Prerequisite: The Government Must Want Change

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Research NZ reports this week that New Zealanders have a 90% level of confidence in our democratic system. This is higher than other comparable countries – 66% confidence in Australia, 55% in the United Kingdom, and only 23% in the United States. The survey also showed that New Zealanders support a change in the Parliamentary term, from three years to four.

Research NZ were prompted to ask New Zealanders their views on the length of the Parliamentary term after it arose during the election Leaders’ Debates, and both Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins supported a change.

However, there are dubious grounds for change to a four-year term. It won’t necessarily lead to more efficient or better policy making. It’s not the length of the electoral term that is stopping the delivery of change – or even incremental steps on the inevitably long path to ‘transformation’; it’s political timidity, a perceived voter constraint, the business limits to the ‘art of the possible’. With a Capital Gains Tax, inaction is due to ‘no support from the public’. With the refusal to increase benefits, the hold-up is because progress takes time – ‘it takes more than a week, a month or a term’.

But as the Child Poverty Action Group’s Janet McAllister says, in ‘Ardern tells us to be patient on benefit levels. But we’ve been patient long enough’, Labour have already had a term to deliver their transformational child poverty promises, “so what are they waiting for?” When even the most popular and supposedly progressive government in a generation is so paralysed, a longer Parliamentary term might prolong a delay to the change needed to respond to social and economic crisis even further. Indeed, at this rate, no Parliamentary term will be long enough.

More than 60 NGOs, public service providers, unions and others, signed the open letter to Jacinda Ardern asking for an increase to core benefits before Christmas. Without irony, while earning $471,000 per annum as Prime Minister, Jacinda said that benefits had already been raised $25 a week, citing that as a ‘substantial increase’, with the indication that was politically sufficient, even if objectively, economically, and as a matter of survival and decency, it clearly is not. In her article, McAllister says core beneficiary entitlements are below the poverty line, tipping people into the severest poverty. An additional 70,000 children are at risk of poverty due to Covid-19 on current policy settings, with the worst poverty aggravated by benefit levels and housing costs. Benefit levels are within Government control.

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But the news item where Jacinda said the previous $25 increase was enough for now, was directly followed by announcements of extended small business Covid-19 support. There is extra money for business but not for the unemployed worker, or single parent struggling to house and clothe and feed their kids. Bryce Edwards reflects that the Government’s move to the middle class has seen it become distanced from its earlier redistributive agenda. The new Parliament reflects the nation’s ethnic, cultural, gender and gender orientation diversity well, but it has become too comfortable and socially conservative to make substantive change. Dylan Asafo says trading on the rhetoric of kindness and unity while betraying the diverse, marginalised groups who are most often the victims of settler-colonial politics, is actually a form of exploitation and social and psychological violence. Both the cause (Government inaction) and effect (a betrayal, leading to increased poverty) will be denied by Labour Party devotees.

Last week, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, David Parker was among other MPs receiving a Greenpeace petition with 50,000 signatures calling for a ban on ocean bottom trawling. Bottom trawling does terrible damage to the sea floor (among other things), and New Zealand companies not only conduct this indiscriminate practice legally, but illegally too. Parker seemed to rule out reform, indicating no mandate and no serious enthusiasm for change. He said banning bottom trawling was not something Labour had taken to the election. However, the list of things that Labour hadn’t taken to the election is a long one, and if that’s the criteria for deciding whether progress will be made, we may well feel like giving in already.

On the other hand, new Tourism Minister Stuart Nash’s ‘visionary’ idea for the future of New Zealand tourism, while more advanced than anything that came from Kelvin Davis in the last year, to focus on ‘high value’ tourists and to ban vans without toilets, seemed like an ill-thought out, elitist brain-fart. Banning unserviced vans won’t stop people shitting on the side of the road. With years of travelling around New Zealand by van, I am yet to see the legendary, alleged mountains of faeces and toilet paper, or how they can be ascribed to those in vans without toilets. Has the Minister never seen where even the vans with toilets, keep them? (Under the bed, tucked under the kitchen units in the back of the van), and has he never travelled around the country to actually see how easy it is to get caught short given the dearth of public toilets for any traveller, in this country? But banning vans without toilets wasn’t something that Labour took to the election, and judging by the mood of the nation in response to his grand plan, I don’t think the Government has much of a public mandate either. Wouldn’t you think cleaning up cow shit from rivers was a higher priority. Or even dealing with child poverty for the Government, if not for the Tourism Minister?

Will we spend the next three years being denied action on the things that matter because Labour hadn’t taken them as explicit policy to the election? But also seeing things that don’t matter elevated to importance, like a longer Parliamentary term, or a freedom camping van ban when tourism operators are crying out for more custom? The political agenda is a crowded space with issues jostling for attention. With house prices rising faster than pay rates, with poverty increasing in direct inverse correlation, structural fixes are important. Tinkering around the edges, “hints” of slightly more money for first home buyers, will do nothing to correct a housing market gone mad. RMA reforms to expedite urban development are a property investor’s dream but will not deliver new houses quickly, or necessarily make them ‘affordable’ when benefits and wages are so low.

Problems with inequality and homelessness will surely take more than a week or a month, and sometimes more than a Parliamentary term. Indeed, Governments and Oppositions of red and of blue, have come and gone while these problems have been in the making. The long, unmitigated neo-liberal experiment in New Zealand dates back to the Labour Government from when Jacinda Ardern was a toddler. Now as Prime Minister she will be realising that twitter posts while in Opposition criticising Governmental inaction, are easy to make, but real change may be hard.

What’s the optimum Parliamentary term to achieve substantive change? How many Labour-led Governments does it take? What are the right economic conditions? What are the right policy settings? Do we rely on the trickle down from business support to improve worker’s status and pay, or do we support people themselves?

Jacinda Ardern said she doesn’t like to be alone too much because it gives her too much time to think. She might allow herself some more time alone over the Christmas break, to recalibrate her vision for the country on reflection of her more reactive governing in the face of Covid-19 and other crises. Because the critical element in effecting a fairer society, with less poverty and environmental destruction, is that the Government must want to change.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately, we have a political system that allows scientifically and financially illiterate self-serving lazybones who have little or no moral compass to gain power.

    Therefore, we end up with scientifically and financially illiterate self-serving lazybones who have little or no moral compass in power.

    Although most politicians are self-serving liars in their general dealings, they are also servants of banks and corporations that do not have the best interests of the general populace at heart: indeed, the general populace is merely the ‘teat’ to be regularly milked for profit.

    By the same token, the environment is merely a ‘teat’ to be milked for profit, and environmental damage ignored.

    Despite all the slogans and speeches, when it comes to the crunch, the government is primarily concerned with maintaining and managing the status quo, i.e. extraction or importation of fossil fuels and their combustion to facilitate commercial activity that keeps the Ponzi financial system from imploding.

    A subsection of that loot-and-pollute system requires the government to support the activities of the United States, insofar as the globalised financial system is centred in the US, and without that system NZ would be unable to access fossil fuels or run an Internet system.

    The bad news for the Adern government is that the game is almost over: all the warnings about energy depletion, the accumulation of wastes, planetary overheating, loss of biodiversity and the unsustainable nature of the [Ponzi] financial system etc. that have been ignored by governments for decades are now manifesting as collapse.

    Successive governments’ policies of ignoring valid warnings over many decades and doing nothing to prepare have placed NZ (along with every other nation) in a very precarious position of facing declining energy availability, severe overheating (manifesting as droughts and torrential rain episodes) and collapse of the [Ponzi] financial system with no workable plan. Indeed, what little planning there is still consists of ignoring all the factors that will determine the future. I say future but actually is is the now.

    Chris Martenson, of ‘Crash Course’ fame recently pointed out that we are now there, at the point he and others had been warning about for well over a decade, the point of inflexion I have repeatedly referred to.

    He refers to the present time as an interregnum, and the current circumstances are summed up in three sentences:

    ‘The old story of endless growth on a finite planet is winding down. Whatever replaces it won’t be a continuation of the past. Things are going to have to change, whether we like it or not.

    Put more bluntly: the easy times are over, and a period of disruption has begun.’

    https://www.peakprosperity.com/the-easy-times-are-over-the-interregnum-is-here/

    Until such time as the meltdown of global finances hits NZ really badly, we must anticipate the Adern government continuing to rearrange the deck chairs on the now-sinking ‘Titanic’ and require to orchestra to keep playing, even as the water laps round the musician’s ankles.

    Needless to say, other ‘Titanics’ are lower in the water than the NZ ‘Titanic’, so many of the passengers on those other sinking ships are desperate to get here: New Zealanders are flooding into the country from overseas, pushing up demand for housing and other amenities.

    One tiny bit of good news in the short term is that the NZ dollar has increased in value against the
    [sinking] US, and is currently over 69 cents. If the recent trend continues it will break through 70 cents this week, allowing us a little more time to personally prepare for the inevitable, even if the government is firmly locked into denial of reality.

    By the way, not immediately relevant to housing policy but nevertheless symptomatic of denial of reality that characterises politics, and a major determinant of the future, is the fact that Arctic sea ice cover remains at a record low.

    https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  2. These blogs are coming thick and fast now.

    I must admit to tiring of these incessant calls to lift benefit levels urgently and then portraying the Ardern Government as displaying indifference on the matter. On the one hand, Ardern is mocked for caring too much for people and then on the back of that, ridiculed for not caring enough. Surely people can see why supporting business’s survival during a pandemic must take considerable priority over raising benefit levels again? Most of us would all like benefit levels to be raised again and a living wage of $22.10 an hour be bought in immediately but we’d also like to see a 100% cure for cancer. Just wanting something is not enough.

    I also don’t believe for a moment that a capital gains tax was rejected due to there being no support from the public. I feel that is misrepresenting the reality. Yes, there was a loud well organized vested interest fearmongering campaign regarding the CGT but I’m confident the Government like the rest of us could see that for what it really was. What Winston Peters did however was a completely different matter. Labour more than anyone else knew the importance of a CGT. It was one of their babies. Had they implemented the tax, Winston Peters would have caused mayhem to our democracy and brought the Government to its knees when it had an enormous “to-do” list on the table. That’s a fact. Ardern had to not only take the CGT off the table but she felt compelled to totally negate the very real Peters threat by saying it wouldn’t happen as long as she was PM. She can’t possibly go back on that now. I’m certain that had she known what would happen to NZF and Labour in the 2020 election, she would have toned things down and only ruled out the CGT during that electoral term. The fact she didn’t is a testament to just how seriously she took the Peters threat. I’m 100% that Labour will bring in the CGT but I’m equally certain it won’t be while Ardern is PM.

    I’m really not sure about 4-year electoral terms here. A political party could cause unprecedented carnage during that extra 12 months and all voters could do was standby and helplessly watch it unfold. I don’t have enough confidence in any NZ political parties including Labour to give them longer at the wheel unchecked.

      • Applewood,

        Haha @ “tyranny”.

        Ironic that the word is used very recently by wanker of the month Peter Goodfellow in a desperate attempt to retain the National Party presidency and win support by attacking the despised enemy. Then nek minute you use the word here for the first-ever time.

        Ardern is our PM and she leads the country. That’s a democracy, not tyranny. Learn the difference. You do understand that leaders must make tough calls for the greater good?

      • Applewood,

        tyranny
        /ˈtɪr(ə)ni/
        noun
        cruel and oppressive government or rule.
        “refugees fleeing tyranny and oppression”
        a state under cruel and oppressive government.
        cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.

        • Dictatorship would be a better word…as per Helen Clark’s don’t-oppose-me reign that got so many people pissed off they voted for National.

          Labour have a long history of betrayal and not listening to sound advice going back to the mid-80s, if not before.

          Undoubtedly the betrayal and not listening will continue under Adern.

          That’s a safer bet than any sure-winner in horse racing.

          The other safe bet is continued denial of reality and promotion of Poni schemes that benefit banks and corporations and impoverish both the people and the environment.

          Like the so-called Greens, Labour are worse-than-useless and actively make everything that matters worse.

          All we can say on the positive side about Labour is that National and ACT would make matters worse faster, which is not much of a recommendation.

    • Jacindafan

      Its not just the blogs, it’s also a number of media commentators or journalists too who are questioning the Prime Ministers overwhelming indifference, most especially toward housing.

      We have just had 3 years of a lack of results in a number of areas that Jacinda herself spoke of as bottom lines, the biggest being child poverty, housing, transport infrastructure and NZ First was always the scapegoat for the non achievements. It’s now becoming obvious that its Jacinda who lacks the conviction or courage to change the status quo.

      Expect far more commentary as she drags the chain on changing anything.

      • X-RAY,

        Media commentators and journalists are in desperate need of copy. They’ve had an ongoing tidal wave of “news” to keep their readers and viewers happy for almost the entirety of 2020.

        Now the election is over here and in the States, there is a massive news void to fill.

        We’ve had an astonishing first 10 months of the year which was followed by the aftermath of our landslide election.

      • X-RAY,

        Media commentators and journalists are in desperate need of copy. They’ve had an ongoing tidal wave of “news” to keep their readers and viewers happy for almost the entirety of 2020.

        Now the election is over here and in the States, there is a massive news void to fill.

        We’ve had an astonishing first 10 months of the year which was followed by the aftermath of our landslide election. Despite there only being days since that unfolded we are seeing Ardern being attacked and convicted for being the antichrist because she hasn’t performed miracles fast enough. It’s fucking ridiculous. Calm the fuck down and get real about things.

        • Average house price in Auckland now $1,000,000, under Labours watch. That’s for an average shitter. That is getting real. Unaffordable rents with investors propped up by the tax payer. Private debt escalating. Same old same old. Real enough?

          I have yet to see anything from the past 3 years or the utterances from Jacinda this week gone that says to me Labour are treating housing as a crisis. Crisis was their word in case you forgot! Easy to take the piss in opposition but clueless in government. Aside from extending Nationals state housing infill where is the step change to address this crisis? And how is unaffordable housing supposed to deal with child poverty?

          Investors untouched, the brightline test has a 3rd non compliant, not a single change to encouraging housing speculation since 2018. They appear to not have the guts nor the willpower to do anything but leave the status quo exactly as it is. That is fucked and that is unacceptable!

          We’ll look back on a million as an average price in Auckland by the end of 2021 thinking it was a bargain because our politicians are far too timid and too invested in leaving this mess just the way it is to do anything.

        • What people are expecting JF is some indication that they will at least move in a direction that will benefit all New Zealanders, it wont happen overnight, but true leadership is not portraying that vision through
          empty rhetoric but implementation.
          It can be done, but the majority of citizens also have to be complicit with it and instrumental in enacting that change.

          Norwegians a century ago didn’t like the results of a wealth gap: the hunger and poverty, the crime, elderly friends warehoused or left in isolation, young people without hope of a good job. Norwegians also didn’t like the attitudes that went with inequality: an inclination toward arrogance among higher-income people and the feeling among lower-income people that they were losers defeated by the system.

          Residents in Nordic countries don’t complain about their higher taxes because they clearly benefit from the expenditures. “For their high taxes the Norwegians have gotten overall affluence, stability, opportunity, a high level of services that make life easier

          the Nordic model is a “universal services state” that focuses on poverty alleviation, a robust social safety net, and full employment, with a commitment to work as a central part of their anti-poverty strategy for those who are able.

    • It’s all too little too late @jacindafan, Ardern will be remembered as the PM who on her watch let inequality grow. All the crises she saved us from will become irrelevant when people are literally fighting for their own survival.

    • ” Surely people can see why supporting business’s survival during a pandemic must take considerable priority over raising benefit levels again?”
      Why?
      So that the crumbs will trickle down to the undeserving beneficiaries?

      • Brigid,

        One puts considerable resources into an economy and ensures the cogs keep turning. The other takes considerable resources out. If businesses fail, the economy fails. If the economy fails, there will be NO benefits. Nothing whatsoever to do with trickle-down. This blog is starting to get fucking boring filled with moaners.

      • Providing taxpayer funds to business is a form of a benefit, most of the Country have in one way or another received taxpayer financial support. NZ is alot richer than alot of the populace are aware of. Take a visit to Omaha and have a look at the utter wealth on display and these buildings are holiday homes, or helecoptering in to play a round of golf, then reconcile that with the low income folk who can’t afford to buy a house, this has to change its simply not fare the way the economic cake is distributed.
        Always that smug feeling when you and yours a doing well , stuff the lazy bums collecting a benefit, right.

        • “NZ is alot richer than alot of the populace are aware of”.

          @Paul. I heard recently of evidence – some recent social research – that indicated only 10% of people in AONZ have net wealth over $50K, ie, debt free + savings. I wish I had the link to support this. I was a bit surprised. But if it is the case, the vast majority are not wealthy. Although 50K is not an insignificant amount. So concentrated in the top 10%, a good many of whom wouldn’t consider themsleves all that wealthy. Probally boomers with a mortage free house and kiwi saver. Granted, some may well have a holiday home at Omaha, or some other such place, but more likely to be a fraction of those 10%ers, and by the look of the flasher places there, more likely to be 1%ers.

  3. IMO every single politician of any/all parties need to “spend” minimally 3 months on a benefit or superannuation, with no access to all the perks of parliamentary life. They will never impose such a constraint on themselves because they KNOW THEY COULDN’T MANAGE!!

    Regardless of “colour”, I’ve not a shred of respect for any of them – & most certainly NOT JACINDA ARDERN! As I posted earlier on this blog, as far as I’m concerned, she is all SHOW & NO GO!

    The COVID-19 “issue’ is (putting it plainly) simply BS. Medical professionals with far more knowledge than the DG of Health have perspectives on COVID-19 that are at great variance from than of Dr Bloomfield. There is much information re this available on the Internet – not hard to find. As a (retd) NZRN I am disgusted with the nonsense of the “management” of what is a mild form of the flu.

    The “wearing” of masks is actually dangerous to the health of those who “wear” them – plentiful info about that too on the Internet.

    • Yes I am all for this, I was tired long ago of Ardern’s hand wringing about kids in poverty and doing zilch about it, we need to do it now. 60 organisations ask for it and I think her response was ‘we will double the energy payment next year again’…. this should be means tested, those on a Green card who are over 65 should get it but many of us do not need it.

      INCREASE BENEFITS NOW, WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO TO GET THIS TO HAPPEN!

    • Oh for heaven’s sake, get off your endlessly repeated Covid-19 conspiracy theories. They are rubbish as is plain to see with the obvious evidence of international comparisons. Thank God you are a retired NZRN! One can only guess what carnage you would create in a medical practice, with a know-all attitude that is doubtlessly based on medical knowledge from the times of blood-letting and arsenic based treatments. As for citing the internet as an authority on anything, the average school-kid could set you straight on that delusion.

  4. The PM has to square this particular conundrum.

    She is bound to the commitments she has made to the electorate, as indeed she should be. That is the basis of her mandate. She has said she wants a fairer society and to deal with child poverty. She needs to do these two things while maintaining a responsible fiscal and borrowing policy, though obviously there is debate on where the limits are. If she throws fiscal prudence out, then the she can’t achieve a fairer society.

    In my view that means she can’t deliver nearly to the extent that the Child Poverty Action Group wanted, specifically the level of increase in benefits. Some increase, yes, but not to the extent wanted by the Action Group report. It seems to me another $25 in the basic benefit would be possible in the next budget, but it is unlikely that level of increase could be done each year.

    The government’s fiscal plan already show it is getting to the top end of responsible debt levels (about 60% of GDP) within 3 years or so. Labour historically finds it hard to be a strict budget manager, that requires saying “no” a lot. In a 10 year economic cycle the govt has to have a plan to get back to surplus during the cycle which means some constraint on spending is necessary. And in the in the middle of a recession, increasing taxes beyond what is already committed, would only lengthen the recession and also breach a core campaign promise.

    Now that Labour is a majority government it is clear they are already facing a deluge of demands of more spending. Most of the demands, certainly beyond existing campaign commitments, can’t be done. Constant demands for evermore spending will lead to disappointment. Those making them bought to have some regard for the conundrum the government is in. It is unrealistic to expect the government to break major campaign commitments and fiscal limits. Those are debates for the next election cycle.

    • I don’t wish to appear rude, but where have you been living for the past 40 years? Not in the same country as me because I really cannot remember any politician being committed to anything significant or following through with what they pronounced during election campaigns, and to me your comment

      ‘She is bound to the commitments she has made to the electorate, as indeed she should be. That is the basis of her mandate.’

      borders on the surreal.

      Much more likely is the ‘good intentions but sorry, such and such has happened since we were elected, so we can’t’ style of government.

      • You need to distinguish between major commitments and the general run of policy in which there is a lot of discretion.

        Quite clearly Jacinda is not going to introduce a wealth tax, a CGT, or anything similar. She is also only going to increase income tax to 39% for those earning over $180,000. These were specific and major campaign commitments and she will stick to them.

        Obviously she has lots of flexibility to do different things, in say housing, benefit levels, environment and many other things.

        However, the reality is that over the last 20 years it is quite clear politicians don’t depart from their major campaign commitments . The public know this, and take it into account with their vote.

  5. Excellent Post @ CR.
    You write:
    “…while earning $471,000 per annum as Prime Minister, Jacinda said that benefits had already been raised $25 a week, citing that as a ‘substantial increase’… ”
    That says it all right there.
    Re rogue shitting? I take a small folding shovel in the car because I’ve had some terrifying close calls.
    I mean c’mon arseholes? No one wants to see or stand in your poo so bury it for fucks sake!? Are you dumber than a kitten?
    You also write:
    “…Research NZ reports this week that New Zealanders have a 90% level of confidence in our democratic system….”
    That’s because 90% of AO/NZ’ers have no fucking idea what’s going on within their democracy and likely have no clue as to what a democracy is or can even spell the word.
    If people actually knew how important it was to maintain their fragile democracy there’d be a correspondingly higher voter turn out when in fact most AO/NZ people who qualify to vote don’t bother. Therefore I’d call bullshit on Research NZ’s research.
    The real and darker and more alarming reason why AO/NZ’s politicians can’t suddenly eradicate child poverty, homelessness and fix the many and various scourges that a lack of money inflicts upon us living on our beautiful and bountiful AO/NZ is because we’re an agrarian primary industry export economy that’s been pillaged mercilessly for generations and generations and the people behind the pirating of our financial resources must now get away with their crimes. They can’t afford to have any politician suddenly come up with pots of dough when the aforementioned crooks have been telling us for years that there’s no money left in the kitty for hungry kids born to the working classes. ( Because it’s all in my pockets suckers! )
    Look? How can I be more clear?
    What’s the definition of madness? To keep doing the same thing yet expecting a different result. That’s what Albert Einstein reckoned anyway.
    All you fabulous, well intended people, you included @ Christine Rose, keep pondering the same conundrum by using the same flawed logic foisted on you by crooks to ensure you keep coming up to the same dead end.
    We’re a tiny, highly educated and talented population on a huge and rich country and what we produce is vital to human survival and we’re broke as fuck.
    That, should be the focus of any government and all of us since, y’know? Democracy an’ that, but it isn’t.
    Set aside the poverty, homelessness, absurd house prices, the outrageous prices we pay for what were our resources and infrastructure and instead focus on where our money’s gone, and is going as I write and who’s got it?
    Speaking of mysteries? Where’s ron brierly these days? The last I heard the ‘titan of industry’ as The Listener once described him as seems to have vanished along with his arrest details relating to all that kiddy porn the Aussies found on his lap top as he was heading to Fiji recently?
    And have you heard of this guy?
    Rutger Bergman. ( He was the guy who nailed tucker carlson of Fox New’s arse to the floor. )
    Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash
    https://youtu.be/ydKcaIE6O1k
    Tucker Carlson Blows Up at Rutger Bregman in Unaired Fox News Interview
    https://youtu.be/6_nFI2Zb7qE

  6. I suggest they raise the benefit level again as soon as they can as the $25 increase is not enough with housing costs continually rising, but in the meant time they can give additional food grants as they have done this before and they can do this again. Us tax payers are paying for people to return home(quarantine cost) and I would like to see a break down of this as this is not sustainable nor is it fair. Too many people were given a backdoor into our country through dodgy educational courses and we are paying for this very destructive policy benefitting who exactly ?

    • Yes, but it’s pointless raising benefits and food grants while housing becomes more precarious and rents continue to rise – totally negating any benefit, or even any wage, increases. The defining action of the first Labour government was state housing. What’s the defining action of this so-called Labour government going to be?

  7. “It’s not the length of the electoral term that is stopping the delivery of change – or even incremental steps on the inevitably long path to ‘transformation’; it’s political timidity, a perceived voter constraint, the business limits to the ‘art of the possible’”.

    You’re not wrong there Christine. But there’s more. Ironically, the root of this inaction is the very act of decision-making. Alternative metaphors are needed. That’s if if we are to believe that the metaphors we live by guide (or some would say, determine) our thinking and our actions. Ecological metaphors not those predicated on natural selection and competition. Example: We could learn from fungi.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018763737/merlin-sheldrake-the-mind-bending-majesty-of-the-fungal-kingdom

    No, not bizarre. Or substance enhanced. If we can devise social and political systems predicated on Darwinian theories of natural selection and competition (thereby providing many of the metaphors we live by), why not alternatives that highlight the inter-connectedness of nature (and our integral connection to nature), new ways of thinking that change the way we, as a human species, and collectively as humanity, see the world we inhabit, make decisions and ultimately act.

    No doubt all been said before.

  8. – The Act Party are for small government
    – The Labour Party are for big government

    What’s the point of big government if it won’t respond? Act is winning the battle – with no shots fired either!

    • What battle have Act won? If i was act I would enjoy the next 3 years cause they will be back to one next election once the dummies who voted for them realise how ineffectual they are.

  9. I surgest Jacinda sit on a shore line over xmas and think how she can move the needle on “climate change” whcih she has seemed to abandon of late.

    Jacinda intrroduced ‘Climate Change’ into our consious mind, when she ran her first ‘public speech’ in the 2017 Auckland town Hall; – so she must abide by her promise to fight against “her generations Nuclear Moment” and lower ojr appauling high transport emissions of trucks, trucks, and more trucks and bring back ‘rail freight’ before the beach she is sitting on will disapear.

    Time is short jacinda.
    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2011/S00102/ceac-call-on-government-take-climate-change-action-now-as-time-is-short.htm

    Climate Change Action Now As Time Is Short
    Thursday, 12 November 2020, 10:14 am
    Press Release: Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre
    ‘As this latest study proves all coastal cities will suffer from increased rainfall amounts as Hurricanes/cyclones stay stronger longer after landfall than in past’.

    A new study finds that hurricanes are staying stronger longer after striking land than they did decades ago, and that means more destruction inland

    Hurricane Staying Power

    Hurricanes are keeping their staying power longer once they make landfall, spreading more inland destruction, according to a new study.

    Warmer ocean waters from climate change are likely making hurricanes lose power more slowly after landfall, because they act as a reserve fuel tank for moisture, the study found. With Hurricane Eta threatening Florida and the Gulf Coast in a few days, the study’s lead author warned of more damage away from the coast than in the past.

    The new study looked at 71 Atlantic hurricanes with landfalls since 1967. It found that in the 1960s, hurricanes declined two-thirds in wind strength within 17 hours of landfall. But now it generally takes 33 hours for storms to weaken that same degree, according to a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

    “This is a huge increase ” study author Pinaki Chakraborty, a professor of fluid dynamics at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan. “There’s been a huge slowdown in the decay of hurricanes.”

    Hurricane Florence which in 2018 caused $24 billion in damage, took nearly 50 hours to decay by nearly two-thirds after making landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Chakraborty said. Hurricane Hermine in 2016 took more than three days to lose that much power after hitting Florida’s Apalachee Bay.

    As the world warms from human-caused climate change, inland cities like Atlanta should see more damage from future storms that just won’t quit, Chakraborty said.

    “If their conclusions are sound, which they seem to be, then at least in the Atlantic, one could argue that insurance rates need to start going up and building codes need to be improved … to compensate for this additional wind and water destructive power reaching farther inland,” said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, who wasn’t part of the study.

    powered by Rubicon Project
    There’s less study of what hurricanes do once they make landfall than out at sea, so Chakraborty said he was surprised when he saw a noticeable trend in decay taking longer. Before he started the study, Chakraborty said he figured the decline in power shouldn’t change over the years even with man-made climate change, because storms tend to lose strength when cut off from warm water that fuels them.

    It stops going, like a car that runs out of gas, he said.

    But hurricanes aren’t running out of gas as much, especially in the last 25 years when the trend accelerated, Chakraborty said. To find out why, he charted the ocean temperature near where the hurricane had traveled and found it mirrored the decay trend on land.

    Researchers then simulated hurricanes that were identical except for water temperature. Seeing the warmer water storms decayed slower, they reached their conclusion: The trend showing a slowdown of hurricane decay resulted from warmer ocean water temperatures, caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

    “That’s an amazing signal that they found,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate and hurricane scientist Jim Kossin, who wasn’t part of the study but did review it for the journal Nature.

    This study joins previous studies, many by Kossin, that show tropical systems are slowing down more, wetter, moving more toward the poles — and that the strongest hurricanes are getting stronger.

    “The postcard East coast sunshine City of Napier” just showed how devastating massive rain fall can cause such damage in such a short time.

    We must have this term of Government take climate change action now not in the future as climate change is here now.

    • I believe you are referring to Planetary Overheating or Planetary Meltdown when you write about Climate Change…a semi-meaningless term, since change could be for the better, i.e. fewer storms, fewer torrential rain episode, fewer droughts etc.

      The Guardian stopped using the term Climate Change a year or so ago and now refers to it as overheating…a far better descriptor but still not as accurate as meltdown.

      With practically all governments around the world promoting population increase and increased economic activity it is a given that the rate of meltdown will increase.

      Don’t you just love it when some clown of a politician talks about the ‘need’ to balance environmental concerns with the need for economic growth’, and promptly put a tonne of coal on one side of the scales and a feather on the other.

      “Until you change the way money works, you change nothing.” – Mike Ruppert.

  10. The government acted quick in its last term to outlaw guns and there buy back . It was rushed and poorly targeted and made criminals out of otherwise law abiding farmers. The current spat of shootings showed there are plenty of weapons out there in the wrong hands. I am not saying gun control was not needed but it does show if there is a will a government can act even if it was not in their mandate

  11. Good description of the status quo, thank you.

    Generally, the political elites in AONZ, as presented through the parties in parliament, do lack
    – systemic understanding,
    – consultative public structures,
    – utilization of professional and academic knowledge available in institutions, and, subsequently,
    – coherent political frameworks.

    In this regard there is hardly any difference between Labour and National, and differences to others are minuscule.

    “Governing” appears as a more-or-less accidental collection of ad-hoc events and measures, primarily responding to day-to-day media, and is highly intertwined with administrative, bureaucratic management.

    Neo-liberal theory (“the private sector knows best”) provides the stage for selective shadow-boxing, related PR in streamlined media, and keeps the back free of individual responsibility and tangible decision-making.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF6Bo-IPPiQ
    Theory of Change.

    Driver blind-folded.
    Driving seat already occupied by A/B/CNZ.
    GPS only used for America’s Cup.

    • Nash is acknowledging that our tourism is for the rich only, so is our house building, our immigration bringing in workers and cheap compliant foreigners to make the fat cats richer.

  12. Increasing benefits and food grants will do zilch unless something is done to control the rampant housing and rental market. And it’s insulting. Landlords just keep increasing rents and property speculators know they can continue to trade in residential property and not get pinged on capital gain.
    The defining policy of the first Labour government was State housing. The defining policy of this Labour government is BAU. Timid. Don’t frighten the horses.
    It’s cowardly, bereft of vision. and as a lifelong Labour voter I’m over it.

  13. Government seems to have failed to keep up with service levels to consumers.

    Why bother with quality service, when government is constantly giving industry free money and decades of bringing in low wage, non income migrants and give them benefits too. Service levels and productivity under this model has not kept up with the modern world.

    Briscoes customer waits five hours on hold to cancel order – then takes action
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12343620

    Airlines get huge taxpayer bail out but government didn’t think protecting consumers was worth anything.

    Aka Not delivering a service but refusing to refund money is normal in NZ https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/121913342/virgin-australia-tells-customers-with-cancelled-flights-it-cant-give-refunds-or-credit…. unlike other jurisdictions https://www.caa.co.uk/News/UK-Civil-Aviation-Authority-reviewing-airline-refunds/

    Legal power scams in NZ not allowed in other countries…
    Way to be cleared for big electricity players to prey on low-income households
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/102708888/way-to-be-cleared-for-big-electricity-players-to-prey-on-lowincome-households

    NZ Power Companies are not even Compliant under EU and US Laws!
    https://ecotricity.co.nz/nz-powercos-noncompliant-under-eu-us-rules/?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=Non+Compliant+Blog+Release&utm_medium=paid&hsa_cam=6116002037136&hsa_src=%5BSITE_SOURCE_NAME%5D&hsa_acc=10152756314334928&hsa_ver=3&hsa_net=facebook&hsa_grp=6116002037536&hsa_ad=6116002037936&fbclid=IwAR0PwZmsmg8Q1b-aevcUijRowgavgNNT36_46yPRedul03imfWS6dSHLapc

    Rio Tinto waste – just throw your hazardous waste in the local towns – years of meetings, no action.
    https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/southland/mataura-asks-govt-act

    Don’t expect the environmental protection agency to act to protect the environment, too busy suing Greenpeace.

    Our environment courts means it is near impossible to stop any poor decisions on the community and fighting poor consents is could be a hundred thousand charge to anyone challenging, who will not win. In the unlikely event someone does win in environment court, the industry/developer just puts the application back in environment court slightly changed (sometimes worse as a Fuck-You) and knows they unlikely to see another expensive, time-consuming challenge.

  14. Government loves giving out handouts. A few examples of the wage subsidy in action from the food industry –

    AMASIAN LIMITED 5 $32,318.40 16/04/2020
    EUROASIA LIMITED 11 $51,859.20 16/04/2020
    ASIAN KAI LIMITED 4 $22,459.20 16/04/2020
    ASIAN TAKEWAY LTD 3 $18,259.20 16/04/2020
    ACTIVE ASIA LIMITED 9 $60,436.80 16/04/2020

    SKM SUPERMARKET LIMITED 7 $49,207.20 16/04/2020
    METRO SUPERMARKET LIMITED 71 $482,124.00 16/04/2020
    Y & Z SUPERMARKET LIMITED 13 $88,555.20 16/04/2020
    ALPINE SUPERMARKET LIMITED 37 $245,947.20 16/04/2020
    PAIHIA SUPERMARKET LIMITED 13 $74,407.20 16/04/2020

    MIN & HWANG 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    ZHENAI WANG 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    WANG 1979 LTD 4 $28,118.40 16/04/2020
    K F & L C WANG 3 $18,259.20 16/04/2020
    MR ZHISHU WANG 6 $30,859.20 16/04/2020

    KWON THAI 6 $36,518.40 16/04/2020
    ITHAI LIMITED 34 $205,051.20 16/04/2020
    THAI LAGOON LTD 14 $72,948.00 16/04/2020
    SO THAI LIMITED 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    JAITHAI LIMITED 9 $57,607.20 16/04/2020

    ZINDIA LIMITED 7 $49,207.20 16/04/2020
    INDIA GATE LIMITED 4 $25,288.80 16/04/2020
    INDIAN SOUL LIMITED 11 $71,666.40 16/04/2020
    INDIA TODAY LIMITED 12 $64,548.00 16/04/2020
    CURRY INDIA LIMITED 4 $19,629.60 16/04/2020

    TOURISMHQ LIMITED 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    GM TOURISM LIMITED 5 $26,659.20 16/04/2020
    HY TOURISM LIMITED 7 $49,207.20 16/04/2020
    GP TOURISM LIMITED 4 $25,288.80 16/04/2020
    AIS TOURISM LIMITED 8 $56,236.80 16/04/2020

    KOREANA RESTAURANT 6 $30,859.20 16/04/2020
    KOREANA CO. LIMITED 6 $42,177.60 16/04/2020
    CALVARY KOREAN CHURCH 3 $18,259.20 16/04/2020
    HANSANG KOREAN BBQ LIMITED 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    KOREAN NOODLE SHOP LIMITED 4 $25,288.80 16/04/2020

    Nice to see NZ taxpayers bailing out low wage sunset industries….

    Who knew takeaways were so important to the NZ economy but I guess when ‘chefs’ have been our essential skills for years now, it can also explain our obesity levels and low productivity.

    Don’t worry when the subsidy ends, migrant temp workers can sign onto the dole too.

    Benefits for migrant workers to match standard dole rate
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/431197/benefits-for-migrant-workers-to-match-standard-dole-rate

    What I can’t understand is why the temp workers are not taking the jobs that industry is crying out to fill, like horticulture?

    Meanwhile bills just keep coming in,
    Managed isolation, quarantine costing $2.4m a day, figures show.

        • Now our NZ slaver employers are not even getting NZ’s resident temp migrants to pick Mr Heap’s courgettes because they can all sign onto the dole like ordinary citizens and not have to work here.

          Therefore industry will demand more overseas temp migrants to fill the ‘shortages’ and their numerous dependants to come into NZ and take up residency, housing and welfare and keep the ponzi going.

          NZ formally first world, but now galloping into a nation with millions in poverty, low wages for formally well paid jobs and low productivity.

  15. Firstly Labour have not been the workers party for some time now, secondly what happens when the workers have no work or not enough work. (hours of work)

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