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When ideology fails: a Dickensian Govt

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, December 6th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, community democracy, democracy under attack, labour, local government, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Daily life gets tougher for ordinary Kiwis, and the Key government has no answers but to keep on with their failed and bankrupt ideology.  Of course, it works for them in their comfortable life-style, but not for the majority of kiwis, young and old.  The workings of this failed ideology can be seen in two Bills that were before the House this week.  It’s an ideology that pretends to be about freedom and democracy, while the Key government becomes more autocratic and controlling.

Micky savage posted a very good report on the Key government’s Local Government Amendment Bill 2012.  It’s a poorly worded bill, rushed through on a NAct created crisis: one that falsely portrayed out-of-control local council spending.  The result is to give the NZ government more control of local councils by cutting back on the “four well beings”, which are essential to local democracy.

The offending provision was one that changed the purpose of local government.  Previously the purpose was to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities and to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future.  The provision was based on the conclusions from the United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which essentially state that to have a meaningful effect on the environment and on quality of life local community action was required.  The best way to improve things was to act locally.  The concepts of social, economic, environmental and cultural became to be known as the four well beings.

So, the Key government that claims it’s all for freedom and democracy, cuts back on the freedom and democracy of local councils. The bankruptcy of this failed and sham ideology could clearly be seen last night in the House in Nat MP, Adam Bennett’s speech against a private members bill: Employment Relations (Protection of Young Workers) Amendment Bill , which failed after its First Reading.

In the introduction, Labour MP Rino Tirikatene (Te Tai Tonga) stated the purpose of the bill was to declare that people under 16 years, doing paid work outside the home (not including personal, domestic or household work), will be regarded as employees.

Tirikatene presented the following evidence:

  • Child leaflet delivery workers having pay rates cut without notice or negotiation.
  • The Catholic agency Caritas reported that surveys show children “experiencing potentially serious injuries, harassment and poor treatment at work“.
  • ACC figures show children 9 years or under have received compensation for work-related injuries.
  • An Otago University 2004 report shows that, on average, there was one work related child fatality each year from 1985-1998.
  • In a Dept of Labour survey in 2007 of over 3,000 students in Taranaki,, 20% reported experiencing a work injury or illness;  88% reported being asked to do something unsafe, that they did anyway; over half did not receive any health and safety information from their employers.

Tirikatene said that many employers that depend on child workers, employ children as self-employed contractors (such as leaflet delivery businesses), meaning they are not covered by any health and safety regulations. Furthermore, younger children are more likely to be working unsupervised (for instance as delivery workers) than older children who are more likely to be supervised in a work place (such as at fast food premises).  Many are well-looked after at work, but some aren’t.  Many parents feel they are powerless to change their children’s working conditions. Some of these children are working to contribute necessary money to their households.

Nat MP David Bennett’s response was so outrageous as to be like a parody of NAct values.  He argued that Labour wanted to take away people’s democratic rights and freedom of choice – the right of young people (under 16 years old) to choose to be self-employed contractors.

One of the last speakers for the bill was Labour MP Andrew Little.  He summarised the Dickensian Nat contributions to the debate as follows:

David Bennett as Silas Marner (Seth Pecksniff?): for the freedom of employers to exploit. (NB: Andrew, Marner’s a George Elliot character.  I suggest Pecksniff the hypocrite)

Chris Auchinvole as Scrooge: Talked about his government’s achievements, but didn’t talk about the its achievement of record levels of unemployment

Scott Simpson as Fagin: exploiting his young workers.

Jami-Lee Ross as Little Dorrit

These two bills expose the NAct government as having Dickensian values while claiming to be for freedom and democracy for all.  They are gradually taking away people’s democratic rights and becoming increasingly dictatorial.   The only freedom they really want, is freedom for rich and powerful to exploit the poor, and the powerless (including children).

53 comments on “When ideology fails: a Dickensian Govt ”

  1. Skinny 1

    I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance last week who was on a select committee David Bennett was Chairing, apparently Bennett’s obstructive & combative style was pissing everyone off.  Talk is the Nats are unhappy with his poor performance and they are looking to replace him in Hamilton East. His low ranking/rating gives reason to believe this could be true. Not a bad move to shore up votes for the swing seat of West. Probably only happen if SM is replaced in West for Labour with a more viable contender. She not exactly in DS’s good books after being outed recently.

    • Saarbo 1.1

      “Probably only happen if SM is replaced in West for Labour with a more viable contender. She not exactly in DS’s good books after being outed recently.”

      Can you expand on this please, im a bit slow (kinda like Shearer)?

      From my standpoint, Sue is one of Labour’s stronger MP’s. 

      • karol 1.1.1

        Translation (if I may be so bold): Moroney – Team Cunliffe. Not going to get  Team Shearer support.  
         

        But actually, I think she’s one of the LP’s strong performers. 

        • Saarbo 1.1.1.1

          Thanks Karol, agreed!!!

        • Crimson Nile 1.1.1.2

          But actually, I think she’s one of the LP’s strong performers.

          Unfortunately, this does not seem to count for as much as it should in the Labour caucus nowadays.

      • Skinny 1.1.2

        o disrespect & talking objectively in this paragraph.  I have heard her public speak countless times & she honestly struggles to hold an audiences attention longer than a minute.

        Personally I find her quite sly & often uptight & unnecessarily uptight & vicious. what I really don’t like is her dog whistling. If you don’t rate Shearer as leader be upfront instead of sneaking around undermining him behind his back. They told me her  
        2iC  was as mad as a snake…there not FW there. I’ve questioned DC on topics of interest to me & think he is a sulky little twerp. 

        • prism 1.1.2.1

          Skinny
          Who are you talking about? It’s hard to understand what you’re on about.

          • karol 1.1.2.1.1

            I’ve no idea what 21C means, but the rest is smearing Moroney and Cunliffe.  I’ve seen Moroney speaking publicly, and found her to be an informed and engaging speaker.  So I take Skinny’s judgments with a grain of salt.

            • Crimson Nile 1.1.2.1.1.1

              I believe that 2IC refers to someone who is “second in charge”

            • Skinny 1.1.2.1.1.2

              Abbreviation >2iC< second in charge.

                Karol your entitled to your opinion as am I. It's not a smear on either of them, it's just my observation backed up by other politically savy people I mix with. BTW pound for pound I prefer DC over DS, however DC has some PR issues. 

              Sorry about the cryptic post iPhone issues.

              • karol

                Fair enough, Skinny. I don’t think any of them are faultless, but, from where I’m sitting, both Cunliffe and Moroney look like strong performers, and I prefer their political direction.

                Sneaking behind backs does seem a bit like something Team Shearer does, and they also don’t seem to make it  easy to be openly opposed to them.

                But my main focus is on policies and general party direction rather  than on any alleged personal differences.  Don’t know any of the party people.  But I would like to see a clean break from the current “neoliberal” consensus, that is so clearly failing under the Key government. 

                BTW, Skinny, when you claim unverifiable rumours and hearsay, it does look like a smear attempt.

                • Skinny

                  Shearer is acutely aware that if he carries on bumbling as leader of the Labour party ‘he will be rolled by the membership in Feb. It’s quite simple & fair. The Leader & those on the front bench need to carry the brunt of the heavy lifting.

                   Also has beens & non performers ( and there are a few of them) will be expected to move aside for new blood, they will be afforded the opportunity to save face by choosing to go gracefully, or face the humiliation of being dumped on. They know who they are. So there is an expectation they will do the right thing for the Party.     

                  • karol

                    Skinny, you’ve got right off the topic for this thread – the failed ideology of Key’s government as shown by two Bills that went through the House this week.

                    You’d be best to continue your reports from Team Shearer on open mike. 

  2. PlanetOrphan 2

    The current Gnat Government are the most delusional group of plonkers this country has ever had in power.

    Great article Karol.

  3. Dr Terry 3

    Somehow I doubt that members of this NaCT government have heard of Dickens, or of Dickensian times (let alone having read him)!
    The worst of it is that individually they present as such “nice and decent people”, it is so much the truth that thoroughly nice and decent people permit the most atrocious things happen without compassion.

    • prism 3.1

      Nice and decent people – can have little locked doors in their minds which are guarded from reflective and compassionate thoughts about society by a fierce entity that shouts “You shall not pass”. They can be charming when their world view is not questioned but either very argumentative, patronisingly amused, or furious when it is.

    • Sunny 3.2

      If they haven’t heard of Dickens perhaps they could ponder “It is as hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle” or “Whatever you do for these, the least of my brothers, you do for me”.

      There is a strong Catholic cabal at the ‘heart’ of this National Government and within their party machinery (English, Brownlie, Carter, Dunne) Perhaps they think they’re praying on their knees to a different Jesus? Any chance of a NZ Bishop Desmond Tutu (yes I know he is Anglican the challenge is open to them too) to stand up to the bullies in Government and set them straight on that one….? In public. Loudly. Until they listen…. or are too embarrassed to be seen in a Catholic Church again.

      • karol 3.2.1

        Really I see it more as a continuation of  Victorian attitudes to the poor and powerless, rather than anything specifically to do with government MPs religious affiliation.  Of course, there are cultural references to Christianity that may be an appropriate analogy.  Some Christian values are quite appropriate for left wing policies.

        I doubt there’s anything like a Catholic “cabal” in our current government. 

    • JonL 3.3

      “The worst of it is that individually they present as such “nice and decent people”, it is so much the truth that thoroughly nice and decent people permit the most atrocious things happen without compassion.”
      Through bitter experience (as has my wife), we’ve found many “nice and decent” appearing people to be total sociopaths, when push comes to scratch! A sociopath, usually, is an actor who is adept at putting on a veneer of exactly what people want to see! Below the surface they are totally devoid of emotions and empathy, but, by god can they put on a good show. They usually self destruct, in the end, but can cause untold damage to those they have influence over…….and they are so “nice and decent” that most people have a great deal of difficulty in accepting them for what they really are – even after their true colours have been revealed.
      If you want an eye-opening read, try “The Sociopath Next Door – the ruthless vs the rest of us” by Martha Stout.
      Interestingly, whilst just over 2% of the population is sociopathic in the West, it’s only around .67% in Asian countries…….

  4. Lefty 4

    Dickensian values are totally compatable with the Nats version of freedom and democracy for all.

    They are working very hard and very successfully, at rebuilding society to fit their vision of a perfect society.

  5. tracey 5

    I note NACT don’t believe in economic equality… economic freedom for all.

  6. prism 6

    Here is a wee word picture from Alexander McCall Smith’s The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection. Grace Makutsi has risen in the world from a poor country home with good encouraging parents to a graduate of a technical institute, a detective, an entrepreneur teaching typing, and a married woman in one of the top business families of Gaborone. And McCall Smith writes that the teaching she received from a dedicated man was the catalyst.

    Grace had –
    ‘through hard work and the inspiration provided by a particular teacher, a slight man with spectacles who rode to school each day on an ancient black bicycle and who believed with all his heart in the power of education.. got herself to Gaborone and become a trained secretary.’

    If the government put more help into assisting parents to do their job well and provide a moral framework for their children, and if the government also treated teachers like the dedicated clever people they are, and if the government stopped acting out the ways of the child who wants immediate gratification and put effort into assisting viable NZ businesses providing long term jobs, then our problems would diminish to the tip of a tail. And that kiddies is the end of this (fairy) tale, as there seems no hope of getting such intelligent action from either NACTs or Old Labor.

    • Ennui in Requiem 6.1

      Prism, coming to Purgatory is a real education politically: When souls arrive their political colours are removed…uncloaked you see their real hearts. Regardless of how good they have been in life all materialist socialists and market fundamentalists come here (and not to Heaven). This is because at heart they don’t believe in God, and thereby (because God is really made in the image of man) allow their beliefs to override their humanity.

      A large chunk of these are avowed libertarians. Their sin is Greed, expressed in the sad belief that humans make rational decisions based upon self interest…they demand “individual rights” but eschew charity and its corollary, humanity and responsibility. The leftish libertarians always demand charity, but somebody else always “pay”, the rightist libertarians hate charity and just think everybody but them should pay. Both want to float around doing whatever they like regardless because the consequences are somebody elses problem.

      As Aquinas said “Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.”

      PS As an atheist I was a shoe in for Purgatory.

      • prism 6.1.1

        EinR
        Yes, lots of analysis and probably right. But too much analysis is like wading in mud with gumboots on. You get nowhere and lose your footwear. What ideas have you that can be applied locally or nation wide to turn around our society? Waiting for people’s compassion to warm up to body temperature is useless as a hopeful attitude.

        In India they have the untouchables, the street dwellers, the beggars, the maimed. If a condition of society that is goes on too long, it becomes chronic, a wallpaper that one of the better class becomes adjusted to, and the lower class also only knows its low horizons.

        • Ennui in Requiem 6.1.1.1

          Down here we are the observation and punishment department…our feet are so burnt they wish for wet mud. We are moved on when we learn to balance the Virtues with the Sins, and thereby become “whole”. Its not such a big ask on Earth, to mean well and try and do the what is best for all parties. So few practice this.

  7. Ennui in Requiem 7

    Before I deceased I knew Chris Auchinvole tolerably well. He certainly is not Scrooge, a lively humoured and generous individual in my experience.

  8. Thanks Karol.

    Hope you have weathered this westie storm? 

    • karol 8.1

      Thanks for your report. The undermining of local democracy by the Bill amendments is part of a worrying trend.

      I’m fine thanks – just some scary thunder. Hope all is OK out your way. It seems to be Hobsonville that’s suffering most.

  9. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9

    Shit!

    Democracy Under Attack!

  10. xtasy 10

    Karol, this is a worthy post, but I take issue with your description of “ordinary” NZers.

    There is no such thing anymore as “ordinary” Kiwis. That is a thing of the past for sure. NZers are now a highly divided populace, and I see it every bloody day. I see some doing quite well, and they have NO time for the less fortunate.

    NZ is now not the society anymore I once believed in, it is not egalitarian, fair, equal and committed to social justice. Too many have given up the idea of this, just to save their own skins. They will never admit it, they will never say it, they will never change, but they are a large section of what is still perceived as the “middle class”, most of whom still manage, some of whom got more take home pay after National’s tax cuts, and they have NO SHIT TIME for you and me, they HAVE NO SHIT TIME FOR BENEFICIARIES!

    They think all they are “working”, paying taxes, doing this and the other, and the media has encouraged them to think, those supposed “bludgers” are only to blame for themselves.

    Labour is the a party of the TRAITOR, Labour Traitor, that is what I call them now, as they willingly pander to that section of society to get votes. Bob Jones is probably more “radical” and even “open minded” on issues than the present damned Labour Party is, that is what I observe, having read some of his hitting and stirring comments on the NZ Herald. Of course I usually do not agree with him.

    I do not like the man, I do not like most of Labour, I feel cheated and betrayed by Labour, I will NEVER vote Labour again, that is my New Year’s resolution now. I will vote for any alternative electorate candidate, but National, ACT and Labour.

    What I find totally SHOCKING is the passiveness, ignorance, resignation and hopelessness of the very people affected by the new welfare reforms. It is like a fucking “non event” to the media, I see and hear no protests of significance, I see a willing IDIOT populace fall for a DICTATORSHIP, same as they did in Germany under Hitler in 1933.

    NZ is a FAILED SOCIETY, it is not worth for any sensible prospective migrant (apart from perhaps worse 3rd world dictatorships) to come to.

    This is so disgusting what goes on here, and NZers have a bloody large responsibility for being so passive, indifferent and selfish. It is NOT a people I respect anymore!

    • karol 10.1

      xtasy, “ordinary” Kiwis, is not a favourite term of mine. I just can’t think of a better one. If anyone can provide a single work for the Kiwis who are not particularly powerful, and go about their daily business usually unnoticed by the MSM and politicians, then I’ll use it.

    • Adele 10.2

      Xtasy

      What I find totally SHOCKING is the passiveness, ignorance, resignation and hopelessness of the very people affected by the new welfare reforms. It is like a fucking “non event” to the media, I see and hear no protests of significance, I see a willing IDIOT populace fall for a DICTATORSHIP, same as they did in Germany under Hitler in 1933.

      NZ is a FAILED SOCIETY, it is not worth for any sensible prospective migrant (apart from perhaps worse 3rd world dictatorships) to come to.

      Your constant bleating is loathsome. Our society is far from failed and the people you denigrate as suffering from passiveness, ignorance, resignation and hopelessness are my people and they are far from that. We have problems but they are minor relative to what is occurring in the rest of the world. Its your attitude that sucks not this country or its peoples.

      That you cannot see the relative worth of your current surroundings speaks to the demons in your head moreso than the demons scurrying about on the ground. If you don’t like living here get yourself deported.

      • xtasy 10.2.1

        Dear ADELE – it is not loathsome, if you and others only had a simple glace of what I have been through. It cannot be a coincidence either, because my contacts prove there are many others affected..

        You are part of the problem trying to protect certain political players that are involved from being legally challenged. I did just that, and WINZ and MSD shat themselves, swiftly coming to the party, but they also (like usual) denied all wrongdoing. You are IGNORANT, I am sorry, but that is what you are.

        You may trust your mates in government, possibly be part of them or having been part of them before. That even mor re enforces my resolultion, that NZ political establishment is CORRUPT and ROTTEN to the core. And I hate to say, I fear you are part of it!

      • xtasy 10.2.2

        Your previous posts prove you are all for the sellable Maori rights agenda, a kind of “accomodation” of your affairs, but nothing else. Yo Do NOT care about the people living in NZ in general, and that is where you and some of your associates fall down.

        I am all for Tangata Whenua and the likes, but is is your narrow minded, selective mentality, which has NO place on the LEFT!

      • xtasy 10.2.3

        Adele: Where is your and your people’s action then? I see little or none of it. So are you not living in lala land?

        • Adele 10.2.3.1

          Xtasy

          You are obviously losing your battles with both inner and outer demons. Blame the system, blame the people, blame the country, blame the passive, ignorant, resigned, and hopeless, blame Māori, blame God, blame me. Better yet, blame yourself for not taking better care of that head of yours. You lose all credibility when you act so deranged.

          • xtasy 10.2.3.1.1

            Yes Adele, I lost it.

            But while you may think your country and people are so great, then you do not know what I know. I have learned of mental health patients being neglected by mental health staff, even left in the care of ABUSERS!

            It was followed up by me, but since all evidence is ignored by senior staff of a leading health board, them covering up wrong decisions their staff made, and now even the Ombudsman dismissing a complaint, I have NO TRUST in any NZ authorities anymore, not at all!

            You only claim and state what you do, because you are not informed, as the media here is shit, and as too few bother to speak up and out. So the DICTATORSHIP here is working, and that is what it is, and that is what they want.

            Some of your mates may think they win battles through certain court settlements are simply being hood-winked yet again, by anglo saxon manipulators, a rotten Crown and the likes.

            I am sorry, but I did not mean to offend, but sometimes wanting to raise the truth causes ripples and me to shoot a bit further than I perhaps should. It does not discredit what I have been on about though. Read between the lines, perhaps.

            Anyway, good on your taking a stand and kia kaha.

  11. Huginn 11

    Thanks for this post, Karol. It really set me thinking about what must be going on with many of these children at the moment.

    Is there any information about how many of them are working to help feed their families right now? Some of them may even be bringing in the income that a family gets. This is another face of child poverty.

    They need support.

  12. Huginn 12

    I seem to remember that the NZ Herald touched on the contribution of child labourers to their household incomes in a series of articles that they did on poverty, the last time Bill English was Minister of Finance. It was sobering.

    These intellectually bankrupt imbeciles haven’t learnt a thing.

  13. Darien Fenton 13

    The National party speeches on this bill, whic I originated a couple if years ago after a lot of evidence around contractors and child workers. I was pleased Rino took it over and it was drawn fom the ballot, but embarrassed and angry at the National Party response. To make it worse, CARITAS who did a lot of work on child leaflet deliverers and who have promoted the bill were in the gallery. I found it almost impossible to make any useful contribution in my speech, even though I gave researched and written about this for years. The noise during my speech was overwhelming. It was disgusting and demonstrates the Nats attitude to women. Don’t see them doing that to the blokes.

    • karol 13.1

      Darien, my view on watching the debate live, was that the National MPs showed themselves and their shallow ideology up.  They showed no concern for the potential for employers to exploit child labour, as unfortunately does seem to happen.

      Can you help huginn (who commented above), out with references to any sources of evidence of the proportion of child workers who need to work to contribute income to their families.  I can only suggest the sources mentioned by Rino in his speech: Caritas, Dept of Labour and Uni of Otago surveys, ACC stats.

      NAct MPs do look like a macho-dominated bunch on parliament TV.  I have posted before about my concerns with the anti-woman practices of our current government.  I fear it is infecting the MSM reporting of politics, and foregrounding of male opposition MPs over that of women MPs. 

  14. Darien Fenton 14

    Sorry IPad fail.

    • lprent 14.1

      I know that feeling well – especially in the early morning moderation sweep when the screen seems to develop a blurriness to go with its spelling “help”

  15. Darien Fenton 15

    @karol will see what I can find.

    • higherstandard 15.1

      Can you kick Trev in the nuts when you next see him ?

      [karol: Sending it to moderation for a second opinion.]
      [It’s childish and boorish, but it’s probably under the threshold of “offensive enough to delete”. r0b]

      • karol 15.1.1

        hs, that doesn’t have anything to do with the topic of this post.  Off topic comments will get shifted to open mike.

        • higherstandard 15.1.1.1

          Just taking advantage of a rare occasion to communicate directly with a politician and encourage them to do something useful with their time.

  16. Darien Fenton 16

    @karol : NZJER issue 36 has the piece I wrote, along with a whole lot of other pieces about contracting generally. Sorry I can’t find a link.

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