Skyfall comes to Wellington

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, October 1st, 2023 - 5 comments
Categories: act, Christopher Luxon, david seymour, election 2023, national, privatisation, public services, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

Skyfall was 10 years ago but it has a message for all public servants local or central as you choose your vote.

With Luxon at the helm and Seymour filling key cabinet positions, you know there is no limit to how many of you will be cut in order to afford the tax cuts. You have grown used over 6 years to being elevated above the market. Like in days of old. But when National and ACT get in, that privilege is assassinated.

For those public servants of a redistributionist persuasion who see poverty as worth alleviating, or even for those of a minimally statist persuasion who see state instruments simply greasing the wheels of efficient international capital, you know they are going to come for you irrespective. They won’t stop at the consultants. They won’t stop at the Maori and women’s and islander and other pc departments. They won’t stop at the bullshit quangos.

They will need to liquidate tens of thousands of public sector salaries to afford what they have promised.

That means you. Don’t think that legislative protection like EECA or EA or NZTA or ACC or Pharmac or or anything else with a board will be sufficient protection. Vote for your job or you have a high chance of losing it.

Skyfall’s Mallory states it for all civil servants under threat:

The Prime Minister has taken the position we’re a bunch of antiquated bloody idiots fighting a war we don’t understand and can’t possibly win. Fer chrissakes listen to yourself we’re a democracy and we’re accountable to the people we’re trying to defend.”

To which M responds:

You don’t get this do you. Whoever’s doing this, whoever’s behind this, he knows us. He’s one of us. He comes from the same place as Bond. A place you say doesn’t exist….. the shadows.”

Bond even in the era of Daniel Craig is of course a way to make a caricature of the state in extremis. But M’s response shows that she knows that the only way to survive this kind of Luxon Prime Minister is to be self-identical with the market: a place where policy and market outcome are brutal, fearless, without pity, and licensed to do a kind of violence that pays no redundancy. M needs a kind of public servant who views hard market engagement as necessarily hostile and directly threatening.

Skyfall has a really clear view of political economy, in which even the most secretive and extreme forms of the state are regularly held to public and media scrutiny as long and hard as as they see fit. That is a democratic New Zealand in operation.

Aside such classic corn as “I like you better without your Baretta” as Bond slips nude into the shower behind Severine and she responds “I feel naked without it”, we can see what is at risk for the public servants of Wellington in this election. What is at risk is an even meaner form of the Key government: where like Key stitching together the Sky City deal direct to that board, markets are played one big swaggering commercial play at at time. Deals may well in time explode like Joyce’s Transmission Gully or grossly metastasize like Bridges’ City Rail Link, or do their best to be indistinguishable from market players like Bennetts’ Kainga Ora, but Ministers will surf over waves of your accumulated blood because that is the National-ACT way to redistribute tax: over your salaried dead body.

All the institutions Labour had formed over 6 years, like recentralised health or recentralised tertiary education, they are no sufficient protection when tax cuts require ‘balancing the books’ on the coffins of your careers.

A National-ACT government will need no place for a State Service Commission, or Tertiary Education Commission, or Creative NZ, or university, or commission for talking about carbon markets, or regulator thrown on the red tape bonfire, nor any reason for an NZTA if it gets in the way of an Infrastructure Commission hungry for its first big deal of the term. A National-ACT government has no idea what to do with the public service, so it will stoke its tax cut furnace with the cold dried saving of your dead career.

For all those in local and regional government grown used over 6 years to more and more responsibility, more gradual devolution from the centre to carry out the re-regulation of spatial and agricultural capital, prepare for your career to end. There will be no more regionalisation of nodes of power. There will be no more talk of partnership be it local or communitarian or iwi. Farmer-politicians will roll you over. Real estate players-turned-politicians will write deals over your graves. You will be cheeping chicks in entities really run between heavy-beaked CE and Mayors.

Every single public servant from nurse to lecturer to DPMC needs to vote to save their jobs, and vote against National and ACT starting Monday. Because unlike Daniel Craig, you’re not issued with Walthers to fight back. Be then stirred, not shaken:

Your one bullet is your vote.

5 comments on “Skyfall comes to Wellington ”

  1. Patricia Bremner 1

    Yes Ad, and ripples of austerity will then fan out to become a tsunami of shocks to all but real estate tourism and farming.

    Let us hope those for whom the axe could fall, see that danger and appeal to family and friends to vote accordingly.

    No Government is perfect, but some choices of direction of governmental travel are more dangerous and destructive of families and communities. Nat/Act is one.

    Thank you for this post.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Damn good literary reference framing, but social darwinism always happens so public servants will adapt to circumstance to survive. The jobs for life thing is ever so 20th century. The middle way is where natural survivors always are.

    I'll be surprised if the electorate produces a Nat/Act outcome now that they have revived the NZF handbrake option. Viability of a need to control the loons will motivate many centrist voters from now on. Looks like we're faced with a rightist troika.

    That means no ideological zealotry will succeed & we'll have another muddle thro the middle with a neolib hand on the steering just like now…

    The skyfall thing has relevance tho. Not having seen the movie I'll just suggest that state agents may have a collective reservoir to shift into for survival (deep state theory). That non-public dimension is essentially collaborative due to common interests driving group survival (kin selection in darwinism). Yes minister, but we know better…

  3. bwaghorn 3

    I guess all oureducated unemployed can always go over seas,

  4. Descendant Of Smith 4

    It will be like previous times where those in support of a socialist caring state will be removed from the public service and National will continue its long term trend of filling up the public service with right wing acolytes. People on high salaries who don't live anywhere near poor people and have no idea of the difficulties and struggles they face. People who see our poorest most vulnerable citizens as numbers and experimental subjects, people who have been lying in wait for National return so they can self indulge in believing they are the best managers ever as they inflict pain and misery in order to achieve bullshit targets. These public servants are known to the National Party and will vote National.

    The basic philosophy last time for waiting lists was to kick people off in order to meet the waiting list targets.

    It is the perfect illusionary circle for National – kick people off and say things have improved, when Labour get in and put people back on the lists say things have got worse and National need to fix it again.

    To be fair when they say they want to fix things it is true but only in relation to this definition.

    : to influence the actions, outcome, or effect of by improper or illegal methods

    the race had been fixed

    "About 4700 families with only "moderate" or "low" housing needs will be bumped off the waiting list for state houses if the National Party wins this year's election.

    Housing Minister Phil Heatley says Housing NZ will stop accepting applicants with low or moderate needs on its waiting list from next Friday and the policy will extend next year to people already on the list if National wins the election."

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/thousands-to-come-off-housing-list/MI2RAMFK4VC2YX4M5VVFFDDLIY/

    ‘Six thousand more patients have been dropped from surgery waiting lists, with no prospect of treatment under existing funding limits, Health Ministry figures issued yesterday show. The increase in the number of patients in the “active review” category—where they will receive treatment only if they deteriorate enough or more funding becomes available—takes the total to 24,400. The ministry's quarterly waiting report says it is critical that these patients are monitored and their plan of care and treatment status updated, but notes concern that some DHBs do not have processes in place to manage these patients’

    The removals were essentially because many had been waiting longer than the targeted 6 months for treatment and therefore were considered low priority. The policy had the greatest impact on DHBs with larger lists of such patients and continued to be applied every year after 2001. Removal decisions were taken by booking system managers, without involvement of clinical specialists.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3617466/

    Political capital out of bashing beneficiaries'

    Mr Russell says most Ministry of Social Development employees go into the job wanting to help people, but soon realise what's expected of them – even without financial incentives.

    "If you're going to have a career path through Work and Income and want to be a manager or a boss, you know what you need to be saying and doing."

    Mr Roundill says he's seen service centre managers "fight like a wounded dog" to avoid giving clients what they're entitled to.

    This "toxic culture" transcends Governments, says Mr Russell, with both Labour and National having adopted "neoliberal" economic policy since the 1980s.

    "Both National and Labour-led Governments make political capital out of bashing beneficiaries," said Mr Russell.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/07/claims-winz-staff-kick-people-off-benefits-to-meet-targets.html

  5. anon4today 5

    The thing about Wellington is that you can always tell by who they vote for, who is doing a good job, because they are the voters who actually see what is going on. That's why they vote red and green.

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