Come on Labour – please stop digging holes!

By   /   September 15, 2017  /   51 Comments

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The middle-class leaders of the Labour Party do not feel the deep resentment working people have to being taxed to death and then having charges imposed on us for things that should be free – like health and education.

The Labour Party’s decision to go back to the official policy of not making any changes to any taxes until they have been presented prior to the next election was the only choice they could make – given the hole they had dug for themselves.

This was actually the policy announced earlier in the year by Andrew Little. He argued that the current system was completely unfair and needed a complete overhaul. That is demonstrably true. Working people in this country are heavily taxed compared to the owners of accumulated wealth.

The second part of the Labour Party argument which I don’t accept was that this could only be done once they were in government.

There are a whole array of changes that could be implemented to make the system fairer. There could be higher marginal rates applied for those on very high income. There could be capital gains taxes, higher company taxes, abolishing tax write-offs available to those receiving income from shares, wealth taxes, death duties brought back. We could also look a financial transaction taxes as an alternative to the regressive GST.

None of these need to be scary to people if the package clearly shows that the net result is that the big majority of working people paid less tax and received higher incomes while the wealthy paid their share of taxes for the first time.

The Labour feared being dubbed the “tax and spend” party. The Party leaders seem to fear losing the approval of the business class and the right-wing economists and commentators they pay for than they do in disappointing their own supporters.

The Labour Party plan was to suck the oxygen out of the accusations by promising no new taxes before the next election.

Whatever its merits or lack of them, that was Labour’s strategy. But for some reason, it was all thrown into chaos by a comment from the new party leader Jacinda Adern that they may have to bring in the capital gains tax earlier to deal with the housing crisis. I think it was a throw-away line that she felt she couldn’t resile from afterwards for some reason.

That opened the door to a frenetic assault by the National Party and every reactionary commentator in the country to claim Labour was planning a whole new range of taxes that would hurt the 60% of families that own their own homes and the many others who directly or indirectly have virtually all their savings in housing in some form.

Capital Gains Taxes will be needed in some form. But they can only be introduced as part of a rejig of the whole unfair taxation system that clearly changes the weight of tax burden from working people to the rich.

The problem here is that Jacinda’s comment overturned the whole strategy that had been prepared for the election that claimed Labour was “fiscally responsible”. Proof of that was that they would only promise to tax and spend what the current government was already planning to tax and spend for.  This included only using the numbers Treasury gives them, continuing to run budget surpluses and reducing the government debt, not increasing the size of the government relative to the economy as a whole, and no new taxes.

But Labour needed some extra money for their spending plans so they announced they would can

cel the $2 billion a year tax cut promised by the National Party next year. This tax cut did disproportionately benefit the rich with $400 million of that cut going to the top 10% of earners. But the other $1.6 billion would go mostly to working people on average or low incomes.

Telling those people they have to wait three years for any tax relief is obviously a risky strategy.

The middle-class leaders of the Labour Party do not feel the deep resentment working people have to being taxed to death and then having charges imposed on us for things that should be free – like health and education.

But even with the income from the tax cuts, there are huge unfunded, unmet needs in a whole range of areas that can’t be properly dealt with when there are no other revenue sources.

The Labour Party’s own budget projections have an increase in income that was 1.6% higher than National over four years and expenditure that was 2.3% higher than National’s plans. That’s not going to pay for very much in the way of improvements.

This is where the allegations of there being a “hole” in Labour’s budget projections have some merit even though Finance Minister Steven Joyce’s claims that spending was not being accounted for in the draft budget projections was not true.

But in Labour’s budget, there is much that can only be dubbed smoke and mirrors.

In the Treasury projections, there was $11.7 billion in unallocated spending over the next three years. This was to cover future demands from population growth or new spending plans for the entire government budget. What Labour did was simply reduce that number to $4.5 billion and allocate $7.2 billion to two particular areas – health and education. This means that for every other area of government expenditure there is around $1 billion a year in total being made available for additional demand or new expenditure. That is virtually zero when we are talking about the overall expenditure of the government of around $80 billion a year with Social Welfare a third of that.

Where is the money for all the pay increases that are long overdue in many sectors? How can we end the punitive regime being run by WINZ to stop people getting their rightful access to support if there is no funding available for the benefits that should be being paid to people now?

It is quite likely that the very modest improvements that are being promised in Health and Education will be paid for by a severe austerity regime in every other area of government expenditure.

That is the inevitable consequences of “fiscal responsibility” and not proposing any new taxes on the very wealthy.

It would have been better if the Labour Party in New Zealand had gone to the electorate with a costed tax and benefit plan like the UK Labour Party did. Their budget included tax increases for the rich and companies as part of an overall much fairer tax system. They told everyone who would pay more and who would pay less. Their plan was welcomed enthusiastically by millions.

The Labour Party in this country has accomplished a generation change in the party leadership that the people are enthusiastically welcoming. They are investing in that change their hopes that it represents a genuine change in direction. If that leadership change could be matched by a vision of how society could be run – “for the many, not the few” as the UK Labour Party slogan encapsulated – that hope could become something meaningful.

 

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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union

51 Comments

  1. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Well I guess this is the consequence of Labour NOT cleaning out the neo-liberal garbage still well entrenched.

    I told you so etc etc…

  2. Michal says:

    In my view it is gutless that they backed away from the tax thing. To be frank they have piles of resources in parliament and they should have had something pretty much ready to go they are pathetic. we have to tax more fairly, those on the bottom of the heap shouldn’t be paying anything and big business and those up the toop should pay a lot more, I recently read somewhere that in one country they pay 95c in the dollar when they are own over $X – they don’t have a great exit from their country.

    In the interests of us all more tax has to be gathered including those US companies that trade here like Facebook etc. And what about the $1.3billion in tax evasion who has said anything about that. Much easier to go after the beneficiaries and the $30m they apparently have evaded.

    I want tax funded health, education, prison reform, welfare etc. None of this nonsense about not being able to afford these things. We can we have to stand up and say we can and we will. If money is the great god for thsoe at the top of the food chain then they can buggar off to some other country, they won’t then have the privileges of living in this wonderful country.

    We could do with way less charities. Fancy it getting so low that we have to have a charity hospital in Christchurch! That is despicable.

    The best thing that has happened in the past 24 hours is the woman working in a fruit packing place on the minimum wage who took on English. She said herself on RNZ this morning that she had no idea how tough it was for so many pleople until she moved to do this job.

  3. countryboy says:

    “…resentment working people have to being taxed to death and then having charges imposed on us for things that should be free – like health and education. ”

    Could the reason for why people feel resentment at being taxed for essential societal infrastructure is because Labour excreted parasitic roger douglas et al from it’s calloused arse who then sold off such infrastructure which has never been properly addressed with a commission of inquiry. No wonder people are gun shy re paying more taxes. That’s left us with the likelihood of coming up with all sorts of hair brained, self defeating conspiracy theories for around that time.
    That was our stuff. Not theirs. We need it back. We should be demanding that stuff and those things back. Labour should be enabling that process since it was Labour from whom the worms wriggled.
    As for the use of the word ‘free’ in conjunction with the likes of health and education etc.
    Health and education etc can never be truly ‘ free’. ( It can certainly pay for itself many times over if it means healthy, well educated people of course. ) It’s paid for, by us, via the tax we pay. That’s why it’d be vital for Labour to re sex up tax paying per se BEFORE they make tax increase statements just prior to a potentially record breaking, bloodless political coup. That has to be done with finesse. Particularly given the above re parasites selling off our stuff to create private wealth for them and their mates. alan gibbs anyone?
    Paying tax is perfectly fine and should be done happily and without malice. If one wants to live within a democracy, one must have a FAIR tax system enthusiastically contributed to. Not continually demonised as some kind of baby eating, evil entity.
    Inevitably though, any tax system will become infected with the likes of the above parasites and once again , we, The Democracy, have to go to the trouble of taking a dose worm tablets. Which I believe is what’s happening at this very moment.
    Jacinda. We’re not dogs however. You just can’t ram worm tablets down our mangy throats. We need to be cuddled and kissed and led by the collar! We need assurances and clarity. We also need to see those who fucked us over made to atone. That’s a vital part of the curative process and after more than thirty years of criminal activity or what’s quaintly termed ‘ neo liberalism’ we certainly need to be handled with soft mittens and no small amount of delicate urgency.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      … ” Particularly given the above re parasites selling off our stuff to create private wealth for them and their mates. alan gibbs anyone?

      Paying tax is perfectly fine and should be done happily and without malice. If one wants to live within a democracy, one must have a FAIR tax system enthusiastically contributed to. Not continually demonised as some kind of baby eating, evil entity.

      Inevitably though, any tax system will become infected with the likes of the above parasites and once again , we, The Democracy, have to go to the trouble of taking a dose worm tablets. Which I believe is what’s happening at this very moment.

      Jacinda. We’re not dogs however. You just can’t ram worm tablets down our mangy throats. We need to be cuddled and kissed and led by the collar! We need assurances and clarity. We also need to see those who fucked us over made to atone. That’s a vital part of the curative process and after more than thirty years of criminal activity or what’s quaintly termed ‘ neo liberalism’ we certainly need to be handled with soft mittens and no small amount of delicate urgency ” …

      This chap speaketh the truth.

      My apologies for including such a large portion , but it is unavoidable. All the high notes were hit upon. The above is what afflicts us currently as a society , … and the hard blunt truths , – and remedy’s for it , – are provided.

      And as a background to validate and expand on just why we have reached the positions we now find ourselves in , I like to include this razor sharp, analytical and paraphrased historical perspective whenever there is the need for reeducation on those born AFTER the 1984 neo liberal deconstruction of our nation and society:

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      I have not as yet , … found a more honest and compact , succinct and accurate paraphrased version of recent NZ political history to explain the plight in which so many impoverished New Zealanders now find themselves in and the very people responsible for that impoverishment.

    • Marc says:

      Countryboy, if you would understand German, you would know that the same shit goes on worldwide, All Farmers get screwed left, right and centre, suicide is epidemic and the pieces are picked up by relatives and society, it is a huge crime that goes on, and sadly urban trendies do not connect and get it:
      http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/Filme-im-Ersten/Die-Kinder-meines-Bruders/Das-Erste/Video?bcastId=1933898&documentId=45958248

      Just one very sad story, showing the nastiness of society as we have it, NZ Inc, Germany, France or anywhere else. Farmers are the unpaid slaves of modern times, except the big ones employing cheap slave labour.

      Henc e:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F_9FEx7ymg&list=RD7F_9FEx7ymg

  4. savenz says:

    Tax is a thorny issue. There are now so many hidden taxes and user pays taxes for those not deemed poor enough. Then there are people who can structure their tax affairs so that they look poor and can pick up more welfare like WFF.

    Mike Treen said he was probably paying a very high level of tax when you counted up all the different taxes like GST etc. The top headline tax on 33% is not relevant if you are honest because it’s just the start of the amount of taxes everyone is paying.

    That is why there needs to be a real overhaul of taxation looking at how globalism and neoliberalism has changed the ability of governments to currently fairly tax people and in particular businesses and entities like trusts. In the 21st century lawyers are advising individuals to put their assets in trusts just to protect them from relationship splits, being sued etc. It’s a nuts system that has got out of control. But that’s now average Joe giving cover to those who are using them in other ways to avoid tax.

    The Panama papers showed how laughable it all is, with politicians being one of the main users of offshore tax havens. Then there are the ‘charities’ in our 0% tax havens in NZ who give more charity to lawyers than actually charity. It just goes on and on.

    Part of the resistance to capital gains taxes in NZ is that there is a perception that only honest tax payers will pay it.

    Those with trusts, multiple residencies, assets in other’s names, money launderers and fraudsters, those who simply moved into NZ and never got around to putting in a tax return (but nobody seems to care), will simply do as they currently do, and rout the system. Nobody minds – far easier to tax a local person or company on the radar already paying their taxes.

    I know someone who runs a construction business for 40 years and employs a team of people. He gets audited every few years by IRD.

    I know of another person who came to NZ a few decades ago, bought up a lot of property and has it in different children’s names, never has worked in NZ or pays taxes, never declares rents, and now receives a NZ pension due to a relationship. More and more relatives are arriving, the successful children educated in NZ work overseas. That person has never been audited or even seems to be on the IRD radar. There is absolutely no way that person would pay a capital gains tax. They would simply not declare it, and a child would have it as their ‘family home’ in any way and not fall under the rules.

    We have a citizen who gambled $550 million at Sky City and considered one of China’s most wanted men . But nothing to see there, a few millions here and there between China and government and 4 months home detention at their mansion solves that. Billionaires who share with governments, have their own legal system these days.

    We have Dick Smith going bankrupt and all their employees losing their jobs, consumer losing their deposits, IRD losing their taxes, and creditors losing their money, after somehow going from $100 million to $400 million to bankrupt in 1 year. Wonderful how that $300 million is ok to disappear and then everyone else loses.

    Globalism has complicated tax fairness.

    Due to that I think that transaction taxes on all money are the way to go with all these on and off again residents and businesses who pay no taxes here but are using NZ in various ways (such as gambling $550 million), stamp duty on property that has to be paid as soon as you buy it (or change it into various parties names to keep avoiding taxes) and taxes on businesses that turn over record turnover but somehow through payments to other entities just seem to make a profit.

    Yearly land tax on property held by offshore residents and businesses.

    Often (such as the Cadbury case) multinationals are actually just are legally what looks like fraud in a lay person’s terms, borrowing money, sending it to other offshore companies in return for ‘intellectual property’ or the like, until they destroy the local business and the factory closes down.

    There needs to be a complete overhaul. Don’t just think people are against capital gains because they don’t want to pay the taxes, it is a lot more complicated than that. People want tax fairness. What has been bandied about will not bring that. Look at the UK, has every tax under the sun on property, still a basket case.

    People also increasingly don’t trust the so called economist ‘experts’ after being burnt again and again by their advice that takes money and jobs away from local taxpayers but seems to enrich the banks and offshore entities, such as the GFC.

  5. Patricia Bremner says:

    What about the 10 billion for roads?? Other dubious listed items, bridges?

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      What about the winding down of all ‘essential’ services national has cut at the same time the immigration was increased???

      They cut funding for essential infrustructure while increasing people!!!

      That is a disaster waiting to happen!!!!

      So lookout Labour you are being handed a dead rat from Bill’s corrupted National Party, as they hastily leave their books in a bloody mess wait and see.

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        Seems to be the pattern ,… let the plebs have their runaway fun ,… their little time in the sun under National ,… then let Labour in for a time to straighten things out ,…

        As COUNTRYBOY often says ,… we are being played,… by the Banks.

        NZ is a goldmine ,… and the London based Mont Pelerin Society and their NZ branch the ‘ NZ Initiative ‘ have been playing us all like a song since 1984.

        • countryboy says:

          You’re very kind @ W . K .
          You might find this interesting.

          Fuck the Banks!

          Imagine metaphorically replacing marijuana with food, something we Kiwi’s do well. Food’s something we’d find hard to not consume. ‘Food’ isn’t a trend that might disappear tomorrow or the next day once out of fashion. ‘Food’ is here to stay and yet NZ Farmers ( Excluding cowsploiters. Sorry guys but you’re just small scale factories. You’re not farmers. ) are constantly at a crisis point. But why?

          Again. Fuck the Banks.

          To quote a passage in the link:

          “Matt Stannard of Commonomics USA, a group that advocates for a commons-based economy, said California could deposit revenue in a public bank, use that money to make loans, and recycle any profits toward state projects. This is what North Dakota has done to the tune of $85 million in the past four years. Stannard previously said that as the sixth-largest economy in the world, California’s path forward will carry much weight. If California decides to move forward with a publicly-owned bank, the implications are bound to resonate throughout the country’s banking sector.”

          https://boingboing.net/2017/08/23/legal-california-weed-could-le.html?utm_source=moreatbb&utm_medium=nextpost&utm_campaign=nextpostthumbnails

          The problem with Commons-Based economies is that it seems to surgically slice out the worthless middle persons and the banking ‘ sector’ is just one strata.

          NZ, and alarmingly NZ Farmers have no real idea of just how mind bendingly fucking amazing we could all have it once rid of the parasites.

  6. Black Lemming says:

    Labour has done the right thing to put out the National fire on ” 7 Extra taxes ” because it was starting to work and erode support . Its a classic Republican tactic to instill fear to stop people voting for” tax and spend “democrats .Nothing new here but still effective given Labours vagueness on exactly what they intended.

    This strategic move should put the upward escalator of the Jacindamainia back on track with one week to go but it comes at a price .

    Should Labour win they are now unable to reform the tax sysytem for at least 3 yrs , which must make wealthy National people very happy indeed .

    If Labour is short on revenue a royalty of 10c per litre on export bottled water with 75 bottling plants and a net export of 32 billion litres currently consented ,gives a net revenue of $ 3.2 billion.

    A very significant $ 9.6 Billion over a 3 year term .Wake up Labour.

    Currently the Greens want to charge 10c and Labour 1c per litre for premium water.The greens policy is better at 10c , with the Fiji Govt charging 15 c per litre for premium export water, so its quite doable.

    I would suggest to Labour/Greens that there is a very big rabbit they could pull from the hat to offset any social spending shortfalls if they can’t alter the current tax structure.

    Labours ” No new taxes ” is a significant blow to progressive income redistribution and they are beginning to look more and more like Nationalite, but by pulling the the water bunny out of the hat they still may achieve a very sound financial plan .

    On another point ,while I love Jaccinda , both National (no changes ) and Labour ( 1 change ) are now fully committed to TPP-11 which is horrendous and I have no intention of supporting the TPPA given its proven capacity to undermine our sovereignty ,environment, public health and workers rights. So….

    If you want TPP -Party Vote Labour

    If you don’t want TPP – Party Vote Green./NZF

    The greens are starting to look more and more useful .

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes Black lemming,

      you have it sussed.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Some good stuff there , mate… I like that there water tax you worked out.

      Suits a nationalist like this kid,… so that offsets much of any potential tax discrepancy while making these foreign multinational / corporations pair their fair share.

      You’re singing my sort of tune.

      And your right about the TTPA thing, … now that’s something we need to hold them to account with. Its also where the Greens and even NZ First come in in opposing the TTPA ,… but on the whole ?… Kiwis will do a whole lot better with a Labour / Greens / NZ First coalition than under National / ACT / All Sundry Globalists.

  7. Mike the Lefty says:

    I wonder why no interviewer has asked Bill English to rule out any rises in GST, death duties, withdrawl tax, petrol taxes, motor registration, ACC levies, road tolls, etc.?
    Probably because they have been told by their masters not to deflate the myth that National are the low tax party and to save Bill English from having to own up to telling more lies.

    • bert says:

      Well let’s take motor registration as an example. The decrease in MVR lasted 12 months, so there was clearly a rise in taxes. I don’t know how many people have picked up on this but it is certainly one to attack National on.

  8. Ovicula says:

    Our Labour Party has no one with cojones. They are a bunch of cowed dogs in front of the media and the property speculating middle class. They offer nothing but fake empathy, but living in a car still stinks even when the government feels bad about it. Suicide doesn’t stop being a problem because of a few tears.
    They have learned nothing from Sanders or Corbyn, but seem inspired by FJK and his aspiration. By accepting that taxes are bad, they have lost the war. They’ll probably win the election, but anything that changes will be due to the Greens component.
    We need class warriors and what we get is a bunch of neoliberal social workers.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Be patient , grasshopper,…

      We are in a war,… a literal class war… and our enemy is the far right, … far right neo liberalism in a battle for hearts and minds.

      Sun Tzu’s 31 Best Pieces Of Leadership Advice – Forbes
      https://www.forbes.com/…/ericjackson/…/sun-tzus-33-best-pieces-of-leadership-advice…

      ………………………………..

      * If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

      *If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.

      *Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest.

      *If his forces are united, separate them.

      *IF SOVEREIGN AND SUBJECT ARE IN ACCORD, PUT DIVISION BETWEEN THEM.

      *Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

      *The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

      *Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

      *Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.

      *All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

      …………………………………

      We win this war one step at a time, … and after EACH VICTORY ,… we go on to consolidate our position .

      Thus we take the high grounds and win the advantage. One valuable step after the last one. Using tactics, strategy , and attrition.

      We cannot lose this war.

      And that’s a fact.

  9. Dave says:

    Laabour simply want to tax everybody, especially the worker to pay fo some wildly expensive and unrealistic promises. For example, thousands of ks of light rail may be nice, but the working family have different priorities.

    • For example, thousands of ks of light rail may be nice, but the working family have different priorities.

      What, like being stuck for hours in traffic congestion trying to get to and from their workplaces? A bit of rail public transport might be a solution there, Dave, if you considered it outside of your anti-Labour prism.

      Do you level the same criticism against the Nats for their committment to the Auckland rail loop as a “wildly expensive and unrealistic promise”? Or only when it comes from Labour?

  10. redbush says:

    Having become a small business owner who has to pay company taxes, I now appreciate that increasing company tax hits small family business owners like me hard. It creams off profits from the very people who could be creating jobs. Those who haven’t been in business just see companies as tax cash-cows they can milk for bigger benefits. Why not let them create better paying jobs instead? I’m not suggesting lower taxes, just the same as everybody else.

    • Redbush;

      Well, I’ve been in business as well. In the early 1990s, to be specific. Just in time for Ruth Richardson’s diabolical ‘Mother of All Budgets’ which sent the economy into a recessionary tail-spin, and that was the end of that little enterprise for me (and my staff).

      But as for ” I’m not suggesting lower taxes, just the same as everybody else” – Really?! You can write of your electricity, transport, and other costs against your business. Even taking out your family to dinner can be written of against your taxation as “entertainment”. (Don’t tell me you don’t – any halfway decent accountant would give you that advice.)

      Contrast that with working families that don’t get to write of their expenses against their taxes, or claim for GST, and then bleat on about ” I’m not suggesting lower taxes, just the same as everybody else”.

      Your little whine about “creating jobs” would be more credible if there weren’t at least 128,000 New Zealanders out of work (HLFS, June 2017 Quarter), whilst your fellow employers campaigned and lobbied National for for cheaper, exploitable, migrant labour.

      Employers demand skilled labour but many are simply not prepared to invest in training. They want the cheaper, easier option.

      Your lot have had their chance for the last nine years. Time to get out of the way and try something different.

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        Feed it to them , Frank ,… I was self employed as well , employed a gang , had a property estimated at around almost half a mil in 2007-8…

        Lost the lot.

        2003 was divorced , 2005 lost a child to cancer , 2008 lost the property and the business . I still remember having to give my female German Shepard to my old parents ( she loved that and they loved her ! lol ! .. least she was happy 🙂 ) and had to give my Alaskan Malamute away to a Malamute enthusiast.

        A bloke loses a lot when he even has to give his dogs away. That’s just how it is.

        I remember shutting those big wooden gates for the final time like a mid western farmer walking off his land during the dustbowl era of the Great Depression. There was a lot more to that story about people thinking of their own skins… I learned a lot about human nature through all that.

        And I remember being a security guard looking after a lawyers and barristers conference in the Waikato,… on a minimum wage knowing that wasn’t going to cut it with the mortgage … and I knew it was all going down and I’d be homeless ,…with all these privileged wankers pissed out of their trees needing security because they had put some real heavies behind bars… you should have seen the cars in the parking lots…

        Worth enough to put a deposit on a house in Auckland even now…

        These days?,… you seen Cap’n Jack Sparrow films ?… I kind of got an affinity with that character …. you know that sort of cynicism and lack of concern you get with officious wankers and political bullshit scam artists?… like the sort we’ve had in govt for the last 9 years? The sort that you cant trust because to do so would threaten the very jaws of the curse of the deep to swallow your soul whole if ever you did ?

        Yeah,… that’s me now.

        And to see these puffed up ‘ Born to Rule ‘ National party wankers wank on now almost makes me laugh … just 100 % full of shit. Weak bastards sold out to their Mont Pelerin mates.

        Man ,… I’d hate to be like them.

        How demeaning.

        Give me the Black Pearl any-day .

  11. Christine says:

    Yes, I was disappointed today to see Jacinda Ardern telling a school group that she thought Bill English had done ‘a pretty good job,’ and that ‘he has done what he came here to do.’ Cut taxes for the rich ? Facilitate John Key’s knighthood? Fund a stupid flag referendum and rich Saudis ?

    There has been massive and cruel underfunding of health and education on English’s watch, chaos in housing, with a housing crisis which they may or may not acknowledge, and huge areas of second and third generation poverty. On TV3 last night, English was unable to properly answer a Gisborne fruit picker about the inadequacy of the minimum wage – it’s there online.

    I don’t really know if there is anyone in either National or Labour who is truly aware of the destructive soul-destroying grind of living in continuous poverty, and govt has effectively demonised the poor as being the authors of their own misfortune which is often totally untrue.

    We do need the Greens in government; many now- mainstream policies originated with the Greens; they are the only party with consistently long term and globally realistic views; they may scuttle the TPPA, but most importantly, there is no denying their compassion for the poor and disadvantaged, which is an intrinsic part of what being a decent human being is all about.

  12. Dave says:

    In all seriousness I wonder if Labour and its new leader would benefit from a term in opposition to find their feet.

  13. WILD KATIPO says:

    … ” It would have been better if the Labour Party in New Zealand had gone to the electorate with a costed tax and benefit plan like the UK Labour Party did. Their budget included tax increases for the rich and companies as part of an overall much fairer tax system. They told everyone who would pay more and who would pay less. Their plan was welcomed enthusiastically by millions.

    The Labour Party in this country has accomplished a generation change in the party leadership that the people are enthusiastically welcoming. They are investing in that change their hopes that it represents a genuine change in direction. If that leadership change could be matched by a vision of how society could be run – “for the many, not the few” as the UK Labour Party slogan encapsulated – that hope could become something meaningful ”…
    “The cradle to the grave life subsidisation boomers had enjoyed from Government’s haunted by the First and Second World Wars were replaced by neoliberal acolytes who saw egalitarianism and equality as barriers to unfettered corporate wealth. Those under 45 have been crucified by free market debt to try and gain the same level of agency boomers enjoyed.”

    A lot of wisdom there , Mike ,… but you know , … being a smaller country , where the numbers are so much more critical to effect change , and being further from the immediacy of the direct global impact of Northern Hemisphere politicking,… changes seem slower here, some politicians would welcome / justify that as a respite from having to react with more immediate and drastic change .

    But change it must .

    The current status quo cant last. I almost feel sorry for the ‘rich pricks’ who are going to be left behind , high and dry as time goes by ,… as this sentiment and movement will only grow more strident , louder and stronger.

    The wild exuberance of the days of Roger Douglas and the ideology of self interest are long over , the damage , the greed , – and the hostility it has incurred , – has meant a final bonny comeuppance.

    It is arriving here in this country even as we write.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are now rising up against 33 years of neo liberalism , – and woe betide those politicians who refuse to recognize this. Their days are numbered.

    The National party may win some leverage now against Labour , … and Labour may retract certain things to appease this group or that , – at one time the business community , at other times the middle classes, – but even they will succumb , eventually to the increasing surge and high tide mark of widespread discontentment , – primarily against neo liberalism and all those individuals and institutions who currently represent it.

    One only has to look towards Brexit , Jeremy Corbyn , and the election of Donald Trump to see this. These pressures alone , … are more than enough to sift the wheat from the chaff.

    And sort them they will.

    This is , … what we are now seeing taking place before our very own eyes.

  14. Louis says:

    But it appears all of these “taxes” are scary to the people National and the media make it so despite the fact that National has been taxing us more over the past 9 years. So do we stick with the status quo then? Or do whatever it takes to kick National out of its seat of power? NZ is not the UK Labour is aware of the dirty tactics National will employ why give so much ammo for National to pick thru? Look at shameless Joyce still lying over Labour’s independently costed fiscal plan despite economists etc saying he is wrong and btw re budget National is in the same boat but economists say Labour’s plan is still doable. Its about winning the election, Labour just sucked the wind from National’s attack line that was gaining momentum. What if a Labour/Green government turns out to be not so like National and as bleak as you make out? I would like NZ to sack National and give the other side a go and I dont give a damn that its not perfect and its not exactly how you think it should be, anything would be better than the last 9 years of this brutal National government, there are way too many people hurting out there.

  15. Philip Ferguson says:

    Interesting to see the shine start to wear off Jacinda Ardern pretty quickly.

    Yesterday was interesting for the reveals about both parties:
    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/what-yesterday-told-us-about-national-and-labour/

    The problem with Labour is not really a neoliberal hangover in policy terms; it’s that Labour is every bit as committed to managing the existing socio-economic order as National and that order – let’s use the ‘c’ word and call it capitalism – *causes* inequality.

  16. Philip Ferguson says:

    And a note to Mike Treen: Mike, I know you mean well, but after all these years you should know there is no point in pleading with Labour to not dig holes. They do what they do because they are what they are – capitalist managers. They won’t – and can’t – be any different, no matter how much some people on the left think they can be sweet-talked, or cajoled, or pushed, into being something else.

    You may just as well try to get National to stop being capitalist managers!

    A new political movement, as we know, can’t be summoned up out of the air, but the first step is realising that Labour is utterly irreformable and that a new movement is needed. One that starts from the material needs and interests of workers, the class whose labour-power creates the wealth.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Well,… I voted Labour in a strong Labour electorate ,… but the all important party vote went to the Greens,… I’m lucky to be able to tactically vote , – others do not have that easy option.

      Fact is , we need Labour to help facilitate other progressive party’s like the Greens. We are all playing the long game, there is no magic wand unfortunately ,… we got to work with what we got atm.

      Our enemy is neo liberalism and its impediment, frustration of , and diverting of is our primary objective . Ultimately it is neo liberalism gradual destruction. It has had 3 decades to entrench itself.

      It wont happen overnight and there is so much in the way of social attitudes that need to change.

      But Labour is our first foundation from which we build on. We use that as a springboard to dismantle what we loathe.

      And we will get there and we will win.

      This has always been the way.

  17. Louis says:

    Setting the record straight on National’s scaremongering about tax:

    https://www.facebook.com/NZLabourParty/videos/10154993326681452/

  18. Marc says:

    “It is quite likely that the very modest improvements that are being promised in Health and Education will be paid for by a severe austerity regime in every other area of government expenditure.”

    That is what I fear, and those on benefits will most likely be among the ones who will after all this see little improvements, should Labour form the next government. So the existing austerity applied by WINZ 24/7 will continue.

    Hence few beneficiaries will feel inclined to vote for Labour, only the Greens may offer something better to them, but they need to worry whether they will get enough votes to make it into Parliament. Beneficiaries are the very people who tend not to bother voting, and few of them bother voting Greens, as the Greens never made enough efforts before, to reach them.

    The screwed up system will continue, whether the Nats win or Labour wins, I fear, the only difference is, Labour will avoid being too punitive, they will simply carry on with paying only what people apply for, and perhaps make minor improvements.

    It seems, from what I gather, Labour may also continue with the social investment BS that the Nats have imposed on us.

    Carmel Sepuloni has not impressed me one bit, except for the very rare comments she made to defend the rights of the poorest.

    We may have to wait another three years for Labour to learn what really matters, and that they should follow the example of Jeremy Corbyn in the last UK elections.

    • Louis says:

      Rubbish. Labour intends to overhaul winz, and both Labour and the Greens are committed to ending poverty and homelessness. A Labour and Green government will be nothing like National.

      • Marc says:

        Carmel Sepuloni was asked questions on the Nation a week or so ago, she gave stuff all in information, no details for sure, and just offered more talk, without any indication of Labour walking the talk.

        We do not want mere words, we expect ACTION and firm commitment.

        • Louis says:

          Here’s the action

          Making our welfare system fair and accessible
          One of the most problematic areas of our current welfare system is the culture at Work and
          Income and the stigma attached with using social services. This is creating further barriers to
          accessing vital support. Evidence from current and former beneficiaries highlights the
          unnecessary and harmful negativity, stigma and shame currently felt as a result of being on
          the benefit.
          Labour will:
          • Amend the principles of the Social Security Act so they reflect a fair and inclusive
          welfare system
          • Create a change in culture at Work and Income through more effective policies,
          regulations, and staff training that align with the amended principles of the Social
          Security Act
          • Work toward changing Work and Income offices from merely offices for processing
          payments and filling out forms to proactive spaces where New Zealanders can receive
          real support. Case managers would offer one-on-one support, and ensure that their
          client is informed of all support they are eligible for.
          • Work toward smoother benefit transition processes so people shifting in and out of
          work are not penalised.
          Labour believes that there needs to be adequate supports in place for those who are unable
          to work, temporarily or permanently. Many people may not be able to participate in paid
          employment due to physical or mental restrictions, or because of caring commitments for
          children or other family members. These people need to feel supported and be a part of our
          society. It is also vital that they are able to access all assistance they are entitled to, whether
          they are sole parents, single people out of work, disabled people, New Zealanders with
          mental illness or Senior Citizens.
          Labour will:
          • Extend the eligibility criteria of the Supported Living Payment over time to ensure
          those temporarily unable to work are provided with proper support during a time of
          illness or injury
          • Create an exemption for New Zealanders escaping family violence from having to be
          seeking work to receive a benefit
          • Ensure that any language, literacy or technological barriers do not impede individuals
          from accessing entitlements
          • Implement a Winter Energy Payment for beneficiaries and superannuitants to provide
          extra support for rising power bills during winter.

          And there is more in Labours policies http://www.labour.org.nz/policy
          http://www.labour.org.nz/socialdevelopment

          Click the pdf files for more information

          • Marc says:

            So where is real action, like committing to increasing the abysmally low benefits, especially those for sick and disabled???

            • Louis says:

              That is real action and its a start with more to come and remember input from the Green party will be part of the changes too.

              • Marc says:

                And funded by what? NO new taxes, no tax increases before 2021 Jacinda now says. While there may be no 11 billion ‘hole’ as one Mr Joyce asserted wrongfully, there seems to be very little left in the kitty to pay for additional welfare expenditure. Only if the Greens are part of the mix may we see some improvement.

                • Louis says:

                  Read Labours plan and fiscal plan. There is no maybe, there is no hole. and remember too National has the same budget problem, but economists say Labour’s plan is doable.

                  • Marc says:

                    Doable when benefits are not being increased, yeah for sure. Labour has given NO indication of benefit increases, only the Greens have committed to that.

                    • Louis says:

                      Labour is showing direction and you have to start somewhere, also other policies ensures people will have more money to live on.

  19. Hongi Ika says:

    NZ First, Labour or NZ First, Labour, Greens Coalition Government would be the best bet for NZ, think about things logically and don’t listen to all the Bullshit that is flying around MSM ?

  20. wanafli says:

    I don’t know why people make such a big deal over tax cuts.
    The truth of the matter?
    There aren’t any. Oh sure, they MAY lower income taxes for a bit, (especially for the rich) but take a harder look at the figures, and some where, we’ll be paying more tax. I remember a news item when Blinghlish was minister of finance, and how he was crowing about the government had a higher-than-anticapted-tax grab.
    But was he happy?
    No way. He was looking for ways to get more taxes.
    We DO need an overall reduction in taxes, especially for us low-life types, which apparently are the cause of society’s ills, but we REALLY need a reduction in politicans, and the bureaucrats that work behind the scenes screwing things up.

  21. PB says:

    This is accurate, but at the same time not fair.

    Yes, Labour have to worry about the acceptability of their image to business and the rightisat commentariat – because the “working people” Mike is championing are fucking unreliable.

    He knows this and should know better.

    Too many of the idiots are voting National for start. That puts us way behind when people can’t even identify their own self-interest.

    Then we’ve got those who are scared off or too stupid to even vote.

    If Mike is going to get out and guarantee and marshal those votes, fine. But till then Labour is prey to a crooked press, 33 years of brainwashing, and yes, its own confortadores within its own ranks.