Open mike 27/05/2021

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, May 27th, 2021 - 90 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

90 comments on “Open mike 27/05/2021 ”

  1. UncookedSelachimorpha 1

    This is fascinating! A German study found richer people think they are relatively less rich than they are, while poorer people think they are richer than they are. Leading all of society to grossly underestimate the true extent of inequality that exists.

    German voters’ view of personal wealth causes problems for the left

    The graphic is especially good.

    Can't help thinking exactly the same thing is happening in NZ, be interesting to do the same survey in more countries.

    • Tricledrown 1.1
      1. That's how Capitalism works keep making people feel they need more junk to fulfill people's lives keeping up with the Jones's you must have a better cars houses clothing appliances etc.nothing material will ever satisfy that need for there will always be something better brighter coming that will make the previous model redundant keeping up demand and production.
  2. Ad 2

    This Covid19 investigation is such a gift to international diplomacy.

    There's never been a better net to pull China into engaging with multilateral discourse on a more than purely mercantilist basis. Let the pressure pile on.

    • Anne 2.1

      Full marks to President Biden. That is how you handle as important a matter as the origins of a pandemic. Unlike Trump who politcised the vexing question for personal gain. Most important of all, it looks like it is going to be done in a transparent way which is to everyone's benefit.

      I sincerely hope the idiots who kept voting for Trump can see the error of their ways. Vain hope I know.

      • dv 2.1.1

        The US figure are stunning

        Gone from 300k infections per day when Trump was in power to 20k per day.
        And deaths from 3000 to 400 per day.

        • lprent

          The problem is that all infections cycle – they peak and then fall. They will frequently fall almost to disappearance and then flare up to a higher peak than previously as the disease find a previously socially excluded population or get a variation that is more infectious.

          The actual test of success of population immunity if you’re looking at epidemics and pandemics is if the next peak is significantly smaller than the previous peak. A false ‘its over’ is especially daft when going from winter to summer – with the lowered environmental infection rates.

          The last peak in the US was close to double the size of the earlier one. The US is in summer now – its infection rate is still higher than it was in the last low. I’d look to October/November to see if there really has been a actual reduction in pandemics waves.

          Only simpletons (like Ben Thomas or Mike Hosking) would think that a Northern Hemisphere moving into summer has beaten off the pandemic.

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.1.2

        That is how you handle as important a matter as the origins of a pandemic.

        But! But!

        The first conclusion was the correct conclusion. That is: the source was a Wuhan Wet Market where the virus jumped from an animal to a human.

        What was a nutbar conspiracy theory on a Tuesday is a laudable initiative on Thursday.

        Whew! It's so hard to keep up.

        • mauī

          Yeah, can't wait for the centre-left to start calling Biden a raving conspiracy theorist…

        • Anne

          Manipulating/misconstruing what other people say to give a wrong impression of their reflections and then trying to blindside with pseudo science seems to be a trademark of yours.

          I scroll over the top of your diatribes Rosemary because I can't be bothered with vaccine denial and immature pettiness.

          Have a nice night.

      • Tricledrown 2.1.3

        People who vote for Trump don't think for themselves they are cult followers reason logic and truth don't register.

        Racism and personal inadequacies are the main driver for Trumpist blind faith.

        Trump dog whistles and his cultists bark as in barking mad like Trump.

        Who baffles people with his BS like any cult leader.

        White people losing their high waged jobs to China ,Mexico etc is how Trump rallies his followers .

  3. greywarshark 3

    This is an interesting example of how decision making can be obfuscated and weakened by deliberate process. And that one must understand the background politics to see the purpose, and be skilled at appeasing the doubts and dislikes to get real progress on the matter in hand.

    From Slavoj Zizek's book 'In Defence of Lost Causes' which title appeals to me in our era.

    'The 2005 French and Dutch "nos" to the project of the European Constitution were clear-cut cases of what in "French theory" is referred to as a floating signifier: a"no" of confused, inconsistent, overdetermined meanings, a kind of container in which the defense of workers' rights coexists with racism, in which the blind reaction to a perceived threat and fear of change coexist with vague utopian hopes.

    We are told that the French "no" was really a "no" to many other things: to Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism, to Chirac and his government, to the influx of immigrant workers from Poland who lower the wages of the French workers, and so on and so forth.

    The real struggle is going on now: namely the struggle for the meaning of this "no" – who will appropriate it? Who – if anyone – will translate it into a coherent alternative political vision? p.266

    I've broken it up into smaller paragraphs so one can follow the line of his points. What matters are getting in the way and stopping us from going to the heart of our conferences aimed at formulating policy to address our obvious but languishing problems, such as housing at affordable prices, and our inability to cope with the commodification of housing, one of our essential human needs.

    • Ad 3.1

      It's pretty clear Zizak can't see that the "overdetermined signifiers" he bewails are actually the right set of hooks to successfully pull very broad adherent bases. The incoherent "No" has been and remains precisely the recipe for a successful smashing of the traditional left across Europe and the UK, and also did pretty well in the US as well.

      Whereas the traditional left has kept pushing campaigns based around standard human needs, and rapidly failing to the point that globally only NZLabour remains in power or likely to get back to power.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        the traditional left has kept pushing campaigns based around standard human needs, and rapidly failing

        Only because of self-serving Quislings like Keir Starmer. Neoliberalism has wrecked the livelihoods of the mass of traditional left supporters – identity politics is no substitute for addressing that massive generational ripoff.

        Kirk's old vision: a job, a place to live, something to hope for, would sell pretty well in most of the countries hollowed out by the plague of far-right failed economists.

        • Ad

          Our current government didn't promise much of standard human needs in its first term, and promised even less in its second term manifesto (they are certainly more adventurous through 2020-21). Few would claim that the continued electoral failure of UK Labor after Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is down to any one leader.

          • Stuart Munro

            What they promise is a delicate dance with the media, and says little about either the quality of government or their intentions, other than surrendering public discourse to Murdoch's pathetic far-right hacks.

            Absent Covid and related crisies, Labour would still be running scared – but the crisis has demonstrated graphically, that neither the media nor the opposition have a ghost of a clue how to govern, how to manage a crisis, or how to run an economy. Leaves the field pretty open.

            It is Starmer et al that are the problem with British Labour – the rump of Blairism and its discredited third way presumptions. If a pathetic clown like Boris cannot be fought, much of the blame lies with the character of the opposition.

            • Ad

              If Starmer really was the issue, Corbyn should have won in a landslide. Neither did, so it's way more than character.

              The left have been granted the Covid-gift of narrating the necessity of the highly interventionist state for the common and egalitarian good. None of that is based on the usual Lefty policy positions: how left parties make good of it will determine their future existence.

              • Stuart Munro

                If Starmer were alone, he wouldn't have been able to sabotage Corbyn – but that's all he achieved.

                Labour faces multiple issues, not least of which is making some kind of accommodation with the SNP. But Starmer isn't facing those issues. It's going to be a long time in the wilderness – but the lesson is not the failure of foundational Labour values, only the danger of allowing quislings to supplant the core party roles. This can hardly be lost on NZ, where the damage done by the cabal who subsequently formed ACT, and their neoliberal colleagues, is still denying many of us the prosperity that competent governance would have delivered.

                • Tricledrown

                  The UK Labour party is broken Corbyn didn't have any charisma .

                  Starmer is not much better but where Labour is losing is in its heartland .Brexit played into the Tory hands by dividing the Northern working class labours base.The working classes of the UK have seen migrant labour keeping wages low and house prices high.

                  Brexit is the revenge that will push out cheap migrant labour.So working class people will continue to vote conservative.

                  What can Labour do ,their do nothing policy on Brexit didn't go down well.Labour had no options to offer these people so the outcome was inevitable.

                  Labour will struggle to get back support unless the economy continues in a downward spiral.

                  White English people had enough of wage destruction by former eastern block labour underming their income.Brexit has already had a chilling effect . Creating labour shortages not being filled by locals who don't want to do the dirty hard work .because the younger generations have had longterm unemployment live a much more sedentary lifestyle and don't want to move out of their social circles.

                  Many of the same reasons we rely on migrant labour in NZ.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Corbyn didn't have any charisma

                    Orly? Or is that just a Tory story? Sure, they ruined him – but he could've done a lot of good for Britain – absent traitors like Starmer.

                    • gypsy

                      This article in the Guardian is brutal to Johnson and the Conservatives, but as part of an equally brutal take down of Corbyn, the author writes this:

                      "He is a man without any qualities required of a leader, mental agility, articulacy, strategy, good humour or charisma."

                      I can't disagree.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      @ Gypsy – We've seen a lot of these "false balance" stories in the media over the last few years.

                      Corbyn had charisma to burn – the spontaneous reaction at Glastonbury was not spin doctoring.

                      without any qualities required of a leader, mental agility, articulacy, strategy, good humour or charisma.

                      You could make the claim – but Britain just chose a cross between a polar bear and an unmade bed – Corbyn is still a better leader than Boris – an absence is a better leader than Boris. And Starmer for that matter – disloyalty is a disqualifier.

          • Sanctuary

            The decline and seemingly inevitable Pasokification of UK Labour is largely due to it's colonisation as an institution by a certain London based professional clique of liberal chancers who see the party organisation primarily in terms of a vehicle for personal advancement within the existing power structures in the UK. Radical change actually threatens this ambitious class of mangerialists because it potentially shifts the gravy train they want to stay on to another line and locomotive entirely, snatching away the reawards they feel they are entitled to.

            Calling them centrists is to be to generous as to motivation. They just want to get rich via capturing the machinery of major political party and parlaying that into connections that can get them plum jobs outside politics.

  4. greywarshark 4

    Who saw the Blood Super-Moon last night? The other customer in the kebab shop said it was due to happen about 11 pm. But I wanted to be in bed then, and I'm bloody sick of all that is happening on earth without looking at the sky for kicks.

    • Graeme 4.1

      Got a good view of it down here. It was low enough in the sky that I could see it through a window. Quite convenient lying in a beanbag up in the loft in the warm.

      It wasn’t quite total here, but still quite spectacular. There was one about 20 years ago that went right through the middle of the umbra, the memory of the flash as the edge of the moon came out of the shadow will be vivid for the rest of my life. And the -15 frost that night, that one was high and had to go outside.

    • Tony Veitch (not etc.) 4.2

      I saw it, Grey, but felt like asking for my money back! Hardly spectacular!

      • greywarshark 4.2.1

        You are so blase' Tony V – been there – done that. We all are so used to miracles and wonders aren't we!

    • Muttonbird 4.3

      I had a go so you didn't have to:

  5. greywarshark 5

    Who'd have thunk it?

    Global transport company Mainfreight says international shipping companies are charging sky high premiums to carry freight, which is driving up the cost of imported goods.

    Mainfreight managing director Don Braid said the cost of shipping a 40-foot container of goods had been inflated by up as much as $8000 more than a standard contract price negotiated pre-Covid-19…

    Congestion at the Ports of Auckland was going on at every major port around the world, he added.

    Braid expected the situation would continue for at least 12 months, with one of its large United States-based customers preparing for the price gouging to last for perhaps four more years.

    It was more efficient to call up passing international ships than have our own line; that was the mantra.

    Incidentally all my smart family in Auckland think it is crazy to have Whangarei to be opened up to remove pressure on Auckland ports. This thinking is based on simple commonsense! Real examination of the situation indicates that thinking needs to go beyond simple. Yet decisions to vote in general elections are based on similar snap judgments. It seems to me that voters need to do a scratch test to demonstrate they know how to distinguish vital differences, between B and P for instance, (gosh they look alike).

    • RosieLee 5.1

      Opening up Whangarei and Northport will only happen if they get the friggin rail sorted. Does anyone seriously want all those container trucks on the road, all the way to and through Auckland?

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    Interesting angle on both National and Labours Chinese MPs resigning within 11 days of each other last year

    It comes as news website Politik says the two resignations were orchestrated by the offices of Ardern and former National leader Todd Muller over growing security concerns..

    Politik says it was because of growing concerns about the men's relationship with the Chinese government and that they resigned after security briefings to the two-party leaders.

    • Peter ChCh 6.1

      Yes Ghost, we have been sold out to Chinese interests by both major parties for too long.

      Unfortunately, corruption in China is normalised and not even seen as wrong or bad by most people. And Chinese are nationalistic to a degree we could never understand (I guess being almost completely isolated until the last century and a half does that).

      I know this personally from my brief stint as a lecturer at Lincoln University (I quit after repeatedly being told not to address the almost universal cheating by Chinese students. The bs excuse was that it was culturally offensive to address this). Also as a former CA working for an extended period in Shanghai.

      Some relevant questions: why do Kiwirail persist in buying the Dog and Lemon 'DL' class locos, that perform worse than 45 year old US made 'DX' class locos, and have been off the rails for extended periods for major repairs (turbine replacement) and cab asbestos removal and severe cab rust? Or the container wagons that had such bad deck camber that containers could not be loaded, and the decks of which had to be machined flat in NZ?

      And thats just Kiwirail. So many similar proven examples of councils (e.g. CCC tiles for the Square that were not fit for purpose or Invercargills Chinese Christmas lights) and government departments and universities doing this (eg the treatment of Prof. Anne-marie Brady by University of Canterbury).

      We have been screwed by our 'leaders' who put personal advantage ahead of the national interest for decades now, and now the implications are becoming apparent.

      Thats my rant for the day over!

      • RedBaronCV 6.1.1

        Interesting points. I do think we are naive in our dealings with China and could take a bit of advice from some of our SE Asian neighbours who have been dealing with them for a long time. I always feel the main interest is in ripping us off and we could do with gently easing away and making common cause with other like minded smaller nations.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          The Australians seem to be going 'ape' over chinese trade issues, now 60 minutes is calling us as New Xi-land. Its really the 5 Eyes thing where we didnt become their poodle

          They get so jingoistsic and of course we are easier to kick around than China

          • RedBaronCV

            The five eyes stuff may be the latest issue but there has now been a string of issues dating back over 20 or so years.

      • Patricia Bremner 6.1.2

        Perhaps why we are now going to "make our own" and are no longer bringing in huge numbers of overseas students.

        • Peter chch

          Yep, at long last. Hillside Workshops rebuild and then assembly of wagons. Good first step.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Quite a long piece on the case against Hardieboard going on which will be interesting as we watch the government neolibs puny ideas go naked; ie the ones about business being reliable, and the people and market scrutiny being enough to keep them good. Yes business knows better than government how to do things well and be good not like those lazy, slack, costly, limiting public servants and inspectors.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    National Party operative, Ben Thomas, is having a big cry about Kiwis being cautious about immigration at the moment.

    Ben might like to accept that Kiwis now are sick and tired of mismanaged immigration policy over the last 20 years. They are sick and tired of our infrastructure not keeping up with demand.

    Ben wants to open the tap again, presumably so the value of his houses continue to skyrocket.

    • RedBaronCV 8.1

      It was an article with a lot of contradictions. Proud of our diaspora – not sure about that and I find it deeply worrying that we have several hundred thousand permanent resident visa's issued where the visa holder is not ordinarily resident here. But I bet we'd see them if they had welfare needs. Flights numbers from the red countries went down about 75% when it went to citizens only. Why didn't we do that sooner? It's a large financial risk to the ordinary taxpayer which needs to be controlled – cancel the visa's if people do not remain ordinarily resident here?

      But on another subject entirely – I'm no social scientist but we have remained covid free so far – what social strands led us as a community to be so effective? I see precious little interest or curiosity in that as a subject which we could utilise to better ourselves as a community in other ways?

      There are some obvious strands – clear information and a lot of feedback as to how we are doing, a bit of money to tide individuals over – but how do we harness this community pull together in other economic and social ways. Not with top down edicts I guess but there must be something there.

      • Descendant Of Smith 8.1.1

        "what social strands led us as a community to be so effective?

        One aspect that was very clear to me was the memory by Maori of the impact of the 1918 Spanish flu. While quite a few marae have monuments this was a time when oral history was much more useful than written history. Passed down memories of up to 60% of a localised population dying and much more resilient than needing to get a book out of the library or research on the internet.

        This set in motion a strong desire to not have history repeat – hence the road blocks, etc.

        The other aspects bought by Maori to the table, and more importantly enacted and implemented, were concepts like manakitanga and kotahitanga. Both the looking after others and we are all in this together.

        These concepts have always been anathematic to capitalism (you only need to read Hansard to hear politicians speaking of the evils of Maori communism) but in this case were perfectly suited to the crisis that befell the world.

        Maori excelled themselves during this crisis and while the media headlines were about road-blocks Maori were busy checking on the elderly and the disabled, making sure they had firewood, dropping off food parcels and to all those redneck bigots who say "well what about the treaty settlements”, they were spending good money on making sure their people as well as many non-Maori were supported through this time. Those skills in organising tangi and bigger events such as kapa haka festivals, etc honed so well over the years, came into good stead.

        These concepts and skills with slight variations cover the whole country – from large urban areas to small towns and villages.

        I certainly sense a growing confidence, in part as a result of responding to the pandemic so well, about handling their own affairs and being part of the story in New Zealand's future. COVID-19 was an opportunity to sat – we're here and we can do great things.

        From a non-Maori perspective there has been a run of crises – the Christchurch earthquakes, etc where people have come together – these almost a pre-cursor to this larger less localised crisis. The seeds were sown.

        Where this leads to will be interesting – do we build on that increased confidence that Maori have or do the same people who have been in charge for a while just get put back once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

        I'm hopeful that we don't revert – the change sweeping across the country to have Maori wards and therefore to have Maori at the decision making table will bring some challenges for incumbent councils around a whole range of things – environment, development, housing, sustainability, etc. The change from advisor functionality to voting at the table is a big jump forward.

        We need some strong social policy researchers to go around these communities and understand the response – it wasn't a capitalist response on the ground – while at a government level things such as increased benefits through the wage subsidy now that European workers would be laid off – was a typical capitalist response.

        • RedBaronCV

          There are some interesting threads there DOS. While there is a strong maori response there, has it also merged over into the way smaller and more remote communities operate and even into how larger community neighbours work.? The one thing we can say is that it really isn't a top down response.

          Looking at the first chch quake – the early Sunday morning one when most management is in bed. The initial response was interesting, early ferries out of Wellington where held back so that some trucks with essential gear comms and telco stuff IIRC could be loaded and sent south, Fonterra at Clandeboyne had washed out milk tankers and dispatched them filled with water by about, Line maintenance crews had checked lines out further south and where on the road to Chch around the same time and the airport and the main hospital where back in operation and on mains power by about 2pm. Does this also fit into the same social narrative.

    • lprent 8.2

      …Ben Thomas, is having a big cry about Kiwis being cautious about immigration at the moment.

      Basically he’ll have to wait until we hit 70+% vaccination rate. I not aware of any credible medical person who thinks that a rate lower than 70% is sufficient to protect a population from offshore infection. Most seem to be putting it higher than that.

      I can’t think of a reason for taking the risk of opening up the borders more than we are doing right now (and I have some trepidation about our current level). I certainly can’t see any reason as a population why we should do so.

      Not to mention this bit of stupidity..

      For a country that has long been proud of having the developed world’s second-largest diaspora (by percentage of population), after Ireland, the casual dismissal of New Zealanders seeking to come home from overseas, and the glee with which quarantine charging was embraced, was startling.

      Who are these stupid dickheads who’d be proud of that? I guess that some proportion of dumb and dumber live here – apparently Ben Thomas meets most of them.

    • Gabby 8.3

      To be fair, he might just want to pack them to the rafters with foreign tenants willing to pay far too much.

  9. Adrian 9

    Well I’m 71 and look like spending the entire winter out in the vineyard pruning as we are short of a few thousand mainly Pasifika workers and quite a few European work holiday kids. Say what you like about not needing them for all manner of reasons and I for one have long been a proponent, just to piss my Tory mates off, that a man should not own more vines than he can prune himself, but that was when I was a youthful 40 or 60. I have always felt good about how work done on my place by the few that I need from time to time has helped them to build homes and get clean reliable water for their extended families in places such as Vanuatu and Nuie and Samoa. Their wages put them in the top few per cent of earners where they come from, and incidentally they earn more than me on an hourly rate, and the 2 billion dollars of offshore earnings the wine industry earns pay for the computer you are using and the electric bike you have just bought and most importantly the billion dollars or so of Covid vaccine, which incidentally we are supplying to some of those places because they can’t afford it themselves.

    Mobile labour has been as old as time itself, the Pasifika are replacing the many who have moved to “ essential “ work such as baristas, make your own fucking coffee, Human Resources Personnel or as they were known in the old days, slave ship crew, and hairdressers, hairdressers?. Comb it your bloody self.

    That’s why we need imported labour, the old supply has moved to what really amounts to shit we can do for ourselves, because we either like to feel pampered or are too bloody lazy to do it ourselves.

    • Pete 9.1

      Do it ourselves? We need people to do our supermarket shopping for us, to gather goods for our week's cooking, to deliver food to our door so we don't have to cook…

    • Ad 9.2

      Maybe it's time you stumped up for mechanical harvesting, and obviated the need for under-paid foreign labour. If you are too small, pool together, or encourage your local subcontractor to invest:

      Then you can confine your efforts to pruning.

      This government has recently asked the Productivity Commission for advice on immigration and productivity, specifically linking to the Covid impacts:

      • Stuart Munro 9.2.1

        Better would be land reform – break up the corporate vineyards – small owners manage to manage their crops. It wasn't the peasant farmers that ruined the Roman economy, it was the huge Sicilian and Sardinian corporate slave operated grain farms. They wiped out the peasantry and then wondered why the legions had to be filled up with disloyal foreigners.

    • weka 9.3

      what's the hourly rate Adrian?

    • McFlock 9.4

      Pruners might be unskilled, but don't underestimate barista or hairdressers.

      How did you get your workers from the Pacific? Brokers? Why aren't there now brokers for NZ workers? What are the barriers to getting NZ workers?

      • Sabine 9.4.1

        Cause they are citizens and get a benefit from Winz, something a migrant would / will not get?

        I suggested some years ago to my then chronically unemployed son of my partner that he should do what the kids from overseas do, get a camper van, travel up and down the country, work the orchards and the vinyards and meet people.

        His answer? To hard, hours to long, no internet, and besides Winz will give him a benefit, and he really can't be arsed. His words.

        And that is what sums up much of the young kiwi generation to migrants. Entitled, spoiled beyond believe and with no ambition.

        • McFlock

          Don't blame him. If a job has "meeting people" as an incentive, the pay does not reflect the effort involved.

          If one mentions that there's an obscene amount of cash to be made, the number of people who can't be arsed drops dramatically. Sure, there's a balance so that the growers can actually make enough to keep going, but if the dole is competition for the income then the job is shit.

          There are other barriers. It's a big deal to relocate around the country for insecure employment. Sometimes you need to keep the flat you have, too, as well as pay for accommodation in the new place. If the job goes under, is there a new stand-down or fucking patronising seminar for the dole, or do you go straight back on it with no loss of income? Is there a clear path for some workers to do different seasonal jobs throughout the year, especially between industries?

          These are the questions the local industry associations should be asking and trying to solve, rather than whinging about a lack of imported labour. The current situation is an opportunity to improve methods without being temporarily undercut by the slower-thinking grower down the road.

          Importing labour because they're cheaper is just outsourcing our exploitation.

          • Sabine

            Well i do blame him. Simple as. If you skip school cauase you can't be bothered, never learn a single thing, than at some stage it is your fault. Simple as.

            The state owes no one anything as the 'state' is a construct we make up – we might discuss this again next time NZ is run by a different party led government. Same with a job. We are not owed one by anyone. It is up to us in life to muster some sort of survival skills and learn something. Cause if not, i think he will find life very hard.

            And i don't think his demands of wages will increase with the lack of any and all marketable skills.

            And that is why quite a few people in this country rather 'import' people to work with – and some abuse the system, and some don't (as is with every system) because you can't work with people who deep down don't want to work.

            And this is a global work force, as much as there is global trade, and Kiwi who want to make money, leave the country to be some 'job stealing migrant to some migrant importing cheap loader business' somewhere else. Go figure.

            • Anker

              Agree Sabine. Good on you for saying it

            • McFlock

              Extrapolating from one person to an entire system of labour is bold. Sure, some people might be happy to live on the dole. If they can manage it, good luck to them.

              But even if that were the case, we seem to have a problem with exporting doctors and nurses rather than fruit pickers. So this isn't an equal ebb and flow of labour, it's employers undervaluing the work they expect from their employees.

              We have a welfare state becaue "work or die" (i.e. no safety net) is exploitation. The biggest thing I've noticed about younger folk isn't an unwillingness to work, it's an unwillingness to be exploited.

              • Sabine

                Living is exploitation, if you don't feed, house and clothes your body chances are one dies quickly, in fact where it not for mother most of us would not survive birth.

                Society is what we make it. You do absolutly not have to work until you die, you can work less, work smarter, or do with less….choices.

                As for his unwillingness to be part of the system, i say hunger is a good teacher.

                • McFlock

                  As for living being exploitation, setting my own constraints is not exploitation. Employment with no social safety net enables my employer to set restrictive constraints well outside of my control. That is exploitation.

                  Hunger is not a great teacher. Just because I can remember verses of John Masefield from the teachers that regularly beat us with a strap doesn't mean I have a love for poetry. It means they beat it into me. The teachers who never hurt me, however, had a chance to build enthusiasm for a subject.

                  What's the kid doing now? Did his "chronic unemployment" hurt him in the long run?

                  • Sabine

                    yes. it actually did.

                    He is now an adult in his thirties with a good knowledge in gaming but no other marketable skills.

                    In saying that, if i had a choice, i would put him on the bum benefit, for life, enough to keep him in a room, warm, clothed and fed. Just simply to keep him of the unemployment record. He is not unemployed – for that he would have had to be employed in the first place. He expect "society" to care for him. That is two different things.

                    • McFlock

                      Still unemployed then?

                      If so he's not a typical case. Some people take longer to get into the swing of things than others. Most turn out pretty good, rather than 10-15 years unemployed.

          • Stuart Munro

            Did a spell of picking in the early nineties between deepsea trips – MAF didn't pay observers when we were on shore, we were just another group of casualized civil servants. Quite hard work, and I was fit as hell back then. Six weeks of work and the diff went on my car – basically didn't make a cent after fixing it. The value proposition is pretty broken.

            • McFlock

              Tried fruit thinning in the mid-nineties.

              Just couldn't get it right – always too much or too little. That job definitely needed a skillset I didn't have. I suspect pruning would be similar.

              So in one way I can understand growers wanting the workers they've previously used, but turning their back on the local employment market and allowing the local pool of workers to turn brackish has resulted in dumped product.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Then there's the fact they have spent the last twenty years or so telling NZer's they are useless, the corruption in the industry with not paying PAYE etc and lots of pay in cash, lack of things like toilet facilities over the years, the large expansions into areas with few workers, and issues extending of slavery etc over in Hawkes Bay.

            There has been warnings and indeed specific pandemic planning about the possibilty of what has occurred – I'd be interested if they gave any thought to it or had any plans in place in the event of a pandemic. Things like building a reliable local workforce, looking after workers when they got there, etc.

        • Foreign waka

          Sabine, 9.4.1
          True, absolutely true. I have seen both in the same jobs. The productivity of foreign workers was very much higher that of a kiwi. There are benefits but also traps to be aware of. Many foreign workers know that the job will be for a year or maybe a bit more before they move to better shores. So they work very hard and are most of all very dependable. Downside is that you cannot maintain such high octane performance over time without burning out. Not to mentions that the effort is in most cases rewarded with just more work but never higher hourly rates. This is turn corrodes the work conditions that have been bitterly fought for over generations. Many low paying jobs are maintained by having foreign labor rotating in that way.

          However, my observation is that kiwis are often lacking motivation. They have been thought that you can be anything. Problem is, most on a benefit decided to be a lazy couch potato. It was on offer so they take it. I think some pressure needs to be applied to make payment lasting longer than say 6 months conditional on participation in offers such as back to school, training or seasonal work that has to be taken up. This also means that WINZ has to get off their rubberstamping something something and actually be proactive with assisting people. Its working in other countries.

          • Sabine

            With every system, some abuse it some don't. I have also heard lovely stories of long lasting friendships that came about someone doing a few weeks worth of work somewhere in rural NZ while backpacking. Still coming back years later to that same place.

            I agree that a child should either be in school or in training. No if and whens and whys. This is not about value of hard work, or capitalism, or exploitation, this is simply making sure that a young person has enough skills to at least participate in society, while here it seems ok to just write them off, to the point where they themselves may not even care anymore. And NZ has some great 'unorthodox training' places i might add.

            I personally believe that benefits should be a. higher – 450 pw (25 grand per year tax free) , b. easier accessible – open offices again, walk in, c. irrespective of partnership status. Once you are on a benefit, it is hard enough.

            But for a child i would stipulate by law that the kid is either in a school or in an apprenticeship. It is so hard to follow up on that learning if you are an adult. And if a child is not in one of them then something needs to be done. Because we are going to have some fairly uneducated young adults coming at us.

    • Treetop 9.5

      Where do the Pasifika and European people you would employ stay?

      • Sabine 9.5.1

        Exactly where the Kiwi 'orchard workers' would stay. Either in Orchard accom, or in their travel van, or in their own house if they live near by. Unelss that is of course not good enough.

        IT does actually not matter, what matters is that work needs to be done, and yet kiwis seem to not want to do the job. And that with a min wage of 20 per hour. So maybe its not the accommodation, or the wages, maybe its the 'jobs' in so far as they are hard, dirty, and demanding. And that often these jobs are seasonally and not where people actually live.

        • Treetop

          A warm bed and a hot shower after a hard days work and a cooked meal and some lap tops with free internet and $5 – $10 above the minimum wage, were I age 20 – 25 I would do it.

          I packed apples for a season when I was 18.

          On education: when age 40 I went and did 3 level 5-7 diplomas. I hated college, I turned up for the first class on a Friday in the then 5th form and wagged the rest of the day. I dropped out mid year.

          • Sabine

            I have a lady stop at mine on her way to Te Puke. She is retired, and is currently working the sorting sheds. She can't get over the money she makes. And she jokes a lot about the young ones. They come, stay a week, get paid and are not seen again. Lol. To be honest if i were in dire needs, i would work there. You can get the job pretty much on the spot, pay is weekly, live in the van. The thing is it is a walk on walk of job, and that also needs to be taken into account. But all things considered it is a job.

            • Foreign waka

              Attitude, willingness and not wanting to be in someone else's pocket…. old teachings, long forgotten.

              • Treetop

                Being the best version of yourself. Waking up at 60 and realising your life has not been lived in some areas due to unwise decisions or not putting yourself first with some things can hurt and be a cause of regret.

                • Sabine

                  But is that not true for all of us? No matter how well we lived our lifes and / or how much we believe to have missed. At some stage must come the acceptance that the things we do come of the knowledge and maturity at the times we do them.

                  And maybe being kind to ourself is the key to not regretting so much.

                • Foreign Waka

                  Yes, but the responsibility lays squarely at your feet and is not someone else's to take care of. Whether financially or "being happy" is your doing and yours alone.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    This notion that you control your own destiny is just so much bull-shit. Luck, mentors, arseholes, circumstances, illness, accidents, the family you come from, how well off they are, political direction, legislation, genetics, technology, racism and many, many other things that play a part.

                    It's akin to Thatcher's "there is no community".

                    Of course we should help and support others and create an environment where people can flourish. The sucking in of the working class by capitalists into thinking they are middle class has a lot to answer for.

                    Four generations in NZ to move from poverty to approach the mean income. Most people in NZ have any real conception of how well off the rich are and how poor they are in real terms – though COVID-19 woke a few up.

                    "Most of us, especially in developed nations, expect to grow up to earn more than our parents. But as a new in-depth report by the OECD shows, this is becoming less likely. In fact, things have been trending this way for decades.

                    As a consequence, social mobility across nations, and generations, has stalled."


      • greywarshark 9.5.2

        It's simplistic to say that because someone who skips school and then doesn't do well in life, well that is their own fault. That ignores the variety of circumstances and what there is to motivate all that otherwise boring studying and conforming. Sometimes I wonder why I come on this blog. I hope to learn something new and factual and hear people's experiences but sometimes it is just the same old cant and prejudice and self-involved waffle. But I am motivated by meeting the minds of some remarkable people.

        • Foreign waka

          Its a very mean world out there greywarshark. As a parent you want your kid to survive, being able to stand on their own two feet. To learn and create a means to make their way. This in turn creates a strong community. I think values that have served for a very long time are being eroded and instead a cult of ego is fostered. The lesson I have learned looking back is that, the trend of children being brought up under an anti authoritarian model has actually in so many cases lead to non authoritarian behaviour. There is a need to have expectations in terms of a code of conduct and ethics.
          I may add that I reflect with experience of people, environments, poverty, illness without any dole or acc etc…

          • greywarshark

            Good thoughts Foreign Waka. But you are still thinking of children and people conforming to ways that you expect. To live together we do indeed need to conform to certain behaviours that benefit us all. But the ways we adopt need to enable people to live a life that is meaningful and possible for them. There are too many middle class people who seem basically materialistic and judge everything on the basis of having a home that could appear in House and Garden, a good education that enables them to enjoy the finer things of life and find a niche for themselves that brings in enough credits (money) to fit in with whoever is regarded as 'the right crowd' (probably displaying the most materialistic success).

            Community and other people's needs and wants do not enter into their minds much as being part of their living. If they can't 'make it' on their own after being given a helping hand here and there, well that's their fault. They are judged for not being materially successful and if they break the law they do so in ways that are not tolerated by the wealthy who have their own rules.

            So tight bums sit on their piles of money and look down on all the unfortunates and repeat little homilies about them being lazy etc. If we promote good behaviour, fair behaviour, putting something into the community when you take it out, sharing some of your excess to help others improve themselves, then we would have a nicer society where people were motivated to be kind or at least tolerant of each other, and limit their excessive behaviour however that was displayed. And a little time and money helping others, would bring good profit in many ways, and not just when there is an emergency, which wouldinclude the people down the road (the wealthy often like to help others struggling overseas because they don't give a damn about those around them).

            Encourage people to find something they enjoy doing and become skilled in. Enable them to work at something that the society wants, if not full-time, make up the needed income from government reserves. Just keep people embedded in society, creatively working, so no time for the destructive. We are so mean in all ways, and if we don't like what we see now, it is actually a reflection of what is in our shrivelled fault-finding little dried peas we call hearts.

        • Cinder

          Greywarshark, I couldn't agree more.

          This "Arbeit macht frei" baloney above makes me sick, Along with the comments about the "Society" "We" make.

          Honestly, I would expect to hear this sort of stuff on Kiwiblog or from the shade of Margaret Thatcher.

          Seeing as how Sabine want's to use 'anecdata" to score points about the unemployed and the labour market, how about I tell you my experience of being unemployed:

          Worked in a VERY specialized field in this country for nearly 20 years.

          Shifted cities to take up a new role.

          A little over a year later, myself and a dozen others were made redundant when the company was sold to an offshore entity – They moved to contracting out / short term / casualising the workforce. No spots for me.

          Unemployed for nearly four years, applying for all sorts of work that was 'beneath me" – data entry, telemarketing, all sorts… More than a dozen applications a week, every week, except over Xmas when the jobs dried up

          I was lucky if I received a rejection letter let alone an interview – most employers had no understanding of what I did in my previous roles. The fact I was in my 40's and had "manager" in my previous roles seemed to be a problem.

          WINZ tried to "assist me" into employment. This was what happened, I am "Tom".

          That was me being 'unwilling to be part of the system". The labour market is radically different to how it was a decade ago.

          Honestly, A few weeks ago people who used to regularly comment here talked about how it was now a personal soapbox for a half dozen professional gripers who believe they know it all. They are so self obsessed, and so busy yelling pathetic sophistry, that they have forgotten how to listen.

          Yes Sabine, they were talking about you and some others in particular.

          Last week you were told you were mistaken about the "National raised benefits by $25 / week" lie. You couldn't even acknowledge you were wrong.

          As for your "walk in / walk off" job at the sorting sheds – Sounds pretty fucking dodgy. Got a contract for me to sign so I'm protected? Got the paperwork so I can be sure you're paying PAYE tax to contribute to "Society"? Are you sorting out the paperwork for the student loan? Child Support? Fines? ACC levy?

          Don't bother replying, just add me to the legion of others who can't be bothered with this place anymore.

          Honestly, The Standard is turning into a bourgeois Boomer reckons Soapbox.

          For shame…

          • Foreign Waka

            Cinder, I am sorry to hear what you go through. I have no solution to offer other than demand all the assistance (financially) that you can get from WINZ and if there are unlawful going on's, try the community law center. webpage below.


            i.e. when you use the site you should find at the bottom of the page a drop field to choose location. Once you are where you choose, go to the bottom of the page and you find details like below (example only)

            Unit 9, Shop 27
            Bader Drive


            PO Box 43-201

            P(09) 275 4310


            • Cinder

              Kia Ora Foreign Weka.

              Thank you for the kind words and offer of support.

              That event was actually nearly 5 years ago, I do have a job now thank goodness.

              As I stated, it was to give the willfully unenlightened "reckons" above some idea of the labour market. But exploiters gonna exploit right?

          • greywarshark

            Cinder – That was good for you to get off your chest and for us to hear. I might weep at the way that people go on here, and they are genuinely trying to see through the fog, but it is quite a task for anyone to develop long sight. It's only through study social policy, doing some mind work for mental health, reading some citizen philosophers and thinking and getting back that I have opened my rusty door to understanding.

            People are so comfortable with what they have achieved, for all their life little pieces of information have cropped up about the western world achieving such a high standard of living while other areas so low. And we have given donations to charities and felt we have done our bit. Now that we are trans-global, free marketing and have our country legally invaded and see our own standards fall to those once read about we get an inkling of what life is when the finance system fails you and the paring knife of efficiency falls on you.

            We have heard the lies about the lies of leaders, politicians, wealthy businesspeople trading with tokens which is what our carefully nurtured international money system is. The smart people are desperately buying our houses which remain standing as a physical asset as the tide of local and international finance rises and falls. But people have lost touch with what life is about, they can't bring themselves to make the slightest change that seems obvious, ie euthanasia for terminally ill sufferers, and cannabis use in contained ways. People just want to have more toys, more technology, shape what is available to suit the wealthy ie housing for the happy retired, and goodies for the wannabes, and the anomic tech-mad individualists.

            I think the answer for those who want to face the future and hold onto good from the past is to form a movement of people who care about people and want all to have the ability to make a reasonable living and be secure and know and like most others, and be busy doing good stuff, and have time for enjoyment.

            We might need a local sub-currency properly run on economic principles (this is essential) and be prepared to fight in some way to maintain the group against detractors. You might take an interest in what Robert Guyton does and his group, they are 'doing' people with a good heart who are food growers and practical, and the tiny house builders, and the many creatives around the rohe. You might get creative with your own skills, do a sideways shift from the predator businesses and people you work amongst, and find a place where you are respected, liked, and enjoy a different cadence to your life. Climate change is happening, and a large group in NZ are unable to rethink how to live, are caught up by the present and are stuck there like a display of pretty butterflies.

            Footnote – I see that you have another job but your story may repeat. There are others who will have been through what you have experienced. Think about what I have said. It may have legs in the future!

    • Sabine 10.1

      Well i guess that was to be expected.

    • Treetop 10.2

      See which state in Australia or region in NZ is next to have a lockdown. There are too many exposure sites and the contact tracing is a hit and miss. It has taken two weeks for the situation to occur in Melbourne.

      The 5,000 in NZ from Melbourne recently and air travel from other Australian states to NZ see what the situation is in a week or two.

      • Foreign waka 10.2.1

        Well, get ready for level 3….

        • Treetop

          As negative as I can be about the potential of Covid being in the NZ community at any time. The reality is that when Covid is in the community it impacts in many ways.

          • Foreign Waka

            Indeed and everybody is reacting differently. I am one of those essential workers who work as if there is no tomorrow for a basic hrl. rate. Not so lucky being one of those who got to sit at home doing very very little (video conference in pj's anyone) that's being called "work from home".

            • greywarshark

              Kapai Kia ora Foreign Waka.
              And that is whether you are Maori or not. We all need to face our present which is integrating with Maori ideas more, and treasuring our workers especially in the border and health fields.

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