The Day Labour Came Home.

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THIS WAS THE DAY my old comrades Bruce Jesson and Gerry Hill never got to see. Grant Robertson’s reaffirmation of Labour’s democratic-socialist principles, the Budget Speech they never got to hear. That I have lived long enough to see this day and hear that speech is something for which I am truly thankful.

What am I talking about? This is what I’m talking about:

“We can draw on the lessons of the past as to how to deal with [the challenges of the Covid-19-generated economic crisis]. The answers lie in the great traditions of the First Labour Government who rebuilt New Zealand after the Great Depression. It was a time when they understood a genuine partnership between government and the people. That each and every person in this country deserved the right to take up the chances afforded by being lucky enough to live in, as my predecessor Peter Fraser called it, this green and pleasant land. They built houses, rail and roads, they created the welfare state and a strong public health system, and they backed shopkeepers and manufacturers. We are taking those principles into the modern era.  

“We can also draw the lessons of the past as to what not to do in response to a major economic shock. In this case Mr Speaker I can draw on the experiences of my own life. As the economic carnage of the 1980s and 1990s wreaked havoc in our communities, I saw that up close. It was based on a tired set of ideas that the market would save us, that if government sat on the sidelines all would be well. Well, it didn’t work out that way and lives and livelihoods were lost.

“That will not happen again, not on the watch of this government. We know that we must work in partnership with iwi, business, unions, community groups, every one of the team of five million to make sure we all not only get through this, but that we thrive on the other side.”

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Nearly forty years ago, I was present to hear my old history professor, John Omer-Cooper, debate the ethics of the 1981 Springbok Tour with one of his post-graduate students, a young fellow by the name of Michael Laws. For a good part of his life Omer-Cooper had lived in Africa – an advantage he put to good use against Laws who grew increasingly exasperated as the mild-mannered professor methodically dismantled his arguments. The pro-Tour firebrand’s final shot was to accuse his opponent of attempting to pass off expediency as morality. Omer-Cooper’s reply, calmly but firmly delivered, I have never forgotten: “There are occasions, Michael, when the expedient thing to do, and the moral thing to do, are the same thing.”

I would offer Omer-Cooper’s observation to all those who dismiss Robertson’s remarks as boiler-plate Budget Day rhetoric. “Words are cheap!”, they object – which is certainly true. The point I would make in response to such cynicism, however, is that in the 35 years since Roger Douglas delivered his paradigm-shifting 1985 Budget Speech, no other Labour Finance Minister has felt either willing or able to speak such words. Until today.

Are Robertson and the Prime Minister referencing Labour’s democratic-socialist traditions because in the absence of such a transformative vision the numbers quoted in today’s Budget Speech will crush all hope of their government’s re-election? Of course they are. And doesn’t that constitute sheer expediency on their part? No, not “sheer” expediency: not when their joint repudiation of Rogernomics is genuine. Not when the idea of making the most vulnerable members of our society bear the burden of economic misfortune is one they sincerely consider objectionable. To seek to inspire New Zealanders with hope for a better future on the other side of this once-in-a-century crisis may well be the expedient thing to do in the run-up to a general election, but it is also the right thing to do.

All of which leaves us with a decision of our own to make. How should we respond to the extraordinary words spoken by Jacinda and Grant over the course of the last 48 hours? For what it’s worth, my personal opinion is we should take their words at face value. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we simply overlook the clear deficiencies of the 2020 Budget: the absence of tax increases for the wealthy; its lack of further financial assistance for beneficiaries; but neither should we allow the best possible budget to become the enemy of a bloody good one. In a nation that has suffered 35 years of relentless neoliberal sloganeering, discretion just has to be the better part of political valour.

What’s more, if Bruce Jesson and Gerry Hill had been here to witness the day Labour came home to itself; had they, too, heard Robertson repudiate Rogernomics; then I’m pretty damn sure that they – and every one of our dear departed democratic-socialist comrades – would say the same.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Strangely Chris, you seem to the only ‘highly elated’ commentator here. Have you read Mike Treen’s blog. He’s probably a lot more realistic as to what this ‘underwhelming’ budget will actually achieve.
    For me, going by Labour’s achievement track record, I can already see things like Kiwibuild v2 and Kiwirail v47 and many other executional disasters coming up. Face it Chris, this Jacinda Govt is simply not capable at getting things done. Monster promises, yes. Super catchy slogans, absolutely. Making things happen…not a sausage.
    Sad.

  2. “The Day Labour Came Home”.
    I’m not sure they’ve quite arrived home yet but at least the furniture is in the removal van and it’s on the highway (albeit driven by a lowly paid wage earner expected to break all the rules to get it there). It’s a start, and a good one.
    After a generation or more of the neo-liberal, its just that a lot of Labour supporters have been wondering why the speed with which that fucked ideology/religion/cult took hold can’t be applied to purging it. And if ever there was an opportunity, it’s now

    • Hear hear…and the fact that they did NOT do ‘it’ in such exceptional, probably once in a century event, then it’s ODDS ON, they will NEVER DO IT. Occam’s razor !
      Sad as it is to say, to quote/paraphrase a Blackadder joke….that’s the spirit Blackadder, if all else fails a pig-headed unwillingness to looks facts square in the eye will see us through….Baaaaahhh

      • Yep well ….. I don’t really see it as a matter of Labour ‘coming home’, as much as I do a matter of Labour starting to get a bit more honest with itself. And this is a good start!

        Sad indeed (genuinely felt) that Gerard didn’t live long enough to see the day, but you can be sure his dad is probably still rolling in his grave – and its probably (in Toby’s case anyway) that many didn’t have enough balls to set up their own party if they were so entralled with this new cult called neo-liberalism – rather they took the easy option and chose to hijack something that already existed despite the feelings of the membership.
        But there are precedents (or copies) for that elsewhere. Tony Blair for example
        And no worries – rest assured that the gNatz are far fucking worse

  3. Bloody excellent, Chris.

    There are many commentators here on TDB, – who either fall into one of two camps, … the impatient who want to see Democratic socialism yesterday (and don’t we all !) , – or those most sly critics who come on here , complain and moan and bitch without really offering any alternatives and are seen through as the spearhead of National and Acts attempts at undermining this govt to maintain their neo liberal status quo.

    The latter are the sly mustelid’s we need to be watching for. Them and their weasel words. Carefully crafted to create doubt and their own brand of putrid cynicism while posing as the ‘left’ or claiming no allegiance to any side yet throwing mud and stones at this govt… with some even claiming they wont or don’t vote…

    I think we will see a return to the days of Labours original principles, – whether it was forced on them by circumstance , or whether they genuinely desire it, perhaps a modicum thereof, – or , – if things get seriously bad, … an all out stampede to the days of Micheal Joseph Savage. Frankly, the latter would be what we ideally need and want.

    But it would be good to know that it is the heartfelt convictions of this govt if they did.

    At any rate, it will now be the pragmatics which dictate the course of this ship, – not the ideology of the unorthodox and excessive grossness of ‘Big Roger’ and his little neo liberal games. That time is almost finished. It is untenable now.

    As a footnote : Using a humorous quote from the film Full Metal Jacket,… ‘Marines are only allowed to die when they have permission to die !, – any Marine who dies without permission will be in a world of shit” , – well that’s you Chris. You and your senior position and knowledge of our political history will be sorely needed in the difficult years to come.

    Again , – excellent article.

    • Dammit, … I am always prone to wax lyrical and into song at times of great stress and change, …it must be the Irish and Scots Celt in me 🙂 so I cannot leave without gifting a song to workers everywhere,… and this one is absolutely superb:

      Johnny Collins – Leave Her Johnny
      https://youtu.be/4fVQwzv5Qfc?t=4

      And this new one out , equally as good :

      Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her by Coda
      https://youtu.be/HBNt3ALLcLQ?t=55

      So here’s my shout out to all workers!

      You are not forgotten and more important than ever now !

      • I second that, Bert. WK always hits the mark.

        A lot of Nat trolls infesting this site these days. A sign of desperation, now their bankrupt ideology has been exposed for what it is.

        Shame it took a virus to wake some folk up to the truth behind the Nats ethics and motives.
        Unfortunately for Simon & his crew, they have played to those ethics in trying to politicise this biological and economic disaster, and thus only further confirmed their Machiavellian instincts. No thinking NZer can trust them.

  4. Rubbish Chris. Its a budget that Roger Douglas would be proud of.
    Theyve delivered to the parasites and have ignored the many who are the walking dead of tomorrow. This budget is another “business as usual, nothing to see here” money scramble for a few but not the many that need it.

    Labour fails to deliver again.

    • Sadly I agree…….they missed almost everything that needed doing to help the poor and 80+%’ers, e.g. UBI, change/close WINZ/MSD, unions for wage bargaining, nationalise (semi or full) those industries that have failed but considered important, etc etc……..BUT did manage to find LOTS of money for big business and wealthy.
      This was a TraitorKey like budget.
      Jacinda is still the better option than Slyman and his corporate death cult capitalist, but that is about ALL that can be said for this budget.

    • And again you are doing what so many are doing, – expecting 3 years of entrenched unorthodox neo liberalism to be swept away before lunchtime. Not only is that unrealistic, but it is dangerous. Dangerous because unless a majority number recognize the causes and demand change through the democratic vote, you will have blood running in the streets and most of them not knowing what exactly they are fighting for.

      A better way is to let the govt flounder somewhat, to see the error of their ways and be forced to recognize their error. In the meantime , to let media sources highlight failures, to let community based groups, unions and the like march peaceably to highlight their demands.

      This govt is not like the 1984 and 1990 Labour and National govts that rammed through changes running roughshod over civil democracy , – they are a govt in which all party’s have had a long time in the wilderness,… they are not likely to risk political annihilation by ignoring the public demand.

      And this is where we have a semblance of power being handed back to the people,- under these extraordinary circumstances.

      You do not think for one minute that this is the end of initiatives with this basic budget, do you ?, – whereas you should be thinking this is only the beginning when the global downturn really starts. This is the long game, not the short fix. What we are seeing now is only the immediate rebuild, – after that will come more shocks, – wave after wave of them.

      What will happen if the global downturn keeps up are govts that are increasingly compelled to reinvent themselves and in NZ’s case, .. a return to the principles of Savages Keynesian style govt.

      There is no alternative. TINA.

      In reverse.

      • And again you are doing what so many are doing, – expecting anything to change. Chris is delusional, neoliberalism (which Labour forced upon us) is going nowhere and will be further entrenched. I like seeing the optimism but fundamental change will not be happening, and deep down you and everyone else knows it.

        • Hardly, if you think for even a moment that the same ‘keep on keeping on’ is going to be the end result of this coming global fiasco, it is you that is delusional. And that is something you also know ‘deep down’.

          What we will see is the fragmentation at least of the neo liberal paradigm, which, is not sufficient to maintaining coherence regards domestic and international trade.

          If it had happened in just one country , fair enough. But this is a pandemic of global proportions, and every country is affected by it.

          Therefore measures need to be taken to prevent economic and societal collapse.

          In the global meltdown of 2008, limited Keynesian style recommendations were attempted, but on the whole the global economy never really recovered, therefore, the only real alternative left after failed neo liberalism is a return to true Keynesian economics- or a modified version – in which all country’s participate willingly. Either that or risk collapse. About the only country tht may stand a chance for a time is the USA, but even then, its just a matter of time.

          The truth of the matter is that we seem to be looking at a period such as the Great Depression of 1929, – and the only thing that pulled us out of that was Keynesian economics, – not some magic wand waved by the proponents of Lazzez faire.

          • You’re so deluded, I actually feel sorry for you. Hope is eternal and all that though I suppose…

            • Well most vote on a hope for change Mickeyboyle, please don’t tell me you vote for the same old same old, that truly is delusional.

              • I’ve voted Green for the past 16 years because I absolutely want change. People on the left need to wake up to the reality that voting Labour is the same as voting National, same old neoliberalism bullshit, just with a toothier smile. The all hail Ardern koolaid is drunk by too many here, especially whens she has achieved stuff all. How come no one is talking about the 7 of the 9 poverty outcomes worsening under her watch? Oh that’s right, we must not criticize “brand jacinda” because let’s face it, that’s all that Labour have got. Ardern is no better than Key was, and the blind, support of each of them from their respected sides, is astounding for how deluded and farcical it is. We all deserve better, what a shame many on the left are happy for pretty much nothing more than a slogan and smile. Transformational, kind and caring my a#$e!

                • Mickey if a further term without a NACT govt comes out of this then hope is extended another 3 years.
                  Remember Labour had to answer Nacts jibe about taxation increases by giving assurance there would be none, although they were sorely needed.
                  3 more years and without need to cap tax as an election policy, will give scope for repairing more of the douglarse / richardson / key debacle, and turn around privatisation of public assets and services.
                  In spite of business NZ farmers may begin to see more light in making a future that is real.

                • Green is dubious to me, another longterm voter. Why can’t we have Alliance? It’s a sign of the anglophone countries there is no real social-democratic alternative. But at least the Greens understand climate change is the leering tsunami approaching too soon. Still would prefer a party that understood the people must lead.

                  • A popular socialist govt usually comes after a period of draconian fleecing of the countries wealth by right wing, usually off shore based corporate driven government, backed also by MSM and a raft of professional “PR” agencies writing the script of public discussion.

                    Once the sheep wake up and throw them out then the right wing just keep use their tools and work on the public using every dirty trick. Censoring MSM and providing news that is generally politically loaded if not plain lies.

                    The last thing we had that was close to a socialist govt was Savages Labour which took the right 14 years to destroy.

                    Then Kirk very very “unfortunately” died of a “mysterious” condition reported in the news but later stated as a heart condition.
                    The Right plus the CIA worked hard and got Rowling out with the aid of various nasty mouth pieces such as the crook bob jones.

                    The whole affair reeked of foreign intervention including the money that flowed into NZ supporting National

                    Our problem is this present coalition has not got a firm foundation, Winston cannot be relied upon for social legislation as he woos the wealthy sector.

                    The greens get demolished by MSM consistently.
                    What they stand for is “tomorrow” and that is scary to business and the worried public.

        • I don’t think your reading the news Micky. Neoliberalism has changed irrevocably. Not because of people setting out to change it but because it has over the course of the last generation “matured”. That is to say the wealth of western nations , fairly spread between the states and the people has now been more or less completely “harvested” by the people who were in a position to collect from that process. That was neoliberalism; now it is more or less complete . The real wealth of the western world is trapped within the hands a tiny few who can no longer increase their wealth either by collecting more or putting their harvested resources to profitable use. The vast majority of the population has no disposable income to be harvested any more and most are going into ever increasing debt in order to maintain a living. So debt is now the only growth industry. The transfer is as near complete as it can get.
          Look at the decade of QE we have just seen; notice that it has only led to a situation where ever greater amounts of QE are needed to keep the whole edifice from collapse. Noeliberalism as it has been experienced for the past 35 years is no longer possible. It was a system based on the ideal of the market evening everything out so that enterprises that were well run and relevant to society succeeded and those that were inefficient failed. But only those that could exploit a monopolistic niche have survived and grown to sizes “too big to fail “. So the authorities have tried to prevent them from failing because of the chaos that is going to create for everyone, so money is being created hand over fist to keep them (and they are neoliberalism personified) alive. The concept of market forces deciding allocation of resources is defunct. It is’t possible to continue with neoliberalism as it has been, there’s nowhere for it to go , it can’t go back to 1984 , the transfer of wealth has happened . Now something quite different has to replace it , has indeed already replaced it. The question is where does the world go now. It might not be back to social democracy with an egalitarian society as in the 50’s and 60’s , but it can’t be the same as it has been , whatever name you give it.
          Cheers D J S

          • Agreed in principle David
            A problem I see has two parts.

            The younger generation have had our NZ MSM mind bending neoliberal mantra plus the lies we hear as news with no balance added, for most of or all their life.
            So they will continue to be primed to believe neoliberal urgings because they don’t really know any thing different as a mob.

            Also the folk closer to the other end of life many of whom have heard from parents and family, or even through their own experience of better times for workers and families, have had their time and are quietly reducing in numbers and being less active in opposing the organised fleecing of the common purse.

            Just looking at comments on The Daily Blog reflects the uncertainty many have about hoping for better things. Thats apart from the trolls.
            Many discussions are about small details while the bigger neoliberal picture is left untouched

            The whole system is very unlikely to change completely in a brief moment but significant changes can be made to give a platform for further progress to build on.

            The MSM has to be better controlled and balance must be demanded.
            RNZ is a good spot to target with its neoliberal bent Western “News”.
            The RNZ phone needs to run hot and MPs contacted about our taxes being put to neoliberal propaganda dispersal including lies.

            RNZ board need a much wider representation of community, a new CEO who can insist on balance and a Minister who sacks those who aberrate to the neoliberal propaganda that we get presently.

            Surely World peace is not a forgotten aim

            • My point was John that neoliberalism as was conceived in Douglas’s time can’t be applied now, quite irrespective of whether people can now be persuaded for or against it.
              The economy has been in intensive care with ever larger blood transfusions since the GFC. And it’s survival is totally dependent on ever increasing transfusions and the donors are running out. There are no plans or ideas among the wise neoliberal economists as to how to manage the economy back to a “normal”neoliberal equilibrium because it was never a steady state of the world economy’s operation but always a process of transferring wealth (real wealth that is ) from the state sector and the ordinary people into the hands of the few.
              That process has now gone as far to the point where basically all the systems and raw materials that everyone needs and uses are in the hands of a very few who are extracting whatever can be extracted from a population that has less and less to pay with. The QE is just the same as the dozens of examples of hyperinflation that are dotted through history. Caused by rulers and governments trying to create wealth by watering down the currency. This time it’s partly obscured by the fact that only a small section of society is receiving the multiplied money, and thy are not spending it into the everyday economy where everyone needs it and where it would cause the more traditional rapid escalation of prices . so only shares and speculative investments are affected . Also it is probably the first time hyperinflation has occurred on a global scale and where the vast majority of it has no material existence and no embodiment of value in itself as it is all issued as debt. So every dollar that someone has in credit is matched somewhere by someone else’s debt . except that as you understand interest is not allowed for so that constantly compounds year after year so that debt actually greatly exceeds anyone ‘s credit. So it is quite impossible now
              for all debt to be paid. So it won’t ever be paid, and there will be a day of reckoning not too far away .
              Neoliberalism had within it the seeds of it’s own destruction .
              That’s how I see it anyway.
              D J S

              • Agreed on all points David.

                But there are still public assets and publicly owned services yet to be privatised. They will continue except if they are forcibly stopped.
                Restoration of public ownership of our publicly built assets and services is the stopper.

                Local councils have lost control of the CCOs they supposed to own and direct. Key saw to that with sneaky legislation.

                • The Auckland “super city” is about creating CCOs that will be ripe for TINA privatisation just as they did with Wellington’s publicly owned Municipal Electricity Dept which was sold off with water rights for 200 million and the assets have changed hands for close to 2 billion with no capital gains taxation covering that massive profit.
                  Of course electricity prices and lines component have climbed accordingly.

                  The old trick.
                  Increase the value of the assert, then increase the return for the new value, then increase the value of the asset as the return is higher, then revise the asset value with the higher return,,,,,ad infinitum until the market starts to shrink but the poor do without.

  5. There is no question that the policies inaugurated by Roger Douglas and his cohort of thieves and self-serving liars were shockingly awful, and were presented to the people under wide-ranging falsehoods.

    There is not a shadow of doubt that the [Labour, then National, and then Labour again, and then National again, and then Labour again] governments since 1984 compounded the problems NZ had, and between them oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from the many to the few, whilst orchestrating the looting and polluting of the commons and the expansion of totally unsustainable living arrangements predicated on the squandering of energy and resources. And, of course, a monumental increase in the pollution levels everyone endured (endure) every day.

    Despite all the hype, there is nothing revolutionary or transformative about the Adern government or its response to the inevitable global pandemic -a product of the system and the conditions the system fosters- that quickly infected most of the world, largely as a direct consequence of gross overuse of air transport and the mendacity and incompetence of governments throughout the world.

    As temporary caretakers of NZ Inc., the Adern government has implemented policies in the latest budget geared to preventing the immediate collapse of Ponzi financial arrangements whilst ensuring the inevitable crash will be far greater and more traumatic when it does finally does arrive; the non-transformative government of Jacinda Adern and Grant Robertson have yet again demonstrated their lack of knowledge of ‘what makes the world tick’, and have applied sticking plasters to the deep-seated cancers that are gnawing away at the social and environmental factors that make life-as-we-know-it possible.

    It was good to hear Grant Robertson declare that international tourism was never going to be re-established, and that people who until recently were engaged in activities associated with international tourism should be looking elsewhere for employment or business opportunities.

    However, to imply, as Gramt Robertson has just done, that current overall living arrangements have a future worth investing in and to imply that NZ can borrow and spend money to prop them up is both deluded and futile.

    Nothing is more certain than the fact that the system is already in failure mode and that attempts to prop up the failing globalized industrial system will exacerbate the rate of decline whilst generating highly undesirable outcomes for everyone, in the form of further rapid depletion of resources and further destabilisation and degradation of the environment, both local and global.

    The budget addresses NONE of the critical factors that WILL determine the future of this nation and every other nation on this planet.

    Thus, we will have to wait for nature to wield the blows that demolish the final vestiges of the loot-and-pollute system that people like Jacinda and Grant (and everyone involved with mainstream politics) still believe in and endorse. Unsurprisingly, National’s response to the budget is to declare that Labour have borrowed too much -laughable when one considers National’s record when in government- and that faster looting and polluting of the environment is the way towards a “better, brighter future”.

    In the meantime, -whether National or Labour is in government- the Easter Island Culture* of expending the last of the resources in order to build monuments to folly continues.

    *The people of Rapa Nui believed that constructing statues would please the ancestors and gods; the last trees [on the island well-forested when the first settlers arrived] were chopped down, so no boats to catch fish could be constructed; the bulk of the wildlife was eaten; the soil was impoverished by bad agricultural practices; the population overshoot that occurred as a consequence of rapid overconsumption of resources collapsed -it is estimated from 10,000 to 20,000 down to less than 2,000, almost as many statues as people- when the first [Dutch] Europeans discovered the island Easter 1722.

    • I suspect that many of us are seeing the same issues through the same prism but seeing them from different perspectives. There are those who see the short term rationale and failures, there are those who see the longer tram game played out. I am of the latter. The problem with the short termer’s is a propensity to not only become a critic of the best available political option’s to them but to also inadvertent side with their political Nemesis’s. The problem with the long termers is that opportunity’s can be missed , glossed over in acts of political opportunism, and neo liberal apologetic’s.

      So , how best to get around these disparate forces?

      All I can say is patience. You will NOT change this govt or any other govt overnight at this time by protest. The neo liberal machinery is still far too strong. You need to let them or any other govt falter and fail. You need to have them so far pushed into an ever decreasing corner that if they wish to remain in power they are forced to listen to the electorates which gave them power in the first place.

      This budget is simply a forerunner of an optimistic govt that hopes global economic systems will survive intact. The truth is , they know different. They know that this budget is yet but a preliminary in what is to come. They know that sooner or later , wide sweeping changes must occur. Whether they want to be in power when that day comes is another story. But change it must.

      So again , patience is a prerequisite to overturning 35 years of entrenched neo liberal doctrine. You will not do it in a hiss and a roar overnight. Not while there are still powerful global bodies and entities that will fight every move against them.

      Patience is required, – and just enough rope to let them hang themselves by. And its at that point, you will perceive their desperation and be able o move in and force change if they want to stay in power.

      • I totally agree, this government will not change course in response to protest. Nor will it change course in response to irrefutable scientific evidence they are on the wrong, utterly disastrous, track. It will, indeed, be the utter failure of the [financial-economic-political] system that will allow change.

        One ‘important’ (understatement alert) point is that if you are headed for a cliff you have to put the brakes on or change direction well before the cliff edge. If you are master of the Titanic you have to spot the iceberg and out the engines into reverse (whilst changing course) long before the impact with the iceberg. In the analogies I have mentioned (or any similar one) the result of failure to act is destruction and death.

        I put it to you that the world has been in [human] population overshoot since around the middle of the nineteenth century, when industrial use of stores of nutrients and widespread use of fossil fuels to transport food commenced. That population overshoot now stands at around 6 billion.

        I put it to you that atmospheric carbon dioxide at 417 ppm is already at a level that causes positive feedbacks that could well render the Earth largely uninhabitable in a matter of decades.

        By the same token, ocean acidification and overheating are already at levels commensurate with severe disruption of organisms at the base of the food chain or even their extinction (corals).

        I put it to you that the combination of climate chaos and over-dependence on monoculture plantings and highly unnatural confined rearing of animals is already leading to widespread malnutrition throughout the world. New Zealand has, to some extent, bought into the unhealthy food explosion that commenced with the production and transport of sugar on the back of slave labour, now replaced (in the short term) by mechanical ‘slaves’ that gobble up rapidly depleting resources and generate life-threatening pollution.

      • Yes WK its the long game but people forget when new narratives are repeatedly presented.
        Before any sense can be made of what lies ahead of us in NZ then I suggest some semblance of a much bigger picture for this planet at the hands of humans has to be come to grips with.
        Extinction of humans along with thousands of other species looks to be well on course so if we play the “what if” card and try to change the course a little, then what are the chances of some surviving.
        And what are the chances of making effective or even substantial navigation towards a possibility of a few humans being left.

        Is NZ a place where that could happen in terms of changes and creating a niche survival environment in some areas.

        Certainly a lot of information is available to equip a group of determined humans with a better chance to set up community cooperation towards a better survival strategy but we are no where near doing that yet
        .
        Some small communities of “Preppers” do exist in NZ but survival will need community members with organised allocation of skills and resources as well as suitable land and climate as well as a means of community governance. They most likely will be completely cut off from the world.
        .
        Resources will dwindle, food will become less per capita and isolation will be a factor in handling disease.
        Global and local pollution will get us on our present path and that pollution is a result of using earth’s resources and harvested energy unwisely.

        So before planning for a future in NZ there are many things that block our path to survival.
        Mass realisation does not look likely but may happen in pockets and possibly too late for many to make effective changes.

        Calling out “Doom” merchants does nothing but perhaps comfort deniers who become obstacles.

        Let the game of arguing over details continue, which may help some get their heads around what is happening, if good information is exchanged about bigger pictures.

    • Put two pair of rats in a large enclosure with several years supply of food growing and they will multiple to the point where all food is gone and then they eat each other with the biggest and strongest lasting the longest but still starving.
      Capitalism is similar in a finite world. Power over others without welfare of the community being a goal .
      Parasites infest communities and need to be recognised as the greedy usually power seeking, not the unfortunate.

    • Agreed.
      Air travel always was a match for the fuse of a pandemic.
      Tourism is entirely misplaced idea from stupid people as a means of gathering wealth.
      A totally unproductive venture which is subsidised by environmental pollution costs, infrastructure costs and loss of a less exploited wilderness and hinterland.

  6. NZ, the polluters and gig economy paradise to import in poverty to out compete NZ’s poorest!

    The budget is more roads, roads, roads, billions for roads and road users… it seems

    They might not really work, be on time or budget, or even hire NZ workers, but who cares, roads, roads, roads ,https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415959/transmission-gully-project-a-circus-sections-to-be-re-laid

    Helping Uber drivers and the gig economy for tax avoidance multinationals is a priority and of course roads, roads, roads, https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/budget/121514050/uber-driver-says-the-government-has-looked-after-the-worstoff

    To the government the retail, cafe workers and big businesses like Harvey Norman, seem to be the worst off in NZ and deserving of all the support?

    I guess those without much voice or lobbyists can’t really compete.

    Child who has lived in van has message for PM
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/305949/child-who-has-lived-in-van-has-message-for-pm
    (Hopefully this poor kid has a roof over her head now and can concentrate on her studies, but what about the 16,000+ waiting for a state house?

    Importing in poverty workers, does not help this girl or her family with more and more competing in NZ for low wage ghost job opportunities and social housing).

    Auckland teen was kidnapped and tortured, court hears
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/398171/auckland-teen-was-kidnapped-and-tortured-court-hears

    Another sad story of another teenager in care that in stead of being protected and rehabilitated ends up in prison for a decade over a fake rape allegation from another ‘troubled’ youth.
    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/false-rape-claim-teen-serves-10-years

    82 Southland disabled workers face losing jobs over cost cuts
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/05/82-southland-disabled-workers-face-losing-jobs-over-cost-cuts.html

    Nothing for the arts from what I can see in the budget, keep polluting everyone and don’t actually support a well rounded society in NZ from the COL government!

    BTW for the neoliberals one of the richest teens in the world, is through the arts but I guess ‘trade work’ putting down concrete and kerbs for $20 p/h for roads, roads, roads, is the only NZ vision allowed for people here now. https://www.worldstrendingtopmost.com/2017-2018-2019-2020/richest/top-10-richest-teens-world-teen-celebrities-kids-stars-teenagers/,

    Give those big business lobbyists a bonus (sarcasm) they have totally incapsulated this government’s thinking in one niche direction of massive corporate support for roads and construction aka just like the Natz and the money certainly aint being shared out to NZ citizens, higher wages, growth industries or enlightenment here.

  7. It might be worthwhile referring back to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghA0YW7ST4E.
    Winston obviously didn’t predict covid 19 but he did predict the economic upheavals that are going to be blamed on it.
    A development such as this is an anticipated opportunity to make the changes , consistent with the section of Grant’s speech that Chris has quoted that he has wanted to make since 1984. He has made the statement on talkback radio and elsewhere in the past few weeks that NZ is going to come out of this crisis better off than we went into it . And following this formula may well bring that about.
    Like Chris I feel we need to wait and see for a time, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but at the moment the omens is is great.
    D J S

  8. Don’t forget most of the training budget is also geared toward construction and sunset industries that used to have on the job training that you were paid to do!

    The community nurses are needed for the rise in obesity.

    Mental health services for people who don’t fit into that very narrow low wage category of construction.

    The government is not interested in supporting any real qualifications with rigour, aka psychologists, nurses, midwives, doctors, teachers and people in the arts and environmental wealth that has significant effects on mental health outcomes. What no lobby group? Well the government doesn’t know you exist.

    I think the biggest casualty in NZ in the last 35 years is quality – we have so little quality that the government just writes a cheque to the biggest big business whingers and MSM advertisers.

    Don’t forget that is on top of free trades training, the Government has invested $334 million in funding for tertiary education enrolment and more than $400 million so that employers can keep their apprentices in work.

    But wait, look at the wages on offer, the majority of jobs offered in the trades industry are jobs at the bottom end of the salary range aka $30,000 – $50,000. https://nz.jora.com

    At that level most of the people will need ongoing welfare top ups for their family.

    Quality and experience is clearly less important than the lowest wage they can pay and bums on seats, a bit like our education industry. Why train people for a rigorous quality degree when you can just churn out diplomas for cash and even better make the government pay for it?

    Working so so well…
    Wellington City Council unsure how cycle lane just inches wide happened
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/01/wellington-city-council-unsure-how-cycle-lane-just-inches-wide-happened.html
    Transmission Gully project a ‘circus’, sections to be re-laid
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415959/transmission-gully-project-a-circus-sections-to-be-re-laid

  9. I can’t believe this twaddle is on the Daily Blog. BUDGET for the middle class nothing for the underpaid, beneficaries, the poor, working poor, those without housing, those doing underpaid meaningless jobs whilst the shareholders rake it off. Don’t get me started!

    • Twenty billion dollars is still in the kitty so we will probably see some more emphasis on the groups you talk about.
      If we are according too some seeing the beginning of the reversal of neoliberal polices and approach then i find it ironic that we are returning too the massive debt we had in 1984 which was the apparent reason we had too adopt rogernomics in the first place and privatise everything that moved too balance the books.
      We were broke then with the catchphrase ” there is no alternative “and New Zealand had too change.
      Oh the irony.

  10. Meanwhile, at Kiwiblog, Mr Farrar has posted a carefully worded post on the tragic death of a young Butcher. As part of the current right wing attack lines of ‘heartless Govt’, his post has indeed created the reaction he was hoping for, with the rabid commentary evidenced in the comments section. I don’t think I need go into what is being said, suffice to say that any mention of MoH guidelines during level 4 are being ignored in favour of MBIE advice that Butchers could stay open as long as they practiced safe health guidelines. Just a reminder that MoH guidelines were not in favour of using multiple outlets for buying food to stop community spread of the virus. Most Butchers went to contactless delivery or stayed shut. I am dismayed, but not surprised, that this man’s tragic death is now being used as a talking point (with no corroborating evidence) to paint the govt as having no compassion. The usual fuckwits are all adding their 2 cents as usual, with some extrapolating this event into a mass suicide scenario hidden by the evil MoH and pitiless Govt
    . I have contacted Farrar by email to ask he remove the post or at least close the comments section out of compassion for the Family. I’m not holding my breath.

    • Pleading for Farrar to take down a post won’t deradicalize the hard right. The only way to effectively deradicalize the hard right is to deradicalize the hard left. It’s a simple strategy really. We leave them with nothing to react to.

    • Farrar will have it that the young man served a good purpose and in death continues to do so. He can be a martyr to be used by scum for their political reasons.

    • No and people like Seymour don’t help…

      “”It was April 14 when the Prime Minister was happy to bathe in national, indeed global, media adulation for leadership when announcing an MP pay cut would be made. Yet here we are a month later.”

      So while Seymour was happy to bathe in national adulation in Dancing with the Stars( yes it was the attention you were after David)he forgot that there were in fact other matters to attend with at the time, namely a pandemic.
      The irony of Mr Farrer politicising death, is that the man himself even looks like troll.

  11. Capitalism is over. I think this govt is our best bet to confront that rather than put it off, like John Key. I have no children but surely youse care about yours .

  12. Its not a ‘Well Being” people friendly budget or encouraging any “Hope” for the future at all. Its oppressive and backward thinking. You could say, Austere a well.

  13. I agree with the most dyspeptic views of the situation, apart from Labour possibly doing right next term for the desperate. What we all agree on is the people must lead now. No alternative. Or very laughably, TINA.

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