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Positive

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, January 2nd, 2017 - 19 comments
Categories: climate change, crime, Economy, global warming, Social issues, sustainability - Tags:

It’s possible to be positive about 2017.

Now, this is tricky since I don’t wish to defend the current government in election year. But it’s possible.

Our society will continue to be stable, culturally tolerant, and highly attractive to the world. That’s rare anywhere.

New Zealand’s economy is going so well that it will do fine no matter what happens in the world. Not that bold a claim.

Our climate will change the least of any country in the world (except maybe Chad, Mali, and Saudi Arabia).

Our weak state will remain immaterial to most of us.

We will continue to have one of the smallest, cheapest, and least necessary military forces in the world.

Crime is still down (Wikipedia: crime in New Zealand), inflation will stay down (see: www.tradingeconomics.com), unemployment is low at 4.9% (see: www.tradingeconomics.com), population health is increasing (see: www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org), and we remain happy and contented (see: Wikipedia: World Happiness Report from the U.N.)

The 2011-2016 earthquakes are finally forcing far more of us to think, build and believe in resilient cities.

Adversity has been shown to bring communities together, especially in marae.

Our sports teams and athletes look set to do even better than the astonishing 2016.

Our electoral system will once again prove, compared to the world, to be highly representative, efficient to run, stable in outcome, and mercifully brief.

Internationally, the great rebalancing to downsize European, British, and U.S. dominance in economic and diplomatic prowess looks set to continue without new hot wars breaking out. Miracle.

The list of what’s bad is easy.

But it’s ranui time.

19 comments on “Positive”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    Mickysavage defends you as a leftie. I think you have no idea what you are.

    • gsays 1.1

      Couldn’t agree more.
      The justification for employment figures raised a wry smile.
      As for being a leftie, perhaps in the same way peter dunne is left.
      More of a status quo enthusiast.

  2. “It’s possible to be positive about 2017.”

    Perpetual pessimists drag themselves down and taint what they are associated with.

    You’re far more likely to have positive outcomes if you have a positive outlook and approach.

    So lets hope for a positive year and may the best coalition succeed after the general election. More than hope, you have to make good things happen in politics.

  3. Carolyn_nth 3

    This post sounds like a National Party manifesto.

    These often a debate about whether electioneering should be positive or negative. This is the wrong approach IMO. I think these days many of the public want down-to-earth “honesty” of a sort; people speaking in ways that connect with their everyday experiences and struggles.

    Note of warning: The Brexit campaign did not focus on the positive. Donald J Trump did a lot of extremely nasty negative campaigning.

    In contrast, I have been reading the Green Party posts that are in the right of TS feeds: MPs stating their individual views on 2016. They mostly have these headings, or address these points:

    “My highlights of 2016”: positive about changes they’ve seen that meet with GP values.

    “My lowlight of 2016” – things that are wrong basically, or just sad eg passing of Helen Kelly.

    “My holiday spot” – a chance to celebrate NZ’s natural environment

    “My Christmas wish” – basically – what needs changing.

    In all that there’s a mix of positive and negative: recognition of the injustices, cruelties, wrongs, in our society, while focusing on campaigning for change – which, in a way, is a positive slant on the cruelties in our society.

  4. I agree with most of this, but think you have actually ended up defending the government in election time.

    The economy looks like it’s doing really well because we have high immigration levels and a housing bubble in Auckland (that’s now extending to nearby towns and cities). The government may find the resulting numbers flattering, but it’s really not the positive thing you claim.

    Unemployment is low, but under-employment and shit working conditions are going great guns and 2017 will be no different.

    The only really positive thing to say about those for 2017 is that there’s another opportunity for improved governance coming up.

    • millsy 4.1

      “Unemployment is low, but under-employment and shit working conditions are going great guns and 2017 will be no different.”

      Yep. Casual labour, zero-hours contracts, labour hire, dependent contracting, etc.

  5. DH 5

    I don’t agree with this. I see our economy as being akin to an extended Boxing Day sale without the pre-Xmas boom. National have been cynically using immigration to maintain the cashflow but it hasn’t been saving or banking anything to pay for the longer term costs of immigration. Their answer is more immigration to pay for the previous immigrants, it’s like a ponzi scheme.

    With NZ being such a low-density population, and most people in the world being far worse off than us, politicians can probably keep propping up the economy with immigration for decades but it’s still dishonest IMO.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    The economy doing well, is this some sort of crazy new years joke?
    If running the country into the ground, through lack of investment in all social infrastructure, Health, Police, Mental Health etc, having the highest house hold debt to income ratio ever recorded, having all our kids up to their necks in debt by the time they are in their early twenties ( average debt now over $24, 000), flat wages for most workers, not Paying into the super fund,
    James Henderson, The Standard…
    https://thestandard.org.nz/restarting-cullen-fund-contributions/

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/households-debt-to-income

    https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2016/vol-129-no-1435-27-may-2016/6891

    http://www.students.org.nz/student_loan_debt_continues_to_climb_and_students_fear_for_the_future_mounts_with_it

    ww.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1605/S00592/budget-2016-virtually-another-frozen-police-budget.htm

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_HOTPMar16qtr/Commentary.aspx

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/leaked-document-shows-10-district-health-boards-face-budget-cuts-king-b-188722

    If this is an economy doing well in your view, and makes you feel positive about 2017, then I suggest you are either completely out of touch, or living in a social demographic which is unaffected by the above statistics, or both.

    …of course all the while privatizing or just cutting the organizations that fail through this lack of funding.

  7. red-blooded 7

    Hey people, our country could do better, but it’s not tearing itself apart. The Left are often accused of being relentlessly negative. There’s plenty to worry about and work on: poverty; degraded working conditions; cuts in the Health system; degraded rivers; threatened natural environments and species; continued gaps between Māori and Pakeha in terms of life expectancy, education, social status etc; homelessness; the sell-off of social housing; charter schools and funding boosts for private schools; the lack of funds going into the Cullen Fund… It’s a long list and you could all add plenty to it. However, there’s also plenty to celebrate and acknowledge as tõanga. Looking at your list, Advantage, I’d add equal access to education for boys and girls (and yes, I know there are still lots of limitations for women, but the experience of this generation is a hell of a lot better than for those that preceded them); marriage equality; aspects of our social structure like the EQC and Pharmac that give us a lot of security that we take for granted most of the time; MMP; living in a secular state (with freedom of religion but a gap between church and state)… I’m sure other could add to this list. Finally being rid of Key! (Can we seize the day? I really hope so.)

    Happy New Year, all.

  8. Jenny 8

    “This is a difficult concept for the left to address in election year in New Zealand but it’s possible to be positive about 2017.

    ADVANTAGE

    I had the same hopes Ad. Which I have expressed a number of times. And at some length. If I could recap; I will try to make it brief.

    Jenny
    1.4
    27 December 2016 at 10:09 am
    That the Green Party is putting up a candidate to stand in the Mt Albert by-election is intriguing and interesting, considering that Labour and the Greens have a Memorandum Of Understanding to work together.
    That this agreement doesn’t stop the airing of differences between the two parties is a good thing for democracy……

    …….Presumably because both parties position themselves in the Left/progressive part of the political spectrum they will be in broad agreement on most other topics.
    But the Labour and the Green Party still disagree about climate change and the need to urgently transition away from fossil fuels. So could this disagreement, which has become concretised around Labour’s fanatical support for deep sea oil drilling, be a topic of debate in this rather unlikely arena?

    Could the Mt Albert by-election be made into the first ever electoral race in this country where climate change featured as a major election issue of difference between the two candidates?
    Could the Mt Albert by-election become a referendum on deep sea oil drilling and climate change?……

    ……. the Mt Albert by-election is a safe forum where this difference could be aired and debated without risking this division giving advantage to the National Party, (who are not standing a candidate), so whatever the result, there is no chance of it upsetting the proportionality of parliament…..

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/12/23/memorandum-of-understanding-up-in-flames-as-green-ambition-sinks-mt-albert-by-election-why-gareth-morgan-must-run/#comment-364250

    Jenny says:
    December 28, 2016 at 6:54 am
    Sharp political differences cannot be overcome by organisational means.
    I do not share your dark view Martyn of this move by the Green Party (and Labour).
    In fact I see it as an opportunity.
    It is an undeniable fact that if the National government is to be defeated the Green Party and the Labour Party must work together.
    While the MOU is a move in the right direction, it had some serious flaws, that were just simply papered over but still remain and seriously need to be sorted out.
    If not, these differences threaten to explode back into the open at any time, and as is likely, at the worst possible time.
    If these differences can be brought out into the open and discussed in a collegiate and respectful debate, the possibility is opened up for the MOU to be put on a surer footing.
    The Mt. Albert by-election, provides the Labour and the Green Party a unique opportunity to bring out these differences and put them before the electorate and the public in a non-destructive way.
    We (I mean all of us), are facing the biggest problem we have ever had to face. If we as a species don’t do something soon the bio-sphere that sustains us and our fellow creatures will be irreparably damaged.
    That problem is of course, climate change.
    Currently no country in the world is prepared to provide the political leadership necessary to properly address this problem. And New Zealand is no exception, Even though, of all the countries of the world we are probably best placed to give that lead.

    Jenny
    1.4.4.1.1
    27 December 2016 at 1:26 pm

    http://www.boomerwarrior.org/2016/12/unsettling-ominous-climate-alarm-bells-2016/
    “Unsettling and Ominous – Climate Alarm Bells of 2016”…….

    “……actions speak louder than words.
    After giving lip service to climate change by meeting with Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, Trump then proceeded to name three staunch climate deniers to key positions, leaving little doubt about climate policy during his term of office. It should be crystal clear that Trump will take a wrecking ball to Obama’s climate legacy….
    ……Trump is visibly not the kind of leader the world needs at this crucial time in human history.
    But while the world needs the climate change equivalent of Winston Churchill, we just elected Neville Chamberlain…….”

    Maybe New Zealand could give that Churchillian climate change leadership that the world needs.
    Afterall despite our size, we gave a world lead on the Welfare State, we gave a world leader on Women’s Sufferage, we gave a world lead on anti-nuclear, we gave a world lead in isolating apartheid South Africa, and we have just given a world lead in calling out Israel on their illegal annexation through settlements of Palestinian territory.
    Let us not go through another election cycle where climate change barely rates a mention…….

    …….The Mt Albert by-election could represent the first salvo in the battle to make New Zealand a world leader on climate change.
    The stakes could not be higher

    Unfortunately it seems that my early hopes that the by-election in Mt. Albert would be a respectful collegiate style debate between the two left candidates, over their differences, look likely to be dashed.

    Instead it seems some, (possibly even some Labour supporters), are intent on turning the by-election into an unseemly screaming match. With protests against Julie Anne Genter’s support for the White Helmets in Syria. And her and the Green Party’s support for the Syrian people generally, over the regime that oppressess, robs, tortures, and murders them.

    To minimise the negative impact of any protests against the Green Party candidate, (which the media will surely concentrate on) What is needed right at the very start of the election campaign is the issuing of a joint public condemnation of these nutters by both candidates.

    This will be an act of public solidarity by both parties that will set the tone of the debate and also take the wind out the protesters salls and isolate them.

  9. adam 9

    BM the cohort of gagging Tory wannabe’s, will be happy with this post. Every attack angle they have banged on about for months, now has a post fully supporting there position.

  10. Molly 10

    I read this post and consider it to be a prime failing because it fails to acknowledge that all is not well for many, although it seems to be for you.

    I also don’t consider the listing of contestable economic and happiness (!) indicators as a reason to be optimistic.

    I consider them to be a pacifier, so that the horses aren’t spooked. And you are here repeating them.

    I find it hard to be optimistic when:

    1. You cite marae community as a response to adversity as a plus, when they are carrying the burden of failed government policy on housing, increased immigration, failed workers protection and poor investment in education and trades training (these are all linked). BTW, community outside of marae are hard to strengthen when they are in a state of continual transition due to housing insecurity.

    2. Our climate will change the least of any country.
    Well, apart from the sheer “I’m alright Jack” vibe, doesn’t that mean we should ensure that we retain ownership of the land and resources, instead of what is currently occurring? (Is that not part of the reason why overseas purchases are so prevalent?)

    3. “Our weak state will remain immaterial to most of us.”
    What does this mean? Those who remain unaffected need show no concern for the most vulnerable?

    I am directly affected by noting the number of rough sleepers, and watching friends deal with a compromised health system. I am ashamed to live in a country when I see someone at my weekly morning coffee with my father-in-law, visiting a cafe table after the customers leave to sit down and go through what is left on the plates in order to get something to eat.

    This – and many other issues are material to me.

    4. “The 2011-2016 earthquakes are finally forcing far more of us to think, build and believe in resilient cities.”
    And yet, despite all the talk about change and resilience at national and local government levels, very little policy change to bring this about.

    The same approach, leading to the same results.

    5. “Our sports teams and athletes look set to do even better than the astonishing 2016.”
    Brought up in a sports mad household, now tend to agree with those who consider it to be the opiate of the masses.

    6. “Our electoral system will once again prove, compared to the world, to be highly representative, efficient to run, stable in outcome, and mercifully brief.”
    And our failure to have a reliable news medium for the majority of NZers to access, means that our voters are susceptible to misinformation, smear campaigns and outright propanganda. Regarding representation, could do with a couple of tweaks in regards to minor parties thresholds.

    7. “Internationally, the great rebalancing to downsize European, British, and U.S. dominance in economic and diplomatic prowess looks set to continue without new hot wars breaking out. Miracle.”
    Disruption has occurred, it just haven’t majorly affected us. Yet.

    Personal well-being does not need to be linked to optimism about the state of the country.

    I can be grateful for a stable home life, good friends and family and a personal life that is fairly content, while still being critical of many of the issues you posted here.

    There is danger in the Pollyanna view, in that it fails to allow you to define situations accurately. This post seems to be along those lines.

    I don’t agree with your terms of optimism as you have outlined here Ad, I’m sticking with realism.

    And I’m OK with that.

    • Sabine 10.1

      +1

      as for the economy

      my little cottage that per luck i bought a few month ago is lovely. I was lucky really and she ain’t a lemon. But

      Rentals for locals in this little very rural – no jobs – area are hard to come by as houses are being bought by out of towners who only come on holiday. Houses are also being bought for little and hey, like in AKL go back on the market within a few weeks costing a few tens of thousands more. I guess i should count myself lucky as i too could sell my property now for a ‘profit’.

      however, no new jobs have been created, no people have gone of the unemployment bene, no new rentals for locals have been build.

      And in AKl, to where i return to day, a thrid of the houses in my road are still empty, will stay empty, and will go back on the market to the next highest bidder.

      nope there really is not much concern for anything, oh and that thing with ‘our temperatures will stay the same when the planet goes to dust, how about rising sea levels. How will that affect NZ? or is that too pessimistic.
      Fuck non so blind as those that don’t want to see.

  11. One Two 11

    It is important to be positive, proactive and appreciate ‘life’…

    But not at the expense of a balanced perspective…

    The established frameworks are confidence tricks, nothing more. Propping them up with undeserved energy is why the misery continues for an overwhelming percentage of inhabitants on earth

    Unfathomable for most to accept, but it must ‘all come crashing down’ before the rebuild can begin, and collective uplifting becomes the ‘new normal’

  12. aerobubble 12

    Climate Change means warmer oceans, NZ is slap bang in the middle of the s.pacific.

    Warmer world requires more exhausting of heat to space,meaning strong wetter storms.

    More flash floods, mud slides, etc.

    But worse, it means weather machines last longer, seasons shift, Spring weather in January after a warmer winter, the planet is taking longer to dump heat into space.

    Putting a positive spin on it aint working.

  13. Nick 13

    A big positive will be the end of natz in govt.

  14. Observer Tokoroa 14

    To: ADVANTAGE

    Speaking of this wonderful country you fulsomely write: “unemployment is low at 4.9% (see: http://www.tradingeconomics.com)”

    Lovely to have a good keen man like you telling one and all, here and abroad, how absolutely brilliant life is here.

    Should a person here be lucky enough to find work for one hour a week, he will be deemed employed. He will pay Tax on that one hour.

    With NZ notorious low wages will that person after working one hour a week be able to afford the mortgage on a NZ House? Would he be able to afford so much as a week’s rent?

    May I respectfully ask if you are Alice in Wonderland – ADVANTAGE ?

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