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High trust

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, November 6th, 2012 - 12 comments
Categories: capitalism, workers' rights - Tags:

National’s strategy around the Pike River report is to try to get the media story over in a day. That’s why Wilkinson waited until now to resign – no punishment as she’ll still be a Cabinet minister and her resignation will come in handy in stymieing opposition questions to the Minister of Labour. But this won’t go away. For one, there’s Key’s claim that our safety standards were up to Aussie’s and our safety record was good. Then, there’s the larger question of the Government’s whole neoliberal approach that leads to such disasters.

See, there’s a lot of deep and serious talk about how the lessons of past disasters were learned and then forgotten – but, actually, that’s bullshit. The lessons of past disasters weren’t forgotten by the miners – they never consented to having their check inspectors abolished and the other safety standards lowered. What happened is those standards and checks were purposely destroyed by the neoliberals. Just as they did with building standards (triggering the leaky building mess) and the financial sector (leading to the finance company collapses).

See, the neoliberals told themselves and us this fairytale to justify what they were really after – reduced government spending and regulation meaning lower taxes for the rich and fewer compliance costs for the capitalists. The story that they told us was that industries would regulate themselves because corporations are rational, unitary actors with perfect information seeking to maximise their own good through series of carefully thought out actions and, so, would never do something so risky and self-destructive sacrifice safety for production volume in a coal mine, or construct homes from shitty material, or make punts with other people’s life savings.

Of course, in reality corporations are fictions that groups of furless primates have invented so that they can seek to optimise their sometimes complimentary, sometimes conflicting goals by making often seat of their pants decisions based on flawed information… and, what’s more, the people who control these corporations know that law and social status will almost certainly protect them if something goes wrong and it will be the chumps further down the food chain who pay with their savings, their homes, or their lives.

When National came back to power in 2008, they referred to this deregulation free-for-all – the 1990s versions of which have lead to such huge disasters – as the ‘high trust model’: ie. ‘we’re going to let you guys do whatever you like, it’ll probably be sweet’. Key described the deregulated, check inspector-less mining system as a ‘high trust model’ yesterday, without irony, which would have been appropriate given where the high trust placed in the Pike River bosses got those 29 men.

There’s another ‘high trust model’ that I can think of, which like the leaky buildings, the finance companies, and the coal mines, strikes me as a disaster waiting to happen. That’s the ‘high trust model‘ that Paula Bennett has created for MSD contractors, especially in Whanau Ora. Effectively, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are being signed over to groups – many of which have appeared from nowhere over night – with vague plans to achieve vague goals, and the money is never seen again. We’ve already seen scattered examples of fraud but I reckon it’s just the tip of the ice-berg. One fine day, we’re going to wake up to find that the taxpayer has been cost a fortune, once again, by the ‘high trust model’.


12 comments on “High trust”

  1. ianmac 1

    And the delays in Loan Shark Regulation. Maybe next year, or the year after. Meanwhile back in the jungle………..

    • Jackal 1.1

      Not as bad as the regulations on licensing firearms… Recommendations made way back in 1997 by Sir Thomas Thorp’s Firearms Control in New Zealand (PDF) review.

      Just like the deregulation in the mining industry, lobbying from a bunch of nutters has effectively closed down the government and our democracy. Who needs to do what’s right for the country when there’s money to be made? Certainly not the government… What a bunch of capitalists!

      • ianmac 1.1.1

        And the change wanted to drink-driving standard. Drop it from 80 to 50 is recommended but wait. “Lets delay by carrying out more research for a year or two,” says Joyce.

        • Jackal

          Yeah! Not to mention the delay into doing something about child poverty. All the research is there… But wait, Paula Bennett needs to fuck around with her White Paper that doesn’t actually address the main issues that cause child abuse, because that would mean National would need to change its direction. How terrible for the filthy rich capitalist running dogs that would be.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    ” the ‘high trust model’: ie. ‘we’re going to let you guys do whatever you like, it’ll probably be sweet’ ”

    – hmph. it sounds like a another kind of thrust … sweet for them but not an enjoyable experience for the rest of us

    “One fine day, we’re going to wake up to find that …”

    – we are waking up to Natz screwing most of the country to get more for themselves and less for the rest of us

    • “High Trust” = a type of belief, the type of trust one might experience when high on a powerful substance such as Datura. Synonyms Gormless idiocy

  3. karol 3

    Can we pleez haz a proper public service broadcaster, and employ Aussie ABC journalist Dominique Schwartz.  Here is her damning audio report today on the impact of deregulation and NZ’s damning record of work place accidents.

  4. Dr Terry 4

    Right Karol, we ought to DEMAND a proper public service broadcaster! Yes, a damning report and record alright. One notes the introductory remarks at commencement of this tape, we “cannot afford to ignore the lessons from past tragedies.” Unfortunately the governmental attitude seems to be “she’ll be right!” (inference “bad things will not happen in New Zealand”).

  5. prism 5

    Some NACT approaches to opposition to falling standards of regulation and control. Key – smile and wave, Brownlee bluster and demean, Bennett whip out her sword that is mightier than her pen, Parata slash and chop and wait there’s more….

    It’s awesome how they can get up each day and look in the mirror.
    When do these pollies actually meet people outside their circle? Myself I could hardly bear to talk to them I find them so loathsome.

    I wonder what overall changes would happen if pollies were only able to serve three terms in parliament? It seems to me that some love their sheepskin seats, but then may not even use them that often while they are off working on more personally advantageous projects.

  6. ianmac 6

    Couple of questions today will be an interesting contrast between Winston’s “assertive” style and the the “steady” style of Kevin’s.

    1. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Will he take responsibility for the failure of government policy as revealed in the Pike River Royal Commission report?

    4. KEVIN HAGUE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement in regard to the report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy that “the company completely and utterly failed to protect their workers”?

  7. karol 7

    High Trust?!  Leaving it to the businesses?  Except when the government intervenes to help their cronies!  Part of the neoliberal scam – light regulation when it suits business.  Government intervention when it suits their business buddies.
    Questions from Twyford to Brownlee today about Joyce meeting with Snapper, then recommending snapper be given a contract for Auckland public trasnport.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      And that is going to end up costing us millions. Hope it can be fully sheeted home to Brownlee/Joyce so that people can come to understand the corruption that this government embodies.

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