The new government is determined to reduce the number of public servants, decrying the serious growth seen under Labour. But the debate usually skips past who they are and what they do. Henry Cooke explains what a public servant is, what they do all day, how they grew under the last government, and how ours compare to others.
The first problem is working out who on earth we mean when we talk about “public servants”.
Do we strictly mean people in Wellington helping ministers develop policy? Or do we include, say, the caseworker at the MSD office down the road, or the security guard outside the door? It’s clear that someone writing policy at the Ministry of Education is a “public servant” – but what about the teachers? What about the folks at State Owned Enterprises like Transpower which runs the national electricity grid? What about the cops?
The lesson from Covid was that we need more State Capacity, NOT LESS!
We don’t just need more teachers, drs and nurses, we need new hospitals, now schools and new capacity!
New Zealand has an egregious infrastructure deficit in NZ!
The Left have to make the argument for a bigger capacity State funded by taxing the mega wealthy. They have to show where the money will come from and they have to show they will have a plan ready to go.
Because our under regulated capitalism has been robbed of revenue by a rigged economic system that benefits the rich, we are desperately needing more hospitals, more passenger rail, roads, schools, storm repair, tens of thousands still waiting for State Houses
The reality is that we are not spending nearly enough and we need a far larger State capacity, not less of it!
There is a class war happening right in front of our eyes as the wealthy pour millions in donations to National and ACT while Climate Denying Federated Farmers join ACT and National push for landlords to have the power to evict when some of their biggest donors are Real Estate pimps.
The political project of the right is to amputate the State’s capacity to raise revenue so that it can’t be redistributed in the first place.
There are 14 Billionaires in NZ + 3118 ultra-high net worth individuals with over $50million each, why not start start with them, then move onto the Banks, then the Property Speculators, the Climate Change polluters and big industry to pay their fair share before making workers pay more tax!
When Treasury is being for a capital Gains tax, you know shit has gone cray…
Are those stats that live up to the egalitarian dream of NZ?
The ‘cash was splashed around’ by Labour as the price paid to prevent a mass death event from a once in a century pandemic.
Pretending otherwise is simply rewriting history while denying the underfunded present which dooms us in the future.
We need a bigger State, not a smaller one.
This is the time for the political Left to walk away from woke pure temple politics and embrace Broadchurch class solidarity.
Our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 30 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our damaged masculinity, the intergenerational consequences of colonialism, our unspoken rage culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger – all of this demands questions we don’t want to hear as a society.
If we don’t provide people with Hope that there is a better way of being for us all, if we don’t provide vision that actually addresses the material well being of our voters, if we aren’t prepared to debate the expansion of State Capacity by taxing the mega wealthy and funding the climate change adaptation, if we don’t do all that, this hard right racist Government will win again.
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