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Fortress NZ

Written By: - Date published: 11:25 am, September 16th, 2016 - 120 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, Environment, exports, International, manufacturing, monetary policy, overseas investment, Politics, poverty, quality of life, Social issues, welfare - Tags: , , ,

Neoliberalism, it could be argued, has been a disaster for most New Zealanders.

The ‘rock-star’ economy has grown by 3.5% in the last year (which is, in itself, a problem because you cannot have infinite growth in a finite world) but is largely sustained only by, a) record immigration b) a natural disaster and c) a privately financed housing boom of expensive dwellings.

In the normal course of events, an incoming left-leaning government could enact legislation to undo the damage done and fix it over time. But impending climate change has removed that element of gradual change.

What then should New Zealand be doing to attempt to counteract thirty five disastrous years of neoliberalism coupled with the potential effects of climate change?

First of all, we need to act decisively to weaken the effects of of that pernicious political philosophy. This will involve a whole raft of rather radical ideas, which will also go some way to ameliorating the effects of climate change, including:

  1. Reducing the number of ruminants by at least three quarters, and confining their farming to areas which are naturally favourable for such animals and which don’t need extensive irrigation. Long term, there is little future in dairy farming (or any animal farming for that matter). It has always seemed absurd to try to sell massive amounts of dairy products to the lactose intolerate population of China!
  2. Reducing the number of immigrants to a trickle from the present flood and confine them to trades/professionals we really need. At the present time immigration is being used to lower wages and create a precariat class which can be exploited by the elite.
  3. Concomitant with a reduction in immigration begin and increase trade training courses for young New Zealanders, providing a pathway for them into satisfying and rewarding work.
  4. Immediately increase the minimum wage to a living wage. That people are expected to work for less than is enough to sustain life is monstrous. Ultimately, move towards a UBI.
  5. Deliberately crash the housing market, especially in Auckland, while at the same time providing protection for first home and residential home buyers. There must be zero tolerance for parasites who feast on the vulnerability of the poor or who put owning a house beyond the reach of the ordinary New Zealander. The banks must serve the interests of New Zealand, not their shareholders in Australia.
  6. Immediately decree that rents can not be more than twenty-five per cent of a household’s income. At the same time abolish the welfare subsidy for landlords.
  7. Refocus the manufacturing aspect of farming towards value-added products. Nothing that can be processed within New Zealand should leave these shores in a raw state. And don’t use the argument that we’ll price ourselves out of markets – we’re a food producer in a world of seven going on for nine billion people!
  8. Require a permit to purchase family vehicles of over 2 litre engine size, ban all family vehicles over 3 litres and encourage/subsidize the introduction and purchase of electric vehicles.
  9. Buy New Zealand. Government contracts should only ever go overseas if it can be proved that similar products/services cannot  be sourced/provided here.
  10. Transfer Government accounts from any of the four Aussie banks to Kiwibank and legislate to force regional and local councils to do the same.
  11. Deliberately downsize the transport indistry by a) upgrading and enlarging the rail network and b) putting punitive charges on all long-distant transport.
  12. Aim to become 100% renewable in energy resources as soon as possible and heavily subsidize the installation of household solar panels.
  13. Abolish the dividend requirements of SOE’s while encouraging fiscal responsibility.
  14. Limit CEO salaries in all government enterprises and ministries to 6X that of the lowest paid worker. Foster the almost forgotten concept of ‘public service.’
  15. Institute a progressive tax regime, with a top tax of 70%, close tax loopholes and vigorously prosecute offenders.
  16. Create a level playing field in education by a) removing ALL payments to private school. If the rich want their own exclusive school system, let them be prepared to pay for it! And b) make all tertiary education free. Also, put extra resources into early childhood education. Early intervention pays dividends.
  17. Immediately begin building enough houses, with insulation and double glazing etc to ensure that nobody is homeless in this country.
  18. Progressively restrict the numbers of tourists coming to New Zealand to limit the impact of excessive numbers on our landscape. Tourisn should not be just another ‘wild west’ industry.
  19. At the same time adequately fund DOC. Their task, that of protecting the conservation estate of this country, is going to become a great deal more difficult as climate change begins to bite.
  20. Preserve our fishing resources. Seize offending boats when there is evidence of overfishing and or waste (and don’t allow the industry to monitor itself!)
  21. Like private schools, don’t fund private hospitals. It is a far better investment to adequately fund the public hospital system.
  22. Remove alcohol from supermarkets and corner dairies. Make it harder to buy alcohol by a) increasing its price and b) restricting the number of outlets.
  23. Impose a fat tax in an effort to reduce the level of obesity. Actively encourage young people to participate in sports or physical activities. Forbid the expansion of fast food outlets, especially close to schools.
  24. Impose a total ban on foreign ownership of New Zealand land or houses. Unless foreigners are prepared to become New Zealand citizens (and that precludes them buying their way in!) and live in this country for a minimum of nine months in each year. There is evidence that this country is becoming a bolt-hole for the global elite; this we should ensure doesn’t continue to happen.
  25. About the only thing this present appalling government has done is to spend twenty billion dollars on equipment for our defence forces. I’d even go further: like Switzerland, I’d require all our youth to spend some time doing military training, with the intention of creating a home guard. At the same time our troops should be limited to UN sanctioned peace-keeping.

The aim must be to make this country as least dependent on the global economy as possible.  Yes, that does represent protectionism, but it’s going to happen one way or another as social conditions deteriorate in the rest of the world.
Tony Veitch

120 comments on “Fortress NZ ”

  1. Wayne 1

    Presumably he would also have a ban on people shifting to Australia, because that is what would happen if these policies were implemented.

    Not that they will be needing to shift because people won’t vote for them, certainly not as a package.

    Perhaps the more interesting question is whether any significant political party will pick up any of the 25 proposals, since some are more credible than others , though for me only #17, #19 and #20 make any sense.

    I am pretty sure you can’t buy alcohol in corner dairies.

    • Sabine 1.1

      People are already moving to Australia as it is. Better wages, cheaper houses. And if they get sick and need a doctor or something they come back home for a few weeks/month.

      where have you been living? Under a rock?

      and no you can’t buy alcohol at a dairy, but you could by “Legal Highs” thanks to the impeccable hair piece called Peter Dunne, National Supporter and denier of proper healthcare to people who are dying.

      • Puckish Rogue 1.1.1

        Hi Sabine

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/22/more-australians-now-relocating-to-new-zealand-than-the-other-way-round

        People are moving back in droves because of the National government, it was the Labour government that forced people overseas 🙂

        • Stuart Munro 1.1.1.1

          No – it’s the the ludicrous failure of far right policies of Abbot, Hockey, and the drooling idiot who has somehow become their PM.

          If you’re a kiwi in Oz & your job folds there’s no social safety net. You’re going back to NZ in spite of the massive economic failure that forced you to leave in the first place.

          No place for Pollyanna propaganda – returnees are desperate – and certainly not going to be fans of the vile Key kleptocracy and his choir of pinheaded sycophants.

        • RedLogix 1.1.1.2

          In addition to what Stuart has said, the reason why some kiwis are heading back is that the mining construction sector, in which Kiwis were generally over represented, went very flat because of absurd overcapacity and low prices in the iron ore industry specifically.

          But still there are some 650,000 kiwis in Australia and only a small fraction of that number has returned to NZ in the past 12 months … certainly not all of us here are scampering back home with our tails between our legs just yet.

        • Sabine 1.1.1.3

          funny i see people still moving to OZ every week.

          Why? Cause they can’t afford a house, they got a better wage and besides the weather.
          Will they come back one day, most likely yes, when they need health care, or the kid needs to go to Uni, or they finally have made enough money to buy a shoe box and call it home sweet home.

          you need to change your tune mate, its not turning into an earworm just yet.

      • Craig H 1.1.2

        You can buy alcohol at Night n Days and other similar convenience stores, which are at best half a step above corner dairies.

    • dukeofurl 1.2

      I was in a ‘dairy’ in St heliers on the weekend and it had a wine aisle

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 1.3

      Wayne, of course, misses one of the subtle points of this post: that this country will not have to worry about losing people, but rather about how to stop them coming. When the rest of the world descends into environmental chaos and social disruption, this remote little country will seem a highly desirable place to live!

      Do the elites already recognise this? 20 billion on new equipment for our services?

    • Colonial Viper 1.4

      Presumably he would also have a ban on people shifting to Australia, because that is what would happen if these policies were implemented.

      Muldoon already answered that one, Wayne.

    • Gosh the National Party and its supporters really hate New Zealand the way they think that people will emigrate from New Zealand if they don’t get their way. LOL.

      So much for patriotism!

      The reality is that given we’re locked into at least 2° of climate change, and New Zealand being well-placed to avoid many of the worst consequences, that New Zealand is not going to have a problem attracting immigrants in the long term. People are going to be flocking to come here, especially from pacific islands that are going to be underwater. 🙁

    • Paul 1.6

      Let the parasites go.
      Their assets however will be frozen.

  2. Ad 2

    What’s the top three you would fight hardest for in Cabinet Tony?

    Good to see you posting.
    Keep going.

    • Paul 2.1

      I would take ownership of the banks as number one.

    • AmaKiwi 2.2

      A good posting.

      High on my list is blood money from overseas monopolists, murderers, dictators, and alike.

      The police recently estimated $1.6 billion a year in DOMESTIC money laundering and tax evasion. These Kiwis crooks are small fry compared to the billionaires lurking off our shores. We have no idea how much blood money gets washed here but I think it is reasonable to estimate it at ten times the domestic tax evasion . . . $16 billion. I will bet it comes with huge political donations to insure the scams keep going.

  3. Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 3

    Gosh, I don’t know. Environmental ones, I think. Our legacy to our grandchildren. God knows, we’ve made a big enough mess of the world as it is!

    Yes, sorry about the booze in corner dairies – a slip of the typing fingers!

  4. BM 4

    How would any of these ideas be implemented?.

    Also Neoliberalism hasn’t been a disaster for most New Zealanders, if it was, you’d have seen quite a few of your ideas in place already.

    Facts are, most people are happy with the current system.

    • Red Hand 4.1

      “most people are happy with the current system” has not been shown by any survey I am aware of. Lies like this can disempower a weak enemy and strengthen the rest.

      • BM 4.1.1

        The survey happens every 3 years, it’s called an election.

        • Anno1701 4.1.1.1

          The survey happens every 3 years, it’s called an election.”

          oh sure because we are offered an alternative right ?

          • BM 4.1.1.1.1

            Why isn’t there a party pushing these sort of policies?

            If this is what everyone really wants, this Venezuelan type of party would be very popular.

            Lots of votes and power awaits for the individuals who get their arses of the couch and present these sort of ideas to the people.

            Vive la Revolution!

            • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1.1.1.1

              You are way too obsessed with Venezuela, BM.

              You know Marx didn’t think you could pull off a communist revolution until you had a surplus of resources, right? Nobody actually tried communism in a country with a surplus before. And hell, Cuba tried it despite not having a surplus, and damn near succeeded, they probably would have been the example of How Communism Can Work if they hadn’t been embargoed by the United States for daring not to believe in unfettered capitalism.

          • AmaKiwi 4.1.1.1.2

            @Anno1701

            + 1000

          • Chuck 4.1.1.1.3

            “oh sure because we are offered an alternative right ?”

            Yes you are.

        • Paul 4.1.1.2

          And the choices are vote for neoliberal economics or vote for neoliberal economics.
          No wonder a million people didn’t vote.

        • Red Hand 4.1.1.3

          The election is not an accurate assessment of how happy people are with the current system because the major parties do not offer an alternative, and many people do not vote. If you are happy with the current system then the election result and the opinion polls must be reassuring. The short term, debt-funded speculations and spending of voters with a pathetic scrap of equity is evidence of fear and greed rather than support for the present system.

          • AmaKiwi 4.1.1.3.1

            @ Red Hand

            + 1

            and our elections are personality contests. We voted to NOT sell our power companies but they did it anyway and never contemplated apologizing for acting against the will of the people. Democracy my ass!

    • mauī 4.2

      Ms Pettifor, a UK-based economist and director of Prime: Policy Research in Macroeconomics…
      …..
      “But what’s interesting about New Zealand is that inequality rose in this country more than in any other developed country in the world between 1980 and the 2000s – that’s extraordinary.”
      …..
      She says those levels of inequality lead to political instability which has led to the rise of the likes of Donald Trump and “fascists in Europe”.

      http://www.newshub.co.nz/business/nz-economy-hugely-imbalanced-as-gdp-grows-36pct-2016091511

      • save nz 4.2.1

        +1 Maui

      • Oh look, no reply from BM.

        I’ll pose a question in his usual trollish style:

        Are you failing to answer Maui because you’re a coward BM, or because you think inequality is a good thing?

        (also for bonus points, when did you stop beating your wife? OK, the return trolling has now stopped)

        • BM 4.2.2.1

          It’s a waste of time, for every person who says inequality is increasing you’ll find one who says it isn’t.

          I

      • Rocco Siffredi 4.2.3

        “Ms Pettifor, a UK-based economist and director of Prime: Policy Research in Macroeconomics”

        A completely random and non-partisan voice perhaps?

        “On September 27, 2015, it was announced that she had been appointed to the British Labour Party’s Economic Advisory Committee, convened by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and reporting to Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn”

        Perhaps not.

    • Pat 4.3

      lets assume a voting majority don’t consider neoliberalism has been a disaster for them….is that necessarily true into the future as its inevitable consequences become ever more apparent?

      • BM 4.3.1

        Until the inevitable consequences of neoliberalism affect the majority of people there will be no change.

        What advantage is there in changing a system that works?

        • Pat 4.3.1.1

          ‘Until the inevitable consequences of neoliberalism affect the majority of people there will be no change.”

          don’t know about that, there is enough of a disquiet that people are beginning to question the narrative they have been fed…no need to wait for the train to derail before exiting.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.3.1.2

          One of the effects neoliberalism has is that it damages participation and engagement in voting and politics, especially among the poor.

          So the Neoliberal system “works” to help neoliberals remain in power – but I wouldn’t say it is a good thing.

        • miravox 4.3.1.3

          What advantage is there in changing a system that works?

          Your first sentence implicity agrees neoliberalism doesn’t work. If it did, there would be no “inevitable consequences” that would force a change. It would be a stable economic framework.

          So your question is dubious.

          However, why there will be no change until the “inevitable consequences of neoliberalism affect the majority of people” is certainly worth a comment or two.

          I’d put short-term political and economic thinking by politicians, companies and individuals at the top of that list.

  5. save nz 5

    Great post – have to say agree completely with the start of the post but don’t agree with some of the ideas and severity of the ways to combat it.

    I think that a big issue missed out is taxation and tax havens. Countries and citizens are losing so much tax out of the country via “pretty legal” ways of corporatising profits and not paying the same amount of taxes as individuals and other corporations.

    Apple has been in the news recently, when it is shown that it being one of the richest corporations in the world actually takes the profits out and then has them in virtual limbo just for taxation reasons. If Corporations were made to be taxed locally on all the profits and not have ways to minimise this, then the country where the goods are sold the country and community would benefit from the taxes. As it is, not even the US is benefiting.

    Therefore the revenue of many corporations that could be creating more jobs or innovation is actually being stored offshore for the sole purposes of not paying tax. Again how can other companies compete with that? If one company can through various schemes pay less than 1% on profits and then a local company paying 33%? One has a massive advantage and it is nothing to do with the products or how well the company is run.

    Why should individuals be expected to pay up to 70% as Tony Veich has suggested when you just need to make yourselves a corporation and then pump out all the profits to be stored offshore and just pay a fraction of tax? The ‘free market’ is not working and hasn’t been for a long time now. The biggest reform in my view needed is corporation taxation reform so that tax havens and moving money around to minimise taxes are outlawed.

    The next biggest thing would be to make sure that executive CEO salaries or the highest paid workers can not earn more than 20X that of the lowest paid worker including bonuses and any other perks like cars etc.

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 5.1

      Agreed – stopping corporate manipulating of the tax system is an idea I should have included.

  6. Rocco Siffredi 6

    Reminds me of Fortress Venezuela.

  7. Puckish Rogue 7

    1. isn’t a bad idea with some tweaking

    2. Has some merit but will you look at refugees as well or just migrants?

    3. Sounds all right to me

    4 No

    5. Dear lord no

    6. No

    7. I’m not comfortable with that

    8. No

    9. Sure if ok that the prices may be higher

    10. I don’t think its that simple, can Kiwibank handle it?

    11. Drive those truckies out of business eh, No

    12. Some merit with tweaking

    13. Maybe with some tweaking
    .
    14 In public service sure

    15. No, no, no, no, no ,no, no

    16. The rich already pay for it through their taxes so no

    17. Easier said then done but I’d make sure existing houses were properly insulated first

    18. Start with backpackers

    19. Sure why not

    20. thats an increase for Navy spending then?

    21.No it isn’t

    22. No

    23 Yes to encourage, no to tax

    24. Some tweaking to this

    25. I’d suggest National Service instead and I’d add DOC as an option

    • Why would you want to cut our intake of refugees? If you’re taking in anyone unskilled, it ought to be refugees, not only because we have a moral obligation, not only because we have a legal obligation, but also from a pragmatic point of view, refugees are some of the most motivated people to assimilate and succeed because they appreciate that we live in what’s mostly a free democratic society.

      Also, the minimum wage has never been increased to a level high enough that anyone’s ever made an academic argument that it has had negative economic effects. I’m sure it would be possible to do so, I’m just saying it’s never been done before. So why do you think the living wage would suddenly do it? And even if it did, don’t you think that’s a problem we could solve? Worst comes to worst, we could just cut it back a little.

  8. A “fat tax” is ludicrous. Dietary fat is not linked to body size, and people’s body size isn’t a disease. Any kind of taxation on calorie-dense food only punishes poor people, who are denied real choice in food due to low wages, lack of time, inflated food prices thanks to a supermarket duopoly, and regressive GST.

    As long as leftwingers keep jumping on the diet industry’s bandwagons, we’re only undermining our struggle against neoliberalism.
    http://foodfatnessfitness.com/2016/02/02/fighting-neoliberalism-and-fatphobia-together/

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      I agree that a fat tax is just wrong but encouraging physical activity is not a bad idea

    • Lanthanide 8.2

      “Dietary fat is not linked to body size,”

      Well, actually, it is.

      Whether it is linked to body size any more or less than other types of food / nutrients is a different statement, which you didn’t make.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Yeah, but the point was that a fat tax targets dietary fat in order to reduce obesity with the idea that this will reduce disease. Not even mainstream science is pretending that is a useful way to look at things (public health officials are the last to catch on).

        If people don’t get their calories from fat, then by definition they have to get them from carbohydrates, and in our society that means refined carbohydrates, and voila we have Syndrome X ie all the things that are incorreclty tied to obesity. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, probably alzheimers and many cancers. Of which large body size may or may not be a corresponding factor, but let’s stop talking about it as a cause.

        It’s very hard to be pedantic when the whole understanding of health, diet and body size has been a lie for a good 50 years, and that very lie has been what caused the spike in Syndrome X diseases.

    • It might be a good idea if everyone could afford to comfortably feed themselves/their families. Might.

      But it seems like the easiest way to actually boost health is to make sure fresh food is affordable to people. But that’s a harder ask to actually manage, and doesn’t boost government revenue!

    • Rocco Siffredi 8.4

      “A “fat tax” is ludicrous. Dietary fat is not linked to body size,”

      I think he’s just planning to tax you because your fat, not the dietary fat you consume. Perhaps he will base it on your BMI?

    • RedLogix 8.5

      Latest research backs Stephanie on this. Obesity may have much more to do with gut bacteria and hormonal responses than diet or exercise alone.

    • The New Student 8.6

      +1 Stephanie. I wish that everyone was introduced to metabolism and gene expression at school. We would be solving this problem already if more people knew a few basics

    • Chuck 8.7

      I can agree with you that a “fat tax” is ludicrous (and a sugar tax).

      However – “who are denied real choice in food due to low wages, lack of time, inflated food prices thanks to a supermarket duopoly, and regressive GST.”

      That is just making excuses and is not helpful to anyone. Education is the number 1 issue for families, its simple to put together a healthy meal on a budget.

      Meals can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and heated back up as required etc.

      Get kids (and parents) back out into the yard, exercise does no one harm.

      “we’re only undermining our struggle against neoliberalism.”

      Pretty much says it all…

    • left_forward 8.8

      Dietary fat is not linked to body size! …and black is white, I suppose.
      Body size may not be a disease… but obesity, like smoking sure leads to serious illness and short, miserable lives. So your vision is a future without neoliberalism, but where everyone dies painfully and early from avoidable illnesses, such as diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, auto-immune diseases and cancers.
      There are more choices for a healthy lifestyle SR than what is offered by the diet industry, but it needs to start with sound knowledge about wellness and nutrition.

  9. idbkiwi 9

    “Neoliberalism, it could be argued, has been a disaster for most New Zealanders.”

    I love the smell of nostalgia in the morning, the witterings of those who long for life as it was before David Lange’s Labour government of 1984-1990 interjected in NZ’s absolutely rotten economy, implemented neo-liberal economic policy, and turned it around.

    The nostalgia buffs, like all those inflicted with the disease, remember things as completely different to reality as is humanly possible to get while awake. They forget a NZ society covered in economic Band-Aids, a socialist economy rapidly going down the gurgler with no sun rising on the horizon, except the one on the Japanese flag, and the hope of more loans in yen to give some credibility to the distinctly shaded and jaded NZ economy.

    How they long for price, wage, and rent freezes, exchange and interest rate controls, being told what they can earn and where and when they can spend it. They weep into their beer, verily, because the average 17% interest rate on mortgages was so very, very good for us. The 50% increase in GDP between 1980-1985 could have been considered marvelous until reminded the increase was due entirely to price inflation and underpinned by enormous increases in overseas borrowing during the corresponding period (300%), and was by 1985 at a level of over 80% of gross domestic product (equivalent to $200 billion in today’s terms) and increasing year-on-year between 20% and 30% per annum. Yea, they saw it, and it was good.

    How they wish for return to a more even society with fairer tax, and what could be fairer than a 41% tax on the rich, those earning over $25,000, and even heavier taxes on the filthy rich, those on $40,000 or more paid 60%. Real wages were steadily declining under the force of steadily increasing retail prices, everybody sensible felt this, but don’t even think about asking the boss for a bit of overtime to help out with the home finances; a few hours of time and a-half could put you into the next, hated, tax bracket and see you with less in your pay packet than what you started with before you put in the extra hours, no surprises then that the average overtime worked per week was just shy of two hours, and don’t even think of working a whole extra shift because you would certainly be punished. Public finances though demanded more taxes, NZ was running both internal and external deficits and it was then that Muldoon’s pygmy political advisors came up with a novel idea, like the light going on in a dark room, they increased taxes, or more correctly they taxed tax; in a last desperate move to get finances right they put a surcharge on the hated rich, a full 10% surcharge on total earnings, increasing the previously mentioned taxation rates to 45% and 66% respectively in one of their last pieces of genius economic management. That worked out well, didn’t it?

    Of course, to be fair, Muldoon wasn’t exactly focused on important matters, preferring to tilt at Union windmills and the hated Federation of Labour; the thriving hotbed of Commies that encouraged and supported militant and aggressive negotiating techniques with employers that resulted in 364 strikes during 1984, almost touching the magical number one for every day of the year, by the country’s 254 unions of whose members bore the brunt, losing a total of 425,000 days wages (about $26,000,000) that year due to industrial action cos, y’now, the unions cared so very, very much about the workers.

    How the dreamers yearn, but do not learn, from a visit to Paradise: 1984. Milk (still subsidised) cost a mere 4 cents per bottle at the store but only because the taxpayers chipped in to make up the difference in real price, just another small extra item of expenditure, relieving Treasury of $30,000,000 in 1984 or $210M in today’s terms, but that was only one-third of the cash cost towards subsidising our national treasure; the railways, which had been propped-up by a $90,000,000pa. taxpayer-funded windfall until extinguished in 1983.

    Oh, they say, those socialist rosy-red-tinted glass wearers, that things might have been tough, and getting tougher, but it was fair and equal toughery, people still had jobs and dignity, except for the 60,000 (7% and rising) unemployed whose number had been a mere 27,000 just four years previously and whose number inflation had loosely matched the cost of building the average 90sqm house which rose from $27,000 in 1980 to $53,000 in 1984. There was no shortage of buyers for the still inexpensive and very basic boxes because at that price they represented about 9,000 hours of the average wage-earners after-tax income compared with today where we might expect the multiple to be around, or upwards of, 40,000 hours. Therefore, say the memory-cheats, housing was more affordable then and everyone could put a roof over their heads, so to speak; or could they? At the prevailing interest rate of 17% the 1984 mortgagee could expect to pay $9,000, or the equivalent of 1500 hours wages (9 months work) in interest per year, and over ten years could expect to pay 150% of the purchase price in interest alone while for today’s purchaser the figure is more likely to be 60% over the same period. Neither of these options represent a great punt, the 1980’s home-owner relying on general wage inflation to ease towards affordability, the 21st century buyer hoping for an opportunity to realise capital gains to offset strangled retirement savings due to over-committed mortgages.

    But, but, but: it was free tertiary education, wasn’t it? All ’em Baby Boomers got free stuff at Uni, and a chance at a better income? I’m sorry to say to the salivating sanctimonious that Uni Degrees, available at relatively low cost, could be had by only the select minority; half of all Secondary students were told to bugger off after falling short in arbitrary cut-offs at School Certificate level and a further half-of-that-half (46% to be precise) was consigned to the typing-pool after failing University Entrance level under the proportional intakes of that time. Put another way; anybody with a School Certificate grade of 31% was considered a dullard in 1984, suitable only for floor-sweeping or washer-woman, but a University Graduate today. There was no money to pay for more than the agreed intake; therefore it was rationed, a typically socialist solution.

    Happy days, the early 80’s, so they say: the swooning socialists. Days when you could do as you like and as you wish as long as the almighty Government approved of it, which, amongst other things, was not trading; illegal as it was to open your shop before 6am or after 9pm and not at all on any Sunday unless trading in ‘approved’ items, and if the shop had mixture of the happy ‘approved’ merchandise and the not-so-happy ‘unapproved’ then ‘unapproved’ must be hidden from view, literally, lest it tempt some free-spirited soul to part with their wealth in exchange for contraband.

    These, folks, are the tools of socialists all; restriction of personal choice, of opportunity, and confiscation of wealth. Indeed they are the only tools Socialists know, not a single remedy do they invent that does not include either, or both, of these things. Their hammer comes at you with the blunt force of laws and restrictions, the sickle to cut your perceived wealth in the name of equity and fairness, and there is no attraction to anything as trivial as the individual or freedom because all that matters is ideological purity. Beware.

    • Puckish Rogue 9.1

      Pretty heavy for a Friday

    • b waghorn 9.2

      oh well when you put it that way i guess it’s fine that people live in cars and die of preventable diseases under the current system , because freedom and all that.

    • BM 9.3

      Great post.

    • Pat 9.4

      almost accurate although somewhat overstated…….there were a number of positive features as well.

    • TLDR.

      I skimmed enough to be able to say that I agree with most of the OP, but I actually was born after Rogernomics started, so am I nostalgic for a time before I even existed?

      • Rocco Siffredi 9.5.1

        “I skimmed enough to be able to say that I agree with most of the OP, but I actually was born after Rogernomics started, so am I nostalgic for a time before I even existed?”

        It’s easier to be nostalgic for a time you never experienced.

    • Redelusion 9.6

      Well put many with rose tinted passes on this forum pine desperately for those wonderful days, it all worked until Britain decided NZ was no longer its farm, and reality hit that the world does not owe NZ a living

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 9.7

      Well done that man (?) It takes real ability to completely miss the point!

      The post is about inclining the balance back towards the majority of people in this country and in some way trying to prepare for the approaching world-wide climate change triggered disruption.

      Yes, I experienced life before 1984 and I have no feelings of nostalgia for that ‘golden time.’ It’s pointless to look back, but we can look forward and plan for a, well, perhaps a better future for our grandchildren.

      • Redelusion 9.7.1

        So why do you propose socialism as the answer when it failed so miserably before

        • ropata 9.7.1.1

          the world is fucked because of incompetent & arrogant fwits like you causing a financial crisis, wrecking the environment, dismantling workers rights, then blaming others for the disastrous result.

    • Garibaldi 9.8

      idbkiwi. I’d say you would love the smell of napalm in the morning as you slaughter people fighting for their freedom from colonial slavery . And you’d do it in the name of fighting communism ( which wants to take over the world ) so that you could fuck everyone over with your American model of capitalism ( which is leading us to extinction). You make me sick.

    • ropata 9.9

      very strange and extreme paranoia of the red menace.

      those socialist restrictions you complain of were imposed by a *National* government under legendary authoritarian Muldoon.

      in fact yes many things were better in the 70s

      fewer cars
      fewer people
      cheaper fuel
      more trees
      more fish
      clean water
      clean air
      public utilities
      99% employment
      strong unions
      NZ owned banks
      enough houses
      less booze and junk food
      safer for bikes and pedestrians
      much safer for kids
      (Fred Dagg, McPhail & Gadsby, Billy T,… ;))

      • BM 9.9.1

        Didn’t think you were old enough to have experienced 1970’s NZ.

        • ropata 9.9.1.1

          thanks, i think 🤔

          • In Vino 9.9.1.1.1

            I fondly remember the 70s as a time when anyone who worked got reasonable pay. Long hours brought a fair reward. The system is now skewed so that those at the bottom who work long hours get paid peanuts, and cannot support a family. To pay people our modern miserable wages destroys their dignity along with the value of their work. Our society has sickened, and we need the reforms proposed by this post. I regard BM as a shallow advocate of unjustifiable profit-gouging – but he would call it wise investment.

      • Jenny Kirk 9.9.2

        oh yes – and women made some progress towards equality as well, ropata – those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end ………. but instead we got an ideological nightmare.

        Hey Tony Veitch – luv your dream. Wish it could become reality !

    • Pat 9.10

      “How they long for price, wage, and rent freezes, exchange and interest rate controls, being told what they can earn and where and when they can spend it. They weep into their beer, verily, because the average 17% interest rate on mortgages was so very, very good for us. The 50% increase in GDP between 1980-1985 could have been considered marvelous until reminded the increase was due entirely to price inflation and underpinned by enormous increases in overseas borrowing during the corresponding period (300%), and was by 1985 at a level of over 80% of gross domestic product (equivalent to $200 billion in today’s terms) and increasing year-on-year between 20% and 30% per annum. Yea, they saw it, and it was good.”

      you are conflating two distinct periods, the wage price freeze (under Muldoon ) lasted less than 2 years, yes we were indebted, but the 17% (i was paying 19.5 and 25 wasn’t unheard of) didn’t eventuate until AFTER the neolib reforms under Douglas/Lange. Under Muldoon there was at least an attempt to mitigate the impact of unemployment ,with the likes of YPTP programs…the unemployed were not abandoned.

      “Of course, to be fair, Muldoon wasn’t exactly focused on important matters, preferring to tilt at Union windmills and the hated Federation of Labour; the thriving hotbed of Commies that encouraged and supported militant and aggressive negotiating techniques with employers that resulted in 364 strikes during 1984, almost touching the magical number one for every day of the year, by the country’s 254 unions of whose members bore the brunt, losing a total of 425,000 days wages (about $26,000,000) that year due to industrial action cos, y’now, the unions cared so very, very much about the worker”

      Again you conflate two periods…Muldoon did indeed hate the Unions but the quoted 364 strikes occured under Labour (Muldoon was a back bencher by this time) due to the massive restructuring in the public service…there was however plenty of industrial action in Muldoons time.

      “How the dreamers yearn, but do not learn, from a visit to Paradise: 1984. Milk (still subsidised) cost a mere 4 cents per bottle at the store but only because the taxpayers chipped in to make up the difference in real price, just another small extra item of expenditure, relieving Treasury of $30,000,000 in 1984 or $210M in today’s terms, but that was only one-third of the cash cost towards subsidising our national treasure; the railways, which had been propped-up by a $90,000,000pa. taxpayer-funded windfall until extinguished in 1983.”

      Milk did indeed cost 4 cents a pint and was in a recyclable glass bottle and was delivered to your gate…subsidy an all…in fact it hadn’t long been removed as a free part of primary school life…..I note Fonterra are again supplying food in schools . the Railways were notoriously inefficient and lost money(just like now) BUT trained and employed thousands….and hadn’t yet been sold for a song and bought back at an extortionate rate.

      Oh, they say, those socialist rosy-red-tinted glass wearers, that things might have been tough, and getting tougher, but it was fair and equal toughery, people still had jobs and dignity, except for the 60,000 (7% and rising) unemployed whose number had been a mere 27,000 just four years previously and whose number inflation had loosely matched the cost of building the average 90sqm house which rose from $27,000 in 1980 to $53,000 in 1984. There was no shortage of buyers for the still inexpensive and very basic boxes because at that price they represented about 9,000 hours of the average wage-earners after-tax income compared with today where we might expect the multiple to be around, or upwards of, 40,000 hours. Therefore, say the memory-cheats, housing was more affordable then and everyone could put a roof over their heads, so to speak; or could they? At the prevailing interest rate of 17% the 1984 mortgagee could expect to pay $9,000, or the equivalent of 1500 hours wages (9 months work) in interest per year, and over ten years could expect to pay 150% of the purchase price in interest alone while for today’s purchaser the figure is more likely to be 60% over the same period. Neither of these options represent a great punt, the 1980’s home-owner relying on general wage inflation to ease towards affordability, the 21st century buyer hoping for an opportunity to realise capital gains to offset strangled retirement savings due to over-committed mortgages.

      Yep, we had smaller more basic houses (as did the rest of the world in the main) and our wages weren’t high in comparison (and importantly the difference between high and low paid was not factorial) but an apprentice could afford to go flatting and acquire transport and pay his/her bills if they were reasonably prudent (remembering that apprentices were paid sub minimum)…..unlike today.Home ownership was a realistic expectation.

      “But, but, but: it was free tertiary education, wasn’t it? All ’em Baby Boomers got free stuff at Uni, and a chance at a better income? I’m sorry to say to the salivating sanctimonious that Uni Degrees, available at relatively low cost, could be had by only the select minority; half of all Secondary students were told to bugger off after falling short in arbitrary cut-offs at School Certificate level and a further half-of-that-half (46% to be precise) was consigned to the typing-pool after failing University Entrance level under the proportional intakes of that time. Put another way; anybody with a School Certificate grade of 31% was considered a dullard in 1984, suitable only for floor-sweeping or washer-woman, but a University Graduate today. There was no money to pay for more than the agreed intake; therefore it was rationed, a typically socialist solution.”

      Tertiary ed was basically free (and employers paid for much of it) University was restricted to those that qualified via the scaled examinations (or age)…and they were independent and provided a superior education….many indebted graduates unable to find suitable employment today would likely wish they hadn’t attended, and instead “done a trade”.

      There were undoubtably problems for NZs economy coming out off the oil shocks and UK joining EEC in the seventies and change was needed…..however the laissez- faire pendulum swung way too far and its time for it to swing back in the other direction (if its not too late).

      • ropata 9.10.1

        100% correct. Time to rethink the path we have taken, neoliberalism has failed utterly to deliver meaningful improvement to the lives of working Kiwis. All the gains from assaulting workers rights and selling public assets have gone to the top few %

        • In Vino 9.10.1.1

          Yes, well argued Pat. I would add that I bought a house in 1982, and despite the record inflation that followed (after all, our wages went up a bit behind it) I paid off my mortgage far more quickly and easily than would be possible if I bought a house now. The profit-gougers have tilted the field, and only the rich minority are better off. Their cheerleader BM claims it does not matter if the system causes the poor to suffer – because he lacks the vision of what a decent society is.

    • Richard Rawshark 9.11

      Good post, you missed the strikes I remember so fondly as well!

      Not everything was rosy, true and I do , do that, look at the past thinking we were better off.

      I would say this though, your comment ends with an almost zealous reference to socialism. Freedom, socialism etc like it was a choice between the two or nothing.

      Reality is not so black and white, no one here I would hope, wants to cherish the ways of Enver Hoxha and create a socialist show country.

      It’s to me, about striking a balance. Doing what’s right not what ideology requires. And until people realize this and start following a more…settled , balanced approach to government decision making we are all stuck swinging in cycles.

      This current government though, has really brought out the WTF in me.. so… petty, so driven by fakeness like trickle down, so full of fuckwits.

      Some of the choices and direction they are taking has me gobsmacked like drilling for oil..but the risky way DEEP.

      Ignoring referendums, Flag votes, Gutsy feely shit, education bullshit driven by inflated we are so shit hot egos, further pandered to by a fucked up media.

      I see a political system turning into a massive mess, a media not doing it’s job, a government thinking it knows all the answers and just going off on one, and the people, well the people will believe what they read, It’s all fake. IMHO

    • ropata 9.12

      Chris Hedges has the most scathing response to idbkiwi and his ilk.

      Every utopian promise made by neoliberal ideologues has turned out to be a lie.

      Democratic institutions have been weakened or destroyed.

      Economic inequality has gotten worse.

      The rights and wages of the working class have fallen into precipitous decline.

      Labor regulations, the protection of our manufacturing base, as well as labor unions have been demolished.

      Corporations have used the destruction of trade barriers to carry out what is in essence a tax boycott.

      The aim of the corporate state is not to feed clothe and house the masses but to shift all economic social and political power as well as wealth into the hands of a tiny corporate elite.

      This corporate elite achieves its aims of greater and greater profit by weakening and dismantling government agencies, taking over or destroying public institutions (charter schools, mercenary armies, a for-profit healthcare system and outsourcing) feed the corporate beast at our expense.

      Neoliberalism, the most grotesque form of capitalism, has created a world that is defined exclusively by the naked self-interest of the elites, and this is a world a growing number of its victims now openly reject.

      • left for dead 9.12.1

        Thanks for this link ropata.
        I only run on about 6 gigs a month, so I try not to dip into everything on the www, but theses links that the likes of you and others provide are important for the likes of me. 🙂

  10. Paul 10

    The 70s were halcyon days.

  11. benby 11

    You lost me completely at #25. That is so incredibly stupid. Yes I am a proud pacifist.

    History wise I’ve done civilian service in a place and time that allowed that as a replacement for military service.

    The military service never was worth anything for the military. And France e.g. alienated generations by incarcerating pacifists. And killers, as far as as they have a goal, are “better” served by “professional” “killers”.

    That civilian service of mine had the “convenient” side effect of lowering wages. Don’t blame me, I was 18 and faced jail if I didn’t go.

    Anyone who suggests this “military” “training” totally void any other lines, because they showed in public how incredibly thick they are.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Homeland defence will become a key issue as NZs natural resources become increasingly prized in a climate change shocked world.

      Therefore the author has it exactly right, and you have it exactly wrong.

      Because you hsve not assessed the highly different near future we are now entering.

  12. vto 12

    funny how today it costs more to keep a slave than it does to pay minimum wage …….

    think about it

    slaveland aotearoa

    • ropata 12.1

      imported labour is cheap, use them up and chuck them on the scrap heap

      externalise the costs, hide all the profits in a legal tax haven

      that’s the capitalist way

  13. Blue Sky 13

    The problem facing any government or system that wants to redistribute wealth more fairly is that the wealth will be used in opposition to that. It has to be in the interest of the wealthy to have a better distribution of wealth.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      They just need to look at history. It’s no fun being hung or decapitated by a mob, to have your mansions burnt down and to have to permanently live behind tall walls surrounded by armed guards 24/7 who at any moment might decide to take what you think you own.

      • BlueSky 13.1.1

        Yep. Not a good society to live in. I hope it is one that will be avoided. The policies of the current government are hell bent on creating it though.

  14. Paul 14

    22 c) stop all alcohol advertising.

  15. Paul 15

    Amendment to 23.
    Impose a heavy sugar tax.
    Label all sugary and processed items with health warnings.
    Stop all advertising for high sugary products.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Mate there needs to be limits on all advertising in general.

      I suggest for instance – all advertisements need to be purely in black and white, the sound intensity/size of the advertisement must be strictly limited, no background music, etc.

      • Halfcrown 15.1.1

        I second that, especially the sound bit.

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          With no broadcast advertising on Sundays.

          • Richard Rawshark 15.1.1.1.1

            Can we have strawbarries on Sunday, how about all foods free, and cars and houses are given to us at birth. No one should work and we can all have our own space on the beach.

            For F Sake!

            and this is why the socialists lose elections, wanting to lawyer there way to paradise.

            How about you just create an environment where the people will choose to do the right things without some fucker telling them.

            Educate don’t legislate!

            kljhdfm;’;ldskfk;ldf’

            • Pat 15.1.1.1.1.1

              it comes down to what you believe the role of government is (or should be)….. neoliberalism’s stated goal is to remove itself to the point it solely protects property rights by any means and to hell with everything else.

            • ropata 15.1.1.1.1.2

              How about you just create an environment where the people will choose to do the right things without some fucker telling them.

              that’s exactly why mass marketing, advertising, and glitzy packaging should be severely regulated, it’s naked indoctrination into the value system that is fucking up the Earth

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep, you change values by changing behaviour. 24/7 shop till you drop culture has been one ingredient used to fuck our society.

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1.3

              Hi Richard Rawshark, how is your winning elections thing going for you and for the country?

  16. Booker 16

    These are all good, sensible courses of action. The only one I’d add is doing something about drug laws – i.e. moving to a Portugal model or similar. Enough time, money and police time has been spent on a failed approach.

  17. keepcalmcarryon 17

    Whole lot of dumb there amid some actual sane ideas. Disappointing.
    Small wonder we on the left are all at sea when some of us think that cutting ruminant numbers by three quaters and farming has no future is sensible. Lost all cred at point one sorry. Thats vegan logic and like it or not most people eat meat.

    • ropata 17.1

      we currently export enough food to feed 30 million people. we are killing our natural heritage to boost fonterra’s bottom line.

      in “fortress NZ” there would still be plenty of meat, industrial scale farming would not be required, and waterways would be under less pressure

    • Colonial Viper 17.2

      Keepcalm, keep voting for the status quo then.

      • keepcalmcarryon 17.2.1

        I didnt realise it was a choice of accepting everything Tony Veitch says, or the status quo, truly your world must be black and white.
        Why on earth would you deliberately crash our economy by destroyiing agriculture? It is kind of important to us, you city dwellers might have heard.
        Why not move away from corporatised intensive irrigation based agriculture to a small farm model with value add products based on our strong brand (niche cheese, grass fed meat and milk premium products). Doesnt mean you have to destroy 3/4 of the animals to achieve balance.
        Similarly why deliberately crash the Auckland housing market?- It will tank the entire economy. Why not just enact and actually enforce capital gains and land taxes. Also undo the anti union laws of the 1990s so we can get some strong unions back and some actual wage growth for anyone that isnt a ceo or MP. Also forbid any MP from owning investment property.

        • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.1

          write up your own post.

          The current economy is going to crash hard, one way or another.

          • keepcalmcarryon 17.2.1.1.1

            Its probably what is going to have to happen before we get some sort of change unfortunately. Even then will a new government actually seriously overhaul the system? We can dream i suppose, and sharpen our pitchforks.
            Start purging the rogernomes and new age blairites from labour and we are making some sort of progress.

            • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.1.1.1

              well, you can see just as well as I can, that no political party in Parliament is going to change our current crash course by more than inch or so one way or the other.

  18. Takere 18

    In general, I have no issue with the list except to add a few more to it.
    A written Constitution which will underpin all of what can be committed to in the document to set in stone as it were.
    Along with this I think we need to revisit reintroducing the Treason Act. With a bit of “Hanging” included! Politicians especially whom this Act apply to specifically!
    Also that they when entering Parliament as a representative, they should set aside all of their businesses for others to be responsible for and not be able to be a director of or executive, or an advisor ect … One sole income for being that representative.
    And a bit more Hanging! …Exclusively for Politicians! This will be an deterrent in itself and more than likely happen only once or twice in a generation? definitely worth making it a public spectacle.

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