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Morgan in Mt Albert

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, February 1st, 2017 - 58 comments
Categories: by-election - Tags: , ,

Via NewsHub:

Gareth Morgan and his party to contest Mt Albert by-election?

Opportunities Party founder Gareth Morgan will make an announcement outside the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall at 11am on Wednesday – just an hour before nominations for the by-election officially close.

It’s expected he will announce he is standing in the race, or he’s recruited someone who will. …


From NZ Herald,

Gareth Morgan’s Opportunities Party has announced it will contest the Mt Albert by-election – but the party founder will not run.

Instead, the newly formed party has put forward its chief of staff Geoff Simmons to contest the seat. Simmons is an economist who has worked for the Morgan Foundation.

Announcing the candidate this morning outside the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, Morgan said Simmons would be the “thorn between two roses” – a reference to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern and Green MP Julie Anne Genter, who are also running.

From Stuff,

Simmons said the issues he would campaign on in Mt Albert included infrastructure “creaking under the strain of rapid population growth”, the increasing gap between the rich and poor, and spiralling house prices and rents.

“The only people of my age who I know have been able to purchase a house in Auckland have done so through their parents.”

Simmons lives in Wellington, but said he had grown up in Auckland and his family still lived in the Mt Albert electorate.

“I come back often, and would love the opportunity to live once again in the City of Sails.”

However, he would not commit to returning whether he won or lost, saying it would “depend very much” on the by-election result.

Simmons acknowledged victory would be a tough ask, but said the political events of 2016 – along with the Black Caps’ nail-biting win over Australia at Eden Park – showed there was “no such thing as a foregone conclusion”.

“Everything is up for grabs, there’s no such thing as a safe seat anymore.”




58 comments on “Morgan in Mt Albert”

  1. james 1

    Excellent news. Will be interesting to see how many votes he gets (if he stands).

    I wonder if he could take enough votes off labour so that greens won the seat.

  2. Make NZ fair again

    Morgan goes for the Trump vote…

    and Geoff Simmons is announced as the party’s candidate.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.1

      I doubt he is going for the Trump vote, but I think it is an unfortunate slogan and a mistake for TOP.

      Without recent context, it would be a great slogan, but due to similarity is inevitably tainted (even subconsciously) by Trump’s vile messages.

    • Sabine 2.2

      one taxed family home after teh others.
      one killed cat after the ohter

      and oh, will he then be finally paying taxes or will he still blame the ‘payee slaves’ for not revolting.

      he is still nothing more then a self indulging fuckwit with ideas of grandeur. SO yeah, he is going after the Trump vote. Now the question that remains to be seen, how many white people in this country feel hard enough done by to vote for him.

      • Poission 2.2.1

        Woodrow Wilson had an interesting aside in The new freedom of the protest against the IYI.

        There are cities in America of whose government we are ashamed. There are cities everywhere, in every part of the land, in which we feel that, not the interests of the public, but the interests of special privileges, of selfish men, are served; where contracts take precedence over public interest. Not only in big cities is this the case. Have you not noticed the growth of socialistic sentiment in the smaller towns? Not many months ago I stopped at a little town in Nebraska, and while my train lingered I met on the platform a very engaging young fellow dressed in overalls who introduced himself to me as the mayor of the town, and added that he was a Socialist. I said, “What does that mean? Does that mean that this town is socialistic?” “No, sir,” he said; “I have not deceived myself; the vote by which I was elected was about 20 per cent. socialistic and 80 per cent. protest.” It was protest against the treachery to the people of those who led both the other parties of that town.

        That was essentially the Trump vote,a reaction against the party machines.

      • RedLogix 2.2.2

        Or to expand on Poission’s very pertinent quote above; here is something more recent:

        And what I’m seeing today across my Twitter feeds is “Trump won because America is racist” and “Trump won because America is sexist,” as if that’s the end of the goddamned discussion. And some days I wonder whether we love calling people out as sexist or racist is because it’s so goddamned satisfying, insulting is so goddamned satisfying, and it’s a reductive call that makes it so you can go “RACIST” and walk away as if you don’t have to bother with one of those stupid idiots.

        So America is racist.

        The big question is, “How do we appeal to a racist America so we don’t get our clocks cleaned?”


        Because while you don’t say it out loud, the sneering superior condescension in your comment reverberates all the same.

        Oh and as for the cat thing. What Morgan actually proposed was this:


        Where we live in Ballarat, pet cats are indeed managed pretty much the same way as dogs are. Notably they’re subject to a night-time curfew that requires owners to ensure they are not permitted to roam wild during the hours of darkness. A simple policy that works well; we have a remarkable bird-life diversity and population right in the town that makes anywhere in NZ look like the avian dead-zone much of it is.

        • weka

          why lock cats in at night?

          • RedLogix

            Well it sounded odd to us at first, but it’s quite normalised here and it works. In fact you generally don’t see many cats around even in the daytime; people are just that more aware of the need to keep cats from killing birds and employ a range of techniques to minimise it. The worst predator we have are foxes, but fortunately there are not a lot of them.

            Walking around Lake Wendouree we encounter literally dozens of species numbering in their hundreds, right in the middle of the city. Birdlife in an abundance we never see in NZ towns.

            Managing pet cats much the same as we do dogs is very achievable and perfectly reasonable. We’re fond of both dogs and cats, but owning them comes with some wider responsibilities.

            As for feral cats, well they are a pest and need to be culled. No apologies on that count.

            • Ad

              Sure would make sense either in Titirangi where birds are dominant, or Wanaka where they’re are few. Personally I’m planning not to replace the two mogs we have when they go. I suspect however there will be a ‘discussion’ at home about that.

              • RedLogix

                It’s typical of what I like about Morgan in general; he’s never been establishment and he kickstarts intelligent debate on topics no-one else is willing to touch.

                Of course no-one is required to agree with every word he says; but he does compel thoughtful public engagement in a way few other people seem to achieve these days.

                As swordfish points out below; TOP will most likely remain a flash party that never gets over a few percent in a General Election. We have something similar in Victoria called the Sex Party:


                They sound a tad batty, but on closer examination their policies are quite interesting and sane. No-one ever expects them to win anything, but their presence and platform is way more valuable than any seats they might win. The Australian political system is way more complex and diverse than NZ’s and I think it all the better for it.

  3. roy cartland 3

    Can we have some comment from lefties who think this isn’t good (except for Bradbury of course, we all know what he “thinks”)? I’d love to see more electorates represented by three parties I would consider voting for and the rest sitting it out.

    Am I missing something obvious or is it actually quite a positive thing??

    • weka 3.1

      My concern is that it will split the left party vote in a close election and gift National a 4th term.

      Also have to feel sorry for the Greens, who are likely to lose some votes, again, to a party that isn’t thinking strategically about NZ as a whole. Morgan is not left wing.

      And let’s not forget that Morgan/ToP will work with either National or Labour/Greens. I’d like to see some more firm detail about that in terms of coalition negotiations.

      That’s all about the General election. Can’t see a problem at this stage with them being in the by-election. That’s only because National aren’t standing though. If they were, the vote splitting risk would be there.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Isn’t the TOP strategy to sit on the cross benches regardless? Pretty sure I read that somewhere.

        • RedLogix


          TOP does not seek to be the government, we seek to substantially influence the policies the government of the day implements. National & Labour both have proven records in government over long periods so to us it seems pointless to reinvent either of those two wheels. We’re happy to work with either, we respect both.


          • weka

            That paragraph in no way precludes ToP from choosing which party they support to form govt and thus being king maker. Peters set the bar on this, for being vague and misleading. I want to see it in black and white and guaranteed.

            • RedLogix

              Everything depends on exactly how the numbers fall out; but I agree it’s unclear whether TOP would sit independently on the cross-benches supporting a minority govt on confidence and supply; or enter into a more formal coalition.

              My instinct is that if the “govt of the day” was National, then the former would apply, while a coalition with Lab/Green/TOP would be an easier fit from a policy perspective.

              All of which leaves out NZ1 from the calculations. My gut feeling again is that much of NZ1’s vote is soft; Peter’s retains a lot of nominal ‘protest’ support that doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Now it has a new potential home in Morgan.

              Note carefully how Morgan’s triangulated this already at Ratana this year.

              • weka

                I think Bill was referring to TOP staying out of government entirely. So 3 options,

                1. they don’t have any coalition or C and S agreement with an incoming govt (and thus don’t support one side over the other in formation), and instead vote on legislation act by act. I’d still like to see what their intentions would be for their actions in a close election and during coalition negotiations.

                2. they support either National or Labour to form govt via a C and S agreement, a decision they make after the election.

                3. they go into a formal coalition with National or Labour.

                I think the last is unlikely but the 2nd is possible even though they appear to be saying the 1st, hence I would want to see a very firm commitment and unequivocal statement from them.

                “Everything depends on exactly how the numbers fall out;”

                Which makes them exactly the same as NZF. In the absence of a clear position with a guarantee, I will spend the next 9 months pointing out to lefties that they risk handing National a 4th term if they vote for TOP. Of course they risk that anyway if TOP fail to win an electorate and don’t get 5% but get something like 4% instead.

                If CC weren’t bearing down on us rapidly, I’d be all for that risk and would see TOP as a fresh face in politics that because of what it is is likely to inject some life into the election and get people talking about important things. As it is, it just looks like a Liberal side-show. The best case scenario is that we get a L/G govt without having to rely on Peters, but until TOP are clear about what they will do we can’t rely on that even being possible. Worst case is a National outright win because disenfranchised lefties and swing voters gave their party vote to TOP. LW activists need to look that last sentence directly in the face.

                (If I get some time I’ll crunch some numbers based on the last election).

                edit, and you know what, this whole conversation revolves around the fact that TOP chose to use the word ‘be’ instead of the words ‘be in’. I’m finding it hard to believe that that is accidental.

                • RedLogix

                  All good analysis as usual weka. Of course not all of TOP’s support would come from Lab/Grn; I’d argue it’s just as likely if not more so to come from NZ1, National and of course the “Missing Million Party” who may well be inspired to vote for something novel. As you say Morgan is not a leftie in the usual sense.

                  Also it’s worth noting that while TOP has released an Environment policy at this time, because it is such an important issue, it plans on releasing a separate Climate Change policy in the near future. Going by Morgan’s track record I’d expect it to be pretty robust and direct.

                  TOP chose to use the word ‘be’ instead of the words ‘be in’

                  Or it could reflect an honest acknowledgement that TOP will never ‘be’ the senior party in a government at any time in the foreseeable future and instead they are projecting the far more achievable and realistic goal of participating in the political process as the opportunities arise.

                  • weka

                    Well if I had to put anyone one in charge of things so we could deal with CC, it would be the Greens. This is a culture of people that have been talking about the seriousness of CC for decades and what can be done, and have the powerdown literally built into the core values and principles. Morgan is a latecomer to that and should take his place at the back of the queue 😉 I think that he is likely to bring some good things to the table but I don’t think the risk is worth it. I made a comment below about what I think about the robustness of his policies.

                    “Of course not all of TOP’s support would come from Lab/Grn; I’d argue it’s just as likely if not more so to come from NZ1, National and of course the “Missing Million Party” who may well be inspired to vote for something novel.”

                    Yep, he’s the wild card this election. Could go any way.

          • james

            That can change in a heartbeat – They did say that they were not standing in any electoral seats only a few months ago.

            Next thing ..

            • RedLogix


              Politics is one heartbeat moment after another. A few months ago John Key was Prime Minister for Life ….

      • roy cartland 3.1.2

        Thanks Weka. That’s another argument for STV or PV in electorates then. Might make it more complicated, but hell if you’re voting you ought to be half switched-on.

        • weka

          Here’s another one. Morgan’s UBI proposal would throw many beneficiaries under the bus, including some of the most vulnerable people in NZ. He had no solution to the supplementary benefit issue, and from what I remember there was an example of how someone the DPB would end up worse off than they are now in $ terms. Given the resources that he had to develop that proposal, it is completely unacceptable that he would promote it without attempting to solve those issues.

          I would guess he sees a UBI primarily as a tax-based solution to simplify bureaucracy and make employment easer to move in and out of. Yes that will be fairer for some than what we have now, but he’s not operating out of concern for all NZers.

          In his property tax policy he also wants elderly people who are home owners but mortgage-free to take on a mortgage to pay yearly property tax if they don’t have enough income. Again, a very wealthy person response to vulnerability and low income. My sense is that he doesn’t listen to the people he is designing for.

          Elsewhere in the thread in a reply to Red I also talk about the risk of the left vote is split and how we simply cannot afford this with CC.

          • RedLogix

            He had no solution to the supplementary benefit issue, and from what I remember there was an example of how someone the DPB would end up worse off than they are now in $ terms.

            And while that is true in purely tax terms, it doesn’t take into account the elimination of the poverty trap so many beneficiaries find themselves in.

            to simplify bureaucracy and make employment easer to move in and out of.

            And that I’d suggest is worth a LOT more than you give credit for. For many DPB families the opportunity to work part-time, say 10 -30 hrs per week, without being penalised by absurdly high marginal tax rates would leave them better off overall. Not just financially, but emotionally and socially as well.

            • weka

              Right. Now replace DPB with sickness beneficiary who is literally unable to work. The point about the example I gave is that the only way that someone on a benefit would be ok under Morgan’s scheme is if they worked in paid employment. We already know that this kind of incentivising doesn’t work and in fact creates harm in various ways.

              For Morgan (and Labour) it’s all about the jobs. Everyone should be working. The extreme end of this is Shearer’s painter on the roof story. It harms people, and Morgan would know this if he had bothered to talk to the people affected.

              We shouldn’t get to dictate what makes anyone on a benefit better off in terms of wellbeing. That’s up to them.

              I am of course largely in favour of a UBI, but I have yet to see a decent attempt at solving the supplementary benefit issue. In an election year, having someone champion a good idea via ethically bad policy is not helpful to NZ nor something the left should be supporting.

              • RedLogix

                We’ve traversed this ground before. With a younger brother who is life-long deaf-blind I’m vividly aware of the issues and how current institutions can so miserably fail to deliver.

                Yet much of what ails the current system can be traced to the lack of universality. The inevitable stigma of ‘beneficiary’, no matter how deserving, is very hard to erase.

                I’m not going to pretend to know the answers, but surely whatever changes we might undertake to reform the current system, it would surely be easier start with a clean sheet and treat the supplementary needs, including financial, of the disabled as a personal health/support matter rather than a taxation/welfare one.

                I understand the current configuration of the health system to deliver this doesn’t inspire confidence; but the disabled don’t have that on their own. I see our medical system as a broadly challenging issue, but ultimately a solvable one, if we re-shape our ideas of health care more around patient-centric, whole-of-life principles. But that is a whole other discussion I’d sooner leave for another thread.

                Everyone should be working. The extreme end of this is Shearer’s painter on the roof story. It harms people,

                I really don’t see the UBI like that at all. For many people I see it creating a flexibility to chose what work they truly want to do; however much or little. Once you truly grasp all the implications of universality, so many of the stupid, petty constraints of the existing model just melt away.

                • weka

                  Except they don’t just melt away, they’re being ignored by lefties and Morgan in this debate, that’s my point. Morgan’s model fails, and having some vague intention to reform Health so it is good just doesn’t cut it. The problems in Health are just as complex, big and intractable as the ones in Welfare. So what I am hearing is that we should do the UBI and fix Health later and in between throw ill and disabled people under a bus. Ditto others too btw, there are people on the DPB that can’t work too, and they’re not going to be helped by Health.

                  Disability allowance, the portion of medical benefits not replaced by a UBI, and hardship grants are all income not health/disability services. Health should not be allowed anywhere near that. It beggars belief that lefties think that people with disabilities should have their income cut and that their consequential increased needs should then be handed over to the State to decide on how to meet them. Worse, if the UBI is supposed to improve people’s lives and give them more choice, why should those with disabilities be excluded from that? That’s blatantly discriminatory.

                  I’m not necessarily arguing for keeping WINZ btw.

                  • RedLogix

                    The problems in Health are just as complex, big and intractable as the ones in Welfare.

                    So this means they are permanent and we can never think about fixing them? And just how much simply boils down to the fact that the system is chronically under-funded (especially in the areas of disability and mental health)?

                    It beggars belief that lefties think that people with disabilities should have their income cut

                    Of course it does. Who suggested that? No reason why a health-oriented disability system should not include income support as well.

                    and that their consequential increased needs should then be handed over to the State to decide on how to meet them.

                    Isn’t that what the State does already? Whichever way we argue this, ultimately the State is involved as a decider and provider in some shape or form. Unless you want to go full ACToid on me and propose ‘disability vouchers’ like the way they’ve always wanted to do education?

                    All I am arguing is that the UBI represents the opportunity to reshape how we think about and deliver disability services and support based on the idea of health as a universal need and right. We both agree neither the current health/welfare system are working. So where do you go from here? What would a much better system look like to you?

                • Nic the NZer

                  Have to agree with Weka, the invalids and sickness benefits should never be replaced by a UBI. Everybody is not the same in their most basic needs to participate in society, especially those with a disability.

                  Also (and I discussed this further down the page) one thing a UBI does nothing about is increasing the number of available jobs. The implication of this is that it does not help unemployed people who want to find gainful work (which is probably most of them). Most of the debate of a UBI is around the question of, if we give people income unconditionally (as opposed to the present day beneficiary style policy of conditional income with more or less strict job search requirements) will they still try to find work, or will they just become more indolent.

                  This is the wrong question, its always been the wrong question, if enough jobs are not available then at the end of the day (and regardless of how hard the unemployed try) some people will be unemployed. Its pretty simple really, for everybody (who wants to be) to be employed then there has to be at least one position which they can be employed in at the time. A UBI is not going to address that, so “For many people I see it creating a flexibility to chose what work they truly want to do” does not cut it. It doesn’t create any actual greater opportunity in that area, all that kind of rhetoric is empty platitudes in addressing this issue.

                  • RedLogix

                    the invalids and sickness benefits should never be replaced by a UBI. Everybody is not the same in their most basic needs to participate in society, especially those with a disability.

                    Baffles me totally. Isn’t that exactly what a benefit does, treat everyone who qualifies exactly the same? I’m arguing for a universal health-oriented disability support model that, unlike a fist full of dollars, addresses each person’s unique needs in whatever form that presents.

                    Also (and I discussed this further down the page) one thing a UBI does nothing about is increasing the number of available jobs.

                    Nor was it ever advertised as such. But then again exactly how often does a person who has been long-term unemployed (for whatever reason) step right into a full-time, well-paid job? Hardly ever I suspect.

                    What can and does happen is they make a slow transition from not working at all, through various part-time, casual income sources. Not all of them are formal jobs, many of them are ‘grey economy’ gigs that arise as opportunity, skills and social contacts fall into place. Many with young children don’t want a full-time job; many need flexibility and options outside of the traditional 40+ hour working week. Many young people in their 20’s don’t really know exactly what they want to do just yet and need the chance to try things out. Some people want to barter, some are happy working part of the year, some want to work for their community but need a little to cover their costs. Endless variations.

                    Some pathways lead to a full-time job, some don’t. But while the current system punishes this flexibility, a UBI encourages it. And each time someone participates in the economy, at whatever level, it’s not only good for them personally, but it increases total aggregate demand as well, creating more opportunity and more incomes in turn.

                    will they still try to find work, or will they just become more indolent.

                    Wherever some form of UBI been tried out (albeit on small scales) the experience is that most people continue to participate in the economy, but some are more selective about when and how they do this. Some will chose family care, education or just plain take time to live life for a period. Working/not working is not a static binary thing; over a life-time people take many roles and have many different needs that constantly shift.

          • greywarshark

            That’s another good point and analysis about UBI that you make weka. UBI has a good sound, it gets to the top of the pops but what do the words mean? Has it a good purpose or is it one of those policies that merely seem to have a good commonsense, problem solving sound. As an aging pensioner (superannuiant – which has a good middle class sound) I am dependent on the pension and do volunteer work in the community as my quid pro quo. But I would manage very hardly if I didn’t have help from my children.

            The ruthless Ruth Richardson and her National government chose to arbitrarily reduce pension rates back in 1991 I think, unrelated to real living costs. There is a desire for this from hard economists who have advised governments to conform, to reduce welfare because it is too expensive, and holds a country back. Back or down, from what I don’t know, probably having a lovely shiny exterior that they can sell as utopia for other wealthy people, who of course are the most important people on the planet, and the basic reason to be alive is to be wealthy, at ease and stylish.

            So there will always be downward pressure on welfare and UBI can be just another nice, apparently fair and equal system that is easy to explain, if you leave out the anomalies. And if the anomalies are not acknowledged and funded, then it will be just another part of neo lib love of systems that don’t serve the people’s needs and lives.

            Example – the well-known phrase that Mussolini wasn’t good for Italy and her people, but he did get the trains running on time. He and his woman were hanged in the end, and that was a good end for those two but now there are too many in Mussolini’s mould to deal to in that revengeful but primitively satisfying way.

  4. The Chairman 4

    Isn’t Penny Bright running?

    The NewsHub article states: “Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, Green MP Julie Anne Genter, People Before Profit’s Joe Carolan and the New Zealand People Party’s Vin Tomar are the only ones to put their hats in the ring so far.”

    • Chris 4.1

      Unfortunately there isn’t enough pennies to go around.

    • Penny Bright 4.2

      Yes – I am standing as an Independent candidate in the Mt Albert by-election.

      My nomination was filed today at 10.30am.

      The ‘Epsom example’ is gaining traction …

      Why vote for an MP who is already an existing MP?

      Penny Bright

      Future fiery, feisty, ferociously Independent MP for Mt Albert 🙂

  5. RedLogix 5

    Morgan’s best chance will be this next election, before TOP’s become co-opted into the establishment pretty much as all the others have been to varying degrees.

    So far their tax, immigration and environment policies look broadly intelligent and transformative. On tax they seem to be front-footing the reforms outlined in the Big Kahuna as necessary pre-cursors to any future foray into a UBI. On immigration they’ve hit the right note, emphasising quality over quantity addressing realistic concerns many do have without descending into the exclusionary rhetoric NZ1 have too often touched.

    And the environment policy looks a good start, based on properly allocating externality costs, a sensible tourism tax and a big emphasis on swimmable clean waterways.

    So far all reasonably achievable policies that will appeal to a broad range of interests, not necessarily left or right. weka is correct; Morgan isn’t especially left-wing in the usual sense, but neither does he look anything like a neo-liberal, or your typical snobby corrupted Tory.

    Their biggest asset and liability is of course Morgan himself. He’s an engaging, passionate and very much a New Zealander in a way for instance Key was most definitely not. Personally I find it really easy to identify with him, much as I did David Cunliffe. But while DC’s streak of “Grey Lynn’ tribe intellectualism was a big turn-off for much of the rest of NZ, Morgan’s bluntness and direct way with words may well help him steer past that particular shoal. On the other hand, some of his interviews have been a bit too clunky for my taste.

    Personally I like a bit of diversity in my politics; and TOP is putting up pragmatic, fresh ideas without too much ideological baggage. If I lived in Mt Albert I’d probably give Simmons my vote. I’ve voted in Ohariu-Belmont for the Labour electorate and Green party vote for the past four elections, and I’ll probably vote the same again in future. But for this electoral cycle I’d like to see what Morgan and his crew might achieve.

    • Ad 5.1

      Our household spits votes the same way. Or at least, we balance out Left/Green 🙂

      Morgan just needs a couple of breakthrough stories.

      Can he do it?

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        Yes he can. He’s experienced with the media and has a decent team around him. And in turn he’s got the novelty factor that the media wants for it’s stories.

        So yes he’s capable of it.

    • Nic the NZer 5.2

      “On tax they seem to be front-footing the reforms outlined in the Big Kahuna as necessary pre-cursors to any future foray into a UBI.”

      If your representative believes that tax reform is a necessary pre-cursor to a UBI then you need to prepare for the UBI implementation to be a disaster. This is because a ‘fiscally neutral’ (one which doesn’t change the governments overall fiscal balance) kind of UBI implementation needs to collect excessive taxation (excessive taxation creates additional unemployment) or pay out a pittance in UBI. Your either asking people to vote for huge drops in their personal income, or suggesting to change present benefit levels for a UBI below the poverty line (similar to Finland experiments, 560 euro is well less than half the median monthly income of about 2500 euro, its also lower than the existing Finish unemployment benefit).

      Also note that the lack of a strong progressive taxation mechanism was not and has never been the fundamental economic shift which happened when Labour 4 came in. The primary political policy shift which caused the most significant later shifts in inequality with a wide class of low wages was dropping full employment as a political policy and goal. The overall consequences of running the economy below full employment being such things as, low end wages falling especially in relation to productivity increases, increases in part-time work, loss of union bargaining position and influence, an increase in long term beneficiaries, increase in people who never develop along a career path instead not working or shifting between low quality jobs. Another consequence appears to be the proliferation of the wide spread belief that (actual) full employment became in-possible, rather than that it disappeared as part of a change in priorities of politicians.

      I class neo-liberal politicians not as Rabid Tories, but those that put too much faith in what is the present day mainstream economic theory. It appears that Morgan believes a shift towards progressive taxation will resolve the primary issues with the economy without addressing the full employment issue directly. This approach is common and down to the mainstream economic theory which claims that the economy is perpetually returning to and close to full employment*, and that in the long run the government can’t do anything about the unemployment rate. As such I still class Gareth Morgan quite firmly in the neo-liberal camp.

      * Full employment to the treasury at present is considered to be about 4.5% unemployment, also called the NAIRU. In Spain its worse, its been considered about 20% unemployment.**
      ** Don’t believe me? Look up the Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment for Spain & NZ etc…

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        Really all I can suggest is to read the Big Kahuna sometime. Even in Morgan’s pretty lean UBI model (and no-one suggests it the only way to do it) the vast majority of people are certainly not seeing large drops in the incomes as you suggest.

        Morgan presents his version as fiscally neutral because frankly NZ isn’t ready for anything more radical; but plenty of other thinkers have pointed out that a UBI is an ideal vehicle for the credit creation process that is at the heart of all modern money systems.

        Nor does it help to insist that any UBI system has to arrive fully-formed and perfect. It’s entirely possible to transition one in quite gradually and make the necessary political adjustments over time.

  6. swordfish 6

    Ardern is almost certain to win (I’m not going to say 100% certain)– but the question is by how much ?

    Varying turnout will play a crucial role. Who can motivate their supporters to get out and vote ?

    Will National voters – with no Candidate – disproportionately stay home ? or will the Party manage to mobilise a much higher than expected number to get out and vote strategically for TOP in the hope of significantly denting the Ardern majority, while humiliating Labour into the bargain and maybe even sowing a bit of discord on the Left?

    Will they be aided by a majority of 2014 Green-Shearer voters (73% of Greens Candidate-Voted Shearer last Election) heading in Genter’s direction – given the different dynamics of a one-vote By-Election and no National candidate to scare them into strategically voting Ardern ? That, in itself, would help dent – maybe even slash – Labour’s majority.

    (especially if combined with a relatively small minority – say 10-15% – of Labour voters choosing TOP)

    Many Mt Albert Greens will, of course, be former Labour voters who see themselves as willing to vote for either party / candidate of the Left … and we can’t entirely rule out the Morgan intervention actually increasing Ardern’s majority by splitting the non-Labour vote (Nats going TOP / Greens going Genter) … there’s also doubts about the viability of a relative unknown – rather than Morgan himself – standing for TOP………… but the fact remains that with no Nat candidate and with Shearer’s majority being unusually vulnerable (highly dependent on Green and Nat voters) … there’s greater than usual unpredictability surrounding this By-Election.

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      “…Ardern is almost certain to win (I’m not going to say 100% certain)– but the question is by how much..?”

      Funnily enough, a Labour voting friend of mine from Mt. Albert just posted on Facebook she was going to vote for Genter on the assumption Adern would romp home, but now TOP is in the running she is switching back to Labour. So by making it serious, Morgan may have simply frightened a whole lot of Labour horses back to the stable.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    TOP running in Mt. Albert will presumably get the increasingly odd Bomber Bradbury jizzing on his keyboard and give the political chattering class something to idly speculate about, but I will predict now the TOP candidate will lose his deposit and the party won’t crack 1% in the general election.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Normally I might agree with you. But these are not normal times, and even backwater little NZ is not entirely immune to the global riptides sloshing about the caverns and backwaters of our national psyche.

      Put it this way, Little, English and Turei/Shaw share one thing in common … they’re all safe and at least a little bit boring. Morgan isn’t. And if Simmons puts up a moderately competent performance, well foregone conclusions ain’t what they used to be these days.

      But you may well be right, timing is everything and this by-election could well be too soon for TOP to cut much mustard.

      • Sanctuary 7.1.1

        The trouble is Gareth Morgan is just another eccentric/crackpot libertarian millionaire with what he thinks are brilliantly simple solutions to complex problems. And reputationally he is simply dismissed by the general public as the cat hating weirdo.

        Why so many on the left feel obliged to take such people seriously I have no idea. Gareth Morgan is simply another flavour of Bob Jones. They can take their sense of monied entitlement and their vanity project political parties and fuck off.

        • Bill

          As a cat lover who despised his stupid and ill-thought through ‘cat thang’ ….I disagree.

          The Green Party (from a blog post rendered hereabouts) have gone a bit sour on TOPs because of their environment policies (nicked apparently) and comparatively speaking, the Labour Party look like dullards (I know – low bar).

          He’s no Trump. And he’s definitely not playing the populist card (incapable of that).

          Could just be what NZ political culture needs, aye? 😉

        • RedLogix

          Actually not in my experience.

          I first encountered Gareth about 15 years ago when we participated in a scheme with (I think it via was one of the UNDP Funds) whereby he matched dollar for dollar donations from the wider public to support building village water supplies in third world countries.

          It arose directly from him and his wife travelling in these places and seeing a very real need they wanted to respond to. The project was pretty successful and even after the Morgan’s direct involvement came to an end some years later we’ve kept up our regular payments and it still carries on to this day. From where I stood it looks effective and authentic.

          And from reading the Big Kahuna and his other writings I really don’t get any sense of ‘crackpot/eccentric libertarian’ about him, nor the entitled corruption that wealth often brings. He clearly believes in progressive, broad-based taxation and effective government; in his travels he’s probably seen quite enough of the absence of these things to understand why they are important.

          And the comparison with Bob Jones is frankly rubbish.

          • marty mars

            I have worked with Gareth, over 20 years ago I have to say, – he is smart no doubt but this political thingy is just ego imo. He is a bit like jones – more likable, just.

          • greywarshark

            Thanks Red Logix. That is a good reference for Morgan from your reliable viewpoint. That is the impression I have had from him. The couple on their motorbike? tour learned a lot about others’ way of life and had a lot to learn about others culture. He seems genuine and hasn’t the barbs of Jones who is more self-centred, calculating and precocious in any charitable generosity.

            I liked the way he looked when visiting Ratana. No shirt and tie, instead a jersey and smart suit coat. Has the look of an ordinary bloke that the unpretentious could warm to.

    • Leftie 7.2

      I reckon your prediction is on the button, Sanctuary. Mr Bradbury does appears to be quite shrill these days, he’s lost it. I wondered if it was due to Mana and the Maori party not having a formal MoU, that he was so sure was going to happen. Regardless, he’s been on an anti Labour & Green attack for some time now. He was very scornful of the Lab/Green MoU.

      • Sanctuary 7.2.1

        Bradbury is a busted flush, no one takes him seriously after the Internet/Mana debacle. He spends his time in increasingly desperate and shrill attempts to hitch his wagon to any sort of star whatsoever.

        It is a pity, because some of the contributors over at his TDB are very good.

    • swordfish 7.3


      I will predict now the TOP candidate will lose his deposit and the party won’t crack 1% in the general election.

      GE: I’d say no more than 2% of the Party Vote for TOP at the GE. New minor Parties (often referred to in the International literature as Flash Parties) rarely do very well (unless they’re a vehicle for a popular existing politician like NZF or express some major upheaval in the polity like the Alliance). And I don’t think the zeitgeist is quite the same in NZ vis-a-vis Europe / the US. If he pours an enormous amount of money into it … while avoiding any blowback (Rich Prick Buying Election)… then maybe at the very upper limit … 3%

      BE: But … in terms of the By-Election … Bear in mind that the Nats received more than 14,000 Party Votes at the last Election in Mt Albert.

      Even if just, say, one third of them turn out … and just half of that 33% strategically vote for the Morgan candidate in the hope of humiliating Labour shortly before the GE (maybe after a covert campaign by Auckland Nats to get out their core voters for this specific task) … then that’s 2400 votes for TOP from the Nats alone. Then add the other minor Parties of the Right, a relatively small minority of Left voters (less than 10%), possibly a largish minority (30-35%) of NZFers and that’s potentially another 1200.

      That’s very much the high end, though. The ceiling. And arguably Senior Nats wouldn’t necessarily want to risk their voters swinging to TOP at the GE (after encouraging them into the habit at the BE) … so just a bit of idle speculation on what could happen on an unusually good day for Morgan.

      Such a result, though, would have zero significance in terms of predicting TOP’s GE Party Vote … it would simply be the corollary of a one-off Nat strategic vote. (although, that sort of shocker of a result – 3600 votes – would certainly provide Morgan with more than a little momentum).

  8. Popcorn year, this is gonna be epic. I like the policies they have out so far.

    • Bill 8.1

      Same. Waiting for the climate change policy. That’s the one that will determine whether or not they get my vote. (No other party comes even close on that issue)

  9. Morrissey 9

    I’d like to see Jacinda Ardern goading the National Party with something like the same chutzpah as she shows here. Usually all that the likes of Jamie Lee Ross get from her is a rictus grin.

  10. Penny Bright 10

    Paula Bennett won’t be telling me to ‘zip it sweetie’ 🙂

    “Mirror mirror on the wall
    Who’s the FIERCEST of them all?”

    Penny Bright

    Proven battler for the public and the public interest, investigative activist who has campaigned against the TPPA, water, education, electricity and State housing privatisation, anti-corruption ‘whistle-blower’ for the last ten years, campaigning to ‘roll back Neo-liberal Rogernomic$’.

    Can any of the other Mt Albert by-election candidates match that?


  11. Muttonbird 11

    Simmons said the issues he would campaign on in Mt Albert included infrastructure “creaking under the strain of rapid population growth”, the increasing gap between the rich and poor, and spiralling house prices and rents.

    So, exactly the same issues both the Labour and Green Party candidates are going to campaign on. This is great to have so many voices speaking for those left behind by the National government.

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