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We are all beneficiaries

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, August 23rd, 2012 - 85 comments
Categories: benefits, Deep stuff, human rights, welfare - Tags: ,

Deborah Russell is a lecturer in taxation at Massey University (and she recently joined the Labour Party). Deborah wrote an opinion piece for the Dominion Post on Tuesday setting out some constructive thoughts on welfare. With her permission we’re reprinting extracts here. I suggest you go to the original and read the whole thing. (Certain Labour MPs need to read it twice.) r0b


People who need a benefit should get it
DEBORAH RUSSELL

It’s easy to criticise the welfare system. Beneficiaries get too much money, too many of them cheat, and it all costs too much. But the unrecognised reality is that our comprehensive health and welfare systems create freedom and security for us all. …

The outrages of ill luck can happen to any of us. We are all vulnerable to losing our jobs. Jobs that seem secure, such as working for the Government, can disappear. In a struggling economy, small businesses and large go under, taking livelihoods with them. Even if the economy is thriving, we may become ill, perhaps with a chronic illness that prevents us from working. Arthritis, depression, cancer, multiple sclerosis – there are many diseases that may not kill, but debilitate, so a person cannot hold down a job or run a business. …

The welfare system is by no means luxurious. It is much easier to live well if you have a job. Nevertheless, our welfare system and our health system give us real security. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to pay taxes have a straightforward reason to support the welfare state: it’s simple prudence. One day, it may be our turn to depend on the state.

But when we criticise people who receive welfare, we are not just imprudent. We also undermine the security of our friends and family members and fellow citizens who depend on the welfare system.

If we complain about teenage mothers, and insist that someone ought to control their income and make them stop having babies, we make every sole mother worry about interference. If we mutter about a person on the dole who spends time working on his house instead of looking for a job, we tell unemployed people that their every action is subject to scrutiny. We become a surveillance society, rather than a civil society. We are ever ready to pop our heads over the back fence, and complain about the neighbours. We turn everyone who receives a welfare benefit into an object of suspicion. …

Our health and welfare systems are based on need, not some notion of worthiness. If we are in need, we are entitled to assistance, and that means that we may live as free citizens. It means that we are secure from economic fear, secure from absolute want, and secure from the interference of our neighbours. That freedom and security makes all of us beneficiaries of the welfare system.

85 comments on “We are all beneficiaries”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    Trevor Mallard should read this then resign in shame.
    “Our health and welfare system are based on need, not some notion of worthiness”

    Sadly for Labour Trevor the scalper knows no shame so he will continue milking the political system for all its worth.

  2. I think the Dom Post probably owns the copyright now… But fair use and all. Many thanks for linking to the piece on The Standard, r0b.

    The comments thread on Stuff is interesting. There are plenty of people there who wholeheartedly endorse the ideas in the article. I think there’s plenty of people who would like to start hearing a new narrative about the welfare state and why we need one, contra the bennie bashers.

    Deborah

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Thanks Deborah (and Rob). Sorry I hadn’t read the original piece – it kind of got sabotaged yesterday.

  4. Carol 4

    This is an excellent piece, based in reality, that aims to shift the narrative away from the beneficiary-bashing dog whistle.

    This should be part of a wider narrative that includes availability of jobs that provide a living wage, and the unsustainable growth in the income-wealth gap.

    It needs to highlight where the most substantial and damaging bludging goes on, amongst the wealthier classes.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      We all pay tax, GST went up under National, many whose income is too low never access
      many of the services provided by that taxation, and so are provided a cash payment. The
      parasites that live a top of the pile believe three things, they have no duty to others, do
      not benefit from either such payments (alleviates poverty, disease and slavery-oppression, etc)
      or from the system itself (a CGT would actually regulate and measure, thus cleaning up
      the disparity from the lack of this tax, and that’s a benefit to society and the economy, as yet
      more rush to have their Capital gains taxed in Australia) and actually does not fairly recompense
      those at the bottom (for obvious reasons in we’d all give up our day jobs). So trust a
      politician to choose to take a bunch of moronic positions that essentially beat up on the poorest,
      its wrong, its would be an outrage but for the general right wing propaganda framing of language
      we all too often see in the media. Take Joyce, he was allowed to suggest that not having
      a CGT was good for the economy, despite most people with economic degrees noting
      quite clearly not taxing capital gains distorts our economy, disincentives long term investment,
      as shorting is tax free.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    This debate needs to be continually revisited until some progress is made by the left, rather than allowing vandals like Rebstock and Bennett to make the running.

    • a 21st century definition of work–paid, unpaid, underpaid, precarious, internships, etc.
    • a universal basic income for all citizens to largely replace the benefit system (even our ‘friend’ Gareth Morgan supports some form of UBI)
    • Labour MPs (Greens and Mana don’t) to stop bennie bashing. Sue Bradford for almost a decade was the only consistent voice in parliament for beneficiaries and their children
    • Recognition of middle class welfare for what it is, to reduce stigma on other beneficiaries. WFF in work tax credit saves a lot of family asses in this country, asses that should be joining unions and organising to obtain their own wage increases from employers rather than other taxpayers. The figures show that union members are the only group of workers (CEOs excepted) to have consistently got wage rises since 2008.

  6. Polish Pride 6

    “Our health and welfare systems are based on need, not some notion of worthiness. If we are in need, we are entitled to assistance, and that means that we may live as free citizens. It means that we are secure from economic fear”

    No one is a truley free citizen under the current system. 99% are enslaved to the system. The simple fact of the matter is that thwe overwhelming majority work for the system rather than the system working for us which it could be redesigned to do.

    Under the current system no one can truly be free from economic fear. Economic fear does not disappear for me because if I lose my job I can go on a benefit. If this happens I will not be able tro afford my mortgage, I will likely lose my house and struggle to make ends meet. In such a position under the current system I will live with economic fear every single day.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Under the current system no one can truly be free from economic fear. Economic fear does not disappear for me because if I lose my job I can go on a benefit. If this happens I will not be able tro afford my mortgage

      People with mortgages are supposed to be afraid. That’s why they are named as they are.

      • aerobubble 6.1.1

        There was story on Campbell Live, a father signed for his kid to get a car. His
        kid needed for a job, that he lost, and his wife also lost their job. Now the
        question for me is, sure your right, that economic fear is oppressive, but
        that it hasn’t been sufficiently oppressive to convince this family to have brought
        a moped instead of a big SUV. Its true that the b*st*ards who then used this
        family for shameful rent seeking… but hey, we’re all propagandized into believing
        the economy is fine, that the downturn will turn, just stick with National.
        It wont because our society, like any machine, relies on energy, as petrol
        cost rise so the amount of unnecessary activity, churning people into indebted
        debt junkies, will abate and the economy will necessarily continue to shrink.
        Labour will get into power, will introduce a CGT, cutting the profits of
        landlords and thus reduce their influence that is stopping more homes from
        being built. Mortgages wont always be so onerous, its just a lot of
        weak minded people believe that to be rich they have to accept this madness
        about profits having to be hard won at the expense of others (typically their
        own family, friends, community), when do otherwise would make it all
        easier.

  7. the sprout 7

    An excellent piece, thank you deborah. Now if only the neoliberal leaders of the Labour caucus cared about social justice more than their own self-interest .

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Well, in front of meetings of Party Members they say that they do. Is that good enough?

    • Polish Pride 7.2

      No politician cares about social justice enough – if they did we would shift to a system that can remove poverty and work towards freeing people from having to work to survive. That system is a Resource Based Economy.

      Instead we continue with a system that makes people redundant because of advances in technologty…. Thinks about that for a second – Our society has advanced technologically to the point where a human is no longer needed to perform a role. But because of the system they must find another job in order to survive…..because that is the way the current system works. This is lunacy.

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.1

        a system that can remove poverty and work towards freeing people from having to work to survive.

        Nah disagree here. Couch potatoes with things delivered to them on a silver platter is not what we ‘need’.

        • Polish Pride 7.2.1.1

          That is not in my view what would be delivered nor would their be no work to be done in such a system. When you have a day off do you just sit at home and watch TV. If you only had to work say 2days per week for arguments sake is that all you would do.
          Remember I am talking about a system where resources are readily available for your use – something I doubt many start up communes were able to provide. They would have had their own dynamics and problems. What I am talking about is not a commune model either. (Answering the response below also
          Surely you have things that you are passionate about or at the very least interested. Things that you say you would like to learn about (history, astonomy, knitting, musical instrument, X, Y, Z) Things you would like to try, (Diving, painting, X, Y, Z)….if only you had more time.
          Remove the addiction to money from the equation and you remove a significant barrier to solving many of the problems our civilisation faces today.

          The greatest advances in human history came from people who were passionate about something. I am talking about a system that gives people access to the time and resources to do that. to be passionate about something.

          Because someone may decide to waste their life and freedom such a system would give as a couch potato is not a reason to not do it.

          We have a system right now that does not give everyone this opportunity and we have many many couch potatoes and many people working in a job they hate or at best tolorate because it enables them to survive in the current system. We can do far better than that. But not under the system we have.

          I would much prefer to live in a world where I am free to find things to be passionate about and do them, rather than a system that keeps people as a slave to it because they might be a couch potato in a new one.

          Forget about everyone else for a second….imagine if you lived in a world where you only had to work two days per week. imagine you had access to the resources you wanted/needed. What would you do with your time>?…..sit on the couch and watch TV!?!

        • Polish Pride 7.2.1.2

          Nor would things be delivered on silver platters many of the functions would work much as they do now. Want food go to the supermarket and get what you need. Want petrol go to the gas station and get it.
          I envisage that the additional free time would have someone develop a viable solution to move us away from oil dependancy very quickly, because they would have the time and the passion to do so as one example.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1.3

          People won’t become couch potatoes. People want to work and be challenged. If the job that they were doing is removed while maintaining their living standard they will look for something else to do. Society then has a responsibility to ensure that they have the resources and networking available to let them find it. Our present system actually removes those resources from them and thus keeps them from being productive.

        • Populuxe1 7.2.1.4

          The wisdom of Aesop

      • prism 7.2.2

        Polish Pride
        We used to have many start-up communes in NZ in the 60-70s. The sort of things you are saying is what closed down most of them. People didn’t want to work till they felt like it. Playing guitars and singing about not working and the beauty of life where you didn’t have to work, and the wrongness of people trying to make you work was more appealing. But they still wanted meals, if they weren’t too high to eat.

        • Polish Pride 7.2.2.1

          I am not taklking about starting communes on masse. A certain type of person would have gravitated towards communes as you have described. I am talking about changing the system so that all have much more free time. Having the system work for mankind instead of the other way around. Are you telling me that if we did this you as a normal person would suddenly abdicate your personal responsibilities to yourself and your family and the system? That you wouldn’t be able to feed yourself or your family because you would not be able to resist the temptation to get high and play the guitar and sit around doing nothing all day long….? I doubt that would be the case for the vast majority of the population.

          • prism 7.2.2.1.1

            Polish Pride
            More time – yes. When the space comic strip The Jetsons started the future was shown as pushing buttons to make machines go, and lots of spare time.

            We used to have weekends, now our weeks don’t end really. We used to have minimum pay for so many hours so you couldn’t be at the beck and call of employers for whatever work they chose to parcel out, and even that uncertain. So some respect for human needs would mean that government ensured that workers had proper breaks and a 3 day weekend would be nice. More hours could be worked on the four days, and glidetime within parameters would be good.

            But don’t be too sanguine about people not being able to provide for their family. Alcohol and gambling addiction can be a trap that eats up people’s will and priorities. There are different ways of getting high than what we think of as ‘bad drugs’.

          • Mike 7.2.2.1.2

            A world without money is far too greater leap of the imagination for most people it seems. I have discussions about this with friends and they inevitably base things they say around still having a monetary system. They seem to think that without money as a reward people won’t work because there is no incentive to do so. This is wrong in my opinion as they argue that people won’t be able to afford things without money, forgetting that we’re talking about a system with no money.

            Money is a hindrance to progress. Many argue the opposite, saying that money facilitates progress for example investment in science and research, paying for large scale tech implementations, etc. But think about it, for example, we have the technology, capability and resources right now to build a network of high speed mag lev trains or other forms of clean public transport. Why don’t we? Because it costs too much. Scientists could be far more advanced in their research, if they only had enough funding. Millions are dying of starvation yet just one american corporation disposes of over a billion tonnes of food product every year because it’s cheaper to throw it away than to feed starving people? Money always inhibits progress. We live in a system where scarcity creates value rather than abundance , including money, which is more valuable when scarce.

            Activities which are detrimental to society and human kind such as war, illness and disease, financial speculation, greed, etc; are the activities which within our monetary and economic system are rewarded with massive profits. Activities which benefit society such as good education, curing illness, providing adequate food and housing for everyone and so on are not profitable.

            Some commentators estimate that without money, we could be up to 1000 years more advanced technologically than we are now. The trouble is that we are so brainwashed into depending upon our monetary system that we simply can’t comprehend a system without it.

            Without money, there will still be people who will work as nurses and doctors, teachers, scientists, food producers, etc, because those people love doing those things.

            If we continue down the path we are currently on, then there would seem to be only two outcomes; A world police state with one world government and one world digital currency (no cash) and likely a microchipped at birth population, or some kind of massive revolution or uprising once the lack of money reaches a critical mass of the population.

            Our monetary system of exponentially increasing debt and the inequality it creates is the greatest current threat to our future and has to change

          • Populuxe1 7.2.2.1.3

            Work expands to fill available time.
            Automation doesn’t make more free time so much as it reduces employment.
            The assumption that all human beings would put free time to constructive use is plainly contrary to the experience of the human condition. We are not all universally noble or stoic.
            It would be far better to acknowledge and reward those part time and voluntary workers for whom a benefit is their primary source of income.

             

            • fatty 7.2.2.1.3.1

              All good points, and all true. But they are only true under capitalism…you’ve described exactly why capitalism is failing us

              • Populuxe1

                Capitalism is a deeply flawed method for distributing resources, but in a capitalist society one may choose to live communally – the reverse not so. Capitalist society protects the rights of minorities in a way that Communist one’s ideologically cannot.

                • fatty

                  I’m not suggesting communism, but if I was….communal living within a capitalist society means that you are excluded from resources and still subject to the downsides of a greed based system – high crime, pollution, and limited access to assets, etc
                  To say you can live communally in a capitalist society is like saying you can live an individualised life within a communist society – by not interacting with anyone. It is possible, but it’ll be a sad life, and you’ll be excluded from almost everything.

                  “Capitalist society protects the rights of minorities in a way that Communist one’s ideologically cannot.”

                  I doubt it, both communist and capitalist societies have a long history of subjugating minorities. It depends what rights you are talking about, if its basic human rights then I would say communism is far better at protecting those rights

                  • Populuxe1

                    Look at it this way. If New Zealand was a Communist state, Maori would have no chance of actual ownership of their tribal lands which are a significant aspect to their identity.
                    In the modern Capitalist society a woman may own property and therefore be independent of men. In a Communist state she would be dependent on the State, and let’s face it, how many Communist states have women in significant positions of power within the Party. To the contrary, they have been treated as glorified baby machines and that’s about it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      In the modern Capitalist society a woman may own property and therefore be independent of men.

                      BS

                      I highlight the word you use “modern” because it points to the SOCIAL JUSTICE reforms inacted which have NOTHING to do with the inherent economics of capitalism.

                    • fatty

                      “If New Zealand was a Communist state, Maori would have no chance of actual ownership of their tribal lands which are a significant aspect to their identity.”

                      Land ownership is a capitalist construct, Maori had no concept of land ownership until capitalism was introduced. Maori identity is tied to the land, not their land. You really need to stop looking at everything through the lens of capitalism

                      “In a Communist state she would be dependent on the State, and let’s face it, how many Communist states have women in significant positions of power within the Party.”

                      You are confusing capitalism with women’s liberation. Women were, and still are, controlled quite effectively under capitalism. Women’s rights have been increasing in spite of capitalism, not because of it. Women own far less property than men do.
                      Can you name two similar cultures from the same era that prove your point?

                    • Mike

                      Capitalism, Communism, all of the ism’s are simply different kinds of livestock management approaches, and we’re the livestock. We need a whole new radical way of operating.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  All communities are inherently commun1st. Can’t get away from that. Capitalism is a system placed upon that commun1st base and, when it becomes to great within that society, the base collapses. As we’ve just seen – again.

                  BTW, I think you’ll find that it’s far easier to be an individual within a communist society than within a capitalist one. Capitalist accumulation by the minority prevents the majority from having access to the resources they need to be an individual.

                  • Populuxe1

                    That’s only your opinion – cite a reference or give an example. I know quite a few people who lived in formerly Communist countries and they would seem to disagree with you – proof being defection. Hell, almost every dissident author disagrees with you.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      There were no Cmmunist Eastern Bloc countries. Just centralised, authoritarian, police state controlled ones. Get up to speed man.

                    • Populuxe1

                      @CV

                      I highlight the word you use “modern” because it points to the SOCIAL JUSTICE reforms inacted which have NOTHING to do with the inherent economics of capitalism.

                      Yes. Exactly. Capitalism doesn’t give a shit about race, gender or sexual orientation, and it doesn’t preclude social welfare or civil rights, nor the fight for them – once you’re in, however, you stay in. In other words, you have no point.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Capitalism doesn’t give a shit about race, gender or sexual orientation, and it doesn’t preclude social welfare or civil rights

                      Meh, it did for a couple of centuries. Because its the values of the society which are important, not the fact of capitalism or not.

                      Democratic socialism will trump capitalism any day. Because the one value capitalism does care about is whether or not you are capital rich, or whether you are a nobody not even worth considering.

                      The banksters don’t care about your social justice values. They just want to control your economic life.

                    • Populuxe1

                      @CV

                      Democratic socialism will trump capitalism any day. Because the one value capitalism does care about is whether or not you are capital rich, or whether you are a nobody not even worth considering.

                      Social democracies still have a capitalist framework – that’s the point of socialism – to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism. Someone’s still got to pay the piper at the end of the day.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Someone’s still got to pay the piper at the end of the day.

                      And who is this “piper” exactly? The banks? Wall Street?

                      EDIT

                      I’m not talking about “social democracies” lol

                    • Polish Pride

                      “Someone’s still got to pay the piper at the end of the day.”

                      Can you even conceptualize a system without money Populuxe?
                      Can you conceptualize a system that serves Mankind rather than the other way around like we have today?

                      If you design the system from a blank sheet of paper to come up with a system that satisfies the needs and wants of people, you don’t end up with capitalism. If you came up with the need for money as we have it today I would seriously be questioning why you had to add it in and what additional value it adds to your system.

                    • lprent

                      Ummm – so how many kiwis live in Aussie? Why do they live there? Perhaps you would look at the obvious expanations first rather than the religous

                    • Gosman

                      Funny then how this mysterical concept of ‘Democratic Socialism’ remains out of reach even in places which attempt to follow similar principles.

                      It would be like if I postulated a perfect Libertarian world where everyone gets along with the minimum of laws and there is no poverty as everyone is acting in a rational self interested way which benefits society as a whole. It is essentially meaningless twaddle with no basis in reality. Much like these dreams of ‘true’ socialism here.

                    • Polish Pride

                      Gos – at one time the world was thought to be flat. Anyone saying it was round was at best thought to be speaking meaningless twaddle with no basis in reality.
                      At one time manned flight was thought to be impossible, anyone saying it was possible was speaking meaningless twaddle.
                      The same is true for every significant advancement in human history…
                      Everything great including Capitalism, at one time had not basis and reality. But histrorically every system has had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This will include Capitalism.

          • jcuknz 7.2.2.1.4

            It would be good to work less, like three days a week the snag is paying for one needs on the wages that three days produces, and having some left over to pursue those interests. One thing there could be no unemployment and that money could fund ‘interests’.

      • dave brownz 7.2.3

        It’s not “lunacy”, its the logic of the system which traps workers in a downward spiral of destruction because one class owns the means of production.
        The precondition for any utopian striving is the expropriation back of the property and wealth expropriated from generations of workers.
        The only ‘narrative’ that will achieve this end is the ‘truth’.
        That capitalism has made huge advances by developing the productivity of labour but has reached the point of exhaustion where to survive it must destroy the fruits of that productivity and with it the planet.
        Ergo. Revolution is on the agenda to expropriate back the means of production and with it control over our future.
        For that to happen people need to stop worrying whether any parliamentary party will ever be a vehicle for workers and join the “return to Marxism”.
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/04/the-return-of-marxism
         

        • Polish Pride 7.2.3.1

          I agree with your sentiments (well sort of) but Marxism too is a failed system historically speaking. Any system that retains money will enevitably lead us back to the same position we find ourselves in today.
          A fundamental problem with Marxism is that the goal is still around high levels of employment. A very flawed and shortsighted way of thinking with technology able to replace the need for people in a vast number of roles. Although it would see a fairer distribution of resources than what we have today. It still robs people of their full potential and ability to do things they are passionate about. You will still find people spending time in jobs they hate or at best tolerate. Their are now better options.

          The system I am referring to is not Utopian. People will still need to work. The system is a Resource Based Economy with Direct Democracy

          • dave brownz 7.2.3.1.1

            “Marxism is a failed system too”
             
            But if you read even basic Marxism you would realise that what you call “Marxism” in practice was far from it. The application of Marxism failed because the working class was denied control over the means of production by the survival of global capitalism.
             
            “Money” as we know it today is the measure of value as produced under capitalism. It would end with capitalism – and a smart card which keeps a running tally on ‘credits’ would be all that is needed.
             
            “There are now better options than work”. 
             
            Again Marx more than anyone explained how that would happen. ‘Work’ is specific to the mode of production. In a post-capitalist society ‘work’ would be redefined. Necessary work (to maintain and reproduce society) would still have to be done but only take up a small part of the day. Society (through democratic planning) would decide democratically how work would be shared and its product distributed.
             
            Marx spoke of socialism as a transitional phase during which the formula would likely be that each got back what they put into society: “From each according to their work to each according to their “credits””. As society developed the capacity to overcome scarcity (technology would allow necessary labour to reduce to almost nothing) this would give way to communism: “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. 
             
            The definition of utopia I use is of a future ‘ideal’ society that exists as a blueprint but has no map as to how to get there. ‘Resourced based economy’ is an abstraction and is universally true. ‘Direct democracy’ demands that the producers have control of the ‘resources’ i.e. means of production and control over what is produced and distributed and can direct it democratically to meet everyone’s needs.
             
            Marxism has the advantage of providing a map and a strategy for realising such a future society. It has demonstrated its ability to begin to do this even in the worst possible conditions before being driven backwards by global capitalism; imagine what it could do under much better conditions when the world’s workers unite to expropriate the expropriators.
             
             

            • Polish Pride 7.2.3.1.1.1

              Hmmm very interesting Dave…
              I have done much thinking about what would be required for the implementation of a RBE interestingly one of the concepts I applied was time banking that could use a smart card to keep a running tally on hours.

              I wouldn’t have said that direct democracy demands that producers have control of resources. Resources under RBE are for the benefit of everyone and the structure including control of resources is up to the people in the direct democracy. It would be wise in my view to have the resources controlled by the people. This is an area where I would differ from Jacque Fresco who says everything as far as allocation of resources should be left to computers to determine the best use of. There is merit in that as it takes out the darker side of human nature from the equation. I am not sure if I have explained that very well but I did on reading your post see a significant similarity with how I would implement control of resources in RBE.

              Either way I am all for a system that would see peoples needs and wants met and is geared to removing the need for people to have to work more than is necessary…. or exactly as you have described…

              The other thing I would want to ensure which is where I saw the role for direct democracy is that (to use DTBs phrase) non hierarchical and is instead flat as far as governance goes. I see Hierarchical structures in governance of society always leading to a situation where there are the haves at the top and the have nots at the bottom and the eventual decline of the system as a result. Am I correct in that what you have said caters for that too. If so how do you ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself if you do not implement direct democracy with it?

              • On producer control, I am assuming that everyone produces within a division of labour subject to one’s ability. 
                 
                This means that the subjects in society are everyone of whatever  abilities and needs. There is no class division so no hierarchy. 
                 
                However getting to this point needs some material preconditions.
                 
                Marx said that capitalism will not be replaced until it has exhausted its historic potential. That includes an advanced technological level capable of producing ‘plenty’ in relatively little labour time. That would mean for the first time society could leave classes behind because there would be no competition to own and control production when there is sufficient to meet all needs.
                 
                That is why the revolution in the Soviet Union ultimately failed. It took place in a relatively backward country where capitalism was not long established. It was isolated when revolutions failed in more technologically advanced countries so it didn’t meet the material requirement to create ‘plenty’. The workers ceased to control the economy and were replaced by a bureaucratic caste who mismanaged planning, creating massive shortages, recreating ‘scarcity’ and policing it with a repressive state apparatus. 
                 
                In other words, true democracy requires plenty, which capitalism today is more than capable of producing in harmony with nature, once it is transcended by a classless society. 

                • Populuxe1

                  It also failed catastrophically in already industrialised nations like Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany.
                  Imposition of a system on people who don’t want it is criminal and wrong – and most people do not want to live in a collectivised system.
                  Karl Popper offers excellent criticism of the many flaws and failings of Marxism, and Ferdinand Lasalle had already pointed out to Marx that the development of capitalism and the failure of any sign of a natural evolution to Communism was fairly good evidence that Marx was wrong.
                  Funny thing about Revolution – it’s just using violence and terror to impose your will on others. Anything that requires a Revolution is, by definition, something not wanted by the majority.

                  • Socialism had already failed in the SU when the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe. What resulted was a hybrid form of society as an extension of the SU. Since they led to a SU type of scarcity and authoritarianism they were unpopular and like the SU were replaced by a movement to restore capitalism. 
                     
                    So you cannot then say that such societies being unpopular are an argument against collectivisation where that is democratic and provides plenty. No society has been able to realise that state. And I have explained why above.
                     
                    Popper and Lasalle did not offer an proof that humanity will not make the transition from capitalism to socialism since that is not determined by mechanical laws of history or refuted by isolated instances of failure. Unlike Marx these gentlemen did not understand Hegel.
                     
                    There is nothing funny about revolution it happens when it is needed and it is much less violent and destructive than the society it replaces. I presume you count yourself part of the popular majority that benefited from the bourgeois revolution.
                     
                    We own much to the bourgeois revolution which enabled capitalism to escape the barriers of feudal society and make the huge advances that today are the pre-conditions for another revolution to create a truly democratic, collective society.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Socialism had already failed in the SU when the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe. What resulted was a hybrid form of society as an extension of the SU. Since they led to a SU type of scarcity and authoritarianism they were unpopular and like the SU were replaced by a movement to restore capitalism. 

                      Interesting that in a society where the man on the street could quote Das Kapital chapter and verse, they wanted to bring back Capitalism rather than try and established a pure form of Marxism. And please don’t refer to the USSR as socialist – it was no such thing, ever, going all the way back to Lenin.

                      So you cannot then say that such societies being unpopular are an argument against collectivisation where that is democratic and provides plenty. No society has been able to realise that state. And I have explained why above.

                      Yes I can because there are no Communist states that are not dictatorships and unpopularity is one of the best arguments against anything (murder, for example, is unpopular). The most socialistic of the Scandinavian/Nordic countries have never pursued it. The idea of a “democratic” one party state is a nonsense. Generally speaking individuals do not like limits to their personal ownership of property imposed upon them.

                       
                      Popper and Lasalle did not offer an proof that humanity will not make the transition from capitalism to socialism since that is not determined by mechanical laws of history or refuted by isolated instances of failure. Unlike Marx these gentlemen did not understand Hegel.

                      I can’t disprove the existence of Santa Claus either, but that doesn’t give his existence validity. Socialism, poppet, is not the same as Communism, it’s where sensible left wing people stop before it all goes insane. Popper certainly did understand Hegel – that’s why he understood it to be a pathetic attempt to justify the absolute rule of Friedrich Wilhelm III, and in bk II of The Open Society and It’s Enemies rightly declared Hegel the inspiration for all of the totalitarian ideologues of the 20th century. Isaiah Berlin listed Hegel as one of the 6 architects of modern authoritarianism.

                       
                      There is nothing funny about revolution it happens when it is needed and it is much less violent and destructive than the society it replaces. I presume you count yourself part of the popular majority that benefited from the bourgeois revolution.

                      Bullshit. Both Pre-Revolutionary France and Tsarist Russia showed signs of liberalisation, and you cannot seriously tell me that the French Terror and Stalin’s endless purges were better than what they replaced. You are singing the old saw about needing to break a few (l)eggs to make an omelette. Where is the omelette? I doubt it would taste very nice.

                       
                      We own much to the bourgeois revolution which enabled capitalism to escape the barriers of feudal society and make the huge advances that today are the pre-conditions for another revolution to create a truly democratic, collective society.

                       
                      Hahahahaha – you said “bourgeois”…. Twice…. You really have drunk the Kool-Aid. Don’t even get me started on why Communism is completely incompatible with the rights of indigenous peoples for example… ROFLMFAO!

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You really have drunk the Kool-Aid. Don’t even get me started on why Communism is completely incompatible with the rights of indigenous peoples for example… ROFLMFAO!

                      Despite the fact that most tribal cultures are inherently highly communistic

                      You really are narrow sighted

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The idea of a “democratic” one party state is a nonsense.

                      Good job that nobody, except you, mentioned it then. We’re not talking about a state that has parties at all – just democracy.

                      Generally speaking individuals do not like limits to their personal ownership of property imposed upon them.

                      No they don’t and yet we still have rules and regulations mostly those which have been forced upon the populace from the top of a hierarchy.

                  • Populuxe1

                    @CV

                    Despite the fact that most tribal cultures are inherently highly communistic
                    You really are narrow sighted

                     
                    Narrow sited maybe, but familiar enough with anthropology to call bullshit. All tribal cultures include elements of reciprocity and exchange, whether physical or in terms of mana. And whence last I looked, we are not living in a tribal society. I love the smell of Ad Hominem in the morning, it smells like VICTORY.
                     
                    @DTB
                     

                    Good job that nobody, except you, mentioned it then. We’re not talking about a state that has parties at all – just democracy.

                    So you don’t regard the freedom of association as democratic, or indeed the choice of how one is to be governed? Interesting.
                     

                    “Generally speaking individuals do not like limits to their personal ownership of property imposed upon them.”

                     

                    No they don’t and yet we still have rules and regulations mostly those which have been forced upon the populace from the top of a hierarchy.

                     
                    Which is relevant how? That doesn’t mean one should exchange a glass ceiling for a brick wall. Some of those rules and regulations, by the way, do place controls on the rich and those should be strengthened and protected.
                    The lack of reply buttons after a certain length of thread is a bit unfortunate – it gives the unwanted illusion of surrender.

                    [lprent: Be extremly careful of any comment that reads to me as a owned/pwned/claiming victory tactic. I tend to prevent the boring exchanges that will result by removing one or more participants as early as possible. If you are lucky and I am in a good mood I will warn first. Consider yourself warned. ]

                    • Populuxe you don’t actually engage with ideas that threaten you and I can’t be bothered repeating them all.
                       
                      Revolutions are necessary and violent because they overthrow an existing social order that has reached it limits. That existing order exhausts its ability to increase the productivity of labour without destroying its base the producing class itself.
                       
                      The bourgeois revolution is a fact. The bourgeoisie had to overthrow the feudal ruling class that was taxing its profits and preventing capital accumulation and thus the development of the modern industrial economy.
                       
                      The socialist revolution will be a fact as the proletariat will have to overthrow the capitalist ruling class that is driving down the share of value workers get to the point where they cannot reproduce themselves and survive. 
                       
                      To explain the necessity of revolutions Marx borrowed not Hegel’s reactionary politics but his dialectical method of analysing society as a contradictory totality that drove its laws of development. Marx rejected Hegel’s idealism for  historical materialism. Man is the subject of history not God.
                       
                      Unless you grasp that method you will be forever stuck with third rate apologists for capitalism like Popper and Berlin that stick labels on things and then spout the same old bourgeois nonsense.
                       
                      You are right to say the Soviet Union was never socialist. So how does the SU under Stalin and the E.European states become ‘communist’ when this bears no relation to what Marx means by communism?
                       
                      To understand what you label ‘communist’ you have to understand the method Marx took from Hegel and use it to explain that the SU under Stalin was a contradictory totality with its own laws of motion.
                       
                      The contradiction was between post-capitalist state property and a bureaucratic caste that usurped the product of labour. This produced a contradiction that led to a decline in labour productivity to the point of stagnation.
                       
                      One of the ‘facts’ that is otherwise inexplicable, that workers knew their Marxism, yet chose capitalism was a result of this contradiction.  To begin workers wanted socialism. In Hungary in 1956 workers tried to overthrow the Stalinist regime and take democratic control over production. They hoped that would increase the productivity of labour and equality of distribution.
                       
                      But this ‘political’ revolution was suppressed and the law of economic stagnation set in. By the 1980s most of those who wanted to defend state property in the name of Marx had been defeated by the Soviet dictatorship and so chose capitalism.
                       
                      None of this is very difficult. It just requires a open mind and an ability to comprehend Marx’s dialectical method of critique.
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       

                    • Colonial Viper

                      😯

    • Dr Terry 7.3

      Labour politicians ought to be compelled to read a history of their forgotten saint, Michael Joseph Savage (though this would play hell with their consciences, which I hope they have.

  8. Tom Gould 8

    Deborah writes that ‘we are entitled to assistance.” Be that as it may. But the conflict is, and has always been, around how much assistance we can afford and how we will pay for it. If we are to develop a new public consensus around 21st century welfare, and we certainly need one, we will need to have an honest conversation about both sides of the coin. Actually, the issue of access to work and how jobs are created and sustained is part of that conversation too, IMO. Underpinning this would have to be an acceptance of the market place. If we could pull that off, then we would have genuine “freedom and security”.

    • crashcart 8.1

      The market place got us where we are. The conversation would be more constructive if instead it was focused around those who used the market place to make themselves incredibly rich then when the whole house of cards fell down expected every one else to clean it up while they walk off to retire in comfort. Rather than blaming those at teh bottom some redress needs to be made by those who created the problem.

      • Tom Gould 8.1.1

        Nonsense. Your comment simply provides the futility of even opening the conversation. There is no difference between your ‘eat the rich’ world view and the ‘all beneficiaries are bludgers’ world view you reject. I guess you will just have to get used to losing and moaning about it.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          You don’t happen to work for the Syrius Cybernetics Corporation do you?

        • crashcart 8.1.1.2

          Hold the phone, I’m a reject who is crazy to raise the subject of adressing systems that allowed a few elite rich to nearly collpse the financial sector and then almost completely walk away with rewards in many cases. Yet your the sensible one who thinks we should be cuting money from the poor who didn’t cause it because we just can’t afford it.

          I also think I am far from an eat the rich point of view. I am more for acountability and learning from mistakes. People love to go on about how bennies should be accountable for their actions and it should effect the benefits yet happily accept it when those who made millions whilst rorting the system walk away free. Now I do agree chasing them for money back is a futile exercise so instead we shold be discussing what went wrong and how to prevet that happening again. Instead the only answer anyone came up with was to throw billions of dollars at the banking sector and let them carry on doing what ever the hell they want.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.3

          Nonsense. Your comment simply provides the futility of even opening the conversation. There is no difference between your ‘eat the rich’ world view and the ‘all beneficiaries are bludgers’ world view you reject.

          Yeah there is mate. Don’t be ignorant. The most powerful, influential and wealthiest people in the world CAUSED the GFC.

          Not the downtrodden voiceless, powerless poor who bear the BRUNT of the GFC.

          I guess you will just have to get used to losing and moaning about it.

          You. Wish.

        • Polish Pride 8.1.1.4

          Tom there is simple solution to your way of thinking. Simply a work slowdown type strike to significantly decrease production levels. Many costs are fixed including wages paid on an hourly rate. This can quikly bring any business to its knees and thus the system if done on a large enough scale.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.4.1

            Useless unions gave up the right for nationwide strikes. They are now illegal and you will go to prison.

    • weka 8.2

      The market place is where you buy and sell goods you can’t produce yourself. It’s not where you look after your neighbour who has fallen on hard times.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Best not to confuse a neoliberal idea of a “market” with a ‘town square market place’. The former is a game system used to arbitrage money and advantage away from the many, into their own pockets.

        The second is a nice set up which helps people in a community to get together, gossip, share meals, see old friends, and generally have a nice time under the guise of doing commerce and getting the groceries.

        • weka 8.2.1.1

          Precisely. Which is why he should have said ‘the neoliberal mythology of the market’ instead of ‘market place’ 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      Underpinning this would have to be an acceptance of the market place.

      Nope, what we need is more democracy and the marketplace is anti-democracy – just like it’s anti-free-market.

  9. captain hook 9

    hey what about a final [thanks but no thanks. r0b]

  10. Kotahi Tāne Huna 10

    See? Demolishing the bullshit right-wing narrative wasn’t so hard after all. Labour caucus take note, or remedial left-wing policy 101, whichever.

  11. vto 11

    New Zealand as a community produces a GDP of some $200 billion each year.

    That $200 billion is produced by all 4 million New Zealanders (with exceptions at the extremities which can be ignored for these purposes).

    We all benefit from each others activities and the gains should be spread more equally to represent the equal contribution everyone makes. e.g. Mothers raising workers.

    Can some right wing person please explain how this should not be the case?

    (and just one more thing – of those billiions, 1 of those 200 goes to ANZ Bank. How many of the remaining 199 go to BNZ, ASB and Westpac. Maybe 1 each? So now we have reduced from 200 down to 196. It is simply obscene)

  12. Mr Burns 12

    We are all beneficiares


    Speak for yourself. I made it through my innate talent, my obsessive hunt for the deal, my ability to evade environmental standards and the gross underpaying of my workers. Not to mention being able to afford the best accountants that money can buy.
     
    And apart from various tax breaks and receiving generous subsidies that the nuclear industry has the benefit of I have never received a benefit in my life.

  13. Michael 13

    “Richard Long is on leave.” Of course he is, or the article would have been spiked. MSD’s annual report on inequality finds much the same. The burning question is: what will Labour do about inequality? Precious little, if David Parker’s latest speeches are anything to go by (and they seem to be all we have to go by). Yes, growing the pie matters. But fairly distributing the pie matters even more. A good test of Labour’s sincerity on inequality is it attitude towards the Greens’ WFF extension bill. If Labour can’t support that, I can’t support it.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      There is no more pie growing to be had. Anyone who says otherwise wants to sell you debt or get voted in.

      Latest PMI numbers out of China point to massive contraction in every industrial indicator.

  14. Michael 14

    I don’t agree, Colonial Viper, that the pie cannot be grown. Only this week, one of NZ’s largest exporters landed a multimillion $$$ deal with Brazil. 10 years ago, we didn’t want to know where Brazil was, let alone trade with it. One reason for the change of attitude by our capitalists might be the fact that the middle classes in Brazil have increased in number, and purchasing power, at a greater rate than any time in its history (according to that lefty rag, “The Economist), largely as a result of progressive economic policies pursued by former Pres Lula da Silva and continued by his successor, Dilma Roussef (both famous lefties, excoriated by rightwingers for decades. I think ms Roussef may have even been tortured by them, like Michelle Bachelet, another stunning economic manager from the left). Until we abandon Anglo-Saxon capitalism’s fixation with short-term profit indicators (notoriously unreliable and susceptible to manipulation by those who benefit), in favour of more genuine indicators (such as environmental sustainability), our society will grow increasingly unjust and unfair.

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  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago

  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago