GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – National tries to go back to the future with Todd Muller


Want to return to corporate ruled New Zealand and trickle down theory?

Not me thanks.

I want to encourage Labour to be much bolder and completely dump neoliberalism .
(There’s no show of that happening with a National/Act/NZ First Coalition if Muller manages to get some poliical traction)

I’d like a people focused economy please.

Not a profit driven and exploitative one.

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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. How does Von Muller deal with the baggage of being a Conservative Catholic in the Me Too area? The sins of the father etc etc,

  2. “I want to encourage Labour to be much bolder and completely dump neoliberalism ”

    and replace it with what exactly?

    • A more distributive, climate friendly, community type of capitalism. That’s pretty obvious. Neoliberalism has enriched the few nicely, and extracted wealth away from the many at a great rate of knots.

    • Yes and the only thing that fills a vacuum is violence. So, what can be done? A tweaking of the idea of UBI can be done. Allowing beneficiaries to work part time for $15 an hour without penalty- no loss to their benefit as it is. For the beneficiary it is an extra $300 or so per week that will go right back into the economy. It will be spent. And no contract, part time work at $15 gives support to small business at the same time. Also, with this, should be a reduction in petrol-to about $1.50 per liter. Tax on petrol is out of control.

      • tax on petrol must be kept up as an intelligent and necessary approach to global warming measures and to conserve this resource. As someone said above, neolib draws money from people, and out of the working economy, at a great rate of knots. It seems to me that you find petrol cost heavy on your small income as you carry out your roles in society.
        What about a refund of 50% to low income workers including beneficiaries when they hand in their petrol receipts? This to have a limit based on a rule of thumb approach which would take into account your average weekly travel so you wouldn’t have to justify every teaspoon of petrol used.

  3. Bruce I’m not sure what makes you think we’ve ever got away from “corporate ruled New Zealand and trickle down theory”. The neoliberal structure remains in our tax system, government departments, the universities, CRIs etc. The difference between NZ now and 5 years ago is a matter of degrees – though I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to seeing the Department of Conservation having to seek “partnerships” with industry, for example.

  4. I’d like a people focused economy please.

    Not a profit driven and exploitative one.

    Can we also have a people focused economy focused on local people who live in NZ not the rest of the world’s rich and middle class to come here and ‘solve’ our problems with incoming short term cash going to banks, financial industry, construction and supermarkets, that with 11 years of that, things have gotten worse a lot worse for locals instead of better in terms of less locals doing degrees, more locals unemployed, more locals committing suicide, more locals mentally ill, more locals homeless, more locals needing food banks even if they have a job…

    If every government was expected to look after their own people including their own poor, workforce, skills shortages and tax their super rich, then the world would be a much kinder one and actually able to eradicate poverty.

    Anyway neoliberalism needs extensive migration to function, while ignoring their people who live at home.

    BTW not just NZ… Nothing to do with race like the woke tell you… it’s about moving more middle and rich class consumers around the world no matter what race, via cheap air travel, while making the local workers be disposable and their work cheaper and cheaper.


    First Indians arrive home after weeks stranded abroad

    “The smiling faces of those returning home on planes presented a stark contrast with the migrant labourers who have been enduring their own “internal exile” in Indian cities during the lockdown.

    Without jobs or income, they have also been desperate to return to their villages and families but have received little or no help from the government. So far only a few thousand have been able to go home on special trains.

    Hundreds of thousands are still waiting in shelters. Many have given up waiting for the government to provide transport and are walking home. They are covering distances of hundreds of miles while carrying young children and their meagre belongings in summer temperatures of 40C (104F).

    On Friday a goods train ran over 16 labourers who were walking more than 500 miles to their homes in Madhya Pradesh and had stopped to rest on the railway tracks.”

    In short if you have money to ‘migrate’ you tend to be richer and thus welcomed back home, the poorest are those who can’t even afford a plane ticket.

    NZ’s poverty is growing, and the importation of the world’s middle class to NZ to open liquor stores and cafe’s to get residency here is not helping NZ’s poor, while hundreds of thousands of new people in NZ being able to compete for grants, benefit top ups, health care and social housing against NZ’s growing working poor has not been good for NZ’s workers…

    Child who has lived in van has message for PM

    John Campbell’s anguish while reporting on child who spent the night at a food bank

    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.

    India and China are massive economies that have a lot more money than NZ and they should be caring for their poor, just as the NZ government should be caring for their poor.

    If governments spent more time on taking care of ALL their nationals and collaborating on beneficial social projects like peace and removing air, sea and land pollution instead of profiting from it, the world would be a much better place!

    The left urgently need to look at a bigger picture of how neoliberalism and migration are actually creating a drop of standards all around the world in terms of air/land/sea pollution and forcing the poorest off land and taking resources away from local communities.

    Note modern migration on the back of cheap polluting air travel, is completely different to previous migration when people tended to migrate only when absolutely needed and then have massive amount of survival skills to actually make the migration work. Aka post 2nd world war, the migrating survivors were completely different to modern migrants, who are now of the privileged middle class, coming without any hardship with in flight nuts, flying around the world in a matter of hours and buying up housing, flakey degrees, and consumer goods around the world, while then returning back home whenever it suited….

    I’m not against migration for expertise, real education not a ponzi one, and real skills or an OE, but seriously the world flying around millions of people per day.. who can then spend 500 million dollars at Skycity… or decide to go on another countries dole….

    when the numbers get too high which in NZ is one of the highest in the world of mass migration due to being able to come here with zero skills, and then sign onto welfare and free health care within a very short period and then spend money on immigration lawyers and unions and refuse to leave…

    And if you can get a free pension, health care and the dole, as well as copious grants, in NZ, why would you go back?

    • The local poor of pre Covid, is only going to be the tip of the iceberg in NZ…. NZ government needs to urgently concentrate on the poor who are NZ citizens and help repatriate anybody else home, we already had massive crisis before Covid with expanding poverty and low wages, now it’s worse… the companies braying for more workers and now laying them off on mass…

      “In the past week, Fletcher Building has revealed plans to lay off 1500 of its workers, 1000 of whom are in roles based in New Zealand. Air New Zealand confirmed it was cutting 1300 roles.

      Earlier in the month, Event Cinemas revealed its plans to restructure – it is believed it wants to reduce labour costs by half. Bunnings proposed to close seven stores.

      In the first full week of level 4 lockdown, an extra 9470 people signed up to the Jobseeker Support benefit, of whom 8569 were “work-ready”. In the week ended May 15, the most recent for which data is available, another 1600 began receiving it.

      People can only qualify for Jobseeker support if they do not have a working partner, so the number of people who have lost work is likely to be much higher.

      “The big headline number is the tip of the iceberg,” Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan said.

      “What we don’t read about is the small businesses where the number is nowhere near as exciting as Air New Zealand or Fletchers.”

      A tally of the reported redundancies so far had already topped 10,000, he said.

      There was likely to be more pain ahead when the businesses who had been getting the wage subsidy had that money run out. At the moment, the wage subsidy is supporting nearly 60 per cent of the New Zealand labour force.

      Many businesses would find they no longer had the customer base they had before the lockdown and would need to downsize to meet the new market.”

  5. Muller looks like an Australian politician. No thanks for here. Old and worn into his grooves, fashioning a coffin for us, with his little watchful helper. Natman and Throbbin’.

  6. Labour needs to exactly what National are doing.

    National are returning to their PAST when they cuddled the corporations with welfare and forgot the 99% and elders.

    Labour needs to return to their PAST 1935 era of Michael Joseph Savage policy of ‘sharing the wealth of this county’ before Neo-liberalism and was called “egalitarianism”.

  7. The best result ‘we’ should hope for is a National & Labour coalition government. There is no difference between them.

    Clear out the left and then rebuild.

    • Keep a cool head Denny. Nice little dream. Reality says yoiks. French, Russian Revolution tried to do this. Soon as power changes hands they start killing off each other to bring their own brand of control to the country.
      Stalin’s real name – ‘Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili ‘. Stalin means steel apparently. His feeling about people and how we should treat each other could be judged by this snippet about his family.
      Vasily Iosifovich Stalin was the son of Joseph Stalin by his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva. Vasily’s mother killed herself when he was 11-years-old, so he was mainly raised by his father, who did not care for his son much. Wikipedia

      Best to look at what the Chinese General Sun Tzu thought about moves in and around war. I like this:

      “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
      “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
      tags: strategy
      “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
      ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      Then there is the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. The first applies to us right now, in the political space we are in, and the mental state allowing new thoughts, and the time of confusion of predatory business forces. We can change to get balance into business, before the demented can regroup and start their highwayman tactics again.

      Lao TzuDo the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.
      A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

      Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

      Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.

      He makes you think eh:
      Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful.
      Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.

      • Youre quoting from my philosophical ‘bibles’. Both Lao and Sun Tzu.

        Maybe I’d agree with you if only the same conditions were present in their time in a global context.
        Most of their experience and knowledge was extracted from regional conquests and of the mind.
        I can never get enough of their Collective Wisdom though.

        • But the problem of taking something out completely to change to something better enables all sort of little shits to jump into the pool. That is a point that you have to accept, because it is true and dangerous for the people who want something better but know nothing about politics and compromise. And when people get just what they wanted they may find it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

          If you are old enough to remember the change to MMP, 1993-96, you will know that all sorts were up there to have a go; the Bigot Party tends to get a Big vote, and in MMP could become the vital swing party. We might have to settle for a benign dictatorship. Would that be better? And what parts of the polity would it favour?

          Those Chinese, they have such a long cultured history. But now they are mistreating Falun Gong and the Ughurs?

  8. Um.
    Labour brought in neoliberalism in New Zealand.
    They own it.
    They run with it.
    How is National back to the future but Labour isn’t?
    They are the same, but Labour is less honest about being “kind” and “transparent” and is more authoritarian.
    They both believe in trickle down theory when we all know the trickle is up.
    Be honest with yourself when you hope Labour will ditch neoliberalism but National won’t why is that?
    Muldoon was our last socialist/nationalist prime minister and he was National.
    Helen Clark’s China “free” trade deal is sending our water overseas and making us a vassal state.
    Are you ascribing virtues to the left (caring about people more hence more likely to change economic policy) that are simply not borne out in fact?

    • Are you able to give me a working definition of neoliberalism?

      Don’t care if it’s accurate or not. I just want to know what you think it is.

      Labour has given people choice. They’ve increased maternity leave, benefits. Given people wage subsidies. The choice is obvious to me.

      And this begging thing has never worked. Yknow grab em by the gonads.

      • My definition would be capitalism with capital having decision making power . As opposed to capitalism with the state having decision making power.
        or Capitalism where capital is the master instead of the servant of society.

        D J S

        • Seems like our friend is to good for us to dignify a reply. Never mind.

          Yknow I tried going over this with David Brown I don’t think he wanted to engage with the idea but what I was saying was that governments will still have to protect who ever from having there property stolen whether that be worker or capitalist.

          I think once we really dig into what it really means to initiate force because force does 2 things:

          1-One Type of force is used against people
          2-Second type of force is used when property rights is violated

          So the real question is what and who’s property rights which is ultimately reduced to what is distributed justice or any type of justice where property has to be enforced.

          Ultimately I believe (and we can get into its more if you want) that non-violence will be extremely uninformative when giving any type of final conclusion.

          • You are as capable as anyone of googling rogernomics Sam, does that help your ability to categorize other people? Hope so if it’s important to you.
            Not intending snobbery but sometimes I can be very busy and most of the time I can’t figure out what you are on about:

            • Iv already blown my load all over Rogernomics I thought we were well past that now. So I didn’t want to know what googles definition was, I wanted to know what your definition is because you seem to be using a different meaning to mine. I was going to mention that I thought Grant Robertson was doing okay with outflanking WINZ by keeping the wage subsidies off WINZ hands.

  9. “I want to encourage Labour to be much bolder and completely dump neoliberalism .
    (There’s no show of that happening with a National/Act/NZ First Coalition if Muller manages to get some political traction)”
    There is no hope of it happening with a Labour/Green coalition either. It really needs an Opportuntiies Party government or, better still, a Social Credit one.
    However I cannot see either eventuality coming to pass.


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