Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi)

By   /   September 1, 2017  /   23 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

So many little occurrences and huge events have transpired over the last couple of months, to brand this as one of the most intriguing (and tumultuous) of election campaigns in my life. Only the 1984  and the 2014 General Elections rank as memorable. In all three, there were two threads weaving through the campaigns;

.

 

.

So many little occurrences and huge events have transpired over the last couple of months, to brand this as one of the most intriguing (and tumultuous) of election campaigns in my life. Only the 1984  and the 2014 General Elections rank as memorable. In all three, there were two threads weaving through the campaigns;

  1. Events which have successfully engaged even the most disinterested, cynical Citizen;
  2. A  subtle – but palpable – shift in the political concensus.

Over-laying those two threads are the desperate scramblings of a decaying third term government; the rise of a new, popular leader (this time on the Left); and an unreconstructed, vindictive side of New Zealand society.

.

It’s just a… jump to the Left!

.

The onset demise of neo-liberalism/globalisation has been an on-going topic of discussion since the “Brexit” referendum and the ascendancy of Donald Trump and (to a lesser degree) Emmanuel Macron.

Some have suggested that with our MMP system – which has a diluting-effect on political revolutions whether Left, Right, or Populist – that New Zealand will dodge the rising groundswell of international public resentment against the neo-liberal concensus.

Well, that won’t be happening. Regardless of electoral systems, New Zealand is not immune to the winds of international political change.

Just as neo-liberalism swept over this country in the 198os – imported from Reagan’s USA and Thatcher’s Great Britain – the counter-counter-revolution will happen here, and it has been televised since the courageous Metiria Turei put her hand up and showed us why things were so broken for those left behind by Roger Douglas’ so-called “reforms”.

One of the litmus-tests for ideological positioning on the Left-Right spectrum is the concept of user-pays. Since the late 1980s, user-pays has been gradually implemented by way of “mission-creep”.

Done gradually so as not to alienate the public, National learned a bruising lesson in public resentment after it attempted to implement a $50-per-day public-hospital charge in 1991. The public defied the charges and simply refused to comply with  invoices demanding payment. The policy was dropped prior to the 1993 general election.

User pays for medication has been gradually increased from fifty cents to three dollars (in 2007, by Labour), to five dollars (in 2013 by National).

The other big-ticket item targeted for user-pays was tertiary education. Student fees were raised and student loans implemented by National in 1992 (the same year ‘Shortland Street’ began broadcasting).

Until then, tertiary education was near-free, with student allowances paid to students to meet basic living costs.

Former Prime Minister, John KeyMinister Steven Joyce, and previous Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson (who implemented the policy) were amongst those National Party politicians who benefitted from near-free tertiary education. Like Paula Bennett, who gained a free tertiary education as a young woman whilst on the DPB, using the Training Incentive Allowance – and which she then scrapped in 2009 – Richardson, Joyce, and Key made sure no other young New Zealander would gain from a free (or near-free) tertiary education.

The user-pays regime has remained in place ever since, and student debt had spiralled out of control to a staggering $15.3 billion owed by 731,800 students.

Resentment by students, and refusal to repay this monstrous debt, was such that in 2013 Minister Joyce employed draconian Soviet/Nazi-style policies to arrest and prosecute rebellious loan defaulters;

.

.

Just because people have left New Zealand it doesn’t mean they can leave behind their debt.  The New Zealand taxpayer helped to fund their education and they have an obligation to repay it so the scheme can continue to support future generations of students. “

Said the man who had a near-free, tax-payer funded tertiary education – Steven Joyce.

The result of National’s crack-down? Predictable, as Fairfax’s Adele  Redmond reported in May this year;

Five years of arrests and court proceedings have recovered less than $230,000 in overdue student loan debt.

Arrest warrants and Australian court cases pursued by Inland Revenue in the last five years have recovered a fraction of student debt, figures released under the Official Information Act show.

[…]

Three completed court cases recovered $79,610 from two borrowers – the third person’s debt was wiped due to hardship – and $150,221 was repaid following eight arrest warrants to prevent debtors leaving New Zealand.

Twelve more cases covering $621,955 of debt were still under way, an Inland Revenue spokesman said.

The $229,831 recovered so far represented 0.02 per cent of all overdue debt.

The amount of loan debt owed worldwide topped $1.07 billion last year.

User-pays in tertiary education has failed. Like our antiquated marijuana laws, it criminalises those who refuse (or cannot) repay their debt. Others are left with a debt hanging over them as they try to save to buy a house; raise a family; or set up business. The mill-stone of a student debt handicaps young New Zealanders before they have set foot outside of learning institutions and into the workforce.

The innate unfairness and fiscal failure of user-pays is apparent. What is not so apparent is that the majority of political parties have policies that are counter to the user-pays concensus that has existed up till now;

Greens

Loan Repayment

  • Support keeping the current zero interest scheme
  • Ensure that repayment rates reflect borrowers’ ability to repay by adjusting the repayment thresholds to start at a higher income level, and introduce a progressive repayment scheme

Student Support

  • Review levels of student support to ensure they are at an equitable and liveable level
  • Work towards a universal student allowance by progressively reducing the age at which students cease to be means tested on their parents’ income and continue to raise the parental income threshold
  • Reinstate access to the Student Allowance for those studying postgraduate courses

Fees

  • Work towards a public ‘fee-free’ tertiary education system by capping and then progressively reducing student fees
  • Review funding mechanisms to explore alternatives to EFTS funding
  • Ensure Tertiary Institutions are adequately funded

Labour

  • Increasing living costs support with both a $50 a week boost to student allowances and a $50 a week lift to the maximum that can be borrowed for living costs
  • Restoring post-graduate students’ eligibility for student allowances
  • Restoring the eligibility of students in long courses, such as medicine, to access student allowances or loans beyond seven years FTE study
  • Accelerating the three years’ free policy, starting with one year fees free full-time equivalent for everyone starting tertiary education or training for the first time from 1 January 2018, and extending this to three years’ free by 2024.

Mana Movement (not currently in Parliament)

  • Improve access to free tertiary education for all students
  • Abolish all tertiary fees and cancel interest on student loans
  • Provide students with jobs to help them pay off debt
  • Develop a plan to write off student debt
  • Provide students with a living allowance while studying

Maori Party

  • Increase the accommodation supplement by half for all tertiary students.
  • Introduce a universal student allowance with cost of living adjustment to guarantee a livable income during study, for all tertiary students, including post-graduate students.
  • Write off the living cost component of all student loans and explore the viability of writing off the total student loan for those who work in a job equivalent to their qualification in Aotearoa for a period of five years
  • Provide free public transport to primary and secondary school children as well as tertiary students
  • Develop a four year zero fee scholarship to target the ‘First in Whānau’ to engage in a Bachelor level qualification programme.
  • Retain interest-free loans.
  • Reduce the repayment levels on a student loan starting at 4% ($40,000), 6% ($50,000) and 8% (for $60,000 and over)

NZ First

  • Introduce a universal living allowance which is not subject to parent means testing as a priority for all full-time students.
  • Immediately introduce a dollar-for-dollar debt write-off scheme so that graduates in identified areas of workforce demand may trade a year’s worth of debt for each year of paid full-time work in New Zealand in that area
  • Work with NZUSA and the sector to establish an expert reference group with a view to implement two thousand ‘First in Family’ scholarships per year. These will create a step-change in educational aspiration by promoting fee-free education with wrap-around support from secondary, through transition and to completion for those who would be the first in their immediate family to achieve a degree. ($68m over first 3 years 2015 to 2017).

United Future (now defunct)

Fees

[United Future will] Remove tuition fees for tertiary education in New Zealand, accompanied by a push to increase the quality of tertiary education and protect the value of New Zealand degrees. The zero fees policy would mean that students would only borrow living costs, rather than the crippling loans which are currently being incurred to cover fees as well. A zero fees policy also addresses one of the illusions of the current policy, where it is assumed that tuition fees cover all or most of the costs of study, when in fact the taxpayer already covers the majority of tuition costs.

Student Allowance

Abolish the Student Allowance, as a way to help fund the zero fees policy. The student allowance system has become patently unfair, relying on means testing of parental income until a student turns 24, and enabling the wealthy to receive allowances where their parents are able to reduce their taxable income.

National and ACT appear to be the only two parties that stubbornly adhere to the notion of user-pays in tertiary education.

The times, they are-a-changin’, as user-pays in tertiary education becomes less and less popular. We may expect in the coming years to see that deeply unpopular policy slowly wound back and a gradual, inexorable return to free, state-funded tertiary education.

Like the billboard sez;

.

.

Though perhaps the slogan should have read “Return to free education“. If only to remind New Zealanders what we once had – and then lost – in the mania that was neo-liberalism.

.

ACT’s Billboard – Blissful Obliviousness to Ironic Hypocrisy

.

Seen throughout the country is  David Seymour’s grinning face on ACT’s canary-yellow billboard;

.

.

Note the campaign slogan ACT has adopted; “Own your future“.

Deeply ironic considering that ACT is the party that has at it’s core policy to sell off all state assets to the highest bidders, whether local or off-shore corporates.

Own your  future“? Yeah, nah. Only if you can afford to bid for it.

.

.

.

References

Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand:  Hospital funding and patient entitlement – Funding public hospitals

Fairfax media:  Prescription price rise hits vulnerable

Wikipedia:  Timeline of New Zealand history – 1990s

Ruth Richardson NZ Ltd: Ruth Richardson CV

Sunday Star Times: Politics – John Key – A snapshot

NBR: Bennett cutting a benefit that helped her – Labour

Fairfax media:  Student loan debt ‘balloons’ by 37 per cent, with average student owing $21,000

Fairfax media:  Joyce defends student loan crackdown

Fairfax media:  Five years of legal action by Inland Revenue recovers fraction of student loan debt

Green Party:  Tertiary Education Policy

Labour Party: Tertiary Education

Mana Movement: Education

Maori Party: Education Policy

NZ First: Education

United Future: Tertiary Education

Additional

Radio NZ:  As it happened – Jacinda Ardern takes charge as Labour leader

Horizon Poll:  New Zealand First voters equally split over coalition options

Radio NZ:  Labour sweeps into lead in latest poll

Previous related blogposts

Steven Joyce – Hypocrite of the Week

Cutting taxes toward more user-pays – the Great Kiwi Con

.

.

.

Note: Replace US references to  Social Security with Superannuation and Medicare with State-funded healthcare for local relevance.

.

.

= fs =

***
Want to support this work? Donate today
***
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
***

23 Comments

  1. David Stone says:

    Good to show references Frank
    I don’t think Macron is viewed in Europe as any part of a move away from neoliberalism/globalism , rather as a reversal of that movement.The desire was there in the French electorate, but the electoral system and the lack of a clear channel for the sentiment to focus on allowed the opposite to come through to what the electorate wanted.
    Similarly Trump was hardly what the disaffected in America would have hoped for, but it was what resulted out of the system and the confusion of the movement for a change .
    Why, though he didn’t quite make it to government ,do you not include Corbyn’s rise among your examples? It was in his case that the sentiment for a real change in direction had / has a clear choice of direction.
    We might not be being fair to Jacinda.
    In the same way as in France and the US, we are assigning aspirations to her that are well beyond what she has undertaken herself, and well beyond what she has the power to achieve within the constraints of her party’s policies.
    She sure looks the best option and I’ve no doubt we will have a new government next month, but expecting a comprehensive move away from neoliberalism/globalism is not justified by anything that’s been said so far.
    Such expectation will IMHO lead to widespread disappointment and unfair criticism of Jacinda in the future. As well as a setback in the movement away from neolib/globalism.
    The implications of a comprehensive reversal are profound. WTO and miles of international agreements have cemented the fundamental structure of international interactions so that real change will involve massive discord with our trading partners , (though I suspect we would not have much trouble with China) . We would likely be severely sanctioned by US and EU . We shouldn’t expect too much.
    D J S

    • LOSTRELIC says:

      The bottom line is, truly effective change can’t come from above. One of the key strategies of right wing politics since the early days of television has been to remove ordinary members of the public from the political sphere. At that time in particular, the public, to a greater degree than at any time in the past, became passive observers – no longer engaged in the every-day activities that go on around them. That’s because consumption and passivity were built into the medium. Politics became something that was read from on high, by “important people”, who dictated “the news of the day”. I think prior to this politics was a much more engaged affair.

      This removal of ordinary people from the public sphere helped set the stage for the the rise of the Reagan/Thatcher reforms.

      The internet of course has contributed further to this process. One cannot be both a passive consumer, and also an active participant in society at the same time. Academics and socially minded critics often straddle difficult lines between public engagement, research, authorship and advocacy.

      Certainly I’m not advocating third world-style violence, but we have gone too far towards passivity and disengagement. This has allowed society to erode.

      Chomsky often points out that we live in a very atomised society. That’s no accident.

      The challenge is how to get people engaged again, get people genuinely connecting with themselves and with one another again. I believe a regular people’s assemblage following ethical, compassionate, and democratic principles (to the best degree possible) and consciously outside of mainstream politics may be the best solution. But you know what they say, opinions are like arseholes – everybody has one and they all stink. But there are strategies that can be used to reduce the influence of egotism and increase the likelihood of responsible/social outcomes – we just don’t use them (or very little).

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    “Over-laying those two threads are the desperate scrambling’s of a decaying third term government; the rise of a new, popular leader (this time on the Left); and an unreconstructed, vindictive side of New Zealand society”.

    Nice to see the demise of the right wing junta.

    They were such a toxic lot that are even today floating more selloff of our assets with a new Public Private Partnership of another Auckland school as natZ say “it wont cost the taxpayer anything”

    Fuck off lying NatZ!!!!!

    The taxpayer paid for those schools and now you are effectively selling at least half of the asset off as a “partnership” and maybe they have a clause that says after three years the private party will own all the asset, so how do we know that is not going to happen?????

    Bloody lairs all.

    Get rid of them on 23rd September before we loose everything folks.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Its good to see Frank didn’t forget to place the capital ‘ H’ on Rimmers forehead.

      User pays my bloody backside.

      Remember the lies about govt waste? … To justify selling all S.O.E’s off to their oligarch / multinational mates ?

      Remember Thatcher and her B.S thing about TINA ( There IS No Alternative ) ?

      Remember all our state owned assets flogged off at bargain basement prices?… and the massive demonstrations against that that went on for years ?

      Remember Fay Richwhite and the BNZ? … And ‘ Sir’ Albert Henry ?

      Remember the B.S about a level playing field and privatization would create more competition thus lower electricity prices et al?

      What a load of crap , what a load of bloody bald faced lies. And these aresholes have the cheek to insist on student loans – where not only did these politicians receive a free education due to people paying for it through taxes at a time when we had decent bloody wages to do so ,- the tax was arranged in such a way that high income earners could afford to pay their fair share , – now , – high income earners and multinationals pay bugger all towards anything proportionately and low waged workers now pay disproportionately far larger slice of the tax pie. No wonder the neo liberals had to become such deft liars.

      And here we have the same wankers bleating on about tax cuts…

      ……………………………….

      Tax cuts. The Right love to go on about tax cuts.

      Yet , the fact is , on a current low wage P.A.Y.E income , HOW CAN a small percentage tax cut per the dollar beat an extra dollar or two per hour ?

      Tax cuts are only a token gesture at best.

      Oh yes , … tax cuts are good when you are a high income earner , because proportionately that money stack will see a significant difference. Same with the interest paid when that cool million is sitting in a bank , – OR , invested and gaining dividends of some sort.

      Besides the fact that the same high income earners salary is WAY ABOVE the rate of inflation.

      CONTRAST THAT , … with the low wage earner on the minimum wage and EVERY last dollar counts. Where every dollar is allocated towards bills and the basics needed for survival before the pay packet even finds its way to the workers hands. So much so , – that if anything were to happen to that more – than – a – decade old vehicle in failing to get a warrant , it creates a crisis. And if children become sick , a trip to the doctors can mean the difference between heating the home or paying the rent on time.

      THAT ,… is how critical thousands of New Zealanders lives are at present.

      THAT IS NOT A DEFINITION of a successful economy. It is , … however a graphic illustration of the grim reality’s of modern life for tens of thousands of New Zealanders currently living under a political ideology designed for the few ,- not the many.

      And while National , ACT ,… or any other far Right wing ideologically led political party or movement may crow about how successful the economy is ,- and using biased economists reports that say the same , – THERE CAN BE NO SUCCESS as long as peoples wages languish way below or even at the point of inflation.

      There can be no success as long as family’s sleep in cars because they cannot afford rents. There can be no success as long as hundreds of children are admitted to hospital each year ( and die – primarily from pneumonia – or are affected by bronchiostasis due to repeated lung infections which permanently scars lung tissue / 350 per year – and health officials describe these as ‘ Third World ‘ diseases… ) because their parents cannot afford to heat their homes. There can be no success as long as people on average wages cannot afford to buy a house because of an out of control property market and wages cant keep up.

      That is not success, – that is failure. Worse yet , it is a deliberate failure designed to create a large pool of working poor to enable an increase of profit for the few only. And that is the worst aspect of this deception. That it is deliberate.

      There is absolutely no point in quoting some economists opinion on a country’s economic health that says it is robust and growing while any of these and more chronic conditions exist year in , year out. Such opinions should lead only to the derisive mocking of the one who offered it.

      I have read both Labour , NZ First and the Greens are talking of raising the minimum wage to $20.00 per hour. And even that is now just barely enough to confidently pay for the costs of living in an economy that some boast is doing so well. Yet that is something that should have occurred at least a decade ago to stave off the extreme levels of poverty now seen in this country in the year 2017.

      Too little , too late from National.

      Bill English’s ambitious dream of the South Pacific low waged economy with its pool of compliant peasant workers to generate huge profits for the oligarchs is over.

      We will not miss him or National.

  3. savenz says:

    As well as a paid tertiary education you have forgotten to mention now it is has become a user pays in the primary and secondary sectors.

    Under National standards parents are expected to ‘donate’ hundreds of dollars a year per child (yep it is not a donation as children are penalised if their parents don’t pay it) as the ‘donations’ have become essential to fund the schools.

    I know of cases in Auckland where Parents are also expected to fund their own teachers aids as this service is practically impossible to qualify for government help to a child, even if a child has autism. Parents are also expected to pay for specialist care for their children costing 100’s of dollars per hour if they have any learning disability.

    Under National standards about 30% of children ‘fail’ the standard. However after identifying the child has not met the standard, there is often zero funding such as additional teachers or teacher’s aids to actually help the significant amount of children who have failed the standard to give them additional help to actually catch up to meet the standard.

    Therefore it is completely ludicrous to waste teachers time on identifying needs in children, but then the child and parent are on their own as education has become about testing rather than teaching under National.

    Apparently 1 in 7 children now suffer anxiety – which the testing culture creates. As well as inequality of wealth NZ now has a crisis of inequality of education happening under our own noses for primary and secondary school children.

    Most swimming pools have also been removed from primary and secondary schools so parents have to pay for private swimming lessons compulsory in the school levy, and also drama is also an ‘extra charge’ to private providers in some schools. I don’t even think they employ speech therapists anymore. It’s a brave new world out there which is now discriminating and labelling children as young as 5 a failure.

    The curriculum has dangerously narrowed to support a very narrow skill set of skills while not supporting others. The National government is so incompetent that even those narrow skills like Maths they are trying to focus and put funding into on have actually decreased in children in NZ.

    All this means that you could easily be paying tertiary amount fees for a primary or secondary education to get a worse primary or secondary education you used to get without any charges as part of decent society 30 years ago.

    Primary and Secondary school education has now become a treadmill that does not stop or individualise for children and will be creating a new version of inequality for the next generation.

  4. savenz says:

    More on the disastrous National standards.

    National Standards 2016:
    Reading: Year 1–8 average 77.8% Māori 68.8% Pasifika 66%
    Maths: Year 1–8 average 75.4% Māori 65.3% Pasifika 62.7%
    Writing: Year 1–8 average 77.1% Māori 61.6% Pasifika 60.5%

    The overall averages have completely stagnated over the last three years. One of the more astounding statistics of our education system is that the numbers for Maths and Writing actually trend down the longer children are in primary and intermediate schooling.

    National Standards 2016:
    Maths: Year 8 average 70.7%
    Writing: Year 8 average 69.3%

    A cursory reading of this says that by Year 8 30 per cent of our school students are functionally illiterate and innumerate. What on earth has happened in those eight years of education (40 weeks per year, five days a week, six hours a day)? Keep in mind that the 2016 statistics are the children who started school in 2008 or 2009.

    Source: http://educationcentral.co.nz/opinion-alwyn-poole-nine-reasons-national-standards-arent-working-and-other-issues-with-our-education-system/

  5. Tom Gardner says:

    Fair points. As a superannuitant who had near-free tertiary education, and including a boarding allowance to attend university away from my home town, I see it as desperately unfair that the next generation (including my offspring) have had to wear this millstone; a certain amount of help from the Bank of Dad being seen as only the right thing to do.

    One thing that is different now, is the number attending tertiary institutions; it must be severalfold what it was in my day (the 60s). So the expense of universal near-free education would be substantial. But taking the broader view, in fact the cost may well be worth it.

    Similarly for schools, who need to organise fund-raisers and to seek parental contributions just to keep going. Didn’t happen when I was a kiddy-winkle.

  6. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Very good Frank (as always)!

    Maybe a group of real wags could go around with stick on “E” letters and paste them over the “N” on ACT’s stupid billboards?

    “Owe your future”…

  7. reason says:

    The Money is available for a return to free education … a better resourced public health sector … and many other things …

    Shutting down the loopholes that our Banks, corporatioons and selfish rich use …. would leave every New Zealander who does not use a tax haven better off ….

    Four banks …. $2.2 Billion recovered …. approximatly 100 X larger than ALL benefit fraud recovered that year ,

    $22 million versus $2.2 Billion

    “….As for authorities letting down the public, Molloy tees off on the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). He looks at the IRD’s December 2009, NZ$2.2 billion settlement with ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac over structured finance tax disputes, or as he puts it: “The four major New Zealand banks’ multi-billion dollar assault on the New Zealand tax system.”

    Molloy notes that the settlement saw the banks agreeing to pay 80% of what IRD said they owed, and that prior to settling the IRD had won two High Court cases, one against BNZ and the other against Westpac. He suggests the full amount IRD could have sought from the banks, if penalties were included, amounted to about NZ$2.75 billion.

    “(So) effectively a gift was being made to the banks of at least three quarters of a billion dollars.”

    Yet Russell described the settlement as a very good result for New Zealand taxpayers.

    “The ‘taxpayers of New Zealand,’ for whom the Commissioner was arrogating the right to speak, might have differed from his view that rewarding this anti-social assault on the New Zealand economy with a gift of three quarters of a billion dollars at their expense had been a ‘very good result’.”

    “It is the sort of thing Dr Goebbels might have said,” Molloy adds… http://www.interest.co.nz/news/56209/finance-companies-collapsed-because-regulators-courts-lawyers-and-accountants-were

    And ..

    “In March a New Zealand Herald investigation revealed that Apple had paid zero tax in New Zealand in the past decade, despite selling billions of dollars’ worth of products to New Zealanders.

    Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said: “New Zealand and many other countries around the world are missing out on crucial tax revenue from companies like Apple; money that could be invested in education, healthcare and infrastructure.” https://www.oxfam.org.nz/news/us-companies-stashing-16-trillion-shore

  8. Z says:

    There has been a change to funding of teacher aids that help learning disabled.

    Anyone who still believes education at primary through secondary (or even just up to a reasonable standard) needs to talk with parents of these kids. Costs of additional tutoring are fucking brutal.

  9. […] on from several political parties expressing varying degrees of a gradual move back to state-funded tertiary education, Fran O’Sullivan – the doyen of the Right and nominally an “impartial” […]

  10. Danyl Strype says:

    It needs to be pointed out that “neo-liberalism/globalisation” are not the same thing, despite the claims of the UKIP and Tumpers that they are. Globalization has been going on for thousands of years, and has taken many forms. Some of them have been horrifying, such as European colonization and neo-liberal corporatism. Others have been more beneficial, such as increases in the freedom to travel and work internationally, a freedom which is particularly important for people from small, remote countries like Aotearoa.

    UKIP and Trump want to get rid of the latter, but are actually big fans of the white supremacist and business-first aspects of neo-colonization and neo-liberalism. This is what distinguishes right-wing opponents of globalization from left-wing opponents of neo-liberalism. The left replacement for “neo-liberalism” lies not in a return to a mythical golden age of isolated nations, but in policies that allow everyone (human and non-human) to benefit from international cooperation. Policies like UBI, free access to health and education, or major reform of copyrights and patents to enable greater sharing of knowledge and cultural works.

    • Sam Sam says:

      What is NZDF for if pollies suck up to merica who is in a pissing contest with China, and China is one of New Zealand’s largest trading partners if not the largest. This for me is a compelling argument for a more independent foreign policy and NZDF.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Nope . Got to disagree.You started off OK , but in my opinion , ( at least) lost it at the second paragraph.

      There were two reasons why Trump wanted a wall and why Trump wanted to tax American company’s who relocated offshore.

      The first , was to prevent illegal immigration , .. and , often using that example , the spread of drug cartels and Mexican / South American gangs such as MS 13 , which ,… although originating in California , was made up primarily of South American / Mexican immigrants , – many of them illegal.

      And you do not trifle with MS 13 or their offshoots or imitators. They will kill you in your sleep as soon as look at you. How do think a politician is going to react to parents who have had their daughters raped and murdered?

      By being seen to take action.

      And to a point , – fair enough , notice I said ‘to a point ‘. But something has to be done. Its easy to sit here thousands of miles away and feeling totally untouchable through distance and pronounce judgement , … but for the American people is is a REAL CONCERN.

      Secondly , we have the situation of company’s relocating offshore to take advantage of foreign low wage economy’s. I worked as security 2 years ago for a company that contracted out to an iconic NZ white-ware company , – who , – the year before I started had made many thousands of New Zealanders redundant… and took advantage of even cheaper wages in South Est Asia, South America and the like by relocating to those destinations …

      Basically , … taking advantage of the FIRE economy that Prof. Jane Kelsey has warned us about.

      And yet what Donald J Trump has done is create an amnesty situation , – ‘ If you choose to stay in America and employ Americans , … then you get a tax incentive for that ‘ ,… ‘ However , – if you choose to relocate offshore, take advantage of third world wages , – and then try to sell that produce back to Americans , you will incur a tax, – in the form of trade tariffs ‘.

      And that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FREEDOM TO TRAVEL AND WORK INTERNATIONALLY.

      NOTHING WHATSOEVER.

      You can still accept a job in another country , you can travel ,… but if you are a company , a multinational trying to advance the cause of cheap labour , low taxation – or worse – NO taxation …

      Then you are an arsehole.

      And you deserve to be penalized and taxed, … why ?… because you are robbing the country of your birth through not paying your taxes and encouraging the perpetuation of the slave wage labourer.

      In short ?… you are nothing but a parasite on humanity.

      As for the rest …Policies like UBI, free access to health and education, or major reform of copyrights and patents to enable greater sharing of knowledge and cultural works.

      No problem. But first , – you must take into consideration human nature and human greed ( major reform of copyrights and patents ) , and the fact that those who often hold the purse strings .. are far from those who want a ‘ greater sharing of knowledge and cultural works ‘.

      100% to you , DANYL STRYPE , always admired your posts and supported them.

      But in my 54 years of living on this planet, one thing I have learnt (sadly ) is that there are many , many , many out there that just do not think the same way as you and I do. And they will try to play you like a song . Social services and church leaders know them well. As sly manipulators.

      Thus … Nationalism , on a positive side at least … is to ensure your community is prospering so as to give out in compassion to others and uplift them , – if they will play the game and contribute in some way for the next wave of the needy . Otherwise it all collapses in some sort of short term greedy opportunism. You are a bit like Frank MacsKasy , – another whose opinions I respect. And dear old Martyn ! I’m not writing to antagonize at all.

      Peace.

    • David Stone says:

      I think globalism as the term is being used in the modern context is referring to the globalism of capital. IE.the enablement of multinational companies to utilise the resources of very nation on the globe for the enrichment of the investors in and senior executives of these companies.
      Not so much the sharing of ideas and culture among the common people of the nations of the world. That has indeed been going on forever.
      D J S

      • Sam Sam says:

        The underlying philosophy is a rules based global order backed by hard currency instead of he who has the biggest guns. Only flaw is pollies and the mainstream economics that under pin all of his refuse to acknowledge that bankers print money as well. Giving bankers an unfair advantage over the rest of us. And by unfair I mean the plebs get suckered once more.

  11. Mike the Lefty says:

    “After a bruising week, Bill English enjoys the adoration in Tauranga”
    So goes the stuffy.co.nz headline.
    It doesn’t sound quite so convincing when you understand that Tauranga is a seat that has been safe National since 1938, with the exception of Winston Peters’ three terms in the 90s.
    If Bill has to go to the heart of urban Toryland to make himself feel better then National’s campaign must really be flagging.
    My heart bleeds!

  12. […] Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi) […]

  13. […] blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 September […]

  14. […] Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi) […]

  15. […] on from several political parties expressing varying degrees of a gradual move back to state-funded tertiary education, Fran O’Sullivan – the doyen of the Right and nominally an “impartial” […]

  16. […] Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi) […]

  17. […] Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi) […]