Don’t Rock The Titanic!

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, April 19th, 2019 - 31 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, leadership, political alternatives, Politics - Tags: , , , , , ,

I reckon cruise ships are so enormous to make people feel that they are not really on a boat out on sea. They are like townships or small villages, with their own man-made and controlled micro-climates, not too dissimilar from the mobile cities in Mortal Engines.

Shopping malls are also designed to warp our sense of reality and time – notice the absence of clocks anywhere – and all but avoid making us feel we are actually in a shopping mall. It is s(t)imulation of the senses to keep us ‘entertained’ and hooked; the more time we spend in them, the more money we are likely to spend on them.

Or airports, unless it is Auckland Airport, which has the comfort, ambiance, and efficiency of a windy bus shelter on a cold Winter’s night with music that rivals that in the waiting room of your dentist.

Airports aren’t just a place to catch a plane, they can also be a destination.

Click-bait has a similar function online, with cleverly designed webpages and tailored ‘personalised’ content pushed upon us. If you are not aware of this, you are more likely to be sucked in deeper and further but nobody is immune because in human psychology it is mind (or limbic brain rather) over matter.

We are only a few steps away from the Utopic dystopic world in The Matrix.

Some of us seem to be having faint hopes for a “surprise” in the upcoming Budget and even more so after the CGT got unceremoniously dropped. This so-called Wellbeing Budget may be nothing more than a dead cat bounce.

One would expect the Government to start a narrative in the lead up to the Budget. Next week would be a good time although about half the country will be on holiday. Maybe the week after.

Generally, people do not like ‘surprises’ from Government or Budget. No news is good news. We do not want the world as we know it changed. Predictability gives a (false) sense of security that trumps the risk of change to an unknown new situation or outcome – the Devil you know.

I am not even cynical about the Budget. It will contain genuine aspirations wrapped in political rhetoric to give us warm fuzzy feelings. It is undeniable that we need reassurance from our Government in these turbulent times – the whole country was rocked to its core by recent events.

The realities of party politics and MMP in New Zealand are such that nothing much will change any time soon. Sudden changes send shock waves through our society and will not lead to progressive transformation but could easily sink good ideas or intentions. The best we can do is to slowly turn the Titanic onto a new course and occasionally get off the bloody boat and set foot on land to test and taste reality and then report back to the Captain. Regardless, cruises make for good photo albums FB posts.

I wish all of you a good and safe break over Easter.

31 comments on “Don’t Rock The Titanic!”

  1. Jenny - How to get there? 1

    Don’t Rock The Titanic?

    Hi Brazil is sinking!

  2. Rosemary McDonald 2

    “Generally, people do not like ‘surprises’ from Government or Budget.”

    May 20, 2013
    What Andrew Geddis Said, But Shorter and With More Swearing

    https://publicaddress.net/onpoint/what-andrew-geddis-said-but-shorter-and-with/

    Outrage from someone who knew little about the issue, but lots about how democracy should work.

    (The comments make a good read as well.)

    Oh the irony that Labour campaigned on reversing this pile of legislative garbage in 2017 but so far just talk…and minister’s meeting with those who stand to lose the most should this legislation be reversed and virtually ignoring those personally affected.

    Not holding my breath.

    Great post Incognito…and y’all slow down on the roads! Constant traffic here on SH 39…and all going too fast!

  3. Paaparakauta 3

    Ardern has created a significant problem .. how does she top this one ?

    What, if anything, does the Aotearoan Labour party stand for ?

    Paul Keating introduced a CGT within a short time of being elected as fait accompli and it has been uncontroversial ever since on all sides of politics.

    In Aotearoa Roger, Bill, and Johns’ unicameral kleptocracy still rules. No wonder the young flee the place when they can .. they know the slanted deck is stacked against them.

    There are many kinds of slavery.

    • Ed1 3.1

      Why do you think Ardern has created a problem? The government is made up of three parties – no-one can get legislation through without at least some support from each of the three parties – if you like, each party can veto anything they like, but they cannot guarantee getting any legislation through risking that “veto”. This also happened under Key/ English at times when they did not have a majority – it is not new.

      Labour and the Greens wanted some legislation – NZ First didn’t. The numbers were not there to even introduce legislation. That is not the fault of the Prime Minister.

      So who should you blame? Well if you wanted the legislation you could blame NZ First; if you didn’t want the legislation then it should never have been even talked about. But either way, the number of MPs turns out to have been decided by voters – are they at fault?

      Lets try and be slavery to the truth and logic – and if I’m wrong, feel free to tell me where.

      • SPC 3.1.1

        The issue was not the inability to convince NZF in this term but the unwillingness to campaign for CGT in 2020 or 2023 …

        This means even a one party Labour government would not introduce a CGT and she would refuse to form a coalition with the Greens if they made a CGT a condition.

        The PM has vetoed a CGT while she is PM. Expending her political capital on this as John Key did when he voted changes to super. Each burning their own base. However while Key did it to win in the centre, Ardern hands a win to the well off and privileged and will gain little in the centre from it.

        She said that Labour would do tax review and then run with an identifiable CGT policy in 2020. That she did not makes it appear that in fact she gave up on CGT impementation during the 2017 campaign and the tax review was just a sop to the party which had supported a CGT since 2011.

        This government is a reprise of the 1984 one.

        Where the left got the nuclear free thing and honouring the Treaty, and the right got control of the economic settings.

        They have conceded

        1. government spends less than 30% GDP
        2. no borrowing and spending, debt reduction targets
        3. no taxes on CG

        The only left wing leg left is being pro worker, albeit with the PM guaranteeing employers have the ear of government to reduce this as much as possible.

        What will the left get, restrictions on freedom of speech and a focus on global warming …

        Action on global warming will have an economic cost, which will cost votes in the centre (and those spared a CGT will still not vote Labour) and some centrists will buy into the threat to freedom of speech criticism.

        The election in 2020 will be close and the result will depend on who gets over 5% and what they do (Key never really won by much).

        And if the Labour-Greens cannot form a coalition NZF would veto much of their global warming mitigation plan.

        If a Labour-Green coaliton is vital to the government being transformational (as per GW), the business realm attack on the possibility of it will be brutal. And after their victory on CGT they will be confident and aggressive and very well resourced.

        • Louis 3.1.1.1

          Because she has already campaigned on it over 3 elections. You cant keep flogging a dead horse. Setting up the Tax working group was the policy to look at CGT and other measures, CGT was just 1 part of it and she could only take it to the 2020 election if she got the numbers to proceed. This is MMP not FPP.

          • New view 3.1.1.1.1

            mores the pity Louis. These politicians love MMP because they can hide behind disagreeing COL partners when the going gets tough. Worse than that they can be bought off like labour was by NZF. The PM was gutless and useless and never attempted to call Winston’s bluff over the CGT. The Tax was just a disingenuous attempt to bribe voters at the last election. At least with FPP the Government of the day was judged on how they implemented their policies without excuses. Not like this BS we are being dished up now. We’ve got what we voted for( or some people have) lots of nothing. 

          • SPC 3.1.1.1.2

            There is no evidence that having a CGT was the reason they lost any of those elections. They lost in 2008 without one and nearly lost in 2005.

            And they were the smaller party in 2017, despite giving up CGT for the 2017-2020 period.

            • Louis 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Never mentioned why they lost SPC, I said she had already campaigned on it over 3 elections and CGT wasn't a policy, setting up the Tax Working Group to look at CGT and other measure was.

              • New view

                If you believe in something Louis you normally try to promote it or sell it. There was no sign of that here. labour employed Cullen to study CGT and then left him to promote it. When it became obvious it wasn’t being accepted by the majority and Winston, Labour dumped it. I’m from the right and could could see parts of the Tax were needed and most NZrs would’ve accepted some CGT initiatives over time. JA was never in a better position to pursue it but didn’t. She’s lost a huge amount of respect even amongst her own followers. 

                • Louis

                  What part of campaigning over 3 elections did you not get? Cullen had his time extended to counter the misinformation and scaremongering by the National party. Whats ironic is the media, the National party and particularly the right wing became hysterical at the suggestion of a CGT and now these same people are attacking the PM and her government for not implementing one. I feel we are going round in a time wasting circle. Theres been enough repetition. Have to agree to disagree. 

                  • New view

                    fair enough Louis. Let’s see how the implementation of some of these policies pans out. You’re a glass half full person I tend to be a cynical glass half empty person. Time will tell who’s closest to the mark. So far you are happy to defend this Government whereas I’m happy to poke a stick at them if I think they deserve it. In my opinion they deserve it. 

      • Cricklewood 3.1.2

        I guess some, like me,  are somewhat dismayed at the abandonment of the policy. I accept in an mmp environment you can't pass everything you would like but why not say that whilst we couldnt reach agreement it remains Labour policy and we will campaign as such. The Nats campaigned on partial asset sales ffs also raised gst with barely a whimper.

        As an aside I wasn't a fan of the cgt as propsed by the twg imo it needs to be broad based at a lower rate packaged with a raft of other tax cuts which target the lower end ie  tax free threshold and a new bracket up top around 40 percent.

    • alwyn 3.2

      Hawke (who was of course the Prime Minister at the time), and Keating, did something that made it much more palatable to Australians.
      CGT applied only to assets you bought after the introduction date of CGT. That was in September 1985 if my memory is still working.
      Anything you owned prior to that date was, and still is, exempt from CGT when you sold (or sell in the future) it.
      You didn’t have this ridiculous idea of Cullen’s that everything had to be valued on some date when he wanted to bring the tax in.
      That was one of the stupidest parts of a stupid proposal.

      • Paaparakauta 3.2.1

        Yep, I was there at roughly that time too. “CGT applied only to assets you bought after the introduction date of CGT”, and “Anything you owned prior to that date was, and still is, exempt from CGT when you sold (or sell in the future)” seem to be right.
        Check  links at the URL’s below for further information.
        I think Jacinda has the potential to be a significant figure in our politics if she survives. That has to be her first priority, rather than ‘crash and burn’.
        Glorious failure went out of style with the Charge of the Light Brigade in Crimea. 
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade
        https://www.poetryfoundation.org/…/the-charge-of-the-light-brigade
        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027438
        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062790
        https://www.history.com/…/charge-of-the-light-brigade
        “After Labor won the 1983 election, Keating became one of the most influential figures in the new government. As Treasurer, he oversaw the introduction of a large number of reforms intended to liberalise and strengthen the Australian economy. These included the Prices and Incomes Accord, the float of the Australian dollar, the elimination of tariffs, the deregulation of the financial sector, and reform of the taxation system (including the introduction of capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax, and dividend imputation).”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Keating
        “Capital gains tax (CGT), in the context of the Australian taxation system, is a tax applied to the capital gain made on the disposal of any asset, with a number of specific exemptions, the most significant one being the family home. Rollover provisions apply to some disposals, one of the most significant of which are transfers to beneficiaries on death, so that the CGT is not a quasi estate tax.
        CGT operates by treating net capital gains as taxable income in the tax year in which an asset is sold or otherwise disposed of. If an asset is held for at least 1 year then any gain is first discounted by 50% for individual taxpayers, or by 33.3% for superannuation funds. Capital losses can be offset against capital gains. Net capital losses in a tax year cannot be offset against normal income, but may be carried forward indefinitely.
        Personal use assets and collectables are treated as separate categories and losses, which are quarantined so they can only be applied against gains in the same category, not other gains. This works to stop taxpayers subsidising hobbies from their investment earnings.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_gains_tax_in_Australia

  4. Jenny - How to get there? 4

    “Generally, people do not like ‘surprises’ from Government or Budget.”
    INCOGNITO

    The joy of surprise.

    I’m a people, and I quite liked the Prime MInister’s surprise announcement, banning all new off-shore oil and gas exploration permits.

    Am I the only one to enjoy pleasant surprises? I don’t think so. Could it be that people do not like unpleasant surprises, but quite enjoy pleasant surprises?

    Why else do some people go to great lengths to plan a surprise birthday party for their loved one?

    What is wrong with having pleasant surprises from the budget, or government?

  5. Siobhan 5

    I wonder if people on the lower decks of the Titanic are happy this Easter?

    …you know, the renters who are looking for a new flat; the renters worried about the rent increases this year; the people living with relatives, parents, friends, because, in actual fact, they do not have a ‘home’; or how about the so called ‘independent contractors’ struggling to make ends meet; the courier drivers struggling to pay off the van, I bet they dread extra days off; or how about the folk in pain this Easter, unable to afford dental care, or waiting for operations that may never happen; or the parents and grandparents dealing with children struggling at school, who are probably 6 months away from even being seen, let alone helped; or all the other individuals denied dignity by a Government happy to stick to Nationals spending limits, the never ending blight of Austerity….

    Sure, Those people comfortable with the nice and steady upward trajectory of their lives, and those who possess the ‘ability’ to ignore the plight of anyone outside their immediate social circle those people of course do not want surprises…

    You’re right, Equality, fairness and the spending required to correct decades of cuts, would be one heck of a surprise…but to my mind, and to anyone who would like to think we are evolving as a people…a very very nice surprise.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      “I wonder if people on the lower decks of the Titanic are happy…?”

      ‘Course they are! We all know that’s where the very bestest fun is to be had!

      • Siobhan 5.1.1

        ha! yes, perfect.

        Bloody working classes, dancing and drinking their way to disaster..though I’m sure certain people round these parts would point out that they have actual seats, not just benches, and catering provided..thank god for the Progressive largesse and of the industrial revolution

      • mac1 5.1.2

        The risks of emigration. Three months in a leaky boat to NZ. I just read today of what could have happened to my ancestors who emigrated from England on the Crusader in 1874. The ship sprang a leak in a storm in the Indian ocean, all hand to the pumps and young men to the bucket brigade. Full catastrophe looming……. and then a large fish swam into the hole and plugged it! Its skeleton was found when the ship was examined on the stocks in NZ. Even so, eleven people were born on that three month voyage and eleven died. (Great music btw with full bore uilleann pipes.)

        And, as an after thought, those risks are still being taken today,

    • Observer Tokoroa 5.2

      Siobhan
      A very Nice piece of Writing! We need to do so much for our Young and Poor.

      With due respect to the Titanic, I am not inclined to think that Coaltion Governments are four steps towards anything.

      They are a sort of “one potato, two potato, three Potato,’more – kind of a muddle.A Topple is inevitable.

      At a guess, the NZ Voters wouldn’t know much about any of our Coaltion politicians. Yes they would know about the good looking Winston Peters. They might know a bit about Shane Jones who has many things to say up in Whangarei but, no known actions.

      Then there is Peter Shaw who rides on a wooden Moa – up and down the Corridors of Parliament. He is Boss of the Green Party. Which has 2 Bosses. One in hiding.

      Then, there’s Labour featuring Grant Robertson – Mr Money bags for short; -Mr Little a fine Legal man redefining mistakes; and Jacinda Ardern. – A Truly Worldwide Wonder. !

      All we know about our 120 politicians, is that Mr Little is going down the Mine sometime in the Future. It has to be a Hail Mary Job.

      But three Coalition Partys holding each other back, is asking too much of any Chooks or Pigs. Order in the House ….

    • Jenny - How to get there? 5.3

      <blockquote>

      Siobhan5

      19 April 2019 at 6:06 pm

      I wonder if people on the lower decks of the Titanic are happy this Easter?

      …you know, the renters who are looking for a new flat; the renters worried about the rent increases this year; the people living with relatives, parents, friends, because, in actual fact, they do not have a ‘home’…….

      </blockquote>

      Following the collapse of the CGT…..

       a nice surprise for the renters and homeless, would be a punitive tax directed toward the owners of the tens of thousands of homes that are being deliberately left untenanted, set at a level to force them to let them out or sell them.

      Now that would be a nice surprise in the budget.

      For those privileged individuals, who, when this issue was raised during the last Auckland Mayoral race, bitterly complained that their second holiday home would be unfairly caught up by such a tax;

      For the purposes of this tax: If your, Crib, Batch, Part Time Palace, or glorified Mai mai, is connected to a municipal town supply, it is not a holiday home.

      If Vancouver can do it then why can't we?



  6. Koff 6

    The climate change iceberg is going to affect all of the people in the Titanic, even the greedy selfish people on the upper decks who have been applauding the death of the CGT. Here is the link to the BBC presentation by Attenborough “Climate Change: The Facts” screened in Britain yesterday. The video does have some rather surreal ads, which jar with the sombre messaging. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x762zkd.

    • tabletennis 6.1

      Climate Change: The Facts (2019).”Why should we go to school if there is no future and why should we learn facts when the most important facts don’t matter” Greta Thunberg – Schoolstrike4climate.
      I can’t help wonder (loosing hope) if this Labour Government will get around doing something /anything to bring her desire to do something into action Jacinda Ardern: ‘Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment’.
      Building more houses is nice but adds to the problem not the other way around.Together with the just released report on the miserable state of NZ biodiversity; certainly blows out of the water the NZ myth that it cares about the environment –
      it is high time people and politicians have to start making decisions on facts and outcomes – If only there was a law for ecocide

  7. gsays 7

    One of the biggest failings of our political system is the lack of a bold big picture..
    E.g. Aotearoa organic by 2025/2030.
    We lurch from election to election, with non horse scaring policies trotted out. Or not trotted out i.e. C.G.T.
    I accept moving the minimum wage to the living wage is a wonderful boost for most of us wage slaves.

    Coalition politics is restricted to the governing arrangements, it would be lovely if we could expect more bipartisanship (or whatever multi party agreements  are called) from Wellington.

  8. Stuart Munro. 8

    People don’t mind surprises in budgets – it’s the financial sector and corporates that hate them – entities that are not entitled to vote for good reason.

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