Winning Joke: Why the Traditional Left will just have to live with Rainy-Day Robertson’s disappointing tax policy


EVEN IN the rapidly gentrifying Auckland suburb of Three Kings, the wailing of the Traditional Left was clearly audible. “Thirty-nine percent! Is that it? Even when, as you so helpfully point out, Grant, Australia’s top tax rate is 47 percent! Seriously, are you guys taking the piss? Is this some kind of joke?”

Labour’s timid excuse for a tax policy (and, believe me, ‘timid’ is being kind!) will do almost nothing to address New Zealand’s outrageous social inequality. Inevitably, Rainy-Day Robertson’s latest disappointment will generate yet another, by now, entirely predictable call for “a new left-wing party”. Ageing lefties will proclaim the urgent need for a political force capable of occupying the political and electoral void which Labour has, for the past thirty years, been so loathe to fill.

Once again, we will hear all about the 730,000 registered voters who failed to cast a ballot back in 2014, and be invited to consider how much more scope there must be in 2020 for a genuine party of the Left to vacuum-up their untapped support.

The riposte to this argument is, as always, brutal in its unanswerability. Do those promoting “a new left-wing party” really believe that if close to 25 percent of registered voters were in any way accessible to a well-organised political force, such a force would not have arisen to translate their uncast votes into parliamentary seats? Hell! Are these folk seriously suggesting that if Labour could be convinced that all they needed to win over the fabled “missing million” voters were a handful of “progressive” policies, it wouldn’t be offering them a manifesto radical enough to make even Jeremy Corbyn blush? Of course they would!

In fact, they’ve already given it a go.

Has the Traditional Left forgotten Labour’s leftward policy shift following Helen Clark’s departure for New York City? Oh, sure, it wasn’t exactly “For the Many, Not the Few”, but it did include removing GST from fruit and vegetables; reforming the energy sector; restoring a useful measure of union power; as well as rock-solid opposition to John Key’s “partial privatisation” policies.

Think of these promises, made in 2011 under the leadership of Phil Goff, as an experiment to determine whether a marginal shift to the left in policy would be answered by a marginal improvement in Labour’s vote. So, what happened?

Well, as the late Jim Anderton used to say: “I’ve got news for you – and it’s all bad.” Labour’s Party Vote in 2008, after 9 years in office, was a pretty dismal 33.99 percent. Three years later, however, Labour’s Party Vote fell to 27.48 percent. Far from attracting the votes of the dispossessed and marginalised, Labour shed 181,944 of its most loyal supporters. It was the party’s worst showing in the popular vote for more than 80 years.

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And did those lost votes end up in the column of Hone Harawira’s and Sue Bradford’s “new left-wing party”, Mana? The latter’s manifesto was Corbynesque before Corbyn – as progressive a document as any traditional leftist could wish for. And yet, mysteriously, the arses of the dispossessed and marginalised remained firmly deposited on their couches. Mana attracted precisely 24,168 valid ballots: a princely 1.08 percent of the Party Vote.

Those 730,000 votes – let alone a “Missing Million” of them! – just ain’t there, comrades. The people who could (and, God knows, who should) be casting them aren’t just lost to the Traditional Left, they are, in all but the most extraordinary circumstances, lost to the entire political process. Thirty years of neoliberalism have seen to that!

Does the Covid-19 Pandemic qualify as an extraordinary circumstance? Well, it just might. But the Traditional Left can forget about exploiting it, because Billy Te Kahika Jr. is way ahead of them. It’s conspiracy theories, anti-science, and the crazed, visceral hatred of all things wise and gentle, that fills halls and attracts thousands of followers on social media in 2020 – not the woke fantasies of adolescent revolutionaries, or the dogma of superannuated Marxists.

Not that Karl, himself, was in any doubt about the revolutionary potential of what he called the lumpenproletariat. A quick squiz at his The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis-Napoleon makes it clear that the father of Marxism regarded people as dispossessed and marginalised as the hardcore Parisian poor as being available only to political charlatans and demagogues. This is how he described the men who rose to power on the shoulders of that quintessential political charlatan and demagogue, Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte (1808-1873):

“At the court, in the ministries, at the head of the administration and the army, a gang of blokes of whom the best that can be said is that one does not know whence they come — these noisy, disreputable, rapacious bohemians who crawl into gallooned coats with the same grotesque dignity as the high dignitaries of Soulouque — elbow their way forward.”

“[N]oisy, disreputable, rapacious bohemians”: if that’s not a perfect pen portrait of Jami-Lee Ross and Billy TK, then I don’t know what is!

Is Labour’s tax policy a disappointment? Of course it is! But it’s the best the Traditional Left is going to get. Why? because Labour’s pollsters are telling them that upwards of 200,000 women over the age of 45 years have shifted their allegiance from National to Labour. (Where else, FFS, does the traditional Left think Labour’s projected 50 percent-plus of the Party Vote has come from?!)

A great many of these women will be well-heeled matrons of the middle-class who think Jacinda’s just so wonderful! Still more will be the wives, sisters and daughters of “Waitakere Men” – upwardly-mobile members of the skilled working-class. (The SUV-driving relations of those small-business-owning “tradies” who made the introduction of Labour’s Capital Gains Tax politically impossible.) These voters (and that’s the key factor in this whole electoral equation, isn’t it, these Kiwis actually vote) are doing well, but not so well that they’re going to be caught by a tax which only kicks-in when your salary tops $180,000.

In the immortal words of Vic Deakins (played by John Travolta) in the 1996 movie, Broken Arrow:

“Fuck ‘em, if they can’t take a joke.”


  1. When you talk about “ageing lefties” I presume you are talking about you and me?
    Heh heh.
    I think a lot of us have given up on any party being truly progressive.
    Until fairly recently the most likely contenders were the Greens but the Greens have become a party obsessed by identity and spectacle rather than the ideology of “greenish” that gave birth to it.
    And the Workers Party (not sure if they are still there) still addressing each other as “comrade”.
    No there is nothing else credible out there and everyone knows how hard it is to start a party from scratch and make it a success.
    But at least us ageing lefties can make sure we don’t go even further back in time with another National government. That’s why we need Labour to win next month and it is our duty to help this happen.

    • I got to ‘ageing lefties’ and switched off, considering I’m decades younger than the writer. Blah, blah, meow,meow.

  2. Funny that you mention “winning”.

    The Government had a 0% of winning approval with any tax policy they announced yet they found the perfect answer under the circumstances.

    Remind me again which income group in society coined the phrase “only mugs pay tax”?

    People are hurting financially. Effectively punishing the masses even more via taxation will do more harm than good. My wife and I pay a fortune in tax each year but this tax increase won’t impact us. I strongly suspect many of those it would have impacted on will find a way to avoid not only paying the increase but paying their share at all….as per usual.

    National successfully derailed Labour’s election campaign in 2017 just as they got their noses in front of National for the first time in a decade. National desperately and falsely claimed Labour were going to tax them to oblivion at the same time National were set to gift tax cuts. This BS changed the election result and then it required Winston First to put Labour into Government.

    The Government was very keen to avoid a repeat of that BS in 2020. They’ve given certainty with no ambiguity whatsoever to everyone yet within minutes National were already adamantly claiming it’s just the start of Labour taxing you to oblivion. Misrepresenting facts has become the status quo for the absolutely desperate National Party which is one of a long list of reasons why they will be sent to oblivion by NZ voters on October 17th. We just knew when Grant Robertson was announcing no other taxes during their second term, National were furious. They wanted new tax announcements from Labour to give them traction almost as much as they want widespread Covid-19 in our communities at this time.

    We all “recall” John Key adamantly stating GST would not be increased. Nek minute. Clearly, National thinks their enemy is as dodgy and totally untrustworthy as they are.

  3. Much to ponder there, Chris.

    It took a quite a while for the producers of consumer goods to break the frugal habits of the generations that lived through WW1, the Great Depression and WW2. Basically, what happened was that the advertising sector of society told monumental lies, and got away with it. Tapping into what might be considered the worst aspects of human nature -greed, laziness, frustration with one’s social position etc.- the advertising sector generated desires for all sort of gadgets and services that no one actually needed at all.

    The vast untapped reserves of oil around the world that existed after WW1 together with the development of technology to extract the oil fuelled the biggest consumption party in world history, and created entire generations people almost completely incapable of thinking in terms of anything other than the accumulation of property and self indulgence -in the forms of dwellings with Greek temple entrances, swimming pools, spa baths, leather lounge suites, electric knives, giant screen TVs, restaurant meals, skiing trips, boating holidays, cruises, overseas holidays, and in the extreme: weekends away in Melbourne or Queenstown, all topped off with status symbols like the ubiquitous SUVs you mentioned, Chris.

    For decades politicians have pandered to the corporations that generated the planet-fucking devices that have now fucked the planet, and have pandered to the demands of the out-of-touch consumers who have become accustomed to lifestyles that require the equivalent of100 energy slaves working 24/7 to maintain them. All of it is totally unsustainable, of course, both from the energy-consumption side of the coin and from the pollution side of the coin. And we are currently hitting the wall on both. And it is all totally unsustainable from the financial aspect, with interest rates being pushed down and down and down to prop up the system in the short term.

    We don’t need to ask the question: does any politician have the guts to face reality and come clean with the voters because we already have the answer. Members of all political parties are either so ignorant of basic facts they haven’t got a clue what they are doing -hence they make everything worse by the week, OR they know perfectly well that the system has no future and are just playing the game for as long as they can.

    One thing is certain: none of the policies announced by any of the political parties will be implemented, because, to make fun of an utterly dire situation, The Party’s Over.

    Okay, perhaps the party is not totally over this week. The hole in the side of the Titanic is letting in more water in that the pumps can cope with, and the water pouring over the undersize ‘watertight’ compartment is about to knock out the engines, but the orchestra can keep playing on the listing floor of the dining room for a little longer.

    That just about sums up the absurdity of what we are witnessing in the realm of politics right now, and it is hardly surprising that such a large portion of the populace is so unengaged. It is beyond a joke.

    I don’t want to be quoted on this because I may have misheard it, but I thought I heard yesterday that a survey found that 1/3 of potential voters do not know which party is in power.

    • I was delivering timber and listening to the radio yesterday AFKTT , and I half heard an interview with someone involved in that survey.Might have been one in 5.But anyhow though it wasn’t spelt out it occurred to me that the source of the confusion about the makeup of this government might be the position of the Greens.
      They are not part of the officially stated coalition . Only NZF and Labour are. But James Shaw for instance is described as an associate minister, so how can he not be part of the government?
      I would not know whether to say the Greens are part of the government or not either on this basis , do you?
      D J S

      • No the Greens only have a confidence and supply agreement with Labour and do not have any cabinet minister seats those were held by labour and NZ First.
        Winston wouldn’t allow any greens to be part of cabinet so in fact they are not part of the Government which is Labour and NZ 1st.

        • technically this is my understanding too . But how does it come about that James was in any position to insist that the green school was included in the recipients of this money or he would veto all other applications? How could he do anything but argue their case? The incident demonstrates that the greens are in government in effect whatever the semantics would suggest.
          D J S

    • We are not hitting the wall due to this or any other capitalism related theme.
      We are hitting the wall due to the world’s response to this virus. Period.
      That is a fact that is not up for debate by any intelligent being.
      If you want to have a conversation about the other ill effects of capitalism, I am happy to oblige.
      But if you genuinely believe anything but the response to the virus is causing the economy to hit the wall, you belong in the corner where your stupidity cannot infect anyone else.

      • I’ll be happy to debate it with you any time, starting right now Jays, because it is YOU who is incredibly stupid.

        Actually not right now because I have more important things to do at the moment than attempt to educate s fuckwit who thinks perpetual growth on a finite planet is possible.

        Maybe tomorrow.

        In the meantime watch this:

        and then demonstrate that the fundamental mathematics [that governs the workings of the entire universe] is wrong!

        ‘Albert A. Bartlett (1923-2013) was Professor Emeritus in Nuclear Physics at University of Colorado at Boulder. He was a member of the faculty of the University of Colorado since 1950. He was President of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1978 and in 1981 he received their Robert A. Millikan Award for his outstanding scholarly contributions to physics education.

        Dr. Bartlett gave his celebrated lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy 1,742 times. His collected writings have been published in the book, “The Essential Exponential! For the Future of Our Planet”.

        I already know what will happen, of course. Your will refuse to become informed because if you did become informed you would have to abandon all the silly notions that fill your head. And denial of reality is SO MUCH EASIER than dealing with it. So reality is going to deal with you. Some time in the next 12 months, I’d say.

        Being a physical scientist myself, I have nothing but admiration for Albert Bartlett, who spent much of his life attempting to bring to mathematical-scientific sense to the world of commerce and politics. (He failed, of course, as did every mathematician, oil geologist, atmospheric chemist, ecologist, oceanographer, energy expert etc. because the economy is essentially a scam run by banks and corporations, and opportunists; and because politicians put the economy ahead of the welfare of the people, including their own children’s.)

        Maybe you should move to California to see and feel for yourself what long-term fucking of the environment does. California in well down the path to becoming uninhabitable for humans and a lot of other species.

        How does a temperature of 49oC and a firestorm appeal, Jays?

        Too hot. Try Northern Russia, where the permafrost is melting at such a rate infrastructure is collapsing.

        Or Sudan, though you’ll need boat to get around there.

        • So, you concede my original point then? Must do since you clearly debated everything else but that.
          Like I said, claiming that the current economic crisis is a result of anything but the response to the coronavirus makes you a moron.
          But I guess you must now agree with me, since you don’t seem to have refuted it at all.

      • And here we have the reason the left are irrelevant. We’re right, you’re wrong and too stupid to understand. It’s not us, it’s you. You must be stupid because you won’t let us do what’s best for you.

        That’s one reason the greens, after 30 years, are still on 5 %. 95% of us are too stupid.

        Well, I’ve got to wipe the drool off my keyboard. I do so look forward to more pearls of wisdom from you. If I don’t respond it’s not because I’ve given up on you enlightened ones. Probably just take a few days for your full genius to sink in.

    • Afewknowthetruth well said, so we are now starved of any real opposition party now so we have little choice but to “go with the flow”
      Perhaps along the road a new Political Party will emerge?

      • They emerge every 20 years or so, fail to get support then die squabbling. Their only legacy is a smug sense of self satisfaction amongst the deciples and a new crop of pundits and keyboard crusaders pointing out why the successful parties are getting everything wrong.

    • So true, today Labour announced we will have 100 percent renewable electricity generation within ten years, ha, ha, ha.

      Have they ever checked how old existing dams are and how much they may cost to replace or simply maintain?

      We have not even got the money to fix the deteriorating rail network that already exists in Auckland, and with that a poor network anyway:

      Add the costs of the needed upgrades and the construction of the Auckland water pipe network, and much else, where the hell is the money to come from, that has already been spent on bailing out business, workers and government due to the Coronavirus fallout and Covid 19?

  4. A great reflection from Chris. This Government has taken the art of populism to a new level. My faith in a new world promised by Jacinda Ardern finished when she hid behind the Coalition partner problem when she saw the CGT proposal was Not popular enough. As a National voter and a past land owner who paid death duties on farm land, and could see a fairer assets tax was needed I was gob smacked when JA turned her back on CGT. It was then I realised that the decision was a populist one and you can forget about meaningful change. Grant Robertson obviously didn’t spend much time thinking out this tax policy but then as Chris has alluded to it wasn’t supposed to be serious. Don’t upset the middle income earners but smack a few wealthy punters with a wet bus ticket. If the voters can’t see through it they never will. If this is the Coalition answer to huge debt and unemployment just around the corner it won’t work. Some who write here will squeal that National is no better and maybe they’re not, but then it most likely won’t be National that takes us into the next three years. Will this gutless Government last the next three years ?

  5. So you’re saying Labour had no choice but to go for this timid tax policy? Labour’s message to the left is apparently that their version of neoliberalism won’t be as bad as National’s? One flaw in that analysis (and that message) is that in some respects this incarnation of Labour will be WORSE than National, in that they’re more likely to engage in pointless pandering to women and minorities (their substitute for addressing the country’s real problems), and “hate speech” legislation is more likely under Labour than under National.

    I was delighted when I first heard about the 39% announcement, and then realized my reaction qualified as “pathetically grateful”. James Shaw got it right for once yesterday, bringing me down to earth with his description of Labour’s policy as “tinkering”. Labour are apparently condemning us to another decade of the neoliberal model, a model that has been undermining our institutions for over three decades. Polling at 50%, with someone as charismatic as Ardern fronting the band, that amounts to political cowardice. Where could she not persuade us to go, if she had a mind to?

  6. Tactically Labour did not really need to do anything, just run the clock down to October 17. But I guess the TV debates mean some “qvestions vill be aksed” by Frau Collins, so answers were going to be needed for the PM.

    Crusher–“What unfair tax increases on the hard working, god fearing, salt of the earth, white, heartland kiwis will you be inflicting?”
    Jacinda–“already released, will not affect 98% of New Zealanders” (including obviously the new Labour voters Chris mentions).

    I am not going to revisit ( today anyway) my usual litany on the class collaborationist, weak as piss Labour Caucus and chief mini-me Blairites like Mr Robertson. I just want them re-elected so political struggle can resume in earnest in the time of opportunity created by the Covid plague.

    Expecting the lumpen elements of town or country to come to anyone’s rescue is indeed a forlorn hope. “she’s a pretty communist” is about the peak political analysis those wretches are capable of! Did anyone ever identify that clown holding the sign by the way?

    • TM I liked your comment and relayed it over to OM on TS for their eddification. It just fitted in the general brouhaha well. I thought you wouldn’t mind.

  7. Firstly, can I please ask that we spare a thought for poor old tucker carlson of fox ‘news’.
    Witness a slavish neo right media minion get his nuts kicked by an intellectual.
    Originally via The Guardian.
    “Tucker Carlson Blows Up at Rutger Bregman in Unaired Fox News Interview”
    AO/NZ is in free fall. But that’s nothing new. AO/NZ’s been spiraling down the gurgler for years and there have been many attempts to save it and us. Some attempts have been brave and well intended like MJ Savage, Kirk and Lange’s while others only sped up the process because they, unlike the aforementioned were simply greedy narcissistic scumbags who still stroll about town either literally or metaphorically as if their shit doesn’t stink. Like holyoak, muldoon, douglas, shipley, jonky, english etc while trailing a cadre of anti tax hangers on and trough stompers in their unfettered wake. And it should be pointed out that the moment those privateer hangers on become so greedy, so bloated on flying high that they start bleeding out money they come crawling to the tax payer to be bailed out. Is that not right Boys? An enduring example of that was the bnz bail out which saw fay/richwhite group make billions of dollars out of us and lets not forget the millions and millions of dollars jonky wasted on flag changes, money changes and bail-outs for fucking peter jackson. That’s $600 million dollar net wealth peter jackson to you and me.
    But we know all this… It’s now time to debate what to do about it.
    What should we do? What can we do? And lets pretend that since we know that we must, and we know that we can, who’s first to step up?
    That’s why I bang on about our farmers. You can think what you like about farmers but you can’t ignore the reality that they are not only our primary industry but they also provide our food and without food to eat, I think most people would agree, we’d be fucked in about four days.
    So? Then? Are you still wondering why the National Party are all over the farmer like two drunk teenagers over each other at their first party with booze and drugs?
    And Labour desperately tries to ignore the farmer and instead focuses on ‘ urban social issues’ ? Why do you think that is?
    I can tell you, in case you don’t.
    It’s because National and Labour are the same fucking thing. Sure, one’s a hugger and the other’s a hater but so what? National and Labour are playing us like fiddles and it’s because they can’t let the tigers tail that is our farming industry go. Because if by some miracle we had an honest politician who lived long enough to explain, our farming infrastructure’s been exploited for its wealth for generations. Let that sink in? Sooner or later the fog they blow out will clear.
    So, what to do?
    Farmers? You’re up.
    You earn our money, you put our food on the table, yet you’re a bit fucked aren’t you?
    National have done you no favours, Labour certainly haven’t either and yet they look quite fine in their nice clothes in their fancy offices while later they can be found milling about the cocktails of an evening’s ball cupping, deal doing and flying to here and there on your money.

    • countryboy
      Stop your whining about Peter Jackson. What he did was break though the milk, dung and ouvea economy that we have in NZ and open up opportunities for creatives, who must be the most creative at moaning in all of society. When you can bring some pragmatism and practicality to your ideas and perception then you will be really worth reading. Try will you.

      • No Greywarbler you are out of line here.

        We like Countryboy’s comments thanks.

        We don’t like to be told what to think thank-you.

        Everyone has rights.

      • Jackson was given leeway. Financial and intellectual. We put aside things and they assumed their things born of that. Jackson was above the law.

  8. My grassroots feeling is that non voters just don’t give a shit about politics. They hate politics. Boring, boring. No matter how good party policies may be for them or not, they don’t care, it’s boring. A lot of the young in here, as you well know, but some older ones too. There is no connect to these people. Maybe Facebook and the like could get through but good luck with that. Given a choice to vote or not, well the results are obvious. Some sort of mandatory voting maybe, but would it achieve anything? These people would probably throw a vote anywhere just to get out of the polling station. Kiwis are laid back creatures that can see nothing they do will effect political parties to do the right thing by them. Labour and National are the only game in town and what a bloddy dead loss they both are. It’s no wonder at all why many don’t vote. As usual, it’s the politicians own fault. Stuff them. Look after the young people you bastards.

    • Yeah you are right. We need however to have yes that hairy thing
      but it must come with a

      Then these two parties that you can barely get a cigarette paper between might have to actually do something.

      The whole tax thing is a joke, what exactly was the point of having the tax working group, oh yes to tinker around the edge.

    • The young’s boredom is a dividend of material comfort. The same comfort that soft-boiled their parents’ more political brains. Our old work ethic was replaced by the entertainment ‘ethic’. I understood overall reality only in my 30s/40s. These pricks think this beautiful comfort is their right by right of birth.

  9. Friends, Woke, Comrades, Keyboard worriers. Lend me your ear, I come to bury James and Marama, not to praise them.

    Nor do I come to make a mockery of the history of The Green Party of New Zealand.

    I would be remiss to argue that the cause of societies ill will is due to the mistakes and malevolence of The Green Party.

    As with anything in politics, success is built upon a succession of outcomes and action of many factors, all of which can be interpreted as a product of free will or a product of principles.

    I come to you today not even to neglect the right-wing amphetamines advance towards the injustices performed by its own adherence.

    I come in Socratic humour not merely to ask questions but also a desire to suppose.

    For where we might easily accept Labour and Nationals responsibility for the fall of The Green Party, less does the woke pure temple greens get attributed to this fact. Thus my inquiry forms from the following command of Weka:

    “Labour voters, if you could vote to keep the Greens in parliament would you?”-

    Weka’s request to Labour voters is that they for tell of the impending doom of the Greens and tell on her saintliness, the holly Jah rasta far eye, Jacinda.

    It’s not my intention to suggest that the request of Labour voters started the decline of The Greens Party vote or is it the development of some new trend. On the contrary, it is obvious that the Green started to decline long before Weka could even conceptualize such a request.

    Golriz Ghahrams threats towards Andrew Little was an acquiesce towards anger. The Greens by there constitution do not submit to there emotions as the National Party so willingly does. Even in the face of suffering The Greens would happily detach themselves just to abide by these fundamental principles.

    The conversion of one party to another is a deeply tortured soul tittering on the edge of swing-voting rather than happily falling towards it. For instance, the request would cause Labour voters minds to labour given their admiration towards Jacinda.

    Weka’s feeble mind is not 100% committed unequivocally to The Greens as the Weka claims to be a Mana Party refugee (as am I) but in the Greens principles can be found an intellectual and spiritual attraction. When woke mummy bloggers and Green MPs violate this code it compromises the pious devotes attachment to the codes of Green principles.

    Thus we have a conundrum in the relationship between power and ethics. So remaining 100% wedded to Green Party constitution may result in the annihilation of the Greens itself.

    The Greens preach restraint even among injustice and yet any violation of The Greens constitution violates any truth even though the result of that violation might repurpose victory. However the triumphant might happen on a constitutional democracy that does not uphold or value the very principles they intended to propagate.

    So, now. We have arrived at a choice to allow The Greens value systems to remain intake while The Green Party crumbles or persist with its principles irrevocably altered.

      • I likes their manifesto. Much better than Labour. But if TOP rises up I’ll consider it. A manifesto isn’t enough, the Green’s major problem.

  10. So as many of us have been saying again and again “Labour aint Labour anymore”.Norman Kirk would be spinning in his grave if he could see what the party had become.

    Now maybe its finally time no more excuses were made and those who are really on the left vote for parties who behave like they actually belong on the left. You know, Socialst parties that put people first. Maybe even one of those “scary” new parties who might stand for something other than endless grinding neo liberalism.

  11. “[N]oisy, disreputable, rapacious bohemians”: if that’s not a perfect pen portrait of Jami-Lee Ross and Billy TK, then I don’t know what is!
    And further away – it can apply to Trump and Boorish Johnson.
    Your essay into politics has the sparkling ring of truth Chris.
    In my own case one of my relatives, part Maori, who is a great person, very capable, very good but with children who are strivers, (above strugglers and the precariat), but with lives that leave them either unhappy or making relationships with others who are unhappy. And despite the supportive upbringing they have received some are alienated from their parents, who expect loving relationships, and are hurt that they are rarely visited or helped. I wondered if further skills training as adults would enable some to be upwardly mobile, but no I am told that has never been the way. Just school and then see what work is available.

    The approach seems to echo that of the early 1970’s with no betterment of position in mind, no thought of acquiring skills and getting better income but almost hostility to that, ‘What’s wrong with working in a factory or other unskilled, semi-skilled job?’ Somehow the young are being alienated from the older generation, they believe, think, differently and perhaps political activity is old hat also in their minds. I think they vote, but what they want for themselves and NZ and how they think it will come about I have no idea. At one time the idea of having nine businesspeople running NZ as being more efficient was being touted, ACT I think, and the parents considered it. I questioned whether it was democratic and I don’t know if that thought had cropped up. It seems to me that political education has been entirely absent for many of the low income people who are now completely lost, stuck in the bottom strata trying to interact with the materialistic middle-class with eyes fixed on mansions of glass, technology, fashion, consumption.

  12. Australia’s top tax rate is indeed 47% but virtually nobody pays it because there are so many allowances and loop holes. Also Aussie has a lot of local and state taxes that both the rich and poor have to pay that aren’t obvious at first glance. For example it can cost over $AU 1,000 per year just to register a car in NSW.

    But regardless, let’s take a look at the proposed tax increase. My bet is that it will not increase revenue at all and in the longer term will depress tax revenue, just as Helen Clark’s 39% tax rate did years ago.

    The reason for this is the ‘Laffer Curve’ as proposed by the Stanford economist, Arthur Laffer.

    His work showed that tax increases do not go unchallenged: People make personal decisions to mitigate the increase and these vary widely. They may include cutting overtime, income splitting, taking wages as expenses, holidays in lieu of wages, hiding in trusts and at the more extreme end, tax evasion and leaving the country. The result is that a tax hike is often rewarded with a DROP in revenue and this is what happened to the Clark government in the day and why they subsequently reduced taxes. It also killed economic growth and caused tens of thousands of our most talented kiwis to get on a plane and seek a friendlier working environment. Toward the end of the Clark era we had a net loss of up to 40,000 people per year.

    So while your envy tax may make you feel better – my facts beat your feelings.

    • What they really should be doing is upping corporate tax. In Australia I believe its 30%, here 28%? As it stands big business has been carried on the backs of ordinary people for far to long.

      Oh and before someone tells me they will “just leave”. No, no they wont. The UAE for example has a hefty corporate tax and business there is still ticking along.

      And as the old saying goes “some money is better than no money”.

      • Not all will leave but enough would restructure their affairs to minimize the effect of an increase. Trans Tasman companies do this all the time.

        Like I said – go back and understand the Laffer Curve.

        Military strategists put it this way – “No battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy.” In other words – you can increase taxes but don’t think people won’t react in ways you cannot imagine.

    • You can dress up your rightwing amphetamines as much as you like. It was a Labour government that gave New Zealand and Australia high productivity and low-interest rates and you, you nobody has the gall to sit there and preach to us that working people can not manage there own money as if the only people able to manage money are men in pinstripe suits with National Party members cards in there top pocket. For 9 years John Key and Bill English sat there amazed that unemployment wasn’t going up while they cut into employee security and benefits because The Labour Party had put in place the Work Place structure and then along comes some nobody to put the last brick on top of Labours sturdy jobs and industrial structure and have the gall to pass it off as a National Party tax policy. You’ll have to wake up a little earlier than that sunshine.

    • The wealthy just laugh at higher tax rates? I have heard that is their usual reaction but they take umbrage to the temerity of government actually considering them at all. As for: It also killed economic growth and caused tens of thousands of our most talented kiwis to get on a plane and seek a friendlier working environment. Toward the end of the Clark era we had a net loss of up to 40,000 people per year.
      The free market coupled with neolib and rentier behaviour was more likely the reason for the loss of many good NZ staff overseas. The practice of buying companies on debt, sacking staff and replacing senior, experienced staff with cheaper juniors, reducing ‘fat’ by slicing off and selling assets and applying those funds to repay the borrowings with which they bought the company – vulture-behaviour – do you remember that or is your view too blinkered to look beyond where you are told to concentrate?

      And Andrew you malign the quality of your education when you talk about tax on wealth being ‘envy tax’. If you have enough education to quote one person’s theory (Laffer*) which suits your case, you have enough to know how an economy works, and that it should serve everybody when operating correctly and that progressive income taxes keep it working best. There must be a curve somewhere that shows how the whole country picks up when distribution and opportunities are made widely available, which at some stage will become a Bell curve. Then a reassessment of methods would be needed, but things do run in cycles; your political and economic studies would show that progressive tax is most effective for a good functioning economy and polity.
      *Laffer curve: In economics, the Laffer curve, developed by supply-side economist Arthur Laffer, illustrates a theoretical relationship between rates of taxation and the resulting levels of the government’s tax revenue. … In the United States, conservatives have used the Laffer Curve to argue that lower taxes may increase tax revenue.

  13. Hmmm…pity…everything would be just they way it should be, if it wasn’t for this damn Covid!!!
    Labour would be flogged and caned for that miserable tax policy, and for all its other spectacular failures and broken promises and hopeless performances. Jacinda would be roasted, get angry and show her true colours under stern scrutiny. But, nobody is interested in hearing about that…lucky for Labour! They’d struggle to hit 35% they way they performed!

    • Herman, if Labour struggled to get 35%, who gets the 20% they have lost? National? No way ‘jose. People
      are slowly becoming aware just how toxic the Natz are, and leaving in droves. Still your dreams are free, Labour won’t tax them.

      • You miss the point green bus. Herman is reminding us just how useless Labour really are minus Covid. But they’ll be voted back in because people like you don’t care how useless they are so long as Jacinda fronts them and looks good. Lucky country.

    • A bit unfair I think.

      Why vote if you live in the 3 poorest electorates in the country – those wonderful south auckland seats that Labour sucks up the votes from every time.

      Who else might you vote for anyway, they are both the same, that is the big boys!

  14. It’s certainly a rainy day and times out there. But old Rainy day Robertson is gonna make it rain, all those extra tax dollars he gonna collect will pay for this, you wait and see.

  15. Laughable – Goff, the driest neoliberal in the party was going to make things right after nine years of bullshit capped by the antismacking folly. Goff wouldn’t have got in if he’d been Cunliffe, after those years of grinding the faces of nouveau poor created by Rogergnomics.

    The simple fact is that Labour, having betrayed and impoverished their traditional supporters, hates them with a passion for not miraculously pulling the neolib’s credibility out of the fire.

    By refusing to consider any further tax changes however, Labour has made it clear that NZF was not the spoiler that stopped the CGT. It’s a curious lifeline to throw NZF, but the PLP are a very curious bunch. Not good, not democratic, not enlightened, not prepared to grapple with NZ’s very real problems, but plenty curious.

  16. Folks, and Greenies, while we’re on tax:
    James Shaw says he’s prepared to walk away from forming a Government with Labour if a wealth tax isn’t adopted. He also stated that he categorically rules out working with National.
    Now you see why the Greens are strategic morons, and deserve to be sent packing:
    1. They are no longer about the planet or the environment or the pants and the animals – they are about wealth tax and other non-green issues.
    2. They don’t know how to work MMP in order to get their policies realised.
    What a bunch of idiots!!!! Say they had gone in with National last time, yes, unimaginable, BUT, they would have had all their dreams realised…billions would have come their way to save whales and get solar panels.
    But no, it’s gotta be Labour, it’s gotta be Labour (footstomping). Well dear James, the voters, and your lovely Labour are about to fuck you over…you are about to get RoundUpped! Like gorse!

  17. Everyone, we wouldn’t need to have this tax debate if we reduced the size of our bureaucracy – why does a country as small as ours, need an entire mid-size city of politicians to run it? The cost of govt in NZ is staggering!!!!! How did we let this happen??? Today alone, Megan Woods tells she is waiting for an energy report that costs 30 million dollars. 30 Million for a report?????????? WHO GETS ALL THAT (TAXPAYER) MONEY FOR A REPORT? That’s nearly 10% already of what Roberston wants to recover with his 39% tax policy!! And we all just sit there and go ‘whatever’.

  18. There aren’t many workers around these days. All the tradesmen have businesses and turned into a tory. A few years ago my plumber mate spent years cleaning up others tutae then started up his own business wore a white shirt then told me he was voting Nats but he will still drink with me in the public bar (when they were still around).
    NZ’s political scene is basically Social Democracy represented by LP and their current coalition parties plus Maori party verses the Capitalists with nats and the gun toting act and other lunatic conservative god fearing parties.
    Labour was thankful NZF was there to blame for opposing some of their controversial policies – GFC, light rail etc thus avoiding them becoming election issues. Labour needs the greens and (NZF) to gradually impose more socialist over time. Nats DONT consider the poor, unemployed, homeless, Maori, PI, Indians, etc as your hardworking ordinary NZer and have never and will never helped them.
    2 votes to Green (or NZF) depending on their and Labour’s polling figures.

  19. Well said about Grant’s ‘art of the possible’.

    Now, the chasm between the possible and the necessary?

    Where you and many come in. 10 years. Persuasion again, like the old days of our Left. There’s just persuasion now.

  20. Meanwhile, outside of the weird NZFirst bubble that TDB seems to have become …

    “Co-leader James Shaw made the comments on Thursday, saying the only post-election deal that was off the table completely was one which would give National power.”

    Something NZ First consistently refuse to rule out, yet somehow still manage to get enough left-leaning votes to block the Greens from pulling the Labour-led government to the left. I’m still hopeful that a Labour-Greens coalition is possible, and that passing the “Yes” results from the two referenda will be only the start of the transformation we were promised in 2017.

  21. Jacinda’s tax policy is not timid. It is carefully and precisely calculated to get as much tax revenue as possible over the next 10 years in return for minimum political capital. It makes sense because she knows very well that any greedier grab at the middle class luvvies who vote Labour out of guilt, will have them running back to National.

    That said, it doesn’t mean it makes any kind of fiscal sense. What on earth is the point of borrowing hundreds of billions to spend on “shovel-ready” projects to stimulate the failing economy, only to claw back half a billion with a deflationary tax? This tax is a kick in the guts for Aucklanders who are already feeling unloved, bearing as we do, the brunt of the Government’s pitiful failure to secure the quarantine facilities. Where do you think all those $180k+ earners live?

    It’s an even bigger kick in the guts for owners of hospitality businesses who have just been thrown under the bus – again. The new tax might only hit 2% of the population but I warrant that it stings a much bigger percentage of restaurant customers. Great idea Jacinda, remove discretionary income from the very people we need to spend it to keep the lights on.

    And as for Chloe Swarbrick’s sickening pretence at sympathy for the restaurant leaseholders in the Elliot Street Stables, don’t get me started. She wrings her hands at the unfairness while baying for even bigger tax hikes that will be the nail in the coffins of these businesses.

    Finally, we can’t leave this topic without shining a light on the egregious dishonesty of Grant Robertson’s speech. He tells us Australians are paying 47% tax on the equivalent of NZD180,000 but carefully did not say that they earn their first NZD20,000 tax free. Second, he also did not mention the fact that Australians have seen the problem with high taxes on the middle classes and legislated to bring them down in 2022 and 2024. When that is complete, an Australian earning $200,000 will pay a maximum tax rate of 30%

  22. i am underwhelmed by Grant Robertson as a finance minister. Especially a Labour one in this extraordinary time. He should have had more balls. He should have taken greater steps towards bridging the divide of inequality. Tax. Benefits. Housing. He’s a coward. I could say more. But I’ll leave it at that. No. I will not leave it at that. He is completely out of touch with ordinary New Zealanders. I’ve met the guy. Fucking totally removed from the experience of day-to-day New Zealanders. I’m going to say it again… all National has to do to win the election is announce funded dental care for New Zealanders. This has been sitting in the Labour manifesto (voted on by members) for years. In a Covid world National voters can no lo her go to Thailand for cheap dental.

    • Agree. Secrets, secrets on the Left. Talking about poverty and not doing about poverty. It’s just a reliance on no one being out that left way to point it out. It’s like Smaug’s unarmoured part or Achilles’ heel.

      Disgusting for all on the people’s side.

      The hypocricy most disgusts.

      Oh, yes, the fucken fantastic tactics can enthuse instead!

      The people’s side relies on heart at heart no matter the devices.

      • TOP has it’s good ideas but it doesn’t remember. A common situation. Like the PR guru who suggested in the 90s we should fly along together, not remembering 35 -84.

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