English on Working for Families

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, March 2nd, 2011 - 76 comments
Categories: bill english, families - Tags: , , ,

English on cutting Working for Families:

“The National Party’s decision not to change Working For Families delivers certainty for struggling families.

A careful analysis of Working For Families reveals there would have only been small savings had National opted to remove those on higher incomes from the scheme. Taking higher-income families out of WFF saves very little money, at least in the short term.

As at 31 March 2007, around 1,000 families earning over $100,000 were receiving WFF, and payments to those families totalled only $1.1 million. Any policy to take higher-income families out of WFF would only affect a handful of families, and they would be families with four or more children.

In this uncertain economic climate, we want to give all families certainty about their incomes so there will be no change to WFF.”

That was 2008. When he wanted to get elected. He was telling the truth then. High earners on WFF are incidental. $20 a week for a thousand families.

Now, earthquake = shock doctrine. English is talking up cutting WFF again.

He says it would be ‘only for the rich’. But why bother just to save $1 million? Because cutting out a few high income families will cut nearly everyone’s WFF payments.

Only 3 ways to avoid paying a handful of high-income families a little in WFF.

1, cut payments – every family getting WFF is worse off.

2, higher abatement rate – taking money from most WFF families.

3, a sudden cut-off – earn an extra dollar, lose hundreds in WFF payments. Bad economics.

All those options suck. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And English knows the bathwater isn’t even dirty.

If WFF cuts come, every family will hurt. English and Key knows that. It’s the plan.

76 comments on “English on Working for Families”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    These fucking asswipes need to be removed from the Treasury benches.

    [lprent: Starting to sound too much like the sewer. Flat statements without explanation are just flamewar starters, and you know how much I don’t like pointless flaming. ]

  2. bobo 2

    Another reason Key and English are not keen on a earthquake levy is it takes away the excuse to cut WFF or (communism by stealth) isnt that what Key used to call it? A levy would be the best option so the money is taken and used for that exact cause a bit like a road toll then removed when no longer needed unlike cutting other schemes.

    Key and English play good cop, bad cop, to test the waters on these cuts… but Key really wants the cuts as much as English.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    I have heard English/Key making the point that the wealthy recipients have benefited from the tax cuts, so a cut in WFF might be fair.

    The effect of the cuts depends on where you draw the line for “rich” I guess. In the article above, the arbitrary assumption has been made that its over $100000, which of course will be getting right into the tail of income distribution. How about redoing the analysis for over $80000, or over $70000. I suspect that there would be a much greater number of WFF recipients if the threshold is lower.

    Therefore, the argument in the article above is very weak for trying to make the case for some sort of shock tactic, because it is making the assumption that English is still holding the view that “wealthy”= >$100000. However, in the context of the background of tax cuts that threshold might be quite a bit lower.

    • Marty G 3.1

      $70,000 is only just over the median household income of $62,000 a year, and below the median for households with dependent children.

      remember, we’re talking household incomes, not individual.

      and you can’t avoid the fact that trying to cut off people above a certain threshold can only be done by one of the three methods Zet lists. Which would you choose?

      • tsmithfield 3.1.1

        My main point was not so much the potential levels. Rather, the fact that with a normal distribution curve, a small movement back towards the centre can result in a substantial increase in the numbers who fall within that threshold. So, even a movement from 100k to 90k could make a substantial difference to the amount saved by the government.

        So far as my preference, I would go for an increased abatement slope from say 80k down to zero at 90k.

        • Bright Red 3.1.1.1

          An increased abatement slope means a higher effective marginal tax rate.

          A 3 child family on $80K is getting $100 a week from WFF, $5,000 a year.

          To eliminate that by $90K you need a 50% abatement rate, on top of the 17.5% or 30% income tax these families are laready paying.

          …. so that’s 67.5% to 80% effective marginal tax for a family that is only on just above the median income for a couple with two or dependent kids, and workers on just a little over the median wage.

          • tsmithfield 3.1.1.1.1

            BR, I don’t really see why you have a problem. The argument has regularly been raised here against tax cuts for the rich. I seem to remember you arguing this way as well. I assume you would consider families on 80k plus to qualify as “rich”. Therefore, why would you quibble over this group getting less in WFF, since they have already got considerable benefit from the tax cuts?

            • Bright Red 3.1.1.1.1.1

              An individual on $80K is in the top 8% or so of earners, that’s rich.

              A family with three kids on $80,000 is the median, that’s not rich.

              You’re smart enough to understand the difference between individual and family income

              And you’re arguing for effective marginal tax rates well above what anyone else is arguing for.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.2

          So far as my preference, I would go for an increased abatement slope from say 80k down to zero at 90k.

          Sorry but that doesn’t work.

          Increased after-tax income going from $80 to $90k pa is (10,000 * 0.7) = 7,000pa = $134 pw.

          If the family has two children the abatement of aprox $300 worth of WFF greatly exceeds this. (Can someone tell us what the WFF numbers actually are please?)

          In other words you have created a marginal tax rate in the order of 200%. Is that what you intended?

          • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2.1

            So extend the income bands we’re talking about such that the effective marginal rate is max at 95% then.

            This might mean implementing an abatement rate that starts at $75k and goes to $95k, rather than 80-90 as BR initially suggested.

            The solution stays the same, just tweaking of the numbers is required. Without anyone apparently having the hard figures on what WFF is for these groups (and as English alludes to in the post, I think it’s only families with large number of kids that get it in this income range) it’s hard to give suggestions that work out mathematically.

            • tsmithfield 3.1.1.2.1.1

              The comments above show why WFF is such a stupid concept in the first place. Abatement rates are basically an effective increase in taxation at any level. We have an employee who is careful about how much overtime he works because the loss in WFF exceeds any extra income he might gain.

              I have never seen how it is equitable that two people doing the same job can effectively get paid differently on the basis of how they have managed their fertility.

              • Lanthanide

                Perhaps if you paid this employee more, he wouldn’t need WFF and therefore wouldn’t face high abatement rates.

                • tsmithfield

                  You’re making a totally unjustified assumption there.

                  Our employees get paid top rates, alongside other benefits such as a vehicle, health insurance etc. It is important for us to reward our staff well because we have some top people and can’t afford to have them leave.

                  However, because WFF runs through to such a high level, the abatement problem still exists for him whatever we pay him.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well your abatement proposal is only going to make it worse…for a lot more people.

                    Most people here like the idea of supporting families with the extra costs of having children, but equally recognise that WFF is far from perfect. The existing tax system creates these stupid problems whenever you have any targeted benefit or tax rebate.

                    Ergo the problem is the system.

                    Again I draw your attention to the recent post on Universal Income.

                    With such a system is is simple to include a Universal Child Allowance that achieves the same result, but without these stupid abatement rates.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “Ergo the problem is the system.”

                      Agreed.

                      “Again I draw your attention to the recent post on Universal Income.”

                      I didn’t get around to commenting on that thread. However, it might surprise you to know I quite like the idea of a universal income in many respects. Especially the simplicity aspect of it.

                      Its a fairly rare day when we are in complete agreement. 🙂

              • felix

                “The comments above show why WFF is such a stupid concept in the first place.”

                LOLZ!!!

                In much the same way as smacking myself repeatedly in the face just goes to show how stupid people are.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      I have heard English/Key making the point that the wealthy recipients have benefited from the tax cuts, so a cut in WFF might be fair.

      So the answer is to increase taxes on the wealthy, but only if they have lots of kids. It’s a strange definition of fair.

  4. Bob Stanforth 4

    English: Not ruled in or out, we might consider
    Wait 1 day
    JK: No, we are ruling it out.

    Certainty and another non story based on speculation when asked a question by a reporter. Is that really the best you’ve got? Dog whistling as strategy for mobilsing action from the masses?

    Oh dear. Oh dear dear dear.

    • lprent 4.1

      Because the standard way for this government to move their agendas forward is to have a senior member to postulate something ridiculous. They then look for reaction. If there is too much against it, then then Key will amend it or drop it to take the brownie points. If there isn’t enough bad reaction then they roll ahead crushing any resisting opposition under their tracks of urgency and bad legislation.

      Guess what. This blog sites authors tend to oppose this government and as well as looking to tryingto improve the broad labour movement writes reactions against stupidity in the Key government. We have a role to play. Our authors point out stupidity. It helps to induce the backdowns before the key gvernment implements it.

      Your role? Well it seems to be to wring your hands at us doing our role and saying oh dear oh dear. That seems to be a bit pointless for you to expend effort in reading political blogs and then playing the part of a crowd extra. Perhaps you should look to expand your repertoire and get a more useful role.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Come on Bob…

      1. We know that Key and English both campaigned very loudly against the introduction of WFF. At the time they made it clear how much they disliked it.

      2. Neither of them have said anything since that would suggest they have changed their minds and they now think it’s a good idea.

      3. Anything they have said about retaining WFF has been couched in grudging terms, recognising how unpopular it would be to tamper with it. Along the same lines as ‘no asset sales in our first term’. ie “we want to do it, but won’t until we think we can get away with it”.

      4. If WFF was not going to be cut, then all Key had to do was say so. As for instance National has made it very clear they are not going to restore the top 39% tax rate for people on high incomes.

  5. prism 5

    bobo – WFF or (communism by stealth) isnt that what Key used to call it?
    Sounds so NACT really. People like him have no sense of being part of a people, a country, no pride in universal good conditions, and no concern about children or feelings of duty of society to help parents. It's all what can I and my group get, and how much more costly things can we accumulate.

    The work has been done on universality and found that if everyone gets whatever advantage, then it is owned as a concept, accepted and contributed to by all. Universality provides savings to the government administration through less gate-keeping and checking. The limits for apparently higher incomes are not as realistic as they once would have been as housing has been allowed to inflate in value and mortgage interest or rent forms a large part of people's basic outgoings. So discretionary income is less.

    Also in light of NACTs meritocratic approach to education and advancement, the middle class are the people who are aspirational and will encourage their children to gain good skills, and achieve their potential going onto highly skilled jobs. But the education costs are likely to be high as well.

    Why don't NACTs support the people who are likely to be their constituency? Perhaps because they are flailing around, trying not to upset the already moneyed who have already been given a present of a tax deduction to add to their discretionary income, the left-over after basic living costs are spent. These people don't want to make a fair contribution to the country's taxation so the money is to be extracted from those with children who are the future of the country.

    All children need to go to the top in priorities for government distributions, not be extras that are considered from time to time, usually only in a crisis.
    anti-spam : change

  6. Herodotus 6

    I heard today on the radio (Nothing confrimed in links) that WFF when introduced cost about $1.5b p.a. now it is $2.7b. With a stagengt domenstic and world wide economy in tatters this growth in costs is questionable, especially when reviewed with health costs, pensions for 65+, tax subsidies for the few in Kiwisaver.
    WFF has many holes in the system. How can a double income family earn the same amount as single. With “splitting” of income receive a greater disposable income than the single and yet both qualify for the same assiastance. In some cases this differential amounts to $10+k. Problem with tax being based on the earner and welfare/govt assistance on gross pay, not disposable income.
    then you also have those that are able to “manage” their affairs to reduce their income and then still qualify for govt handouts
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2761239/Well-off-families-rort-system
    Sure help those in need, remember that many beneficaries do not get this assiatance and are expected to survive on less, and for me is a backhanded acknowledment from Lab that our incomes are crap and we have to survive on them (including those rich buggers with family incomes of $100k) and both Lab and nat are devoid of any means to icnrease our living standards. No ideas at all.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      I usually find your comments difficult to read, so I’ll reply to what I think you’re talking about.

      Income splitting for tax purposes greatly benefits those on high incomes, because they are the ones that have scope to split to lower their marginal tax rate. A family where one person is paying 17.5% marginal rate can’t get much out of the deal if they split the income so that they pay 10.5% marginal. However someone who is earning at the 33% rate can get a big boost from shifting some of that down to the 10.5%, 17.5% and 30% rates. Income splitting is tax cuts for the rich, whereas WFF is targeted mostly at the lower-middle class and up.

      As for ‘managing’ your affairs for tax purposes, part of the 2010 ‘tax switch’ was that National were going to ‘look through’ trusts for WFF purposes. So if you had income being generated in a trust, that would be pinned back to the trustees and prevent them from claiming WFF benefits. I’m not entirely sure how that actually works in reality (seems to be fraught with problems, as is usually the case when dealing with trusts due to their legal status) or whether National have actually gone ahead with it, but that was part of how they made their “tax switch revenue neutral”.

      • Herodotus 6.1.1

        Sometimes the mind and the fingers are not in synic and what makes sense in the now is crap when read later !! Appologies.
        WFF is more than targted at the middle (What ever that term refers to. I am still awaiting someone from Lab do define. I can as the Likes of Mallard comment just wait. But if their polcies are so great then there should be nothing to be afraid of. Unless this is another empty promise full of rhetoric- which I think it is).
        e.g WfF with 3 kids on $80k income = $40/week. 1 income = $60,050 in the hand and $40kx2 = $65,590 yet both recieve the same govt entitlements? + any other entitlements that are available to both at the same rate. & I have not incorporated the IWTC available.
        Link is to an IRD table for WfF entitlements, and it stops at $120+k
        http://www.ird.govt.nz/resources/9/f/9f5ff080417001a48536f741caddaf4b/ir271-2011.pdf
        Indirectly we have what we had in the 80’s of complex tax tables. But in this case the recipient has to approach the IRD to claim & if incomes should increase over the year then a retrospective adjustment made and the overpayment is to be paid back. A few family and friends have been caught out in this way. Struggling to cope then recieving a statement for monies to be repaid not being aware at the time of the implications a bit of overtime or a payrise can cause.
        Sure I am all for a suliment for those paid a wage that yo cannot live on, but does that not point to the fact that the lowly paid are underpaid and the coys are indirectly being subsidised by the govt?
        I hope this is more coherent 😉

  7. Tigger 7

    Reverse the tax cuts for wealthy. Do I have to organise a march about this to get it into the damn press? I will if I have to…

    • jbanks 7.1

      Do you not think that increasing taxes in a recession would be bad for economic growth?

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Those taxes would be used to create new jobs and to spend on items and services for the public.

        i.e. it would be the opposite of what you suggest, it would actually be GOOD for economic growth.

        And more than that, that activity would be good for social and community growth.

        • aj 7.1.1.1

          What VP said.
          We don’t know if the tax cuts pocketed to the top few % were saved, used to pay down debt, spent on overseas trips, spent on bigger (mostly imported) toys or spent completly within the local economy. Only one of those things would be notably good for economic growth.
          The money from the tax cuts is largely borrowed, let’s not forget, and to direct ALL the cuts into rebuilding the region would be good for growth.

          • Tigger 7.1.1.1.1

            Well as a rich prick who benefitted from the cut married to someone who also benefitted I know that we used the money to put against debt (mortgage).

            And jb, I’m not advocating a tax hike – I’m advocating undoing a tax cut…

            • terryg 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I, too, am a “rich prick” (for certain small values of rich) and was aghast to get a tax cut. FFS i DONT need it, but given the economic climate (or, more precisely, the lack thereof) others really do.

              So I gave it all to my wife, who has spent the last two years recovering from ostensibly terminal cancer – which we treated half-privately (no insurance but if you want surgery in 3 days $50k will get it) and half publicly. Had we not paid our mortgage off 6 months previously, that would have been a crippling blow; it still hurt though.

              I expected no better – after all, what was JoKey’s first act when in power, in the midst of a GFC the likes of which we havent seen for 80 years? BROUGHT BACK KNIGHTHOODS.

              aaargh. I truly do not want to see what happens if NACT get in for another term.

              I am also not keen on the whole WFF thing either – as non-breeders we get nothing.

              • Carol

                I disagree that us non-breeders get nothing from WFF. Children are an investment for our society in the future. Our society relies on the early socialisation done in families, to create citizens who generally know how to behavee in various social situations. Without that sort of preparation formal education would be a real struggle. Just compare, even some of the worst behaved children in NZ, with so-called wild children who grow up without any human contact.

                I am happy for my taxes to go towards the health, education and family support for children.

                • terryg

                  Hi Carol,

                  sure thats a good point, but is verging on sophistry I should have written this:

                  “as non-breeders we get no direct benefit from WFF”

                  As far as the indirect benefits are concerned, you are quite correct. I am not just happy for my taxes (which btw am happy to pay) to be used in that regard, I insist on it. However I dont think that WFF is a particularly clever legislative approach towards those ends. Not that I have any real suggestions, other than looking after the most vulnerable within society, I’m just whining.

                  alas, my (our) tax money gets spent subsidising farmers polluting our waterways, the IRB, goddamned finance ‘tards and of course selling state-owned assets on the cheap to really rich pricks, thereby turning us into a nation of renters. Grrr.

                  Still, it could be worse – the AOS could point machine guns at 12 year-old girls, the police could have a rape culture and Veitch could be back on air. Ah crap……..

              • prism

                That’s not right terryg – I am also not keen on the whole WFF thing either – as non-breeders we get nothing.
                You are here because people who were breeders started your life, and after your birth nurtured you in your new and helpless state. Funny how when adult, people sometimes act as if they were self-generating.

                Now all around you people who are breeders keep society alive, their children grow up to work for you, alongside you, you sell and buy from them, youngsters are finding a place in society for themselves. And people who want a happy, fair society support work so that opportunities open for all children through helping parents as needed. There would be less crime, anger and violence if the spread of opportunity was widened. Even the wealthy who have every material thing may find themselves needing psychological counselling for their children and themselves or disability help.

                So non-breeders profit from others parenting. Main thing is to get broad agreement in society to limit families to about four at most. Being planet-aware.

              • RedLogix

                I am also not keen on the whole WFF thing either – as non-breeders we get nothing.

                Of course you do. Imagine if no-one was a ‘breeder’.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.2

            Well, we do know that the rich have been buying bigger, more expensive properties.

        • jbanks 7.1.1.2

          Cuts in government spending has also been shown to be effective in producing major economic growth. So rising taxes is unnecessary when the option of redirecting inefficient spending is also a viable option.

          • mickysavage 7.1.1.2.1

            Cuts in government spending has also been shown to be effective in producing major economic growth

            Provide an example, just one, any one will do. Go on, you said it with such certainty you must have extensive knowledge in the area.

            • lprent 7.1.1.2.1.1

              It really isn’t that fair asking jbanks for details to support his inane arguments. He has never managed to do it in the past IMHO. Why would you expect him to start now?

              It seems like it is just an article of faith with him.

            • jbanks 7.1.1.2.1.2

              Ireland in the 1990’s is one of many.

              http://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/lowtax-policies-created-the-tiger-485406.html

              In business, one does not change a winning formula. Low taxes, whether corporate, capital or income, have been central to the Irish economic success story.

              • RedLogix

                Meanwhile Ireland in 2011 … still an economic success story?

                • jbanks

                  No. Thanks to the Irish banking system

                  Why is Ireland in trouble?

                  The Irish real estate bubble, the product of a decade of ample and cheap credit, burst last year. Irish banks had lent freely, almost without considering the risk that people and companies might not be able to pay back their loans. As a result they have needed multibillion-euro taxpayer-funded cash injections to survive, pushing up the government’s deficit.
                  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/11/question-why-ireland-trouble

                  • SPC

                    They chose to bail out the banks. There were other options – that is why the government was heavily defeated at the weekend elections.

                    Becoming a creature of business interest first and last, during the good times and the bad times, did not end well.

              • Marty G

                You’re honestly using Ireland as an economic model?
                Ireland got rich off EU money and making itself a tax haven for international banking. It wasted its wealth on tax cuts for the rich. Now, the party is over and it hasn’t saved any money from the good times – it kept running deficits and cutting taxes instead. Ireland faces a catastrophic structural deficit and its economy is 13 percent smaller than it was at its peak.

              • SPC

                Sure Ireland did well taking jobs from the USA and Europe to Ireland. They did not create new jobs doing so.

                If everyone followed their example there would be a race that would end by exempting companies from any tax and thus tax would transfer to individual income – thus higher tax rates on wages and dividends.

              • Ireland?!

                The next thing you would say is that if New Zealand creates itself into a financial hub then the wealth will just flow …

      • Bright Red 7.1.2

        jbanks. According to Bill English, the entire tax switch was going to add 1% to gorwth by 2017. That\’s basically nothing – 0.14% per year. And it\’s not provable that it would have happened anyway. Such small numbers, you could never be sure there was any effect at all.

        Partially reversing the tax cuts for the richest Kiwis would have no effect on the economy. In fact, the money would be plowed straight back into very high value spending on rebuilding Chch, rahter than paying for millionaires\’ bachs, overseas holidays and toys

        • Lanthanide 7.1.2.1

          Yip, even aside from the actual improvements in CHCH being more valuable, they will also have huge economic magnifiers. If we leave CHCH as a crater in the ground, then there won’t be much growth. If instead we spend $5B rebuilding it, then it’ll generate an additional $10B in revenue that it wouldn’t have if we just left it as a hole in the ground.

          It’s really quite obvious that this is a better use of money than building holiday highways and tax cuts for the rich. It might also turn out that it’s better to spend money that we are currently spending on education, health and corrections on rebuilding CHCH instead, but because we have low-hanging fruit in the form of Roads of National Stupidity and tax cuts for the rich, we should pick those fruit first before we cast our net wider and start looking at health, education, corrections, WFF etc.

        • aj 7.1.2.2

          The Laffer curve is becoming increasingly discreditted amongst mainstream economists.

  8. Jan 8

    Yes, exactly There are many less painful (for non-millionaires) alternatives for raising extra revenue:
    Just a quick survey identifies
    Reverting to the 2008-9 tax regime which would add billions into the revenue stream
    Ensuring that the rich who, by their own admission” can easily avoid paying any tax, are included in the tax regime.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/3599148/Trade-Me-founder-says-tax-burden-falls-on-workers
    Instituting a financial transactions tax http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_tax – given NZ’s (until now) attractiveness because of high interest rates this could be levied at a very low level and be mightily effective.

    Re-investigating all the revenue raising options which were avoided as solutions after the a tax working group’s report.
    href= “www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/cagtr/pdf/tax-report-website.pdf
    I believe these included
    a capital gains tax
    a more realistic approach to taxing on rental properties which I understand has been implemented in a partial and not very effective way.

    Other alternatives could be:
    A one off tax levy on business and high level tax payers.
    Arrangements to levy second home owners which incidentally would help with affordability and release more property into the market.
    Investigating an environmental tax regime which would have the benefit of achieving revenue and implementing environment/climate protection changes

    Given the richness of possible and more palatable alternatives for I daresay that “why waste a good crisis” is the thinking behind this proposed attack on WFF.

  9. randal 9

    hey if I had any money I would buy a hotrod, leaf blower, angle grinder, speedboat, house in the south of france and any other lil ole thing my heart desires.
    thats what money is for!

  10. Lanthanide 10

    I find English’s excuse of “these people got big tax cuts so therefore can afford to give up their WFF payments” a bit strange.

    If that’s the case, why didn’t you just cut their WFF payments at the same time you did the rest of the “tax switch” to help make it more “revenue neutral”?

    • Crashcart 10.1

      And never mind the fact that he is saying that if you are rich and have kids then you should have to bear the burden yet if you are just rich then you get to scate.

    • SPC 11.1

      Lack of patience in dealing with those using ideology to apologise for their own self-interest?

      • jbanks 11.2.1

        Why is your statement in italics?

        Are you pretending the blog entry was to do with intelligence?

        Intellectual dishonesty is unpleasant.

        • mickysavage 11.2.1.1

          Are you pretending the blog entry was to do with intelligence?

          If you read all of the links you will see that the conclusion is that right wingers brains are dominated by the amygdala, a primitive part of the brain associated with fear whereas for lefties the anterior cingulate was more developed. The anterior cingulates is the grey matter necessary for thought development.

          It was in italics because your comment was as well.

          You do enjoy flame wars don’t you.

          • lprent 11.2.1.1.1

            I’m probably guilty of fueling this one a bit…

          • jbanks 11.2.1.1.2

            My comment is in italics because it was a direct quote. You’re the one making your own conclusions about intelligence from the study.

            No need for a flame war just try and keep your position a little more objective.

  11. Carol 12

    I don’t find the left unpleasant, and certainly don’t find it as unpleasant as the right online. I haven’t gone to kiwiblog in years because I have no desire to be constantly faced with some of the nastiest forms of homophobia and mysogyny – something I don\’t find on leftie sites. The righties that comment on blogs like this can also be pretty unpleasant, IMO.

    OTOH, I agree with Trotter on many things, especially in relation to criticisms of neoliberalism, but he has come in for a fair amount of criticism from some on the left, which may influence his views.

    His other point about the right welcoming speakers from the left more than vice versa in offline contexts, is outside my experience.

    • Herodotus 12.1

      Carol – perhaps it is that the left do not allow neutrals or passive RWNJ to enter and are so protective of their area and insecurities. An example I have just experienced personnally- Re Red Alert- 3 weeks ago I have the unpleasantness to come accross Trevor Mallard, in which I was made an offer and labelled “If you are really resident there send me a phone number by email and I will arrange for someone to canvas your doorstep – otherwise I will just assume you are a lying troll.” and then this
      “I’m assuming you either don’t live in the electorate or don’t want a visit.
      No further correspondence.”
      Play the game Trevs way or he will take his bat and ball away.
      The sad thing was I made contact with him to take up his offer – and no response, then this
      Send proof of identity to clare.curran@parliament.govt.nz or you are banned Clare”
      I then complied with this request as well. What was the result … BANNED, by default – no notification- at least on this site we get warned,a yellow card then given our marching orders.
      Those in Parliament may enter at times a very unpleasant place(much of this their by their own casuing), it appears to me that the caustic environment rubs off on them and they approach everyone else who is not “on their side” as the enemy.
      The left IMO deal in this in a fashion that further distance themselves from the passive public, with an in your face unpleasantness, the right are not so dierct and are able to convey this same unpleasant message in what appears a more friendly fashion. BUT it still is the same message. Also some of the right have marginal depth to their opposition to the policies of the left, the left appear to be are more intellectual/uni like and lose people in their unique jargon that the rest of us are lost in i.e. unable to connect their message.
      http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/02/19/petone-fair-nat-free-zone

      • SPC 12.1.1

        The experience of debating on ME issue blog sites (operated by partisans of either side) prepares one for everything else. One can say the same thing on two different sites and be treated with extreme animousity by both sides.

        • Herodotus 12.1.1.1

          There are some comments I make that warrent the terse response I receive, and try to be pleasant about in greturning. But much of this response can be brushed off by the lack of depth in the arguement. Name calling does more harm to the giver than who it is directed at, and some times attitudes preconcieved positions can be changed or at least the other side appreciated.
          This site has some issues for me, but its strength is the general level of depth that discussion take( and the acceptance of the mild right thinking!!!), and the lack of personel abuse.
          But that other site for me is becomming a very poor means of linkage for the site owners towards the small blogging pop. from all aspects of life.

      • lprent 12.1.2

        I tend towards the more personal approach myself. Of course it is often not that nice a personal approach because I consider doing well crafted personal insults with resonating after shocks to be an art form.

        But I suspect that has less to do with my leftish leaning and more to do with my early work in running factories, plus decades of time on the social nets from the BBSes to the current ones.

        Lack of time doesn’t help either. Lyn often describes me as being rather crassly anti-social when I start getting bored with what I consider is wasting my time. She is engaged in a long process of trying to moderate some of my behaviors *sigh*

        I’m a bit worried that all of the new meds will upset my well-balanced (at least to me) gestalt…

        • Herodotus 12.1.2.1

          there is a place for well thought out “putting people in their place” In Greece/Roman times oratary skills were a well respected artform e.g.Cicero. Lange ws magic, Muldoon (more castic) and in his better days Winny P. But this skill is lost – just look at the pack mentality currently in parliament. Who there currently possess this skill? And from a spectator point of view there is nothing so beautiful than a barb being issued that the recipient thinks is a blessing, oblivious to all the humor/jibe is directed at them.
          p.s. lp hope that there is some humour in your life now

          • Pascal's bookie 12.1.2.1.1

            If you think Cicero didnae get personal in his oratory, then you should read his stuff. He was vicious.

            • Herodotus 12.1.2.1.1.1

              But in some of his pieces he had the gift/skill to camouflage his comments and the wit to accompany it. There are times a few well chosen words that hit the target are best.
              PB what current examples are there that any of us could point to?
              Goff & Key- they both hang on this nice guy persona to compensate for inadequancies. there no 2’s they do have the skill of a no2 but nt that type !!

              • Pascal's bookie

                It’s a different world mate. Back then what counted was being able to sway the collected worthies in the senate, or on juries or what have you. Those folks were demanding the ability to run off off at the mouth for a couple of hours. The oratory was suited to that. Now it’s 25 second soundbites aimed at the broadcast media and devoured by the population at large who aren’t prepared to spend more than a few minutes on the subject.

                I wish it was different, I wish lots of things were different.

                • Herodotus

                  Given the 25 sec sound bite and we all know that is the attention of the media, why are they so crap at it?With the likes of Sainsbury, Cambell etc there is more on their image than substance. I am sure many media frontmen think the programme is all about tpromoting their brand e.g. Cambell vs Ring. Stil haveasoft spot for Mike Hoskings- He can get closer to an issue and can see when he is being played. All we need is a fox mirrow station and a left version. Then we can float from one to the other for as balanced view !!!!
                  I still dont know what is: middle class, house affordablility, testing Lab on the benefits of $2/week/family for GST off F&V and the benefits from Asset sales, the real story of the BMW’s. Just 2 versions of spin. And I take a few minutes each day to search this stuff (as many here do), and I don’t know so how can the more passive individuals know!!!

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    I dunno what to say mate.

                    Spin is what you are going to get. Cicero decided law rather than war would be his route to glory and went to Greece to learn rhetoric. He learnt from the best and got good at it. Try the same techniques today and you won’t do so well I think. The techniques for spinning have evolved to fit the methods of delivery, but its’ the same game.

                    Cicero, (or any one of the rest of them), wasn’t any more about substance in his rhetoric than our current crop. That claim itself is just spin. ‘Oh why can’t it be like the really old days’.

                    Much of what we know about the classical politicians comes from Plutarch’s ‘lives’ right? And what was he doing?

                    Spinning like a dervish whose lost his stop button, that’s what. Plutarch was writing ‘biographies’ to exemplify civic virtues. ‘Be like the brave, loyal and honest Pompey!’

                    There is no escaping spin in political life.

                    • Herodotus

                      the spin has also been applied to Josephus and his version the the Jewish wars-at least we get the reason for the Coluseum being built The Jews splitting into small factions then beating up on themselves. Funny how Josephus ws the only one to come out of Yodfat alive.
                      At least with Marcus Aurelius you get to see part of who he was, still with M>A we see that a good man can sire a evil son no matter how hard he tries to dispaly goodness (goodness in a Roman way 2nd Century A.D.) But reading history is the same as entering a political blog site. There is going to be a biase, at least in most cases you are aware of what you are entering into before you commit. Almost like marriage !! 😉

          • lprent 12.1.2.1.2

            Oh I am eternally joyful. But I’m always always always short of time. Time to read, esthetically writing code (the most fun I have ever found), moderate, the joyous arguing with family (we like that a lot), time to stop Lyn working so damn hard by distracting her (making and distributing docos as the producer as well as having a full-time job is just crazy), and time to practice my sardonic sense of humor looking at the essential absurdity of everything. Not to mention the work that I put into election years figuring out how to build systems that make volunteers time more effective.

            I just wish I had more time to write posts which is something I find usually takes a while.

  12. jcuknz 13

    It would make very good sense if WFF was cut for those who have more than two children. Every extra child increases the burden on the taxpayer and creates a need for more infrastructure, But though it wouldn’t save much immediately the policy should be introduced for families who currently have two children that they don’t get any more if there is a third or more children. But the scheme as at present should continue until children covered currently reach adulthood.
    Really the taxpayer shouldn’t have to pay for peoples lack of control and taking sensible precautions. and the world doesn’t need more than a two child family of those able to have them.
    This should be a change of policy with sensible thought for those led astray by past and current policies.

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