GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – The Boris Irony


Such Irony

While it is good to see that Boris Johnson is out of hospital the irony will surely have occurred to many that he was saved by nurses working at a NHS hospital – the very institution his own party policy has sought to undermine.

Moreover that he was cared for by a Portuguese and a New Zealand nurse to whom he admits he owes his life.

This is the man who leads a party who wants to restrict immigration from the continent and the commonwealth.

Has he learned his lesson?
We shall see.

The other great irony ( or perhaps ‘tragedy’ is a more appropriate word ) is that people deemed to be in ‘essential services” are amongst the lowest paid workers in our society.

It really,really is time to overhaul our ideas of work and value.

Meanwhile Covid-19 has done what no amount of political lobbying and angst could do. It has caused neoliberalism and globalisation to stumble and perhaps allowed ordinary citizens to at last understand that our government can create money by using its own central bank any time it wants to.
So yes teachers and yes nurses – when you were told “there is no more money” there really was lots of it.

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The past 19 days have also demonstrated that human activity is a major contributor to global warming (as if there was any doubt Mr Trump).

In saying all this however, I don’t for a moment mean to downplay the terrible misery this coronavirus has caused. Far too many of my fellow New Zealanders, forced to live on very little 20 days ago, now face a far bleaker future in which they will have even less to get by on, families are losing loved ones that cannot properly be farewelled and thousands of small business owners are watching ,helpless, as their livelihoods painfully collapse because of the shutdown .

We need to help each other -not only through these dark days but into the future – and we need to tell our politicians that if they want to be re-elected they must have policies that require the wealthy 10% of us to give.. and not just take.

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. Of course the other side of immigration, is that the Portuguese and a New Zealand nurse, have also had their skills removed from their country who probably trained them….

    I don’t blame them for going, (who wouldn’t facing Rogernomics in NZ with poor opportunities in NZ health and often high student debts) but the question is, if the government do not support people in their own country, then they leave.

    In general Kiwis used to return to NZ after working overseas, now increasingly they don’t for decades or not at all.

    We have replaced our leaving Kiwis, with migrant chefs, nurse aids, and food/retail assistants making up our top essential skills list that funny enough are all very low paid! 10% of all migrants coming into NZ over the past 15 years, have no income at all.

    Then ‘richer’ countries can get more bums on seats migrants without bothering to train their own workforce (instead the new profit driven education is to ‘sell’ their degrees aka US, UK, OZ and NZ (and now even primary and secondary school education) to richer foreign students, not actually focus on equipping the next generation of locals to have skills needed to have a functioning society going forward.

    Since degrees in NZ are not particularly high status and seemingly unable to attract the smart foreign students that might choose to go to the US or UK, increasingly we have downgraded our degree standards, allowing cheating and giving residency promises away with every level 5 chef or business masters degree here. Yipee, all good until the engineers start designing buildings that fail and doctors are in jail for murdering teens. But a small price to pay for private interests to get a new growth sector going! Sarcasm.

    I agree with sustainable migration of people who go to other countries for work and social opportunities for short periods (aka 2 year working visas which used to be the norm in NZ) or migration of high skills, proven ability to integrate into the new society and mutual benefit for both the migrant the society of their new country, but that is not what is happening around the world.

    Migration is being used to worsen conditions for vulnerable, working and middle class people and lower wages. For every 10% of migrants in workforce it was found to decrease wages 2%. In neoliberalism that is gold!

    Not only that, the surges of human traffic create mountains of polluting consumerism and paper money benefiting banks, foreign exchange, insurance, housing wars, infrastructure wars, air travel, tourism, fast and convenient foods, consumer toys, internet, telecoms, drug dealers, milk powder for babies whose mothers work, etc…

    Losers tend to be governments whose public spending gets overloaded, communities and society.

    In NZ wages are now in freefall and you can’t afford anything with them in spite of being told inflation is flat (yeah right, power is not increasing, rates are not increasing, water costs are not increasing, food is not increasing and building a house is not increasing under the new regime).

    Now you need to be in the top 10% of earners in NZ to afford an ‘affordable Kiwibuild’ house. But even then those going for them, apparently are listing their incomes at $1 or paying most of the entire house in cash! Real workers are increasingly not able to afford anything in NZ, now with Covid they are looking at decreased wages again, or the sack. To keep people afloat the government pays out WFF and accomodation benefits and wage top ups for profitable but low wage industries taking over NZ.

    Now we have pandemics to look forward to.

    But before the pandemic in NZ we had increasing biosecurity risks from lazy imports, wiping out NZ livelihoods and food. Aka PSA, where the farmers do not get compensation for the government allowing the import of the diseases from China and decimating their livlihoods, unlike Harvey Norman who apparently deserves NZ taxpayer compensation more!

    Fonterra farmers seem to somehow have lost millions on failed overseas in particular Chinese joint ventures including a 43% share in killing babies jointly with Sanlu. Apparently in a variation of the so called free trade mantra, the Chinese government doesn’t seem to allow NZ to sell direct to Chinese consumers desperate for non counterfeit milk.

    Migration is generally not some wonderful woke thing that the stupid and neoliberals idolise. Instead it is often taking poor people out of their comfort zones, homes and communities in search of work (because their traditional lifestyle is stolen from them by pollution or the generally fake promise of a better life). In many cases the better life does not eventuate, but debt and misery does. Meanwhile their kids grow up without their parents. It’s obscene.

    Migration is not just country to country but within countries themselves. Aka moving workers to factories from the country. (Or in NZ pushing people out of rural towns/communities/maraes into cities).

    This is a poignant read about what is happening in India.

    • Hey SaveNZ, have you ever thought about sending these essay-length pieces to Bomber to be put up as guest blogs? That’s what I tend to do with any response I can’t keep under 3 paragraphs. Any longer is really too long for a blog comment and most people will tune out after a paragraph or two and just skip to the next one.

      • Hi Danyl Strype, thanks for your comment. That is a good idea.

        I know my comments are often long.

        It is very hard to argue complex situations, with a short paragraph because life has many curves and exceptions.

        Modern communications seem designed to ‘dumb’ down, and now people eagerly take up the soundbyte without thinking too much further, aka rise of Trump style of leadership.

        Life is so much more complex that the twitter ideal, of 280 characters!

        If the self described left in NZ, deleted their twitter accounts and looked at real people’s views and experiences, not through some ‘social funding’ twitter committee, then their brains might clear into reality for a start!

  2. Neoliberalism uses mass migration to cause poverty throughout the world in particular making former democratic countries dysfunctional US, UK, OZ, NZ (we all apparently are reliant on Chinese labour and tech now and debts even if they don’t seem to be working aka asbestos trains, NZ companies going under, more poverty), while empowering the non democratic societies into spreading the new vision of totalitarianism to make money.

    Lefties and human rights advocates seem to have taken up the woke causes like migration without any critical thinking and long term impacts on all aspects of society (not just money trail), that is seemingly at odds with equality, human rights and democracy in the majority of cases.

    How else to explain the pandemic when so called first world countries struggle to have PPE because the country where it started managed to both buy up all the PPE before anyone else was alerted and also now control the supply of it.

    In the case of India, their government sounds like they sold PPE off, not bothering to worry about their own nationals needing it!

    One of the issues with NZ is that NZ has lost all it’s investigative journalists and any left seem to have been infected by woke thinking (survival strategy, Stockholm syndrome?) who knows.

    While MSM bask in Jacinda’s management which seems more luck than planning, nobody says, why does NZ now have the least amount of hospital beds per population and unlike most other countries our hospital beds have actually decreased since 2013, lower than Turkey, Russia, Japan?

    While Jacinda shines as a leader in communications, that doesn’t stop the rot behind the scenes (caused in particular the last 6 years by National but now freefall with Labour not stopping the immigration routs) which are available for anybody to find about what has really happened in NZ.

    • Sheer brilliance again, savenz,… blunt , forthright and bold, non flinching in saying exactly what is reality…

      You put an incredible amount of research time in, and say the things people think about but don’t often post. Top effort ! You’re a truth teller.

      So here you go :

      Jimi Hendrix Experience All Along The Watchtower

      “There must be some kind of way out of here”
      Said the joker to the thief
      “There’s too much confusion
      I can’t get no relief
      Businessmen they drink my wine
      Plowmen dig my earth
      None will level on the line
      Nobody offered his word”

      “No reason to get excited”
      The thief, he kindly spoke
      “There are many here among us
      Who feel that life is but a joke
      But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
      And this is not our fate
      So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
      The hour’s getting late”

  3. Brilliant, simple and straight to the point message as always, Bryan,…

    For a few posts I’ve said the same thing as well…”thousands of small business owners are watching ,helpless, as their livelihoods painfully collapse because of the shutdown”…

    And then there are those marriages postponed and as you say … ”families are losing loved ones that cannot properly be farewelled”

    Lets spare a thought for their plight…

    Yet in all this mix we have neo liberal wankers like Bauers, Sky City and Burger Kings Stephen Schwarzman,…one good thing is that all the wankers are now being limelighted in the full glare of public scrutiny as is the bogus con job of TINA,… the ‘There Is No Alternative’ bullshit.

    And that automatically weakens the positions of governments that have been deliberately evasive , non inclusive and dismissive of the voting public’s anger over neo liberal policy’s- and that of austerity.

    A small, microscopic microorganism is doing the job certain despicable and unscrupulous human beings tenaciously refused to do.

    And if anything good were to come of this tragedy , it will be that.

  4. My hope is that Boris received a huge injection of humility while laid up with in thee NHS.

    Next time the nurses and Doctors ask for a deserved pay rise, he is going to find it very hard to oppose
    If he has any decency.

    • Boris and others don’t worry about decency – they have a powerful antidote to that – rationalisation. There’s always a good reason (excuse) for doing something that might be considered to be a low blow, if a critical eye were to be applied.

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