What happened to New Zealand? When did anger and fear warp social policy into state sanctioned spite?

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Something happened to NZ and I’m not sure when it happened.

Somewhere along the line we stopped using empirical evidence to shape public policy and allowed fear and anger to warp it into state sanctioned spite.

We see this in public policy towards prisoners, beneficiaries, the mentally ill and police policy. This state sanctioned spite is counterproductive, causes more social damage and does nothing to make life better for the most vulnerable.

Look at the bewildering animosity Garth MvVicar, the man who has shaped corrections policy the most over the last two decades, has towards any science that points out ‘get tough on crime rhetoric’ has in fact made corrections a counter productive hate pus pit.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Look at Police chase policy. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the current policy contributes to more deaths, we refuse point blank to mitigate our anger towards young people to demand better quality policy…

Across the Tasman, in Victoria, Queensland, West Australia and the Capital Territory, a more enlightened policy is in place. Pursuits are only permitted if the offender is high-risk or lives are threatened. Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said “this is rarely the case,” when introducing the policy in 2012.

He said “the juvenile behaviour” of an offender “should not trigger a potentially life-threatening response by police”.

…look at Police shooting policy, again the evidence shows we shoot and kill at a far higher rate falls on deaf ears…

It’s hard to draw an international comparison because of a lack of data, but statistics show that UK police fatally shot 22 people in the past 10 years – only six more than New Zealand police in a population 13 times as large.

Officers in England and Wales discharged firearms 50 times between 2009 and 2017, including terrorism incidents. New Zealand police discharged firearms against people 39 times in the same period. Australian police fatally shot 20 people between 2006 and 2011 compared to six here.

…look at the depressingly spiteful way we treat beneficiaries and the utterly counter productive manner we penalise them…

In August 2015 I sat through a whole day of hearing in the High Court on this sad case. What a convoluted sets of arguments were expounded to justify the punitive approach taken by the Crown.  That was the latest court event in a 15 year saga in which an unwell beneficiary is being pursued for the repayment of $20 a week.

Her debt arose from an accusation by an ex-partner that she had been receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit over five years in the 1990s, alleging she was with him. She has always denied she was in a relationship in the nature of marriage in that period.

Unlike so many others who are told to plead guilty and show remorse to secure a lighter sentence, she refused to take that path and spent 6 months in prison even though she had a five year-old at the time. Her family have suffered enormously and unjustly.

A prison sentence was not enough for the MSD who have insisted she still owes them $117,000.

The costs to government let alone society to date have been huge. Some of the monetary costs are the Crown Law outlay of $85,000 for the last 15 years of Civil proceedings for debt recovery, the $11,000 for the costs of criminal prosecution before that, and an estimated $50,000 for the incarceration.

…when challenged by the Judge as to why MSD were cruelly pursuing ‘Kathryn’ the lawyer for MSD said that she might one day win lotto…

…just let the absurd cruelty of that defence sink in.

The horror stories that come from WINZ, the horror of cutting women off welfare for Tinder dates, the horror of using mass surveillance powers to spy on beneficiaries, the horror to cut welfare to 17 000 children because the mother won’t tell WINZ who the Father is happens because WINZ is so invested to the tune of billions in back pay from draconian family support payments that they happily hurt kids to enforce a punitive system.

Look at the way we punish students for student loan repayments, we stop them at the border for Christ’s sakes!

This story of two Australian Radio DJs paying one of their staffs NZ student loans is crucifyingly  awful…

French, 45, borrowed $41,000 in two years at Auckland University and three years at the NZ Broadcasting School in Christchurch in the early 1990s.

She has actually paid off $52,000, but still owes just over $80,000 because she has lived overseas for the past 20 years so the interest has accumulated every year. The loans are only interest-free for people who stay in New Zealand.

…she couldn’t re-enter NZ despite being on a well paid job because the cruel system of repayments meant that even though she had repaid her original debt, the penalties and interest remained!

We happily endorse this spite as social policy against the most vulnerable in society.

Other countries with a more mature culture understand that public policy values must be based on empirical evidence not anger and fear. Sadly NZ is a juvenile culture with all the maturity of a can of day old Coke-Cola that refuses  pointblank to think rationally.

We actively celebrate our rebellion of sophistication and nuance for a view of community that has depressingly low black and white thresholds of vision.

How has the once proudly egalitarian country we once were managed to get here?

I believe the union busting actions of the Employment Contracts Act crippled workers in NZ and put immense downward pressure on hourly work hours so that when the working poor get handed their meagre weekly pay package they eye welfare cheques with envy and this anger quickly becomes manipulated by unscrupulous politicians.

Those with property are so frightened by the debt consequences of the property speculation bubble they have bought into that they lash out at any perceived kindness to the less fortunate because of the pressures they are under.

In NZ the vast majority are simply hanging on by their fingernails and this desperation permeates through every square inch of our civics.

Debt, poverty and the middle class projection of crime fear have been weaponised against us and has allowed public policy to be shaped by panic, not rational thought.

The counter productive insanity of the current welfare, corrections, Police and mental health policies are never challenged because we refuse to acknowledge the resentment that has created them.

This leads to spite being the major driver of social policy and the bitter harvest we reap from that only in turn divides us and drives us further from any type of kindness.

The only place we can see this raw toxicity best is in our ever skyrocketing suicide rates.

We have become a nation of passive malice, the malignancy of which overshadows all our creations.

God defend NZ, because we are incapable of it.

 

33 COMMENTS

    • @ JAMES. Don’t you mean + 10000000000000

      This is what happened.
      All …? Please, follow the link and read the material.

      I don’t think it’s so much the question,’what went wrong with NZ/AO’ with all due respect. I think we should instead ask; What to do about it? That’s the question.
      Again, in my personal view, we should get quite dramatic about it. Remember, ‘they’re’ everybody’s enemy. The trick is to convince everybody of that. The biggest problem with the kind of deep dirt, back stabbing, covert, manipulative conniving is spotting it in time. Sadly for us, we missed it. It went right past us un noticed, cloaked in a coating of lies and cold hearted deceit.
      Well, now we can see it. And we must act.

      New Right. NZ.
      The Mont Pelerin Society.

      All thanks to @ Wild Katipo.

      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      To quote from the material available:

      “Mont Pelerin Society member Gibbs, the close friend and early tutor of Roger Douglas in economics, cashed in handsomely on “Rogernomics”; over the years of the “reform” he and the Mont Pelerin Society had imposed on New Zealand, Gibbs’ personal wealth had soared from $46 million in 1986 to $200 million by 1998, making him the 4th richest person in New Zealand at the time. ”

      “Looting
      The reports of New Zealand’s economic success are all lies. The only “freedom” in the country at that time, was that enjoyed by financiers and speculators to loot the stored-up wealth created by generations of New Zealanders past.

      Youth Suicide
      During this time Youth Suicide skyrocketed, “New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the Western world; since 1985, the rate at which its youth are killing themselves has doubled.” (State of the World’s Children Report, UNICEF 1993) See Graph

      Poverty
      The living standard of the average New Zealander, as measured in per household market basket consumption of physical goods, fell rapidly. By 1996, one in every six New Zealanders were living under the poverty line, in a country where poverty had been generally unheard of (at least among New Zealanders of European descent), before 1994.

      Unemployment
      Unemployment and part-time employment (under 20 hours a week) soared to 32%, this in a country where unemployment was almost nonexistent before 1984! “

  1. Yes I have seen many not with the will to now speak up as I did today when we sent our submission here and say all should do so before next Friday cutoff day.

    This has some changes that may help give us some influence we hope.

    TO the Secretariat; This is our Public submissions for Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill
    Committee Secretariat
    Governance and Administration Committee
    Parliament Buildings
    Wellington
    Phone:04 817 6986
    ga@parliament.govt.nz

    Subject; Public submissions are now being called for Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill

    Dear Governance and Administration Committee
    Our NGO represents 2500 members of our community both in HB/Gisborne currently, that has requested we seek environmental and social mitigation for their communities who are being disadvantaged by increased negative effects from industry and commercial transport and other activities over several years in our regions that is heavily impacting on their public health, wealth and wellbeing.

    As our heading states,
    “ Protecting our environment & health. – In association with other Community Groups, NHTCF and all Government Agencies since 2001.”

    Our problems over this last 17yrs has been the lack of wording in local governance instruments that ensure that these Local Government agencies give us NGO ample opportunities to sit at the planning stages of any local body changes they are seeking.

    Often we have been reduced to the lowest levels of activity with local councils only a submission is all that we can expect; – without any meaningful binding legislation that makes these Local Authorities comply with the main objectives being included in this bill which are;
    • to restore the purpose of local government to be “to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities”;
    • to restore territorial authorities’ power to collect development contributions for any public amenities needed as a consequence of development;

    Our resolution;
    • is to include wording that instructs local councils to;
    • “actively engage and offer meaningful ‘engagement forums to communities that are being adversely affected by local body planning changes.’
    • To ensure that the wording involves real meaning (of this very well thought out focus of inclusion in factors) “to restore the purpose of local government to be “to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities”.

    We will leave that wording to the authors of this fine document entitled; Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to send us your thoughts for further response from us.

    Warmest regards,

  2. “passive malice”–the default setting for way too many New Zealanders; a progressive step down even from Gordon McLachlan’s “Passionless People”, the boring, mostly monocultural kiwis of the post WWII years were closeted and in denial about a lot, but they did support Social Security and for the times, genuinely liveable wages

    “last place aversion” is indeed one reason for the working poor and middle class demonisation of welfare recipients (for the poor sods that make it through the maze), aided by the disempowerment of the working class and state sanctioned othering of the vulnerable as you say Martyn

    all I can say is join a union, get involved one way or another, and fight back!

  3. When did “we” become No Zealand, a non-country, civil war in waiting? THAT is the real question; and WHY was it allowed to happen, and WHO is responsible, and WHY are they still breathing? Cutting of the oxygen supply of the latter would be a good start to stepping in the right direction.

  4. Martyn to frank it has been organised to be this way since Neo liberal economic policy of the 1980s. But those at the top are maintaining the system the way it is they are making good profits the way the system has been created. So people with money and power are pulliing the strings and having a laugh i reckon. These people at the top are sadistic. Nz’s failure is systemic nothing more nothing less. Change the system and you would get a better outcome…

    • Yes we need a radical change to the entire framework of our society rather than simply tweaking the current structure – not convinced there is the political will to do this however with any of the major political parties.

  5. I think its not just the people at the top its the people in the middle this group have the attitude that they have had to work hard for everything they have. And they cant stand for others to get hand outs to them it doesn’t seem right. Then we have the racist discriminative bigots of which there are many in our country. Now this group know nothing about the TOW and nothing about our countries true history and some know but don’t give a f..k cause they only care about themselves until something happens like an earthquake. Then we have the group that genuinely believe we all have the same opportunities when really this isn’t true and never has been if they only looked a little deeper they would see the truth but they don’t want to cause they are caught up in the mantra that NZ is a fair country when we know it isn’t and hasn’t been for some time.

  6. Many of my comments are (rightfully I’m sure) blocked by TDB. I make no secret that I believe our governments fall into the category of the Red Team vs the Blue Team both heading to the same finish line and both governed by One Controlling Body. Just like FIFA, eh! But then poly…tics is just a game for our entertainment.
    It is said the Elite like to put the truth at our feet for us to trip over … because they think teasing, terrifying and terrorizing the goyim is amusing.
    Well here’s one I just found … type demons backward into Google search.

  7. ‘Sadly NZ is a juvenile culture with all the maturity of a can of day old Coke-Cola that refuses pointblank to think rationally.’

    Yes Martyn.

    The last thing the controllers want is a populace that is well educated and can think rationally. Hence, the enormous effort put into dumbing-down the populace over the past four decades; underfunded schools with inadequate equipment and high pupil-to-teacher ratios. And an emphasis on conformity and corporatised sport via local government and the commercialized media.

    It’s all working perfectly for those at the top…..well in the short term. Longer term everyone is fucked as a direct consequence of the incompetence, corruption and lies that characterise the ‘upper’ echelons of NZ society.

    • Fuck you’re so depressingly accurate @afewwhoknowthetruth . So on that note on a cold early winter day in the north I ‘m off to the neighbour’s for a feed of organic lifestyle block raised roast lamb and organic home grown veges as well as organic dessert made with local free range eggs, and fruit and imported organic flour( aussie) and local organic dairy. Central Otago wine to put the zing in the meal for us poor struggling rural types who only know how to make hard work pay for us rather than the effing power elite! Enjoy what you have be grateful for what you’ve got because our owners don’t want us to know any kind of happiness. Learn to garden.

      • ‘Learn to garden.’

        Bill Mollison, of Permaculture fame

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mollison

        saw it all back in the 1970s…….working on a tree-felling gang and not owning a house, he saw himself as destroying nature, and as a member of an ‘advanced western democracy’ (Australia) he was disgusted by it all and retreated. And then, realising nothing would change if he remained in the wilderness, he returned to ‘civilisation’, thinking he could change it for the better. Four decades later what proportion of the populace has even heard of Permaculture or even cares?

        I too gave ‘gardening’ a go. And hit the same walls that everyone hits: ignorance and apathy of the general populace and covert opposition to anything sustainable by local government.

        This society is run by:

        1. International banks, for the benefit of international banks.

        2. International and local corporations, for the benefit of international and local corporations.

        3. Opportunists with strong sociopathic tendencies, people who could not care less about the welfare of others and who focus on acquiring material wealth at the expense of other humans and the environment…..basically exploiter, looters and polluters.

        Governments are merely managers of NZ Inc. a corporation dedicated to the short-term wants of the commercial sector. That is why everything continues to be made worse whichever political party (or coalition) is at the helm. The game of politics is the best played by those who can lie most effectively and convince the populace that black is white and cold is hot. Remember National’s ‘Better Brighter Future’?

        George Carlin is another that saw it all for what it was decades ago: “It’s a freak show.” He also said: “The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are. We’re going away.”

        The madness mainstream economics and everything that goes with it will continue until the burgeoning energy crisis and burgeoning environmental crisis really hit home. Then ‘The Machine Stops’.

  8. I don’t think NZ is unique in this attitude switch, it is a similar pattern over the western world although the Scandinavian countries have resisted it more than others.
    It would make a very good thesis subject for a PHD, or book.
    There are many causes but I think it comes down to a few basic truths.
    Human beings are basically selfish arseholes towards each other. There are a lot of exceptions to be sure but as a race we treat each other and our habitat miserably, although we have the intelligence to know we shouldn’t.
    We know we are killing the planet but we won’t give up the material gains and comfort which comes with it.
    The problems which you describe Martin are just the end result of human indifference. It has been exacerbated by the rise of political power by the right who don’t bother to disguise their contempt for their fellow humans who they perceive as of lower social or economic status as themselves but in the end it wouldn’t really matter who was in power – the end result would be pretty much the same.
    Can we fix it?
    It will take a tremendous societal upheaval to do so, an upheaval that is probably too much for most of us to stomach so we continue to accept what is happening and mindlessly carry on – business as usual – because it is easier than fighting it.

    • The human beast is essentially selfish, once it was a matter of survival, now morphed, like a cancerous growth, into a state of mind that will be the end of the species. Poor old Jesus tried to highlight the benefits of
      kindness, to no avail, religion became another version of corporate greed and hypocrisy.

    • @Mike. You hit the nail on the head. Human nature. We are hard wired to compete. Throw some good ol’ psychopathy into the mix and you’ve got the essentials of how our world runs. No conspiracy. No New World Order. Just us easily led sheep and some heartless amoral non-empathetic “shepherds”. Nothing has changed, except the systems they create to make their exploitation of their power easier e.g. Neoliberalism.
      Getting non-psychopaths into our leadership roles, who have a conscience and are willing to make decisions in the general best interest- well, that’s the tricky bit.

      • Thanks for your comments Quicksilver. I wish it wasn’t so. Like medieval people were conditioned to a class system where most had almost nothing and a few had everything, we have been similarly led into accepting an alternative class system. Except that because we are better educated than medieval people – we have to be fed the big myth about how good we should feel about everything and that there is no better way. The people that have the most have the most to lose so it is in their interest to expand and perpetuate the myth. Maybe there will be a world wide revolution – but I will probably not be there to see it – or the cretins who have contributed most to making it necessary.

  9. Happened in 1984, with NZ’s warm hug of neoliberalism (Rogernomics). Not sure if it will ever change really…

    • It began in 1984, and began to really take off when education was commodified (and the repeated attempts to do likewise to health for that matter).
      It’s possibly nearly at its peak now that we have a generation who’ve grown up knowing nothing else and a politicised public service who’re perfectly prepared to do things such as subvert the spirit of the OIA when it suits them.
      The mathematics of it all though mean that it’s eventually doomed to fail. I’d suggest that the length of time before it does fail is directly proportional to how violet the failure and suppression of the ideology will be

      • ‘The mathematics of it all though mean that it’s eventually doomed to fail.’

        We have reached fail point.

        Professor Albert Bartlett dedicated much of his life to presenting the undeniable simple truths of the mathematics of growth. And it made not a scrap of difference. Politics and economics are still predicated on infinite growth on a finite planet.

        ‘Professor Bartlett has given his celebrated one-hour lecture, “Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101” over 1,742 times times to audiences with an average attendance of 80 in the United States and world-wide. His audiences have ranged from junior high school and college students to corporate executives and scientists, and to congressional staffs. He first gave the talk in September, 1969, and subsequently has presented it an average of once every 8.5 days for 36 years. His talk is based on his paper, “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis,” originally published in the American Journal of Physics, and revised in the Journal of Geological Education.
        Professor Al Bartlett began his one-hour talk with the statement, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

        http://www.albartlett.org/presentations/arithmetic_population_energy.html

  10. Well, that was a sad read – because it was right on the money.

    Inequality and hence preservation of self over community is where we’re going.

    Couple that up with a deep running puritanical/wowser streak and we’re all about right and wrong over what works and what doesn’t. Chuck in the desire for punitive and retributive justice and we have a population ready willing and able to assume the guise of the Gauleiter.

  11. “Sadly NZ is a juvenile culture with all the maturity of a can of day old Coke-Cola ”

    That is sadly the case, Martyn. It’s as if we havent matured socially, maybe our distance from Europe playing a part of our retarded development. Which would be a shame as we’ve progressed so well in other areas.

  12. Karl Popper is quite the fellow isn’t he?

    He reckoned that if he could have remained a ‘socialist’ AND a free man he’d still be a socialist. What wank. That’s what we’re up against. Than kind of double-speak carpet bagger espousing logical fallacies. Karl is the founder of the Mont Pelerin Society. He never mentioned a robust democratically elected government managing the tax take for the good of all. He went on to say “ There’d be nothing better than to live a free life in an egalitarian society. Bullshit. He meant to say “ If everybody’s free and without worry how do I make myself a billionaire? Becoming a billionaire takes a lot of people working for not much for me.
    That cunning little swine knew exactly what he was doing. He was lying into innocent ears. Just like they did to us. We’ve been duped. We’ve been conned. And they took our stuff and things and made themselves billionaires out of that and created living nightmares for good people to suffer within who suddenly find themselves out in the cold. To be as ‘free’ as they like, of course. Everything that came out of ferret faced karl popper was a lie so as he could help himself to everybody else’s money, stuff and things.
    And our Big Rich Kiwi-As Boys lapped it up while they fucked us over and now blame us for our struggles as they invest in larger prisons.
    Karl popper. Founder. Mont Pelerin Society.
    https://twitter.com/libertarianismX/status/949050327705243648

    The Great and Institutionalised New Zealand Lie. This is at the heart of it.

  13. Oh don’t be such a negative nancy. It’s just the momentum of older architects of our society, who wanted to get rich. They succeeded, that was their fee. Stage one of colonialism completed. The joy of life is this so called misery of redesigning and re-creating the world perpetually so let’s refocus on picking apart the problems one by one and continue to get on with it!

  14. Isn’t it amazing what a few tax cuts and bloated property values will do to some New Zealanders’ notions if fairness? ‘Nuff said. (Or may not ’nuff.)

  15. MSD, their main department WINZ and the NZ benefit system are all just endless BS, representing a system disconnected from social and economic realities, selective in choosing ‘evidence’ (some manufactured for their own purposes), and they deserve to be dismantled.

    The heads in charge should be the first to roll, but it seems this government is too scared to take such action, to rebuild a new social security system that is actually fair, objective and there to do the job of constructively helping people in need.

    Here is some more useful info giving insight into the bizarre, sick system we have:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/social-security-benefit-rates-in-new-zealand-set-at-will-by-governments-ignoring-socio-economic-realities-and-evidence/
    (published 23 May 2018)

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/social-security-benefit-rates-in-n-z-set-at-will-by-govt-ignoring-evidence-nzsjb-23-05-18.pdf
    (as on 23 May 2018)

    MSD’s one further OIA response, raising more questions than giving answers:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/msd-oia-rqst-08-07-15-benefit-rates-final-response-email-anon-09-03-18.pdf
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/msd-oia-rqst-08-07-15-benefit-rates-final-response-email-hilit-anon-09-03-18.pdf

    Read the post and be enlightened!

    • This department almost borders on criminal for the amount of dishonest answers they gave to that OIA request. They get away with it because the wealthy and in charge look down there nose at the beneficiciarys MSD are there to look after.

  16. This brought to my mind Paula Bennet’s comment after she left Parliament the other day in a huff… she said something like: “The Speaker is treating us like children”.

    Well, Paula, that’s how you deserve to be treated until you start behaving like an adult!

  17. “Welfare cheques”? Since when? Direct credit to a bank account and tough luck otherwise.

    Stories keep cropping in in MSM about how much it costs to keep people in motels and B&Bs. How much money goes to large families. However awful – that’s more than many people could ever hope to spend for even a week’s holiday somewhere local. Ouch.

    Working people really do live in areas where gangs and aggressive people make life less than pleasant. Parties, fights, loud noise. And they wonder – ‘How come those people have enough money for booze and leather jackets and fairly flash cars?’ ‘How come they can trash the property they’re in and get to walk off?’ ‘How come the gear they’ve dumped in the garden is better than we can afford?’

    And they assume it’s because their obnoxious neighbours are living the life of hedonists on benefits. Maybe. Or there’s another source a income – Muggins Mum, quite often.

    Or the working folk earn micro-amounts over the cut off rate and see families getting money and ‘help’ while they get to pay full fare.

    It’s that grey zone, in the middle group, where resentment begins. Where they are barred from accessing assistance for some reason and they still have to be up before sparrow fart, into a long and pricey commute, doing long hours for an income that barely rises.

    Why wonder?

    I’ve cleaned up houses and yards after the first sort, and been one of those twenty dollars over the limit people. The resentment is quite understandable.

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