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“Politics of envy”

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 pm, April 20th, 2011 - 77 comments
Categories: class war - Tags: ,

A while ago Irish wrote a post about right whingers: the poor wee fullas who aren’t happy to simply take a bigger and bigger share of the pie but want to cash in on grievance as well. It seems National’s blogger David Farrar didn’t get the memo.

It’s like they aren’t happy to take the wealth of the nation and leave the rest of us to rot. They need us to feel sorry for them too.

One of the tropes they use in this phony game is “politics of envy”.

Y’see it’s okay for them to spend billions on tax cuts for their rich mates while they change the law to make it harder for Kiwis to get a pay rise.

And it’s okay for them to blow $6k on a fancy suit while they ponder how to make battered wives pony up cash to go to family court.

And it’s okay for them to pay for flash overseas holidays from their taxpayer funded incomes while preaching about how beneficiaries should take personal responsibility instead of asking for help to feed their kids.

But it’s not okay to call them on it because that’s just “envy”.

Poor widdle rich boys. Cry me a fuckin river.

77 comments on ““Politics of envy” ”

  1. millsy 1

    Farrar if you think that I should bow and scrape and doff my hat to somone because they have more money than me, then you can get fucked. You and your Broederbond abortionist killer friend (MacDoctor).

    The same goes for Monty, higherstandard, Big bruv, Barnsley Bill, tsmithfield, The Baron, infused, Chris73, Luva, Tanz, Santi, Bob Stanforth, Hooten and the rest of you social darwinist fuckheads.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      PeteG deserves to be named and shamed for fighting on behalf of the rich and the few against the many and the struggling.

    • Monty 1.2

      Millsy – don’t be such a tosser.  (By the way you forgot WhaleOil).  John Key is the PM of New Zealand – he works his butt off and on occassion he needs to be in two places at once.  In order to do this the Prime Minister needs to use resources available in much the same way as every PM has done before him.  Including Clark who used the Air-Force Jet fpor transport during the 2008 election campaign.

      so dont be a hyprocrite.  This is a desperate beat up by a desperate Labour / socialist opposition .  Nothing more.

      By the way I always treat everyone with respect regardless of their wealth, position, sex, religon, sexual orientation and even their politics.  Shame you have such a pathetic hang-up.

      • IrishBill 1.2.1

        I’m reminded of that old saying – “there’s two types of tory, millionaires and suckers”. Are you a millionaire Monty?

      • millsy 1.2.2

        Whatever, youre the one going on about how everyone should give up their health, education, and wages so the rich can pay less tax, etc. Youre the one who slags off poor people, workers etc but think the rich are so fucking wonderful, and they we should be in awe of them all the fucking time.

        Get fucked Monty. I am not going to admire the rich. Not now, not ever.

      • Irascible 1.2.3

        I haven’t seen Key work his butt off for anyone but himself at any stage in his parliamentary career. Witness his lobbying to find information on NZ Rail while trading in shares in the same company. If that’s not self interest before principle I’ll eat my hat.
        A photo opportunity of Key mincing up to a race car driver is not a priority the NZ taxpayer should be funding.
        However, Key is more at home in Hawaii where he scuttles & runs to whenever his spin doctors can’t extract his foot from his mouth.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.4

        Monty you called me a “Socialist”
        You just made my day!!!!! 😀
        (More specifically, I believe in long standing Labour values of democratic socialism 🙂  )

        • grumpy

          More specifically, I believe in long standing Labour values of democratic socialism “

          So you’re the one???

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.5

        AFAIK Monty, neither the dinner nor the v8s was a state occasion so JK using state funds to transport him was blatant theft.

      • millsy 1.2.6

        As for slater, the guy’s a fat hypocrite. He rants and raves about how evil welfare is, and then the moment he falls on hard times (the insurance barons cut him off), he is down at the WINZ office with his hand out because of his depression.

        That fuckwit should have got a cardboard box and went to live under a bridge – set an example for everyone

        • Just quietly

          Lol – never was a truer word spoken 🙂

          Just quietly, I think he’s even more of a hypocrite than most people realise. 
          Did you know his wife and MIL (through several layers of trusts and companies) own 40% of the company – Botany Security Ltd -that pay his phone bills and vehicle running costs – not to mention provide that vehicle to him free of charge. Of course, this could be completely legit…..

          But surely, if that company is making money…. and the Slater family are enjoying the proceeds…. that should affect their benefit entitlements?

      • Bored 1.2.7

        Monty, we all pretty much work our butts off. Each in his/her own way and to his/her own ability. For doing this 99% of people dont get paid like Shonkey. Which is insulting for the rest of us as his value is no greater or less than the rubbish man who collects his crap. Its not envy, it is the deep seated knowledge of the unfairness and inequity.

    • kriswgtn 1.3


    • higherstandard 1.4

      I don’t think you should have to bow and scrape and doff your hat to anyone millsy, not sure where you got that idea.

      I do think you should remove the amount of hate you appear to have in your heart though – it’ll eat you up unless you release it.

  2. Peter Bains 2

    Have you got PMT today millsy?

  3. George.com 3

    Farrar attempts to divide two issues. One, whether Keys use of the military helicopter was appropriate and two, how this has anything to do with him being rich. Here is my answer.
    One, was it appropriate to use a helicopter? No. Straight and simple. If Key had two very pressing matters he needed to attend to in the same day then maybe it would have been justified. What he did have was the V8s in hamilton and a dinner in Auckland celebrating a golf club being granted royal status. Apparently convention dictated he could not arrive at the dinner after the Governor General. Fine, conventions are conventions. Go to the black tie dinner event before the GG. So, that meant missing the V8s. What significant loss would have occurred had Key bypassed the V8s? None. Let me repeat that. None. Absolutely none at all. The V8s did not need Key at them to be successful in any way or form. The only loss would have been to Key himself, missing a photo opportunity. Using a helicopter to fly from hamilton to Auckland, under these circumstances, was inappropriate. Not acceptable.

    As for the second issue, this is where wealth may play a part. Attempting to justify this use of the helicopter could very well indicate that Key is out of touch with what normal Kiwis do and find acceptable. It may be acceptable in wealthy circles or high business to fly between appointments. That is understandably convenient. The vast mass of average Kiwis however drive, walk, cycle, take public transport or pay for a commercial air flight. What he did was only accessible in high income or high business circles, not what the masses of us can manage. being used to it and finding nothing wrong with it indicates that Keys thinking is at the high end of income or business, not what the average Kiwi can manage.

    That then David Farrar is why Keys wealth is material. If of course, this argument does not explain Keys actions, then the only other alternative is that he grosely abused his PM privileges (for the sake of a photo opportunity)and should publicly state as much.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      Ok, thanks for that.

      So we’ve got two New Zealand now becoming three:
      the haves,
      have-nots, and
      Shonkey’s nice-to-have.

      We’ve got news for the PM:
      the recent taxpayers’ Iroquois trip
      is a nice-to-have
      that was not appropriate to have.

    • rosy 3.2

      Summarised nicely George.com

    • Georgecom 3.3

      I’ll attempt to explain my views a little further using Helen Clark and not having children.

      Some of the Kiwiblog right liked to claim that Clark was out of touch with kiwi parents and could not understand their views & needs as she did not have children. Certain decisions she took proved this.

      Likewise, Keys decision says something about being out of touch, understanding views and needs on the basis of wealth.

      There are perhaps two ways Key could justify his use of the military helicopter. One, he is used to moving in circles where such modes of travel are accepted and utilised. This, world of high business or wealth, is not the world that the majority of NZers live in. Two, he thought the V8 photo opportunity warranted his usage of the helicopter or he was needed in hamilton that day. It didn’t & he wasn’t. The only person it may have warranted being there was Mr Key himself for the photo opportunity.

      This is why John Key had to attend the V8s


      • Jim Nald 3.3.1

        How about a bit of politics of admiration for the politics of photo-ops?
        I’ve found five pics of John Key’s luverley V8 photo-ops
        1. That stuff.co.nz with “the SP Tools promo girls”
        2. The one with Tony Cochrane
        3. The one with Greg Murphy
        4. The one in the V8
        5. The one with Fabian Coulthard
        Anyone found more? Someone can post them as a filmstrip?
        Hate to see the trouble of having to arrange the Iroquois go to waste. Taxpayers’ money after all.
        The man’s really wanting to show them off. Do it for him. Go on.

    • Mac1 3.4

      George.com @ 3, the only two pressing matters that Key would care about is his new suit coat and trousers, all $6000 of them. 🙂

  4. Mac1 4

    But, Zetetic, “Isn’t that the true measure of a man how wealthy he is, or what title he has, or how much land?” the righties ask.

    No, we call the worship of wealth and the practice of the wealthy for its lack of morality and ethics, like the sages, the philosophers and the religious thinkers taught us.

    Not a whit of envy………………. usually the reverse.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Hmmmm I feel that its time to popularise the “Politics of Resentment”.
    Resentment that we have a Government who is abandoning the poor and pandering to the rich.
    Resentment that the assets that generations of NZ’ers worked to build are being hawked off.
    Resentment that our media is complicit in the ruin of this country.
    Hope that come November 26 we will put all these things right.

    • Jim Nald 5.1

      Or politics of exasperation, of indignation …
      Not sour grapes but:

      “… in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage”
      – John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        I read through the whole Steinbeck collection a few years back. Deeply moving and influential, deservedly one of the all-time greats.
        And the famous passage you quote above is testament to how remarkably slowly this vintage ripens. Oh it’s bursts open with sudden fury… but the seeds were planted long, long before.
        Politics of envy? Ha… the astounding thing is how dumbly tolerating the ordinary people are of these poncing, pretending buffoons who pose as our betters.

        • Jim Nald

          Steinbeck resonates again today. When he began writing the book, he wrote:
          “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects].”

  6. Jenny 6
    The facts show that Tony Blair’s nickname of “Bliar” was well earned.

    Facts are stubborn things and the truth always comes out.


    Memos show link between oil and Iraq invasion.

    This immoral liar and immoral Oil Criminal has his admirers in this country who have sponsored him to visit here.  
    It will be educational to witness, which criminal richies turn up to admire him.

    capcha – “falling”

  7. Jenny 7
    Two headlines in the Media yesterday.

    One shows how the taps are opened, when our extremely wealthy and privileged Prime Minister faces a minor traffic inconveniance.


    The other the very real hardship faced by the people of the Christchurch Earthquake, with very little government relief.
  8. tsmithfield 8

    “Cry me a fuckin river.”

    Mate, your whole article was one big cry.

    In my book, the politics of envy seeks to bring the rich down to the level of the poor.  Evidence for that is the sort of articles I see here, such as those having a moan about the fact that Key has a $6000 suit, implying that he should be wearing cheap clothes like everyone else. That being the case, then it seems to me that the left has the ambition of making everyone equally poor. 

    IMO a much better type of politics for the left is the politics of aspiration. This would involve helping the poor become wealthy. This takes a bit more vision, and a bit less moaning about those who have already made it. Perhaps when the left has actually grasped this concept they might actually become a bit more relevant to voters.

    • IrishBill 8.1

      Are you seriously running a “politics of envy” argument? Irony much?

      • tsmithfield 8.1.1

        Irish, I think the problem for the left is that running this attack line of pointing out that Key can afford nice things isn’t actually working. The reason it isn’t working is that it shows the left to be envious, which isn’t a nice trait to see in anyone. Furthermore, it suggests that the left has admitted itself to be impotent to propose anything better to make a difference for people, so it has resorted to this sort of behaviour.

        • IrishBill

          Ah, a concern-troll line coupled with a politics-of-envy line. Don’t you have any new material?

        • higherstandard

          Nah this line of attack will work fine about 2014………. but I suspect key will have stepped aside by then.

        • MrSmith

          Irish seems to have rattled your cage this morning ts.

          lets not forget ts generally behind every great fortune is a crime.

    • RobC 8.2

      ts, show me examples over the last 3 years of aspirational politics.

      25c raise in the minimum wage? Diasbility care workers having to go through three court cases to get something they are legally entitled to (and still haven’t)?

      You can sit in your ivory tower thinking it’s all about bringing down the rich to the level of the poor. It isn’t. You can think it’s the emotion of envy from those on the poor side of the fence. It isn’t.

      You can sit there and pretend to understand the motivations of those you probably don’t even see in everyday life, and probably don’t want to know. It’s not envy, it’s anger at a growing inequality in society. “Helping the poor become wealthy” a.k.a. “trickle-down” has not worked, will not work, because that is not the true agenda of your mates.

      One day enough people will wake up to this fact, and it might happen sooner than you think.

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        RobC “ts, show me examples over the last 3 years of aspirational politics.”

        I think reducing tax rates across the board is a good example. This gives more motivation for people to strive to increase their income because they keep more of the extra they earn. OTOH the left had the tax structure set up so it was a disincentive to earn more. For instance, one of my employees was not keen to work extra hours because it meant the concurrent reduction in family support didn’t make it worth his while. Thus, the left think they are doing wonderful things for the poor, when in fact they are locking them into mediocre incomes.

        RobC “You can sit in your ivory tower thinking it’s all about bringing down the rich to the level of the poor. It isn’t. You can think it’s the emotion of envy from those on the poor side of the fence. It isn’t.”

        I can only make my judgements on what I see. Articles moaning about Key having a $6000 suit, or hitching a ride in a helicopter sound pretty much like envy to me.

        • PeteG

          Articles moaning about Key having a $6000 suit, or hitching a ride in a helicopter sound pretty much like envy to me.
          The articles themselves may not be envy, looks more like part of a campaign to discredit Key and appeal to the envy vote, otherwise it’s a coincidental grouping of similar themes.

        • RobC

          Thanks, proves my point. A tax cut coupled with a GST rise (forgot to mention that bit btw ts) which has had pretty much a zero effect for those on low incomes … if that’s the best you can come up with then NAct are guilty as charged.

          • tsmithfield

            RobC “Thanks, proves my point. A tax cut coupled with a GST rise (forgot to mention that bit btw ts) which has had pretty much a zero effect for those on low incomes …”

            And this comment proves my point. The left can only see people <i>staying</i> on low incomes. This being the case, I would agree with you.

            However, aspirational politics would envision these low income people now having much more incentive to improve their situation. Perhaps that might be by taking opportunities to work overtime. Or it might be retraining to gain skills to move into a higher income bracket.

            • RobC

              Perhaps “the left” can only see people staying on low incomes because people ARE staying on low incomes?

              I have had no wage increase since commencing a job 1 Jan 2009 because (supposedly) my employer cannot afford it.

              My wife gets a $34 allowance for being away from home and family three nights a week. In 2008 that allowance was …. $34

              A friend who reads power meters has worked for an employer for three years recently had her request for an increase to $15/hour refused. Three years loyalty and she cannot earn more than $2/hr above the minimum wage.

              So I am glad you agree with me. Your solutions? One, overtime suggests there is overtime available which is not always the case. Two, retraining usually results in a drop in income plus an increase in debt which is a scary proposition for those already past youth, especially where there is no guaranteed outcome of course.

              I asked for examples of aspirational politics. A tax cut/GST switch is not aspirational for low-waged workers. For people to be “incentivised” they need to see some light at the end of the tunnel. A tax cut/GST switch is hardly an increase in lux.

              What I see is suppression bordering on exploitation. Yes, myself, my wife and my friend could vote with our feet – join the other reportedly 60% unhappy in current employment and find something else, if only life was so easy.

              Forget the beneficiaries, this is about low-paid workers who do not earn enough to stay afloat, let alone get ahead. So, show me the aspiration, show me the incentives that have happened in the last 3 years. I’m really interested in seeing them.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yeah its wage suppression all right.
                Too many NZ employers and business owners are generally so shit they cannot see any way of making money except squeezing their workers more and more.
                While ignoring the fact that it slowly cripples the economy as all our talent leaves for countries who actually know how to care for staff.

                By the way National believes in a balanced motivational system of sticks and carrots. Sticks for the poor, carrots for the rich.

              • millsy

                Rob, whats the name of the company your friend works for?

                Reason being is that I also work for a company that does meter reading, though Im in the office..

          • Draco T Bastard

            If it had had a “zero effect” it wouldn’t be so bad but the poor are worse off after NACT decided to tax them more and the rich less.

        • Pascal's bookie

          For instance, one of my employees was not keen to work extra hours because it meant the concurrent reduction in family support didn’t make it worth his while.

          Nah, it was what you were offerring that didn’t make it worth his while.

          • tsmithfield

            PB “Nah, it was what you were offerring that didn’t make it worth his while.”

            This has to be the ultimate argument of ignorance, considering you know nothing about  my company and what we pay. Actually we pay above the market to ensure we have good people and include quite a number of benefits, including a health insurance package. One of our employees was just diagnosed with cancer and was able to take advantage of this. So, get your facts straight before you make stupid comments.

            • Colonial Viper

              Bleat bleat bleat

              So, get your facts straight before you make stupid comments.

              You sound like you are offering us a chance to examine your books and payroll here.
              OK send them into The Standard and we’ll see whether you are full of shit or not.
              My bet is… 😀

              • g_man

                And you folk deriding tsmithfield here happen to know:

                * what his company is
                * what the employee does
                * how much the employee is paid
                * what the employee’s personal situation is (his gross income, his partner’s gross income, how many children he has, any other income, etc)
                * what the extra hours entailed
                * how much extra income the employee would have gained
                * how much extra money this would have made tsmithfield after paying the wages, taxes, Kiwisaver, etc.

                and are thus qualified to comment?

                Nah, thought not.


                • Colonial Viper

                  Hey g_man, you saying that he’s gonna provide us with all that info? You know, to prove his assertion that he’s such a top guy?
                  Go on mate!
                  Personally my opinion is that he’s full of it with his good employer providing high pay act, and he just got called on his comment:

                  For instance, one of my employees was not keen to work extra hours because it meant the concurrent reduction in family support didn’t make it worth his while.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  None of that stuff is relevant g and t.

                  Completely beside the point. A point Smitty introduced.

                  He said that the new job wasn’t worth taking. The answer is to make it worth more. Pretty straight forward stuff. The details about how awesome smitty reckons the offer is, are not the point. The point is how good the offer is to the employee.

                  • PeteG

                    Smitty didn’t talk about a new job, he was talking about extra hours.

                    For instance, one of my employees was not keen to work extra hours because it meant the concurrent reduction in family support didn’t make it worth his while.

                    This illustrates a problem with effective marginal tax rates in NZ.

                    By reducing or eliminating welfare such as working for families there would be a large reduction in the marginal tax rate of medium income familes (the effective marginal tax rate can be more than 50% once benefits are factored in)

                    It’s common for people to not want to work more because they hardly get anything extra in the pocket.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Smitty didn’t talk about a new job, he was talking about extra hours.
                      Doesn’t change the logic; in fact this assumes that the problem is that we don’t work enough hours. Which is bullshit. 

                    • tsmithfield

                      Exactly. PB has had a bit of a comprehension issue this morning.

                    • Bored

                      When my employees dont want to work the extra hours because it affects their WFF….I reflect that they are probably right, if I want their time (over and above 40 hours) I should pay more. My problem, not theirs. Cost of doing business. And I pass it on to some other employer if they want to buy.

                    • tsmithfield

                      We pay our guys overtime at time and a half.

                    • Bored

                      Time and a half….great. Does not answer the question the employee has which is “will it dent my WFF or is there an upside”? As an employer my question is “whats in it for me”? Employees ask the same, if the common ground is good we do the deal, if not I ask what is the cost benefit of doing what I need to do to satisfy the employees need. if it dont work, it dont work. My problem, not a problem with WFF or employees demands, just business within known parameters.

                    • PeteG

                      When my employees dont want to work the extra hours because it affects  their WFF….I reflect that they are probably right, if I want their time  (over and above 40 hours) I should pay more. My problem, not theirs.  Cost of doing business.

                      How much more are you willing to pay? If their normal tax rate is 20% and their effective terminal tax rate is 80%  if they work extra hours are you happy to pay quadruple time to compensate for our distorted tax system?

                    • Bored

                      How much more are you willing to pay? Mr G, its is totally down to whether the extra business produces margin at what ever rate is required, and whether the customer will pay.

                  • g_man

                    PB: ”
                    None of that stuff is relevant g and t. Completely beside the point.”

                    And yet, CV responded to it …

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      You put an ellipsis in there, exactly as if you had a point…

                      …and yet you failed to respond to either CV or I.

          • pollywog

            hmmm…let’s see
            spending extra time making TS richer for a pittance more…
            …or spend that time with the family
            PFFFFFT…some choice there Tarquin
            …NOT !!!

            • Bored

              As a prospective deity you might channel the words of Samuel Parnell back from beyond this world. 40 hours work, no more no less…….

              • Colonial Viper

                I personally think that NZ should be transitioning to a 32 hour work week.

              • pollywog

                Confucius say : find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
                us wannabe deities don’t do the money thing. Not tithing, not buying/selling salvation…none of it
                we leave that to the bishop tamaki’s and popes of the world
                be up for kicking some money changers tables over for laugh though.
                pity i wasn’t at Key’s royal golf dinner the other night. Dude woulda been wearing his dessert for sure.
                Lamingtons anyone ?

                • Bored

                  Tha’ man!
                  Table kickin and dessert wearin….yes! Bein a deity might be hard work but rewarding too!

        • Chills

          Replying to TS Smith.
          Okay, fair enough, complaining about his $6000 suit seems to point to envy.
          Hey, if he wants to spend that kind of money on a suit from his own pocket, I have no gripes.
          But spending our money on a helicopter ride in order to squeeze some photo ops and a nice shindig into his day is another matter altogether. People are rightly upset about a representative of our government wasting taxpayer’s money on frivolous use of the air force’s resources. That ain’t got nothing to do with envy TS.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hey, if he wants to spend that kind of money on a suit from his own pocket

            Sure. A $6000 suit was it?
            The tax cuts Key gave himself paid off that suit in a month and a half!!!
            Sweet deal from the tax payer.

  9. randal 9

    smithfiled is just another paternalistic tory who thinks his very own thoughts are facts. he doesnt care just as long as he has someone to boss about.
    why dont smithfield get off his bum and go and look at how some families are up against the wall because of this governments policies of attcking the poor for their own amusement.

  10. I don’t know who’s paying for Key’s suit (us?) but we were certainly paying for his chopper ride. I would have thought that right wingers would have applauded concern with how the PM is spending our money?

    On the other hand, perhaps they’re right and criticising Key for these things is ‘the politics of envy’. In that case, criticising other recipients of taxpayers’ money is also ‘the politics of envy’? That would make criticising the benefit payments of beneficiaries ‘the politics of envy’?

    Maybe it’s good to use ‘the politics of envy’ if someone is not well off but bad to use ‘the politics of envy’ to criticise someone who is very well off?

    It must be so confusing for right wingers to know which way to jump with each story.

  11. Richard 11

    according to Treasury’s 2010 data, 45% of taxpayers earn less than $20k per year.

    anyone wonder why people struggle?

    • mcflock 11.1

      But that’s because most people in the low to no income brackets are actually farmers who put everything in family trusts that own the farm and highly profitable companies that use dutch sandwiches.

      There are no poor people in NZ – scruffiness is a lifestyle choice. /sarc.

  12. GotYouNoGotYou 12

    Love the hypocrisy of the right wing bloggers. Like the one who popularised “mad rooter” to attack Labour MP’s.

  13. Jenny 13
    Surely the tallest of tall poppies is Tony Blair. 

    In his life after parliament, Tony Blair is a case study of the rewards that accrue to MPs who serve the interests of big business while in office.

    You could bet that if Blair had not fought a war for big oil, in the face of the biggest anti-war movement in history, or had not attacked trade unionists: – right wing businessmen the world over, would not be prepared to pay thousands of British Pounds a plate for a dinner with their hero, where he tells them how he did it.

    Cheap at twice the price

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