How are we actually going to heal NZ? Refund night schools, free school food, 4 year terms & tax Facebook/Google

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I don’t think we appreciate yet how damaged we’ve all been because of the unique universal experience of the Covid lockdown.

It has distorted us, twisted us, damaged us all in very idiosyncratic ways. It has exposed not only the material impacts of poverty and inequality, it has also exposed the brittleness of our collective social contract from those already on the fringes of our society.

We need an urgent injection of money into welfare infrastructure or risk allowing the isolation to rot our shared concept of reality to a point that makes our country ungovernable.

Here are 4 silver bullets.

Refund night schools – One of the worst things Key did when he entered Office was destroy Helen Clark’s night school budgets. Sure that Italian Cooking class wasn’t generating Chefs, but the free night school classes allowed lonely disconnected people to have a social life. It allowed Schools to be used as community hubs and if well designed could become social health hubs and distribution points for community health outreach. We urgently need our people to have places where they can mix and mingle and engage because isolation sends them down fucking rabbit holes.

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Free school breakfasts and lunches – Our truancy rate is going to cause a tumour of social cancer that will stunt this nations development. Feed all the kids in every school free Breakfasts and Lunches so that young peoples first experience of the State is kindness and not shit. Nothing will attract students from vulnerable communities like knowledge of Breakfast and Lunch. This policy would do more to put money back into the pockets of the poorest than any other single policy and lift educational achievements. Hungry kids don’t learn!

4 year terms – Government is hopelessly compromised by the shortness of our electoral terms, give them an extra year to get the structural stuff done.

Tax Facebook/Google – Use the people causing the disinformation to pay for the journalism to correct them! State funded journalism has the reek of bias, a journalism fund funded by ring fenced tax from the media industry is a solution to counter the mad extremism being grown by social media hate algorithms. Treasury doesn’t want to ring fence the tax, Grant should step in and tell them otherwise.

Refund the social infrastructure of night schools to give communities spaces to interact with one another. Bring free nutritious food into every school to bring back truant students and keep the ones schools already have well fed. Give Government longer to fix the deep problems we have and tax the disinformation corporations to fund the journalism that brings people out from the rabbit holes.

If we don’t actively plan and fund ways to heal, the only options are a vast expansion of the surveillance state and criminalisation of free speech.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. icannot argue with any of the points made. We would be a better country if this ideas were implemented .We have to get the children back to school Smaller classes would help to sort out those that need assistance.

  2. icannot argue with any of the points made. We would be a better country if this ideas were implemented .We have to get the children back to school Smaller classes would help to sort out those that need assistance.

  3. my uncle left school and went down the pit but did night classes (at the local mechanics institute) and became a sparky and got a job in a tank factory during ww2, after the war he went to work for the local electricity board doing maintenance(yup publically owned with a maintenance programme shocking innit?) he retired in the early 80s and him and my aunty lived out their days in a rather nice council house….now you might say not such a glittering career but the coal tattoos on his back and arms tell you a different story.

    the point of this ‘eeeee when I were a lad’ is that the facilities and institutions existed then to help a manual worker improve himself if he wanted to.

    • Agree gagarin. I know of several people who had manual jobs who were able to start their career advancement by doing night classes. Some went onto to get Business qualifications – Diplomas etc and some even degrees and MBas. This was especially valuable to those who were finding the manual work increasingly difficult to maintain due to health and ageing issues. Those night classes helped them gain the confidence to do more study.

    • Yeah opportunities, when you were ready and right to try for more or refresh the same, instead education is no longer regarded as essential like a good diet. Ohh just watch tv and rot your brain in your spare time, there is no hope of getting on as gummint comes along and s..s on you somehow. And the malicious and vicious win, and a lot of them are male so if you are a female you get undermined by their mean and rather dirty minds, regularly denigrating women for being interested in sex but ready to be involved with sex when and if it suits them.

      Let’s make opportunities for learning and building better skills, brains and confidence, widely available and popular and accessible; sex (and drugs) will take second place.
      Especially if it leads to jobs that give a living wage, and government could set a decent living wage for people who do retraining or adult learning, so that it won’t matter if the immediate jobs aren’t full time. Be encouraging with people who want to get ahead – not dump on people, limiting what they can earn for themselves, by cutting their student allowance when they get a bit over the earning guideline. I like that story about Inia Te Wiata in England furthering his vocal training who found himself short of money. I read I think, that he contacted the Prime Minister at the time and he organised help for him. Look what turned out – A Most Happy Fella on the world stage, and helped to put NZ on the cultural map.

      • lancashire field ‘clock face pit’ if I remember, well that’s the miners club we used to go to anyway….my main interest was they used have an xmas kids party and you got some really good prezzies..

  4. Agree regarding school lunches. You have circumstances where one school 200m down the road has ‘free lunch s’ going to waste…and another school on the same street has no tuck shop. Any parent knows it is hard to provide a fresh cooked lunch. Most of it kids pick at

    • I was actually astounded NZ didn’t have school lunches…60s/70s uk we had heavily and I do mean heavily subsidised (shilling a week if I remember) school lunches(free for poor kids) on monday morning 1st thing teacher would hand you 5 canteen tickets(you were trusted not to lose them–personal responsibility y’see).
      yes it was ‘army food’ some kind of meat(the sausages where always suspect) spuds and 1 or 2 veggies followed by a nice stodgy pudding (not todays nutritional guidelines but back then nutritionists lauded it as perfectly balanced)…no choice it was just ladled onto your plate by women who probably started cooking during the blitz
      Given it’s limitations it was ok (mind you we’d complain like squaddies then scramble for seconds if available).
      some schools had their own kitchens and some a central one which distributed giant thermoses of food around the schools in the area…and yes it was all cooked to the point of death BUT it was freshly cooked food not dried frozen or microwave actual cooks cooking actual food.

      the point of this diatribe is if before the 80s the UK could do it no reason NZ can’t it just takes investment….that’s all no debate no ‘menu discussions’ just fuckin do it.

  5. Referendumb the 4 year term.

    Why free school lunches? A rhetorical question I ask.

    Housing! Housing! Housing! Its expensive to rent and its expensive to buy. But, with 27,000 people living in poverty and many are hungry kids.
    No government in NZ’s recent 38 year history has had a real intent to fix this $365m/year problem.

    If the above wasnt so so expensive and it will continue to be, free lunches isnt going to fix the Housing Crisis, or the Poverty Crisis or feed Hungry Kids for long.
    Education doesnt work either. Look at the morons we have in parliament.

  6. My work colleague a retired 76 year said, we don’t have the resilience our older generation had cause they went through 2 world wars, a depression and various outbreaks of diseases. Some NZers are worn out and sick and tired of wearing masks. It has not been easy this Covid epidemic nor has it brought the best out in many. And to make matters worse we now have environmental issues with excessive rain causing river and streams to burst their banks and houses at risk of falling down hills with excessive flooding. All I can say is there is always someone or others worse of so losing a house is not as bad as losing a life.

  7. Excellent stuff @ Martyn Bradbury.
    At the risk of repeating myself.
    Aotearoa / New Zealand.
    = 268,021 km²
    Canterbury alone
    = 45,346 km²
    Land area of Holland
    =41,543 km²
    Population of Holland
    =17.44 million (2020)
    Population of AO/New Zealand.
    =5.084 million (2020)
    Holland ? Doing fine.
    Aotearoa New Zealand
    Fucked, and getting fuckeder. By the day.
    In summation:
    #1 We AO/NZ’ers need to throw the fine print out the window and believe NOTHING we’re told, which, by default, means we must then go out there and seek the truth for ourselves using that least most common of the senses; common sense.
    #2 Should there be human hunger, especially amongst our most vulnerable which are our kids?
    #3 Why is there human hunger, especially amongst our most vulnerable which are our kids?
    #4 Our country’s primary industry is agriculture. I don’t believe, nor care, what dubious fantasy some people concoct re tourism. See #1
    #4 Look around? What do you see? Are you looking with your commonsense or are you looking around with the eyes ‘they’ gave you? The ones that see what they want you to see while hoping you believe that what you think you’re seeing is the truth. That it’s true, that it’s a reality, that there are hungry kids and homeless AO/NZ’ers, that a house in a nice suburbs is now unaffordable to most or selling for millions so that foreign owned and administered banks are enabled, by the very same politicians YOU pay, with your taxes, to scour out your pockets for the banks who take billions of dollars out of our financial, circulatory system.
    I see an unbelievably beautiful few islands rich in natural resources. On them, I see us, a population of people being exploited and abused and only because we’re hard working, diligent, caring and creative. And all our abusers need to do is to exploit those exemplary traits is to convince us that we’re not worthy of those attributes. Condescending narcissistic sociopathy is ingrained into our society and our politics because that’s what we’ve been fed into our beautiful minds.
    We really need to break away from that.
    How? Well, lets take the first step and ask some questions. Let’s start by asking ‘how’. Not, when, why, where, who, or in the case of, roger ‘the alien’ douglas; what.
    How does a toothless population of hardworking people castrated by debt and generally increasing costs of living, specifically to foreign owned mafia-style bankers assert themselves in a forthright manner? Clearly, a rabble scuffing up a lawn outside the epicentre of our abusers won’t, and didn’t work. Equally, driving tractors about in an annoying manner has all the effect of poking a sleeping lion up the arse hole with a sharp stick. No good can come of that.
    How… How does the many act when most don’t know what to re-act against?
    Education. Knowledge is power. Know the enemy? Sun Tsu could help us there. Whether we like it or not, when there are helpless people living in the parks, streets and gutters, we’re at war. Sure, it could be argued that the war we’re fighting is more polite than say the Russian invasion of Ukraine after being pressured by NATO but to some, it’s equally damaging and horrifying since most violent and odious crime is born of poverty and hardship.
    So how? Education.
    From where? Well, not from our government/s which is/are really just a coagulation of plump neoliberal gristle lolling about in big soft chairs while banking hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. Plus accomodation, flights and piss ups too remember.
    I think, and call me old fashioned if you must, but we need help from beyond the caverns of the vampires nests.
    Aotearoa / New Zealand’s hog tied. It’s fucked. Our politics is a script written by psychopaths for psychopaths. Forget about appealing to government agencies and their bureaucracies. They’re all bought and paid for and have been for generations and generations. When one has much more money that one needs then one must spend that spare change on ensuring you get to keep the balance. Again. That’s common sense. You just don’t go out there and blow all your dough. Then, you’d be fucked. You’d be picked off by similarly, criminally, inclined and equally amoral others. Aye boys? ( What did ron brierly really do to you? )
    This is what I think we normal, loving, caring, tender, vulnerable people should do. In fact I’d go so far as to argue that it’s THE ONLY thing left that we can do.
    We hire professionals outside the sphere of crooks who have their flat feet on our necks.
    We hire a team of forensic accountants, prosecuting lawyers and a team of diplomatic military specialists to keep and eye on the paper work. Unlike the mistakes *Paul White made like never take your eye of your drink at a pub or club.
    How? We crowd source funds. We build a war chest. And then, when we’ve got the goods, we go public. And then, then the public will no longer need to ask when, how and who. It’s a world first idea and I had it. All I want to be remember for is the AO/NZ farmer who saved the world. So, not much really.
    * Wikipedia:
    “The documents detailed extensive tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes run through Cook Islands offshore companies associated with an entity part owned by the New Zealand Government state bank, the Bank of New Zealand, and merchant bank Fay Richwhite, whose principals Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite were closely connected to both the Labour and National political parties.”
    It seems to be getting ever harder to find information on Paul White who, it’s alleged, was the victim of a Hit put on him by players within the scope of The Paradise Conspiracy.
    ( Lest we forget. )

    • I’m going to finish off your long and worth idea countryboy. I think moves have to come from the people yes, only way we will get movement. Labour is into a new dynasty. Can they be sued for not doing the work implicit in their name?

  8. Saw the get back to school add tonight. It was played during the 5.30pm news on Prime, so not sure who they are targetting. Don’t imagine it will work. Breakfast and lunch at school sounds good.

  9. Were it that… we had politicians today with the humility of Norman Kirk, the wit of David Lange and the spine of Roger Douglas – I might almost be tempted to vote Labour again. For these lean times ahead – I shall have to make do with the effervescent Mr Seymour.

  10. Why would any sane person want to give the likes of Roger Douglas, Luxon, Collins, or Seymour four years to do damage without the brake, of an election.

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