Michael Cullen and New Zealand workers


Hot on the heels of their support for the Bill of Rights for foreign multinationals (aka the TPPA) the new Labour-led government has appointed none other than former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen to head its tax working group.

Cullen will forever be remembered for his proud proclamation (in response to criticism from National) that during most of his tenure as Finance Minister (1999 – 2008) company profits increased at twice the rate of workers’ wages.

The effect of Cullen’s tenure as Finance Minister administering the economy for the wealthy (along with his fellow neo-liberal finance ministers Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson and Bill English) was this Radio New Zealand report over the weekend which reported:

Statistics New Zealand data shows in the year to March, the country’s two million salary and wage earners received just under 49 percent of the nation’s income, compared to 59 percent in 1981.

The council said if workers were receiving the same return for their labour that was considered fair a generation ago, then, on average, they would be about $11,500 better off today.

The sickening result is seen everywhere in this deeply divided country with its rotten economic system.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

New Zealand desperately needs to address poverty and inequality and under capitalism the only way to do it is through the tax system.

Low wage workers already pay the highest rates of tax through income tax and GST while the rich pay the lowest rates. For the wealthy tax is essentially voluntary.

For Cullen to attack our Sheriff of Nottingham tax system would be to repudiate his own political career as Finance Minister.

Can we expect any significant change from the Cullen tax working group?


  1. Cullen’s approach used to be: “I’m right and there will no debate.”

    There is no reason to believe anything has changed.

  2. OK who else converted the generator from a car engine into a wind power generator for fun?

    But if you can, you are welcome to the spare engine in the tool shed. Any way, let’s look at my Top 10 R&D Priorities for NZ. You know if you get these things right then down stream paying bills bills is easy work.

    1. Research the Manufactory
    2. Research Bass load energy
    3. Research Farm conversions
    4. Test demo model for a future energy solution
    5. Bessemer steel converter
    6. Small to Medium Scale Future Energy Solution List of Proposed Projects
    * Global Village Construction Kit
    * Chem Plant

    * How to make Cement in bulk quantities (Hydraulic and Non-Hydraulic)
    * Concrete Plant
    * Transport conversion (gasoline to electric/ diesel and oil)
    * Chemical Separator – Takes in the waste products from our various manufacturing processes and reprocesses it, outputting usable materials into appropriate storage containers.
    * Materials Sorter and Separator – Toss in bulk garbage, it will sort it into various types, including biological, reusable electronics, electronics components, mechanical devices, mechanical components, glass, recyclable metal, plastics, etc. This thing will likely end up looking like some steampunk things suitable to be found in GirlGenius or something else similar.
    * Plastic Recycler – Takes waste plastic and reprocesses it into plastic pellets, the same way industrial processes produce them.
    * Filament Processor – Takes raw plastic and creates filament out of it for use in 3d printers

    Fields of Knowledge\Experience We’re Looking For
    * Medicine
    * Pharmaceutical Development
    * Electrical Engineering
    * Sanitation (Sewage Treatment)
    * Metalurgy
    * Chemistry
    * Industrial Manufactoring
    * Chip Fabrication

    Fields of Knowledge with Experts Located
    * Taxes

    ToDo List \ Parking Lot
    * Steam Powered Exo-Skeleton \ Power Armor

    Okay… *looks around the room, sees*

    Michael Cullen and his his click. Some employers, and all sorts desperate to look busy.

    I’ve either trapped you folks, or you got word through the grapevine that we’ve got need, because the manufactory is stuck in 1931, along with the rest of New Zealand… I’m on the ruling council, for now, and we’ve got a lot to do if we’re going to figure out how to survive and thrive as a community. If you’re working on other projects, or don’t want to help, no worries..

    (OOC – this is a working group for Grant Robertson’s quest to solve the automation question… it’s just going to be a fun working group, coming up with brainstorming ideas and planning… come and go as you will if you’ve got other interests)

    What we’ve got at our disposal in NZ…
    * 17 Coal Mines, Gold mine (2?) Black Sands mine, totalling $209 mil. And a little bit lift for other mining activity oil and gas bringing total mining exports to $210 Mil which varies from site to site, production methods, end users, skills, knowledge and pay (is typically a little bit above the average)
    * Dunedin hospital (refit or rebuild?), filled with incredible medical technologies and never seeming to run out of all the necessary prescriptions and treatments needed
    * A Steampunk Manufactory, that again, we know nothing about – a mysterious factory compound of clockworks, steam and electricity
    * What looks like a small Bolo.
    * In the sea of the usual junk that is found in the properties of TDB membership there are also those who might have fancy bits of tech such as CNC machines, 3D Printers, entire workshops, backyard forges and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some moonshine stills and possibly gunsmithing equipment in there. As long as TDB’s population remains above 1 person, this equipment and materials can be accessed.

    Ok I think that honestly it’s going to be a combination of the tax and the work… All of our infrastructure and equipment is electrical in nature. Same with proposed rail infrastructure solutions. Additionally, keeping a large portion of our technology electrical adds another layer of what anybody trying to reverse engineer or replicate our technology has to replicate.

    But, realistically, until we know more about the properties of both the tax component and the working component of the group capabilities of the manufactory, I don’t think we can definitively say that one is better than the other from a scaling standpoint. Or will even save the family home… But, in a lot of ways, saving the family home is a high priority… What was it that Einstein said? Atomic power is a very expensive way to make steam, or was it food? Remember, we also don’t have the drilling, pumping and refining capabilities necessary to continue to fuel our vehicles (aka internal combustion engines), which are a large portion of what will allow us to dominate logistically. Or our heavy equipment…

    I suspect that we’ll need to make a LOT of our new infrastructure and heavy equipment electric driven including merchant vessels (sail?), while on the other side, we’ll be trying to rebuild our renewable power industry, including solar panels (city / urban roof refits) wind (off shore)… Remember, we have no idea how much of the family home will actually be saved. But we should always have a domestic manufactory base to go back to when government policy fails in the future.


  3. This is a trend in most countries, no wage growth or real rethink of taxation, and no prospect of either anytime soon*, its the new ‘normal’, personally I suspect it’s the neoliberals warming us up to the ‘joys’ of the UBI…because I entirely trust all the fans of that concept, like certain high-profile Silicon Valley executives and the Adam Smith Institute etc, to have our best interests at heart (Ha!).


  4. As long as there are enough willing and desperate old and new immigrants, wanting to join us and fight for jobs and over the crumbs, and as long as society is divided as it is, nothing will ever change.

    It is all part of the plan, the whiter Kiwis do all to get their kids into university, or at least learn a solid trade, the others, they can settle for the less appealing jobs, keeping the machinery running.

    The only joy and pride some have, is when their rugby league team almost beat the English, but such joy is short lived.

    One day the whole shit may explode, as it has before, especially in other parts of the world.

    But good to see some diversity of blog posts here, not all cheering on from one side of the stadium.

  5. Cullen the co author of Kiwisaver where Kiwi money is put into the hands of private investors with no guarantees of comeback for the Kiwi worker.

    Cullen the gatekeeper who recently stated that private NZ banks do not generate new money which is outright lies.

    Cullen Nationals right hand man for many tasks where the impression of impartiality is required. A neo con mover in drag.

    Cullen – trust him? You sure can’t.

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