GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – The complete take down of NZ Labour & No Matthew I have not been ‘sleeping’ or ‘deliberately misleading’


To quote a former Labour Prime Minister you’ll need “a cup of tea and lie down” after this one.

Yesterday Matthew Craig challenged on Facebook a sentence in my last blog in which I stated the current Labour led coalition ‘has no intention whatsoever of doing anything significant to reduce the gap between haves and the have nots’ . He then offered “ an incomplete list of just some of the things this Labour led coalition has achieved/is working on, in order to ‘reduce the gaps’, and help make this country a better and fairer place to live in”

Fair enough, I accept the challenge . After all in these days of fake news none of us should just accept anything anyone writes at face value, so bear with me as I go through Matthew’s list of what he says are the Labour Coalition achievements (some of which a Labour pamphlet left in my mailbox also listed)

But let me start by being clear about what I mean about “the gap between the haves and the have nots”

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It’s about asset wealth. Because through the neoliberal way we run our economy people make money not simply by working and earning income but by sitting on their assets ( such as their houses) which go up in value largely through no effort of their own.

And therein lies the problem. Because the longer we allow people who DO have assets to get a tax free ride on the rising value of the assets they own, then we give them a huge ongoing advantage over those of us who don’t own our own house or farm or whatever. So day by day New Zealand is becoming a very unfair society .

How unfair?

The last time NZ Stats measured wealth distribution in our country they found the richest 10% of households in our country own 60% of the wealth and the bottom 40% own just 3% of it.

THAT’s the gap I’m talking about and because no big economic adjustments have been made to tax the wealthy and reduce the tax burden on lower income families ( eg. like taking GST of food) then that gap, I say, is very likely to be continuing to grow under the current government . Certainly it won’t be shrinking and THAT’s the big problem our current government is avoiding.

Matthew Craig however thinks I’ve got it wrong so bear with me as I go through the list of what he sees as the Labour led coalition’s achievements. I’ll quote him and then comment.

“$5b Families package (families up to $75 week better off)”

This is not as generous as it sounds .The package increased the “clawback” rate of Working for Families to 25 per cent once the $42,700 threshold is reached.

Here’s a quote from Associate Professor Susan St John of Child Poverty Action

“It will be common for families earning over $48,000 to lose 30 cents in tax, 12 cents in student loan repayment, 25 cents in Accommodation Supplement, and 25 cents in Working for Families, from every additional dollar. It feels like having a 92 per cent tax rate”

“Best start payment for new parents”

Is part of the Families package (see above) and does not apply to children born before the start date and therefore cannot address the plight of many of those under the 40% poverty line.

“Eliminated secondary tax”

Yes and a good thing too because we now live in the neoliberal “gig” economy where many people can’t make ends meet by just having one job.

But here’s the problem. Many minimum wage working families with two earners will already be at or above a combined household income of $42,700 after which every extra dollar earned means a 25c loss of Working for Families and a 25c loss of any Accommodation Supplement.

So unless the government does something about that “clawback” rule then lower income families are not going to be able to “get ahead”

“Raising minimum wage to $20 by 2021”

Good decision but not good enough. The minimum wage is It’s currently $17.70 per hour -good luck trying to live on that – and $20 by 2021? I’m picking the rise cost of living will have demolished any real benefit by then .

I’ve seen some economic modelling that suggests that if Labour had not introduced neoliberalism in 1984 and National had not undermined collective bargaining the current minimum wage would be around $35 per hour

“1 years fees free tertiary education”

Great. A step in the right direction but until ALL tertiary education is free then today’s young people will not get the advantage I received in the pre- neoliberal days when I left University virtually without debt- which of course allowed me to save for a home and become one of the haves . A progressive government would do this immediately – as Scotland has done.

“Market studies around petrol/food prices to give commerce commission greater powers”

“Market studies” don’t effectively reduce the gap between the rich and the poor because any action that is taken on, say, controlling the price of petrol is a benefit to rich and poor alike

“Provincial growth fund boosting industry/employment in regions”

Great idea from NZ First and as a fan of Keynesian economics I’m really warm to the policy of the government priming the financial pump to create jobs. But let’s take a quick look at how this is policy is actually being managed by Shane Jones

$1 Billion a year allocated Yes?
The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment reports that maybe – maybe -10,000 jobs have been created throughout the regions so far and they reached that figure in a very questionable way

They totalled the number of jobs that every Provincial Growth Fund applicant PROMISED in their grant application ( not checked up on and DELIVERED) then they added one job for every feasibility study the Provincial Growth Fund was undertaking – that’s because you have to hire somebody to do a feasibility study.

So we don’t know the actual numbers – just what applicants promised – and if you think about the level of income of people (eg accountants) who are employed to do feasibility studies it’s not your rural and small town low income earner is it?

As yet, then,for the large amount of money being spent on this scheme we are not seeing a significant closing of the gap between the rich and the poor.

“Making all rental homes warm and dry”

This is not a policy unqiue to this Labour led coalition . It began with the Greens pushing for it under a previous National led coalition and I applaud it.However, while warming up houses may make renting more comfortable and improve the health of children in low income families it does not reduce the asset gap between the haves and the have nots.

“Stopping sale of state house/building more state houses “

Oh I really think Matthew you need to look into the deplorable Glen Innes situation Yes they are building new state houses but they are continuing National’s neoliberal policy of virtually erasing the existing community to sell a lot of state owned land to wealthy private owners to build executive homes . Evicting low income families from solidly built state homes instead of infilling vacant land breaks up family and friend support networks and doesn’t reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.

“Kiwibuild making housing more affordable for low-middle income earners”

No. Analysis from Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s own ministry shows that two thirds of first home buyers wouldn’t be able to comfortably afford the first lot of $579,000 KiwiBuild houses. (Source  )

The problem is the gap between stagnant wages and the rising cost of land and building .Many teachers for example cannot see themselves being able to get into a home of their own for many, many, years if at all.

“Extended paid parental leave”

Yes – this makes life better for families but again does not significantly reduce the gap between the rich and the poor because it’s universal. Rich parents and low income parents both get it

“Reduced/made free cost of GP visits”

I assume Matthew you meam free for children . Yes . I advocated for this in 2011 in my documentary ‘ Inside Child Poverty’ . National started bringing it in and Labour extended the age because, compassionate reasons aside, all parties realised it makes good long economic sense to keep kids out of hospital .

Again because its universal – rich parents get the advantage of it as much as poor parents do , so while a really worthwhile idea it doesn’t significantly lower the gap between the haves and have nots

“Winter energy payments”

Again because it is universal those pensioners who don’t really need it get it as much as those who depend on it and so it doesn’t shrink the wealth gap

“Banned letting fees”

Yes -a good thing. But as long as rents are high compared to income it doesn’t solve the problem of rich folks making untaxed wealth in the long term by owning ad eventually selling their rental properties

“Restarted Superfund contributions “

Good. Again though it’s universal so doesn’t reduce the wealth gap.

“Mana in Mahi apprenticeship scheme introduced”

Very worthwhile initiative . Getting a job is the first step to being able to support yourself and a future family. BUT – as long as the amount of income you earn from working keeps falling behind the rising cost of housing (because asset owners get a tax free ride) the working folk can never get ahead

“Extended brightline test to 5 years”

The Brightline test was begrudgingly introduced by National and yes extended by Labour . But as long as property continues to give better long term untaxed returns than say saving your money in the bank or investing in a business then property prices will continue to rise faster than wages increase.

So the gap between those who have assets and those who don’t will continue to grow and our society will become more and more unfair.

“Banned foreign buyers from housing market”

No. It’s a partial ban Foreigners with NZ residency status will still be able to buy homes, as will Australians and Singaporeans ( because of our free trade agreements) Anyone holding a resident visa, that has been living here for at least a year including at least 183 days in the past year, is still be able to purchase a home.
Foreigners are also able to buy new apartments in large developments and multi-storey blocks bought off plans.

“Rebuilding neglected/sub-standard schools/classrooms “

Good and necessary – but again it is neoliberalism with a slightly softer face and does not reduce the financial gap between the haves and the have nots because it’s a universal infrastructure spend

“Rebuilding severely run-down hospitals”

Good – but again doesn’t reduce the wealth gap as everyone rich or poor can access a public hospital

“Nurses pay boost”

It was a begrudging payment . It didn’t come from a socialist heart .Robertson didn’t just wake up one morning and think “Nurses are underpaid I really must give them a pay boost.” Nurses had to strike and strike again for it” It was collective action that won the day no Labour’s economic policy

“Negotiating significant teacher pay/conditions boost”

Again it being done begrudgingly . It’s being achieved by collective action by the unions. Not through an economic policy that deliberately sets out to promote the collective good over individual wealth creation.

“Introduced 100s new police”

I’m sure property owners will be relieved because most crimes for which people are jailed are against property not persons. When folk are deprived of the right to make a legitimate living they turn to illegitimate means. Having to have more police is actually an indictment on an economic system , not something to be proud about

“Curbed gun ownership rights”

Yes – good. Should have happened 22 years ago when the Thorp report came out and both Labour and National governments had the opportunity to implement it.Gun laws unfortunately have nothing to do however with the reducing gap between the rich and the poor

“Banned offshore oil and gas exploration”

Good for the environment . But without a government a funded job replacement scheme for those being made unemployed by such legislation how will this reduced the gap between the haves and have nots?

“Banned single use plastic bags”

Again great for the environment but not using plastic bags is not a solution to the unfair wealth gap in our country

“About to introduce a wellbeing budget, a world first”

Yes. I’m really keen to see how Robertson thinks a fair society can be funded by the economics of selfishness

“Re-establishing culture of dignity/kindness for beneficiaries”

Good. I hope it’s working. Have you tried to live on a benefit? Unless you introduce measures to redistribute the nation’s wealth, beneficiaries are going to continue to struggle no matter how nice the people at the MSD are

“Setting 10 year child poverty reduction targets”

Which they are not meeting. Matthew you should read this paper by Assoc Prof Susan St John and Yun So

“Increasing tax credits for innovation”

Again a good idea – but you have to have a minimum R&D expenditure threshold of $50,000 per year. How will this improve the lives of the 40% of us who own 3%.. of the wealth?…oh wait. Trickle Down theory. If wealthy people get a tax cut of up to $120 million (the cap) for being innovative then we’re all going to be better off. Do you really believe that?

“Increase Maori development projects”

Do you mean as part of the Regional Development Plan Matthew ? If so I covered that above. If not Please give a reference.

“Cracking down on multinational tax avoidance”

Great idea but not a Labour led initiative – rather its an international one .While the Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill was introduced in December by the new Revenue Minister Stuart Nash, it is not a creature of the current Government.

It was constructed by officials under the previous government as part of the global push by the rich countries’ club, the OECD, to curb the aggressive tax planning available to companies that operate across borders.
So it’s not a Labour initiative. It’s really just going along with what the OECD wants and the EU is putting in place.

Will it make a significant difference to the gap between the rich and the poor ?

We’ll have to wait and see how effective the legislation is, how well it is put into operation , how much revenue is collects and more importantly how that wealth will be redistributed because if it goes into, say , roads and not housing then it won’t address the asset wealth gap.

In short I see a lot of shuffling of money that already exists I our economy by this Labour led coalition and to repeat I can see no significant moves to redirect untaxed wealth from the asset rich to the overly taxed asset poor

So no Matthew, I have not “been sleeping “ as you suggest I’ve been consistently trying to address the nightmare that is neoliberal economics and the effect it has been having on the lives of ordinary New Zealanders since Labour introduced it and Natoional put it on steroids.

And no I haven’t been misleading anyone ( which you also suggestted ) as I hope the above fact check illustrates.


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. Basically we have a “Blairite” Labour Govt who will do nothing to arrest the further slide into inequality, led by Jacinda” photo opportunity” Blair, a formost acolyte and intern to the arch neo liberal and war criminal Tony Blair.

  2. Well responded.

    I wonder how much leeway the government (currently) has though? It can only do what the powerful at home and abroad allow them to do.

    Perhaps it would be better to start with these points of leverage first? e.g. Severely curtail private funding of political parties to a single fixed publicly recorded amount per person/entity and replace the rest with state funding per parliament/council seat. The National party would totally change to the point of being unrecognizable! They might even start to represent normal people.

    You could also limit foreign and multiple ownership of media outlets and perhaps some level of truth when stating ‘facts’.

    It’s also worth removing the 5% vote cap on getting into parliament (I believe they call that one democracy).

    Having a bill of rights/constitution with teeth – i.e. a law that can’t be overruled.

    It’s also worth the left realizing that they are going to have to bring the baby boomers along with them. Taking a massive chunk out of a lot of voters retirement plan is not only going to be seen as fair (yes really) it is not a vote winner (not to mention suggesting CGT on every first property of 5 acres and over – write off every rural vote right there). Not sure why Labour didn’t just say CGT on third property onward (perhaps this is the most telling thing).

    All of this stuff is east to pass off politically and would be hard to reverse without looking bad

    • Some very pertinent point John Souker

      MSM ownership particularly.

      RNZ CEO and board do not represent a cross section of society but reflect Private sector and corporate backing.

      The RNZ news is often straight out of the US / UK propaganda stream with no balance added.

      Control the minds and you control the country. Voting is a reflection of that control.

  3. Brilliant work @ BB

    Years ago over at ‘Tumeke!’ I used to write about the sound of a most terrible scratching coming from outside at the kitchen door late in the night. Every sweaty neo liberal criminal would be able to hear it and as they writhed in angst in their sticky, satin sheets, the scratching would get ever louder….!
    I’d write ” Hear that, you bastards!? Hear that!? That terrible scratching! ? That’s the truth! And it’s coming after you.”
    I’d like to see roger douglas and his cadre of crooks, swindlers and bankster grifters given a dose of royal-commission-of-inquiry epsom salts then tied to a post in a paddock to see what might come out. It’d be worth a Youtube clip I reckon.

  4. A well-being budget is all very well, but budgets need funding – and this government has shown great reluctance to increase its revenue by taxing the wealthy. Where’s the money going to come from?

    The need for winter energy payments is a terrible indictment of the failure of the free market to do what it was touted to do – deliver goods and services cheaply and efficiently. But anyone with any grasp of economics should have seen this failure coming.

    As for universities – yes, university education should be free (well done Scotland), and the only criteria for entry should be academic. But the free 1st-year policy is actually NOT a step in the right direction, because the intention seems to have been to increase enrolments, rather than to take the pressure off needy students. Another muddle-headed policy from this government, as the focus of universities should be on quality rather than quantity. The current competitive model rewards universities for maximising enrolments, causing distortions that I’d rather not go into here.

  5. As always they leave out the gross underfunding of our medicines and the bullshit process the funding application has to go through and the MINIMUM TIME TAKEN FOR A MEDICINE TO BE FUNDED IF THE BOARD AGREES IS 3 and a HALF YEARS.

    This applies to all medicines approved by medsafe for sale in New Zealand.

    They then have to go before the pharmaceutical and theraputic advisory committee to be assessed for a HIGH LOW or whatever priority level .

    The funding application then goes to the Pharmac Board who only meets four times a year.

    A classic example is the funding application for continuous glucose monitors for Type 1 and 2 Diabetics went to pharmac in Feb 2018 it only got before the PTAC committee in March 2019 and is currently going through a medical trial which has already been done in numerous other countries.

    There are 6 medications for type 2 diabetics on the waiting list along with 97 others for other medical needs .

    When are New Zealanders going to get a fair shake and pharmac accept doctors recommendations and fund the individuals needs not a one meds fits all bullshit policy which we all know doesn’t work.

    Our placing on medicines funding is 19th out of the 20 OECD countries and on THE WHO HEALTH RANKINGS by COUNTRY we are 41st and the USA is 37th so go figure that out .

    Why is it if you can’t get help for your meds funding winz won’t help ?

    Why is it the disability allowance at winz is only $64.00 and they only pay a % not the whole $64.00.

    Our total welfare package for people with long term illness from hospital care, to medicines funding to hospital care is a total bullshit joke.

    • More funding for Health is a priority not effectively responded to.

      NACT reduces Health funding by stealth.

      DHB management pay private for profit health service vendor who openly compete for the dollars from desperate and dying folk who can;t get Public Health services needed from a run down public system.

      The system of regional DHBs divides public Health into competing factions who are compared on the basis of who has the lowest debt.

  6. Good work, Bryan. You’ve clearly exposed Labour’s spin.

    Their cheerleaders will be gunning for you now.

  7. Lots of talk about CGT but in my experience so little about the elephant in the living room, LOW CORPORATE TAXATION.

    When is the media going to raise the question lots of us have been asking….”when are big business going to be asked to pay their fair share?”

    Indeed a decent argument could be made that more tax demands on the public at large is propping up low rates for the 1%. What’s fair about that?

  8. Excellent, my man, excellent!

    You really do have to keep bashing away at every single detail to get at the truth, don’t you?

    Especially if you belong to the bottom group!

    So in the current political market who’re you going to vote for? I actually can’t see anyone trying to kill neo-liberalism, and that’s what we need.

  9. A little unfair re state housing in that there will be more, thus there is a tangible improvement. And given their lack of money they had little option but to sell some land to afford it.

    Beneficiaries and the many in retirement living on less than the MW (half have no more then 20% extra income on top of their super – less than minimum wage) are better off with the winter energy payment. The simplest (little bureacratic cost) cutback in cost is not to pay it to those still in employment.

    Increasing the MW by over a $1 an hour each year instead of 50 cents a year does make people better off (it also increases the number of people who get a wage increase at all as many in the $15-18 an hour range had been there for a decade needing the MW to catch up so they could get a pay increase).

    Kiwi Build is an important part of getting more people into homes, the real problem is that reserving sales to first home buyers limits sales and finance for more new builds. They should extend sales to all home buyers (people moving from flats and apartments to family homes, those from doer uppers to a new build and those from larger family homes downsizing). The point of the home building is to increase supply and reduce the land values of existing property (make all of it more affordable for first home buyers).

  10. Yes, and no, I would say, re this post being correct in every aspect.

    What is not mentioned is the huge difference of our economic and financial policy realities today and say in the 1970s or earlier.

    Once upon a time New Zealand was making good export earnings feeding and clothing (with meat, dairy products, wool and so forth) the citizens of the ‘Motherland’, the UK.

    The UK, having overcome the post war challenges, was then again one of the developed nations of Europe, with comparatively high incomes and living standards, when compared to much of the world. And New Zealand benefited from a much controlled world trade system and its traditional ties with the Motherland. Also was the NZ population much lower then, needing and using less of the local resources, when compared to today.

    Since then the world has changed RADICALLY, yes, neoliberalism, or somewhat uncontrolled capitalism, has taken hold not just of this little land at the backside of the globe, it has done so over most of the globe.

    Currencies are traded freely, or close to freely, commodities, goods and services are traded on different, so called ‘free trade’ terms (liberalised rules for trade), we also have people and businesses invest in shares and bonds, besides of retirement funds and others, everything is being ‘traded’ now, as if it is a ‘good’ of sorts, with lesser rules attached.

    We compete not only with the UK farmer, with UK weather and conditions, we compete globally, especially since the UK joined the EU and became less important to us, as less reliant on our exports.

    So are we not comparing apples with pears here?

    As for the wealth gap, yes, it is true, but to reverse this, you will basically have to bring in stiff controls for every person, re ownership rights, re taxation, re inheritance, gifting, buying and selling, the system we have now would basically collapse, it could not function. To do impose such changes we would need a true revolution, that is in absence of the world changing, i.e. forcing international changes on all such terms we rely on and are subject to.

    We would have to perhaps even give up the idea of fiat money, and go back to something like the gold standard or what.

    Think about sharing the pie, except by using taxation, may necessitate the introduction of workers’ councils in large businesses, share issues to workers as members of collective ownership, shared profits and the likes.

    Unions setting awards across industries may be needed, then our corporations, and those owned by overseas interests, they will rebel.

    And without those ‘businesses’ approving anything, they will do all hell break loose to stop any government make any changes to the present settings, even use police and soldiers to hammer down on protesters and strikers, we have been there, remember?

    So are people ready for the fight, or not, it can be done, are they ready?

    I fear not, and that is why Labour will get away with what they are doing.

    • And this is the crux of the problem. The world system is deliberately designed to minimize the power of people. Part of that is minimizing the power and sovereignty of nations.

      UK New Labour were evil to their bones, I’m not sure if I would compare Labour to them, they are much closer to National. The problem is how much is Jacinda allowed to do?

      The change we all want is almost sci fi in its requirements: Free unlimited energy to make us self sufficient. A super shield to keep out the inevitable external ‘liberation’ from our own ‘populist fanatics’ running the country. And some sort of mind reading technology to spot foreign destabilizing agents as they enter the country.

      The best we can hope for is some sort of fairer economic social democracy allowed by the powers that be using the only leverage we have (accepting five eyes spying stations and becoming the bread basket (milk churn?) of China).

      It’s a sorry state of affairs.

  11. Through the mechanisms in place, naturally the big and rich players get richer, and the rest get poorer, or at best stay put.

    The Tax Working Group was a farcical exerciser, to be honest, the scope under which they were allowed to investigate, research, assess and present new tax alternatives was so narrow, much was ruled out.

    I had expected this government to increase taxes for top income earners rather than look at capital gains to be taxed. Yes, capital gains could and should ideally also be taxed, but given so many exemptions being needed, it would be a very difficult tax to implement.

    And then we had the idea that any changes should be revenue neutral. So in effect, it was always going to be a half hearted exercise, and never meant to gather the revenue needed for new state housing, other infrastructure and social services investment, and what else may be needed.

    Add the unions, suddenly all being in negotiations, and wanting their share of the pie, i.e. solidification of their middle class income and living standards more akin to US American and much of Europe, they forced the government to offer more pay for state paid health and education sectors, and also some other public service jobs.

    Heaps of money will go there, while benefits are NOT raised at all, apart from the humble ‘winter energy payment’, which some use to pay food rather than heat, as they never had enough to live off anyway.

    The low fees now ensured for beneficiaries and old citizens for doctors visits, they are also only benefiting some, as lower fees will reduce the Disability Allowance for those who need medical care the most and regularly.

    The Accommodation Supplement increases did also not help those most in need, as their Temporary Additional Support and Special Benefit rates would be affected and reduced in return.

    Base or main benefit rates have not been increased at all, we get inflation adjustments only on those rates, which result in say two to three dollars a week more since first of April. Supplements are not inflation adjusted, and most beneficiaries need those to survive.

    Housing is not getting cheaper, as KiwiBuild is as ineffective as a bird with clipped or cut off wings, unable to fly.

    Social housing is only build a bit more, while Housing NZ sells off land to private developers, who use publicly owned land now to develop part of the housing they build for the private market, it will be sold to private buyers, and this is asset selling by the government.

    I notice even park land now being ‘developed’ in Auckland, which the Unitary Plan was supposed to protect us from.

    The government would have to step up and replace private market players to make a difference in the wealth gap widening, but do we see government do its own share, and build state owned housing on state owned land to capacity?

    NOPE, we see BS distractions instead, Jacinda has sold out to the powers that be, quite willingly, I feel, and she now has her eyes on high level international politics, wanting to talk with Macron and others in Paris about ‘social media controls’ and the likes, after that Christchurch massacre.

    JACINDA MUST GO, that is my view, she is a traitor of sorts, a magazine poster girl, and a wannabe Blairite international political stage operator, who seems to be more concerned about ‘soft’ issues than real hard issues that need resolving urgently back here at home.

    I see the news, now she is with Prince William in Christchurch, consoling souls of relatives and friends of the victims. Ok, there is time for that, but where is the year of delivery?

    • Think also, how does ‘capital’, i.e. an asset, gain in value?

      There could be many factors, including competitiveness and size of a growing business, scarcity on the housing market to increase prices of residential homes, inflation, simply increasing the nominal value of an asset, while prices increase due to scarcity or due to loss in value of money, whatsoever.

      There are many factors at play, and taxing a capital value gain at selling point may make sense but comes with many hitches and caveats.

      That makes a CGT complex to implement.

      Hence perhaps rather tax income more progressively, as it used to be.

      And have the state take more action and initiative in creating and sharing value of the citizens it is supposed to look after.

      • Marc,

        I figure that capital can gain value in two ways – by scarcity (more folk want it so are prepared to pay more than it used to be worth) or by its “redevelopment potential” (some folk figuring it can be reconfigured for better cashflow/better aesthetics etc)

        Scarcity of assets continue, not because of “neo-liberal policies” or “Councils not releasing land” but I would suggest scarcity is driven primarily but population growth.

        And its population growth (birthrates and immigration in various parts of the world) that drive scarcity and its population growth that requires “more stuff” and its population growth that is the greatest effect on our climate issues.

        But really, nobody but the Chinese, have ever taken population growth as the biggest problem that we face.

        I would argue that NZ with 3.5m folk has less issues with poverty than NZ with 4.5m folk and that if we are dopey enough to want 6.5m folk, that if that were to ever happen, that we will look upon the poverty levels now, as being “the good old days”

      • Housing should not be a commodity dictated by an investor market.

        The first Labour Govt in NZ brought in far reaching provisions many of which would have been invaluable to housing, farming and control of banks today, with positive environmental consequences and housing affordability.

        “Price controls, introduced even before the war, were further extended in 1943 to cover the retail prices of many kinds of fruit and vegetables, and towards the end of 1943, in the light of a substantial increase of land-transfer transactions, controls were placed on sales and leases of land, with the general objective of stabilising values at 1942 levels.”

  12. You are talking about changing the culture of NZ after 40 years of self centred individualistic neoliberal policies after being in power for only18 months. This is a rather ambitious goal, and politically suicidal to attempt.
    You forget we have nearly 2 generations of citizens whom have grown up and been educated under that economic theory and are much more individualistic and selfish than earlier generations.
    Many have based their investments and economic future in response to neoliberal ideology. The first budget was essentially a holding budget and we will see with the next one based on wellbeing rather than individual greed.
    More investment in State provided rental accommodation is essential rather than the Kiwi build home ownership programme. This can be paid for from a public banking programme funded by the reserve bank. This will help to reduce the cost of housing and rents.
    I believe the world economy is on the verge of a major downturn, possible collapse, be careful not to demand too much too soon or we will be entering said downturn with a real neoliberal National government in control again.

  13. The question to be answered and explained in detail is “Why doesn’t the coalition do more”.

    What is stopping reduction of the gap.

    Who opposes it and is acting against closing the gaps.

    What would need to be done to change those things and formulate a plan that will close the gap.

    If they don’t know or can’t say then it is about time more radical politicians were recruited along with a public education programme exposing the role of business NZ and corporate cartels..

  14. What needs to be said here also is, that Bryan Bruce relies on economic figures that are typical for the present dominant fossil fuel powered economy.

    This is totally unsustainable anyway, if we want to ensure for the future, for all people, we must move away from fossil fuel use asap, and what price will that have, that is still heavily disputed.

    So this post is lamenting from an emotional perspective, it offers NO real solutions, since the energy we need for the future has not even been sorted out and accounted for. Redistribution of resources based on fossil fuel is ridiculous an exercise.

    Sorry, but we are all living in fantasy land with expectations of better social services, justice and the sake, it is NOT going to happen, until the resource fight and wars that need to be fought have been fought out, possible leaving hundreds of millions of humans on earth left to die anyway.

    • Agree with the thrust of what you out line Marc.

      Global issues regarding resources and political connivance can go on anyway but nothing good is expected.

      Mike Joy brings the point about the obvious stupidity thinking in terms of solutions that are “economic”.

      A longish watch but NZ101.

      Energy reduction concept is beyond most living in consumer society so they have little chance of coming to grips with a way forward.

      Thinking locally and basic simplicity instead of global economics and resources is a start.

      Mass die off may include the consequences of resource wars but will happen anyway as food supply declines. Desperate refugees will exacerbate conditions and local resource supply.

      Life expectancy will fall and medical services will be simpler and less available where they continue to exist.

      Establishing local food production without oil is a start to making a chance for some to survive the nutrition dilemma but other consequences of overshoot will continue to present.

  15. Put the Blairites into a concentration camp, where they learn what the meaning of work is. Listen up, Jacinda.

  16. It’s a nice brick bat list for labour and fair enough mostly, but I’m going to take issue with your “curbed gun ownership rights” agreement.
    It’s bollocks for a number of reasons.
    A) firearms ownership is not and never has been a right, it’s a civil liberty and a privilege.
    B) Nothing is “curbed” as the paid confiscation of semi autos hasn’t completed yet. Further changes to gun laws need proper consultation in full light of police failings with licensing the shooter, and not punishing law abiding license holders more.
    C) The fear and misinformation peddled by police and politicians of the left have unnecessarily rushed necessary controls on centrefire semi autos. This runs the risk of driving guns underground (eg if Payment’s aren’t fair) but also have shown up the ineptitude and unpreparedness of police dealing with confiscated guns – see today’s debacle of 11 handed in guns unsecured and stolen from a police station.
    Read that again.

    We are so much safer

      • Labour and the Greens, maybe I should have said the “faux left”.
        Here’s an example: Nash, minister of keystone cops, when discussing firearm owner concerns over Police ability to store confiscated guns (pre Palmerston North).

        “I’m not 100% sure. But what I do know is they are stored in a way that is a lot safer than they were before they were handed in.”

        Yeah, er, where were the guns safer again?

  17. Thank you Bryan. Heartbreaking. Career politicians haven’t, aren’t and will never be working for the people.
    Who are our career politicians and civil servants working for.
    Who are the ones neither they nor us are allowed to criticize?
    Whoever they are, they are the ones running this country.
    As for Jacinda…will she, like Trudeau, be donning a sari if the occasion presents itself? If she is being “true to herself” then, imo, she should have the courage to say outright to the people of New Zealand that she is a convert to Islam. If she is not a convert, then she should drop the acting role.

  18. Reality trumps opinions


    “Over reading @cjsbishop point out issues that National started and Labour are trying to fix…. Heres the lowdown chris .. under national government my family used the services of a food bank 8 times in 2 years …. since Labour not even once .. thats the real difference”

    “The biggest help has been with the families package . My Husband travels 110kms everyday to work and we finally feel the hard work we put in isnt in vain, that we are not making choices between petrol for work or putting food on the table “.

  19. Truth and reality. Those who believe, as close as life , in the rule of the people should be in charge. Finding of the last 40 years. I don’t know what Roge is doing with his brain in these days.

  20. We no longer vote for who we think are great, we vote for who we think will do the least damage from our perspective. Sad but true.

  21. This article and its finding needs to be taken into the context of which it is framed. Its Labours middle-class welfare program. It ignores the ‘real’ poor people living in poverty, the elderly living alone and the individual and its assumption(s), everyone lives within a family unit. More propaganda from the current neoliberal government. Long Live the Yellow Vests!

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