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Herald promotes cheating and tax evasion

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, October 8th, 2012 - 223 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Ethics, newspapers - Tags: , , ,

So much wrong with this I don’t know where to begin:

Heavy tax load borne by a few

It is hard to imagine a more inane waste of taxpayers’ money than an advertising campaign telling me not to hit my wife. It’s not OK!

It is OK, evidently, to spend my money on such garbage. Which makes me think, is it OK, morally, not to pay taxes? Economically, it makes sense to cheat.

Clearly the author has no understanding of domestic violence and its grip on our society. But the agenda here is to justify cheating on taxes – some other excuse would do if not this one.

Personal cheating “makes sense” only if you consider a very narrow range of personal factors, and only if you ignore the damage to society (and its potential to damage you). The Herald is pushing for behaviour which is the very essence of the “tragedy of the commons”.

Taxes pay for roads, police, the navy, etc. We all use them, we should pay. Yet more than two-thirds disappears in social welfare, education and health.

Two thirds on social welfare, education and health. I know right? How useless is that! When we could have a bigger navy!

Democracy works by taking money from a few and giving it to the many. This is not a moral system. It is one driven by the self-interest of the majority who benefit from this system at the expense of the minority who fund it.

Capitalism works by taking money from the many and giving it to the few. This is not a moral system. It is one driven by the self-interest of the minority who benefit from this system at the expense of the majority who fund it.

Our welfare system goes far beyond helping the poor in New Zealand. It is a politically driven institutional transfer system that has long since lost its moral basis.

A parade of prejudice stated as fact.

To be fair, you should first pay your $33,000 but, beyond that, your moral, if not legal, obligation is extinguished.

All things considered I think I will take my moral guidance from better sources than The Herald.

PS – I know I’m being mischievous in attributing this piece of junk to “The Herald”, it was written by columnist Damien Grant. I’m just reporting it the way that organ would report a piece from a multi-author blog such as The Standard. Hi ho.

223 comments on “Herald promotes cheating and tax evasion ”

  1. bbfloyd 1

    “Cost cutting at the herald starts to show” would be an appropriate headline…..i find it impossible to believe that a single person was paid to write that drivel…..Such a wide ranging set of bigotry’s, and fallacies could only have come from a “working group” employed by whoever has the money, and vested interest in promoting this nasty propaganda….

    • Mike 1.1

      “i find it impossible to believe that a single person was paid to write that drivel”

      He was paid to write this???????

      Fuck me, I’m in the wrong line of work.

  2. joe90 2

    Mr Grant, thieving arsehole, beautifully fisked.

  3. felix 3

    At least he has the honesty to admit that he’s anti-democracy.

    Most of the randroids don’t have the guts to say it out loud, even though it follows from much of what they do say.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Most Randroids seem to think that you shouldn’t be allowed to vote unless you pay net tax. The end result, of course, would be that only the top 1% would be able to vote.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Damien Grant is a member of a parasitic group who serves the agenda of an elite class. This elite class lives by extracting from and hoarding the wealth of the increasingly struggling bottom 90% of the country who actually work and produce, not just own and transact.

    These elite who individually make more than enough money off society to feed, clothe and house half a dozen families, yet pretend that they are the ones being hard done by.

    Grant is just another egocentric “I’m a Master of the Universe” crony capitalist apparatchik.

    • TighyRighty 4.1

      Sorry, tell me again the meaningful ways in which you contribute to society?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Well I take good care of my wife and her parents. Really good care. It’s worth it.

        • TighyRighty

          Your wife works despite family money from her parents. That’s not taking care of, That’s sponging off.

          • mike e

            TA Like blogging while your supposed to be working I would have you instantly dismissed !

          • Colonial Viper

            Oh it’s more a well paid hobby which she enjoys, mate. Not really what plebs like you usually call “work”.

            That’s not taking care of, That’s sponging off.

            My cooked breakfasts are exceptional. If you’d tried one you’d understand.

  5. red blooded 5

    Right wing ranting in The Herald? How unexpected!

    Part of the problem, of course, is that newspapers know who they are writing for. People on limited budgets can’t afford a daily paper, and papers are cost cutting (i.e., cutting news and looking for more ‘exciting’ material) all the time. Pushing the boundaries pushes sales.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      The ironic thing: the dumber and poorer the NZ Herald makes the country, the fewer the people left interested in and able to paying for their shit.

      • blue leopard 5.1.1

        lol true,

        Perhaps too daft to work out that they aren’t even acting in their own self interest, while promoting self interest as the way to go? sigh Morons

      • BloodyOrphan 5.1.2

        Just goes too show how moronically they can rant about crap they spoke in a pub 20+ years ago.

        Those people live by creeds they invented too impress people in a pub, the people are long gone , but the moronic rehotoric still lives on strong.
        (Just in case they have too impress someone else I guess 🙂 )

  6. How interesting that the author mentions domestic violence; having done so has reminded me of the term Structural Violence

    ” It refers to a form of violence where some social structure or social institution purportedly harms people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. …Structural violence and direct violence are said to be highly interdependent, including family violence, racial violence, hate crimes, terrorism, genocide, and war.”

    Good of Mr Demon Grant to remind us of exactly what is going on in this country; a violent attitude is being cultivated in our country to further the interests of a few.

    Economic violence includes attacks by larger groups motivated by economic gain – such as attacks carried out with the purpose of disrupting economic activity, denying access to essential services, or creating economic division and fragmentation. Clearly, acts committed by larger groups can have multiple motives.

    [from Wikipedia Violence and well worth a read]

    Bravo to our big-money-whore-politicians and the intelligence-challenged-acolytes who cheer them on.

  7. Roy 7

    Doesn’t get how it works, does he? If you don’t like the way the government spends your money, the answer is not to evade paying the money, but to elect a different government. If the government spends money on social welfare, education and health, that’s because most voters want it that way. Oh, but I forgot: giving other people the vote SO immoral. After all, some voters might not be white, property-owning men! The horror, the horror!

  8. Craig Glen Eden 8

    “To be fair, you should first pay your $33,000 but, beyond that, your moral, if not legal, obligation is extinguished.”

    Well people have different morals I guess, but my parents taught me I did have a responsibility as citisen part of a society to contribute, surely if I get more from the society I live in I should be prepared to pay more back to that society. As for legal obligation well not only are you wrong about morals but as IRD will tell you you are legally wrong on this point to Mr Grant

  9. vto 9

    What I don’t get about goons like this is that there is no acknowledgement in their blusterings that the current “distribution” of wealth across the community is a result of current distribution policies. These include existing tax rates, lack of capital gains taxes, employment laws, minimum wage rates (cheaper than slavery), subsidies to corporates, on it goes ….. They seem to have some belief that the status quo is some kind of natural setting, rather than the reality that it is the result of existing distribution policies.

    That these people don’t acknowledge this in their rantings as a base position, before beginning their ‘analysis’ simply relegates their rantings to the rubbish bin of no credibility.

    What an egg.

  10. freedom 10

    How about the irritating detail that hundreds of thousands of hard working kiwis do not even earn $33,000 per annum.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 10.1

      I think his point is that if you earn $33K or less that you should pay all of it, after all we need the Navy. The writer also needs the police in case his wife, for no apparent reason, should decide to hit him. And if she does hit him, that’s OK with him, OK?

  11. tinfoilhat 11

    The Herald is another of john keys toys to hoodwink NZ before we all get sold off to his banker mates.

    The sooner he is thrown out of NZ along with his hangers on and family the better.

  12. AsleepWhileWalking 12

    The quality of the Hearld bigotry has gone down since it changed to a tabloid format, however I love this guy!

    He is so engrossed in his disgust at others (domestic violence victims, admen who came up with the campaign, anyone who has health issues and fluffy labrador puppies he may indirectly pay for – those mutts!) that he doesn’t muck around firing off all kinds of copinions (opinions that the writer desperately wants someone to enforce…but unfortunately they are only civil matters so nobody gives a shit) that I’m sure would be scathing if they had any intelligence behind them.

    Good effort though Mr Grant. Perhaps this opinion is best placed in the “entertainment” section because this is how your piece of writing is best described.

  13. AsleepWhileWalking 13

    “It is OK, evidently, to spend my money on such garbage. Which makes me think, is it OK, morally, not to pay taxes? Economically, it makes sense to cheat.”

    *Mr Grant hears a knock on the door. It’s another IRD investigator, the fifth since his opinion was published in the Hearld. They keep claiming to be here to help him…*

    • @AsleepWhileWalking
      …are you sure they aren’t the men in white coats trying to “help him”?

      “Just a little pin prick…” hmm, no perhaps (and judging by what he writes) he is already perfectly comfortably numb.

  14. AsleepWhileWalking 14

    Yet another tragic misunderstanding of NZ tax law. I guess writers aren’t paid all that much at the Herald:
    “To be fair, you should first pay your $33,000 but, beyond that, your moral, if not legal, obligation is extinguished”
    *more knocking…*

  15. Sanctuary 15

    Isn’t Damien Grant yet another rejected Randroid ACT candidate who the Herald has taken up (what is the Herald anyway? social welfare for failed ACToids?) to bitterly complain about the stupidity of the peasants and their pesky “democracy?”

    Roughan, O’Sullivan, Grant… How many Randroids does the Herald need? Shouldn’t 1% of their colums come from those three, given that is number of votes the ACT party got? The influence of these right wing Bolsheviks is extraordinary.

  16. vto 16

    You know, if Damien Grant is correct in his analysis then it should be evidenced by a closing of the wealth gap. So come on Damien, show us this evidence. For your own credibility’s sake of course.

  17. mike 17


    Grant makes his thoughts on how the sub $33,000 class should be treated clear:

    It is a nice idea but in my opinion fear, greed and vanity are better motivators than team spirit.

    Fear is a primeval motivator but sadly the effect is short-lived.

    Yelling at and threatening staff generates incredible short-term results but prolonged exposure wears down even the most resilient wage-slave.

    …the pyramids were built with the whip. We should not forget that.

    And compare this quote from the article linked to in the OP: “If you are smart enough to make decent money, you are smart enough to work out an industry-specific way to under-declare your income.” with a common response of psychopaths when asked whether they feel sorry for their victims: “If they were stupid enough to get fooled by the likes of me, then they got what they deserved.”

    Oh yeah, Damian Grant, sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail for 10 counts of fraud in 1994.

  18. Jokerman 18

    great to Not see hartevelt et al; on The Nation
    (busy shining shoes i s’pose)

  19. Blue 19

    Damien Grant was an interesting choice for the Herald to take on as a columnist. They don’t usually extend columns to the lunatic fringe.

    Grant is so far to the right that’s it just an odd choice. Sticks out like a sore thumb even amongst Roughan, O’Sullivan and Armstrong.

    Added to that, there’s only so many columns that are basically “tax = theft” but longer and less intelligent that you can read before you stop being outraged and just roll your eyes.

    • David H 19.1

      Yep but he got caught for fraud so all that means is that the standard of qualifications for journo’s have slipped at the Herald.

  20. Richard McGrath 20

    I imagine you guys are comfortable with Helen Clark not paying what you would call her “fair share” out of the $US500,000 salary she gets at the UN. She pays no income tax at all. I guess she needs it all for upkeep on the five houses she owns…

    • Craig Glen Eden 20.1

      Is she required to pay tax Richaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrd in NZ when she is not working in NZ? Think about it Dick.

      • mike 20.1.1

        NZ citizens (ordinarily) are required to pay tax to NZ wherever they work in the world. Unless you get yourself declared a non-resident for tax purposes. To do that you need to show you have no financial ties to NZ, so I can’t see Helen qualifying on those grounds.

        • Colonial Viper

          McGrath is referring to the old wives tale that UN salaries are tax free.

          • Jeff

            Correct, its a myth. My partner worked for the UN, Helen no less, at the population fund outpost in Copenhagen. She, my partner, most certainly paid tax. Its true that the UN have their own set of work rules and conditions (they are not bound tightly by the state like companies, for example they impose strict maternity leave periods far shorter than the Danish govt normally allows), however, at least for Denmark, employees do pay tax. Actually this is why my partner left the UN, we live in Sweden and get 300 days each for maternity/paternity leave, which is the sort of thing society can afford when the govt has a clue and when high value is placed on the child. Believe me, it does not end there.

      • Richard McGrath 20.1.2

        I never mentioned her liability for tax in NZ Craaaaaaaaaaaaaig, but Mike believes she probably is liable. Can anyone cite a reference that confirms that UN bigwigs like our former Dear Leader are taxed on their income?

        • Te Reo Putake

          Can you prove she’s not, oh Superman? And why is it a problem to you anyway? I thought Randians were all for not paying tax, so if your UN fantasy is correct, shouldn’t you be applauding the arrangement?

          • Richard McGrath

            You obviously don’t remember much about Rand. I don’t think she would approve of the UN in the first place. I would “applaud the arrangement” if in fact she was doing productive work in the private sector. Still, any job is OK, as maintenance on those five houses is such a drag on the finances.

    • GregJ 20.2

      Even with a cursory search on the internet you would have seen they actually truth of that hoary old chestnut So you think your UN salary is tax free?

      but perhaps you are not familiar with using Google on this Interweb thingy so to help you out you can read the actual document here: UN Staff Assessment

      However I take it from what appears to be your horror at the belief that Helen Clark was not paying tax that you’ll concur with the following:

      a. People should pay tax
      b. People should not avoid/evade paying tax
      c. People on high income should pay their fair share of their income in tax
      d. That people on a high income and lots of property can proportionally pay more in tax as they can afford it

      So welcome to the Left and the concept of progressive and fair taxation Comrade McGrath.

      • Richard McGrath 20.2.1

        a. No – bit people do have an obligation to honour voluntary contracts.
        b. People are within their rights to avoid paying tax, and shouldn’t evade tax unless they want the state to further persecute them. However those who support income tax should really be paying the maximum amount possible, in order to remain true to themselves.
        c. Yep, just some disagreement on what “fair share” means. For many, a flat tax rate would be regarded as fair – the “rich” still pay more that way, which should keep most on this blog happy, as it’s all about envy and punishing anyone who dares to succeed and become wealthy.
        d. Yes they can afford it, but if the money has been earned through hard work, why should it be taken off them?

  21. captain hook 21

    I know Helen Clark and she will be giving a fair percent of her salary to needy causes and she certainly wont be investing in Hanover or Blue Chip or any other bloodsuckers.

    • tinfoilhat 21.1

      Helen clark is a great humanitarian and the greatest PM of modern times.

      Not like the crook we have as PM now, he should be tried and hung for crimes against the people of NZ.

      • McFlock 21.1.1

        Not to mention Clark: came from education, went to humanitarian work. 
        Key: came from finance, will probably go to a higher level of capitalist fuckwittedness. 

    • Fortran 21.2

      captain hook

      Helen Clark is paid tax free in US$ from which she has recently purchased her seventh house in Auckland.

      • Te Reo Putake 21.2.1

        Nope, Fortran. All non US citizens working for the UN have a substantial part of their salary held back for taxation purposes (the Staff Assessment). It is claimed by the home government of the employee, in HC’s case, NZ. US citizens and green card holders pay self employed taxes at state and federal level.

  22. captain hook 22

    well kweewee wants us all to be PHD’s.
    pizza hut deliverers.

  23. Brooklyn 23

    Oh dear lord, I read some of the comments to the herald drivel. I feel ill. I can only hope Mr. Grant is a performance artist playing the nob to expose what nobs some people are. (Apparently the Greek and Spanish collapses are due to the “undeserving majority” sucking money out “deserving [wealthy] minority”. Jesus wept.)

    • Jokerman 23.1

      He sure did. Ya wouldn’t read about it.

    • Damien grant 23.2

      No borat comedy here. What you see is what you get. Greece failed because the government spent more than it taxed. If you want to tun a socialist state you must tax accordingly. Something Cullen did, and English does not.

      • blue leopard 23.2.1

        Wasn’t Greece’s failure connected with Dubai’s collapse. And aren’t all the collapses one big collapse really? Why aren’t they reported like this? This would be more accurate. Why are they reported as separate events when you all know how interconnected world finances are? It wouldn’t be solely to do with avoiding panic would it? Wouldn’t want the markets getting even more jittery now would we?

        • Colonial Viper

          Damien misses a crucial ingredient in the financial collapse of most any sovereign: an elite kleptocratic class.

          Its fascinating that he blames the Greek collapse on its government for not taxing enough while advocating for the same policies here.

          Oh yeah, NZ already has an elite kleptocratic class, that’s who Damien writes his smooth words on behalf of.

          • damien grant

            No, Mr Viper. Greece collapsed because it spend but did not tax. If you want to run a social welfare state you must raise enough taxes to pay for it. If you spend but do not tax this will fail.

            The kleptocratic class are those who vote to strip me of my money and use it to pay for crap like Nothing Trivial (six million dollars, that cost!)

  24. Damien grant 24

    Ah, the standard. You know you love me really.

    Never stood for Act, but everything else is true, you clever clogs.

    The herald has writers from across the political spectrum, not sure what the angst there is.

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      I guess you could consider smashing up the poor while exalting rich parasites and the power systems they control as being part of the “political spectrum”.

      Always nice to see you on The Standard btw.

      • Damien grant 24.1.1

        Actually Mr Viper, I think that the current system keeps many people in poverty. You assume that I want a system that increases poverty. The reverse. I think a smaller state and lower taxes will create more commerce, higher wages and cheaper goods and services.

        • Colonial Viper

          The main beneficiary of lower taxes are those who already have the most income and assets ie the richest parasites of the current day.

          So this is just another iteration of the “philosophy” (greed) of helping the rich first and then waiting for the piss to come down on to everybody else.

          It has been tried for 30 years and its a failure for most people (good for the rich though whose incomes continue to race year on year ahead of the median wage).

          Time to move on mate.

        • blue leopard

          ” You assume that I want a system that increases poverty. ”

          Incorrect, I don’t think CV is assuming anything; he is drawing logical conclusions from reading what you have written.

        • xtasy

          Damien, we have been waiting for this “blossoming economic wonder” since Roger Douglas and his mate Prebble took over Labour’s economic policies, set the agenda and radically changed the system, only to benefit a very few, some of whom syphoned of hundreds of millions to take them to Europe and elsewhere to “invest”, in yet more speculation.

          Doctors continuing to push medication that does not work are compared to “snake oil” merchants, maybe you and your preferred economic and political brigade are just doing that?!

          • Damien grant

            You have seen it. Compare nz in 1984 to nz in 1994.

            Since then we have moved away from liberal economics to a growing state. We do not live in a libertarian world. We live in a socialist-leaning one. You are defenders of the status quo, including child poverty and domestic violence. I want to change it. Radically.

            • Colonial Viper

              You are defenders of the status quo, including child poverty and domestic violence. I want to change it. Radically.

              Fuck you’re an evil troll.

            • Colonial Viper

              I find it fascinating that you are using the old fashioned term “liberal economics” when it is clear that Friedmanite/Douglas/Richardson economics are “neoliberal economics”.

              Why are you trying to redefine terms Mr Grant?

              I support full employment in NZ. It can be achieved within 5 years. Is that radical enough for you?

              • damien grant

                Let me guess. You want to take my money and use it to pay people to did holes in the ground and then fill those holes in again.

                In the mean time, firms that actually make and sell stuff people are willing to pay for cannot afford to hire staff, anyone with an IQ over seventy will leave if they can, and the handful left will be taxes so hard their noses will bleed to pay for your collective wank-sessions?

                Your ideas have been tried. They work, sure, like a gulag works, but it is not a fun place to live.

                • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                  That isn’t what I want. I want you to take a pay cut: your incompetence at economic and political analysis clearly indicates that your wages are too high.

            • blue leopard

              ” You are defenders of the status quo, including child poverty and domestic violence. I want to change it. Radically.”

              I suggest you stick with your own area of expertise; yourself, because even that area appears to be found wanting in awareness.

              Your spin is a bit worn, either that or you have missed your calling as a comedian.

              • Colonial Viper

                Mr Grant, sterilising the poor should sort out the problem of child poverty. As well as taking existing children away from poor parents. Is that the kind of radical solution you are considering.

            • McFlock

              Okay, let’s compare over the last 25 years or so:

              Unemployment 1986-2009. Not better.
              Long term unemployment. Not better. 
              Child poverty. About the same. Or worse.
              And the only reason we’re not worse off now is due to the period 2000-2008. Hmmm.
              You might want to check the data before you put finger to keyboard. 
              Domestic violence seems to be worse, mostly due (at a look – not my field) to a reporting bias because now it’s not okay – at home or in the school. 

            • xtasy

              Do you want child labour perhaps, so they can “work” their way out of poverty, like in Adam Smith’s great economic era, while employing them in coal mines and the likes, during the “boom” of the “industrial revolution”?

              • Colonial Viper

                If you remove the requirement and costs of mine safety equipment and safety training, the mining company will have more money to hire more children to work down there.

                You see, getting rid of red tape does create jobs.

                • damien grant


                  Glad that you have seen the light. I want child labour, of course, that is what I want.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The benefits of child labour are

                    1) Children can be paid at significantly lower rates than adults.
                    2) Children add to the total labour pool, reducing both shortages and relative demand for labour.
                    3) The availability of child labour adds to the insecurity and compliance of adult unskilled workers.
                    4) The use of child labour takes children out of schools, which will allow many school closures and teacher redundancies.

                    Damien, given that child labour will both reduce the costs of business and shrink down government and the public sector, it is a beneficial policy which you should be pushing for.

                    Since most child labourers will come from poor families, you will also be able to cut benefit payments to those families, allowing further tax cuts for your well off constituency.

                    I don’t see what your hesitation is mate, in fact I see no reason for your pretence of not seeing the steps to business progress possible here.

            • xtasy

              Damien, we are in 2012 now, why come up with that bizarre time frame to compare economic and maybe social statistics. It seems to be a bit less relevant now, since time has moved on. I want to focus more on the last few years, especially since 2004 or so, and also what happened since 2008, when we were told about job summits, a national cycleway, soon a special deal to give Warner Brothers some perks to film a movie for and with Jackson here.

              What else has happened. Yes, you will mention the ChCh earthquake and so, but that is also largely going to be compensated for by insurance money, some of it still to flow on.

              If it was not for the ChCh rebuild, NZ would now be in full blown recession, Key, English and whatever smart agenda talkers there are!

        • xtasy

          To reduce or even abolish “poverty”, economic policies are needed that include every person able to work, train and contribute, which also requires some investment to prepare workers to have the skills needed, to create an economic environment that produces activity and jobs, and to also pay people wages and salaries, so they can participate in the economic equation of earning and consumption.

          It appears to be the wrong ideology of this government, to pay less to workers, to dis-incentivise efforts, to use the minimalistic approach to get the most out of workers while paying the least possible. That leaves workers short on income, only able to afford cheap products and services that are imported from lower wage countries, while the local economy is still ruled by monopoly and oligopoly players in many areas, including housing, utility services, retail and the likes.

          NZ is a high cost and low income country for most here.

          There is no stimulus or incentive to grow anything, but by the existing few “market players” to just maximise their share of the pie.

          The ordinary worker and consumer is locked into a situation, where life is not improving and will not improve, even if some tax cuts are given, as the ones favouring the higher earners above low income earners, who also were hit more with GST increases.

          Exports are largely primary products with little or no added value. Tradepeople left in droves, so for the Christchurch rebuild migrants have to be attracted. Health sector and teaching staff, same as some police and other public sector workers leave for better pay abroad. NZ struggles to attract skilled workers and industry it needs.

          The overvalued NZ dollar destroys competition for local producers, manufacturers and exporters, yet this government takes a total hand off approach. This economy is “tanking”, man, and it will get worse.

          You preach nonsense that has not worked anywhere else, and while the rest of the world is looking at alternative solutions, you and your preferred government wants to stick to laissez faire, purist, neo liberal, capitalist measures, that are being abandoned all over the world. Quantitative easing is happening in many places and other measures are also taken, but NZ is supposed to be the “purist” example and lose competitiveness.

          Talk about living in a “time capsule”, a “neanderthal” level and focused society and economy, you seem to be loving it and want to sink into oblivion. Good luck Damien with Planet Key!

        • Draco T Bastard

          I think a smaller state and lower taxes will create more commerce, higher wages and cheaper goods and services.

          Despite all the evidence to the contrary. We’ve tried your way time and time again and it always fails.

          • damien grant

            When has a libertarian approach been tried? The current approach, 40% of GDP being spent by the state, is your system. Child poverty in New Zealand exists despite the massive redistribution of assets. You cannot blame capitalism and the rich, the rich pay an awful lot of tax, the poor receive an awful lot of benefits.

            • Gosman

              Interestingly even in countries that many social democratic (i.e. moderate) lefties promote as ideals such as Sweden the unemployment rate and rates of economic growth are either about the same or worse than NZ over the recent past. On top of this we have a situation where the dynamism in an economy (i.e. the development of successful new businesses) stagnates.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Countries stagnate due solely to capitalism. Remove the restrictions that capitalism needs to survive and we’ll get a lot more creativity.

            • Draco T Bastard

              When has a libertarian approach been tried?

              Britain, 19th century. The government stepped in over time as it failed to meet the needs of the country and society.

            • Colonial Viper

              The current approach, 40% of GDP being spent by the state, is your system

              Yeah 40% of the GDP is public spending because the private sector REFUSES to spend in the real economy and instead prefers to speculate, extract and HOARD.

    • @ D Grant
      How do you live with yourself spreading so much disinformation?
      Or is the $$ so good you can afford to knock yourself out on a regular basis to assist you in your quest of ignoring your conscience?

      • Colonial Viper 24.2.1

        These people run on a very basic rule – your net wealth is your moral worth to society. To them, most people have no net wealth hence no moral worth to consider whatsoever.

        That’s why they find it really easy to put the shiv in, AND feel righteously pleasurable about it.

        • blue leopard

          Ta for the insight CV,

          That is really very sad because I do believe it is entirely accurate.

        • Damien grant

          I think an orphan in the third world has a greater need than a middle class new Zealand citizen. If I was choosing who to help I’d choose the orphan, but I do not get that choice.

          I make no moral judgements about anyone’s worth.

          Our GDP is 200m, govt spending is 73 b. The system being tried is a socialist one. If you are unhappy about poverty in new Zealand you cannot blame the libertarians and their fellow travelers. In our world govt spending would be about ten billion.

          • blue leopard

            The person stuck without a job has no choice Mr Grant; you are perfectly at liberty to help the orphan in the third world because you have an income.

            And there are going to be more people stuck without jobs if we carry on the way we are going. I guess it is when the benefit gets entirely cut, minimum wages go even further down and people start breaking into your or your friends house and raiding your cupboards will you really start to engage with the policies you promote.

            • damien grant

              So, currently the government spends 40% of GDP and we have people in NZ without jobs. You are saying we need to be spending even more money to give these unemployed jobs?

              The current system is a socialist-leaning one, not a libertarian one.

              • Colonial Viper

                The private sector aren’t interested in creating jobs, but in extracting and hoarding wealth out of communities.

                The current system needs to be absolutely socialist (as was envisioned for NZ in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s) not just “socialist leaning”.

                • Gosman

                  Good oh. I look forward to a serious political movement taking up your ideas and push them to the electorate at the next election. Will you be involved in this political movement CV?

                • damien grant

                  the problem, socialist viper, is that although us evil capitalists are only interested in extracting and hoarding wealth, it is hard to extract and hoard wealth in a capitalist economy without providing something that people are willing to pay for.

                  There is only four ways to get rich. Marry money, steal money, inherit money or make money.

                  I’ve tried most. making it is by far the easiest and along the way I must engage with other people who voluntary pay for the goods and services that I am selling. They walk away from that transaction better off than they were before.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    fuck man what century do you live in?

                    The way to extract real wealth is to insert your own men inside the machinery of governments and get free bailouts and QE to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

                    For the smaller scale capitalist, simple zero value add ticket clipping from core economic infrastructure and services will suffice.

            • blue leopard

              @ D Grant

              You are saying we need to be spending even more money to give these unemployed jobs?</blockquote>

              No I was saying that you have plenty of liberty when you are on a reasonable salary to do whatever you wish, whereas you do not seem to be aware of this with your statement:
              "If I was choosing who to help I’d choose the orphan, but I do not get that choice."~D Grant

              If we keep on following policies that wait around for the wealthiest to supply jobs, while allowing such phenomenon as the futures market; the commodifying of money and "legitimate tax evasion" to carry on unaddressed we will be waiting around forever.

              It may not be that we need to spend more money on those in less privileged positions; it may be that it is more efficient to address the above and such things as the monopoly effect of corporations.

              These issues have only ever been considered detrimental to the capitalist system by those great minds who people favour citing; if they existed at all at the time these writers were writing.

          • McFlock

            One the flipside, the current system is ~60% market-driven, and is failing dismally.
            95% market economies would be worse, IMO, because the market has no mechanism to ensure that people who need help get it.

          • Colonial Viper

            I make no moral judgements about anyone’s worth.

            But you DO Damien.

            The rich are worth helping and exalting, the poor are to be disregarded as baggage. Although you say that you would like NZ to help the millions of starving children in Africa, you’ve never written an article in the Herald shaming the Government to act in that regard. And even if you did, what kind of help could a “small government” with no budget give?

            In comparison, you have written plenty in support of the very wealthy of this country, however.

            Save your crocodile tears for NZ’s poor, cold and hungry; they live just a block or two from you remember not in another continent.

            You may be a smart man, but it seems that your best talent is that of self deception.

            • damien grant

              I have written on a number of topics, including the importance of protecting property rights that can be traced to the treaty of waitangi. I have written at my disgust at the failings of the finance company trustees and my dislike of the use of sham trusts that are used to hide assets.

              I have not said that NZ should help the poor in africa, I have said I would prefer to help starving africians than pay for tummy tucks for middle class kiwis.

              If you think my money should be taken from me and given to pay for educating middle class new zealand school children and not pay for sanitation for the poor in Burma, then you are making moral judgements about people’s worth, not me.

              Because someone is next to me, does that mean that they are more deserving of support than someone far away. It does mean that they can unite, vote, and force the state to take my assets, however.

              • McFlock

                Because someone is next to me, does that mean that they are more deserving of support than someone far away. It does mean that they can unite, vote, and force the state to take my assets, however.

                It also means you can better identify the problem, identify the causes of the problem, have some idea of the extent of the problem, and identify solutions.
                Plus, of course, it means that it is harder for you to pretend it doesn’t exist – although JK seems to live on Planet Key quite a bit these days.
                But the real point of your wee story is not how concerned you are about abject poverty in the world, it’s the fact that you have a major problem with democracy. If you have a better political system, present it.

          • xtasy

            Surely GDP is closer to 200 bn is it not, not 200 million, and talking about orphans, they all deserve sympathy, support and help, no matter where they were born and live. Given the fact that living costs do to this date also vary greatly between nations (despite of all talk of globalisation and so on), it is possible to support an orphan in a poor African country quite well with a few dollars a day. But living in NZ means having to look at living costs and conditions here. So such comparisons are a bit frivolous, to be honest.

            NZ is not socialist, but at the same time, it is true, that there is no country applying a 100 per cent pure capitalist approach either, as it would be a damned rascal of a place to live in, soon to be overcome by a stiff revolution by the ones not prepared to put up with the due injustices.

            I would be happy if NZ was at least a bit “social democratic”, but it is anything but that. It is ruled by an elite set of enterprises and their owners, same as a select few wealth owners and a very staunch “old boys network”, all looking after each other, determined to do all to keep things as they are!

            • damien grant

              so, xtasy, for a few dollars a day we can make a large difference for the poor in third world countries, but it costs much more to do so here. So, here is an idea. Lets stop paying for IVF for middle class New Zealand citizens and pensions for wealthy kiwis and use that money to make a huge difference to the lives of the really poor?

              No? you do not like that idea? Is it because you may benefit from welfare in NZ and, secretly, you cannot give a toss about the poor in third world countries but care deeply about making sure that the wealthy in NZ are forced to pay for your education, health and pension.

              Who is greedy again? I forget.

              • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                Yes, the starving people will be so grateful to you for replicating their plight in New Zealand. Oh, by the way: “Africa” – which country is that again?

                • damien grant

                  A country where people are not afraid to put their real names to their views and do not hide behind silly avatars like virtually everyone here.

                  What are you all afraid of? If you have a political view put you name to it.

                  “If you like it, put your name to it”

                  You must all be ashamed. Or scared. I am not sure what is worse.

                  [This site maintains a strict privacy policy and commenters who persist in pushing the boundaries of this policy will quickly attract attention from the moderators. Bans have often been the result. Every contributor is entitled to use a nom if they so choose. There are many people from all sides of the political spectrum who have good reasons not to have their identity known. Besides On the net there is no way to easily verify real names anyhow.

                  What counts here is the quality and persuasiveness of your argument; not who you are.

                  You are not the first person with a traditional media background who has found this aspect of ‘net culture hard to deal with … you are accustomed to a different way of doing things. But in the end it is our site and we will run it the way we want. Please consider this a fair and respectful warning. ..RL]

                  • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                    Have you worked out why your politics attracts lower-than-margin-of-error levels of support yet?

                    • damien grant

                      over seventy percent of Americans believe in Jesus. Over 90% of Saudi’s believe in Islam. Millions of people watch American idol. None of that means anything.

                      If you think an idea is good because other people support it then you are nothing more than seaweed, flowing with the tide, bereft of independent thought.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Of course its natural you would say that Damien, in your world only the opinions of the 1% count for anything.

                      If you think an idea is good because other people support it then you are nothing more than seaweed, flowing with the tide, bereft of independent thought.

                      Poetic, but have you considered the fact that you may not be some enlightened “Master of the Universe”, but just a deluded advocate of neoliberalism?

                    • Gosman

                      Do you think a Financial Transaction Tax is a good policy KTH?

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      On the face of it an FTT sounds like a good idea, Gos, but as always the devil is in the detail. I certainly think it should be considered as an option.

                    • Gosman

                      I agree it is a valid idea and one that should be looked at. Yet by your own logic it should be rejected out of hand because political parties supporting the concept failed to garner much electoral support at the last election. Do you see now why trying to tie popularity of an idea to the value of that idea makes little sense?

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      Um, no your argument doesn’t really hold water.

                      I asked if poor Damien has worked out the reason for the low level of support for his position; I made no statement about its validity.

                      I will now though: n’existe pas!

                    • Gosman

                      Damien Grant took your comments exactly as I did and exactly as anybody sensible would. That is you somehow think the idea lacks validity because of the lack of success of political parties pushing the policy at the last election.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well then Gosman … that logic rather blows Mr Key’s ‘I’ve got a mandate for asset sales’ nonsense rather out of the water does it not?

              • xtasy

                Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha Damien, what a joke!?

                You comment:
                “Is it because you may benefit from welfare in NZ and, secretly, you cannot give a toss about the poor in third world countries but care deeply about making sure that the wealthy in NZ are forced to pay for your education, health and pension.”

                I say:
                When I came to NZ many, many years ago (from another part of the world) I had for years job after job with NZ companies, all those employers paying me pittance. Suddenly, years later, a migrant businessman from the country I came from, realised my potential, hired me and instantly increased my pay by 50 to 60 percent above anything a “Kiwi” employer ever paid me before! For the first time I earned a real income, enabling me to not only live somewhat satisfactorily, but also save.

                Yes, I admit, in more recent years I was offered jobs by NZ employers also paying me better than in those years longer ago, but many locals and migrants still very often get paid pittance here by NZ employers, living only and barely from hand to mouth.

                So, as a migrant, I brought a sound level of my education here FREE of charge, I never cost the country here all that much in health expenditure, as I never was so ill to need long term intensive treatment or operations, and as the services I found were all rather “cheap scate”, low cost, low level, which is common for much health care here.

                I am still far away from any pension, and once I may get there, the NZ government will force me to access any pension entitlement I have from my native country first, to use that and then only pay the balance to the level the NZ retirement income would usually be. Indeed the NZ government and taxpayer will “save” due to that.

                Admittedly I had to depend on welfare for certain reasons for periods, and I chose to leave NZ in the early 1990s as jobs were so hard to get and pay was so disgustingly low then, I went overseas to work, thus also “saving” NZ taxpayers costs that I could have generated.

                I have always tried to manage wisely and work as much as my health and other circumstances have allowed, but with the policies of this and some previous governments in NZ, largely being “half baked” and “dumb” collections of not very smart measures, it is damned hard to get a job now and to survive even if one has a job, unless it is well paid.

                So before you criticise my comments and come with your unfounded arguments, perhaps also think that there may be many that are not to blame, but rather victims of the ideology and market approach you and your like minded people come up with.

                Good evening!

  25. Mike 25

    Over the last 50 years taxes for the top 10% of earners have steadily decreased, whilst their wealth has increased at a much faster rate than that of other income earners. High earners have never had it better. Yet people like this guy still moan that they are paying too much? I’m becoming more and more disheartened all the time by some of the attitudes you hear and read about in our country.

    A couple of days ago there was a piece in the herald by the chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, established by the Children’s Commissioner. The article debunked 3 common myths about child poverty. One of these was that child poverty is due to poor or bad parenting and that everyone has enough income, these bad parents just don’t care and don’t live within their means. He explained why this view is incorrect.

    The very next day there was a letter to the paper going on about how it is all the parents fault and that they are mostly dole bludgers who live it up off taxpayers. This person obviously didn’t even read or maybe read but didn’t absorb the article. This is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. How can we ever hope to get through to these sorts of people who will not accept a certain view no matter how many facts are thrown at them? If it was a tiny minority I wouldn’t care but it seems to be large numbers of Kiwi’s who think like this and are actually angry and abusive about what they perceive as the reason behind the countries economic woes (“dole bludgers” being the cause)

    I mean they know how to write a letter and send it to the herald, so they obviously know how to read as well, so they’re probably at least of average intelligence? yet they can’t think critically and see how logically ridiculous it is to blame the problems of an economy on those at the bottom rung who have the least influence of all on that economy and the least influence of all on the political decisions of the country?

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that these sorts of people are obviously greedy, self centered, tax evading, holier than though and as Bill Hicks might have put it, swallower’s of Satan’s cock…

  26. damien grant 26

    Yes Mike, and over the last 50 years the living standard of all has risen dramatically. Being poor in NZ in 1950 would be very different from being poor in NZ today.

    Stop obsessing about the rich. It makes you seem petty.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 26.1

      Being poor in NZ in 1950 would be very different…

      Yes, you wouldn’t have as much company back then. And you probably wouldn’t have some right wing nut job telling you you were dragging the country down, either.

      There’s a reason your fantasies attract so little electoral support.

      • Gosman 26.1.1

        Depends on what you regard as support. Given the fact that National doesn’t agree that relative levels of poverty is a huge issue and it received almost 50% electoral support at the last election I’d suggest there is a fair few people out there that support ideas similar to what Damien Grant is putting forward here. Regardless of this the popularity of an idea is not necessarily a good indication of whether it is a worthwhile idea. A Financial transaction tax might be a good idea yet not many people voted for parties that pushed this tax at the last election.

        • McFlock

          so overall electoral support for a party indicates individual party supporter’s support for every single party policy?
          Not so sure on that one. I don’t agree with every policy my party has, but it’s better than voting for the alternatives.
          And absence of party policy = absence of public support? Not so sure about that, either: a case in point being abortion, which I believe most parties refuse to touch with a bargepole. However, I think a referendum on it would get quite a bit of turnout from both sides. 

          • Gosman

            I agree pretty much with all of what you have stated here. Rather shocking I know.

            • McFlock

              so will you withdraw your suggestion on that basis?

              • Gosman

                Which suggestion do you mean?

                • McFlock

                  “Given the fact that National doesn’t agree that relative levels of poverty is a huge issue and it received almost 50% electoral support at the last election I’d suggest there is a fair few people out there that support ideas similar to what Damien Grant is putting forward here.”     

                  You know, the bit where you suggested widescale support for libertarianism based on Brand Key electoral support and the fact that addressing poverty in NZ isn’t a national party policy.

                  • Gosman

                    Try this execise.

                    Think of a reason why large numbers of the electorate voted for the National party other than for the reasons they generally support the basic philisophical view that the party stands for or that they are somehow too stupid and have been duped in to supporting a party they fundamentally disagree with. Which particular National policies would have been attractive to people in your mind?

                    • McFlock

                      Other possible reasons people might vote for a party:

                      1: emphasis might have been placed on capabilities of the candidates to lead responsibly, rather than general philosophical principles;
                      2: other parties might have expressed their [better] policies less clearly than the winning party, or the other parties had trust issues with the electorate;
                      3: presentation might count as much as content, just as it does in a job application. Presentation might be regarded by many people as a rough metric for competence and clarity of direction. Less well-crafted presentation might be indicative of an inability to manage projects, and if you can’t run a slick campaign, how will you manage a government?;

                      4: electorate dislike for one policy area might be balanced by support for another, e.g. if someone thinks the govt management of a local issue (e.g. – haha- CERA) was good for that voter, they might be more inclined to overlook a deficiency in other areas (child poverty). So maybe most national voters think relative poverty is an important issue, but maybe they also think that the govt has done well managing the economy in these times so vote according to the issue that they think is more important.

                      And those are just a few alternatives to the idea that most national voters don’t care about relative poverty in NZ. 

                    • Gosman

                      The personality vote would hold more sway under a FPP system rather than MMP as it is the party vote that counts. Regardless the people in the party hold a particular ideological viewpoint that the voters would have to be aware of. If not then they are misinformed (i.e. stupid).

                      A failure of a party to convince you to vote for them tends to lead to a non vote in my view rather than a positive vote for another party, especially if that other party is the incumbent party of government. This is especially true under MMP, where you have multiple parties you could vote for without wasting your vote. It isn’t as if people would have gone – I don’t like Labour so I will vote National to spite them even though I disagree with them ideologically. You would expect people to vote Green or even United Future instead of National.

                    • McFlock

                      The personality vote would hold more sway under a FPP system rather than MMP as it is the party vote that counts.

                      Unless the country-wide campaign was based around a “presidential-style” election, i.e. personality A as leader vs personality B as leader. 

                      Regardless the people in the party hold a particular ideological viewpoint that the voters would have to be aware of. If not then they are misinformed (i.e. stupid).
                      “misinformed” != “stupid”. And you are talking about, at broadest, one ideological plank, not the entire party catechism. So it’s”plank vs plank”, not a case of “most voters agree with all planks”.
                      A failure of a party to convince you to vote for them tends to lead to a non vote in my view rather than a positive vote for another party, especially if that other party is the incumbent party of government.

                      citation pls

                      This is especially true under MMP, where you have multiple parties you could vote for without wasting your vote. It isn’t as if people would have gone – I don’t like Labour so I will vote National to spite them even though I disagree with them ideologically. You would expect people to vote Green or even United Future instead of National.
                       citation pls. Especially as Labour’s “Waitakere Man” seems to revolve around the voting sector that bounces between Labour and Naional.

              • Gosman

                If you meant the level of support for National is indicative of a high level of support for the philsophical underpinnings of the National party then no I would not be willing to change my view on this. The alternative is that people are supportive of the National party for some unknown other reasons and/or that they are stupid. I am not arrogant enough to assume that the electorate is as stupid as some on the left like to make out.

                • McFlock

                  The alternative is that people are supportive of the National party for some unknown other reasons and/or that they are stupid.

                  Well, some are option 2 (given that conservatives are more often dumb than liberals), but other reasons (beyond specific policies) to vote for any party are pretty obvious: packaging, individuals, branding, and failure by the other parties to deliver their message. 
                  Not to mention that I’m not sure that any nat has come out and said they don’t give a shit about the poor in NZ. In public, anyway. 

                  • Gosman

                    The only people who think the case one of right wing people promoting policies that state ‘Screw the poor’ seem to be leftists. Certainly that is not what I have seen from Damien Grant’s writings on the topic here.

                    Basically you admit that people have been duped into voting for National. If you think people in the country are that stupid then you have a very jaded view of society. I prefer to think people in society are generally much smarter than you give them credit.

                    • @ Gosman,
                      So you do not consider that the huge industry of marketing and the psychology research they conduct exists? Or is it that you believe that the opinion manipulation tactics they apply have no effect?

                    • Gosman

                      I believe there is no huge industry of marketing and the psychology research. They might do more than Labour but that is Labour’s problem not National’s. As for the effectiveness of it, I believe it doesn’t sway voters as much as people on the left think it does and certainly is not a huge factor in whether people vote National or not.

                    • @Gosman,

                      If I wished to establish that people have 3 eyes I would have to provide some evidence of what I base my beliefs on.

                      I ask you to do the same here because your “I believe” statement indicates that all the companies and governments pouring money into marketing and spin is entirely unnecessary, which I find a tad arrogant without supplying proof that such activities have no effect.

                    • McFlock

                      Had to have a meeting…

                      So in your opinion most people who voted national did so at least in part because of their underlying, but unexpressed, lack of concern about relative policy. 
                      Also, in your opinion, politics is about the electorate rationally evaluating policy packages and voting accordingly, rather than any significant influence from political marketing and market research.
                      So national spending $80k on their campaign song was simply about presenting unvarnished policy to the electorate?
                      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all national voters simply go for flashy lights. Just that style contributed as much to the nat minority “victory” as much as the subtleties of policy. 

                    • higherstandard

                      A large proportion of voters vote tribally another large proportion vote against a certain party/person.

                      I would think only a minority vote based upon policy apart from the occasional blips in voting from electorate bribes such as tax cuts, WFF, student loans.

                      I get to the stage where i can’t really be bothered wasting a Saturday morning voting for one bunch of cretins or the other when they make feck all difference regardless who gets in.

                    • Gosman

                      I never stated most. I just think a significant chunk of National party’s support at the last election do not share the same views on relative poverty as say Labour party supporters. this is not earth shattering information as far as I’m concerned. Do you know many National voting people?

                    • Gosman

                      Blue leopard – There have been studies performed in the US which suggests the higher spending candidate doesn’t have a stistically significant better chance of winning, so in that regard yes it is a waste of money.

                      However even if spending large did provide a big benefit, which I don’t think it does, there is really no evidence that National has some sort of better campaign approach than Labour. Do you have particular evidence from the last election that you can point to that supports your view on this?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Blue leopard – There have been studies performed in the US which suggests the higher spending candidate doesn’t have a stistically significant better chance of winning

                      Yeah but you’ve drawn all the wrong conclusions.

                      Whether a candidate spends $5M or $6M may be immaterial. But they still need corporate sponsorship to get to that level.

                      And if you can only raise $500,000 you’re fucked.

                      So it slants the whole field to the big money candidates, and regardless of who wins, its always going to be one of them.

                    • Gosman

                      Quite possibly you are correct, but it would be good to get some actual evidence for your position rather than rely on your opinion.

                      I am still waiting to see evidence of how National somehow spent and manipulated it’s way to victory in 2008 and 2011 though. ACT for example spent up hugely at the 2011 election but had it’s worse result ever, so it would suggest money in the NZ political sphere doesn’t in fact buy you electoral success.

                    • lprent []

                      ACT for example spent up hugely at the 2011 election but had it’s worse result ever, so it would suggest money in the NZ political sphere doesn’t in fact buy you electoral success.

                      Not quite. It suggests that it isn’t the sole determinant of electoral success. There are many others.

                      In the case of the 2011 election, no amount of spending could conceal the disunity of the Act caucus and board doing an emergency dump of their leader, standing a conservative idiot in their only winnable seat, and electing another political loser as their leader (how many times has Brash lost elections now?). What was the message that they were trying to send to the voters? Vote for us and we will trough slightly to the right of National for another term?

                      Besides Hide had put through the Auckland super-shitty acts and pissed off a *lot* of rate-payer voters in Auckland.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Gossie, its not a purely money issue, Labour is disconnected from many of its natural supporters, and basically they stayed home.

                    • McFlock

                      I never stated most. I just think a significant chunk of National party’s support at the last election do not share the same views on relative poverty as say Labour party supporters. this is not earth shattering information as far as I’m concerned. Do you know many National voting people?

                      A few.
                      But more to the point, now you’re suggesting that <50% of national voters might agree with national’s apparent (wel, covert) position that, as you put it, “National doesn’t agree that relative levels of poverty is a huge issue”. Which then brings into question what you regard as a “fair few people” who support Damien Grant-style libertarianism simply because they voted national.
                    • Reply to Gosman at 27 & 28 below

    • Gosman 26.2

      The problem with the poverty argument put forward nowdays is that it is relative poverty they are talking about not absolute. This leads to a circular argument as increased levels of inequality tends to increase the relative poverty level. Hence the main solution offered is to reduce income inequality. Funnily enough the quickest way to tackle the relative poverty level would be to cut the incomes of the middle and increase the levels of the lowest. I doubt very much we will see this being pushed by many though.

      • damien grant 26.2.1

        here here.

        Good man, this Gosman chap.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 26.2.2

        Gosman, the policies you support have cut income levels for the middle class and those least well off. Elephant, meet room.

        • Gosman

          Unlikely I would suggest given the data. Income levels for the lowest haven’t been cut over the past few years. They certainly haven’t been growing as fast as for other income decile groups though. If income levels for the middle have been falling as you suggest then it would perversely likely lead to a fall in the relative poverty levels.

          • Kotahi Tāne Huna

            I tell you what, rather than spend the next week with you dancing on the head of a pin, asking less and less pertinent questions in another vain attempt to spin the world to suit your visions, suck on this.

            • Gosman

              That graph doesn’t really support your argument at all so I’m unsure why you linked to it.

              • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                Oh, sorry, I was distracted by the bad faith and sophistry of your comment at 10:15.

                • Gosman

                  If you disagree with the view I have put forward I suggest it would be useful for you to point out the reasons you disagree rather than linking to irrelevant graphs. Where is your eveidence that incomes for the middle classes have been falling?

                  • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                    lol I assumed that anyone who doesn’t have their head up their arse would be up to date on this. Forgot who I was arguing with.


                    • Gosman

                      So how is your view that incomes for the middle classes is falling reconcile with this piece of information from the article?

                      “However, the income survey shows the median weekly income from all sources, not just wages and salaries, has increased 1.8 per cent, and median hourly earnings have increased 2.4 per cent, in the last year, compared with inflation of just 1 per cent. ”

                      This would suggest incomes for the middle classes are increasing not decreasing as you think it is.

                    • Gosman

                      This article also supports the view that middle income earners in NZ are better off now than they were in the past.


                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      “Median”, Gosman? Sophistry and bad faith much?

                    • Gosman

                      Ummmm… Median income is a pretty good indication of the level of income of the middle class. I am surprised you aren’t aware of this.

                    • Jackal

                      Most incomes have only just kept pace with inflation Gosman. In the case of 16 to 20 year old males, their after tax incomes have actually declined by around 1% from 2008 to 2011. Then you add on inflation of around 9.8% and it’s not hard to see that some people are a lot worse off since Nact gained power.

                      You’re welcome to continue living in cloud cuckoo land if you want.

                    • Gosman

                      We are discussing middle income levels not those on the bottom in this dicussion Jackal.

                      If you have evidence that the middle income earners in NZ have got poorer then please present it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Income growth all going to the richest

        • Gosman

          BTW the Sofie survey that Statistics NZ collected and collated and which much of the data that the Child poverty group based its findings on was carried out for eight years starting from 2001. During this time it was the Labour party that was in power for the vast majority of the time.

      • blue leopard 26.2.3

        @ Gosman

        the quickest way to tackle the relative poverty level would be to cut the incomes of the middle and increase the levels of the lowest

        Hang about? What about the highest earners? Why do they not figure in your equation?

        • Gosman

          Because they have less impact on the measure of relative poverty. If you cut the highest income earners income by 10% and increased the lowest by 10% this would have less impact on the poverty rate than if you cut the middle income earners by and increased the lowest by the same amount. Were you not aware of this fact?

          • blue leopard

            No I don’t understand. If relative poverty is related to inequality, what you state does not make sense to me. Taking from the middle earners and giving to the poorest would not address the accelerating gap of the top 10%.

            Please explain further or provide links.

            I would consider this taking from the middle earners to give to the poorer is what occurs at present (with Mr Dunne’s “legitimate tax evasion” theory as a good illustration of how this is occurring), and this approach clearly isn’t addressing the issue.

            Those who have uber riches in each society have the most power and this also effects the well being of all. Such power can influence what people deem as valid political approaches; they have the resources to influence public opinion so that they support such things as tax cuts for the wealthiest at a time of recession (!). Taking from the middle earners rather than the wealthiest doesn’t address this issue either.

            • Gosman

              You don’t understand how relative poverty is meassured then. The calculation is done based on a percentage of median income. If someone like Kim Dotcom comes here to live he has very little impact on median income although he will likely impact mean income far more. What this means is that I could take 25% of the income the top 10 % of income earners and basicslly burn it and it will have no impact on relative poverty rates in the country. The relative poverty rate is essentially an indication of the difference in income of the bottom 50 percent or so of the population. You should read up on it sometime.

              • Mike

                If you took 25% of the income of the top 10% of earners and instead of burning it gave it to the bottom 50% of income earners it would have an impact on poverty rates if it was enough to lift a percentage of people above the poverty line. (which i think is around 60% of the median income?). In effect you would be increasing the size of the ‘middle class’.

                • Gosman

                  If you gave the money to the bottom 50 percent you wouldn’t necessarily affect povert rates at all if you didn’t flattent the distribution of income in that bottom half at the same time. A more effective technique would be to take money from the middle and give it to the bottom.

              • Yes Gosman,

                Your comment stumped me and it took me rather a long time to stop taking your point so rationally and realise that you appear to be more interested in “fixing” the statistics than considering the real time effects of any given approach. Is this correct?

                Are you suggesting that it is more important that our statistics appear more equitable regardless of the rather odd arrangement of taking from middle earners and giving to the poorer?

                Have I finally got it?

                I understand there is merit in calculating relative poverty and ensuring a closer gap between the wealthiest and poorest in any given country; however if it means confusing the policy makers into following the bizarre notion you are putting forward then perhaps we had better stick to absolute poverty issues for the meantime.

                It is to noones advantage that there are people getting poorer and poorer in this country. I do not understand capitalists so intent with increasing their wealth that they would cut their own customers off by leaving them without capital to buy their products. A very strange approach to pursue…very strange indeed.

                • Gosman

                  Good. We can both agree that relative poverty is not a good indication to use as it is confusing and we should focus on absolute levels instead. I suggest your view that absolute levels of poverty are increasing is wrong though.

                  • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                    Where did you find such a rich vein of weasel, Gossamer? A better solution would be to simply dismiss and ignore your suggestion that we fix the statistics rather than address the issue.

                  • @Gosman
                    “I suggest your view that absolute levels of poverty are increasing is wrong though.”~Gosman

                    I suggest you go out and find some evidence to support your intimations and desist from making unsubstantiated suggestions; persevering with this approach leads you to increasingly appear to be in a fantasy la-la land all of your own.

  27. Al 27

    When Mr grant has repaid the taxpayer for his 100k/yesr prison stay and paid all prosecution expenses, i may give his opinions slightly more credibility than ‘lol’

    • damien grant 27.1

      Done that, several times over I suspect. I pay a lot more than 33k pa in tax!

      • blue leopard 27.1.1

        @D Grant

        May I suggest that you consider:

        ~ I am thankful for the taxes I pay, because it means I’m employed.
        ~Quitting your whinging and writing something intelligent and
        ~ going and finding half a dozen overseas orphans to sponsor instead of using them as a football for your fallacious diatribes.

  28. “There have been studies performed in the US which suggests the higher spending candidate doesn’t have a stastically significant better chance of winning, so in that regard yes it is a waste of money.” ~Gosman 6.10pm

    Yes, I recall coming across one such “study” somewhere, however it would be good to include a link; in this way perhaps the information would be supplied as to whether these “studies” included all expenditure or merely the expenditure declared. (oh how quickly we forget).

    Take a look at this article on FactCheck and note: “And since not all election-related spending is required to be disclosed to the FEC, the chamber’s true total was likely higher. “

  29. “As for the effectiveness of it, I believe it doesn’t sway voters as much as people on the left think it does and certainly is not a huge factor in whether people vote National or not.” ~Gosman 1.09pm


    Because framing has the ability to alter the public’s perception, politicians engage in battles to determine how issues are framed. Hence, the way the issues are framed in the media reflects who is winning the battle.

    Media influence:

    Extensive studies have shown that mass media have always influenced the political process, but never more so than with the innovation of the television. …. This method of information gathering has led to the superficial politics and ignorance of voters in America today. Shenkman demonstrates how the political-media complex is reinforced as “politicians have repeatedly misled voters” by “dumbing down of American politics via marketing, spin machines, and misinformation.”

    Television’s role within the politico-media complex is so powerful that its news media can set a nation’s political agenda by focusing public attention on whatever issue network producers and reporters choose to make the key public issues by broadcasting them. Through this power of prioritization, the news media play a significant role in determining the nation’s political reality; they provide the political information that will be regarded as fact and indicate to viewers how much importance to attach to each topic according to how much air time they dedicate to a given issue and the emphasis they place on it.

    From Wikipedia Politico-Media Complex [Emphasis mine]

    Our opinions are actively manipulated and this takes time to research, formulate and apply.

    I feel confident that in the event of any investigation as to whether politicians are putting these costs on the books or getting freebies in exchange for deals is only likely to be answered with statements such as “I didn’t know”, “I don’t know”, “there is insufficient evidence” etc.

    In conclusion, considering the amount of scholarship, investment and application that is put into this activity as well as the variety of disciplines conducting it and the lack of transparency involved in this area you would have an extremely hard time convincing me, (especially not by an “I believe …” citing yourself approach) that people are voting solely for policies and not having their opinions manipulated to within an inch of their lives.

    • Colonial Viper 29.1

      Well done. However, Gosman almost certainly already knows this shit so you’re better off using your time and energy defeating the bastards in the real world.

      • blue leopard 29.1.1

        …lol yes thanks CV, I had the distinct feeling that this [rather long comment] would go by unread, however it is my view that it is always good to organize one’s thoughts for future conversations in the real world. 🙂

      • fender 29.1.2

        Gosman/Key is an idiot, especially when he plays the predictable Zimbabwe card ad nauseum.

    • Gosman 29.2

      Ummmm….I asked for real life examples of how National influenced the debate unduly compared with other political parties.

      All you have shown here is tactics that ALL parties should use to help frame a debate.

      • felix 29.2.1

        You said it yourself at 1.09, the very comment this subthread is in reply to: National does more of it.

        And now you’ve admitted its effectiveness (“ALL parties should”), so thanks for the (as usual) massive waste of everyone’s time waiting for you to (as usual) argue yourself in a circle.

        • Gosman

          Do you have the actual evidence that National framed the debate better than Labour at the last election?

          • felix

            Not required. I have evidence that you think so.

            • Gosman

              No you don’t. All you have is me stating an opinion that National might do more marketing and psychology research. than Labour. I have seen no firm evidence on this.

              • felix

                So what? Your opinion is all I need to negate your opposite opinion, I call it fighting fool with fool.

                Now fuck off child, I have work to do.

                • Gosman

                  Once again you are quite wrong. I have never stated an opinion that National engages in the specific behaviour detailed by blue leopard more than Labour. If you have evidence they did so in the last election then put up or shut up.

                  • McFlock

                    one song. 80 grand. 
                    Fuck off. 

                  • @Junk Politics apologist otherwise known as Gosman,

                    Whats all this then? You asking for evidence? About time you came up with some of your own to justify your opinions don’t you think?

                    Take a look at Nicky Hagar’s Hollowmen book if you genuinely wish to view evidence. Despite being written 6 years ago the approaches being applied to NZ now are recognizable as being entirely identical, of particular note in this regard are the policies we are being subjected to. (Funny innit? When massive world-wide events and changes to our circumstances have occurred since 2006 and they are ramping out the same old tired approaches…hilarious in fact…they must have a brilliant time over ‘drinkies’ laughing and sneering at our gullibility)

                    In my view rightwing parties will always have an advantage in the junk political approach; you don’t have to be anything other than a moron to grasp their simplistic, non-policies.

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