Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King

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THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises a decisive influence over just about every aspect of contemporary life. Younger New Zealanders, in particular, seem convinced that the difficulties they are experiencing in relation to education, employment and housing are entirely attributable to the selfishness and indifference of the “Boomers”.

It’s easy to see how the Baby Boomers have ended up in the frame for these crimes against youth. The simple passage of time means that even the youngest of the Boomers are fast approaching their fiftieth birthday. Since the people making most of the important decisions in any society tend to be aged between 40 and 60, who else could possibly be to blame? The Boomers are the ones with the experience; the ones who have patiently climbed their way to the summit of the big institutional hierarchies; the ones who find themselves bearing more and more of the responsibility for what goes on.

Which is exactly as it should be – given that the promotion of the old over the young is a feature of every human society. When the Boomers themselves were in their 20s and 30s the big decisions of the day were being made by the men and women who had lived through the Great Depression and World War II. In New Zealand this cohort was known as “the RSA generation” and we Boomers railed against it every bit as ferociously as Chloe King rails against our own. If Generation Y thinks John Key is a bad bugger, I shudder to think what it would make of Rob Muldoon!

On this issue, it’s a little difficult to grasp the purpose of Ms King’s polemic. Is she really, as the voice of Generation Y, suggesting that society should deny itself the benefit of older people’s experience? That, somehow, everything would be better if the businesspersons, doctors, lawyers, teachers, electricians, plumbers and brain surgeons with 20-30 years’ experience were suddenly dismissed from their positions and replaced with people only a few years out of high school?

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Gen-Y could, I suppose, point to Alexander the Great, who conquered the known world (or, at least, that part of it known to the Macedonians) by the age of 33. Or, to Britain’s youngest ever Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, who, at the age of 24, led his country to war against the revolutionary French Republic. But, if they did, it would then be up to the Boomers to direct these opponents of gerontocracy to the example of Mao Zedong’s “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”.

Between 1966 and 1969 Mao’s youthful “Red Guards” were instructed to root out the “Four Olds” – Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits and Old Ideas – along with, naturally, the Old Party Comrades who, by allowing these antiquated practices to flourish, threatened to strangle the Revolution, restore the bourgeoisie to power, and (most serious of all) undermine “The Great Helmsman’s” position as China’s supreme leader.

Following Mao’s death in 1976, his ruthless purge of competence and experience throughout Chinese society was described by the Communist Party, with considerable understatement, as “being responsible for the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the party, the country and the people since the founding of the People’s Republic”.

The other great avenue for attacking the Baby Boomers is the one that leads from the Golden Age of free tertiary education, full-employment and subsidised housing to this cruel and leaden age of student debt, precarious (or non-existent) jobs and the remorseless dismantling of what the National Party once proudly described as New Zealand’s “property-owning democracy”.

But to criticise the Boomers for enjoying the fruits of the Great Post-War Boom suggests that they were somehow complicit in choosing their own birthdays. Boomers may have enjoyed the benefits of, but they did not create, the social-democratic society which raised them. That was their parents’ extraordinary achievement, and any Boomer who isn’t truly grateful for what he or she received bloody well ought to be!

Nor is it the case that the Baby Boomers were principally responsible for destroying the social-democratic society from which they had derived so many advantages.

The principal architects of the neoliberal “revolution” of 1984-1993 were not Baby Boomers at all, but members of the generation which preceded it. Roger Douglas was born in 1937. Michael Bassett in 1938. Bill Birch entered this world in 1934. Jim Bolger, a year later, in 1935. Not even David Lange could lay claim to being a Baby Boomer. He was born in Otahuhu in 1942. What about the three high priests of the neoliberal faith: Graham Scott (Treasury) Don Brash (Reserve Bank) and Roger Kerr (Business Roundtable)? Nope. All three neoliberal ideologues were born during – not after – World War II.

Yes, of course, there was a host of Baby Boomers who were only too happy to sign-on to the Magical “Free-Market” Mystery Tour of the 1980s and 90s. Richard Prebble, David Caygill, Mike Moore, Ruth Richardson and Jenny Shipley were all post-war babies. So was Labour’s most successful post-war Prime Minister, Helen Clark. (Even if her Deputy-Prime Minister, Jim Anderton, and her Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, were not.)

By 1999, however, the “reforms” of the 1984-93 neoliberal revolution were so deeply entrenched, and so fiercely defended, that a revolution of equal intensity and duration would have been required to root them out.

Shouldn’t the kids of the 50s and 60s have launched such a revolt? Risking everything to restore the New Zealand of drab conformity, racist amnesia and smug misogyny that, as teenagers and young adults, they had devoted so much energy to shaking-up and tearing-down?

Some of them did try – sort of. Jim Anderton’s NewLabour Party and, after it, the Alliance, attempted to secure the best of both worlds: the full-employment, compulsory unionism, free education, public healthcare and affordable housing of Mickey Savage’s legacy, plus the radical emancipatory agendas of the new social movements for nuclear disarmament, ecological awareness, feminism and indigenous rights.

And, if neoliberalism had been confined to New Zealand alone, they just might have succeeded. But, the neoliberal revolution, along with the ruthless advance of globalisation it facilitated, was an international phenomenon. Margaret Thatcher (b. 1925) and Ronald Reagan (b. 1911) may have led the charge, but behind them were arrayed financial and corporate resources beyond the power of any single generation to overcome.

Besides, by the 1990s most Boomers had more pressing concerns. There were jobs to keep, business to build, mortgages to pay and, eventually, children to raise.

No one who has yet to hold their own child in their arms can fully comprehend how all-embracing is the priority of its welfare. When we are young it is possible, in a sense, to stand upon the banks of history and watch it flow by. But parenthood sweeps us up and into the rushing waters of historical time and only the very strong, or the very lucky, are able to resist the currents that bear their families forward.

What all parents try to do, however, even in the grip of these currents, is steer the craft that bears their children safely to shore. To give them the same brief respite that they enjoyed. To let them, if only for a little while, stand alone and unscathed by the relentless onrush of time.

Having found their feet, however, the younger generation’s task is not to bemoan the fact that their parents’ boat has sailed away without them; it is to set about building a boat of their own.

 

43 COMMENTS

  1. unfortunatly there are no trees left to build a boat, the oceans have become toxic waste dumps and no one can afford the classes to gain a captains degree so as to legally move a boat.

    I am 46 years old, and yes the boomers will have to live with the fact that their kids and grand children will not have what they have taken for granted.

    Sorry guys, but you did fuck up with voting for the same neo liberal crap for the last 40 years.

    you own this one. Don’t blame your kids.

    • @ One pissed of liberral

      Full marks for your first sentence, after that, not so much.

      It would be helpful if those ranting against Boomers could get a little elementary arithmetic correct.

      It’s been 30 years since Roger Douglas hijacked the country. In 1985, assuming an average life expectancy of 75 years, voters born as far back as 1910 would have been eligible to cast a vote for neo liberal agendas. Many/most born between 1910 and 1945 had decades of voting eligibility left. A family member of mine born, 1933, is still voting.

      Many of the post-Boomer cohort were already of voting age in late 1980s and most were certainly so all by the mid/late 1990s and beyond, X Y, Z whatever label turns you on.

      Finally.

      Don’t blame your kids.

      So where is that occurring? Certainly not in Chris’s article. I fancy it’s mostly in your own head, your appeal is a strawman argument.

  2. A sensible article Chris. Is Chloe the voice of Generation Y?. Not if my daily experience with many of that generation is anything to go by.

  3. I am exceptionally happy you wrote this. The last lines are especially beautiful and relevant.

    Everywhere I have worked, whether it be in hospitality, tourism, the Prostitutes Collective, or now at AAAP working with people on benifits the parents are all primarily concerned about their children’s welfare ahead of their own. Politics doesn’t happen in isolation and it is easy as we move forward to forget the social context that effected the decisions of the day.

    I would never presume to try and speak for a generation, my fellow Gen Xers are as disparite as the Ys are, and the Millenialls will be. When I read Chloe’s diatribe I just replaced the term Baby Boomers with ‘neo lib wanker.’ That worked far better for me.

    A great response! Thanks Chris. It’s a boomer!

  4. Defending the boomers? What i derived from Chloe’s peice was not an attack on boomers so much as a defense of Gen Y. There is no denying that there is a prevalent perspective among older generations that Gen Y has a work ethic problem or similarly that there is some kind of cultural deficiency among our generation that isnt related to the genuine problems that our generation face. As if these issues we need to resolve are our own issues and not our society’s in general.

    This is where i think people are getting confused: Laying the blame is pointless between generations because its out of any one individuals’ hands, and transversely – (and also what i think chloe was getting at with her peice) being told as a generation that we have it easy and we dont need change we just need to work harder is equally pointless not to mention ridiculous and unhelpful – moreover, truly believing that is actually doing us a disservice and taking our pertinent issues off the agenda because we’ll “be fine,” we’re just “whingers” – the generation before us managed through their issues, why cant we just do that?

    We have problems that we are largely powerless to fix, it is not yet our generation that holds the levers of power, it will be soon but we need action now for these looming generational issues. What we are getting instead is little but excuses and condescension in regards to our perceived lack of aspiration and ethic. We are a lost, hopeless and debt-ridden, poverty dwelling tenant generation. There is a very serious disparity between our generations’ freedoms and general experience and it is frequently diminished by older folk who dont understand that the problems we have arent manageable without their assistance and at the very least their acknowledgement. Its the same treatment the poor get from the rightwing. We’re being told we’re just not working hard enough by people who at least had hope to keep them going and a job to put hard work into…a house to work for, a family to plan – we dont really have those things. That’s not progression. Its nobodies fault directly but we aren’t scrambling to fix it because culturally this reductive mindset exists among older folk. Our generation has taken a backwards step, the first in a longtime to do so, and we are being partly blamed for it instead of being assisted or even having our issues seriously acknowledged.

  5. I like the sentiments in Chris’ piece. We have to stop attacking and labeling groups of people and instead focus our attentions on the power structures that make injustices possible – that is our true enemy.

  6. The task at hand is for us to overthrow capitalism. To do that we need to work around the institutions and educate people as universities and the media are not are designed to educate people for democracy, and old and young alike need to work together on this task. It’s as simple as that.

  7. I pointed out elsewhere that this is actually not generational: it has a lot more to do with the tension between personal and social positions: individual “wants” have trumped societal “needs” for a considerable time. This has been the triumph of the neo liberal philosophy, and as we see at the polls regularly the “centre” keeps moving toward that egocentric position. Only when conditions become bad for the majority of those current “centrists” will the pendulum swing toward a more socially friendly position.

  8. “Which is exactly as it should be – given that the promotion of the old over the young is a feature of every human society.”

    Bollocks. This is an anti-intellectual argument. As a reader of sociologist Jarrod Diamond I agree that our older people should be respected for the wealth of knowledge that they hold that we don’t. However, it is plainly obvious to me that this factor which was much more important, in my opinion, in hunter-gatherer or earlier agricultural societies than it is today where we, supposedly anyway, give our children an up-to-date education which includes much more new knowledge that would not have been available to the generation preceding them largely due to increased technological and scientific advances the curve of technological and scientific discovery is much steeper.

    This probably has something to do with the baby boomer generation holding on to some of the same antiquated right-wing or centrist political views they may have picked up from the generations before them. Religion has a lot to do with it. Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species over a century ago, for fucks sake.

    • Daniel you confuse knowledge with experience. One is academic. The other is practical. Despite being perhaps better educated than many of my older peers, I still look to them for sound advice because of the extra experience of life they have. Oh and as an aside, the use of the expletive at the end of your post shows a lack of vocabluary. Try using something more polite, there are many less offensive expressions available.

    • Until large numbers of the ‘younger generations’ have lived a little longer and wider than their original community, and begun to think for themselves, they, too, will be carrying on the whispers of the past with even less comprehension than their parents and grandparents. It’s what they were taught, after all. Few to no questions asked.

      If those you might know among that age group seem conservative – check the fears and obligations they carry. One day, not too far along, that could well be you, too.

      It’s not an easy choice to be a life-long socialist in this conformist little country. At the least you’d be labelled a loony lefty…

  9. “his ruthless purge of competence and experience throughout Chinese society”

    Says you!

    Maybe the older Chinese at the time were much more competent than ours our now, because I’m not seeing a lot of “competence”. In fact, I’m seeing quite the opposite.

  10. “Shouldn’t the kids of the 50s and 60s have launched such a revolt? Risking everything to restore the New Zealand of drab conformity, racist amnesia and smug misogyny that, as teenagers and young adults, they had devoted so much energy to shaking-up and tearing-down?”

    What are you even talking about? You senile old man? Just because many of your generation campaigned for good things doesn’t mean those things are at odds with other good things that WERE in place. Confusing social policy and economic policy, much?

    • Were you there?

      Might you have something specific in mind whose passing you regret?
      What?

      Campaigns are simply the big screen events. Real change comes from the daily walking the talk. Taking the risks. Making many small stands. Influencing with integrity.

      Social policy comes after all that – not before. Many many pieces of untested and unprepared for world-changing policy die the death when they are exposed to daylight and actual practice. Why? Because people make it happen and, if they don’t agree – then modification occurs.

      (I hope you don’t write policy or monitor policy implementation: it’s humbling. Very humbling.)

  11. Good response Chris. The problem with Chloe’s piece was that it suffered from over generalising a complex issue. Much of what she wrote may well apply to some baby boomers, but certainly not all. Lumping everyone from a single generation into one pit is both a mild form of ageism and an extreme form of naievete.

  12. Firstly the Baby Boomer Generation have shown in the past thirty years that they were willing to forgo the benefits of social democracy by consenting to the onslaught of global capitalism and neo-liberalism.

    They risked the gains fought by their parents on an ideology that has failed their children and is starting to fail them. The level of inequality currently experienced in New Zealand, is the same as it was in the era of the Great Depression.

    Inequality has been a direct consequence of the neoliberal project.

    Secondly the Baby Boomers exist within an ideological paradigm which explains the faults of their children in terms of choice. Success is dependent on whether your child chooses to be successful or not.

    Success is simply a state of mind, according to the Baby Boomers who look on disapprovingly at Children who do not appear to make this choice.

    The ideology of neoliberalism and thus the Baby Boomer generation is insipid and will have a long lasting affect on the way people exist within contemporary society and more especially how children are raised.

    The ideology that they exist within threatens to destroy all they have worked for. The accomplished lawyers, teachers, business people, plumbers and surgeon’s are being squeezed out by the very ideology they elected over and over again as they realise that they too will struggle to receive higher incomes, when wealth becomes concentrated. The ideology that suggests that social infrastructure is irrelevant and that all social problems can be dealt with by appealing to individual responsibility, has caused huge social upheaval, even to the people that supported it.

    The mantra of individual responsibility for your own circumstances has swept all the contingent aspects of human life which cannot be explained by virtue of individual choice.

    Thirdly Baby Boomers are responsible for following an economic strategy which is premised on maintaining a culture which privileges the decisions of executives beholden to shareholders as a means of lifting individuals who are not shareholders out of poverty.

    Yet, individuals who are not shareholders in society, will not be able to lift themselves out of poverty.

    The level of anger at the Baby Boomer generation is driven by taking away the opportunities that allow people to succeed. Our ability to fight back is being sapped by Baby Boomers ( and others besides) precisely because they now hold the means to Generation Y’s success.

    We won’t have lawyers, teachers, doctors, plumbers, or surgeons in an environment that refuses to acknowledge that younger generations need social infrastructure to survive.

    • Anyone who is between twenty and thirty now, who is against the minority of ‘boomers’ and slightly younger people holding those Dreadful Success Views, is totally free to get off their chuffs and both protest, and come up with workable alternatives which they can implement.

      Have your own communes/ohu, anti-apartheid and stop the war movements. Risk gaol and ostracism and loss of income, loss of passport. Go on. You know you want to.

  13. “By 1999, however, the “reforms” of the 1984-93 neoliberal revolution were so deeply entrenched, and so fiercely defended, that a revolution of equal intensity and duration would have been required to root them out.”

    So true. And the hole is getting deeper. It will take a revolution. Oh well. Lets get on with it then.

  14. Typical baby boomer response, not my fault! Other words I hear from them constantly is, I’m entitled to it and they promised us.
    A big speech and no where in it was what can I do to help.

    • But here’s the problem Peter Archer. Did we miss the point or did Chloe not make it clear in her writing?
      Here is my synopsis of Chloe’s blog.

      ‘Damn it ( foot stamp) I’m so totally ( eye roll) over the old people who had it sooo fucking easy telling me what do! They have no idea what it’s like to be young now! It’s so hard and the world is ending and it’s all their fault and they should do something to make it better for me. The old people are arseholes but I’m not generalising cause my mums okay.’

      I’m not saying it wasn’t entertaining, but perhaps in the same way as a reality TV show, like Jersey Shore.

      If this wasn’t her intent that’s not the fault of the reader, now is it?

  15. Some of us tried to fight Rogernomics without wanting to turn Aotearoa into a Polish shipyard. Trotter seems to have missed that, and once again falls for the arguments of the right.

  16. I work in a business in which GenX and to a lesser extend Gen Y are increasingly dominant. My experience is that in my central Auckland neighbourhood at least they are to a vast extent very right wing. Nicki Kaye did not win on the Boomer vote. We all (I’m 54 and I do generalize) voted with the same old hippie agenda we’ve always had. Blaming a group that has no control over it’s membership is a loathsome and dangerous habit of which there are serious historical examples. Hating all Baby Boomers is no different to hating all Red heads, Australians, Jews or Black people. There is no excuse for it and Chloe should know this and if she doesn’t she should be told.

  17. Ahh Boomers, the biggest beneficiaries of them all living through peak prosperity and giving advice to those younger generations far less fortunate. I can’t see how you missed the point of the original post which I thought was around the issue of unwanted, unasked for advice.

    Every generations has it’s challenges, perhaps the hardest to learn is when to stop deciding you know better than those younger than you facing entirely different challenges.

  18. I started to read Chloe’s article but lost interest halfway through when irritation overtook me!
    While I sympathize with her experience of boomers who seem to have selective amnesia over the benefits that were bestowed upon their generation and were lucky enough to experience free education, a booming economy and cheap housing, I find those with said amnesia tend to be from the right wing middle class and therefore are about as credible as those who repeat a similar dismissive mantra regardless of the generation they belong to and are generally ill informed/influenced by their parents view and/or Neo Liberal spin.
    In every generation there have been people that have protested against the Neo Liberal agenda/war/poverty/racism etc and in my experience they have usually been in the minority and I guess that is still the status quo today.
    Rather than slag off a whole generation we need to recognize that there have been activists prepared to challenge the system and the majority view and we need to hope that Gen Y with the benefit of global communications can increase their awareness and grow in numbers those that will stand up against the corruption and inequality, although from what I see and those I speak to that does not seem to be happening in New Zealand.

  19. The elite establishment will do anything to divide us.
    By gender, by race, by tribe, by faith, by generation.
    If we realise we are all one consciousness, then we can overcome their created inequal society.
    United we stand, divided we fall.

  20. There are people of all political hues across all generations.

    However anyone born after 1971 would never have experienced NZ as anything other than a neoliberal country. There is no point of reference or way of comparing to previous NZ society.

    And up to kids say born in 1990, many would have seen the possibility of this new wold benefiting them. They became aspirational, atomised creatures (acknowledgements to Adam Curtis’s excellent series of docos) who thought they could see a route to neoliberalism’s promised land.

    But the GFC struck in 2008. And the realities of climate change sunk in around the time for sentient members of society.

    And people under 25/30 can see no pathway however hard they scrabble on the rat race. Only the children of the elite can see a way forward.

    That is why we have Occupy, the Arab Spring, Brand, Scotland, The Greek and Spanish new leftist parties.

    All generations have people of all political hues but all generations are affected by the environment they grew up in.

  21. Hi,

    It’s unfair to look at these issues as issues of generations. They have nothing to do with generations. They have to do with ideology. And lets face it the ideology of neoliberalism has ripped through New Zealand since 1984 – unshered in it must be said, by Labour.

    Yes it’s much harder for young people to get good jobs and careers these days. It’s also much harder for those of advancing years to get new ones when they become unemployed as happens far too often these days. Yes younger people are emerging from university with crippling debts. And yes the older generation are getting smashed with retirements that are no longer paid forin the same way through their taxes. Now they have to work longer and save more to afford to grow old. And in the middle live the working class neo-poor, hit with all sorts of expences they never dreamed of as they try to raise their families.

    Lets put the blame where it lies. With the disciples of Ayn Rand who have carefully dismantled so much of the welfare state in New Zealand that it’s almost unrecognisable from what it was thirty years ago.

    Cheers, Greg.

  22. boomers: check ur privilege before u spout unasked for advice that conveniently leaves out the role ur generation has played in the economic and environmental crises we face.

  23. I think baby boomers do have a lot to answer for. They grew up in times of a strong economy, and to generalise.. I think most believed that the world was full of endless resources. To illustrate my point, it would not be unreasonable to believe that the percentage of BB voting for National would be higher than any other party. The land of plenty mindset carries through most of their lives, and we know that the older you get mindsets are harder to change. We know that the economy has to change, and it is in the hands of the younger generations to find solutions to make a more sustainable economy. It is not going to come from a highly motivated group of 60 year olds to lead NZ on a path to sustainability or social justice.

    • Oh yes BB had it all. High interest rates, wars, high inflation, poor wages, limited education opportunities, a NZ that closed on weekends and so on. Even an ignoramus knows that the research and development of that generation facilitated the development of cleaner and greener energy sources, better health and medicine, less world poverty, a fairer society globally, less risk of nuclear war and so on.

      • From many of the baby boomers I know they want the NZ economy to return to what it was like in the 50s-60s, where there was less restriction on progress from green groups, and the economy was strong no matter what the consequences. I realise BB reading a left wing blog like this, probably wouldnt think like this though. Did we not have good income back then? Even in the 70s pay seemed pretty good “In 1975 the average weekly wage was $95 per week (equivalent to around $850 per week in 2012).” Wouldn’t the oil shocks of the 70s have been the perfect time to revolutionise our energy sector. But wind farms or electric cars didn’t spring up in the 70s.

  24. Yeah Nah Chris. Do not lecture the young about the realities of parenthood. For the younger generations this is not an option many of them can afford. That’s right no grandchildren. I have encouraged my offspring not to bother. Adopt for sure but don’t breed. You fail to grasp how different the world is now for the young than it was for us Baby Boomers. The young DO NOT have the options we had , and it is definitely our fault. we did not fight hard enough. Student loans are a con and a ginormous fuck up. As those of us who supported the Alliance knew , and we have been proved correct. Our society continues to go backwards at a rate of knots. R and D? I personally know young people with science degrees who cannot get a start.And if you have an Arts Degree? forget full time permanent employment that pays a living wage. For young Kiwis 25 years and under the options are few and far between. And education is no guarantee of employment. Full time , permanent employment is a thing of the past. Health and Safety? The NZ work environment is one of the most unsafe in the Western World.Home ownership? only possible if you have family support and income derived out of NZ or you live in a provincial area. One of my off spring earns more as a kitchen hand in a mining camp than his peers who completed their law degrees. He is 25 and now owns his first NZ rental property. I advise all young people with any get up and go to leave NZ and NEVER come back on a permanent basis.

    • “And if you have an Arts Degree? forget full time permanent employment that pays a living wage” I dont think that has ever changed!

      • Really Dan? Tell that to all those HOD’s in the Education system with their BA’s and superannuation. Also to the marketing gurus’, teachers,script writers, filmmakers thespians, designers and fashion industry types, with their Fine Arts degrees. Or the lecturer’s, professors, administrators who all had a BA as their initial qualification. This country is shitting on it’s young people and deserves to go down the gurgler.

  25. You don’t mention the bit in Chloe’s article where some old baby boomer bemoans the ‘lazy’ ‘self-absorbed’ millenials. I took her article as a response to those attitudes, rather than a polemic which required your response. I also didn’t take it as a ‘blame the boomers’ argument. The main point I took was the utter contempt she has for those boomers who spout this stuff, it’s akin to blaming the poor for being poor i.e. lazy+young= poor. Or calling us ‘whingers’ etc.
    Check any baby boomers Facebook, I trust there will be photos of gardens, the family home after a fresh coat of paint, well-garnished meals etc.
    Of course we are the ‘selfie’ generation. Not only are we more likely to engage in social media, many of us also only have our ‘selves’ and our devices, personal items, but no new toys or fancy dinners to boast about.
    Not saying our parents didn’t work hard, but our labour is worth a lot less, in market terms anyway and for a lot of us a lifetime of hard work won’t get us anywhere near the level of our parents privilege and comfort. We’ll be lucky to retire at seventy, if there’s anything left in the super fund.

  26. The NZ demographic by age.
    15–39 1,481,100
    40–64 1,467,100
    65+ 650,400

    Judging by these figures, baby boomers are now a relatively small voting sector. From this I deduce that succeeding generations hold sway at the polls.
    You gets what you ask for.

    I’m with Chris on this issue.

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