Stop telling young people to vote. Tell them to start the riot.



This year was the first time I ever voted and in all honestly I feel a bit ripped off. I knew the left would lose badly to the right, so it was not this which left me feeling short changed. It was the left’s behaviour after the fact.

Watching Labour cannibalise itself and witnessing some of David Cunliffe’s own MPs throw him under the post-election bus left me feeling pretty disillusioned.

So much for solidarity in tough times.

Megaupload tycoon Kim Dotcom bankrolled the Internet Party then stood on stage on election night crying and apologising for poisoning the Internet/Mana brand and declaring it his fault that Hone, Mana Party leader, lost his seat in parliament (self-awareness always comes too late). Dotcom’s ego eclipsed so many of the incredible policies the Internet Party had to offer. Greens co-leader Russel Norman had a public hissy fit on Waatea News and accussed Internet/Mana’s of stealing Green votes. As the saying goes “the right seeks converts and the left seeks traitors.”

- Sponsor Promotion -

We lost the election for many reasons – it’s not just down to National’s dirty politics and right wing attack dog and political blogger Whale Oil. Many of our own left wing politicians have behaved dismally. The endless infighting within our left wing movements and Labours refusal to work in solidarity with other left wing parties played an epic part in our downfall. Journalist and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently wrote this in relation to the powerful uprisings in Ferguson against class warfare, police brutality, and racial profiling which offers a model for civil resistance:

“Rather than uniting to face the real foe—do-nothing politicians, legislators, and others in power—we fall into the trap of turning against each other, expending our energy battling our allies instead of our enemies.”

I had never voted until this year, as previously mentioned. Not because I am an apathetic millennial – as the stereotype goes, I just never really saw the point in voting.

I have been an activist since I was 19 and since I can remember I have cared deeply for other people and their welfare. But like so many young people I have felt completely alienated by the political process and establishment. I worked out early that most politicians do not give a fuck about my generation. Even the ones that do have no idea how to connect in meaningful ways with global youth.

It is so easy to forget where you come from as John Key so succinctly proves. This is how we’ve ended up with token gestures like ‘The Young Nats’ and ‘Young Labour’ whose members are millennials but they often fail to connect with a disenfranchised and angry youth.

It is hard to care about politics when you are struggling to find your first job thanks to a massive global job crisis. Youth unemployment in Britain sits at an all-time high of 21 percent and youths account for more than one-third of total unemployment in New Zealand. Around 40 percent of youths in employment are underemployed.

Governments all over the world took stifling austerity measures after the financial crash that adversely effected the young, vulnerable, middle class, and poor leaving the super wealthy untouched and unaccountable. Anti-capitalist activist Naomi Klein wrote

The only kind of contraction our current system can manage is a brutal crash in which our most vulnerable will suffer the most.”

When the Occupy Wall Street movement exploded all over the world it was mostly young people leading the movement protesting austerity measures and the staggering divide between the super-rich and remaining 99 percent. I sat in Auckland’s Occupy camp three years ago talking to homeless kids as young as 14, who spoke of having no future and no hope. They were painfully aware of how little their government cared for their welfare or their futures. When I spoke on the phone to Corie Haddock Candidate for Labour and who is the co-chair of ‘The New Zealand Collation to End Homelessness’ he told me:

We are one of the few developed countries in the world that does not have a national strategy to respond to homelessness. Homelessness has grown across the board since 2008. One of the specific areas of growth of homelessness is young people.”

Jan Logie, Green MP, visited Youthline a few days ago and created a Facebook update in relation to her experience there. She wrote,

I was disturbed […] to hear about how big the youth homelessness problem is and how some of the very worrying issues I’ve seen around alternative education seem to have got  worse.”

There are without a doubt some incredible MPs and political party candidates working hard in parliament for social change and who are listening to the voices of young people. But they are so often are minority, not the majority.

So why would young people, especially those living in poverty who have been pushed to the margins of society in New Zealand, put faith and trust in a government and political process that does not include them and has left them out in the cold? Why do so many people patronisingly tell the youth of today to “get out and vote?” Why should they? Can you even tell me why I should vote without using the words “civic duty”? As Danny Dorling wrote last year for The New Statesman,

The prospects for young people have never seemed so bleak. No wonder they feel society is rigged against them and are so reluctant to vote.”

Left and right wing governments all over the world from Canada to England are hiking tertiary  fees and making it harder and harder for people to access higher education. Unless you come from wealth and your parents can support you through under- and post graduate study you are likely to be lumped with massive, crippling student loan. The reality that 1 in 5 Māori live in poverty as compared to 1 in 10 Pākehā, means the increasing tertiary fees will acutely affect New Zealand’s indigenous youth and ethnic minorities.

Our higher educational systems are already racially and socially divided but with growing tertiary fees, a young person’s potential to attend university will increasingly depend on how much their parents earn, not how hard they work, or how dedicated they are to learning.

Higher education should be a human right.

When students protested against massive educational cuts and the axing of student allowances at postgraduate level in New Zealand three years ago, our right wing leader John Key ignored their demands and flippantly told student protesters to “finish their degrees and go and get a job.” In a job market where in vocational qualifications such as teaching degrees in particular are almost not worth the paper they are printed on, this statement was not only dismissive, it was a lie by omission. As activist and journalist Laurie Penny points out,

The message being sent to the next generation could be summed up with a second-person pronoun and any given expletive. You don’t vote for us; why should we care what happens to you?”

Representative democracy constantly disappoints.

The ruthless attacks on the poor and unemployed through the National government gutting the welfare state and Paula Bennett’s dangerous welfare reforms send a clear message to thousands of young people who are struggling to find work in a stagnant job market: we don’t give a fuck about you. As John Key gives ever increasing tax breaks to the super wealthy, our social safety nets are being ripped away. As Dorling states,

When there is a dole, young people do not have to take any work, no matter how bad it is.”

Young people deserve to have job opportunities that are meaningful for them, and that pay them a living wage. Our youth are witnessing the collapse of our economy, the privatisation of their educational systems, the destruction of our social safety nets, and their very futures.

Russell Brand states in his book Revolution,

 “I mean, if someone said they had a socio-economic system that creates a hugely wealthy elite at the cost of everyone else but it was ecologically sound, we’d tell them to fuck off.”

Russell Brand, spokesperson for the voiceless rage of a generation, infamously guest edited the New Statesman last year calling his issue ‘Revolution of Consciousness’. In his political essay ‘We no longer have the luxury of tradition’ he told everyone he had never voted and you shouldn’t either – it only encourages them. Brand referring here to politicians and those who benefit from funding their parties.

I don’t vote because to me it seems like a tacit act of compliance; I know, I know my grandparents fought in two world wars (and one World Cup) so that I’d have the right to vote. Well, they were conned. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing to vote for.

Political pundits and journalists around the world threw their hands up in the air and declared Brand irresponsible for telling people to stop voting. In an interview with veteran journalist Richard Paxman, Brand was told he was in no position to call for a revolution and a radical dismantling of our current failed [capitalist] system if he had never voted.

Paxman told Brand over and over that he needed to vote or else he had no right to complain. Yeah, that old trope. Brand said over and over that he had no interest in participating in a political process that represents and serves so few. As Brand wrote,

 “The idea that voting is pointless, democracy a façade, and that no one is representing ordinary people is more resonant than ever…

Telling people not to vote may have been irresponsible, but what so many pundits and journalists failed to understand about Brand’s polarising political essay was that it was also a battle-cry – one that echoed the voices of many activists and protesters on a global level.

His essay, given his celebrity status, was a sonorous drum that called for people to rise up against disaster capitalism and rampant greed, and demanded revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony. If, however, you find Brand with his proud sexism (because LOL! Sexism is funny when he does it), whizzing around in a Rolls Royce being driven by his chauffeur, while telling rich people they are part of the problem a bit hard to stomach, rest assured that he is not the only one calling for such radical actions.

In an article written by Naomi Klein and published in Brands editorial debut last year at The New Statesman titled ’Science says revolt!’ she brought both the catastrophic consequences of climate change and a complex systems researcher named Brad Werner to our attention. Werner delivered a session titled ‘Is the Earth Fucked?’ at the American Geophysical Union’s autumn meeting where he used an advanced computer model to answer this question. He talked about,

 “systems boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch     of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex system    theory[…]”

wrote Klein. But as she pointed out the bottom line was clear:

 […] global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we fucked” question, Werner put aside the jargon and replied “more or less”.

There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered up hope as Klein powerfully points out:

“Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture.”[…] this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.”

“Mass uprisings, political protest, sabotage and direct actions along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street – “represent the likeliest forms  of friction to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control.”

Given the above, stop telling young people to vote. Tell them to fight. Tell them to protest against our ruthless National government that cares for profit not people or the planet.

Tell them to start the riot.

Tell them to be arrested if necessary.

Tell them the truth: they have been sold a fucking lie.

Tell them that getting degrees is unlikely to land skilled, meaningful work that will pay a living wage in our current social and political climate.

Tell them working hard at some low paid job, if they can find work at all, will barely afford them a basic standard of living.

Tell them this world has been stolen from them by corporate greed, by corrupt and lazy politicians who spend more time fighting amongst themselves than solving social problems, and by a failed economic model that works only for the super wealthy and then is sold back to them for more than they could ever afford.

Tell them it is up to us, the silent and silenced majority, to take this world back.

Tell them the revolution starts with them.




  1. Our tertiary education costs are actually very low compared to many western nations, and interest free student loans, that are available to any New Zealand citizen, mean anyone with the drive/motivation to get a degree are able to do so (With of course some exceptions).

    • Aside from ‘other’ western countries – like Germany – who have dropped all fees for tertiary education because as a society they have realised that tertiary fees drive the wedge of inequality deeper and perpetuate inequality. Which, in the long run, destroys the economy. Look to the most progressive nations, and see what they’re doing. Not the US, or the UK.

    • Jack you are not taking into consideration structural poverty, I have been a high school teacher, kids who go to low decile schools in poor areas are nowhere near as likly to make it to university as compared to those attending high decile schools in well off areas. They often get lower quality teachers and over and over again i was told by other Pakeha teachers to not encourage the students (who where nearly all maori and Pacific Islander’s) to go to university. Cos apparently the best they could hope for was a job at KFC. There is epic amounts of institutionalised racism within out school systems. Tired of this kind if response Jack is is so blind the the reality of our most vulnerable.

      • Of course there are a variety of factors that disadvantage the poor and lower classes in our society when it comes to education, and we need to work to make our educational system fairer. Also I will also add it is not solely the result of our educational system but also upbringing and culture that stops people furthering their education, especially in some Maori and Pacific Islander families/communities.

        What I am trying to say is if they still decide to go to uni, these students still have to same opportunity to pursue a higher education if they really want it. Almost no-one is unable to go to uni for financial reasons, except for unfortunate situations where students have to stay home to care for younger siblings or provide for their family straight out of school etc. (Which is what welfare is supposed to help with)

        And also remember, university is not for everyone, some people should be encouraged into the trades and other fields.

        • “The people…are always pointing out that So-and-So white, and So-and-So black rose from the slums into the big time…(and this) proves to them that America is still the land of opportunity and that inequalities vanish before the determined will. It proves nothing of the sort…and the inequalities suffered by the many are in no way justified by the rise of a few. A few have always risen — in every country, every era, and in the teeth of regimes which can by no stretch of the imagination be thought of as free. Not all of those people, it is worth remembering, left the world better than they found it…”
          — James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name, 1961

          • I know inequality exists, I am not saying we live in a perfect society where everyone grows up with in a good environment with good parents, and in truth we will never truly achieve that.

            What I am defending is our tertiary education system and the opportunities it provides to those that want it.

            • What I am defending is our tertiary education system and the opportunities it provides to those that want it.


              Let’s put those rose-tinted spectacles away for a moment, and look at one chap who made full use of those “opportunities” you referred to, Jack…

              “A Victorian-based Kiwi with a student loan debt, who did not want to be named because he did not want to be found by the Government, said he did not intend to pay back any of his student loan.

              The 37-year-old’s loan was about $18,000 when he left New Zealand in 1997. He expected it was now in the order of $50,000. The man was not worried about being caught as the Government did not have his details and he did not want to return to New Zealand.

              “I would never live there anyway, I feel just like my whole generation were basically sold down the river by the government. I don’t feel connected at all, I don’t even care if the All Blacks win.

              “I just realised it was futile living [in New Zealand] trying to pay student loans and not having any life, so I left. My missus had a student loan and she had quite a good degree and she had paid 99c off the principal of her loan after working three years.”


              And then there’s this chap, who I wrote about in a blogpost, three years ago,

              By the way, John Key and many others in his position had the benefit of a free tertiary education – fully tax-payer funded. With a student allowance on top, to make it all as easy as possible.

              Then, through two tax cuts, he voted himself an extra $1000 a week.

              Meanwhile, our young folk are accumulating more and more student debt. By last year, the student debt mountain has grown to an unfeasible $13.9 billion.

              What a racket! This is ‘better’ than a Ponzi Scheme! It’s better than a Nigerian scam – because it’s all totally legal.

              This is why our best and brightest young people are heading overseas. They’re leaving before they get saddled with the bill for looking after us in our retirement.


              • Well firstly that first case is from before student loans became interest free, which makes them much easier to pay off. Also the student allowance still exists, though its not a whole lot.

                Now in regards to free tertiary education. Doing so is going to be VERY expensive for the NZ government. We have to ask if it is really fair to make the millions of people working in New Zealand without a degree to be forced to pay for others to do so through their taxes? Personally I wouldn’t mind a decrease in tuition since I am currently a student with a loan, but I evaluated the degree I am buying against the cost and decided it was worth it.

                • We have to ask if it is really fair to make the millions of people working in New Zealand without a degree to be forced to pay for others to do so through their taxes?

                  I think I was fairly clear in responding to that cliched rhetoric. Douglas, Richardson, & Co used precisely the same argument to justify user-pays; instead of making polytechs free (like Universities), they instead raised fees on Universities. Then cut taxes seven times from 1986.

                  As for free tertiary education “being very expensive”. We had free tertiary education up until 1992. The reason it is now “expensive” is because of the tax cuts I referred to above.

                  Once upon a time we could afford free university and polytechs. We just choose not to do it now. Instead, we saddle our kids with $13 billion in debt and force many to go offshore – most never to return. As an incentive for forcing young, bright New Zealanders to leave our shores, it would be hard to beat.

                  The ones that do stay have a massive loan hanging over their heads, with many unable to buy a house.

                  The problem, Jack, is that you see education as a commodity to buy. In that case, it is a purely financial transaction with no social consequences. But, that view is false. Education is a critical social need, and treating it as a “commodity” creates all sorts of unintended consequences. It is this blindness to the social factor that neo-liberalism ignores and which has created so many problems.

                  Douglas and Richardson left this country with a legacy of increasing debt and commercialisation of social services. Are we any better for it? Ask the kids who owe $13 billion.

                  • Sorry I did not see your other response lower down. The tax structure is a good argument, though its still going to come out the every taxpayers dollar and take away money from other spending targets that could help everybody. Also it will cost allot more than it used too, there’s allot more people going into tertiary and the costs of running universities have increased.

                    Also I don’t think it was completely free back in the day, my father told me it was around $600-$800 per year for tuition (Idk exactly how much that would be worth today).

                    I should make it clear I do think the current state of affairs is not optimal. As you said $13 billion in debt just for education is way too much. But the current costing situation does not stop anyone from getting a degree if that is what they really want, which was my original point, and I don’t think the size of the loans is too outrageous and usually still worth it in the end (Housing is another issue entirely). Also I don’t see it as a commodity, more as an investment into your future.

                    • I graduated in 1992. Only the last year of my uni study included relatively high fees (over $1,000). Prior to that I had three years of university which had fees well under $500, and this was a science degree. Each summer student job search had plenty of jobs for me to apply for, and get, to save up to buy next years books and pay fees. During the year I worked at McDonalds, part time jobs were relatively easy to get, and with a student allowance (the same level as the dole) plus my part time job I was okay.

                      So it was never free, but it was dirt cheap.

                      All of us benefit by living in a society with a high level of education (which now must include tertiary if we want to compete globally). All of us benefit by living in a society where all generations feel included.

                    • Ah ok, it might have been different for the degree he was doing perhaps. I didn’t know the student allowance was so high back then, I think these days it is rather pitiful unless your parents have a very low income .

        • Rubbish. For Maori growing up in the Far North there is little assistance with travel and accommodation costs and next to none for pakeha wanting tertiary study. You have to pay the accommodation benefit back if your parents earn over the threshhold income level you can’t get a student allowance which doesn’t cover anything not even survival money unless you want to do without heat in winter and live on instant noodles. You are full of it Jack . Young people in the Far North are 365km from the nearest University and they get fuck all help. Little wonder their enterprising parents indulge in fudging farm incomes and growing weed to cover costs. I for one don’t blame them.

    • Jack, you’re answering the wrong question. The problem is not that people can’t get the degree, the problem is that people are left with a big loan that increases their chance of living in poverty for the rest of their life.

      I tell my kids (12 & 9) that they shouldn’t bother going to university – there are more important things for them to do with their lives.

      • I really don’t see how going to university is going to increase your chances of poverty.. Unless you get a useless degree, don’t network and don’t work at all. The loan is interest free, and will probably end up being $35000 at the most in tuition, rarely being more than $100000 if the student also has to borrow the full amount for living costs for four years.

        This is interest free and the loan will usually be worth it):

        • To the best of my understanding, student loans are interest free only if one is not overseas for greater than six months.

          The merits in an interest free student loan rests on faith a government retains it as policy. Considering how liberal (not in a political context) this government is in making reforms according to its ideological angle, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if they would revoke the current policy.

          While there is some fairness in interest free student loans, the bigger picture confounds any merits. More graduates, more competition for available jobs, then add to that a global labour market. The current loan system could be regarded as much fairer if there was full employment with decent terms, but that is definitely not the case at present, and extremely unlikely with excessive faith in a rampant market system to deliver.

          Frankly I’m glad I dropped out of my studies a decade ago. Everyone stressing the importance of higher education, while I wasted away physically and mentally with the stress of study and other complicating issues that arose. The extramural study I embarked upon a couple of years ago I doubt I’ll complete, see no value in being indebted with the likelihood of no way of paying it back.

          Chloe’s posts confirm what I suspected long ago, she has great educational achievements and accompanying debt whereas mine are lesser on both counts. But we both remain members of the precariat.

          In my opinion the education system and the system beyond require a radical rethink to make them relevant with the times and ahead to so many. That’s why I self-educate myself, can buy numerous excellent textbooks at a fraction of the cost of the tuition fees for one paper. Know I’ll never conform to the System, so seek alternative ways ahead.

          • Yes -they remain interest free so long as you reside in New Zealand, and I think that is rightfully so considering the loan is funded by our government.

            Yeah I when I read my contract and realized interest could be put back onto my loans I was a little worried, I guess we just have to hope the government remains fearful of the political cost of doing something like that. I don’t think they really have to balls to do something like that, and with hope they will be out next election anyway.

            People need to understand the job prospects of the field they are studying for and be ready to accept the risks. So many fields of study are over saturated with graduates with limited job prospects, even many fields of Engineering, which is generally regarded as a safe bet for study. This is not to say people shouldn’t go into these fields if its what they really want to do, they just need to be willing to fight hard to get into their desired fields and be aware of their chances.

            Yes I agree there is often too much emphasis on going to uni, when in reality for many people higher education is simply not the best path too take, and self-education can be much more valuable.

        • Yeah, because anything other than law, medicine and economics is “useless” probably?

          Don’t want useless arts degrees. Who needs history anyway?

          /massive sarcasm

          Jack, I think you’re missing something here. Something big.

          • No I don’t mean that, saying some degrees are useless was probably a bad way of putting it. They are obviously hugely important for our society as a whole, but many of those degrees face a problem where the field is over-saturated with graduates, making the degree less useful in the job market, and so may not help improve your earning power like it suggests in that link unless you work hard/network to get into the field.

            • A person at 18 years of age is not going to know exactly which degree they should take to earn money in 3-4 years time.

              The total knowledge of 18 year olds is limited. The information given to them is not always accurate. What they are interested in, capable of and most suited for may not always be what will produce the most profit in terms of a degree.

              The rate of change in our society, particularly technology, is increasing. No one has a crystal ball and can see exactly what it will be like in 3-4 years time.

              And finally, there is something so small minded and mean in pushing young people to study only degrees which are profitable.

              I would much rather live in a country which has a highly educated population with a broad base of areas in which it is educated, than a country populated by people mostly educated in “profitable” areas.

              We need to go back to dirt cheap tertiary education. And we need to pay students at least the same $ as the dole while they study. No loans.

          • Totally agree LARA, it is such a shame that artists unless your in the manufactured ‘scarcity’ little group of artists sucking up all the oxygen, grants, residencies and Art Spews interviews for the conformist rich to feel like they have something ‘special’ the creepy gallery director sold them, which is really a financial bond certificate on the wall in the guise of art. This is so the rich art collector doesn’t have to smoke any brain cells actually picking art that may not God forbid make money,( imagine liking a painting that wasn’t in this bullshit group), you might look like a fool in front of your pairs who all have logo names on so called art on their walls sold to them by the cold, creepy, art dealer., has anyone noticed these artists work never changes its practically a photocopy of all their work previously how boring it must be to be these artists let alone have something so stale hanging off ones wall. These artists are so uptight and screwed by having to stick to their one and only style other wise the whole apple cart would fall over,( people might pick work outside the loop!) so stale boring art keeps the art institution going for a handful of paid artists, for the so called culture vultures. Fuck that, it isn’t even creative, contemporary or original just how boring farts like it as long as the squiggle at the bottom of the thing is ‘special’ eg famous in NZ, more like a sign of bad taste and a dead art scene.
            Yep it has dawned on me that it would be better cheaper and more relaxing to hold onto all my work until I die so I don’t have to pay 45% to the galleries IRD,GST,ACC, transport/packaging costs, accountants who charge stupendous amounts to do fuck all as far as I can see. I bet Van Gogh didn’t have to deal with all these vultures and he sold one painting while he was alive. One of our best artists died poor which makes me sick, Petrus Van der Velden all the art snobs love his work now, a bit Fucken late, and really Fucken sad. Seems every facet of society is in a headlock by some vampire sucking all your creative juice, unless you conform or give up.

        • You’ve done it again Jack. I didn’t say that going to university would increase your chance of ending up in poverty, I said having a large loan would increase your chance of ending up in poverty and that is a perfectly true statement – especially when we consider the alternative which is free education.

          If you want to argue with people could you at least argue with the things we write.

          • Yeah the loan itself would, but the loan has purchased an education which is going to counter-act that effect and increase your earning power. I am arguing the things you write, you are talking about student loans.

    • Rubbish. They’re higher than Australia, for a start. They’re higher than in Scandinavia and Germany. I think you’re just making stuff up.

      • No I am fully aware we don’t have the lowest costs. Just that we aren’t bad off compared to countries like the UK and the US, where a loan will never be paid of within your lifetime, made worst by the interest fees which stop many people even touching the principal.

        Also I am pretty sure our costs are very similar to Australia.

  2. Hi,

    You ask:

    “So why would young people, especially those living in poverty who have been pushed to the margins of society in New Zealand, put faith and trust in a government and political process that does not include them and has left them out in the cold? Why do so many people patronisingly tell the youth of today to “get out and vote?” Why should they? Can you even tell me why I should vote without using the words “civic duty”? As Danny Dorling wrote last year for The New Statesman, “The prospects for young people have never seemed so bleak. No wonder they feel society is rigged against them and are so reluctant to vote.”

    But you answer your own question. They should vote for all the reasons you mention. Rioting and revolution do not achieve anything worthwhile and they cost a lot of pain. Would you really want to see widescale disruption and even death in New Zealand? But isn’t it marvellous that in a democracy you and everyone else who believes that things are wrong can with a simple tick of a box on a piece of paper do something to change things without damaging a hair on a single person? And isn’t the tragedy that so many can’t get off their arses?

    You ask why vote? But maybe the question you should have asked is what would have been the outcome if instead the young people of New Zealand had all got up off their arses on that morning and actually voted. Because the numbers would have changed the shape of the election. For a start IMP would probably have staggered over the line.

    So don’t tell me the system let you down. It didn’t. Young people let it down by staying home. And if you don’t like the phrase civic duty, try another one – enlightened self interest. Isn’t it a thousand times easier to get up one day every three years and stick a tick on a piece of paper than to go out and start smashing windows?

    As for Brand he’s a damned actor who doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself as far as I can see. Do you imagine he’ll be there on the blockades with you if and when the shit happens? Hardly. So instead of listening to his pitiful jibes, perhaps people should listen to another older piece of wisdom – If you don’t vote don’t complain.

    Cheers, Greg.

    • What a bunch of boring, tired, cliches their greg c. Blah, blah, blah any chance you know you’re in a position of privilege? Come on, how about the fact that social democrats like yourself can’t organise a piss up in a brewery – can’t cut through the propaganda supplied by the right. And most of all can’t see the system in free fall.

      Seriously greg c, are you that blind? Have you been in auckland city in the early hours and seen the homeless wake up? Have you had to hand a food parcel to a family with both parents working? The system, or more over capitalism is broken and if we sit and do nothing – it will kill us all.

      But that’s ok greg c, because sitting in lala land whilst the corporation pillage the earth is OK. You can be smug and blame young people, or some morality play that comes to mind – feel free. Even Hobbs said, their was a justifiable reason to revolt – if a conservative like Hobbs said we need a revolt in the face villainy – don’t you think it’s time?

      And anyway why does a revolution have to be violent or destructive? The one thing that will cause this sytem to fall over is quite simple, and it is passive in many way. Stop spending money, stop consuming – try not spending money for a week. See if the system can hold together when consumers stop consuming.

      • Hi Adam,

        No, I wasn’t born privileged. I’ve worked for what I’ve achieved. And I don’t live in la la land either. Thanks for the nice character assassination. I won’t respond in kind.

        Now in answer to the rest of your post, what does it serve to revolt? What is the advantage? And how much is the cost? Yes there are major problems with the way the economy runs. There are far too many victims. But what’s the best way we as a people in a democracy can do something about it? And the answer is to vote.

        Breaking the system doesn’t fix things. It just makes them worse. And if by chance it does do something and a government is overthrown, then think on what that means. It means that those who revolted have triumphed over those who voted. The majority has been overruled by force. That’s not democracy. That’s a form of tyranny.

        So yes. In responce to the OP and the vast numbers of youth who didn’t bother getting off their arses and voting, they have no right to complain if the system doesn’t work for them. And they certainly have no right to revolt. Not when they did absolutely nothing to help.

        Cheers, Greg.

        • If what any of you said was even a half baked truth. Then the 5th labour government would have done more than, fiddle about a bit on the edges. If democracy and I don’t for one minute believe we live in a democracy, did work then the voices of all people would be heard, and the government would work for all.

          I had a go greg c, because you have your head buried in the sand. And you just proved it again – by you willful blindness. If the system did work, why are so many disempowered? If the system worked, why are very many more, than just a handful – of the usual malcontents? Why do kill ourselves in staggering numbers? Why is child poverty allowed to roll on and infect another generation?

          And who said we should break the system – it’s too late, it’s already broken. A non-violent revolt is about creating systems that work. But that would require effort – why not just vote every three years and pretend we did something really really important. Then we can feel all self righteous about people who did not vote. And when you get on that bush waving buzz, no wonder people turn off.

          • I think you need to acknowledge that no form of governance or economic system is perfect, democracy is the best we have, and we absolutely by all accounts live in a democracy, in fact one of the best in the world.

            I agree with Greg, voter apathy, especially with youth and those who feel they are truly wronged by the system (many of whom are part of the million non-voters this election.) is the reason so many feel they are not represented. For them to then ‘revolt’ and ‘riot’ because they think the system they don’t even participate in is wronging them is just silly.

          • Hi,

            I agree, the system is not working for all. A small number of neo-liberals have basically captured it ideologically and now both major parties follow their desires. That needs to change. The question is what to do about it. And revolution is not an answer. It’s the last throw of the dice for the truly desperate, and no matter how you slice it, unless more than half the people are behind it, it is an attempt by a minority to rule the majority, It’s also not creative at all. It’s destructive.

            The answer is for those who are hurting and those who are supporting them, to act within the law and spread their messages. Protest is legal, so I support it provided it isn’t getting into destruction and violence. So is activism which can take any number of forms. There are so many creative, positive and legal options available to people. And the smallest and simplest of them is to vote.

            My message is simple. Even if you’re the most apathetic person in existence you should get off your arse and vote. But too many of the electorate don’t. And then they want to complain? Hell no!

            Cheers, Greg.

            • Again you miss the point – if it was apathy like you ay greg c I might agree – but it’s not apathy. It’s more than that – the argument of apathy is a social democratic way of saying, oh well lets pass the buck. Apathy is the answer for those who don’t want to think – or don’t want to realise, that the system we have is now built on the premise of making people not want to vote.

              Passive and actively making them feel worthless – is a reality. The undermining of peoples self worth and dignity is a great way to end a representative democracy.

              To Jack, I’m sure the King of France said pretty much the same thing throughout the 1770’s. “Look it’s not the best system, but hey can you find better?” Do you think I’m some wide eyed Utopianist? Bloody nora, I’d like more democracy not less, I’d like to get people use to the idea that they have power over their own lives and participate. Voting, more often and participation is real democracy, not an elected dictatorship were vote on every 3 years.

              In the realms of economics Jack, that was, well snivelling. I really can’t call it anything else, let me just say even Keynesian economics was an improvement on this model of stupidity. Lets look at one micro example shall we – When Auckland city was a collection of burroughs, rates were lower and more services were provided. I’d be the first to admit, some of the across burrough services like public transport suffered – but the borough council system was effective and whilst not perfect efficiency wise – it did work at a much lower cost than today. Every time we have gone super size, the costs have ramped up and the rates keep growing and the services keep diminishing.

              But, hey Jack live in the now, live in a defeatist existence. Close your eyes a keep humming.

              • Hi,

                The system is not built on the principle of turning people away from voting. That’s a load of manure.

                And yes many people do feel disempowered and turn away from society and voting etc. But is that the fault of the “system”? Or is that the fault of a whole bunch of pathetic arseholes who go out there and spread the message – don’t vote it only encourages them? Or more commonly the message – “It doesn’t matter”?

                If you feel strongly about the issue you should be pushing hard the message – “get off your arse and vote.”

                On top of that how about the encouragement to people to actually sign referenda, go to their local council meetings, and write to their MP’s and actually do something instead of sitting on their arses complaining about how disempowered they are.

                Because the fact is that these people have a voice – if they choose to use it. If they don’t, who have they got to blame but themselves? No one tied their hands or prevented them leaving the house. The electoral commission went out of its way to break down any barriers preventing people from voting. They had every opportunity. And they were encouraged to vote.

                Cheers, Greg.

                • Kia Ora,

                  If we lived in the 80’s or 90’s I might agree with you. How about you try an experiment, just a simple one – go into a poor suburb and find people who didn’t vote and then ask them why they didn’t. I think you will be shocked at the answers.

                  I know because I’ve asked, and I deal with a lot of people who did not vote on a regular basis. And I tell you now, apathy is so far down the list, it’s frightening. So please forgive me if i’m sick to death of hearing apathy, apathy, apathy – because apathy is nowhere near to the real world of where people who don’t vote, are. If it was apathy we could deal with it, but it is a disillusionment with the system, mixed with a low self worth, hopelessness and a desire to not have to think about it. These all come in varying degrees.

                  But, hey what the hell if you’re right 1/3 of the population is apathetic – lets go for the simple answer – that hasn’t offered any solutions to the issue for the last 30 years. Because if you have to face the reality we live in a time a disenfranchisement, we might just have to do something about it – rather than blame people.

    • Jeepers, this has bought out a few knee jerk reactions. Greg you say rioting hasn’t achieved anything so I wonder if you’ve heard of a little thing called the Arab Spring? Or perhaps you’ve forgotten the riots in the UK that stopped Margaret Thatcher implementing a Poll Tax – or was it a Flat Tax – I forget the exact details but I sure as hell remember the riots.

      John Key himself said he would never get rid of the Maori seats in Parliament because there would be Hikois from Hell.

      Rioting and anything that looks like a mob is the biggest fear of the 1% so they’ll be very happy with your attempts here to squash the idea. Well done.

      • Hi Aaron,

        Right back at you I’m afraid. Yes I have heard of the Arab Spring. So lets consider it.

        It began in Tunisia 18 Dec 2010. Result – now three years later it’s politically unstable, political leaders are being assassinated, more revolution is on the way, unemployments up, and poverty remains crippling.
        Then there’s Egypt – Mubarak resigned 11 Feb 2011 – and three years on where are we? The new elected government was overthrown, the military have control, and there’s ongoing strife. So I wouldn’t really call that a success.
        Then there’s Libya – Gadaffi was overthrown and killed 23 August 2011 – another triumph of revolution. And now three years on, Libya can safely be described as hell on Earth, with a completely unknown number of casualties – thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? And basically internecine warfare.
        Last but not least, the fourth government overthrown was Yemen where the president resigned 27 Feb 2012. Currently the country is in the grip of a civil war with the capital under the control of the Hothi.

        So in answer to your question, yes I do know what happened during the Arab spring and what followed. And I did not say that revolution had achieved nothing. I said that it had achieved nothing WORTHWHILE. Would you regard any of these disasters as worthwhile?

        Cheers, Greg.

        • Add to the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” the pursuit of more economic liberalisation, Tony Blair an advisor for economic reform, and the removal of subsidies on essentials which many poor could not afford without.

          Can easily imagine where this is all heading. Practically setting the scene for another revolution.

        • You statement said “nothing” worthwhile came from riots but you haven’t attended to the second example I gave, which is probably the more relevant since it comes from a country with a similar culture.

          I understand what Chloe is saying though,which is that young people won’t be listened to until they become a political force. That might happen when they get into their 40s and 50s or it might happen earlier if they do something that disrupts the status quo.

          • Hi,

            The poll tax riots then? Well in my view this was a mess. Half legitimate protest, half thuggery. Yes it worked in some respects. The tax got scrapped and Thatcher left office later that year. But also over a hundred people were injured, some seriously, more than 300 were arrested. Peoples businesses and cars were set alight and parts of London had to be closed.

            But you have to ask what did the violence add? A whole bunch of people got free tellies? Because quite frankly I can’t think of anyone else who benefitted from it.

            It wasn’t the riot part that changed the law or ousted the government. It was the protest – and for your information I support legitimate protest. It is a right in a democracy. And mostly what killed the tax was that only something like 10% of people supported it. It was grossly unpopular, and it would have completely sunk the government at the next election.

            But the OP here isn’t talking about legitimate protest. She’s talking about rebellion. There is a difference. And my view is still that all this other crap isn’t necessary and doesn’t contribute to anything.

            Lets face it, the Occupy movement did well for the most part because it was world wide and peaceful. It was the violence and rioting that took hold every so often that undermined its message.

            Cheers, Greg.

    • Greg, ‘easier’ to tick a box every three years? Is that how involved you think people should be in their governance? People taking the ‘easy’ option is what got us in this mess. The path of least resistance isn’t always the right one. Sometimes you have to create big ripples in the pond to glimpse beneath the surface….

      • Hi Sommer Lyn,

        No that is not the limit of involvement in political activity I would want people to be involved in. Voting is the bare minimum. But the pitiful reality is that a substantial number of our youth do not even have the gumption to do even that.

        Personally I’d like to see those youth organising referenda, making political messages, supporting parties and doing any number of things within the system and within the law to improve our country.

        But instead people here are saying revolution is the answer? Hell no!

        Cheers, Greg.

        • I think it’s evident of a lack of understand to generalise the reluctance of youth to vote as a lack of ‘gumption’.

          However, I do agree with you in that youth should be more involved.
          Instead of begging for someone to vote for, we need to BE that someone to vote for. We need to be the ‘King Makers’ so to speak, and support youth politics – not alienate youth from politics by telling them to shut up and vote, or accusing them of lacking gumption for feeling so isolated from a system that has generally been piloted by ‘the old boys club’ – wealthy, older white men.
          The slow acquisition of politics to ‘the people’ from the old boy’s club is slowly, yet surely creeping through. That change in itself is a revolution. It’s a structural shift in power from one demographic, to be shared with another.
          It is no longer relevant to have the political realm relegated to the rich relics who have the money and time to manage successful campaigns. Shifting that power from those hands into the hands of youth IS a revolution.

    • Chloe said,
      “I worked out early that most politicians do not give a fuck about my generation.”

      Greg got it right too.
      “he’s a damned actor who doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself as far as I can see.”

      I am 70 yrs.’ old and worked hard all my life, – beginning at 11yrs old with a paper run.

      I got no silver spoon given me, just an apprenticeship in the motor trade, and was considered the “middle class and safe for retirement until Key wreaked our future too.

      We had property as a financial hedge against our retirement but Key has removed our Tax exemptions killing any money recovery from our rental income from them.

      We had taken our stagnant money in the bank, as bank interest was near zero after inflation was factored in so we are fucked also.

      Key does not care about anyone at all except what is good for his imagine and agenda for global recognition as a king maker.

      We call him just a simple carpetbagger.

      He sells all the remaining public owned assets and silver we paid for Chloe.

      And yes your generation will pay heavily for his folly for many years as Key is nothing more and just a tool used by the idle rich and corporations to rob us all.

      • Yes its useless to riot, I was speaking to an ex mp in auck and he said no matter how much people protest ,if the whole population came out in protest John Key will not take a blind bit of notice.

        He said Key has the wind in his sails and corporations of unlimited means behind him,he also said a lot of National supporters said he is so arrogant and such a liar they would not have voted for him if they had known ,but its too late now.
        This MP said the only thing that will stop the corporate takeover of the world is God.
        Mp said how arrogant to send our young people to fight in Muslim countries, its certain death for a lot of them, but if America says fight they will fight. So all the blogs in the world wont change anything it just lets us let off steam ,and I am greatful to be able to do it in these columns.
        People who have things ok will never really understand the struggle for some others.One young Polynesian boy was at uni but had to drop out ,I ask why he said because they are not taught they are lectured to,i said but there are tutors to help , he said yes if we don’t mind queuing up behind overseas students for tutor instructions,he said he had an after uni job and mostly if he queued up he would have been late for work,and he needed the money.
        When ask did he vote he said he used to for one year, but said all the polititions are the same so no point.hes 23yrs old and has a job paying minimum wage and not much hope of a decent future, and people wonder why there is so many youth suicides.

  3. Do you support Democracy Chloe?

    If so, you need to acknowledge that your views on usurping the current political systems through revolution are not widely held by any grouping in Western Societies. Not even the young.

    Occupy taught us all that.
    A brilliant opening tactic put the question of system change right on front stage throughout the West.
    The call from Occupy was very clear, and massively covered through all media, so everyone heard the call.
    “If you wanted to change the current system, come and join the revolution”

    Anyone who wanted to change the system would have come down to Occupy and if they had done so in sufficient numbers it would have brought The System to it’s knees.

    If 50% of society had supported the call it would have been a revolution. Even 40%, or 20, or 10 would have been a mandate of sorts.
    Just 10% would have seen 100,000 in Aotea square…..

    But it didn’t happen.
    The reality is the call was not answered. Ironically, there was not a single place in the West where Occupy could demonstrate even 1% support.

    There is not even remotely a majority of citizens who support an undemocratic overthrow of the current system.

    So what you going to do….stage a minority revolt, and then impose your will on the majority by force?

    • Great article Chloe,

      5% says Give up Chloe, “Occupy taught us all that.”

      Fact; Occupy was suppressed by the Governments using the police right? Is this democracy? No No No 5% Don’t talk in riddles.

      Historical facts;

      Revolution will come as the “greedy” including the global elite & Corporations collude with Governments together all work to suppress the lower classes into constant low wage economies & cheap labour again and loss of liberty and freedoms along with the plan.

      Fact in history;

      This as before will force revolt once by them conspiring for profit and gain off the backs of others, thus causing the return of great hardship of the underclass as happened in the 1700 & 1800’s until the masses rise again against these evils made against them by the ruling classes.

      Fact; It is just a matter of time for you 5%.

      • I went to Occupy…no police stopped me?

        The Police only acted after the occupations had been in place for a very long time.

        There was a long period where anyone who wanted to join Occupy could have freely done so.

        So you tell me why such a small % actually did?

        • Occupy is still making change in America between buying back bad student loans and paying off massive student debt through donations to buying back bad house loans and regifting homes to families that would otherwise be homeless you cant say Occupy is not doing some great work. Occupy changed the MSM narrative and foced massive wealth inequality on to the agenda. Personally I think anything that disuprts our coporate medias biased right wing narrative holds power.

          • Agree with all that Chloe, and more power to that ongoing work.

            What I asked is whether you agree with Democracy?
            If so, you will agree that a minority group should not impose themselves over the majority?

            Fact is, a revolution is only possible if it has majority support, and I am quoting the lack of support for Occupy as evidence that there is nothing like such support currently.

            So if you want real change you have no choice but to convince the majority of people to support you. Which might mean you need to engage the majority on it’s own terms and grounds?

            • “What I asked is whether you agree with Democracy?
              If so, you will agree that a minority group should not impose themselves over the majority? ”

              Serious Chloe. I would really appreciate hearing your answer?

              yes or no will do. Won’t take long.

              • Seems like a loaded question to me, 5%.

                Often, when a minority seeks equality (eg; marriage equality) with the majority, conservative opponants will hit back by insisting that a ” minority group should not impose themselves over the majority” – simply because it forces the majority to accept that a minority has certain rights long denied to them.

                • It is a simple question with a sharp point Frank. and it only requires a yes or no answer from Chloe….

                  But while we are waiting for Chloe, maybe you could answer it dead straight. Do you think a small minority without any kind of widespread mandate should impose their will on a majority by force?

                    • I think your comparison to gay marriage is a little shaky, since a large portion of the population, and world, actually supported that (hence there was a widespread mandate), whereas the current support for a revolution is extremely low..

                      The government has received the majority support of the population and consists of our chosen representatives (At least in theory) so its not exactly the same thing, and also the reason we have elections every 3 years.

                    • I think your comparison to gay marriage is a little shaky, since a large portion of the population, and world, actually supported that (hence there was a widespread mandate), ….

                      In hindsight, yes.

                      It wasn’t at the time.

                    • Sorry 5%. We were too busy raising kids, paying bills, sorting out with power company to go with, balancing household budgets, figuring out which food is safe to eat, wondering if the next house we buy will be rotten, saving money for kids’ education (I thought it was supposed to be free???) and Kiwisaver and insurance and, and, and…..

                      At the end of the day, believe me, I feel like toppling the fucking government. Instead my wife and I are too knackered and we fall asleep in front of the TV, watching our Most Popular Prime Minister Ever lie through his teeth (yeah, it’s that obvious!!).

                      Who has energy for a revolution?

                      But I will be voting. So will my kids who will both be eligible in 2017. And it won’t be for this shitty government I’lltell you that right now.

                      Have a nice day.

                    • The other 99%

                      I’m presuming you are being sarcastic.

                      If so I love it!

                      Too busy falling asleep in front of the TV to join the revolution. Priceless.

  4. Hey Chloe,

    Cheers for your insights. I have been voting for the last 22 years and this is the first ever election, where I said to the folks post election ” I get the people who don’t vote. ” B/c I too was so disillusioned with the result, mainly because so much had been exposed and shown pre-election and still, this wasn’t enough to change anything. There are also people who don’t understand politics fully or literacy is low, which makes it difficult for some to engage in the political process, which are all plausible reasons for not voting. Something like 29,000 votes were disallowed which was disheartening for the people. For the last week, I have been thinking about all the new law changes taking place ( and we are only 2 and a bit months post election with another 2 + years left of unknowing what awaits us) and have been thinking, geepers no wonder Hone, Laila, Annette, John and co were not wanted in the Beehive. Can you imagine if they had of got in, any of these laws going through? The lack of support for them and unity of the left as a whole was disappointing, because to over throw a well oiled machine that is currently in place, the Left needs all the friends it can get and strength in numbers. With these guys in, NZ could have led the way in something special in terms of political change, creating the kind of society we want and most of the world wants. Not to be and now… we are the worse off for it, because the numbers aren’t there to vote out the neo-liberal agenda. I am a bit of a Dotcom supporter lol for numerous reasons which won’t go into detail here, however the main one being his presence has brought many truths to the people in regards to the violation of civil liberties, that would have otherwise not been as exposed as they did. Sometimes the truth comes through the people we least expect and in ways that may seem strange … at least now the people are informed and can make informed decisions. I just watched Hollow Men last night ( i know bit behind the 8 ball lol) and Nicky Hager is a hero. So thankful someone like him exists in this country. After the election, I had a new found respect also for Russell Brand and thought this video was superb:

    I don’t have the answers Chloe, except to say, it’s totally understandable, the feeling of not wanting to vote and wanting a revolution in the current world we are living in. Most likely I will still vote, the idea of the right just walking in without a fight, is urking… but voting alone is not enough. More collective action is needed on the front- line, like you say a revolution of some-kind is needed.
    I am hoping it is a peaceful one asap, b/c if not soon and neo-liberalism is allowed to grow stronger, widening the gaps between the rich and the poor, disenfranchising more and more, creating a new underclass ( as Guy Standing suggests ) ….. the chances of a revolution being anything but a non-peaceful one in the future, is slim. Cheers.

    • Indeed, there are many “illiterate” in this country, who have NO clue about what government does, what the opposition may stand for, and what could be done or not. Sadly there are many “idiots” and also brainwashed people, and that is not making it easy to “win” votes, even for parties that have ideas and alternatives.

      And the present government does all to create more “ignorant”, as that is their bread and butter.

  5. What about both?

    Voting takes very little effort. Just a bit of research and then ticking some boxes. Once every three years. That’s bugger all work.

    We can do frontline work as well. There are dozens of groups working at the frontlines in the struggles against neo-liberal capitalist and corporate control. Supporting these groups by signing their petititions, turning up for their protests and participating in them doesn’t mean that we have to turn our backs on the act of voting.

    Tell me if I’m wrong, but do any of groups in NZ who are involved in the frontline struggle against racism/capitalism/neo-liberal corporate domination/whatever…

    … are any of them asking young people (or any people for that matter) not to vote?

    • I agree. It is often put as a binary. Vote and don’t act or don’t vote and act.

      Unfortunately if there was mass abstinence from voting the corporates would gleefully rub their hands together and dismantle this crap system of democracy we hve.

      So I suggest we vote and get the best we can out if this system while fighting the battles, talking the talks, showing the love that we need to do to overturn the failed and failing decision making models we have in all of our institutions.

  6. While I agree that the results of elections are often disappointing and don’t seem to achieve effective change, I disagree that this means people shouldn’t vote. Not voting almost always empowers the right wing as their conservative voting block always turns out to support them, so the result is they get in without being challenged. I’d be in the ‘do both’ camp. Vote Left, protest and work with action groups for political causes separate from the election process as well.

    In other words, D) All of the above.

  7. By not voting you are saying that all parties are equally bad. You don’t care whether the Greens win or Act when clearly there is a difference between them.

    The only way to get change by voting is to vote for a party expecting them to win the whole thing – even if you know that they wont.

    Why don’t young people vote? The same reason I don’t vote in council elections: I/they don’t have fucking clue where the candidates/parties stand.

    Educating people about parties and voting is a fuck-ton easier than creating a successful revolution. And by the way do you even have a replacement system ready to go in the event of a revolution (a realistic one I mean). A revolution is about more than just opposition to something.

    If you don’t like any of the current parties make your own. And if you can’t get 500 members to agree with you then maybe you should rethink your life.

    And by the way I’m under 30 and have voted in every election I’ve been allowed to.

    • I never told young people not to vote. In fact I agreed it was irresponsible of Brand to tell everyone to stop voting, what I said was instead of constantly telling young people to vote like it is the only form of power they have in thid democracy why not also encourage them to protest and fight back against our failed systems and right wing government that does not care for their futures.

      • I was more taking the opportunity to vent/provide a counter to Brands argument and the younger you than the current you.

        To expand though I think protesting and fighting doesn’t work well. It is better to develop an alternative and try to get that out there to battle in the war of ideas.

  8. It gets to a point where voting becomes a meaningless and futile act. NZ still has some semblance of alternative parties with a chance of getting into the system (forget labour – they are part of the system)
    The USA, Britain and many EU countries are past the point where a vote makes a difference – apart from deciding which talking head will tell you how great things are, while they lie, steal and give everything away to their mates.
    Voting for the lesser of 2 or 3 evils, is still voting for evil!
    A revolution is not a pretty thing, but, it sometimes comes to a point where that is the only thing that will change the way a country is being governed. The mass inertia of a population means it is not easy to get them to rise up, but, eventually, all it takes is an often, seemingly innocuous event to tip the balance, and, once started is very hard, if not impossible to stop – and it can be a wild ride into the unknown! People with nothing to lose don’t care about the niceties of “civilised discourse”, “friendly discussions” or “rational arguments” – they just want to remove the cause of what is keeping them down in whatever way is quickest and easiest. What follows is what follows – normally chaos and destruction. The “elite” know this, hence the increasing militarisation of police around the world, and increased surveillance. NZ is still in the early stages of discontent – compared with many other major powers, but that shouldn’t be a reason to be too complacent.
    And yes – I’m nearly 70, voted for an alternative party, but am now totally disillusioned with the general NZ public for putting up with the shit they’re being dished. The young are being screwed over and I can see why more and more don’t vote – my wife refuses to – on a point of principle. I think I’ll join her and be prepared to man the barricades – it gets to a point where that is all that works!

  9. Try telling someone working 60 hours a work on an processing line at a meat works that their tax dollars should go to fund the education of future lawyers, doctors and accountants. Or someone who wants to spend four years study philosophy because they find it interesting.

    I can’t believe people have the temerity to complain about an interest free loan that anyone can get because they might have to actually pay it back one day.

    • That’s a facile argument, Sozare. In fact, I heard the same BS uttered by Roger Douglas back in the late 1980s.

      Truth is, low paid workers will not be subsidising “the education of future lawyers, doctors and accountants” if the tax system is structured properly. By that I mean the worker you referred to pays less and future lawyers, doctors and accountants pay more, thereby paying for the next generation of professionals.

      That was a system that worked damn well for the likes of John Key, et al, but has since been torpedoed to make way for lower taxes and higher user pays. Courtesy of neo-liberalism.

      • So what your promoting is a defacto user pays system through a mechanism of taxing higher earners, only one that is less efficient because it requires the state as a middle man.

        But please explain exactly what part of the current system disadvantages those from poorer backgrounds. Not only are they eligible for a student allowance, but they will also be able to get an interest free loan that covers all their fee’s. Anyone who is put off by a loan that they can just pay back at the minimum rate and only after they earn above a certain income, simply doesn’t have any drive or work ethic and shouldn’t be there in the first place.

        • Spoken like a true ACT supporter.

          Anyone who is put off by a loan that they can just pay back at the minimum rate and only after they earn above a certain income, simply doesn’t have any drive or work ethic and shouldn’t be there in the first place.

          Oh of course. It must be the fault of the peasants who don’t want to add to the $13 billion student debt mountain… silly people, eh? Why shouldn’t they pay for something that was once free, and paid from our taxation?

          Then again, if taxes hadn’t been cut seven times since 1986…

          I wonder though, Sozare, if John Key and all the other proponents of user pays in tertiary education will ever pay back the cost of their free University tuition? Hmmm?

          You might want to raise that point next time you’re attending an ACT Party meeting.

          By the way, “the State acting as a middle man” paid for every aspect of our infrastructure that has supported you, and permitted you to make your post on this blogsite. You might consider that before repeating worn old neo-liberal cliches.

          • Forgetting his first point, his second point is valid, and the point I myself have been trying to make in this comment section, which is the current system of tertiary costing does not stop anyone going to uni if they want, regardless of their background.

            • When even John Key’s own daughter may never return home, I think there’s a clear signal that even if “the current system of tertiary costing does not stop anyone going to uni if they want, regardless of their background” – it certainly creates incentive to go offshore. We are creating a training environment for other economies with economic incentives for our best and brightest to leave NZ for vbetter paying jobs overseas.

              So, we lose trained, skilled Kiwis in the process. I fail to understand how we , as a nation, benefit from that.

              By the way, lower fees pre-1992, combined with a student allowance, would have given greater incentive for young people to study at University, don’t you think? It’s pretty logical, Jack, that if you reduce the cost of something that people want, you’ll get a better uptake. And in the case of tertiary education, elimination of student debt might encourage young New Zealanders to stay home. God knows we need skilled engineers, medical professionals, scientists, rather than having Joyce swan off to Aussie to beg expats to come back home…

              • Isn’t the job market and salaries offered in New Zealand a different issue to tertiary costing? They are not going to find cheaper tuition anywhere overseas as they would have to pay international fees.

                As for the greater incentive, yes I would agree it would most likely increase uptake, but I really don’t think the current system is discouraging people from going to university as much as you think (Also I should make it clear I do support cheaper tuition and greater support for students, just I don’t agree we should make it all completely free).

              • explain why migration to aussie has completely slowed then.

                your argument is completely anecdotal based on erroneous assumptions.

  10. Well done on this Chloe; thoughtful and thought provoking – I like it. What are some of the solutions do you think? Agree strongly with the stuff about the left not co-operating.

  11. I’m with some of the other commentators above. D) all of the above.

    Vote. Its not that time consuming.

    Protest. Engage in civil disobedience. Resist.

    And amazingly all it takes is the active participation of 3% of the population to effect change.

    Non-violent resistance and disobedience is more likely to achieve a positive result. This is how the Berlin wall fell, look up the Singing Revolution, the Rose Revolution and others in Eastern Europe for a history of how communism fell on those countries. It was on the whole non-violent. And it works. But you won’t hear much about that in the media and most people know very little about it, because we’re on the whole a rather violent society. They don’t want us to realise that change is not as hard nor as dangerous as they’d like to make out.

    Violent revolution, like the type Brand appears to be calling for, often leads to violent results and the change it effects is sometimes unstable (Egypt is a great current example).

    But if we want to have a revolution, we need to not just say what is wrong and needs removing, we also need to have a positive replacement. Otherwise we leave a void and it is usually the most powerful and the biggest bully which fills such a void.

    I would start with implementing an alternative currency such as that advocated for my Margrit Kennedy:

    I think that it is money, how it is structured, which underlies how our economy works. Most economists ignore this role, and tell us that interest has no part in our quest for never ending growth on a finite space. They don’t outline exactly how it has no effect, they just seem to state is doesn’t. Keith Rankin who publishes here in TDB is in this camp. But TBH I can’t have any respect whatsoever for any “profession” (economics) which advocates perpetual growth in a finite space.

    I would also advocate creative smart positive action, which MUST be non-violent if we want to effect a result which does not entrench violence. Erica Chenoweth outlines her research which backs up this idea here:

    There is a lot we can do. But it needs 3% of the population actively engaged.

  12. Also the average student loan is over $40,000. And of course young people go overseas to work to pay the thing back. Wages and salaries in NZ are crap. I have one son who is in a permanent shit job in mining camps in Aussie( and there is still plenty of work do NOT believe what the NZ MSM writes)who earns $70,000 p.a AUD full health cover accommodation etc.More than his friends in NZ who completed their studies. He has just bought his first rental property in NZ and he is 25 years old. 3 years ago he had $22,000 debt and no prospects in NZ.His brother earns 3 times that amount and is always getting job offers he owns his own home and is looking at rentals investments he is under 30.None of this would be possible in NZ. Student loans are amoral. Make the elite pay their share of tax then loans would not be required. I am not looking forward to being old and vulnerable in NZ.
    I know far too many 40 year old still in debt from student loans struggling to raise their families their children denied gym classes and sport participation because they can’t afford the gear for example. Struggling to eat enough to clothe their families and pay a mortgage. Holidays are non existent health care a strain. Yeah yeah yeah student loans don’t stunt people’s lives. What planet are on Jack?

    • We may have to learn thinking on a global scale. There will always be such “opportunities” in some places, but if every person would go and want to work in a high paying mining job, the wage or salary will drop instantly. There are inconveniences and hours involved that make the companies pay so much. And these are jobs that never last for life, as it will not be a real “life” to spend years in a mining camp.

      This sounds like a typical “Kiwi battler” story, and I have heard enough of them, they sound a bit like, toughen up, put up with crap (for a while), and glory and success will come eventually, a bit like the “Amercian way”.

      How many migrants here and there do though come and find nothing but crap jobs with crap wages, and why is this?

      What about the many desperate in worse of countries? A mining boom or dairy boom here may make a few well off for a while, but it does not solve the challenges the whole world and people all over the place face.

      So take your advice and rethink, perhaps, I had parents trying to “incentivise” or “motivate” me in similar ways, but it is the same like the fable about the “think and grow rich” books, there will never be a world full of millionaires and no beggars and lower paid workers, as it simply is a fairytale, same as the promise that you can win lotto every week.

  13. While I would LOVE to see a real RIOT or REVOLUTION, I fear that we are far from that to happen. There is NO united “youth” generation, it is very divided, and not that revolutionary minded at all, apart from some committed and caring activists. Most are conformist, and they do not dare to challenge the “order” the status quo seems to “offer” them. They are more concerned about finding “opportunities” and so, to get “ahead” and what this BS talk is, what we constantly get from the likes of Steven Joyce and Nats.

    Actually, to bring about change could be damned easy, if people only had the damned courage to do this. But they DO NOT HAVE COURAGE. Go to university, and you see heaps of conformists, career minded young people, who do nothing to organise or unite, they are mostly pre occupied with “career” and “opportunity” and “security”. Social cohesion is screwed, it exists no longer, it is mostly about Me, Me and more Me and what I want.

    That is the reality. Chloe is one of the minority that care about society, that want people to connect, interact and work together, and that is totally what we need. But decades of screwed up brainwashing and conditioning into the selfish neoliberal mind trip, the consumerism the career aspirations and so forth, it has destroyed “social” awareness and concern for most in society.

    So yes, telling young people to vote may be a waste of time, as many will not bother anyway, they simply follow the “opportunities” there are left to them. Others will migrate and never come back.

    It is my observation, as a migrant, that most New Zealanders are not “fighters”, they either go with the flow, or if they do not like what goes on, they simply pack up and go elsewhere. Hence the former move to Australia and the UK, and hence the lack of activism.

    Nowadays this country and society is so divided, due to political and other manipulations, it is a massive challenge to organise anything. Perhaps things may change for the better again, but I fear a major social disaster needs to happen, before people find each other again, and work together again.

    Every day I see so many walk about, staring at smart phone and table screens, always being somewhere else in their minds, but not THERE, where they physically are. We are SCREWED with such phenomenon, as that cannot be the future, really!

  14. I have been reading this blog for a while and have never been moved to comment, first of all I agree with you implicitly about the election however as politically active young person I can not take you in any way seriously as an “activist” seeing as you have never vote up until now , in fact the term slacktivist comes to mind. Our generation is up shit creek I agree but what you have stated here is the entire problem with us 90s kids, self entitlement laziness , voting id I’m a lefty and grew up in the poor side of chch the side that is now destroyed, I went to an inner city school and whilst bunking would hang with the burn outs and have long said teen homelessness is a huge problem in this country and I can start talking horror stories about some of the things that I witnessed but meh, do you know why political parties aren’t catering to us or enticing us? WE DON’T VOTE! Most people my age don’t know a thing about politics and very little interest or care about politics un fact it’s looked down upon. Our generation likes to moan all the time but can’t bring itself to the table to put two ticks for any of the diverse range of parties we have in our rare mmp system, we have to actually want to engage with the parties to actually get anywhere, I have found whenever I email an mp on Facebook I always get a response, Ive been extremely active this year doand orknocking protesting im a stand up comic and pissed a lot of audiences off by wearing political tshirts and getting really political in my humour, i emailed a green mp mojo mathers about getting a shirt and her husband biked about 45 minutes out of his way to drop it off that afternoon, my point being if you engage these people they will engage you. I look at voting as choosing who you hate the least and the reason you should vote is that every vote does count and if we want change and progress we have to use all tools at our disposal. Change was needed for the people of my city, As for you glorifying the occupy movement what a laugh, I agreed with the principles of the movement but in chch iy was across the road from my high school and all it was was a bunch of people taking acid and sleeping in tents and selling drugs to school kids while bitching about the government and not one of the people I spoke to there bothered to vote either, you make it sound like young people are some what left wing? Where is the evidence because from what I see the vast majority are fans of key and right wing ignorance. Most of the people my age that I come across are big fans of key, you can continue to be apathetic and I’ll continue with using all the tools at my disposal and encouraging people to do the same.

  15. I have come to the conclusion that this post may be passionate but does not help our cause. John Key is not so much catering for the “super rich”, he is catering for our GREATEST ENEMY, and that is the middle class. They do not care about the losers, the students or down and out beneficiaries, as they will help out their own kids with loans and so, but they HATE TAXES, and hate paying for others, for fairness, they believe in the Thatcher and Blair ideology, to get people to “deserve” their lot through work and none else.

    “Unity” does not exist, and will not exist, as long as the dominant middle class cast their self interest votes and keep Key and likeminded in government. Stop dreaming of revolution against fictitious enemies, the greatest enemy is right around you, maybe your own damned, self interested parents!

Comments are closed.