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The Shock Doctrine

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 pm, March 1st, 2011 - 147 comments
Categories: disaster, kiwisaver, privatisation - Tags: , ,

I’m really pissed off that politics has come into the Christchurch earthquake so quickly. But make no mistake, the Nats are pursuing a strongly ideological agenda. They’re using the quake as cover for radically cutting important policies and making other extreme decisions, while preserving the tax cuts for the rich. It’s called the Shock Doctrine.

You’ll see there’s been no posts on The Standard criticising the government’s emergency response to the earthquake. That is only right. Emergency officials are clearly doing their best. Criticising the Prime Minister and other leaders over whether and when they should go to Christchurch is a bit churlish – as long as their behaviour isn’t truly outrageous. The leadership’s initial response was apolitical and nitpicking would just have been reflexively anti-National, not reasonable or responsible.

Unfortunately, the government’s actions have not remained apolitical. They could have and should have started by assessing the costs that need to be met, then formulating a method to pay for it through a consensus with other parties and local government, and then appointing apolitical rebuilding commissioners (as happened after the Hawke’s Bay earthquake).

Instead, even before the costs are known, the government is ruling out any reversal of their recent tax cuts for the rich and begun speculating on cutting Working for Families, Kiwisaver incentives, and interest-free student loans. These would be horrendously destructive policies, taking money out of the pockets of low and middle income families with kids, disincentivising saving, and putting higher education out of reach of many. Meanwhile, National stalkinghorses are proposing even more radical rightwing policies like selling local body assets and dumping tens of thousands of jobless workers off the dole.

Until now, National has known it couldn’t do any of this stuff – it would cost too many votes.

But they think they can get away with whatever they like if they wrap it up in the earthquake recovery and claim there is no alternative (a favourite line of the Nats). We saw this after the last quake when Parliament was rushed into giving Gerry Brownlee dictatorial powers, which he now seems determined to use against historic buildings. We also saw it after the Pike River tragedy, when Brownlee mooted open-case mining on Schedule 4 land, despite the public’s prior strong rejection of that policy. The Nats have not shied away from using the shock doctrine before and, despite the gravity of the situation, they appear willing to manipulate disaster for political gain once again.

We will be told that there is no alternative, that we all must sacrifice to rebuilding Christchurch. Questions over why poor families with young kids get money taken off them while John Key keeps the $23,000 a year in tax cuts that he has awarded himself will be diverted with vague claims that tax cuts for the rich promote growth.

Make no mistake, National is preparing the way to use the appropriate lull in confrontational politics and the natural reliance on a country’s leaders following a disaster to push through a radical and unmandated agenda.

While the country still reels from this latest shock, the Nats are cynically moving to take advantage of the situation.

147 comments on “The Shock Doctrine ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Make no mistake, National is preparing the way to use the appropriate lull in confrontational politics and the natural reliance on a country’s leaders following a disaster to push through a radical and unmandated agenda.

    Well then, it’s time that the opposition parties made it confrontational.

    While the country still reels from this latest shock, the Nats are cynically moving to take advantage of the situation.

    I’m not surprised that the psychopaths in NACT would use disaster to move their plan of giving our wealth to the rich forward. In fact, I’m surprised that they waited so long. Scott @Imperatorfish has an amusing writeup about it.

    • lprent 1.1

      That was pretty obvious from the start. If Labour and/or the Greens act the same meek and luser way this time then it is time to look at how many of their political advisors we need to castrate as we discard them before they do further immediate and future damage.

      • M 1.1.1

        Saw this on the late news; wish I had a punching bag for the anger.

        If the left react meekly they deserve to stay out of office but I realise that really vulnerable people are going to get clobbered. Phil you need to sounding the charge right now and you need to be downright intransigent about it.

        Like Draco I’m surprised they waited so long to make the announcement – of course Key put up one of his hatchet men so as to not tarnish his brand and Blinglish was giving a performance Porky Pig would be proud of – talk about befuddled.

        Knew it wouldn’t take too long before National showed its hand, the complete wankers.

        Anti-spam: discuss, yeah my arse they are.

      • Peter 1.1.2

        I’m sure the Centre-Left are probably hoping national actually try to add Student Loans and Working for Families to the sale of State Assets. Becoming the new government in November will be so much easier.

        • Colonial Viper

          If National did things that improved the resilience of our country and actually helped ordinary NZ’ers instead of selling them down the road, I’d support them.

          But since that will never happen…

  2. Irascible 2

    The Key, English rapid response policy of softening up the public for the wholesale pillaging of the state’s assets is straight from the Republican play book being used in Wisconsin and other US states that elected Republicans to government.
    The NACT play is to prepare NZ for rule by the oligarchy of the Business Roundtable while the public are still traumatised by personal tragedy. We see the policy in action as Key & English openly float the idea of slash & burn the social support mechanisms and asset sales as the way to pay for the physical damage to Christchurch. We see it, too, in Key’s grand idea of a Letterman-Oprah telethon for NZ (read John here)… an idea straight from the PR machine used by fading film stars looking to buy an oscar nomination.

    • Drakula 2.1

      Irascible; you are right on the money; it’s all about building a new global oligarchy, a slave state if you like.

      I have also mentioned in ‘Open Mike’ how the main stream media are putting a very depressing spin on this in the form of blanket coverage.

      Blanket coverage will surely enhance the ‘Shock doctrine’ while they cynically sneak in their sick agenda.

      I think that we are beginning to see through those bastards, yeh the emperor’s new clothing hey?

      • Bored 2.1.1

        Thanks Mr Undead, we need to find a way to drain their blood first. I have harped on for a while about the Road to Serfdom in which the parasite classes of the early 21rst century are turning us all into indentured labour (student debt) and serfs. Make no bones about it, this is a deliberate internationalist policy promoted by the likes of the Montpelerin Society. Theey have acted in a manner reminiscent of a classic Leninist movement since the mid 80s. Democracy has been undermined and circumvented. We need a revolution to reinstate it.

    • prism 2.2

      Don’t overlook what the Conservative coalition are doing in Britain Irascible. The right wing and left wing draw fuel from what their overseas counterparts are doing particularly the white English speaking ones.

  3. just saying 3

    Key will be kicking himself for announcing a November election.
    My biggest fear is that he’ll use opposition to his “shock” tactics as the crisis to bring it forward.

    Not for a second suggesting the opposition parties shouldn’t fight this with everything they’ve got.

    He may have miscalculated in not raising the top tax bracket by a token amount. People aren’t completely stupid, even while shocked and afraid.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Key’s miscalculated the November date big time. And he won’t bring the date forward because of the earthquake because that will too easily be framed as him taking advantage of a national tragedy.

      He’s stuffed. November is more than enough time for his Government to flounder under the pressure of the coming months.

      LAB, its time to put the pressure on.

      Start with pushing for massive public transport investment in a new greener more sustainable Christchurch, and for ditching the holiday highway.

      Use the momentum issues which got Celia and Len elected and adapt/apply to Christchurch

      Kill the NACTs on it.

      Forget about how its to be FUNDED, focus on the VISION of Christchurch FIRST. Be visionary, more than NACT will ever be. Work with the Greens and offer to work with Hone on it too. As if you are already in Government!

      (Because, when LAB wins in NOV it understands it needs this vision ready to roll as a Government, hence perfect time to work on it is NOW)

      NACT are going to be clearly doing it assbackwards. Focussing on funding, when they have NO VISION. Hence their neoliberal agenda (sell things off not build things up) becomes very clear very fast.

      LAB: FIGHT BACK WITH A SHADOW BUDGET!!! It will show NZ’ers very very clearly what 2012 under LAB is going to look like vis a vis 2012 under NACT. Make it the campaign platform of 2011.

      Christchurch is the game changer of the year. We cannot let our fellow Cantabs down, which is exactly what Bill and John will do once they sell off our assets at firesale prices.

  4. jimmy 4

    The first letter to the editor in todays dominion post mixes it up with some chap going on about how open cast mining pike river is the solution to the chch quake bill. If it was the 2nd or 3rd letter I would have let it off as just some isolated nutter, but it seems the propoganda wheels are in motion.

    (btw I most certianly didnt pay for the dom, I found it on the ground.)

    • Vicky32 4.1

      What? That makes no sense whatsoever… I thought open cast mining there wasn’t even physically possible, or am I wrong?

      • toad 4.1.1

        Probably physically possible, but definitely not economically viable.

        • Colonial Viper

          Plus it takes ~10 years for such a mine to be developed and start generating serious revenue.

      • lprent 4.1.2

        I thought open cast mining there wasn’t even physically possible…

        At Pike River? It isn’t possible – the over burden would have made it too expensive. The only difference would have been a wider range of possible mine entrances. But there wasn’t that much advantage in the alternatives.

  5. HC 5

    The “Shock and Awe” approach is sadly already impressing many in the population, and feeling that the country is in a “state of emergency” will make it easier for the Nats to soften up public opinion for their policies. In times of emergency and war various countries used to issue special “bonds” to raise money from the public to finance what they felt was necessary and hard to finance in any other way. Either that is an option, or a kind of “earth quake levy” – to be introduced for a set period – may be the way to go. It shows now that the tax cut for the better off income earners are definitely not justified and sustainable. They were not so before, and they definitely are no longer now! A progressive earth quake or disaster tax is a way to reverse the tax cuts with good reasoning. But this government will not have the guts to upset their core supporters and voters. That spells trouble to “joe average” and particularly the low paid, beneficiaries and otherwise disadvantaged. Do NOT forget Paula Bennett’s ‘Future Focus’ policies and the new welfare plans when you hear her praise the efforts of WINZ and MSD to assist people in Christchurch. It is a welcome opportunity for her to present herself in a very good light now, stressing repeatedly all the good deeds done by her agencies and her Ministry.

    • Drakula 5.1

      I am afraid that you are very rightThat is why we need to expose their real agenda!!

  6. Irascible 6

    Here’s the model for the NACT agenda straight from the Crosby-Textor Republican Party play book.

  7. stu 7

    Wouldn’t it be easier to find the rebuilding budget by introducing a universal capital gains tax whilest there is concensus that more tax must be taken, thus bringing speculators and those whose tax bills are low via company tax writeoffs into the tax fold than by further burdening the PAYE wage slaves?

    • marsman 7.1

      And also cutting subsidies to multimillion dollar profit corporations such as Telecom and Warner Brothers etc.

      • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 7.1.1

        I see that the NZX – headed by economic growth cheerleader Mark Weldon – paid 10.9% tax in the last financial year. There’s the extra money for rebuilding Christchurch right there!

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      NACT don’t want to tax speculators and land owners as that’s who their core demographic is.

  8. Anthony C 8

    I’ve believed that politics should have and has come into it from day one, any event which has that much impact on so many people requires it – it’s inescapable.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    The Herald editorial makes an important point this morning about funding the Christchurch rebuild via a two or three year earthquake levy – WE ARE WILLING.

    The idea that all New Zealanders may be prepared to sacrifice something so that our fellow citizens in Christchurch can get their city back onto it’s feet seems to be so alien to rational Rogernomes like Bill English and gilded plutocrats like John Key that they seem scarce able to credit that the feeling is abroad in the land.

    But it is. We are willing to share the sacrifice. Ignore that at your peril, Mr. Key.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Thing is, Bill thinks we are willing to sacrifice public transport and our power generation capability.

      The time that Bill and John take to get their cuts package together (no hint of tax increases mind you) is actually being used for polling and focus grouping as they try and design measures primarily to win the Election.

  10. infused 10


    “Instead, even before the costs are known, the government is ruling out any reversal of their recent tax cuts for the rich and begun speculating on cutting Working for Families, Kiwisaver incentives, and interest-free student loans”

    They have said no such thing. Those were questions asked by the media if almost to bait english. He said neither yes or no. Same with the tax cuts.

    • Marty G 10.1

      surely you can recognise a softening up exercise when you see one.

      look at the difference in language around the idea of cutting WfF as opposed to reversing the tax cuts.

      • Herodotus 10.1.1

        Slight tangent- but linked to discussion:
        What is wrong with readdressing Student loans. They is a servicing cost to the governemtn (i.e. the tax payer) of the loans $10b = $500m p.a., add that onto the increasing takeup of loans. The result is that cash goes out of the govt coffers.
        re reversing the tax cuts. Well there is an opportunity (That I imagine will not be taken up by Lab) to have a total rehaul of the almost totalled tax system, and for pollys to come out and be honest regarding the retirement age and entitlements.
        Perhaps with the quake in Chch we have an opportunity to replan not just Canterbury but our entire society and how the vision is to be funded, because currently the basis of this country exacts to greater toll on almost all of us, except a fortunate few in real wealth.
        Marty having a few sacred cows that cannot to be touched just redistributes the pain the rest of us have to endure.

        • RedLogix

          Marty having a few sacred cows that cannot to be touched just redistributes the pain the rest of us have to endure.

          No.. a levy (as proposed by the Greens) would spread the pain across everybody…. by definition. A progressive levy would impose more pain on the rich who can afford it most.

          Especially in view of the ‘sacred cow tax cuts for the rich’ that this govt will never touch.

          • Herodotus

            As mentioned before I am skeptical (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyjVGlQdt2k ) with the subject Shock Doctrine just want to plug !!!
            As those who the rhetoric targets to contribute the most DON’T. The PAYE worker has no ability to mange their income or take advantage of tax incentives. Have we all directly contributed already? the EQC fund that is meant to be spent on such events and then there is the private insurance coys? Is not what is required Leadership and vision to direct these payouts for the best of Chch,Cant and NZ?
            With this quake should we not reaccess spending and priorities, perhaps new roading projects, transmission gully etc be deferred. Remember how easy it was to spend $1b on a few copters for the airforce- Lab did it “just like that” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2-U8kV2oA0
            And we still have the many $b noose of leacky homes around our neck + health care and retirement entitlements, that will also haveto be paid for by whom….. ? the silence is deafening.

        • Marty G

          I think that the reforms you’re talking about are needed but need to be done carefully in their own right, not rushed by the quake.

          I.m no fan of WfF but it needs to be replaced, not just removed. Increasing the cost of higher education just leads to a less educated workforce. Again, I would reform how tertiary is paid for, not cut it.

          It’s also worth remembering that the uninsured losses from the quakes are only 5 billion, or about ten days economic output – not a justification for shock tactics from right or left.

          • Herodotus

            “It’s also worth remembering that the uninsured losses from the quakes are only 5 billion” what are these – council infrastructure ? and if so this will be spread out over many many years, associated with some double ups as short term fix ups will require to have permanent solutions, and does this ($5b) also include land that is unable to be returned as building sites taht would be compo acquired bythe govt?
            Should Chch be rebuilt there will be a churn of the $ go round- so there should be an economic payback of some form. Long term returns vs Short term costs
            Still think that the exodus will be the major uncalculable/hidden cost out of this

  11. RedLogix 11

    The 8:48am comment from Victor in this TV3 comment thread is either the best ‘false flag operation’ I’ve seen in ages… or chillingly for real:

    02 Mar 2011 8:48a.m.

    I’m a national party supporter and proud of it.

    At conferences we often discuss the fact that the average lifespan of a National government is 2 terms in power.

    The second term was always going to be about policies like working for families, kiwisaver,and interest free loans, asset sales etc.

    None of you should be suprised really, Key campainged against everyone of these policies whilst in opposition, and his opinion of them hasnt changed.

    So when you have a 2 term lifespan, getting rid of policies like this is always on the agenda in the second term.

    This is what National has always been about, not wasting tax payer money on families looking for a free ride or students who expect special priveledges that many students before them never had.

    Dont you people realise that many families on lower incomes arent paying tax at all on their incomes based solely on the fact that they found a loophole that allows them to get the government to pay for raising their children?.

    Why are you all being cry babies now?.

    I’m fairly sure it’s a spoof…but then again

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      “or students who expect special priveledges that many students before them never had.”

      Doesn’t make sense anyway. Key got a free education, we have to take out loans and pay it back (thankfully interest free, recently).

  12. Anthony C 12

    Not sure about the Greens levy kicking in over 48K, it’s sensible but doesn’t look good and alienates too many people who feel like they are already shouldering the burden.

    It anything it risks undermining the argument for an earthquake levy.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      On the National Radio this morning they interviewed two people Roger Shewen who is from Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Tax Working Group and some other guy who was obviously left-wing (he said that National gave a tax cut to the rich, which Roger started to reject, but it’s factually true).

      One of them (pretty sure it was Roger, he should know) said that if they raised the rate by 1% across all of society, including companies, they could raise $1.15B. I think raising 1% for people under $50k is a bit off, but they could easily raise it by 2 or 3% for people over 100k-200k to make up for that.

  13. The government is doing a fantastic job of supporting people here at the moment. Yesterday I set up a bbq doling out sausages for people standing in the massive line for emergency assistance at the Hornby WINZ office.

    The people, who really do come from all walks of life, are being ably assisted by the staff who have the tools available to immediately affect peoples situations. That doesn’t disguise the shock in peoples faces. I know this cause my flatmate works for WINZ and is in the thick of it.

    The “issues” you bring up in this post are the “Ken Ring-isms” of earthquake politics. It’s you guys that are scaring people with your rhetoric because so far the government response has been nothing short of brilliant.

    Try using the principles you say you follow to help – not lead us into conflict! Now is the time for solidarity and socialism in their purist forms instead of using our situation to push your own agenda.

    Anti-Spam: growth Heh 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Looks like you have conflated the brilliant response of our civil service and Govt departments (the same areas which on other days National constantly attack as bloated and full of red tape) with how Key, English and Brownlee are doing. And the jury on that is going to be out for a while yet.

    • RedLogix 13.2


      Two thoughts.

      1. I went through the Edgecumbe earthquake in 1987, which was a very similar quake, albeit it only hit the two small low-rise towns of Edgecumbe and Kawerua and the scale of the disaster was much lower.

      I do understand how you feel…even decades later small ground shakes trigger the stored memory of the trauma of that day and the weeks of aftershocks. You guys have gone through considerably worse and I struggle to imagine how many are coping at all.

      And I do understand that right now there is a real disconnect between your priorities and feelings and those of us outside the disaster zone. Events like this have a way of demolishing our delusions and laying bare what is important… so no-one, but no-one, here is in a position to judge you.

      2. Please consider re-reading what MartyG was saying. Specifically the second paragraph. No-one is critcising the immediate govt response on the ground. These public servants have worked their butts off to serve their community and deserve nothing but our respect and admiration.

      The article is about something completely different. It is about senior National ministers exploiting these natural feelings of solidarity and sympathy for what you are going through, to mute any protest to political changes that in normal times would be greeted with much opposition.

      There really is a name for this kind of politics called Shock Doctrine.

      • Lanthanide 13.2.1

        The aftershocks from this latest quake are much less than for the comparable time after Sept 4th. The first couple of days were much worse (I scarpered to Oamaru) but now, one week on, it’s not bad at all. I guess Sept 4th and it’s aftershocks got a lot of the stress out already (check the Geonet map that compiles both series together to see what I mean).

    • south paw 13.3

      Nothing brilliant about killing off a public transport project but continuing with a “Holiday Highway” for the Auckland Smiley Wavey clones and their million dollar batches.

      Solidarity and socialism “in their purist forms” by definition implies opposition to current right wing ideology.

  14. Luva 14

    Who is playing politics?

    We have a government that has quite rightly been very non commital when questions on funding have been raised. The only thing they have confirmed is that a treasury report has been commissioned. That report will give the government options. Politics will come into play when reviewing that report and decisions are required.

    But that time hasn’t come yet. And until that time comes I doubt they will say much. In the mean time they, and Canterbury are focusing on recovering dozens of dead kiwis.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      A Treasury report?

      WTF does Treasury know about whether Christchurch CBD is going to be moved or not, and whether or not its going to be designed as a post peak-oil pedestrian friendly centre now? And how much that will cost?

      • Luva 14.1.1

        Point missed!!!

        Will tell you something for nothing though CV, the CBD will be staying exactly where it is with the cathedral being reconstucted as the symbolic heart of the city

    • Lanthanide 14.2

      You know they never commission reports unless they know what the outcome is going to be, right?

  15. Colonial V,

    If the jury is still out, then why the sass? Why bring on the rhetoric using the quake as the forum when empirically nothing wrong has been done YET?

  16. aj 16

    Now: ‘we rule nothing out’

    To come: ‘we decided the nation as a whole must help with the rebuild, and I announce a levy’
    (announced by JK in Christchurh with Bob Parker in the background)

    The old game, sound out the worst, then think about the coming election.

  17. I agree Red. And Viper points out that I conflate the two issues. To us down here, the issues are one. We see first hand what the gummint are doing for us (this is not to say a Labour led gummint wouldn’t be just as effective)

    However, at the moment there is no evidence to suggest this shock doctrine is happening.

    Add to this Marty’s opening line “I’m really pissed off that politics has come into the Christchurch earthquake so quickly” when infact some commentators here jumped on that particular band wagon fairly early on doesn’t lend a lot of credence.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      To us down here, the issues are one. We see first hand what the gummint are doing for us

      Absolutely..again no-one is suggesting that New Zealanders everywhere are not fully supportive of that effort.

      But you may want to ask yourself, “Does that whole-hearted and admirable support automatically extend to giving the gummint a free pass on anything it wants to do?”

  18. prism 18

    This would be a good time to look again at Capital Gains Tax, rethink death duty, stamp duty etc.

    Thinking generally as to reasons we don’t have much capital. We could look at how many potential investment millions the country has lost through poor or gimcrack investment since 1984. Some are Ansett, BNZ, the finance companies, the watertight housing debacle, etc. Also are there ways we help investment vultures pay up big for businesses, borrow big to back that cost up, then run them into the ground ie Whitcoulls et al. What a waste of investment money if they go belly up. When it is a useful, thriving business that underpins our literacy and thinking abilities it would be a great loss, but possibly pollies who have put a price on tertiary education at any level wouldn’t be aware of this – the general reading age is about 12 year level I think. (I wonder how many fiction books that pollies read. Possibly they are like the household I once visited with no printed matter except duck-shooting gun magazines.)

  19. interesting 19

    How is saying “tax those who earn over a certain amount” lines that i have heard coming from left wingers, along with “Tax people”, also from left wingers also not ocnsidered “Ideologically driven”.

    Clearly it is.

    One lot want to “slash and burn”

    Another lot want to “Tax tax tax” (the rich it would appear).

    Both are ideologically driven. Both can use the disguise of “rebuilding of christchurch” as the excuse to do them.

    • RedLogix 19.1

      So what you are saying is that it’s all a matter of degree?

      Question. Are you telling us that New Zealand is an over-taxed commie hell-hole, or a libertarian no-tax ‘every dog for himself’ hell-hole?

    • Colonial Viper 19.2

      ideologically driven?

      Yeah it is mate, its an ideology of creating a sustainable community for all New Zealanders, versus an ideology of economically and socially favouring the top 5% of NZ’ers on the back of every one else.

      What’s your ideology? because your ideology frames your values. What are your values?

      • Gosman 19.2.1

        Obviously that isn’t establish fact just an opinion. Your opinion is influenced by your idealogical perspective.

        To try and argue that there is only one ‘right’ way of seeing the world is incredibly blinkered and also potentially dangerous. It was what many people criticised Margaret Thatcher’s Tory Government for in the 1980’s. The concept of TINA (There is no alternative). You have just applied that same logic to your ideologically held position.

        • mcflock

          Well, what coincides with actual outcomes – the promises of trickle-down economics or neo-keynesianism? Or, indeed, Marxism?

          As Colbert said, “reality has a well-known left wing bias”.

          • Gosman

            I respectfully disagree. You just have to look at the problems with the Global Economy in the late 1970’s to see that left wing economics doesn’t lead to the sustained prosperity that many think it does.

            • mcflock

              as opposed to the sustained prosperity of nations as they progress towards free market systems?

              Neither “wing” (to use the crude continuum model) is perfect, but a good solid democratic mixed economy with government involvement seems to provide the most stability.

              • Gosman

                I don’t think any seriously claims that Free Markets lead to sustained prosperity all the time. Certainly in the long run they tend to allow a general increase in wealth in society but markets ‘fail’ all the time and in fact it is an important aspect that they are allowed to do so.

                • McFlock

                  Well I don’t think anyone seriously claims that left wing economics leads to perfectly sustained prosperity, either. I asked which more closely achieves its forecasted outcomes.

                  And I can’t help noticing that the performance of the more market-oriented NZ governments in the past 30 years isn’t that positive.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I don’t think any seriously claims that Free Markets

                  Free markets in commodities and products make sense when individual countries already have their own unique manufacturing strengths and mature advanced industries.

                  Free markets in capital are a dumb idea. The main reason for free markets in capital is to enable the ponzi capitalist games of making hot money off hot money, asset price speculation etc.

                  Free markets in labour are also a dumb idea. Labour quickly gets devalued in a race to the bottom as job security, benefits, and pay are slashed in a shift of wealth upwards.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Obviously that isn’t establish fact just an opinion.

          That is actually fact – the tax cuts went to the rich and everyone else got to pay more tax and it was all done because NACT believe that rich people produce wealth rather than the reality which is that they’re a bunch of parasites.

          • Gosman

            Actually the fact is that NZ has a serious imbalance in our economy whereby the country as a whole tends to spend rather than save. What is also a fact is that Wealthy people tend to save more than those with less disposable income.

            If you want to rebalance your economy towards saving you can reduce the size of the state sector and give the money back to the taxpayers, (which obviously will mean those with large incomes get more of their money back), or you could try and legislate/encourage people to save instead of spend, or you could just do it for them.

            The last two options, from what I can tell, are something most of the mainstream Left believe in. People on the Right would prefer not to see an increase in the size and function of Government simply to try and rectify something that can be done via straightforward market mechanisms.

            You might argue there is other valid reasons why you should go down your route but you can’t deny the logic of the right unless you think Government should manage and regulate most aspects of the economy like in say Cuba.

            • Pascal's bookie

              You might argue there is other valid reasons why you should go down your route but you can’t deny the logic of the right unless you think Government should manage and regulate most aspects of the economy like in say Cuba.

              If you think y should be regulated with z, then you must think a-l should be regulated with m-x:

              This is
              a) stupid
              b) dishonest
              c) ignorant
              d) hilarious
              e) some combination of the above

              Also, capitalising wealthy. *weird*.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Of course we have a serious imbalance to the economy – it’s a direct result of the free-market being irrational. To prevent this the economy does actually need to be regulated.

              Actually the fact is that NZ has a serious imbalance in our economy whereby the country as a whole tends to spend rather than save. What is also a fact is that Wealthy people tend to save more than those with less disposable income.

              1.) People spend more than they have due to status anxiety caused by massive inequality
              2.) Rich people save more because they don’t actually need their entire income to live on

              Changing tax rates won’t actually change this – at all. Only changing the relative amounts people are paid will.

              And, on top of all that, “saving” is a load of bollocks anyway – money is not a resource.

              • RedLogix

                Precisely DtB

                While some saving creates a useful buffer against future uncertainty, or to avoid the need to borrow large lump sums… ultimately it is not a virtue in itself.

                Imagine everyone ‘saved’ every dollar they earned and never spent any of it. Absurd…the entire economy would fail overnight. Therefore ‘saving’ in of itself is not automatically a good thing.

                In fact saving really represents a slowing down in the circulation of money, yes it gets spent, but later. At a time when the economy needs stimulation, saving actually makes matters worse. Which is why giving tax cuts to the wealthy, who will save more than ordinary people, actually makes matters worse.

                Now of course the context is important. If that ‘saving’ is being used to build new productive capacity, then in the long-run it will be virtuous. But if that ‘saving’ is merely being used to deleverage excess unproductive debt (as a result of a property bubble popping for instance)… then immediately that saving will slow the economy down even more.

                This paradox arises because money has two separate functions that we tend to conflate; money as a means of exchange and money as a store of value. The two are related, but are not the same thing, and this creates all sorts of problems.

                • Colonial Viper

                  With a strong social welfare system, strong public health and education system, affordable quality housing easily available, no one needs to save very much at all. Spend and be merry. Get the economy going at light speed. There is no value in sitting on an expanding pile of capital. Pisses the Conservatives off because they get to feel less special as anyone can lead a great secure life on the median wage.

                  Only caveat is that interest bearing debt as a source of money needs to be severely tamped down. And of course it is that debt that western consumer economies have relied upon for the last 15 years to hide wage suppression from workers, and to fuel GDP “growth”.

            • Jum

              Gosman, yet another myth about the people with large incomes being entitled to get more of their money back. The money never left them; their accountants saw to that.

              As for saving; the rich get a huge tax cut and deposit it overseas, buy overseas or save. The poorer New Zealanders spend to feed, house and warm themselves. That spending saves the economy. Any shopkeeper rues the fact the rich get the most tax from the poor’s taxes given to them, because the rich have no problem ignoring the needs of New Zealand; that’s how they made their money to start with – ruthless moneytrading.

  20. tsmithfield 20

    Talk about whipping up a chicken-little frenzy.

    The government is clearly taking a contingency approach to this situation, which is exactly the right thing to do in these circumstances. The demands of the situation are very unclear in terms of what it might cost the government and what might be required going forward. Therefore, it is important they leave their options open so they can be flexible as possible in their response to the situation. Minimising the things they rule in our out clearly enhances their flexibility.

    BTW, I seriously doubt they will touch student loans, or WFF, unless it is at the higher end of the income spectrum, which shouldn’t bother contributors here anyway.

    • RedLogix 20.1

      Talk about whipping up a chicken-little frenzy.

      I’d be inclined to agree with you ts, if we hadn’t seen them do it before.

      Recall the considerable disquiet expressed over the draconian legislation passed after the Sept quake, legislation while necessary in many respects… also exploited the crisis to give Ministers potential power far and beyond what was required.

      • tsmithfield 20.1.1

        Probably having those powers in place is a good thing in the current circumstance. For instance, I read news reports that a decision was signed off in 20 minutes to approve running overhead power lines through the eastern suburbs to restore power due to the damage to underground power. If that had been left to the resource consent process, it probably would have taken months/years to achieve this objective.

        • RedLogix

          Agreed that’s exactly what I said… some of those powers were good and necessary. But as you know the debate was over how the legislation written in such a way as to grant powers far in excess of what was required to manage the post-quake rebuild.

          • ZeeBop

            Given NZ capacity for Earthquakes you’d think the RMA would have a major clause for emergency consent to reinstate essential backbone communication, power, water and allow for the RMA process to continue afterwards. Now we have the worst of worlds, powerlines put up in the spur of the moment that have essentially resource consent.

      • lprent 20.1.2

        That is the point. NACT’s PR people do this same tactic every time of trying to present a particularly stupid solution before the problem is discussed. Now we just assume that they will try to pull the same kind of crap and act as if they are. It works because it forces the debate that NACT prefers not to have. The schedule 4 mining being a fine example of doing it right. The super city being an example of doing it late. The ECan debacle and the “Brownlee wants power” act after the September earthquake being an example of how to do it wrong.

        The only thing that usually stands in the way is that the activists literally have to force a backbone into the opposition parties to overcome their political timidity

    • RedLogix 20.2

      BTW, I seriously doubt they will touch student loans, or WFF, unless it is at the higher end of the income spectrum, which shouldn’t bother contributors here anyway.

      Again you’re probably right. At least that’s what would happen in the first year. But the year after there’ll be another crisis of one sort or another… and then what?

      • tsmithfield 20.2.1

        Changes happen to tax rates etc all the time. Just because WFF for higher income earners is reduced doesn’t mean its the thin end of the wedge. Its just another adjustment to the system that commonly happens.

        • Lanthanide

          Actually for 9 years under Labour we had very little change to the tax system. It only seems like they “happen all the time” because National got in and can’t help themselves from tinkering.

          • tsmithfield

            “Actually for 9 years under Labour we had very little change to the tax system.”

            I agree with that. Especially in the lack of movement in the downwards direction. 🙂

            But they did increase the top rate to 39% which simply created lots of holes for avoidance. And they did eliminate interest on student loans which was a blatant electoral bribe, that was something we couldn’t afford, and created entirely the wrong incentives for paying the money back.

            A lot of this criticism of “tax cuts for the rich” is simply the government reversing the 39% rate that was a stupid idea in the first place.

            • Lanthanide

              “and created entirely the wrong incentives for paying the money back.”
              No, it created the incentive to stay in the country and pay it back at the minimum rate, instead of going to Australia (or elsewhere) and never paying it back.

              • tsmithfield

                Um yeah. I know people who are able to arrange their affairs so they have an interest free loan for the rest of their lives that they never pay anything off.

            • KINTO

              The rate that it is set as does not create holes for avoidance, only incentive to try and find holes.

              Slightly off topic, do you think we should get rid of speed limits, cause some people find a way around them, or how about the law against murder, people still get murdered? or is it only things you don’t like the government doing that should be gotten rid of because they are inperfect?

              • tsmithfield

                “The rate that it is set as does not create holes for avoidance, only incentive to try and find holes.”

                Right…. So, under the previous tax regime, (company tax 33%, top rate 39%) you don’t see a hole for avoidance staring you in the face? If you were distributing income from your company, don’t you think you might be careful to ensure that your declared salary is just below the 39% threshold, and that the rest is taxed at the lower company rate?

                “Slightly off topic, do you think we should get rid of speed limits…?”

                Not off topic at all actually. If the speeding fine for say going over 120kph was $300 and the fine for going over 100 k was $150, don’t you think there would be an incentive to avoid going into the 120kph fine bracket?

                • RedLogix


                  So I get the reason why aligning the top personal tax rate with the company tax rate makes sense to you. (Although it amounts to rewarding cheats by saying that they are going to cheat anyway, so lets allow them do it officially with impunity.)

                  OK .. so what then is the rational for this govt lowering the Company Tax rate to 28% in 2012? Creating exactly the same incentive to cheat all over again?

  21. ianmac 21

    Would a % of nett income raise a significant amount? At least the actual amount that various incomes would give would be tailored to poor through to the rich? It could run for only as long as the need existed.

    • Akldnut 21.1

      I’m thinking a levy of 1-2 cents on each dollar moved thru electronic transactions over a fixed period (irrespective of who it is – Private or business ) would do the trick.

      Or perhaps a rounding up to the nearest .50 cents on each electronic transaction would do it – maybe both.

      ASB already have a type of rounding up procedure in their system where you can nominate to round off your transaction to the nearest $1,$2,$5 or $10

      • Lanthanide 21.1.1

        You want to take $40 off me from moving my salary from one bank account to another? You’ve got to be joking.

        • Akldnut

          ahh…. do you earn $4,000 a week? cause thats what you would be earning to pay $40 bucks at 1 cent per dollar.

          If the account that it was taken from was charged the levy then those who didn’t want the charge would save automatically by not moving or spending, or deal in cash for the time frame the levy was imposed.

          Your employer would pay $10 per thousand if you earned 1K per week.
          You would pay 10 cents on the $10 special at the local fish and chip shop.

          Forgot to mention that the ASB saves the rounding into a nominated bank account of your choice

  22. randal 22

    too right marty g.
    i hear an apologist on the radio this morning sying the crisis is too big to be troubling the government at the moment.
    it is not the parliamentarians job to go dow n to christchurch and get in the way but it obscures the fact that a 2% levy on everybody would eliminate most of the governments financial woes of the moment.
    but then they would not have a stick left to beat people up with.
    and what they like most of all is bashing people up.
    very cunning!

  23. Bill 23

    Seeing as how the media are presently lauding the efforts of those people who are helping others in financial need or who have experienced material mis-fortune, it’s surely a no-brainer for the mainstream or parliamentary left to take those socialist sentiments and run with them.

    They have been presented with a ‘leg-up’ should they have any inclination to broaden and deepen the moral context of ‘have’s and have’s not’ and ‘winners and losers’ to encapsulate those in financial need or experiencing financial mis-forturtune as a result, not of an earthquake, but as an ineviatble result of the current economic orthodoxy.

    The question is whether the parliamentary left has any ‘left’ left in it. I’m not optimistic. The record of recent years has shown a parliamentary left slavishly devoted to corporate business and finance. A parliamentary left dominated by either mealy mouthed apologists and cowards or by neo-liberals who simply wish to go down the same road as the parliamentary right, albeit at a slower rate of knots, presents us with the following ‘choice’.

    On the one hand (the ‘right’), we get disaster capitalism with a few stray stale crumbs. And on the other (the ‘left’), we get a softer version of the same with the inevitable end point merely pushed slightly further into the future and crumbs coated in icing sugar thrown in on top in the meantime to keep us mollified.

    • thomas forrow 23.1

      exactly bill
      Hey there is a ‘society’ and people do care and support each other, funny that
      Try selling “our”assets now and see what happens.
      The left now have an amazing opportunity to run with those “socialist sentiments” FFS use it

      • ZeeBop 23.1.1

        I disagree with the ‘socialist sentiments’ argument, since would you call social networking sites that leave their founders billionaires socialism? Well maybe I would. But you must see that the left had to buy into the neo-liberal economic agenda to be viable as a party of power, why did Clark win for three terms but for the fact that Douglas took the Labour party to the right. Why did the UK and OZ have so much time with right wing administrations and even Blair right wing Labour. So the question is not for me about socialism’s return, its what sets the pace of society, scarcity or abundance, we go individualistic when we have abundance, in scarce and dangerous times we become more social, we understand the need to pool resources. One reason why business in NZ is so hard is it has been very social, markets are much more competitive, individualistic aboard, less rigged in NZ is very more about who you know – social business.

        The problem with the NZ economy is we do not value value, we do not tax capital gains, and so the moment anyone makes value there are huge incentives to sell, load up debt and move overseas as a rent seeker. The times they are a changing, and we need as a country to value value to retain and grow manufacturing, so the way I see it everyone has to change, and they all want something in exchange. That’s what makes the tax switch so wrong, because it only served to take from the lower and middle, to give to the top. What did the lower and middle get that the top didn’t? Stability, everyone got that. So National are out since who could trust them as arbitrators of society, when they favour the top. This is the ground Labour need to move to, sooth the socialist NZ business sector and placate the individualistic citizen voter. Business will need to become more competitive a CGT, but will want something in exchange (some form of guarantee that there will be winners – them), the voters will want something for having to put up with more socialism (less private car ownership) and that will mean trusted alternatives – a different way to be individualistic.
        So just riding around on bikes, and moving you business to locally owned companies should be enough to shift the mind set of the general public and businesses alike, if they see in their numbers that the country is going that way then all sides of the political spectrum will buy into a capital gains tax, financial levy, even an universal income. Work out the snarls as they come.

  24. interesting 24

    “I’m really pissed off that politics has come into the Christchurch earthquake so quickly.”

    Politics was involved from day one on this site from ccomments that people were making that were entirley inappropriate. (I am not saying the authors of this site were. But the people who were making comments were).

    That was sad to see. Worse, to see that many comments were not called up for the crass political sniping that was going on mere hours after the incident.

    I hope that your post is having a go at them as well as at the Nats.

    • gobsmacked 24.1

      1) People making comments on the internet.

      2) Finance Minister.

      Can you see the difference?

    • lprent 24.2

      There is a bit of a difference between people offering opinions and a Prime Minister and Finance Minister (who actually have budgetary control) playing politics.

      Perhaps you should consider that difference. I know that we were.

      The posts that our authors and guest posters were writing tended to praise the people who weren’t trying to hog the limelight. The majority of the comments concentrated on that as well. I don’t find that to be particularly political. In fact most of the ‘political’ comments were coming from the right who were trying to stop recognition of others. I guess that they only want that to happen in the New Years honours list??

  25. slightlyrighty 25

    I now see the need for a blog like this. It keeps you lot bitching at each other while the rest of us get on with the job of putting peoples lives back together as quick as possible.

    [lprent: Looks like d4j from the writing style. Did you have to get yet another connection because of the quake? Oh no – I see you have used that one before. ]

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Obvious trolling is obvious.

    • prism 25.2

      notatallslightlyright – Wow so superior including yourself no doubt in “the rest of us get on with the job of putting peoples lives back together as quick as possible”.

      Get out and do something then and get off the blogs, shut your mouth, breathe through your nose (first putting a mask on against the polluted dust if you’re in Christchurch) and do something kind and helpful for a change. Then come back and specify what you have been doing.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    FWIW, I would respect Bill English if he really was “ruling nothing in or out”.

    But we all know that’s not true. He has ruled out any changes to superannuation, for example. So obviously there are things he won’t touch, for political reasons.

    People would respond well to shared sacrifice. But not selective sacrifice.

    It’s politics as usual, and it’s naive (or just dishonest) to call it anything else.

    • Colonial Viper 26.1

      I think Christchurch DPB mums who have children older than 14 weeks should be made to seek employment right now, or have their benefit removed ASAP. Why should they be sucking funds out of the public purse and not contribute to rebuilding the city?

      Of course, its realistic to realise that there are only a few jobs available at the moment in Christchurch, but if these deadbeat mums got off their asses and bothered to look instead of being money sucking bludgers, they would easily find one amongst the rubble.

      • Lanthanide 26.1.1

        Yip, those deadbeats should go get jobs at grocery stores. And if there aren’t any grocery stores, they should build them, and grow their own vegetables and then sell them for cheaper than Pak ‘n’ Sav can.

  27. marsman 27

    A link to a brief explanation of and a way to combat the shock doctrine :


  28. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 29

    Make no mistake, National is preparing the way to use the appropriate lull in confrontational politics and the natural reliance on a country’s leaders following a disaster to push through a radical and unmandated agenda.

    Yet you seem untroubled that there is no mandate for this. So it’s not about the mandate, is it? It’s about you using a disaster to engineer your political goals.

    • Daveo 29.1

      That’s right bucko a blog post is the same as a statement from the minister of finance. You need to get some perspective pal.

      • Oleolebiscuitbarrel 29.1.1

        So ya reckon if the government were to follow Marty’s plan he’d be chastising them for a lack of mandate, Sunshine (since use of slang from the 50’s appears to be preferred).

  29. hobbit 30

    “I’m really pissed off that politics has come into the Christchurch earthquake so quickly.”

    Pot, Kettle is on line two for you..

  30. Draco T Bastard 31

    High-income benefit cut after Christchurch earthquakes

    Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the Government is looking at paring back Working for Families payments to high income earners as it seks savings in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.

    We see two things here. The first is that John Key and National are cutting income from those who need it (just because you have a $100k income doesn’t mean that you have enough to feed your family) and secondly the further bashing of those who need our help through no fault of their own.

    Exactly as predicted via the Shock Doctrine.

    • RedLogix 31.1

      Oh goody.

      All Key is doing (and Bill English knows this but he’s keeping mum) is creating a stupidly high marginal tax rate for large numbers of middle income earners. As I pointed out in the thread about UBI… high marginal tax rates are inevitable in the current system whenever you have any targeted benefit or tax rebate.

      By tapering WFF off very graduallly up to $120k pa Dr Cullen was ameliorating this undesirable effect.

      My guess is that in order to make any worthwhile funding difference at all English will have to cut WFF out at $80k pa. That’s going to severely impact lots of families earning in the range $50-80k pa… and there are LOTS of them.

      • Draco T Bastard 31.1.1

        Yep, just need the opposition parties to shout that from the roof. NACT+MPs actions are hurting a lot of people and that needs to be made very clear.

      • Pascal's bookie 31.1.2

        Interesting too that the way RNZ described Key’s words on the subject he was talking about wff being a ‘generous tax credit’.

        Generous is opinion of course but usually the nats call it ‘middle class welfare’.

        They don’t seem comfortable about saying ‘cutting middle class welfare’ though, and ‘cutting tax credits for the wealthy’ seems to be the go-to meme.

        That’s perilously close to ‘raising taxes on the wealthy’ though, in terms of meme, innit. Almost as if that’s how they are trying to frame it. Almost as if that’s a phrase with some cut through.

        I’m not sure how well:

        ‘raising taxes on the wealthy, but only if they’ve got heaps of kids’

        …works but then I don’t have the focus groups they have.

        Still, interesting.

  31. jingyang 32

    The politics certainly has already begun again (in article from Granny Herald no less): Bill English uses the earthquake to
    A/ avoid a project the Nats never wanted (Auckland Rail Loop)
    B/ as a good excuse to delay, and avoid the heat on, a project they couldn’t otherwise back down on without Steven Joyce losing face (Puhoi holiday highway),
    C/ to justify an otherwise hugely unpopular and criminally stupid policy (selling energy SOEs).

    “That could delay some projects on which work has started, and mean the axe for some projects such as Auckland’s downtown rail loop which the Government has not yet accepted.

    Mr English also suggested the Government was looking at the partial sale of state-owned power companies to free cash for Christchurch’s recovery.

    A Government source last night said Auckland’s $2 billion rail loop now had only a remote chance of being built”


    • Draco T Bastard 32.1

      Mr English also suggested the Government was looking at the partial sale of state-owned power companies to free cash for Christchurch’s recovery.

      Which just goes to prove that the first excuses were just that – excuses. Of course, selling them now to pay for the Chch cleanup and rebuild still doesn’t make any sense as we’ll be far worse off in the long run as all that profit gets shifted overseas.

  32. Treetop 33

    6 – 8 weeks down the track is going to be the barometer to the livelyhood of the worker in Christchurch.

    It is unfortunate that some people will not have a job to return to. I would like to see the unemployment, DPB, sickness and invalid benefit figures resulting from the earthquake be kept separate to the current mentioned benefit figures. This goes for ACC figures as well.

  33. Kevyn Miller 34

    On pags 22 & 23 of Treasury’s latest half-yearly conomic and fiscal update it says the economic impact of th Sept 4 quake was expceted to be a reduction in economic growth of 0.2 %points thru March 2011 followed by an increase of 0.4%points thru March 2012. This is because most of the reconstruction cost is being funded by global reinsurers and is thus injecting cash into the NZ economy.
    Economists don’t seem to understand why accountants use credit and debit columns.
    The combined effect of both quakes is likely to be $10bn added to the NZ economy by global reinsurers (credit column), $5bn reallocated within the NZ economy (either both columns or neither column), $5bn lost to NZ economy from uninsured business disruption (debit column) which adds up to an economic cost of $20bn and an accounting surplus of $5bn (GST inclusive). Factor in the amounts of “government” spending that is actually coming from the accounts of CEs such as NZTA and EQC and SOEs such as Transpower and that the government normally only picks up 60% of the uninsured damage bill for water and sewer infrastructure and you can see that the windfall GST of $700m+ will cover most of the government’s minimum liabilities. I am presuming that schools and hospital are insured.

    • Treetop 34.1

      Not sure if I heard right on Sunday on newstalk zb around 7.30 am, but think I heard that EQC can only get insurance one more time. Maybe it was global insurers. Do you know anything about this?

  34. Kerry 35

    Not the wisest post. Use the earthquake to put the workers who pay the bills and the taxes under the crushing boot of the civil servants. Not a good or fare thing to propose.

  35. neoleftie 36

    well i for one will keep saying the factions within national are not as aligned as one things. Key has once again crossed swords with english e.g student loans. WWF is now to be means tested for very high incomes. Surely Key has a good point that high income have enough from tax cuts and now must give some back to benefit the rest.

    • Pascal's bookie 36.1

      Surely Key has a good point that high income have enough from tax cuts and now must give some back to benefit the rest.

      Surely so; but why target only those high income earners that have lots of kids? That don’t make a lick of sense.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 36.1.1

        How are they going to reduce the high marginal tax rates they will be creating? They will be creating the perfect environment for tax dodgers and caretive accountants

  36. Gotham 37

    This just posted over at pundit courtesy of Cactus Kate:

    “Tumeke is just a blog I agree, however The Standard is not. It is full of anonymous lap-bloggers proven to be paid from funds of the left. Anyone can google who I am in a second or two, yet the identity of The Standard’s authors has remained a secret for years. For all we know Labour MP’s are using their log-in names.”

    Say it aint so, Standard, say it aint so!


    [lprent: Already have, many times. We have no MP’s who write for us. They write for Red Alert. No one gets paid, which is why we have a steadily accumulating bank account. Every one here just writes because it provides an outlet for them outside of their work, which is why the posts are usually slightly out of date. They mostly get written the evening before release and scheduled.

    All of our writers that I know of (and I know most of them these days) work for living. That is why we have so many of them. They have time constraints that limit their ability to write more than five posts per day like Farrar or Slater who get funded by their political contacts and the state respectively.

    You’d have to question why Cactus Kate thinks that she needs to know our names. Our experience is that it is because the arseholes of the right try to attack our employment or threaten to attack us rather than dealing with our ideas.

    For instance because Cameron Slater knew my name as it was on the domain registration, he tried to damage my employment in 2007. Because he is a bit of a dimshit about checking facts, he managed to attack me through my previous employer because we were providing secondary name servers on a reciprocation basis. For some reason since then I keep the details of my employment completely private. Similarly later he did a similar stupid act tracking a freebie server that we were on because we’d run out of capacity, which was being run by a labour activist. We were then attacked by every right wing idiot with a keyboard to the point that I had to start paying for server hosting myself.

    Since then we run everything as private as possible because of people like Cactus Kate. Rather than dealing with the issue raised by the site, they prefer attacking the messenger. I guess it is easier than thinking. Personally I really don’t bother finding out much about the people arguing from the other side unless they attack us. I’d prefer dealing with their limited ideas.

    Personally I’d just have to class Katie as probably just another arsehole trying to do the same attack tactics. You notice she doesn’t try to justify why she wants to know… ]

    • Bunji 37.1

      Dang, wish I was paid for blogging, from “funds of the left” or wherever. Then maybe I could give up my real job…

      I think Labour MPs have enough blogging to do over at Red Alert, without taking it up here too.

      The mind also boggles as to what a lap-blogger is.

      • Colonial Viper 37.1.1

        Dang, wish I was paid for blogging, from “funds of the left” or wherever.

        Yeah in that case don’t blog for Arianna Huffington

        Seriously, the Left need a major media channel in NZ. Who;s got the first $5M seed capital.

    • Gotham 37.2

      Glad to hear it!

      Geez. Why do right-wingers have to be so mean ?

  37. Pereta 38

    Where’s our mighty leader in all this? Does he think it’s appropriate to politicise our country’s greatest tragedy? Rebuilding CHCH is a necessity not a political football. How are Bill English’s comments and John Key’s lack of a timely response doing anything other than marginalising some, promoting forment and distracting us from what’s really important: supporting CHCH as a united country?

    Please visit our fledgling “Politically Inter-denominational” blog, we’d love to hear your thoughts.


  38. SPC 39

    Each and every demand on resources can be met most simply by dispatching the unaffordable to do what is necessary.

    I have no problem with the $1Bpa funding the Kiwi Saver tax incentives being axed. That raises $5B over 5 years for the government cost. After the 5 years are over the money saved can be tagged to increase the Super Fund each year (unless we find another way to fund this – say by tagging the employer contribution into the Fund).

    The GST take on the rebuild provides the revenue to oversee urban planning costs and to subsidise the private rebuild to the standard required.

    A $5B loan re-finances the EQC fund and enables it to cope with any new disaster. The loan can be paid back by increasing the levy.

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    2 days ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
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    2 days ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
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    3 days ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
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    3 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
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    4 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
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    4 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
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    4 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
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    4 days ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
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    5 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
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    5 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
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    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    6 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
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    7 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
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    1 week ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    1 week ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    2 weeks ago