MUST READ: Budget 2016: What Bill English Didn’t Say In His Speech.


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BILL ENGLISH’S LATEST BUDGET is a masterful exercise in deception. He has done everything he can to mask the effects of the most rapid expansion in New Zealand’s population since the 1970s. The monies allocated to the core centres of state expenditure – Welfare, Health and Education – barely match the rising numbers they are expected to serve. Faced with an intensifying housing crisis, English’s response has been wholly inadequate. Determined to preserve the vital political dividend of rapidly rising Auckland property prices, English and his colleagues have steadfastly refused to address the supply-side of the housing equation. The crash programme of state house construction that would end the crisis must wait for a change of government.

All governments take care to tax and spend with an eye to their re-election. It is a rare political party that will sabotage its own chances of remaining in office by threatening the status and wealth of their core constituencies. In the case of the National Party, self-preservation means doing as much as is politically feasible to advance the interests of farmers, businesspeople, managers and professionals. In the case of the Labour Party, it means looking after public sector workers, low-to-middle-income private sector employees, beneficiaries and those elderly New Zealanders more-or-less reliant on NZ Superannuation.

English has clearly decided that the best way he can help National’s core constituencies is to retire as much public debt as possible and reduce the New Zealand state to approximately three-quarters of its present size. Dismissing these goals as “purely ideological”, while true, largely misses the point. It is simply what must be done to give National’s supporters what they most want from “their” government: lower taxes for themselves, and higher stress levels for everyone else.

This latter goal is a crucial aspect of right-wing politics. Only by consistently reducing the political competency of their electoral rivals’ core supporters can the Right be sure of not only making the gains they seek – but keeping them. Simply maintaining the economic and social status quo is never enough. To keep – let alone advance – the interests of their electoral base, right-wing parties must seize every opportunity to reduce the electoral heft of the Left’s.

This right-wing aggression presents social-democratic parties like Labour with a massive dilemma. To advance the interests of their electoral base it is necessary to advance the interests of New Zealand as a whole. Investing heavily in upgrading the nation’s infrastructure; stimulating employment growth; boosting Health and Education; building thousands of state houses and subsidizing private sector house construction: such measures benefit not only Labour’s voters, but also, thanks to their expansionary economic effects, National’s. The balance of political forces is not materially affected.

The only way for Labour to consolidate and increase its political advantage is by becoming as aggressive as its right-wing opponents. Providing decisive legislative support for the trade unions and intensifying the progressivity of the taxation system are the traditional methods for boosting the power of the lowest socio-economic groups. Unfortunately, any Labour Government attempting to implement such a programme in today’s political environment would instantly be identified as not only a deadly enemy of the National Party and its supporters, but also of the entire capitalist system.

Every weapon in the Right’s extensive arsenal would be deployed against such a government, leaving it with just two choices: submission, or revolution. Our present crop of Labour politicians made that choice a long time ago. Whatever else they may be, Labour’s Caucus are not revolutionaries!

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English understands very well the degree to which Labour’s room for political manoeuvre has been circumscribed by the events of the past 30 years. It is what gives him the confidence to contemplate policies – such as his “social investment” programme – that will alter fundamentally the way the poor and disadvantaged are managed by the New Zealand State. That the Finance Minister’s changes are being made incrementally will in no way diminish their long-term impact.

English and his colleagues are also well aware of the impact their policies are having on the lowest socio-economic groups propensity to participate in the electoral process. Slashing and burning the lives of the poor has not, so far, caused them to mobilise politically (let alone electorally). On the contrary, the increasingly desperate character of their existence has made them easy prey for the three “A’s” of social dysfunction: Alienation, Apathy and Anomie.

None of this is acknowledged in English’s Budget Speech, nor, for the most part, in the analyses of the mainstream news media. The Finance Minister’s deception has, once again, proved highly successful. What’s more, his ruthless reduction in the real value of state spending over the past 8 years has, finally, provided him with a series of substantial budget surpluses. These are projected to be of sufficient size for English and Prime Minister Key to offer their core supporters meaningful tax cuts in 2018-19. Any ethical misgivings National’s supporters might be experiencing currently about the condition of the poor are unlikely to survive their Finance Minister’s election year munificence.


  1. Agree wholeheartedly Chris.

    Bill English and John Key are the MASTERS OF DECEPTION and OUTRIGHT LYING.

  2. Some other things Bill English didn’t mention in his speech we are in the early stage of the Sixth Great Extinction Event, in the early stage of the fastest-ever Abrupt Climate Change Event, and sea levels will rise spectacularly over coming decades.

    Bill also forgot to mention that the more infrastructure we build, the faster we render the Earth uninhabitable for humans.

    CO2 levels have never so high in all of human history, and never in geological time (the past 600 million years) have they been rising so fast.


    One thing can agree on: BILL ENGLISH’S LATEST BUDGET is a masterful exercise in deception.

  3. “Unfortunately, any Labour Government attempting to implement such a programme in today’s political environment would instantly be identified as not only a deadly enemy of the National Party and its supporters, but also of the entire capitalist system.” – This is the acknowledgment that was missing in your ‘Left Unsaid’ article. Seems like Third Way Labour is the best we can have. It was good to hear Winston criticizing neoliberalism as the failed three decades long experiment that it is, in his budget response (pity he’s such a bigot). Unless there’s a societal sea change that comes upon us from out of the blue, I think things will only get worse.

  4. Well…this is interesting …

    ” On the contrary, the increasingly desperate character of their existence has made them easy prey for the three “A’s” of social dysfunction: Alienation, Apathy and Anomie. ”

    You paint a picture of England in the slums of the East End of London in the early 19th century during / after the industrial revolution…

    To which it took philanthropists and benefactors and agitation from lobbyists’ to change the staus quo… there was no ‘ revolution’ per se’ … from the working class…

    But I wonder .. was the migration to the USA the pressure release valve here?

    There is no ‘ pressure release valve’ here in NZ in the year 2016. Take from that what you will.

    ” The Finance Minister’s deception has, once again, proved highly successful. What’s more, his ruthless reduction in the real value of state spending over the past 8 years has, finally, provided him with a series of substantial budget surpluses ”.

    He may well have his ‘substantial budget surpluses’ … but already he is under fire… when you have a situation where $781,000,000 is spent on the SIS and GSCB… and only half… approx $380,000,000 spent on housing… and we have a housing crisis… you are on the back foot straight away in justification of those allocations.

    You cannot shield from the cold or eat spy reports.

    ” This right-wing aggression presents social-democratic parties like Labour with a massive dilemma. To advance the interests of their electoral base it is necessary to advance the interests of New Zealand as a whole. Investing heavily in upgrading the nation’s infrastructure; stimulating employment growth; boosting Health and Education; building thousands of state houses and subsidizing private sector house construction: such measures benefit not only Labour’s voters, but also, thanks to their expansionary economic effects, National’s. The balance of political forces is not materially affected.

    The only way for Labour to consolidate and increase its political advantage is by becoming as aggressive as its right-wing opponents. Providing decisive legislative support for the trade unions and intensifying the progressivity of the taxation system are the traditional methods for boosting the power of the lowest socio-economic groups. Unfortunately, any Labour Government attempting to implement such a programme in today’s political environment would instantly be identified as not only a deadly enemy of the National Party and its supporters, but also of the entire capitalist system.”

    The first paragraph ,… denotes far right wing ideologue’s as what they truly are: parasites.

    Indeed they are parasitic to any functioning social democracy , – their only real use is being a ready pool to be tapped in any large scale social rebuilding programme.

    You have answered the dilemma of what to do with these parasites in the second paragraph.’ Providing decisive legislative support for trade unions intensifying the progressivity of the taxation system’.

    Why should this scare anyone? The enemy of capitalism?

    No. Only the enemy of far right capitalism. Neo liberal capitalism. The excesses of far right wing neo liberal capitalism are a perversion of capitalism. That was borne out with 50 years of social democracy and Keynesian economics.

    If neo liberal capitalism are the benefactors of a social democracy that also means they are subservient to that social democracy. I can hardly see any but the most undesirable bloody minded corporate’s throwing a hissy fit and uprooting all ties here. They would have far too much to lose.

    And if they do- it is no great loss anyway. They pay little to no tax, price gouge , siphon profits offshore, weaken our labour laws , contribute virtually nothing to the betterment of NZ society.. the question then becomes… do we need them?… what do we get out of their patronage anyway?

    Simply reverse the question.

    Let them go. Cut them lose.

    And in doing so – cut off the lifeblood of political party’s who rely on their patronage.

    As for sacrificing the poor at the altar of Mammon to provide a surplus to benefit Nationals constituency as an election bribe… this may all sound well and good in 2016… but there are more party’s than just Labour to the Left… not only that – there is much time to go for this most fundamental of human rights – that of a warm , safe house for children – to be constantly put before parliament and the NZ public . And – if necessary – before the UN charter of the rights of the child to provide even more emphasis if needs be. Which would be quite embarrassing at this stage I am quite sure.

    This callousness has not been hidden in a dark corner…

    I think you may be quite surprised at the sheer level of ferocity this has now engendered not only among the traditional party’s of the Left … but also among the general public – and most certainly among those who bear the brunt of this depravity … that being the working poor, the unemployed and the homeless.

    And that political revolution has hundreds of thousands of willing participants.

    • My mistake… the allocation to the SIS and GSCB IS 178.7 million dollars.

      However… correcting a mistake such as this is cheap – not so the social costs of homelessness, poverty , low wages in a supposedly 1rst world country , or scandalous budgets designed to only pander to a particular demographic that guarantees votes and patronage from the wealthy.

      For that I offer no apology to this govt and retract nothing whatsoever regarding criticizing their see through pandering to the rich at the expense of the poor.

  5. “The monies allocated to the core centres of state expenditure – Welfare, Health and Education – barely match the rising numbers they are expected to serve.”

    “Every weapon in the Right’s extensive arsenal would be deployed against such a government, leaving it with just two choices: submission, or revolution. Our present crop of Labour politicians made that choice a long time ago. Whatever else they may be, Labour’s Caucus are not revolutionaries!”

    Oh, this week and today,Chris is on track and has written one of his better posts. Thanks for that, I would say. Indeed, while the opposition, apart from NZ First dares not to make immigration a political issue, it certainly is one now, stressing the financial and other resources of our nation and people.

    Indeed Labour are stuck in a situation where the caucus, that is the majority of it, is so mediocre and submissive, they are betraying the roots of the Labour Party.

    It is time that we get some real change, as I observe, the general election in 2017 already seems to be a kind of pre-conclusion. With a party at around 30 percent support, going by polls, they cannot even get there and get into government with the Greens at below 15 percent. That leaves Winston Peters, and he was holding the best speech during the budget debate yesterday, while “Angry Andy” kept ranting on as he is used to.

    While Andrew Little may be honest and a good and solid sort of a bloke, I fear he simply has not got the charisma and smartness needed to beat Key and the Nats. It is time that Labour get this sorted, I think it could do with a better skilled and more revolutionary caucus and leader.

    The Greens have mellowed also, so it seems, but they still stick to their principles more so than Labour.

    Voters want clear alternatives, not just talk and slogans, they want to see an alternative to the present lot we have.

    So the challenge is huge, Labour need to get damned well working, and get a program and plan together that will convince the whole of New Zealand, well except the so called one percent, and their supporters, who will never be convinced.

    I despair at the lack of talent and intelligence that comes from Labour at present, but as Chris points out, it is the result also of the Nats ensuring that they do not get the space and resources to present alternatives. Few bother watching Parliament TV and debates, so most do not even know what a prick our PM is and how Labour and others in opposition present themselves politically in Parliament. So the rest is left to the MSM to report on, which is usually a dismal job, favouring again the government of the day.

    FFS, Labour, wake up, and be more revolutionary, like Bernie Sanders shows in the US, that domain of capitalism, he has guts, the smartness and great organisation, and financial support making him independent of Wall Street and the lobbies in Washington DC. Even Trump has taken advantage of the disillusion of the population with the establishment, why can Labour in NZ not get this and act accordingly?

    • The Greens have mellowed also, so it seems,…

      And have you noticed that Russel Norman is still getting almost as much airtime as Shaw in the last week or two, at least on One News.

      • Do you think they want to be seen by the electorate as credible coalition partners for National in 2017 or beyond? I can’t help but wonder if they have realised that by aligning with Labour, they will not form part of a government in the foreseeable future. After all, it’s usually being inside the tent rather than outside which is the more beneficial position.

  6. I have huge disdain for Key and what he stands for. But his latest ambush of the Auckland city council and his sheriff of Nottingham style politics beats the cake. The edict that if land prices going up in Auckland aren’t matched by opening up new land then the ACC will be acting against the law, is just plain filthy. His strong arm tactics aren’t that of a democracy, it is that of someone who has no idea, who has lost the plot and who demands total control. Well I have news for him. His legacy will be in line with the likes of Hitler, Kim Jong-un and all other dictators.
    Key has created the housing crisis in Auckland and to discredit the council like he has is almost an act of treason. Thanks to Key and National, our country is in the highest financial debt in history. When media types like Henry and Hosking portray Key as some type of demi god you know they clearly can’t think for themselves.
    I conclude by stating that we have now have the most corrupt government in NZ history.

    F..k I’m wild!

    • You are right, the Unitary Plan is being considered by the very Panel the government appointed years ago, now Key goes around, like English, to threaten the Council, and with that also indirectly the Panel, to do as the government wishes things to go.

      This is a gross interference in due process, with the law as it stands. Trying to interfere into a supposedly independent Plan hearing is not admissible, it is not only undemocratic, it is ILLEGAL.

      It is like telling a judge that hears a case to decide a person is guilty without the proper hearing being conducted. I am astonished the MSM and the bulk of New Zealanders do not pick up on this. I shows how deficient and indeed corrupt this country has become, it is heavily corrupt and acting out of law how this government conducts its affairs day by day.

    • The edict that if land prices going up in Auckland aren’t matched by opening up new land then the ACC will be acting against the law, is just plain filthy.

      It effectively puts regional development planning in the total control of private developers as Key declares that any demand by them to open up green fields has to be complied with.

      • Also – Auckland Council has insufficient money to build infrastructure out to new green fields housing developments. They will be required to sell assets to fund it if they do not take on huge borrowing. Key hinted at this when he said that “borrowing isn’t the only way” to fund it. So it’s win-win all around for business and speculative investors. Lose-Lose for everyone else and Chris is right to characterise this as remorseless aggression from the right to destroy the public sphere.

    • 100+% agree with your post Bert.

      The housing issue in Auckland has been caused by uncontrolled land buy up by foreign investors and recent wealthy migrants, purchasing multiple properties.

      It’s these two issues this government should be concentrating on addressing, such as making foreign domiciled property investment in NZ, very difficult, or better still, put a stop to it immediately for the time being anyway, until the homeless problem is sorted, while giving Kiwi families a fighting chance to get into their first homes.

      Then it can concentrate on doing the same for migration into NZ.

      Another point is this. Is FJK going to change the law overnight, re opening up more land in HIS Supercity, forcing the council to sell assets to be able to service these new areas? As a long time JAFA, I’d like to be involved in some consultation as far as this directive is concerned! Just as I’m sure many other JAFAs are as well!

      FJK is definitely emerging as a dictator, with his latest move on the Auckland City Council, enough evidence of this fact! Makes you wonder what other devious plans he has hidden away in his dirty black bag for NZ in general!

  7. “Never a truer word spoken” Chris.

    Regarding the budget;

    As I said today on the Political caption competition as to what I believed Shonkey was saying/thinking was succinctly timely here;

    “Today was our finest propaganda performance of our deception project designed by propagandist Joyce/Goebbels through our key propaganda agency MBIE.”

  8. Best summary so far, Given my situation in theory I should support the dreaded natz but having a conscience means that is not an option. Unfortunately it means I deal with a lot of natz supporting people while working which makes me want to puke sometimes, it also means there is no such thing as working by trust as they would rip me off without a worry. What frightens me though is the number of younger people (<30) who almost worship key & have failed to see the big picture, they think because key is successful they will be also without realizing the state support he received has long gone.

  9. The sad thing is that not only are Labour MPs not very revolutionary, most New Zealanders seem to be rather gutless. The other night, on my way home, a guy drinking from a bottle, asked me at what time Joseph Parker’s fight was to be shown, but that is typical of the average New Zealand working man’s and woman’s priorities.

    There is a total absence of intellect and being informed, and a total submissive attitude to what people face in challenges. Few dare stand up for anything, and rather adapt by overcrowd in expensive homes, than to demand for decent living conditions.

    In France people take a firm stand and in New Zealand most behave like hopeless wan*ers.

    How can we expect any improvement with such cowardice or indifference of too many in this hopeless country?

    • Things have to reach critical mass before anyone can be bothered getting off their couch in this country. And the yardstick for what constitutes “critical mass” is set pretty fucking high. We seem, by nature, to be habitually passive, terminally subservient to any sort of authority and, if I’m honest, just a bit lazy. The France of today is a country forged in the fires of revolution, and they’re rightfully proud of this fact. New Zealand… well, we’ve always done what Her Majesty expects of us, and woe betide anyone who presumes to make a scene or cause a fuss. Do your job, eat your vegetables, vote for a party of any colour just so long as it’s beige, and don’t complain. In the words of the great George Carlin, be “an obedient worker”.

      People are living in drafty garages and paying $400 a week for the privilege. Kids are sleeping in cars, going to school hungry and getting the bash from parents who have reached the end of their tether. And the people who have been elected to manage and find solutions to these societal ills are busy debating semantics. “It’s not a crisis! It’s a challenge.” How far into the abyss are we prepared to let our once great country plummet? How much grinding poverty and abject misery are we willing to tolerate? Have we simply become a sorry collection of callous narcissists whose primary occupations are reality television and enriching ourselves at the expense of our countrymen?

      I hope not. But if so, I weep for our country, because things will only get worse.

    • Labour was certainly pretty revolutionary after Muldoon though. Shame it isn’t the sort of “revolutionary” we’re wanting from them now.

      • Yes, that was a time of an ideological coup, all right.

        But it wasn’t rammed through by the couch-potato general populace and much of it was facilitated by deceit.

  10. A ‘doubledipper’ from Dipton
    Had more houses than he could live in,
    But he told the poor ,
    They can’t have any more,
    And if you don’t have a car try a bin!

    • I watched The Nation on TV3 this morning, and I saw an ANGRY BILL. Forget “Angry Andy”, Bill was much worse, he had to control himself, to not have a proper outburst when asked the hard questions by Lisa Owen. Again, he blamed all the housing issues on Auckland Council, and had NO good work for them to say.

      And again NO word about the mass immigration we have now had for three years in a row, most into Auckland, putting immense pressures on housing and other infrastructure and social services.

      It was this mass immigration this government allowed, while not providing to house and service the additional people, that put us and also Auckland Council where we are now.

      When you have no more answers to your own failings, the desperate turn to playing the blame game.

      Shame on you, Bill English, you have lost the plot.

      • That’s right Mike and he’s allowing another 70, 000 in in the next 12 months.
        With little to no transport or infrastructure upgrades.
        And there’s another 3 billion who would like to come here.
        The Government is totally to blame and reckless.
        Blaming the council is gutless and cowardly.

  11. There once was a man called Bill,
    Who thought he could run the till,
    His mirrors and smoke ,
    Was a standing joke,
    Most knew he was just a fool.

  12. A Finance Minister from N.Z
    Kept HIS constituents well fed,
    But with all eggs in one basket,
    He created a casket,
    Now the economy’s officially dead.

  13. English wants mass immigration,
    The answer was diversification,
    His lazy approach,
    Was to smirk and be gauche,
    Now for New Zealand there’s no salvation.

    • Don’t be thinking that NZ’s past redemption
      I’m almost embarrassed to mention
      The Gnats will soon pass away
      Slain or auto da fe-ed
      Or by ending all their tax exemptions.

  14. Bill English doesn’t have to say anything, his media mouthpieces like Hosking, Henry, Plunkett and Garner say it all for him, all the time.
    National’s hidden agenda is to reduce the government services, especially the welfare portion of the state, down to the bare bones.
    Anything more than the most basic services are considered unnecessary by the wealthy magnates who prop us this corrupt government.
    This government’s attitude to people in need goes along these lines:
    If they need a house National tells them to move out of town.
    If they need food, National hands them a recipe book and tells them they should be feeding their children better.
    If they need a job National tells them to enrol at UCOL in the hope that they will one day get a job as a street sweeper.
    If they are sick National tells them not to waste resources by coming to their nearest A & E.
    If they are Maori National tells them it is a “Maori problem” not National’s problem.
    And finally, if they complain National tells them their problems are all of their own making and if they had made better choices in the past they wouldn’t be in such a state.
    I thought that every three years we went to the polls to elect a government, it seems now we just go to rubberstamp non-government.
    This country has certainly gone to the dogs over the last 30 years

  15. Yep this corrpt government is actually planning to watering down NZ’s current maori/pioneer civilizations into a huge immigrant cesspool.

    So eventually our early peoples pioneer roots vanish as they are hated by Key/benglish/Joyce clearly.

    We saw before as Hitler did the same to those he hated some other classes of people.

    So I think NatZ are deliberately quietly conducting real life genocide now in NZ.

    • I think its a policy of weakening the power base ie: maori /descendants of pakeha settlers. The ability of immigrants to provide a huge voting block sympathetic to the National party.

      The way to neuter that backdoor vote catching method is to pressure for a decrease in immigration – through regulation.

      That’s the first step.

      The second is the Achilles heel of fair exchange. ie:

      It is well know that under the free trade deal we have with China, mainland Chinese can come here and buy residential property’s- in fact several for speculative purposes, buy ‘sensitive lands’ , etc and not be required to actually here. It wasn’t so long ago that it was announced that 10.5 billion dollars could be invested in NZ property by the Chinese- with the bulk of that going to the Auckland market.

      By contrast – it is also well known that New Zealanders cannot under any circumstances buy property in China.

      Fair trade? Certainly not.

      And it is not just the Chinese doing this. Other foreign nationals are playing the same games.

      So therefore a quota system put on any one given country per year as immigrants, and regulations that require citizenship /residency backed by proof of living in this country for a minimum period of time.

      Caps can also be put on type of land sold and /or procured .

      Sound unfair?

      Not really , – this would only be for the preservation of the health of our nations populace such as most other country’s do. Why should we be any different. The age of being PC about it is long gone. We are now having serious issues as a direct result of irresponsible and opportunistic successive govts.

    • It will get to the point where cars are a luxury home and the streets will become the cars for housing. Slums will be created and protection squads will need to protect the elite.

  16. Bill English’s budget is the latest in the slow creep towards more austerity and the continuing transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. This government refuses to keep health and other social expenditure up to scratch in favour of more and more tax cuts.The Government refuses to finish off housing speculation by rent to buy for capital gain with a 90% CGT backdated 15 years, the worst offenders are kiwis themselves. They refuse to retain and upgrade state houses and build even more but wash their hands like Pontius Pilate that kiwi homelessness, unaffordable rents and housing prices are not their problem.

    There’s a simple way to increase tax revenues. Tax the corporations and wealthy of New Zealand a whole lot more, no they’d rather shrink the social society further with austerity.

    They continue to deprive kiwis of their human rights by throwing them off benefits and making the benefit system more and more impossible to negotiate. They don’t care there are beggars on the streets.The savings they make are for more tax cuts for those who already have more than enough.

    Good advice for Labour from Standard author Simon Louisson, writing on The Spinoff:

    The left will go on losing as long as it is so muddled and apologetic on tax

    National gets away with mixed messages over tax cuts because Labour has failed to grasp the nettle and frame tax as both a fairness and patriotism issue, argues Simon Louisson

    The left’s failure to frame the tax debate since the last election has put it firmly on track to spend three more years in opposition.

    This, despite amazing contortions by National last week, when, days after the finance minister, Bill English, said his government would behave responsibly and repay debt and investing in infrastructure rather than cutting taxes, the prime minister put tax cuts back on the agenda.

    Any discussion on tax is automatically framed in such a way that less tax is seen as good, and new, or higher tax rates, are deemed bad.

    The left needs to frame tax as both a fairness and patriotism issue. For example, in the current Panama Papers scandal, Labour has failed, by trying to pin instances of tax dodging on Key and his mates, instead of broadening the issue out to one that portrays the rich as finding immoral ways not to pay their fair share, legally or not, so the rest of us have to take up the slack.

    Yesterday, Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson acknowledged Labour will increase taxes for some before the next election to finance initiatives in health, education and housing. He said a Tax Working Group would be set up after the election “to correct imbalances”.

    “I think it is only fair to New Zealand we go to the next election with some sense of the direction of our tax policy,” Robertson said.

    Labour has finally woken up to Key’s comments last week that a tax cut plan will be put before the electorate for the next election guaranteeing tax will be front and centre of any campaign.

    Yet the tone of Robertson’s comments are abjectly apologetic. Little and Labour need to front-foot this. They have telegraphed the policy with no detail so National can wade in with counter punches before Labour has begun the frame, let alone the rational narrative. It’s an action replay of the half-baked announcement of the Universal Basic Income and a repeat of the CGT fiasco.

    The frame Labour should be presenting is its moral vision of empathy, responsibility, protection, fairness, equality and empowerment. The narrative should be reiterated that New Zealand, thanks mainly to previous Labour governments, has a history of looking after people, and Labour plans to build on that.

    Finally, Labour has to be able to get across the startling message of an OECD study, (PDF) published in 2014, which unequivocally showed that more equal societies have had better economic performance – or, to look at it another way, the more inequality grows the worse the economy performs.

    This study totally contradicts the hogwash that lower taxes result in better economic outcomes.

    Unless Little and his colleagues grasp this tax nettle properly and find the framing and language that demonstrates how paying tax improves our society, they can expect to languish in opposition and will doubtless then tear themselves further apart in the ensuing frustration.

    Go read the full piece on The Spinoff.

    Labour won the 1999 election on a tax increase because voters were so worried about the damaged state of health and education. The same conditions – and more – exist now. In contrast to Key’s greedy and irresponsible tax cut bribe, Labour should front-foot tax!

  17. I went to a dinner party the other night and sure enough the Auckland housing crisis came up…

    “What do you think about those homeless people”
    “Bloody bunch of deadbeats”
    “Yeah..lotta no hopers the lotta them”
    “Why don’t they getta job”
    “Lazy bastards”
    “And they are gonna get 5000 bucks to leave”
    “Yeah and they’ll just take the money and come right back”
    “The government should do something about them”
    “Yeah..put them in the Army” etc etc

    Wife and I sat there listening to these idiots amazed at how thick people could be.
    To our shame we kept our mouths shut but as there were a dozen all reciting JKs thoughts and slogans we could see little point in making our night worse.

    I was quite stunned when I finally got home and rather depressed.
    What a bunch of heartless arseholes. What an evil culture is taking over the land.

    Labour must move to the left if it wants to survive. It needs to return to it’s roots.
    We need people with this mans wisdom..

    • How depressing, but my impressions and what I hear coming from the better off that own a home or more, resembles what you wrote there.

      It is indeed time for Labour to put the meaning into the word opposition, as they are far too mild mannered and also out of touch with the daily experiences they are meant to represent, that is with some exceptions of course.

    • I know how you feel.
      I am fortunate enough to have a steady job, not a very satisfying job or a job that has much prospect of advancement, but a job none the less that allows me to have a comfortable home for my family.
      I am thankful and loyal to the people and bank staff (TSB by the way) who made it possible.
      Yet I go to work and have to listen to the right-wing rednecks who rail on about how the unemployed and homeless have it too good and how it is their own fault.
      I usually keep my cool but occasionally I snap and give the ignorant bastards a few home truths about the corrupt cynical National government.
      They roll their eyes and mutter about how it was Labour and the lefties who stuffed this country up and how National are setting it right.

  18. Out in the cold the homeless huddle
    While those whose place in life
    Is as the leaf which comes and goes
    Grin like sheep hock deep in clover
    And shake their heads in mindless wonder
    At soaring and obscene house prices
    “Ah no” they Baa “there is no crisis.”
    The market is the great dictator.
    Before the world spun on its axis
    Or suns and planets manifested
    The market before whose throne we bow
    Was there. Do not ask why or how.
    We are the faithful, we all recite
    Our Catechism every night and give
    Our souls in rest to that which reigns
    O’er all. We are so blest. Our Lord
    And his Archangel Moloch is ours
    So bollocks and our advice to dubious
    Others and especially to solo mothers
    Is, bow down like us to your creator
    Who will appear one day on earth
    In form like a sublime accountant
    Hedge fund manager and financier
    Whose wrath is great and seethes contempt
    for those who find themselves outside
    Commodification city. There is no
    Love there is no pity. In all dimensions,
    Rejoice and genuflect. Oh Hail.
    There is no galaxy that’s not for sale.

    • That was awesome. Wasted on the rapacious brigands that run Auckland sadly. The only art they respect is the art of the deal.

      • Market Escape

        The unspoken slogan that has been forgotten is:
        For once it escapes in its slithering mercurial way,
        It soon gets into every nook and cranny to display,
        It’s thrusting, vile insatiable Gargantuan appetite:

        Then everything has no value but its ‘market’ price,
        And all the world is sold off to blind consumption,
        And no one foresees that the last deal, is extinction.
        For once it escapes, it consumes every other place.

  19. New Zealand, it is well past the time to wake up and vote for decency, good health systems that actually work; not a health system that only helps you in an emergency. Vote for properly funded state schools, not private charter schools which make a profit for greedy investors. Vote for a decent roading and public transport system, not wornout roads with 50 tonne trucks rattling the china cabinet as they rumble past. Vote for a care for the poorest in our society, not billing them for the motel WINZ put them in while waiting for a house. Vote for politicians who know what the ordinary working classes live like, not a greedy stretch the rules money trader whose own mother might disown him if she was here. Vote for a decent, ethical system which lets all of us have a chance at a
    decent life, not just some.

  20. Something rotten going on inside Council with the level of indebtedness, the elected Councillors have very little to do with the day to day running of the Council, the management are running the Council as badly as JK and the National Government in NZ, maybe their is a method in the madness?

  21. Now I read that homeless young people are being offered a bed in exchange for sex and they are being coerced into living in sexually abusive situations – just to get shelter and a bed. Rightly the church leadership has been hounded by the msm when such has happened in the past; why are not the country’s leadership similarly held accountable in the same way for the young lives they are ruining?
    Or is their action (inaction?) not culpable? Are msm really that one-eyed and cowardly?
    Let’s have some consistency in justice, msm, even we do not get it in law or from our so-called leaders.

  22. Well… an interesting article explaining ‘Starve the Beast’ economics. See if you can recognize New Zealand in this . I think you will. And I think you will also realize where John Keys been coming from . Have a wee read :

    Republican “starve the beast” strategy worked, as planned

    If you want to understand the economic disaster that’s going on across the nation, go to Google and search “starve the beast” and “Grover Norquist starve the beast.” You’ll find hundreds of sites that explain the Republican strategy for dismantling Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Anti-government = anti-capitalist

    In 2004 anti-government libertarians and conservatives rallied around Grover Norquist’s pledge, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Economists like Milton Friedman explained that government programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were so popular with the American public that they could never be reduced or eliminated by frontal attack.

    Instead, conservatives should focus on starving the beast (government). If they could get politicians to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, it would create a huge deficit and politicians could make the case that government was broke and couldn’t afford to provide even necessary services for its citizens. All social problems would have to be remedied by the private sector—at a profit, of course.

    Their hubris is truly spectacular. Conservatives not only openly described how they were going to attack government programs that benefited the middle class and poor, they openly pursued that attack. Incredibly, even after being warned, gullible American voters elected the politicians who vowed to implement those very same starve-the-beast policies.

    Bankrupt government = bankrupt capitalism

    Now that Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats have achieved their goal of a bankrupt government at both the federal and local levels, they’ve deliberately created an era of misplaced anger. Unemployed and poorly paid private sector workers are angry at public employees with adequate jobs and benefits. Nonunion workers are angry at better paid union workers. And everyone is angry at the big spending government that supposedly created the present deficit by paying too much for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Actually, private sector workers should be angry at the government policies that caused their own wages to stagnate for the past 30 years. Nonunion workers should be angry that, because of globalization, union workers no longer have the negotiating clout to demand the higher wages that raise everyone’s income. (When unions wages increase, nonunion companies must also raise wages if they are to remain nonunion.)

    Not the time for middle-income sacrifices

    Then there is the issue that begs the question: Why should middle- and low-income Americans make any more sacrifices for this horrible economy than they already have? They didn’t cause the problem, their wages have stagnated or declined for the past three decades, and they’re losing their homes and their standard of living. On the opposite end of the income scale, virtually all billionaires and millionaires, either directly or indirectly, realized huge income benefits because of those same chronic low wages and the resulting corporate and business profits.

    In addition, America’s investors played a major role in preventing legislation, or getting it passed, that gave them huge advantages over the financially unsophisticated. As a result, they now have an overabundance of money. That’s why the stock market continues to skyrocket even when our U.S. economy is tanking for workers. Investors have become immune to conditions in this country, since so much of today’s corporate profits come from the developing world. They actually become richer when our low-wage international competitors keep working class wages low or declining in this country.

    Government always sets the rules

    Those who control government, either directly or behind the scenes, always determine the extent to which different classes of citizens share in the productivity of society, or even of their own productivity. If our government wants to create a vibrant middle class, as it did between 1932 and 1980, then that’s what it does. If it wants society’s elites to become a new class of royalty, and workers to barely survive, well then, government makes it happen. That’s the direction we’ve been going in for the past three decades, and it’s no accident.

    Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote of “The nature and symptoms of social disintegration” in his twelve volume A Study of History. He concluded that “…the horizontal schism of a society along lines of class is not only peculiar to civilizations, but it is also a phenomenon which first appears at the moment of breakdown, and which is a distinctive mark of the phases of breakdown and disintegration, by contrast with its absence during the phase of growth.”

    The GOP’s record proves that it played a significant role in depriving the federal government of revenue, and thus putting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in jeopardy. Removing that party’s ability , even as a strong minority, to hamstring our government should be a primary concern of voters.
    – See more at:

  23. And an interesting explanation from a poster at The Standard – which I thought worth reproducing here as it is very informative . This one from Pat. :

    Pat 7
    28 May 2016 at 2:57 pm
    Labour need to spend this time before the election campaign educating the public on the mechanics of taxation….if the electorate still decide they will be “on the winning side” in a divisive regime then so be it.

    a little light reading to set them on their way

    It is often hard to pin down what antitax crusaders are trying to achieve. The reason is not, or not only, that they are disingenuous about their motives — though as we will see, disingenuity has become a hallmark of the movement in recent years. Rather, the fuzziness comes from the fact that today’s antitax movement moves back and forth between two doctrines. Both doctrines favor the same thing: big tax cuts for people with high incomes. But they favor it for different reasons.

    One of those doctrines has become famous under the name ”supply-side economics.” It’s the view that the government can cut taxes without severe cuts in public spending. The other doctrine is often referred to as ”starving the beast,” a phrase coined by David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s budget director. It’s the view that taxes should be cut precisely in order to force severe cuts in public spending. Supply-side economics is the friendly, attractive face of the tax-cut movement. But starve-the-beast is where the power lies.

    The starting point of supply-side economics is an assertion that no economist would dispute: taxes reduce the incentive to work, save and invest. A businessman who knows that 70 cents of every extra dollar he makes will go to the I.R.S. is less willing to make the effort to earn that extra dollar than if he knows that the I.R.S. will take only 35 cents. So reducing tax rates will, other things being the same, spur the economy.

    This much isn’t controversial. But the government must pay its bills. So the standard view of economists is that if you want to reduce the burden of taxes, you must explain what government programs you want to cut as part of the deal. There’s no free lunch.

    What the supply-siders argued, however, was that there was a free lunch. Cutting marginal rates, they insisted, would lead to such a large increase in gross domestic product that it wouldn’t be necessary to come up with offsetting spending cuts. What supply-side economists say, in other words, is, ”Don’t worry, be happy and cut taxes.” And when they say cut taxes, they mean taxes on the affluent: reducing the top marginal rate means that the biggest tax cuts go to people in the highest tax brackets.

    The other camp in the tax-cut crusade actually welcomes the revenue losses from tax cuts. Its most visible spokesman today is Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who once told National Public Radio: ”I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” And the way to get it down to that size is to starve it of revenue. ”The goal is reducing the size and scope of government by draining its lifeblood,” Norquist told U.S. News & World Report.

    What does ”reducing the size and scope of government” mean? Tax-cut proponents are usually vague about the details. But the Heritage Foundation, ideological headquarters for the movement, has made it pretty clear. Edwin Feulner, the foundation’s president, uses ”New Deal” and ”Great Society” as terms of abuse, implying that he and his organization want to do away with the institutions Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson created. That means Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — most of what gives citizens of the United States a safety net against economic misfortune.

    The starve-the-beast doctrine is now firmly within the conservative mainstream. George W. Bush himself seemed to endorse the doctrine as the budget surplus evaporated: in August 2001 he called the disappearing surplus ”incredibly positive news” because it would put Congress in a ”fiscal straitjacket.”

    Like supply-siders, starve-the-beasters favor tax cuts mainly for people with high incomes. That is partly because, like supply-siders, they emphasize the incentive effects of cutting the top marginal rate; they just don’t believe that those incentive effects are big enough that tax cuts pay for themselves. But they have another reason for cutting taxes mainly on the rich, which has become known as the ”lucky ducky” argument.

    Here’s how the argument runs: to starve the beast, you must not only deny funds to the government; you must make voters hate the government. There’s a danger that working-class families might see government as their friend: because their incomes are low, they don’t pay much in taxes, while they benefit from public spending. So in starving the beast, you must take care not to cut taxes on these ”lucky duckies.” (Yes, that’s what The Wall Street Journal called them in a famous editorial.) In fact, if possible, you must raise taxes on working-class Americans in order, as The Journal said, to get their ”blood boiling with tax rage.”

    So the tax-cut crusade has two faces. Smiling supply-siders say that tax cuts are all gain, no pain; scowling starve-the-beasters believe that inflicting pain is not just necessary but also desirable. Is the alliance between these two groups a marriage of convenience? Not exactly. It would be more accurate to say that the starve-the-beasters hired the supply-siders — indeed, created them — because they found their naive optimism useful.

    A look at who the supply-siders are and how they came to prominence tells the story.

    The supply-side movement likes to present itself as a school of economic thought like Keynesianism or monetarism — that is, as a set of scholarly ideas that made their way, as such ideas do, into political discussion. But the reality is quite different. Supply-side economics was a political doctrine from Day 1; it emerged in the pages of political magazines, not professional economics journals.

    That is not to deny that many professional economists favor tax cuts. But they almost always turn out to be starve-the-beasters, not supply-siders. And they often secretly — or sometimes not so secretly — hold supply-siders in contempt. N. Gregory Mankiw, now chairman of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, is definitely a friend to tax cuts; but in the first edition of his economic-principles textbook, he described Ronald Reagan’s supply-side advisers as ”charlatans and cranks.”

    It is not that the professionals refuse to consider supply-side ideas; rather, they have looked at them and found them wanting. A conspicuous example came earlier this year when the Congressional Budget Office tried to evaluate the growth effects of the Bush administration’s proposed tax cuts. The budget office’s new head, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, is a conservative economist who was handpicked for his job by the administration. But his conclusion was that unless the revenue losses from the proposed tax cuts were offset by spending cuts, the resulting deficits would be a drag on growth, quite likely to outweigh any supply-side effects.

    But if the professionals regard the supply-siders with disdain, who employs these people? The answer is that since the 1970’s almost all of the prominent supply-siders have been aides to conservative politicians, writers at conservative publications like National Review, fellows at conservative policy centers like Heritage or economists at private companies with strong Republican connections. Loosely speaking, that is, supply-siders work for the vast right-wing conspiracy. What gives supply-side economics influence is its connection with a powerful network of institutions that want to shrink the government and see tax cuts as a way to achieve that goal. Supply-side economics is a feel-good cover story for a political movement with a much harder-nosed agenda.

    This isn’t just speculation. Irving Kristol, in his role as co-editor of The Public Interest, was arguably the single most important proponent of supply-side economics. But years later, he suggested that he himself wasn’t all that persuaded by the doctrine: ”I was not certain of its economic merits but quickly saw its political possibilities.” Writing in 1995, he explained that his real aim was to shrink the government and that tax cuts were a means to that end: ”The task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority — so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.”

    In effect, what Kristol said in 1995 was that he and his associates set out to deceive the American public. They sold tax cuts on the pretense that they would be painless, when they themselves believed that it would be necessary to slash public spending in order to make room for those cuts.

    But one supposes that the response would be that the end justified the means — that the tax cuts did benefit all Americans because they led to faster economic growth. Did they?

  24. BullEnglish never told the truth that he is setting us up for this scenario!!

    We are headed for another Global financial crash more destructive than ever seen before, as we have changed our whole monetary system from real wealth to debt based “wealth, setting us up for a major disaster coming soon.

    We are in the twilight zone before the total crash and one day we will see the banks unable to open and signal the end of the Breton woods “Alice in Wonderland” Enclosed world” they then created by decoupling the real wealth generated system, by tying the monetary value to the goods created for a new “currency trader” (John Key type)system, so now we have a system that solely relies of borrowed money to keep the “currency trader” financial FIAT money system going.

    Disaster awaits us all folks so prepare.

  25. Lolz

    The title of your post should of been ‘National and Labour form tag team to gang bang the poor and working class’

    ‘The Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products—Budget Measures) Amendment Bill has passed through all its stages under urgency.

    Ayes 109 (National 59, Labour 32, Greens 14, Maori Party 2, ACT 1, United Future 1)

    Noes 12 (NZ First 12)

    This bill amends the Customs and Excise Act 1996 to make four cumulative 10% increases to the duties on all tobacco products’


    Watch all the wowsers and sanctimonious holier-than-thou-pricks justify this tax grab

  26. The Key National government doesn’t give a stuff about the number of Kiwis that they are making poverty stricken and homeless, HOMELESS PEOPLE CANNOT VOTE. To vote, one has to have a residential address. National have already stripped voting rights away from prisoners.

    • Perhaps we should be focusing on Keys motivation… just who he is… he goes much further then supply side economics…

      This is classic ‘ starve the beast’ economics / Milton Freideman /Chicago school. There is a reason why social services , health education etc have been starved of funding. We all know this as fact. We have all seen it.

      And we should be aware of his method.

      Blame. He has always been given a group to blame. In each and every instance.

      1) Labour party
      2) left wing agitators
      3) Dotcoms ‘henchmen’
      4) P smokers /state house tenants
      5) Jihadi brides
      6) Councils

      Always non specific, always selecting a group , and always using them for deflection . And that list is a small one. Add your own as it comes to mind.

      It suited his neo liberal ideology of ‘ starving the beast’ – that of dismantling govt to minimal standards by having this housing crisis get out of hand. So far we have seen :

      1) encouraged speculation

      2) allowed the the problem to get out of hand – then use Council as the scapegoat

      3) used the poor as a weapon against Council after running down wages and benefits

      4) pitted one group against another, home owners versus those in poverty

      5) Govt against Council

      6) coerced Council into privatizing assets to fund infrastructure / withhold funding ( yet could have borrowed loans @ 2.7 % interest )

      7) refuses to address rampant, unchecked immigration, putting stress on housing/infrastructure/ wages and jobs

      Again, this is only a short list of this PM’s tactics in ‘starving the beast’ – creating the most minimal of govts.

      The man plays ‘ chump ‘ politics.

      You have all seen the deliberate under funding for the three big areas of public concern : health , education and welfare … in being systematically dismantled.

      The tactic is simple – deny funding for several years , but throw an inadequate amount at them during budgets to give the appearance of taking them into consideration. Then pass other legislation designed to weaken them further. When the public grows restless… commit a reasonable amount taking care to always leave them struggling and competing for funding.

      This is how they operate.

      Chris Trotter named two of the most important methods used to oppose this :

      Widespread and compulsory unionism and progressive taxation .

      1) Compulsory unionism would ensure the private sector would be covered under the umbrella of the public sector.

      2) Progressive taxation would put to rest any false notions of supply side economic theory and massively impede the ‘ starve the beast’ root cause.

      3) It would provide for those CEO’s and corporate’s to no longer have the disproportionate advantage of being enabled to pay almost zero tax and provide ample funding through taxation for public services instead of overburdening the working and middle classes in a disproportionate taxation regime.

      4) It would cut off the reliance on big business and corporate funding for their lobbyists in the parliamentary process , – creating a far more equal ‘playing field’ . And as well , – put the brakes on the potential for a biased media.

      Therefore – the Left / Center Left is now on a war footing.

      a ) But there is not a lot of good being united against a common enemy if the public does not know who that enemy is. This has been proven with the misplaced division of sectors of society blaming each other, while those prejudices have been actively encouraged and promoted as weapons against the populace by neo liberal elements.

      b ) Therefore , basic ,easy to understand articles / teaching aids must be provided to the casually interested public on blogs such as these… too often they are sprinkled with jargon without giving adequate examples for comparison. Either that or they are examples from the USA which is hard for the casual observer here to correlate.

      c ) The public need to be aware of what neo liberalism is , how it works and how to detect it and read between the lines of govt policy and rationale and statements made by MP’s.

      And then offered the correct way to run a modern social democracy free from big business interference in our politics. As outlined in its most skeletal form above then made into legislation to prevent any more future inroads into the health of that social democracy. These measures would only be the beginning requirements.

  27. Yes WORDS

    Nasty NatZ don’t care about the seniors to and this will help Winston and NZ First back to power as a king maker be rest assured.



    Remember when key had the cup of tea with John Banks?

    Key was heard on tape saying to Banks, “don’t worry about the seniors they will be dead soon anyway!!!!

    I am a member of Grey Power but I am angry and underwhelmed also with the wet bus ticket the Grey power National President Tom O’Connor gave the Budget.

    O’Connor must be a National Party member too? Older folks don’t forget easily!

    Budget underwhelms Grey Power

    NZ Newswire

    May 27, 2016, 11:27 am

    Grey Power has welcomed some of the budget initiatives but says it’s disappointed with others.

    National president Tom O’Connor says it doesn’t do much for elderly people in the short term but there are “hopeful signs” that things could improve in the years ahead.

    Grey Power represents an important group of voters – there are more than 600,000 people over 65 in New Zealand – and political parties take notice of them.

    “We’re pleased to note that national superannuation has been left untouched,” Mr O’Connor said on Friday.

    “And that government contributions to the superannuation fund will be resumed in the 2020/21 year, two years earlier than planned.”

    The bowel cancel screening roll out was “a commendable initiative”.

    But Grey Power isn’t happy about health services for the elderly.

    “The reality is that many of our hospitals simply can’t cope with the demand for elective surgery to keep people mobile and in their own homes,” Mr O’Connor said.

    “That very serious matter needed a major injection of new money but, as I read the figures, that has not happened.”

  28. There is no justification for not netting off NZ super fund assets against gross debt.
    The CTU shows that when you do that net debt falls to absurdly low levels.
    The fund is like having money in the bank for a rainy day

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