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The sock puppets, the media and the UBI

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, March 31st, 2016 - 116 comments
Categories: benefits, grant robertson, john key, labour, making shit up, national, national/act government, paula bennett, same old national, slippery, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

I wrote about this issue a couple of days ago and set out my reasons why I thought the idea deserved if not demanded debate and why the existing spin on the issue was unwarranted and counterproductive.

There have been two further contributions to the debate of note, one a column by Vern Small in the Dominion Post and one a contribution, in the loosest possible sense of the word, by that famed National Party sock puppet organization the Taxpayers Union.

Small’s post is mostly good but has some criticisms which if they are valid mean that our democracy is in bad shape.

He talks positively about Labour’s Future of Work preject but then talks about the focus on the UBI and the attack of notional schemes, not proposed by Labour, and how they were “shot down in a hail of spreadsheets”.

He then said this:

Labour can’t escape all the blame. It was entirely predictable that putting up an idea for discussion that would, in its most extreme form, radically change the wage, benefit and tax system would attract the lion’s share of attention.

But there wasn’t nearly enough pre-conference preparation from Labour on that score.

It should have laboured to the point of exhaustion that the ideas about to be discussed were blue-sky not Labour red. It wasn’t the only example of Labour flat-footedness – or shoot-itself-in-the-footedness – this week … but more of that later.

Meanwhile Prime Minister John Key gave them a lesson in soundbite-ology, merely saying the idea was “barking mad” before quickly moving on.

I am not sure what else Labour could do.  The paper was an “issues paper” and invited feedback.  Clearly it was to raise discussion, not set out policy.  Maybe if Grant Robertson had tattooed on his forehead “this is not policy and is only for discussion” it might have made a difference although I am pretty sure the taxpayers union would still have come up with their rather strange analysis.  But the need to constanly repeat that this is a discussion document and is not Labour policy is difficult to understand.

And it is weird that Labour not labouring to exhaustion the point that this proposal is not party policy should be thought of as a mistake but the deliberate misrepresentation of the situation by National is somehow praiseworthy.  Shouting loudly Nah Boo Hiss should never be a basis for the discerning media to think that the Nah Boo Hiss party is outperforming the We Need To Talk About This party.

You see it is so utterly predictable.  Progressive parties standing up and saying that there is a future problem that we need to talk about can always be brought down by conservatives screaming against change but only if the media let this happen.

Small described the right wing counter analysis as a “nonsense”.  He is right there.  He suggests that in terms of costing the starting point should be to use the number of adults currently not in work instead of all adults.  Good point.  The mathematical geniuses who did not do this are neither mathematical nor geniuses.

Instead however of extolling the political genius of the right in its creative soundbite-ology Small should have been shredding them for their utterly predictable superficial disingenuous response.  Why is it that the right is more interested in slowing down the uptake of progressive ideas instead of supporting change that is actually really important?

Small then suggests that the attacks have worked.

How,” some of Labour’s chin-strokers mused this week, “can you ever have a long-term debate about policy options when that happens?”

And they have a point. The off-piste attacks Labour suffered this week impoverish the public policy debate.

But the issue is also one of political management and you can’t blame National for launching a pre-emptive strike on Labour’s key policy programme.

Well what you can do is hope the media will say that the right wing criticisms and slogans show a significant level of dishonesty.  And Nah Boo Hiss should not be part of any debate involving an important issue that the country faces.

Small then quotes a silly tweet by Sue Moroney (it is not that bad but I am sure she regrets it) and marvels at the political genius of Paula Bennett who manages to convert a possible failing to stop and ascertain injury incident into someone is being mean to her on the Internet by talking about it and shouting “look over here”.  Give me any day the Australian media where they attack both sides indiscriminately and do not suffer fools.

And now for the second “contribution”, this one from the sockpuppets at the Taxpayers Union.  I think a few lefties should sit down and design a similar sock puppet organization and see if it can attract similar media atteniton.  I suspect that North Korea is looking our way to see how it is done properly, such is the TU’s ability to get media coverage.

The TU came out this week with this paper which makes some extraordinary presumptions, like everyone will get the UBI whether they are working or not.  And it will be put in place immediately.  The TU paper then concludes that a UBI in the form that the TU says will happen will have all sorts of terrible repercussions and therefore all thoughts of a UBI should be stopped immediately because this particular imagined form of a UBI is a bad thing.

The level of hypocrisy here is really high.  Remember how a short while ago the Taxpayers Union was fine about foreign multinational corporations not paying their fair share of tax because it was all too complex and they were paying too much tax as it was?  Even though this means that local taxpayers pay more tax?  Yet the thought of ordinary New Zealanders getting a universal basic income is a terrible thing.

Why the media even tolerate these clowns is beyond me.


Update (r0b):

116 comments on “The sock puppets, the media and the UBI”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    I felt the same exasperation that you did MS on reading all the tripe that has been thrown at the idea of a UBI. Goodness, its just an idea … it needs discussion … and it needs expanding, and querying re the pitfalls or otherwise.
    Obviously Labour cannot put up any ideas for discussion without being shot down.
    Meanwhile our very freaky PM doesn’t put up any ideas at all but just talks about pandas or golf and doesn’t raise a boo. Exasperating !

    • Redbaiter 1.1

      Jenny, you or Mickey or any Labour supporter should not worry too much about John Key’s initial reaction to any suggested Labour party policy.

      Give him a couple of years to think about it, while he talks with Mark Textor and or Lynton Crosby, and gets old Davey Farrar to do a few polls, and he’ll end up making it National Party policy.

      Its the basic reason Labour is finding it difficult to get any traction. Key has stolen your policies, tweaked them a bit, and passed them off as his own.

      That is the pattern he has followed over the last eight years of his govt. So you can take heart that although you’re not in government, most of your policies are being enacted or continued or expanded upon by National.

      They’re too gutless and bereft of principle to do it any other way.

      • Hanswurst 1.1.1

        Yeah, because tax cuts for the rich, raising GST, selling state assets, 90-day firing at will, charter schools and three strikes were clearly Labour-inspired policy.

  2. ianmac 2

    It is disturbing that those idiot Wright brothers have come up with an idiotic idea that they could construct a machine that could fly like a bird. “They are barking mad,” said our PM today. And he is quite right. “The Wright brothers are so ignorant and lacking in vision.” The Taxpayers Union which is made up of some very clever guardians of fair and reasonable investigations have also condemned the terrible Wright brothers efforts saying that “they are an affront to Christian people and that as such the idiot Wright brothers should be burnt at the stake for heresy.” The Herald Editorial agreed and supported the careful analysis of the PM and the TU.

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    Left wing “sock puppets” is the answer.

    If the discussion about universal basic income had been discussed at an “open conference” of the (hypothetical) Organization for a Fairer NZ, the Labour Party would not have gotten its head handed to it.

    Most people do NOT vote FOR an opposition party because they think its policies are better. They vote to throw out the incumbent party. Trump reminds us campaigning is about destroying your opposition, not about enunciating clear, positive policies.

    Winston knows. When the Nats make a blunder Winston’s sharp tongue provides the sound bite the public can identify with.

    • shorts 3.1

      pretty much this

      If Labour does one thing that will benefit them greatly it is to have on hand to senior MPs (at the least) a set of three soundbites on any given significant policy or discussion release – repeat these like the parrots in national and start to see those lines repeated in media, overly explaining or being caught with not much constructive to say isn’t working… plenty of time for well thought out discussions later, just seize the day and own it

    • Wainwright 3.2

      Great idea. It was never going to work holding a Labour Party conference and then trying to distance themselves from the things discussed at said conference.

    • b waghorn 3.3

      Can I point out that Winston has never been more than a minor party .
      And for over a year labour have been getting thumped for being the no ideas no policy party.
      You’re posibble falling for the latest attack meme on labour by saying they shouldn’t have floated the ubi idea.

      • shorts 3.3.1

        Labour consistently serves up great policy coupled with terrible communications

        They need to focus more on one area as that gets votes, unfortunately thats comms, soundbites and the stuff Winston is great at (National too)… once in power they can then enact their great policies and make NZ a better place for all

    • Brutus Iscariot 3.4

      I disagree. You lose political traction by becoming “the party of no”.

  4. saveNZ 4

    “Why the media even tolerate these clowns is beyond me.”

    Because under neoliberalism the news isn’t about news anymore, it is about making money. And people with money want a means to populate their views and influence opinion to make them more profit.

    In addition if so many PR, politicians and others are prepared to fill their columns with their views, MSM do not need to pay journalists anymore.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      +1

    • Gangnam Style 4.2

      “In addition if so many PR, politicians and others are prepared to fill their columns with their views, MSM do not need to pay journalists anymore.” Yep!

    • Mosa 4.3

      NZ media is foreign owned
      When we sold we sold out
      Journalist’s won’t rock the boat their job and reputation are at stake

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    A trashtalking mouthpiece who lies for money says what? His name’s Jordan? So?

  6. Ad 6

    The only option for Labour MPs since they are incapable of predicting the entirelt predictable is to double down and pump out whole bouquets of fresh ideas every few months, and shift their brand in the media by doing so.

    Otherwise they will continue to be pecked to death by ducks.

  7. pat 7

    “Why is it that the right is more interested in slowing down the uptake of progressive ideas instead of supporting change that is actually really important?”

    No mystery here…its to allow them time to position themselves to exploit it.

  8. alwyn 8

    Vernon Small suggests, as you say
    “He suggests that in terms of costing the starting point should be to use the number of adults currently not in work instead of all adults. Good point. The mathematical geniuses who did not do this are neither mathematical nor geniuses.”

    Can you please tell what there is about the word “Universal” that you and Vernon don’t understand?
    As the Merriam-Webster dictionary says, the definition is
    “1 : including or covering all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit or exception; especially : available equitably to all members of a society

    How can anyone start talking about a “Universal Basic Income” and then say it only applies to people currently not in the work force?

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Can you please tell what there is about the word “Universal” that you and Vernon don’t understand?

      Can you please explain why you don’t understand what he said?

      It’s really quite obvious.

      • alwyn 8.1.1

        If you are talking about a “UBI” then a critical factor is that it be Universal.
        If it isn’t going to be “Universal” then simply talk about a review of the benefit system or whatever you are going to talk about. UBI is much sexier though for politicians to pontificate about, and Robertson pontificates almost as well as Geoffrey Palmer. Do you think it would have been of such interest if that hadn’t been the topic?

        There is another alternative I suppose.
        “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all.”

        I imagine you can just use your own version of “Universal” as simply meaning only people currently out of work. Most people, however, call that an Unemployment benefit.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          It will be universal but the extra cost is only that which will be going to those who are presently getting nothing. Specifically it will be:

          Total cost – present cost = extra cost

          Really, you’re off with the fairies if you’re missing that point.

          • Andrew 8.1.1.1.1

            It’s actually the opposite of what you say:

            He said:
            “use the number of adults currently not in work”

            You said:
            “the extra cost is only that which will be going to those who are presently getting nothing

            Those “presently getting nothing” as far as benefits are concerned, are those that are IN work.

            Unless i missed something …

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Those “presently getting nothing” as far as benefits are concerned, are those that are IN work.

              Lot of people in work that are presently getting benefits (WFF, accommodation supplements, etc) and there’s plenty of adults that don’t get anything who aren’t in work.

              • alwyn

                What you are talking about is fine.
                However it is, as Andrew has pointed out nothing like the claim that Vernon Small was saying.
                He said, in his article
                “And surely, at the very least, the place to start calculating extra costs would be to multiply any assumed annual UBI by the the number of adults NOT in the workforce .”
                That is his claim. It is rubbish isn’t it?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  No, because as he states quite clearly, it’s a starting place. Not the be all, end of the cost consideration.

                  After that you need to take into account all those already receiving benefits and how that will change. After that how those not receiving benefits will cost after tax.

                  It’s the place to start, after that it gets complex and so far I haven’t actually seen anybody with credible figures on it. All they’re saying is that it’ll cost $xx amount multiplied by the number of people and that is just outright wrong.

          • alwyn 8.1.1.1.2

            “Really, you’re off with the fairies if you’re missing that point”
            That is not, in fact something you can accuse me of.
            I commented on the cost of a UBI scheme a couple of weeks ago. If you look at this comment you will see that I took the cost of a UBI (at $94 billion) and deducted the current cost of all the current benefits and student allowances (about $24 billion).
            So no. I am not away with the fairies.

            Labour considering Unconditional Basic Income


            On the other hand Vernon Small’s story is still rubbish when he is only going to count the number of people not in work.

  9. ianmac 9

    Rob Salmond writes a good critique on TU:
    “The Taxpayers’ Union rides again!
    Jordan Williams and his cronies have waded into the debate over the UBI. They have a new “study” on the topic, and it’s a doozy.

    My personal favourite was the part where author Jim Rose argues a fiscally-neutral UBI will lead people to work less, leading to a massive recession.

    Oh noes – massive recession!”
    http://publicaddress.net/polity/the-taxpayers-union-rides-again/

  10. Huginn 10

    Because they’re out of touch.

    Here’s how the grown-ups at the Financial Times are talking about UBI:

    Why we should pay everyone a basic income
    Mar 30, 2016 : Anthony Painter of think-tank the RSA and Lex writer Giles Wilkes debate the idea that governments should pay a universal basic income as they seek to tackle income inequality and technological disruption. FT employment correspondent Sarah O’Connor chairs.

    http://video.ft.com/4815640345001/Why-we-should-pay-everyone-a-basic-income/World

    A universal basic income is an old idea with modern appeal – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a9758f1a-e9c0-11e5-888e-2eadd5fbc4a4.html

    • weka 10.1

      that ft link requires a subscription. Can you please cut and paste some relevant bits?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        Not a subscription. Just free registration.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          The popup that blocks that article only offers paid subscriptions.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1

            Are you sure? There’s usually a link that allows registration but no subscription. It’s how I signed on.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Can’t see anything but the paid ones. Same on my phone. If you already have a registration maybe they’re still allowing access?

      • Huginn 10.1.2

        Sorry about the pay wall, which is also making it hard for me to select/copy&paste.

        First link is to a video – 3 talking heads discussing the UBI concept. Argument is that in contemporary industrial economy we need UBI to transition smoothly in and out of paid and unpaid work.
        Argument against is that we pay welfare for that. Rebuttal is that current welfare doesn’t allow us to take time out to acquire new skills, look after kids etc.

        Second link is to a description of UBI that starts with a reference to a book by Andy Stern
        Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream
        Here’s the Amazon link

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      Mr Stern believes the US economy is reaching a “Vietnam moment”. It was only when middle class children were drafted that public opinion swung decisively against the Vietnam war.

      Globalisation has destroyed many blue-collar jobs but technological change is now threatening the professions. “The middle class is no longer immune,” he says.

      That bit.

      Neo liberalism has destroyed much but now it’s starting to eat away at the middle classes.

      • Huginn 10.2.1

        The Amazon description of Stern’s book:

        Advances in technology are creating the next economy and enabling us to make things/do things/connect with others in smarter, cheaper, faster, more effective ways. But the price of this progress has been a decoupling of the engine of prosperity from jobs that have been the means by which people have ascended to (and stayed in) the middle class. Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent four years traveling the country and asking economists, futurists, labor leaders, CEOs, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, and political leaders to help picture the U.S. economy 25 to 30 years from now. He vividly reports on people who are analyzing and creating this new economy–such as investment banker Steve Berkenfeld; David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International; Andy Grove of Intel; Carl Camden, the CEO of Kelly Services; and Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Through these stories, we come to a stark and deeper understanding of the toll technological progress will continue to take on jobs and income and its inevitable effect on tens of millions of people. But there is hope for our economy and future. The foundation of economic prosperity for all Americans, Stern believes, is a universal basic income. The idea of a universal basic income for all Americans is controversial but American attitudes are shifting. Stern has been a game changer throughout his career, and his next goal is to create a movement that will force the political establishment to take action against something that many on both the right and the left believe is inevitable. Stern’s plan is bold, idealistic, and challenging–and its time has come

      • Craig H 10.2.2

        Agreed, and not in small numbers any more either.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.3

        Neo liberalism has destroyed much but now it’s starting to eat away at the middle classes.

        The US working class was fucked by the early 90’s. The US middle class has been increasingly screwed over the last 25 years. (Remember the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down? About a defence industry engineer who was made redundant in a corporate restructuring? That was a 1993 movie.)

        Now it’s the turn of the top 5% to 10% to feel the ice cracking underneath their feet.

  11. DH 11

    I’m a bit puzzled why the political left still don’t appear to accept that the mainstream media have turned into active political players. This Herald editorial for one makes that very clear and yet Labour MPs in particular still seem to cling to the fruitless notion they can win the press over;

    “Editorial: Income for all entails more bad than good”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11612852

    Note how often ‘the left’ is referred to in a snide context, with the implicit message that Herald senior management are actively opposed to the left.

    I’d like to see the left use the right’s own game against them. Get together and form an ‘independent’ media watch that constantly attacks the bias of the MSM and keeps them on notice. Start some rolling strikes against the media; boycott them whenever they get out of line. The left aren’t toothless but they need to form a united front to combat the MSM.

    • Chch_chiquita 11.1

      Reading the comments you get the feeling there are more reasonable people reading and commenting on the article than those who agree with the article, which makes me think National is off the mark guesstimating the public opinion (hopefully a trend that begun with the flag referendum). Labour needs to ignore MSM and keep on going.

      • DH 11.1.1

        “Labour needs to ignore MSM and keep on going.”

        I don’t believe they can. We can only form our views & opinions from the information we absorb. No matter how smart any of us are we can’t operate in a vacuum, we all need the facts & information. For the great majority of the voting population the information they receive on politics is sourced from the mainstream media – TV, newspapers, radio.

        In the IT industry we have the old adage bibo… bullshit in, bullshit out. It’s relevant here. If the voting public are fed a regular diet of contrived media narrative then we’ll get that bullshit at each election.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1

          If the voting public are fed a regular diet of contrived media narrative then we’ll get that bullshit at each election.

          Thing is, that’s all they’re fed unless they get off of the MSM and look elsewhere.

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      I’m a bit puzzled why the political left still don’t appear to accept that the mainstream media have turned into active political players

      uhhhh…can you name a decade in NZ where the MSM were not “active political players”?

    • Adrian 11.3

      God knows how many years ago while working the phones in the old St Heliers electorate, Mike Moore came in after a meeting with Michael Horton the Herald owner. Mike was asked how it went and his reply was ” He’s a man of principile but unfortunatley they’re not our bloody principils”. So nothing has changed.

  12. saveNZ 12

    A handy tax calculator from the Green party…

    How much more income tax are you paying than Goldman Sachs, Methanex, Pepsico NZ or Apple? Do your calculation now, and get your friends to do it too.

    http://action.greens.org.nz/corporate-tax-avoidance?utm_campaign=alldb300316bbb&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nzgreens

    • ianmac 13.1

      Brilliant link on UBI saveNZ. Thanks. Covers a lot of those negatives put out by those opposing the idea. All those who are “for”, and those like BM who cry “against”, might benefit from a read.

      • ianmac 13.1.1

        From Dauphin/Forget:
        “Between 1974 and 1979, the Canadian government tested the idea of a basic income guarantee (BIG) across an entire town, giving people enough money to survive…”
        “Forget(Forget is the researcher) documented a decline in doctor visits, an 8.5 percent reduction in the hospitalization rate, and more adolescents continuing into grade 12…”
        “Provider organizations for the entire welfare program are going to resist it because you are essentially describing eliminating all their jobs,…”
        ” …evidence shows that full withdrawal from the labor force was a relative rarity. Instead, workers spent longer periods of time searching for better jobs. Others may have spent more time in school.”
        “Midway through, though, the project ran into financial problems. The economy across North America drastically changed, and a recession, stagf​lation and higher-than-anticipated unemployment made the project more expensive than its budget could accommodate. “

  13. saveNZ 14

    Swiss to vote on incomes for all – working or not

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25415501

    (Does anyone know the outcome of this vote, the article was 2013?)

    • ianmac 14.1

      Swiss Referendum will be in June this year. Some opinion polls suggest maybe half think it a good idea.
      In Swiss style the idea has been discussed/examined for a few years in a non-partisan way. Pros and Cons. In contrast in NZ, an idea is floated and promptly rubbished in a partisan manner. Kill off the discussion quickly.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1

        In contrast in NZ, an idea is floated and promptly rubbished in a partisan manner. Kill off the discussion quickly.

        QFT

  14. NZJester 15

    That is a typical soundbite uttered by John Key when Labour looks at an idea and Key has no idea what it is about so attacks it anyway.
    If you where to ask John Key at an interview about a National Party policy and say it was a Labour policy he would shoot it down as a bad idea immediately without stopping to think just as he has been trained to do by Crosby Textor.

  15. Magisterium 16

    The UBI debate is over as far as the public is concerned, Labour fucked it up.

    • vto 16.1

      in your dreams…

      the people are steadily cottoning onto it

      • Magisterium 16.1.1

        Labour should have spent time and effort and brains actually coming up with a specific sort of UBI that’s realistically feasible for NZ. But they didn’t and just did their usual “hey we just want to put this out there, this isn’t a policy yet, we just want to have a discussion” bullshit, which allows National to paint Labour as supporting a totally unrealistic unfeasible UBI. Now National is in control of what the public thinks Labour’s policy is, and surprise surprise National will tell the public that what Labour is proposing is batshit crazy.

        Labour: shitty at communicating since ages ago.

        • vto 16.1.1.1

          I think the important bits have flown way over your head…

          People like you are entirely expected in a village. Good for you. I expect most of the rest of the village will carry on regardless, particularly those concerned with their fellow villagers wellbeing ….

          This is just the start of the start for our UBI …. lol, you’re going to crack

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.1.2

          Yes, you must be right: the National Party exists for the sole purpose of telling lies and it’s all Labour’s fault.

          • Magisterium 16.1.1.2.1

            One would think that after so many years of leaving gaps and having National step in and fill them with whatever it wanted to score points, Labour would stop leaving gaps.

            How many “show me the money” moments will it take for Labour to learn the lesson?

            • RedLogix 16.1.1.2.1.1

              Tell me again … exactly how many highly paid PR types does John Key have working for his office again?

              • Magisterium

                I don’t see how that’s relevant. The problem is that Labour either has

                a) nobody managing communications, or

                b) someone who isn’t cutting it managing communications, or

                c) MPs who refuse to have their communications managed

                None of those things are a National problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.2

      Wrong. The debate is heating up quite nicely.

      And I actually think that it was John Key that fucked it up.

  16. vto 17

    Labour simply need to keep pushing this and ignore the ignorant conservatives on the right. Such conservatives never lead anything – it is entirely against their nature. They haven’t a clue.

    Labour just needs to keep at it and not give up.

    Like with nuclear-free, like with the (now corporate) welfare state, like with free education, health, etc., like with ALL advances our nation has made..

    Labour leads.

    National follows.

    Like the sun rising tomorrow

    Ignore them.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      Labour simply need to keep pushing this and ignore the ignorant conservatives on the right.

      QFT

      Just need to keep at it. When National calls BS tell them to prove it and then shoot holes in their BS.

    • gsays 17.2

      hi vto,
      “Like with nuclear-free, like with the (now corporate) welfare state, like with free education, health, etc., like with ALL advances our nation has made..

      Labour leads.

      National follows.”

      i would add that since the green party has come on the scene they seem to be a generation or so ahead of both of these parties.
      perhaps too far ahead of the wave but still out front.

  17. Clean_power 18

    I also think the UBI is a winner and should be at the heart of Labour’s platform for the next election.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      Prepare to be disappointed, since at the very most they plan to run a limited trial.

      • weka 18.1.1

        Here’s an idea, the GP, who’ve had investigation of a UBI as a core part of their income policy for ages, could to the mahi on it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1.1.1

          From my perspective, a limited trial has pros and cons. On the one hand it will provide useful information on logistics and viability. On the other it’s a way to delay the process in favour of BAU, and in the meantime, Jordan and the other low-life trash can white-ant it to death.

          The progressive left didn’t ask permission to establish democracy or universal suffrage. This needs a big push to succeed, not the “wizened little shove”.

          • weka 18.1.1.1.1

            I agree, which is why it suprises me to see so many people thinking that Labour should save us. Besides, we’re not even close to being able to set up a trial. We’ve only just started having the conversation. Lots of people don’t understand what it is, or what our options are, or even what the point is.

            There is a NZ group that’s been doing some work on a UBI too, can’t remember what they are called though.

  18. Steve Withers 19

    Vern Small highlighted the issue very well. If labour says it, then it’s wrong and if John Key says it, it must be right.

    Vern Small isn’t going to contest that reality. Instead, he wants to impose it on the Labour Party.

  19. weka 20

    People, Labour don’t own the UBI concept. It belongs to the commons.

    • Chris 20.2

      But you can near guarantee Labour will attempt to destroy the concept as viable once and for all. Grant Robertson hates the UBI because he thinks his chances of being PM will be dashed if it becomes Labour policy. That’s how Labour rolls.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 20.2.1

        The marriage of principle and pragmatism.

        As such, the Labour Party is a tool.

      • weka 20.2.2

        I feel sorry for you if you think that Robertson rules the Labour Party or if you think that Labour should be the standard bearers of change in NZ.

        • Chris 20.2.2.1

          I didn’t say Robertson rules the Labour party. I said Labour will scupper the UBI idea because it doesn’t see it vote-catching. This is my prediction. As far as Robertson goes I just don’t trust his support for a UBI. Sure he’s fronting it but again he doesn’t seem too passionate about it and again my guess is that he personally sees it as unpopular therefore a hindrance to his goal to be prime minister.

          • weka 20.2.2.1.1

            You said that it’s almost guaranteed that Labour will destroy the UBI. I’m sick of people giving their power away. Labour don’t own the UBI concept. If there is sufficient will from the people Labour will follow, even you seem to be implying that.

            • Chris 20.2.2.1.1.1

              Sure, I may have been a bit loose with my words (binning the idea as a policy would be more accurate rather than “destroy”) but it’s a two way street. I don’t think Labour has the guts to adopt a UBI and the standard old hackneyed bullshit reasons it’ll rely on will unfortunately impact on public opinion.

        • Magisterium 20.2.2.2

          I feel sorry for you if you think that Robertson rules the Labour Party

          It’s more that obstacles to Grant Robertson’s rise within the party often seem to accidentally brutally stab themselves to death while shaving.

      • Anne 20.2.3

        That’s poppycock Chris. He’s fronting it in the House and on the streets. Some of you have multi-coloured glass marbles for brains.

        • Chris 20.2.3.1

          I hope you’re right but when was the last time Labour came up with a good idea and stuck to it? And about the multi-coloured glass marbles – well you’re probably right about that.

          • Anne 20.2.3.1.1

            …about the multi-coloured glass marbles – well you’re probably right about that.

            It presented a good picture in my mind. As a kid I had an obsession with ‘multi coloured glass marbles’. Owned bags of em.

            • Sacha 20.2.3.1.1.1

              Are those things still around – or banned as a choking hazard? Remember trading them in schoolyard.

              • Anne

                Suspect they’re not. The PC brigade would have made sure of that. We were not allowed to play with them when babies and toddlers were around. Feel sorry for kids these days. They’re not allowed to make their own fun – develop their imaginations and learn to be creative in the process. The odd broken bone, blood nose and a lot of dirt never did us any harm.

  20. greywarshark 21

    Oscar Wilde tip:
    Enemies
    Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

  21. Huginn 22

    Gareth Morgan’s pithy rebuttal of Taxpayers’ Union:

    Taxpayers Union Critique of the UBI just bonkers – again

    Today the Taxpayers Union – a lobby group that advocates minimal tax and State-provided education, health and social services – has released a report suggesting that the Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) will result in sky high tax rates and leave the most vulnerable worse off. The report is lightweight, and little more than zero tax advocacy dressed up as research. The TU has taken the same approach to this topic as it did to sugar taxes a few weeks ago and with which we pointed out the flaws.
    http://morganfoundation.org.nz/taxpayers-union-critique-ubi-just-bonkers/

  22. Observer (Tokoroa) 23

    . Pity about The Standard

    . If you go through and look at the Comments on here you will see that The Standard is a refuge for John Key Followers.

    And Main Stream media hacks.

    I imagine that the numerous little National commentors on here,- live in old peoples homes, togged up in diapers, little blue bibs around their necks, dribbling out dated claptrap.

    Not a single new idea from any of them. Especially not from the former political traitor.

    This is a Blog of hatred against the Labour Party.

    Will it always remain this way ?

    • lprent 23.1

      While there are a lot of right wingers who comment here and a lot of NZLP supporters an members, there are also a large number of ex-NZLP members and supporters of the left. I suspect that you have a problem distinguishing between right wingers and left wingers who are critical of the NZLP. The ‘Labour Ulterior’ of ex NZLP members dwarfs the number of current members in the NZLP.

      Perhaps you should spend some time distinguishing which is which. Ex members are a hell of lot easier to get support from compared to right wingers.

      • Draco T Bastard 23.1.1

        +1

      • Observer (Tokoroa) 23.1.2

        Hi Lprent

        .
        You are correct. It is impossible for me to tell who was a former Labour voter,

        Is there some distinguishing feature of a past Labour voter?

        But I understand what you are saying. You are here to promote the former disgruntled Labourites. The past often gives people a purpose in life.

        Your words: “Labour Ulterior’ of ex NZLP members dwarfs the number of current members in the NZLP”.

        Thankyou for defining your blog and and its likely clients (coupled with National trolls)

        I will recommend to genuine Labour Voters that they develop another blog for people who like to discuss political and commercial Policy – OPEN MINDEDLY.

        Just for the record, are you confident that Greens and NZ First can form a viable Opposition come election time?

  23. Michael 24

    I believe the Labour caucus does not really want to adopt UBI as policy so it is quite happy for the Nats and their lackeys to destroy its credibility. After all, the MPs will still have their jobs (with regular, backdated payrises) and lavish, taxpayer-funded, pensions, even if globalisation results in the loss of one in four paid employment positions within the next decade or two. So why would they agree to a policy that benefits the precariat? It’s not as though Labour represents workers any longer, is it? That explains the lack of robust support for UBI coming from Grant Robertson, for instance, when he spoke on Waatea last week.

    • maui 24.1

      It’s not Labour policy yet, it’s an idea they’re floating. Why would Robertson show gushing support for it, if it’s not part of policy. I thought he did a decent job on the Waatea 5th Estate show of explaining it and why it was needed, and he left the more in depth analysis of it for the other experts to comment on.

      And why would Labour draw so much attention to themselves and the UBI if they weren’t seriously considering of using it in some form?

      • Michael 24.1.1

        Because UBI was forced on the caucus by the few remaining sentient members of the party’s grassroots.

  24. Nic the NZer 25

    What is so astounding about this is yet another significant Labour party communications failure is being passed off as unexpected media attacks on the left. Given the long history of this the medias reaction could clearly have been anticipated.

    Just to challenge another myth here is a discussion of an Australian based attack on the left, with the media in full assist. It happens just the same in Australia, though given some opinions here many on the left may not have realised this was an attack.
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=33255

  25. doug stuart 26

    Can Labour tell us the extra cost and who will pay, tax rate of 50% may be????????

  26. Speaking of sock puppets, Jordan Williams always kinda reminded me of Zippy from Rainbow.

  27. Jenny 28

    The criticisms of the UBI dredged up by the Right are the same tired old criticisms used by the Right in opposing President Obama’s initiative on providing universal healthcare to Americans; So I thought the cartoon contained in this link might be appropriate.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/introducing-invisible-hand-free-market-man/

    Just change the words Obamacare to UBI and American to New Zealand and you have it.

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