GUEST BLOG: Finn Flynn – Seymour’s cogovernance bait and switch


David Seymour says it’s imperative to hold a referendum about co-governance because it is divisive and undemocratic. But his own policies prove him a liar. He knows full well that calling for a referendum will cause further division, by whistling Kiwi racists to his heel. 

While we bicker about Ti Tiriti o Waitangi, he is already at work to increase – on purpose!! – the wealth of the already-wealthy. By cutting taxes for rich people, he gives them more and more money, and with that, more and more power to override our democratic institutions by using the law as a bludgeon against community interests. 

You can see this clearly in Waiheke where the community fought for a decade through the courts against the development of a marina for million dollar leisure boats. Eventually an Auckland councillor advised giving up resistance because it would cost the Council too much. The Kennedy Point marina is now complete, with no apparent benefit to the community despite the promised “trickle down” apart from a few more lattes ordered at local cafes.

Over the last 20 years, there have been more than 50 internationally renowned publications about the dreadful impact of increasing wealth disparity on all sectors of society – except the wealthy, of course. Unanimously, they prove repeatedly that wealth inequity causes massive and disruptive divisions in society. And they prove that the neoliberal cant, that tax cuts for the rich benefits “raises all boats” – benefits everyone – is universally untrue. That has not happened anywhere in the world.

Yet David Seymour is pushing the new government, the Nat-axis, to adopt classic austerity policies that will divide New Zealand even further into the Land of the Large Loser Crowd. To run cover for this policy, which economist Mark Blyth describes in Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, Seymour is using “culture wars” to distract attention from the real issue of the Kiwi majority’s increasing penury.

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American historian Heather Cox Richardson, spells out how this game is being played by US Republicans in one of her most recent letters.

Her various publications have charted how graduated taxes had fueled America’s rise as the international economic powerhouse, and now how the wealthy are using the courts to rule that tax – for them – is bad. And we can all see that since Reagan’s revolution, America’s economic paramountcy has declined, accompanied by the rise of destitution, disease and dysfunction. 

At the ACT annual conference speech in July 2021, Seymour said: “Some people think it’s somehow wrong that many of New Zealand’s greatest business people got together and donated over a million dollars to ACT in March alone. I’m very proud that such people are backing us.” Now it’s payback time. He’s backing them.

This is the Nat-axis dream.



Finn Flynn is a former journalist who has returned to New Zealand after more than a decade living in the US. He has witnessed the rapid decline of the so-called greatest country on Earth, from the buoyancy of Obama’s “audacity of hope” to the paralysing cynicism of Trump’s sulphuric politics. New Zealanders shake their heads in disbelief at America’s slide without realising that they too are on the same slippery slope to failure.


  1. ‘ I am really proud I represent the interests of 3 to 5% of the population. I mean what could possibly go wrong if I rodger everyone else. I’ll just tell them it’s about freedom and democracy ( democracy which apparently you need lots of money to participate in). It’s ok though I’ll make sure you are well armed if things really go south. They won’t though because people like being treated like slaves and down trodden, and working for virtual monarchies. Why do you think The Crown is so popular’

  2. Thank you Finn, an excellent succinct summing up of how we got here. Extreme wealth only exists where there is extreme poverty.

  3. And we have neither extreme.
    You can sit and do nothing in NZ and be looked after or you can work hard and pay for the guy sitting doing nothing
    So the best and brightest make the sensible decision to leave.
    Bring in immigrants to pay the taxes then rinse and repeat

    • Inequality is always relative. We have billionaires and foreign banks who basically do nothing other than feed off others labour, and requiring workers to get paid less than a living wage; and we have working people (NOTE: not just the umemployed) needing charity to survive. I can only wonder how you find that acceptable.
      We also have wealthy people who work their butts-off to make NZ a better place, and who also say they should pay more tax.

      • If you think in a black and white context Peter, like Tribal+scot does life would be so, so simple, it’s not. Some sit back and do nothing because they are invalids, intellectually impaired etc. If he is talking about straight out bludgers then give me the numbers on those, stats etc, then compare it to the bludgers hiding their money( tax fraud overseas offshore accounts and trusts).

        The guys that work pay these wealthy bludgers.

    • So the entrepreneurs who drove up house prices in relation to the average wage from the ’60s to now just so they could live from other people’s labor are the good ones? While I am aware that it is the Kiwi dream for many people inspired by the likes of Bob Jones to get a property portfolio they will eventually kill the golden goose as the saying goes & the resulting social chaos is going to make them wish that they had never been born. Read James 5 if you want a second opinion.

      • Yes Bonni, sadly the hope of home ownership for an increasing number of NZers is a rapidly fading dream. I can’t help thinking that the decline in family home ownership is linked to the loss of community and a stable schooling environment for our kids, and many other society ills we face.

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