Green Party election promises and prospects for a new government

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The Green Party has done us all a favour by bringing the issue of wealth taxes and improved income support for those not working onto the agenda.

They have also correctly done it as a two-pronged strategy that says we can afford to give non-working New Zealanders more money in the world we are facing if we are willing to impose a very modest wealth tax.
I would have preferred a base rate equivalent to at least the new Covid payment of $490 a week rather than $325 they have proposed but it is still a major improvement for many.
I think the Greens are constricted in what they feel they can offer by the fact that New Zealand has almost no taxation of wealth or capital gains at all so starting with a more modest system at least gets us on the right road. They should be applauded for this.
It seems clear that the Greens and Labour will be part of the next government. This will be true whether or not New Zealand First makes it. With Labour on 50% they could govern alone but are unlikely to do so and ignore their allies from this term of government. Whilst the Greens have been between 5 and 7% in most polls it is still worryingly close to the 5% threshold needed to get into parliament without an electorate seat. But, unless something goes terribly wrong they should make it. My hope is that the Greens make at least 9% in the election as that will bring in four more long-time social and environmental campaigners ranked 8-11 that have been good friends of Unite in our own campaigns over many years – Teanau Tuiono, Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere, Ricardo Menéndez March, and Steve Abel.
National and their Act Allies are at least 15% behind and that seems an impossibly large hurdle to get over before September 19.
With luck, New Zealand First will not make the 5% barrier and be eliminated from parliament. On current polling that would be the result but Winston peters has always been the great escape artist and will no doubt have a few tricks up his sleeve for this campaign. On most issues, they have been a conservative and regressive brake on the coalition government.
Even if they are returned to parliament they will not be in a position to keep the Green party out of their desired place around the Cabinet table as they did last election. I personally don’t think that a party that wants fundamental change should necessarily be in the position of trying to co-manage the system. A party like that would be happy to sit outside of government and use their votes to push for more fundamental changes. But the Green’s seem determined to be in Cabinet.
If NZ First make it over the 5% barrier they will be invited to be part of the Labour-led government again. Strategically, Labour know they have needed NZ first in the past and will probably need them again in the future, and they can use them to balance off against the Green Party.
Ideally, Labour would want to be in a position to have enough votes to govern alone, but even if they do they will invite both the Greens and NZ First to be part of the government again if those parties make it back.
If Labour doesn’t get enough votes to govern alone they will invite both the Greens and NZ First to be part of the government even if they only need one of them to get a majority.
Again the best situation for Labour would be if they only needed one of the two support parties for any particular vote. That way they could lean to the right and use NZ First when they wanted (for example to tighten immigration) and then lean to the left to get a vote through on the environment that NZ First may not like.  This is how the last National party-led government used their support parties at the time – Act and the Maori party.
But the system any government is managing today is a system called capitalism. That system is based solely on the pursuit of profit and serves the economically dominant 1% who call the shots in our society. Capitalism inevitably leads to periodic crises of overproduction with attendant mass unemployment, environmental degradation, and uses race and sex discrimination to oppress and exploit us all.
The richest capitalist countries, including New Zealand, are also part of a global system of imperial rule and exploitation of the developing world through military alliances like Nato, spying agencies like the 5-Eyes network and endless wars like those in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The problem working people have is that this system is almost impossible to turn from the course it has already established. The production of more and more commodities to sell for a profit on the market is its be all and end all. Humanity’s relationship with the planet we live on has been endangered by this reality.
At the moment, Labour and the Green’s don’t want to challenge this system. They want to tinker with it and try and make it work a bit better for everyone. That is why, for example, they have limited themselves to a system of taxes and price signals called the Emissions Trading System to try and fix the environment crisis but what the signals they have put in place have no hope of doing so in the foreseeable future. What is actually needed is a radical reconstruction of the system away from producing exchange values for sale for profit to meet the manipulated and artificial desires, towards the production of use values based on human needs. We already largely do that in  health care and education and we should also do that with finance, transport, energy, and communications.
I know there are many unionists and members of both Labour and the Greens who want these parties and any government they form to do much more to meet the needs of working people and Papatūānuku than is currently on offer. Their efforts inside those parties need support and encouragement.
But we also have a job to to develop our own programme of fundamental change can confront the multiple crises we face today. This programme must appear realistic and necessary for the times we are in. Internationally this programme is being dubbed the Green New Deal and we need ours own version to provide the steps needed now to start the transition to a new society of solidarity not competition, human need not private profit, climate justice and peace for the globe.

12 COMMENTS

  1. ‘At the moment, Labour and the Green’s don’t want to challenge this system. They want to tinker with it and try and make it work a bit better for everyone.’

    Absolutely right, Mike. And by insisting on tinkering rather than throwing out the dysfunctional system they make everything that matters worse.

    The good news is the loot-and-pollute-and-exploit system is collapsing.

    The bad news is most NZers are unaware of the ‘tsunami that is thundering up the beach’ and instead of ‘moving to higher ground’ are sitting in its path.

    ‘The top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the country could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily unless action is taken to reverse the epidemic.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/30/coronavirus-fauci-senate-states-reverse-reopening

    Airbus To Cut 15,000 Jobs As No Recovery Expected Until 2023

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/secure-our-future-airbus-ceo-warns-production-and-job-cuts

    Oil Markets On Edge As Second Wave Hits

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Oil-Markets-On-Edge-As-Second-Wave-Hits.html

    Daily CO2
    Jun. 29, 2020: 415.90 ppm

    Jun. 29, 2019: 413.01 ppm

    https://www.co2.earth/daily-co2?global-carbon-emissions_html%25252525255B1%25252525255D=%3Fglobal-carbon-emissions_html%25252525255B1%25252525255D=?global-carbon-emissions_html%25252525255B1%25252525255D=%3Fglobal-carbon-emissions_html%25252525255B1%25252525255D=

  2. Nothing for the arts… this poor dude working as a “contract” blocklayer and seems to be using discarded, out of tune, pianos.

    Only in NZ! Watch – Papamoa blocklayer’s epic piano performance on job site goes viral
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12344454

    “While Ryan’s performance has gone viral, Cameron says the humble blocklayer is currently doing it tough and hopes someone who saw the video could help give him a well-deserved opportunity.

    “Just by his response you can tell he’s such a humble dude. After I showed him the video had 22,000 views he said ‘lot’s of people must love piano’, not thinking it was down to his talent.

    “He’s taken his piano as far as he can take it. He’d be overqualified to teach. He also fixes up pianos in his spare time. He’s such a humble dude.

    “I’d love for him to get something out of this. He doesn’t have the easiest life and hopefully someone will see it and maybe offer him a job as music teacher or something like that.”

    Pretty sure none of the 3 billion infrastructure package announced by Labour and COL today, will be going to the arts…

    and just as likely the money going to construction, will not be used to create jobs for locals, but instead be used to undercut them instead with overseas workers.

    Double whammy to people like the above… not able to work in their profession as there is little funding for people in the arts in NZ (the mediocre arts funding seems mostly aimed at big arts organisations to showcase arts to the ‘other’ like museums and National ballet).

    Therefore for the last 30 years NZ has become a one dimensional country, with the majority of artists having to survive in other areas, such as being a contract block layer and doesn’t sound well paid either judging from the article.

    ‘Labourers’ are now one of our essential skills to get overseas poor into NZ to compete for jobs and houses with the local poor…

    • Both you and Afewknowthetruth goin hard. Keep it up !

      NOW ! , – METALLICA was one of my all time favorite bands, – and why oh why are there so many talented New Zealanders who are never supported until they have gone through literal hell in this country only to burn out and become despondent when we should be like Ireland and export that talent particularly in the age of the internet??

      Musicians cooperatives should be funded and expansive to reach larger overseas audiences so they can at least make a good living out of their craft,…this is the stuff of HIGH CULTURE. And we have it in abundance!

      The chap was playing this song , Fade to Black. On the piano.

      Metallica Fade to Black
      https://youtu.be/0FMfsT11pdA?t=96

      • Before moving I lived in New Plymouth and it was absolutely dripping with talent -musicians who could play the standards as well as the original artists if not better!

        Undoubtedly the lockdown and general lack of money in the community has pushed many of them to the edge or over it.

        Sadly, I think the prospects for anyone making a living out of any form of art are disappearing fast.

        However, in the low-income, low-cost, spend-your-money-locally society that may well emerge from the mess we are in local talent will be appreciated and rewarded.

        On that matter, I have an interesting anecdote. I wished to replace my old guitar. The nearest music shop had only one of the type I wanted; the lockdown had cleaned out most of the stock. Keyboards are hard to obtain. The ten the owner had received were down to six when I arrived. And the owner told me he cannot get stock until October! He’s not sure how he will remain in business.

  3. The problem with the Gweens is theyre shite! Dog tucker! Neoliberal Gween Wash’n Capitalists.
    All the surveys masquerading as polls have them well into the danger zone.
    Having the Right to Die referendum next to the Dak referendum will kill them off for sure. Woo Hoo!

  4. While $100000 is a good wage it is hardly outlandish. To get to that amount the recipient would have needed to do extra study or show a high amount of skill. Both of these attributes should be applauded not punished by having to pay extra tax.

    • Trevor, most of the local Gen X and Gen Y on $100k will already be paying the 12% student loan repayment rate. Don’t forget 2 – 4% Kiwisaver to safeguard the state pension they may never get and the 12.5% GST…

      I’d say you could be already paying 50% taxes of anything you do in NZ….

      Then deduct off having to pay full price for everything as you don’t have a community services card so your doctor visit is $60, no winter energy payment, no free public transport, no rates support, limited child care support….

  5. What was I thinking? GST is 15% gone up 50% already from when it was implemented in 1986 at 10%

    Company tax is 28% down from 48% while the self employed contractors that companies re- employ in the gig economy to save money, are paying employee taxes which could be up to 33% plus their ACC etc…

    So a self employed person, employed by a big company may well be paying more as a percentage in taxes than a big business company in NZ.. sounds fair…. not!

    In addition you would be hard pressed to find many big business operating in NZ that don’t ‘struggle’ to pay the 28% tax in the first place on their multi million dollar turnovers, due to being able to semi-legally pump a NZ company full of debt that they then pay themselves overseas as shareholder profit, or give their overseas subsidiaries huge IP payments as local expenses.

  6. You need to be in govt now, Mike. A clear picture of reality.

    Chomsky’s latest talk on u-tube mentioned the necessity of unionism. Decline of working people’s position co-relates to that of unions.

    Hard to love the modern Labour Party without a brain problem.

  7. I just can’t see the current Labour party endorsing what the Greens sensibly propose.
    They a re risk adverse when it comes to delivering for the underclass that looks to Labour for protection and as a buffer to the narcissist National party and its donors.
    A wealth tax would be a good place to start along with stronger labour laws and those protections enshrined as part of our human rights legisiation and with that a guarantee of a survivable living wage and a warm , secure home that is made available as of right to all kiwis who need one and that is affordable and that they can own.
    We either make human welfare and that includes all children who are disadvantaged as our guiding principle when formulating policy and law and change the narrative or we continue on the road we are going that will never deliver for our working poor and those who depend on the state for their survival including many elderly people who are just as exposed.
    We know where the free market has led us and what really needs to be done , now we just need the courage to do it.

  8. It would almost be enough if Labour and the Greens just packed in the neoliberal presumptions that stop anything they attempt from making a real difference to those who need it most. Unfortunately, it’s been easy, as a massively overpaid MP, to imagine that Roger’s shiny bullshit mostly worked, when living a bit closer to the ground would’ve convinced them that no, neoliberalism doesn’t work at all, ever.

    Headed as we are, into the teeth of a massive global recession, a bit of reality in the policy sphere wouldn’t go amiss. But the best Labour have to offer are the likes of Parker, who, though personally nice enough, just reduced the freshwater intervention to risible nonsense – our nitrate limit is set 8 times higher than China’s. Yes, they’re infinitely better than National – but we flush things infinitely better than National every morning. They need to lift their game until it is worthwhile in its own right.

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