Labour Will Not Win With A Yeah-Nah Strategy

51
1976

“TRIANGULATION” – Bill Clinton loved it; Tony Blair loved it; Gerhard Schroeder loved it. Hell! – Since the 1990s, all God’s social-democratic children have loved it! Question is: will Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson declare their love for it by adopting a tax policy that hovers harmlessly halfway between National’s “no new taxes” and the Greens just-released policy of welfare reform and making the wealthy pay their fair share? Given the Prime Minister’s rather snooty comments about the Greens making “some fairly heroic assumptions” about the fiscal gains to be expected from their two new steps of Income Tax and their proposed Wealth Tax, I would say that Labour’s getting ready to triangulate like crazy.

Which, if true, should be filed under: “Extraordinarily Short-Sighted and Disappointing Decisions Political Parties Have Made.” Labour cannot win this election by playing it safe. If it tries it will fail. We are not living in the 1990s – when, as Helen Clark liked to say, “a rising tide lifts all boats” – we are living in 2020, when tens-of-thousands of New Zealanders, and millions more around the world, are staring down the barrel of the most devastating economic downturn since the 1930s.

This is no time to play Goldilocks: triangulating frantically to produce a set of policies that are “just right”. This is a time for the righteous language of the Gospel of Matthew (5:37) “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

Labour needs to be equally unequivocal in its communication with the electorate. Either it has a plan to prevent their fellow New Zealanders from falling off the economic cliff, or it doesn’t. Either it has a fiscal policy equal to the task of funding that plan, or it hasn’t. Either it will task the citizens of today with stepping-up to their responsibilities, or it will kick the can down the road for future generations to deal with – just as National does.

Maybe that’s why Jacinda sounded so grumpy on this morning’s Morning Report? Because the Greens policy announcements on welfare and tax have made the whole triangulation process ten times more difficult.

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For the tactic to work, the distance between the two political poles needs to be relatively modest. When the whole political colour-chart is made up of boring shades of grey it’s hard for the voters to get all that excited. Who’s going to die in a ditch for dark- as opposed to light-grey? That’s the beauty of triangulation: it’s all about limiting the range of electoral choices – not expanding them. Giving voters real and exciting options only complicates matters.

But that is exactly what the Greens have done. They have borrowed from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s report to produce a radical programme of income-support which, if properly presented, has the capacity to get young, poor voters up off the couch and into the polling booths. It has also borrowed fiscal ideas from TOP – The Opportunities Party – to construct an alternative to the electorally radioactive Capital Gains Tax. In doing so they have aggressively expanded the distance between the Right and the Left – replacing all that National and Labour grey with a dazzling in-rush of primary colours: red, blue, and bright, bright green.

Poor Jacinda: I’m pretty sure that her own, and Grant’s, preference was to approach the looming economic crisis in the spirit of a military surgeon charged with deciding who should be categorised as walking wounded; who should be treated immediately; and who is clearly beyond help. Economic policy-making in the grim spirit of battlefield triage: heart-wrenching but unavoidable.

But now, with the Greens promising to keep all those without adequate paid employment afloat, being seen to allow whole sectors of the economy to simply bleed-out in a corner, while Labour’s surgeons struggle bravely to save what sectors they can, will start to look pretty damned heartless. Especially when – as they always do – the National Party will borrow every last dollar they can lay their hands on to avoid raising taxes (except, of course, the regressive GST) leaving the matter of debt repayment for the poor schmucks of some future government to sort out.

From Labour’s point-of-view, the most scary aspect of the Greens’ radical renaissance is that it may not stop at welfare and tax reform. What if, between now and the General Election on 19 September they unveil their own version of the Green New Deal? What if they offer the voters something pretty close to a complete re-prioritisation of all the activity that makes up the New Zealand economy? What if they give expression to the widespread hope of people all over the world that the Covid-19 Pandemic will stimulate a fundamental rethink about where we are and where we’re going? What then?

My sense of Labour’s campaign strategy, to date, is that it was all supposed to hinge on presenting Jacinda and her colleagues as compassionately competent pragmatists. The contrast with National: willing to promise anything and risk everything for political power; was supposed to make people opt for the safer pair of hands. That meant “solid” policies – not inspirational ones. If the Blues are threatening to push the country into the red, then grey doesn’t seem so bad.

It all depended, of course, on the Greens not being able to rise above their interminable squabbles over human identity. Seeing their hapless coalition partners as woke and out of touch with Covid-19’s grim realities, Labour was hoping that voters would glance in their direction, register their disappointment, and turn back to Labour. Frustratingly, the risk is now that the opposite will occur: the voters will register Labour’s all-too-obvious intention to play it safe and, disappointed, turn to the Greens for policies worth voting for.

If Jacinda is wise, she will reposition Labour quite a bit further to the left than she was planning to originally. The resulting triangle might look a bit lopsided, but a left-leaning red-green triangle has a lot more going for it than a boring and blurry blue-grey triangle that robs progressive voters of the will to live.

51 COMMENTS

  1. Have to disagree with you overall Chris.
    I think Labour’s strategy, yeh-nah as you call it or National-lite as I prefer to call it, is the best one to get them re-elected.
    That does not mean that I approve.
    I dearly wish that Labour could adopt far more progressive policies including a capital gains tax and a complete overhaul of the public service, but this is wishful thinking.
    This would send the electorate running like scared rabbits back to National and we need a National government like we need a hole in the head.
    So it comes down to two basic choices: either ersatz progression with Labour or regression with National.
    National will throw open the borders, flood the employment market with a new wave of immigrants to keep wages down and also risking another wave of COVID-19, suspend or scrap environmental protection and climate change laws, bring in oil and mining companies and continue to sell New Zealand off to international investors.
    Labour will continue on its “softly softly catchee monkey” strategy, but arguably this is what will most appeal to the electorate, combined with the fact that Labour has a proven leader. It is Jacinda who will be the biggest incentive for people to vote Labour as New Zealanders cope with a post-COVID world order.

    • Interesting thoughts I largely agree with.

      However: ‘as New Zealanders cope with a post-COVID world order’

      I put it to you (and Chris) that although we can talk about the post-initial-phase-Covid-19 world order, it is very premature to be talking in terms of a ‘post-Covid-19 world order’.

      I contend (and all the evidence supports my contention) that we are just seeing the commencement of the long-overdue collapse of globalised financial and economic arrangements -arrangements that have evolved over approximately the past 1000 years but in recent decades have been morphed into an out-of-control monster which is now founded on fabrications and outright lies, and is so riddled with corruption and contradictions no one has much idea what is happening or why. But there is still short term financial gain for individuals to make by playing in the ‘casino’, by playing the system, i.e. manipulating market prices, speculating, doing deals, pushing poorer people off the cliff to make a buck, passing off gold-plated tungsten as solid gold etc.

      On top of that “the pandemic is accelerating globally” -Tedros.

      And in addition to all of that, we are living in a world subject to declining energy availability, particularly of high-quality easily-extracted liquid fuels on which the ‘wheels of industry’ run. The decline in energy prices that has accompanied demand destruction is ripping through energy companies large and small. Frackers are ‘queueing up’ to file for bankruptcy in the US, and the ‘junk bonds’ they have been using to finance operations ‘blow up’.

      If all that were not enough to demolish the house of cards, the Earth has been overheated to the point that unprecedented environmental disasters are an almost weekly occurrence. I read just recently that the much-hyped Three Gorges Dam system is in danger of collapse as severe flooding devastates southern China:

      https://vietreader.com/world/2438-massive-flooding-in-south-china-three-gorges-sanxia-dam-at-risk-of-collapse-any-time.html

      I personally cannot take the coming election seriously because I think the ‘black swans’ have landed, have bred and are in the process of taking over throughout most of the world.

      Now, if NZ were in the same position it was in the last time such events hit -Spanish Flu and Great Depression- there would be some chance of getting through it relatively intact. However, in a world dependent on oil imports and imported basics (NZ now struggles to make a pair of socks!) we are in for major trauma never witnessed before in human history. And ‘everyone’ pretends it just ain’t so.

      I therefore take little interest in the out-of-touch rantings of politicians and would-be politicians, who pretend some kind of return to the gross aberrations that characterised the pre-Covid-19 world is possible. ALL politicians have basically lost the plot (or never understood it in the first place). Or they are playing the kick-the-can-down-the road game in the hope that something will turn up.

      • A choice of warm comfort or cold-to-now freezing truth. In a democracy. We need a strong talker for the truth. From a society of comfort…

    • Yes the leader who delivered Auckland rail and Kiwibuild. We need her. We need a bold leader like Marama and Shaw. My vote this time is for Greens.

    • Admire your take. I’m always stolid for ideals, which produce an election win every 40 years. Product of a stolid brain.

  2. Labour and the Greens moving to the woke far Left and NZFirst looking like they’re out of parliament will guarantee a National government. A plan so cunning……….

    • How can the CCP National party ever be elected now that Nationals Jiang Yang chooses not to speak to any english speaking reporters since the story broke of his spying allegations. He speaks to Chinese reporters only. Muller confirmed today that Yang can choose to speak to whomever he chooses. This is so wrong on so many levels. Are you comfortable with this Orangemanbad? Is he a donation magnet for the National party only or what exactly is his role?

  3. The exciting aspect of the Green’s new policy is that it makes rolling back neo liberalism a political demand-center stage even.

    The initial welfare and tax aspects alone, sans a Green New Deal, require sitting WINZ/MSD on its rear. A challenge to a structural element of monetarism.

    Jacinda rarely talks in sub feel good mode about anything, so the Greens have clearly rattled her and Grant, who could have acted decisively already for the working class-as they did with bailouts for employers, petit bourgeois and middle class.

  4. Chris’s take on JA likely wanting to present National as desperate and likely to promise anything to get power, is laughable because that’s exactly what labour did to get elected at the last election.National didn’t promise the world and didn’t get elected. The list of so called intentions Coming Labour was long, and as we know the completion rate has been poor and that’s being kind. My take on the rest of Chris’s article is that it’s most likely on the mark. Labour is now caught between the Green true leftist policies and National’s true right. Makes Labour’s red look a watery pink.

    • Labour promised bugger all last campaign and have achieved almost all of it except the lame airport rail and the water and cgt taxes.

      Ardern had a beige af manifesto that was boring and campaigned simply on optimism and her leadership being a generational change because she was young.

      I don’t get the accusations of her promising the world. Labour hasn’t had a progressive or promise filled manifesto in my entire life although I’m only 28, I’d assume for much longer than that , they mostly promised a free year of uni, done, fifty bucks for students, done, winter engergy, done and increased funding for schools, health and social services, done. They weren’t offering anything remotely radical but she campaigned radically different, there was no promising the world in fact they should have promised more things. Anyway have a nice day

  5. To my eye, Labour are not in election campaign mode yet. They have their hands full with a pandemic and all that entails….and of course National’s very deliberate incessant crusade to destroy public confidence in Ardern’s handling of said situation.

    Ardern will chew Muller up and spit him out when it matters most so just relax.

    One of my most powerful memories in the lead up to the 2017 was from none other than Chris Trotter. Andrew Little looked like he was ready to fall on his sword. Ardern looked the best bet to replace him. Out pops Chris Trotter with his adamant claim that was the worst possible strategic move for Ardern and Labour. Waiting until after the election was the smart and best move according to him. I was left shaking my head. Labour were absolutely certain to lose under Andrew Little just as National were under Bridges. National was not prepared to just standby and witness that. Neither was Labour. I found it perplexing that such an experienced political observer as Chris Trotter could get such an important call so badly wrong. I’ve taken every call he’s made since with more than just a pinch of salt. This blog is no exception. Absolutely wrong Chris…again.

    • Always interests me the ‘experts’ we have in our local pundits. What a shame these writers with such expertise don’t give up their keyboard warrior comfy chairs and join the Jacindas, Grants, and yes even the Simons and Todds who have to make real decisions at the same time as appealing to a broad church of voters.
      I too now need salt when reading Chris’s brilliance.

  6. The issue is for Labour is at least twofold. The Greens have a degree of radioactivity themselves. The electorate was always suspicious of them anyway as a bunch of stoner PC hippies and the last 3 years certainly haven’t added to their attraction. They would have taken out “Best Performance” in the Woke Awards for the most outraged at anything that matters not a shit to your average voter, had winning something not been a witch-burning, (gender non-specific witch that is), sin. Reclaiming female genital vernacular nouns just proved what out of touch wastes of space the Green Party had become.

    So weary voters will see the loony Greens as even more untouchable. That is the PM’s problem. Associating yourself with that lot even if the policy makes sense, can be extreme high risk.

    The other issue the PM has is the quality of her cabinet. Take Transport as a good example. Labour have failed on all fronts on an epic scale. This morning the perennial issues with Aucklands ferry system raised its head again. The Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM), again, is proving problematic. If Phil Twyford had even been a teensy tiny bit awake in opposition he would have seen the issues that PTOM cause and planned for its improvement. But he wasn’t and he didn’t, Phil was always asleep and now uselessly sleepwalks, bumping into everything ensuring no progress can ever be made in his portfolio. And whilst the Reverse Midas Touch Man remains anywhere near this portfolio, the long-awaited review of the PTOM will remain on the never-never.

    And it’s this more than anything that I believe has caused the PM to become so gun shy. She cannot promise anything because she knows she probably cannot deliver in no small part thanks to the deadwood in her cabinet. Combine that with the mileage that can be made by National of the Greens raise taxes policy, Jacinda is in between a rock and a hard place.

  7. Let them implode. After 3 years of broken promises and horrible policy no one asked for its what they deserve. As to the Greens in my view they simply don’t have the political clout to pull off what they are suggesting. I wonder too why no one is addressing the real taxation elephant in the living room “low corporate tax rates”.

    • Sean Nice little tantrum. Now tell us what you are doing to re-establish NZ as a thinking, enterprising, economy with respect and support for basic standards for all people. We can all get mad and stamp around the room throwing scorn at politicians, eschewing violent revolution of course, which in the end turns and bites you. You come up with the answer of moving everything along in a sane way and we’ll make you Leader, with all responsibility. But if you don’t measure up sorry we do have to make some executive decisions about that.

      • Pretty sure I did tell you. Tax big business which is paying far, far too little and I’d also require they keep more of their profits in NZ as China does with MNO’s. A situation potentially made worse by the passage of the CP-TPP which was supported by Labour and National.

        Hitting the struggling middle classes with more tax will only drive more people into the poverty trap. Especially as they get older and medical costs increase whilst their saving over their working lives have been decimated by excessive taxation.

        Who pays the piper when the middle classes are more or less gone in a society with a shrinking population? Immigration? Who would want to come here seeing how middle class people in the country have fared? Only those with little to lose adding to not addressing the problem.

  8. Brilliantly written Chris. a lovely mix of wit, political awareness, originality and foresight. I’ve always contended modern Labour is just neoliberalism in red clothing – or gray, in this case. The only two things that set its party apart from the Tories are less unsavoury MPs and a more socially progressive view on life.

    Labour needs a strong Green partner to keep it real, and NZ needs the Green party stronger. And everyone needs NZ First and Act like we need a hole in the head.

  9. Chris, your articles are usually informative and thought-provoking. This one is.

    However, I put it to you that any politician who genuinely thinks the world at the end of 2020 will bear much resemblance to that existing at the end of 2019 is either grossly uninformed or is mentally ill.

    With the US in economic and social meltdown, and other major nations -such as Brazil, India, Pakistan etc. in a similar or worse state, and with the UK ‘going round in circles, I personally do not expect historic global financial-economic arrangements to persist much beyond August.

    Underlying the collapse of economies as a consequence of the determination of self-serving idiots -like Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson- to keep them open in the face of burgeoning Covid-19 numbers, there is the matter of declining energy availability and a degraded [and still declining] environment in which people are attempting to plant and harvest crops and collect fish from the sea etc.

    ‘We are not living in the 1990s – when, s Helen Clark liked to say, “a rising tide lifts all boats” – we are living in 2020, when tens-of-thousands of New Zealanders, and millions more around the world, are staring down the barrel of the most devastating economic downturn since the 1930s.’

    I almost fully agree. The point at which I disagree is the use if the word ‘downturn’, which in a historical perspective implies there will at some stage be an upturn.

    ‘as Helen Clark liked to say, “a rising tide lifts all boats”

    Yes. But what was that rising tide? Not human effort as such but the ability of humans to extract increasing amounts of resource from the Earth -most important of all, oil. Not the capacity of humans to live sustainably and in harmony with nature but the capacity to loot and pollute the commons and degrade or exterminate natural systems to the point of collapse. Not the capacity to generate genuine wealth -such as via permaculture- but the capacity to create faux wealth via computer systems linked to ‘money-printing’. Not the capacity to use resources wisely but the capacity to convert natural resources into trash and put it in a hole somewhere, or dump it in the oceans of the world. Not the capacity to use energy wisely but to squander it -often as quickly as possible- thereby buggering up the climate systems that allowed civilsation to emerge in the first place.

    All the ‘games’ humans have played over the past centuries -and increasingly so in recent decades- have reached their natural conclusion: absolute disaster.

    The game still being played by politicians 0in order to pander to the wants of the masses) is to pretend that the loot-and-pollute economy has a future, to pretend that the print-money-till-the-cows-come-home economy has future. To pretend that humans are not part of nature but are masters of nature.

    National, ACT, and NZ First are masters of deceit. Labour, not quite so much so. The Greens_ still off the planet, still promoting tweaking of BAU when BAU is collapsing, and the global environment is collapsing.

    In a recent posting pointing out how little control humans have over Covid-19 once it’s estabished in a community, Chris Martenson, of Crash Course fame included a very instructive short video which demonstrates humans really are not so smart after all and the trend to misunderstand or underestimate the natural world. Delightful! Delicious! Delectable!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c36UNSoJenI

      • It was definitely a neo-lib that said it, and I agree – I don’t recall H1 saying it.
        Whoever it was, they neglected to tell you that those already in possession of rickety leaking boats were at a disadvantage – they’d be bailing even harder just to keep at the same water mark

          • The way it goes – you do a long thoughtful comment and the next ones refer to one error in it that is trivial. Yes thoughtful afewknow and I am very sceptical if this sheep can make enough changes to get on the right path, and sadly I don’t know if I can persuade my adult children that they even need to sit weekly say, and discuss what is happening and envisage what they might do for the best outcomes for themselves. And meet with other thoughtful people who are genuinely grounded good people – plenty of flakes and fakes abound.

            Many are too worried about laundering their language (laungage?) so that no-one ever can be laughed at again. I have a lovely card with two children looking at each other with the caption – If you ever can’t laugh at yourself phone me and I’ll laugh at you. Only some humour will get us through – it could even be a test – tell acquaintances a silly joke about people being irrational and see if they laugh, or look prim or angry. I am presuming you afewwhoknow have the required level of irony and self-knowledge, but then you never know till you use your chosen test.

  10. Labour will not win if they are in bed with the Greens. I thought the PM has had a good couple of days and has her head round the Covid thing better now.

  11. You can have all the well intended policies in the world but with out the mechanism to implement them they are just pie in the sky. The govt has to reinstate a 21st century MoW (ministry of works) and until that happens rolling back neo liberalism is all but a pipe dream.

  12. These ideas from the Greens are as toxic to the neo-liberals as the CGT Labour rejected. Thus we remain the the only country in the OECD without one of CGT/wealth tax/estate tax – and also with a top rate of income tax lower than near all of them as well.

    It is unsurprising that a party that rejected a CGT would reject these moves as well, just surprising that anyone who supported them rejecting a CGT would advocate for any different response now to these Green ideas.

  13. It will be very interesting to see what labour does come out with in respect of fiscal management for the immediate future in these extraordinary times.
    I think that most voters do not try to understand the big picture. It’s extremely complicated and experts who study it all their lives disagree vehemently on how to fix it now that it is clearly broken. So most people will vote with their gut feelings . And in this instance they will be voting for Jacinda whatever policies come out.
    But for those who do try to grasp the bigger picture, if we are not going the whole hog and abandoning market driven capitalism altogether , and private enterprise of any kind in favour of an economy micro managed by government as in the Soviet Union , then private enterprise has to stay alive if society is to stay alive.
    At this juncture there is no prospect whatsoever of capitalism being completely abandoned by popular vote in New Zealand. It would have to be introduced by force as Marx advocated and as happened in Soviet Russia .
    So saying there has to be an incentive for people to take on the risk and extra effort needed to start and maintain a business of any kind. If the capital needed to facilitate the operation of that business is to be constantly eroded, in good times and in bad, it will kill that incentive if it doesn’t directly kill the business.
    Profits are another thing. Income tax could well be a subject for a return to a more equitable structure as it targets a revenue stream where there is by definition the wherewithal to pay it. I think this should be the only tax. The creation of GST which targets the poor is stupid and it provides a counter argument for CGT or a wealth tax out of fairness. And CGT is simply a wealth tax capturing inflation. Without inflation CGT would collect no revenue, so the incentive is created for government to allow inflation to run at a higher level when it needs more revenue.
    At the present time when governments globally are printing money by the trillions in a desperate effort to stall off a collapse of the financial system that, inflation in the targets of a wealth or CG tax is at escape velocity by virtue of the absence of viable investment in the real economy that the greens would be further crippling by their new taxes. The real economy world wide is on life support but the support is all going to an increasingly disconnected financial parasitic financial sector which is calling the shots.
    If the greens or whoever were to fund their welfare payments by issuing the money as fiat money created for the purpose instead of joining the global approach and feeding QE into the finance sector as we have now done then it would recycle through the real economy and strengthen it instead of weakening it.
    That is the sort of approach that governments all over the world are going to have to do in the near future and labour and NZF might as well get on with it now.
    D J S

    • I agree we need to rethink the funding of government capability (a move away from debt finance) however disagree that CG is just inflation.

      You surely have observed land value has risen more than inflation. And because the US CGT at 15% is lower than dividend income tax, US corporates buy up their own shares rather than pay dividends – thus creating major wealth growth while inflation is very low – risbly taxed only upon sale – and yet billions are borrowed at low rates against this share wealth. And we do not even have a CGT. And there is significant CG in Xero, A2, Microsoft, Apple, Google/Alphabet, Face Book, Amazon, Netflix etc all to be realised simply by buying a share, if you have access to affording this. Wealth inequality of this sort feeds back into land values and the affordability of owning a home. It impacts on the whole society.

      We are an outlier, not taxing CG/wealth/estate and having such a low top rate of income tax – yet have very poor productivity and low wages. Possibly the nation most captured by neo-liberalism.

      An alternative funding approach to the nation state government is only ever going to be one half of the equation.

      • Inflation isn’t even. At times food prices go up while real estate prices go down and vice versa . If land prices are going up then inflation is occurring in land . That’s inflation by definition. There isn’t any more land. It just costs more because there is more money in the hands of people who want it. And when huge ammounts of monney are being placed in the hands of people who have no useful thing to do with it except to try to invest it in something that will hold it’s value, that is needed by other people who have to have it to carry on a business essential to the rest of society, it forces the price up without any advantage , either financial or otherwise , to the person running that business. It just makes a disincentive to bother with the business . The land is no better than it was before, it’s the same as it was a hundred years ago. The holder might be able to derive more income from it or might not. taxing the income is fair either way. But it isn’t fairness that matters so much in the long run. It’s whether it will work or not.
        D J S

  14. Another pearler from Chris Trotter.

    ————————————–

    ”Poor Jacinda: I’m pretty sure that her own, and Grant’s, preference was to approach the looming economic crisis in the spirit of a military surgeon charged with deciding who should be categorised as walking wounded; who should be treated immediately; and who is clearly beyond help. Economic policy-making in the grim spirit of battlefield triage: heart-wrenching but unavoidable”…

    —————————————

    Got me thinking about the American civil war where medics /stretcher bearers would go right past a man if he was hit in the torso with a minnie’ ball… such was the massive damage caused by the soft leaded projectile,… and that sort of military triage is still present up to this very day despite huge medical advances…

    It was a good example to launch a graphic point: That this new initiative by the Greens not only calls the neo liberal sham out and the baton passing that’s been going on between National and Labour for the past 36 years, – but also that the voting public will no longer tolerate being fobbed off, treated as idiots while these politicians are paid handsome salary’s with our taxes while so many of us languish , – and treated as if we cannot see right through all the guile of the likes of the NZ Initiative and the wider big business lobby’s, – both local and foreign who donate to their party’s.

    Ok for them to be ‘ Too big to fail ‘, – but when it comes time for the majority battlers who shoulder the burden of taxation to be relieved, – these same neo liberal third way politician’s seem to develop collective amnesia about just who voted them in and pays them their wages.

    Personally ? I don’t give a rats-shit who or what party is in power or who is making waves to kick the arse of the neo liberal paradigm. They could be the Micky Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy party for all I care. If that party’s dislodging a brick in the neo liberal wall I will vote for them.

    The best years of yours and mines working career wrecked by those bastards, – enduring low wages while those pricks bloated themselves off the largess of the land. And f@cked over yours and mines children’s and their children’s futures as they sold off all our utility’s and national assets so some foreign bastard can live in comfort after jacking up the prices.

    We NEVER had whole family’s sleeping in vehicles prior to 1984 , NEVER had such grinding poverty, NEVER had mass numbers of children below the poverty line, NEVER had wages so low it takes two parents just to pay the rent ( forget keeping warm in winter- its either basic foods or warmth – take your pick!. And forget about trips to the doctors !!! )we NEVER had foreign banks bleeding us so dry no one can get into a house of their own, we NEVER had our youngest and brightest saddled with obscene student debts while the perpetrators of that system received their education fee, – ( via the taxes of the Kiwi battlers !!! ) and on and on and on it f@ckin goes!!!

    Fuck em !!!

    Its time to call time on these neo liberal criminals.

    And fuck any political party that enables them !

    If it takes the Greens to make them cringe , – they’re getting my party vote come this September election. Maybe Marama’s attempted reclamation of the word ‘cunt’ will find an entirely new application in singling out and labeling these neo liberal pricks after all.

    • Bernie Sanders is now trying to get his policies into the Democratic Party’s national platform. Without his heart and force it’s half wateryness. None of our choices in NZ is outraged by injustice, and all of Labour were in 1935.

  15. I don’t think that this Green party policy borrows anything from the TOP platform. Even the one and two percent wealth taxes are different from the TOP proposal to tax the quasi rent saved by living in a home which one owns. The latter is not a wealth tax since the quasi rent is deemed to be income. And, also, it is not applied where a property, eg a rental property, is already earning an adequate return and tax is being paid on that return in the normal way.

  16. ‘then private enterprise has to stay alive if society is to stay alive’

    David, since private enterprise is what is in the process of rendering the planet we live on uninhabitable, I really cannot see how that is going to work.

    It very much resembles the American strategy of bombing nations ‘into the stone age’ -first trialed in Germany and Japan, and then repeated ad infinitum through Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (again), Libya, Syria etc.- in order to save them. Kill everyone and blow up the infrastructure to save then.

    Another analogy would be what what Albert Bartlett [of Arithmetic, Population and Energy fame] pointed out was utterly ludicrous but was actually official policy; strength via depletion.

    • “since private enterprise is what is in the process of rendering the planet we live on uninhabitable, I really cannot see how that is going to work.”
      I do agree that capitalism , particularly market led capitalism,is peculiarly unsuited to accomodating the management of finite resources in a world that is fast coming to the end of some of the most critical to the maintenance of our way of life . Not to mention the pollution of the oceans with plastic and the fallout from nuclear accidents.
      The long term continuation of in a dignified and satisfactory life for us as a species is going to require a level of co-operation and management not conceivable under capitalism , and maybe not in a democracy. People are too selfish and too impatient.
      But in the context of the issue in hand ,that is not an issue that is being addressed , though it was in the background of my point about whether or not we are going to continue with capitalism.
      Human nature does not actually prioritise reason over emotion, and decisions tend to be made emotionally and then the brain gets put to work to justify and rationalise the decision retrospectively. It is not conceivable that a population will vote in a government that acknowledges the intention to make the changes to society’s organisation needed to manage a planet with limited resources. For a start population growth has ultimately to be stopped . So who is going to be allowed to breed? and who is going to decide? And what population is sustainable? And to what standard of living? Even now the standard of living of a huge portion of humanity is less than acceptable. Partly this is certainly due to uneven distribution of wealth, but we are on a planet of finite resources.
      D J S

      • David
        I enjoy you reasoned calm rationale but beg to differ on this occasion probably with you taking a position laid down by others to which you see modification should apply.

        “Human nature does not actually prioritise reason over emotion, and decisions tend to be made emotionally and then the brain gets put to work to justify and rationalise the decision retrospectively.”

        Whatever human nature is certainly a large slice of humanity do use reason as their main thrust in decision making most of the time. They are capable of responding to emotion in decision making but thinking is there strong point.
        A slightly smaller group respond emotionally in reaching decisions so act towards how they feel mainly, but can also think things through but are less comfortable in acting that way.

        The information used by either group may be reliable or not but the process used are fairly easily categorised into one group or the other with few consistently sitting in the fence.

        Rationalisation can apply to either group as can confirmation bias. Work has been done on the latter two that tends to show thinkers are less wedded to their decisions than feelers but this area depends very much on another side of personality structure.
        Some just like definite fixed answers while other prefer more information.

        We have a wide variety in most large communities but some seem to notice particular characteristics more than the notice others. It may be likely that confirmation bias is at work there.

        “The long term continuation of in a dignified and satisfactory life for us as a species is going to require a level of co-operation and management not conceivable under capitalism , and maybe not in a democracy. ”

        An interesting observation and from a qualified viewpoint, that seems to suggest humankind may act as a group.
        Life expectancy varies with many things affecting health and protection from being killed by other human, other species, ritualised selection or competition for survival.
        Cooperation can give members of a group a survival advantage providing enough resources can be managed. Life may not be dignified nor seem to provide much satisfaction as long as members of the group do reach reproductive age and children are raised.
        Long life is not necessary for a species beyond child rearing age.

        How a community regulates its members behavious will vary with the nature of the leaders of that group. There can be some advantages in there being older members of a group who are not of reproductive capacity as they can provide wisdom and extra support for more successful child rearing .

        Wealth is accumulation of an excess of resources so attached to greed or anxiety or fear.

        There are many of all ages in NZ who will never reach a “standard” of living that most now experience.

        We all pretty much know what is going on in the world with greed, organised bullying by the wealthy, the cruelty of rich men’s wars stealing from others while the planet warms, consumerism is rife depleting Non Renewable Natural Resources, energy is harvested making survival harder in the longer term and pollution mounts as a result of using resources, harnessing energy and temporarily feeding more people while stripping the planet of wilderness and wildlife needed to stabilise Earth as we knew it.

        So the niceties of polite discussion is not a match for the language and ideas needed to come to grips with the monster we have jointly created.

        Human’s have evolved passed a peak survivable form.
        We can’t even see back to where we may have stopped to form a stable population that may have used fire but not coal or oil. possibly mid 1600s.

        In NZ there is a chance to deglobalise and grapple with changes to society but the most destructive institution just cannot be tolerated. Capitalism will leave no room for a chance of survival. Wealth has to go as do excesses across the board.

        • Thanks John
          If we as a species can get our shit together enough we do have the intellectual capacity amongst us to manage our planet . But the lessons of human history , and the actions of the leaders of the free world, most a especially of the “exceptional nation” ,give no indication that co-operation of any kind is foreseeable . All we see is the world leader seeking is domination and control of the world, not the preservation of it as AFKTT points out. And the rest of the world does’nt want to be dominated. Even a tiny country at the bottom of the world doesn’t want to be dominated, so there is going to be resistance; there is constant resistance.
          Scientists would co-operate ; medical professionals would co-operate WW but not politicians or the powers behind them.
          Cheers D J S

          • I agreed David but to cooperate towards a better chance of survival we need to be able to recognise and agree upon those who have power to influence “politicians”.
            We tend to allow them to operate without opposition, particularly organised opposition.
            Business NZ ( The NZ Initiative), the various Oil harvesting groups, the bankers who just extracted 31 billion out of Grant Robinson. the transport industry who combine with oil companies to push for more roads and contracts to build them………. and the list goes on.

            We have let them form a backbone of a skeleton that suits them just fine but continues to spell suicide.

            Perhaps we do need much less slack that allows BAU to be even a consideration.

            Without a strong incentive like starvation staring us in the face, then wealth held by the few will continue to befuddle us into scrambling for crumbs off their table without taking control of cooperatively growing and distributing the food and relegating luxuries and waste to history because we understand the forward consequences of not doing so.

            Emotions play a large part in persuading people and that is what PR firms and mouthpieces rely on. The lure of promises for a better tomorrow we must realise cannot be true in the bigger picture. Such promises are plain bullshit nicely coated. Confusion and denial are created

            The rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will not be stopped if we banned all cars and trucks tomorrow, stopped all planes and container ships and ceased making electricity.
            The CO2 will still rise along with the temperature, the ice will still melt and oceans still acidify further for centuries or even many thousands of years as runaway shows signs of having started.
            The denuding the earth of forests adds to the inability to scavenge CO2 out of the atmosphere.

            Plant more trees – ah yes why not but don’t expect that to stop the changes underway
            A farmer may plant out the land he has title for in trees and as they grow some carbon will be stored until the die or are harvested then over time most of the carbon will be released A tiny bit will be left in the soil.
            The fossil fuels we have released the carbon from into the atmosphere, were formed million to hundreds of millions of years ago from plants and living organisms during that time.

            So today’s planting of a billion trees will do something but not turn the CO2 increase rate around.
            We should still do it and not touch the fossil fuel deposits which need to be left safe in the ground.

            So stopping all motorised transport, use of electricity, industrial processes such as production of metal, industrial scale food production and globalisation, just may allow a few more generation of humans to exist but with much shorter and natural lifespans and in drastically fewer numbers.

            But such a chance will be a bonus on BAU run by the myths of a few wealthy psychopaths.

            Do nothing and we crash faster.

  17. There appears to be two flaws in Labour’s approach:

    1. They don’t have a plan, or at least none I’m aware of. I see nothing specific at all and “Be Kind” just isn’t going to cut it.

    2. Even if they had a plan, they couldn’t deliver it – based on their performance of the last three years.

    • And there appears to be two flaws in Nationals approach:

      1. They don’t have a plan, other than a mystery homeless man. I see nothing specific at all and changing their leader just isn’t going to cut it.

      2. Even if they had a plan, they couldn’t deliver it – based on their performance of 9 years of John Keys “boys club” Judith Collins

  18. All those hordes of lovely traditional Labour voters who are on, or over 100K income…or even earn beyond….and hey, they deserve it as they work hard for it…
    Anyway, they will now look at their lovely house and their lovely fizz boat and their holiday plans and their mortgage and their end-of-month bank balance, to see what’s left over. And then…oh boy, shock horror, they will vote for a party that says ‘anti-tax’ and also doesn’t label them as rich pricks, but calls them welcome achievers.
    They will forget about all that ’empathy’ and ‘most transparent’ and ‘ truly transformational’ buzzwording by Whatshername and they will tick National. Yep, that’s my theory by Ann Elk.

  19. ” There appears to be two flaws in Labour’s approach ”

    3. They still believe the market will fix everything with a little tinkering so no plan is necessary.

    • Yup – that’s the big one.

      God help us all, because none of the political parties can be bothered.

  20. “TRIANGULATION” – Bill Clinton loved it; Tony Blair loved it; Gerhard Schroeder loved it.
    And it has delivered the following as Wild Katipo has observed.
    ” We NEVER had whole family’s sleeping in vehicles prior to 1984 , NEVER had such grinding poverty, NEVER had mass numbers of children below the poverty line, NEVER had wages so low it takes two parents just to pay the rent ( forget keeping warm in winter- its either basic foods or warmth – take your pick!. And forget about trips to the doctors !!! )we NEVER had foreign banks bleeding us so dry no one can get into a house of their own, we NEVER had our youngest and brightest saddled with obscene student debts while the perpetrators of that system received their education fee, – ( via the taxes of the Kiwi battlers !!! ) and on and on and on it f@ckin goes!!!

  21. ‘Progressive voters the will to live’. You’re mostly all over the place, you great talker. Much like another great talker, Kikero. Definitely, like me. Except there are 10 years instead of centuries to be inspired by you.

    This would need Labour to talk for the people rather than work the pawns they think they are given. They don’t know they have a revolution in their hands, let alone the need for such. Working the inner circuits of power for pleasant decades.

  22. They will win, Chris. Matter-of-fact politics.

    Unless possibly National employs the same agency that got the Liberal Party back in Oz. Or, scum-baggery. The plateau of decency we established in 1935 still is our political adjudicator. The fool Roger Douglas still thinks his ideas are best for the poor.

  23. The Greens make the case. If this isn’t the time for the desperate, when?

    It’s a moment when I think all our parties will rush to offer more to the weakest. But Labour is stuck in distance from the people, their view of ‘the art of the possible’ and the Desolation of Smaug of Leftist oratory.

    I think rhetoric is a vital sign of true demo-cratists. We haven’t had it from Big Norm — so right, me.

    Talking for the people is a vital sign of being for the people.

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