MEDIAWATCH: Chloe is right – the polluters & plutocrats are a threat to democracy


Chloe is right – the polluters & plutocrats are a threat to democracy…

Chlöe Swarbrick: Climate change has arrived while politicians argue the status quo

I’ll let you in on a bit of an open political secret. The over-egged debate we’re having about wealth taxes and the lack of mainstream political interest in frightening climate change news are driven by the same forces: a long-time status quo bias for the rhetoric of “individual responsibility” over collective responsibility.

In a flood, you could have 10 people working together to build a boat big enough for all of them. Or you could have one person hoarding the materials necessary, scolding the others that they simply didn’t work hard enough to survive. The boat wouldn’t be built. Those rising waters won’t care who held the most status or the most money.

While the usual characters were busy attacking any possible future of an economy that might rebalance grotesque wealth inequality this week, ground-breaking scientific research from Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, GNS Science, Niwa, University of Otago and the Antarctic Science Platform told us that without immediate action, in less than 20 years, “once-in-a-century” floods will be knocking on the door of our capital city every single year.

One of these issues is about whether we have the guts to do anything about the fact, as discovered by renowned inequality researcher Max Rashbrooke, that 70 per cent of wealth is held by 10 per cent of people in this country. The least wealthy half – 2.5 million New Zealanders – own just 2 per cent. The top 1 per cent, meanwhile, own 25 per cent – or one in every four dollars of wealth.

National and Act say there’s nothing wrong with this slide into aristocracy and want to supercharge it with a swathe of tax cuts paid for by low income earners and potential cuts to public services. Labour aren’t yet sure if they’re ready to do anything about it.

…Chloe is right.

TDB Recommends

In 2010, the 388 richest individuals owned more wealth than half of the entire human population on Earth

By 2015, this number was reduced to only 62 individuals

In 2018, it was 42

In 2019, it was down to only 26 individuals who own more wealth than 3.8 billion people.

And in 2021, 20 people owned more than 50% of the entire planet.

Last month the richest man on Earth bought one of the most important social media platforms.

The Big Tech Tzars have manipulated our collective fear, ego, anger and insecurities through social media in a way that has led to the largest psychological civil war ever launched against one another.

Meanwhile, the planet burns and every aspect of our existence is monetarised for big data to sell us more stuff we can’t afford. We are alienated and anesthetized by a consumer culture that keeps us neurotic and disconnected. Our work, our existence, every move we make are all built to suck money to a minority class that sits above us while under neoliberalism, globalization, financialization, and automation, our existence as individuals has only become more disposable.

This isn’t progress.

The Greens must articulate a different economic vision that builds solidarity and universalism rather than pure temple identity politic aesthetics or the Greens will miss out on having real leverage when negotiating with Labour to form the post 2023 election.


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    • As a kiwi, I support having both economic and military “capabilities” so robust that they force the rest of the world to flinch every time we turn Left. I trust New Zealand in that role more than I do America, China, Russia or even the EU, which is why I’m fine using wealth taxez as leverage for our own domestic policies.

      And even besides that, the counter argument is basically “we should not piss of the rich because if we do they will use their power over society to take over and ruin everything.”

      A couple of mid-way points where regulation and wealth taxes seems wise. Like, not making it possible for people to have that kind of power in the first place. Just an idea.

    • A CGT will achieve jackshit other make jealous zealots happy for 5 minutes and then property will settle and go up and up again. What we need is a forward looking govt that promotes NZ self-sufficiency and makes the country productive and profitable. Which means that we need to drill for oil and gas, dig up coal and other useful minerals and start useful industries that turn all of that into serious big money for this country. That excludes money printing factories run by Robertson! We also need a few compact nuclear power stations, the type now certified as green by overseas greenies. Stop screaming folks, Norway does it, Denmark does it, Switzerland does it even Slovenia does it and so does every other picturesque country that’s way way way ahead of us now. NZ is becoming a basket case, we’re fast falling behind the rest of the world and the entire country is held back by small-minded zealots. Everyone wants omelets but nobody wants to break eggs!

      • Sometimes Sour Kraut, you have something to say that makes me think, “hmm, he’s got a point…”, this is not one of those times.

      • Are you kidding, are you even a New Zealander?

        Not sure pulling a Russian nuclear design over is the way to go right now, know what I mean?

        Sure nuclear. Plenty of other designs that do not require breaking sanctions. I mean if you think baseload has enherent risks and needs to be upgraded then let’s hear it.

        • I’m reading my post and I’m struggling to find a Russian nuclear reference? I did mention compact and Switzerland though.

      • SK you point out small minded zealots and then go Stone Age and say let’s start drilling for more fossil fuels. We already do and it appears Greymouth Petroleum will likely do more because of some exemption from the ban on new permits. I think we are better of focusing on renewables and looking at nuclear.

        • Absolutely Gagarin.

          Sour Kraut also forgets that a capital tax could be used to balance out a reduction in lower brackets of PAYE. And, just like Janet Wilson the National party spokesperson on stuff, makes the mistake of assuming a CGT would only target the rich. I have not seen that suggested by the tax working group. It would just as easily impact a punter having a modest go on Sharesies would it not? It’s not just about property

          • Wheelie Wonka
            Just how much do you think this CGT will rake in per annum. I assume the govt gas made some fairly accurate estimates? What are we all talking about here…ideology?…or actual numbers?

            • we don’t know because the thieves who evade their tax responsibilities aren’t going to volunteer the figures on their boodle until they’re forced to.

        • Yuri
          OK fine let’s have that CGT. All good with me go ahead. Hiw productive. Investors won’t be scared or give a shit. They’ll just keep investing. In property too as long as it makes good money and it will. But your belived CGT will certainly not help one single ambitious first homer into a cheap home. Nor will it force the prices down. It will do fuck all for low income hopefuls. What this idiotic govt and most raving CGT fans simply don’t get is THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE AND NOT ENOUGH HOUSES AND IT WILL GET WORSE. IMAGINE THE PRICE OF BEER IF THEY ONLY BREWED 100 BOTTLES A YEAR! Oh one more thing…taxes stimulate the economy and create jobs…NOT. So yeah let have taxes taxes taxes taxes and even more taxes. We’d be better off to force govts like this one stop pissing our precious money away on nothing. And Jacinda and Robbo just smiles at it and dish out millions and billions more to waste on crap. Incredible. Hey, as long as her cut daughter makes the headlines for interrupting her social media session, then NZ is doing ok.

      • 100% Sour Kraut
        NZ is slowly sliding into 3rd world status and so major changes in thinking need to occur to change our direction.
        So often the left’s approach is to find a whipping boy. It’s farmers! No it’s supermarket owners! Wait no it’s landlords. Then again it’s tradies with utes, or just white oppressors.
        And so the list goes on: all of which are a distraction from the mass exodus of talent, the broken welfare system, gangs and the squandering of the tax revenue on pointless vanity projects.

        We need less tax, less government waste, a smaller bureaucracy and incentives to attract more of those evil rich people… and their money.

  1. It’s not like I don’t hear what she’s saying, I do!

    Short of a Cuban style revolution, NZ has as much chance of fixing pure greed as we do making a stitch of difference with world climate change. None!

  2. Wealth inequality numbers are silly. If you have 5000 people who save nothing at all, then the guy who saves $10k has more than 5000 people. It’s emotive nonsense.

    Income inequality, on the other hand, is real and concerning.

    • I agree that the wealth inequality numbers don’t really tell you much how society is organised. A change from 388 people to 20 people in just 10 years is all about stock markets and how they reward innovation.

      Apple has very quickly become the most valuable company (by stock market valuation) in the world. Tesla is by far the most valuable car company in the world, even though it produces only one tenth the number of cars as Toyota. But it was the first major electric car company and is rapidly growing. Tesla’s outsize valuation has made Elon Musk the wealthiest man in the world.

      What could be done about this? A wealth tax could only be paid by actually selling part of the portfolio given that the valuations are not backed by realisable income. Maybe that is the intent. Spread the ownership of the portfolio by downsizing the very large shareholdings that some people have. That was done to land estates in NZ in the nineteenth century, to the general benefit of hugely expanding family owned and operated farms.

      I suspect there may be a fair bit of support for wealth taxes on seriously wealthy people.

      What is the level of serious wealth?

      Obviously we will all have our own views. I suspect for most people it is a level of wealth that takes someone completely beyond typical middle class aspirations. In New Zealand that is probably $50 million and beyond, well over what a very large Lotto win can produce, which might be seen as a token of New Zealand wealth aspirations.

      • Trying to tax innovation or assets is not the objective of these discussions, professor. Fairness is what kicked off the wealth tax debates.

        Ultimately the left want more rights and freedoms rather than aesthetic pleasures and comfort.

  3. Martyn I hope you warned Mark ( a commenter on your Lim piece) that you were going to use such a risqué photo of Chloe with this article. Though maybe not quiet as brazen I can still see the skin on her chest below the shoulder line. This is not the way.

  4. @ MB. Told you so. ( Raspberries! )
    First rule of Plutocracy. Take control of the people you’ll need to enslave to enable Plutocrats and their dangerous, rapacious greed.
    Second rule of Plutocracy. Make sure it stays that way by neutering all political opposition.
    That’s why roger douglas popped out of Labour. He suckled onto the Natzo tit after leaving labour, and by extension working class AO/NZ’ers in ruins.
    He had cronies in caucus who supported Big Roger’s come back so Lange, true to his word, resigned as prime minister. ( Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of Lange’s either.)
    The rest is a terrible history of a mutilated first world society, the steep nose dive into foreign owned bankster slavery and one or two or three billionaire crooks and their slavish minions fawning at their feet.
    The Green party with Chloe Swarbrick at the helm could lead our farmers, the ones who feed and clothe you and earn our export revenue for you out of the dark and into the light.
    I had an interesting conversation with a fourth generation sheep and cattle farmer just the other day. He never knew that jimmy shaw was once an HSBC employee. He was not impressed I can tell you that. He made mention of inserting various things up Jimmy where only a mother ( Or father. ) should know about.
    Mandate voting. Royal commission of inquiry into business, banking and politics spanning the last one hundred years please? I know. Sounds completely preposterous, right? But. I guarantee you, you would be floored into a head spinning dismay at what would be found.

  5. Chloe Swarbrick: “In a flood, you could have 10 people working together to build a boat big enough for all of them. Or you could have one person hoarding the materials necessary, scolding the others that they simply didn’t work hard enough to survive. The boat wouldn’t be built. “

    Thing is, I doubt the Greens would get the boat built either. They’d be too worried if the ten boat builders were truly representative of society and if one of the co-captains of the ship should be non-binary instead of male.

  6. One more word. On ‘Democracy’.
    We don’t have one.
    National, Labour, ACT, The Greens @ Maori. They’re the same thing.
    They’re all following the dubious principles of plutocratic neoliberal greed. Which is to grab as much as you can get and fuck the prols.

  7. Being an entrepreneur in NZ means that you have figured out the best way to exploit poor immigrant workers.

  8. Here’s a couple of reports on soil.
    Now, I know farmers are going to get shit thrown at them for being dirty, filthy, polluting, ignorant, greedy, moronic, clod hopper, rednecks who only produce the foods we have in plentiful supply when ever we need it. The rest is exported in volumes that’d boggle the simple Auckland mind to keep our beautiful AO/NZ with it’s non farmer population of 4,900,000 alive, thriving and in Bentley’s.
    Farmers? Read this.
    The Guardian
    The secret world beneath our feet is mind-blowing – and the key to our planet’s future
    and this…
    The Guardian
    And now watch this.
    “Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis. ”
    Farmers. You’re being ripped off. On a level that’s clearly beyond most of you and your understanding, your awareness, comprehension and believability. But wait! ? There’s more! While you’re being screwed, the same people who’re screwing you ALSO control the mainly MSM narrative that demonises you, subjugates you and outrageously exploits you.
    Where to look? The producer boards and who chairs them. Start there. Then, the foreign owned banks the National Party and the ACT party but also the other parties, to a lessor degree.
    The Rich. Look very closely at the Rich? Who’s Rich? And I mean Hyper Rich. The multi millionaire and multi billionaire Rich. Not some schmuck who drives a flash car and has a holiday home in Wanaka. I mean the hyper rich. Who are they and HOW are they? And what’s their lineage?
    WARNING! You will be outraged. You might be best to put the cat outside and send the kids off to play.
    The Green Party should be your best friend. Currently, The Green Party is a tactic to bury organic farming practices for its Deep State masters by using logical fallacies, mistruths, lies and weasel words. Wee Jimmy? HSBC Bank? You really think he’s washed that stink off? ACT? You really think roger fucking douglas has your best interests at heart? He was the one who sold off the assets farmers ultimately bought for the country.
    Farmers are forced, by debt, to soak the soils in chemicals to increase production so as the Hyper Riche can buy that fucking NYC apartment. The super boat, the houses here and there around the planet. That’s the truth. That’s the reality. Now get over it then do something about it!
    Farmers. Here’s what you do. You strike. Stay in bed. And see how long it takes for the first rat to knock on the door. DO NOT! I repeat. DO NOT fuck about on your John Deeres. DO NOT PISS OFF YOUR CITY COUSINS! They’re not the enemy. They’re just has head fucked as you.
    ‘Ag Action’ and ‘Groundswell’ were, ( And still are.) in my opinion, a Machiavellian mechanism used by what I would rather laughably refer to as ‘deep state’ destabilisers to demonise farmers in the eyes of the general public to divide and quell dissent.
    How about them apples then?
    Wee @ bob above might be able to expand on that?

  9. Chloe is 100% right but I have 0% confidence in the Greens ability to do anything about it. Not just because of their lack of electoral support but because of their hyper focus on identitarian navel gazing.


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