Atlas smirked

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, January 7th, 2024 - 115 comments
Categories: act, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, election 2023, election funding, national, political parties, same old national, spin, tax, taxpayers union - Tags:

This morning’s browse of twitter came up with this fascinating tweet from highly respected Guardian reporter George Monbiot.

I was always aware that the Atlas Network was a dark money right wing think tank that was active throughout the world but reading this story made me wonder about its effect on New Zealand politics.

Monbiot’s linked article concentrates on the election of Javier Milei as Argentinian President.  But his comments could have been applied to the recent New Zealand election.

For instance he said this:

A crash programme of massive cuts; demolishing public services; privatising public assets; centralising political power; sacking civil servants; sweeping away constraints on corporations and oligarchs; destroying regulations that protect workers, vulnerable people and the living world; supporting landlords against tenantscriminalising peaceful protest; restricting the right to strike. Anything ring a bell?

This reads like a list of the Government’s policies.  Just think of these:

  • Nicola Willis implementing $7.4 billion of cuts in her recent mini budget.
  • David Seymour gleefully announcing thousands of public service job cuts just before Christmas.
  • It is too early for asset sales to be advanced although the prospect of hospital buildings being owned privately has been raised.  And who can for get John Key’s privatisation of half of the power companies during his reign, a decision that has already cost the country more than was received.
  • In terms of centralising political power already the unwinding of the three waters reforms and reversals of Health reforms will cause more power to be centralised.
  • In terms of sweeping away business constraints National has promised a number of measures that are not in place as yet.  This is despite New Zealand already being among the easiest places in the world to do business.
  • The introduction of 90 day fire at will provisions and the removal of the Fair Pay system both enacted under urgency will have a significant effect on measures designed to protect workers rights.  And how about changing the way benefit increases for everyone except superannuants are calculated so that over time there is more child poverty?  Or how about increasing sanctions on beneficiaries?
  • As for supporting landlords against tenants how about the reintroduction of no cause evictions and reduction of notice periods?  And National’s pushing through of tax cuts for landlords with retrospective effect and the reduction of the bright line period will have landlords dancing in the streets.
  • And in relation to destroying regulations that protect the living world this is a doozie.  The legislation that wound back Resource planning to the old Resource Management Act contained a provision allowing for the Minister by regulation to override protective legislation.  As pointed out by the Environmental Defence Society “[t]he Government now has the power to exempt parts of the country from any or all of the Resource Management Act requirements and allow destruction of our precious indigenous plants and animals and pollution of our rivers and coasts. This will be able to occur without proper consideration of the impact on nature and neighbouring communities.”

The only two areas not affected yet are the right to strike and criminalising peaceful protest.  Every other policy that has been enacted or is in the process of being enacted is something that the Atlas Corporation would approve of.

Even some of the campaign techniques are similar.  In the United Kingdom Liz Truss had a mini budget that was that good it sent the UK economy into involuntary spasms.  Nicola Willis’s local version did not have such a dramatic effect at least not as yet.

And the way that Atlas and related organisations have placed themselves at the centre of debate is also unnervingly familiar.

From Monbiot:

Last year, the [Institute of Economic Affairs, one of the first members of the Atlas Network] was platformed on British media an average of 14 times a day: even more often than before the disaster it helped inflict on the UK. Scarcely ever was it challenged about who funds it or whom it represents.

Do you find yourself grinding your teeth every time the Taxpayers Union or the New Zealand Initiative get given air time to talk about something?

Monbiot says this about the funding of the Atlas aligned organisations:

Many refuse to divulge who funds them, but as information has trickled out we have discovered that the Atlas Network itself and many of its members have taken money from funding networks set up by the Koch brothers and other rightwing billionaires, and from oilcoal and tobacco companies and other life-defying interests. The junktanks are merely the intermediaries. They go into battle on behalf of their donors, in the class war waged by the rich against the poor. When a government responds to the demands of the network, it responds, in reality, to the money that funds it.

The dark-money junktanks, and the Atlas Network, are a highly effective means of disguising and aggregating power. They are the channel through which billionaires and corporations influence politics without showing their hands, learn the most effective policies and tactics for overcoming resistance to their agenda, and then spread these policies and tactics around the world. This is how nominal democracies become new aristocracies.

Which is eerily what is happening in New Zealand.  From an article by David Williams in Newsroom:

As president and chair of World Taxpayers Associations (an Atlas Network partner), [Taxpayer’s head Jordan Williams] gets some travel expenses paid.

The Taxpayers’ Union has also won awards and travel scholarships from the Atlas Network, chaired by New Zealander Debbi Gibbs, daughter of the businessman Alan Gibbs, a long-time supporter of the Act party.

“We publicly disclose these,” Williams says of the Atlas money. “For example, our investigations co-ordinator recently won the Asia ‘Shark Tank Competition’ – successfully pitching a campaign idea in a Dragons’ Den-style event during the Asia Liberty Forum in Malaysia.”

The $US10,000 prize winner was Oliver Bryan, a former political advisor for a British Conservative Party politician.

“The prize money, and other Atlas funding, is small in terms of our overall budget. It has never constituted more than 1 or 2 percent of our annual income, and it is our only funding from overseas.” (This last statement jars with the earlier one about individual donations.)

The links between Atlas and the TPU are visible for all to see.  On the Atlas Network website there is this article about the TPU:

An upcoming election is expected to deliver a government more favorable to market-based thinking in New Zealand, and the Taxpayers’ Union intends to work alongside the government to be at the forefront of policy development. They plan to work toward their mission by drafting parliamentary bills; shifting the Overton Window by utilizing popular support; campaigning against high taxes, government waste, and inflation; and publicizing high profile government employees or contractors who have had misleading or deceptive trade interactions. The Taxpayers’ Union aims, in the long run, to become the most popularly supported taxpayer and fiscally conservative pressure group in the world, and to establish New Zealand as a pro-freedom policy laboratory. In their words, they will “lead the world from the bottom of the world.”

And some of the articles will make you feel physically ill.  Like this one describing Rogernomics and Ruthenasia as “an inspiring case study of fostering economic growth through rolling back government subsidies and protectionist import controls”.  Or this one highlighting Jordan Williams and his attending the Smith Fellowship, described as being one of the hallmark programs of Atlas Network’s Leadership Academy.  In 2017 he highlighted fundraising as a major challenge.  Back then the TPU’s income was $355 thousand and it had cash reserves of $11,000.

This has increased dramatically.  From public records we are aware that last financial year ending December 31, 2022 it received $2.826 million in income and had nearly a million dollars in cash in its bank accounts.  The return for this year will be very interesting.  The change in funding over 5 years is stark.

And as pointed out by David Williams this funding was used last year to pay for polling at the national and electorate level, the issuing of almost 100 press releases, hosting seven political debates, publishing four policy reports, starting a petition, drafting alternative legislation, and rolling out a debt clock gimmick all between August 1 and election day.  If only the left had a similarly resourced entity to drive policy formation and public opinion.

Given British Tobacco’s involvement in the Taxpayer’s Union you have to wonder what influence it had in the Government decision to wind back New Zealand’s smoke free policy.  Getting extra tax income and pleasing your sponsor may have been too tempting for the Government to ignore even if the cost is increased cancer rates and greater pressure on the health system.

Monbiot’s conclusion is just as relevant for New Zealand as it is for England.

These junktanks are like the spike proteins on a virus. They are the means by which plutocratic power invades the cells of public life and takes over. It’s time we developed an immune system.

115 comments on “Atlas smirked ”

  1. Incognito 1

    New Zealand Initiative

    [Bugger now fixed – MS]

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    But the people voted for this Government and the people's vote must be respected!

    New Zealander's voted for change: it's what we wanted!

    *whines

  3. Anne 3

    To my mind, this is the most important post you have submitted on this site mickysavage.

    You have confirmed my long held suspicion that NZ and NZ politics is being seriously manipulated by forces beyond our shores.

    Ironic isn't it! The conspiracy nutbars (sorry weka but that is what they are) are correct about the existence of an international web of organisations intent on manipulating social and political discourse. The trouble is, it's their own supporting groups (see NZ Taxpayers Union etc.) and their wealthy overseas enablers who are the culprits.

    It is a societal cancer on a global scale and requires a major international effort to counter the damage being done before it becomes terminal.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      Thanks Anne

      Sometimes posts take a long time to form. This just poured out onto the page. I always knew that the left had problems but I did not think the right was this organised or focussed.

      The question will be what does the left do.

      • Grey Area 3.2.1

        "The question will be what does the left do."

        FFS. I was hoping you could give us a steer, this shit is real.

      • Darien Fenton 3.2.2

        Yes exactly Micky. That will be an interesting discussion. Meanwhile, did anyone see the "God made Trump" video? I thought it was a spoof, until I checked and stopped laughing quickly. This is where we go in our little country and it is what I fear most. All the actors are in place and power now, including Seymour who mentioned “his friends at Atlas” in a Waitangi Day speech.

        https://www.indy100.com/politics/god-made-trump-truth-social

        • Incognito 3.2.2.1

          In our little country of ca. 5.3 million wee souls, we already have political players with a Messiah complex, so it wouldn’t take a big leap of faith to imagine one with a God complex arising in Godzone.

    • Grey Area 3.3

      "It is a societal cancer on a global scale and requires a major international effort to counter the damage being done before it becomes terminal."

      Anne, the only way I have to be part of a major international effort was to be there yesterday marching in solidarity with Palestinians against genocidal Israel. As for Aotearoa New Zealand, it may be part of "societal cancer on a global scale" but we have to somehow claim our country back from this awful extreme right wing coalition. Any ideas?

    • Phillip ure 3.4

      Agree with what anne said..

      This is important information..and must be disseminated widely…

      I have long thought that national is act with the mask on…and act are national with the mask off..

      And this post brings that clearly into focus…and/but is so much darker/dangerous to our democracy..

  4. Pat 4

    It may be timely for Monbiot to remind everyone about libertarian think tanks and their influence but it is hardly a revelation, he (and others) have been drawing attention to the fact for years, if not decades…..and everyone knows who the likes of the Taxpayers Union and the NZ Initiative advocate for.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/07/us-billionaires-hard-right-britain-spiked-magazine-charles-david-koch-foundation

    https://www.monbiot.com/2018/12/10/you-want-it-darker/

    • Incognito 4.1

      Either you’re missing the point(s) or you’re downplaying it or a bit of both. At least you didn’t fob it off as some kind of grief vibe.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        The points have been made and known for years..as the linked Monbiot articles from 2018 show

        • Barfly 4.1.1.1

          A lot of information that is new to me in this article a definite FFS moment

          • Pat 4.1.1.1.1

            If it is new to you then I would suggest you havnt been a close reader of this site for very long….but it is good that you have now found the information, it is the one reason I persist with this site, as every once in a while someone posts something I would not have found in the other sites i frequent.

        • Phillip ure 4.1.1.2

          @ pat..

          Aah..!..yes..it has been said before…but the point is that now that they are clearly winning..eh..?

          And that is the difference..

          • Pat 4.1.1.2.1

            "…but the point is that now that they are clearly winning..eh..?"

            In case nobody had noticed they have been running things since the end of Bretton Woods…or perhaps a few years after to allow them to get their feet under the table and really take control of capital movement.

            And its all been said before, the only difference is that some whose noses are now out of joint suddenly decide it’s important….somewhat belatedly.

        • Muttonbird 4.1.1.3

          It's true right wing think tanks have been known about for years but the increase in network organisation and funding in this part of the world is new, described by MS here:

          In 2017 he highlighted fundraising as a major challenge. Back then the TPU’s income was $355 thousand and it had cash reserves of $11,000.

          This has increased dramatically. From public records we are aware that last financial year ending December 31, 2022 it received $2.826 million in income and had nearly a million dollars in cash in its bank accounts. The return for this year will be very interesting. The change in funding over 5 years is stark.

          It's clear some people don't read the post before commenting.

          • Pat 4.1.1.3.1

            Fill your boots…there is nothing new….you think this is a revelation?…its been happening for 40 years (probably more)…what do you think the fight is?…beating up some fascists in the street?….no it it is a fight against the resources of the elites,,,same as it ever was.

            Wake up

  5. John. Drinnan 5

    Fair enough .Have a go at this Atlas network. But you need to find some actual link with NZ rather then a reckon. Apart from Britain – there is a global move to the right – which you understandably oppose. But there have been similar global movements to the left. NZ may be islands geographically, but we are not divorced from global political trends

  6. Matiri 6

    Ruth Richardson is on the board of the Tax Payers Union. Casey Costello resigned from the board so she could concentrate on the 2023 election – she is now a first time MP for New Zealand First and a cabinet minister – Customs, Seniors and Associate Minister for Health (smokefree legislation), Immigration and Police.

    • millsy 6.1

      That NZ First, a party that has historically more or less stood for expansionary fiscal and monetary policy has a member of the Taxpayer's union on its list underlines the massive shift to the right the party has undertaken in the past few years.

      But of course we should have known. Winston Peters started out on the right of the National Party.

    • Anne 6.2

      Ruth Richardson was instrumental in assisting Argentina down the libertarian road some 20 plus years ago.

      Casey Costello, a first time MP catapulted straight into a ministerial role. That tells me, its no longer what you know but who you know that counts. Any Tom, Dick, Harry or Mary with no political knowledge or experience will be let loose over the masses to the detriment of an entire nation.

      https://www.beehive.govt.nz/minister/biography/casey-costello

      OMG Hobson’s Pledge. Isn’t that Brash’s crowd of miscreants?

  7. Ad 7

    Nice work Mickey and George but only adds to my bad case of post election Left Melancholy.

  8. Grey Area 8

    Glad you've picked this up Micky. Obtrectator posted the Monbiot article link last night in OM and thought it might get missed.

    I followed his post this morning with this:

    Taxpayers Union and Atlas Network

    NZ is after Lithuania.

    • mickysavage 8.1

      Ta I am sort of surprised they are so blatant about it.

      • Grey Area 8.1.1

        Okay, So now what do we do about it? We are in deep shit.

      • Anne 8.1.2

        I'm not ms. I have watched normally rational and intelligent (but politically uninformed) relatives of mine fall hook, line and sinker for the NAct lines.

        • Grey Area 8.1.2.1

          So Anne, what do we do about it?

          • Anne 8.1.2.1.1

            What needs to happen is:

            Labour, Greens and TPM have to set aside their differences and work together as a close-knit team. Under the current circumstance, policy differences are a luxury they can't afford. Better to wait for better times to iron out those differences.

            As far as I can see that is the only way to counter the onslaught of right-wing, libertarian rhetoric and action. We can't match their bottomless cookie jar, but together the progressive parties can out-wit them in other areas because they are largely visionless and not very bright.

            When you think about it, NZ's proudest moments since WW2 have occurred under Labour or Labour-led governments, I refer to the Norman Kirk Govt. and the fight against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific and the Lange Govt.'s anti-nuclear stance both of which were well and truly vindicated. There was the Helen Clark era. during which we saw the first ever successful trade deal with China and also her refusal to send fighting troops to Iraq which was also well and truly vindicated. Finally the Ardern Govt. – together with the former Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield and his team – became internationally lauded for their outstanding success in saving… probably many thousands of lives during the pandemic years.

            The above gives me some hope that together the Opposition parties can bring back democratic governance for all NZers in the not too distant future.

            • Grey Area 8.1.2.1.1.1

              I agree that should be one part of response to the NAF government Anne. I hope they are already talking.

            • Heather Tanguay 8.1.2.1.1.2

              Congratulations Anne on your concise outlined plan to counter the dire and dismal outlook Micky has painted.

              The current government are not experienced, the majority not too quick. With a joint, well organized opposition, your plan has to work.

              • Robert Guyton

                Well described, Heather.

                They used smart people from over the sea to win the election, but they themselves are not too bright, imo, hence they have an Achilles heel.

                The now-Opposition looks hungry for the opportunity to eviscerate the shallower Ministers who will only be able to bluster and block for so long.

                • roblogic

                  A prominent economist with whom I am acquainted told Nic Willis that it's time to get out of campaign mode, actually get a handle on her portfolio and begin to govern.

                  Applies to the whole coalition. But they are not capable, as the public will begin to see over the coming months/years

                  As others have noted ‘these are not serious people’.

              • Anne

                Thank-you Heather Tanguay. A coming together of the Oppo. parties is only the start of course. There will need to be action taken but that can only be determined in response to Govt. action and rhetoric.

                No pussy footing around any more Labour.

            • Ad 8.1.2.1.1.3

              The last time either the Greens, Labour, or Maori Party put out a media release it was December 21st.

              Since December 21st ACT have put out 11 media releases, and the government 9.

              This is a lazy Opposition so far and this government certainly isn't.

              There's no evidence since October's election that Hipkins or Shaw or Davidson or Waititi have picked up the phone to each other or organised anything together.

              So best of luck with your thoughts.

              If you want this to happen, email them and call their office and ask them what the hell they think they are getting paid for.

        • Incognito 8.1.2.2

          Their politics of persuasion is like opium for the masses. As long as we have some kind of democratic system, they only need to convince enough people to be in power and control. This is the intrinsic flaw in and of the (democratic) system as we know and have it, at present. For progressive change to happen people have to believe in it, at least enough to imagine it, as people always follow their beliefs. This is where the power of persuasion comes in and the influence of Randian thought and ideas become evident.

          • Anne 8.1.2.2.1

            yes

            All the more reason for a combined effort from the Opposition parties to out-do the Randian followers and win back the naive and gullible from their opium induced political coma.

  9. Mike the Lefty 9

    It shouldn't surprise anyone with at least a few clues that National follow closely the line set for them by overseas greedy right-wingers whose mission in life is to make life as idilic for themselves and simultaneously as hard for others, as possible.

    National never had an original thought throughout its existence. Its policies are always reactive, retrograde and overseas-sourced, never progressive – with the one exception being when they electrified the main trunk line under Muldoon.

    We can't expect any better than the current crop of NACTs, they have the mentality of Vogons wanting to construct a hyper gallactic bypass.

    • millsy 9.1

      All they want to do is tear things down, never build them up. This current lot have already started. They cannot stand the workers of this country having a share of economic prosperity. Which is why they chopped the Fair Pay Agreements, and allowed the Reserve Bank to hike interest rates to the point where people lose their jobs and home. And it really sickens me that people who say they used to be on the left or Labour supporters voted for them.

    • theotherpat 9.2

      you wait…..the dolphins will leave…………

  10. Mike Smith 10

    Fantastic post Mickey. I agree with Anne; a very important piece of work.

  11. Corey 11

    I'm not sure what the story is here?

    The policies listed as shared goals between the government and Atlas are just bog standard base center right neoliberal policies that every center party around the world has believed in since the 80s.

    Bolger, Shipley and Key were all believers. There's no conspiracy here.

    Labour and its affiliates are also a part of numerous global organisations and think tanks, as are the Greens and all consult with various global organisations and consultants.

    This is not new, it's been around around since the days of the socialist international.

    Of course right wing parties and think tanks around the world have policy overlap.

    There is no conspiracy theory needed to explain Labours defeat. The global economy tanked and they'd been in for two terms so it was aidious.

    The fact that Labour were trounced so historically, getting their lowest number of electorates in the partys history and when non voters are counted getting support from less than a fifth of all eligible voters isn't a global networks fault but labours fault.

    They were elected to fix the housing crisis and make home ownership a possibility for every young kiwi and they made it even more unrealistic for young kiwis to ever own a home and it's now so bad that young kiwis can't even find a home to rent in any NZ city over 100k.

    They overpromised, severely underdelivered were ludicrously overexposed and took the cowards way out on every popular populist position from drug reform, to tax reform, to consumer and duopoly reform, to housing and capital reform.

    They got arrogant stopped debating and stopped listening, pissed off the left, they pissed off the right and the center had had enough of them.

    Then their popular leader left and was replaced by a Keir Starmer knock off that spent the entire year ruling anything anyone wanted out and dealing with the fall out of the fast and loose cabinet leadership style of his predecessor who allowed far too many rank arrogant incompetents into cabinet and let far, far too many failures and bad behaviours go unpunished.

    Who would want to vote for that party? Especially when their answer to any and all popular policies with voters on the left and right was "not under our watch, you'll have a cheap apple in two years and you'll be happy"

    About one fifth of the country evidently.

    No conspiracy needed.

    • Grey Area 11.1

      But Corey what the fuck do we do about it? Labour can't save us because we know they are embedded in the system. Criticism doesn't cut it. Do you have an actual solution?

    • roblogic 11.2

      Someone hasn't read "Dirty Politics" or "The Hollow Men" or "Only Their Purpose is Mad"

      This is not a democratic movement.

      It's a class war enacted by the 1% against people's movements and democracy itself

      A new report found that America’s richest families accumulated $8.5 trillion in untaxed capital gains in 2022. …And they want the Supreme Court to keep it that way. More: https://t.co/ez93yz5qm6 pic.twitter.com/1zNG75bihk— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 6, 2024

    • Bearded Git 11.3

      Labour got 27% National got 38%. If NZF had elected to go with the Left Hipkins would be PM….hardly a trouncing.*

      Michael Wood was a highly competent minister. Quite why he didn't sort out his personal shareholding details remains a mystery but one thing is clear, it was not in order for him to make personal monetary gain.

      *And watch this space…Peters may yet bring down this coalition of cuts….he really hates Seymour.

    • mickysavage 11.4

      The funding is the issue. Do we want a democratic system which gives such an inbuilt advantage to the right?

      • Darien Fenton 11.4.1

        Yes agree ; I hope when the donations information comes out someone does a deep dive into those who supported NAF with large amounts of money, including a free plane for David Seymour.

        • gsays 11.4.1.1

          Hi Darien, I appreciate yr contributions to TS and larger public service.

          Surely what yrself and Mickey are dancing around is public/state funded elections.

          Like lobbyists, 'donations' to political parties pervert democracy.

          If political donations are to continue, they are not to be spent in say, the final six months before the election date.

          • Pat 11.4.1.1.1

            Political donations are a tiny amount of the spend of those promoting the neolib agenda….the work has been done (and paid for) well in advance of the elections…and oddly enough ,I suspect if you stripped away all the deception and misinformation, most would still choose what is offered by the neolibs…and that is the real problem…we are actively choosing what they offer to our (offsprings) detriment.

            And that is what upsets the opponents and makes them advocate for authoritarianism…to their detriment .

          • Darien Fenton 11.4.1.1.2

            Thanks. I agree but we have never been able to get state funding across the line. I suppose we are better off than some countries (ie the US) because TV and other public media advertising is State funded, but doesn't now take account of the huge amount of advertising that takes place elsewhere. I can't remember if I saw any political advertising on tv this time around because I hardly ever watch anyway. As for political donations, yes this is an area crying out for reform. I agree with Pat. Much money is spent outside the election period – basically we had a full on advertising campaign for the last two years from National and ACT. And lobbyists ? I never as an MP took any notice of them anyway!

    • theotherpat 11.5

      i so wish i could disagree….like many they lost my vote to the greens…..totally incompetent in the eyes of many, perhaps after we have been royally screwed ove the population will welcome them back…..if its not to late and damage is repairable.

  12. Grey Area 12

    Of course those who care about the direction of these islands say No! So with a limp, neoliberal centrist Labour Party what advice do you have for us, Micky?

    "Chippy" can't save us. Labour can't save us. Time to man up, bro. Any ideas?

    Aotearoa NZ is in deep shit.

  13. Grey Area 13

    No @ Bearded Git, Michael Wood was not a highly competent Minister. Like you I don't understand how someone who appeared to be a competent Minister imploded.

    I agree it wasn't for personal gain. Hubris?

    Fucked if I know.

    Doesn't matter, Wood let down those of us who care.

    A competent Minister wouldn't have screwed up multiple times.

    • Bearded Git 13.1

      Grey….I agree he screwed up on personal financial matters multiple times…inexplicable……lazy?…arrogant? ….and very damaging to Labour.

      But prior to this he had been an eloquent and impressive minister touted as a future leader.

      His behaviour may well have cost 2-3 percent at the election.

      • Grey Area 13.1.1

        Fair enough. He did start out well. Puzzling how it all ended.

        • Ad 13.1.1.1

          No puzzle. He and his wife were simply greedy and got caught.

          • Bearded Git 13.1.1.1.1

            That doesn't make sense. The inference is that by hiding their shareholdings from parliament's records they were in some way benefitting financially. Not true.

            They would have made the income from the shares-not a huge amount- and paid any tax due on this whether they declared them to parliament or not.

            I really think that they were just lazy and a trifle arrogant.

      • Tiger Mountain 13.1.2

        Mr Wood did a great job with bus drivers, delivering a substantial pay increase and changing the terms of how contracts were let, which had allowed the low paying parasites to dominate bus services for decades.

        He was also instrumental in rejuvenating plans for NZ owned and operated Coastal Shipping in league with some of the NZ shipping companies and Maritime Unions.

        • millsy 13.1.2.1

          Probably why he get railroaded. Cannot have bus drivers getting more money, or public transport focusing on service provision, not profit.

        • Patricia Bremner 13.1.2.2

          So in my opinion he became a target, as did all the successful ministers of the left.

          "The Nact Act double act" run a 5th column to search out weaknesses in the opposing parties. They found and pressured those weak points.

          The mote in their own eye gets white washed, and they apply one set of rules to themselves and a much harsher set to us, with much media help.

          Nicky Hagar said they were "Hollow", well yes, but they are still dangerous. They appeal to themes such as freedom self help and initiative. They carefully gloss over care community and collective, selling that "professionals can do it better.' Meaning privatise gains and publicise the losses.

          Anyone protesting is labeled as 'needing a cup of tea' We know this, yet how do we counter? We hold meetings fund raisers and raffles.

          We set up our memes which counter theirs. "Better together" '"Fair share of the money" "A home not 200 houses' Repeated at every opportunity with Policy development to match.

          Agitate for controlled financial support for parties.

          Face that they ran a better advertising campaign using modern techniques and $9 a vote to one dollar odd for ours, and they won because they joined up to win, then divide the spoils.

          There is a window before they become entrenched and we all become too frightened to appear above the parapet.

        • gsays 13.1.2.3

          While acknowledging the wins, the ball was dropped with the 'accredited employer work visa scheme'. The system that had 40 Indian migrants in a squalid 3 bedroom house in Manurewa.

          Not necessarily by the individual, more their trust/belief in the 'system', and the failure to have more audits. Modern slavery is a shameful moniker for a party called Labour.

          This is one of the most important changes in direction they have to make to make a difference.

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/496017/accredited-employer-work-visa-scheme-to-be-reviewed-after-whistleblower-s-allegations

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018853993/workplace-relations-minister-confirms-govt-review-of-rse-scheme

  14. Thinker 14

    I've never forgotten our statistics 101 lecturer, who foretold the introduction of what became eftpos but in those days where coins and banknotes were the only currency it sounded fantastic.

    The relevance of that to today's world is his explanation of why NZ was chosen to roll it out to the world.

    He told us NZ has a small population but other than that the features of our country and its population closely resemble most of the western world and many other countries besides.

    Hence, we are a good test bed for new ideas and new technology. Before things get rolled out globally, we are useful as a representative sample to iron out any bugs and, just as important, how we react to things gives 'them' a chance to tweak the global rollout without too much opposition. Any opposition can be predicted, thanks to us, and a response prepared for.

    Whenever global ideologies seem to find their way to NZ early in the piece, I always remember what my old stats lecturer said.

  15. SPC 15

    If you want to know how simplistic the right wing narrative can be – then read this.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/paula-bennett-is-the-gap-widening-between-left-and-right/KBQ3BB6IYNEWDHHA4EM6M7PO6Q/

  16. SPC 16

    https://liberation.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451d75d69e20134898fa54a970c-500wi

    Together we can ride the sacred cow of 90's ideology to make a new world order, one capital voice to rule over all indigenous peoples.

    • lprent 16.1

      Site hardware updates are mostly finished. I’ll stop dropping the site whilst you’re reading it 🙂

      Have one hardware issue. I have a old LSI MegaRaid card in there that I use a archive store for JBODs on a ZFS array. The new Gigabyte motherboard doesn’t like card and doesn’t SCSI init it.

      So I’ll need to take the site down sometime to pull the controller and drives to transplant to my workstation, which has a ASRock Rack workstation/server board that should be comfortable with HBA. Just have add some drive caddies for the added HDDs.

      • SPC 16.1.1

        Sure if the mb does not like the card just hand the job over to an available workstation that can bus it with some added storage… .

  17. Rolling-on-Gravel 17

    You want an idea of what is required to contest this sort of thing?

    Organisation. Sustained organisation. And this means all kinds of connections need to be made. Meet poor, middle class and rich people (one of these defectors from decadence types) alike who will stop this. Look for those who will work inside and outside of parliament. This is easier said than done. However, we should try to work throughout all levels of society to work against the worldwide reactionary right-wing pro-pollution, pro-austerity, anti-human, pro-Social Darwinist pro-capitalist organisers and their capitalist wealthy bosses through using think tanks, their wretched values and institutions and their media orgs to corrupt us into doing their bidding. They have already declared their war on us and we should return the declaration, because this is a class war that will take all aspects of our shared humanity and our backgrounds to counter them until they are unable to hurt humanity ever again.

    This means activism. Sustained activism. Activism is not just slinging ideas, it takes all sort of things, from small acts of activism like putting up posters and talking with people you know right up till the big activisms like organising a protest or speaking against the powers that-be in a perilous place. We need to keep this sort of pace up, never stop. Get ourselves more embedded into our society like we were always meant to be in the first place. We were and are alienated from our own society by letting the capitalists and reactionaries rule us by taking more and more resources away from us that we could have used to improve and to look after ourselves.

    What do we stand for? A new 21st century vision of an ecologically sound world that is accessible to all people physically and sensorally which is based in a proper wealth and resource based distribution that is shared between all of humanity in a solar system that we cherish.

    In other words, all of us are part of this world and we in Aotearoa/New Zealand need to accept who we are then embrace our societal potential. We are the fortunate people of this gorgeous land of the long white cloud in the beautiful vastness of the Pacific Ocean near our lovely Pacific & Australian neighbours and it is time that we act like it. We need to make Aotearoa/New Zealand a land for all who treasure it, whether we are Maaori or Paakehaa or Pasifika or African or Asian or American or European or Martian or whoever we are. We are the guardians of this land, the ocean and the world. We need to act like it. We have that potential and we need to embrace it.

    Time to fight back.

  18. Robert Guyton 18

    Can the next post be titled, "Atlas smacked"?

  19. paul chalmers 19

    Superb piece micky – the Powell Memo come to life

  20. Robert Guyton 20

    If the right-wing Government was to swiftly legalise cannabis, the left would be unable to rise again, ever.

  21. Pat 21

    Perhaps Atlas was in the wrong job.

    • Robert Guyton 21.1

      He had no choice. He shouldered his responsibility as best he could.

      • Pat 21.1.1

        He had no choice as to holding up the sky…everything else?

        But we should not be too pedantic as Atlas is a metaphor…and a misattributed one at that….the money men may believe they are responsible form human innovation, but they in fact exploit it..sadly however it does appear to recede when the exploiters are banished….therein lies the problem.

        Well sort of…as we have run out of room for exploitation in any case.

        • Robert Guyton 21.1.1.1

          "…sadly however it does appear to recede when the exploiters are banished…"

          Does it??

          Innovators have been innovating looooooong before Rand's darlings took the stage.

          The inventor of the bow didn't demand his pound of flesh for his cleverness, nor did the person who noticed what yeast did to wet flour…

          • Pat 21.1.1.1.1

            "The inventor of the bow didn't demand his pound of flesh for his cleverness, nor did the person who noticed what yeast did to wet flour…"

            No, i suspect those individuals did not, but Rands lot made sure those innovations were available to as many as possible, to their own benefit…and therein lies the difference.

            Is it innovation if nobody adopts it?…id suggest not.

            • Robert Guyton 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Nobody adopted .. the bow? The clay pot? No uptake for flint knives, woven sandals or wooden combs, until a Randian stepped up to save humanity from its dimwittedness?

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