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March, 2011

  1. Lefter 35 ~ cuts that hurt

    March 3, 2011 by emweb

    Was anyone else embarrassed when John Key went on international TV asking for donations for the Christchurch quake? New Zealand is still one of the wealthier countries in the world, despite National’s mismanagement. We should not need any help. (Michelle A’Court raised this issue at a Grey Lynn Locally Left this week – good point.)

    Everyone’s trying to find money to send to Christchurch. How far do you think NZ$6,800,000 or more would go to help the Christchurch quake disaster? A fair way, I hazard to guess. A good drop in the massive bucket required.

    Oh, but wait – that’s the amount the National government just blew on 34 luxury, exclusive BMWs we don’t, in any conscience and for any reason, need.

    But wait – Key is a ‘money expert’, right? This is why people feel safe with him at the helm, merrily squandering the nation’s revenue to please his cronies. This must have been a very wise business decision … yeah, right. Finger on the pulse Mr Key said: “I can’t take responsibility for a contract that was entered into by the previous Labour Government, that wasn’t bought to my attention or to my ministers attention”.

    Key said “Internal Affairs did understand sensitivities about spending but felt they got a good deal.”


    Do you feel sick? You should.

    Meanwhile, it looks like this government is borrowing $1.5 billion a year to pay for the tax cuts that it put in place a few months ago.

    Tax cuts for the rich.

    Christchurch’s citizens can get $50 flights out to other NZ centres, and some arrive with just a few clothes. The Canterbury rich, meanwhile, are probably buggering off to Hawaii instead, thanks to their tax breaks. Tax that a prudent government would be collecting for … you know, acts of God and that. Like the Christchurch quake.

    Stuff reported that a Treasury spokesman said new tax forecasts had yet to be finalised; “However, the loss of revenue could be in the order of $5 billion over the next four years,” he said.

    This is mind bogglingly stupid by anyone’s reasoning.

    Meanwhile, Key is trying to spread the responsibility, instead of making the hard choice of deleting those ill-advised tax cuts. He is considering involving other political parties in decisions about Christchurch as well as locals and the city council.

    The decision should be: get rid of this farcical government!

    His excuse is “I don’t think this is a political event, I think it’s actually a national event and we need to reflect that.”

    I reflect that a prudent government would have had a surplus and wouldn’t need to go cap in hand to the world like Haiti (understandably) had to.

    The richest New Zealanders have had three rounds of income tax cuts in two years. Meanwhile, the minimum wage got an insultingly tiny boost, welfare cuts are hurting, preschool care has been cut, and we’re all paying more for food, services (OK, everything) with the GST hike.

    And we wonder why people in Christchurch are looting.


  2. Lefter 34 ~ Where’s the plan?

    March 1, 2011 by emweb

    The New Zealand left is crying out for a left wing party. A ‘NZ left wing’ might (however sadly) be a minority that’s no longer deemed worth courting, but the fact is, so-called ‘ordinary New Zealanders’ (who you might also characterise as ‘swing voters’) are crying out for a simple message they can believe in. A stance that’s easy to understand.

    They’re getting nothing like this fromNational, although even the most myopic must be starting to perceive the harm Key’s party is doing to poorer New Zealanders.

    Labour so far presents nothing like a clear statement either, though. If anything, at the moment it’s ‘National Lite’. National calls the shots, Labour reacts. Weakly. This is how Labour lost the last election, too.

    And that should hurt. It hurts me.

    Do I need to remind everyone that Labour was originally a left wing party that sought to protect and nurture workers in a world-beating, then much emulated, welfare state?

    That New Zealand emerged from The Great Depression and then World War Two with considerable wealth and enviable lifestyles for the masses  … thanks to Labour?

    Does anyone think that’s what Labour is capable of now? Or even anything like it?

    No. Actually, as I keep saying, we’re not even sure where Labour stands in the scheme of New Zealand things except as opposition to National.

    This is not satisfactory. Not even remotely.

    This is what I want – and I’m sure this is shared by many:

    A plan to pull New Zealand out of recession, which could/should be linked to the next, which is —

    A plan to rebuild Christchurch that’s good for Canterbury.

    (And what’s good for Canterbury is good for New Zealand.)

    A clear raft of policies to protect our vulnerable that doesn’t further alienate the middle class – in other words, working New Zealanders need to be able to buy in to it.

    That’s much easier tan it sounds – you just make it patriotic

    Doesn’t everyone want that?

    And if it’s too early, even ghoulish, to talk about what Labour would do with Canterbury to help it rise above this devastating ‘act of God’, can’t Labour at least hint that it’s working on it, for goodness sake?

    Simple, really.