The new government has a blank page to write on

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The positives of this election are obvious:

– Working people gave a near 60% majority to a Labour-Green government. Some modest promises like 10 days sick leave and continuing minimum wage increases can be banked going forward.

– The conservative NZ First brake on this previous government was removed and the party probably eliminated for good.

– Labour supporters gave a clear indication that they have reservations about the lack of policy and direction from Labour during the election campaign by giving electorate seats to the Green’s and Maori Party, both of which have stronger policies for workers and the environment.

– The National Party became a reactionary rump and its venomous leader makes zero progress during the campaign.

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By running a campaign almost devoid of policy the government has given its supporters a blank page upon which we need to write our concerns and needs, and those of the planet we live on, into a policy for our mutual survival.

Unions and social movements involved in fighting against the problems that capitalism creates – from unemployment to degraded rivers – need to work together to impose policies on this government that can create a future for working people and the planet that doesn’t reproduce the degradation of both that happens now.

The most important first steps we need this government to proritise are:

– Jobs for everyone who wants to work to rebuild the country for a post-Covid world

– Make the minimum wage a living wage

– A living income for those who can’t work with individualised entitlement .

– A pathway to residency for those caught in New Zealand who have made this country their home.

– All new spending directed towards transitioning the economy to a net-zero carbon future as soon as practically possible.

4 COMMENTS

  1. If you can’t impose your will on the Labour party during an election campaign you are never going to do it once they are in power. I’m sorry, but that boat has well an truly sailed.

    I would put your effort into recording Labour’s total lack of help for the majority (or even 50%) of working New Zealanders over the next 3 years.

    If you want to know how this all plays out look at New Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (who Jacinda worked for). Except that New Zealand doesn’t have a banking industry to destroy the world economy with and a military to invade the Middle East with (just an Afghan village).

    The result is more about the rejection of the Green Party. If they’d spent less time moralizing and committing to taxing those who have struggled their entire lives to pay for their house they might have got more votes.

    Oh for the days of a real labour movement.

    • The point that you have missed is that, without precedent under MMP, the Greens vote went up after National did a superb job of accentuating the party’s wealth tax policy. Most hard-working ‘strugglers’ rejected the Blue wedge tactics that were spiced with lies and malice and realised that the Green policy has merit. Labour is timid on taxing wealth accumulation and moderate earners would not be mutilated by the wealth tax in the manner that they already are with GST. It doesn’t take much depth of thought to conclude that taxing accumulated wealth is the circuit breaker that is needed to get NZ back to the egalitarian principles that once drove the Labour Party. Other than that John, your comments have merit.

      • I saw recently that only 10% of those in AO/NZ have an ‘accumulated wealth’ (net) of 850K. That includes savings and any freehold family home. I thought the % might have been higher but this figure is most likely due to the long legacy of low wages, commensurate low levels of personal savings and an increasing income /housing disparity that leaves many with huge mortgages. While a good many might see the 1 in 10 as ‘privileged’ – closer to the truth is that many within this group see themselves as somewhat ‘ordinary’, not particularly wealthy. In short, for one reason or another they may live in one of the bigger cities, perhaps have had the benefit of stable employment, possibly a modest professional salary or trades-related income, been the recipient of a double-income to ease the burden, and have made a few sacrifices along the way. They may well be retired having worked a lifetime – and in the bigger picture, yes, a good many will be the beneficiaries of capital gains. That’s the housing market for you. I don’t agree that “taxing accumulated wealth is the circuit breaker that is needed to get NZ back to the egalitarian principles”, not unless it better targets those at the very top of the wealth distribution apex – and of course a good many of these good folk will also feel aggrieved.

    • Yes, John, it was a struggle, but struggle we did, and what we got was a family home. And now politicians on incomes beyond our ken, are Baxter’s crouching tigers waiting to claw it back again. It is a class war, and the really rich people at the top, the people who pay negligible – if any – tax, will win, because the system is structured to ensure that they do.

      Meantime, life continues to be hard and grim for the growing group of people at the bottom.

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