GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Winston Peters Economics 101


According to the latest NZIER quarterly survey of business opinion released last week business confidence is the lowest it has been since 2009.

“When Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters was asked for his opinion (TVNZ 12th July) he shrugged it off saying ” ….I’m not worried … the share market is at record levels, profitability is up at record levels, banking profits are up at 9 per cent… So let’s not have this doom and gloom contrived by the National Party.”

OK stop!

Let’s just take this apart. Peters gives three measures of value extraction as a sign that our economy is booming .

1. The share market is at record levels.

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People largely wheel and deal in the share market hoping to make money out of their money. They are not in it for the long haul and improving the businesses they invest in. That’s why the share market rises and falls so much.

2. Profitability is up.

This is another measure of how much money people are making by extracting wealth from our economy. If you want an economy of “well- being” then where is the measure of re-investment?

3. Banking profits are up 9 per cent.

Sorry? Banks are making more profits and this is a good thing?

Last month NZ First Associate Minister Shane Jones crowed at a post budget event it was his party “that killed off the Capital Gains Tax “ recommended by the Tax Working Group. As a result we are in the position of having no wealth tax of any significanceand so ,the rich will continue to get richer and more people on lower incomes will struggle to make ends meet.


As long as NZ First remain in the coalition government neoliberalism will rule our economy and the measure of economic success will not be the” well -being” of the many but how much wealth the already wealthy are able to extract from our economy.

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. The question was about “business confidence” wasn’t it? Not about social equity!
    Surely this was the appropriate response.
    Ask him about his opinion of neoliberalism if you want to know if he thinks these statistics are what matter to society.
    D J S

    • Perhaps Winston was simply trying to point out either a) National are a bunch of hypocrites, b) national have no idea what they are talking about, c) national specialise in fake news when it comes to the economy or d) all of the above

      • Or Winston was pointing out that 1 year after the Key lead National government party came into office the pro rightwing business community jumped from the trees to state that business confidence was at record low levels. Based on the fact that business confidence didn’t “trickle down” to the rest of us in the 9 years under National, I to would say Winston is right. If Bridges is the sales rep of doom and gloom for the Business round table, then more fools them.
        Personally I can tell you my family and I are more confident now than under 9 years of Nationals neoliberalism.

  2. Good news for you. NZ First have zero chance of making government next election.
    The rural electorate who kept them afloat feel completely betrayed by them , firstly those upset by them siding with greens/ labour, and now backing gun confiscation when they ran on a gun friendly platform.
    (Also no hard action on immigration or overseas water sales less rural concerns but will put off their urban voters.)
    Their vote will be split between mostly conservative and the National Party (pretty loathed at present) possibly some ACT support next election.
    Of course if labour/greens make parliament without them they will continue the same neoliberal dogma so NZ First have succeeded in making themselves fatally irrelevant.

    • The above Vid Renegade Inc: Rentier Britain ( New Zealand): all the rent goes to the 1%

      There are three fundamental issues that lie at the heart of our current economic malaise: the first is unearned income and wealth from ( buy to rent out property speculation for capital gain) land rent, second the creation of money by privately owned banks, and the third is rent-seeking that is used to juice profits out of intellectual property through copyright and patents. Refer TPPA.
      But the political class, supported by lobbying, continues to avoid addressing these issues. So monopolies grow larger and larger, and as they do, more and more people are excluded from the economy.
      To really address the root causes, why don’t we start by calling out the rentier economy as a structural issue that no progressive society can actually afford?
      Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by the economist, author and co-founder of Basic Income Earth Network Prof. Guy Standing to discuss rentier capitalism and reclaiming the commons.

  3. I agree with you Bryan, those indicators are all about extracting surplus value, which is very deficient as the sole measure of economic performance, and arguably is not truly economic activity but financial parasitism. Good spotting and well said. Peters? Charlatan.

    Please forgive my impatience and impertinence with you occasionally. All the best, DH

  4. Winston Peters on Capitalism.

    Winston Peters wants ‘today’s capitalism’ to regain its ‘human face’

    This from 2017.

    “That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its responsible – its human face. That perception has influenced our negotiations.”

    He’s also talked about “irresponsible capitalism”, and isn’t much of a fan of neoliberalism either, saying in a speech earlier this year: “The truth is that after 32 years of the neoliberal experiment the character and the quality of our country has changed dramatically, and much of it for the worse.”

    If they had been serious the CGT would have been implemented as a first step.

    Nothing has been done in 18 months to change the underlying causes of this evil economic system from Winston Peters , Shane Jones or the others.

    They are political opportunists like their Labour colleagues who have no intention of a ” counter revolution ” to the rich mans 1984 take over.

  5. Unless a more militant left-wing party can be formed – one that won’t compromise on it’s values – and climb it’s way into the political sphere, NZ is pretty much going to continue destruction-as-usual.

  6. When you’re at the TOP there is only one place to go.

    New Zealanders invested in stocks and property are very eager to call their detractors ‘Doom & Gloom Merchants’. Ignorant approach though as one persons declining portfolio/property is an opportunity for someone else.

  7. “As long as NZ First remain in the coalition government neoliberalism will rule our economy and the measure of economic success will not be the” well -being” of the many but how much wealth the already wealthy are able to extract from our economy.”

    In my opinion you could make the same point for Labour and National.

    The only solution to my mind is new parties or some kind of transformative change from within of the kind we are seeing from UK Labour.

  8. When one, such as I, so I’ve been told, lives so far outside the middle of everything that has a middle in terms of AO/NZ politics it’s a tremendous feeling to find a kindred spirit in Brian Bruce.
    Have you ever seen a balloon full of water getting pricked by a pin while filmed in slow motion?
    The balloon is there, all full of water, then along comes the dastardly pin!
    The pin enters the skin of the balloon and nothing seems to happen for awhile… Then suddenly! The balloon skin peels back and there! Behold! A beautiful balloon shaped sphere of water, suspended, however briefly, in mid air. Then whoosh! It’s gone. On the floor and splattered everywhere.
    The Kiwi-As crooks are the dirty water. Their vale of lies is the skin that holds their bullshit suspended and people like Brian Bruce, myself and others are the pricks who will bring the bastards crashing down.
    Let me just say, while I reign in my rage, that, when that day comes? It’ll not be enough for me to allow peters to whitewash over their criminal activities. I want to see the fuckers in prison. More over, I want to see a documentary to explain how they did what they did to us for the many, many years they’ve been doing it and see it broadcast on that special day to commemorate the day of our revolution. But not to celebrate the upheaval of our corrupt governmental status quo but to celebrate the return of our once-was inclusive one.
    This? This, All of This, that’s happening to us? This isn’t the collective ‘us’ that’s doing this to us. The government, that might be OUR government, wouldn’t be doing what they do to us if it was still our Government!? Would you, or you, or you PLAN to foist homelessness and miserable physical and mental health down upon our most vulnerable? On your friends, your neighbours, your whanau? To keep kids in poverty? To ‘bleak and bland’ our society? To wait in the shadows are creeps make off with our resources? To sell us out to foreign investors? Would you do that to me? To them? To your loved ones?
    Of course you wouldn’t! You would do your utmost to prevent that or to remediate that. But they don’t. And they won’t allow us to facilitate that.
    So, it begs the question? Who the fuck then is doing those things to us? Who has control?
    Winnie knows. Little winnie? You know, don’t you, you little shit? You fucking traitor.
    What were you and don brash talking about in that photograph? You remember don brash, right? He was the creature who had his signiature on our money for years.

  9. Shane Jones was shoulder tapped by that well known 1980’s neolib to attend Harvard Kennedy School which is an Ivy League Uni in Massachusetts US.
    These people are the epitome of neoliberalism, no matter what they say.
    And a handbrake on any meaningful progressive reform.
    Get rid of them 2020

  10. “Nothing is more important to the effective functioning of the state than the illusion that it belongs equally to all its citizens and is a neutral
    arbiter of justice.By encouraging each citizen to view himself as a dis­tinct individual without any necessary ties to anyone else, to understand
    freedom as the exercise of choice in the absence of overt restraint, to think about equality in terms of formal rights to exercise just this kind of freedom, and above all, by neglecting class and the class differences that emerge from ptoduction, market thinking also plays a crucial role in
    producing as well as legitimating this illusion.Both our political processes and their real world outcome seem to be what people have
    freely chosen, rather than the biased results of unequal relations of power between the classes.It is the restricted range of possible laws that are given in the one-sided rules of the game by which we live, even more than their equally biased applications, that make our society-for all its
    democratic pretentions-a class dictatorship, the dictatorship of the cap­italist class.And in politics, as in the economy, the real limits set by ruing class interests on the actual alternatives between which we are forced to choose can never be investigated, because the class context in which they exist is itself invisible.Once again, capitalism’s lack of transparency makes it virtually impossible for the people living in it to see who and what are responsible for the larger order problems in their lives”

    From Market Socialism: The Debate Amongst Socialists pgs 93,94

  11. Winston Peters is now a self important, over rated piece of shit that is just another blemish on a stained NZ history. A failure and opportunist arse hole to be honest. He went into bed with Jacinda and Co out of desperation, we get crap government, neither here nor there, I despise this lot even more than the hated Nats, for their betrayal.

    Who cares, we rock and shout in anger, we are NOT loyal to this SHIT country anymore, not even the lying Ombudsman.

  12. Not to mention that all three don’t actually indicate that the economy is doing well. There was a bit of whistling in the dark in Winston’s comments

    • Thats exactly right EP. Both bank profits and inflating stock assets are a drain on the real productive economy. If we accept that only the production of real tangible products and services have economic value then bank profits and interest can only be viewed as being an extracted cost from productive activity. The same for inflating stock prices. Its all “free” money that in the final analysis can only be extracted from the real productive economy as surplus value and which becomes a cost of production. I can only imagine the howls of anguish if the government boasted a 9% increase in tax but 9% to the banks is fine which pretty much shows you who is pulling the strings in the current neoliberal set up. Of course this all means that there is less and less available for those that create the real economy i. e workers and for the services that benefit workers and society. And just to rub salt into the wound banks, rent and the whole FIRE rort get their activity counted on the productive side of the economy rather than as a cost to the economy where it obviously belongs. And then folk wonder why the economy tanks when all the statistics looked so good?!? Pulling the wool over everyones eyes is part of the trick. Focus on the market side where everyone can be portrayed as an individual rather than the production side where it is plainly obvious that the natural and normal relationships are cooperative and dependent. That we require a properly functioning society and all that entails and that the FIRE folk are parasites and leeches

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