2013 – The Year that Was

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2013

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National – High Point Achievement Award

Staying high in the polls despite controversies; scandals; obvious lies told by it’s Leader; making it harder for first home buyers to own their own home; rising child poverty and inequality; kids eating out of rubbish bins and increasing poverty-related diseases;  damage to our precious image as a “Clean and Green” nation; rampant corporate welfare; ongoing harrassment of welfare beneficiaries; lack of jobs; threatening to kick tenants out of State Housing; cuts to early childhood education; reducing worker’s rights and attacks on Unions; increasing wage gap with Australia; … and on it goes.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

New Zealanders must have cast-iron-stomachs to tolerate such a blatantly  anti-Kiwi party that goes so badly against our much-vaunted “fair go” and supposed “egalitarian” nature.

National – Low Point Screw-Up Award

Hard to choose.

There is so much ghastliness from this shabby government – where does one start?

Perhaps this little story, that recently appeared on Radio NZ’s website;

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Pharmacies 'carry cost' of increases

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Perhaps nothing better illustrates the transfer of wealth better than the poorest people having to pay for higher prescription charges, whilst those on higher incomes received a $4 billion tax cut.

Someone had to pay for Key’s generosity, and New Zealand’s poorest and lowest paid workers drew short straws. That is how a wealth transfer occurs; high income earners get a tax cut and low income earners and welfare beneficiaries  get increased user-pays government charges; a rise in GST; and costs for  privatised services.

Meanwhile, the Middle Classes scratch their heads and wonder why the poor can’t put food on their table?

National MP of the Year Award

Maurice Williamson – for his “Big Gay Rainbow” speech.

Priceless.

For that speech alone, he deserves his seat in Parliament.

Labour MP of the Year Award

David Shearer – for grace and courage under fire from those around him; the Left; the Right; the media; et al.

We yearn for decent politicians in Parliament who look, sound, and behave like ordinary Kiwis – but savage them to pieces when we actually get one.

Typical.

NZ First MP of the Year Award

Tracey Martin – one of Parliament’s best kept “secrets”. One to watch out for as her career in politics is on the rise. Recently elevated to Deputy Leader of NZ First, she has the potential to increase her Party’s public approval (once Peters has taken retirement – perhaps in Tauranga?).

She may actually make serious inroads into the left-wing vote…

Green MP of the Year Award

Russell Norman – for calling John Key out as the new Rob Muldoon.

Unerringly accurate.

Maori Party MP of the Year Award

Tariana Turia – for her unceasing battle against Big Tobacco. This woman has more cojones than half of Parliament rolled into one.

It’s a shame she’s resigning. This blogger would love to see her carry on her Associate Health Minister role in a Labour-led government. God knows we need someone of her integrity and determination to stand up to corporate power.

Best Party Policy Award

Mana Party – for it’s Feed The Children Bill. Hone Harawira and his Party managed to forced National to take some action on this problem. It may not be enough, but Mana got the ball rolling.

Mana deserves to be back in Parliament next year. Hopefully with a couple of extra MPs?

Leftwing Blogger of the Year Award

Burnt Out Teacher, on The Daily Blog, for her poignant insights into the teaching profession; the education system; our children; and how National government ministers simply haven’t a clue.

As an example of her brilliant writing, check out her blogposts here.

Honestly, she is bloody good.

Honourable mentions go to blogger Marama Davidson for her deep social conscience and feminist ideals, and Martyn “Bomber”  Bradbury (the latter for trying to herd bloggers cats) for making “The Daily Blog” one of the Left’s most effective tools.

Rightwing blogger of the Year Award

Cameron Slater. Always.

The man is a constant reminder why we carry on the struggle for a saner, fairer, society.

Thank you, Cam. Please don’t ever give up. You’re the best motivational we have.

Most Coherent Rightwinger Award

Matthew Hooton. The guy is scarily rational-sounding. Please god, do not let him take leadership of the ACT Party. Pretty-pleeeaassse! (See previous blogpost: Suggested candidates for new ACT leader)

Runner-up: none. The rest are as mad as a box of cats.

Muppet of the Year Award

Len Brown.

’nuff said.

1st Runner-up: Colin Craig.

Chemtrails. Moon Landing Hoax conspiracy.

Again, ’nuff said.

2nd Runner up: again, Colin Craig. For being daft enough to threaten The Civilian with a law-suit. (Unless… it was a clever conspiracy by Craig to gain more publicity for his Party?! What next – chem-trails in the sky spelling out “Vote Colin Craig in 2014“?!

Naive person of the Year Award

Bevan Chuang.

Dealing with Cameron Slater?! What were you thinking, woman?!?!

Really, Really, Dumb Comment of the Year Award

John Key, on the asset sales referendum,

Well the numbers don’t look like they’re that significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around about 40 per cent.

Source

Key added that the number was  “not absolutely amazing, it’s not overwhelmingly opposed”.

Not “significant”?!

More people voted in the referendum (1,297,281) than voted for National in 2011 ( 1,058,638).

Only an idiot who is hell-bent on losing an election dismisses a voter turn-out that was significantly larger than those who voted for your Party.

It seems that Aaron Gilmore was not the only one who allowed his Tory arrogance to slip out.

Really, Really, Dumb Action of the Year Award

Goes to John Key for taking two ex National Ministers, who supported the 1981 Springbok Tour,  to Nelson Mandela’s funeral – whilst deliberately not inviting any of the anti-Tour leaders of the protest movement.

On top of which, Key then abused Hone Harawira for going to South Africa – and Harawira was actually a part of the anti-Tour leadership!!!

“This is a guy that went to South Africa on a jolly and shouldn’t be billing the taxpayer for it. The bottom line is we took a delegation – whether he likes it or not – that represented, in our view, the right mix. I personally don’t believe there was a role for him to go to South Africa.”

Source

Class act, Mr Key, real classy.

Curious Story of the Year Award

The blockade of our meat exports to China for, ostensibly, “paperwork problems”… (see previous blogposts:   What’s the beef, guv? and Taiwan FTA – Confirmation by TVNZ of China pressuring the Beehive?)

By “coincidence”, at the same time, New Zealand trade officials were also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement deal with Taiwan – which Beijing China considers a renegade province.

Did Beijing flex it’s muscles with a subtle warning of what might happen if the FTA deal went too far? Was the “paperwork problem” a face-saving cover-up by Key’s government?

I believe it was.

Reality Check of the Year Award

Whilst the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) currently has unemployment at 6.2% – the recent Census Survey revealed that true unemployment was actually 7.1%!

So next time the Nats are crowing that unemployment is dropping, just remember, as the old song goes,

“… it ain’t necessarily so!”

See previous blogpost: The REAL level of unemployment

Runner-Up: The same Census revealed that 12.9% of households rely on some form of communication other than landlines: ie, cellphones (see previous blogpost: Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (Part rua).

Which makes the Roy Morgan poll the most accurate, as it is the only one that currently phones respondents on their cellphones. Other pollsters call only landlines.

Stasi Award for the Year

Peter Dunne and John Banks – both of whom voted for the GCSB and Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security (TICS) Bills. New Zealand moved a couple of steps further toward being a policed surveillance state.

The irony of Banks voting for these two Bills should not be lost on us. ACT is supposedly the Party that wants to get government “out of our lives”.

Voting to increase state powers of surveillance and data gathering is anything but.

Epic fail.

Direct Action Award

The chap (chapess?) who left this message on the footpath outside a National MP’s electorate office:  One Dunedinite’s response to the passing of the GCSB Bill…

Direct. Too the point. Nicely done.

John Key Liar of the Year Award

… goes to ****drrrrrumrolllll****

Luigi Wewege!!

For lying about *not* being in a relationship with Bevan  Chuang – and then being sprung by Kiwiblogger, David Farrar. (See: Not in a relationship!)

Hint to Mr Wewege: if you’re going to deny a relationship, make sure you haven’t been Tweeting her with naughty messages. Doh!

Honest Blogging by a Rightwing Blogger Award

This Award is rare as hens-teeth – but this year it is given to David Farrar, for reporting on Luigi Wewege who lied about *not* being in a relationship with Bevan  Chuang (see above).

Good stuff, DPF.

 Spiteful, Hateful, Intemperate, Tosser*Award

To Michael Laws! Ten years in a row – a world record for tossers!

This time, for abusing women who decide to bear, raise, and care for children with Downs Syndrome, instead of aborting them. (See: How human is Michael Laws?)

This was a new personal-best low for Laws, whose humanity is in dire question.

Laws,  you really, really need to STFU.

(*note the acronym)

Runner-Up: Bob Jones, for his bizarre and downright repugnant comments about encouraging someone to commit suicide. (see:  Calling all white, old, rich men who are decent – please rein in your peers!)

Jones was put firmly in his place with this beautifully written blogpost by Sarah Wilson –  What is the cost?

H is for Hypocrite Award

Paula Bennett – for her on-going vendetta against welfare beneficiaries. National’s victimisation of the unemployed, solo-mums, widows, etc, is nothing more than a nasty attempt to blame these people for being out of work.

Yet, when Key, English, or one of their other taxpayer-bloated,  National cronies have to explain why the economy is not doing so well – they refer to the Global Financial Crisis as an excuse.

Of course, when Bennett was on the DPB, she did very, very well out of the system (see previous blogpost: Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy).

Runner-up: National MP and Associate Social Welfare Minister,  Chester Borrows. For aiding and abetting Bennett’s rampage against the poor and the dispossessed (see:   OIA Request points to beneficiary beat-up by Minister Chester Borrows).

Shame on them both.

Victorian Era Bash-The-Poor  Award

Destiny Church co-leader, Hannah Tamaki – for suggesting on an episode of TV3’s The Vote that the poor in New Zealand shouldn’t be complaining if they live in cold, drafty houses and can’t afford heating.

They should all just cuddle up under a blanket.

Well, there y’go! Sorted!

Event of the Year

The death of Nelson Mandela – one of the most inspirational human beings in modern times.

#1 Suggestion to National Leader, John Key

Call an early election.

Lose.

Then feel free to enjoy another holiday in Hawaii.

Permanently.

#1 Suggestion to Labour Leader, David Cunliffe

Nothing would better send a strong message to New Zealanders that child Poverty is a growing crisis in this country, than if you took on the portfolio of Minister for Children.

It would send a message that the welfare and future of this nation’s children is our number one priority. Nothing else is as important.

Quite simply, our children are our future.

Wouldn’t this look good on the door to your new office on the Ninth Floor,

Rt. Hon. David Cunliffe
Prime Minister
Minister for Children

Ticking Time Bomb for the Nats

Increasing child poverty?

Widening wage gap between Aussie and Kiwi workers?

Growing wealth inequality?

Dangerous deep-sea oil prospecting/drilling of our coast?

Stubbornly high housing prices?

Lack of jobs?

Nope. Whilst all those things are growing problems  and a toxic brew for any  government, none of them will bring down the Nats.

But this will;

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Mortgage woe looms

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Further mortgage rate rises 'inevitable'

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Most people can easily become accustomed to a constant ‘diet’ of bad news of poverty, inequality, environmental damage, etc. They aren’t affected by such problems on a day-to-day level.

But as interest rates rise, so will mortgage payments increase  for the middle classes,  and that, people,  will  be a weekly (or fortnightly) reminder. Coupled with low wage growth and rising prices – and home-owners will start to be seriously hurt in their back pockets.

Every week/fortnight.

In their wallets.

This will put a stake through the heart of  Key’s aspirations for as third term.

Dear Leader’s last remaining ‘gloss’ will be stripped away. And all his pathetic attempts to blame the previous  Labour government will be treated with the derisory contempt it deserves.

As always, it will be naked self-interest from the middle classes that undoes this wretched, incompetant government. (A government that can casually throw millions of tax-dollars at Rio Tinto, Warner Bros, Skycity, et al – but seems paralysed – like a possum caught in the glare of approaching headlights –  when it comes to feeding hungry kids at school.)

Self-interest by the middle classes – the central theme of neo-liberalism.

Gotta love the irony.

On a positive note, summer is here; we’ve survived another year of Tory mis-management and Key’s lies; and our economy may start to pick up if Aussie and Chinese markets stay bouyant. Fingers crossed.

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Kiwi-Xmas2anim

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Merry Christmas to one and all!

And Kiwis – vote yourselves a really neat prezzie next year: vote yourselves a new government!

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References

Radio NZ:  Pharmacies ‘carry cost’ of increases

NZ Herald: Budget 2012: ‘Paper boy tax’ on small earnings stuns Labour

NZ Herald: Norman – Key ‘acting like Muldoon’

TVNZ: Williamson’s ‘big, gay rainbow’ speech makes world headlines

NZ Herald: Peters’ new kid plunges into fray

Radio NZ: Further mortgage rate rises ‘inevitable’

Fairfax media: PM playing down voter turnout

Radio NZ: Key criticises Harawaira for tax-funded trip for Mandela funeral

NZ Herald: Mortgage woe looms

Fairfax media: Wewege denies relationship with Chuang

Kiwiblog: Not in a relationship!

Fairfax media: School breakfasts bill goes before Parliament

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= fs =

6 COMMENTS

  1. I do so agree with you regarding David Shearer. I really thought we were going to get a Labour leader who is in politics for all the right reasons. He has integrity, humility, intelligence, honesty and he wanted to run the party without having to descend into the cesspit that is key and party’s particularly sick brand of politics. He also has humour, I loved the snapper stunt. Unfortunately we have to settle for one who can “beat key” which means descending into the peculiar position of having to use key’s methods to actually try and get the better of him on his own lying, disseminating juvenile taunting turf. No politics to see here today, instead we have as the main event your very own ego maniacal, lying cheating, couldn’t care less about the poor and unemployed , let’s hear it for the rich sad little excuse for a prime minister. He is not prime, he is absolutely sub-standard.

  2. A great summary Frank, as always!

    Here’s my one main worry for 2014: that the economy will actually pick up, due to matters outside of our direct control, that it will naturally follow that National will then take extremely dubious credit for it, and the middle classes, those ones who are effectively in the hotseat for better or worse in the course of determining the outcome of the election will once again be sucked in by some extreme lying … and given that National and their cheerleaders are so adept at playing this game, and they have a frankly(!) inconceivable high in the polls still, and a Commandant with an even more inconceivable preferred PM rating (this one always tends to blow my mind given all the detritus they’ve left in their wake through the course of their rule) … perish the heinous thought we’ll be saddled with them for another term.

    If there is something this con-servative lot know how to play, it’s the propaganda game… the diversions are monumental when it comes to what matters. I hear TV3 is bringing more home building shows and yet more cooking shows in the coming year, fan-tas-tic, NOT!

    My NY wish overall for the Left would be:

    Enjoy your time over the break in NZ (unlike the Minister for Tourism who seems to prefer anywhere BUT NZ to take a break), which we can make better for all, bottom to top (the emphasis there being very much on the bottom *first* and foremost)

    Pull together as a t-e-a-m: one message, one very, very cohesive voice…

    Be very, very honest, and just lay it out as it is: people can take the truth, believe it or not, what they won’t take is a smattering of it which is then totally undermined by dodgy/underhanded dealings – or internal battles. Such a lot of people were turned off that I know from the perception Labour and the Left were simply about internal fighting and no solutions. Pull it together, backroom popularity contests will be the surest way to undermine a cohesive front…

    Educate people around … once people are seriously taken to task on *why* they are voting for a particular person or policy, the subterfuge of the mask and the easy cop out “Because he’s a funny guy” falls away rather rapidly. Often you’ll be met with the surprised “What?!? I didn’t realise that it might affect me *that* way” reaction – people aren’t inherently ignorant, they simply choose to be a lot of the time. 5-10 minutes talking about an issue in real context can bring more of a sea change than a lot of people realise

    And … on those national TV outings, to the parties I’d say: we’ve seen the stats, portray more human stories-behind-the-stories. And people will respond more to the fact that seriously helping the worst off in NZ only means $1 or $2 out of their weekly paycheck overall than an ivory tower-produced graph. We need those graphs too, as the total proof in the pudding, but the average voter, they don’t really respond to it to be honest – meet them as people, and the people WILL respond in kind…

    For me, I hope that means an absolute sea change in attitude this coming year and the realisation that this country can claw its way back, strike a different path, and in defiance of our current PM’s chummy pal Cameron’s recent call for society to fit itself out the world over for “an age of permanent austerity” we can say NO! This is not what *NZ* society is all about, was certainly not what it was about in its past, and certainly shouldn’t ever be about in its future!

    Roll on 2014!

    • Alan Benton –

      “If there is something this con-servative lot know how to play, it’s the propaganda game… the diversions are monumental when it comes to what matters. I hear TV3 is bringing more home building shows and yet more cooking shows in the coming year, fan-tas-tic, NOT!”

      This is it, the media are catering for the “middle class” that does no longer see television, radio or even some online publications so much as a source for relevant and important information, they are mostly conditioned to follow consumerist, competitive commercial aspirations, and they want to indulge in some “lifestyle” and “entertainment” for themselves, not necessarily sharing this with the ones from the “poorer, troubled suburbs”.

      The media is also full of self serving “middle class” staff, who are increasingly youngish graduates, trained to deliver the “infotainment” that is now the norm for most. They also learn to “fit in” the corporate media-scape, where it is more about careers, about self styling, about showing off and being “cool” or “hot”.

      I get sickened how every year the focus is briefly on the feeding of the poor at the City Mission Christmas Dinners, as this is all a lot of BS too. It portrays our society like one, where people are “looked after”, that is mostly, when “in need”. But the truth is far from it, that is for those that really struggle, either as beneficiaries or working poor.

      Sadly most affected rather hide their shame, their ill health, their suffering and distress, and play the game for the better off, to try and prove “I am doing something” to “better” myself, or to “make ends meet”.

      The problem is largely systemic, social and economic, also a bit cultural, but the media, and most in the middle class, they want to keep things as they are, as they do not want to make sacrifices or risk change.

      Indeed, the left, and with this I primarily mean Labour, must stand together now, work together, and present convincing, sensible, effective policies that offer real solutions. Economic growth will happen, but it can be exposed as being largely based on the rebuild in Christchurch and a dairy boom, which will prove to be only a temporary one, as Mainland China is already preparing for better and more local production, to make themselves less reliant on imports.

      One major problem the average Kiwi has is, to think only short to at best medium term, and this can come back and bite the country as a whole again.

      Apart from this, Labour, Greens and others in opposition must use social media more, and also work the MSM, to hammer them with their news and information, as presently they are simply neglected and not taken seriously by that mostly corporate, commercial style mainstream media. Changing the minds, and WAKING up the “sleep walkers”, will only happen if the true, robust information is aggressively put out there, and presented to as many as possible!

      Expose the shallow “success”, the lies, hypocrisy and short term agenda by the government, and do not just rely on attacking Key. He is sadly a teflon personality.

  3. Merry Christmas, a bit belatedly, to you also, Frank!

    Yes, it is a rather good summary you prepared there, looking back at the year in politics. When you write the following, I am not as surprised as some:

    “New Zealanders must have cast-iron-stomachs to tolerate such a blatantly anti-Kiwi party that goes so badly against our much-vaunted “fair go” and supposed “egalitarian” nature.”

    In all honesty, this “egalitarian society” does no longer exist, and the “fair go” is just “aspirational” these days, as we see fewer of such fair treatment in employment, business and politics. New Zealand has become a moderate “dog eat dog society”, maybe not as ruthless and bad (as yet) as many other places around the globe.

    The high poll ratings for the Nats only prove all this. We have a “middle class”, who are preoccupied with saving, protecting, where possible improving and enhancing their personal living circumstances and standards. They are the well or reasonably well educated and qualified, who can claim wages and salaries that they can live off, and they want to keep their turfs.

    Never mind others may fall down the income ladder, may have to settle for casual, part time, temporary and lower paid work, it is seen as a necessary “evil” in their eyes, to keep things rolling and ticking over. They do not want to pay higher prices for services and goods, which may well result if a minimum wage at $ 15 or 16, or even a living wage at $ 18 would be widely introduced. They also are only rather emotively against asset sales, as the running of the economy in the ususal fashion is a safer bet for them, rather than “cling” to power companies or what else there may be on the block.

    They are also not strongly opposed to oil and gas drilling, mining, intensive dairying, as the butter on their bread, the car, the quarter acre section, the annual holiday, the bach, the newest gadgets on offer count more to them, than the environment.

    Also do they accept migration and in many cases exploitation of migrants, as cheap workers picking the fruits to be exported, milking the cows to gather the milk for semi processed dairy products, as the “affordable” drivers of buses, trains, taxis, the health workers filling gaps, the cleaners and others, ensure that things are kept going, to earn the money for the nation, and to also offer the newest budget deals in shops.

    Beneficiaries are to them a nuisance, they rather would not have to pay for, same as the unkempt beggars in the larger centres, so if they get dealt to more stringently and “firmly”, getting them out of their sights, and put into any perceived “useful” activities, they actually largely approve of this and support it.

    This is New Zealand 2013 as I see it, it is full of divisions, of hypocrisy and dishonesty, when you dig underneath the shallow surface with increasingly showing cracks, that swiftly get filled with a plaster, or covered by a band-aid.

    The “middle class” and “upper class” members do all to get their kids into “good” private schools, no matter how expensive the housing around them is, to get them through uni, so they are looked after. Yes, some feel a bit guilty for those hungry or even abused kids that go to school without breakfast, but paying extra taxes for that, hey, come on, not with me. Tell them to “shape up”, is what many think, if they do not even speak it out.

    For the rest it is consumerism, commercialism, opportunism, selfishness, self-fulfillment, career aspirations, a good bargain, a good deal, a favourable contract, finding an attractive partner (that also has other things to “offer”) and much else, but a true, committed sense for collective responsibility and sharing, that is what rules most New Zealanders and the very high per-centage of migrants who were not born here. The latter are also hand-picked with clear intentions, that they must “fit in”, that means to fall for the “Kiwi dream”, to work their butts off, and to serve as useful human investment for an increasingly vague and ambiguous “future”.

    There is little hope that I have, that things will change, with a new Labour leader or without, with a win by Labour next election, supported by the Greens and whosoever, but they say, one must never stop dreaming (or hoping for some magic moment to occur).

    Best wishes for 2014

  4. And yet again we will have a pro John Key media who think that the sun shines out of his proverbial, who refuse to undertake any hard analysis of his actions as happened in 2013 over the Skycity Convention deal, and the Avatar deal. I am thankful for the Dailyblog to give some balance to the pro-National media as is the case with Newstalk ZB, and Radiolive

Comments are closed.