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New Zealand is in a terrible state *

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, January 6th, 2023 - 116 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, climate change, cost of living, covid-19, Economy, employment, grant robertson, housing, human rights, jacinda ardern, labour, Living Wage, national, poverty, same old national, Social issues, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

Judging by the terms of the so call informed commentary the result of this year’s election has already been determined.

It is almost as if we should not even bother campaigning.

This is certainly the position of blog accumulator and academic Bryce Edwards.

In one of his recent posts, helpfully broadcast by the Herald and the Daily Blog he sets out a list of why indeed Labour is stuffed.

I will deal with the reasons for his conclusion later but first I thought about the general nature of the proposition.  What state is New Zealand in?

Well pretty good all things considered.

It does play to reflect on the performance of the Government during Covid.  How our leaders handle a one in a one hundred year global pandemic is a good test of leadership.  It should not be ignored.  It is a fundamental test of the quality of leadership that we have been given recently.

And despite the doom and gloom painted by National and the weirdness of Voices for Freedom and their ilk dare I say it things are not too bad.

Our death rate from Covid is really, really low.  Only Singapore among western nations is performing better.

Sure, we have a serious problem with rampant inflation.  As does the rest of the developed world.

And many countries have it worse.

This suggests rather strongly that this is an international problem and not a locally sourced problem.

And we do have extraordinarily low unemployment, a public debt level that would be the envy of pretty well all of the developed world.

There are complaints about the availability of staff.  Tourism operators particularly around Queenstown have complained that the low wage foreign immigrant workforce that used to be a mainstay of the industry are no longer available and they are having to offer higher wages.  As if wage increases are a bad thing.

Even though the workers are being paid more than the minimum wage they cannot afford to stay in Queenstown and this is the root cause of the problem.  If you want workers to work in resort towns then you need to pay them enough so that they can afford to live there.

And as has historically happened wage increases have been significantly higher under this Government than they have been under a National Government.  This Stats NZ graph shows clearly what has happened historically.  Note the peak this year.  Inflation is hurting but real wages are increasing.

There are major complaints about the speed that this Government is acting.  Some of them are valid.  Allowing the Hate Speech process to take so long has meant that it has festered and is now accused of being something that it is not.  Kris Faafoi may be internally rated well but to me he was always very poorly equipped to handle justice issues.  This role should be the preserve of people who understand intimately the Justice system, i.e. lawyers, although Michael Cullen was a notable outsider who performed the role well.

The consultation process has taken too long and overreached.  The Government should have allowed for existing provisions to cover more groups.  If there was a case for other changes then these could have been made incrementally.

And to those who talk about the sanctity of the right to freedom of speech remember that we are talking about a particular form of speech which is directly implicated in the racist mass murder of kiwis because of their religion.  There always has been a line between acceptable and unacceptable speech.  The need is to draw that line clearly and to give its enforcement teeth.

Other areas where the rollout has been slow include housing, eradication of child poverty and the Auckland Light Rail project.

The problem with at least two of these areas is that earlier promises were good at catching headlines but unachievable, particularly in the middle of a global pandemic and a supply chain crisis.  Having said that a large number of houses are being constructed and it is predicted that supply will match demand sometime this year.  And house prices are falling.

The Government has added 10,000 state houses since coming to office and more are on the way.  This should be contrasted with National’s performance when it was last in Government.  Because it sold off over 6,000 units, reducing the stock from 69,000 in 2008 to 63,000 in 2017 during a time when the population increased dramatically.

National’s housing spokesperson Nicola Willis recently candidly acknowledged that National sold too many houses although she was remarkably vague about the number that were actually sold.

And light rail is a transformative project that will change the shape of Auckland in a way that Sir Dove Myer Robinson dreamed of.  If we are to get away from our car dominated future, then this project needs to be built.  And you can bet that if National gains power it will cancel this project and insist on building the East West Link instead.

As for child poverty as I recently noted 66,500 children have been lifted out of poverty.  My preference is that all children are lifted out of poverty.  Greater speed is vital but the general direction is good.

And from 2018 to March 2022 benefits have increased by 40% above the rate of inflation.  Recent high inflation rates may have affected this but I cannot think of such a sustained increase ever happening since the first Labour Government.

Is Aotearoa a terrible place to live in?  I don’t think so.

The topics Edwards chose to concentrate on are interesting:

  • Three waters
  • Climate change
  • Harbour Bridge cycleway
  • Change of Immigration settings for nurses
  • “No credible message to sell on the cost of living crisis”
  • Hate speech

As far as I am concerned there is a fundamentally important reason for three waters.  Our infrastructure is not up to scratch.  Kiwis have died from polluted water, the Capital city regularly has hundred year old infrastructure collapse and pumps sewerage into the harbour.  Auckland is only now getting away from that habit.  The information is there but there has been a full court press by National and its supporters which has been readily reported on by the media and the debate has not got past stage one.  Snide racist attacks on the project shows how poor the debate has been.

But here is the funny thing.  Apart from some payments by the Government to various councils nothing has changed.  To describe something as a failure before it has even started is abjectly weird.

No the Government has not solved climate change.  It has made some important progress and needs to make more.  But it has had an opposition and its allies in the farming sector delaying and obfuscating and obstructing every step of the way.  Do not expect a National Government to do better.  Indeed a National Government would put efforts back by a decade at a time when speed is of utmost importance.

The Harbour Bridge cycleway and the change of Immigration settings for nurses are two decisions that were reversed fairly quickly.  Politicians should be praised for being able to change their minds.

As I previously mentioned the cost of living crisis is an international one.  You would struggle to understand that from some of the media commentary. Such as that from independent commentator and National Party member Liam Hehir who is mentioned in Edwards’ article and who claims that Grant Robertson has been a “flop” this year for Labour because he “lost control of the economic narrative. Despite being pretty capable and still a real asset for the government, the Minister of Finance simply has no credible message to sell on the cost of living crisis.”

Allowing National activists such a free shot at the Government raises questions about Edwards’ judgment.  If you need this to be reinforced check out his latest collation where David Farrar gets mentioned seven times.

In response to the hate speech commentary can I repeat my earlier comments that it could have been handled better.  But again nothing has changed yet.  And failing to sell something to a group that refuses to accept the need is not a failure, it is inevitable.

The strange aspect of this policy is like the others, nothing has changed yet.  Expecting the opposition and its friends to engage in a reasoned discourse about the changes is clearly not something that we should expect.

Of course we should let the likes of the Christchurch mass murderer spew their filth into the internet so that it can be picked up by the next person with a delusional sense of reality.  There is no downside is there?

It speaks volumes about Edwards’ critique that clearly him and other commentators it is the message that is important, not actually addressing the problem.  And the underlying economic indicators are remarkably good given what we have been through in the past three years.

The underlying themes of this blog post are that governing through a pandemic is really tough and to expect perfection is extraordinarily stupid, and that real progress has been made in many important areas despite recent issues.  A global comparison shows how well we are being run as a country.

Should Labour have achieved things quicker?  I am sure everyone would prefer that this happened although the clammy inertia of Wellington should never be underestimated.  But if you think that support for National and or Act is the solution if in power they will not speed things up.  They will take to important social norms and protections with a crowbar and make things infinitely worse.

By all means insist that things happen quicker and that this Government performs better.  But do not expect that a change in Government will improve things.

116 comments on “New Zealand is in a terrible state * ”

  1. tc 1

    " A global comparison shows how well we are being run as a country…" nails it mickey.

    Superb outcome given the trashing National did in health, housing and education where their beligerence towards teachers, not rectifying leaky buildings and enforcing national standards drove us backwards.

    I'd like to see some mongrel from the get go with the owned media not pulling up the BS nact continue to spout. Do it for them Labour and the Maori party need to step up also alongside this opinionators gravy train being used to persuade the swingers their way.

    Needs more voices talking about what's actually been done and what national did and will do again if relected i.e. hollow NZ out some more.

  2. Bryce Edwards is a National supporter. imo He chooses every piece of text and talk from the toxic soup mixes them, presents them to support his leading statement.

    He is currently in the forefront of that old chestnut. "Don't bother to vote if you are Left, it will be a wasted vote, as National Act are bound to win"

    This "Foregone conclusion" is to discourage the Left, and if Bryce and David Farrar are able to create a defeatist climate and lower the Election turn out it advantages the Right.

    Playing on fears, creating repeatable memes, exaggerating events even in the face of stats, creating false narratives and fast moving rumours, and appealing to the frustration and anxiety created by covid. In essence acting like fifth-columnists. imo

    These people say they "care about New Zealand", well that may be true, but they appear to draw a line under which people of New Zealand they support, resorting to name calling slurs and outright exaggerations to denigrate groups and individuals. It is part of the divide and conquer strategy, which also leads to scattered vote.

    I think they are finding it hard to attract that crucial 10% who see climate change as real, and the reach of capitalism in its worst forms as using up the world's resources and lusting after water and control. People like Musk who don't worry about the fallout. So the 24% undecided will decide the next election, and the fight is on for their hearts and minds.

    Get cracking Labour and Greens, in presenting clear charts which show the picture of what has been achieved, and what is possible in the next three years.

    Thank you Micky. This article is a great start. We are not perfect, but the direction and trends are good.

  3. Mac1 3

    If National had been re-elected in 2017, could we hazard some figures as to where we'd be now.

    How would they have done in terms of Covid-19 management and deaths?

    Where would housing builds be?

    What would the unemployment rate be?

    Where would hospital and school buildings be?

    Our inflation rate?

    Our cost of living?

    Where would infrastructure be?

    Three Waters?

    Global warming responses?

    What would the minimum wage be?

    What public assets would have been sold?

    Where would Māori issues be now?

    What would the children in poverty statistic be?

    How many homeless would be sleeping in cars and on the streets?

  4. yes and how many businesses and related activities would have gone bankrupt?

    Followed by mortgage sales…..? same old same old.

    On Interest.co.nz, the vultures are circling waiting for the end of 2023/4 when they feel properties will be in glut and they are cashed up ready.

    Interestingly, many of them do not rate National except for causing these buy up opportunities. angry

  5. Tony Veitch 5

    Never forget that Natz are essentially leaderless (their current leader has no idea how to govern for all) and policyless.

    In that situation, in the unlikely possibility of a Natz/Act victory, the Act tail will wag the Natz dog!

    And god help this country if some or all of Act's ideas are enacted!

  6. Ad 6

    You are right Mickey it's a communications problem – so given central government comms and budgets outnumber reporters 4 to 1 these days, and our PM is qualified in comms, the failure to persuade prospective voters is on the Labour caucus alone.

    When's this damn reset anyway?

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Mr Edwards could be termed an accumulator or aggregator–however–“Committed Recycler of others work” is possibly more accurate.

    Getting that big ’ol blunderbuss inscribed with ‘messenger’ down from the wall and aiming it in Bryce’s direction is only so useful, but also fair, given the examples Micky quotes.

    The Labour Caucus has done some of this to themselves with their messaging strategy of hugging the centre line, and being TIG welded to monetarism and the near 40 year neo liberal state.

    I have said several times on The Standard that the useful incremental reforms that NZ Labour have made need to be more widely publicised. Passivity and timidity will be what does this Govt. in. Three Waters addresses totally obvious infrastructure requirements–the PM should just say so and stick it to the Natzos in local Government.

  8. Corey Humm 8

    I think the govt has a shot if it focuses on universal programs that both rich and poor love cos everyone gets them, that's why healthcare, pensions and welfare have never been abolished everyone gets them, rich people love their winter energy payment.

    Targeted third way policies help to little and have working and middle class voters saying "I get nothing from this govt"

    An election winner would be universal dental. It's probably labours only shot, it only costs a billion dollars a year and can be paid for with the extra tax take from higher wages rather than a tax cut.

    Labour won't do it. Even though it's in labours manifesto.

    The problem with the left, globally, is fourty years of focusing on the individual rather than the collective, on social justice rather than economic justice has created three generations of lefty's who have no concept of economic justice, are individualists apart from on social justice issues.

    This post for instance, mentions hate speech and COVID long before it mentions economic bread and butter issues.

    Labours state housing record is not something to be proud of, they have continued to sell state houses, instead of having state housing mixed in with privately owned housing to avoid class segregation we are seeing whole suburbs of state houses 2-4 stories high, UK style, cramped as hell boxes loading vulnerable people with all sorts of issues and letting the trouble makers run wild. They are making slum communities and knocking down old state houses to do it.

    And giving govt owned land to developers on the condition they build a couple "affordable" houses needs to end. It's not working we need a govt department that builds infrastructure not relying on the very companies that have caused the problem to solve it .

    On housing this govt is a Tory fever dream, housing has become apocalyptically unaffordable under the five years of this govt.

    Bread and butter economic issues are the only thing that matters in this election and the modern left can't argue those issues, they'd rather talk about sexuality, gender, race then talk about poverty because the political leaders of modern left have no real experience with poverty or cost of living issues because the modern lefts leaders are almost exclusively upper middle class.

    Everytime labour talks about social justice they lose a hundred votes.

    If labour wants a third term they need to focus almost exclusively on economic issues and housing. Everything else is a liability.

    Joe Bidens manufacturing and student loan forgiveness policies have made the us democrats to the left of the NZ labour party. Insanity.

    If labour wants to win it needs to spend a billion a year on universal dental, it needs to offer student loan forgiveness and make the first $20 k tax free and hammer national for wanting to raise pensions and removing relationship sanctions on benefits and pensions.

    Instead we'll get measly targeted funding for "families" (who are the minority of the country, us millennials are majority childless but single people don't exist in targeted progams only universal progams help us) constant social justice virtue signaling and a whole lot of concerned nodding and anything that could possibly attract voters will be ruled out by a visionless, middle to upper middle class labour party who thinks voters are more concerned about social policy than their wallets, teeth and access to housing.

    • DB Brown 8.1

      What Corey said!

    • Tiger Mountain 8.2

      NZ Labour had an opportunity handed to them on a plate in 2020 when many voted wearing masks, and gratefully put them in office with a once in a generation MMP majority. Neo Blairism in the Caucus prevailed and the opportunity was sadly squandered.

      Free Dental, State House/Apartment mega build and a re-established Works Dept. handling all infrastructure might save them indeed, but mark my words, they will not go there.

      There was even a slogan about such an approach including re-nationalisations, from another Labour Party leader–“For the many not the few”…

    • I think you have put that well Corey. Yes Economic issues are the way to go.

    • Anker 8.4

      I agree with most of that Corey, except the student loans. They need instead to come up with a good system of paying and bonding Drs, nurses and other health professionals.

      TBH I don't know that the working class really wants their taxes paying off student loans (mostly middle class kids who may end up in the public service on very good salaries for doing HR and Comms).

      • Alan 8.4.1

        Agreed Anker, the multitude of previous students who have repaid their loans would be very angry about such an obvious political ploy.

        • I don’t agree Alan as it is natural to want "better for your children/family.” So I think the idea of diminishing student loans by community work or work contributions would be a great idea. The Government has begun this, so extending it would appeal as improving economic wellbeing, and assist with attaching our young to NZ.

      • gsays 8.4.2

        "TBH I don't know that the working class really wants their taxes paying off student loans…"

        The flaw there is assuming that the working class are Labour voters.

      • weka 8.4.3

        TBH I don't know that the working class really wants their taxes paying off student loans (mostly middle class kids who may end up in the public service on very good salaries for doing HR and Comms).

        As opposed to kids who end up being nurses and teachers and having to pay off their loans on a lower income?

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.5

      Bread and butter economic issues are the only thing that matters

      Given the extreme inequality in NZ, I 90% agree! I think inequality is the number one problem and the root of most other problems (wages / housing, poverty, dental care etc etc).

      Labour is locked to neoliberalism and talks little about inequality, so they are happy to look at the spending side (e.g. more on dental maybe, etc) but will not look at redistribution and revenue raising.

      An inequality commissioner would be a great start – and an automatic review of the impact on inequality from all new legislation and policies. But that might be outside the overton window at the moment.

      • Bearded Git 8.5.1

        A Wealth Tax is what we need……it is really the only thing that will address inequality….the Greens had a workable WT in their last manifesto.

        (IMHO a Land Tax would be useful but less effective than a WT)

        • Hunter Thompson II 8.5.1.1

          There are problems with a wealth tax:

          * getting agreement on what the rate should be

          * who is "wealthy" (and who is not)

          * if any such tax is legislated, the danger is NZ's best and brightest will head to foreign parts where they get higher incomes and there is no wealth tax.

          • arkie 8.5.1.1.1

            The Greens Wealth Tax proposal:

            We’ll tax wealth fairly by introducing a new tax on individuals’ net wealth over $1 million. This means those who have their own wealth worth more than $1 million – not including mortgages and other debt – would be asked to pay a small annual contribution to fund stronger social support for all New Zealanders. This would only apply to the wealthiest 6% of New Zealanders.

            Why tax wealth and assets, not just income?

            Wealth inequality is growing. Some people are building up assets while others struggle to get by. Working people with good incomes struggle to buy homes, while people who already have significant assets can leverage them to increase their own wealth.

            This is partly because we tax income from work, but we don’t tax wealth.

            We think it’s time to ask the wealthiest New Zealanders to give a little back for the good of everyone, as we rebuild from COVID-19.

            https://www.greens.org.nz/progressive_tax_reform

          • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.5.1.1.2

            Really?

            The rate can be set, and who is "wealthy" can be set, same as for any tax. Let's say 1% p.a. for assets 3-10m, 3% p.a. for 10-50m and 10% p.a. for 50m+. Done.

            If you think the rich are our best and brightest! Musk, Bezos, Trump, Thiel, and our NZ local versions – mostly harm and distort social and political institutions and abuse their workers. Their key skill is extracting resources from those around them – their reputation as innovators etc usually doesn't withstand scrutiny. And people that want to leave NZ when asked to contribute to society – we are better off without them. They will leave their fixed assets behind in any case.

            The real problem is the harm to the potential of the majority of NZers (including many who could be 'best and brightest'), due to lack of opportunity from inequality.

          • Incognito 8.5.1.1.3

            The ‘best & brightest’ will rise to the ‘top’ and become the richest and most rewarded (and awarded!) members of society. That is neoliberal capitalism in a fortune cookie.

            There must be a reason why you object to a Wealth Tax with spurious arguments.

          • Graeme 8.5.1.1.4

            Agree, wealth taxation is a very tricky place to go with perverse outcomes.

            Aotearoa is fortunate to have a very simple and light tax system, with quite low compliance costs. Have a talk to an American, Brit or Australian about the alternatives.

            In our situation a wealth tax would either induce rampant compliance costs as everyone would have to provide an annual return of their assets. Cue a goldmine for accountants and lawyers get the marginals below any threshold, and reduce the apparent wealth of those over.

            For a wealth tax to be politically achievable it would have to exempt the family home and Kiwi Saver, which won't do much for housing costs or other investment types as investment floods into home improvements and KS.

            Alternative could be:

            * A more progressive income tax regime, with higher marginal rates on very high income, and extending the negative rates of WFF to low income creating an initial negative tax bracket or rebate, in effect a UBI.

            * A progressive Company Tax regime. Incentivise companies to put profits back into the company rather than inflated dividends or propping up share value.

            * Investment or second properties are treated as a stand alone business. Also really tighten the LAQC regime so that deductions are only possible from something that has a chance of, and is moving toward, making a profit. Not something that is set up to loose money for tax purposes. There has to be very negative, and swift, consequences from paying to much for something, not have it encouraged by the tax system.

            There's lots of alternatives to dis-incentivise unproductive wealth than lumping everyone with a compliance burden and incentivising rampant evasion.

            • Sacha 8.5.1.1.4.1

              A more progressive income tax regime, with higher marginal rates on very high income

              The wealthiest people do not have high incomes. Wrong target.

              • Graeme

                In that case target how they are getting the wealth, there's a transaction there that's creating value / profit. I observe a lot of very wealthy people around here, some I know reasonably well, generally their lives revolve around transactions. Plenty of scope for an egalitarian tax policy there.

                Equally wealth taxes hit the wrong target, often impacting hardest on the people around the margins of taxability who have to incur costs to prove they don't have to pay. This would include nearly all small businesses under the Green Party proposal. There's also the accidentally wealthy in more desirable areas who have owned property for generations who would be liable because someone paid millions for the place next door, but have very modest incomes. Many examples of that here. The immediate effect of the Green Party proposal would be to remove all the established lower income families from Queenstown, and surprisingly there's a few of them. Same would apply in Northland, Auckland and Bay of Plenty.

                Unfortunately wealth taxes seem to be designed by, and for the benefit of, tax accountants and investment advisors.

                • Sacha

                  If only financial transaction taxes were possible without international cooperation. Even estate taxes and stamp duties on house sales would be a start – until the next Nat govt repealed them again.

              • PsyclingLeft.Always

                Back in time…

                https://www.inequality.org.nz/understand/rich-really-pay-tax/

                Yep…

                The holes in New Zealand’s income tax net become more apparent by the day. When it comes to the several hundred Kiwis with fortunes over $50 million, nearly half of them – according to IRD research – pay a lower tax rate than minimum-wage workers. They take much of their income as untaxed capital gains, or find other means to avoid or evade making a larger contribution to the public purse.

                https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/300576591/how-do-we-fairly-tax-the-rich

                Methods….

                Mega Landlords: 48 per cent rise in homes owned by trustees 'suggests tax avoidance'

                https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/housing-affordability/300440725/mega-landlords-48-per-cent-rise-in-homes-owned-by-trustees-suggests-tax-avoidance

                Mega Landlords: The housing investor who owns 79 Wellington properties

                With 79 properties in Wellington, an investor could expect the capital gain on their portfolio to be nearly $40 million, but CoreLogic chief economist Kelvin Davidson estimates it would be higher still.

                He estimates a profit of $51.6m if the homes were sold, based on a mixed sample of property types including houses and apartments, and the amount of time they’ve been owned for – the average being nine years.

                https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/housing-affordability/300428886/mega-landlords-the-housing-investor-who-owns-79-wellington-properties

                Theres something legal…but rotten here. IMO.

          • Stuart Munro 8.5.1.1.5

            It's hardly difficult – start with a standard increment per order of magnitude – for example, wealth tax starts at 1% on income over $1million – goes to 2% at $10 million, and 3% at $100 million and so on.

            • Maurice 8.5.1.1.5.1

              A wealth tax is not based upon income it is based upon the value of holdings.

              Income is required to pay a wealth tax – OR sale of those assets (which can also be taxable!).

    • Sacha 8.6

      I would love to see universal dental and free primary healthcare, accompanied by strong wealth taxes to make the dodgers pay their share.

      However, you seem to be conflating 'left' with Labour. The Greens have long offered policies about core material issues like renting rather than owning a home. Thankfully MMP voters have a choice.

    • SPC 8.7

      "Free dental", without enough dentists, … free GP visits without enough doctors, an affordable home for all without enough houses? From a government that has been called on promising and not delivering?

      How about extending the right of the working poor to have access to hospital dentists so they do not have to pull their own teeth out. And they and those with current eligibility for CSC get an affordable annual visit for a check.

      No, coz you want universal and free including well paid millennial singles and rich home owning empty nest oldies who afford their own visits now?

      And Joe Biden's targeted student loan debt forgiveness has not been implemented – instead its been limited to a deferment of payments during the pandemic and the "inflation" cost period so far.

      https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-defends-bidens-student-debt-relief-plan-supreme-court-brief-2023-01-05/

      Our best option is to end any requirement of doctors/nurses to repay TD while working here (to encourage people to train and stay here to work). We all benefit from a health system with better staffing levels.

      As for housing, for those renting the thing is to contain further cost problems. A rent freeze until the supply and demand is sorted. Otherwise any AS increase lines the landlords pockets.

      The reason why or cost of living issues because the modern lefts leaders are almost exclusively upper middle class.

      Then why do they support targeted assistance for low income families?

      Instead we'll get measly targeted funding for "families" (who are the minority of the country, us millennials are majority childless but single people don't exist in targeted progams only universal progams help us

      Singles opposing support for low income families, so they'll face a future where it would be harder for them to both own a house and have kids, for a few extra dollars now. Not that smart.

      As for state and Kiwibuild house building, it's now ramping up as resources become available – with private developer construction in decline. The level of house building overall has been high for some years (and was moving supply to meet demand – while migration was low).

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/128460556/nz-gained-27000-homes-last-year-while-population-growth-hit-31year-low

      • Sacha 8.7.1

        Claiming extra social investment is for 'families' or 'children' is intended to neutralise the right attacking it. Politics is the art of the possible.

    • Muttonbird 8.8

      I think the govt has a shot if it focuses on universal programs that both rich and poor love cos everyone gets them, that's why healthcare, pensions and welfare have never been abolished everyone gets them, rich people love their winter energy payment.

      Just outed yourself as an ACT voter there, old chap.

      Subsidised dental would be a good election year policy. You can't do universal free dental without doing universal free GPs.

      The problem with the left, globally, is fourty years of focusing on the individual rather than the collective, on social justice rather than economic justice.

      What's the difference?

      Labours state housing record is not something to be proud of, they have continued to sell state houses, instead of having state housing mixed in with privately owned housing to avoid class segregation we are seeing whole suburbs of state houses 2-4 stories high.

      This seems like bullshit. Your fellow traveller, Swordfish, can attest to the mixing of state and privately owed housing.

      On housing this govt is a Tory fever dream, housing has become apocalyptically unaffordable under the five years of this govt.

      House prices have come down in case you hadn't noticed. They did go up because of covid relief money which was universal and those with means spent printed money on housing. Universal relief is something you applauded not three paragraphs ago. Make up your mind, please.

      If labour wants to win it needs to spend a billion a year on universal dental, it needs to offer student loan forgiveness

      Yawn. Labour introduced one year fees free tertiary education. That's $6-$10K that an ambition young future leader doesn't have to worry about. Did you miss that too?

      Instead we'll get measly targeted funding for "families" (who are the minority of the country, us millennials are majority childless but single people don't exist in targeted progams only universal progams help us)

      Who is concentrating on the individual now? You try hard mate but are too focussed on your particular interests, rather than the collective's.

    • Sabine 8.9

      If labour wants to win it needs to spend a billion a year on universal dental, it needs to offer student loan forgiveness and make the first $20 k tax free and hammer national for wanting to raise pensions and removing relationship sanctions on benefits and pensions.

      And they had a full majority for three years (at election date) to do so.

      They could have removed the relationship sanctions on benefits and pensions some time ago.

      They could have made the first 20 k tax free some time ago.

      They could have made public transport free for all.

      They could have offered a tax incentive for buying electric bikes or to travel via public transport rather then give the rich some money to be an electric car they could have afforded themselves.

      They could have removed university costs for nurses/doctors and dental hygenists/nurses/doctors etc etc etc. I mean we are in a pandemic and all that jazz. So at the very least they could have removed that student loan burden for people who want to be in the 'caring' industries.

      They could have done so much with their majority in an MMP environment and they did so little. I guess it is not what they want to do. That is all that i can think of. They did not want to do that anymore then National would want to do that.

      Maybe eventually some of the restructuring and re-organising will trickle to the poorest, and as always it will be a drop on a very hot stone.

  9. Ad 9

    Robertson is Labour's real election hope.

    His last dice roll is Budget in 4 months, and it better involve tax cuts to all except personal incomes over $100k.

    Nothing else will enable the electorate to forget Labour's 2022 political management debacle.

    • Tiger Mountain 9.1

      Good grief–get a grip old chap. Tax cuts are an attack on working class social services and transfer payments unless accompanied by the likes of CGT, GST off food, and hammering the corporates and Australian Banks.

      Does NZ Labour actually want to win the 2023 General Election? One would hope so, but please convince us soon Labour.

      Arrogant pricks ACT want to slash the minimum wage and other state payments and services according to their policy. So while emotions and COVID grumpiness could lead to an election result that punishes Jacinda, it might also leave several million people materially worse off!

      Personally I think if Te Pāti Māori can score a couple of seats and Chloe retain Auck. Central then there will be a narrow win for the non Natzo/ACT group. Boomers are barely in the majority for 2023 and will not be in 2026. And a number of boomers are not doing too well either as elder poverty increases.

    • Sacha 9.2

      If someone is gagging for a tax cut, why would they vote Lab rather than Nat?

  10. Sacha 10

    Edwards sure as heck is not behaving in any way like an "academic". How he has managed to snuggle up to that university is a whole story waiting to be written. A very useful idiot for the right.

  11. Binders full of Women 11

    Labour need to … build rent-to-own state houses, yes free dental. Hate speech.. put disability and sexuality in TAKE OUT religion. Kick co-governance to touch.. it's been a disaster for the Urewera burning huts and will be a quagmire for 5 Waters. And do something..anything.. about house prices (intensification, stamp duty, penal rates on empty ghost houses etc).

  12. the media is constantly trying to whip the population into a frenzy of uncontrolled confusion. of course people are and willcontinue to get ill from covid on balance we are doing alright. the thing is when is simon dallow going to resign and a halt put to this non stop government bashing

  13. just saying 13

    As far as free speech in concerned, the PM was not decrying glorifying and inciting mass murder (something which is covered by the law), but political dissent. I believe the example she used was about whether people should be allowed to express an opinion about the government's position on the Ukraine war.

    Suppressing political dissent is a very different issue.

  14. Mike the Lefty 14

    There isn't one week when I don't get at least one feed from Facebook featuring another fly-by-night "organisation" promoting some dumb petition whinging about the government and always "the state of the country". The concerns are usually co-governance or three waters and are always accompanied by hysterical supported comments which are so similar that I am sure they are mass mailed. On the assumption that if they want to risk sending me a feed for which I didn't ask then they deserve what they get I tell them what I believe that it is just another front for the National Party who have to invent dodgy organisations and petitions because they lack the balls to oppose it in their own right.

    Of course that usually provokes the usual insults that compare me to Stalin. I always laugh when that type of insult is thrown at me, because invariably the people doing it have little idea of what Stalin was really like.

    • Anne 14.1

      "The concerns are usually co-governance or three waters and are always accompanied by hysterical supported comments which are so similar that I am sure they are mass mailed."

      That's a ploy the Nats have been engaging in for many decades. It applies elsewhere too and I have noticed the Herald is full of similar 'concerns', all of which have a similarity about them even if the subject is different.

      Its not mass mailing as such, but they have a number of individuals who produce the letters and they are then parceled out – presumably by email in today's world – to members who send them in as their own work.

      Its underhand and I have no doubt the Herald editors know exactly what is going on. Now that we are in election year the scam is being ratcheted up to a new level.

      And for the rwnjs who respond by saying "Labour does it too", Labour does not do it. They encourage people to write to newspapers and elsewhere but it is of their own volition and in their own words. Nothing wrong with that.

  15. PsyclingLeft.Always 15

    There are complaints about the availability of staff. Tourism operators particularly around Queenstown have complained that the low wage foreign immigrant workforce that used to be a mainstay of the industry are no longer available and they are having to offer higher wages. As if wage increases are a bad thing.

    Aye, this absolutely is (and has been) the whine for as long as Labour has been in Govt. Never mind that the actual situation ( incl No accommodation ! ) and high cost of Living has been the situation norm for…. decades.

    IMO "some" Employers really would be ok with their Employees living in tents on minimum wage..

    IMO more than a few….would love Nact to again…return NZ to the "terrible state" it literally was.

    Fuck them !

    I will say….the literal hate for Jacinda from some is disturbing. I have had some say to me “that fucking bitch ” thinking (as I am quite a big guy and really not a Left or Jacinda supporter ! ). The look on their faces..when i tell them to “back off” : ) …awesome !

    Cmon Labour/Green…fight back ! And Focus on winning. For a better NZ

    • Mike the Lefty 15.1

      That's what disturbing about the rabid right. They don't just oppose, they make it personal and offensive. Their hatred of Jacinda gives them an excuse for their own failures and weaknesses – it isn't their fault it's Jacinda's fault. One of my relatives who I talked to recently has been gradually moving to the right and is on the verge of being a right-wing nutter. This person who is a good father and a hard self-employed worker now believes that COVID vaccinations allow the government to trace your every step (nano probes I suppose) and the only reason he wasn't at parliament last February was that his wife threatened to divorce him if he went. If he sees or hears Jacinda he instantly comes out with a series of foul comments like a kind of Pavlovs Dog response. It is very sad to see people who are otherwise intelligent and earnest descend to this.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 15.1.1

        Mate, I empathise with your situation there. No Rationality with it..at all. I cant get my head around it. "The Red Queen" etc etc. And i have seen that Pavlovian response. Jacinda just happened to be on the radio news….(so literally, triggered by just her voice ! ) and this spanner started railing on about.."that fucking bitch" . ! Bizarre. However, I soon put the spanner in his spokes.

        Anyway…keep up the Fight for NZ : )

      • Incognito 15.1.2

        Actually, both the rabid Right and rabid Left have in common finding and/or creating & cultivating a target (aka culprit, scapegoat, a person(s) where the buck stops) and giving it their best ‘shot’.

        People get annoyed at speed limits aimed at reducing the road toll, for example. Go figure. People shoot and shout at clouds or at God or whatever when they get worked up about trivial stuff that they cannot control.

        Although smoke (inhalation) kills, it is the fire that causes it – most zealots fight smoke and mirrors and some turn this into an entertaining spectacle and distracting sideshow but it is mass gaslighting nonetheless. Nero fiddles, Seymour twerks, Peters does his stand-ups.

        The dangerous fanatics are the ones who claim and promise that only they can control the uncontrollable, that they have a plan and a cure for all societal ills. They are not just fanatics but also fantasts peddling political fairy tales and fables.

        We can choose what and whom we believe. Think about it.

  16. Mac1 16

    If there is one positive to come from the shortage of labour it is this. The unemployment rate of 3% puts paid to the claim that people are too lazy to work.

    The rate was kept high at 5% or above to keep the workers in line. I am old enough to remember NZ having 5000 unemployed total, Then, workers could change jobs easily and employers hated it.

    Now, we have 3% unemployed, wages are increasing and employers have to up their standards of behaviour.

    Boosting the economy by importing foreign workers as National did to artificially control the workforce had the added problem of how to house these workers. It added to a housing shortage, lowered housing quality and allowed exploitation of workers by employers and contractors in housing, pay and conditions.

    Part of the grape industry locally highlights all these factors. Not enough housing for workers coming into the area. Exploitation being investigated by Minister Wood. Foreign workers imported, and forced into substandard accommodation by some contractors. The area having the second lowest wage economy in the country. Local vineyard ownership at less than 20%- most owned in Auckland or overseas. Non-compliance in district council and government regulation in the grape industry is higher than it should be.

    Are we in a terrible state? Well, it's worse than it should be and much of the fault lies with management, business and National party policies allowing poor practice.

    Are we in a terrible state? Whatever it is, and that depends on who you are and what you do for a living, it would be worse, far worse, under National and Act.

    Just look at what is being proposed by a Tory government in Great Britain over workers' rights to strike. Would National/ACT try something similar?

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 16.1

      And what I notice in Marlborough – while they are treating RSE workers as slaves, those same vineyards are spending millions on new swanky 'tasting' buildings etc – they don't appear to be struggling in any way.

  17. tsmithfield 17

    I think Labour needs to stop making bizarre, grandiose, unachievable policies and commitments that they know, and the electorate knows, they have no chance at all of ever implementing. Saying it is not the same as doing it.

    Several examples of this would be: the kiwibuild 100000 houses promise, and a later example, the road to zero goal.

    The Road to Zero goal seems to be motivating Waka Kotahi to continually reduce speed limits around the country, and thereby annoying the heck out of motorists. In reality, the only way to achieve anything close to zero road deaths would be to go back to the red flag days where a pedestrian was required to walk in front of vehicles with a red flag.

    So, this road toll goal is an example of a stupid, unworkable goal that they know can never be achieved as does the electorate. Especially considering that road deaths per capita have plummeted over the last 30 years and these huge gains in road safety have been achieved without much alteration to road speeds.

    Another thing is I think Labour needs to stop trying to mix ideology with pragmatism. A program to better manage water assets across the country is a noble objective. And most of us would agree with that. But, mixing the co-governance aspect with that has tarnished what should be a realatively boring, administrative policy that shouldn't be getting all the negative attention it has been.

    • Sacha 17.1

      Vision Zero is a proven international approach for transport systems to move away from tolerating deaths and serious injuries. https://visionzeronetwork.org/about/what-is-vision-zero/

      It's quite practical.

      This government needs to be far better at communicating its programme, anticipating the volume of misleading garbage that the public are receiving from other interests.

      • tsmithfield 17.1.1

        I am not saying that aiming to further reduce the road toll isn't a good idea.

        But, putting the "zero" word in there is obviously unachievable and therefore unbelievable.

        Focusing on reducing speed to cut road deaths is a lazy approach that just annoys people. Consider, for instance, the mortality rate in Germany, which has a road speed limit similar to NZ, and much higher on the autobahns.

        Despite similar, and sometimes higher road speeds, Germany has a road road mortality per capita rate of 4 compared to 10 for NZ.

        So, what we should be doing is studying why Germany is so much better than NZ, and why our road toll has dropped so significantly over the last 30 years. Then double down on those things.

        I think there would be much credibility with teh electorate if that approach was taken.

        • Sacha 17.1.1.1

          Copying overseas experience of how to change transport systems, you say..

          And Road to Zero is about way more than speed – as you might know if you bothered reading anything but the latest Nat media releases.

          • tsmithfield 17.1.1.1.1

            But speed is the most noticeable aspect that annoys people. Especially when that seems to have been the most publicised aspect in the media campaigns by Waka Kotahi.

            So, as you say, it could well be a communication issue. So, perhaps they need to be publicising the other stuff more.

            • Incognito 17.1.1.1.1.1

              The Laws of Physics are annoying but it doesn’t change the fact that speed is a critical [see what I did there?] factor in the cause and impact [see what I did there?] of collisions that involve a moving object such as a vehicle.

              • tsmithfield

                Laws of physics. Exactly. And why we need to go back to the days of someone with a red flag walking in front of cars.

                Because, whatever the speed, there will be some degree of risk due to the laws of physics. So, it is implicit in the fact that we drive vehicles on the road at all that we accept that risk to some degree. It is just a question as to where we draw the line.

                So, unless you propose going back to the days of someone walking in front of a car with a red flag, there is always some degree of risk associated with any speed at all. And the acceptability of risk is a subjective thing.

                • Craig H

                  There's a bit of a difference between reducing limits to 80km/hr or 30km/hr in urban areas, and going back to 3-5km/hr. Sure, there are inherent risks in operating motor vehicles (and bicycles and horses for that matter), but that doesn't mean we can't change where the balance between convenience and safety lies to be more in favour of safety.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Have you wondered why the per capita road toll has dropped so dramatically over the last 30 years? Over that time, the speed limits (until recently) have been about the same, and cars have had similar speeds.

                    However, there have been huge improvements in other factors. For instance, safety features in vehicles; improvements in braking and handling etc; and roading features such as more passing lanes for instance.

                    There have been large numbers of things that have worked together to contribute to a significantly lower road toll. And, it is clear that some countries, such as Germany, can have speeds up to 130km on some of their roads. But, have a much lower per capita road toll than us.

                    So, I think much more emphasis needs to be put on factors such as roading design, and getting rid of obvious things such as distraction caused by cellphone use while driving etc. Focusing on these areas will have a major impact on the road toll without decreasing our productivity due to lower speeds across the country.

                • The red flag lol !!Stopping progress!!

                  No it was to stop the car frightening the horses, when there were more horses doing work and cars were owned by the rich.

                  That analogy is ridiculous and extreme.

                  Speed kills!! Our narrow winding roads are a test of driver skill.sad

                  Each driver has a responsibility to obey the road rules and that includes speed restrictions and driving to the conditions.

                • Incognito

                  Your red flag argument about speed reduction is quite literally a reductio ad absurdum and therefore a red flag.

                  Road engineers and car engineers use Laws of Physics as well as behavioural psychology, among other things such as ergonomics, to design and build safe roads & road infrastructure and cars (with high safety ratings) to lower risk and increase safety for all users. Meteorologists predict bad weather and issue traffic warnings, all based on the Laws of Physics. Et cetera.

                  Lawmakers draw the legal lines based on tonnes of information, facts, data & statistics, and research.

                  Ask a crash-test dummy about the subjectivity of the risk (the product of likelihood and impact) of a high-speed collision. The perception of risk is subjective as is the judgment of one’s driving ability.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Of course that is a reductio ad adsurdum argument.

                    But that argument was in response to an equally absurd stated goal. That being the road to zero objective. I started this thread by arguing that having an objective of zero deaths was stupid as it is unattainable unless there is some sort of red flag law.

                    Heck, even the government is starting to realise this.

                    • tsmithfield

                      If the title of the policy actually matched the stated objectives (40% reduction by 2030), it would actually make a lot more sense and get a lot more support.

                      But when people see a policy titled in such a way that it is unachievable, I think they tend to switch off.

                    • Sacha

                      The foundation of a Vision Zero strategy is changing the transport sector's expectations. Of course they are having trouble delivering.

                      Govt is not communicating enough context, so voices like yours can fill the vacuum with 'common sense'. However calling it ‘Road to Zero’ rather than something like ‘Zero Right Away’ should give a clue about the timeframe.

                    • joe90

                      having an objective of zero deaths was stupid as it is unattainable

                      Others would differ.

                      /

                      Our aim is that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo.

                      https://group.volvocars.com/company/safety-vision

                      Volvo Group has a Zero Accident Vision involving our products.

                      https://www.volvogroup.com/en/about-us/traffic-safety/safety-vision.html

                    • Sacha

                      When you say 'objective' or 'goal' do you mean a short-term target, or a long-term kaupapa?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Others would differ.

                      And those statements are equally stupid.

                      One of the key attributes of goals is that they are achievable.

                      Framing a target as "zero" is blatantly unachievable.

                    • Sacha

                      One of the key attributes of goals is that they are achievable.

                      Framing a target as “zero” is blatantly unachievable.

                      You seem to be having trouble understanding the difference between a short term goal and a long-term one. Respectfully, that is not our problem; it is yours.

                    • joe90

                      Framing a target as "zero" is blatantly unachievable

                      The Volvo group, setting and meeting targets for a century, likely knows a damn sight more about what's achievable in their own industry than most small businesses, half of which go belly up within five years of establishment, and their owners would.

                    • Sacha

                      Volvo has also probably saved more lives than any other car company by donating the seatbelt design to other manufacturers over decades. But hey, let's heed a random numpty on the interwebs instead.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Missing the point. Sure, Volvos are safe cars, and having safety as a major goal is of course critical.

                      But that is not the same as "zero". Using terms such as "zero" are essentially meaningless.

                      Just as the case is with the "road to zero" objective, the actual goals tend to be framed in terms that are not "zero". For instance, the government having a goal to reduce road fatalities by 40% by 2030.

                      I agree with Sacha that communication is the problem. And I think communication that specifies nonsense goals that aren't actually part of the policy is stupid.

                    • Incognito

                      We recognise that zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads may not be achievable in the next 10 to 20 years. But adopting this vision means taking meaningful and sustained steps to reducing road trauma.

                      https://www.transport.govt.nz/area-of-interest/safety/road-to-zero/

                      The target to reduce road user death and serious injuries by 40% by 2030 resulted from modelling of a substantial programme of road safety improvements over the next 10 years. The modelling is based on robust international evidence on how effective some interventions are.

                      The modelling shows that the best gains can be achieved by sustained investment in infrastructure improvements and effective enforcement, alongside safer speeds, safer vehicles, and deterring high-risk behaviours.

                      The model also takes into account a potential shift in modes of transport resulting from government investment in public transport and rail infrastructure, and also tries to anticipate potential technologies that might develop over the next 10 years.

                      Other countries that have adopted Vision Zero have typically aimed for reductions of between 40% and 60% in every 10-year period.

                      You appear to ignore the information that has been out there and twist the long-term vision into a short-term goal. You blame Government for poor communication while you twist and misinterpret the stated vision and goal for the next 10 years (from 2020). Based on your misleading headline interpretation you claim that the vision is absurd and impossible.

                      Road to Zero is based on Vision Zero, a world-leading approach that refers to a societal commitment to work towards zero harm on the road. First launched in Sweden in 1997, it has been adopted by places like Norway, New York and London.

                      Under the Vision Zero philosophy, no loss of life is acceptable. It is based on the fact that we are human and make mistakes so, while the road system needs to keep us moving, it must also be designed to protect us.

                      Vision Zero is framed as ‘Towards Zero’ in some jurisdictions, such as Victoria and New South Wales in Australia, as well as Canada and the European Union. A number of New Zealand cities and regions, including Auckland, Waikato, Otago and Southland, have adopted Vision Zero approaches.

                      To further support your misleading narrative you suggest that safer speeds (i.e. speed reductions in most cases) ‘annoys’ people. Dying on roads also ‘annoys’ people.

                      Everything you’ve argued is aimed at rejecting the vision, the goal, and one of the actions to achieve these. Is it more important to you to be right than to reduce harm on NZ roads? It certainly seems this way. Obviously, ridiculing even the initial basic practical steps will ensure it will fail at the outset. QED.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Everything you’ve argued is aimed at rejecting the vision, the goal, and one of the actions to achieve these. Is it more important to you to be right than to reduce harm on NZ roads?

                    In most fields the cost of achieving a goal becomes progressively more and more expensive.

                    For instance, in marketing getting the first 5% market share is the cheapest. Whereas, getting the last 5% is either impossible, or often so prohibitively expensive it isn't worth the effort.

                    As I pointed out earlier, we have already had huge drops in the road toll in over the last 30 years, with the road toll having declined by 60% over the last 30 years.

                    So, we have already cleaned out the low hanging fruit so far as decreasing the road toll is concerned. And the cost of effective interventions is going to become progressively higher as time goes.

                    As callous as it seems, planners do put an economic value on human lives.

                    So, at some point, the cost of saving lives is going to exceed the economic value of the lives saved. If this were not the case, there would be median barriers down every road in NZ right now.

                    We will eventually reach a point where "shit happens" whatever we do, and the incremental cost of road safety starts getting too high to be funded. When we reach that point, we will start to notice the figures bounce around a horizontal flat line, and any downward trend will disappear.

                    Looking at the chart I pointed to earlier it looks to me that we may be close to that point now.

                    If the maximum speeds continue to be decreased across the country, that will require increased expenditure on enforcement to ensure speed limits are adhered to. Engineering costs for making roads safer will become increasingly higher.

                    If people don't see the road speed changes as reasonable, and ignore the changes, especially if enforcement does not increase, then I contend the roads could become less safe. If some of the population adheres to the road limits and others don't, there is going to be a lot more dangerous overtaking etc which could lead to more accidents.

                    So, what I have been arguing isn't anti-road safety. More, it is just addressing the reality of the situation. And I think eventually we need to accept that driving cars incurs a degree of risk, and a lot of that risk can't be mitigated at an economic cost.

                    Even if goals of zero deaths are aspirational and intended to be motivational rather than actual, we should still be able to see a downward trend showing we are headed in the right direction. But, what to do if we are already at the point where we are just bouncing around the minimum point we will ever achieve?

                    • Incognito

                      You final paragraph simply reemphasises the nay-sayers’ fixed-mindedness and you introduce yet another rhetorical tool: what-if. Other countries don’t share you conservative pessimism & negativity and neither does the modelling.

                      Your market(ing) analogy is typically vague & flawed.

                      Your absurd example of having “median barriers down every road in NZ right now” if it were not for the cost shows your poor understanding of what you are talking about.

                      You have not shown any cost-benefit analysis and you are grasping at RW straws (i.e. it costs too much). Funny thing is that my car is more economical when I drive at the speed limit (or below it on the M-Way).

                      Shit doesn’t just happen when it comes to road accidents, which is the whole point of Road to Zero, and which you have missed completely and keep missing.

                      Where it is safe speeds will not be reduced (assuming people drive to the conditions). Please stop your strawmen.

                      Only unreasonable nay-sayers find fault with reasonable interventions and blame others for being unreasonable.

                      Why don’t you educate yourself instead of regurgitating old RW chestnuts aka talking points and moving the goalposts in this thread?

                      Road crashes cost Aotearoa an estimated $4.6 billion in 2019. Yet some commentators claim the negative economic impact of safe speed limits to business is more important than saving lives and preventing serious injuries. This view contradicts contemporary understanding of the Safe System approach to road safety: a safe system is inherently more efficient.

                      Evidence also shows that reducing speed has positive impacts on the climate and economy with improved air quality due to increased fuel efficiency and reduced congestion, so more consistent travel times.

                      When speeds are safe, everyone wins. We must all drive at safe and appropriate speeds. Is saving a few minutes in travel time worth a life?

                      https://www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/partners/speed-and-infrastructure/safe-and-appropriate-speed-limits/the-role-of-speed-in-a-safe-system-wip/

                    • Sacha

                      'Vision 95%'

                      It's not all about speed. Rumble strips are one of the most cost-effective road safety interventions, for example. Protected cycle lanes are wonderful.

                      But nothing we say here will convince someone who thinks they are smarter than world experts. Must be such a burden.

                    • tsmithfield

                      I agree with rumble strips. And more passing lanes.

                      One of the big differences between NZ and Germany, which is about 40% of our per capita vehicle deaths (as per my earlier link), is that large population centres such as Germany tend to have much more effective public transport systems.

                      It would be interesting to know the kilometres driven per person in Germany compared to NZ, but I suspect NZ would be much higher.

                      I have travelled around Germany, and they have an extensive public rail network amongst other things. It is quick, convenient, and easier than driving in many cases.

                      So far as something that could be a game-changer, I think wider adoption of public transport in NZ would be a major game changer, if it reduces the amount of kilometres people spend on the road. The more kilometres on the road will obviously increase the likelihood of adverse events.

                      Evidence of that in NZ is the fact that our accident rate was much lower during the Covid lockdwons.

                      The big challenge for public transport in NZ is that our population base is much smaller, and we tend to be more spread out, making it much more difficult to develop a public transport system that is more convenient and cheaper than driving, as it often is in Germany, wider Europe, and Great Britain.

                      But, if it could be done, I think this would have a bigger impact than anything else.

            • Mac1 17.1.1.1.1.2

              A policeman on the radio spoke on this. He said speed, impairment by drugs, alcohol and distraction by things such as cell phones, and seat belts not worn were the major factors.

              Guess what factor affects the others. If you are not wearing a seat belt then speed becomes a greater factor. If you are drinking or on drugs, your slower reaction time means speed is a greater factor. If you are distracted by a phone then speed is a greater factor. Degree of injury is a factor affected by speed.

              And yes, speed does annoy people. I get annoyed by drivers speeding- drivers who don't practice self control, social discipline, who think they can speed and be safe, who speed and don't consider the impact on other people, who consider their time is so important that they can disregard the law and common sense- people who quite possibly would object to any speed limit.

              I'm also annoyed by politicians who object publicly to speed restrictions, the same politicians who don't even know that potholes in towns are the responsibility of their local council and not the government. Politicians who listen only to the truck companies and the petrol heads, not to science and reason.

              I'm annoyed by self-important opinionators on social media who appoint themselves to being wiser and more correct than our roading experts.

              I am guided rather by such wisdom as that of Albert Einstein when a young man who came into a dinner party where his parents were hosting Einstein declaring that he had just beaten his best driving time by five minutes. Einstein simply asked the young man what he was going to do with the five minutes…….

        • joe90 17.1.1.2

          studying why Germany is so much better than NZ

          Righto, lets look at banning heavy goods vehicles with a total weight above 7.5 tons and heavy goods vehicles with trailers regardless of their weight on the entire road network on Sundays and public holidays from 0:00 to 22:00 and tripling our /capita spending on transport infrastructure and maintenance.

        • Peter 17.1.1.3

          I wonder if there are reasons why transport issues in Germany are a little bit different than here and why in some aspects they are 'better' than us.

          Is having a population of 84 million of significance? That it is joined to numerous other countries? That roading systems developed over many hundreds of years? That the range of public transport is substantial? That they have higher taxes? That its land area is half as big again as New Zealand's?

          Last week I saw someone calling for double lane highways from one end of the country to the other with median barriers along the whole way. That would see far less road deaths and save having reduced speed limits on highways.

          What causes road deaths? It seems we can most immediately improve the situation not by getting rid of a mass of crazy, incapable, drugged, drunken, mobile phone using, poor concentration, selfish, dumb drivers in unsafe cars but by having them operating on great roads.

          New Zealand is in a terrible state? If it is maybe that's about the way we look at things. Transport problems? We go crazy about the poor quality of roads then complain about roadworks and road cones. We complain about too many vehicles on the road and complain about establishing public transport.

          We complain there's not enough money for transport infrastructure while sending billions a year to foreign banks and fuel companies.

        • scotty 17.1.1.4

          Zero is ashpirational

        • Sabine 17.1.1.5

          You can't really do that though.

          Germany has a network of roads that is quite diverse 🙂

          Landstrasse – rural roads that are usually at 60 – 80 kms – these roads are full of tractors and locals travelling from one village to the next. Here in NZ you will find the tractor on the motorway and you need that motorway to get from one village to the next.

          Bundesstrasse – a bigger road, usually sits at a100 kms and is good for local / state travel. Less stressful then a motorway. comparable to your highways minus the potholes.

          Autobahn – Germany is a transit country, always has been always will be until we nuke the planet. So the idea of the Motorway is to get in and get out the shortest route, the fastest way. NZ has none of these.

          Germany has invested gazillions in noise absorbing roads around towns and in towns. Germany has invested gazillions in roads that allow for a lot of vehicles to travel very quickly in and out. So much money was allocated to create safer roads, environmentally better roads and noise control was equally important..

          Germany has revived its train network from the brink of death in the 80s. It offers tax refunds on train tickets for business travelers and waged workers, it has on offer cheap weekend tickets, see the last cheapy over summer last year to offset some of the increasing transport costs. Germany has invested in a local/regional bike road network that lets you go pretty much anywhere without ever having to get your bike on a motorway *(illegal in Germany as no vehicle traveling less then 60 can enter a Autobahn), and you can take these bikes on busses and trains without issues.

          In NZ we fix holes, wait fort the fix to fall apart and then the same crew with the same shitty materials will fill the same hole. Again, again and again, until the kingdom comes. Or we just run out of money and will to fix the same issue and thus decided to spend 0 Dollar on fixing it.

          What in NZ is missing is a coherent approach to road infrastructure and driving and what types of roads are needed to keep the country moving. We are still travelling in large parts on a network that was created by settlers following a cow called Willow. And as far as i can see it always has been as such. So many times i was told that we are a small country and can't afford the nice things.

          I.e. build a train network, get heavy transport on rail, a comprehensive bike network across the country and its towns, tax incentives for people to actually get on bikes and on the train etc etc etc.

          Tax incentives for people to use Bus/train/boat for their commute is an easy fix.

          Tax incentives for people to ditch an old car to get an e-bike could be done easily.

          Start re-building the train network. Not as a feel good and see us doing something project, but as a vital means of keeping the country and goods moving.

          Train people to learn how to drive properly. That too could be regulated easily.

          There will never be 0 fatalities as literally falling of a bike or a scooter can kill you.

          But there can be a reasonable effort to reduce accidents based on bad roads, bad cars and bad drivers.

          Now in NZ shitty drivers can teach their kids to be shitty drivers. In Germany it costs you 2000+ to learn how to drive, attend a first aid course for a few saturdays, and sit your test to get a full license that is on a probation period. And if you get caught drink driving chances are you never will get your ‘lappen’ license back. Why? It is not a right to have a car and drive legally it is a privilege.

          Bad cars. Nothing much needs to be said. Poor people can't afford good cars so will drive in their shitters, un-wofed, and un-rego'ed as there are no other options.

          Bad Roads – Well, here we are. Full circle. Our roads are falling apart, slipping into crevices, offering nothing but a car destroying bumpy ride one pot hole after the other.

          • Incognito 17.1.1.5.1

            What in NZ is missing is a coherent approach to roading and driving and what types of roads are needed to keep the country moving.

            Seriously?? Do you actually keep up with what is happening in NZ and do you actually read the other comments in this thread? It appears not so.

            • Sacha 17.1.1.5.1.1

              I see some constructive ideas in there. And useful to hear from a German person when someone raises that country as an example.

              However NZ does have a roading hierarchy too, yes.

    • Sacha 17.2

      Kiwibuild was premised on the unrealistic belief that the private sector would help reduce the cost of housing out of the goodness of their hearts. Flawed theory of change.

      It was also an embarrassing failure and govt's approach totally changed after that including replacing the hapless Twyford with Megan Woods. No communication to replace ‘KiwiBuild’ in the public’s mind though.

      Thousands of extra houses since are tangible. Unfortunately so are the fruits of continuing the two previous govts' juicing of housing as a financial asset.

    • Tony Veitch 17.3

      Totally off topic and deserving a smack on the hand from the moderators – but a quote for tsmithfield re the Ukraine war – most appropriate:

      “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
      G.K. Chesterton

      This is why the Ukraine will win!

  18. adam 18

    Bloody hell mickey, the largest transfer of wealth up in NZ history.

    Inflation: who gives a rats ass if it's international, when you can't afford basic food items. Or cloths, shoes or any of the basics.

    Rent – still bloody ridiculous high, in a low wage economy.

    Health care: how long till you can access it these days?

    MSD are still brutal pricks, if anything worse because they have little ministerial over site – or to put it nicely, the minister is as weak as piss.

    How many working class people are on waiting lists, from health to housing, whilst the rich got richer?

    Just a fubar response mate, it's like the whole Hilary thing again, the lesser evil argument – and what orange haired cock did that give us again…

    Plus the anger that all this produces – here listen to this a friend popped on Facebook for me to listen to recently – might just give you a bloody clue.

    Because this middle class shitfuckey your ranting on about, is going to get us a far right radical government if you don't get your head out of your ass and look at the real world for real people.

  19. Infused 19

    Don't get confused.

    This election isn't a vote for national. It's a vote to get labour out of power.

  20. Drowsy M. Kram 20

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/money-sex-and-power-national-at-war

    I'm voting to keep National out of power. Luxon is just Key's latest self-serving legacy.

    The dark side haunting New Zealand’s politics in 2022 must not hijack the next election [21 December 2022]
    But smug self-comparison risks obscuring a harsh turn in the country’s normally demure politics. The National party leader, Chris Luxon, sensing a hardening in the collective mood, condemned support for the most vulnerable New Zealanders as “bottom feeding”, implied the existence of “high calibre” and low calibre Māori, and attacked young men “sitting in a garage in South Auckland” with thoughts of pursuing “gang life”.

    Would you like fries with that?

    The light-hearted publicity stunt was lost on Labour ministers, however, who noted McDonald's workers had supported the Fair Pay Agreements that came one step closer to being law overnight despite vehement National opposition.

  21. cp 21

    "we are 10 percentage points better off than….." does not cut it

    when more and more people are becoming scared that they wont be able to look after themselves and each other, given the state of the geopolitical world, the state of the environment, the state of the climate, the state of economic inequality, the state of decay of our people who endured child abuse and are still being punished by a deplorable mental health system, etc…..

    we cant even go swimming without checking for shit.

  22. new zealand is not in a terrible state. any suggestion of that is meddling and interfering by a media corrupted by its tory masters

  23. The staff accommodation issue is more complex than just paying enough in places like Ruapehu and Queenstown. There is often no accommodation available for staff at any price as it is reserved for AirBnB/Bookabach/Bachcare short-term rentals. That includes for employers seeking to rent or buy staff accommodation.

    While not detracting from the argument that some employers can still do better, sooner or later local councils need to take AirBnb et al on and treat them as commercial entities if their commercial use exceeds as set number of days each year. My non-scientific cap is 30 days per year, enough to pay the rates and part of the mortgage; above that, they all need to meet commercial standards and pay commercial rates etc.

  24. Doogs 24

    On the road toll –

    The one thing which all commenters have completely ignored – the largest elephant in the room, and the one factor which surpasses all others in terms of preventing crashes injuries and deaths, is driver competence. Well trained and competent drivers who use proactive and well judged responses to prevailing conditions will almost certainly avoid calamity. They will know by understanding and instinct how to react to road conditions, weather conditions, vehicle limitations and any other factors prevailing at the time they are driving.

    Achieving a population of these people will be the most difficult and elusive of goals. The factors which prevent drivers from being fully competent are too numerous to mention, but fixing this ever present incompetence is the thing which will bring us closer to zero than anything else. Better roads, safer vehicles, restrictions on HGV, median barriers, etc, etc, will all contribute, but will all be blunted by unthinking and uncaring hell hounds, or by lazy, unobservant, thoughtless idiots who think that driving just happens – like breathing or farting.
    Make getting a licence really hard, and revisit licences already issued available for re-issue under the new restrictions. Unfortunately the human condition will prevent that and so we are back to fixing everything else.

    • Sacha 24.1

      Vision Zero approaches explicitly do not rely on humans to be error-free. Layers of protection, like we used to do for Covid.

  25. Stuart Munro 25

    The terrible state argument is not without substance – though most of the media making it are ill-informed buffoons with no interest in drilling down to real issues that concern working people. They are epiphenomena on our society, and the flapping of their gums is about as meaningful as the waving of washing on the line on a breezy day.

    There has been a very little progress on housing. How much? Not enough to produce even a minor fall in rental prices nor yet a measurable uptick in home ownership. The model chosen – an extreme neoliberal one – did not make cost a major concern. If BAU were a reputable standard, it could be called a success, but the housing crisis has not abated. Nothing to write home about here – NZers are still paying vastly over the odds for what is, by international standards, distinctly inferior housing.

    There has been little or no environmental progress. Government horse traded away the physiologically based nitrate limits, leaving us with rules that are unsafe and anomalous by world standards. Emissions are increasing, as mass low-quality migration lifts our population and agriculture is still counting on resisting regulation. There has been no action on sore spots like the Selwyn River or Lake Ellesmere – generational change being code for "We shall do nothing of substance".

    There have been a handful of promising pro-social measures – like the fuel tax pause and the winter low income payment. But inflation has long since consumed them. 2% GDP growth is no substitute for money in pockets.

    It is only the vacuum of political representation of the working majority that allows government performance to pass for being plausible. Far right loons like National and ACT are hardly going to raise issues that they have no interest in addressing.

    • Gosman 25.1

      On your housing points – how exactly do you make costs a major concern in any potential solution? Please give examples of what you mean in relation to policy that does take this in to account.

      • weka 25.1.1

        as part of a raft of interconnected strategies for ending poverty, transitioning to post-carbon, and building resilience,

        1. cap rents for a period of time (please spare me the TINA responses).

        2. lower property prices over time.

        • Gosman 25.1.1.1

          The government can't just lower property prices as the market sets thoses. It can enact a series of policies which will impact the prices and may well lead to lower prices. What are those policies?

          • weka 25.1.1.1.1

            Turei had a plan in the term before the 2017 election, you can look that up.

            • Gosman 25.1.1.1.1.1

              Do you mean this one?

              "Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei has today launched a progressive ownership plan to provide up to 10,000 new homes for lower-income Kiwis to own, and to empower community housing groups with new financing models to help fix the housing crisis."

              https://www.greens.org.nz/green-party-launches-plan-get-more-low-income-kiwis-their-own-home

              That is only 10,000 houses total which is an insignificant drop in the ocean of the housing market. There is NOTHING in that policy which suggests costs across the entire market will be controlled.

              • weka

                no, she talked in the media at one point about the idea of the government intentionally dropping housing prices over time by maybe 10%. I don't remember the details or figure or mechanisms. I tried googling, but google is basically munted now for finding historical political content.

                • It might be this one

                  https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/82525588/green-party-calling-for-house-prices-to-be-cut-in-half-over-time

                  "Turei says addressing the issue involves a capital gains tax, a state house building programme, both state houses being built and a state programme for building houses for sale, the unitary plan and supply.

                  Any approach to bringing down house prices needs to be done in a controlled way and over a long period of time, she said."

                  Not a detailed policy in this report (though might have evolved later)

                  The policy was very firmly rejected by Andrew Little, at the time…..

                  “Labour leader Andrew Little said Ms Turei’s declaration that Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced was irresponsible.
                  There was no way a Labour-led government would consider the idea, he said.”

                  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/309530/auckland-house-prices-need-to-drop-50-percent-greens

                  • weka

                    ta, just found the RNZ one too via searching TS.

                    2016.

                    The average house price in Auckland has risen to nearly $1 million, or 10 times the median household income.

                    Ms Turei said the only way to reverse that was to slowly bring prices back down to three or four times the median household income.

                    She told Morning Report the Green Party was considering what timeframe would work without crashing the market and hurting people who already owned homes.

                    "The only way to prevent a bust, and to protect families in the short and long term is to lay out a comprehensive plan, which means using every comprehensive tool that we've got so that we can slowly bring down house prices so that they're reasonable."

                    The Auckland Council's chief economist had suggested bringing prices down to five times the median household income by 2030, she said.

                    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/309530/auckland-house-prices-need-to-drop-50-percent-greens

                    Not sure that they developed any policy though.

      • Stuart Munro 25.1.2

        Rent caps, punitive taxes on slumlords, tax on accumulating residential property, taxes on Air BnB, caps on council permitting charges, and exploring and subsidizing alternative housing, be it tiny house sites or pressed hemp yurts for starters. Caps on bank lending for residential property would help too – were banks obliged to lend commercially to retain access to the lucrative housing loan market their support for out-of-control speculation would be less enthusiastic.

        Labour had got into the lazy and dysfunctional habit of presuming housing cost inflation was desirable. It is not unreasonable to expect them to take some action to remedy that error.

        • Gosman 25.1.2.1

          Taxes are costs. If you increase taxes you increase not decrease costs. Much of your other options such as caps on residential lending and rent controls would simply increase shortages in the rental market. You would make it easier for first time buyers who had funding in place but not for people who can't afford to buy. The upshot of most of your policies is greater homelessness although I suppose they could all live in a bunch of hemp yurts.

          • Stuart Munro 25.1.2.1.1

            Taxes are costs

            Simplistic nonsense – taxes can be costs, or signals to your god-that-failed, the market, or funding for the provision of social goods.

            In a market like NZ housing, which is largely composed of manufactured shortage and speculation, there is quite a lot of elasticity before taxes become merely costs.

  26. SD 26

    Regarding the hate speech laws… I'm yet to hear of any example of hate speech directed at religion that is not already covered under existing laws against incitement to violence. Can anyone give an example of something that should be illegal that isn't?

  27. TDB has published a riposte to this blog post. I enjoy Bradbury's rants but he's turning into just another anti-Labour troll. Politics is indeed "the art of the possible".

    BLOGWATCH: How desperate are Labour? Read this Standard post and gasp! | The Daily Blog

    Political ideals are good but MPs have to make messy and imperfect decisions in the real world.

    Democracy is "the worst form of government, apart from all the others".

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