Flat Earthers: For how much longer must New Zealand be damaged by Neoliberalism’s demented perceptions of reality?


IF SOMEONE TOLD YOU they could jump off your roof and float gently to the ground, you’d doubt their sanity. Gravity is something we all experience. All of us – bar the seriously deluded – understand that it cannot be overcome. At least, not without the help of parachutes, gliders, hot-air balloons, aeroplanes and rocket-ships. Most of us – but, bafflingly, not all of us – are similarly convinced that the earth is a sphere. Significantly, this conviction is born of the faith we place in science. A spherical earth is not something most of us are able to grasp intuitively. Rather, it is something we trust to be true because we accept the explanations of people clever enough to prove it. In short, most of what we believe derives from direct personal experience. The rest we take on faith. This can be a problem.

For example. If someone attempts to convince a Treasury official that the performance of state institutions is improved by appointing leaders on the basis of their proven expertise and long years of experience within the relevant organisations, and by offering state employees secure lifetime employment, then the chances are the official will respond as if you have just declared that the Earth is flat. Since the number of state servants who can still remember how the public sector functioned before the neoliberal revolution grows smaller with every passing year, the Treasury official’s dismissive response will, almost certainly, be based on faith not direct experience.

Were you to suggest that the entire neoliberal ideology – from which his ideas about the best way to organise the state sector are derived – makes no more sense than the notion of a flat Earth, he would be astonished. He would struggle to believe that any sane person could doubt the veracity of neoliberalism. Mentally, he would file your suggestion under “N” – for nuts.

The events of the past few days: the appalling failure of our neoliberalised state sector to keep our borders secure from the threat of the Covis-19 virus; ought to produce the same reaction from its defenders as a person who, having jumped off a roof, mysteriously finds himself failing to float gently to the ground.

Certainly, it is difficult to imagine a more convincing example of the way in which neoliberalism has corroded the whole ethos of public service. The civil servants of 50 years ago would have been a rock against which the special pleading of selfish visitors/citizens, and the asinine braying of journalists, would have broken without effect. They would have understood that officials like themselves were all that stood between the people of New Zealand and a renewed outbreak of the disease which had already gauged a huge hole in their economy. Unmoved by the howls of protest of people unaccustomed to being told what to do they would have enforced the rules without fear or favour. What does it say about the state of our state that the only people who can now be relied upon to protect it are the personnel of the NZ Defence Force?

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The person I feel most sorry for is Dr Ashley Bloomfield. His own professional training (which, unusually in the neoliberalised state sector, actually relates to public health) told him that granting “compassionate” exceptions to the strict requirements of self-isolation and quarantine would be extremely unwise. That ruthlessly defending the border against Covid-19 was the only way to eliminate the virus. He had reckoned without the faux outrage of a news media seemingly unable to understand the need for all responsible New Zealanders to close ranks in the interests of national survival.

Day after day the journalists bleated. “What would you say to those who cannot say farewell to the their loved ones?” Simply by asking that question they must have known that they were helping to dismantle the crucial defences against a resumption of community transmission.

Would their counterparts at the time of the Blitz have asked Winston Churchill such a question? Would they have turned the natural grief of families caught up in a once-in-a-generation national crisis into an excuse for embarrassing the government? Would the journalists of 1940 have deliberately compromised the nation’s resistance for a cheap headline? Not bloody likely!

In the New Zealand of 2020, however, after years of neoliberal corrosion, the Parliamentary Press Gallery knows exactly how to break a civil servant’s resolve. They are well aware of the fundamental caution which utterly pervades the state sector. They know how determined senior members of the public service are to protect their ministers from the clamour of an aroused populace. Evoke sufficient emotion; enlist sufficient support from Opposition politicians; apply sufficient pressure; and to protect his Prime Minister even an Ashley Bloomfield will break. This is how we got compassionate exemption. The Gallery broke the will of the Director-General of Health and forced the Prime Minister to bend. I hope they’re happy.

And, of course, they are happy: in fact they’re delighted. So delighted that they’re still doing it. Still asking the Prime Minister and her Director-General: “What would you say to … ? Don’t you owe an apology to … ?

What was it that Michael Caine, playing the role of  Batman’s butler, said: “…some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” Just substitute the word “worthwhile” for “logical” and replace “money” with “human decency” and you’ve defined the amoral narcissistic pyromania that is neoliberalism.

No matter how high the casualties pile up, broken and bleeding, on the ground below, Neoliberalism keeps pushing humanity off the roof. Because, in their eyes, nobody is falling. In the world defined by their demented vision, we are all floating gently to the ground.


  1. When your major selling points as a government are the PM’s kindness and empathy, it is hard to stop being empathetic and then show the necessary firmness (or harshness).

            • I thought Snow White was making a good point Ada. But don’t get upset that not everybody agrees with your every point Ada. My grandmother used to say that ‘If people were all the same, there wouldn’t be a sale for mixed biscuits’. And that is a very sensible bit of commonsense arising from experience. I hope that helps. It is more seemly than Sam’s point anyway.

              • Well you should worry about you. That last comment was way off decent. Try and contain your language to more general terms please. You make things worse than they already are by that approach.

        • @Ada “Sad to see the old abuse gang back in operation here on TDB.”
          Sad to see a reasonable points of difference interpreted as “abuse”, Ad.

          Not only is history illuminated by leaders who encapsulated often apparently conflicting qualities, but so too many great parents do a fairly demanding job with kindness and empathy – and also showing firmness when necessary. It can be done – and is done, daily.

          “Harshness”, of course, is more the realm of the mothers who strap sons, and fathers who crack their kids over the head – best approached with much caution – but possibly sometimes necessary – like Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the temple – and look what happened to him. Same old.

    • The same PM who chose to go early & hard? Your comment is such a simplistic attempt to create a negative one-sided view of the PM’s character that all it manages to do is expose your twisted personal opinion.

      • Are kindness and empathy negatives? Most people would say that the PM’s personality is a major element of the government’s messaging and appeal. She was praised for her empathy following the Christchurch mass murder. And the While Island eruption.

        Alternatively, does our government have a reputation for competency, service delivery and policy achievement since October 2017? Most people would say not

        • Ada. (Sigh). Here is a list of some of the current govt’s achievements for you.

          I excluded overseas issues, as perhaps not of great interest to the parochial some.

          Anything which you don’t like, you could consider writing about to the appropriate persons, OK ? CAB will be able to tell you who your local MP is.

          “From creating jobs, protecting our environment, fixing hospitals, making homes healthy, warm, and affordable – we’ve been busy. We know that solutions to our big problems don’t happen overnight – but we are determined to keep making progress towards a better New Zealand for everyone. Here is just a selection of the government’s achievements for New Zealanders.

          Up to date as of March 2020.

          Boosted the incomes of 384,000 families by $75 a week through our Families Package, when fully rolled out
          Widened Working for Families eligibility to include 26,000 more families
          Helping families with our BestStart payment, making life easier for parents with new-born babies with extra $60 a week, for up to the child’s first three years
          Extended Paid Parental Leave from to 22 weeks, further increasing to 26 weeks in 2020
          Increased Paid Parental Leave payments by an extra $20 a week
          Extended Nurses in Schools to cover decile 4 and 5 secondary students and almost 30,000 extra students
          Passed the Child Poverty Reduction Act and confirmed child poverty reduction targets
          Rolling out the free lunch in schools programme to all Year 1–8 children in 30 schools, extending to 21,000 children in 120 schools by the beginning of 2021
          Scrapping the discriminatory sanction that cuts benefit income to women and their children who have not declared the name of the child’s father
          Provided an across-the-board funding increase to Early Childhood Education – the first increase in ten years
          Developed New Zealand’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy to help make New Zealand the best place in the world to grow up
          Lifting standards at Oranga Tamariki, including focusing on early intervention to ensure children are safe and stay with their families and whānau, and ensuring the needs of Māori children are better met
          Banning smoking in cars with children
          Began Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions
          Helping seniors stay connected by funding Digital Literacy training
          Improving seniors’ financial position through upgrading and enhancing the SuperGold card
          Largest-ever investment in preventing, and responding to, family and sexual violence
          Back to top

          Taking mental health seriously, with the biggest investment in mental health in any Budget, ever. In the future everyone will be able to access free mental health support, when, where and how they need it
          Funded a new universal frontline mental health service, expected to help 325,000 people with mild to moderate mental health and addiction needs
          Boosted funding for suicide prevention services and those who are bereaved by suicide
          Setting up a Suicide Prevention Office to coordinate action to reduce New Zealand’s high rate of suicide
          Developed a Suicide Prevention Strategy
          Made doctors’ visits cheaper for 540,000 people
          Extended free doctors’ visits to all children under 14
          Changed the law to provide legal access to medicinal cannabis, and are asking for the public’s views on extending this access further
          Made free mental health care available for over 10,000 people aged 18 to 25, with mild to moderate mental health needs – through the Piki programme
          Launched the Mana Ake programme, putting mental health support in every primary and intermediate school in Christchurch and Kaikoura
          Working to reduce the incidence and improve management of rheumatic fever among Māori and Pacific people
          Boosted funding for air ambulances
          Establishing a National Cancer Control Agency
          Developed a Cancer Action Plan
          Largest ever investment in radiation therapy, to ensure New Zealanders have access to quality cancer care, wherever they live
          Rolling out the National Bowel Screening Programme to more DHBs
          Lifted the cap on gender reassignment surgeries
          Fixing our hospitals, including by addressing major infrastructure challenges at Auckland City Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre
          Addressing longstanding problems at Middlemore Hospital and the Manukau ‘Super Clinic’
          Fast-tracked the much-needed redevelopment of Dunedin Hospital
          Boosted funding for Pharmac to ensure Kiwis have access to the best medicines.
          Funding District Health Boards better so they can keep pace with population growth
          Paying our carers and Mental Health and Addiction workers fairly
          Holding a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at the 2020 general election
          Back to top

          Helped more than 2000 families into public housing this year
          Increased the state house building programme nine-fold, with 2,700 currently being built – 900 of those in the regions
          Helping homeless people into homes through Housing First. 1,064 households have been accepted into the programme and 720 housed so far, with 1044 more places funded in Budget 2019
          Added 979 more transitional housing places
          Ensuring rental properties are healthy and warm with the Healthy Homes Standards
          Introduced the Winter Energy Payment that helps about a million New Zealanders stay warm each winter
          Fixing the building and construction sector to deliver more houses with better, fit-for-purpose building standards
          Addressing construction skills shortages and training the workforce of the future
          Banned unfair letting fees
          Cracked down on speculators by closing tax loopholes and banning foreign buyers.
          Established the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development and Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities to take a joined up approach to tackling the housing crisis
          Building the most homes since the 1970s, including through offsite manufacturing
          Back to top

          Unemployment is at its lowest level in over a decade, and wages are up 4.4% in the last year alone
          87,000 new jobs have been created under this Government
          Increased the minimum wage to $17.70 per hour from 1 April 2019
          Backed Kiwi innovators with a tax credit aimed at lifting research and development spending to 2 percent of GDP over 10 years
          Extended research and development tax credits to new businesses yet to make a profit
          Brought business to the table, establishing an expert Business Advisory Council
          Introduced the Equal Pay Amendment Bill so more people are paid fairly
          Restoring the rights for screen sector workers, with legislation giving them back collective bargaining rights
          Regionalised our skills shortage list, helping us build thriving and sustainable regions
          Helping businesses get the workers they need with a new streamlined temporary work visa process
          Changed the law to make sure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax
          Restored rights for Kiwi workers by reinstating meal and rest breaks, strengthening collective bargaining, restoring protections for vulnerable workers and scrapping 90-day trials for big businesses
          Hiring 263 more frontline MSD staff to help people into meaningful work
          Lifted abatement thresholds so people on a benefit are incentivised to also work and keep more of what they earn
          Back to top

          Restarted contributions to the Super Fund, to help keep the cost of NZ Super affordable
          Announced a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, to back creativity and productivity
          Primary export revenue have soared to record highs – up over $9 billion in the last year
          Balanced record levels of investment to resolve the long-term challenges facing New Zealand, while managing the books responsibly and continuing to meet our Budget Responsibility Rules
          Delivered sustainable surpluses, growth well ahead of the OECD average, and low debt
          Focused on how we’re improving health, generating skills and knowledge, defeating poverty, and being responsible guardians of the environment, not only economic success
          Addressing long-term economic challenges like building a sustainable economy and preparing for the jobs of the future
          Pursuing ambitious trade policy to help New Zealand businesses succeed overseas
          Back to top

          Introduced our landmark Zero Carbon Bill as part of our plan to safeguard the planet and the future the next generation will inherit
          Acknowledged that climate change is bigger than politics – by holding cross-party meetings and welcoming support for a Climate Commission
          Banned single-use plastic bags and microbeads; helping to ensure we protect our marine life, and live up to our clean, green reputation
          Given the Department of Conservation its largest funding boost in almost two decades
          Making it easier for New Zealanders to choose cleaner cars, with a feebate scheme for low emissions vehicles
          Stopped new offshore exploration permits for oil and gas, while making sure we continue to support the people who work in those fields
          Funded the National New Energy Development Centre in Taranaki, which will create jobs while helping New Zealand move away from reliance on fossil fuels
          Established an Interim Climate Change Committee, which is considering how we can reduce our emissions and meet our goals for renewable energy production
          Commissioned a new 100 megawatt wind farm in Taranaki
          Launched large predator control projects in areas including Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Waiheke, and Dunedin, in collaboration with industry, iwi, and communities
          Launched our Essential Freshwater plan to improve the quality of our rivers and lakes, as around 30% of our rivers and lakes aren’t safe for swimming
          Supporting community-led programmes to clean up our waterways
          Established the $100 million Green Investment Fund to invest with business to reduce emissions and tackle climate change while making a profit
          Set out a $229 million Productive and Sustainable Land Use Package to help farmers and growers clean up our waterways and tackle climate change
          Supported farmers to improve freshwater quality
          Reached historic consensus with farmers on reducing emissions
          Announced our plan to recharge New Zealand’s resource recovery and recycling sector
          Advanced New Zealand’s performance in waste minimisation through the Waste Minimisation Fund
          Announced our work programme to take action on New Zealand’s waste through a circular economy approach
          Invested record amounts in cleaner public transport
          Kicked off the One Billion Trees programme, planting trees to take polluting gases out of the air
          Strengthening New Zealand’s ETS, so that it’s fit for purpose
          Resolving the conservation crisis by enhancing biodiversity, and controlling and eradicating predators
          Expanding and strengthening the protection for endangered Māui and Hector’s dolphins
          Protecting New Zealand’s elite soils, because as a proud food producing nation, we cannot afford to lose our most highly productive land
          Proposed a new way to deal with environmentally harmful products before they become waste, such as plastic bottles, as part of a wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills
          Overhauling New Zealand’s Resource Management Act, as it’s unacceptable for this cornerstone law to be underperforming in a country that values protection of the environment
          Launched Te Koiroa O Te Koiora – Our shared vision for living with nature, to help shape our biodiversity strategy for the next 20 years
          Back to top

          Building new schools and classrooms for 100,000 students, with a plan to make sure we work with schools and communities to address increasing demand before it happens
          Rolled out 623 Learning Support Coordinators to ensure children with diverse learning needs get the support they need to learn, supporting kids more than 1,000 schools and kura
          Launched Mana in Mahi, supporting employers to take on apprentices, and He Poutama Rangatahi, to tackle youth unemployment
          Funded an additional 2,000 places in the Mana in Mahi programme through the Wellbeing Budget
          Scrapped National Standards, after listening to teachers and principals
          Transitioned all charter schools to the state school system, to ensure the education system meets the needs of every student
          Taking the financial pressure off parents by increasing funding to decile 1-7 schools if they don’t ask parents for donations
          Removed fees from NCEA and NZ Scholarship, helping more than 145,000 households and around 168,000 secondary students
          Supported Kiwis into study through our Fees-Free first year of tertiary education and training programme
          Addressed the teachers shortage, by training and supporting thousands more teachers over the next four years
          Funded hundreds of new places for a new employment-based teacher training programme and expanded the existing Teach First NZ programme, which enables teachers to earn while they work towards their teacher professions
          Rolling out a school lunch programme, making sure 21,000 children in 120 schools will have lunch by the start of 2021
          Making sure New Zealand history is taught in all schools and kura by 2022
          Back to top

          Investing in New Zealand’s long-neglected regions through the Provincial Growth Fund
          Planting one billion trees by 2028, through the One Billion Trees Programme
          Boosted KiwiRail, with a $1 billion investment in Budget 19 to improve our rail connections, which will help to get freight off the roads
          Introduced an International Visitor Levy to support our regional tourism infrastructure and conservation projects
          Backing Māori landowners by creating new opportunities to drive growth in their regions
          Backing farmers to lower emissions and protect waterways while growing the value we get from our primary sector
          Protected the productivity of the country’s vital beef and dairy sectors with a thorough and ongoing response to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis
          Upgrading the safety of roads and highways throughout the country through The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kms of high-volume, high-risk State Highways safer with things like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening
          Boosted support for veterinarians in the regions
          Back to top

          Banned military-style semi-automatic weapons, magazines and parts, with over 21,000 fewer firearms in circulation from gun buy-back and seizures
          Passed the Family Violence and Family Violence (Amendments) Acts, and delivering the largest ever investment in support services, to break the cycle of family violence and sexual violence
          Recruited to achieve the largest, and most diverse, Police workforce in history – over 13,000 employees
          Took action to reduce court backlogs, and improve the experience for all parties, through better resourcing and processes
          Introduced the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill
          Made our funding increase for Community Law Centres permanent, helping more than 25,000 people every year
          Re-entered the Pike River drift to help families get closure and justice
          Set up Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata – the Safe and Effective Justice programme
          Reduced the prison population for the first time in a decade, without compromising public safety
          Launched Māori Pathway initiative, taking action on the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending rates
          Boosted funding to increase offenders’ access to mental health and addiction support
          Cracking down on illicit drug manufacturers and suppliers while making it easier for those with substance addictions to get treatment
          7,240 fewer people were victims of crime in 2018, as victimisations of crime fell by 2.7%
          Back to top

          Established Te Arawhiti – The Office for Māori Crown Relations to make the Crown a better Treaty partner and have better on-going relationships with Māori
          Recognising the importance of Kōhanga Reo and the revitalisation of te reo Māori, by lifting the wages of Kaiako, and investing in building repairs and new technology.
          Supporting marae to strengthen our whanau, hapu and communities by investing an extra $12 million for whānau-led marae development projects.
          Working with iwi to carry out joint projects, such as the partnership between Porirua City Council and Ngāti Toa to build thousands of homes and build warm, safe, healthier homes with Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa and Te Hau Awhiowhio o Otangarei Trust
          Expanding Whānau Ora to support more whānau
          Progressed completing the final stages of Treaty settlements with Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga Tamatea, Ngāti Tai ki Tamaki, Ngāti Tamaoho, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Te Wairoa
          Getting more people using te reo Māori in their daily lives, with a vision of one million New Zealanders speaking at least basic te reo Māori by 2040
          Launched Maihi Karauna (the Crown’s Strategy for Māori Language Revitalisation) 2019 – 2023 at Te Matatini earlier this year
          Investing into Papakāinga development and rural housing repairs for better whānau wellbeing

          • That’s a very long cut and paste from a Labour Party document – do you think it’s highly credible?

            • Well, it’s like this, Ada. I know that some of it is credible and true, because it concerns matters of which I have knowledge.

              There are some things about which I have limited, or no knowledge, so therefore I, personally cannot ascertain their veracity.

              However it would surprise me if the Coalition Govt claimed to have achieved things which it hasn’t, when the corridors of power teem with woebegone losers frantically searching for ‘gotcha’ moments to validate their own sad existence(s). It is they who you could consider asking, if reading a doc like this is onerous for you.

            • And Ada.
              T̸o̸d̸d̸ ̸M̸u̸l̸l̸e̸r̸̸’s (Chris Luxon’s) playbook what will his look like?

              – .

              ” , , .”

              ‘ ‘ ‘ 14 , 2020 1:00

              Same old dirty politics list then? Donations? Vanity flag? Israeli Mossad agents in NZ? SIS buddy system? Mossack Fonseca? Splitting Chinese donations into “legal” chunks? Slash benefits and raise taxes?

            • ADA stands for “Abuse Deflective Agnostic”

              This article Martyn posted was about ‘political policy on economics’ “NEO-LIBERAL POLICY” not about our character, so please address the article, not the character of individuals as you are only single mindlessly carrying on about, it’s negative and deceptively deflective.

          • A long list of failed to complete(s) because “we” only do the low hanging fruit incrementally. Continuing what labour abandoned in 2008 because it all got to hard because it was easier to make the middleclass rich by making easier for them to buy rentals and the state gave up on building new state houses which set the tone for national to continue and which labour are doing now, again.

    • The prime minister’s ‘personal’ empathy and kindness, to correct. A modern madonna with child, useless for actual life, but a comfort. Or if you’ve forgotten, she won’t do for the neediest. The beneficiaries. Which makes her ’empathy’ a foul swamp facsimile of the real thing.

  2. Excellent article, Chris Trotter. Bloody excellent , in fact.

    You have hit at the heart of the issue with these neo liberal liars. Don’t ever stop, never stop. Now more than ever we need people of your experience to speak up ! Let them feel the burn. Never stop !

    Sock it to them ! Kick their arses!

    I Don’t Wanna Stop

  3. You have hit the nail on the head again, Chris.

    ‘No matter how high the casualties pile up, broken and bleeding, on the ground below, Neoliberalism keeps pushing humanity off the roof.’

    Not forgetting Disaster Capitalism, whereby an entrepreneur can sell bottled water to people who have lost their traditional supply due to the effects of neoliberal policies (privatisation, pollution etc.). Or sell tents to the homeless. Or manipulate the prices of basic foods via ‘commodity trading’.

    The good news is, the whole neoliberal experiment has generated the outcomes we expected and is in the long expected terminal failure mode. Some of us, who have been fighting the dysfunctional policies for decades are being rewarded by many “I told you so but you wouldn’t listen” moments.

    Sadly, the “I told you so but you wouldn’t listen” moments are going to come thicker and faster than ever over the coming months, as the system -having destroyed most of what it requires to persist and now down to the last vestiges of money-printing and grossly overvalued equity markets- collapses.

    And sadly, political leaders who apparently are clueless, keep pushing us off the cliff (or as you say, off the roof).

    Neoliberalism is a euphemism, of course, a bit of neuro-linguistic programming that makes that which is malevolent sound benign. What sounds better than ‘freedom of choice’? even though we have little freedom and most of our choices have been removed over the decades. Bloody TINA and all it stands for.

    See you all at the bottom of the cliff. And no, there won’t be a state-funded ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. (it is too late to install a guard rail, of course).

    After which we may start converting golf courses into permaculture centres.

    Till then, there are never-to-be-repeated deal on cars and other luxury goods at ‘no interest’ and ‘pay nothing now’ as the overproduction of unnecessary goods piles up in warehouses/

    I was thinking, if I can save $3 an hour by purchasing and operating an electric outdoor heater -asz seen on TV- maybe I should buy ten of them and save $30 and hour! After all debts and deficits don’t matter, the Earth is entering an ice age, and the Earth generates oil as fast as we use it, so if we don’t puncture the Earth and suck the oil out it to relieve the pressure oil volcanoes will form and they will erupt all over the place and make a mess of the environment.

    That is about the level of thinking of your average neoliberal. And Eric Blair (George Orwell) was so on the money when he wrote [in 1947-1948] that 2+2=5 (in Winston’s torture session at the Ministry of Love).

    Of course, it wasn’t ‘Insoc’ that got us but it’s rival, ‘Inglib’.

    Of Brave New World (Hat tip to Huxley and Shakespeare).

    By the way, not that many people are very interested (and apparently no one in government or Treasury or Ministry of Innovation and Business is)

    April CO2

    Apr. 2020: 416.18 ppm
    Apr. 2019: 413.52 ppm

    (Awaiting May’s data update, which will be around 418 ppm)

    • You say everything I think and say. Apparently I’m not the special one in the 8 billion. So little communication back in the day and now we think this ‘bloom’ of it gives us some sort of immunity to reality. We know so much of Republican talk prior to Rome becoming a monarchy — it didn’t matter, reality mattered.

  4. I thought what a good question and could someone please answer it sanely and practically.
    Then I read the first lines:
    If someone told you they could jump off your roof and float gently to the ground, you’d doubt their sanity. Gravity is something we all experience. All of us – bar the seriously deluded – understand that it cannot be overcome.

    Then I thought, that is what some people who took LSD tended to think with the result similar to that of Icarus. Then I remembered that the USA defence forces gave pilots LSD when they were sent off to attack distant countries and the drug LSD helped pilots to go further, without needing sleep, overriding normal body needs. And I wondered if LSD got into USA drinking water, or affected the genes of males in leader positions.

    Perhaps the delusions of grandeur and acquisitiveness that most of people who have acquired money seem to be prone to is all part of the affects of the post WW2 drug and chemical age. This started with the finish of a vast number of Jews in WW2, after which the profit-seeking industrial and agricultural chemical companies have had a ‘field day’. They, and the separate pharmaceutical companies have put out product equalling? – say 1 kg for each person on the planet. A huge amount has been produced with noticeable affects, some good, some bad, but loading the planet with new or ‘improved’ atoms and molecules. For instance Monsanto which became a ‘bad’ brand and sold out to another company but I think, same product under different name.

    We have poisoned the well, the water is not pure, and neither are we. We have killed the good by wilful neglect or by insane persistence and now our hard-won good life concepts and democracies are dying or dead; the Philippines journalist jailed by deliberate misuse and flouting of the law with the co-operation of their courts, is hanging on to theirs by her fingernails. (Radionz this a.m.) Perhaps the tech innovations are Nature’s or God’s way of getting rid of us before our love of clever cupidity and capitalism kills off the earth.

  5. “how much longer must New Zealand be damaged by Neoliberalism’s demented perceptions of reality?”

    Chris yet another great depiction of the rotting carcass of Neoliberalism, and it will go longer until the establishment who have embedded the corrupt principles of Neoliberalism are completely banished from the parliamentary ‘trough feeder’s minds and the corporate media firstly.

    Then the Government should have the courage to make changes in policy to make a ‘shared commonwealth economy’ live again as we lived through during the 1950’s as teenagers my friend.

    • If you think “Neoliberalism’s demented perceptions of reality” is dead and buried, let’s get National and ACT to say what they would do if they get into power in 2020?

      Blah blah … we were left with worst debt ever from an “fiscally irresponsible shambles of a coalition” … blah blah …UNPRECEDENTED debt .. blah blah, .. cut taxes for the top performers, businesses and farmers (our backbone) in the economy and let this trickle down to the minions…. blah blah… cut contributions to Kiwisaver back to 0.001% until we get out of the hole that the Labour Party left us with …blah, blah… bulk-fund and private partnership all schools….blah blah..privatise health…blah blah.. get rid of Nanny State Resource consent…blah blah…a little bit of pollution should be permitted until we can come up with better cost-effective technologies…blah blah….it’s too cold to swim in rivers anyway, so why bother about the pollution when we have bigger priorities …like the economy…let’s have a new flag because the old one’s got Covid connotations….blah blah … more powers for the SIS to keep us safe…law and order…blah blah….have US Nuclear ships back here….and on an on ad nauseum…

      And their coalition partners ACT …blah blah blah …raise GST to 40% to stimulate the economy and lower income taxes for everyone …. blah, blah …. compulsory euthanasia for anyone undesirable …. blah blah… make all new babies born from now onward be called David Seymour … blah blah…more sensibler than Peter Dunne … blah blah … assets should be able to sold to anyone regardless of whether they live here or not…blah blah …bananas… blah blah ….. more jails and tougher sentences…blah blah ….. state-funded statues to be built of Roger Douglas, John Banks and Don Brash…. blah blah….have the statues in wealthy suburbs or gated communities … blah blah.. zero business tax. … blah …. limitless undeclared political donations … blah blah blah… and put the retirement age up to 75 from September 30th 2020…blah blah… get rid of guillotines….blah blah….make New Zealand a tax haven….blah blah…

      Have you seen the moral and social carnage in America from rampant Reaganomic neoliberalism which began in the 1980’s?

      A more advanced capitalist, user-pays, elitist, trickle down bullshit neoliberalism …. thank goodness David Lange had a bit of a sit-down and a cup of tea, once he realised what neoliberal filth had infiltrated the Labour Party because of Muldoon. It slowed down NZ becoming the USA 53rd State in the South Pacific…

      Americans without healthcare die, Americans lose their jobs and lose their healthcare then die, essential workers paid minimum wage, no PPP and die. You have a President who thinks that giving yourself a bleach colon-cleanse will kill the virus, and if enough sycophants shine sunshine up your anus, it will also kill the virus.

      Open the economy, full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes, the virus is almost gone anyway. US demented Neoliberalism –

      It’s a sick, twisted joke what the right-wing neoliberals like Trump have done to denigrate Science and promote division and lack of a human, social contract for citizens…

      We need to rid ourselves of the demented neoliberal scourge here in New Zealand …. before more die on its heartless altar, like the dying embers of the Incans towards the end of their demented “civilisation”.

      The French had a more expeditious way of ridding themselves of their demented “let them eat cake-brigade”, as one of the David Seymours alluded to this in his blah-blah neoliberal manifesto.

      Demented right enough Chris…..

    • ‘egalitarianism’ as I grow up in the 1950’s with it and we all shared in the “common wealth” of our country.

      That was not socialism; – rather it was ‘simply all sharing the fruits of our wealth’.


      Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning ‘equal’), or equalitarianism,[1][2] is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people.[3] Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or moral status.[4] Egalitarianism is the doctrine that all citizens of a state should be accorded exactly equal rights.[5]

      The term egalitarianism has two distinct definitions in modern English:[6] either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights,[7] or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as equality reflecting the natural state of humanity.[8][9][10]

      • Cg
        I don’t think we have ever been treated as equals although the sentiment may have a nice ring to it.
        Socialism was the thrust of the first Labour Govt but the leaders did not follow though with the many powerful Socialist ideas discussed in cabinet.

        The State as a parent provides security and protection to its family when based on Socialism in its wider sense..

        The privateers who preach unbridled market forces as the family rules, have never looked after the family, nor the country and its environment nor kept peace in the global community.

  6. By the way, although the border dispute between India and China is not directly related to the topic of neoliberalism pushing us off the cliff edge (roof), it is symptomatic of the us versus them mentality that neoliberalism fosters (despite all the rhetoric about free trade).

    We are required [by our capitalist masters] to adore nations that embrace capitalism and abhor those that don’t. So, given the choice, we must side with India against China, right?

    I learned something new today. It seems that China has been struggling to bring India to the table for many decades over the incorrectly drawn border 0incorrectlky drawn by the British of course; how many times did they manage that? About a hundred times.

    Anyway, it may well be that China is in the right on this matter.

    ‘Historically, the border disputes existed since 1947, when India got independence from British rule. This was the era of the Chinese revolution when a weak, corrupt and naïve government of Nationalist Party (Guo Ming Dang) was in power in Beijing, and the Communist Party of China, led by Chairman Mao, was over-engaged in the power struggle. The Government in China at that time was not strong, not stable, or not visionary and were fighting for their own survival. They were least bothered with their International borders, whereas, they were focusing on their grip on Beijing city only, as a symbol of their Government. The Britsh demarcation of the border was unjust and one-sided. There were Chinese territories marked into Indian control and vis-à-vis. The people’s republic of China was established in 1949, since then, China was demanding a rational border, but India was denying and delaying to resolve the border disputes.’


    Needless to say, the US has been courting and cajoling India into becoming a core nation in its ‘containment of China strategy’.

    Where does that leave NZ, with the most powerful neoliberal nation, supposedly our ally, going down the drain super-fast, and China, supplier of everything from televisions and phones to footwear and garden tools, in deep trouble.

    India, of course, is headed for basket case status, having inherited the loot-and-pollute and who-cares-about-the-poor attitudes from Britain, and now having out-of-control coronavirus.

    Not that I am saying we’d be better of under Chinese-style communism because pollution respects no borders and we can die just as quickly under a pseudo-communist regime just as under a neoliberal regime. And China, though it has elements of communism, cannot be truly described as a communist state -despite all the ‘reds under the beds’ rhetoric we’ve heard since the 1950s- because it has elements of dictatorship and a corrupt hierarchy.

    • The Kuomintang backed by the USA gave it a good go at taking over China after WWII when the Japanese were pushed out of China and Korea.
      The Kuomintang were pushed out of China to Formosa along with the USA backing. China had enough of corruption and warlords running the show along with foreigners and thieves.
      Then the USA concentrated on Korea but got beaten back to run a puppet govt in South Korea after terrible punishment was meted out to innocent civilians by the USA and allies including NZ.

      The carpet bombing on Korea by the USA was a very dark moment in human history where millions died.

    • Considering China’s use of the ‘nine dotted line’ drawn by one British person in a hurry to validate their take over of the entire South China Sea I suspect that China is just lying.

      BTW, Taiwan is also not part of China even though China now claims it and a large part of the rest of the world goes along with that lie.

      • Britain’s part in this border is more than suspect for reasons you havce touched on.
        But when the Kuomintang fled to Formosa they were not welcomed by the indigenous people who had and uprising against the new colonisers.
        They were over whelmed and forced to comply with the new rulers.

        QZ.com is hardly a place to avoid US propaganda if you are serious about gathering information.
        Taiwan has factions that are anti and pro reunification with the mainland.

  7. i take heart from the work being put out by economists against neoliberal ideas and policy. that the economists are becoming louder and are speaking to the public not just each other.
    the challenge i guess is to be loud enough for the messages to get past all of those flat earth public servants to be heard by government.
    and the challenge of limits to the imagination of government.
    and limits to my ability to write as interestingly as Chris…

    • We have enough wise social democratic people to run a renewed 1935 demo-cracy. But we who remember the old days won’t live forever. It must be now.

  8. Jesus! I thought this would be a paragraph. Apols @ CT
    Neoliberalism is to me a Swiss Army Pocket instruction manual to show corporate raiders, privateers, crooks, criminals, cheats, liars, swindlers and lawyers how they can facilitate stealing workers taxes paid for stuff and things. It also appears to me that neoliberalism in it’s most basic guise can warp and change to suit the environment where and when it’s required. Neoliberalism reminds me of a virus actually.
    In AO/NZ, neoliberalism was used to hoodwink then steal taxes paid for stuff and things and what makes our particular iteration of neoliberalism so hard to pin down is because the money that was used to build the infrastructure that was ‘neoliberalised’ was farmer money earned by exporting agrarian goods to satisfy foreign demand.
    I think the reason why neoliberalism is so difficult to treat in AO/NZ is because we were already psychologically conditioned to hate farmers in a general sort of way and despise them individually as cowsploiters, rich high country sheep wranglers, cow punchers and hayseed tyre kickers and now that we all know how to hate, because we’re shown where to focus that hate, the real criminals can get to work and continue to fleece our farmers ( pardon the pun. ) without mercy while taking care not to raise alarm. Which is particularly ironic to me given what is panning out to be the very existence of humanity threatening global starvation event looming worsened by global heating, dense, mega city, mono skilled human populations and the very real possibility of other, more deadly c-19 like events popping up here and there.
    ( You think c-19 is worrisome ? You wait until bodies start stacking up in piles when we run out of food?)
    I’m a farmer. From the day I was born and for more than 25 years. After a 12 year stint in the Canterbury high country I moved to the city and became inflicted with a moth mentality. I became irreversibly attracted to bright lights and all the wondrous trappings they shone down upon.
    The Canterbury High Country is only good to visit. Trust me, you don’t want to live there unless you have unlimited funds and a fast helicopter.
    I love cities and the bigger the better. I feel I’m able to plug in to a subliminal matrix of energy that I find fascinating about us poor bastards as we terrify ourselves into a dependancy narrative that makes us vulnerable to exploitation.
    AO/NZ cities, though, are funny little things created out of dishonourable intentions and kept alive by lies and deceit and we spiral down into them to become oblivious to everything outside that vortex.
    ( Auckland home owners? How’s that mortgage working out for ya? )
    I lived in Herne Bay for a short period and commuted into Parnell and it wasn’t too long before my life became about home, the commute, the destination, then home again.
    Just the way the practitioners of the dark arts of AO/NZ’s own version of neoliberalism want to keep us within.
    In relative poverty, heavily in debt and running on an exercise wheel while never daring to ask questions or standing up for ourselves.
    I’ve also noticed that most conversation threads here don’t take long to devolve into petty slanging matches between aggrieved individuals. Are you being genuinely aggrieved or are you being manipulated by manipulators. Are you instead being manipulated by confederate plants who come here to diffuse and confuse and derail any positive, direct action narrative that might come from good intentions?
    The practitioners of the evil that is the particular form of neoliberalism here will not go quietly. In these heady times we must all be ever vigilant.
    Here’s what we should do. In my opinion.
    Make voting mandatory.
    Put the squeeze on foreign banks until we’re no longer profitable to exploit.
    Nationalise electricity, public transportation etc and remove all fees with regard to education.
    Criminalise high interest lending and write off all mortgage debt.
    ( I thought of this the other day. What do you think? )
    Crowd fund a team of investigative journalists and private detectives to delve into our financial history and the behaviour of individuals, companies and politicians with regard to AO/NZ’s operations from the present day to going back 70 years.
    Why not? That’s what they’d do to us?
    They say we don’t have to vote but we must be enrolled.
    They’re fine about homelessness while four foreign owned banksters took $6 billion dollars in net profits our of our country last financial year.
    They think it’s fine that we have no passenger rail service.
    They’re ok with us having to pay huge fees to rorting electricity retailers for OUR electricity.
    They think it’s ok to bury our best and brightest kids in crushing debts for years to come.
    They can slither around in the dark and in secrecy while we must bare our souls to them to get a shitty little dole payment.
    I think it’s time we flip things around, don’t you?

    • Another excellent post from CB.

      Pointing out the glaring discrepancy’s of what passes for the modern day post Rogernomic’s rapine and theft of the citizens of NZ. And when it should gall most honest people, we stay silent. We are tolerant of these neo liberal tapeworms bleeding us dry deep inside our own guts.

      And still the cowardice and silence remains deafening…

      I don’t want to hear anymore mealy mouthed politicians talk about and bullshit on about ‘ family values ‘.

      That cliche sickens me. Why ?- because its usually drooled out of the fetid mouths of the very same criminals that have kept this state of affairs going for their own interests for the last 3 decades.

      Its time it and they were dealt with.

  9. Well it hasn’t slowed down, much less stopped.

    The bill to regulate the organic sector currently heading into select committee is laden with neo-liberal presumptions, a user pays vehicle for users who have long since developed their own much cheaper and actually respected certification regime during the decades of bureaucratic sclerosis. This bill will do nothing for the sector except employ the coercive power of the state to exact tribute, like some Persian satrap or petty crime boss.

    • Many growers who supply week end growers markets use a “spray Free” principle while many are also Organic but avoid registering as Organic which is too much bother and expense.

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