of a hostile business sector, right wing media, civil service, Reserve Bank, Treasury, National party, Farrar and Slater.

    A popular movement will need to be built because we might end up seeing the same thing that happened in Brazil, Venuzeula, Egypt, Ukraine, etc — finance elites rarking up the middle classes to march in the streets against increased social services for the non-rich.

  10. millsy 10

    Why do my posts keep vanishing?

    [RL: Stuck in moderation. No idea why.]

  11. Molly 11

    Firstly, Kudos to social democrat for the post and invitation.

    Some of my initial reaction below. TBH, kept it as brief as possible but still created a novel sized comment, as I am apparently a left-wing radical and had more to say on almost every point – but FWIW:

    ECONOMY:
    • KiwiSaver compulsory…. (More of the same, the stock market is not necessarily the best vehicle for moral investment, or long-term stability)
    • Flexi-Super system. (Implement Universal Basic Income and forget about the tinkering until it has been implemented and tinkering may no longer be required).
    • Upgrade our monetary policy… (More of the same. We don’t need full employment – we need full engagement, wages and incomes need to be equalised across the board, and perpetual growth is a short-sighted fool’s paradise).
    • Review the current State-Owned Enterprises model… (The State has always been more efficient until it is not audited properly or regularly, or until it is deemed time to run it down so that it can be flogged off for inefficiency. eg. state of Kiwirail for current example).
    • Move towards free and fair trade deals … (Free trade agreements lately are exploitation of other countries resources and poverty based choices with protection clauses for investors – not a free and FAIR exchange of goods and services that benefit those living in both countries.)
    • Cap CEO bonuses at 40% of their pay. (Cap CEO total income to a multiple of their lowest paid worker. ie. 15 times the lowest full-time worker on staff. Two benefits. More workers taken on as full-time staff rather than casual, and more likely to have lower-workers benefit from company efficiency).
    • Create state-owned competitors in power and phone/net networks. (Essential services need to be provided by a state monopoly: power, compulsory education institutions, social welfare, child protection, hospitals, prisons, defence and police forces, conservation – with recognition of our Treaty),
    • Nationalise the water industry. (Don’t make it an industry. Make it a National Reserve Resource – only used and accessed under strict guidelines)
    • All business are encouraged to sign up to the ‘socially responsible business’ model, recognising their obligation to their employees, the environment, the community, consumers and shareholders. (Only words unless backed up by concrete and robust processes. See B Corporation for guidelines. Offer lower tax rates to businesses based on their rating score for said practices).
    • Regulate speculation, and ensure a low interest rate policy that grows jobs and the economy. (Regulate speculation (?) , grows jobs and the economy – again with the growth….)
    • Begin the process of breaking Fonterra up into smaller companies; … (Fonterra’s farmers need to be supported into a transition to sustainable farming and business practices. Set up a government department that has the ability to allow farmers to opt out of the current defunct system).
    • Restricting abusive lending practices, aggressive credit-marketing and unfair interest rates. (Good – but only looking at the small players here – the big ones are punching well above this level).

    EDUCATION:
    • Increase the school entry age to 6. (Already is.)
    • Increase the pay of teachers to the same pay as a doctor, …. A prospective teacher will have to pass a personality test, as well as other tests deeming whether or not they are fit to be a teacher. (Would rather hear what your idea of education first.)
    • Review the NCEA system to deem whether it is appropriate, including whether to eliminate most mandatory testing. (NCEA qualifications and National Standards are two separate things. )
    • Revamp the school curriculum …. (Better than this approach, look to the Swiss apprenticeship approach. See David Turner on Auckland Conversations to get an idea of what this could look like).

    HEALTHCARE:
    (Needs complete overhaul not tinkering. Including reinstatement of ACC to original intent, and verifiable state of waiting lists and access to healthcare)

    TAXATION:
    (Needs complete rethink.)

    SOCIAL POLICY:
    (Some clumsy policies included eg. equating income with disposable income, and ignore the tax loopholes that many wealthy have used to get Community Services Cards, student allowances etc. This needs to be looked at again, and is where a UBI takes away a lot of administration and policy management costs.)
    • Appoint a ‘Poverty Elimination Commissioner’, to advise the government on ways to reduce poverty and to oversee the poverty level and actions taken in NZ. (We already know how to do this, what we don’t have is informed community and political will, and this needs to be at the forefront of legislative and policy changes).
    • Create facilities in which all beggars/homeless citizens will be placed into, … (This is a Clayton’s solution. Let all beggars/homeless citizens stay where they are with additional support until the problem is solved. Moving them just gets rid of the visual reminder that we are not dealing with inequality, mental health services, and provision of basic living standards to all our citizens. Take time to ask them what they need before putting them “out of sight”).
    • Introduce a free breakfast & lunch program in all schools. ( Stop calling it a free meal programme. Students are required by law to attend school, the state should ensure they are provided with the necessities of healthy living while they are there, in order to best deliver optimal learning outcomes. State provided healthy meal in all schools would provide local producers with stable market, would provide local jobs in community, would ensure all children have basic nutritional needs met in the community, and would be a teaching resource for children on how to prepare basic meals).

    ENVIRONMENT:
    • Eliminate all subsidies to fossil-fuel companies. (…And exploration and mining permits, and provide a state subsidiary business in those regions that provide the infrastructure necessity for transition to a reduced fossil-free Aotearoa)
    • Start up a Green Living Fund… (Better off ensuring that all new subdivisions allow/and require all homes built to meet passive solar requirements. Any homes larger than a certain size pay for the mindless use of resources on a finite planet, and subdivisions away from public transport pay a higher developers levy to improve services to future residents. This policy needs much more thought and detail).
    • Start up a Green Car Fund, … (Not linked to fuel-efficiency, just age? This won’t achieve the result you are looking for young Jedi)
    • Revamp the Emissions Trading Scheme… (It will never be able to be revamped to effectiveness, it is a tool for speculators and fraudsters).
    • Ensure all future infrastructure is built using eco-friendly materials. (Not a well-thought out plan. Firstly ensure that all infrastructure is necessary (waterfront stadium anyone?), and is designed with energy efficiency in mind, and that it is future proofed in terms of use and maintenance).
    • Place a moratorium on all fracking projects …. (Fracking is not “safe”. Ban it).
    • Implement a ban on plastic shopping bags. (This is a flawed policy. Ban plastic bags, but not plastic toys that break, or junk that ends up in the landfill two months after purchase? Or bottled water? Use a policy that helps a NZ business produce truly bio-degradable shopping bags and packing materials, and then create a policy that stipulates only bio-degradable materials can be used in NZ products and services. An immediately effective policy change would be one that charges producers and importers for the recycling or landfill costs of their products).
    • Ban factory farming. (In conjunction with providing support in terms of education, business, tax rebates and grants for transitions to sustainable farming for small to medium businesses.)

    LAW & ORDER:
    (Thinking I am already a bit over word-count, so briefly – good on the marijuana front. Not good on the NZ government sales.)

    TRANSPORT:
    • Fully fund the Auckland City Rail Link. Yes
    • Invest in rural roads, to ensure a higher quality. (If you want to improve quality, reduce costs and maintenance, get the heavy trucks off the road, and create a freight network that utilises rail and trucking).
    • Develop a major rail link, that will be completely powered by renewable energy… (Reinstate a NZ based workshop to do this, and use the workshop in conjunction with paid R&D in universities).
    • Retrofit all current public transport systems to ensure that they are powered by renewable energy. (Only if they are publicly owned)
    (Missing the link between planning communities and transport. They are integrated and need integrated solutions. Also start a programme that provides alternative fuelling stations for alternative motors – such as electric vehicles. Provide tax rebates for those who choose alternative vehicle purchases. Reduce the cost of publicly owned public transport, the state benefits from the ongoing reduction of transport costs, increased health and social cohesiveness that arises from efficient and well networked public transport. They are the only ones who would (and should( fund this.))

    HOUSING:
    (This requires a full article in itself. As with public transport, the state is the only investor that will be able to quantify on its financial statements long-term benefits in many aspects including financial, if the provision of healthy, affordable, stable housing becomes a priority for government. So, initially a state-housing building programme in areas that have access to services, public transport and other amenities is the first place to start.
    The suggestions you have made are tweaks of a failing system, and can be easily side-stepped ie. foreign investors can own a company that owns a NZ house.)

    JOBS & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
    (Firstly, understand that not all who currently contribute to the better NZ are paid. Secondly, we have a financial and business environment that rewards selfish and short-sighted behaviour. Ensure that those involved with any kind of employment or training scheme are not merely taking advantage of young, vulnerable workers and are being paid by the state to do so.

    And we need to have a conversation about “work” that is sustainable long-term and helps NZ transition to a fossil-fuel free society – or as close as possible. The Universal Basic Income will help with this)

    I have faith that it is those with “younger, flexible” minds who will find solutions to our priority issues of climate change, inequality, lack of transparent democracy and societal change.

    Well done for bringing up some of your thoughts, and inviting discussion on this platform.

    • TheSocialDemocrat 11.1

      Thanks for your feedback. I have noticed that you deem some of my policies to not be very well thought-out. I would like to stress that these are basic ideas, and if I had the time, I would be working on the finer details. Some of your points are very good, and I will be editing when I have the chance.

      • Molly 11.1.1

        All good.

        Only take on board what is useful or invites thought, we are having a conversation not a debate, and I’m sure that our essential values are somewhat aligned.

        Besides, I have a feeling what is going on in my head is too similar to this to be completely credible:

    • gsays 11.2

      hi molly,
      i would vote for that.

    • weka 11.3

      Molly! I want you in Parliament!! Bonus points for GG reference 😆

      Lots of very good thoughts there.

      A few I’d add to,

      – plastic shopping bags, afaik there is no good tech for biodegrability and probably never will be. Sustainability design suggests that banning and replacing with something reusable or already compostable is a better way to go. Recycling is polluting, energy intensive and has an unnecessary carbon footprint esp if it has to be done via a commercial model. Reduce, reuse, recycle 😉

      – yes, completely agree about not industrialising water. It’s a taonga, a necessity for all life and should be respected as such, not commodified.

      – Agreed on complete overhaul, including adressing the huge discrepancies between health and disability funding and income streams depending on whether your disability comes from an accident or illness.

      – also agreed on breaking up Fonterra. NZ already has dairy farms working towards sustainability and existing largely outside of Fonterra. We have the models already.

      – economy: everything, absolutely everything has to be designed within the context of climate change (Labour, please steal GP policy on this).

      • Molly 11.3.1

        Thanks for the comment re plastic bags.

        I remember watching a programme once about using a fungus to replace foam components in cars, and thought there was something about plastic bags too, but a quick google search reinforces your comment. Flax ketes might have their comeback yet….

        (Just reinforces the notion that the “reduce, reuse and recycle” approach is always the first point of call for a reason).

        “Monkey, monkey underpants” indeed. 🙂

  12. BM 12

    Is this a wish list?

  13. gsays 13

    hi tsd,
    plenty to mull over.
    as has been said- easy on the infinite growth focus (it’s just a theory),
    legalise all drugs,
    a financial transaction tax,
    and a massive tax on trucks/trucking.

    oh yes, stop all lobbying.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Its the end of neoliberalism, also surely the end of exponential growth on a finite planet, and you also mention the Global Financial Crisis.

    But your very first recommendation is to make working Kiwis and small NZ businesses give even more money to private money managers, hedge fund billionaires and Wall St financial speculators?

    You need to seriously think through the consequences and linkages of some of the things you have said, because at the moment there are some major inconsistencies between your principles and your recommendations for practice.

    • TheSocialDemocrat 14.1

      Would you prefer Government-guaranteed or Government-provided KiwiSaver? Or just get rid of it full-stop?

  15. Richard McGrath 15

    I agree with a few of the policies:

    ECONOMY:
    Move towards a Flexi-Super system. Instead of having a fixed retirement of 65, move towards a system in which people can retire younger (minimum age of 60) and receive less KiwiSaver, or retire later (maximum age of 70) and receive more.

    [Yes (for those with Kiwisaver accounts), and if the account holder dies, their heirs inherit whatever has been saved]

    Upgrade our monetary policy, to ensure that the Reserve Bank places a strong commitment towards full employment, wages and growth, as opposed to purely inflation.

    [Yes, by abolishing the Reserve Bank]

    Move towards free and fair trade deals with Japan, Canada and the European Union.

    [Yes, as “free” makes “fair” redundant.]

    Bring back a Research and Development Tax Credit.

    {Not needed, as long as business expenses remain deductible.]

    Review the NCEA system to deem whether it is appropriate, including whether to eliminate most mandatory testing.

    [Yes: allow open competition in the provision of education]

    Abolish National Standards.

    [Yes.]

    Eliminate funding for wealthy private schools.

    [Yes, do this first then remove funding for all other schools.]

    HEALTHCARE:

    Begin implementing a Disability Insurance Scheme, similar to the one used in Australia.

    [Yes; make this voluntary and open the field to competitors.]

    TAXATION:

    Cut the small business tax rate to 14%.

    [Yes; a good start]

    ENVIRONMENT:

    Eliminate all subsidies to fossil-fuel companies.

    [Yes, along with all other corporate welfare]

    LAW & ORDER:

    Legalise marijuana, MDMA and other non-addictive drugs, to be followed by strict regulation and taxation at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco.

    [Yes, a good start]

    Decriminalise all other drugs, with the exception of crack cocaine and heroin, with a policy of users being sent to rehabilitation clinics, rather than prison. Properly fund walk-in clinics for drug addicts.

    [Yes, but include cocaine and heroin and legalise the lot.]

    Prison reform, in order to place a much greater (almost universal) emphasis on rehabilitation.

    [Yes, though where does restitution for victims fit into this?]

    Increase police officer numbers.

    [Yes, provided their job involves combating real crime where there is demonstrable actual harm to victims]

    Begin moves towards a New Zealand republic, complete with a flag change, to reflect our status as an independent nation (with a more democratic process than the last referendum!).

    [Yes: a constitutional republic]

    The rest of the manifesto is expensive overbearing Nanny Statism.

  16. sabine 16

    a. Kiwi Saver should be NOT compulsory, as for some people the ten or twenty or so dollar less is actually money they need week to week.
    b. if the Kiwi Saver is increased to 8% for the worker then it should also be so for the employer. Shared cost n all.
    c. the Kiwi Saver should be made available every few years to the safer.

    I.e. an apprentice starts participating at 16 and after 6 years has the right to remove some of that money. They may use that money for studies, and OE, or a wedding. then again after 6 years, now our potential safer is almost 28 years old and may want to buy a house, or has a child coming. Again 6 years later, our safer is now 34 years old has a second child and needs a new car, lucky him he can access some of that money that he has saved instead of having to apply for a loan and pay usurious interest rates.
    Will there still be money by the time he/she is 65 / 70 or when ever he/she chooses to retire, yes, of course as the full amount was never removed, and the contributions continued. But during the 40 – 50 years saving that money was put to good use instead of just creating fees for financial companies, taxes for the government and a paper asset for someone worth literally nothing because they can’t use it.

    Also in making some of the money periodically available the hassle that sick people have in accessing their funds, or first home buyers or unemployed people that apply to their funds under the hardship rules will be eliminated. And it needs to be considered that many people go into their kiwi saver because they are sick and need the money to afford treatment.

    To force people with a compulsory saving scheme that they then can’t access for decades in my books is legalised wage theft. The only ones that will be benefiting from such a scheme are the financial institutions holding the accounts and the government.

    • Craig H 16.1

      Low-income households receive a $500/week basic income in this manifesto, so they probably can afford Kiwisaver. If not, it should still be compulsory for the employer and govt to make contributions, but no contributions required for incomes below a certain threshold (otherwise they fall behind, often through no fault of their own).

      Agree with b (the Aussie contributions are much higher than ours) and c – being able to periodically access Kiwisaver is a solid idea IMO (I think the Germans do something similar).

  17. her 17

    Lots of good ideas to think about. Thank you for taking the time to write them down.

    Two areas that should evolve quickly through technology are transport and education.

    I think driverless Uber cars will move a lot more people than an underground addition to a rail link and will be cheaper as well.
    If more people use driverless cars perhaps we should use the new tunnel as an express lane in and out of the city for them.

    I too worry about personality tests for teachers as I’m not sure what traits society is looking for now or in the future or who gets to screen them.

    If increasing teachers pay we could think about having students in different shifts so teachers could work 8 hrs and get three weeks holiday. I think there is talk of doing this now but not the huge pay rise.

  18. Ad 18

    If I get an hour or two to spare, I’d like to interrogate a few of these.

    •Create state-owned competitors in power and phone/net networks.

    You’d need to show that the price of electricity isn’t well regulated. That’s not easy. Certainly easy to feel like electricity is too expensive. Really hard to find a framework that proves one utility’s Asset Management Plan is full of fat. You definitely need a stronger national regulator on both, and a regulator with enough staff and funding to really have a crack at the incredibly well-funded legal teams that those power and phone utilities have ready to go. Trust me I’ve seen this very up close.

    Have a look at the ambit and power of the ACCC.

    •Nationalise the water industry.
    Again, you’d get better results with a strong centralized water price regulator. One who could run the ruler over the prices of the water, wastewater, and trades waste prices.
    Pulling the whole show into a nationalized industry would do several bad things: Cripple local government by wiping about 30% of their asset base. Remove local decision-making power over water. Remove the possibility of uniting stormwater management and water supply. Enrage iwi across the country.

    •Begin the process of breaking Fonterra up into smaller companies; ending its monopoly over the dairy industry.
    The power already exists for Fonterra to be relieved of its default milk-buyer responsibility. One of the causes of the current poor price is that only Fonterra is required to collect milk, no matter where it is produced. This means for farms on the most obscure roads, distant island farms, farms most distant from Fonterra processers and sea ports, generating the lowest volumes, and least sustainable farms, all have a perpetual hook into Fonterra. This loads more production costs onto Fonterra and Fonterra alone. In turn, that is a massive competitive disadvantage upon Fonterra alone.

    Fonterra is New Zealand’s only multinational. It is the envy of the meat industry, and of the Kiwifruit industry. You need to think about different instruments to really improve Fonterra specifically and dairy generally. Much of it is achieved with really strong water price regulation.

    Hopefully I’ll come back to a few more of your points later in the week. You cover a lot of ground.

  19. This is a pretty amazing list! You’ve definitely put a lot of thought into your whole list and all the different areas that you’ve covered.. It’s actually pretty extensive. I actually agree with some of the commenter’s here that you should really think of penning some of your suggestions here down on paper and writing a letter to some of them, or attending a forum where you can voice out some of your points here. I only wish I had a smidgen of your dedication and perhaps a bit of time off from work at Storage Windsor to pen down some ideas of my own for my own government!

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