GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – What is the purpose of an economy?

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I realized this morning that it is 7 years since I made my documentary MIND THE GAP in which I unpacked the socially disastrous consequences of the neoliberal economic agenda, introduced by the 4th Labour government led by David Lange and Finance Minister Roger Douglas, 36 years ago.

It allowed (and continues to allow) a few of us to get rich at the expense of the many and for a huge gap to open up in our country between the haves and the have nots.

One of the questions I asked of every economist I encountered at that time was :

“What is the purpose of an economy?”

I remember one of them (a New Zealander as it happened) getting angry at me over the phone.

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“That’s a stupid question! “ he barked. “That’s like asking ‘What’s the purpose of a tree!”

“No” I said. “A tree is something created by nature. An economy is something created by humans. In that sense it is more like asking ‘What is the purpose of a hammer? Which we can describe as a tool for bashing in nails or beating metal.”

So I repeated my question because .. well, that’s my job – to ask inconvenient questions .

“We all contribute to making this thing we call ‘an economy’ ” – what’s its purpose?”

It was shortly after that he hung up.

The post-covid economy is going to be very tough on a lot of us and as we head towards the election I’m going to be giving you my take on the economic policies of each of the political parties who want to rule over us for the rest of this decade.

So let me put my cards on the table.

As I said at the end of MIND THE GAP seven years ago, to ask the question ‘What is the purpose of an economy?’ is to ask a moral question.

Is it so that a few people can get extremely wealthy at the expense of the many?

My answer is No.

I think the purpose of an economy is to deliver the greatest good to the largest number of our citizens over the longest period of time.

And it is from that perspective that I will be offering you my thoughts , in the coming days, on the economic policies on offer at the upcoming election.

In the meantime if you would like to watch MIND THE GAP again or for the first time – you can find it here:

Have a good weekend. Stay safe.

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Your documentary’s were brilliant mate. Al of them. And the philosophical question you asked that economist stands true today. The economy is a tool created by all of us to be of service to us all. Not the other way round and to be manipulated by a select few.

    I award you with today’s song for tomorrow.

    Enjoy.

    Bryan Ferry – This Is Tomorrow
    https://youtu.be/bnr5eCEoXro?t=48

    • ” Your documentary’s were brilliant mate. Al of them ”
      Never a truer word spoken.
      Bryan you are a honourable New Zealander and you never had to be a member of the New Zealand National party to earn it.
      My respect for you and your work is enduring.
      We are privileged to have your humanity.

  2. That was a strange reaction from an economist to that question.
    The very first item that came up in the first lecture on stage one economics I attended a long time ago was that the questions economics exists to answer are Why ? What? and for Whom? and almost exact rewording of your question.
    The purpose of the study of economics is to answer that question. The only reason to avoid it is because the answer is unacceptable which it has been for 36 years and more so than ever now.
    D J S

  3. Well said, Bryan.

    “What is the purpose of an economy?”

    The answer very much depends on the time one lived in (is living in).

    In the Stone Ages the purpose of the economy was to ensure the survival of one’s progeny.

    In the Bronze Age the purpose of the economy was to keep enough of the population alive to supply the increasing numbers of kings/queens/emperors in a life of relative luxury and to provide enough food surplus to provide the increasingly influential and demanding religious sector of society with places to hang out.

    In the Iron Age all of the above plus an increased allocation of the food surplus to military exploits. Also more stealing of other people’s food surpluses.

    By the Renaissance the increase in population and demands by rulers for bigger navies in places like England meant a deficiency in the supply of wood and an increase in the burning of coal; hence a greater portion of the populace involved in extraction of coal instead of producing food.

    In the Establishment of Empire [by European countries] an increasing portion of the economy was made up by foods and goods extracted from overseas, whilst the export of weapons to subjugate or exterminate indigenous populations became increasingly important. Also, a large and growing population was ‘needed’ to supply cannon-fodder in wars with other nations attempting to do similar.

    By the end of the nineteenth century huge amounts of resource were going into the expansion of navies and armies, as ‘advanced nations’ vied for positions of dominance. After several decades of political and economic instability and fighting, the purpose of the economy became to extract fossil fuels and minerals to produce goods no one actually needed and to rapidly increase the population overshoot that had already occurred in many locations in order that banks and corporations could expand their activities.

    Since the end of the twentieth century the prime purpose of the economy has been to prevent the banker’s Ponzi scheme from imploding.

    You will never get any orthodox economist to admit that because either they don’t actually know how the economy works (their bizarre theories are almost completely disconnected from reality) or because to admit the truth would be terminal for the system.

    Needles to say, the system is in terminal decline anyway because of it’s flaws and contradictions.

    • If “economists” admitted that the system is creating the massive problems it is socially, environmentally, fiscally and politically, then those economist would be sacked by the private sector that pays them to just keep on applying the corrupt thinking taught at Universities and business forums today..
      Yet RNZ and Govt NZ take advice from economists.

      During tea breaks at meeting about where NZ was heading, I asked three of the speaker the same basic questions.

      Do you know about and take into account the data on world resources and particularly the Non Renewable Natural Resources and their consumption, patterns of increasing pollution, population expansion and the increasing loss of soil and fertile growing area globally.
      I also asked if they had read “Limits To Growth” (1972) and the follow up examination of the findings by various universities including Melbourne university in 2014.

      A big and fundamental questions.

      Rod Oram did not seem to know of the “Limits to Growth” research and document nor the follow up research on how the predicted trends seen in 1972 have eventuated. He also had no answer to loss of soil and trends of pollution but seemed to have faith in business and the market changing to meet new challenges.

      Bernard Hickey was a lot more forthcoming in admitting it was a long time ago he had looked at “Limits to Growth” but did not use the information as a basis for planning and analysis in present economic strategies. He commented that very long term stuff is not a concern for day to day economics generally.

      Brian Easton knew of “Limits to Growth” and the research but admitted if economist took that into account their advice would not be accepted and no one would employ them.
      An honest answer.

      So long term trends are ignored until events happens as they will.

      Environment and mankind’s horrific effect on it is ignored by the capitalist systems and Business NZ.

      Warnings spelt out nearly 50years ago have been ignored and all the guidelines laboriously formulated, detailed and tested in computer modelling by the MIT group, and suggestions by other scientific groups on how to avoid what we are now facing, have also been ignored.

      So short term predictions used today are erratic but long term measurements and trends well research years ago seem to be not only consistent and stable but so far very reliable.

      We have less than 10-15 years before collapse with human lifespan falling steadily for many decades after that.
      Food supply will be a significant factor as will the slowing of industrial output ( which is starting to show now), and this will drop away by 40% of today’s output by 2030 and down to 15% of today’s output by 2050.
      Food supply will have dropped to 50% by 2050 while pollution will peak by 2040 and still be above today’s level at 2050, but that does not count in climate change.
      The Non Renewable Natural Resources consumption is about 66% of what is available and most of the rest will be gone by 2050.
      Western lifestyle will be hit the hardest and agrarian communities potentially will have cultures more equipped for basic survival.
      As Medical and health systems break down people will be less likely to survive many conditions we take for granted as being manageable. Infant mortality is very likely to rise.

      The interaction of the few things mentioned above will be complex and they are all interconnected.

      • Whilst I agree with almost all you have written, I disagree about this:

        ‘Food supply will have dropped to 50% by 2050 while pollution will peak by 2040’

        I would say that the food supply will more likely be around 5% of the current amount by 2050 and that pollution has already peaked.

        Collapse is self-reinforcing, and we are already seeing significant sectors of the economy vanish forever.

        In addition to your emphasis on the of the failure of supposed economists to read and heed Limits to Growth of the early 1970s, I’d like to point out that bit was it was in 1956 that M. King Hubbert alerted the world to the peaking of oil extraction; it was in 1957 that Admiral Rickover suggested using the remaining oil to establish economic-social arrangements not dependent on oil; it was 1962 that Rachel Carson alerted the world to the extreme danger of overuse of industrial chemicals.

        it now all hinges on the rate of overheating of the Earth via atmospheric CO2 and CH4.

        • Agreed about Herbert and Carson et al.

          It was the MIT team that did the thorough analysis of what data would be needed and how it was to be gathered, processed and be presented in a digestible form for public discussion and mitigating action.
          A computer had to be built and software developed that included the effect of changes in data in any area, having impact on data in all other areas.
          The systematic compilation of data sets and analysis of interactions and trends from 1800 up to circa 1970, was a first time undertaking.

          The trends graphed to that point just before publication of the LTG report, were extrapolated by the computer modelling to flow through to 2100.
          But since publication in 1972 there have been several follow up analyses of the data trends since then by various scientific organisations including two by the CSIRO and also Melbourne University more recently.

          The data trends follow the LTG “Scenario One” very closely and that has continued through to 2014. Any deviation is minuscule. Humans have consistently perused a path towards collapse of “civilisation” and long term alteration of the biosphere.

          The point is that in absence of any comprehensive analysis since, that LTG information has not only shown to be incredibly reliable but should not be ignored when assembling predictions of what lies ahead.

          A recent review was published by The Guardian.
          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

          Warnings were expressed in a recent video by the original MIT international team. It had the title “Last Call”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz9wjJjmkmc

          “it now all hinges on the rate of overheating of the Earth via atmospheric CO2 and CH4.”
          I agree that runaway is most likely in progress but temperature and related climatic change are not the only changes that will and have affected human and other life on Earth. There are a suite of changes ahead some of which are interactive. The impact of humans has seriously degraded life supporting systems as we knew them.

          “I would say that the food supply will more likely be around 5% of the current amount by 2050 and that pollution has already peaked. ”

          https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/evaluate-land-halt-annual-loss-24-billion-tonnes-fertile-soil-expert

          https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/why-soil-is-disappearing-from-farms/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fduckduckgo.com%2F
          And so on. Soil takes centuries or more to form the complex structures across significant areas needed for cropping.

          Oceans are depleted, acidified and increasingly polluted.

          The attempts to make soil more “productive” by using fertiliser is a short term quest that damages the soil and including ground water biota longer term, and some damage is unlikely to recover with natural processes taking hundreds of years.

          World peak grain per capita was in 1987.

          The trends to date could change if humans took head of the causes and drastically modified their behaviour including diet, local cropping and reducing human fertility.
          These mitigations have been known for decades but virtually no significant action has been witnessed apart from China limiting fertility.
          Talk of vertical farming as a means of increasing food supply ignores the impact of such a venture which is dependent on greater energy applied, mono cropping, use of more Non Renewable Natural resources and transportation for distribution.
          Soil is still needed and both hydroponics and soil based vertical farming have overheads making both expensive with supporting infrastructure and questionable nutrition.

          Well we are still creating GHG at an increasing rate and the oceans are still absorbing CO2,
          Plastics and microfibres are proliferating across the globe and this trend is increasing.
          The demarcation between pollution and climate shift caused by pollution can be argued as many forms of human activity can be seen to be both polluting and causing climate shift.
          eg deforestation, loss of wilderness and drastic reduction in other species with ecocides, habitat loss and industrial chemicals.

          Crystal balls come in many guises. Science is often “quoted” but the quality of any analysis is determined to a large extent by the comprehensiveness of the examination of the bigger picture.

          Economist are the last gasp predictors of hope that is counter productive to making change that could be effective in altering the pattern of human suicidal behavior.

  4. “I think the purpose of an economy is to deliver the greatest good to the largest number of our citizens over the longest period of time.”

    Excellent policy you point out here Bryan;

    Please keep saying it until it becomes the truth in everyone’s minds including the dead brained ‘neo-liberals’ among parliament who are to lazy to do the right thing.

    Her’s our thoughts today for our environmental good for all as national make another policy using billions of public loans to keep trucks on our roads by their design sadly.

    Again we see the many paying for the few to benefit from public debt while national continues to ruin our environment and all our future, and poison us at the same time, while they make all the money at our expense again, again and again and this must stop..

    Here is our press release today and feel free to distribute it anywhere you choose.

    “CEAC National Lacks ‘A Greener Smarter Future’ Plan In Their $31B Transport Plan”
    Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre – Environmental press release. 18/7/20

    CEAC review of Judith Collins release of a National Party historic $31 billion Dollar Todd Muller’s ‘transport plan’ again lacks any policy of a ‘zero carbon’ “Greener Smarter Future” so we challenge Judith Collins to explain how building more highways can reduce our future to a ‘zero carbon future’?

    In our review we post the Todd Muller plan here as a ’refresher’.
    National Party “A Greener, Smarter Future”

    A Greener, Smarter Future
    Todd Muller;
    That third element is inextricably linked to the fourth element of National’s Plan to Get New Zealand Working: a greener, smarter future.

    New Zealanders want a greener future, and the world wants food, fibre and holidays that are green and sustainably produced. My commercial background is in agri-business, on the senior executive teams of Zespri and Fonterra and as CEO of Apata. But my political background has been mostly in climate change policy, negotiating the historic Zero Carbon Act with the Greens’ James Shaw, including bringing along some of the more sceptical voices in my own party.

    National commits to the Zero Carbon framework, and to cleaner lakes and rivers in provincial New Zealand – and a cleaner Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora here in Canterbury, and a cleaner Waitemata Harbour in Auckland. I do not see any conflict between the interests of agri-business and a greener future. I reject the Government’s demand on Tuesday that agriculture must be “transformed” rather than constantly evolve and improve by building on our status as the most productive and sustainable food-and-fibre producers in the world.

    New Zealand has the world’s best farmers, and New Zealand agricultural scientists. National launched the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which now involves nearly 60 countries working together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. It is well within New Zealand’s capability to keep improving productivity while protecting and enhancing the natural environment from which we all draw our mauri as New Zealanders, and on which our economy is based. That in turn creates intellectual property for export.

    A greener, smarter future is about much more than tourism and agri-business. It is about technology and intellectual property across the board, which is clearly the future New Zealand must focus on whatever the industry – including the super-coders I mentioned for the video game industry, and in every area, from movies, to rocketry, to accounting software.”

    As well as the looming challenge of AI we also need to invest further in connectivity, as a major enabler of better services, better productivity and better lives, whether you are in Auckland or Akaroa. Where would New Zealand have been these past few months without Amy’s Ultra-Fast Broadband Network? We need to take it to the next level of its development. As we enter the 2020s, every New Zealander and every one of our businesses needs to know that the whole world is open to them in a way that other countries can only envy – and that’s what my Government will deliver.

    National’s vision is of a post-Covid economy that is greener, smarter and better than the one we had before.

    CEAC response here is; – Since Government’s recent data from (MBIE) of emissions inventory from road freight transport is not reducing but increasing, we now advocate for rail with steel wheels especially if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport emissions and benefiting from reducing pollution ‘runoff’ from our roads into our waterways, lakes rives streams, aquifers, drinking water and poisoning us so what’s not to like here as this is real greener smarter future isn’t it?

    CEAC has long been advocating to clean up our waterways being daily polluted by other environmental contaminants not currently recognised, such as “road runoff” of vehicle emissions and toxic tyre dust pollution entering our steams alongside our highways and city roads.

    National Party has not even mentioned this looming issue yet?

    This has been documented in global scientific documents all over the world and was included in a 104 page report from the Ministry of Transport from as long back as 2002, and the report is entitled “Emissions factors for contaminants released from motor vehicles in NZ”
    “In New Zealand, emissions of key constituents from motor vehicles to air can be assessed using the Vehicle Fleet Emission Model. The user output from a run of this model is currently provided in the form of the user model NZ-TER (refer MoT 1998, MoT 2000, MonCrieff & Irving 2001).”

    Also found in this UK scientific report.

    These documents is evidence is the ‘elephant in the room’, as on pages you can see the tyre dust deposits left on a road is washed down our road drains and into our waterways and drinking water and causes cancer to humans and animals alike.

    CEAC has strongly always said that rail with steel wheels especially if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport emissions finding ways to stop road runoff pollution washing off our roads into our waterways and entering our drinking water then poisoning us.

    CEAC has carefully reviewed this subject and now has strongly requested that rail with steel wheels and if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport pollution and climate change emissions.

    END.

    • Aw yes!!
      Aa lot of verbiage but nothing about the elephants.
      Urgent reduction of dairy numbers, cease using fertiliser and change human diet to use less animal products.
      Ban roundup and produce edible crops without using pesticides.
      Growth!!!!
      Its a finite planet we have so lets start talking sense.

      Plastics have to go, tyres also, artificial fibre and roads give way to rail for shifting freight.

  5. “So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice.” Call from the super wealthy here: Millionaires Wanting to Raise Taxes – Stuff

    “Today, we, the undersigned millionaires, ask our governments to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.Common Dreams link

    Excerpt:
    A group of more than 80 self-described “millionaires for humanity” came together Monday to urge governments across the globe to tax them and other ultra wealthy people to cover the immediate costs of the coronavirus pandemic and to build more equitable, just societies in the long term.

    The extremely rich individuals recognize in their joint letter that although they are not on the front lines of this pandemic treating Covid-19 patients or stocking shelves, they do have a lot of money—”money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis.”

    The takeaway message of the letter is: “Today, we, the undersigned millionaires, ask our governments to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.”

  6. Interesting question but I think reasonably easily answered.
    The purpose of an “economy” is to group complex sets of related transactions so that they can be studied.

    • Economies are systems providing for community needs of food, shelter, education and well
      being while preserving the environment.
      Nothing to do with money.

  7. I think the purpose of an economy is to deliver the greatest good to the largest number of our citizens over the longest period of time.

    I suspect you’re wrong, Brian. That might be the purpose of a benevolent government, but an economy is not a benevolent government. An economy isn’t in the business of providing free lunches to the needy. An economy is not necessarily fair, just as life isn’t necessarily fair. An economy provides opportunities. Of course, equality of opportunity (it if exists) does not mean equality of outcomes.

    Yes, a tree is created by nature but for what purpose? Is it created for the purpose of creating shade on a hot summer’s day? Was rain created so that vegetables can grow? I fear the economist you rang was making a point which you didn’t understand.

  8. “I think the purpose of an economy is to deliver the greatest good to the largest number of our citizens over the longest period of time.”

    Key word there, is citizens!

    In a responsible government, each government should be working for the above. Sadly under neoliberalism western governments have become corrupted and more interested in helping paper businesses from anywhere in the world provide money for a few that donate to them, while reducing the lifestyle and wages and conditions of their citizens, but getting the cheapest bums of seats in any aspect from work to education.

    In particular there are marked changes in wages and conditions, security of income, environmental damages, and increasing working poor poverty in the west.

    Work has now been offshored or onshored to be done by the lowest possible waged worker. They do this onshore, by increasing the amount of workers available and given away citizenship and the rights to local benefits to those from around the world who can pay for the privilege to buy citizenship and residency in the west. This is subsidised by the locals who then get reduced services to pay for the situation or the government borrows to provide for the increased low waged population, as wages are driven down in real terms.

    In addition offshoring where greedy companies go to the cheapest labour place possible. However as seen in Covid and PPE, small business etc, it is not in the best interests of society to do that from a risk point of view, as well as reducing jobs and opportunities in the west and a loss of skills from that as any disruption then destroys the business or stops the country from working properly.

    Apple richest company in the world, is now totally reliant on China. When they try to onshore they realise that the skills they need for manufacturing have been lost in the US… going forward if there is any disruption they could become very compromised…but still big and small business don’t care because short term profit is the goal of the modern executive and when disruption happens they get the public money and government’s to help them and just fire or liquidate all their employees and debts. (Aka bank bail outs during the global financial crisis). Airline’s bail outs during Covid – while they are allowed to rip off their customers…

    A paper company has superseded in entitlement than society and that is how the 0.01% get to rip off the rest of the world.

    Example today of low cost labour being described as essential workers. They are a supermarket and farm worker.

    Taranaki couple stranded in India do not meet high re-entry border criteria
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300058348/taranaki-couple-stranded-in-india-do-not-meet-high-reentry-border-criteria

    In NZ, essential workers are now just workers who are cheap not actually related to skill as most can be done with very little training for a local person, The big plus is that migrants are cheaper and tend to stay until they get residency, not that the skill is essential.

    In this case two workers from India are complaining they can’t get back into NZ to work under Covid. NZ has issued hundreds of thousands each year for years residency visas to foreign workers based on being students in NZ or ‘essential workers’ with laughable skills that mostly relate to poorly paid jobs.

    However how essential is a supermarket worker? How essential is a farm worker? To get a visa you need to put the word ‘manager’ over it…. which has shown to be a popular scam for low wage jobs to be labeled as essential skills in NZ. As shown by https://thespinoff.co.nz/music/02-07-2019/the-extraordinary-story-of-love-brar-the-fraudster-who-became-a-pop-star/

    But how essential is the work – a 15yo can be a supermarket worker, a disabled person can be a supermarket worker, a retired person can be a supermarket worker, a parent working part time can be a supermarket worker, a student can be a supermarket worker and up until 6 years ago, there was absolutely not issue employing those people, all of which these days who could do with the money.

    Doctors are apparently even applying for supermarket jobs in NZ.
    5,000 queue for supermarket jobs in NZ
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-01-22/5000-queue-for-supermarket-jobs-in-nz/1219128

    Under Covid
    Covid 19 coronavirus: Treasury says unemployment could hit ‘double digits’ as Covid-19 hammers NZ
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12321458

    In the last few years there is plenty of evidence that immigration visas are being used by neoliberalism to keep wages astonishingly low in NZ with the beneficiaries like supermarkets profits astonishingly high. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1808/S00537/oh-thats-where-they-get-their-profits-from.htm

    We have become a sick society that has lost touch with reality!
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120518508/coronavirus-no-need-to-stock-up-on-beer-and-wine–its-considered-essential https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/120654996/coronavirus-cigarettes-are-essential-mbie-confirms

    Meanwhile on the ‘farm worker’ side.

    “Hamblyn, who had hired two inexperienced staff to cover for Singh, said qualified managers were difficult to find.”

    Apparently the job is not so essential that they can’t employ 2 other workers to do this man’s job! Maybe lack of training is the issue for locals to get into farming as these days.

    NZ employers and industry increasingly seem to expect the rest of the country to provide for their workers training, as they only train people when they can’t access the cheap overseas workers… This is adding to NZ’s youth who are not being employed or trained into traditional areas, anymore in blue collar jobs – transport, farming, etc

    Also interestingly there seems to have been a lot of ‘essential’ workers on visas, but somehow seem caught overseas and not working in NZ before Covid, – so how essential does that seem?

    In most cases the selling of NZ visas is not the migrants fault – who would not want to obtain some good results for so little when the rest of the world would never let you into their county with such poor sunset skills. It is the government’s and woke’s fault that they have not caught onto this inequality scam to lower wages, earlier by flooding NZ with hundreds of thousands of new foreign people each year who can work in NZ…. and their families…. and then sponsor in more people on the backs of a small sunset business like a cafe, that makes little profit….

    And it has become the norm now to have cash workers everywhere not contributing to taxes, often having children in NZ which creates a horrible mess going forward as the kids end up being used to fight to stay in NZ when the person does not qualify.

    Meanwhile NZ’s working poor is growing…. jobs are few… I know someone (a migrant) who just applied for 60 jobs…

    But still the tone deaf media are braying everyday to get the foreign workers back rather than utilise those already in the country and citizens of NZ who are returning to get the work…

  9. There are also some astonishing new issues coming up that with the woke, left and right braying for migrant exploitation and xenophobia and racism with every turn, creating a trend of entitlement of criminal migrant youth who don’t seem to take their new county very seriously and committing crimes here….

    Pretty sure this is the first graduate of Auckland university as a doctor, who is now a convicted murderer. You really wonder how did this man qualified to get a university place at Auckland and work as a doctor when he appears to be a lying sociopath and many other more deserving people failed to gain a place to train as a doctor? https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/411126/former-doctor-jailed-for-at-least-19-years-for-murder-of-amber-rose-rush

    This migrant teenager high on drugs doesn’t seem to take seriously killing another teenager and also somehow escapes much penalty that other’s in NZ would get…. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/12/rouxle-le-roux-social-media-posts-claim-privilege-at-play-in-sentencing.html She later was on social media joking about it. https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/driver-posts-hide-your-children-prison-halloween-photo-after-causing-death-of-teen-20181214-p50meb.html

    Not taking criminal NZ charges very seriously, launching his music career with guns, woman and $$$$ after being found guilty of hundreds of bribes for drivers licenses…. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/365583/punjabi-singer-gets-home-detention-for-drivers-licences-bribes

    26 years as a NZ resident, no tax return ever filed. Imported in drugs undetected for years. Massive social hardship from their victims. Not a problem, NZ.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11842563

    Constantly being let off from crimes in NZ, and even getting compassionate citizenship from jail which they are trying to reverse. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/384041/sroubek-double-antolik-likely-to-have-visited-new-zealand

    Somehow got citizenship as a baby, never lived in NZ, and comes back as an adult to defraud others in NZ… https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121302846/colour-drained-from-real-estate-agents-face-as-he-realised-hed-been-defrauded-of-120k-in-sim-hijacking-scam

    Sexual crime not a problem in NZ – the rapists rights and cheap labour supply, are more important than the victims…

    Vineyard worker charged with raping woman outside Blenheim bar
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/122052155/vineyard-worker-charged-with-raping-woman-outside-blenheim-bar

    Seasonal workers accused of rape
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/121976014/seasonal-workers-accused-of-rape

    Rape conviction upheld
    https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/southland/rape-conviction-upheld

    New resident convicted of sex offending twice, won’t be deported
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11837608

    Judge’s difficult sentencing of a former refugee who won’t stop offending
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/111480343/judges-difficult-sentencing-of-a-refugee-who-wont-stop-offending

    Rapist wins case to be allowed to stay in NZ
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/327784/rapist-wins-case-to-be-allowed-to-stay-in-nz

    Child abuser wins right to stay in New Zealand for humanitarian reasons
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/84891031/child-abuser-wins-right-to-stay-in-new-zealand-for-humanitarian-reasons

    Child abuse dad avoids deportation on humanitarian grounds to stay with family
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/76059417/

    Smoking is an essential service, and luckily with millions found in cash in rubbish bags you can claim hardship with your QC lawyer and get your name suspended… Three socially damaging birds with one stone, killing people with smoking, overloading the health system, while not paying any taxes, win, win. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/115014183/cigarette-smuggling-case-defendants-keep-names-secret-to-protect-children-employees

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/content/tvnz/onenews/story/2019/03/07/hold-filipino-shipping-agent-escapes-jail-time-after-225k-un-tax.html

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/117400678/mother-and-son-arrested-for-smuggling-tobacco-into-nz

    White collar crime and top jobs to people who don’t seem to have much qualifications, frauds undetected for years in NZ public service!
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/352047/i-did-ridiculous-things-with-the-money-ministry-fraudster

    Cash labour now the norm. But pay up NZ, if anything goes wrong.

    Auckland building boss charged with fraud after investigation into illegal labour
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12005146

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118004926/family-of-migrant-worker-who-died-on-the-job-seeks-compensation

    He said he was still owed money for cash jobs before the lockdown and hadn’t had an income for weeks.”
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/416133/unemployed-migrant-workers-struggle-amid-covid-19-crisis

    Christchurch businessman who lost almost $900k gambling sentenced for tax evasion
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/112408265/christchurch-businessman-who-lost-almost-900k-gambling-sentenced-for-tax-evasion?rm=a

    Funny money going overseas is now the norm – just liquidate the NZ company and not bother paying anyone in NZ, while creating immense wealth for the 0.01 overseas%.

    Mainzeal loan generated hundreds of millions in wealth, court hears
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/375760/mainzeal-loan-generated-hundreds-of-millions-in-wealth-court-hears

    NZ prisons and justice systems filling up! Keep working NZ to pay for other national’s criminals to settle here and do unspeakable acts!

    Evil gunman Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleads GUILTY to murdering 51 Muslims during Christchurch mosque massacre
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8153719/Brenton-Tarrant-29-pleads-GUILTY-murdering-51-Muslims-Christchurch-mosque-massacre.html

    Judge: Extraordinary that killer Rohit Singh maintained fiction during murder trial
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12254105

    Mandeep Singh sentenced to life in prison for central Auckland murder
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/72529233/Mandeep-Singh-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-central-Auckland-murder

    West Auckland stabbing: Man remanded in custody after been charged with murder
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/114976886/west-auckland-stabbing-man-remanded-in-custody-after-been-charged-with-murder

    Indian sentenced to life for murdering wife in NZ
    https://www.hindustantimes.com/world/indian-sentenced-to-life-for-murdering-wife-in-nz/story-MpDOdR9DJXcKI2pkfpBTMK.html

    More sophisticated international gangs with international connections and precursor ingredients like Meth, to make more NZ victims…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14K_(triad)

    Guarded prisoner Uditha Punchihewa escaped from hospital toilet
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/117863584/guarded-prisoner-uditha-punchihewa-escaped-from-hospital-toilet

    Sinaloa Cartel behind major recent New Zealand drug busts – experts
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/03/sinaloa-cartel-behind-major-recent-new-zealand-drug-busts-experts.html

    Southeast Asia’s meth gangs making US$60 billion a year: UN
    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/southeast-asia-s-meth-gangs-making-us-60-billion-a-year-un-11732906

    Hong Kong man faces meth-smuggling charges in New Zealand
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2041092/hong-kong-man-new-zealand-meth-smuggling-charges

    But hey, lets now dwell on any of these trends happening in NZ…. some trivial aspect will be the distraction, maybe more benefit, while more and more victims in NZ are created in many different way, and nothing done to stop the rot as we are obsessed with ‘bums on seats’ not attracting and retaining quality new and existing citizens, thinking in NZ.

    In fact we have the worst brain drain in the world.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/7973220/New-Zealand-brain-drain-worst-in-world.html

  10. Our employment laws are straight out of the neoliberal book!

    No minimum redundancy payments in our law which encourages NZ firms to lay off workers willy, nilly, as it costs them nothing. They then hire them back again which destroys worker income, security and moral. Long term, the firm and industry itself is destroyed, as it becomes a less and less trusted brand that quality workers do not want to work for.

    Other countries like Australia have protections in place for people who lose their job – four weeks redundancy pay for the first year and two weeks for each year of service after that. But in New Zealand we have nothing… zilch.

    That leaves the third of working people who live paycheque to paycheque with real problems.

    Sign this if you want our law changed in NZ.

    https://www.together.org.nz/4wks4fair?utm_campaign=4weeks4fair_1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=together

  11. Mandatory voting would add a vital and invaluable mechanism to the concept of the economy.
    Let me try to explain.
    Isn’t ‘the economy’ like a gun?
    A gun can be used to shoot people, animals, targets or it can be used to prop open a door, leverage a rock out of the garden, whack a ball with, lean on, hang on a wall etc.
    But what if only homicidal maniacs were so inclined to own a gun. Wouldn’t that put the rest of us at risk? I imagine the rest of us might have something to say about that?
    Something like:
    “No! We won’t allow you, homicidal maniac, to own a gun. That’d make us a bit jumpy of an evening. So no. Sorry. We voted and etc… ”
    ‘The economy’ is like a gun. A mechanism by and of itself completely amoral and without feeling. It is the user who imparts into it, it’s potential.
    Without having to vote, sure enough, our ‘economy’ becomes the plaything of the personalities who most have control over it. Of those whom are most motivated to deploy it’s capabilities.
    In the gun, the homicidal maniac will likely shoot people with it while sports hunters might only use the gun to hunt and kill game. I’d use a rifle to hammer in a tomato stakes then, once that’s done, I’d use the gun as a tomato stake.
    Most people regard the ‘economy’ as a system to facilitate ease in making financial transactions. It’s easier to use a debit card to buy wine than to carry a cow around in a wheel barrow to find someone to swap a bottle of wine for.
    Like the gun, if the economy is left to the steerage of those who delight in financially exploiting others, usually for their money, then that’s what ‘ the economy’ will provide to all of us. Some of us will get a financial advantage from ‘the economy’ while most of us get fucked over.
    So? Since it’s obvious that most of us get fucked by the very few to make themselves very, very rich. Otherwise? Young, first-time billionaires, must be on an impressive hourly rate, right?
    Therefore, wouldn’t it be sensible to simply force people to engage by voting in their own best interests? And then lets see who most benefits from that?
    The down trodden many or the exploitative few?
    In America? 400 people have a combined wealth of $2.9 trillion dollars.
    Can’t get your head around that? Then check this out?
    This visualization of the ultra-rich’s wealth blew my mind
    https://boingboing.net/2020/04/29/this-visualization-of-the-ultr.html
    Now. See what you think of this guy’s opinions?
    Anand Giridharadas: Beware of billionaire ‘do-gooders’
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018754514/anand-giridharadas-beware-of-billionaire-do-gooders
    Prime Minister Jacinda Adern? Mandatory voting please? Not this time, you have enough on your mind. But next time, in three years time?

  12. What is the purpose of an economy?

    ‘I think the purpose of an economy is to deliver the greatest good to the largest number of our citizens over the longest period of time.’

    In the US it seems that the purpose of the economy is now to create money out of thin air and channel as much of that as possible into the portfolios and bank accounts of multi-billionaire sociopaths.

    And now the last vestiges of freedom and democracy are fighting back, the sociopath-in-chief is going ‘full fascist’, with the modern equivalent of Hitler’s Brownshirts attacking US citizens in their own city willy-nilly, in order to achieve his fantasy of ‘total domination’.

    ‘In a headline, an Esquire article on the Portland attacks used Pinochet (the tyrant who orchestrated the disappearance of thousands of Chileans during his 17-year regime) as a verb: “A Major American City is Being Softly Pinochet’d in Broad Daylight.”

    One can track the violence to Trump ordering the governors to “dominate” their cities, of which, he claimed, they’d lost control. But the governor of Oregon, the mayor of Portland and other local officials insisted that they don’t want federal agents gassing their citizens. So who does?’

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/20/trump-shock-troops-portland-doomed

    And just to give himself some kind of legal basis for the abuses of power that have become Trump’s hallmark in his quest for full spectrum inequality and raiding of the commons…

    ‘Trump consults Bush torture lawyer on how to skirt law and rule by decree’

    ‘The Trump administration has been consulting the former government lawyer who wrote the legal justification for waterboarding, on how the president might try to rule by decree.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/20/trump-john-yoo-lawyer-torture-waterboarding

    Beware, NZ has more than its fair share of sociopaths, though I doubt they would be prepared to go the whole hog. On the other hand, it has been said before: we are all just a few steps away from being ruled by megalomaniac dictators. The USSR, Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, Chile, Argentina, Rwanda, Cambodia, Romania, plus others, have been through it….and now the US is on the same slippery slope towards militarisation of ‘security’.

    The good news is, the US is sinking almost as quickly as the Titanic, and we are a long way from it geographically. The bad news is, our financial system is intimately linked to that of the US and a lot of money people thought they had invested is going to disappear rather quickly.

    • Channeling money on paper, (and profiting from public natural assets) is not just in the US…

      Here in NZ, individuals can make a fortune out of getting consents for free sand mining a growing trend to make cash https://e360.yale.edu/features/the-hidden-environmental-toll-of-mining-the-worlds-sand…. If they manage to get rid of the appeals and win, it’s win, win for a few individuals from overseas on the ability to get free sand assets from NZ for decades.

      ‘The Supreme Court today granted Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) leave to appeal a 3 April Court of Appeal judgment that upheld a High Court decision which had quashed the company’s consent to dig up 50 million tonnes of the South Taranaki Bight seabed every year for 35 years.”

      https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/07/18/groups-against-seabed-mining-will-vigorously-oppose-supreme-court-appeal-by-miners-greenpeace/

      Meanwhile,

      Transtasman Resources to go public in backdoor listing on ASX via Manhattan Corp
      Shares of both companies are expected to vote on the deal on April 10.
      https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/transtasman-resources-go-public-backdoor-listing-asx-manhattan-corp-b-211842

      “TTR, meanwhile, has been given consent to mine iron sands from the ocean floor in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the South Taranaki Bight. The project aims to extract 50 million tonnes of seabed material a year to export up to 5 million tonnes of iron sand per year and is expected to generate an annual $400 million in export revenue. Different environmental and lobby groups, however, have appealed that decision. TTR also has a prospecting permit for an area off the west coast of the South Island.

      The merger “offers Manhattan shareholders and new investors exposure to the potential development of a world-class offshore titanomagnetite and heavy minerals sands mining projects,” the Australian company said.

      TTR shareholders will receive 3,611 new Manhattan ordinary shares and 3,611 new Manhattan performance shares for each TTR ordinary or preference share held prior to the amalgamation. The performance shares will convert to ordinary shares on a one-for one basis if and when appeals against TTRs project are dismissed and Manhattan is satisfied the project has the necessary consent with no further rights or appeal or a change of control event occurs regarding Manhattan, it said.

      If those shares convert, TTR shareholders will end up with about 90 percent of the listed company.

      The transaction will be subject to requisite independent reports as well as approval by shareholders in both companies. As it will also change the nature or scale of Manhattan’s operations it will require re-compliance with ASX listing rules.

      A minimum A$4 million capital raising is also planned to fund future exploration, mine development and working capital requirements. It has not yet determined the size, pricing or structure and whether it will be underwritten. The capital raising is expected to open March 18 and close on April 24.

      The Australian company’s current assets will increase by A$3.3 million, which includes the net proceeds of the capital raising and TTR’s expected cash balance. Its non-current assets will increase by approximately A$50 million, including the fair value of TTR’s non-cash assets, primarily drilling technology and capitalised exploration and development expenditure and drilling technology.

      Alan Eggers, TTR executive chairman, currently holds 23.66 percent of Manhattan and 41.12 percent of TTR. Once the deal is finalised he will have 41.53 percent of the new company. John Seton currently holds 16.99 percent of Manhattan and 35.05 percent of TTR. He will hold 34.93 percent of the new company.”

      • Remember Jenny Shipley’s other board of directors placeholder seat….

        Mainzeal failed while parent made billions

        “Richina, the Chinese parent company of failed New Zealand construction company Mainzeal, owns assets potentially worth billions of dollars, according to information from the ongoing High Court hearing in Auckland. Investors in Richina, including Mainzeal directors Richard Yan and Dame Jenny Shipley, now have stakes worth millions – on paper at least. Yet despite significant loans from Mainzeal to Richina, no one could keep the New Zealand company afloat, or avoid losses to unsecured creditors of more than $115 million.”

        https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/23/288481/mainzeal-failed-while-parent-made-billions

        With mining it is even worse than Mainzeal, as it is irreplaceable, unknown and risky environmental damage being allowed to occur for decades.

        This type of situation is very common and what is increasing inequality around the world, as international corporations go to countries with poor laws and take for next to nothing, public resources. When they leave they leave the debts and environmental damage racked up behind to the community.

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