MUST READ: “Pandemic” – The Movie, Has Only Just Begun.

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SO FAR, SO BLOODY FANTASTIC! All around the world people are watching the press conferences of New Zealand’s prime minister and comparing them to whatever you call those performances featuring the President of the United States. Imagine how decent, intelligent Americans must feel as they compare and contrast the style and the substance of these two very different political leaders. The experience must surely be as harrowing for them as it is affirming for us.

The cynics will object, of course, that it’s easy to be “nice” when everything is going well. Which is true. But, here’s the thing: New Zealanders’ experience of the Covid-19 Pandemic has been so much less fraught than the Americans’ because our system and our leadership rose to meet this extraordinary challenge and theirs did not. Our politicians and civil servants, acting together, and supported by the overwhelming majority of the people, made the right choices at the right time and for the right reasons – which is why everything is going so well. Better than many of us dared to hope.

If this was a movie, however, we’d only have been watching for about 20 minutes. The main characters of “Pandemic – The Movie” have been introduced and the best of them have risen splendidly to meet the script’s first big challenges. We’re all rooting for them – willing them to succeed. But, even as our identification with the heroes grows stronger, a little voice is reminding us that “Pandemic” still has 100 minutes left to run.

Because even if New Zealand succeeds in eliminating the Covid-19 virus – and that is still a long way off – our Prime Minister and her colleagues must meet the much larger and more daunting challenge of the virus’s economic consequences. The Treasury’s most optimistic scenario predicts an unemployment rate of around 10 percent as the New Zealand economy struggles to lift itself off its knees. Some economists are expecting as many as a third of this country’s business enterprises to fail. It is difficult to fully appreciate what this means in simple human terms: the collapse of so many hopes and dreams; the rising level of anxiety and despair; the dangerous casting about for someone or something to blame.

If the first 20 minutes of “Pandemic” have been inspiring, the next 60 are likely to be bloody terrifying.

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How so? Because wrestling with an economic crisis is a very different proposition from managing a public health crisis. When it comes to the economy there is (as yet) no equivalent character to the steadfast and reassuring Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Economists like to think of their profession as a science, but it isn’t. “Political-Economy”, as people used to call economics, is a much more honest descriptor. It captures the central role which politics plays in how a society organises the means of production, distribution and exchange.

As Lenin rightly recognised, the whole complex business of how any particular society functions is reducible to just two one-word questions: Who? Whom? Or, as Leonard Cohen, rather less tersely, puts it in his song “Democracy”, economics is all about “the homicidal bitchin’ that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat.”

People may be willing to let the scientific experts like Ashley Bloomfield, Michael Baker Siouxsie Wiles, and Shaun Hendy guide them through a medical emergency, but a willingness to be guided by the often conflicting advice of bankers, industrialists, trade unionists and academics, is much less likely. Convincing New Zealanders to “unite against the economic depression” will be several orders of magnitude more difficult that convincing them to unite against Covid-19. Unity against a potentially deadly coronavirus is much more easily achieved than uniting the rich and the poor in a common struggle to rebuild a collapsing economy. That will be a much more daunting task.

Daunting – but not impossible. Already emerging from the present crisis is a broad intellectual consensus that the answers to the questions Who? Whom? which the Powers-That-Be have for the past 35 years deemed acceptable will no longer suffice. The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought home to all people of good will the indispensable nature of the state. Not even the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 was sufficient to topple the ideological hegemony of neoliberal economics, but this latest global catastrophe has brought it crashing down.

And this time, the neoliberal economists and financiers know it. Their efforts at self-defence have, however, been spectacularly self-defeating. The reason for this lack of success is simple. At its core, neoliberalism is a sociopathic ideology, and sociopathology is, by definition, incapable of recognising its own core deficiencies: grandiosity, narcissism, amorality and a complete lack of empathy.

The neoliberal “solutions” to the present crisis reflect these deficiencies. Their protagonists simply cannot comprehend why ordinary decent people recoil in horror from their campaign to “save the economy” by allowing the old, the sick and the weak to die in their tens-of-thousands. People may not know much about economics, but they are still perfectly capable of distinguishing right from wrong. The howling moral vacuum at the heart of Neoliberalism has finally been exposed by – of all people – the neoliberals themselves.

Though finished strategically, the tactical response of Neoliberalism in extremis is certain to enliven the middle section of “Pandemic”. But, if Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson, and whoever emerges as the humane economist equivalent of Dr Ashely Bloomfield, can maintain the tone and poise displayed in the battle against the virus, then the battle against the economic crisis may unfold in an equally satisfactory fashion.

Then again, the Government may not need an economic expert. In his address to business leaders of 15 April, the Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, may have taken the burden of leading and explaining New Zealand’s economic recovery on to his own shoulders. These words in particular suggest that, in Robertson, the hour has met the man:

“The importance of the role of the state has been underlined by this crisis. I hold a strong personal belief in the power of the state to do good. It is through a well-funded, highly functional public service, that we have had the ability to coordinate and provide leadership for New Zealanders, guiding both the public health response and the economic response to this crisis.

“I believe it is of the utmost importance that the state continues to play an active part in the economic recovery, providing leadership and direction as we move forward through the challenging times ahead.

“Finally, I know that what we have asked New Zealanders to do in this crisis is huge. As we have all had to make sacrifices in doing our bit to stop the spread of the virus, so too will we all have a part to play in our economic recovery.”

It’s hard to imagine a better answer to the questions: Who? Whom? Especially since Robertson’s answer to both questions is the same:

Us.

It would certainly guarantee “Pandemic” has a happy ending.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Just imagine how NZ would be looking if Slymun Bwidges had been PM at this time.

    Probably little or no lockdown due to the impact it would have on business.

    No wage subsidy as that would be looking after that disgusting feral enemy.

    etc etc etc.

    The only good thing would be due to him being so busy humping Trmps leg, he wouldn’t have time to bark at every passing car like he’s done for two and a half years.

    As much as I thank what we have with Jacinda, I also thank in equal amounts that we don’t have Bwidges.

    “Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from Simon Bridges. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen

    • Can just see the characters now…
      Whailoil played by Hosking
      Bridges played by Hannibal Lector
      Ardern played by Mother Teresa
      Hosking played by NZ Business Inc
      Ashley Bloomfield played by Jesus

    • Jacindafan

      I am politically neutral but I find your comments about how National would have managed this crisis under Bridges as patently absurd, insulting and incorrect.

      Bridges and National supported the governments decision to go into lockdown. He supported the wage subsidy policy. He agreed to a severe constraint on all our civil liberties and democratic rights so that as a nation we could come together to fight this threat.

      He is relatively effectively performing a vital role chairing the epidemic committee or whatever it is called; currently the only check on the government’s almost absolute power in the current situation. There are calls from some uninformed elements of society not to criticise the government’s actions and that to do so is to display disloyalty. It sounds like you are probably one of them

      Your insulting and sneering commentary is unnecessary and dangerous. Given that you are clearly a sycophantic admirer of Jacinda, try practicing another piece of advice from her – try kindness and tolerance and acknowledge the support that Bridges and National are providing the government at this time.

      • Then why canny they not do the same without a pandemic?

        And they also have among their number including many media talking heads who are advocating an early break of the lock down to afford their lobbyists and neo liberal capitalists to remain in clover while their LOW WAGED , NON UNIONIZED, CASUAL LABOUR EMPLOYEES ARE SACKED AND FOR THE REST, – EXPECTED TO GO BACK TO WORK AS PER NORMAL. So why cant they pull their attack dogs off for a change? – do they really think we don’t see how their slyly having a foot in both camps?

        See,… that’s what I’ve got a problem with , these are the sort of bastards who remain at the back lines in the war forcing the common people over the top of the trenches all for a weekly fare of bully beef hardtack, – and shot if they refused. And if those unfortunates are really , really lucky, – a final small tin mug of watered down pissy rum of approx a centimetre in depth to deaden the pain as shrapnel and large caliber machine gun bullets rip through their young bodies and shred them. Remember- it was the capitalists who supplied those bitch weapons of mass murder in the first place.

        Now this may or may not be what Jacindafan is on about, and it may offend your cutsy pie little sensibilities,… but if you think , for ONE MINUTE people aren’t pissed off with 35 years of lies , rip offs and out and out bullshit, you’ve got another think coming.

        Most of us have children , – and if you didn’t realize it, we get kinda really miffy if not volatile when some areswipe rich prick deliberately stands in the way of their rightful place to enjoy a full and prosperous life free from poverty.

        The sort of life we all enjoyed pre 1984.

        The sort of life when in 1968 we had the sixth highest living standards in the world, – just behind Denmark . UNLIKE during the odious John Keys regime were at one point we were at place 32nd – behind bloody Mexico for F@CKS SAKES!

        Remember Kiwis are just Mexicans with cellphones?

        Where do you think that dirty little phrase came from?

        Oh yeah, – that’s right- something to do with Warner Brothers, John Key and him bullying the actors union and forcing em to work at shit wage contracts because if they didn’t, – they’d – W/B – take their business elsewhere, eh?

        Well , I can tell ya, – if working people who have borne the brunt of this in poverty, job losses , and the overwhelming number of cases of reinfection because National or even Labour gives in to Nationals fifth columnist media talking heads to resume business as usual too soon, not only will you have increased social unrest, – but a radicalized workforce who rapidly become acquainted with the destructive ideology that put them in that position in the first place.

        And that’s just not in NZ, – that’s going to be around the world because the cats NOW well and truly out of the bag. And NO amount of right wing skulduggery by saying one thing and surreptitiously doing another using a whole army of Hooten’s, Hosking’s or David Farrar’s are going to be able to plaster over that.

          • Forget Now

            You imply that I am not ‘politically neutral’ because I correct the facts that were misstated in JF’s post. Why does stating the facts mean that I am not politically neutral, especially when these same facts are on the official record?

            Do you also regard the official record as wrong or politically biased because it doesn’t align with you and Jancida fan’s ideological position; which is, by the way, politically biased?

        • Hardly but we need more vocal objectors to neoliberal annexation of Kiwi family hopes.
          Look at what families have lost since the 1980s.

          The wealth gap has widened at whose expense.

  2. “…….. It is through a well-funded, highly functional public service, that we have had the ability to coordinate and provide leadership for New Zealanders,……… ”

    Very true! But as we know, that has not always been the case. And there is a bloody big difference between the way some departments and Ministries operate under the ‘guidance?’ of the generic neo-lib CEO in normal times, and the way they operate in an emergency.

    Even during this emergency and early on there have been signs things have not all been well (such as border control in the early stages of lockdown). So far, much of our PS has stepped up to the mark in trying times however its all ‘operational’ now.

    The well-funded, highly functional bits of Robertson’s statement are ideal. As we know, proper resourcing generally hasn’t happened in recent years in many instances (numbers of Labour Inspectors or frontline staff in areas such as MSD, INZ and elsewhere)
    And there’s also often a big difference between what politicians perceive through gate-kept line management and what the public perceive at the arse end. “Carol from WINZ'” is waiting in the wings, keen to grab back control as soon as she can.

    • National nobbled Labour by challenging then about raising taxes.
      Funny they mentioned that because taxes do need raising to fund an other than shrinking public health system, the education system including tertiary education and trade training through Polytechs.

      How does Cuba produce so many doctors and nurses, the training is free as it should be for those who serve the community instead of fleecing the sick.
      We have to import doctors and nurses because of more than a generation of neglect.

      We have the people so lets train them.

  3. The New Zealand economy prior to Covid-19 was unsustainable in the long term because it was predicated on:

    1. the creation of money out of thin air by banks and the continuous expansion of the monetary base (devaluation of money ….so-called inflation) in order to provide the interest on loans.

    2. the conversion of fossil fuels into life-threatening waste (particularly carbon dioxide, which is causing planetary overheating; atmospheric CO2 now at around 416 ppm and still rising).

    3. the conversion of limestone into cement -adding to the CO2 predicament.

    4. the importation of phosphate rock and other plant nutrients to maintain soil fertility.

    5. rampant consumerism based on importation of goods from low-wage nations.

    6. the generation of humungous amounts of waste which is becoming ever more problematical in terms of disposal or recycling.

    7. population growth, leading to a commensurate increases in the requirement for energy and raw materials, and the commensurate increase in the generation of wastes.

    It naturally follows that attempts to restart the economy [as it was] amount to attempts to restart completely dysfunctional arrangements that are bound to collapse at some stage in the near future because of the effects of depletion of energy resources, because of unsustainable debt levels and because of collapse of the environment.

    As far as I know, no politician has any plan for establishing sustainable economic arrangements (or even moving towards such arrangements), and all are apparently committed to resurrecting arrangements that have no long-term future.

    Of course, establishing economic arrangements that have even a modicum of sustainability goes against the grain for the vast majority of the wage-slaves on this land mass, who have been trained to believe that exploitation of labour and exploitation (degradation) of the environment to the point of collapse are perfectly normal. And it certainly goes against the interests of the ‘1%’ who have done so well out of exploiting the masses and exploiting to environment for short-term gain.

    I pleased that we no longer subjected to the oxymoron ‘sustainable development’ -which amounted to conversion of sustainable (or semi-sustainable) systems into unsustainable systems, e.g. conversion of orchards into shopping malls. Although the ‘sustainable’ bit has been dropped, we are still lumbered with the dysfunctional notion of development….particularly more roads, bigger roads, more airports, bigger airports etc.

    In reality, human societies have ‘progressed’ away from normality (utilization of human or animal muscle power to do work and 100% recycling of wastes within walking distance) over the past several centuries, and the rate of divergence from normality was, until recently, increasing: a return to normal will come as a profound shock to the majority of people in ‘advanced’ nations as industrial arrangements predicated on fossil fuel use come to a gradual (or abrupt) end.

    • Spot on. One would hope we can science and technology the way to a bit more of a std of live than the pre-industrial. But with 80% of energy coming from coal, oil and gas, we’ve got to go local and sustainable in the next 10-30 years.

      • For the past decade or so the world has been running on essentially two kinds of oil:

        1. Low cost oil extracted from old wells that are mostly in terminal decline throughout the world, i.e. traditional land-based oil wells discovered and exploited decades ago.

        2. High cost oil that is extracted from small pockets that deplete rapidly and require almost continuous drilling and fracking; high cost oil that is extracted from low quality sources such Canadian tar sands; high cost oil that is extracted from deep-water wells.

        With crude oil prices having plummeted (West Texas Intermediate $17.85, Brent Crude $28.40) due to demand destruction and the ‘price war’, none of the oil sources that have been propping up the system since the price peak of $147 achieved in the last global financial crisis is viable.

        Fracking and tar sands and deep-water are all predicated on oil trading in the $50 to $100 a barrel range (more than $100 a barrel causes demand destruction and causes the global economy to implode).

        In addition to a tsunami of collapse of fracking companies unable to service ‘junk bonds’, we should anticipate major oil companies paying no dividends to shareholders and little or no tax to governments until such time as profitability is restored (if ever).

        Meanwhile, another dismal milestone has been passed:

        Daily CO2
        Apr. 16, 2020: 417.08 ppm
        Apr. 16, 2019: 413.09 ppm

        With another 4 or 5 weeks to go until the seasonal peaking of atmospheric CO2, the wiggling upward Keeling curve will almost certainly top out this year at around 418 ppm.

        Whether the additional heat trapping due to record-high CO2 will result in a record low Arctic ice cover is yet to be seen, but our ‘friends’ over at Arctic News have listed 10 tipping points to look out for this melt season.

        https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/

      • DR
        You have touched on the key.
        We need to learn how to live using much much much less energy.
        Energy consumption is coupled with non renewable resource use and there is no way to unlink them.
        Preindustrial civilisation used little energy but had much fewer people.

        Free energy is not an answer and of no help in the long run.
        Electric cars are a sad joke along the path to collapse.

        Why heat a room or house when it is your body that you need to keep warm. Use clothes made of natural fibres and live in sheltered positions.
        Earth houses with thatched roofs can be very warm and healthy. Wood used to be the common fuel. We need more trees locally for progressive communities.

  4. Winston Peters put Labour into power because as he said at the time there was a financial crisis coming that would provide the opportunity to reorganise the economy along more equitable and nationally beneficial lines. He must have had some hope of influencing the Labour financial pundits philosophy /strategy when the time came which he did not see any hope of with National.
    Last week on magic talk with Peter Williams he responded to a question about the gloomy outlook for our economy with the assertion that New Zealand was going to come out of this economically far better off than we are going in. With things that have been pointlessly imported and can gust as well be made here being made here again with resultant full employment and national prosperity.
    He is going to have an influence and there’s not much doubt that the ultimate welfare of new Zealanders is the concern and intention of the labour leadership generally even if they have not grasped the shortcomings of neoliberalism hitherto.
    With the moral equity that the labour leader now carries into this crisis the opportunity to get this right and to pull off the transformation is on. We could stay in the news throughout the global transformation and lead it gust as to an unrecognised extent we were at the vanguard of the neoliberal transformation, not so much in the early stages of it’s promotion but very much in it’s comprehensive implementation.

    Go Jacinta

    D J S

  5. With massively increased Government debt, it is unlikely that future governments will permanently expand the size and scope of government until debt goes back to around 20%, apart from pandemic response capabilities.

    That low level of Government debt was pretty bi-partisan between Labour and National over the past 30 years.

  6. I just don’t see this as an overwhelming problem. Even in the last recession, people in charge had some idea of what to do, even if it wasn’t done to the extent that it should have been. There is now no feasible alternative than increased state intervention in the economy for the next few years. Eventually, there will be a fight about what happens next, but we have a fair idea of what has to happen now.

  7. But we need to ure on the side of caution Chris, as one brain may not cover all sides of these complex issues.

    Our offer today; WE HOPE NZ GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS THIS MESSAGE.

    “CEAC – Ministry of Health must test everyone on Covid 19”
    Wednesday, 17th April 2020, 9:20 am
    Public health – Press Release: Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre
    CEAC Supports WHO and many scientists claims that widespread public testing for Covid 19 is the only way we can plan to fight Covid 19 virus.
    We say more and more people are becoming concerned;
    • about not knowing if they are already exposed,
    • or if they are carrying the virus.
    • As most of the public have not been tested for Covid 19.
    World health Organisation (WHO) firstly came out late February 2020, finally confirming the Corona virus called Covid 19 is an emergency; and a serious pandemic.
    WHO strongly then warned the global community that “test, test, test” for Covid 19 – was the only way all countries can plan their government’s strategies to fight this emergency pandemic.
    Since then, almost two months has elapsed, and our NZ Ministry of Health has not yet increased rapidly the testing of all NZ citizens, foreign workers and visitors to the standards required to fight this virus we believe and this is sparking concerns and caution about our future.
    Scientists are now claiming that several repeated tests need to be done after weeks later from infection time to recovery to establish that true recovery has been made, so we really are slipping behind the curveball on understanding how successful we are doing to eradicate this insidious pandemic.
    South Korea who are the model for where we should be following have now stated the a second wave of Covd 19 infections are now occurring in their country, sparking deep concerns that the virus is adapting to the environment and re-establishing themselves again in the host patient; https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/south-korea-reports-91-recovered-21847011
    Quote; “Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), told a briefing that the virus may have been “reactivated” rather than the patients being re-infected.”
    • Perhaps this was why WHO was warning that repeat testing during the recovery stage was now needed?
    Now our NZ Ministry of Health should be being considering testing far more wider testing protocols to establish the pattern of the Covid 19 virus, to accurately understand how to deal with this serious silent enemy. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/south-korea-reports-91-recovered-21847011
    Quote; WORLD NEWS APRIL 10, 2020 / 11:25 PM / 6 DAYS AGO
    South Korea reports recovered coronavirus patients testing positive again
    “SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean officials on Friday reported 91 patients thought cleared of the new coronavirus had tested positive again.
    Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), told a briefing that the virus may have been “reactivated” rather than the patients being re-infected.
    South Korean health officials said it remains unclear what is behind the trend, with epidemiological investigations still under way.
    The prospect of people being re-infected with the virus is of international concern, as many countries are hoping that infected populations will develop sufficient immunity to prevent a resurgence of the pandemic.
    The South Korean figure had risen from 51 such cases on Monday.
    Nearly 7,000 South Koreans have been reported as recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.”
    Un-quote.
    Fact;
    • NZ has been very fortunate at present, to avoid the massive spike in cases of Covid 19 virus.
    • Most overseas counties have been experiencing large increases of the virus.
    • But only widespread NZ public testing protocols by the Ministry of Health will give us the tools and understanding where and how this virus is changing or adapting.
    END.

    • Cleangreen
      But the present viral RNA tests are only reliable during a specific time window, so what would mass testing achieve? That’s why contact tracing is so important an adjunct to testing. Tests that provide false negatives are worse than useless. Also there is a limited amount of testing equipment, so best not to squander it on feel good exercises – unless you know of somewhere else that has some spare to sell to Aotearoa?

      When, hopefully soon; there is an anti-body blood test that can show, not just whether you have above a certain amount of viral shedding in your system, but also whether you have been previously infected and recovered – that is the time for mass testing. Provided we can afford it of course, even if some other country would sell it to us.

      Or we could set up our own research centres in universities and the like to create and produce an effective antibody test. We should have done that a decade ago when the swine flu pandemic was infecting thousands and killing between 19-49 (accounts conflict – presumably due to comorbidity), to have the facilities and expertise necessary however.

      • We had a national scientific organisation called the DSIR that would have handled the research and development. It was run by scientist and followed a programme set by scientists.
        The neoliberals demolished it.

  8. We AO/NZ’ers number a scant few 5 million on a land area 25 K sq km bigger than the UK and our primary export is vital agrarian products. I.e. Foods and wool’s etc.
    Or is it still?
    I used to drive about quite a bit. I saw vast, yet now empty warehouses where there was once wool. I see a disassembled freezing works in Matuara, I see the modest port of Bluff reduced to a skeleton crew and it’s the main port to the incredible agricultural hinterlands of Southland which then becomes the fruit and wine regions of Central Otago ( There’s a significant gold mine at Macraes, where, as of July 2019, over 5 million ounces of gold have been extracted. )
    Canterbury, with a land area of Holland at 45 K sq km but only has 666,000 + or – people compared to Holland’s 17 million.
    Canterbury, for example, is an amazing region. It’s rich in resources and you can go swimming in the ocean in the morning and skiing in the afternoon.
    So? Where the fuck’s that all gone? Where’s our wealth? Fuck adern and robertson riding a wave of populism on covid-19’s coat tails. Where were they when our farmers were being dragged off their intergenerational family farms by banksters at the behest of don brash’s 22% interest rates back in the early 90’s? (Yes. I know. They were children.)
    It’s very easy to pout and blather about social distancing and commonsense travel and contact restrictions and frankly any teenage kid could have figured that out ( Greta Thunberg anyone?) but we should have a bountiful public service and tons and tons of lovely money. Not homeless people now living in motels aka slightly better furnished than prison cells because they know, that when they ‘get out’ they’re going to be just as fucked as when they went [in]. Where was adern and roberston then? I don’t remember them taking pay cuts to help out the homeless while the banksters roamed about unfettered?
    While on that subject :
    Where are our multimillionaire and multibillionaire super heroes right now?
    Those awesome and amazing people, so they tell us they are, whom so they say, are vitally important to our economy. The economy they strived so hard to create and maintain, so they insist our media tells us they do?
    fay? richwhite? gibb? chandler? hart? wattie? tindal etc and all you other invisible sociopathic scum who lurk in the shadows subverting policy to suit yourselves and to line your pocketsssesssss ?
    In some bed bug ridden shit hole motel unit down by the motorway because the sight of your wretched selves waiting to die in road side garden plots from hunger and cold is too embarrassing to be seen on international television for shiny little robertson and adern?

    • Hmmm…. again, telling it like it is. Just woke up ( yes midday ! ) still groggy, only had one coffee, need another one ( usually only have one these days ) and the tone of Chris’s article and now your post reminded me of a song by Bruce Cockburn… so for what its worth , here it is.

      Bruce Cockburn – Call It Democracy
      https://youtu.be/68zccrskOqQ?t=175

      And heres the lyrics:

      ———————–

      “Call It Democracy”

      Padded with power here they come
      International loan sharks backed by the guns
      Of market hungry military profiteers
      Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
      With the blood of the poor

      Who rob life of its quality
      Who render rage a necessity
      By turning countries into labour camps
      Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

      Sinister cynical instrument
      Who makes the gun into a sacrament
      The only response to the deification
      Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
      Idolatry of ideology

      North south east west
      Kill the best and buy the rest
      It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
      You don’t really give a flying fuck
      About the people in misery

      IMF dirty MF
      Takes away everything it can get
      Always making certain that there’s one thing left
      Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

      See the paid-off local bottom feeders
      Passing themselves off as leaders
      Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
      Open for business like a cheap bordello

      And they call it democracy
      And they call it democracy
      And they call it democracy
      And they call it democracy

      See the loaded eyes of the children too
      Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
      One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
      To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
      They call the revolution

      IMF dirty MF
      Takes away everything it can get
      Always making certain that there’s one thing left
      Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

      ——————-

      Anyways, back to my waking up. I think I need another coffee. And tho that song was penned back in the days of Maggie Thatcher and Ronnie Reagan,… I think its still pertinent in calling out the IMF (really, world leaders in general and those who bankroll them particularly of the neo liberal persuasion …)… its been around for a long time.. but now? After 35 years?… its going to take a dive because it was FORCED to.

      ZZZZZZZZZZ…..

  9. This whole mess started with the abolishment of workers unions which had been sneakily building behind the scenes before the Employment Contracts Act wiped out most unions overnight and left most workers defenceless but they didn’t realise it. If a reversal is about to happen then I might get excited about all this change were in for. This would be the starting point to rid NZ of Neo Lib economics, if the Govt don’t do that then the rest won’t happen.

  10. In a lot of ways it seems like we have been here before.

    1984 and the Rogernomics revolution we were told was needed because of the dire situation the economy was in and that if we didn’t accept the harsh medicine then the I.M.F would force it on us anyway.

    Then in an interview after her Mother of all budgets Ruth Richardson said that for fifty years no one dared touch the essential tenants of the welfare state , for one hundred years no one had rethought our industrial relations and for a generation we had never balanced the books so regardless of the human impact she was not going too let that stop her resolve.

    From 1991 we had one of the most purest neoliberal systems in the world and all the injustices that bought with it and put an end too the lie of that the the harsh medicine was necessary because we needed too balance the books as our level of debt has surpassed what we faced in 1984 by billions of dollars so the risk has conveniently evaporated.

    2020 like 1984 is that moment in time when we respond too our critical circumstances and rethink our whole economic approach.

    35 years of the insanity that has been allowed too be enforced is more than enough time too rethink how can the economy deliver for everyone and provide security and fairness for everyone and what hasn’t worked is plain for everyone too see.

    It took a fatal contagion from Wuhan too begin the process.

  11. Pandemic – the movie? The drama, the thriller? And the star gets taken away to star in a comedy instigated by Mickey Mouse and Goofy in the Auckland courtroom?

  12. When the government assumed emergency powers there was a subtle but significant change in Jacinda’s political rhetoric.
    “We” no longer meant “We New Zealanders”. It meant “We the government” and “You” came to mean “You the people”.
    So now “the role of the state has been underlined by this crisis.. a well-funded, highly functional public service … to coordinate and provide leadership for New Zealanders … what we have asked New Zealanders to do is huge”
    The government and its supporters are extolling the role of “leadership” and “the state”, implying that they are making all the right decisions in the context of extraordinary state powers with the willing compliance of an obedient populace.
    In this rhetoric, the implicit role of the people is to implement the decisions of a wise and benevolent “highly functional” state.
    Yet if the rhetoric departs too far from the reality, or, more to the point, the reality departs too far from the rhetoric, then the state will be in deep trouble and the sagacity of the commentariat will be thrown into serious doubt.
    Some of us (I suspect a great many of us) will continue to follow our own course, knowing that we have to rely on the wisdom of our own decisions and the strength of our own efforts if we are to successfully traverse these interesting times.

    • Kia Ora Geoff
      I don’t get the sense of a “them and us” from Jacinta; I do think she is gaining confidence as the reaction she is getting both here and abroad registers with her. no one can really know how the public is going to accept you when you have taken up that challenge; and remember she was dropped into it at the last minute . She must have had misgivings about the legitimacy of her position at first.
      One thing about her speeches that rankles with me every time is that she is mimicking the delivery of Hellen Clarke in a way that irritated me about her. In order presumably to sound authoritative Hellen would ( and still does) put emphasis on the second half of all her sentences that is not consistent with the significance of the sense of the narrative. It sounded false to me when Hellen was PM and sounds doubly false when it is an obvious emulation. And Jacinta she as hell doesn’t need to emulate anyone . Certainly not Hellen Clarke.
      New Zealanders are not instinctively a compliment people. Much more in the way of “rugged individualists”, It is only by the approach the govt. has taken of fronting up every day and keeping us all informed and answering all questions asked, either off the cuff ( and they are well prepared ) or undertaking to forward the answer when they don’t know, that they are taking the public with them. As soon as the trust in that frankness is lost so will the co-operation be lost. It might have taken a hit today with David Parker refusing to cough up the legal advice to govt. on the lockdown. But notice that versions of the same thing are happening all over the world.
      Let’s hope that the job has been done by the end of the next couple of months.
      Cheers D J S

      • Helen had many years in politics before her role as PM.
        JA may not be copying speech patterns but using her own emphasis..
        For the moment the PM is doing well. She will be attacked and loyalty of Kiwis will be tested as will JA’s credibility.

        The NACT PR machine is busy in the USA but will return.

  13. The advantage we have had so far is great leadership and this will continue to serve us, I think.

  14. What I noticed was that billions are spent to prop up businesses, by paying wage subsidies to them, and some have been found to not even pass these on to their workers. There are billions to be spent on infrastructure projects, but many of these were such that National had already planned, i.e. more roads and highways, for cars, most still powered by fossil fuel.

    There is a rent freeze in place, and landlords’ hands are tied when it comes to dealing with most tenants, there are other measures taken to give businesses a break in paying debt and so forth.

    I see little or nothing of a real plan for a more sustainable, alternative economy, it is all geared to get most back to operating more or less as they had before, it seems.

    The government should use the opportunity for massive economic and social reforms, to steer the country into environmentally friendly economic activities, and into sustainability, in an honest manner, not the BS green washing exercises we have seen followed by many.

    But most people hope and dream that they can soon carry on as they were used to, to work in whatever business, even tourism, to earn money and spend it at the malls and elsewhere, on consumerist goods, some of which are made by following highly polluting and low wage workers exploiting processes.

    As long as there is no plan for a true alternative, this government will not convince me at all, to be on the right track and do the right things.

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