The Choice: Giving Up, Or Keeping Hope Alive? The neoliberal spin at The Spinoff

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DECIDING whether Bernard Hickey or Megan Woods deserves a big fat raspberry is the task I’ve set myself. To understand why, I’m afraid you’ll have to visit The Spinoff website (a trial, I know, but there’s no other way) and read their respective contributions. (Spoiler Alert: Bernard gives up all hope for a better future,   while Megan struggles to keep hope alive.  ) What are they arguing about? Housing supply and affordability – what else! Is there a clear winner? No. Neither of the protagonists offers much in the way of convincing answers. Even so, after considerable cogitation, I’ve decided that the big fat raspberry should be blown at Bernard. Self-flagellation, middle-class guilt, and a gutless capitulation to the status-quo is a pretty ghastly combination – but Bernard pulls it off.

At the root of Bernard’s despair lies his inability to think outside the market square. Like so many of his generation he drank deeply of the neoliberal Kool-Aid, and it left him with a permanent aversion to left-wing ideas. Being born and raised in rural Waikato (New Zealand’s equivalent of Alabama) wouldn’t have helped. Nor would his decision to become a financial journalist. (You don’t find many Marxists on the world’s business pages!) It does, however, explain why, when confronted with the irrefutable evidence of the markets’ failure, Bernard flounders in ideological and moral confusion. Like those poor old codgers who invested all their intellectual and emotional capital in the Soviet Union, he had nowhere to turn when reality laid his ideology low.

Conveniently missing from Bernard’s history of the Neoliberal Era in New Zealand is any reference to Jim Anderton’s Alliance. Now, he would no doubt object that he was out of the country for most of the 1990s – earning the big bucks in Australia and Europe. But that’s the whole point. People like Bernard bade their country farewell at the first opportunity. All that free education and health care, all that social security: the tens-of-thousands of dollars invested in him by his fellow citizens; it all went to foreigners. If all the Bernards and Bernadettes of the 1980s and 90s had thrown in their lot with Anderton and his followers, the tragic failures detailed in Hickey’s Spinoff post might have been avoided. But Bernard and his ilk sneered at Anderton and the Alliance. The Left were economic Neanderthals. Losers.

Which is why, even now, with the evidence of neoliberalism’s failure all around him, the best advice Bernard can offer young New Zealanders is to do what he did. Leave their country to its fate. Run away. Refuse to stand and fight for a future worth living in. Abandon ship. Abandon hope.

Gutless.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

But he’s not alone. Something tells me that a great many young New Zealanders remain secret adherents of the debunked mythology of free market forces. That underneath all that lovely woke window-dressing (which Bernard buys into with his guilt-ridden confessions about “endowments”) lies a disreputable grab-bag of neoliberal assumptions about how economies work, and, perhaps more importantly, about why economies run along any other lines won’t work. With a guilty thrill, Generations X and Y will own up to being racists and sexists – but not socialists. At least, not the sort of socialists who refuse to be guided by properly credentialed professionals and managers.

How I wish this country possessed a playwright of Edward Albee’s skill. Someone who could give us our very own version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. A dramatist with the ability to peel back all the layers of posturing political rectitude and fashionable self-criticism until we are able, finally, to look upon the hard-boned determination of those who “have”, to make sure that nothing of theirs is wasted on those who “have not”. To see the grinning neoliberal skull beneath the superficial “progressive” smile.

Not that Housing Minister Megan Woods vouchsafes too many smiles these days – progressive or otherwise. These days Megan’s more into frowns. The earnest frowns of the political realist who knows that there is no simple or quick fix to New Zealand’s housing crisis. The stoical frown of the left-wing politician who yet remains unflinching in her determination to keep on doing what she can with what she’s got.

The problem, of course, is that what Megan’s got is a bunch of Labour people whose view of “practical economics” is not that far removed from Bernard’s. I’m pretty sure that Megan – who did join the Alliance and did battle against the forces of neoliberalism – would like nothing more than to initiate a full-scale mobilisation of the state’s resources to build, build, build and build some more. Build until, at last, the supply of houses exceeds the demand, and – horror of horrors! – the upward curve in the price of housing flattens-out and – yes! – commences a slow but unmistakeable decline.

Frustrated? I’m sure Megan is incredibly frustrated. Angry? That too, undoubtedly. But for all the obstacles placed before her; for all the stupid and unhelpful decisions of her colleagues; for all the carefully rehearsed talking-points prepared for her by overpaid former journalists who should be ashamed of themselves; Megan Woods is still fighting. Still hoping for a better tomorrow.

Unlike Bernard, Megan hasn’t given up.

So, a big fat raspberry for Mr Hickey. And for Megan a gentle (but no less sincere for being just a little bit muted) round of applause.

 

67 COMMENTS

  1. Okay, I accept Hickey had become uncontrollably lost for hope with property prices but he’s right to.

    Woods on the other hand is a demonstration in futility. Keep tinkering so as not to upset the 1980’s financial God’s that Labour are enslaved to and wonder why housing prices are continuing their skyward trajectory. A rat chasing her tail.

    Labour have failed miserably with housing and are a lost cause. In fact all our politicians have, none deserve a vote. They are so thick skinned they cannot see the damage the housing market is doing to this country because most are embedded in ownership. A massive conflict of interest, the light of them.

    I cannot see housing doing anything other than reaching a point where few can afford to buy or sell, let alone rent.

    And from there on it gets nasty for this place.

    Still, Real Estate agents suffering won’t be a bad thing!

  2. Anyone born after 1984 is the spawn of “Rogernomics”, whether they are bogan boy racers or woke millennials. An obvious example is how they are suspicious of unions and usually don’t join them.

    • Same at my workplace Mr(s) Pineapples. Millenials have BLM stickers on their doors, but I don’t see many of them at union meetings.

  3. I really think you people at DB have completely lost the plot.

    The planet is super-heated….43oC in northern Washington state and nearly 50oC in Canada.

    The Jet Streams are buggered because of excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Lake Mead (behind the Hoover Dam) is at by far the lowest level since it was constructed, and is falling fast.

    Grain stocks i the US are down by 50% since March.

    And no mention of any of it on TDB because all you people want to talk about is irrelevant trivia.

    Hope? That was gone the day the phony NZ Climate Commission generated bullshit as a strategy…and then went on to reiterate bullshit when challenged!

    At least a few people are awake, and I hear a group of lawyers are challenging the veracity of Climate Commission report and its recommendations because they completely fail to meet the fake targets the CC is supposedly working towards (and do zilch to address anything that actually needs to be addressed).

    Not that it’s going to matter much because it is now clear that the globalised economic system -founded on covert fraud and perpetuated by overt fraud- won’t last more than another year or so.

    • Not only can we not say socialism we can’t even implement some of its policies. It’s not just words. There is no action. By far the most important issue is climate change but there is very serious problems of our own to solve before we can move on and tidy up other people’s problems. Kids are having fainting fits at school because they’re fucken starving and people are being thrown out on the streets because there’s no affordable housing and we’ll foreigners will just have to weight to we can clean up our own backyard. Our ideas that we argue over could help things it wouldn’t be a revolution bit we aren’t going to have one tomorrow.

      Now what’s going on with climate change kiwi style and we’ll we have 100% opposition from all opposition party’s and your here blaming us and The Daily Blog. Now Jacinda is making the same mistake and what is that mistake it’s standing up for the Muslim community and trans rights with the least amount of increased funding that national will allow but I’m going to continue pushing the broader mistake.

      It’s a tactical mistake of the highest order to look down on The Daily Blog harder thannyou would look down on the National Party.

      How can you say things about us like that?

      How can you be minimally decent?

      And well you have to create an environment in which Jacinda is not blamed for a crises she did not manufacture.

      And yes you should fight hard to get the policies you want and The National Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has put a red line through it and that is we can not touch farming and housing and the recline is you can’t takeaway farming subsidies and you can’t touch the massively avoided tax system so I will discuss ways in which lefties can fuck with it.

    • Frankly, AFKTT, I’m over your constant doom-saying. As if the readers of TDB don’t know what is happening to their planet. How could we not? You tell us often enough!

      The problem lies in the space between what people know and what people have the power to do.

      NZ contributes just 0.17 percent of global warming. Nothing we decide to do here matters. What China decides to do matters. What the US decides to do matters. And we have no control over what they decide to do.

      In the meantime, we still have to go on living. People still need jobs and homes and schools and hospitals and transport to and from, and all the other things that make up a human-being’s existence. If those things aren’t being provided, or are being provided unjustly, then of course we should think about it, write about it, talk about it, and, hopefully, try and do something about it.

      But you, AFKTT: you appear to think that we should all just sit down, throw back our heads, and howl like demented wolves at the awfulness of it all. As if that will help.

      As for me, I’ll just go on doing the dishes and putting my little house in order, ready for the morning. Until the morning doesn’t come.

      What else is there to do?

      • “What else is there to do? ”
        Well…
        @ CT. An analogy springs to mind… One teacher can educate a classroom full of kids.
        And once educated, those kids can, one by one, spread their knowledge to others still. Could AO/NZ come to a position of being a teacher to the global kidult’s still mesmerised by the exploitative nature of democratic-capitalist consumerism?
        Could we become educators in democratic-socialist consumerism?
        One were we all chip in to ensure we have a basic infrastructure of services and amenities and perhaps most importantly, time from ‘work’ to enjoy or otherwise exploit our glorious time on our Planet?
        The problem with the so called ‘freedoms’ within a capitalist democracy is that the capitalists themselves can influence the outcomes of any education to set up a supply chain of politely enslaved minions distracted by twinkle-sparkle baubles. The delightful term ‘mortgage’ is worthy of closer inspection, for example.
        noun
        noun: mortgage; plural noun: mortgages
        a legal agreement by which a bank, building society, etc. lends money at interest in exchange for taking title of the debtor’s property, with the condition that the conveyance of title becomes void upon the payment of the debt.
        “The term comes from Old French, and Latin before that, to literally mean ‘death pledge.’”
        So. How many banksters do you know who will tell you that your nice new ‘mortgage’ of say the current medium house price of $820,000.00 can never be paid off and you will likely die in debt.
        If we AO/NZ’ers deal with, what I’d describe as a mafioso entrapment device set by the banksters, we could educate the world in not only avoiding such inanities swindled on us by crooks laundering debt into real estate but how to simply get out of something that’ll haunt you beyond the grave.
        We must become a socialist democracy and then we must crush the banksters and in so doing we can show the world a way to live well without debt.
        As we once did. Remember the 40 hr week? Remember social welfare? Remember women demanding then getting the vote? ( An in so doing, depriving the bankster of unpaid labour in households burdened by mortgages?
        AO/NZ has as powerful a voice as anyone and I think we should use it to reach the global audience.

      • Hello Chris
        I like your outlook on this. I think the best thing we can do right now is to make NZ function properly, because it’s not. Once that’s all done, we can waste our time and money on the 0.17percent global pollution issue. We need housing for everyone (at all costs!), much better infrastructure and we need to build wealth (like Norway who did it with oil, yes oil!) and we need to our food production becasue it makes us heaps of money. The lefties will simply refuse to accept that without such wealth, we will go down the ladder fast and join Chand and Mali. Why do you think we are a the bottom of the vaccine list? Because we are not a seed player – we are journeymen. Doesn’t matter how ‘holier than thou’ we become about saving the planet, even we are the gold medal winning world leader at fighting carbon (the costs of which will bankrupt all of us, but the poor mostly) who would care? Because China, the USA, Russia and India will fuck the planet anyway with billions of humans creating billions of tonnes of carbon. Yay, we can all hold hands and burn up as we sing “we are champions” as we evaporate. New Zealand is not a dirty place or a polluter of any note, but boy, we are made to feel so! Everyday! Like we are the most guilty…Kiwis fucked the planet! People like our friend AFKTT are suffering from extreme guilt when they shouldn’t.

      • There used to be such bas thing as leadership in NZ, as per Lange challenging the activities of nuclear powers and their testing of weapons in the Pacific.

        Now, there is no leadership, just a bunch of ‘nothing we can do’ business-as-usual acolytes, as per your ‘NZ contributes just 0.17 percent of global warming’ response to what I wrote.

        Well, actually, NZ per PER CAPITA emissions are appallingly high because we have an appallingly high per capita dependence on fossil fuels..

        And the reason China’s overall emissions are so high is because we have outsourced a huge portion of our emissions to them by getting them to make the vast majority of the goods sold in NZ. When you look at the population and the actual domestic emissions, China is doing far better than NZ (or any other western nation).

        There is plenty NZ can do…like last minute preparations for the grim future that is no longer on the horizon but is now staring us in the face.

        But the non-leadership of this country isn’t even prepared to do that and carries on with the utterly ridiculous pretence that business-as-usual is possible beyond 2022.

        It is bizarre beyond belief, but is symptomatic of the 12-year-old level of thinking that characterises both politicians and bureaucrats.

        And by not crucifying the politicians for their continuing outrageous level of inaction on the crucial issues of the times, you condone their inaction, Chris.

        • It’s only high per capita because we export animal food stuff. Our power generation is clean by world standard (certainly to that of China) but we are let down by our road transport (lacking in fuel efficiency and not enough hybrid or electric).

          • If you think that hydropower is clean you are grossly misinformed.

            A major contributor to Planetary Meltdown is the cement industry, and of course all the transporting of construction materials via diesel-powered vehicles.

            What is more, the construction and maintenance of the electrical grid is a fossil-fuel-dependent activity. All the materials and the transport have a monstrous CO2 debt, which increases by the day.

            As for ‘windmills’ well forget it!

            They are also a subset of the fossil fuel sector, and require huge inputs of fossil fuel energy in their construction and maintenance. And they tend to fail, just when you need them most, as both Germany and Texas have discovered. Cold weather an no wind. Shit, what do we do now? ramp up coal burning to stop people freezing to death.

            Of in the case of Texas, stop delivering electricity and let them freeze to death (or kill themselves via carbon monoxide poisoning from operation of stationary vehicles. But you won’t hear anything about that from happy-clappy TVNZ and other proponents of outrageous consumption levels.

            It’s the same with all the cars being driven around covered in [deceitful] slogans declaring ‘Zero Emissions’. Sure, the emissions are very low at the point of use.

            But what about the humungous amount of fossil fuel energy that goes into the construction of such vehicles -all that copper and lithium- and the fact that NZ burns fossil fuels to make electricity?

            So, “It’s al bullshit, and it’s bad for you” -reiterating what George Carlin said many years ago.

            It’s so bad for you that your progeny won’t have a habitable planet to live on in a few decades (at best) and if you are under the age of 70 you are likely to suffer the dire consequences of the operation of the loot-and-pollute economy operating for such a long time; not onky are we suffering Planetary Meltdown, but we are also suffering energy depletion, and we are suffering collapse of the natural systems that support life on this planet.

            But don’t expect any politician or economist or banker to admit any of that.

            Expect yet more lies, centred on “a better, brighter future”, and lies centred on “Climate Change is our ‘nuclear free moment” whilst at the same time polices that make everything worse faster are promoted. Because NZ is not a country -its a business, run by politicians and bureaucrats, with the sole objective of keeping the bankers (or as CB would say, the banksters) Ponzi shceme going just a little bit longer, whatever the cost, even if it means extinction of the humans species….as pointed out by the Secretary General of the UN a couple of months ago.

            What is REALLY INTERESTING is that every local council in the country is in breach of the Local Government Act (2002, revised 2012, and revised again 2019) because none of them are planning for the actual future.

            But ‘nobody cares’. There happy [in the very short term] as long as they’ve got Neflix or coporatised sport, or motor racing, or woke activism, or whatever else keeps them from thinking about anything that matters.

            Lake Mead dropped a bit more yesterday. And the CO2 burden of the increased a bit more.

            Just waiting for the fires to start in California; a few weeks to got till the furnace teaches peak temperature -usually August.

            No one knows how much methane is erupting from the permafrosts of Siberia and Canada, now that temperatures bhave gone ‘off the scale’. And no one knows whether the methane clathrates in the Arctic region have been destablised. once they erupt, it will be all over in a matter of a few years.

            So what’s the plan? Keep burning fossil fuels for purely trivial reasons and destabilise the methane clathrates, of course!

      • And by the way Chris, since when has telling the truth become ‘doom-saying’?

        It is a clear demonstration of a failed argument (and a failed arguer) to make an ad hominem attack instead of addressing the issue raised

        • What’s the fucken issue mate? Here the issue is about hopium. The drug of the naive and charlatans.

          I don’t even think you relies how you’re fucking yourself.

        • Rather tired of this silly “we are only small” argument. There are probably another 100 small nations like us, and if we all use that dumb “our contribution doesn’t matter” argument, our total contribution put together will in fact be significant enough to make us all fear the Day of Judgement, should it ever happen.
          Sometimes I hope it will. But that silly God idea that men made up would have to be real then, wouldn’t it?

      • Yeah. AFKKT makes the odd good point but overall, saying that “When industrial civilization collapses, we can go back to self-sufficiency/back to the land” is not really a plan. So . . . 1.6 million Aucklanders are going to become farmers in Pukekohe? Guess what, there are already farmers in Pukekohe.

      • “people still need jobs and homes …”
        No they don’t Chris.
        What they need, primarily,is food clothing and shelter.
        And the most sustainable way for people to get those things, proven by thousands of years of experience is by WORKING THE LAND.
        It is the shame of the Left that they did not devote more time and energy to ensuring that the people gained access to the land.
        But now it is too late.
        And that sad fact is what AFKTT reminds us of.
        The human race fucked up.
        There are consequences for that. Coming to a place near you.SOON.

        • The human race has a finite life span no matter what. There is not one scenario in any science that sees humans living forever.

          Once you get used to that, you start to realise all the talk of doom is wearisome

      • Chris, thank you for that. The situation is actually worse becasue those of us who are doing the right thing environmentally will be punished the hardest for it by the modern version of the Left. In my case I’m an organic farmer, don’t use soluble fert or herbicide (so no pollution), have planted 300,000 trees (so heaps of sequestered carbon), protected quarter of the farm for native bush (biodiversity), got all the waterways fenced off, recycle, use solar energy, low input generally. I FEEL like I’m one of the good guys…. but if the Greens had got into power I would have been broke by now with their radically anti-farming agenda, and their ‘wealth tax’. Because I have planted trees for pro-environmental reasons the aesthetics of the farm have gone up, along with land values. The wealth tax would have meant my annual tax bill would have increased by more than the total amount of money I live on! Land value increases do not equate with increased income to pay extra tax, so the Green Party dream for this tree-planting organic farmer is to tax me to financial oblivion. And that’s not counting all the other farm taxes that by design were not able to differentiate between organic certified, regenerative, tree planting farmers such as myself and corporate feed lots and industrial dairy complexes.

        I’ve already had to step back my environmental goals, having lost over 100,000 native trees to feral deer and goats following the stupiud gun confiscation and the resulting massive increase of feral pests. Why would the MPS not listen to reason and understand that these tools are essential for pest control, and not just ‘boys toys’????

        I ask everyone, what more can I do to be ‘green’? Why am I comsidered an evil pale, male, stale, spawn of the colonial devil who must be punished for collective race guilt and climate crimes?

        The SNA idea is pheonomenally bad, because farmers with native bush are facing the possibility of losing access to their land values, which in some cases will put them out of business as their equity/debt ratios switch to positions the banks don’t like. SNAs will force some farmers to chose between removing native forest quickly or getting closed down by their banks. Desperate people do what they need to to feed their families. I suspect the SNA legislation has already cost us a lot of native forest. This is a direct parallel to poor people cutting down tropical rainforests for timber. No one wants to do it, but you do what you need to to feed our children. SNA legislation may well kill off a lot of NZ native forest. And Labour MPs WILL NOT LISTEN!!!

        Labour (and Greens) have a lot of ideology that almost invariably results in perverse outcomes. If you punish people for doing the right thing environmentally, people will do the wrong thing just to survive (SNA, wealth tax, environmetal regulation generally). Our gross national emissions have gone up with massive imports of foreign coal, because the Govt pushed through environmental regulations before there was enough infrastructure to support the changes. The EV/ICE thing is just a bad joke, provincial NZ has no ability to charge EVs, and there are not appropriate vehicles available even if we could afford them. Ideology over reality at the expense of NZ is the Labour/Green way.

        I am an ex- long time Green voter who voted ACT last time and likely will for the forseeable future, not because they are good, but because the ideology of the L has gone totally nuts and is all weird ideology and identity politics and divisive hate speech and no longer about helping working people or developing a national collective conscience.

        I’m ideologically class left in many ways (which is actually almost the same as working class centre/right wing ideologically) but the most I will do for the current Labour/Green movement ideology is a one finger salute.

    • Just to add the growing realisation (for some) that we are seriously buggered: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/antarctica-records-its-highest-ever-temperature
      I’m not going to put any sort of time frame on things, but Gen X’ers and younger should be very worried about any precious little retirement nest eggs they’re scrimping together. When the shit hits the fan, your $$ will disappear faster than Todd Muller.
      But then by that stage, we might ALL be way more concerned about where our next meal is coming from.
      Covid gave us a wee taste of ‘supply chain issues’. People moaning because their latest bit of amazon crap hasn’t arrived from the Fulfilment Centre.
      Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet, ‘cos Mother Nature’s about to deliver some supply chain interruptions on a rather grand scale.
      As you say AFKTT, the lack of reporting on what’s happening globally even now is staggering.

      • What AFKTT is saying is true. But if you take a closer look at the narrative this climate change anti climate change thing it’s age related and that undercuts any relationship the hard core left and hard core right will ever have.

        Young people KNOW ALL!!! THE DAILY BLOG KNOWS ALL THIS!!!

        The big point is that it’s not a great tactic telling people WHAT THEY ALLREADT KNOW!!! You moron!

          • Haha! Yes, sam is on a ranti rant! If you don’t bow to his/hers/them/theys etc … superiority, your fuck’d! How Woke!

            • This might help. “I won’t give in and I won’t feel guilty
              (I won’t give in and I won’t feel guilty)
              Rant and rave to manipulate me
              (Rant and rave to manipulate me)
              From the nipple to the bottle never satisfied
              (From the nipple to the bottle never satisfied)
              From the nipple to the bottle now the cow must die
              (From the nipple to the bottle now the cow must die)
              You ain’t gon get it, I ain’t gon give it
              (I won’t give in and I won’t feel guilty)
              (Hey)
              If I don’t give it, how you gonna get it?
              (Hey)
              (Rant and rave to manipulate me)
              You ain’t gon get it, I ain’t gon give it
              (Hey)
              (From the nipple to the bottle never satisfied)
              (Hey)
              If I don’t give it, how you gonna get it?
              (Hey)
              If I don’t give it, how you gonna get it?
              If I don’t give it, how you gonna get it?
              If I don’t give it, you ain’t gon get it?”

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLCMzTLOsrs&list=PLn1B0AYbeO2DDkw8G6UDaNFG2zARxe8r1&index=2&ab_channel=GraceJones-Topic

    • One little problem in two years time when that has not happened to the global economic system, you are put in the boy who cried imaginary wolf category. And how does that help?

    • Sure AFKTT it has been unusually hot in parts of the US and Canada. Also in Moscow . But overall the Global temperature for June is colder than since 2018. In fact every month this year is colder than for some years, mostly going back further than 2018 .
      So one swallow does not a summer bring; and we all know that temperatures go up and down, but those who claim a monopoly on scientific understanding and knowledge such as yourself, have a challenge to meet to identify exactly what extraordinary forces have suddenly brushed aside the presumed overpowering effect of extra CO2 in the atmosphere and caused a cooling this year. And if you cannot identify such phenomena , then you have to acknowledge that you don’t know whether the cooling will continue or be short lived, and you do not know where the effects of CO2 fit in the morass of external and internal interactive factors effecting the
      global climate fit.
      So with ever increasing CO2 at Moana Loa as you frequently point out , Why is it colder this year?
      D J S

  4. Just keep turning Left and you won’t go wrong.
    The right wing ( Or fascist, is you prefer) Capitalist democracy has literally led ( Shoved ) us all to the very edge of extinction. Ask any Canadian?
    Lets try a Socialist Democracy for a change but beware people? There won’t be as many billionaires as there are now. Unfortunately, there won’t be poverty, hardship or discord to capitalise on anymore either. Sorry Boys.

    • China are one of the worlds biggest polluters and they are also communist

      so there goes your theory

      FFS

      • Right on the button X
        .Remember the Cambodian Killing Fields of Pol Pot as he force everyone back to the land . Millions died.
        There have been doom and glum merchants all my life but we are still here . Ban the Bomb the Nuclear Winter.
        Life goes on people die babies are born we do our best to be happy in whatever way suits then we die . From ashes to ashes dust to dust don’t sweat it and turn Helga off.

  5. Hickey is right though and he does have a track record of being on the right side of NZs economic history since the GFC.

    But yeah, fuck the spinoff off!

    The biggest news that’s failed to be picked up is Nanaia Nationalising Water and it’s infrastructure! It’s a stand over! Give me all your Water Services for free or I’ll run you out of business!

    7 councils have told her to go fuck herself and there’s probably a few more to come because they know that they can’t afford to hand it over for nothing and can’t afford to carry the losses and the drop in revenue.

    It’s Privatisation of Water!

    The CTPPA kicking in!

    Sound familiar??

    • If you read it like you say you id you would know that privatization of any currently public water supply would require a 70% pass in a referendum.

          • Based on lies. They havent delivered a thing bert.

            Andrea Vance is on fire!

            It has been 1414 days since then-opposition leader Jacinda Ardern said: “I will always maintain that a successful economy is one that serves its people. Not the other way around. And that means judging success differently.”
            Over that time, the chasm of inequality has only grown.
            De-commodifying housing would be an audacious intervention.
            https://www.stuff.co.nz/…/a-tale-of-two-cities-the…

            The housing unaffordability crisis intersects with other deep-seated problems: inadequate health and unequal justice systems; rising mental illness; disparity in education and displaced communities.

    • It’s just the same nationalisation of water that the government is doing with Health Boards, nothing to do with privatisation – in fact more taxpayer input into water services.

  6. @ CT. An analogy springs to mind… One teacher can educate a classroom full of kids.
    And once educated, those kids can, one by one, spread their knowledge to others still. Could AO/NZ come to a position of being a teacher to the global kidult’s still mesmerised by the exploitative nature of democratic-capitalist consumerism?
    Could we become educators in democratic-socialist consumerism?
    One were we all chip in to ensure we have a basic infrastructure of services and amenities and perhaps most importantly, time from ‘work’ to enjoy or otherwise exploit our glorious time on our Planet?
    The problem with the so called ‘freedoms’ within a capitalist democracy is that the capitalists themselves can influence the outcomes of any education to set up a supply chain of politely enslaved minions distracted by twinkle-sparkle baubles. The delightful term ‘mortgage’ is worthy of closer inspection, for example.
    noun
    noun: mortgage; plural noun: mortgages
    a legal agreement by which a bank, building society, etc. lends money at interest in exchange for taking title of the debtor’s property, with the condition that the conveyance of title becomes void upon the payment of the debt.
    “The term comes from Old French, and Latin before that, to literally mean ‘death pledge.’”
    So. How many banksters do you know who will tell you that your nice new ‘mortgage’ of say the current medium house price of $820,000.00 can never be paid off and you will likely die in debt.
    If we AO/NZ’ers deal with, what I’d describe as a mafioso entrapment device set by the banksters, we could educate the world in not only avoiding such inanities swindled on us by crooks laundering debt into real estate but how to simply get out of something that’ll haunt you beyond the grave.
    We must become a socialist democracy and then we must crush the banksters and in so doing we can show the world a way to live well without debt.
    As we once did. Remember the 40 hr week? Remember social welfare? Remember women demanding then getting the vote? ( An in so doing, depriving the bankster of unpaid labour in households burdened by mortgages?
    AO/NZ has as powerful a voice as anyone and I think we should use it to reach the global audience.

    • I don’t believe that the debt is repayable. You’re talking about the destruction of a multiquadrillion dollar bond market. It would take okay octillions of force to obliterate 1 quadrille. Okay some basic physics.

      A human can shake a car because it sits on springs but if you was to erase a family salon (let’s say $100k) you need at least a million tons of TNT. The US atomic bombed cars and they were still intact with in the blast radius so if you wanted to end the bomb market my simple math reckons you’ll need $50k x a million tons of TnT x 4 quadrillion = so you’d about 8E+24 tons of tnt (8E+24 TG/KG) and there’s only about 1.4 let’s say 2 billion TG/KG of force in the entire nuclear arsenal of planet earth so you’re missing at least 9 zeros or 8E+13 TG/KG’s of force if you have a hope in hell of destroying the bond market.

      You can’t just say destroy bond market. It requires action and litteral force. If you don’t like nuclear weapons then fine. Use humans or happy thoughts. But you’ll just be missing a few more zeros and making it difficult for everyone unnecessarily. We can do a debt jubilee but not for all of it. I’d rather leave the bond managers for last just to hold the bag and blow themselves up.

  7. Well, to paraphrase what Bob Dylan is alleged to have said to writer Hunter Thompson…–“we may not be able to beat the bastards just yet, but we don’t have to join them”…

    Yet in their thousands, and even in their millions, New Zealanders have joined them. “Them” being the largely faceless arseholes of finance capital that keep neo liberal hegemony ascendant, Flybuys points and all. Be a good compliant consumer, shop around in the hijacked 90s artificial power market…

    A state house and apartment mega build using flat packs from Europe and China would soon knock the stuffing out of the overheated housing scene, but most of the Labour Caucus would fill their pants at the mere thought of such a plan.

    I advocate direct community action to resolve these matters. Occupations of empty residential and commercial property, hounding Labour MPs relentlessly, mattress protests at mental health offices etc. But with a largely non fighting class collaborationist central labour organisation, and well dissipated harder left the forces, this is easier said than done–but do we must. Never say never, whether social consciousness arises from social being or some other combination of factors generation homeless and renter must rise up.

  8. Suspect housing / land have become mediums of exchange in their own right, and as tradable commodities their coupling to the monetary system has become increasingly nominal rather than value driven.

    Unlike workers whose wages are constantly constrained by the need to bring home the (real) bacon, once a house is built, house trading is far less constrained by the exigencies of reality – accordingly the housing market has drifted off in its own economic bubble, increasingly out of reach of fiscal tools based on the assumption of a value driven economy – while workers are increasingly constrained by wage ladders that fail to reach even the base of this mirage of incestuously generated value.

    Point of note – one way this “virtual value” is being leveraged – the 2018 census highlighted Auckland’s 39,393 land banked (empty!) homes, while the government currently forks out hundreds of millions of our tax dollars for “emergency accommodation” for the homeless – increasingly making use of motel units.

    As one wit suggested a 100% capital gains tax on land banked housing would go a long way to freeing up extra accommodation!

    But shunting more and more hard earned income into these (once built) essentially non-productive assets is not smart – that is money that could be going to help grow the value generating part of the economy – the only thing capable of making the economic pie grow and so scaling the potential for wage growth. Investing in housing is the economic equivalent of creating an impressively large pie crust while failing to invest in the content of that pie. We need more money in meat generation!

    As per various OECD reports: “During 2005-15 the share of household income going to housing costs relative to other spending items rose by 5 percentage points, to 31 per cent of income for middle-income households across most OECD countries. …. New Zealanders spend a greater share of household income on housing and related costs, such as electricity and water, than the OECD average. New Zealand also has among the highest house price-to-income ratios.”

    So clearly a need to think outside our four walls – 3D printed houses / robotic construction / etc … would be interested to see where that is at in NZ. At least put our energies into being deliberately creative and solutions focused rather than seeking someone to blame – to rephrase an old saying, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by myopia and a lack of long range planning!

  9. Bernard Hickey, so rooted in ideology and outside the practical, he predicted that house prices would crash for decades because he and his sidekick, Shamubeel Eaqub, while saying immigration has nothing to do with housing prices and was a poor investment in somebodies future. Many who believed them, (and I know a couple personally, are now living in caravans or renting).

    Such dogged Kool aid neoliberal propaganda in the face of impracticality, that they are now commentators of choice by the right wingers and Rogernoms alike on housing.

    They have even become the darling of the woke left in the last few years, by claiming a business led approach to building housing, getting rid of private landlords, eroding democracy in planning to create ‘sham’ consulting where shaming community feedback as Nimbyism has become the norm, while not worrying about environmental and social effects of this market led change.

    Funny enough though even years of that, has not bought about the magical housing!

    In spite of all the propaganda and law changes by government, surprise, surprise housing has got worse!

    During Covid another 120,000 people managed to come to NZ, often after gaining a quick residency, left NZ, then came back to claim their NZ status rights and take up another MIQ and house here. Of course they never did have the skills in NZ in the first place (1.5 million ‘new’ kiwis to our ‘team’ of 5 million, but skills shortages have got worse with the approach!)

    Lucky for the neoliberals and global business, the process did manage to lower wages and work quality to the point that we stopped measuring the brain drain quite a few years ago when it became too embarrassing.

  10. You know its kinda weird reading stuff from people frothing at the mouth and blaming Western capitalism for cooking the planet when the biggest global polluter is China, a Communist country.

    • Yes, China is the biggest global polluter because most of the world has outsourced its manufacturing to it because of lax or non-existent environmental protections that keep costs down. Same with child labour – we complain about China but we support them economically every single day.

  11. Enjoyed your article Chris enjoyed even more your response to your critics.
    Megan Woods is earnest but has no idea how to achieve her goals.
    Which is typical of the naive Ardern Labour Government good intentions but no idea how to deliver.
    Having a mantra of being kind whilst it sounds nice will do the opposite tough love is more successful.

    .
    .

  12. “Megan Woods is still fighting. Still hoping for a better tomorrow.”
    Ms Woods is a useless ignorant Minister of Energy.. So ignorant and poorly informed she doesn’t know that 12 days supply of fuel is not enough to keep NZ running as it takes longer than that for the fuel tankers from the Chinese state run oil refineries that she and James Shaw want to use for our oil supply to get here. Woods didn’t know that until the NZ refinery workers told her. Shaw didn’t know that NZ will still have to pay for the carbon generated by that imported fuel . This is a government of morons with no real world experience. They are dangerously stupid and they do not give fuck about kiwis. They are determined to shut down the economy with NO TRANSITION plan. Once the oil refinery is shut there will be NOWHERE ELSE NZ can manufacture biofuel on a large enough scale to make a difference to our carbon output.Shutting the refinery and importing our oil will increase our carbon output because it will all have to be transported by road.We will continue to lose vital skills in the energy industry and more coal will be imported to meet electricity demand which cannot be met unless the transmission lines from the South Island are upgraded and Tiwai Point is shut down. This government is too ignorant and stupid to see that. They have no energy plan and they do not know what they doing. They are being dictated to by Beijing and everyone is NZ is too dumb to see this. Labour are funded by the Chinese and take ALL their advice from Chinese influenced and informed bureaucrats. We are truly fucked.

    • Amen Shona! Ideology over rationality is the new political world view. Close down everything you don’t like on the assumption some technological miracle will come along to provide the fix… except that technological miracles usually require some investment to develop and Labour does not like to invest in anything tangible, and private enterprise are constantly told they are ‘evil capitalists’ and wll be taxed into oblivion… so where will this techno-marvel come from? Sure we can agree oil based economy has ecological limits, but where is the immediate alternative that can be implemented right now?

    • ” … importing our oil will increase our carbon output because it will all have to be transported by road”

      Um, I don’t know if anyone has told you but the oil will come by sea.

      But yeah, that Megan Woods is as dumb as a truck.

  13. Example of our fake ‘democracy’ in action in NZ, sounds like you can buy cheap land, not zoned for housing, on a flood zone, but (wink, wink) get the government to back you so you can start work even before the bogus Resource Consent comes through, and have your workers under your control in the new Business Led, back to medieval lordships. No doubt the knighthood is just around the corner as the applicant goes to speak to the ‘BAD’ council who takes the costs, risks and problems with flooding (they are building the land up 4 meters because it’s a flood zone!) and infrastructure costs (100m for new waste water).

    It sounds like they did not buy in Huntly because business can make a fortune on this cheap farm land instead and put the risks onto others neoliberal style such as the “$70 to $100 million dollar upgrade of Huntly’s wastewater treatment plant must be completed first!

    Again with neoliberalism, it’s all in the never, never for the cheap houses! This type of proposal has become common in NZ and taking resources away from zoned land, with infrastructure in place for the housing to go up in a year!

    Sadly we see these consents put through in cheap land holding with large flooding profits for profit, to become the next red zone like CHCH and a massive problem going forward for everyone else.

    Scary Stuff!

    “Not every staff member at Sleepyhead would automatically get a home, and it wouldn’t be based on how long people had been working at the company, Turner said.

    “It could be based on attendance, their attitude at work.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125619005/sleepyhead-director-says-aucklands-time-is-over-but-will-he-be-let-in-the-waikato

    Back to paying for the “70 -100m” wastewater treatment plant in Huntly -whose paying for it, because it tends to be ratepayers and taxpayers and this spend increases the rates for poor people in the area, rates went up 40% in the Kaipara after running up a bill for development in their council! https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/mangawhai-rates-protesters-lose-case-in-court-of-appeal/IFTGFNKYYGQLFLTEINEKTQS3QA/

    Did anybody explain that to the current residents and iwi??? 40% rates rises and years and years of trucks and construction, the houses are not guaranteed to be cheap or even going to the workers, who need to have a good attitude and attendance to gain one!

  14. If these turkeys think biofuel is the answer then God help us. It’s up there with the hydrogen and electric car fantasies. And George Jetsons flying saucer car!

    It takes up vast food producing resources and in its conversion to fuel in Aussie at least, they at times use coal to do it.

    You’re right, a bunch of uni grad chumps who couldn’t change a light bulb if their lives depended on it

  15. ‘the grinning neoliberal skull beneath the superficial “progressive” smile.’

    You put it so well Chris, that’s the grim reality of our government, our public service, our universities …

  16. Right on the button X
    .Remember the Cambodian Killing Fields of Pol Pot as he force everyone back to the land . Millions died.
    There have been doom and glum merchants all my life but we are still here . Ban the Bomb the Nuclear Winter.
    Life goes on people die babies are born we do our best to be happy in whatever way suits then we die . From ashes to ashes dust to dust don’t sweat it and turn Helga off.

      • Ascyou have said to me in the past you make your own luck. NZ is better than most countries at the moment . Of course there are miss steps made but for most the is no danger of police taking you away and usually you can go out to a full supermarket and come home with no intimidation . There are many places in the World that this is not the case

  17. What a scorcher! Seldom does Bernard Hickey get scathed by anyone to the left of NZ First, National, and ACT. I look forward to Trotter’s analysis of Hickey’s subsequent podcast: ways to make New Zealand work for all its denizens, not only the enriched property owners.
    Here Bernard Hickey talks to people who still have hope to hear their ideas on how to solve New Zealand’s housing crisis. Kay Saville-Smith is a longtime researcher and policy advisor on housing who still believes there are ways through – in fact, she’s more hopeful now than she has been for years. And Ronji Tanielu sees the real-world impact of the housing crisis as a policy analyst and advisor for the Salvation Army, but still has plenty of hope and ideas for change.
    https://thespinoff.co.nz/business/02-07-2021/bernard-hickey-a-big-housing-idea-for-ye-me-of-little-faith-or-hope/

    • Clearly those advising the government have already failed! We didn’t use to have this problem, it’s pretty easy with basic maths to solve it.

      As for Salvation Army, Bernard Hickey etc, they seem to be getting plenty of government cash to help ‘solve it’ so no wonder they see hope (and more cash) in the future. The only people who don’t seem to be getting housing is the growing list of Kiwis who can’t afford the 10 million mansions going up to the high rich worth individuals that keep coming to NZ, but questionable how much of a contribution they are actually making for the local people and environment… because in many cases they are taking from it.

      The dam, which was illegally constructed on public land by the Tara Iti golf course development company associated with US billionaire Ric Kayne, blocks the passage of inanga to upstream spawning grounds.
      https://www.newsroom.co.nz/dam-delays-half-soon-half-later-maybe

      “New Zealand golfing and tourism businesses connected to two American billionaires got more than $1m taxpayer money to help pay staff during the lockdowns.
      Tara Iti Golf Club, ranked the world’s second-best outside the United States after Northern Ireland’s Royal County Down, got $708,441 for 104 staff.”
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/covid-19-american-billionaires-kiwi-businesses-receive-govt-wage-subsidy-support/ECJNN4DMNZNFFECWBCFYWX3FFI/

      A golf course designer and three “shapers” have been approved entry to New Zealand as critical workers for US billionaire Ric Kayne’s coastal Te Arai Links courses north of Auckland.
      https://thespinoff.co.nz/business/18-08-2020/par-for-the-course-us-billionaires-golf-course-shapers-given-border-exemptions/

      Billionaires coming to NZ seem to bring their own workers that take up housing and MIQ places, take millions in wage subsidies and have appalling environmental results. It is questionable whether billionaires contribute much at all to the economy and most people seem to waste money on cleaning up after them and court action against their entitled consents, paying taxes for their subsidies on NZ wages and can’t enjoy the golf courses while being deprived of the natural environment and water that they take from the local community.

  18. Ex Labour you are correct.
    To argue the opposite is to deny the facts.
    Child poverty.
    Kiwi build.
    Homeless people.
    Mental health.
    House prices.
    Hate speech.
    Separatism.
    Penal reform.
    Etc,etc.
    All above receive a fail mark.
    Indeed all have worsened.

    • @ john.
      You’ve inadvertently and somewhat ironically highlighted national’s failures. Failures they’ve profited from for generations.
      And now? We must try to trust labour with our future. The Labour party whom National’s neoliberalism infected.
      Labour must come clean about its national party infections. Labour must shine a bright, cleansing light on it’s neoliberal wounds and sterilise its reputation.
      The link’s to a lecture by Alan Watts via YouTube which I found hugely interesting. Particularly the psychology behind the concept of ‘money’. No wonder then, that our only biosphere’s burning and we, as an incredibly complex species are doomed if we stay on our present vector.
      ‘Money’, something the Natzo’s worship, especially if they can lay their hands on the money of others, is a dangerous logical fallacy.
      Alan Watts.
      Everything about money, wealth and capitalism.
      https://youtu.be/y-N-vGY088k

  19. If you look at the housing index chart on Hickey’s article you’ll see that in the UK, housing affordability has remained roughly constant for the last 20 years. So one has to wonder how a country with a population of 68 million, crowded into a country the same size as NZ can achieve that. However, I was in the UK in 2019 visiting relatives, one of which is a real estate agent working for a developer selling new houses. So I gained a bit of an insight:

    In essence, they’re building LOTS of houses. Every village near where I was brought up has a new housing estate. Lots of rough old paddocks around the villages are now very smart new housing estates with all the bells and whistles: Under floor heating, double glazing, double garages and attractive brick construction in heritage colours and styles matching old buildings in the area. This is happening right across the country. It was clear from our touring around the country that they’re building hundred of thousands of houses. How are they doing this? Don’t they have the equivalent of our RMA artificially restricting land supply? Don’t they have the equivalent of our Kafkaesque city councils making life impossible for developers? They definitely don’t have iwi lawyers demanding koha at every turn. Developers are allowed to get on with it. They buy vacant land, get permission and build houses that people want to live in.

    Remember its a housing *index* – comparing house price to median income. So I thought that maybe wages were much higher over there, which would drag the index down, but it seems not. All the charts of average incomes I googled show NZ to be roughly on par with the UK.

    So Chris – there is definitely hope! The solutions to the problem are transparently clear:

    Scrap the RMA and replace it with a straight forward Town & Country Planning Act
    Remove all references to the Treaty in that Act because historically that’s been half the problem (I’d like to see our politicians swallow that dead rat!)
    Enact national building standards that local government cannot tinker with
    Allow for national ‘type approval’ for the standard house designs of major developers that would also limit the scope of local government interference.

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