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The end of partisan politics?

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, April 8th, 2020 - 71 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy, jacinda ardern, labour, Media, radio, socialism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags: ,

Something strange is happening in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It hit me on Monday as I was listening to nine to noon’s political slot with Kathryn Ryan, Stephen Mills, and occasional Standard reader Matthew Hooton.

Mills and Hooton in the past have come to near blows and Hooton extolled a pure right approach to economics and Mills countered with centrist social democrat analysis.

This week something strange happened.  There was near unanimous agreement on the current situation and on our way out.  And a respectful discourse about the Government’s handling of the crisis and what the exit strategy should be.

I found myself doing a Mike Williams and agreeing with pretty well everything Hooton said.

Especially when he said that the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s caused long term adverse health education damage, were done too roughly and the results were more damaging than they needed to be.

I also agreed with him when he said that Ardern was making decisions on the edge, that we need the lockdown to succeed and that if it succeeds Ardern will be a national hero.

And he rightfully predicted that the border will be in a lock down for at least a year but the economy can survive.

He even talked about how if the government bailed out a company it should take an equity position in it.  We are all socialists now.

Others saw it differently. In this rather strange post Chris Trotter thought it was an effortless outflanking of the left by Hooten. I thought it was an abject surrender of the intellectual high ground by the right.

Trotter’s claim in his post, that the Government should have accepted Bauer’s $1 offer, is frankly weird. He is clearly trapped in a time warp where printed magazines are still viable. And call me old fashioned but in a crisis where a pandemic is ripping the economy into shreds I prefer that the Government concentrates on protecting the health system and basic workers rights rather than engage in resuscitating the Listener.

Hooton is not the only right winger to show decidedly left wing bias in the analysis of our world’s current predicament.

How about this from Editorial Board of the Financial Times?

Radical reforms — reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades — will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.

Or this from the ABC:

Seeking out gaps in the market and exploiting price anomalies are the everyday activities of anyone involved in any kind of trade, from shopkeepers and grocery wholesalers to money market high-flyers who trade synthetic derivatives of complex financial instruments.

As a free-market economy, successive governments of all persuasions for the past half-century have embraced the idea that government should not run commercial enterprise. They’ve preached privatisation, asset recycling and the fundamental belief that free trade and minimal government intervention will maximise wealth and lift society as a whole.

We’ve celebrated Australians who’ve taken on the world and won, who’ve played hard ball with the best of them and come out on top.

But it is a philosophy now being questioned, and not just here. For while the theory of free trade, and the mathematical formulae that underpin it, still hold true, many economists over the years jettisoned an equally important concept on the other side of the ledger.

They forgot about distribution. They stopped thinking about how the spoils are divided. They looked on without a care as the wealthy became insanely rich while working class living standards across the developed world declined.

In the space of a few months, as a health pandemic has gripped the world, all our preconceived notions of economic management are being questioned.

Community suddenly has replaced competition as our primary motivating force.

We seem to have reached a position where a consensus is emerging that free market economics will no longer work.  The evidence is far too clear.  The failure of the United States confronts us each day.

And at the same time politics as usual, the partisan advancement of slogans, is on hold, at least in New Zealand.  Following technical advice and making brave decisions appears to be a winning formula. Hopefully this decision making process will continue as we address climate change.

So now, while there is this emerging political consensus, is the time to push forward with progressive reforms of the economy.  Sadly making sure the Listener is still published may not be one of them.

71 comments on “The end of partisan politics?”

  1. That_guy 1

    Unfortunately my experience of the Listener and North and South consists of my mum sending me clippings of articles discussing issues that have been discussed for months and in greater detail in the blogosphere. Basically I treat a North and South article as an indication that the boomers have finally noticed a story or trend that's been around for ages.

  2. "We seem to have reached a position where a consensus is emerging that free market economics will no longer work. "

    The free market is an economic system based on supply and demand with little or no government control.

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/freemarket.asp

    We have nothing like that in New Zealand. Trump has moved the US towards protectionism.

    I question your claim of an emerging consensus. I seem more of a limited emerging opportunism to use Covid-10 induced economic disruptions to try some sort of idealistic grand economic experiment that is poorly defined.

    The debate should be how much 'free market' we should have and how much government control.

    Should we look at improving the mix, or consider replacing our economic systems with something radically different (which given the knife edge economies run on would be very high risk)?

    Can we get a non-partisan consensus on this here?

    • Paddington 2.1

      " We have nothing like that in New Zealand. "

      Indeed.  In 2019 NZ ranked 3rd in this list countries ranked by economic freedom https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_economic_freedom.  Yet we still have significant government intervention in our economy (mostly, but not always for good reason) and in specific markets within it.  BTW the US ranked 12th.  The concept of a truly 'free market' economy is a construct of the left to try to combat the failure of socialist eonomics, and the success of broader mixed market economics across the planet in lifting people's standard of living.

    • Craig H 2.2

      The current system is 30+ years old and heavily dependent on the state in times of natural disasters, so are due something of an overhaul – it seems to be common to replace economic systems from time to time because they tend to degrade over time. While we probably won't throw out markets completely, I could see a lot more state interventions or more of a mixed economy in which the state does more – the classic ministry of works being one example. Better resiliency that way, even if the profits are smaller for private employers.

      We could try MMT, but that’s not proven in real world scenarios.

    • KJT 2.3

      Haven't seen much advocacy here for untried "radically different" solutions. 

      Most are looking at the things, that are working in Scandinavian countries, and worked in the past here and in the USA. Already proven.

      No change as radical as the disaster inflicted on us after 1984.

  3. Ad 3

    It's the start of a new mediascape, at least. The media will be represented by Parliament at the front as the horn of the unicorn and Jacinda as its face, tv and radio will be the body, but the tail will be enormous and rainbow-coloured and swishy – which is blogs like ours. 

    We're a part of the big rainbow-coloured swishy tail. 

    As for macro-political unity, I say nah. From the volume of stimulus the federal government and central bank is generating to prevent consumer collapse, everyone's a socialist there already. I'm not convinced it's going to be calamitous for the United States. About 70% of their GDP is from businesses that are exempt from orders, and about half of businesses that aren't exempt can continue with remote operations. 

    China and the countries around it will come out of this like a bull from a gate. Us and Australia will prance up and down the paddock with them. Sure everyone coming in for tourism will have a QR code, but after that you're free to prance all over the paddock.

    To get more unity across the world you'd need a much longer, deeper recession across the world. Sure it's not like the year 2000 and everyone thought all digital devices would die, and then nothing happened. And probably it's as big as the GFC at least. 

    But the best I see us getting is an order in which there's a stronger east Asian+Oceanic trade bloc of which we are deftly a part. 

    I don't see much ideological unity being generated out of this. 

    I just see lots of swishy-tailed sparkling ponies.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      China and the countries around it will come out of this like a bull from a gate. 

      Wait and see what happens when the US Navy stops assuring freedom of navigation across the whole world and retreat back to protecting only their local paddock.

      • KJT 3.1.1

        When they stop destroying any country who dares to threaten their corporate profits, with either sanctions or bombs, the world will be a much better place.

        I know a bit about sea lanes and the international agreements that keep them clear. It wasn't the Yanks, except in a very limited way, like Somalia.

        The US and Israel, have been responsible for almost all recent blockages of sea trade.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.1

          I know a bit about sea lanes and the international agreements that keep them clear. It wasn't the Yanks, except in a very limited way, like Somalia.

          International agreements with zero enforceability unless someone's Navy turns up to  … well enforce.

          It wasn't the Yanks, except in a very limited way, 

          And the reason why is simple enough … the US Navy has more firepower than pretty much all the rest of the world put together; no-one has been stupid enough to take that on since the end of WW2. The enforcement of freedom of navigation has not needed to be overt for the most part.

          And given you know so much about sea lanes and how they work, tell us all about how well it worked in the centuries before WW2 and the US came along to fuck it up.

          When they stop destroying any country who dares to threaten their corporate profits,

          As a fraction of GDP the US does relatively little trade with the rest of the world (<8%), and much of that is now within NAFTA. The US is now fully oil independent … the idea that it's all about oil and corporate exploitation doesn't hold up to much scrutiny.

          • KJT 3.1.1.1.1

             "Reckons".

            The US Star Trek fantasy, of being the “worlds policeman” which you are repeating here, was never supported by reality.

            Never heard of “Banana republics”? Eh?

          • Gabby 3.1.1.1.2

            Yankistan might not seem to be trading with the world but businesses controlled by yankers seem to be everywhere. No doubt that will be covered by some legalistic bullshittery enshrined in the constooshin.

          • Adrian Thornton 3.1.1.1.3

            "The US is now fully oil independent … the idea that it's all about oil and corporate exploitation doesn't hold up to much scrutiny."

            …really? tell that to the people of Venezuela, Libya etc etc, what a completely bizarro comment!

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.3.1

              Bizzaro only because your information is out of date. See pat's helpful link at 7:50pm below.

              • Adrian Thornton

                Here is example of your apparently benign US foreign policy Redlogix, wether it is about oil, corporate power or something else what does it fucking matter? it is still only about power in one form or another, with the end result being innocent people, human beings like you or me in their hundreds of thousands..no millions suffering as a direct result of US foreign policy being wielded by the corrupt and brutal worlds number one super power…with total immunity.

                As US Consigns Iranians to Death, Corporate Media Look the Other Way

                https://fair.org/home/as-us-consigns-iranians-to-death-corporate-media-look-the-other-way/

          • pat 3.1.1.1.4

            "In 2019, the United States imported about 9.10 million barrels per day (MMb/d) of petroleum from nearly 90 countries. Petroleum includes crude oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, refined petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel, and biofuels (including ethanol and biodiesel). Crude oil imports of about 6.79 MMb/d accounted for about 75% U.S. total gross petroleum imports in 2019, and non-crude oil petroleum accounted for about 25% of total gross petroleum imports."

            https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=727&t=6

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.4.1

              Talk about selective  … from the same page:

              In 2019, the United States exported about 8.57 MMb/d of petroleum to about 190 countries and 4 U.S. territories. Crude oil exports of about 2.98 MMb/d accounted for 35% of total gross petroleum exports in 2019. The resulting total net petroleum imports (imports minus exports) were about 0.53 MMb/d in 2019.

              In other words the net balance is as close to zero for all practical purposes. Various imports and exports will have their origin in a complex of reasons, some technical, some commercial … but in essence if the USA wanted to be physically self sustaining in oil it could easily manage it. Thanks for providing the reference proving my point.

              And here is the relevant wiki page:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_energy_independence

              And that's before we even look at the enormous glut of natural gas they have, so much so it's essentially free at some terminals. 

              • pat

                and why do the US continue to import oil when they export so much?…to make their shale oil processable…makes something of a myth of self reliance does it not?….even if you choose to ignore the appalling EROI and rapid decline rate of fracked wells.

                • RedLogix

                  Probably because a large chunk of those numbers come from reliable partners like Canada and Mexico. Perhaps the phrase 'North American energy security' might be more accurate, but the point remains the same.

            • alwyn 3.1.1.1.4.2

              What are you trying to say? Your figures for imports, from the link you provide, may be correct for their 2019 imports. Their exports were about 8.6 MMb/d so they were only net importers of about 0.5 MMb/d

              The same document shows that in March 2020 the were net exporters. The numbers you link to confirm what RedLogix was saying.

              I don't know what the current numbers are but New Zealand used to export nearly all the oil we produced. We exported our sweet light crude and imported crude that was better suited to producing the refined product we use. It is the net value that matters.

              • pat

                net value huh?

                "Roughly a decade after McClendon’s rise, the Wall Street Journal reported that “energy companies [since 2007] have spent $280 billion more than they generated from operations on shale investments, according to advisory firm Evercore ISI.”

                As a whole, the American fracking experiment has been a financial disaster for many of its investors, who have been plagued by the industry’s heavy borrowing, low returns, and bankruptcies, and the path to becoming profitable is lined with significant potential hurdles. Up to this point, the industry has been drilling the “sweet spots” in the country’s major shale formations, reaching the easiest and most valuable oil first."

                https://energypost.eu/the-secret-of-the-great-american-fracking-bubble/

                • RedLogix

                  The cost of extracting shale oil keeps on dropping to the point where it's nearest competitor is now Saudi. (Who are at this moment in the middle of a price war to try and kill off US shale oil and the Russians at the same time) … 

                  This is one game where technology has made substantial gains in the past decade; many assumptions made less than a decade ago about how the industry would collapse have not eventuated. 

                  But from the North American energy security perspective whether shale oil is the cheapest in the market is not very relevant. The US may well trade oil when it suits them, but fundamentally they don't need to. Look at this map which shows where OPEC crude goes. And this dates from 2016 which is a bit out of date now. US imports from the ME have only dropped since then. 

                  • pat

                    "The cost of extracting shale oil keeps on dropping to the point where it's nearest competitor is now Saudi"

                    you best go do some research…..US oil production cost is mid range and miles ahead of the Gulf States..and higher than Russia.

                    "To be fair, U.S. shale producers – and the oilfield service companies working with them – have done a lot to reduce production costs and breakeven prices in the past five years. Shale had, in 2015, the second-highest breakeven price in the world at $68 a barrel, according to Rystad Energy.

                    Since then, costs have fallen substantially and the breakeven is now $46 per barrel. Sadly, the international benchmarks today are trading much lower than this."

                    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Lesson-US-Shale-Refuses-To-Learn.html

                     

                  • KJT

                    You are all, missing the point entirely.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_trade-to-GDP_ratio

                    Although the USA's trade as a proportion of GDP is one of the lowest in the world, about 25%, it is still a quarter of their GDP. They also  take a massive cut of trade profits, especially in services, from trade between other countries, and dominate financial services. Have a look at how many international shipping companies, nominally owned in Liberia or Panama, that are, in reality owned by USA'ians, for one.

                    Which is why they get rid of Governments, that try and bypass trade and finance in US dollars.

                    Far from being "more isolationist" they depend on China for manufactered goods and finance. Rather a joke that the "Bastian of the free market" is being propped up by "the communists". https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/balance-of-trade

                    The USA’s high earning service industries are often domiciled in tax havens, like Ireland, and show as part of that countries trade, but the profits are sure as shit, going back to US owners.

                    Then there are their interference in South America, and many other countries, and the projected plans for invading Iran and Venezuela.

                    "Isolationist" ?

                    • pat

                      Dont think anyone is ignoring the fact that the US seeks to protect its status as the worlds reserve currency…thats a given.

                       

                    • KJT

                      Hardly, "isolationist" is it?

                    • pat

                      theres a difference between autarky and isolationism

                    • RedLogix

                      It's amazing how you completely derail yourself here; my point is simple …. however you measure it the USA is less dependent on trade than any other major economy. Period. Your own data proves this.

                      (The only ones on your reference list that are lower are Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and Sudan … case closed.)

                      And when you do look at their major trading partners the list is dominated by Canada and Mexico who are both firmly within their 'sphere of influence'. Then comes China, Japan and Germany.

                      The point everyone is missing is that the USA now sees China as not so much a rival as a threat. Yes they are a major import source, but this is now seen as a security liability. They export relatively less to China, the only advantage China had was that it was cheap and that is going away as their labour prices rise. Therefore the US has every incentive to decouple from China which they can do with relatively little pain. The reverse is not true for China.

                      Yes the US trades with the world, but it doesn’t need to. It can be perfectly prosperous within it’s own NAFTA zone.

                      In doing so both Japan and Germany are going to be collateral damage.

                      They also  take a massive cut of trade profits, especially in services, from trade between other countries, and dominate financial services.

                      But not in direct taxes and levies. The world of course needs a common currency and the US dollar has served that purpose very nicely. You emphasise the benefits to the US of this arrangement, but selectively ignore the similar benefits that flow to every other nation able to securely trade goods and services anywhere they please.

                      You have grown up in a world where most nations (not behind the Iron Curtain that is) were able to trade freely with all others. You take this for granted and are blind to how unique and unprecedented this is. Almost all of human history prior to the end of WW2 was dominated by another system … empire. That is a completely different system, where territory, trade routes, currencies, taxes and levies were strictly regulated by the central state. 

                      The underlying logic of this was simple, the limits of photosynthesis meant that as nations expanded they needed more territory (more sunshine in essence) to support that growth. To do this they simply took it from someone else; this is the raw truth of all history up until the end of WW2.

                      What happened then had never happened before a confluence of circumstances that we can all be very grateful for. One was nuclear bomb, the other was the fact that the victorious nation, the USA, had no particular desire or need to capture territory in order to grow wealthy and thirdly, it had the only real navy left standing and the capacity to grow it. (The Brits had more ships until 1953 but were too broke to build more.)

                      But the outstanding challenge they faced was communism, in particular the Soviets. The US knew perfectly well they could never defeat them on the ground so instead they used their utterly dominant navy (and other tools) to bribe up an alliance against the Soviets .. the Cold War. The deal was simple … be on our side against the communists and we will provide the security and tools to enable you to trade your way to prosperity.

                      And it fucking worked. Amazingly well. This is the truth ideological lefties cannot stomach … the past 70 years have seen a giant leap forward in human development almost everywhere. So much so that our great-grandparents would be astounded at the lives we live.

                      I can work in a country like Panama, or Colombia, and while they are still clearly developing nations with many challenges ahead … they also have a rapidly growing middle class that is indistinguishable from what we would recognise here in NZ. In 1800 probably more than 95% of the world's population lived in absolute brute poverty by modern standards. Disease, pain and death stalked everyone's daily life. Famines were common, wars and violence were a constant threat. Child birth and infancy were heart-breakingly dangerous times of life. If you lived in a city, your nostrils were constantly filled by the stench of shit and filth.

                      All this has changed, yet somehow the hard left likes to pretend it hasn't. 

                      Now of course there is a complex web of reasons why this miraculous change has happened, and the 'exceptional' role the US has played is just one part of the story. But here is the rub … the US no longer wants to play everyone's favourite fall guy. They want out … this is what MAGA really means. And the US has the real choice to 'go home' at a relatively low cost to itself. (And I wonder why all you anti-US types object so vociferously to this proposition, after all it's what you've wanted all these years.)

                      Leaving the rest of us wondering what happens next.

                    • KJT

                      Nonsense.

                      Bought the whole US propaganda line whole.

                      What the hell has happened to you?

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I know your argument is 'nonsense'. It's redundant to keep saying so.

                      What the hell has happened to you?

                      I got out of the little NZ propaganda bubble and saw something of the wider world. And started questioning left wing shibboleths that have remained unchallenged since the 80’s.

                      Everything you are saying is completely predictable, it’s not necessarily wrong, but in it’s boring anti-US ideological bigotry it consistently misses the bigger picture.

                    • KJT

                      Funny.

                      I got out of that when I was 16.

                    • RedLogix

                      Shit or get off the pot.

          • KJT 3.1.1.1.5

            US trade with the rest of the world was under 8% but that is a long time ago.

            Their imports of goods and services are over 15%. 

             

            Then there is also the billions in tax dodging profits.

  4. pat 4

    Consensus?….no, but a desire to be the ones describing the new narrative definitely.

    When change is inevitable the most important task is to be the ones designing that change.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    Colour me cynical – but I see the right as just keeping their heads down while they go about business as usual. It's not what they are saying but what they are doing. Hanging on to multi million $ salaries, inflicting unnecessary financial pain on staff, firing at will – ignoring employment law and if the Washington Post is to be believed trying to grab the credit  for the lockdown whether or not that is realistic.

    John Keys advice "what would this look like on the front page of the paper " is about optics not real change.

    And of course they want the government stimulus packages – no problems there about burdening the future taxpayers with the repayments for their multi-million  $ greed grabs.

    As to media – why are we seeing so few interesting business stories that are not behind paywalls of some description? Why aren't companies releasing the figures on which they made their decisions-looking at you here Fletchers, Sky City Bauer

  6. ianmac 6

    Years ago when wool prices slumped I was asked to write the newspaper report of a combined Federated Farmers meeting to discuss new ways of marketing. By the time the meeting convened, the market had improved. The meeting decided to maintain the status quo. 

    I expect that once Covid 19 "passes" the conservative bodies will return to normal like a woman hating the giving of birth but soon forgetting the pain and doubts.

  7. RedLogix 7

    All the evidence suggests that personal political orientation is largely determined by biologically determined personality characteristics. In simple terms, there will always be progressives and conservatives, libertarians and authoritarians. Politics will always be informed by the different weightings these people bring to the table.

    Up to the present day we've been encouraged to see this natural political diversity as a bad thing. We demonise the 'other team' as morons, amoral and vile, while harbouring fantasies that if only 'our team' could be permanently in power the world would soon be a utopia. It essentially presupposes political orientation as two indentity groups perpetually locked into a power struggle; the end result of this logic being the shamefully dysfunctional hyper-partisan politics of the USA. 

    Heading in the other direction it's obvious we can never eliminate partisanship either; the key to understanding this dilemma is reframing the view we have of people with different political views to us. For instance, like many here I'm naturally averse to the authoritarian impulse; yet when the ground shifts as in this epidemic, suddenly it becomes the correct response. 

    What this tells us is that humans seem to have evolved a diverse set of collective political values and responses that enable us as a species to survive and adapt to rapidly changing environmental threats. The value of every political orientation must be measured against the context of the day … which has a nasty habit of changing unexpectedly on us. 

    When we start to see our 'opponents' as having intrinsic value, when we contend with them not on the basis of blind ideology, but on the facts and circumstances of the day, then we can move towards a more vibrant, healthy political culture.

    • Blazer 7.1

      'All the evidence suggests that personal political orientation is largely determined by biologically determined personality characteristics.'

       

      Love to know where you find the 'evidence' to support this breathtaking conclusion.

      • Barfly 7.1.1

        My experience is that my political views have been heavily influenced by my personal and financial circumstances

      • Craig H 7.1.2

        Studies of American politics. I can't cite anything in particular without digging for them online, but I have read articles based on those studies and RL's summary is accurate.

        There's also a pretty basic point that any country's political spectrum will include left and right etc, because they are usually relative to each other.

    • Adrian Thornton 7.2

      "All the evidence suggests that personal political orientation is largely determined by biologically determined personality characteristics "…sorry don't mean to be trolling you but WTF!

    • KJT 7.3

      If that is the case, how is it that political orientation changes so often during a persons lifetime, for a large number of people.

      Presumably they haven't had a genetic transplant?

  8. ianmac 8

    And yes Micky. Hate the use of the word surreal but it fits.

    Wouldn't it be great if the various camps could discuss solutions of national problems in a like manner. Party Politics do impede.

    • woodart 8.1

      political parties are like organised religion. a pox on both..

    • Enough is Enough 8.2

      What a silly idea.

      Politics is healthy. Every idea, regardless of how silly or great it is, needs to be challenged. That is the strength of party politics and should be encouraged.

      An idea that doesn't stand up to scrutiny from those with a different agenda, is not a very good idea

  9. tc 9

    Hooten sniffs the breeze and plants his stake in the ground, credit where it's due go Matty.

    State is great and has saved the day whereas bottom line behaviour would've seen many perish. 

    You can't eat, cloth or house yourself or others with corporate profits unless you're the owners which in NZ’s case are mainly offshore.

    • pat 9.1

      Hooton much more than a breeze sniffer.

      He is a highly effective lobbyist for his clients.

      Hooton v Mills is like the All Blacks playing your local club side.

      • tc 9.1.1

        Give him some credit as he does have a family.  However IMO he is marketing for his next opportunity by showing he can play both sides.

        • pat 9.1.1.1

          "Give him some credit as he does have a family."

          Whom are you referring to..Hooton or Mills?

          And he has no need to market…he's on the job.

  10. mikesh 10

    I would have to say that I don't find the notion of the government purchasing Bauer's NZ operations, for $1.00, at all "weird". Trotter, I think, is seeing media, including the printed variety, as a type of infrastructure, necessary for the promotion and maintenance of democracy; and it would therefore be appropriate that it should be financially supported, and even subsidized, by government.

    However, having made the purchase, it would probably be best for the government to pass out ownership shares to other interested parties in order maintain an independent voice within the organization.

    • Ed1 10.1

      I would imagine the government may have had an idea about the extent of assets and liabilities. $1 may have been a large overpayment . . .

      • Barfly 10.1.1

        +1

        I was thinking the same

      • mikesh 10.1.2

        No-one seems to have mentioned the liabilities, if any, the government would have take on. If you have any information about this please fill us in.

        • KJT 10.1.2.1

          At the very least it will be wages and redundancies.

          Predatory Capital companies tend to load their acquisitions with high debt. So they can extract as much money as they can, quickly. I would be surprised if that wasn't part of the liabilities.

  11. Chris 11

    I wouldn't get too excited by what Hooton says, ever.  Hooton is, in a number of ways, similar to Slater.  In mainstream media they often deliver their piece in ways that say they're sane and reasonable people, expressing their views which most people would see as completely unobjectionable – Simon Lusk 101. Then back on their blogs or in their own environments with their like-minded lunatic mates they're back saying what they really believe, reminding us they're still the same deranged lunatics they've always been.

  12. Corey Humm 12

    I actually agree with Trotters assessment, though i get where you are coming from too but At the very least the archives and name could been brought by the govt for a dollar and sold to the journalists. No ones saying media is more important than healthcare but seriously these are local historic brands with strong subscriptions that could survive online. “Undeserved moniker of Micky Savage” Chris is angry!

    Fafoi is incredibly useless and yes he is unimaginative, I’d wager he won’t be keeping the portfolio for long especially now that the industry despises him

    i think partisan politics is alive and well, they were crucified for politicising the stimulus so now their new track is to be totally supportive not cos they agree but cos it polls we’ll, the second the lockdown is over the right will be attacking more venomously than ever 

     

  13. Adrian Thornton 13

    "I found myself doing a Mike Williams and agreeing with pretty well everything Hooton said." it's at that point you should have realized you have just in stepped in quick sand my friend. The Right and Hooton don't compromise..they use so called liberals like Williams to compromise bit by bit all the values and standards of the Left down the drain for nothing, while the Right never shift…that is just a fact, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    Williams has drunk so deeply of the free market kool aid that he is is now a public proponent of private prisons..advocating and even defending Serco on numerous occasions.

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