The tax-cheating elite

Written By: - Date published: 1:39 pm, June 16th, 2012 - 137 comments
Categories: class war, tax - Tags:

For 10 years, the IRD has been investigating the tax dealings of the country’s 250 richest people and their 7,500 companies and trusts. It turns out they had underpaid $500m of tax$2m a piece– with hundreds of millions more in dispute. If you and I went into a government office and stole $10,000 of stuff, we would go to jail. But ripping us off for $500m was all just a mistake, apparently.

Pity the rich, they have so much money, hidden in so many nested organisations that its hard to keep track of it all. Perhaps we should do the kind thing and relief them of it… Well, one can dream.

You might remember the Nats were talking about tax avoidance a while back. They acknowledged the rich were using vehicles to avoid the 39%, then 38%, tax rate. Their solution, of course, was to spend billions on cutting that tax rate to 33% (on the grounds that they had to align the top income rate with the corporate rate – but then they went and cut the corporate rate to 28%). It was tax cuts for tax cheats, simple as that.

I want to see IRD go a lot further. They’ve only gone through the 250 people with net worth over $50m. The top 1% numbers 33,000. Let’s go through each of them. I bet there’s billions of unpaid taxes out there.

137 comments on “The tax-cheating elite”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    One set of rules for the elite, another set of rules for the working and under class.

    And of course, the rich get to write both.

    • BernyD 1.1

      And they justify it by saying “We employ x thousand people, if we go belly up they lose”

      Next thing you know John Key has signed up and given them Tax breaks up the wazoo.

      The fact is a properly managed business allows for all expenses, the problem they face is if expenses increase, which is what John Key has set them up for.

      When the Tax rate invariably increases again those companies will suffer, and they can only pass that on to the employees (ie Staff redundencies and lower wages until the budgets balance out again).

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        As we can see from youth unemployment figures, the elite are suck at creating jobs. In fact, its more profitable to destroy NZ jobs and outsource the work to India and China.

        • BernyD

          Well said

        • Jackal

          It’s not just youth unemployment that’s the problem for young people. Average incomes for 16 to 20 year olds have not changed much between 2008 and 2011 (down 1% to $10,563 per year for males and up 4.5% to $9,101 for females), while inflation has continued to increase dramatically. It’s no wonder heaps of young people are leaving New Zealand.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    Sorry, how much does benefit fraud and crime by the underclass cost the nation yearly?

    • BernyD 2.1

      Changing the subject wont help this country buddy, those people need to feed themselves somehow.

      Maybe we should just declare some more professions illegal and throw them in prison.

      Confiscate their assets and fix the problem once and for all.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Sorry, how much does benefit fraud and crime by the underclass cost the nation yearly?

      Benefit fraud costs the country about $20M pa.

      White collar fraud costs the country 50x that.

    • Zetetic 2.3

      The cute and pathetic thing about this is that TightyRighty is highly highly unlikely to be, ever be, or ever have been one of the 0.007% that IRD found had ripped us off for $500m.

      He doesn’t benefit from them in any way either. But he has been indoctrinated into loving them.

      House slave is, I believe, the term.

      • TightyRighty 2.3.1

        Oh zet. So glad my hard work has paid off. Then again, I’d only expect a pathetic level of due diligence from you. Benefit fraud costs $20m cv? Evidence?

        • Colonial Viper

          Actually the benefit fraud figure is $16M.

          White collar fraud is 25x that. But you prefer picking on beneficiaries, don’t you?

          • TighyRighty

            Have you got some evidence of this factual claim that isn’t from a newspaper you all love to hate?

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Actually the source is the MSD, it was merely requested by the Herald. We could probably OIA the ministry for the same papers if we wanted the data first-hand, but unlike you, we don’t really care about benefit fraud now we know that it would cost more to crack down on it than we’d receive back- unlike tax fraud by the wealthy, who are relatively few in number, and use creative accounting to dodge taxes openly and flagrantly violating the spirit of the tax code, if not always the letter. And still they manage to rack up $2m each that’s blatantly illegally withheld. That’s impressively fraudulent, and warrants some jail time if they don’t immediately pay it back.

        • Murray Olsen

          Where’s your evidence, TR? Teabagger websites won’t help you here, because they’re full of lies about the US and A, not Aotearoa.

          • TighyRighty

            What claims have I made Murray? Jesus, so poor and stupid you can’t even spend the time to read a thread properly.

    • Dv 2.4

      So how much did the finance companies collapses cost the country.
      SCF 1billion and counting!!!

    • Foreign Waka 2.5

      Financial year2
      Number of investigations and reviews completed Number of overpayments established
      Value of overpayments ($)

      2004/2005 55,632 8,203 41,455,851
      2005/2006 45,992 7,299 35,757,865
      2006/2007 39,141 7,084 41,935,634
      2007/2008 26,736 4,407 33,702,275
      2008/2009 26,400 3,327 33,780,453
      2009/2010 19,935 2,996 39,336,133

      These are the statistical numbers. But one has to hasten regarding the ACTUAL. As these are in point in time over payments which occur when people are coming off a benefit but due to a pay cycle delay all numbers are included. I don’t know how much this would be, but it wont be more. However, we are talking about 4 million people vs 250 people and value wise 0.8% of what the richest people owe.

    • nowhere near as much as benefit fraud and crime by the so-called “better” class.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.7

      And the RWNJs walk in and try to divert to the poor. What a surprise.

      Here’s some facts for you:

      The evidence for the existence of widespread benefit fraud is paltry to non-existent – despite the fact that a special fraud intelligence unit was set up in the Social Welfare department in 2007 to detect it. Last year, the department checked 29 million records, and found the benefit fraud rate (as a proportion of the total benefits paid) was a miniscule 0.10 per cent. A declining number of prosecutions – from 937 in 2009 to 789 last year – resulted.

      And yet it appears that 100% of the 250 rich people checked so far were involved in tax fraud.

    • Dr Terry 2.8

      TightyRighty. Just what the hell would a privileged bastard like you know about beneficiaries or crime? Stick to your own and add to the stink.

    • fender 2.9

      Dont care what hand you use or the pressure required TightyRighty, please jerk off more quietly in future.

    • North 2.10

      Whatever it does cost you idiot……..just like whatever the cost of bank teller or accountant or crooked professional fraud, you idiot. Is that any answer to the question being asked ?

      Typical right wing dishonesty – attack the whole by referring to a few. Gutless !

  3. Tighty righty the only question that interests me is how much the overclass owes the working class. Any idea?
    Answer: it’s existence.

    • TightyRighty 3.1

      Dave, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The working class is only that because some people are successful enough to give them work. Tricky concept to appreciate I know

      • Uturn 3.1.1

        lol. In a mind that thinks capitalism is a natural law, the first chicken existed before an egg. Whatever you do, don’t ask where the chicken came from. It’s a tricky symbiotic concept.

      • dave brownz 3.1.2

        Tighty Righty, as usual those who sing the praises of the elect are ignorant of history.
        The little morality tale about Thomas Peel is instructive. A member of a textile manufacturing family whose own wealth was based on the  conquest of the ‘new world, Peel emigrated to western Australia in the 1830siin the hopes of increasing his fortune.
        He was given 250,000 acres of land by the British Colonial Orifice (what, no market?) stolen, of course, from the Aborigines (never mind they were losers). He invested some money (no doubt family profits from colonial conquest) in machinery but most of his 300 indentured labourers also having access to free land left his employ making him unable to increase his wealth. He was forced to deal in land ‘development’ i.e. speculating in the demand for other stolen land and which value was calculated in terms of being put to use employing labour to produce value.
        This really is the history of wealth making in NZ too. The land was stolen or acquired cheaply, and its value increased only to the extent that Maori and Pakeha workers were denied access to land and could be forced to work it creating surplus-value as the source of the bosses’ profits. Profits are nothing but surplus-value created by the working class and only increase as a result of extracting more surplus value.

        • TighyRighty

          So Thomas peel speculated and accumulated. On to a rather astonishing winning concept there. Why has nobody else thought of it? How did anyone become rich prior to the definition of capitalism as capitalism. How is it that there have always been those willing to extend themselves and risk what they own, employing others along the way to help them? Even before you and your stupid ilk decided that these people are the enemy? It’s because it’s human nature. There are those who win at being a human, and those who hate those who win. You are blatantly the latter

          • mike e

            tighty almighty given that the capital class has had tax cut after tax cut for thirty years.
            they haven’t been able to trickle bugger all of that down the line.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            You fail to realise he added nothing of value to the economy, and could have been replaced with a couple of office workers selling land directly to the people who wanted it, and things would have been cheaper for everybody- all he did was introduce another margin to illegal land sales. Hardly a role model.

            And yet, he couldn’t have made an extra cent without people willing to actually do productive work on that land, and he had no part in helping them do that work- there’s no management excuse here, no justification of a high education or high-stress work environment for him to get rich. It’s not demonizing someone to say that they objectively did nothing to earn their fortune if it’s an incontestable fact- speculation is not work, all it requires is investment capital, and that was inherited, not earned.

      • KJT 3.1.3

        “Give them work”. LOL.

      • fatty 3.1.4

        “Dave, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The working class is only that because some people are successful enough to give them work. Tricky concept to appreciate I know”

        simplistic and one dimensional…overall a stupid comment

        • TighyRighty

          Thanks fatty. With a moniker like that I am not surprised you view it as a one dimensional comment. How about I intersperse it with pictures of French fries? Will you stop thinking about how you can dodge your next salad to actually consider the truthfulness of the comment?

          Define working class? They work right? Who provides it? For people of your level of intelligence its the wonderful people who own fast food joints.

          To north and berny d, sis that the best you’ve got?

          • fatty

            wow, a fast food joke and a french fries joke…and a salad joke? Your comedy routine is as painful and predictable as your ideology.

            “Define working class? They work right? Who provides it?”
            The customers – who are generally the working class, or should be if they still exist.

            Your claim that “The working class is only that because some people are successful enough to give them work” is simplistic because it looks at the relationship between employer and employee through the lens of a neo-lib free market ideologue. All you are looking at is one relationship from one perspective. You are ignoring a whole range of influences relating to employment…and you appear to be limited in your view of the ‘truth’. Your thinking is situated under the construct of individualised capitalism…its an individualised perspective based on greed/blame, which cannot accept that capitalism is not natural.
            The problem is that while you consider your statements to be “tricky concepts”…to most on here they are so obvious that its stupid and irrelevant to even mention them. Your logic is so uncomplicated that its pointless. Although you are right that a boss gives a job to a worker, you forget the fact that the boss is (or should be if we had ethical employment regulations) just as reliant on the workers. The boss is just as reliant on the customers. The boss only assumes power through your eyes cause you are one dimensional.

            “For people of your level of intelligence..”

            I would suggest you do some reading outside of a Matthew Hooten blog post, or the NZ Herald. Some of us have found the written word improves our thinking…life is not all about bottom lines, GDPs and efficiency. Try some philosophical or sociological books / articles.

            My experience of bosses has shown them to generally be incompetent bumbling idiots, who are only the boss because their dad was the boss. Most of them are not only incompetent, but also create more problems than they solve. David Brent is not just a funny character. Every place I have worked at I have milked the boss and done very little…most of them are very stupid and can be played easily…they rarely know what is really going on at ‘their’ business, they usually do little more than suck up resources and are a burden on society. Most of them are dumb enough to vote for the blue team…naturally they fatten their pockets slightly, but do so by destroying the buying ability of their customers (the working class)…that’s what I call stupid…that’s your logic TR

      • North 3.1.5

        Self satisfied dick. Seek help.

  4. BernyD 4

    Pompus git, you some kind of genius ?

    • BernyD 4.1

      TightyRighty …. still waiting for a definition of success

      • TighyRighty 4.1.1

        If you have to wait for it, you’ll never experience it.

        • BernyD

          I’m waiting for you buddy, and I’m expecting disapointment, kmust be my stupif gene that make me ask

          • TightyRighty

            I’m to busy creating it to stop and explain it to someone who sits on blogs calling out people to make up for their own grievances against a world that doesn’t like them.

  5. BernyD 5

    Everyone else is stupid, it’s our money … OURS

    The fact that our employees actually make the money for us is not relevant …. it’s OURS

    Define success TightyRighty, lucky is much more likely

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      When the game is rigged in their favour then it’s not luck but theft.

      • BernyD 5.1.1

        Lucky to have good employees, and theft when they don’t appreciate that fact

  6. burt 6

    If you and I went into a government office and stole $10,000 of stuff, we would go to jail. But ripping us off for $500m was all just a mistake, apparently.

    Ripping of $800,000 was apparently not even a mistake, the AG made a bad call…..

    So these guys are going to need to pay back the tax and the penalties and the interest…. That Winston, how’s his $158,000 from 2005 sitting about now… Oh .. that’s right – it’s still $158,000…

    He’s not in Jail though …. funny old thing politics isn’t it.

  7. Robby 7

    5% flat tax right across the board is the only way to level the field and will achieve a far greater and wider-spread collection than anything IRD has going at the moment! Nobody from IRD will dispute this claim because it is a true saying.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      Nonsense. Apart from not enough to pay the bills, tax avoiders will still run a mile even to avoid the small difference between personal and company tax.

      • prism 7.1.1

        Yes it’s an irrational obssession to avoid taxes. The wealthy tax ‘victims’ would rather spend more on tax accountants than they gain in a lower assessment but would regard that as a victory in this pathetic sport.

        They have money, through good fortune plus work, but not all have needed hard work or risk taking or entrepreneurship, often because they have inherited a stable life, good education opportunities, capital and income base. Unlike others who inherit the outcome of their parents poverty of wealth, mind, dreams and self-belief also dissolute companions, and life-denying addictions.

    • Carol 7.2

      If everyone earned as much as they deserved, those that have way more money and wealth than they deserve or need wouldn’t be required to pay so much tax. The income people deserve should be seen in terms of the energy they expend and the social value of their efforts relative to that of the less well-paid.

      On that basis, many of the extremely wealthy, really wouldn’t be so wealthy, many of the less well-off would have a comfortable living wage, and there wouldn’t be such a big difference in the taxes people need to pay..

  8. Richard McGrath 8

    Just so I’m clear – does the tax-cheating elite include current and retired Labour politicians who reduce their taxable income by claiming various expenses and using other dodges? I would have thought all Labour MPs would want to maximise their tax contribution.

    • Te Reo Putake 8.1

      Diddums. The post refers to the richest 250 kiwis and also to the wider group of the 1%. Apart from the PM, and possibly Joyce, I doubt any MP falls into either category. Your snide dig at Labour MP’s just shows you up as dull witted, Dick.

      • Richard McGrath 8.1.1

        “Diddums”. So if some Labour MPs are avoiding paying the maximum tax possible, their hypocrisy doesn’t alarm you in any way? Your only concern seems to be that these same MPs don’t get labelled “elite”.

        • fender

          And your evidence for trying to malign any Labour MP’s is where?

          You should see to it that all MP’s get audited Dick, if there are tax dodgers among them I’m betting they would come from NAct than from other parties, as NAct are the bean-counters, only its their own stash of beans that most concerns them. J Banks has displayed some sloppy book-keeping and could be a good warmup before moving on to the big boys.

          • Richard McGrath

            Agreed! All MPs should be audited.

            • Colonial Viper

              And CEOs, and corporate board members, and anyone who serves in the executive of any of the big banks (those banks have been known for cheating the IRD)

  9. Grumpy 9

    What do you reckon are the chances on Matt MaCarten and Unite paying their tax bill?

    What about the other unions declaring huge losses to avoid paying their tax?

    You just gotta be consistent.

    • mike e 9.1

      unions are non profit organizations grumpy old right wing dogma blame the workers reps and divide and conquer keep New Zealand workers poor so you can maximise your profit.
      This neo liberal Model of running the country like a business is flawed.
      I call it cutting off ones nose to spite your face.
      We will continue to be a low wage economy while this continues.

    • Te Reo Putake 9.2

      Unite have a repayment arrangement with IRD, and all unions, as incorporated societies, are audited and their accounts are available to their members. Any declared losses will be genuine. 
      Any other half arsed theories you read about on Whaleoil you want dismantling, Grumpy? I’m here all day.

  10. Rusty Shackleford 10

    “If you and I went into a government office and stole $10,000 of stuff, we would go to jail.”
    I got a giggle out of this. Why don’t govt officials go to jail? They steal millions a year in the form of taxes.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      yeah because we don’t like schools, electricity, police or roads, do we, Rusty.

      • Rusty Shackleford 10.1.1

        erm, those things all existed before the govt got into the business and continue to exist after they got into the business. The difference is, the govt has the power to coerce people into “paying” for the products and services they produce. Private firms can’t do that. This gives govt a distinct advantage in crowding competitors out of the market.

        • RedLogix

          erm, yes they may have existed. But of course the private sector was only usually interested in supplying those things to a small elite sector of society.

          Governments by contrast we committed to bringing them to as many people as possible; something private firms wouldn’t do.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Private enterprise has been in the business of turning luxuries into necessities for the better part of 300 years, now.

            Education was a luxury for 99.99% of human history because it was a necessity for the kids to work. No amount of public schooling would have been able to change that fact. The first public schools emerged out of the church and the philanthropy of the rich. Those awful robber barons John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were at the forefront of providing free education to all. Not just the “rich” or the “elite”. I’m sure there are examples of NZ philanthropists doing the same.

            Electric light was considered a novelty, but not really useful in any way, for the first 50 years of its existence. It wasn’t until private enterprise started churning out cheap home appliances like irons, ovens, vacuums and tea kettles for the masses that it started to catch on.

            Police; there are more private security guards in NZ than there are Police.

            Roads; aren’t you lot complaining at the moment about the govt’s plans to build more roads? I agree 100% with you. The govt shouldn’t be building roads.

            • KJT

              The RWNJ alternative history is hilarious.

              Education for all did not occur until it was taxpayer funded.

              Voted in by those dreaded left wingers after pressure by unions and other socialist organisations.

              A few philanthropists educating a few, “deserving poor”, does not equal, “education for all”.

              The almost universal availability of electricity did not occur until it was state supported and funded. If we had left it up to private enterprise it would have been supplied to the big cities only, if at all.

              • Vicky32

                . If we had left it up to private enterprise it would have been supplied to the big cities only, if at all.

                As in Somalia! 😀 (That’s true, btw..)

    • Vicky32 10.2

      They steal millions a year in the form of taxes.

      Hilarious American belief. But then you are American, aren’t you? 😀
      (You seem to forget that governments are elected. Well, most of them, anyway)

  11. Rusty Shackleford 11

    “The RWNJ alternative history is hilarious.”
    You realise saying stuff like this doesn’t further your cause or make you sound smart, right?

    “Education for all did not occur until it was taxpayer funded.”
    I never said it was, but we didn’t need the govt to insure everyone had access to refrigerators, either.

    “Voted in by those dreaded left wingers after pressure by unions and other socialist organisations.”
    Right wing govts like to be in charge of indoctrinating kids, too.

    “A few philanthropists educating a few, “deserving poor”, does not equal, “education for all”.”
    Govt education doesn’t really=education for all either.

    “The almost universal availability of electricity did not occur until it was state supported and funded.”
    This doesn’t really say anything. Electricity is a good thing, but it isn’t the only good thing. What had to be given up in order for the entire nation to be electrified? Better health care? Better housing? Better roads? Something had to be foregone. Perhaps if we had waited and let people choose what they want (there was nothing stopping people voluntarily banding together to electrify there district), we would have had even better outcomes.

    “If we had left it up to private enterprise it would have been supplied to the big cities only, if at all.”
    This is impossible to know either way. We know we got something good out of the deal (universal electrification) but what other good things did we give up?

    • RedLogix 11.1

      I never said it was, but we didn’t need the govt to insure everyone had access to refrigerators, either.

      And on that point you might want to have a think. Why did the state get involved with the provision of electricity while demonstrably it did not need to do so with refrigerators?

      Understand this and we might make some progress here.

      • Rusty Shackleford 11.1.1

        You aren’t being profound when you write like this.

        • McFlock

          If it’s too obscure for you to understand, then maybe RL is being profound. Because it wasa fair point, and if RL wasn’t profound, then you’d be a doofus for not seeing the point.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Explain it to me, then.

            • RedLogix

              Cognitive dissonance moment? Interesting that something obvious to McFlock and I is totally filtered out by your model of the world.

              I’m NOT saying you are stupid… clearly you are not. But what is going on here is that you have an internal model of reality (we all do this) that does not compute when presented with the simple question I asked above.

              It’s exactly analogous to what happens to most people here

            • McFlock

              I’ll give you a clue: demand for a consumer product vs the demand for the expensive infrastructure required to make those products useful. Cart vs horse.

              • Rusty Shackleford

                ” Interesting that something obvious to McFlock and I…”

                You’re both obviously talking utter cod shit and are now back pedaling furiously trying to think of something smart sounding to fill the empty statement you made.

                “I’ll give you a clue:…”
                Cue RL jumping in and saying “Yes, exactly, that is exactly what I was talking about!”

                You are both obviously full of shit. If you had something to say, you would have said it originally.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  And, I’ve seen that video before. A guy in a gorilla suit walks through. And I got it the first time I saw it. Not because I’m special or smart, because I knew there was going to be a trick to it. Again, not profound.

                  • RedLogix

                    The odds are you are lying; at least 95% of people don’t see the gorilla the first time (I didn’t). But what you claim here is besides the point.

                    The fact is that you don’t get the point of the question simply because it conflicts with your model of reality and it’s filtered out. If you did get the point you would have responded by now.

                    We see this all the time on the blogs. Everyone is prone to it, no-one is immune.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      It’s the internet, of course I could be lying. You can take my word or not, it means less than nothing to me.

                      “The fact is that you don’t get the point of the question simply because it conflicts with your model of reality and filters it out. If you did get the point you would have responded by now.”
                      There’s nothing to get. You never had a point.

                      And what is stopping me from saying the exact same thing to you? How does your model of reality differ from mine?

                      I haven’t responded because there is nothing to respond to. You never had a point and it’s impossible for you to have one now that doesn’t make it look like you made it up after the fact.

                      “We see this all the time on the blogs. Everyone is prone to it, no-one is immune.”
                      Again, not profound. You are equally prone to it which means it doesn’t negate anything I said, in any case.

                  • McFlock

                    really. Did you count the times the white players passed the ball, or did you just sit back and feel smug waiting for the trick?
                    Kind’ve makes the point about yourself, doesn’t it – you don’t participate any more than will still allow you to spot an opportunity to say how smart you are.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Yup, counted the balls as well. I don’t really see how that makes the fact that I spotted the trick any less valid. I think if anything, it brings the validity of the test into question.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    Interesting video. I simply followed the instructions, having already read about the gorilla. By the time I saw it though, it was already half way across the frame.

                    RedLogix’ point, on the other hand, was immediately obvious.

                • McFlock

                  oh noes, it’s a lefty conspiracy to pretend we know what we’re talking about but you don’t! lalalalalalala!!
                  Are you still in primary school, dude?

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    I don’t even have to say anything to make you look dumb. You are doing it for me. This is quite funny.

                    You guys are so screwed, you could have just made your point originally but now what ever you say just makes it look like you’ve stalled this whole time in order to come up with something smart sounding to say. Most people who read this would even have bought a line from you early on because to most people on this site I’m a “RWNJ” and that is enough to discount everything I say.

                    This case is different, though. Because you guys so obviously have nothing. And anything you do end up saying is just going to look like you are going back on what you said.

                    RL had no point. You backed him up thinking I would buy your line and try to guess at what you were on about. The fact you weren’t on about anything was irrelevant to you because you could just pick holes in what ever I said, or just say “You really have no idea, do you?”. But, it back fired because I called you on your cod shit and now you have nothing. You never had a point and now it doesn’t matter because whatever you say will just look like you made something up to sound smart.

                    To me, it seems like the only way of getting out of this with your dignity is just to admit you were wrong, apologise and then we can all move on.

                    • RedLogix

                      You still haven’t even attempted to answer the question. It’s not profound or clever. Like the man in the gorilla suit, the point is right there in the open.

                      Either you cannot see it, or you can see it but won’t answer. Which is it Rusty?

                    • KJT

                      If it quacks like a duck……..

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      There is nothing to answer.

                      You made a profound sounding (to you) but empty statement and now you are trying to get out of it in order to conceal the fact that someone called your bluff.

                      It’s on you to state your meaning. Unfortunately that opportunity has passed.

                    • RedLogix

                      Saying there is ‘nothing to answer’ is the same as: “I cannot see the point of your question”. Which doesn’t really help your case whatsoever.

                      Just in case you’ve gotten lost in the thread the question was:

                      Why did the state get involved with the provision of electricity while demonstrably it did not need to do so with refrigerators?

                      The meaning of this is plain and obvious to myself, and I’m assuming McFlock and KJT as well.

                      Over to you Rusty…

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Nope, it’s on you.

                      Either prove you have a point or shut the fuck up and stop making a fool of yourself.

                    • McFlock

                      option B is that there was a point, you missed it completely, and you’re still missing it.
                      But your ego won’t let you consider it.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      OK, you guys win. I have a massive ego and I didn’t want to admit I was wrong. You win.

                      Can you please tell me what the fuck you were on about so that my feeble brain can rest at night?

                    • RedLogix

                      I suggest again that it’s less to do with ego than it is with the way you think about the world. I’m not trying to belittle you; there is no purpose to that.

                      All I am asking is for you to examine the assumption that has made answering this simple, plain question so … difficult.

                    • McFlock

                      Private enterprise is likely to produce refridgerators and other products that use electricity if there is an electricity infrastructure.
                      It is not so likely to produce an electricity infrastructure in a world where consumer electronic goods haven’t been developed yet, i.e. a much smaller market and higher development costs.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      How is the frame through which you view the world more valid than mine?

                    • RedLogix

                      errm…because my frame of the world can answer the question and your one cannot?

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      This type of stupidity doesn’t even warrant a response.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well Rusty, you’ve gone to a great deal of effort and finally proved, beyond doubt, that you’re an idiot and a blind ideologue.

                    • Rusty Shackleford


                      Why was your attempt at blogging such a pitiable failure Draco?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      That’s not mine Rusty. Just some right-wing arsehole trying to discredit me I suspect. I know it’s not me due to the simple fact that I’ve never started a blog on blogspot or blogger.

                    • Rusty Shackleford


                      [Hilarious…not. You escape a permanent ban here by a very narrow margin. …RL]

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      No Rusty, putting up a blog to discredit someone else is psychopathic.

      • Vicky32 11.1.2

        Why did the state get involved with the provision of electricity while demonstrably it did not need to do so with refrigerators?

        He seems to think that appliances didn’t exist before electricity, however that’s wrong – my Mum was born into a house with gas lighting (in 1918) and they had washing machines etc then).

  12. BernyD 12

    Why is everyone harping on about how smart they are?
    I read all the posts, I really would like to know how people can justify current policies.
    Unfortunately they only seem to be able to attack people on a personal level.

    This would point to a simple fact…. they can’t justify it, they’re just pissed that we don’t agree with the people they voted for, hence the emotional personal attacks.

    If their lives take a turn for the worst, they might start to understand why a welfare state is good thing and everyone has a right to an existence that isn’t full of pain and suffering let alone watch their kids do the same.

    I haven’t had one response from an opposing view that wasn’t a simple “Your Stupid”.

    My response to them all is “Prove it”, say something real. I can take it I assure you.

    • Rusty Shackleford 12.1

      “If their lives take a turn for the worst, they might start to understand why a welfare state is good thing and everyone has a right to an existence that isn’t full of pain and suffering let alone watch their kids do the same.”
      The opposite of pain and suffering is not state welfarism. State welfare entrenches pain and misery and causes new avenues of pain and misery. At best, it can only slightly alleviate pain and misery for a short time.

      Please, don’t take this to mean “welfare is bad”. People looking after each other is an extremely good thing.

      “I haven’t had one response from an opposing view that wasn’t a simple “Your Stupid”.”
      This is true on a number of levels.

      • BernyD 12.1.1

        What make you say welfare = pain ?

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2

        The opposite of pain and suffering is not state welfarism. State welfare entrenches pain and misery and causes new avenues of pain and misery.

        Nope, it’s your model of the world that causes pain and suffering as we saw in the 19th century. In fact, the welfare state is pretty much a response to the pain and suffering caused by “free-market” capitalism.

      • RedLogix 12.1.3

        Welfare as we know it is a creaky compromise.

        For most of human existence, over millions of years, people did not have or need jobs. Yet we generally thrived on less than 10 hours of ‘work’ per week to support ourselves. (We know this because the few remaining ‘hunter-gatherer’ societies on earth living in some of the most marginal territories generally manage on about that.) Tribal people co-operated closely to support themselves off the ‘commons’ all about them.

        Civilisation is essentially the story of the ‘fencing of the commons’; their privatisation. This meant that people denied access to the commons could no longer support themselves (no matter how hard or desperately motivated they were to work) because they were denied the means to do so.

        For many thousands of years the ordinary people shut out from land ownership simply became the chattel slaves of the landowners. Which suited the landowners because slaves were a most versatile and useful source of energy.

        The advent of cheap oil and technology meant that people became less valuable as slaves and more useful as workers capable of bringing skill and knowledge to their role; hence the rise of the middle classes. But nothing in capitalism ensures that everyone will find a place as a worker. Indeed standard capitalist theory assumes a certain minimum level of unemployment in order to ensure there is always some downward pressure of labour prices.

        But unemployment immediately creates a problem; without jobs that pay a living wage, or access to the commons (and a functioning community that makes living in such a manner possible)… how should they live? After all if they starve and die then their role keeping wages down fails and that would not suit the capitalists one little bit.

        In essence welfare as we know it today functions as a compromise response to this acquisitive, wealth concentrating nature of capitalism. It is effectively a payment to the poor in exchange for the privatisation of the commons by the wealthy; and keeps them alive so as they act to suppress wages.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          I buy parts of this and don’t buy others.

          “Indeed standard capitalist theory assumes a certain minimum level of unemployment in order to ensure there is always some downward pressure of labour prices.”
          You would have to define “standard capitalist theory” for the rest of your premise to make any sense.

          Something else to ponder is that a (supposedly) capitalist regime has allowed for many billions of people to survive and thrive compared with hunter gatherers.

        • RedLogix

          Capitalism in various forms has been around since at least the Roman Empire; if not earlier. The seven billion people you are thinking of are a very recent response to the advent of cheap energy (oil) and the high technology that is built upon it.

          I agree there has been a deep mutual synergy at work here. Cheap energy has been like “P for capitalism” greatly intensifying it’s reach and scope… but the cause and effect run one way.

          PS I’m actually no more fond of welfare as we currently know than you are. I’m not defending it…but understanding it properly is crucial to moving beyond it.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Capitalism in various forms has been around since at least the Roman Empire; if not earlier.

            Earliest written records go back to Sumer 5000 years ago.

  13. Rusty Shackleford 13

    I didn’t say they were the same thing (=). Because this isn’t true of all people. But, dependence on the state leads to a feeling of helplessness and leads to attitudes that the state is there to pick you up and dust you off every time you fall down.

    I work for WINZ, I see it every day. “It’s you guys job to find me a job”, is something I hear every day. “How am I supposed to feed my kids?”, this one came from a man who had just finished a season at the works making $1200 a week. The bank statement he presented as proof of his bank account number showed he had spent no less than $300 in various drinking establishments in the month leading up to the end of his contract.

    Many of the people I see are in genuine need through no fault of their own. Most aren’t.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      I work for WINZ

      Maybe you shouldn’t.

      • BernyD 13.1.1

        Sounds like he is disillusioned more than evil to me, and looking for answers that help the people he works with/for

    • BernyD 13.2

      Still we can’t tell them how to live their lives, civilisation needs to cater to all people.
      While someone like yourself may see it in a black and white way, which is your job
      Why would you stop drinking with your mates if you are earning a good wage ?

      I understand that feeling of helplessness , but it’s not the benefit that causes it surely ?

      • Rusty Shackleford 13.2.1

        “Still we can’t tell them how to live their lives,”
        100% agree.
        “civilisation needs to cater to all people.”
        100% disagree. Who is catering to me? I don’t want a lot of the stuff that is bought with the tax money I’m forced to give up every fortnight. If you try to cater to everyone, you end up catering to nobody.

        “While someone like yourself may see it in a black and white way, which is your job
        Why would you stop drinking with your mates if you are earning a good wage ?”
        erm… because in three weeks you won’t have that wage coming in anymore and you will still have kids to feed.

        “I understand that feeling of helplessness , but it’s not the benefit that causes it surely ?”
        Maybe not. But, it doesn’t do anything to alleviate that helplessness, either.

        • BernyD

          Fair enough, but allowing for everyone means you too.
          And catering to nobody simply isn’t true, It sounds cool, but not true in my opinion.

        • McFlock

          100% disagree. Who is catering to me? I don’t want a lot of the stuff that is bought with the tax money I’m forced to give up every fortnight. If you try to cater to everyone, you end up catering to nobody.

          You’ve got a job in this economy and you’re compaining that you’re hard done by?
          A government job, no less? So you’re living off the proceeds of “theft”?

    • prism 13.3

      I hope you told him that only the wealthy can afford to drink like that. Poor people get caught up in NZs drinking culture which is encouraged by lax laws which can’t be authoritative because weak-kneed politicians can’t set limits on alcohol consumption. Attention to limiting drinking times and early bottle store closing would start breaking the rampant drinking culture. It’s an addiction and irrational and playing stern authority figure isn’t enough. What workshops have WINZ got organised for helping such addicted people?

      • Rusty Shackleford 13.3.1

        If you are worried about the price (in dollar terms) of drinking, why not advocate for eliminating the excise tax?

        “…politicians can’t set limits on alcohol consumption.”
        What would be an appropriate limit?

        “Attention to limiting drinking times and early bottle store closing would start breaking the rampant drinking culture.”
        Why should people who drink responsibly be penalised for the actions of those who don’t drink responsibly. Rich or poor.

        “…playing stern authority figure isn’t enough.”
        Isn’t this what you are advocating?

        “What workshops have WINZ got organised for helping such addicted people?”
        I couldn’t answer this question. I’m merely an office drone at this point. My response would be that there are other agencies available to help addicted folk. Work and Income can’t be all things to all people.

    • fatty 13.4

      “I work for WINZ”

      That explains it…do the world a favour and quit your job…every day you turn up for work you ruin people’s lives, you do not achieve or add anything to society, you are worse than a leech, cause although you suck the life out of the vulnerable, you do it to prop up the lavish lifestyles of the privileged.
      You should not be working in that industry…try a gang, the NZ police or the National Party.
      You individual responsibility blah, blah, blah is simplistic and arrogant.
      Your perspective is based on self-righteous blame…but I guess its hard for you to be aware of how people are abused via structural oppression, because for 40 hours a week you are the structural oppression.
      Time to do something useful with your life…stop ruining other people’s lives

    • Vicky32 13.5

      I work for WINZ, I see it every day.

      How is that possible given you’re in the USA?
      Good grief, I hope I have never encountered you there! (Probably not, the only ‘case managers’ I have encountered have been women…) 

      “It’s you guys job to find me a job”

      The case managers keep telling me that they do in fact find jobs for us (and that doing so is part of their job! So, when I ask them to actually refer me to one of their vacancies (always for minimum wage labouring jobs, but occasionally there’ll be one in which I have some skills/experience) they say “Oh, I can’t find your CV, send it again”. I do, then get the response “It was closed”… meaning “I was too lazy, and the deadline passed while I was polishing my nails”…
      Just a word to the wise – if you know my real name, and check my records, you’re committing an offence, which I am sure you know. I used to work for WINZ myself, in the 1980s…

      • Rusty Shackleford 13.5.1

        “How is that possible given you’re in the USA?”
        Ask lprent. She will probably be able to tell you where my IP address is listed.

        “the only ‘case managers’ I have encountered have been women…”
        That’s very interesting.

        “Just a word to the wise – if you know my real name, and check my records, you’re committing an offence, which I am sure you know. I used to work for WINZ myself, in the 1980s…”
        Why would I care about you and your record?

  14. Murray Olsen 14

    Is it just me, or is there an unusually high number of right wingers coming to a thread about some rich pricks getting caught cheating on their taxes?

  15. prism 15

    You work for a government social welfare agency but don’t seem to have any idea or interest in social policy. There is always social policy of some sort even by default, in your case your choice of it would be to do nothing and complain about people who are falling into habits that diminish their ability to manage themselves in society.

    I don’t know what you are blogging for as you just want to disagree with everything, tossing every comment back like a tennis match. You just seem to be one of the mean-spirited in social welfare who don’t like their job or many of their clients. I think you just want an argument a la John Cleese. That costs, your time is up, ting.

    there are other agencies available to help addicted folk. Work and Income can’t be all things to all people. It’s at the basis of why they need help from WINZ according to you, you drone.

    • Rusty Shackleford 15.1

      Where did I say “Do nothing”? All I said was I wasn’t sure if it was within the MSD’s purview to be dispensing alcohol counseling services. Not that nobody should be dispensing alcohol counseling services.

      Your second paragraph is irrelevant in some parts, incoherent in others so I will ignore it.

      • prism 15.1.1

        Thanks RS There is a name in The Games that People Play for people who like to raise contentious points and bat away the suggestions that others put forward in response. But you won’t know it and your approach is too narrow to try and understand it.

    • Murray Olsen 15.2

      I think WINZ hires people on the basis that they don’t believe WINZ should exist. Certainly at the top level this seems to be the case, although it doesn’t stop them lining up to get their snouts in the trough.

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    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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