Tamihere on ‘a less equal society’

I think it is difficult to pin down just what equality or inequality mean. It can be quite misleading and misused.

A country in which everyone lives in poverty have a form of equality.

Generally, countries in which people can and do get richer have on average improved standards of living for most people at least.

John Tamihere (NZH): The fruits of 30 years – a less equal society

What were – and are – the major drivers behind the major wealth redistribution that has occurred over 30 years across OECD countries?

The policies that delivered this massive redistribution of wealth requires a look.
In the United States it was known as Reaganomics, and in Britain as Thatcherism, after US President Ronald Regan and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The two powerhouse economic leaders set a course that led to an economic framework based on globalisation and underwritten by supply side economics.

In this country, the incoming 1984 Labour Government took these policies and put them on steroids. It was known here as Rogernomics, after Finance Minister Roger Douglas.

The policy foundations are known as supply side economics or trickledown economics. They are underpinned by the pillars of deregulation, privatisation of public assets, monetary control leading to low interest rates, labour deregulation – in large part the destruction of labour and unions and also lower taxes particularly for the wealthy.

The Rogernomics blitzkrieg promised a more efficient and effective delivery of state services. It offered the breakup of state monopolies so that entrepreneurial New Zealanders could dream to start their own business and become self-made millionaires.

Few people argue against major and urgent reform being necessary in the 1980sn in New Zealand. Muldoon had just about destroyed the economy as the country struggled to trade after the United Kingdom ditched us and swung towards Europe.

We didn’t exactly have equality then. Some, like farmers, got unequal amounts of government assistance.

Major reforms like we had can’t avoid negative effects, unintended consequences and collateral damage. Subsequent tweaks have to be made to limit the damage.

The argument was, once we built a more efficient and effective economy, wealth retained by the Government could be redistributed to build wealth for all New Zealanders.

The magic in this policy framework was that all New Zealanders lifestyles would lift and be so good that by the late 1990s we would be the ‘leisure society’ working four days or less a week.

I don’t remember those promises. I was too busy (very busy) working and raising a family.

Funny coincidence just this week: Four-day work week ‘liberating, empowering, exciting’

Tamihere:

So apart from tourism doing outstandingly well – which is all about the race to the bottom
in importing cheap labour to make coffee and serve tables – dairy, beef lamb, fish and forestry are still a significant backbone of the New Zealand economy, even after trickledown.

People that have done extraordinarily well out of the trickledown of course love the status quo and likely have a say over their 40-hour employment contract, and earn enough to feed, clothe, educate and house their families.

While we have low employment, we have thousands of New Zealanders on low incomes who are underemployed because to be efficient and effective you must ensure as the trickledown starts its downward spiral, less and less gets through to the bottom.

That sounds like nonsense – the keeping people poorer to stay richer fallacy.

We do have one type of inequality that’s growing – the inequality of Working for Families that redistributes money from workers without dependent children to everyone with children, including many quite well off people.

So this article has nothing to do with decrying those who work hard and earn a lot. It has everything to do with asking the questions. What sort of society or country do you want to live in? Are you comfortable seeing fellow Kiwis on Struggle Street sleeping in cars and under hedges? And are you comfortable making significant profits, having the whip hand over wages, hours, conditions and therefore the livelihood of your fellow citizen.

What about: Are you comfortable taking significant financial risks and working your arse off to provide jobs?

We’ve seen a major collapse in integrity and credibility in business leadership in this country, whether it was the collapse of the finance houses or whether it was the captains of industry who sat on the district health boards and pretended that everything was okay. That wages for nurses were good and that buildings that housed patients were fit and healthy for purpose.

While there have always been examples, have we really had “a major collapse in integrity and credibility in business leadership”?

We all know differently. We know that in every sector of our community, the great underwrite for this country was that everyone was able to have a fair go. I’m not sure that is the situation.

A fair go can only exist in an open, transparent society. The only institution that can reassert a fair go is the New Zealand Government.

There’s some interesting comments on this at Reddit:

Excellent article, which does a good job of highlighting the fact that inequality is not a partisan issue. The financial deregulation of the 1980s (“Rogernomics”) was a Labour government initiative, and National has spent the best part of the last decade promoting it.

Now, after 30-odd years, we’re all running around looking for someone to blame for the results, but what we really need to do is take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves some serious questions about how we let things get to this point, and what we can do to fix it. Witch-hunts are incredibly unproductive.

And:

That last sentence is important I feel. The previous government took things to the penultimate point and tried to use industry and capitalism to fix all society’s problems (health, housing, corrections, education) which was an abysmal failure.

Capitalism is awesome and a fantastic system in many ways, but it cannot fix all problems and cannot entiry self regulate. So the problems now are far to big for any industry sector to tackle and require significant government intervention. To those who argue against this…well why did you (yes you) let things get so bad under the system of the last 30 years. There was ample opportunity to ensure fair distribution of societal gains to prevent the current disaster in mass inequality, but humanity is selfish by design and needs to be checked.

There have been failures for sure, but have things overall been ‘an abysmal failure’?

Free Speech – are we for or against it?

Post from Gezza:


“OPINION: It seems I’m as Aryan as you can get, with a DNA test to prove it, but I’m less thrilled about it than Lauren Southern, the suitably blonde agitator who wasn’t allowed to speak at the Auckland Council’s Bruce Mason Centre.

The 23-year-old self-described journalist calls to mind an inane pop song once banned by the BBC, Jump Up and Down and Wave Your Knickers in the Air.

She’s white and proud and wants to kick arse about the accident of her birth, for which she has no more reason to preen than the rest of us whiteys. But boy, is she shrill, is she self-righteous, and is she in-your-face provocative.

Rosemary McLeod: The Free Speech Coalition is wasting its money.

ROSEMARY MCLEOD

Rosemary McLeod: The Free Speech Coalition is wasting its money.

I’ve taken a dislike to her. In case you wondered. Southern and fellow Canadian Stefan Molyneux are internet identities with a far-Right agenda that would have appalled Bruce Mason, a leading Kiwi playwright and sensible liberal.”

More…

… … …
As I posted the other day, Rosemary McLeod is at it – a classic liberal feminist, playing the “Nazi Aryan Maiden” card, without citing any actual evidence to back up what she appears to have heard elsewhere.

She, like the rest of us, has no idea exactly what these two were going to say, & she is appalled that Don Brash is in favour of allowing people to express “racist” views. I happen to agree with Brash on this.

My take: Molyneux is a sleazy character who, among other fad topics of appeal to the low-IQ North American conservative to far right spectrum reportedly peddles the debunked “IQ is linked to race” theory. I haven’t yet seen him doing this – but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does.

if you’ve watched a lot of his 90 -120 minute plus interminable online harangues – as I now have – after half an hour of his superciliously snide side-comments you can quickly write him off as awful to listen to, devious, a frequent distorter of facts & outright liar, whose false claims among the facts are easily disproved and dismissed. Which is what should happen.

So far I haven’t heard him directly advocating that whites are superior, although the hoary old ‘race-based IQ’ revival he is said to promote carries that obvious implication, disguised as it is with the false claim that Ashkanazi Jews are top of the high IQ list and whites are only at third from top in the pecking order.

Southern is another story. She doesn’t lie. She holds strong views about the values of Western European culture & systems & argues against people and groups who practice white racism & have cultural practices, ideas & values that conflict with or are inconsistent with them, & challenges those who allow, support, or encourage people traffickers to keep up the flow of floods of people from such countries into Western countries, where there is evidence of the real & projected adverse outcomes & impacts on the host populations & their own cultures that these sudden massive influxes create.

Both of them seem to have views also on the impact of feminism and its attendant anti-male rhetoric & influence in modern society because of the negative outcome statistics for, basically, emasculated, anxiety-ridden, lost young men – often fatherless – who have grown up indoctrinated by a female-friendly childcare & education system and are now showing up quite prominently in sociological studies apparently believing that being typically male makes them violent, dominating, evil people, & so never become young men & never get out there & realise their potential.

That, contrary to the incessant clamour of strident feminists, stats show that, in the US at least, ‘the system’ is actually now benefiting women far more than men, something which is not known and/or acknowledged by feminazis.

These are valid issues that need an airing & to be discussed in rational debate. I have never heard Southern claim anything about whites or females being superior.

In this article I think McLeod proceeds to display her own intellectual superiority blinkers. I think she rather proves their case that free speech is now actually being suppressed by such people as Rosemary who just don’t want to hear & debate this.

Post-Helsinki fallout continues

Donald trump continues to cop a lot of flak from across the political spectrum after his astonishing assertions at the press conference in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, and his would/wouldn’t waffling all over the place since.

Wall Street Journal: The Trump First Doctrine

Putin respects strength but Trump showed weakness.

I think that most people respect strength, as long as it is not misused.

Strong language – often ridiculously strong in Trump’;s case, especially when praising himself, does not automatically convey strength.

Donald Trump left for Europe a week ago with his reputation enhanced by a strong Supreme Court nomination. He returned Monday with that reputation diminished after a tumultuous week of indulging what amounts to the Trump First Doctrine.

Mr. Trump marched through Europe with more swagger than strategy. His diplomacy is personal, rooted in instinct and impulse, and he treats other leaders above all on how much they praise Donald J. Trump. He says what pops into his head to shock but then disavows it if there’s a backlash….

It’s still debatable whether this is incompetent uncertainty, or deliberate chaos.

Howard Kurtz at Fox News – Slamming the script: Why the press is dismissing the president’s do-over

At a minimum, President Trump deserves credit for saying what he should have said to Vladimir Putin, that he accepts the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. He may have been pressured into saying it–not just by the media furor but by Mike Pence, John Kelly, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, according to reports—but he said it nonetheless.

What drew particular skepticism was Trump’s explanation that he misspoke one word, that he meant to say “wouldn’t” and not “would,” as in “I don’t see any reason why it would” be Russia.

CNN’s Erin Burnett said Trump was making a “dog ate my homework” alibi, adding: “How stupid does Trump think we Americans are? The president’s excuse for his embarrassing press conference, where he sided with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence chiefs, does not add up.”

Slate called Trump’s Tuesday walkback “only a little less disgraceful” than Helsinki, under the headline: “Nothing Trump Says Can Be Trusted.”

In a more sophisticated vein, The Washington Post offered these observations:

“The way he delivered his statement of retreat was classic Trump, a dual message — a ritual statement of confidence in U.S. intelligence officials for those who insist that the president respect the nation’s systems and mores, but also winks and nods to those who like Trump expressly because he’s eager to smash china and topple tradition …

“The signals had been sent, a quick wave of a white flag for those who insist on such things, and a zesty little aside, a wink and a nod, to those who needed assurance that their renegade president would never cave to the swamp dwellers, never back away from his commitment to blow up the old, failed ways of Washington.”

So is all this the indelible stain that the sustained media outrage would suggest? The New York Times deserves credit for posing the question:

“The question was whether he had reached a genuine turning point or simply endured another one of those episodes that seems decisive but ultimately fades into the next one.”

Trump has got away with an extraordinary amount since he became a candidate, and since he became president.

Time will tell whether this would’wouldn’t debacle will become just another clusterfuck in a chaotic reign, or if it becomes a tipping point.

Cosying up to Putin and to Russia while slamming the US intelligence community and only sort of back tracking may not go down as well as his ongoing bickering against the likes of Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Whether this will increase the attrition in a White House that churns disillusioned and frustrated staff may be one of the more difficult things to deal with – but as more people get pissed off and leave Trump he may become more unfettered and feckless.

Some things have been achieved and successes should continue, but an air of incompetence won’t blow over while Trump continues stoking a chaotic cacophony.

“The most open government in history”

Journalists continue to complain about the government not living up to it’s promise to be the most transparent government ever.

There was no pledge of transparency in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement. From the Labour-Green Confidence and Supply Agreement:

20. Strengthen New Zealand’s democracy by increasing public participation, openness, and
transparency around official information.

Claims of a lack of transparency began early under the incoming Government late last year.

Stuff (26 November 2017):  Labour promised transparency in Government, but they seem to be buckling on that early

The Government is facing a mountain of questions – more than 6000 to be exact. They’ve been lodged by an army of National MPs with nothing but time on their hands and it should be no surprise to Labour Ministers, who have so far refused to release much detail, if any, about their first actions in office.

In a 100-day programme, where major reform is being pushed through at break-neck speed, that is cause for concern.

…and it might be early, but on the current trend those accusations aren’t far from being squarely levelled back to Labour. They and the Greens made much of their desire to “bring transparency back to Government” on the campaign trail.

Labour is also yet to release what’s known as the ‘Briefings to Incoming Ministers’ – or BIMs. They are the documents prepared by the experts and officials, delivered to ministers in their first week to give them a crash course on the portfolio they’ve just been handed – in some cases rendering them responsible overnight for the spending of public funds totalling billions.

Stuff (2 December 2017): For a Government vowing to be more transparent, it really is stuck in the mud

For a Government vowing to be the most transparent and open the country has ever seen, it really did get stuck in the mud this week.

The problem with this document is not necessarily what’s in it, but the message it sends by not releasing it after Peters insisted it would be made public.

Ardern has spent the week arguing it isn’t a “live document” or a work programme the Government is bound to.

The new Government has an opportunity to pave a new path on transparency, it just needs to get out of the mud its bogged itself down in over the last few weeks and accept sometimes it’s better to just admit that you’re wrong.

RNZ (4 December 2017): Jacinda Ardern on ‘secret’ documents

Speaking to Morning Report today, Ms Ardern defended the new government’s reluctance to reveal the details of its coalition agreement.

“When something becomes an official part of our work programme, then that’s the point at which, absolutely, we have to be transparent about that. But when it comes to documents that sit behind a negotiation, that aren’t necessarily going to be pursued, as soon as you release it, that gives an expectation that it is a hard and fast policy, when it might not be at all.”

“We are actively at the moment looking at ways that we can make sure there is greater transparency around briefings that ministers receive, cabinet papers, whether we can routinely release documents after decisions are made, these are conversations I have never heard governments have before, and we are having.”

She said the government was still dedicated to greater transparency.

Jump forward seven months and this is looking like a ‘same old’ secretive government.

Stuff: ‘Secretive’ Shane Jones won’t release Fonterra texts

Regional economic development minister Shane Jones is refusing to make public messages backing his criticism of Fonterra chair John Wilson.

Self-styled “provincial champion” Jones launched a blistering attack on the long-serving dairy co-operative boss last month. Defending his remarks, Jones then claimed 365 people had sent messages supporting his stance.

But the NZ First Minister is now refusing to release those text messages. And that raises questions about the Government’s official record-keeping processes.

“The messages I was referring to were received predominantly on my private phone and not in my capacity as a Minister. They therefore do not fall within the scope within the scope of the Official Information Act 1982,” Jones said in a letter to Stuff.

@HenryCooke from Stuff: “In Politically Correct this week I recounted some recent OIA fun we’ve had with “the most open government in history”

But it looked like “We will be the most transparent government ever…unless it doesn’t suit us.

Communism by stealth, or ‘Corporate-Capitalist Welfare by design’?

PartisanZ saved me the trouble of stating this topic:


Matthew Hooton: ‘Communism by stealth’ is here – NZHerald

“Infamously, Key then entrenched Working for Families as Prime Minister, and Ardern and Robertson have further locked in middle-class dependency with their December 2017 Families Package.

In fact in 2004, the left-wing critique of Working for Families was stronger than Key’s, that it would operate as a subsidy of low-paying employers.

That is, using Key’s original numbers, if there was a job to do worth $60,000 a year, an employer could hire someone with two kids, pay them just $38,000 a year, and they’d end up with almost the same pay in the hand.”

It’s an interesting and convoluted argument, demonstrating, IMHO, that we are no longer involved in a Left-vs-Right contest but merely exist on a neoliberalism continuum where the challenge is how to make the failed economic paradigm ‘appear’ to be working …

It’s not really about an actual economic paradigm. It’s about the ‘semblance’ of an economic paradigm. About trying to prove the mirage is the reality. I believe we need to find a coherent, comprehensible name for this phenomenon because it affects us all, whether we want a UBI or vehemently oppose it.

‘Simuliberalism’* perhaps? The similitude or simulation of neoliberalism?

“And don’t expect National to be able to do anything about it. With the financial status of so many working families now as locked in to welfare as any other beneficiary, abolishing Working for Families is becoming ever-more politically impossible.

It has transferred the primary economic relationship that determines family income from being that with the employer to that with the state. It is indeed communism by stealth. Clark and Cullen knew exactly what they doing when they set it up.”

Whatever it is, it certainly IS NOT communism … since the means of production aren’t owned by the State on behalf of its citizens … they remain largely in private hands pushing wealth upwards towards the very few … and this means it CANNOT BE communism by stealth.

Corporate-Capitalist Welfare by design more likely … Simuliberalism?

 

Media watch – Friday

20 July 2018

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Open Forum – Friday

19 July 2018

Forum

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria.

Free speech is an important principle here but some people who might pose a risk to the site may be limited.

World view – Friday

Thursday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

Police prepare for ‘torrid’ pay claims

Following the lead of nurses, teachers and other groups of government workers the Police Association is preparing for wage claims. They will have a good argument to at least maintain parity with teachers and nurrses.

NZH: Pay, recruitment and retention in the mix for Police Association in negotiations

Police are beginning to press their claims for better pay and conditions, with negotiations between their union and their bosses beginning this week.

Among the issues concerning frontline officers are recruitment, retention and pay.

The Police Association has warned its members in its monthly magazine Police News that there could be some “torrid negotiations” ahead which it says it is well-prepared for.

The negotiations come at a time marked by industrial action in the public sector. Nurses have already been on strike, primary school teachers will strike next month, ACC senior doctors walked off the job this week, and MBIE and IRD staff have been on strike.

Government wage bills look like being under significant pressure as different worker groups look to take as much advantage of a Labour led government.