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The right become socialists as Covid-19 bites

Written By: - Date published: 7:52 am, March 17th, 2020 - 38 comments
Categories: Economy, health, national, Simon Bridges, tax, taxpayers union, uncategorized - Tags:

Clearly it is a time to put ideology aside.  The right, elements of which have thought the best thing to do to the state is weaken it that badly that they could then drown it in a bathtub, are rethinking and now realise that a well resourced, active and engaged State is actually a life saver.

Like our comrades at the Taxpayer’s Union.  Maybe they are a real union after all.  They have released this policy document which containse suggestions of what the Government should be doing.  Their paper contains this statement:

A market-led approach in these times would be an extraordinary mistake. The extremely tight timeframe, matched with significant information deficiencies on the part of consumers and firms, plus massive externalities of individual behaviour all characterise market failure.

As fiscal conservatives it does not come naturally to call for a dramatic expansion of the size of state spending. But a core of role of Government, and why we pay taxes, is to protect the citizenry at times of national systematic shock such as war or pandemic.

And this is one of their proposals, something which Karl Marx would be proud of:

A variety of firms will go bust in the coming 12 months. The Government will inevitably seek to support some firms and sectors that for which continued operation is of strategic importance, Air New Zealand and major airports being obvious examples. Support should be limited to a handful of strategically important firms, rather than an excuse to nationalise large swathes of the economy.

While there is justification to ensure some major companies continue, shareholders should not be insulated. The Government should only propose terms for bailouts which give the Crown a significant (majority or total) shareholding in these firms. The funds are for the continued operation (i.e. jobs and services) of these companies, not to protect the existing shareholders.

They then propose a sell down when things return to normal.

National has gone very quiet.  Apart from their cheerleaders suggesting that the Government has been doing too much AND too little and have acted too quickly AND too slowly they realise that now is not a time for partisan political games.

There is also this strange contribution from a techhead published in the Herald.  They insist that the country should be run in the same way as well resourced highly profitable tech companies.  If only.

The primary subject of the interview, Zuru founder and Entrepreneur of the Year Nick Mowbray, urged the Government to do a lot of things most of which it was doing.

Ah the right. They spend most of their time weakening the state as much as possible, then when we strike a crisis they have all the answers.  Marx would be perplexed.

38 comments on “The right become socialists as Covid-19 bites ”

  1. Peter Barry 1

    It appears your right is using common sense and being pragmatic rather than burying it's head in ideolgy like some others.

    It makes a pleasant, even if unexpected, change.

  2. Siobhan 2

    You appear confused..the headline is..'The Right become Socialists'..(correct)…then, "its time to put ideology aside"..um, no, lets go socialist, like you say…"a well resourced, active and engaged State is actually a life saver"..lordy how i hate to be reduced to memes..but you really are this guy..

    Image result for meme but thats socialism

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Good perspective as per usual from Micky.

    It has been frustrating alright to observe the Nats behaviour during this virus contagion…“their cheerleaders suggesting that the Government has been doing too much AND too little and have acted too quickly AND too slowly”.
    Cynical bastards pushing for political advantage rather than dealing with the substantive matters in a cooperative way.

    Now, will the Labour Caucus also embrace this “socialist spirit” and assist the working class directly, or skew aid funds mainly to business bailouts?

    WINZ/MSD should be repurposed urgently into a citizens aid machine, with the draconian/moralistic/sadistic side of their operations retired. It would be the perfect time to do that. No standowns, no abatements for part time work, direct credits to all citizens with a demonstrated need without stigma. And the Stasi style Benefit Investigation Units to start ‘investigating’ disabled, long term ill, and other vulnerable peoples needs–and fulfilling them instead of punishing and establishing debt!

    Hey, dreams are free…but disaster capitalism always waits to swoop in these tight spots.

    • Molly 3.1

      "WINZ/MSD should be repurposed urgently into a citizens aid machine, with the draconian/moralistic/sadistic side of their operations retired."

      Politically, this is a great opportunity to do just that. The impact of Covid-19 may have just opened that Overton window much wider as a larger number of voters find themselves in the precarious position of needing support.

  4. Nic the NZer 4

    The political right has always been cogniscent of the states ability to fund the economy through its spending. The govt deficit concern is only raised from that side when they don't like the programs being funded, but its repeatedly been clear that the US president can fund tax cuts, the military and blow the deficit out completely and nobody gives a toss.

    Unfortunately on the left we seem to have a bunch of true believers amoung us. This buys into the rights rhetorical dismissal of state funded public goods as being unaffordable. The next time that the NZ govt is being cheer lead towards running a surplus for ideological reasons we should remember how it works when an actual emergency arises and the true nature of the economy becomes plain fact.

  5. I Feel Love 5

    Are all the right wing guys banned? They've certainly been quiet? I was thinking the other day about some Venezuelan rw guy trolling a lw site about the toilet paper shortages in the US & Aus. Also, giving the supermarket and Uber money for delivering food etc, we still own NZ Post right?

  6. bill 6

    All this damned drop in economic activity indicates we've taken our eye off the ball on the heating the world up front We need to kick everything back into gear and get that peddle to the metal pronto!

    If that means nationalising, then nationalise!

    If that means bailing out behemoths, then bail!

    We can do this.

  7. AB 7

    Tech heads are sometimes the stupidest people in the room.

  8. observer 8

    "Taxation is theft". The thought-free slogan trotted out on various forums (Stuff comments is a favourite), because when you're hit with a virus you can demand to be cured by the pizza you bought with your tax cut, rather than a public health system.

    Or, tax is property confiscation. According to David Seymour, who has been very quiet these past few days.

    Is it unfair to dig up old quotes and mock him and his party now? Maybe. Coronavirus has changed everything. People learn. But then again …

    He was saying it in March 2020

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    I'd believe they were socialists if they suggested the upper echelon payroll in business was cut to the bone and the amounts used to to support extended sick leave.

    I'd also like to see work hours trimmed for all to lessen redundancies and keep people in work and the skills up.

    In fact I'd make this a precondition of any state help – if the pie is smaller then it needs to be shared much more fairly. Th peeps at the top aren't going to lose their jobs anytime soon but they could loose the salary.

    I'd also institute a rent freeze of sorts ( not more than annual from today) – to prevent landlords soaking up state aid and I'd be into the power companies & telco's so that the price of basics dropped.

    And the provincial aid and infrastructure spend – I'd hook some of it away from roads and partner with local government to update other sorts of infrastructure – water sewage etc. LG has a lot of the aging less than adequate infrastructure( getting beyond the capacity of the ratepayers to fund) so why not update that as well and it has the double whammy of keeping down rates and rents looking ahead. It spreads the management and speeds up the spend as there will be projects ready to go.

    It would spread it over the country better, update a wider range of infrastructure, keep a wider range of skills and business in various localities in work ( and couldn't be flogged off by the next right wing government)

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    What has been possibly the only positive thing over the past 5 days is politics has largely disappeared. The right and left across the world are almost all singing from the same song sheet.

    Snide tribal bullshit has no real place at the current time.

  11. Janet 11

    "I'd also like to see work hours trimmed for all to lessen redundancies and keep people in work and the skills up."

    My thoughts too… Everyone should share the load . Take air NZ for example , looking at dropping 3000 staff into shit. Why not all staff take a big cut leaving take home pay being just enough to get by on – and corresponding reduced hours of work instead. Then you hold the human resource in hand until things normalise again.

    Freeze mortgage repayments, freeze rents . freeze money and wait it out together.

    • RedBaronCV 11.1

      Airnz was at the top of my frame as well. It's probably going to need govt help to survive and we need it as a nation to do so – but I'd take a hatchet to the top level payroll ( no more than 5 times minimum weekly wage ?) spread that around – get voluntary hours cuts rather then redundancies then spread the rest of the load as equitably as possible. I'd involve the staff/ unions in the discussions – no more of this top down bull of making decisions around redundancy.

      Stock options shares for senior levels – gone – transfer to the govt shareholding in return for the assistance.

      We can’t afford to keep supporting the lifestyles of the rich….

      • Gosman 11.1.1

        Why do we need Air NZ as a nation? Sure we need to be serviced by airlines but it doesn't need to be Air NZ.

        • RedBaronCV 11.1.1.1

          from discussions in past years when Airnz was in trouble -Reliable communications links -export of produce- heavily supported by the RW as well IIRC.
          Otherwise likely to be ripped off by an oligolipstic market owned overseas

        • Poission 11.1.1.2

          Because the earnings stay in NZ,as does the tax on profits.

          Following the GFC the NZ current account deficit decreased due to lowered profits being repatriated overseas.We will see similar trends in the short term.

          https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key-graphs/key-graph-current-account

          • Gosman 11.1.1.2.1

            Ummm… that applies to ALL international transport. Do we have a State owner shipping company?

            • KJT 11.1.1.2.1.1

              Apart from the rail ferries, No, We don't even have an NZ owned and flagged one anymore.

              Which is why Mearsk, and MSC, charge whatever they feel like, with services that can be intermittent and overpriced.

              And our balance of trade is hugely more in the red, paying shipping companies, that don’t buy in New Zealand, don’t pay taxes in New Zealand and don’t pay wages in New Zealand.

              Not to mention spending hundreds of millions on Navy logistics ships, because there are no local cargo ships, we can requisition if needed.

            • Incognito 11.1.1.2.1.2

              Please no whataboutisms, thanks. If you cannot argue your point without it, you’ll be self-isolated soon again.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.3

          We've been here before when AirNZ almost collapsed in the aftermath of the Ansett debacle. One obvious reason is that letting AirNZ fold would more or less leave Qantas in control of our tourism market. They'd have every incentive to route all international traffic via Australian destinations, then run short hops to NZ, giving Aus tourism a big advantage over NZ tourism.

          There are other reasons, but NZ is the most remote substantial nation on earth and air travel has been enormously important to us. Far more so than most other places.

          • Gosman 11.1.1.3.1

            Will other international airlines not want to get a slice of the NZ international air travel market? It seems to have been very lucrative for Air NZ.

        • lprent 11.1.1.4

          Why do we need Air NZ as a nation?

          Seems pretty obvious to me, even if it isn't to an unobservant economic moron like yourself.

          Air NZ has been the only reliable air-freight in the country when you look over the last couple of decades. If you want to figure out how important air-freight is to us, then have a look at the cargo facilities clustered around Mangere airport and those of Christchurch. The very high value exports and imports go mostly through Air NZ.

          While some of the other airlines moderate amounts of air-freight, they drop in and out of the market at an alarming regular rate. Roughly coincident with changes in fuel prices and the volumes of passengers arriving.

          As far as I am aware there are no regular international air-freight aircraft landing in NZ – otherwise it’d be way easier to get the unprotected lithium batteries for R&D that I need. Instead they get shipped via sea, have low stocks, enormous markups, and the wrong models.

          Since we are a export orientated economy who ships out quite a lot of time critical and high margin produce and goods, it flies. If it is low-margin low-employment commodities like most farm produce, timber, and minerals – then it goes by sea.

          Since we are a small economy who doesn’t stock large quantities of specialised equipment that gets used in domestic productivity as well as the value-added exports I deal in – then we have a large incoming trade as well.

          But you can read this again – this was why Air NZ got bailed out nearly 20 years ago. It wasn’t particularly for the tourism industry. It was because having a local international airline is a lifeline when everything screws up. Just watch as a pile of airlines start to bail away from NZ now. They’ll be back for the tourists. But they still won’t be carrying much air-freight.

  12. RedBaronCV 12

    Actually we could get any shares perhaps transferd to the Cullen fund or whatever it calls itself now. Maybe in lieu of the the annual cash contribution from government.

  13. mary_a 13

    Not only is Simon not saying much these days, but also his offsider, Paula Bennett isn't being as gobby as she usually is. Interesting times.

    We're in this together now, so let's pull together for the benefit of the nation.

  14. Nick Mowbray a "techhead"? He flogs plastic toys to the world. He's a salesman, entrepreneur and a vendor of crap. Pretty much the opposite of the tech nerd stereotype.

    • lprent 14.1

      What he said… More of a marketing dickhead than a tech head.

      • Lettuce 14.1.1

        Mowbray looks like just the sort of opportunistic grifter that National will be looking for to replace Donkey now that Luxon's been outed as a religious nutter.
        How well does he know Michelle Boag?

  15. Wensleydale 15

    This is hilariously (and depressingly) predictable. When it's the poor, beneficiaries, the disabled, the mentally ill, etc. copping all the damage, it's fine. We can't possibly throw money around because it just enables them and "won't someone please think of business". As soon as they realise 'everyone' is going to get a broadside, including business, property investors and the conspicuously affluent, it's "please Nanny State, won't you help us out".

    Principles – those annoying things you desperately need to toss overboard when you realise you are not the centre of the universe and Mother Nature is going to bollock you just as hard as the poor family down the road.

    I'm trying really hard not to smirk, but at this point it's completely beyond my control.

  16. Peter 16

    The Taxpayer’s Union? When it suits them and is of use to them socialism is good. It's just a tap to turn on and off at a self-serving whim.

  17. Cinny 17

    The nats have bragged many times in parliament about how they increased benefits, questioning the government on why they haven't done the same.

    Now that the government has increased benefits, the right wingers are complaining at them for doing so.

    WTF? Listening to the misinformed on talkback, ryan bridge.

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