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Shop til we all drop

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, December 27th, 2013 - 90 comments
Categories: benefits, brand key, class war, democracy under attack, election 2014, news, political alternatives, poverty, spin - Tags:

First came the consumerist perversion of an (allegedly) Christian festival, leading up to the 25th December.  During this period, the original *Christian message related to the birth of Jesus (“peace and good will to all men”) was marginalised.

As Wednesday approached, the MSM kept tally of how well the retail sector of society was doing – such meaningless stats based on turn over of resources, whether or not that contributes to the well being of our society.

The MSM, as usual, focused on the very good work of those administering foodbanks and City Mission Christmas meals, in order to ease any sense of guilt some may have at the excess of consumerism during the (alleged) season of “good will”. A window on charity during a few days of the year, while the underlying causes and solutions to soul-destroying poverty barely get a look in.

Then, once that day was over, we had all the news reports on how well the Boxing Day sales were going, with triumphant reports of record sales – except for in Lower Hutt, where the failings of another branch of the corporate wealth-extractors resulted in the day of sales being (unintentionally) sabotaged.

Retailers were fuming after a Vodafone glitch shut down eftpos for hours on the busiest shopping day of the year.

A broadband server problem with Vodafone crashed eftpos at some Lower Hutt shops from about 10.30am yesterday, with some experiencing problems through till late afternoon.

Many shops, including a number in the packed Westfield Queensgate Shopping Centre, were unable to process transactions because of the outage.

Oh, the outrage!

How can so many dance to the tune of the wealthy corporates, with the uncritical echo chambers in the MSM acting as cheerleaders?! Queue for some quotes from a very pertinent Guardian article, as linked to on open mike yesterday by Paul: ‘Brainwashed by the cult of the super rich” by Priyamvada Gopal.

Last week, Tory MP Esther McVey, Iain Duncan Smith’s deputy, insisted it was “right” that half a million Britons be dependent on food banks in “tough times”. Around the same time, the motor racing heiress Tamara Ecclestone totted up a champagne bill of £30,000 in one evening. A rich teenager in Texas has just got away with probation for drunkenly running over and killing four people because his lawyers argued successfully that he suffered from “affluenza”, which rendered him unable to handle a car responsibly. What we’ve been realising for some time now is that, for all the team sport rhetoric, only two sides are really at play in Britain and beyond: Team Super-Rich and Team Everyone Else.

The rich are not merely different: they’ve become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled “aspiration”. Reaching its zenith at this time of year, our participation in cult rituals – buy, consume, accumulate beyond need – helps mute our criticism and diffuse anger at systemic exploitation.

cult of super rich

And this cult of the rich is being actively promoted by such shows as Downton Abbey and, while damaging inequalities, and socially-destructive poverty are dismissed through a nasty, Dickensian meanness of spirit.  This meanness of spirit is personified by NZ’s bennie-bashing, poverty-policing minister, Paula Bennett. And she is enabled in doing this by the smile-and-wave front John Key presents to the MSM, while performing his nasty, sneering stand-up routine to the minority of Kiwis who watch Question Time in the House.

Bennett and Key – the two faces of the cult of the rich: one who went from social security state house to wealth extracting millionaire, the other from state supported single motherhood to minister of austere poverty. (Or is it more than two faces of the cult, given Key shows at least two faces at various times?)

Gopal ends her article:

Cultish thinking means that the stupendously rich who throw small slivers of their fortunes at charity, or merely grace lavish fundraisers – like Prince William’s Winter Whites gala for the homeless at his taxpayer-funded Kensington Palace home – with their presence, become instant saints. The poor and the less well-off, subject to austerity and exploitation, their “excesses” constantly policed and criminalised, are turned into objects of patronage, grateful canvasses against which the generosity of wealth can be stirringly displayed. The cult of the rich propounds the idea that vast economic inequalities are both natural and just: the winner who takes most is, like any cult hero, just more intelligent and deserving, even when inherited affluence gives them a head start.

We are mildly baffled rather than galvanised into righteous indignation when told that the rich are being persecuted – bullied for taxes and lynched for bonuses. The demonising of the poor is the flip side of the cult of the rich or, as a friend puts it, together they comprise the yin and yang of maintaining a dismal status quo. It is time to change it through reality checks, not reality shows.

Several important months coming up folks, as we get closer to the election date.  These are the realities that need to be understood, discussed and circulated.

*[I’m not a Christian, though was brought up in that religion].

90 comments on “Shop til we all drop”

  1. Paul 1

    Thanks Carol for picking up on this story. I tend to note stories at the end of the day and put them on Open Mike too late for most of the discussion.

    Connected to my comment yesterday, I have just noted the Herald’s obsession with the wealthy in this online article. It really is a tawdry sad little rag if this grovelling load of garbage is all it can muster.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11178384

    • Paul 1.1

      And this ….
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11178396

      Just imagine the Guardian reporting on a sports player landing at Heathrow Airport for Wimbledon as their 3rd headline!

      • Paul 1.1.1

        And this!
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11177831

        Celebrity historians???
        What on earth are they talking about?!

        • mac1 1.1.1.1

          Celebrity refers to the subject of historical research, (I hope), and describes their field rather than their status. Historians can of course have a focus on recent events. Such commentary as is happening here would be the stuff of research into the place of the celebrity in culture.

          Celebrity status/stardom/famous people is not new. Used correctly it provides us with models of behaviour and examples for living properly. In today’s Press is an article on the top students of ChCh schools- partly there to celebrate their achievement and also to encourage the rest of us.

          And it’s here that I part company with the reasons above. The media-driven, celebrity status stuff is there as a distraction from the meanness of life for many people; and the offering of an American style dream where each of us can, with the proper application of Randian individualism, attain the stars, is a cynical, condescending and cancerous corruption.

          It fits alongside “the freedom to shop” or, for historians, the Roman manipulation of the masses in the concept of “bread and circuses.”

          I do sometimes despair.

      • alwyn 1.1.2

        I just had a quick look at what the Guardian is reporting today. It is difficult to tell what the real sequence of their stories would be but at the very beginning of the web-site we have a story
        “Breaking News: President Obama’s Hawaii vacation Day 6”
        I’m not really sure which of them really is the least important. At least the Herald story is something happening in the home country of the paper, and isn’t labelled with the portentious description of “Breaking News”

        • karol 1.1.2.1

          Yes, the Guardian website front page is all about international news. But it is actually focused on news of import, especially political news.

          The top of NZ Herald online’s front page is dominated by local stories, it’s true – stories largely about crime

          PS: one of the main top of the page Guardian articles is this one:

          The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout – particularly among under-30s – finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster.

          Asked for the single word best describing “how or what you instinctively feel” about politics and politicians in general, 47% of respondents answered “angry”, against 25% who said they were chiefly “bored”.

          • Zorr 1.1.2.1.1

            I think I fall in to that 47% category too easily and it makes communicating the anger I feel towards the ruling class difficult because such sentiment, almost by necessity, devolves towards the violent and irrational all too easily. I almost brought this up on the post regarding the Sex Pistols in response to MrSmith because it feels like the time for senseless anger has passed.

            That was then, this is now.

            The modern counter-culture, from my perspective, is a growing sense of disconnection with the traditional media narrative combined with the desire to take direct responsibility for our own outcomes. We want to own the beginning, middle and end of our initiatives because when we leave them up to those that traditionally hold the power, they become perverted by conflicting interests. Principles of democracy, inclusiveness and progressiveness are often very central to these initiatives BUT they remove themselves from the current implementations maintained by society at large.

            Anyway, ramble over. It is a long December 27th at work with nobody else around… >_<

        • phillip ure 1.1.2.2

          alwyn sneers @ the guardian…in a comparison to the herald..?.?..!..!..

          ..wow..!

          ..where to start..?

          phillip ure..

          • alwyn 1.1.2.2.1

            But Phil, you really should read the whole of the comment stream.
            Paul sneered at the Herald and claimed that the Guardian would never cover a story like a tennis player arriving for the country’s most important tournament. It only covered important stories.
            I merely proposed that he may be being a bit optimistic in his views of the type of story the Guardian does cover, given that they regarded as “breaking news” a description of the sixth day of Obama’s holiday. For crying out loud Phil. How much less significant can a story be?
            Incidentally I suggest you get as much out of the Guardian as you can in the next few years. The paper is losing money and the trust that finances it doesn’t have that much left. There is only money for about five years if my memory is correct.

  2. Tracey 2

    Hear hear!

    The myth that if some people are spending shitloads everyones life will get better is tiresome.

    are there any journalists or editors who think they reflect and dont shape society?

    • rich the other 2.1

      Spot on Tracey,
      we should all spend less , it only creates employment and provides a reasonable standard of living for most of us, we don’t need that when the govt provides so generously for us.

      • karol 2.1.1

        Way to misunderstand, rto.

        It’s about spending less on the things that are not necessary. It’s about the mis-direction of focusing on spending of any kind, rather than on what is produced and how. It is about the lack of focus on production that will be the basis of a sustainable economy, and a living income for all. It’s about the focus on celebrating the lifestyle of the wealth extraction by a few, via consumerist excess: the wealth of the few that contributes little to a sustainable economy and misleadingly claims that the excessive wealth of the few is beneficial to the many.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          “we should all spend less , it only creates employment and provides a reasonable standard of living for most of us, we don’t need that when the govt provides so generously for us.”

          rich also lies. Before the consumer boom in NZ post-neoliberal revolution, we had full employment for many decades, a reasonable standard of living for many of us, and a smaller gap between rich and poor. It wasn’t paradise by any means, esp for those directly affected by colonisation, but to imply that the only way we can have national wellbeing is by buying into the consumerist ethic is disingenuous, selfish crap.

          • BM 2.1.1.1.1

            NZ was a mono cultural back water who relied on Mummy Britain to survive.

            It’s only the old fogeys that pine for those days, every one else has embraced modern NZ and all it has to offer.

            New New Zealand is a great place to live.

            • Macro 2.1.1.1.1.1

              New New Zealand is a great place to live for the uber rich

              FIFY

            • Tim 2.1.1.1.1.2

              “NZ was a mono cultural back water who relied on Mummy Britain to survive”

              – that is, for those that identified and engaged with mono-culturalism and Mummy Britain with a media – even then – that was constructed to service just that cohort (predominantly Aunty NZBC, a few residents of Burnell Ave in Wellington and others elsewhere) propped up with a bit of ‘old money’: those whose offspring today probably couldn’t establish anything of use without thinking about their inheritance and what mummy and daddy might leave them should things go tits up. (Many are still around today – others dead and buried, AND very quickly forgotten – even by their own)

              Meanwhile …. there were always those who considered all that entirely irrelevant – usually progressives, protesters, celebrants of diversity, challengers of the status quo who invested their time and efforts engaging in alternative cultures sans what we now think of “MSM”.
              But …
              -Some of them today battle on with those with the closed minds: the ideologically-driven, often the mono-cultural and stereo-cultural nasties (people such as yourself BM, and your idol – the Phil Stein, a Pulla Bent or two, the Krus (I saw the light) Finlayson, a fair few Uncle Thomases and Clutch Cargo’s, an (Oim so Broit – SPECTACULARLY handsome, eligible, mandated – with a tick in a box qualification from a highly respected ‘djacassional stute’ – but in reality thick as PIGSHIT) member fer tRANga called Soimon) – all legitimised by the daily Mora noicest man on Earth media pump and its enterage (Can I offer my condolences to that nicest man’s wife in advance of the inevitable, though she probably ‘wears the pants’ anyway).

              -Some at least have the decency to admit they’re self serving egotistical new age Masters and Mistresses of the Universe, and comfortable with the supposedly ONLY alternative ideology (as in those TINA adherents – in NZ’s case driven by a failed pig farmer and an RRL who had the gaul to attempt spreading her ego around South America not so long ago – her butch arrogance STILL astounds me to the extent I’d also LERV her to ekshly go live there without the aid of any sort of bodyguard or welfare of ANY description). All comfortable with their greed, propped up with bought lerv, the short term treats and trinkets bestowed on their offspring at Xmas time and, more often daily. Amongst those I know, and know of – generally their kids (kuds if their really really kinektid) have offspring that are now TOTAL fuckups.

              -Others are still pretending (perhaps also a bit like yourself BM). In this connected world, dropping your ideological spin, troll feeding, squeeling, spin meistering, (meedja) training and prop up artistry seems to be your intent.

              You do seem to overestimate the value of your intelligence and ego, and underestimate that of those you oppose. Indeed – you even reduce what you seek to achieve as an ideological battle.

              I fear I’m beginning to rave, and I’m loathe to get into a pointless battle with you with uphill shit-pushing – which in your case is an inevitable outcome of any sort of discussion (I mean I saw a thread yesterday where your obfuscation and attempts at diversion were spectacular to the extent that I was even beginning to feel embarrassed for you).

              And lest you think this is left/right or party politically based – there are still a number of ABCers that fit into the above crapolla.
              Stick a hat on them and label them “troughers” if you like.
              They ALL still ARE, or are going to become utterly irrelevant for a vast majority – whether its 2014, or whether their aspirations, or masochism mean it’s 2017.
              Sooner the better though really.

              • Tim

                Oops @ Macro – that comment/rave was in response to the gorgeous, the spectacular, the sage known in here as BM – not you.
                The size of his dick got in the way of my seeing the numbering scheme and I think I replied to you rather than him.

                [No problem. If you look closely you’re in the right spot. RL]

                • Will@Welly

                  Don’t get suckered in by the likes of B.M., rich the little, Naki Man or the other time wasters, their “job” is to drain the left of the moral superiority and to distract from what is actually happening in society. Getting caught up in their crap will only see the initiative handed over to the morally corrupt right.

              • BM

                Good bit of old Man ranting there, you truly are a master.

                You do seem to overestimate the value of your intelligence and ego, and underestimate that of those you oppose.

                Not at all, the majority of posters here are very intelligent and well read, I consider myself an absolute thickey in matters political when compared to many who post here.

                Doesn’t stop me throwing in my 5 cents worth though, just don’t expect me to write pages and pages of waffle to back up my position, that’s not how I roll.

                • RedLogix

                  just don’t expect me to write pages and pages of waffle to back up my position, that’s not how I roll.

                  As felix would say … that’s not how you spell troll.

                • Will@Welly

                  Thus spoke the intellectual pygmy we all know as B.M.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  just don’t expect me to write pages and pages of waffle to back up my position

                  We don’t as we know you can’t back up your position at all.

              • Beryl Streep

                Tim, I realise you said “Uncle Thomas” instead of “Uncle Tom” so you could claim it as a Thomas the Tank Engine reference or something else if you were called on it.

                “Uncle Tom” is one of the most vile, condescending and racist terms in leftist politics. Can I ask why you chose to use it? I stopped reading your rant after that, so apologies if you’ve already explained it.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Don’t be so sensitive. And dont be such a PC language police.

                  [lprent: It always is in any of its handles. ]

                  • Beryl Streep

                    I don’t think I am being sensitive. The definition of an “Uncle Tom” is a black person who is regarded as being humiliatingly subservient or deferential to white people.

                    In a New Zealand context it’s used flippantly to describe Maori, Pacific Islander and other non-white citizens who don’t vote for parties on the left. This attitude dehumanises people and is a form of racism that seems to be prevalent and excusable in leftist politics.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      “prevalent and excusable” [citations needed]

                      On the other hand, it seems that the problem may be between Beryl’s ears.

                • Tim

                  @Beryl
                  I’m sorry for you that you feel offended.
                  I use it in the context of the Wiki definition – i.e.:
                  “The phrase “Uncle Tom” has also become an epithet for a person who is slavish and excessively subservient to perceived authority figures, particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people”.

                  It’s in common use by members of my extended family who, after giving support and campaigning for politicians they felt were going to represent them felt both surprised and utterly betrayed by decisions made post 2008 election. Betrayed because those politicians misrepresented their positions, were party to worsening of housing, education and financial situations and who seem unconcerned over issues of sovereignty, self-determination and sustainable use of natural resources – especially when they had the ‘deal breaker’ power to actually make a difference.
                  I also hear it in use by policy analysts and others in regional offices of the Ministry of Maori Development and given their recent predicament, I’m surprised their language is as mild as it is.
                  As I said, I feel sorry for you if you are offended – that was not my intention however I am also aware of how offended many of my family and friends are by the dog-whistling, bene-bashing, ‘ladder pulling’, othering and punitive policies that are characteristic of this government and its support partners.

          • rich the other 2.1.1.1.2

            Weka,
            in those days we had at least a couple of million less people to provide for and still plenty of poverty.
            Perhaps you’re correct , in the good old days , no D P B , women in the kitchen etc etc, sounds ok , let’s go back to the ”good old days”.

            • Macro 2.1.1.1.2.1

              “in those days we had at least a couple of million less people to provide for and still plenty of poverty.”

              Bullshit!!

            • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.2.2

              rto:

              That’s nothing more than a particularly stupid false dichotomy – that the only choices are ‘the current state of NZ’ or the ‘previous state of NZ 40 years ago’.

              It’s reveals a desperate lack of imagination that you cannot think of any other alternatives.

              • rich the other

                Plenty of NZers are very happy with the current state and can see a good future ahead with National , I am happy with the current state and have no desire to turn back the clock, that’s what green/labour policy.

                • weka

                  That’s fine, just stop inventing untruthful arguments to support your selfishness. Try honesty and see how that works.

                • RedLogix

                  rto,

                  Again you reveal a complete lack of imagination when you make the leap from “plenty of New Zealanders are happy” to an implication that this should be good enough for all of us.

                  Presumably your “plenty of New Zealanders” does not include the 260,000 odd children growing up in poverty, or the 2,000,000 adults trying to live on a median income around $25k or less.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Plenty of NZers are very happy with the current state and can see a good future ahead with National

                  I’m sure there are but I’m also sure that there’s a lot more who are unhappy with it and only see more hard grind while going backwards.

                • Mel

                  Extrapolating from your own personal viewpoint does not counter the facts of child poverty in New Zealand, our current unemployment nor our low wage economy, which results in many families struggling to survive. The logical fallacy of this sort of thinking from groups of people can lead to some very inequitable outcomes for others. I call it the – ‘ Let them eat Cake’ type of thinking.

                  Its time to acknowledge the level of inequity in New Zealand and work as a community to ensure all of us have adequate housing, food and education if we want a healthier democracy.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.2.3

              “in those days we had at least a couple of million less people to provide for and still plenty of poverty.
              Perhaps you’re correct , in the good old days , no D P B , women in the kitchen etc etc, sounds ok , let’s go back to the ”good old days”.”

              You either didn’t read my comment properly, or are incapable of easy comprehension. See the bit where I said it wasn’t paradise? That was my shorthand for let’s not put up faux ‘good ole days’ arguments. Address the issues dude. You say a high consumption society provides jobs and a good standard of living for most people. I pointed out that prior to our shift to high consumption we had full employment and less disparity between rich and poor. Someone with better stats can argue if there is more or less poverty overall now than then, but my money is on there being more poverty now than prior to the 80s (allowing for the different kinds of poverty that exist in different times).

              • Polish Pride

                Speaking of addressing the issues.. The Left can have the things they want as can the Right but unfortunately not under the current system. The current system has two completely opposing views on how to bring about the well being of society. Both L&R do this through the redistribution of wealth.
                Whilst this remains the basis of L wing policy there will always be those to the right of centre that will always vote against it. (and vice versa for R wing policy)
                Thus neither the left or the right will ever get their desired outcomes under the current system.
                Change the focus to having a system designed to fulfill peoples needs and wants and doing so without the need to redistribute wealth and not only will you solve the problems of the Left but also the problems of the Right a the same time.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  …and Tinky Winky and all the little elves lived happily ever after.

                • karol

                  And what sort of system would that be, PP? Be more specific.

                  Because any system that fulfills needs and wants of all as the priority, would seem to be a left wing system.

                  The right largely want a system that enriches and benefits the few.

                  • Polish Pride

                    “The right largely want a system that enriches and benefits the few.”

                    It is in fact vitally important that people understand what it is the R and the L want and why they think the way they do? in order to come to a solution for both

                    Left and Right is not about The caring Left and the Greedy Rightwing Capitalist Bastards.. Nor is it about the Sensible Right versus a bunch of Commie pricks and a bunch of tree hugging hippies.

                    Left and the Right are just ways of thinking. They are two ends of a spectrum upon which everybody in the world falls somewhere depending on how exactly they see the world
                    Neither are right or wrong, they simply just are.

                    Someone on the Left views the world very externally. Sees things they want to change, they see people suffering, they see inadequacies within the system and want to change the system to address those problems for people.
                    example: They see families not having enough money and from their position in the system they would like to help those families but cannot (the system does not give them the resources to do this) in understanding this they then want the system to provide. This is currently actioned through various types of welfare.

                    Someone on the Right views the world with an internal view of their world. They understand the system, They understand the supposed rules of the game. Their focus is on them and their family within the system, and doing what they need to do to be successful….within the system.
                    They see taxes as being something that, although necessary, takes away from them and makes it just that little more difficult for them to achieve what they need to or want to in the system.
                    They see these taxes spent on welfare and unnecessary political activities, govt departments.
                    Both focuses are noble in their own right
                    The person on the left just wants to look after others who they think need help.
                    The person on the right simply wants to look after their family.

                    It is only through a solution that meets the needs and desires of both sides will you solve the problems we face today and have always faced as a society.

                    The system is the Resource Based Economy with a system designed to meet the needs and wants of the people. Where the goal of society is not maximum employment. Instead it has a goal of freeing as many people as possible through the use of technology and automation.

                    Clearly if I say Capitalism isn’t the way forward here I am preaching to the converted but neither is democratic Socialism as it still deals with money and limited resources. Neither system is designed to meet the true needs and wants of man.
                    A system for man should be designed to work for man. Man working for the system is like Henry Ford inventing the Model T but then having to push it everywhere he wants to go. Its ridiculous. Yet this is exactly what we do with our system now.

                    If a system were to be designed for Man what should that system look like, What does everyone want……?

                    To be happy?

                    Everyone is different so how can we determine what is required to make every one happy?

                    Maslows Hierarchy of needs is fairly widely accepted in Economics as benchmark for what a person needs to be happy.
                    How does Capitalism stack up on Maslows?
                    How does the Resource Based Economy stack up?
                    Can a Resource Based Economy be structured to meet the needs and wants of mankind and still have an abundance of resources?

                    Through removal of the profit motive and planned obsolescence and through active management and technological and scientific solutions to problems untainted by profit but for Man – arguably Yes

                    • karol

                      All very theoretical, PP. But you have a very generalised and reductive view of the difference between left and right – like someone sitting on a cloud, trying to be an eye of god, but without any strong commitment to a set of values – other than perhaps some enlightenment ideal of being “objective” and “balanced”.

                      Your view of the left is that of welfare capitalism – itself a compromise with capitalism or the right.

                      It is rather common place to say that left and right have a different view – more importantly, underlying any political position are some core values. And you articulate some as if they were opposite sides of the same “noble” and “correct” coin, which can be somehow resolved by dropping underlying values….I think, although it is not totally clear how you think that can happen, other than maybe expecting people to be “balanced” and “objective” like yourself.

                      The person on the left just wants to look after others who they think need help.
                      The person on the right simply wants to look after their family.

                      Well describes a quite paternalistic left – actually, the left is more about an inclusive, fair and just society for all, especially when it involves grass roots participatory democracy.

                      And righties may or may not care about their families – some see no responsibilities to anyone bu themselves. Nevertheless, what do you call it when people are so focus on themselves and those nearest to them that the rest don’t matter? I’d call it lack of compassion, empathy and understanding of, or concern for how we all operate within society. Ultimately it’s a pretty narrow self-interested view of life from where I’m sitting.

                      This – I don’t know where to start with this muddle:

                      Clearly if I say Capitalism isn’t the way forward here I am preaching to the converted but neither is democratic Socialism as it still deals with money and limited resources. Neither system is designed to meet the true needs and wants of man.
                      A system for man should be designed to work for man. Man working for the system is like Henry Ford inventing the Model T but then having to push it everywhere he wants to go. Its ridiculous. Yet this is exactly what we do with our system now.

                      Goodness me – that’s a pretty skewed characterisation of democratic socialism. And I would say socialism IS about meeting the true needs and wants of humanity/society within the context of the environment, resources, etc.

                      Through removal of the profit motive and planned obsolescence and through active management and technological and scientific solutions to problems untainted by profit but for Man – arguably Yes

                      Sounds like socialism to me. And I can’t see how you will get any rightie to agree – one of their underlying values IS the belief in the profit motive as a way to incentivise human endeavour within a competitive system.

                    • RedLogix

                      Where the goal of society is not maximum employment. Instead it has a goal of freeing as many people as possible through the use of technology and automation.

                      I strongly recommend you look at this graph:

                      http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/large/public/screen_shot_2013-12-20_at_3.12.44_pm.png

                      Look at the date of the break-point. 1973. Forty Christmases ago.

                      It’s also the date when industrial automation became mainstream. I know this personally – I’ve met the two key people involved Dick Morely and Odo Struger both of whom are credited with the invention of the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) between 1969 and 1972.

                      However what is also plain from the rest of the article is that technology was used to capture and concentrate wealth. And that I would argue is a political question that actually has relatively little to do with the traditional demarcations between left and right.

                      http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-fix-economy-13-easy-charts?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

                    • Polish Pride

                      RedLogix

                      Under a Resource Based Economy money is taken from the equation. Money was originally used as a simpler and more portable method of exchange. It has become a barrier to getting the things done we need to. Remove it and the barrier is no more.
                      Think of the things use in your everyday life. Think of the things you want. Those things are things you still either need or want if money is removed from the equation.
                      Goods are produced to excess in the current system because of the need to make a profit continuously in order to pay people be they investors or workers. Everyone needs to obtain money somehow through System in order to fulfill wants and needs

                      Remove the money and without the drive for profit a system can be transitioned too that is designed to meet the needs and wants of everyone in a sustainable manner.

                      Auckland has a transport problem. It can be resolved a number of ways, more motorways, rail and so on.
                      Why isn’t it being built?
                      We have the knowledge of how to do it..
                      we have the resources..
                      We have the manpower so why isn’t it being done…
                      Money – not enough of it. This mechanism for exchange has come to the point where it has become a barrier for many.
                      Remove money and you could build maglev trains or monorails or whatever the best solution was. Why? because your not constrained by lack of it

                      Removing money and changing the design of the system to work for man, to meet our needs and wants and ensures that what happened with the industrial revolution can’t happen again.
                      The goal of society also becomes to design technological solutions to free people from having to work where possible.
                      Just by removing money and all of the jobs that come with it. Banking, Accountancy, Share trading, Insurance, you free a large number of people from having to work. A redistribution of jobs resulting in job sharing and ongoing automation could result in people needing to work half the time to the system going.
                      Would you switch to a system where the goal of the system is happiness through meeting peoples needs and wants?
                      you only need to work half the time you do now and meets your needs and wants are met as the goal of society.

                    • Polish Pride

                      No Carol instead of merely holding your values up as right and theirs as wrong, you should instead be focusing on trying to find a solution that meets and enables both sets of values to be upheld.

                      “Your view of the left is that of welfare capitalism.”
                      Nope but my view of Left does not matter one little bit. What matters is that what the Left want cannot be achieved through the current system. This is because of the role of money and everything that comes with it. Nor can the Right for that matter.

                      No-one actually needs money.. they need the things that money can buy.

                      it comes down to one question: What should goal of the system should be to do.
                      To enable Man to be happy.
                      Designing the system to work for Man, not having Man enslaved by it.

                      “the left is more about an inclusive, fair and just society for all, especially when it involves grass roots participatory democracy.”

                      Great a Resource Based Economy has all of that.

                      “And righties may or may not care about their families – some see no responsibilities to anyone bu themselves. Nevertheless, what do you call it when people are so focus on themselves and those nearest to them that the rest don’t matter? I’d call it lack of compassion, empathy and understanding of, or concern for how we all operate within society. Ultimately it’s a pretty narrow self-interested view of life from where I’m sitting.”

                      What you’d call it unfortunately doesn’t matter.. the fact that people do value and focus on those nearest to them to the point where the rest don’t matter does matter. Provide a way for both sets of values to be met and both are happy.
                      The Resource Based Economy enables the primary values of both L and R to be met at the same time.

                      Unfortunately the current system will always fail both sets of ideals as they continue to vote against one another.

                      “Sounds like socialism to me. And I can’t see how you will get any rightie to agree – one of their underlying values IS the belief in the profit motive as a way to incentivise human endeavour within a competitive system.”

                      Call it what you like but unless Socialism is a Gift Economy with no money then we are talking different systems.
                      The only question is does a Resource Based Economy uphold your ideals and provide what you want in a system for everyone.

                      As for those righties. Show them a way that they can have their needs and wants met, be able to work less that does not require continuously taking from them (their view) in the form of taxation and they will agree as well.
                      Again show them that it is not actually money that they need the the things and experiences that money can buy. Those things still exist with or without money.

                    • karol

                      PP, I have no problem with a system where money is taken out of the equation, nor, i think, would quite a few people who lean left, once that is fully explained to them.

                      However, I think you are being naive to think that a lot of righties can just be talked into excepting such a system – too many live for money and what they hope it can do….. it’s quite basic to their value system. And I also think you are naive that the powerful elite will willingly give up their power and advantages by explaining a n alternative system nicely – just not going to happen.

                    • infused

                      Polish Pride actually makes a lot of sense.

                    • Polish Pride

                      Karol no offense but I think I have a better grasp of what the right want. I have been cleaning the floor with Right wing Capitalists with this stuff for a few years now. Not all but many are quite interested in this way of thinking and want to know more.

                      “However, I think you are being naive to think that a lot of righties can just be talked into excepting such a system – too many live for money and what they hope it can do….. it’s quite basic to their value system.”

                      Don’t be lulled into thinking that a Right winger is your stereotypical loves money above all else. They are not and just like those on the Left they come in all shapes and forms. I’m sure the stereotype exists but it would only be as a very small minority in the bigger scheme of things. Most are just trying to do the best they can within the system for themselves and their family.
                      It isn’t quite basic to their value system at all. It is however the most key component in the current system and as such it can be argued that they are simply behaving accordingly. It is also easy to misconstrue their value system to being exactly what you think it is. I can assure you that for the vast majority it is not. It (money) is simply the mechanism under the current system that they need in order to obtain their goals. Provide them an alternative that enables them to obtain their goals without money and without taking from them and their family to give to others and they will look at it. Many have and many actually want to know more and start to ask a lot of questions.
                      There is skepticism sure, but there is genuine interest and that’s what matters most.

                      The thing is that the goals of the left and the right will never be fully met under the current system. Under the one I am talking about both sides would have their goals met due to the very nature of the system.

                      As for the global elite well you have two choices as I see it. Continue to play their game as you are now and see how far that continues to get you. Or change the rules of the game right out from under them….. and a system that meets the needs and values of both sides has the ability to do just that.
                      All you have to do is start changing the narrative.
                      Capitalism as an ideal is easy to destroy but only if you can replace it with something better for both Left and Right.

                    • Polish Pride

                      “too many live for money and what they hope it can do”

                      Sorry Karol I reread your post again. For many this on some level is true. But this is the nature of the current system. (Human behaviour is often determined by the system they are placed into. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_San_Fernando_massacre)
                      It is the last part that is key though – what they hope it can do.
                      Give them an alternative that enables them to achieve this and eliminates the need to tax them and redistribute their wealth to others and they will be open to change.

                      The Global Elite use “problem, reaction solution” to get what they want. The same mechanism can be used to change the system.
                      I’m not saying it will be different tomorrow but its either doing something designed to meet the needs and wants of man …..or continuing with the same system we have now and expecting a different result which is just simply never going to materialize….

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Left and the Right are just ways of thinking. They are two ends of a spectrum upon which everybody in the world falls somewhere depending on how exactly they see the world
                      Neither are right or wrong, they simply just are.

                      That’s a load of baloney. The political right are, more often than not, provably wrong. The left can also be wrong but they tend to make an effort to correct while the political right will deny the physical evidence of them being wrong.

                      It is only through a solution that meets the needs and desires of both sides will you solve the problems we face today and have always faced as a society.

                      And yet, according to what you wrote, those needs and desires directly contradict each other.

                    • Polish Pride

                      No DTB at the most fundamental level those needs and wants don’t contradict each other at all. They only contradict so far as the way they would be provided for within the structure of the current system. This is because in the current system, regardless of whether you are on the Left or the Right you need money to be able to do what you want. Remove the money and the needs and wants start to align quite nicely.
                      The reasons remain different but both can be satisfied under a different system. One not focused on money. One instead focused on meeting the true needs and wants of those in society.

                      You and many on here have a perception of those on the right which is stereotypical yet largely inaccurate.
                      If you want to win a war it helps to understand your enemy…. Reading what I have here you guys have unfortunately failed to do that

                      “”Left and the Right are just ways of thinking. They are two ends of a spectrum upon which everybody in the world falls somewhere depending on how exactly they see the world
                      Neither are right or wrong, they simply just are.””

                      “That’s a load of baloney. The political right are, more often than not, provably wrong. The left can also be wrong but they tend to make an effort to correct while the political right will deny the physical evidence of them being wrong.”

                      What is a load of baloney? Left and Right and the spectrum that exists in politics? No that exists. The only thing I can understand you saying is a load of baloney is me saying that neither are right or wrong, they simply just are. This would be because it simply differs from your opinion and your view.
                      If there is something that you think is baloney state what it is and why?
                      Even if they are provably wrong the exact same is being said about the Left by the Right. But you know what who’s right and who’s wrong in the bigger scheme of things doesn’t matter, not one little bit.
                      What matters is being able to deliver what each side wants.
                      That’s unfortunately not possible under the current system by its very nature.
                      A system designed for Mankind the the goal of enabling Man to be happy does this. It by its very design is set up to meet the needs and wants of Man. It’s goal is to free man from the system or to have the system work for Man rather than Man working for it.
                      Its at this point you have a choice. You can continue to argue over who’s right and who’s wrong. Whether that’s you or me or the right vs the Left. Or you can start looking at solutions that will work for both sets of ideals and will at the same time fix the problems that we face in society today and in many cases have always faced. The choice is yours.

                      But I’ll tell you what go and spend a couple of years posting on Whaleoil and hanging out with Right wingers rather than spending your time on here preaching to the converted. Do that and you will quickly come to the realisation that The system cannot deliver what either side wants. (I am pretty sure you already know that part though). Determine what each side wants and see if there is a system that can provide it.
                      There is. It is called a Resource Based Economy.

                      In fact you don’t even have to worry about the Right. All you need to be concerned about is if the system could or would meet or surpass your values and the values on the left. If it doesn’t what changes would be required to enable it too.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The only thing I can understand you saying is a load of baloney is me saying that neither are right or wrong, they simply just are. This would be because it simply differs from your opinion and your view.

                      Nope. I said it because being wrong really is actually being wrong. It’s not just an opinion but a physical fact. Same applies to being right.

                      But you know what who’s right and who’s wrong in the bigger scheme of things doesn’t matter, not one little bit.

                      Actually, it does matter quite a lot because if we keep doing things wrong then we will never be able to correct those things.

                      What matters is being able to deliver what each side wants.

                      Which is impossible as one side wants lots of personal riches and the poverty that goes with it (Yes, they actually want the poverty to improve their own status) while the other side wants to eliminate the poverty which must get rid of the vast personal wealth that the other side wants.

                      That’s unfortunately not possible under the current system by its very nature.

                      Correct and so the system needs to be changed. Problem: The RWNJs don’t want to change the system because they’re quite happy with it.

                      So, how do we change the system? My solution there is democracy and bypassing the so called leaders. I really, really, really don’t like representative democracy especially as I know it was put in place to prevent democracy.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.3

            +1

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Yes, we should spend less because our actual economy is severely limited and using up all those resources as fast as we can will end up with a) everyone being poor and b) the collapse of society. All the RWNJs advocate irrational economic policies that result in us being worse off in the long run for short term monetary gain of the rich.

  3. Tiny Tom 3

    For an article along similar lines I recommend “Was Scrooge a neoliberal?”:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/12/scrooge-neoliberal.html

    While one can rant that consumerism has perverted the original Christian message, it should not be forgotten that Christianity itself stole and perverted the original Pagan midwinter festival marking the turn of the solar calendar with its promise of the return of Spring and Summer.

    Personally, growing up and living half my life so far in the UK I very much enjoyed the Pagan aspects of Christmas – the lights in the longest nights, the warmth and cheer in midwinter, the recogniton that the days were getting longer again – while doing my best to ignore the mawkish religious nonsense clinging to its coat-tails. Here in the southern hemisphere celebrating Christmas in mid-summer strips away even the legitimate Pagan elements making the whole event ridiculous so I treat it the way I do the idiots selling religion on my door-step – ignore it in the hope it will go away.

      • weka 3.1.1

        “Here in the southern hemisphere celebrating Christmas in mid-summer strips away even the legitimate Pagan elements making the whole event ridiculous…”

        lolz. Kiwis on a beach in summer, or getting uber-pissed at NY strikes me as relatively pagan 😉

        Pre-Christian Pagans celebrated the year in a wheel – the two solstices and the two equinoxes. No reason why we can’t keep Christmas, and have Matariki, plus Easter (needs to change to an Autumn fesival though). That just leaves the Spring Equinox.

        Then there are the cross-quarter dates/festivals which lie at the midpoint between the solstices and equinoxes. Matariki is interesting because it spans the cross-quarter before winter solstice and the winter solstice.

        I feel way more annoyed by Northern hemisphere expressions of Halloween (cross-quarter date) in NZ than I do with Christmas (and Halloween is following the same crass consumerist path). I think NZ is making a fair transition away from winter themes at Christmas. Would love to see Halloween transformed in the more appropriate Beltane bone fire festival.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltane

  4. Sacha 4

    “the original *Christian message”

    the original Pagan festival

  5. Steve Wrathall 5

    Oh no, the Labour/Green/Mana decision to go into election year as a bunch of sour Sadies claiming there is a manufacturing crisis and no jobs is collapsing before their eyes. What now? Go after John Key? It’s worked so wonderfully before eh?

    • karol 5.1

      is that the best you can do Steve? the post is about so much more than John Key: it’s about the whole big, international neo-liberal scam and the way it is expressed in relation to “Christmas”, as promoted by the MSM.

      It is about a whole discourse that creates a myth of the benevolence of the super wealthy celebrities, on behalf of the corporate elites.

      Of course, I know righties just want the debate to be only about John Key – he’s all they’ve got going for them in maintaining this slowly collapsing house of cards.

  6. Tracey 6

    Rich the other

    whoooooooooooooosh

  7. Philj 7

    Xox
    And people pay money to purchase this ‘newspaper’? Is this tragedy or comedy, or just modem day life? Haha.

  8. aerobubble 8

    Non-religious now make up majority in census, could this have anything to do with Christmas themes of winter being so out of place in summer NZ? When it doesn’t make sense to dress up in winter clothes, eat too much in swelting heat, and sing about song, then it follows quite naturally that the whole Jesus thing is fake too.

  9. Will@Welly 9

    Since the economic crisis of 2008/09, the dominance of the banking/financial sector now take seems to precedence over everything else. The only way people seem to want to reward themselves is with a bit of blanket commercial retail therapy -i.e. overspending at Xmas/the Boxing Day sales.
    My “retail therapy” consisted of buying some milk.
    As a nation we appear to have lost the ability to enjoy life without it costing a fortune. Everyone either appears to want to “clip the ticket” thereby inflating the actual cost, or others are out to prove, regardless how cheap or expensive things are, they have pockets deep enough to pay whatever, just to let everyone know that they are important. Bulls**t.
    If you’ve ever watched little children open presents, sometimes its the most incongruous present that holds a child spell-bound the most. This rampant commercialism that we’ve fostered on the world is just so out of place.

    • aerobubble 9.1

      I think a lot of people have heard that interest rates will rise, and have been saving, they realize that now’s a good time to buy, have a party after a few years of belt tightening.

      Key has delayed the ChCh rebuild to peak next year, the question is will voter notice that instead of having built up the economy Key has stymied it. Key consistently oppose endeavors to deepen the economy, inject long term plans into the fabric of the economy, (commuter trains lines in the plans for ChCh!!! etc, etc). Key’s willing to interfere but not in any positive way that supports long term NZ growth.

      • Paul 9.1.1

        I imagine there’s quite a few people maxed to the hilt who will be in real trouble if rates increase.

  10. Good thing about consumption as fetish is that it is the height of alienation and in direct contradiction with the collapse of capitalist production.

    We go from commodities that we need to consume to work, to commodities as the embodiment of value to be accumulated, only because we don’t see that the only commodity that produces value is the commodity labour-power.

    But as capitalism destroys the natural base of its productive system and makes living labour-power more and more redundant, the inability to consume to work will explode the fetish to buy to live.

    The image of zombie consumers will be replaced by mass uprisings.

    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/marx-is-right-again.html

    • “To be sure, Marx did not himself follow out the full ramifications of this distortion of use value (and of labor’s own usefulness). Although he raised the question of the qualitative, use-value structure of the commodity economy he was to leave it largely unexamined in his critique of political economy.55 It was generally assumed in the context of mid-nineteenth-century capitalism that those use values that were produced—outside of the relatively insignificant realm of luxury production—conformed to genuine human needs. Under monopoly capitalism, beginning in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and with the emergence more recently of the phase of globalized monopoly-finance capital, this all changed. The system increasingly demands, simply to keep going under conditions of chronic overaccumulation, the production of negative use values and the non-fulfillment of human needs.56 This entails the absolute alienation of the labor process, i.e., of the metabolic relation between human beings and nature, turning it predominantly into a form of waste.”
      http://monthlyreview.org/2013/12/01/marx-rift-universal-metabolism-nature:

  11. captain hook 11

    why dont you try a little kindness
    and take away the blindness
    of the narrow minded people
    in their narrow minded streets.

  12. chrissy 12

    Saw a bright young thing being interviewed on telly last night at one of the malls having sale. She was so excited because she had bought al of this STUFF for $10.00 each and was off to another mall to carry on buying more STUFF. Loaded down with bags and I bet she didn’t have a clue what was in them. Thing is if these are all bought on credit cards doesn’t the interest on the cards cancel out a lot of this so called saving on purchases. Pretty sure most of them will be maxed out and if you have the money to pay it off in next month or so why are they buying cheap crap that can be sold at $10.00 each with the shops still making a profit.
    Also, I was going to go to Briscoe’s to buy a cake mixer but was put off with their over the top advertising. So, won’t be going there. My own silent little protest.

    • rich the other 12.1

      A sign of the times,
      Shame on you chrissy ,even thinking about buying a cake mixer at Briscoe’s ,you’re obviously the idle rich , what’s wrong with the ware house , a wooden spoon and a bowl for less than $5.

      • Paul 12.1.1

        You have nothing constructive to add.

        • rich the other 12.1.1.1

          Yes , here’s something constructive,
          repent ,beg for forgiveness , recognise the error of your ways and then vote NATIONAL.

          • Will@Welly 12.1.1.1.1

            Well we all know where the wooden spoon dangles from at your place rto, and certainly, no one other than you would ever be lining up to lick it, that’s for sure.

          • Tracey 12.1.1.1.2

            kind of like the mafia, kill opponents, sleep with women, kill anyone who sleeps with your women, then go to church and confess and do it all again next week.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.3

            That’s not constructive but destructive as National works to destroy our economy for the benefit of the rich.

            • rich the other 12.1.1.1.3.1

              Mixed message there draco,

              ”National works to destroy economy” according to the left it’s already destroyed.
              And the logic of destroying the economy ??
              No one will ever make money from people who have no money, benificiary’s are a cost , not an opportunity to make money.

              I suppose if you are prepared to vote green/labour then you are obviously not logical..

              • Draco T Bastard

                No one will ever make money from people who have no money, benificiary’s are a cost , not an opportunity to make money.

                According to the right, so are employees.

                The real cost is profit.

                I suppose if you are prepared to vote National/Act/CP then you are obviously not rational.

                FTFY

      • chrissy 12.1.2

        rto. Do you have a cake mixer, or any other appliances that make life easier? Do you have a stove or do you cook over a campfire? Do you have a washing machine or do you wash in the local stream? Do you have a camera, or do you do rapid sketching? Of course I’m one of the idle rich, that’s why my husband needs a cake mixer because he has a shoulder injury and can no longer use the wooden spoon and bowl. I’m far too rich to do my own baking.!

    • Macro 12.2

      There are other places… but their advertising is just as invasive. (sometimes you just have to hold your nose and go ahead and do it) -and I understand the need for these devices too having had a shoulder injury as well.- I just wonder if those produced these days last as long as the ones 40 xmas’s ago?

  13. karol 13

    A pertinent press release from the Uni of Canterbury: “Inequality keeps rising, says UC social research expert”

    Inequality continues to rise in New Zealand and many families will struggle to cope over the holidays, a University of Canterbury (UC) social research expert says.

    Dr Annabel Taylor says research shows that reliance on voluntary help is not nearly enough to help families that are struggling.
    […]
    “This means that every dollar counts when given to food banks and the like. At the same time, we need to pause and ponder on what needs to be done to reduce inequalities in our communities.”

    “The problem with relying on well-meaning voluntary support is that it cannot possibly replace the population-based health, education and social support necessary to ensure healthy New Zealanders.

    Violence continues to be the driving challenge for New Zealand communities with nearly half of all homicides in New Zealand resulting from family violence, Dr Taylor says.

  14. weka 14

    There are currently 1509 listings in Trademe’s post-Christmas ‘regifting’ promotion. Funny use of the word ‘regifting’.

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/unwanted-christmas-gifts?utm_source=TradeMe&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=TM_Regifting

    • Will@Welly 14.1

      First heard this back on Seinfield. “Regifting” was a no-no, then. It’s what you did with presents you couldn’t return/didn’t want. Now thanks to Trade Me and E-Bay, people just flog them off.
      Talk about commercialism gone wrong.

      • Well quite a lot finish up in the local Op shop .
        My wife accurately forecasts to me just what will be among the latest “must haves” that will,turn up each week at the one she works at. Top of the list at the moment is exercise machines and teddy bears ,

  15. infused 15

    Someone buy Karol a present.

  16. BEATINGTHEBOKS 16

    The reality is people like a bargain and if they have good fortune to have the money then go to it. Now if you compared NZ with communist Russia at boxing day you would see some interesting things, the lack of anything useful to buy would be one of them, and very high prices. Boxing day sales are and hopefully will always be a fun day out for some. If Labour want to win the next election the middle class working person needs to be wooed, nonsensical ideas that normal people wont buy bargains if they are educated about the suffering of poor people will not impress anyone. People want to be rewarded for their hard work. People don’t want to have to work an extra 10 hours a week to feed someone else’s children. Just talking about the average swing voter here not the uber rich, whose vote will be blue no matter what measures are taken.

    • Murray Olsen 16.1

      “If Labour want to win the next election the middle class working person needs to be wooed, nonsensical ideas that normal people wont buy bargains if they are educated about the suffering of poor people will not impress anyone.”

      I don’t see anyone putting that idea forward except yourself.

      “People don’t want to have to work an extra 10 hours a week to feed someone else’s children.”

      Did you read that one on WhaleSpew? Where does the 10 hour figure come from?

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  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
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    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
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    3 weeks ago

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    6 days ago
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  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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    1 week ago
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
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