A view on Tweedlenational and Tweedlelabour

Phil Duncan:  What yesterday told us about National and Labour

Two events yesterday provided a micrcosm of the problem with the NatLabs, and yet more evidence of why workers and progressive people generally shouldn’t support either wing of this party.

One of the most obnoxious events in politics, and in elections in particular, is when capitalist politicians – people dedicated to managing the system that exploits workers- show up at workplaces.  They put on hi-viz jackets or hard hats or hair nets or whatever and walk around making absurd chit-chat with workers and posing for photo opportunities.  The more obsequious workers agree to be part of the photo opp and the most obsequious even take selfies and stick them on their facebook pages.

But, thanks to the courage of Robin Lane and several other workers, Bill English found one of these workplace walkabouts highly embarrasing.  Shortly after inspecting a tray of lemons at Kaiaponi Farms (near Gisborne), English looked like he was sucking on a sour lemon.  English told the workers that the success of the economy was helped by them and other workers.  But instead of accepting this patronising pat on the back, Robin Lane began questioning English about the minimum wage.

She told him that the increases were far from adequate for people to live on, forcing him to admit on camera that living on the minimum wage is definitely a challenge and that was why National had kept raising it.  She then pointed out what these rises had amounted to during the party’s curent three terms in government.  English simply didn’t have an answer.

But nor was he able to simply move on.

Instead,  another worker, Simon Clarke, told English how WINZ had turned away a workmate who had suffered a heart attack.  The worker and his wife were forced to live off her minimum wage.

Several other workers chimed in about the inadequacy of the minimum wage, the massive power imbalance between workers and bosses, the high cost of food, and the general struggle to simply survive.

These workers have set a good example.  This should be the response of workers every time a capitalist politician of any stripe drops by to use them for photo opps.

Fair responses for sure, saying what they think and feel to politicians should be encouraged.

However the reality is that people willing to speak up and complain are outnumbered by the happy clapping selfie brigade.

At the same time, we were given another example of why Labour is no alternative.

The new Labour position is that there will now be no capital gains tax, no increase in company tax and top income earners will not be taxed more until after the 2020 election!  The ‘rationale’ is that Labour, if elected, will have a tax working group come up with proposals and these will then be campaigned on by Labour in 2020.

The backtracking on tax is, however, clearly due to National putting pressure on Labour over the issue, with business also not being keen on any measures like higher rates of company tax.  Labour is sending a message to business: we’ll look after your interests, so please go along with us getting into government.

While progressive taxation is not in any way anti-capitalist, the fact that Labour is already backtracking on even fairly harmless measures shows just how craven and respectable the Labourites are.  If Labour end up leading the next government, there will be no sweeping changes: workers will continue to be exploited by capital and face all kind of state-imposed obstacles to being able to fight for better wages and conditions; poverty will remain; inequality will continue to grow.

About the only promise Labour is likely to seriously try to keep is cutting immigration – ie taking measures which help deepen divisions among workers as a global class.

Poll/vote driven parties are likely to keep disappointing those on the political fringes.

Both wings of the NatLabs/LabNats stand for the global system of exploitation and oppression.  Both present the limits of capitalism as ‘natural limits’ in order to tell us – the people who create the wealth, goods and services that make the world go round – what we can’t have, while those who produce nothing (the bosses) have whatever they want.

A common tweedle-dee-dee.

What do we do?

First off, don’t vote for them, don’t play their game.  Do something nice on September 23 – go to the beach, visit friends or family, go for a swim or to the gym – and stay away from the polling booth.

Not voting, not playing their game, means they keep will continue having turns with the ball.

Second, connect with other people who prefer to resist the system rather than prop it up.  We need a new political movement – one of, by and for workers.

But workers movements have been on the wane for decades. Most people are happy to prop up the system, or at least are not motivated to buck the system.

Those desperate for an anti-capitalist revolution for the masses will have to find a way of appealing to the masses. The people won’t be moved by the same old that faded last century.

31 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  September 15, 2017

    the hardworking kiwis English encountered are not the hardworking kiwis National supports.National supports hardworking property speculators,RE agencies,immigration consultants,insurance and finance officers,and wealthy hardworking donors and lobbyists.

    • And a lot of small business owners, and a lot of workers – National are offering something to all income earners, while Labour is cutting many workers out of their deal, saying they should feel good about handing their money over to others. Figure that one out.

      • Blazer

         /  September 15, 2017

        National too little,too late.Spruiking property as an asset class deprives business of capital as banks allocate funds to land and housing mortgages.As we see both Key and Barclay 2 former National M.P’s have profited immensley from the governance they presided ..over.

    • sorethumb

       /  September 15, 2017

      From The Landlord Says: [Election 2011]
      Meanwhile the National Party released its immigration policy. You may wonder what this means for the property market. It is clear from research that immigration is one of the key drivers of house price growth.
      The logic is simple. If you import more people into the country, then you need more houses. Supply and demand means that prices are then pushed up, this is particularly so in Auckland.
      While the latest immigration numbers show the number of people coming into New Zealand is starting to rise, the Nat’s policy looks like it wants to increase immigration levels even further. (Although it is unclear what sort of number they are targeting.)
      This policy is, arguably, a plus for people who want house prices to rise. (But may be not so good for first home owners wanting to buy.)
      My guess has always been that property investors lean heavily towards the right rather than the left. (This was made clear in an email newsletter I saw from one developer this week.)

  2. sorethumb

     /  September 15, 2017

    Minimum wages don’t work. Worker scarcity is what works and neither National Realestate nor Labour are into that as they are globalist. A leftist claiming workers of the world should all stick together and act as a global class over looks the unlimited supply of labour.
    …..
    “Our story of bus drivers reveals the existence of the proverbial elephant in the room. It shows that the living standards of the huge majority of people in rich countries critically depend on the existence of the most draconian control over their labour markets – immigration control. Despite this, immigration control is invisible to many and deliberately ignored by others, when they talk about the virtues of the free market.”
    ― Ha-Joon Chang, Twenty-Three Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism

  3. PDB

     /  September 15, 2017

    A ‘minimum wage’ is a starting wage, a foot in the door for someone entering the workforce – it’s not something you expect to bring a family up on. The worker should have been talking to their boss about a pay rise or taking their skills elsewhere where the pay is better. Nothing to do with the govt.

    The writer then writes this particular socialist nonsense;

    “Both wings of the NatLabs/LabNats stand for the global system of exploitation and oppression.  Both present the limits of capitalism as ‘natural limits’ in order to tell us – the people who create the wealth, goods and services that make the world go round – what we can’t have, while those who produce nothing (the bosses) have whatever they want.”

    Without businesses & people taking risks with their money you don’t have jobs – to even suggest that workers create all the wealth whilst the ‘bosses’ do nothing is laughable at best. In New Zealand the workplace is primarily built on small businesses where the owner IS one of the workers.

    • Blazer

       /  September 15, 2017

      once again…where does money(capital)come from?

      • PDB

         /  September 15, 2017

        It’s not where it comes from it’s what you do with it.

        • Blazer

           /  September 15, 2017

          wrong..again..its who gets their hands on it,without any ‘work’ …whatsoever.

          • PDB

             /  September 15, 2017

            You have a very warped & twisted view of small business owners who make up the large majority of total businesses in New Zealand.

            • sorethumb

               /  September 15, 2017

              Tonight, a pumped de Roos tells his audience that he wants people to invest in property and write to him 12 months down the track and tell him they’ve “made one million or three million, or you’ve got 16 properties, or we’re taking six months off because our cash flow now exceeds our outflow!” He says, “I don’t know any other activity where the rewards are so huge. If you want to invest a million dollars in the sharemarket, you need a million dollars. If you want to invest a million in real estate, you only need $100,000.”

              You can buy one property, get it revalued, use the equity to buy another property and then buy another and another. “And you do it all with OPM. Other people’s money. OPM. It’s like being high on drugs!” What’s more, the wonder of depreciation claims on the building and contents means “the government subsidises your investment! It’s delightful!”
              House of the rising sum

              by Pamela Stirling

            • High Flying Duck

               /  September 15, 2017

              Sorethumb – quoting white-shoe-brigade property spruikers as evidence of anything is absurd.
              They are the ones who make all the money while the investors try to eke out a living from property and then get stung when the corrections hit.
              De roos has been in action for decades in several countries, so it his ilk are not a NZ problem and are not a current Government one.
              Try buying one property in today’s market – let alone 16 of them without having to plow all your income into the repayments!

            • sorethumb

               /  September 15, 2017

              but it worked. We all know people and it was underwritten by immigration policy

            • Blazer

               /  September 15, 2017

              SMB owners need property as security for any ‘help’ from the banks.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  September 15, 2017

            I know a small number of very wealthy people. They earned it by putting in hours i couldn’t dream of doing and prioritising building a business over everything else.
            It took sacrifice, risk taking and luck, but for these people it has paid off financially.
            They will be gutted to hear you can just pluck money from the ether and all their hard work was a waste of time.

            • Blazer

               /  September 15, 2017

              are you talking property here or productive enterprise?

            • High Flying Duck

               /  September 15, 2017

              Productive enterprise. I know a few who have sought property riches and been burnt though.

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  September 15, 2017

    Good on the workers for sticking up for themselves, English was basically using them for electioneering. Here is a concept for reality, give a range of politicians the minimum wage to survive on and see how long they would last.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  September 15, 2017

      Reality TV

    • PDB

       /  September 15, 2017

      If they were ‘sticking up for themselves’ they would have gone to their employer about getting paid more not blame the govt for their issues.

  5. sorethumb

     /  September 15, 2017

    We don’t have free speech in this country. It is filtered through comments sections or chosen by media personnel.

  6. sorethumb

     /  September 15, 2017

    The BNZ Chief Economist’s view on the Auckland House Prices
    Tony Alexander’s view on house prices
    In BNZ Chief Economist Tony Alexander’s weekly overview, Auckland house prices are set to move upwards nicely. Here are his 19 reasons why:
    3. The government is explicitly aiming to grow Auckland’s population as a means of achieving “agglomeration” benefits for economic growth which accrue from high interaction amongst economic players.
    9. A big fall in apprentice numbers in the past five years coupled with the loss of skilled people to Australia and older trades people leaving the sector rather than get licensed means labour-related construction costs will rise and labour will not be available to build houses even were more land available.
    13. The migration cycle appears to be on the cusp of turning and if the housing market has performed so well with net outflows over 3,000 in the past year the implications of positive gains are clear.
    14. The nature of net inward migration is changing toward greater numbers of people coming from Asia and with Asia’s middle class booming in size potential inflows of wealthier people are large.
    17. The government has announced its efforts to improve housing affordability (lower prices) and they are minor and unlikely to have a noticeable impact if any for many years.
    https://www.davidwhitburn.com/

  7. Zedd

     /  September 15, 2017

    To those who think this a ‘coke & pepsi’ election (inc. NZF & maori pty) it shows just how out of touch they are !
    Natz are obviously for increasing the wealth of their corporate & farmer mates(mind the gap).. Lab. focus is on the working class & raising them from the minimum wage, to at least a ‘living wage’ if not higher. If they were so similar, the Greens & Act would agree to go into coalition with either (not bloody likely).
    Whilst they may have one thing in common; obtaining & remaining in power.. this is probably the only thing sez I&I :/

    btw; there is an issue; cannabis reform, that they definitely disagree on.. Natz still support ZERO-tolerance/status quo, Labour at least want broader medicinal use

    • High Flying Duck

       /  September 15, 2017

      Both parties are significantly lifting the incomes of the lower paid.
      Labour are focusing on families with children only and ignoring singles and people without children. National’s increases are more broad based but still very much skewed to lower incomes.
      National also want to grow the economy and improve things without imposing undue burdens on the “hard workers”. They believe current and forecast surpluses allow these changes and improvements to be made.
      Labour want to impose possibly significant tax costs on many businesses to meet their goals as they think it will cost more to get there.
      Take your pick, but there’s not need to be silly about the distinction.
      Either way, I’m fairly resigned to the Princess becoming PM so in my opinion you can rejoice!

  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 15, 2017

    The despair of those who believe their life depends on the Government.

    • sorethumb

       /  September 15, 2017

      I think you’ll find an answer to that here:
      Q + A
      Episode 917
      JOHN KEY
      Interviewed by Corin Dann
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1607/S00020/qa-prime-minister-john-key-interviewed-by-corin-dann.htm

      • sorethumb

         /  September 15, 2017

        CORIN You don’t want immigration to fall, though, do you? I just want to say something. I saw you in a speech after the Budget, and you were speaking to a big room of businesspeople – some of the biggest business minds in the country – and you stood up and you said, “Don’t worry about Treasury’s figure or estimation that it will go back to the trend of 12,000.” You were confident it was going to be a lot higher than that.

        JOHN I just think it’s unlikely it will go to 12,000.

        CORIN But it was like you wanted immigration to go up, because you were telling them, “Don’t worry. The demand in the economy is going to stay there. That’s what’s keeping New Zealand afloat.”