Digging for nuggets

Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, November 30th, 2009 - 77 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: , ,

brashzombieAs we predicted, the main recommendations of the Brash report have been rejected out of hand by John Key. They are, as intended, mere headline grabbers – outlandish, silly ideas like flat tax funded by slashing government spending by 20% (that’s $17 billion).

Forget relatively minor measures like cutting free early childhood education and putting interest back on student loans, to find $17 billion we’re talking Health plus Superannuation. Brash would sell everything that’s not nailed down and cash up the Cullen Fund, which has made the country $3 billion this year. Silly stuff, ridiculous.

As Phil Goff said this morning, it’s all a strawman. Key rejected the headline grabbers as per the plan and said there might be “nuggets” buried in the report (one wag reckons they’re more like pieces of corn in a turd). It’s classic bait and switch – seize the public attention with extreme proposals, reject them, and slip through slightly less extreme things that look moderate by comparison.

So, what are these ‘nuggets’?:

Cutting the minimum wage. Brash suggests cutting the minimum wage to the 1999 level as a percentage of the average wage (45%). That would cut today’s minimum wage to about $10.50, an $80 a week pay cut for our lowest paid workers. Key obviously won’t go that far but he will look for a freeze on the minimum wage next year, an effective pay cut.

Reinstating the youth minimum wage. Like some amateur blogger, Brash asserts that the abolition of the discriminatory youth minimum wage has increased youth unemployment. It’s rubbish and it’s telling that the argument isn’t backed by facts (in fact, the whole report is startlingly light on substance and overloaded with ideological assumptions; to think this man once ran the Reserve Bank and wanted to be PM). The Right is testing the ground around this one but I think Key will just stick with the minimum wage freeze.

Taking away your work rights. The attack on workers continues. Brash would extend the 90 day Fire at Will legislation to cover all workers for longer periods which equals less secure employment and, therefore, lower wages. Brash is talking a 12 month no-rights period each time you start a new job. Key is likely to pick this up in some form. Brash would also remove work rights for anyone earning over $100,000 a year and restrict access to the employment Disputes Tribunal. There is only one outcome from all of this – worse work conditions for worse pay.

No increase in R&D spending. The neoliberal is a creature with a short memory and only a hazy perception of the future. What matters to it is getting as much as possible now. And if that means failing to invest for a better future, so be it. This is in line with National’s thinking and Key is likely to take it up.

No constraints on the financiers and currency traders. Well, there’s a surprise. Making the working person poorer, cut their pay, but heaven forbid we even exercise any oversight over what the money-lenders do, even if they have just brought us to the very brink of ruin. Key will agree, the fox is running the hen-house now.

None of this will help us catch Australia. Not the headline grabbers, not the ‘nuggets’. The fact of the matter is that successful countries have progressive tax systems to pay for well-funded public services, substantial public assets, and decent work rights.

The neoliberal agenda has never been about growing the pie. It’s about taking a larger slice for the rich; stealing from the poor. Look at the ‘nuggets’ and you see that’s exactly what they want do. It’s all about weakening workers’ rights, lowering their wages, and cutting the social wage to enable a transfer of wealth to the wealthy.

77 comments on “Digging for nuggets”

  1. Peter Martin 1

    ‘the main recommendations of the Brash report have been rejected out of hand by John Key.’

    And it all cost us some half a million?

    Folk have lost conferences for less…

  2. walter 2

    Don, can you explain again how cutting the minimum wage closes the income gap with Australia?

    Oh that’s right, it all depends on whose income you are talking about, silly me.

  3. gingercrush 3

    Pretty shitty report. But the left needs a new focus. Instead of calling it a waste of time and how National will implement some of the things and whatever else they’re saying. All of which is highly predictable. Why doesn’t Goff just pump up his speech on Reserve Bank Act changes and how that would be much more valuable than the nonsense Brash spouted.

    That was a good speech and much better than his “Nationhood speech’. Its also the issue where Goff should keep pressing. Another thing I don’t quite understand is the report talks about cutting government debt something National is also repeating. Though not anywhere the size Brash etc would like. Yet the ETS National implement goes against that. Labour should be highlighting that instead of simply scoffing at everything Brash’s report has to say.

    The way to respond s highlight the speech put to Federated Farmers and how the ETS goes against reducing government debt rather than simply attacking Brash’s report. Much more interesting and does much more to highlight that National isn’t doing anything (as Goff says in his pres release)

  4. IrishBill 4

    The depressing thing is that despite the fact this report is patently bat-shit crazy Business New Zealand are bigging it up. Ironically they’re claiming reducing government spending is a great idea while simultaneously asking for a commission for productivity. What a bunch of dipshits.

  5. Bright Red 5

    I’ve just had a quick read of the summary and skimmed the rest.

    What rot!

    It’s like you say Marty, no substance to the arguments. Here’s what Brash and co have to say about the minimum wage:

    “The Taskforce does not have very much sympathy with the common assertion that workers are in a much weaker bargaining position in the labour market than employers are. The best protection for workers is the ability to move easily to an alternative job.”

    “The case for any minimum wage at all is questionable, but at least we believe the government should quickly move to lower the minimum wage to the level, relative to the average wage, that it was in 1999. As a matter of urgency, the youth minimum wage should be reinstated, at its 1999 relativities.”

    That’s not backed up by anything. No facts, no studies, just assertion.

    In a truly odd passage, Brash says that we ought to be able to keep unemployment well below 3%, something that no country has been able to do, despite the fact that neoliberal policies increase unemployment by design:

    “In some ways it is puzzling that we have regarded a 3.5 percent unemployment rate as very low; it is equivalent to every worker spending 1.5 years unemployed84 over the course of a 45 year working career. Labour markets should be able to utilise resources better than that. Doing so will take us closer to matching or exceeding Australian incomes.”

    It’s a silly, silly piece of work

  6. vto 6

    Maybe, amongst all the din, one way of considering this is saying “putting the negatives to one side for just a moment in the interests of wading through the issues, will the proposals actually work?” Would they in fact close the gap? Would they encourage investment and lift wealth? Perhaps they would. If put in place they may actually do what is intended.

    Then once that question has been answered (honestly) then look at the other effects, one of which is supposedly less govt services (or rather, less services provided by the govt). Analyse that. If there are issues, can they be dealt with in some fashion? Etc.

    Then put it all together.

    Anyway, thats the way I look at things. Isolate and evaluate, then place appropriately with the other parts of the jigsaw, and decide.

    Very difficult I know with all the gnashing of teef and shaking of fists. Perhaps it is no wonder these issues never get fully resolved by govt, any govt.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      “Would they in fact close the gap? Would they encourage investment and lift wealth? Perhaps they would. If put in place they may actually do what is intended.”

      I see no evidence that is the case.

      You don’t go selling off billions of dollars worth of assets, stripping work rights, gutting the RMA, slashing public services and all the rest just on a hunch.

      captcha: possible (how does it do that?)

      • Bright Red 6.1.1

        check out p139 of the report: “What if we do start to act soon?”

        You would expect that section would forecast the growth curve and other economic effects resulting from the changes proposed. It does nothing of the sort.

        In fact as far as I can see there is nothing anywhere in the report that predicts the outcomes of following through on the changes recommended by Brash and co. Nothing. How can they make any claim that the changes would have the desired outcome if there is no modelling to back up the theory?

        captcha: ‘fits’ – as in ‘the report fits the report writers’ ideology’, ‘the report fits Key’s political purpose’, or ‘reading this mindrot gives me fits’?

    • Geek 6.2

      That’s all well and good when you own your own business and now have a large selection of workers that you can pay less to do the job. However will you connect the dots when your house gets burgled by someone who has no job and no hope?

  7. I think the theory is that if you allow the uber wealthy to become seriously, seriously rich the average wage will go up and we may meet the goal of raising the average wage to that of Australia’s.

    It is noticable that Brash has never thought about the effect on the community of having a significant number of poor people, except as freely available labout for his mates.

  8. BLiP 8

    Given that at least half a dozen of the contributors here could have written the same report as a satire in one afternoon, shouldn’t the Government ask for its money back? Isn’t there something in the consumer protection legislation about a product having to be “fit for purpose”?

    C’mon, Donald, give us our money back!

    • I would have done it for half the price. All I would have to do is cut and paste all the really silly ideas from National’s and Act’s election policies over the past few elections …

      • Boris Clarkov 8.1.1

        I would have done it for half the price.

        No you wouldn’t have and that is precisely the point.

        You’d have taken the cash sure, then you’d have called it a “welfare entitlement,” used the cash to finance your lifestyle choices and produced absolutely nothing.

        Just like you always have.

        Disabusing the Labour-voting beneficarycriminals of their sense of entitlement is the greatest challenge facing New Zealand. How do we convince you to live productive, law-abiding lives? We’ve tried the carrot, now it’s time for the stick.

        • snoozer 8.1.1.1

          is this guy just some leftie playing around?

          come on guys, satire has to be semi-credible to be funny and no-one is as stupid as Boris seems to be.

          • mickysavage 8.1.1.1.1

            Brash just went on National Radio. They have only spent a third of the budget to date and the rest of the funding is for the next two years.

            Given Key will not follow the recommendations they should pull the plug now and save us hardworking taxpayers some money.

        • mickysavage 8.1.1.2

          Hey Boris

          I probably pay more in tax, GST and PAYE each year than all your worldly goods are worth.

          Do you always make gross generalisations without the slightest shred of evidence?

          • prism 8.1.1.2.1

            I think the choice of Boris for a name is a dead giveaway. This guy is that actor who takes on various persona and then milks it all for laughs. You know, Ali G, the guy from Khakistan or something, and now he is doing a gay Austrian. Every time you read Boris think of this satirist, it will put all his brilliant pettifogging stuff into context.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2.2

            That’s the general course for RWNJs. To them, reality is something that happens to other people.

  9. I think Key will just stick with the minimum wage freeze.

    By “minimum wage freeze”, do you mean “increase in the minimum wage”? Because that’s what happened earlier this year…

    • Bright Red 9.1

      yeah. this year. under huge pressure from the unions.

      And the increase was so small it amounted to a freeze in real terms.

      Interesting how Graeme can’t quite bring himself to defend his heroes, so he nitpicks instead.

    • felix 9.2

      “with the minimum wage freeze” discussed as a possibility in the previous paragraph you silly boy.

    • The Voice of Reason 9.3

      Graeme.

      You just commented as follows:

      ” “I think Key will just stick with the minimum wage freeze.

      By “minimum wage freeze’, do you mean “increase in the minimum wage’? Because that’s what happened earlier this year ”

      The first sentence appears to be a quote from a post or comment, but I can’t find it anywhere. However, I do find that Marty’s post includes this paragraph:

      “Cutting the minimum wage. Brash suggests cutting the minimum wage to the 1999 level as a percentage of the average wage (45%). That would cut today’s minimum wage to about $10.50, an $80 a week pay cut for our lowest paid workers. Key obviously won’t go that far but he will look for a freeze on the minimum wage next year, an effective pay cut.”

      If you were trying to precis that paragraph, try and be a bit more accurate otherwise people will start thinking you’re just making up unfounded assertations in order to knock them down. I’m sure there’s a name for that sort of thing.

  10. rave 10

    The problem is that NZ is not an economy of scale. Were like a state of Australia. We need to join up as a 7th state. We have their banks, their chain stores, their tourists, we need their wages too. The South Pacific Ireland.

    • bobo 10.1

      I take it you’ve not been to Ireland lately.. and a large part of Ireland’s fake boom was based on massive EU grants it got in the early 90s, the Celtic Tiger was neutered years ago before the credit crisis hit, the low corporate taxes didn’t make any difference. Its getting embarrassing listening to all the Aussie envy, why not join up with as a state of China…

      • vto 10.1.1

        Agreed bobo, what is all the fuss about a gap with oz anyway? Sheesh, very different countries for a start. In current circumstances I see oz continuing to power ahead of us. Not really worried. As long as folk are doing the best they can and having a smile and smelling the roses along the way eh.

        Bloody stupid gap.

        • bobo 10.1.1.1

          Sure with their mining they will but a fundamental lack of water will hold them back in other areas which is only going to get worse in the coming years.

      • rave 10.1.2

        Go to China? The dairy industry already has, when do the workers follow?
        Agria now controls PGGWrightson. As soon as Fonterra allows tradable shares you know who has got the money to buy them. Capital has no national identity, when will workers drop theirs? Learn Chinese.

    • Bill 10.2

      The South Pacific Ireland?

      Somebody beat you to it Rave. Back in the 1850s there were maps by Tallis that read as follows: New Ulster or North Island. New Munster or Middle Island and New Leinster or Stewart Island or South Island.

      • bobo 10.2.1

        Why don’t we just change our maps to North Ireland and South Ireland.. if we get a local discount on Guinness i’m all for it 🙂

      • rave 10.2.2

        Yes time for New Munster and New Ulster to join New South Wales. It was conceived as Australasia. We could keep going and leave the Austral off the name.

  11. Peter Martin 11

    ‘By “minimum wage freeze’, do you mean “increase in the minimum wage’? Because that’s what happened earlier this year ‘

    Heh…are you suggesting Graeme ,that because the minimum wage was increased earlier this year…it has not now been frozen?

    Can you give us an indication then, of next years increase?

  12. Heh are you suggesting Graeme ,that because the minimum wage was increased earlier this year it has not now been frozen?

    Your logic is flawless.

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    What are some nations that don’t have minimum wage laws? Denmark – tick. Norway – tick. Sweden – tick. Finland – tick.
    It’s all carried out by the unions in those nations. It’s not an argument either way – just trying to put some colour into that black and white picture.

    • prism 13.1

      Pity we’re stuck in a dinghy in the South Pacific awash with waves from the English bunch – Australia, USA, Britain and possibly Canada. It might be different for us if we had closer relations with Scandinavia, up there they have some integrity as well as canny drive to succeed in numerous ways, as well as make money.

      However seeing we are here and getting governments more like wrecking crews what about approaching Australia and joining officially instead of waiting until the country is hollowed out like a cheap Easter egg.

    • snoozer 13.2

      They have effective minimum wages that vary by sector and are set by strong unions in bargaining covering nearly all employers… it’s like our old awards system and means you don’t really have much need for a statutory minimum wage, just as NZ didn’t before deunionisation.

    • Daveo 13.3

      Like snoozer says. In countries with strong unions and centralised collective bargaining (like our old Awards system) there’s no need for legislated minimums as it’s covered in the Award.

      In a society with decentralised bargaining and weak unions legislation is an absolute necessity.

      • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1

        Daveo – As I said in my first comment Daveo unions take care of it. The fact that we have weak unions is all the more reason for them to orgainse themselves. Decentralised bargaining isn’t the problem it’s the lack of bargaining power they have.

        • Daveo 13.3.1.1

          They have weak bargaining power because we have decentralised bargaining. In countries where there is more centralised bargaining the unions have favourable legislation.

          • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1.1.1

            Lots of factors contribute to their weak bargaining power like fewer members and the level of unemployment. If they had more members maybe centralised bargaining would be more feasible. I’ve got no problem with centralised bargaining as long as it’s voluntarily agreed upon i.e., on the market not by state mandate.

            • Daveo 13.3.1.1.1.1

              If it was just a case of going out and getting “more members” they would have done that already. The problem is systemic.

              The reason there is weak membership is because in order to unionise a large part of the workforce it’s necessary to bargain by industry. It’s simply not economically viable to maintain a collective agreement and proper union service for a company of five or ten employees.

              So long as the law says employers can refuse to bargain on industry lines unions will remain weak and workers will continue to go without basic employment protections and get far less than their share of the economic pie. That’s how it is the world over where labour markets have been ‘liberalised’. The market is not the answer.

            • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1.1.1.2

              Daveo – It’s not that simple as businesses in those nations belong to federations which have more power over individual members. Would you like to give Business NZ more power? Unions in those countries are more restrained too. It’s a balancing act in a system of giantism – corporate – union – state. And there is some decentralised bargaining.
              The Scandinavian countires are still relatively free market nations. They rank up there in measures of economic freedom. What writers here don’t seem to understand is that the scandinavian nations are supposed to a third way a welfare state within a relatively free market. Not a planned economy that some here dream of – a road to serfdom and economic ruin. For instance if you compare Denmark to the US using the heritage index of economic freedom – business freedom in the US is 91.9 in Denmark 99.9 – Investment freedom in the US 80 – investment freedom Denmark 90. The difference comes in things like government size 20.4 for Denmark 59.6 for the US and fiscal freedom etc.

            • Daveo 13.3.1.1.1.3

              I don’t think anyone here has ever claimed Scandanavian countries are planned economies. I also don’t put much stock in any measure of ‘freedom’ put together by the neoconservative Heritage Foundation.

              Anyway… my point is if you leave employment law to the market you won’t get a workers’ utopia, you’ll get America. Unless you give workers to have the right to bargain across industries and the right to demand industry standards then you’re not going to have an effective union movement.

              You have to allow unions to organise in a way that’s economically viable and you have to address the imbalance of power that enables individual employers to stop them from doing so. That requires intervention in the market, just as minimum wage legislation does.

            • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1.1.1.4

              Daveo – I also don’t put much stock in any measure of ‘freedom’ put together by the neoconservative Heritage Foundation.You can argue about Heritage’s methodology
              Ad hom. A By all means argue about their methodology, I’m sure there’s plenty there to argue about, but you’re just ad homming.

              Unless you give workers to have the right to bargain across industries and the right to demand industry standards then you’re not going to have an effective union movement.
              They have that right – it’s just that employers may not accede to their demands. What you want is the state to enforce them.

              Anyway my point is if you leave employment law to the market you won’t get a workers’ utopia, you’ll get America
              Employment law is not just left to the market in the US. Here’s an interesting article re the US – Free The Unions (and all political prisoners).
              And the US has minimum wage laws 🙂
              I suppose we have to agree to disagree re the market.

            • Daveo 13.3.1.1.1.5

              It’s not ad hominem – the Heritage Foundation is a politically motivated right-wing organisation. It has a very different understanding of what freedom is to a social democrat like myself.

              Yes, I do want the state to enforce workers’ rights, just as it enforces business’ property rights.

              I realise the US has employment laws, they’re just extremely weak. I was making the point that removing workers’ rights doesn’t free them up to negotiate a workers’ utopia with benevolent bosses, it just fucks them and disempowers them.

              If you want to call that freedom you’re welcome to, but in reality it means exploitation and indignity for the great majority of people.

            • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1.1.1.6

              Daveo – the Heritage Foundation is a politically motivated right-wing organisation. It has a very different understanding of what freedom is to a social democrat like myself.

              It simply is ad hom. Their index is about economic freedom. There are problems with their methodology, but are you really going to argue that because they’re conservative and you’re a social democrat their measure of how free a market is is way off?

              I believe the free market would be more equitable, more egalitarian, with greater oppurtunities for worker empowerment. I think workers can dump the bosses. They’re not going to do that under social democracy. I’m anti-hierarchical pro-worker self-management, anti-corporate. I know it’s a radically different free-market thinking to what you’re used to, call it batshit, call it utopian, but it’s been with the left since before Marx started misunderstading economics. Here’s something – Why We Fight (the Power)

            • Daveo 13.3.1.1.1.7

              I’ve read Rothbard, Rand, Nozick, the rest of it. I know right-libertarianism when I see it. I’ve also read Proudhon, Bakunin etc – I’m well versed in anarchism, so don’t pretend you’re any kind of left-libertarian.

              If you think the free market empowers workers then you need to spend some time negotiating with real employers in real workplaces.

              You also need to show some real world examples of where it’s happened and how it works rather than relying on faith from what you read in some book by some libertarian theorist.

              You also need to explain why every single democratic workers’ organisation in the world disagrees with your analysis. Are you uniquely qualified, so much so that you know better than the people who are actually being exploited?

              As for the Heritage Foundation. I disagree with them what “economic freedom” means. It’s that simple.

              Take their concept of Labour Freedom:

              “the ability of businesses to contract freely for labor and to fire workers when they are no longer needed is a vital mechanism for increasing productivity and sustaining economic growth.”

              It then goes on to complain about minimum wages and health and safety laws. (A lot like Don Brash’s report today, actually. I take it you support that too?)

              Surely you can agree that it might be reasonable for someone to disagree with a conception of labour freedom where ‘freedom’ means giving the employer free reign to act like a petty tyrant in the workplace.

              This is partisan political nonsense, don’t mistake it for credible independent research.

            • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1.1.1.8

              Daveo – It’s good that you’ve read them. Though your a bit off with Nozick and Bakunin was a anarcho-collectivist. If you know about left libertarians then you’ll know all about their defense of the free market – you know exactly what I’ve been doing. Don’t be a condescending arsehole. If you want to take it up with left libertarians – go to this forum and do so

              You also need to explain why every single democratic workers’ organisation in the world disagrees with your analysis. Are you uniquely qualified, so much so that you know better than the people who are actually being exploited?

              Ah no. Many unionists who agree with this position. Anyway ad populum fallacy.

              Surely you can agree that it might be reasonable for someone to disagree with a conception of labour freedom where ‘freedom’ means giving the employer free reign to act like a petty tyrant in the workplace.
              Point me to a better index of economic freedom.
              I don’t want the emplyer to act like a petty tyrant in the workplace, but you must understand that you wouldn’t have health and safety regulations, minimum wage laws etc on the free market. It’s not that I want them gone over night like Brash. I understand if they were to go there’d be abuses. It’s about reform and having alternative social institutions. It’s about gradual change to developing a free society. I have great faith in humanity.

            • Daveo 13.3.1.1.1.9

              I don’t think you understood what I said. I know who Nozick and Bakunin are. I also know that an anarcho-syndicalist like Bakunin would not have stood up for the Heritage Foundation’s view of economic freedom, or stayed up late at night worrying about employers not being allowed to deny their workers health and safety rights or fire them at will.

              My comment isn’t “ad populum” (you’re full of these aren’t you?), it’s saying the people who actually suffer exploitation and indignity in the workplace might have a better idea about what might help their situation than you do (let me guess, uni student?)

              You say ‘Point me to a better index of economic freedom’. It’s not something I’ve ever looked into, but that doesn’t mean we should persist in using the Heritage Foundation’s one given that it’s fundamentally flawed.

              I’d be interested to find out how you’d enforce decent working conditions if you removed legislated minimum protections but kept the fundamentals of the capitalist system in place. The evidence we have strongly shows that removal of laws to empower workers with rights leads to exploitation.

              That’s why many anarchists support state intervention in the capitalist market – they see business as being just as hierarchical and authoritarian as the state and understand that short of a revolution the state can play a useful role as a check on corporate power.

              My question is this – if you don’t want the employer to act like a petty tyrant in the workplace, and you want health and safety and minimum wages etc without regulation, then how are you going to make it happen?

              Having great faith in humanity doesn’t cut it.

            • Quoth the Raven 13.3.1.1.1.10

              Daveo – Your a formidable opponent. Honestly best argument I’ve had on this website since my argument over drug laws with HS. It’s ad populum because what you’re saying is the majority view is this (and it is a vast majority) therefore you’re wrong. It’s getting late now but here is an article on your question – In a freed market, who will stop markets from running riot and doing crazy things? And who will stop the rich and powerful from running roughshod over everyone else?
              The only other index of economic freedom I know of is the one by the Fraser Institute and I don’t think you’ll like them any better.
              Bakunin wasn’t really a syndicalist.
              Considering the negative effect of much of the state’s interference in market on the poor, the close relationship between states and corproations – the legal privileges they have – the corporate welfare etc I think the free market is an antidote to the plutocracy that we both detest. Many anarchists do support state interference in the market (but they’re nothing like social democrats – you could read Chomsky’s criticism of social democrats), but they are mostly anti-market – I personally think that is like fucking for virginity. (Though I recently read an anarcho-communist admit of the acceptability of the free market persepctive). Tucker towards the end of his life thought the state might be neccesary to “break up the trusts” seeing how far things had gone down the capitalist route in his time, but I personally agree with Carson that’s it’s not needed. Plenty of articles at the Alliance of the Libertarian Left – stuff a bit more contemporary than Proudhon. Carson’s studies at C4SS are a must read. – Just more articulate and better defences than mine 🙂
              Faith in humanity is necessary but not sufficient and my faith is unshakable. I think it’s my experience in life – just how downright good the vast majority of people that is part of why I shifted from social democrat to anarchism – you’ve just got to love life, be optimistic and not take a them and us attitude.

  14. Santi 14

    Good report.

    NZ would be a better place if Key had the balls to implement some of these suggestions. Unfortunately, he will not.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    I almost sympathise with the right-wingers on this. Emotionally, not politically.

    Imagine the mirror image. Imagine sky-high poll ratings for a left-leaning government (yes, Labour had high support briefly in the first term, but not to such levels as Key today, and with more parties around like Winston waiting to peel off voters). This is dream stuff in a democracy, especially under MMP.

    So the right are naturally asking: If not now, when? And the left need to think about how Key will respond to that pressure.

    Whatever Key says or does today, it is absolutely certain that National will head down this path after 2011, if they win a second term. (Why wouldn’t they?).

    Maybe some on the left could take a break from the internecine warfare and think about what that will mean.

    The enemy isn’t Phil Goff, or even Hone Harawira. It really isn’t.

    Brash has done us a favour, and people need to get real, fast.

    • Daveo 15.1

      I don’t think anyone on the mainstream left (outside maybe Idiot/Savant) sees Phil Goff as the enemy. We just want some decent leadership that’s not sidetracked by stupid racist dog-whistling. That’s all.

      Aside from that caveat I completely agree with your sentiments.

  16. This shows to me how not in control Key is. He keeps letting these processes pop up and come up with all sorts of results and he then has to hose the proposals down.

    Helen would have had a very firm grasp of the process, from setting the process to determining the parameters of the enquiry and then managing the results.

    Key lets it pop up without the slightest idea of what the results would be and then has to pour cold water on it.

    At least he is relaxed …

    • Lanthanide 16.1

      Somehow I suspect Key knew exactly what this report would cover. Which is why Don Brash was chosen in the first place.

  17. bobo 17

    Brash is almost like Mexi-Doug on John Keys shoulder saying “Get a Perm”

  18. If this was a cynical ‘strawman’ exercise as has been mooted it was a pretty stupid one.

    I’ve just listened to Brash on ‘PM’, responding to suggestions that Key and the current Govt. wasn’t likely to pick up on these suggestions with some pretty strong implications that if they don’t adopt them things are just going to get worse.

    Seems to me Key has just boxed himself into a corner with this. His whole natural constituency is going to think every word in Brash’s report is golden wisdom, and if he doesn’t implement them lock stock and barrel when he’s been given such a great road map, he’s just a waste of space. Minor fiddling around the edges is not going to satisfy them while alienating many middle-of-the-road voters who just wanted to teach Labour a lesson for parking itself in their living rooms.

  19. Herodotus 19

    From reading this post all I see are activist comments. Activist e.g. Hone IMO complain or devestate they donot know how to be constructive. All I read here is what is wrong predominately on one aspect. Where is there anything constructive, in the last 4 years where was Lab vision of NZ To me it was hold power at all costs Makavelian in substance. As time progreses and frustration mounts up on Lab inability to attract any connection with the public I sense that the Std will progress to a KB in devolving in a ferral fashion. where are the positives in posts?
    There was a famous study in the 30’s (Ithink of the 70’s boith were the same !!) regarding nuns and how those with a positive outlook associated with words lived 8+ years longer than the less positive. This has the same effect on life span as smoking 20 ciggys a day !!. So be warned as if you take a long bow to this the left will be dying out at a faster rate than the right i.e. the right will be voting for an additional 2 elections than their comparrative left cousins . Result Right Wing govt from here on in !!!

    • Daveo 19.1

      Piss off, you just don’t like to see your right wing heroes so obviously exposed. You see this all the time when the right is in an indefensible position and they’re getting their arses handed to them – ‘waah waah waah stop complaining, be positive’. Suck it up and stop whinging.

      • Herodotus 19.1.1

        Such aggresson. The KB virus has crossed over species, it now attacks the left !!
        Such negativity will make you miss opportunities to increase Lab support as you will be a 1/2 empty mindset instead of 1/2 full.
        Beware who you pigeon hole you never know who you maybe attacking. Or has my comment hit a nerve?

        • Herodotus 19.1.1.1

          To help you the nuns study was in the 30’s
          https://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-value-of-positive-emotions/1
          Or should I link to Monthy Python Life of Brian?

        • Daveo 19.1.1.2

          So, nothing substantive. You seem to be the one with the problem, coming on here and demanding people stop being critical. Bit rude don’t you think?

          I could talk to you all day about how I’d like to change the world, as could most people here. But that’s not what this thread is for. This is a thread critiquing a major right-wing assault on ordinary New Zealanders. Of course people are going to have some critical things to say.

          I’m not here to make you vote Labour. I don’t vote for them myself. This is a forum for activists and people with an interest in politics to talk and debate, go do your preaching to the Labour party and stop trying to dictate to us what we can and can’t talk about.

          • Herodotus 19.1.1.2.1

            There is nothing “demanding” that I can see in any of my comments. There is not one comment that takes anything positive out of the report, and to me that is where the elite left have it wrong they stand up solely on ideologoy and where an idea is sourced from not what can we take out of it to progress. I sthat not how Japan and other eastern countries have been able to progress. Few original ideas are sourcde from the east, yet they are able to build on these. I would say capitalise on the ideas but that phase maybe banned on this site!
            There has been very little comment of late regarding “I could talk to you all day about how I’d like to change the world, as could most people here…”. Why is that do you think.

            • Pascal's bookie 19.1.1.2.1.1

              So what bits would you praise in this report herodotus? I’m not seeing anything to praise meself, so I’ll just follow your advice and keep me big yap shut for a spell.

              Have at it son, be the change you want to see, etc.

            • Daveo 19.1.1.2.1.2

              Mate I’ve thumbed through the report and there’s honestly nothing in there I find praiseworthy. Fact is this is an extreme document that comes from a completely alien set of values to mine. I’m not going to pretend there’s anything praiseworthy in it because it’s not PC to simply bag the whole fraudulent bloody exercise.

            • Herodotus 19.1.1.2.1.3

              With rose tinted glasses dove tailing Brashes limiting govt spending to GDP with Cullens govt debt of 17.5% of GDP. Both to me are/were saying the same thing from a different perspective. Having govt spending approaching 50% of GDP exposes NZ to a downward spiral of cent govt dependancy, also having a goal to achieve. As long as there is support in policy to enable this to happen and that future policy is cross ref to this goal i.e. Will a new policy make the boat go faster, if not then why have the policy. But with a under rider that the vunerable are not further disadvantaged.

  20. outofbed 20

    Inequality won’t lead to economic prosperity

  21. millsy 21

    Brash at his best: Shaft the poor, workers, old, sick and young,

  22. sean14 22

    Paying interest on money you borrowed? Loony.

  23. gobsmacked 23

    Read the Maori Party’s response to Brash, today:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0911/S00477.htm

    That is simply pathetic. They’re not even trying any more.

  24. illuminatedtiger 24

    How is cutting the minimum wage going to close the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia again? When Brash was talking about raising our level of pay he must’ve meant raising the level of pay for those who are already rolling in it.

  25. Armchair Critic 25

    Recommendation 24 is good:
    “Substantially improving the quality of regulatory impact analysis being undertaken before legislation is introduced and/or government regulatory powers are extended should be treated as a matter of high priority by Ministers and central government agencies. Such analysis should be an integral part of all policy development and review processes, to ensure that the full costs and benefits, to all sectors, are appropriately and rigorously factored into government decision-making.”
    ETS, anyone? Care to elaborate on this, Dr Brash?

  26. quenchino 26

    TVNZ is of course pumping this up for all they are worth. The positive focus is of course on tax cuts (which implies everyone will get something out of it) and the lead negative is interest free student loans (which implies only a few students will be hurt).

    English weasels his way around by dolefully telling us that he can’t implement most of it because “it would break some election promises”…. implication being, ‘wait t’ill after next election’.

    Actual analysis that it would represent a massive transfer of wealth and income from the ordinary New Zealander to the richest 1-2% is of course totally absent. Given that TVNZ is now a propaganda arm of the National Party (the Bill English ad, and the total lack of rolled heads on the aftermath, is all the evidence we need) there is no doubt that this media response is carefully calibrated spin.

    I’m not so sure this report is a ‘shift the centre’ exercise at all. It is the intended goal.

  27. Santi 27

    Jokes aside, I believe Phil Goff is the best leader the socialists have ever had, and should continue on until 2011.

  28. gnomic 28

    This report is pathetic piffle. There is not one idea in it worthy of implementation (with the possible exception of congestion charging in Auckland – and how did that get in there anyway?). It is not even good stuff in terms of right-wing rants. Rod Deane’s slideshow from a presentation to the Retailer’s Association mentioned a couple of weeks back on Bruce Sheppard’s blog was more thought-provoking.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/blogs/stirring-the-pot/3049405/New-Zealand-as-it-is-warts-n-all

    http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/RodD-A-Health-Check-on-the-NZ-Economy.ppt

    Brash is a pompous ass, and this rubbish should destroy any pretensions he had to credibility forever. I heard him on the radio saying that Key may not have had time to read the report in full as yet, after the latter dismissed it in advance. This just shows the depths of Don’s delusional state. The Prime Minister was never going to read this twaddle, at best he would skim the summary. Just in case he feels tempted to go further here’s some free advice; don’t bother John, nothing to see here.

    Perhaps the worst thing about this drivel is what it doesn’t discuss. There is no mention of environmental issues, nothing about the impending energy crisis, nothing about any new kinds of exports New Zealand might develop, nothing about sustainability or meaningful definitions of GDP. It’s basically a hastily compiled braindump by Don. Too bad he really has nothing useful to say. It seems unlikely that he has had a new idea since the 1980s.

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