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Greens state of the planet

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, January 31st, 2011 - 78 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, greens, russel norman - Tags:

Russel Norman followed Phil Goff and John Key’s state of the nation speeches with the annual Greens state of the planet address. The capital gains tax initiative grabbed headlines but there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. As we face myriad economic and environmental problems, the Greens have the real answers.

Russel makes a crucial linkage, which the Left should hit again and again and again until the election, between National’s tax cuts for the rich and the debt levels it is using to justify public service cuts and asset sales:

National’s tax cuts will add $15 billion to government debt by 2015. And for what? A person on the median income got an extra $14 a week, while the head of Westpac got an extra $5000 a week. Borrowing for tax cuts targeted at the wealthiest is reckless and immoral.

National’s leaders then have the gall to use the fiscal deficit that they created to justify spending cuts to social and environmental programmes, such as night classes and community environment grants.

John Key is using the debt his Government created to justify privatisation of public assets. We should be under no illusions; they are heading down a path that will lead to full privatisation and foreign ownership of key parts of the New Zealand economy. As we’ve seen with the banking sector, profits will flow overseas, prices will rise, innovation will be stifled by monopolies and revenue to the Government will drop.

Instead of inheriting public assets, the next generation will inherit $84 billion in National Party debt.

National needs to stop bludging off our grandkids.

To the extent that there is a debt problem, and analysts say the government’s books are in fine shape compared to other countries’, it is a result of National slashing revenue. The government’s revenue base needs to be restored so that we afford the public services we want and not have to undertake a fire sale of our profitable public assets. The Greens, very sensibly, propose a capital gains tax:

The truth is that the Government needs more revenue and the Greens are the only party in Parliament to put forward a serious plan to generate serious revenue – a capital gains tax excluding the family home. In virtually every other developed country you pay tax on income whether that income comes from wages or capital gains.

The Green Party stands for smart, fair taxes and has the courage to say what National and Labour both know: that a capital gains tax excluding the family home will move capital away from property speculation; it will put downward pressure on house prices and help make the dream of home ownership a reality for more Kiwis; it will redirect much-needed capital to a starved productive sector; and it will reduce spiralling government debt.

The National Party is building up massive government debt because they won’t make changes that the tax system desperately needs. Labour is scared to do more than tinker at the edges.

Smart Green economics is about having the courage to make the changes our tax system needs so that we don’t dump our debt on our grandchildren.

Now, you might be saying ‘where’s the environment stuff’? This is the Greens, after all. I think what we’re seeing is a maturing of the Green’s position. They are not, and never have been anti-economy but now they are phrasing their arguments in a way that recognises the environment and the economy are inherently interlinked. Norman is fond of saying there’s no economy without the environment but it’s also true that if we want to protect our environment it is going to be primarily through economic reforms – like taxing or charging for carbon emissions.

There’s also a recognition that an unequal society where the rich live in massive luxury and the poor are desperate to scramble for some semblance of the good life will always be willing to exchange environmental costs for short-term wealth gains. Therefore, we need a more equal and better educated society – one that can think the way out of the environmental/economic problems we face, not just turn away from them in favour of fleeting hedonism:

Smart Green economics says invest in children, education, training and jobs. National puts money into prisons and motorways.

Smart Green economics says workers and unions are central to economic success and we should increase the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. This government weakens labour laws at the whim of a multinational corporation.

Smart Green economics says invest in our kids right from the start, because they are the future. National has cut funding to early childhood education.

And, of course, the Greens also want to stop spending billions on what Norman calls the new Think Big. Comparing Steven Joyce to Muldoon with an iPad, Norman is blistering on the government’s economically and environmentally destructive motorway and irrigation projects which, in the best Muldoon tradition, are only possible because National is willing to ride roughshod over democratic institutions and public opposition.

There’s much to like in the Green’s vision. I hope that the coming Labour/Green government will put a lot of these ideas into effect.

PS. Keith Locke announced his retirement last week. The last of the first-generation Green MPs to announce he is going, Locke will be missed. A tireless human rights campaigner, he and his cohort were all unique characters that each brought a face to a different group that had never truly been represented in Parliament before and could never have been if not for MMP. Today’s Greens are, perhaps, blander than the first generation but they’re also savvier. As long as they don’t lose touch with those groups that the first generation represented, they stand every chance of getting the Green vote up over 10% this election.

78 comments on “Greens state of the planet ”

  1. johnm 1

    The Greens are 100% right! The wealth worship cult of capital gain from house buying on the backs of wage slaves paying your mortgage and young kiwis priced out of home ownership must be stopped by a hefty capital gains tax though the closing of the stable door now after the horse has bolted is too late.This is an example of the older wealthier generation ripping off money from the younger in a most selfish and unpatriotic way,though with NeoLiberalim your country is your bank account and homeland! Despicable.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    While I’ve voted Labour/Anderton so far, if the Greens can put out a bit more realistic election policy than they have the last couple of elections, I may vote for them. This looks like it’s on the right track.

    • Ari 2.1

      What exactly was unrealistic about last election’s policies?

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Pretty sure The Green New Deal came out after they lost the election. If they’d put that out first, I’d definitely have voted for them.

        I can’t recall specifics of their policies prior to the last election – that’s part of the problem. All I remember about them, and from their 2005 campaign, is that they were too anti-business.

        • orange whip?

          Interesting. I remember people like Farrar, Hooton, Nicholson et al saying the Greens were “anti-business” but I don’t remember any “anti-business” policy or pronouncements from the Greens themselves.

          The “Green New Deal” wasn’t anything new in itself, it was just a clearer statement of the same types of policies they’ve been promoting for years. Decades even.

          Unless by “anti-business” you mean things like promoting decent minimum work conditions and wages, and making business responsible for their environmental impact i.e. not letting farmers and factories use our waterways as sewers of course. If that’s what you mean then they’ve always been “anti-business and they still are.

        • Ari

          There definitely wasn’t any anti-business policy. There was policy that aimed to tax unclean businesses so that people reinvested in cleaner practices or industries, and there was actually a lot of policies that proposed to help industries that were already clean and green.

          The GND did come out after the election, you’re correct, but this is precisely the type of economic policy the Greens were pushing for the election too, the big deal was that it was a costed budget and it had a lot of hard figures and research in it.

          Part of the issue with why you’re forgetting Green policies is because they don’t get discussed the same way as Labour or National policies, despite very clearly being our “third party”.

  3. deemac 3

    not until they have better leaders they don’t
    Russel is anti-Labour and Turei is a lightweight
    surely they could do better?

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1

      What does that make JK- a feather?

      Too gutless to do anything about the dependence upon foreign credit? (no Land Tax, no CGT like in Australia- hello next property boom) or to face up to the government fiscal deficit he has help create.

      So gutless in fact that he has to to steal the dividends from our SOE’s that our children would benefit from in order to get a one-off boost to the books. Not only useless but destructive to our collective future.

    • KJT 3.2

      Nothing wrong with being anti Labour after they carried on with the whole Globalisation and Neo-Liberal economy failure.
      I think you will find if Labour really follow their recent speeches and return to being a party for the people of NZ they will get support from the Greens.

    • When much of the criticism levelled in that speech at National could equally be applied to Labour, it shows adherence to principle, not poor leadership, to be “anti-Labour”. Because it’s not “anti-Labour” it’s “anti-stuff-we’re-against-no-matter-who’s-proposing-it”.

      Having said that, I agree that uninspiring leadership is a key problem for the Greens, and the loss of people like Locke and Kedgley – who broadened the public’s perception of what the Greens were about, even if many of the public didn’t agree – won’t help.

      Neither leader is a great orator (but then neither is Goff or Key) but they can’t trade that off against the “likeable bloke” schtick that Key seems able to get away with, nor the gravitas and experience Goff could project if only he’d choose to do so and stop faffing with his hair and listening to the spotty idiots who run the Goffice.

      • orange whip? 3.3.1

        I find it fascinating that everyone loves a Green MP – but only after they’ve left parliament.

        No one in the house gets as much bitter ridicule and nastiness heaped on them as a Green MP and no-one gets as much praise when they leave.

        On exiting the house they undergo an incredible transformation in the public discourse from “infantile unrealistic dangerous communist hippie flake” to “principled thoughtful hard-working genuinely motivated statesperson”

        • Rex Widerstrom

          I hope that’s a general comment and not directed at me, orange whip?? (It’s hard to ask you a question without looking like an over-excited teenage texter when your monicker ends in a question mark, ya know 😛 )

          I’ve always said I admired Rod Donald and Nandor Tanzcos, also Jeanette Fitzsimons (but thought, having debated her, she could be quite scattered) for sticking to principles. I’ve said little about the others (though have commented on their various ideas from time to time).

          I do agree that Nandor and Jeanette, in particular, had a lot of “unrealistic hippy flake” stuff levelled at them whilst in Parliament by people who lauded them when they left. But I don’t think I was one of them.

  4. randal 4

    anyone listening to chris laidlaw on sunday morning will be in no doubt that somehow humans are evolving into ostriches.

  5. Sookie 5

    It’s a shame that more people don’t have the cojones to vote Green. I know of a number of people who like the Greens but always wimp out at election time and vote Labour in terror of the Nats getting in (which they did anyway last time, goddammit). They’ve won my vote this year. A good speech with even better one-liners.

    • The only chance the Greens have to success for their policies is with a Labour Government. What we have to do is vote strategicaly .However for this to happen there needs to be better co-operation between the Parties.
      I cringe when I hear Russell Norman slaging Labour . Does he really want to be part of the government or just a critic in opposition.

    • Rosy 5.2

      “I know of a number of people who like the Greens but always wimp out at election time and vote Labour in terror of the Nats getting in ”

      I’m one of those that like the Greens but I’ve not voted for them because they have in the past sloganeered on things like GM rather than having a full set of policies that they were willing to defend. This time it seems a little different. But I’ll wait and see.

  6. outofbed 6

    Greens are, perhaps, blander than the first generation but they’re also savvier.

    I beg to differ.Well just having spent a weekend at the Green campaign conference where I met some amazing candidates , heard brilliant speeches and experienced a very confident and energetic team of people. The Greens willl have the most amazing list of people to present to the electorate this time around. The Greens have truly matured as a party and I think over 10% is very achievable.
    Want to help?

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    Typical Green drivel: ‘ if we want to protect our environment it is going to be primarily through economic reforms’.

    Protecting the environment and having any kind of industrial economy are mutually exclusive concepts.

    Here we are at the point of worldwide environmental meltdown, energy meltdown, systemic economic collapse and the Greeds are still playing the ‘softly, softly we still have time’ game, ignoring the elephants that are now charging round the room.

    What joke ALL our political parties are!

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      I think it’s a case of small steps.

      If you proselytize on the street corner about the end of the world, no one will take you seriously and you won’t change anyone’s behaviour.

      If you moderate your message so that it is more appealing to the masses, you’re more likely to get them to change their behaviour, and they may even discover that it wasn’t as difficult as they thought, and want to go further. Even if all you achieve is a small change in behaviour, if your dooms-day scenario does come about, surely that small change is better than no change.

      • Afewknowthetruth 7.1.1

        Isn’t that a bit like telling a European Jew [under the Hitler regime] that wearing an arm band and working in an armamanets factory will keep them alive a bit longer?

        The time for ‘small steps’ was 40 years ago.

        We have now stepped off ‘the cliff (peak oil was 5 years ago and abrupt climate change is underway), so we are falling at an accelerating rate. But the Greeds are handing out pamplets that say: “Flap you arms and don’t worry, we’ve got time.”

        By failing to stand up for any principles, getting into bed with a pro-globalisation, rape-and-pillage Labour, and by failing to tell it how it is, they have not only lost the respect of the community but have also lost an awful lot of votes.

        Maybe I’m being a bit hard on them. Maybe they are just idiots. I remember not so long ago the Greeds were promoting international tourism as a sustainable industry and pushing hard for biofuels based on the destruction of tropical jungles.

        • JRuby

          You do appear to now know what you are talking about.

          What would you have the Greens do? Give me 5 specific tasks for them.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Protecting the environment and having any kind of industrial economy are mutually exclusive concepts.

      Nope, it’s possible to have industry while protecting the environment. It’s not possible having an industrial policy that uses more than the Renewable Resource Base as that will always destroy the environment and a profit driven “free-market” will always use up all the resources available as fast as possible to maximise profit.

      • Robert Atack 7.2.1

        The second you dig a hole for your renewable resource base – rare earths for one thing – you stop being ‘green’
        As with Kiwi Saver you have to distroy the environment (yours and your kids) to ‘maintain’ growth.

        • Draco T Bastard

          A stable state economy can be industrial which is what I’m getting at especially if it uses major amounts of recycling and only making things that last even unto regulating when something can be replaced.

  8. A lot of greens are anti labour because they support free trade and often vote against civil liberties, and on the environment front…

    Chris Carter allowed the Pike River Coal and Happy Valley mines to go ahead. Labour needs to earn the support of the greens if they want a partner, not just expect they have have bad policies and get what they want.

    Greens are ok with working with the progressive unionists etc in labour, the red greens like David Cuniliff, Phil Twyford and Jacinda Ardern etc.

    • The Voice of Reason 8.1

      “labour need to earn the support of the greens …”

      I’d have thought that it would be the other way round, Eco, given that Labour is the senior party and it is they who will determine the makeup of the next progressive Government. Last time I looked, Labour was four times more popular than the Greens and the Greens were only a couple of points more popular than Winston Peters. So if the Greens want to be more than just an also ran, it is they who need to be earning the support of Labour, not taking the holier than thou route to electoral irrelevance.

      BTW, Labour do not “often vote against civil liberties”. It’s Labour that usually put the case for civil liberties and most progressive legislation in that area has come from them. Sheesh!

      • It’s Labour that usually put the case for civil liberties

        Like prison reform and other areas of criminal justice policy? Excuse me while I scoff. Labo(u)r are in a race to the bottom with their respective conservative opponents in NZ, every state in Australia and in the UK (though the latter may perhaps change now they’ve refreshed their shadow cabinet, though I’m not holding my breath).

        As for Labour’s relationship with the Greens (back to the purely NZ context now) respect must be earned. So must support. “We’re bigger than you, more people like us than you, so be more like us” is only a valid argument if what you’re concerned about is power and not principle.

        • The Voice of Reason

          G’day, Rex. As noted below, my quibble was with the line that Labour “often vote against civil liberties”, which simply not correct. Most, if not all of our actual civil liberties, as defined in NZ law, were promoted by or at least, voted for, by Labour. That they have joined the bandwagon post 9/11 in some areas does not alter the historical fact that Labour supports civil liberties more than most parties and has actually put policies into place when they’ve had the opportunity.

          Still, nice to see you opposing power over principle in politics. Did you take any snaps on the long road to Damascus after Winston fired you? I’d love to see them.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            New Zealand First was formed on fifteen “Fundamental Principles” with which I still agree, so I missed the bus to Damascus entirely.

            I resigned from the party because it no longer adhered to those principles when Winston ceded control to Michael Laws. Winston sacked me from the Parliamentary office for saying so.

            If a party stood by those principles today and was led by people who’d demonstrated their integrity wasn’t for sale, I’d join.

            Having got the question of my moral consistency out the way…

            It’s not Labour’s post-9/11 embrace of civil liberties erosion in the name of “anti terrorism” to which I refer (though it’s been abhorrent, I think it may be temporary) it’s been the way the party has adopted a “tough on law ‘n’ order” stance as a cheap pop to win a few pink-necked votes (the really puce coloured ones having been captured by ACT).

            As recently as last year the Chief Justice made some eminently sensible comments on sentencing and was attacked in the most viscious and unconstitutional way by National; Labour’s spirited defence was a weak-as-piss blog post by Lianne Dalziel, who’s asleep at the wheel of her portfolio.

            It took Trevor Mallard to recently raise the issue of punishment v rehabilitation in another blog post. But then it takes Trevor Mallard to show the least bit of courage on anything these days. But it’s not – and is never likely to be – his portfolio area, and the Goffice has been singularly silent.

            In fact I’ll bet you a chocolate fish that before the next election we’ll hear comment in a speech from Goff about how they’re going to outdo National in combatting “the rising tide of crime” (or words to that effect) with perhaps a bit of cash for the really minor end of offending (youth stuff, probably) as a sop to the “liberals”.

            • The Voice of Reason

              I’ll take that bet, Rex! I reckon it’ll be the Blairite ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ line that Goff will come out with. And, just in case Big Bludge is having this read to him, I’m happy to have you nominate where I put the fish if I lose and I double promise not to weasel out! Er, no, wait, that could end badly for me, couldn’t it?

              Anyhoo, I think Labour deserve some credit for backing the repeal of section whatever it was that extended civil liberties to the children of violent parents, but I have to agree that there has been a slide in NZ (and the Western world generally?) towards simplistic solutions to a complicated problem. One thing I do know, is that crime and poverty go together hand in hand and I’d rather have a government determined to put NZ back to work than the ideologically driven numpties currently in power.

              • Oh you’re dead right about the poverty and crime linkage (though not all crime, sadly, otherwise we’d have some hope of eliminating it all) and I agree the present government isn’t… err… optimally configured for addressing that.

                “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” counts, in my mind, as the kind of rhetoric I was predicting 😛 Stats show crime isn’t increasing (and in fact violent stuff is reducing, albeit slightly) so there’s simply no need to even reference the need to get “tough on crime”.

                They should be honest and say “Actually, compared to many other nations we’re doing really well, and your fellow NZers are a fairly law-abiding lot. You don’t need us to protect you from an increasing risk of being raped and murdered simply because there isn’t an increased risk.

                “But there are a lot of things we could do to reduce even further the level of crime which does plague society. Hey this bloke seems to have some good ideas…” 😉

                • The Voice of Reason

                  And there was I thinking Big Bruv was just a no mates tosser here. Lord, imagine how socially retarded you have to be to find yourself to the right of D4J!

                  Good post, Rex, perhaps the Standardista’s might consider sticking it up here as well?

      • Jenny 8.1.2

        The Labour Government’s Suppression of Terrorism Act, the “most progressive legislation…..” (I think not).

        The passing of this Legislation by the Labour government led directly to the brutal assault on Tuhoe by paramilitary forces armed with machine guns, dressed in black, their faces and identities hidden, who dragged men women and children out of their beds in the dead of night, and held them on their knees at gun point on their front lawns, and in the streets.

        Four years down the track there still hasn’t been a court case, let alone a single conviction.

        VOR, can you name any other current legislation that is more extreme in its intent, or abusive in its execution?

        • The Voice of Reason

          You’re missing the point, Jenny. Ecosocialism said Labour “often vote against civil liberties”. That is an exageration, obviously, which is what I pointed out.

          • Jenny

            “It’s Labour that usually put the case for civil liberties and most progressive legislation in that area has come from them.”

            Voice of Reason

            Thanks for your reply VoR. To confirm Labour’s Civil Liberties credentials, could you give some examples of some civil liberties legislation that Labour has promoted and passed into law.

            • The Voice of Reason

              Nope, how about you look it up? Start with the BORA and work backwards.

        • Brokenback

          The trial is to be stage managed between the World Cup[ yippee we won !] and the election.

          with the expressed purpose of humiliating Labor for carrying out such monumental fuckwitry.

      • Anne 8.1.3

        Further to TVoR: the chairman of the Civil Liberties group is a long time member of the Labour Party.

  9. Where was labour on the search and surveillance bill?

    Labour with Phil Goff is not popular voice. What I was saying is that is labour wants the support of the greens it should show what it has to offer, make it clear what it is about.

    Free Trade, more coal mining and so on is not compatible with the green party and a long term alliance. Either Labour has what it takes to work on ecological economics and a social justice response to climate change and so on, or the answers to the questions of our times will come from elsewhere.

    The Greens and trade unions etc are working together on things like opposing the tppa http://www.nznotforsale.org/ and working with Unite union to raise the minimum wage and advocate for progressive politics.

    A lot of people want to see what their is in terms of vision from the different parties. What is labour’s vision for creating green jobs and working with unions to tackle ecological problems?

    We had aspirational targets from Helen Clark and we have has Gerry Brownlee’s blunders and more aspiration (or lack thereof) from National.

    The greens want leadership and vision. It has been sorely lacking in Aotearoa.

    • The Voice of Reason 9.1

      Well, I would say the Labour with Goff are popular, eco, just not yet popular enough to win without help. And still four times more poular than the Greens. I’d have to agree with most of what you have written though. Both parties need to sit down and work out a common platform in my opinion. I’d like NZ to have a clear choice; Labour, Greens (and one other?)vs National and the two right wing parties.

      I think it would be a good time to try the European bloc strategy of identifying your preferred government arrangement before the election. That is, let NZ know in advance what the alternative to NACTM would look like, rather than relying on horse trading post election, as we have done in every MMP election so far.

      • Shane Gallagher 9.1.1

        VOR – first of all, since Labour keep stealing Green policy and trying to claim it as showing how progressive they are, who is leading whom? Hmm? In the ideas, policies and principles market, the Greens are way out ahead of Labour. OMG Labour even introduced that democracy thing into policy development recently – another innovation borrowed from the Greens.

        And as for Labour and the Greens having a common platform… The Greens know how Labour have treated parties they take for granted or are seen as a threat to their left. Where now are the Alliance?

        The Greens do very well outside government setting the agenda and they have been far more successful than any other small party about changing hearts and minds both inside and outside parliament. Didn’t see Labour leading the anti-mining campaign or leading the opening of MPs expenses did we?

        • The Voice of Reason

          The Alliance died when the Greens pulled out, Shane. Don’t blame Labour for another Matt McCarten pipe dream going down the tubes.

          As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s time for both parties to put a united front to NZ voters. I don’t much like the Greens, it’s true. But I’d much rather have a Lab/Green government than any other combination. NZ First, as well, if that’s what it takes to get National out, but I’d still like a to see what a Green Minister of the Environment would bring to the table. Same in education, workers’ rights and a whole lot of areas where I think the Greens have superior policy to Labour.

          • wasi

            The Alliance died when the Greens pulled out….not true…jim anderton and helen clark killed off the alliance and they started that process long before the greens split from the alliance and long before the vote on the war in iraq…the real left was always anaethma to jim and helen…i was the chair of the coromandel alliance from 1996 to 1999 when i ran against jeanette as the alliance candidate for the coromandel electorate…i was also the bay of Plenty rep to the alliance council and a member of the NLP…as an elected alliance regional official and first time candidate i spent a lot of time with jim (and jeanette) campaigning in the coromandel and i can tell you that jim anderton was no left-winger…and neither was jeanette… jim was very conservative…and like labour and helen clark jim did not want to see the real or hard left anywhere near the levers of power in a coalition govt….

      • Afewknowthetruth 9.1.2

        The following nations have already effectively gone under:

        Iceland, Hungary, all the Baltic States, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico ……

        The following are in the process of going under:

        Egypt, Yemen, UK, US, Japan, Philippines ……

        The Chinese bubble economy is inflating nicely and is not ar off bursting, after which Australia goes under -the part that isn;t already under water that is.

        How long do you think NZ will hold up with just Russia, Canada and a few others still functioning?

        Mainstream politics run by the clowns currently in office is now close to completely irrelevant.

        • Lanthanide

          “Mainstream politics run by the clowns currently in office is now close to completely irrelevant.”

          Even with your dismal outlook on the world, I still think there’s benefit in re-arranging the deckchairs.

        • KJT

          Norway, Danemark and Germany among others have not gone down the tubes and probably won’t..

          • Afewknowthetruth

            Germany has 80 million people, no indigenous oil supply and sufficient land to sustanably feed 10 million at the most. Do you really think it has a future when the gloabal oil economy starts going under (almost certaiinly later this year?

            Norway. Yes, somewhat more likely to survive, provided it can keep the Germans out (it didn’t do very well last time …. about three weeks from memory).

  10. The Alliance party died because of internal conflicts and a lack of internal democracy. The invasion of Afghanistan supported by Labour and Jim Anderton split the Alliance.

    I am interested in what lessons there are to be learned from the Alliance experience.

  11. Carol 11

    Generally, I applaud these policies. However, there still seems to be a standard privileging of home ownership, that I have always questioned. I’m a baby-boomer and life-time renter, having always thought that the prioritising of home ownership is a con that benefits those at the top of the property ladder at the expense of those on lower incomes.

    However, I do like the shift towards a capital gains tax on all but the family home. Also I can see the sense in a financial transactions tax as well. But why does it always seem to be this recognition of the family home as a piece of security, and preferably low level investment nest-egg, by making it exempt. But when people talk of an international transaction tax (as Goff has today), they don’t seem to recognise that some savings in overseas currency were obtained through work and saving, and are not part of some major speculative transactions? Surely there should also be exemptions on transactions of relatively small amounts.

    Generally, there doesn’t seem to be any recognition that, for some of us, money in the bank and pensions is what we will rely on in our retirement. So for me, some of that money is in a UK bank (earning a very small amount of interest), and in some pension schemes I paid into while working in the UK (without really thinking about it – there was a compulsory state scheme and a pretty automatic & recommended job scheme). Apart from that, I haven’t indulged in extensive financial speculation.

    Am I to understand that a financial transaction tax would be added to the tax I will already be paying on my UK funds (hopefully avoiding double UK & NZ income taxes). So if the family home can be exempted from capital gains, why can’t modest retirement savings & funds accumulated while working overseas, also be exempted from financial transaction taxes? Otherwise, it seems to me that home buyers are privileged over (non-speculative) frugal savers of fairly modest sums.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      I’m a baby-boomer and life-time renter, having always thought that the prioritising of home ownership is a con that benefits those at the top of the property ladder at the expense of those on lower incomes.

      I’ve been coming to the conclusion that home ownership isn’t what it’s made out to be either. Due to this I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that housing needs to be centred on government supply with private ownership then making up only a small percentage.

      Surely there should also be exemptions on transactions of relatively small amounts.

      Do that and all international transactions will become “minor”. The total dollar value won’t decrease there will just be a lot more of transactions. Personally, I thing CGT should also apply to the “family” home cause once the kids have grown up and left home it’s no longer “family” and thus will just turn into untaxed income.

      • Carol 11.1.1

        Yes, I can see the problem. But surely modest pension payments coming from overseas shouldn’t get both income tax and a transaction tax deducted? My small UK state pension was applied for via WINZ (they have all the records of it), and I’m told when I’m 65 my UK pension will be deducted from my NZ pension entitlement, and I’ll get the remainder (if anything).

        PS: I also agree with government supply of most housing, rather than opening the need for accommodation to too much private speculation and investment.

        • jimmy

          The transactions tax works by taxing a small amount on each one so that people shuffling money back and fourth for short term currency gains are put off. It only needs to be less than a percent to work.

  12. Voice re Greens in government – the greens would want to have influence on finance decisions – Environment and Conservation is meaningless if you have no funding and decision making control.

    Greens are into green jobs creating and building a low carbon economy, which unions could play a crucial role in.

    Perhaps the Fabian Society could host some interesting and topical events on policy and green left governance this year, and maybe some drinking liberally events would be another way to get some discussion across the ex alliance, union labour, maori and green etc spectrum.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.1

      That’s pretty sound Eco. There is no point have the ideas without the dosh to see them through to completion, so, perhaps an associate financial role for a Green MP would make sense. I’d love to see it happen. Same with the Fabian Soc and DL, too. I don’t get to go to many DL’s and haven’t attended a Fabians lecture yet, but debate on the way forward has got to be a good thing.

  13. I know Cunliffe and Norman work quite well together. We’ll see how relationships are going as the election progresses.

    debates and lectures could be put online to allow for more discussion, for those unable to attend events. As National is showing it really doesn’t have any new ideas.. it is back to privatisation and Think Big.. 50s transport, german coal technology from 1930 etc..
    Having policy discussion and cross party workhops etc, builds the possibility of a dynamic and inspirational new regime in the short to the near term.

    • Afewknowthetruth 13.1

      ‘Having policy discussion and cross party workhops etc, builds the possibility of a dynamic and inspirational new regime’

      How can there possibly be any proper discussion when none of them know anything?

      I am yet to meet or correspond with any MP who is not scientifically illiterate. (and I’ve met plenty, and corresponded with even more). They are all morons when it comes to scientific matters, I’m afraid. Indeed, scientific illiteracy seems to be a prime qualification for becoming an MP.

      That is why we are totally screwed.

      • Robert Atack 13.1.1

        Thanks for the sanity AFKTT

        • Jenny

          Personally I think he sounds eerily like Marvin the Robot, you know the one with the brain the size of a planet.

          • Afewknowthetruth

            Pessimist: someone who already knows the real state of the planet.

            Optimist: someone who is yet to discover the real state of the planet. 🙂

            • jimmy

              ‘pessimism of the intelect, optimism of the will’ – Theodore Adorno (if i remember rightly)

          • Robert Atack

            You should deem yourself lucky that someone with a ‘brain the size of the planet’ bothers with the likes of most people on this blog (or any for that matter). It may only be on reflection in the months ahead you will discover the lost opportunity to have a true look at your future.
            But lets all vote and be merry because tomorrow you get a tax cut …. and your Kiwi Saver fund matures with a profit.
            We can all Morris dance into the sunset, happy happy joy joy
            The greeds are part of the problem, and the fools that vote for them are as much in denial as John Key and his merry band of villains.

  14. Pete 14

    From the original post: the coming Labour/Green government

    I have often seen this assumption(?) – is it a given, or is it yet to be determined if the Greens would be interested in a coalition with Labour? If Labour had a choice between, say Maori Party and Green Party who would the choose?

    • The greeds have already sold out on the future generations, they would give their mothers last breath to be part of the environment destroying system, that is the keeping us in this blinkered Willy Coyote moment, with everyone (except maybe .006% of the population) afraid to look down. 😀
      We are at peak everything, except peak intelligence, we passed that 10,000 years ago when we started using more than the environment could ‘sustain’
      Love this from Nodoor Tossoff «We are the guardians of the earth for our children. They are our future, so we must give them the best possible start to life.Each child should have the opportunity to grow with joy, be fully supported by their family and be an integral part of our society. Each child deserves a secure base from which they can express their creativity and discover life as an adventure.»
      The clown said this knowing peak everything is going to wipe out 4-6 billion people within the next 20 years.

  15. Unions and Green Jobs – labour and environmental alliances:

    They should shift to an offensive strategy, demanding a Green New Deal grounded in workers’ rights, labor standards, investments in infrastructure, and a strong public sector.

    Sustained pressure from unions and other social movements could enable bold state interventions built around long-term public investments in mass transit, energy conservation, grid modernization, and renewable energy to address the crisis in jobs and climate simultaneously. Such a forward-looking approach builds unions and strengthens alliances….

    Several hundred labor representatives organized by the International Trade Union Confederation will spend 2011 preparing for the big showdown at the climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, this December, hoping to help stop this disaster from spinning out of control. The ITUC is a global body that represents 176 million organized workers in 151 countries.

  16. Afewknowthetruth 16

    ‘preparing for the big showdown at the climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, this December’

    Climate negotiations are just a circus designed to make it look as though somethig is being done. We are now into the 23rd year of failure (1988 it all started in earnest). Every year emissions go up and the elites have a big party and then go away, laughing all the way to the bank, knowing they have managed to con the proles yet again.

  17. I agree

    some projects on what it would actually take to get to a low carbon economy are Repower America, http://www.zerocarbonbritain.com/ and from Australia http://beyondzeroemissions.org

    From Beyond Zero emissions preliminary working paper “Coal Switch”, a plan to reduce Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 3 years, a decision was made to both broaden and deepen the scope of the emissions reduction plan by developing a blueprint for the transition to a decarbonised Australian economy by 2020.

    This plan is called Zero Carbon Australia 2020 (ZCA) and is an initiative of Beyond Zero Emissions and the Climate Emergency Network, (CEN) with generous support from Climate Positive.

    Work on the plan commenced in early 2009 and encompasses stationary energy, transport, housing and construction, land use, industrial processes and replacing coal export revenue.

    The plans draws on the enormous wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise of like-minded individuals from the community. http://beyondzeroemissions.org

    Which works with other projects like:


    an effective way for Australians to come together to fund, build, and own equally, Australia’s 100% renewable-energy systems by 2020. http://p2p2020.com/

    I think the challenge for New Zealand is to articulate a vision – a low carbon plan
    Untill that happens we will continue to get more (blue)GreenWash from the likes of Nick Smith and Bill English about (clean)coal and other nonsense.

  18. Support for Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan

    The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan is a provocative and timely contribution to the climate change debate, and it deserves attention both here and abroad. The Plan demolishes a pile of conventional wisdom that Australian policymakers still seem unable to get past. The sorry history of Australian climate policy procrastination is littered with polluter-friendly analyses conducted by economic hired guns. Their work has been used to argue against action, or for illusory schemes that price carbon without reducing the greenhouse pollution billowing from Australian smokestacks and tailpipes. The effect has been to constrain debate and obscure from our view a very different vision—a rapid switch from fossil to renewable energy that makes economic and environmental sense. By highlighting one of many pathways to achieving that vision, the ZCA report sheds light where it is desperately needed.”
    Dr Guy Pearse
    Research Fellow, Global Change Institute
    University of Queensland
    Author of High & Dry and Quarry Vision

    “I get to work with people all over the world in the fight against global warming, a fight growing increasingly desperate as temperatures climb and rainfall patterns shift. Since Australia leads the world in per capita emissions, it makes sense that its transition planners would be thinking big. This transition obviously won’t be easy or simple or cost-free, but given the alternatives it’s very nice to know it’s technically feasible!”
    Bill McKibben
    Scholar in residence at Middlebury College, Author and Founder 350.org

    “Australians are capable of rapid change when the historical circumstances call for it. Indeed, we pride ourselves on being a resourceful people. TheBeyond Zero Emissions team show how inventive and resourceful we can be. Their plan for a transition to 100% renewables is a powerful and cogent response to those who claim it can’t be done. The reception this report receives will be a sign of how much Australians believe in their future and how much they take refuge in the thinking of the past.”
    Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics and author of Requiem for a Species

    can be read here: http://www.energy.unimelb.edu.au/uploads/ZCA2020_Stationary_Energy_Report_v1.pdf

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