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Cuts to our public services to pay for elite’s tax cuts

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 pm, February 8th, 2011 - 68 comments
Categories: class war, public services, tax - Tags:

John Key’s government is just two years old but it is already clearly bereft of ideas. His lacklustre speech yesterday showed no innovative thinking. There was just his usual bile directed at Labour and the same old failed National formula: asset sales, welfare cuts, and public service cuts masked by restructuring to fund tax cuts for the rich elite.

We knew the spending cuts were coming. National has set an aggressive target to get us back into surplus in four years having created most of the deficit through passing nearly $5 billion a year in tax cuts, the lion’s share of which goes to the wealthy. Having strategically created the hole in the government books, spending cuts will now be called for to fill it.

Don’t kid yourself that this will be paid for by sacking a few board members and policy advisers in Wellington. The departments cost just $1.6 billion, or 2.3% of total government expenditure. And it’s not like these people are sitting around doing nothing: their jobs are to design and monitor the policies, and distribute the funds, that  make the over $69 billion of spending efficient. These people are the MFAT diplomats, the CYFS lawyers, the Customs policy designers, the Defence accountants, the (unwilling) National Standards architects, the Crown Law legislation drafters, the DoC planners, the Justice legal aid distributors, the Treasury economic modelers. These aren’t do nothing jobs – they are jobs that need to be done for the public services we rely on to work. The tasks they do don’t disappear if the workers do, instead the burden is passed to the ‘front-line’ and eventually on to us through worse public services.

Merging a few departments (reserving the decentralisation National carried out in the 1990s) won’t really cut spending. Even sacking the who core public service wouldn’t be enough. To fill the hole the tax cuts have created as fast as National wants, the cuts will have to come from the ‘front-line’ as well as from the government’s Kiwisaver contributions. And from benefits, it seems.

Key hinted ominously that welfare ‘reform’ was on its way.

Key’s ruled out changes to superannuation, so that’s half the welfare budget cordoned off. And, despite his call that people who can work should be working, without jobs to go into he won’t get benefit numbers down by beneficiaries going into work.

That leaves cuts to payments and denying people in need access to benefits in the first place, further impoverishing the poorest New Zealanders.

Main benefit levels are already horrifically low, so I don’t think we’ll see a frontal assault. I pick we’ll see an attack on the accommodation supplement and payments for income-related rents. Maybe no extra DPB after the X number kid (‘let the kids starve, it’s their fault they were born to a mother who couldn’t control herself’). And an attack on Working for Families by reducing the Family Tax Credit.

What are we going to do about it? We’re going to spread the word against these cuts to the public services we all use and the benefits that are (barely) supporting the country’s poorest families who are suffering from a recession they did nothing to create. We’re going to fight every cut tooth and nail. And we’re going to make sure we elect a Left government that will make the rich elite pay their share and won’t use the recession as an opportunity to beat up on the rest of us.

Update: Red Alert points us to what Key said regarding public service restructuring to the PSA Congress in 2008

I also want to reassure people – and this is my second point – that a new National Government is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector.Our focus is squarely on delivering services, not on changing the wiring diagram of the state sector to get a tidier conceptual model.

Few problems are solved by significant reorganisations – in fact, many more tend to be created. It is easy to underestimate the amount of energy and inspiration soaked up by institutional change, as well as the loss of personal and institutional knowledge.

Just as Labour has done, we will take opportunities to make changes to some agencies as part of the usual business of government. However, there will be no wholesale reorganisation or restructuring across the public sector.

(h/t seeker)

68 comments on “Cuts to our public services to pay for elite’s tax cuts”

  1. millsy 1

    It goes to show, Labour (supposedly, at least) (and the left), wants the *build* society and institutions, National wants tear them down. That is what they have been about since 1936.

    The concequences will be a reduction in living standards for all except the super wealthy.

    This is war. Its time to take the fight to them.

    Our health and education system is more important than some rich person’s BMW.

  2. Olwyn 2

    Think of all the people hearing that coy announcement with terror in their hearts, like hunted animals in their own country!

    Too few people seem to be capable of caring – as a nation we deserve an honorary doctorate in hypocrisy. We brag and show off about how we freed women from being treated as chattels by men, but have voted in yet another government that treats the greater part of the population like chattels. And I do not only mean beneficiaries but also those on low wages, and those who work for the public service as well. Not to mention those who depend on others working to keep their businesses open. Even Hone’s speaking bluntly about the actual plight of actual people is greeted as if he made a colossal faux pas at a dinner party rather than simply stated the truth. Until we stop treating everyone apart from our lower middle class kings that we fancifully call elites as the only variables, we will never find the will to face up to and address our real economic problems.

    The longer this government is in office the more sympathy I feel for the man in Wellington who rang the police in a panic when he realised that National had won the election.

    • ZeeBop 2.1

      Then go to war with yourself then. You’ve immediately lost when you fail to grasp why National are forced by their constituents to slash and burn, plunder and sell. Labour’s conceit is they don’t see what’s going on. They know debt addiction amongst the (few) wealthy that still live here and large numbers of foreign wealthy who own here, is the disease NZ faces. Labour should introduce tax fairness, a CGT and bring us into line with OZ, UK and others. Our economy is diseased, slowly being picked away by speculator parasites, world currency traders who laugh at NZ everyday when they take the wealthy of NZ and pocket it – consistently. You will not get improvements, and you will get a National party that slavishly gives wealth away, until the Labour party finds a backbone and supports a Capital Gains Tax.
      Denying the disease afflicting NZ, trying solutions to rub on that just distract from the disease, isn’t going to cure anything.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        You can’t doubt that we need both heart and brains fully engaged to take on NAT and their parasitic lackeys this year.

        And yeah, LAB remains just a shadow of what it could and should be.

        • ZeeBop 2.1.1.1

          There is just one issue Labour need to sell. CGT. Every other policy decision and platform statement flows from that. Labour will continue to fail to engage middle NZ without a real plan to turn around NZ. And what better way than to start taxing capital gains parking – the whole capital gains farming at the heart of the demise of NZ, its exporting of its talent and lock block fire sale of its assets! Why vote Labour when they won’t do anything different? Might as well wait until Labour realize (like National haven’t yet) that the fundamentals have changed, eating NZ was never all that smart, or economically enriching and could only last as long as new oil kept flowing onto the market. Now we need to shift gear from slow and stupid, into sustainable and resilient. Labour have not yet got a clue.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1

            There’s no silver bullet that will correct the economy. A hell of a lot needs to be changed so that the wealth isn’t channelled to the few.

    • Deborah Kean 2.2

      “I feel for the man in Wellington who rang the police in a panic when he realised that National had won the election.”
      Wow, did he? That is so cool… that’s exactly what our family felt like doing! (It’s been the longest 2 and a bit years of my life)..
      Deb

  3. Lanthanide 3

    This makes me really angry. I had hoped we wouldn’t get any of the real National bullshit until the 2nd term, but it looks like they’re going to go early and get it in their 3rd budget.

    Hopefully it’ll back fire and guarantee they won’t get a chance at 3 more.

    I think it’s highly likely I’ll be making some large donations to Labour later this year.

    captcha: dumb

    • fizzleplug 3.1

      If I was going to be making large donations, I’d want them earmarked for something. Perhaps they could be used to pay Phil Goff out so that someone worth electing is in charge?

      What I would love to see to help cut spending? I would love to see interest-free student loans go, and WFF pared back so that those earning large sums are not eligible. I would also like to see that there is no DPB for mothers who cannot name the father of their children. It’s time to make parents (even if only biological) take responsibility for their actions.

      I know it hasn’t been mentioned in this post, but has anyone pointed out to Phil Goff the difference between capital and operational spending? He seems confused over the missile system upgrade.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I would also like to see that there is no DPB for mothers who cannot name the father of their children. It’s time to make parents (even if only biological) take responsibility for their actions.

        Because a solo mum naming the father of their child is going to save the Govt so much money in DNA testing to prove the claim?

        And perhaps I’ve misread you, but you talk about parents taking responsibility yet you let the deadbeat dad’s get off scott free instead threatening the mothers who are actually there and who are stepping forwards every day to raise their children?

        Think for a second before having a bash at vulnerable women, thanks.

        • fizzleplug 3.1.1.1

          It’s should be the mothers responsibility to name the man who fathered her child (because the man won’t do it). At this point, the man/deadbeat dad becomes responsible through child support. If she can’t do that (excluding children conceived through rape obviously), why should we pay for her? What’s to stop her having multiple children by multiple fathers? Currently – nothing. Which is why it happens so frequently.

          Think things through for more than a second before replying, thanks.

          • Deborah Kean 3.1.1.1.1

            “What’s to stop her having multiple children by multiple fathers? Currently – nothing. Which is why it happens so frequently.”
            You know that how? Sometimes a woman is actually afraid of the man, which is why she won’t name him… (I think that happens about as frequently as women having children by multiple fathers (which is what I did, BTW, not because I planned it, but because I am a bad judge of character.) Somehow you seem to think women do that while on the DPB. That doesn’t happen, dude!
            Deb

  4. seeker 4

    This is yet another broken promise

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/02/08/broken-promise-no-15/

    Why is a rather unethical person and party running this country? I cannot understand it- or their true blue followers’ delight with them.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Once NAT have sold off our assets, impoverished the people, caused massive social upheaval, created another generation of despondent young NZ’ers what the hell are they going to do?

    Fence off Parnell, Rumera and Epsom so they have somewhere safe to live?

  6. Arthur 6

    Even Hone’s speaking bluntly about the actual plight of actual people is greeted as if he made a colossal faux pas at a dinner party rather than simply stated the truth. Until we stop treating everyone apart from our lower middle class kings that we fancifully call elites as the only variables, we will never find the will to face up to and address our real economic problems.

    Its easy for Hone to start to speak bluntly about the plight of the people now.But where were they back when the longterm plight of the people was needed to be considered,back in the years before the voting of National back into power happened?.Maori and Pakeha were forever always so busy battling it out between each other back then,and from the National party point of view, all this squabbling was just like handing candy to a baby.It played right into National party greasy little hands come time to vote.They will now make all these cuts and start radically reorganising the structure just the same as they have already been doing.With some of our health institutions already in a big mess,a situation of which the long term costs will also soon enough show up somewhere later down the track to bite us where it hurts and remind us once again just how stupid and costly these institutional changes can be if really not appropriate.

    Not that John Keys wealthy friends will really mind so much they still gained big dollars from the deal.Beside it will end up being all the rest of us Kiwis plus all of Hones whānau and friends that will end up paying for the mess.

  7. M 7

    Anyone with half a brain should be scared with this carefully worded agenda as they may be employed now, but what if a job loss looms large in their future?

    I believe a lot of the problem is that people are too scared to speak out for fear of being called out on the prevailing de rigeur views of the right, but speak out they must.

    What passes for news in this country is laughable especially with punks like Garner – I’m sure John Key saves untold sums on toilet paper merely by having Garner stalk the corridors of Parliament.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    A dollar saved is better than a dollar earned.

    Families and businesses seek to reduce their costs when the going gets tough. Why shouldn’t the government do exactly the same? Government is an unproductive cost. If that cost can be reduced without unduly affecting outcomes, it is a good thing.

    So far as governments are concerned, a dollar saved is better than a dollar earned. This is true because a lot of those displaced from the public sector will eventually find their way into the private sector where their efforts can be directed towards producing real income for the economy which can be taxed, and thus increase overall income for the government.

    • Bored 8.1

      So TS, to cut the family costs shall we shove the children out the door, saying goodo go look after yourselves. Is your world view so limited and blighted by an anti social malaise that you would rap heap anything not based upon the profit principle? Ebenezer TS are you? You really need to get a life and have a look at your beloved private sector whose productivity is very much bound up with an integrated relationship with government for the very services it relies upon. Especially when it comes down to transfer costs and rentier behavoir (which you in previous posts have shown absolutley no knowledge of). In short you are an appallingly ignorant bore. Get a life and stop boring us with your pedantic mendacious nonsense.

      • tsmithfield 8.1.1

        Bored: “So TS, to cut the family costs shall we shove the children out the door, saying goodo go look after yourselves.”

        Stop being a drama queen.

        • orange whip? 8.1.1.1

          Then what do you suggest we do with them?

          • tsmithfield 8.1.1.1.1

            If they are 30 years old, consuming all the food without paying board, and sitting around playing video games all day, then kick them out.

            • Rosy 8.1.1.1.1.1

              No they’re 18 and 20 years old, living at home because they can’t get a student allowance like their rich cousin down the road, and trying to work and do justice to their tertiary studies at the same time.

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Yeah 30 year olds should at least own their own house for gawdsakes.

              Oh whoops, I forgot home ownership in that age bracket has collapsed as housing affordability compared to wages has collapsed.

              • RedLogix

                Come off it CV, even in the ‘good old days’ many folk didn’t get into their own first home until their late 20’s or early 30’s. I didn’t until I was 30.

                I do understand that housing affordability right now is very poor. But still not impossible. Over the last 8 yrs of being a landlord for a total of 16 different tenant groups… 5 of them have moved on because they have managed to get themselves into their own home. And good on them. We usually take around a celebratory ‘chardonnay’ or two and congratulate them.

                But noteably they have all been stable households (incl. one lesbian couple) in their 30’s… and without exception have been well organised, reliable people who were meticulous about caring for our property and paying the rent on time.

                • infused

                  I’ve just turned 28, just getting my first home. I haven’t really wanted one until now though.

                  This is what I don’t get. At 20 I started planning my life. I started planning my busines(s). I started them. I knew I was not going to have a kid until I can afford it. Likewise until now I’ve planned everything – and it’s all gone to plan.

                  Why can’t other people?

                  • millsy

                    Why cant you accept the need for publicly funded, health, education welfare and protections for workers, etc.

                    Why do you think you are so better than everyone else?

            • orange whip? 8.1.1.1.1.3

              tsmithfield,

              Perhaps you missed my subtle prod. Fair enough, you’re obviously a busy man.

              Where is “out” in your analogy?

        • Bored 8.1.1.2

          Drama queen? I noticed Mr Ebeneezer TS that you did not object to being described as afflicted by an anti social malaise, nor of being appalingly ignorant, nor of being a mendacious pedant. So be it.

          PS As suggested go and do something useful and talk to your beloved Nats about their proposed attack upon liberty in the Criminal Procedure Bill before they arrest you and make you talk, then ask for your defense prior to trial.

    • Marty G 8.2

      “Families and businesses seek to reduce their costs when the going gets tough. Why shouldn’t the government do exactly the same?”

      Because the government is 30-odd percent of the economy. If it cuts its spending, it kills the rest of the economy (remember the endless recession from 1989 to 1993 as the government cut and cut? – it took until 1997 until GDP per capita had reached its 1989 peak again). The government should run counter-cyclically – removing demand from the economy during the booms by paying down its debt to keep inflation under control and adding demand to the economy during recessions to prop up demand by running deficits.

      “Government is an unproductive cost. If that cost can be reduced without unduly affecting outcomes, it is a good thing. ”

      Wait. In the first sentence, you say government is unproductive, in the second you say it does produce outcomes. Which is it? Clearly the latter. You would have to be a moron to think the government doesn’t produce anything. Every day it supplies education to 1.1 million people, and that’s just education.

      It’s uninformative to say ‘if we can do the same thing cheaper, we should’. That’s obvious and not disputed. The point is that National will do less with less.

      “This is true because a lot of those displaced from the public sector will eventually find their way into the private sector where their efforts can be directed towards producing real income for the economy which can be taxed, and thus increase overall income for the government.”

      So, a) you think that the public sector doesn’t produce any value? The GDP figures disagree with you
      b) income earned by public sector workers is taxed
      c) the models show that you get a higher economic multiplier from directed government spending than from simply cutting the tax for every over a certain income

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        Marty: “Because the government is 30-odd percent of the economy. If it cuts its spending, it kills the rest of the economy”

        You are contradicting yourself, Marty. In your title you claim that government spending cuts are funding tax cuts. If that is the case, then the money saved in government expenditure is being funnelled back into the economy in a way that is more likely, not less likely, to boost growth.

        Anyway, I guess by your argument if government spending was 90% of the economy you would be estatic because the economy would be humming?

        Marty: “Wait. In the first sentence, you say government is unproductive, in the second you say it does produce outcomes. Which is it? Clearly the latter. You would have to be a moron to think the government doesn’t produce anything. Every day it supplies education to 1.1 million people, and that’s just education.”

        Its unproductive in the sense that it is a cost. If the cost can be reduced without greatly affecting the benefits that arise from the cost, then why not cut spending. For instance, in the context of a business, if the business can cut vehicle and petrol costs for sales staff, and at the same time increase sales by directing the staff into more telemarketing, then why not do it, if it produces better results for less cost.

        Marty: “It’s uninformative to say ‘if we can do the same thing cheaper, we should’. That’s obvious and not disputed. The point is that National will do less with less.”

        As pointed out in the example I gave above, it aint necessarily so.

        Marty: “So, a) you think that the public sector doesn’t produce any value? The GDP figures disagree with you
        b) income earned by public sector workers is taxed
        c) the models show that you get a higher economic multiplier from directed government spending than from simply cutting the tax for every over a certain income”

        I certainly believe the public service is a necessary evil. However, I believe there are better ways of doing things that cost less and may well produce better results. The innovations and cost reductions that have resulted from technology are good examples of this. If this sort of outcome can be achieved, then why not?

        • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1

          I certainly believe the public service is a necessary evil (1). However, I believe there are better ways of doing things that cost less and may well produce better results (2). The innovations and cost reductions that have resulted from technology are good examples of this (3).

          BULLSHIT

          1) The public service is a necessity of civilised social society.

          It recognises that the common good and the needs of communities is not best served by a profit making market system, or a corporate fiefdom, or by making a buck off someone else to put in your own pocket. Business interests did not get rid of child labour or create wages eliminating the existence of working paupers. The public service as the acting arm of local and central Government did. The public service serves the public.

          With regulations, standards and inspections, public service saved Christchurch buildings from being levelled to 1′ off the ground.

          2) The private sector has just destroyed over US$4 trilliion in workers’ savings and hopes in the last three years. Add into that the AOL’s, Enron’s, American Airways, GM’s and Sorry mate the old right wing meme that the private sector knows what it is doing, and can survive without Government hand outs, is just that – an old right wing meme.

          3) Govt funded the development of large swathes of that technology, the private sector got on the coat tails afterwards. (Especially US Govt defense funding – core tech in nuclear power to the 747 to Google originated with public sector funding). Without Governments co-ordinating community funding and creation of airports, ports and roads the private sector could not operate.

          You ungrateful private sector cheerleading sod.

          • tsmithfield 8.2.1.1.1

            CV”1.The public service is a necessity of civilised social society.” We agree. I just think it is an unfortunate necessity that should be minimised if possible.

            CV:”2) The private sector has just destroyed over US$4 trilliion in workers’ savings and hopes in the last three years. Add into that the AOL’s, Enron’s, American Airways, GM’s and Sorry mate the old right wing meme that the private sector knows what it is doing, and can survive without Government hand outs, is just that – an old right wing meme.”

            The big difference is that people willingly risk their own money in private enterprises. With public ones, people have no choice. Their taxes are wasted for them by governments. For every example of private sector failures etc there are examples of public ones. For example, the nonsenses of the Christchurch City Council buying back buildings from Dave Henderson at a ridiculous price. Rate payers had no say in that decision although it was their money that was being poured down the toilet.

            CV: “You ungrateful private sector cheerleading sod.”

            Thanks for the compliment. 🙂

            • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1.1.1

              The big difference is that people willingly risk their own money in private enterprises.

              BULLSHIT

              How can you even spit such crap out of your mouth.

              How much of their own money did the executives of Anglo Irish Bank risk??? Before asking for billions of euros of bailout money from the public purse.

              Their taxes are wasted for them by governments.

              Yeah, like preventing the need for poor people to beg on the streets is a “waste”.

              If you want people to have a direct say in all major decisions that their local and central Govt makes, simply campaign for direct democratic government and binding referenda.

              I’d support you. (hahaha end of Bill and John’s asset sales plans)

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.2

        Families and businesses seek to reduce their costs when the going gets tough. Why shouldn’t the government do exactly the same “Families and businesses seek to reduce their costs when the going gets tough. Why shouldn’t the government do exactly the same?

        When the private sector cannot or will not support the people with adequate income, then the public sector must.

        • higherstandard 8.2.2.1

          Ummmmmm isn’t that vote Welfare ?

          • ZeeBop 8.2.2.1.1

            Exactly. Key cannot leave the population starving, growing sicker, and crime rising. Key will attempt to shift the burden onto the many as much as he can but there is a limit to how much more can be squeezed out of the NZ economy. We did not have the massive collapses and stress of the soviegn debt others do because NZ never shined as an economy, it was easier, still is, to make a buck here by farming some capital gain, often just by talking up the prospect of capital gain. Like food spikes NZ on a winner, will quickly crash when governments forced by their population to rebuild food reserve buffers. You see if you spend anytime living here you realize that every cent is best put overseas and out of harms way, and then grow some debt on top just to play the currency and capital gains (but only if you run one of the many small monopolies here). The NZ economy is basically about selling off the arms and paying for it by cutting off your own legs and eating them to stay alive.

    • Akldnut 8.3

      Families and businesses seek to reduce their costs when the going gets tough. Why shouldn’t the government do exactly the same? Government is an unproductive cost. If that cost can be reduced without unduly affecting outcomes, it is a good thing.

      Rodney!…. Is that you Rodney?

  9. I just hope the people who advised the government we would see oil at $25.00 a barrel out to 2025 aren’t still on the payroll.

  10. higherstandard 10

    How many departments and ministries did we have thirty years ago ?

    How many core bureaucrats did we have thirty years ago ?

    How many of each do we have now ?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Other questions:

      1) What is our population now?
      2) What is our GDP now?
      3) What is the complexity, pace and demands of life like compared to the 1970’s and 1980’s?

    • Marty G 10.2

      the absolute number of departments is irrelevant, whether you cut the government up into little bits or have it as monolithic bodies doesn’t matter too much either way. It was actually the neoliberals who cut it all up in the first place, more efficient they reckoned.

      The size of the bureaucracy has decreased significantly /public-service-numbers/ Last time, National cut so deep the public service could hardly run an election (remember 1999?)

    • Sean 10.3

      Not sure how to answer your questions given the Statistic New Zealand data I can source online only go back to 1989.

      In 1989Q1 there were 309,300 public sector FTEs, comprising 31.41% of the total work force.
      Latest figures 2010Q4 identify 290,800 public sector FTEs, comprising 22.12% of the total work force.

      The percentage of public sector workers out of the total workforce has hovered around 20%-21% for about fifteen years now. But if you are looking for a magic period in 1981, when Rob Muldoon lorded over a smaller public sector, I think you would be out of luck Higherstandard.

      • higherstandard 10.3.1

        There won’t be Sean – remember we have NZ rail, NZ post etc during those years so there were well and truly lots of public servants.

        Unfortunately I suspect either side will be able to manipulate figures to produce stats that are suggestive of whatever argument they wish to promulgate.

        I was sent a very good article some time ago that covers some of the issues in a fairly neutral and reasoned manner.

        http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/publicsector/pdf/TG_MoG_Issue4_productivity.pdf

        • Sean 10.3.1.1

          Unfortunately I suspect either side will be able to manipulate figures to produce stats that are suggestive of whatever argument they wish to promulgate.

          True, that’s why I went with Statistics New Zealand. Given they are a government body, which has a history stretching back over a series of name changes for over a century, I feel their data would be at least consistant.

          I imagine we might disagree about what the term “core bureaucrats” means, and while I thank you for the article linked, I can say in response to it that the public sector has not been in status quo since the 4th Labour Government. There is constant change.

  11. Craig Glen Eden 11

    Things are really bighting now, any more cuts in Government spending and the economy is going to go into reverse National are clowns, no answers no vision.Bring on the election, 2012 polling will show John Key is still the most popular Prime Minister but he want be in Government.

  12. Afewknowthetruth 12

    New Zealanders are getting exactly what they asked for at the last election: daylight robbery by a gang of self-serving looters, followed by slow annihilation via the starvation that comes with climate catastrophe and oil depletion.

    http://www.countercurrents.org/glikson070211.pdf

    Most people couldn’t care less.

    .

    • O2B 12.1

      Exactly, those that voted National at the last election are getting exactly what they deserve. One of my oldest friends – true blue from the heart of Fendalton – couldn’t get a job and left for Australia. The problem is trying to convince our friends and family to vote for a more inclusive party. I am doing my bit, hopefully everyone else that sees the left in a positive light will be doing the same.

      I am sick to death of the current mob. But Labour has to be a bit more proactive and build more of a presence than they’re doing if they want to swing the polls and win.

  13. I hate to simply throw in a link to an article I wrote, but it’s relevant. I am a middle class, white, working male who supports social welfare. After many years of simply getting angry about poor stereotypes and prejudices directed at beneficiaries, I have finally explained why I support social welfare and am more than happy to pay tax on the money I earn when that tax is used to support it:

    http://frank-ritchie.com/post/3167802474/why-i-support-social-welfare

    If we rip the guts out of welfare, we are ripping the guts out of what can truly make our country great.

    [lprent: We don’t mind links that are relevant to posts (or in OpenMike) – in fact we like them. It is only irrelevant links (you should see the ones that spambots try to add) or putting in links with no explanation about why people should read them that attract moderators. There is nothing better than a good link with a explanation of why it is interesting because it keeps the cut’n’paste away. ]

    • Olwyn 13.1

      A timely piece of writing Frank, and good on you for coming out and stating it. I realise that your article is not party affiliated, but is is the second piece along these lines that I have read this morning, the first was from Metiria Turei of the Green Party, in reference to her father:

      http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/my-father-address-reply

      I refuse to use the pejorative term “underclass” favouring “the dispossessed” instead.

      • Frank Ritchie 13.1.1

        Thanks Olwyn.

        I watched the opening day of Parliament yesterday as it is relevant for my job to know where the parties are heading in an election year. I had the privilege of hearing Metiria’s speech and thought it was great to actually hear a politician finally honouring the support (through social welfare) that led her to where she is. Since I had written my piece before parliament started, it helped validate my approach.

        It’s a pity other politicians don’t publicly honour the system that helped them in the same way as they cripple that support.

        • Lanthanide 13.1.1.1

          John Key and Bennet like to trumpet their rags to riches story all the time. But I don’t think they really mean it.

    • KJT 13.2

      Thanks for the link. You have said what I wanted to say much better than I could.

      Even though I am not religious nice to hear a real Christian following the Christian principles which much of our society was founded on.

      • Frank Ritchie 13.2.1

        KJT – it often saddens me that much of the Christian voice has been co-opted by the ‘right’… though I think the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ are very inadequate.

        Historically Christianity (since Rome made it the official religion of the empire) has always faced a struggle between mixing with power (and making all the compromises that go with it) and challenging it. The Christian church should be the voice of conscious for our country on how we treat those at our margins… the Christian community should have a focus on social issues rather than issues of sexuality which some have been very vocal about in our recent political history. No matter what people may think about the Bible and the messy story within it, it gives more emphasis to how the poor are treated than it does to sexuality – but that’s a whole other discussion 😉

        • Craig Glen Eden 13.2.1.1

          Good post and article Frank R, its interesting to see how right wing politics has saturated many in Christian circles particularly Pentecostal Church’s its so easy to say Jesus loves you its a bloody lot harder to show just how much.

    • Deborah Kean 13.3

      Your article is brilliant Frank, and it’s good to see you here!
      Deb

    • Armchair Critic 13.4

      Well said Frank

  14. Deadly_NZ 14

    Election 2012???? Fuck we can’t afford another year of the NACTS! 2011 please.

  15. Arthur 15

    Cuts to our public services isnt the only option to save money.Refining public services to preform the duty far better could save lots of money too, and lets face it some of our publc services performances sure are shocking.For instance cuts to public services are already costing us money in the health system as the awkward inappropriate set-up fail to take care of patients needs.The total cost of these situations will play out more in the longterm,when people who should have got well dont end up getting well, dont return to work plus end up needing more extra ongoing health care that by then has also escalated immensely in value.

    Only through good planning and refining toward better efficency, can the real savings be made.Cutting and slashing wont achieve it.All this does is drive more people overseas where they can hopefully get some better treatment all round.And this also strips NZ of all the people we need creating a brain drain.Meaning Government money is also being lost training people who in the end simply cant afford to even stay here.

  16. Arthur 16

    I personally know of somebody in the Wellington area at this present moment of time who has all the doctors certificates saying his health is such that he simply cannot work at present and will need to be on a benefit.Its been weeks already and he`s even had great trouble getting appointments sorted with WINZ,he cannot pay his rent and the landlords ended up going through the process of taking him to tenancy tribunal which will also cost somebody more money and time .To top it all off at the very same time WINZ is also sending him mail warning him that he is behind on payments he needs to keep making to repay what he owes them.All this when WINZ system already knows his situation.This person has mental health issues and over the past few years did return to the work force.However his health situation has now changed for the worse.But im not sure how putting him through this hell is supposed ? to be so helpful in the long run for his mental health.This silly situation only makes matters more costly.

    What i really cant understand is evidently Trevor Mallard has also already been made fully aware of this particular situation.So why is it we dont even see more of these type matters being pushed further forward into public view. If Labour isnt going to look like they will be really bothered about it all, then what good reason is there for people to bother returning to vote for them again either?

    Ive voted Labour all my life.But sadly i have to say these days i cant help feeling maybe Labour is all washed out and has really lost something.They sure do need to return more to their roots.Get back out there amongst the people,find out more about all these problems the people are dealing with and push them forward.And show they are actually honestly even interested.

    Until they do that.Why should your average Joe blogs really have reason for having much faith in bothering placing their vote with Labour ?. Many people wont even bother to vote.Making John Keys job in fleeacing this country a complete breeze

    • oscar 16.1

      Labour are irrelevant in todays society. Populated by ancient relics who have no real world experience and don’t know how to listen.
      If you really want to change the country, vote tactically. Give labour your electorate vote, but party vote green.
      If we can get all the disenfranchised labourites to do this, then we could end up with a green pm, assuming the greens get a higher percentage vote share than labour.

      • Craig Glen Eden 16.1.1

        Yeah Oscar you have obviously never talked with Dr Norman then, some irrelevant bloke at the Greens. When the Greens have achieved what Labour has for the worker come back and we will chat.

  17. KJT 17

    I can think of some savings already.
    Just replace treasury with a walking talking Roger Douglas doll.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      There are synergies all over the place.

      Combine Defence with IRD, give defence 10% of all penalty payments from evaders and defence will be self-funding inside a year. Guarantee it. People love to support the troops, and they like to see where their taxes are going.

  18. Oscar 18

    So pushing for rental standards, home insulation, higher wages, child safety, clean tech, and significant welfare reform isn’t doing anything?

    By any chance, you don’t think that in the greens 10 years in Parliament they’ve done nothing?

    Pfft, they’ve done far more to highlight the serious causes of our inequality than any other party in living memory. The greens are the best placed to drive our inequality levels down being the only true party for social justice and equality.

    Labour: Tomorrows National.

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