What could possibly go wrong next?


What a week. But while National’s woes dominate, who is noticing the erosion of democracy and the exclusionary politics that Labour is busy promoting?

Eclipsed by the excitement of the Soymin and Judy show  was the  announcement of a  half baked social insurance scheme to solve a ill defined problem for an ill defined set of people.

No consultation, no gender analysis, no respect for the work of parenting.

A cluster of white middle class unionists have come up with the plan all without scrutiny and the Minister of Finance sees no need to seek other input.

For a scheme that could be “ the biggest expansion of the welfare state since ACC opened its doors in 1974”    the lack of consultation is utterly bizarre. Anyone who thinks about social insurance for the newly unemployed in  New Zealand quickly realises what a can of worms it is.  Maybe that’s the reason little detail has been shared. It appears the public is being softened for a fait accompli: Labour knows best. Those who are left further behind and even more bewildered by the welfare maze will just have to suck it up.

Adding insult to injury, the Taxation (COVID-19 Support Payments and Working for Families Tax Credits) Bill was pushed through the house under urgency. No process here, no submissions, no consultation, no Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles in sight, no select committee. Just an unbelievably convoluted regulatory impact statement that shows how much more complex and contradictory they will make Working for Families. 

Spun as a vital increase in support for families  there will be a miniscule $5 per child increase after overdue inflation adjustments. We learn that “Ministers have agreed the original objectives for Working for Families remain important. The first of these is to “make work pay by supporting families with dependent children, so that they are rewarded for their work effort” Thus the use of the poverty of children to incentivise parental paid work is prioritised over child poverty reduction. In setting goals surely, what the public thinks is more important than the Ministers.

And does Labour not see the contradictions? Do they not realise that higher abatements add to the already huge work disincentives from overlapping abatements for the working poor?

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Ominously Ministers have also agreed the following objectives for the further review of WFF:

  • Objective 1: target support more to lower-income families rather than more universal support
  • Objective 2: focus on low-income working families, while maintaining support for beneficiary families
  • Objective 3: help make work pay and assist with the costs for people in work.”

National was clearly diverted by their own fiascos, but even they saw the deep contradictions. This is from Andrew Bayly in the debate under urgency:

“This bill’s going to pass through tonight with no select committee process, no input from any parties independent of this Parliament. And I think the main aspect that the Government is tying behind this bill is it’s dealing with the issue of poverty and increasing the Working for Families components, and there are a whole stack of components that will be improved and will be adjusted. And that will occur. That is a process that always occurs. It always gets triggered when the CPI accumulative impact is greater than 5 percent. There is nothing special in this part of the bill, even though that was what the Government members chose to focus on.

The only real difference was the $5 per child increase. I think the argument we’ve heard tonight is that this inflation index adjustment of certain benefits is going to be a game-changer in terms of lifting children out of poverty. And we had this disconnect between the Minister, who in his original speech claimed that 6,000 children would be lifted out of poverty, and then subsequently all the members of the House chose in their very short contributions—the maximum being 1 minute 30—to focus on a figure of 3,000. They couldn’t even get the story around the impact of the improvement to reducing poverty. But the reality is I find the argument spurious that as a result of doing an historical readjustment—or doing an adjustment taking into account historical increases in inflation a $5 per child increase is going to lead to any substantive change to child poverty in New Zealand I think defies logic.”





  1. It is pretty funny the lack of concern shown when the Government decided to put aside normal democratic procedures, ignore warnings & submissions and then ram through some very poorly thought out legislation that had exactly the opposite effect of what was intended, in order to protect “us” from a foreign terrorist who was already in jail & had been armed by the state anyway.

    Once you start down the track track of ignoring democratic processes, it is hard to stop, after all it is so dammed convenient. You were warned, but at the time “such decisive action” was roundly applauded. We now get to reap the consequences.

  2. Another Stealth Tax and on the part of the population that’s most vulnerable financially.

    These clowns are really reluctant to let sleeping Dogs like Roger Douglas lie.

    The neoliberals within the party run the show.

    • Really have no idea what you’re talking about, do you youngster…. It worries me sometimes, that there are as many people stupid enough to believe tripe like this as there are in NZ.. Maybe the brain drain that the Key government turned into a flood has actually lowered the average IQ here.. It’s certainly looking that way at present…

    • Who within labour is not a Neo-lib?

      I can’t think of one labour MP who has openly and consistently come out against this economics, and the massive transfer of wealth up under neo-liberalism.

      If they exist I’d like to find out, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • …’We are in charge we will do whatever we like’…

      That’s the French version of idealism of govt for the people by the people, is it not? But when the next Nat govt comes in, will that still stand? I reckon Gerry believes it will,… as he found no issue with airport security doors.

  3. I have previously criticised bloggers who call the labour government a dictatorship. I said real dictatorships work in secret.
    I may be wrong. Jacinda is not a real tyrant yet but it looks like something she is working towards.

    What I cannot understand is why Labour hates people( the poor) who are its natural allies and is so determined to keep society balanced in favour of those who hate her( property owners, corporations, bankers, investors, speculators – the rich). The Ron Brierlys of this world who see themselves as top predators with the rest of us as prey.
    I cannot believe that these people willingly support Labour and i can only speculate that Labour now depend on business leaders for contributions to the party. Food processing companies for example that are known to contribute to Labour and are allowed to run dirty, unsafe factories, bully employees and destrory fragile
    marine ecosystems.
    The fact is that our last Prime Minister who cared about maintaining the welfare state was the much reviled Rob Muldoon.

    • Depends what your point of reference is @ Stevie. If you want to compare her with Crusher or many of the gNatzies, then she’d be a socially liberal’s dream. But then she did spend the majority of her life as a moron until she understood what she thought was seeing the light.
      Personally I admire her and often wonder whether she lays awake at night saying to Clark with an e “Fuck it! Do I have to do everything myself?” And also because she’s grown up knowing and experieincing nothing other than the neo-lib/3rd way orthodoxy. And I keep trying to figure out ways to excuse Grunt.
      She does have a bit of the control freak streak about her (just as well when it comes to Covid, but fuck all else, just as others have their various foibles. AND just as Sepoloni has a bit of a mean streak about her).
      The pair of them though have PR spin merchants looking after their arse

      I still can’t understand how she tolerates Faafoi’s performance. It probably has to do with very ‘woke’ [FUCK how I hate that label] reasoning.
      Let it play out though is my reckons. People started to see through the bullshit a wee while back and my reckons are (as I’ve said repeatedly) that they might ekshully be sailing close to the wind.
      IF we end up with the worst of the worst in ’23, it might just have to be what is required for a few learnings to be had in that space going forward. There’ll be casualties galore – things are bad enough NOW for many, but that’ll be their legacy and what they’ll be remembered by. Sometimes things have to get very bad before they can get better. When you’re in the gutter and the storm water, there’s only one way. Two ways ekshully. You rise up or you drown.
      Pfffft. Next

    • I think you would find if you knew where to look that ‘the factory that is unsatisfactory’ (find an Abba song you can sing that to), for numerous reasons, donates to both major political parties (just to create goodwill you know.)

  4. SUI generous — but only for some.
    Grant Robertson is back with his ‘social unemployment insurance’. And my view has not changed. Workers who are signed up for this social insurance inevitably will withdraw their political support for the existing, already pitifully low, social welfare benefits for the long-term jobless, threatening them further.
    What we need in New Zealand is to completely rebuild the tax and welfare system around a meaningfully high nontaxable unconditional basic income for every adult of not less than $403 a week (the existing net NZ Superannuation rate for a single person sharing taxed at M). And with that we need to restore universal child benefits for people under 18. (The orphan’s and unsupported child’s benefit ranges from $203 a week for under-5s to $266 for over-14s; do other children cost less to raise?)
    And we need to extend ACC from covering only accidents to covering all illness including mental illness.

    • The sorts of reform you refer to are progressive, which is why Ardern won’t have a bar of them. Ardern has proved to be a conservative, resistant to change, especially ‘transformational’ change. In another world, she would be at home leading the National Party as a ‘safe pair of hands’ unlikely to rock the boat.

      The action-resistant Ardern is like a political bottle of Claytons: the change you have when you’re not having change.

  5. This supposedly social-democratic, progressive, centre-Left government protracts the awkward practice of throwing out crumbs to the working class and the poor through more paltry benefit adjustments, rather than forcing employers to share a greater amount of their profits with the employees who helped them generate their wealth.

    And, thus, there is a serious distribution of wealth problem in Mammonist NZ, while this Labour packet fiddles at the margins, making little or no difference, instead working overtime on the things that really matter to it – like allowing us to legally change our genders, and cause a bit of a stir in the bathing sheds.

    But what of the transformation and failure of capitalism that Ardern talked so much about before the 2017 election, only to abandon all that, and deliver an ideological shift to the Right?

    Roughly two years out from the next election (unless one’s held sooner), the polls tell us that electoral support for the Left and the Right is narrowing sharply. If Labour does not fire up with action on Ardern’s earlier rhetoric, it seriously risks a slump in electoral support, and a few more terms on the other side of the House to sort out exactly what it stands for, and what it’s going to do about it next time it’s given a chance.

    • Meh Labour and National,…just two wings of the same bird. Maybe we should all vote ACT then force the clowns to change their policy’s and do as we say on pain of being kicked out again. At least ACT would be a fireworks display, – National and Labour are more akin to a wet sparkler that wont light so you have to discard it. Alternatively, lets all vote MANA and be done with it.

      • ACT works best as a threat, a sort of bogeyman to scare up real progressive change. The actualisation of an ACT government would not be pretty. If Labour believed it could happen, maybe they would change. Probably not though, and that will probably bite them.

      • wk I have looked at the display onn the trading barrow and all the political parties look well-worn, limp and shabby. What about Mana? What could they do for us – their interest is mainly northern Maori, but I think ana want a healthy working society which these blighters on either side don’t have on their whiteboard (scrubbed off by someone’s sleeve casually and no-one interested enough to notice.)

        • Mana would do nothing as even if they got over the 5% threshold they would still have too few MPs to wield any real power, they would just be used or ignored as required. ACT on the other hand, will most likely have even more MPs after the next election & if in Government, they will be seriously involved in steering the ship & setting future directions. Fine if you’re a wealthy property/business owner, not so good if you’re not.

          So here’s a tip for those on the left, either become very wealthy or stop driving people to vote for ACT, because if things carry on the way they are going, people are going to vote for change & ACT is the change they’ll get.

          Oh, and maybe actually fix some of the problems that beset ordinary Kiwis. Stuff is broken out there & it needs fixing before it gets even worse. That would really be a vote winner.

    • From vast experience, grand talker, Labour says something small about democratic ideas just prior to every election to pull in the 35ists — those who grew up in the Welfare State and ‘understand’ the benefit. Which is to say they’ve long put aside our ideals in favour of short-term gain. Or, getting away with things over the right course.

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