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June, 2012

  1. Lefter 55 ~ No Man’s Land

    June 3, 2012 by emweb

    Despite National continuing to pass the ammunition across No Mans’ Land to its opposition, those recipients are still failing to fully capitalise on the unexpected bounty. Meanwhile, the landscape continues to shift as Labour deals with internal problems (I’m guessing here – but if not, what is Labour doing?) while the Greens gradually raise their silhouette. Meanwhile, Mana … actually, haven’t heard much from Mana. Have you?

    Auckland students may have seized the initiative, but they seem a lonely group.

    I said years ago on this blog that National is effectively fighting a class war. Everybody else might think that’s old and irrelevant politics and truthfully, it should be – but National seemingly hasn’t absorbed that message.

    There’s no other explanation for National’s policies: effectively taking money from the poorer with a GST hike, while passing on tax breaks to the wealthy was the first major step and every little move after that has been to recreate, then cement that division. The latest policy of stopping student allowances beyond four years effectively prevents those without independent incomes from getting advanced tertiary qualifications. In other words, only those who can pay their way – the wealthy and privileged – can benefit from what our once free-access university system offers. Only those already in the privileged classes can stay there, happily boosted into high income territory to earn high wages, simultaneously paying lower taxes.

    When you consider that there’s a substantial shortage of work,  a lot of young people have turned to tertiary education since they can’t find low-skilled low-wage jobs to start saving anyway. If they can’t get jobs they should be lauded for attempting to up-skill. But no, National chooses to punish this instead.

    But why can’t we face the real issue here? Which is: how does this policy create jobs? Actually, how have any of National’s policies created jobs?

    There’s one certified and genuine way to get through a recession and one way only, once you discount unlikely and/or environmentally damaging windfalls like discovering mineral wealth or oil, or borrowing more which has lately proved so disastrous. And that’s to create jobs.

    On this score alone, look at National’s record.

    Good luck with that. There isn’t one.

    But on this score I had high hopes that the Greens would promote policies that also created jobs. However, the Greens seem to want to simply raise taxes across the board, in many new ways.

    No! The country is hurting. Nobody wants that – OK, that’s not strictly true: please raise the taxes of the wealthy, at least back to where they were. That would immediately redress some monetary and societal imbalances and most of the country would applaud.

    On the tax question, I wish a party would seriously look at a more radical approach like Gareth Morgan’s. I might note here that I don’t really trust the guy as 1/ he’s made himself wealthy, which to me spells that he must operate under at least a level of greed, and 2/ I find the whole idea of independent benefactors worrying, as to me that should be the domain of good government: judicious spending of the revenue gathered from us, for our benefit.

    But my personal misgivings don’t mean Morgan doesn’t have good ideas, and you could imagine he would have the trust of at least some like-minded (ie business and entrepreneurial) people. But in these trying times, all parties seem afraid of radical ideas no matter how sensible, and National in particular won’t touch anything that doesn’t reward its class of inhumane and self congratulatory cronies.

    Inhumane? State schools will get less teachers per student; nurses remain underpaid and understaffed, with some so under-resourced that they are even expected to supply their own equipment; most aged care workers are paid minimum wage; National carries on stigmatising beneficiaries to the point where it has entered the beginnings of a eugenics program to sterilise them, which totally beggars belief.

    Before the last election, I recommended to some Labour people that they anonymously placed ‘National hates you’ stickers in bus stops in lower decile areas for people to stick where they would.

    It was considered too risky, controversial, confrontational and potentially dangerous to the party.

    But oh dear Lord, it was – and is – so true.