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TS quote of the week

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 pm, March 22nd, 2013 - 82 comments
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The poor tend to be understood as the rational inferiors of the well-off, to the extent that political arguments now largely revolve around their management rather than their representation.

Olwyn

82 comments on “TS quote of the week ”

  1. xtasy 1

    We are getting philosphical here, Olwyn, but good point.

    It is all about dismempowerment, disentitlement, disowning and marginalisation. Then add the paternialistic approach by the present government, typical in the statements by welfare minister Paula Bennett, that the beneficiaries, the typical “poor” (apart from the working poor) need to be “managed” and supposedly “supported” (that ringing into ears again they cannot manage on their own), and we have the stigmatisation go on, and on, and on.

    The POOR are only to blame themselves, and WE (society) need to take their affairs into OUR hands, that is what the damned welfare reforms before Parliament are about. It is not empowering, it is disgracing, humiliating and shaming, nothing else.

    It is a bit too much of the traditional beggar meet benevolent or supposed benevolent donor scenario. Do as you are told, listen, obey, do the “right” thing, and you will get our “help”. Shut up and do not come complaining is the other side of “the deal”.

    Looking closely at the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill exposes what is really going on. Sadly very few in public know what is in it, what is planned, and what this government is doing. So it is the ignorant, ill-informed public and with that voters once again lulled into wrong thinking, manipulation and told to vote for something that none of them understand.

    In the meantime National and the lackeys from ACT and UF get away with hoodwinking NZers and driving a neglected, poor section of society ever more into desperation and onto the margin. So while crime figures may have gone down over the last year or two, prepare for them to go up again.

    Desperate people will take desperate actions, like some sole mothers up north having had to steal to feed their kids.

  2. prism 2

    The poor often are women. And the fact that women have babies sometimes becomes a curse rather than a joy. Immediately, pregnant single women used to be reviled and patronised.

    Examples of the children of the poor being taken from their parents –
    Britain: The children were sent to Australia to what were supposed to be health farms. It was said that they could return but children who wished to might be told that their mother had died. It took decades to trace and join some of these families. There was some sexual interference, they all had to work hard, girls trained to be domestics and boys farm labourers I suppose.

    Australia: The children particularly of aboriginal women who were unmarried, were taken with strong efforts of persuasion. Hospitals did not reveal their methods of coercion as they knew there would be public distaste. Julia Gillard has just given a formal apology. Hundreds of thousands of babies were taken away from their mothers for assimilation into white homes.

    USA: During the Depression as people streamed out of dry poor farming states in search of work, they might leave their baby in care of a Home. There was one in Tennessee where the proprietress made a good profit from selling the babies for adoption. When the parents came back the children were gone – I don’t know if they were lied to, saying the baby died. There was a further grotesque side – the woman owner in Tennessee used to holiday in Cuba and have a high old time. The authorities in the state were complicit in this trade. A film was made about it.

    I bet NZ has been guilty too. Just can’t remember offhand.

    • xtasy 2.1

      Re what happened in Australia and the US, I always thought this only happened in NAZI Germany, but I learned through history, I was wrong. The scale of things are or were different, but the systemic approach is equally worrying.

    • ghostrider888 2.2

      just been a government level “apology” for the “encouraged” (euphemism) separation of children from un-married mothers from the 40s through to the 70s in Aus; same thing happened in NZ;
      “leading to life-times of loss and despair”; yep, Authoritarian government knows best.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Management and treatment of slaves is a pressing issue of debate in our society, from when and how harshly whippings are carried out to the appropriate care, feeding and housing of a plantation’s slaves. Proper systems of tasks, rewards and enforcement of moral rigour in slave families must never be overlooked or shyed away from. Such are the duties of a decent slave owner.

  4. McFlock 4

    Fine point well made, Olwyn

    • Completely agree – a very good point and very well made.

      In our world, to be poor is to be deficient and because it is politically incorrect to blame the economic system the only option is to blame anyone who can’t ‘foot it’.

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        “…it is politically incorrect to blame the economic system” – very insightful use of that term. And you are right. A few days ago, James Henderson put up an excellent outline of that very economic system that must be protected from attack at all costs. http://thestandard.org.nz/one-day-older-and-deeper-in-debt/

        • Shaz 4.1.1.1

          It’s a bit trite but I think that “Services to the poor are poor services” is a good riposte to this view.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            Only if you’re a sociopath.

            • Shaz 4.1.1.1.1.1

              ““Services for the poor are poor services”” works better perhaps (for an audience with a trigger finger 😉 ) – i.e. meaning if you design for the poor rather than for the population as a whole services will “largely revolve around their management rather than their representation” – the poor house, the soup kitchen. The suggestion elsewhere in this post about a universal basic income being a service for the whole population is a good alternative.

    • North 4.2

      Olwyn……..admirable, enviable, succinct, powerful. The essence. Thank you.

    • One Tāne Huna 4.3

      +1

      Very well said Olwyn.

      There must be a way to entrench decent human rights legislation to reverse this right wing dehumanisation, and prevent its re-occurrence.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1

        Referenda with a clause that has any politician trying to remove them or bypass them going to jail for 20+ years.

        • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1

          Problem is, the Right Wing have gradually and effectively moved popular thinking towards the Right. Slavery was fully supported by most citizens in the southern states, remember.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1.1

            Yep, but it can be moved back as the article I linked to yesterday showed. Just have to show, and keep showing, that the society that National and Act bring about is less benevolent and caring. Is, in fact, outright nasty.

          • prism 4.3.1.1.2

            Cv
            Yes that’s my worry. 1984 and Labour started a process of wiping everything in an effort to control the unions. Now we have a generation that hasn’t had any experience of that time. If something stays in long enough it becomes status quo as long as it suits those who can enrich themselves within that system.

      • Olwyn 4.3.2

        I agree OTH. I think that the idea of human rights could be extended to include the basis for genuine agency – security of dwelling and a basic living income, for example. See johnm at 7, who offers a few historic examples.

  5. johnm 5

    The answer for less well off people is supplied by the Democrats for Social Credit party as follows:
    Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI)
    “• Promote the right of every New Zealander to have an adequate basic income

    • Provide the guaranteed basic income free from tax

    • Pay this guaranteed income to every resident New Zealander as a right of citizenship

    • Progressively replace all current benefits and allowances with a guaranteed basic income regardless of employment, marital or gender status

    • Retain supplements for the disabled, their carers and housing”
    This is the humane and socially and economically sensible thing to do. At a stroke you remove the huge edifice of fascist persecution this government is now contemplating.
    Young persons will continue to seek work as that is the only means to a fulfilling future and family life and a home.
    I believe the current government intends to privatise everything and one day after ruining the public sector will simply say “We don’t have enough money!”
    There are many alternatives to the current fascist road as mentioned by Draco T Bastard.

    http://www.democrats.org.nz/OurVision/ThePartyTenets/tabid/61/Default.aspx

    • johnm 5.1

      “In his final book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967) Martin Luther King Jr. wrote:
      I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.
      —from the chapter titled “Where We Are Going”

      The first Muslim Caliph Abu Bakr introduced a guaranteed minimum standard of income, granting each man, woman, and child ten dirhams annually; this was later increased to twenty dirhams.

      French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte echoed Paine’s sentiments and commented that ‘man is entitled by birthright to a share of the Earth’s produce sufficient to fill the needs of his existence’ (Herold, 1955).
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income

      The current era of growth is over permanently, yet NeoLiberal Governments continue to assert that the richer members of society should continue to experience wealth growth at the expense of poorer people, this is obviously unjust, cruel, irresponsible, unchristian and downright fascist. The choice:

      Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      The Greens

      Specific Policy Points
      1. Universal basic income (UBI)

      Alliance
      That’s their 2011 manifesto and on page 14 they say that they’ll bring in a Universal Income.

  6. Saarbo 6

    Yes, I’m sure many of us on the left wonder what happened to our egalitarian New Zealand. Something that Chris Trotter has done some outstanding articles on on Bowally.

    I think the poor are really ostracised now (and the rich are given some sort of special (undeserved) status, think John Key and his popularity) compared to 30 years ago, when we lived in much more egalitarian times. The reason for this is the aggressive promotion of the free market philosophy in New Zealand. Borrowing from Michael Sandel’s brilliant book “What Money Cant Buy”, he argues that there is a real lack of discussion about the moral limits of markets. He states that the market has moved into areas it has no place to be such as schools, health, justice, military etc. The big loser from this are the poor. As an example, a rich person can afford health insurance, while a poor person relies on the public health system. The rich person using health insurance will jump to the head of the queue pushing the poor person further back. Is this moral or fair? Clearly it is not. But it is the way we live in New Zealand. The same thing is going to happen with the Mighty River shares. Those rich enough to buy shares will take advantage of increasing power prices through higher dividends while the poor are left struggling to pay increased electricity costs.

    I guess there are no surprises that National don’t represent the poor (although their cruelty is reaching new heights the longer they stay in power), but the question is why don’t Labour do more to represent this group. I suspect that they are scared of alienating that bunch of gormless, bookless, aspiring to be rich like John Key group of dropkicks that seem to make up the swing voters in NZ. I know heaps of these people (a couple are family members), they will never vote for Labour as long as John Key is fronting National, he is like their god. Hence the reason that National don’t seem to budge in the polls I suspect.

    The best path for Labour would be to give up on the swing voters and strongly represent the poor, and I reckon if Labour could create a decent debate on social justice and equality it wont only win back the non voting poor but it could possibly win back some of the swing voters on moral grounds. It needs strong leadership making it clear that we need to increase the top rate of tax and implement the recommendations from the Family Commission to reduce child poverty. If this is put across in a fluent, articulate, strong manner it will swing voters.

    Most Kiwi’s are fair people but they dont seem to be getting any alternative messages/narrative from Labour.

    Anyway Olwyn, I strongly recommend the book. Michael Sandel (Professor of Govt, Harvard University), What Money Cant Buy…The Moral Limits of Markets.

    • Olwyn 6.1

      I have read a paper by Sandel expressing that view, with which I agree but I have not read the book. I used to love his lectures on Channel 7 when we still had it. I get the impression that the moral arguments get sidelined because market advocates promote their view as “scientific” and insist that “you can’t mess with the science of it.” But I have no doubt that many would be open to moral arguments, just as they were open to moral arguments against slavery, which was also rationalised on a quasi-scientific basis.

      • One Tāne Huna 6.1.1

        I think you’re entitled to reject the false frame as well. The “market advocates” don’t in fact have “science” (by which I take you to mean economics) on their side either.

        Rational and emotional arguments can be pretty persuasive, especially in partnership.

        “This is wrong – this is why and here’s what we’re going to do about it.”

        The problem as I see it goes deeper than that, however. It is clear for the current crop of Nats that universal human rights are too politically correct. Of course, they\’ll defend their own rights to the death.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      …but the question is why don’t Labour do more to represent this group.

      Because they’re busy kowtowing to the Free-Market and the Masters of Business – Just like National.

      • One Tāne Huna 6.2.1

        As for their adherence to a particular market theory, that’s debatable. Perhaps they subscribe to the notion that commerce provides for many goods, and took a bit too much fashionable advice from Treasury.

      • phillip ure 6.2.2

        a major enabler of nationals’ full-scale pogrom on the poorest/sickest was how well the clark labour govt prepared the soil for them..

        ..those nine long years of clark/labour fostering the ‘otherness’ of the worst-off..(‘working for (some) families..but not them..!’) creating the climate perfect for nationals’ plans..

        ..the demonising/ostracising/stigmatising of that group has been a major success for the right..

        ..it is now the norm that these people are ‘bad’/undeserving..

        ..and of course a classic example of careful what you wish for is those (in work at the time) who nodded along in support of the poorest not getting ‘working for families’..

        ..that it should only go to ‘deserving’ families/people..

        ..those supporters of this discrimination now unemloyed have had the double kick in the guts of losing their income..plus losing their working for families top-up..

        ..i wonder if their experience has tempered their previous enthusiasm..?

        …(‘first they came for the unemployed etc etc ‘..)

        ..phillip ure..

  7. johnm 7

    “The poor tend to be understood as the rational inferiors of the well-off, to the extent that political arguments now largely revolve around their management rather than their representation.”

    This quote states a fascist mind set. The new Jews are the poor, there was a final solution for the jews and the poor must be managed.
    This statement is quite vile in it’s assumed superiority for those with greater wealth, income and opportunity it shows contempt for all of western civilisation’s progressive strivings. For instance the French Revolution : Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The Social contract post WW11 and the New Deal in the US.Also the Christian ideal of we are all equal before God.
    This vile statement talks of a land ruled by the kleptocratic few, not democracy. A land ruled by the marriage of corporate power and the state and the disenfranchisement of the poor to a basic income.

    Definition of DISENFRANCHISE
    : to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially : to deprive of the right to vote
    The poor are to be cast out in terms of income, social status, and rights eg: Benes are force to send their children to ECE. at ages 3 and 4. They are to be harrassed and driven into any possible work outlet proper or no.

    • karol 7.1

      johnm, I don’t know if you meant it, but your explanation makes it sound like Olwyn’s quote is stating how things SHOULD be, and that he agrees with it.

      Olwyn is actually stating the way things already are, and in a way that shows he strongly disagrees with this attitude become practice.

      Excellent summation of the way things have become, especially for those of a Tory mind-set.

      • Olwyn 7.1.1

        Thanks Karol, for offering johnm a clarification on my behalf. And I am a “she” not a “he” despite the “y” in my name.

  8. johnm 8

    The Tory Scum in the U$K are putting this quote into practice here are some reactions. IDS is Ian Duncan Smith who does there Bennett’s role here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/22/iain-duncan-smith-jobcentres-benefits#start-of-comments

    “Iain Duncan Smith denies jobcentres have targets for sanctioning benefits
    Minister says reminder will be sent to jobcentre staff after leaked email suggested existence of league tables”

    1. “IDS, what a shit. ” 2.”Iain Duncan Smith denies jobcentres have targets for sanctioning benefits
    Who would believe a word this ignoramus says. Ian Duncan Smith is a proven liar not to mention Mark Hoban.” 3. “HeilCameron – Is he unique in this?” 4. ”
    He seems to a be a man who struggles to open his mouth without lying so the argument about who to believe here seems moot.
    The true mascot of the Nasty Party. A man who cannot face the cruelty of his actions. A bully, a coward and incompetent. Not a trifecta of which to be proud.”
    5. ” Fiddling the unemployment figures by use of sanctions, regardless of the human cost; changing the law retrospectively to prevent people exerting their rights with Workfare; and undermining disabled people’s dignity by cutting their benefits and social care whilst claiming that they are being given greater choice and independence. All accomplished by lying through your teeth, IDS.

    Lower than vermin.”

    6. “Impossible to believe anything IDS says, with his form.
    The targets explain why my single parent neighbour has been sanctioned twice since just before xmas, losing a total of 6 weeks JSA, for complete non-reasons.”

    7. ” “Who does he think he is..?” IDS?

    A bigoted privileged narcissist in a party bloated with bigoted privileged narcissists.
    This is the problem we have – and why none of them have gone – they’re all so unbelievably rotten that none of them are standing out!”

  9. Doug 9

    The poor tend to be understood as the rational inferiors of the well-off, to the extent that political arguments now largely revolve around their management rather than their representation.

    Maybe they need Management.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/8462897/Dole-queues-are-long-but-bosses-say-We-can-t-get-workers

    • karol 9.1

      We have no assurance that the empolyers are not over-stating the problem. They have employed some people to their satisfaction. Why is there no balance showing exactly how many of the total are a problem?

      At the interview they complain of people chewing gum and smoking – are the implied social skills necessary for labouring jobs?

      And the article mentions a burger chain requiring loads of workers in the area. I had a relative (from a fairly right leaning branch of the family), worked for a bit a McDonalds. Hir family described the boss/system there as exploiting the young family member working there. They demand workers do as they are told, for meagre wages, no matter how unacceptable the orders.

      Let’s have the employers’ and their recruiters’ attitudes and behaviour on the table before they start demeaning all those applying for their jobs.

    • freedom 9.2

      I was going to post the same link, but as an example of the hate speech being directed at the poor in NZ.

      Then again what can you expect from an ex- Maxim Institute ‘journalist’.

      The Nats are certainly winning the propoganda war against the poor.

      S Karol rightly asks , how are the unemployed meant to rebuke these sensationalized and largely overstated claims ?

    • North 9.3

      Doug, I’ve read the Waikato Times article you link.

      One has to wonder about the criteria applied by Kristen Goodwin when she determined that only 5 out of 200 people who applied for 1 administration job, were “acceptable”.

      I find the whiff of deliberate bullshit there anyway. Is Ms Goodwin asking us to believe that she went through the rigmarole of interviewing 200 people for 1 job ? And that by the strangest of coincidences the 5 “acceptable” people were not found until 195 “unacceptables” had been interviewed and rejected ?

      How I sympathise with the wan, put-upon, clearly pregnant Ms Goodwin as depicted by her photograph in the article. It must be so trying for a decent, middle class, white, mother-to-be lassie to have to deal with 195 disgusting underclass.

      There are six certainties here:

      1. 200 applicants were not interviewed or considered in any true sense.

      2. For whatever lesser number were in fact truly interviewed irrelevancies such as looks, age,
      ethnicity were determinants.

      3. The “journalist” who researched and wrote the article is inept. It is bullshit.

      4. Paula Bennett would not be happy with Ms Goodwin. Job applicants are to be “congratulated”
      for endlessly suffering the actual and implied sneering of the likes of Ms Goodwin.

      5. Far from countering Olwyn’s observation the article positively proves it.

      6. The poor are a commodity who fall to be “managed” by their “betters”, and publicly
      castigated when their “management” proves vexing.

      Sooner or later there will be social-media assisted rebellion. An enduring society cannot unendingly marginalise, enslave, and impoverish.

      • felix 9.3.1

        Well said North.

        And how come these fuckwits seem to forget all about their beloved market economics as soon as they can’t use it to screw someone?

        If they’re not getting suitable applicants they need to offer more money. End of.

      • TheContrarian 9.3.2

        Did you actually read the article North? It explicitly says she interviewed 5 people out of 200. Not that she interviewed 200 and found 5 acceptable.

        • freedom 9.3.2.1

          which only makes her claim that 195 were unsuitable even more difficult to believe.
          How did she advertise the position? Was the job correctly described. Is she simply telling porkies ????

          • TheContrarian 9.3.2.1.1

            Indeed, it doesn’t fit with your personal narrative so it she must be lying or inept in some fashion. It couldn’t possibly be that unemployment is so high that large volumes of people are applying for every job the see, qualified or not.

            • Colonial Viper 9.3.2.1.1.1

              Fair point.

              • TheContrarian

                Seems pretty likely to me. Way back when I was a low skilled worker facing personal financial problems I know I applied for every entry level position I could. Even for things I knew I couldn’t get in the hope of getting an interview.

            • freedom 9.3.2.1.1.2

              absolutely fair call,
              if i do not have all the facts I should not be casting aspersions based on the comments of the employer and the lifelong reading of people’s faces and how they often mirror the person within.

            • North 9.3.2.1.1.3

              Yes I did read the article Contrarian. It said only 5 people out of 200 were acceptable. That is, 195 were unacceptable. Plain, straight out, no-good. That is the sneering pejorative inherent in the article.

              Where the hell does Goodwin get off, and where the hell does Henson get off, branding 195 job-seekers as useless and unworthy if only 5 were interviewed ?

              Heavy and uninformed judgment don’t you think of those 195 if they were never personally seen ? If they were judged only according to a phone call, some written expression of interest, or a photograph.

              The article is a vicious and deliberate non-sequitur deceitfully peddled. Which means that honest reporting was never intended by the Maxim Institute connected propagandist who wrote it.

              Anyway thanks for your comment. It confirms my suspicion that unacceptability may very well have been determined according to age, ethnicity fathomed according to a name or an accent or a photograph, or other discriminatory considerations. It also confirms that you Contrarian buy into the disgraceful “rationality” which Olwyn has identified.

              Perhaps I should be kinder to you Contrarian. You comment that maybe it’s down to high volumes of people applying for jobs whether or not they are qualified. Yes, the ones who hope against hope, the ones who are desperate, the ones whom Bennett fulsomely congratulates.

              Like the man during the Great Depression who lived next door to my then 18 year old mother in Church Street, Penrose. Daily routine was to walk all over the locality and beyond visiting work sites in search of a job. Insanely chanting the mantra – “I want work, work wants me, the work I want will come to me” repeat repeat repeat repeat. Lazy, indolent bastard ! Obviously the tupuna of the vile 195.

              Take your pick CT. Join Bennett and congratulate people who against all the odds keep on applying for jobs, or abuse them as do Goodwin and Henson. You can’t have it both ways.

              • Precisely North. The rulers have to feel like they are so superior to the serfs. Otherwise their core existence is threatened and they may have to treat their workers like human beings.

                And don’t get me started on the minimum wage. Why you should pay it and expect anything but the most minimal response is beyond me.

              • TheContrarian

                You did read the article? Sorry your comment about having to believe she interviewed 200 people when it specifically said 5 people must have been a typo on your part.

              • TheContrarian

                As a aside if advertised a job requiring Microsoft suite experience and, say, two years experience within the field of a law firm I wouldn’t interview who didn’t list those skills on their CV.

                • North

                  OK. So why does the subtitle of the article read “………applicants appalling” if the writer is talking about people, like in your Microsoft reference, who are simply unqualified ?

                  You’re a dick if you still maintain this article is not a direct attack on poor and unemployed people. But rationalise all you want…….

            • Draco T Bastard 9.3.2.1.1.4

              It couldn’t possibly be that unemployment is so high that large volumes of people are applying for every job the see, qualified or not.

              Specially when there are people at WINZ telling people that they must apply for between 3 and 5 jobs a day.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.3.2.1.2

            Chances are that the advertising would have been done through an agency. The agency would have screened out the vast majority of them through the CV/Cover letter – possibly automatically. Then there would have been the phone interview screening out even more. The finalists, all 5 of them requested by the client, would have been passed on to the employer for an interview.

            If the employer did it themselves they would have done exactly the same thing including the predetermined five interviews.

            • Populuxe1 9.3.2.1.2.1

              It would be unfair to blame employers for being unable to deal with the enormous volumes of unemployed applicants out there. It would also be unfair to expect them not to go straight for the most qualified for the position.

  10. Well said Olwyn.

    Mind if I borrow it?

  11. Ad 11

    Jesus did bon mots on the poor ten times better than this.

    Is this “rationality” towards the management of poverty less a function of implied scorn and more a function of decreased social mobility?

    I think egalitarianism, like Christianity, would be a very good idea, but I observe New Zealand to be so stratified, so grouped into tight hermetic subcultures, and so lonely, that the principle disempowering dynamic is stasis: people are just stuck. Can’t get out. And hence, without personal agency, the logic of managing the poor ensues from that.

    • Olwyn 11.1

      “…without personal agency, the logic of managing the poor ensues from that.” I agree. johnm at 7 points out various people, including Napoleon, who have understood that the retention of real agency depends upon having a right to the means to build and maintain a life. Australia, at the time of the federation, also outlined what was needed for a modestly flourishing life. The living wage campaign is also a move in that direction, though a campaign by itself cannot confer a right. Advocacy, however, is a start.

      • Ad 11.1.1

        Advocates for the poor are heroes. Absolutely no irony. Any time I see a Labour politician advocate for unity and dignity, to me they are heroes. Enjoyed Ardern sticking it to Bennett in the House this week. Just needs extra killer instinct to make her squirm when she’s impaled.

        • AsleepWhileWalking 11.1.1.1

          I hear ya, Arden comes across like the type who has soft toys around her bedroom. Maybe it’s just me…

          I like her a lot though.

    • ghostrider888 11.2

      always precise Ad, personal agency Indeed
      include
      -government ignoring alcohol reform recommendations
      -educational under-achievement, tangata whenua and Pasifika in partic.(yet that must be the “individuals fault”)
      -racism (plenty of recent MSM articles on that matter)
      -police and justice discrimination toward certain ethnicities
      -euro-centricism
      -bourgeois expectations
      -low minimum wage
      -health and safety record in NZ
      -well entrenched poverty and implications
      -the legacy of all the above occurring for decades now (before some of these applicants were born)

      These employers are reaping what their political masters have sown.

  12. just saying 12

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/workfare-why-did-so-many-labour-mps-accept-this-brutal-unforgivable-attack-on-vulnerable-people-8542193.html

    The parallels between British Labour and its NZ counterpart are eerie. No wonder the satirical show ‘the thick of it’ is like a documentary of our own “shad cab”
    The latest from Owen Jones at the Independent:

    What a disgraceful, grubby chapter in the history of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Usually when a Tory Government is in power, giving working people and the poorest in society a kicking, any critical voices of the Labour leadership are savaged for aiding and abetting the enemy. It’s the Tories we should be opposing, or so the line goes. But what happens when the Labour leadership actively rides to the rescue of the Tories, blatantly and overtly helping them as they attack some of the poorest in society while riding roughshod over British law?

    Jones believes that it is essential that Labour members stay and fight to take the party back. He endorses a new extra-parliamentary left movement that could light the way:

    A Labour Party worthy of the name: it must be fought for. But that is going to be a long haul, and the suffocating political consensus must be fought now. With the Labour leadership abdicating their responsibilities, we need a broad movement that can confidently and unreservedly challenge Tory attacks. That’s why I’m throwing all my energy into building the People’s Assembly, a new initiative being built by trade unions, community groups and activists, members of the Green Party, Labour Party and – most importantly – those with no political home at all. It will be a coalition of all those who despair of what is being inflicted on this country, and are determined to do something about it.

    As in the UK there is no shortage of people who are angry and despairing about the actions of the National government and its allies in Labour. Some will turn to the Greens. But maybe a similar movement in NZ could help turn the Labour Party around from being collaborators in kicking the poor and vulnerable of behalf of the wealthy, into a coherent resistance (also known as an opposition).

    • Olwyn 12.1

      I love the idea of a people’s assembly. We have the germ of such a movement in TS, but I am not sure how one would go about broadening it. Such a movement would also give courage and traction to Labour MPs who would like to oppose the system, but do not see how. The problem with trying to represent demoralised people is that they cannot offer you a power base from which to negotiate. Trotter has quoted Roosevelt saying of the new deal. “You make me do it,” meaning, “you create the pressure that will give me justification.”

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Initially

        – Set up non-partisan co-ordinators in major and minor centres. They will need to be the right people. These will be people already active, respected and known on the Left wing political scene and ideally should all already know each other.

        – There need to be funds available for each centre, promotional work, hall hire, contribution to a nation wide website (hmmmm new functionality for The Standard…?). Probably on the scale of $1K to $2K each in starting funds.

        – Identify a network of skilled activists and professionals in each centre willing to dedicate their time and who are both willing to organise and be organised. Lawyers. Accountants. Doctors. Academics. Factory workers. Farm workers. Tradies. Beneficiaries. Retired.

        – The first basic functions to carry out are: local news and event reporting and commentary. Dissemination of alternative political economic narratives. Help people understand the path that NZ has taken since the Great Depression. Write up of personal anecdotes and experiences.

        • Olwyn 12.1.1.1

          My intuition at this stage is that such a movement should not be too committee-like from the outset, but I am not sure how else one might get the ball rolling. It seems at this stage it would be a good idea to keep an eye on how they are proceeding in England, and to also talk to like-minded people and get some ideas percolating.

  13. Olwyn 13

    Thank you to whoever put this quote of mine up, and to the various commentators offering further insights into the problem and suggesting ways in which we might address it over the long haul.

  14. North 14

    Olwyn…….you give “aspiration”, of late a cynically abused word centred in cargo-cult, true meaning.

  15. AsleepWhileWalking 15

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8463033/Dole-queues-long-but-bosses-can-t-get-workers

    The link above is to an article which clearly places the blame for unemployment not on the economy, but on the unemployed themselves.

    Astoundingly it states what are considered “common” faults. Perhaps I’m limited in my experience but I find all except the last two as unlikely in the majority of cases.

    COMMON JOBSEEKER FAULTS:

    Drunkenness
    Absenteeism
    Failing drug tests
    Physicality when told to leave site
    Not turning up for interview
    Smoking throughout interview
    Chewing gum throughout interview
    No CV prepared
    CVs full of basic spelling mistakes

    Yes folks! THAT’S the real reason the poor remain poor. It’s nothing to do with outside influences, but their lack of personal responsibility

    Cheers, Olwyn. This isn’t meant to hijack your thread (!) but to point out that the “management” of the poor is justified through the media by highlighting a few rare cases, encouraging empathy with the employers in this case who can’t find suitable workers.

    At no point in the article is it revealed what the conditions for workers with these employers are like, reputation of employers, duration of contract, location of the work and access to transport to work all of which will have considerable effect on the employers ability to attract workers.

    • freedom 15.1

      AWW, the article is discussed above

      TS quote of the week

    • Olwyn 15.2

      That practice of generalising from a small number of particular cases is a standard way in which prejudice is propagated and maintained. And the list conflates cliched examples of poor work histories with poor interview stories. Absenteeism and failed drug tests do not generally come up at interviews. And as to “smoking throughout the interview,” aren’t most interviews conducted indoors? And aren’t all indoor work environments smoke-free by law? It all reads like yet another round of prejudice maintenance.

    • prism 15.3

      It might be a good idea to have a Good/Bad employer site. It would have to be circumspect about referring to the names of bad employers but could mention the type of employment. Tramps used to mark the gateways of houses with symbols that indicated their experience with the residents. This would be a modern way of doing the same.

  16. Bill 16

    Mea Cupla. I’m really dead sorry that I’ve spoiled it for everybody by refusing to be materially wealthy; by refusing to be a good consumer; by refusing to reduce my humanity to the level of a rationally optimising ‘ homo economicus’. And to authority -the representatives of the wealthy – that have generally found my attitude and presence problematic, well…what can I say? I feel for you and your burden, I really do.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      You’re damaging world economic growth by not buying a new 52″ flat screen every 18 months. Shame on you.

  17. freedom 17

    Thanks to greed over powering common sense I have been recently made redundant. Severance Pay is not a word in my employer’s lexicon. As i try to find next month’s rent I expect to confront first hand many of the prejudices ascribed to the employers in the above article. I freely admit I am not looking forward to cliche driven character dissection by what are presented as some extremely judgemental denizens of virtue and perfection.

    Luckily i have skills outside of slavery and will be trying to get the workshop producing most of my income but the interim of reality screams that I may have to sign on. If it does occur I at least wil be able to offer some updates on the front line attitude so to speak. That said though, signing on to the dole is going to be a desperate last act.

    Stories like the one above do not instill confidence in jobseekers. It describes an environment devoid of rationality and open minded common decency. Neither of which, if the article has any truth, appear to be high on the agenda of employers.

    • r0b 17.1

      Damn. Good luck, freedom.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      Luckily i have skills outside of slavery and will be trying to get the workshop producing most of my income but the interim of reality screams that I may have to sign on.

      Ring WINZ today as the stand-down period starts from when you ring them up. Even if you end up not signing up you’ll have started things in motion.

      • freedom 17.2.1

        You are not alone in your advice. I have had friends on my back all week about not being such a stubborn idiot and to go ask for help, so i did. I rang them and booked in for next week. Not to say i am actually going to sign on but as they say, best to have a matress down if jumping off the barn roof.

    • Colonial Viper 17.3

      Good luck mate. Keep in touch.

    • Ad 17.4

      If I may be so bold as to ask: what are your core skills?

      Not sure how one could help from here or if you want it.

      But there will be plenty of mildly leftish team leaders, managers and employers on this site.

      • freedom 17.4.1

        🙂 most of my skills are hard to make money from without producing dross folk do not really need, so I have spent the last thirty years predominately in Hospo. The few times I thought that was going to change my lack of will to walk over others generally allowed others to walk over me.

        I have exhibited at the National Gallery (when we had one) I have built a 300 square meter concrete map to celebrate the workers of NZ who once built the biggest Dam in the Southern Hemisphere ( a map since destroyed by a property developer who thought townhouses are more necessary than community space) I have organized large protest events and even got protest art legally installed on Parliament’s lawn. ( way back in the 90’s when we still had some rights to the grounds) The one time a ‘legit career’ was opening up for me as an Art teacher a particularly nasty violent crime shut the door hard and left me with PTSD. So like all of you I have tried things and I have had my challenges.

        I confess to being a serious Artist not prone to producing the decor dressing that fills most galleries. I am told I produce actual Art that makes you feel something, that is based on the human need for reflection growth and progression. I am told I am very good and have learnt to quietly accept the praise when it is delivered. I paint, I sculpt, I carve Taonga, I make really lovely wooden boxes. I love producing large installation work for public space, but that is a rare event these days.

        I have had opportunities most Artists would kill for and if I had more bloodlust I may have prostituted the events to my favour, but no, I concentrated on producing quality work instead. I succeeded every time, but the work seemed to be only part of the deal, i always suspected they wanted a personality to sell as well and that just is not interesting to me. I am not a navel gazer but do think on occassion. I have practical and digital skills in various creative fields, no institutional training to speak of and still have half a brain despite the best efforts of the MSM and associated media. I am an excellent problem solver and peacekeeper who is not motivated by money (hence the need for gainful employment) As an ‘outsider’ not attached to the Gallery game I developed my work instead of my reputation and am now entering one of the most productive satisfying and genuinely challenging periods of Studio work I have ever experienced. Perhaps the recent actions of my employer are simply the Universe suggesting I allow my work to help keep me alive instead of the other way around.

        I beleive many who visit The Standard can appreciate that the career we get paid for and the life we actually live are often seperate things.

        I thank you for the words of support and I know it is expressed towards all who are trying to get through the challenges of daily life in New Zealand. We all can help each other everyday by doing all we can to make sure those we know and love learn from the anguish facing hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. We all can remind people that things can be different and that articles like the one in question should be vilified for the thinly disguised hate speech that they are. Arohanui.

        • xtasy 17.4.1.1

          Thanks for your contributions “freedom”. The world is a place with as many diverse talents as there are human beings. Sadly the one-eyed market driven agenda – of the ones now dominating societies and economies – does not respect talents such as yours enough. Keep up your spirit despite all challenges and best of luck!

  18. ghostrider888 18

    From todays Herald-Amelia Wade.
    “1 in 3 NZers believe that they are worse off than 2 years ago and have less disposable income; 43% the same (on the moving escalator); 18% better off.
    Food costs up, Power costs up, House costs up, Car costs up, Unemployment up.
    Low and Middle-Income families feeling the increases more than those at the top; “average wage” stats skewed by high earners (that must be the 18% then).
    But that is OK; Telecom job losses likely to be around 2500; 1/3 of their workforce;
    “the highest number of job losses at a single time, from a single company, in NZ history.”

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Gotta keep those millions flowing to foreign shareholders. They get the profits of firing people, we keep the costs.

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      43% the same (on the moving escalator)

      Welcome to Wonderland.

      “Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

      “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” [1]

    • Draco T Bastard 18.3

      Except for Telecom in 1990/91 when the layoffs first began. IIRC, the first tranche was about 5000 – again, about a third of their workforce at the time.

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