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Australia’s sweatshop

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, July 7th, 2012 - 69 comments
Categories: australian politics, business, capitalism, class war - Tags: , ,

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of the economy. While Tim Grosser is out there negotiating away our sovereignty, John Key is making plans to try to hawk our low wage workforce to Australians. Fran O’Sullivan is enthusiastic:

The frank admiration for New Zealand’s economic policies – which was on show at the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum meeting – had not really been displayed by Australian power-brokers since this country was in the grip of Rogernomics and Bill Birch’s labour market reforms.

Yes – what a wonderful job those policies did on New Zealand. That was when we began falling catastrophically behind Australia.

The Cabinet has since made a strategic decision to capitalise on the improved Australian business sentiment towards New Zealand by “going hard” for more investment. Companies like Heinz Wattie have already scrapped hundreds of Australian jobs in favour of opening new plants in New Zealand to take advantage of lower wages and restrictive labour laws.

Australia has well organised labor and higher wages. So of course the “business leaders” are screwing their local communities and looking for somewhere we they can make bigger profits. That’s how capitalism works.

This is good news. But typically, Labour still sees it through a “glass half empty” prism as positioning New Zealand like Mexico; a low wage neighbour where Australians can outsource manufacturing jobs in the way United States corporates have outsourced similar jobs to Mexicans.

I’m with Labour on this – being a low wage drudge country is nothing to aspire to or be proud of. Remember when we wanted to close the gap with Australia, instead of going backwards?

I wish Labour would also focus on the fact that it is going to take considerable time and investment to build more high-tech growth companies which will spawn high-paid brainy jobs as well as the brawny ones.

“High-tech growth companies” from Australia are not going to spawn “high-paid brainy jobs” here any more than similar outsourcing has created such jobs in India, the Philippines, or Mexico. Outsourcing creates minimum wage crap jobs – that’s the whole point.

If we want to create “high-paid brainy jobs” in NZ we have to do it for ourselves. It doesn’t always take “investment” – companies like Apple and Google got started in a garage. One of our own local (though little known) international success stories, Tait Communications, is proudly and fiercely local, owned by private trusts, and focused on growth in Canterbury. That’s what we need more of in NZ, not Aussie sweatshops.


69 comments on “Australia’s sweatshop”

  1. Chris 1

    Trouble is brainy jobs are never going to be more than a minor % of the economy, or is that very wrong?

    • Dv 1.1

      Apple has more cash reserves than the US

      • Chris 1.1.1

        Apple doesn’t employ an equivalent % of the workforce. So don’t you need high & low-skilled jobs?

        • Dv

          I guess the point I was trying to make was that Apple is a hi tech company with lots of R&D and producing huge cash flows and profits.

          The weak point of my argument is that Apple off shore their manufacture.

          • David H

            Yeah to sweat shops in China. And there have been a few suicides of the workers there. Yep just what Shonky and co want for NZ. Slave shops in NZ.

  2. Olwyn 2

    There is a sinister side to this “catching up with Australia” notion, especially when the “we” who are doing the catching up remain unspecified. It is the idea that the ownership/management class should enjoy “international” levels of prosperity, despite their living and working in a small, isolated country. The achievement of this of course involves the exploitation, degradation and dismissal of those who are not members of the above-mentioned class. Why we should all be turned into manure to permit a few third rate dahlias to flourish unimpeded is beyond me.

    • Dr Terry 2.1

      Olwyn – excellent and perceptive comment.

    • Chris 2.2

      True. Key seems desperate to get any kind of jobs here, by any quick solution. Being competitive, he would call it. More R&D just won’t do it. Hitech sector growth seems to result in more social inequality not less, wouldn’t you say? Am reluctant to believe Key’s solution is the more democratic one.

  3. mike e 3

    Fran O’sullivan is just another right wing idiot.
    It takes time to build high tech industry especially if you take a razor to the research and development funding slash by more than half by short sighted Tory fuckwits.It takes time for this research to build momentum and National has done huge damage to our future by continually undermining the sector both now and in the 90’s National Fucked it up but you can add Roger Douglas to that equation to.
    Michael Cullen PHd in economic history so he knew what works as he has studied economics back to Egyptian times.Also has a masters degree with honours in economics. Cullen increased spending right across the board on R&D.Nearly 3 times what the previous govt had invested.
    It just shows you that the London school of economics was right that our country is being held back because of poorly educated people in charge Shonkey Investment wanker Who has an accounting Degree can balance books but that’s as far as it goes and double dipstick a career treasury bean counter who had to work extremely hard to get his degree because he doesn’t have the brains.

    Having your research not continually under mined allows the R&D sector to produce results far more rapidly because it takes 15 years on average to bring new ideas to the market something Beaned brained bean counters like Shonkey and the dipstick from Dipton don’t understand As they are just political cost accountants with an election to win every 3 years.

    • DH 3.1

      I wouldn’t be so quick to praise Cullen. All of the structural economic problems that this country faces began under Cullens watch. The big buildup of overseas borrowing, the housing boom, the high dollar that killed NZ industry – all started & occurred right under Cullen’s nose. He had the power to stop all that, he did nothing.

      I used to export a bit back in 2000-03. The $NZD hovered around 40-50c. Try running a business when your selling price halves, but costs don’t come down to compensate, and see how far you get with it.

      The Nats are just a mafia but Labour haven’t covered themselves with glory either.

      • mike e 3.1.1

        DH the recent debt build up started happening under Muldoon gathered pace under Roger Douglas and has stayed the same rate of increase right through the nineties and 2000,s.The rate of increase look at stats NZ exactly the same rate of increase. Even under bill english the private debt rate has slowed down but the govt debt rate has increased to make around the same overall rate of increase.
        During the 2000,s 2 things changed Cullen started the Cullen fund and Jim Anderton Kiwisaver.
        The main reason we have a high dollar is we are linked to Australia .Where Australia’s dollar goes ours goes with a small margin of error.
        The other main reason our dollar and balance of payments is so bad is we import mountains of oil.
        Borrowing is obviously amongst the mix.
        But New Zealand has always had high level of borrowing going right back to the 1880’s its one factor but if we got rid of all our debt we would probably import more junk instead.
        It would be better if we invested off shore and imported dividends but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
        Once again our dollar would be seen as strong so would go up there are no easy solutions.
        The best thing we can hope for is the Aussie going down.

        • Colonial Viper

          you can’t talk of growth in debt as some kind of trend of nature.

          Cullen let private debt grow massively because it was fueling rocketing house price increases. And that made the property owning middle classes very happy. Money flowing into the economy from debt creation also helped lower unemployment throughout the country.

        • DH

          I’m not saying everything Cullen did was bad but the point still stands. Those issues are inarguably the prime cause of our present economic problems and Cullen, as finance minister, is responsible for what happened to this country under his watch.

          And one I missed is WFF. Instead of addressing the reasons why families were struggling financially Cullen just handed out more middle class welfare. He didn’t solve the problem, just brushed it under the carpet, and now we’re committed to spending a fortune on WFF while things go from bad to worse. He didn’t fix it so of course now families are struggling again, WFF just gave them a breather.

          Sorry but I can’t find much praise for Cullen. In my view he thoroughly betrayed the working class that Labour used to stand for.

          • mike e

            Agreed but NZ is run by the right and for labour to stay in power they have to swallow alot of dead rats so they can only make small policy changes.

        • Georgecom

          There was quite a bit the Clark led govts could have done to rebalance our economy which they didn’t do. We didn’t get a CGT or a financial transaction tax, something we need. The moves to refocus the Reserve Banks fixation with inflation were lukewarm.

          Cullen did however lay the foundations for a savings culture. That was significant. They also made some attempts to reform the tax code by cutting taxes at the bottom brackets.

          The enxt Labour govt can bring in the CGT, FTT and inject some reality into the Reserve Bank. Unfortunately the ill-conceived and costly tax cuts of Bill English have buggered the opportunity to do anything about an increased tax free bracket at the bottom for a period of time.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Unfortunately the ill-conceived and costly tax cuts of Bill English have buggered the opportunity to do anything about an increased tax free bracket at the bottom for a period of time.

            UBI and a flat tax (and, no, I’m not talking about the 25 to 30% that most people assume is the ideal. That idea seems to founded upon ideology and not reality).

        • Draco T Bastard

          …but if we got rid of all our debt we would probably import more junk instead.

          Only if we didn’t produce it here from our own resources which, despite what current economic theory tells us, is always the cheapest and most efficient source. It also pushes the development* of the economy and society.

          * I use development on purpose as we don’t want growth.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        All of the structural economic problems that this country faces began under Cullens watch.

        Ah, no, they all began under Douglass in the 1980s – Cullen just didn't fix them. This is probably due to the simple fact that he's still stuck on capitalism and free markets as the solution rather than realising that they're the problem.

        • Georgecom

          Agreed, the problems stemming from neo-liberal capitalism that NZ, and the western world, is grappling with are a legacy of the like of Douglas and his ilk. Cullen didn’t fix them because his government practised a variant of the ‘third way’, attempting to fuse neo-liberal economics with some social democracy. The ‘competitive market’ narrative of neo-liberalism was never seriously challenged under third way politics. The only genuine challenge was neutralised by 2002 with the falling away of the Alliance.

          Neo-liberalised ‘third wayism’, along with neo-liberalism itself, was discredited as the 2008 global crisis struck. It may take some time still for the majority view to arrive at that realisation, however the die is cast. It takes some a while longer to come to that conclusion. A genuine third way, between neo-liberal capitalism and state socialism, will also take some time to emerge.

      • “I wouldn’t be so quick to praise Cullen. All of the structural economic problems that this country faces began under Cullens watch. The big buildup of overseas borrowing, the housing boom, the high dollar that killed NZ industry …”

        Not true.

        “Big buildup of overseas borrowing” my hairy arse.

        Let me correct you, so you may be better prepared in future; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/labour-the-economic-record-2000-2008/

        As for the “housing boom” and the “high dollar” – these are all part of the much-vaunted “free market” that New Zealand currently “enjoys”. Labour’s proposed capital gains tax would have gone some way to addressing this waste of capital in speculative “investment” – but the Dear Public thought otherwise last year.

        Most borrowing are therefore PRIVATE debt – not state. (Though the Nats have been having a right old Tax cuts/Borrow Up Large, in the last four years.)

        As for exporting – didn’t you hedge against fluctuations in the dollar?

        • DH

          I think there’s a need for people on the left to wake up a little to the economic incompetence of the last Labour Govt, they got voted out for a reason. Economic growth is a product of increased spending; either domestic or international spending or both.

          The growth that occurred under Labour was driven almost entirely by the spending of borrowed money, specifically money borrowed to buy property. During Labour’s reign the banks borrowed over $100billion from overseas to feed that borrowing. Has anyone thought about what $100billion of extra spending does to an economy with a GDP in 2001 of $116billion? It must lead to economic growth (in the short term at least)

          The govt clips the ticket on economic activity, Crown revenue runs about a third of GDP, so the Crown coffers filled up with a share of that borrowed money. Forrest Gump could have been Minister of Finance and run a surplus under that scenario.

          Seriously people, the failure of Cullen to halt that overseas borrowing has dropped this country right in it. He went for short term rewards and now we’re paying the price of it, to make matters worse the Nats are gleefully exploiting the situation to loot the country.

          • Frank Macskasy

            As I pointed out to TS, you are incorrect regarding the “economic incompetence of the last Labour Govt”.

            Labour paid down sovereign debt.


            Cullen posted surplus after surplus. Unemployment was low. Inflation was low. In fact, you probably recall the clamour for tax cuts in 2007 and 2008, because of these surpluses. (But you already knew that, right?)

            And grew GDP : http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/gdp-growth (set date parameters 2000 onward).

            The growth in debt was fuelled by private borrowings for a range of reasons – including property speculation.

            Of course Labour could have introduced a capital gains tax in the last nine years. That they didn’t is an issue in itself. But I suspect had they done so, there would’ve been a massive outcry from National, ACT, and various right wing groupies.

            Quite rightly, Labour put the proposition of a CGT on the table last election. It was not supported by enough voters. Quite rightly, again, Labour will keep this on their policy books for 2014 (if not earlier, when National falls.)

            Tell me, DH, do you support a CGT? Because most righties do not.

            We need a CGT plus a FTT (Financial Transactions Tax) to try to curb some of the “hot money” sloshing around the globe. But again, right wingers don’t like these taxes as it impinges on their free market dogma.

            I look forward to you voting Labour or Green this time around.

            Because even credit agencies don’t seem to like National very much;

            • DH

              Take your blinkers off Frank.They had surpluses & paid off debt because the country was rolling in it. Tax receipts increased over 62% in the nine years Labour were in power, it increased only 25% over the previous nine years. Spending under Labour increased 63% too, and most of that extra dosh they just pissed against the wall.

              What do you think a CGT is going to achieve? I’m in favour of it because property investors are the biggest welfare bludgers of them all & it’s well past time those parasitic leeches paid their share of tax. But a CGT isn’t any kind of economic panacea, it’s not going to turn the economy around or fix the housing problem.

              • Take your blinkers off Frank.They had surpluses & paid off debt because the country was rolling in it. Tax receipts increased over 62% in the nine years Labour were in power, it increased only 25% over the previous nine years. Spending under Labour increased 63% too, and most of that extra dosh they just pissed against the wall.

                What is the source for your stats?

                And yes, Labour paid down debt. At the same time, they rebuilt the slash-and-burn of the previous National government under Bolger and Shipley. Massive cuts to health, education, Police, housing, transport, etc, all became to much for New Zealanders.

                And when Southand farmer Colin Morrison died in April 1998, whilst on a hospital waiting list, that became too much for Middle New Zealand to stomach – National was thrown out at the end of 1999.

                This current hopeless government will go the same way.

                What do you think a CGT is going to achieve? I’m in favour of it because property investors are the biggest welfare bludgers of them all & it’s well past time those parasitic leeches paid their share of tax. But a CGT isn’t any kind of economic panacea, it’s not going to turn the economy around or fix the housing problem.

                Note my comments to Herodotus on this issue.

            • Herodotus

              Your link regarding Lab paying down government debt does no such thing. All it shows is net debt
              Frank regarding inflation this is only an economic trick it has no bearing as to how difficult households are finding survival. Inflation was low thru to importing delation Draco T B is big on this, and I support their thoughts on the subject. Non tradables had relatively high inflation flat lining above the 3% level.
              Then we had/have the deteriorated current account position
              And finally from the herald. Pity the net version is only a summary of the paper, whereby it was commented on the multi property holdings of the likes of Key and Shearer. CGT will not solve the land ownership issues facing NZ, as the article continues if Nat/Lab were really wanting to solve the issue then placing lending limits that the banks can loan on any property e.g. 80% of purchase price. But we all know that many Mp’s (Not just P.Field and the Greens pension fund) were also profiteering from property dealings. Even if Lab had won and installed a CGT most CG that have been achieved would remain untaxed.

              • Your link regarding Lab paying down government debt does no such thing. All it shows is net debt

                Oh really? So a Treasury graph showing nett debt dropping “does no such thing”?

                In which case, you probably won’t accept this Treasury data either; http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/financialstatements/yearend/jun10/09.htm

                Whether you accept the data or not is irrelevant. Labour paid down sovereign debt and National has borrowed hand-over-fist like there’s no tomorrow.

                Frank regarding inflation this is only an economic trick it has no bearing as to how difficult households are finding survival.

                I’ll let those on fixed/low incomes know that, Herodotus. I’m sure they be relieved to know that increases in electricity, rates, food, transport, insurance are all “economic tricks”.

                It may be a “trick” to you – but it impacts of peoples’ lives.

                Then we had/have the deteriorated current account position

                As more state assets were privatised and ownership passed into foreign ownership, more profits were remitted overseas. That accounts for our constant poor current accounts deficits.

                In fact, it is a bizarre state of affairs that current accounts IMPROVE at times of recession. Why? Because with low economic activity, profits are lower, and so remittance overseas drop away. Check out your link – http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/current-account – and set data parameters to January 1980-July 2012. You will note that the positive ‘spikes’ (ie, when we are in the black) coincide with recessionary moments in our economic history.

                Hence why asset sales (ffarm sales, etc) eventually end up screwing us; profits flowing offshore impacting on our cirrent account.

                CGT will not solve the land ownership issues facing NZ, as the article continues if Nat/Lab were really wanting to solve the issue then placing lending limits that the banks can loan on any property e.g. 80% of purchase price.

                I don’t understand why people insist on one pet-option, to the exclusion of others.

                Complex situations often require a complex, multi-pronged aopproach. Rising property prices are caused by various factors – a lack of capital gains is one. Easy capital is another. Shortage of stock yet another.

                Practically every economic commentator has stated that the economy is distorted by untaxed capital gains from property – whereas profits from actual wealth-producing businesses is taxed.

                Even worse is that property-based speculation uses capital borrowed from offshore – which means that the “profits” made by property investors (speculators) is money borrowed from savers overseas.

                This is not just ludicrous, it is dangerous to our economy and society. Even Key has stated that our private debt is reaching dangerously high levels.

                But I’m sure you know all this already, Herodotus. You simply have to consider the wider aspects of these issues insteads of contextualising in a Left-Right paradigm.

                • Herodotus

                  Gross Govt debt Jan 2000 $31.389b Debt Dec 08 $31.627, so debt was around the same No debt was paid. Govt assets (some of questionable worth) are included to determine Net Debt. But from my reading of your material you know that.
                  As you would regarding that interest rates are not included within the inflation numbers, and paying 10+% mortgages in 08 Did hurt household disposable income as tax creep.
                  And your reference to non tradables e.g. power, rates etc were hidden by the importation of deflation to offset these costs. Problem is that non tradables are inescapable but the benefits of tradables e.g. electronic consumables are the nice to haves.
                  And re current account I am surprised that the govt has not made more of this with their PR commentary of how in the long term their economic plan (not necessary believable) is on the right track 🙁

                  “Even worse is that property-based speculation uses capital borrowed from offshore – which means that the “profits” made by property investors (speculators) is money borrowed from savers overseas.” such activity is already provisioned to be taxed. It is just unfortunate that both Nat and Lab have over the years given this scant thought let alone directing the IRD to actively follow up- In many cases MP’s greatly increasing their wealth on the back of this-So why would they want to change this?. And the tax rate applicable to these profits is far greater than any CGT rate mentioned, for most of us owning 1 property is the max of our property ownership dreams.
                  My limiting what can be loaned by a bank then at least reduces this amazing feat of the banks in making money out of nowhere, but we have to IMO attack the banks 1st, then follow it up with modifying peoples behaviours then towards property.

                  • Gross Govt debt Jan 2000 $31.389b Debt Dec 08 $31.627, so debt was around the same No debt was paid. Govt assets (some of questionable worth) are included to determine Net Debt.

                    If nothing was paid off and government assets used to determine net debt – then Treasury data would show a steady graph line and figures for net debt.

                    But it doesn’t. So your assertions are incorrect. Again.

                    Something was paid off, Herodotus – the data shows a drop in sovereign debt. So unless Treasury is lying and the media has swallowed the line; and only you’re telling the truth… *shrugs*

                    I’m not sure why you’re trying to re-write history unless it’s top make National look good? In which case you’ve got a tough job ahead of you.

                    It’s also worthwhile to note NZ’s credit rating; http://www.nzdmo.govt.nz/sovereigncreditratings

                    Note that out AA+ (Stable) credit ratings were reaffirmed during Labour’s tem., And note that we were downgraded during National’s current and previous term (in the 1990s). (Or is the NZ Debt Management Office wrong as well?)

                    • Herodotus

                      Don’t want to get into a cross purposes argument. I think you are saying that we NZ incorp increased our equity and assets, and I am trying to in a clumsy manner that for debt to be PAID off then debt must reduce. As debt was not reduced then it was not paid off. I cannot see anywhere on your links that display that debt was reduced. I will give you a clumsy e.g..I am 30, I have a mortgage of $100k 5 yrs later my mortgage is still $100k but I have a kiwisaver scheme worth $15k. Have I paid any debt off ?
                      I accept that we increased govt “assets” e.g. student loans as an asset of $10b
                      Mike Kiwi saver grew but much of this was a substitution from private schemes so their has been commentary that the increase in savings was marginal “A Colmar-Brunton survey has suggested about 29 per cent of contributions are new savings that would otherwise be spent while the rest would be saved regardless.” So we the tax payer has paid out all these subsidies for 29% increase, much of this cost at little or no benefit to the beneficiary or the PAYE worker.
                      Mike e govt books were as many here like to comment was nil debt, yet as the likes of student debt went de=]from $1b to $14b what is the real value even Peters & Joyce comment that there is about a 50% collection history, and this debt cost NZ $500m to service. No one comments on the cash flow and this is where the likes of Current account or balance of trade are so good as they are very difficult to manipulate until govt surplus/deficits.

                    • McFlock

                      H, am I missing something?
                      Doesn’t this say that govt debt was being paid off as a percentage of GDP? I.e. if I had a $10k credit card and ten years later still owed $10k, but had gone from earning $20kp.a. to $40kp.a. I’d still be in a much better position.
                      And then two years later I’m still on $40kp.a., but now I owe $17k? I’m not sure I’d be happy about the way things are going…

                    • Herodotus

                      McF, I must be missing something !!!!
                      Repayment of debt to me has the action of thru repayment of some of the principle results in the level of the debt reduces.
                      Perhaps you and Frank have a different meaning of “And yes, Labour paid down debt” than I do. But the world is made up of people viewing the world from differing perspectives, and still seeing the same thing 😉
                      And mikee re $19b of debt you have to listen very carefully as to what is being referred to. That is why I used the 2 links for the $30b debt level to support my comment.

                    • McFlock

                      You mean like the net debt? That definitely reduced quickly in the 2000s. And it’s what Frank was referring to.

                  • mike e

                    Hero The economy grew during that time by 30% strange that.
                    The Cullen Fund Grew from 0to $20 billion dollars.
                    Kiwisaver grew from 0 to $7 billion
                    Acc grew by so much
                    Don’t know all the figures off hand but what the govt owed and what was surplus’s on the govt books when balanced was
                    Zero NZ stats dep has all the figures

                  • mike e

                    debt from what i’ve read was only 19 billion hero.
                    Michael Cullen made a deliberate policy change saying it was more important to grow the economy than to rush to Zero Debt which is a right wing fallacy.
                    Thats why Key is BSing us now

  4. Dr Terry 4

    Simply showing an academic degree does not prove that a person is necessarily Intelligent or able (though we might make an exception of Michael Cullen). Key, with a very ordinary degree, in my opinion has NOT proven even that “he can balance the books”. He substitutes craftiness for intelligence.
    O’Sullivan possibly feels that her love for Key goes unrequited. Her pathetic columns are nothing more than laughable. Arguably, she is even worse than Roughan!

    • mike e 4.1

      Dr terry Key is no doubt intelligent but blinded by neo liberal BS. Investment Bankers don’t make money out of producing things.They are nothing more than money shufflers and Dodgy ones at that.

    • Hami Shearlie 4.2

      Of course Fran loves the idea of Aussies having plants here employing locals at substantially less than they would be paid in Australia. Why? – ‘Cos Auntie Fran is NOT ONE of those locals earning a pittance!!

  5. prism 5

    Tait Communications yeh! Long time nz company hasn’t sold out to overseas and has worker participation. Find out more from link in headline above.

    • DH 5.1

      Tait just won a big contract to supply radios to Aus, for their fire service I think.

      Christchurch probably has more people knowledgeable about high frequency electronics than any other part of NZ, lot of innovation comes out of there and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that ChCh is also the home of Tait. To my mind it shows that you need local industry to create the skilled people who go on to start high-tech businesses of their own.

    • mike e 5.2

      Tait was a family company with no heirs.While it was in family hands they were able to break the Market accounting ideology of just making profit for the owners and ploughed much of the profits back into R&D.Unlike floated companies which have to continually deliver profits .

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    It doesn’t always take “investment” – companies like Apple and Google got started in a garage.

    Google started at Stanford University, an extremely wealthy, well funded private Ivy League-class school.

    Two years after the initial university research project started, a Sun Microsystems co-founder provided US$100,000 in start up funds to allow Google to become an actual company.

    The rest is history.

    So what I have to say is this: you don’t always need a huge investment to launch a high tech enterprise. But you ALWAYS need some.

    • mike e 6.1

      $ 100’000 US is what you need just to register your company in the home of the free Market.
      In NZ you can do the same for a couple of hundred dollars

  7. KhandallaMan 7

    “But it has also been a very torrid six months for National. The party may have suffered only minor damage in the polls, and there is no sign that voters see Labour as a suitable and ready alternative. ……Thursday night’s speech sounded like a pitch for the centre vote, an attempt by Key to reassert National’s dominance in that crucial swing voter territory.”

    National and Key has presented the Labour frontbench so many  easy targets, and with the exception of Cuniffe and a few more,  Shearer and his team have not inflicted any serious Labour led injury on this dangerous government.
    Time has run out. What is Shearer’s strategy? I don’t care: it is not working.  Time has run out. 

    • Hami Shearlie 7.1


    • Ad 7.2

      What I also struggle with is the lack of secondary platforms with which to launch opposition.

      The Ports of Auckland one, was (eventually for Shearer) custom built for Opposition. As were many others. But they have not sparked anything beyond that. Without a charismatic central leader or a central story to link disparate points of opposition together, they all just fizzle out.

      I think this site really underestimates how good Key is, and how much better a Labour leader needs to be if power is to be taken away from Key. So far nothing in the top three of Labour has even scratched him or English.

      • AnnaLiviaPlurabella 7.2.1

        +1. There is a lazy hoping that the Natz will just become unpopular, the media will turn on them and that Labour Green will inherit the earth. Sheer efffffing laziness and gutlessness. I despair at the void in clear leadership and fight been shown on the left. The membership and activists need to put a rocket up their MPs.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    “I’m with Labour on this – being a low wage drudge country is nothing to aspire to or be proud of. Remember when we wanted to close the gap with Australia, instead of going backwards?”

    Importing jobs from Australia will help close the gap. Its like osmosis. When the cost of NZ wages plus the cost of servicing the distance = the cost of wages in Australia, then the flow of jobs from Australia to NZ will stop. Until then, the increased demand for jobs due to Australian companies moving here will serve to drive up wages in NZ.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      In other words, beggar thy neighbour.

    • Georgecom 8.2

      Sorry mate, the bold claim was ‘closing the wage gap’. Now it is ‘exploiting the wage gap’.

      Are you now admitting that the vague ‘closing the wage gap’ statement/intention from Key and English has now been dropped? Thank you. Unfortunately we are not seeing the same honesty from Key, English and O’Sullivan.

    • TS – National has cocked up on practically every issue confronting it;

      1. Poor economic growth – and that’s despite two tax cuts, the RWC, Christchurch re-build (such as it is)…

      2. Asset Sales – the public hated it before. The public hate it now. Aside from losing public ownership and profits; if this is National’s ONLY plan for economic growth – then it has NO plan. Shuffling shares around does not create economic growth nor jobs. It may even fuel speculative borrowing.

      3. Welfare. When people confront National with poor economic gowth – Key blames the GFC. When National looks at welfare and beneficiaries – they blame the unemployed for a doubling of joblessness in this country. This is victim-blaming taken to dizzying new heights (or depths).

      4. Sky City/Convention Centre – not only is Key trying to sell legislation in return for a convention centre, but Dear Leader has been telling us porkies,

      * there will not be 1,800 new jobs out of this. Estimates put the number around 300-400.

      * this IS a cost to tax-payers – around $2 million (at least).

      Plus likely increases in problem gambling.

      Alongside asset sales – is this ALL that Dear Leader has to offer this country?!?!

      5. TVNZ7 – the public wanted it, National wouldn’t have a bar of it. Evidently, whilst Key and his cronies can waste $100-$200 million on “consultants” to sell our state assets – they couldn’t stump up with a measely $16 million for TVNZ7.

      And yet, it was the cheapest public broadcaster on the planet.

      Now we’re the only OECD nation (except Mexico) without a public, non-commercial, broadcaster.

      6. Education. One stuff up after another. The Nats haven’t got a clue what they’re doing here. And they haven’t been very honest with us either.

      7. ETS – another broken promise from John Key, as well as SUBSIDISING farmers. I thought subsidies for business were a no-no under free market ideology?

      8. Tax cuts for the rich… big increases in Family Courts charges for the poor and Middle Classes. Noice.

      9. More on tax cuts; National’s 2008 Tax document makes this derisable claim,

      “ This makes it absolutely clear that to fund National’s tax package there is no requirement for additional borrowing and there is no requirement to cut public services. “


      10. Alcohol reforms – Key’s double standards on using pricing mechanisms on tobacco and alcohol is breath-taking. The man deserves a Diploma for Doublethink.

      11. National’s cost-cutting on MAF biosecurity is one of their most irresponsible, lunatic policies yet seen. Basically, your National Party heroes have put at grave risk New Zealand’s multi-billion agricultural sector, for the sake of saving a few million bucks?!

      Does this make sense to you, TS??? ‘Cos it doesn’t to me. Nor to a lot of other worried farmers and growers.

      12. And the most disgusting is how John Key used breast cancer sufferers in 2008 to push his election campaign… but doesn’t give a sh*t about five fellow New Zealanders who face a death sentence because of their disease (Pompe Disease).

      For more detail, see: http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/national-what-else-can-possibly-go-wrong/

      TS, I cannot begin to fathom why people like you see National as rational, responsible, and adept at handing economic and social issues. A most basic glance at their track record shows Key, English, Ryall, et al, to be the most incompetant political managers in living memory.

      They have not achieved ONE SINGLE BENCHMARK since 2008. Not one.

      The National Party you support must be from a Parallel Universe. Because our lot here are hopeless. They make North Korea look like clever buggers.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.3.1

        A most basic glance at their track record shows Key, English, Ryall, et al, to be the most incompetant political managers in living memory.

        Nope, it shows them to be very good political managers and that, once you take into account the facts, that they’re not working for the benefit of NZ.

    • Until they bugger off somewhere else again, chasing cheap labour, in other other benighted nation…


  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    If we want to create “high-paid brainy jobs” in NZ we have to do it for ourselves.

    I really do wish more people would realise this. It doesn’t take foreign investment to develop our economy, just us investing in ourselves. The fact is that foreign investment results in us being worse off as a) profits are taken out of the country making us poorer and b) when we do produce a good high tech start up a lot of the time when it gets bought out by foreign investment it also gets removed to the new owners home location so we miss out on both the profits and the development.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      It would help if we had banks and financiers as willing to loan to startups and small businesses, as for people to speculate on real estate.

      • prism 9.1.1

        We could start off crowd financing through the internet for small business projects. And more People’s Kiwi Only Investment funds with reasonable interest rates to allow for higher risk.

  10. Old Tony 10

    More weeping and wailing! You guys make such hard work of life.

    Its not hard at all to be optimistic about the future of the economy. By any standards NZ is a current economic success. It’s just that our own view of ourselves is tainted by the even greater success of Australia and the fact that we have a common labour market which causes some difficulties.

    Ask your friends and relatives in Greece, UK, Italy, France and so on where they would rather be right now?

    But of course you can’t do that because you need to maintain the rage and set up a straw man of economic failure in order to justify the need for a change to the Left.

    All rather pathetic and demonstrating the negativity in the NZ psyche that more than anything else has acted as a brake on our economic endeavours.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The negativity comes from National selling the country off, from claiming that dropping worker incomes is good for workers, and for asserting that black is white and white is black.

      Ask your friends and relatives in Greece, UK, Italy, France and so on where they would rather be right now?

      That’s what happens when you let banks and the elite 0.1% rule your country.

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      By any standards NZ is a current economic success.

      Remove the $300M borrowing and injecting into the economy that English is doing a week, and see how much of a “success” NZ looks like.

    • gnomic 10.3

      Tell me you’re having a laugh, yeah? Otherwise consider a brain transplant, your grey matter needs help.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.4

      The only thing acting as a break on the NZ economy is capitalism in general. The profit motive causes the capitalists to a) reduce wages b) use up all the resources and c) hoard whatever cash is actually available.

      BTW, I hear more about what we can’t do coming out of National supporters and RWNJs in general. All they seem to want us to be is a bunch of ignorant farmers.

  11. xtasy 11

    Soon the only difference between Mexico and NZ will be, that NZers are still able to fly or sail out across the (Tasman Sea) border and enter the “richer” neighbouring country legally, while many Mexicans have to dig holes and crawl through underneath the fences, to enter their “richer” neighbour’s territory.

    But wait, if things will turn out like Key, English, Grosser and co are dreaming of, then one day Australia will also eventually re-enforce its eastern shorelines, to stop “boat people” from NZ entering in droves.

    What a “brighter future” for Aotearoa NZ?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Soon the only difference between Mexico and NZ will be, that NZers are still able to fly or sail out across the (Tasman Sea) border and enter the “richer” neighbouring country legally

      The atmosphere over there will turn much less friendly for NZers if their economic downturn steepens, or if some high profile employment losses to NZ gets reported in their news media.

  12. newsense 12

    The All Blacks announced today that due to a lack of stadiums and parks to play in they were happy to be a mostly youth oriented semi-professional feeder team for the Australian rugby team.

    John Key and John O’Neil announced the decision together. Key laughed and joked that it gave NZers excellent opportunities to show their skills to the world.

  13. Dividends, or payments made by a company to its stock holders, are one of the ways you can make money in stocks. Most stocks that offer high dividend rates are large, established companies with a steady cash flow. By investing in good quality stocks that also offer high dividend yields, you can potentially make extra money from your investments.

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