Brian Edwards Media

Confessions of a sentimental socialist and unkind thoughts on Paula Bennett

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I generally define myself as ‘a Socialist’. This may seem at odds with living in the most expensive suburb in New Zealand, having no mortgage or other indebtedness, dining out on a regular basis, treating Rarotonga as you might treat a bach and, in general, being what people euphemistically call ‘comfortably off’.

If I were a supporter of the National Party, I’d probably argue that being ‘comfortably off’ was the product of more than seven decades of application and hard work and that, if I could do it, every other able-bodied and averagely intelligent Kiwi should be able to do the same. We aren’t a Third World country after all.

That would be a dishonest argument because I’m one of the laziest people you could hope to meet, rarely apply myself to anything for long and have got through life largely on my wits, a unique ability to read other people and, according to the late lamented Rob Muldoon, ‘an intriguing Irish accent’.

I can’t claim responsibility for any of those characteristics. Heredity and environment combined to make me what I am. I’m what they call a ‘hard determinist’. But that’s another story. Except for this: you can’t be a hard determinist and judge other people as if they were the authors of their own misfortunes – or fortunes.

If this sounds a bit nutty, the science of genetics is very much on my side. On almost a daily basis we are discovering that this or that characteristic, trait, predisposition, behaviour is genetically determined. Even the psychopath has a defence – there’s an important bit missing from his brain. 

I was kind of lucky. My father was a drunk, wife-beater, embezzler and bigamist. Despite this, his first wife told Judy and me she would have ‘walked over broken glass for him’. His second, my mother, also went on loving him despite everything, including the fact that he deserted both of us when I was two. He was a charming con man. I have that in my genes. It’s at war with my mother’s upright Protestant ethics. It turned out to be a surprisingly good combination.

I could claim too that my Socialist instincts arose from the fact that that we grew up poor. To be the child of a solo mother was a rarer thing in those days. We lived for most of my childhood in lodgings and later in a council flat. But the truth is that, thanks to my mother’s industry  and selflessness, I really lacked for nothing, except a dad.

What this background has produced is a showman  – or ‘showbiz charlatan’ as a friend and broadcasting colleague once described me – who could quite easily have crossed the line into criminal behaviour, were it not for his mother’s voice in his head. . And it’s this “There, but for the grace of heredity and environment, go I” mentality that makes me reluctant to judge those who fall down in life or break the rules. You’ll find evidence of that reluctance throughout the columns on this site.

And the ‘Socialist’? Well, it comes down to this: I think I’m lucky to be ‘comfortably off’, lucky not to be at the bottom of the social heap and lucky not to be in prison. It has nothing to do with application, hard work or moral uprightness.

So I’m a believer in passing on that good fortune to those less lucky than me. In practical terms that means the re-distribution through progressive taxation of wealth from the rich and fortunate to the poor and less fortunate in order to ensure  the availability of free education, health and social welfare services to every New Zealander. You can bring on a capital gains tax, including on housing speculation. I won’t complain.

All of this came to mind when I read this morning that the final stage of the National Government’s welfare reforms comes into force today. The Herald is running a three-part investigation into how the changes are affecting people’s lives, using  Papakura as a litmus test of their effect.

A moving force in these ‘reforms’ has been former social welfare beneficiary Paula Bennett who, as a solo mother and university student, received state assistance to look after her daughter and to pursue a tertiary education. She entered Parliament in 2005 as a National Party list MP and  has had a highly successful political career. She is currently Minister for Social Development, Employment and Youth Affairs.

The juxtaposition of Paula Bennett’s past and present lifestyles has inevitably invited criticism. The former beneficiary of government support now earns a base salary of $260,000 a year plus a range of perks and allowances amounting to tens of thousands of dollars more. ‘Comfortable’ would be an understatement of her position. She now lives a life of considerable privilege.

She deserves, I would argue, recognition and praise for what she has achieved.

Yet there is no-one in Parliament whom I hold in less regard. Under the guise of reform in her portfolio areas, she has, in my submission, revealed herself as a punisher rather than a defender of those at the bottom of the social heap, of the very group to which she herself once belonged. The irony of her position is inescapable.

Someone told me that during the last general election, one of her billboards in Waitakere was defaced with the words ‘class traitor’. If the story is true, the words were ill judged.  Bennett  is, it seems to me, a traitor not to any class or social group but to her own past. And the damage which that inexplicable treachery has done, and continues to do to the lives and happiness of thousands of Kiwi men, women and children who have fallen down in life or broken the rules, is substantial, and will continue and get worse.

Pretty harsh judgement from someone who writes, “You can’t be a hard determinist and judge other people as if they were the authors of their own misfortunes – or fortunes.” I guess that ought to apply to the Honourable Paula Bennett as well. But I’m too angry to be completely rational on this topic.  Sometimes you have to let your heart rule your intellect.

Call me a sentimental Socialist. I like that better than ‘Swimming Pool Socialist’ which National Party friends occasionally accuse me of being.

It’s unfair. We haven’t got a swimming pool.

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373 Comments:

  1. Maybe its the term ‘socialist’ and its connection these days to a much maligned, economic political system. I would prefer to regard you as a righteous egalitarian.

    • I’ll go with that, Kat.

    • 1.2

      Rector Beaconsfield

      I was watching the Helen Clark documentary last night and these thoughts, that could be applied to Paula Bennett and any other politician, came to mind. There are three indispensable elements to a politician’s work, the “Three P’s” Process, Policy and Principle. We can see that conservative (National) type politicians tend to disregard Principle and Process for the sake of implementing Policy (numerous examples of hurried law changes by John Key prove this). Paula Bennett is simply following this imbalanced act.
      But I started by mentioning Helen Clark, Brian’s media trainee, she was/is a superb Process politician; the other 2 P’s came unstuck as she became Ministress (I hate unnecessary epicenes) of Health or when she acquiesced with the disastrous Roger Douglas’s policies.
      Be this as it may, thank you Brian for your principled thoughts that I thoroughly agree with.
      Finally, a few unkind but I fear accurate words, NZ parliament is generally composed of Shysters, Pillocks and Fishwives …
      I Rector

  2. I can see where you’re coming from , Brian, but Paula Bennett is only interpreting National Party policy and probably has sympathy at a personal level for those who now walk in her erstwhile shoes…in fact, I have heard her just enunciate that in i/views on Sunday television current affairs.
    How could she do her job if she tried to stay in the past and recognise all and sundry and after all why shoot the messenger?
    Personally, i think the Nats. are actually trying to break the welfare dependency cycle rather than pick on beneficiaries per se and you have to start somewhere for the greater good which a whole new debate as to what is the greater good in our society?.
    The main people that will suffer because of this tightening will be mothers of young children who can’t afford childcare and can’t get jobs that fit the 9-3pm time frame….
    the answer is there is no perfect answer and that is the answer..

    • You can’t have ‘sympathy at a personal level’ and attack the people for whom you have that ‘sympathy’ at the same time. Not unless you’re schizophrenic.

      • Or a psychopath.

        • The strongest trait of a National supporter is the extent to which they believe their own propaganda … You solve society’s problems through better education, not punishing further those who are already in punishing situations.

      • Brian

        I may be wrong but I think you are confusing schizophrenia with multiple-personality disorder. It’s a common mistake, but, given that schizophrenia is such a debilitating disease, strongly linked to suicide and highly challenging for the sufferer and their families, I believe it useful for people in the public arena to not refer to it lightly – and inaccurately.

        What do you think?

        Cheers

    • Rob, Rob, Rob. Nazis were also “only doing their job.” (Hello Godwin). Perhaps you, when you are ill and unemployed, will be thrilled to be aided with your welfare dependency. I certainly hop so.

    • ‘Only implementing National party policy’ is not a defence, nor is it accurate – she is a member of said party and has a say in policy development… and even more of a role in its development and implementation as the Minister in charge of this particular policy area. Critique of the Minister is not a case of ‘shooting the messenger'; as the Minister she is in fact one of the key architects of policy….. the policy wonks are the ‘messengers’. Furthermore, while she might have stated recently she has sympathy for those effected by changes to govt policy, a quick search of previous statements and consideration of past behaviour (the release of private information ring a bell?) will unearth plenty of contradictory statements…

    • Paul Benefit is the initiator of ALL these policies, JK is the one who signs them off.
      All the groups I belong to all say that Paula Benefit has literally kicked down the ladder from which she used to climb up from her DPB beginnings. She has done this purposely so no one else can have a chance to achieve what she did with the help of the tax payers money.
      She would NOT wish to be challenged by anyone who would wish to follow that path and that is why the NACT govt do not provide training for free as she received and most cannot afford any training and still feed their children.

      She is one of the nastiest politicians that has come into her position of office. Her department should be the most caring in our society and they are not, they are very far from it.

      The speech she gave at Government house when my oldest daughter received an excellence award from Project K , was the most patronising speech which she continues to give just about everywhere she goes. It was ALL ABOUT “Look at me now, rubbing shoulders with the PM of NZ”

      Jobs need to be created before even thinking about this type of welfare reform and training needs to be given to most people before being able to do just about any type of job other than menial these days.
      A lot of unemployed can not afford a computer in their own homes, let alone be computer literate which is required in so many descent jobs these day’s.

      It is not just the UN-employed who need benefits to survive, the Govt is giving top ups all over the place, when it should be business sector paying better minimum wages, in fact living wages, set by the Government.

      You say, “The main people that will suffer because of this tightening will be mothers of young children who can’t afford childcare and can’t get jobs that fit the 9-3pm time frame…” Well Rob, they ARE the MAIN ones Paula Benefit IS TARGETING and it is mean.

    • 2.5

      Well said Rob

    • Perhaps for moment….think about this fence sitting nonsense. Paula the wee barrel she is has to keep those soft bits alive. She cant stop now this healthy glow towards more for herself with such important strategic planning: “Policy Of Our Times” and less for those burdened to bear the ‘policy of our….”

      Truly woeful conscience on any level. No need to ask her a question it will get answered with some press release memorized to keep repeating: even if it doesn’t quite match the question.

      That said: she is there to do others bidding. The agenda is quite fixed and John Key is paying his pay masters quite handsomely.

  3. Dear Brian

    I take great heart from your words. You speak a truth that must be spoke. Only if good men stay silent can Bennett and her ilk continue dismantling all that is good in this country.

    Thank you and thank you again.

    With best wishes and great respect

    Simon

    • 3.1

      What fatuous tripe. Have you no clue as to the harm multi-generational welfare dependency does to individuals and communities?

      • Please enlighten us O Great Fount of Wisdom and Knowledge.
        What harm does multi-generational welfare dependency do to individuals and communities?
        When it comes to being fatuous I believe that you occupy a place somewhere near the pinnacle of fatuousness. Having read so many of your posts in the Herald I picture you as one of those sour faced, grumpy old men who, nearing the end of what they perceive to be a disappointing, pointless and unfulfilled life, now takes their vitriol on everybody, especially those less able to defend themselves. Sort of a supercilious human toxic waste dump…
        Good luck with that..

        • 3.1.1.1

          I picture you as the usual pathetic socialist who immediately resorts to personal attacks having nothing else to contribute.

          “What harm does multi-generational welfare dependency do to individuals and communities?”

          Visit Kalumabaru, Moerewa or numerous places like them and see for yourself.

          • Hear, hear!

          • Visit Moerewa? You mean to confirm the countless jobs that were removed and never replaced by past governments not interested in supporting what once was a vibrant community?
            A community that was created around industry.

            Don’t you dare blame that on welfare dependency. That just bleeds ignorance you goddamn bigot.

            Or are you a believer that these communities should all uproot and move? Abandon their homes? For what? To further increase and burden the cost of living in Auckland which has countless flow on effects for everyone else already struggling in Auckland.

            • 3.1.1.1.2.1

              More pitiful abuse from the Left. So the Government must provide you with a job or welfare wherever you choose to live? An industry that can’t be competitive must somehow keep operating at a loss?

              Moerewa is now an example of multi-generational welfare dependency with all the social and personal problems that brings. As I stated. Irrespective of the factors that let it happened. Despite your irrelevant comments, fury and insults.

          • 3.1.1.1.3

            Your first words were: “What fatuous tripe.”

            You don’t get to complain about personal attacks.

            • 3.1.1.1.3.1

              Oh dear. It’s so tiresome explaining the basics to the Left. Where didn’t you get educated? A personal attack is on the person, not the action or statement.

              His comment about Bennett was and is fatuous tripe. I make no inference about his character unlike your frothing mate, Seaweed and many others.

          • 3.1.1.1.4

            For me it was nothing personal. I don’t know you but it seems that as well as those other observations I now have to add that you are a self confessed “usual pathetic socialist who immediately resorts to personal attacks”
            “What fatuous tripe” is hardly complimentary, is it ?
            (fat·u·ous [adjective]
            1.foolish or inane, especially in an unconscious, complacent manner; silly.
            2.unreal; illusory.
            Synonyms
            1. dense, dull, dim-witted. See foolish.

            That’s about as personal as it gets, isn’t it ?

            Be that as it may, I can think of a number of factors of far more import than a weekly subsistence income that might contribute to the squalor and misery of “Kalumabaru, Moerewa or numerous places like them”.
            Lets start with Kalumabaru. I have a close friend who worked as a psych nurse up in the tri state.
            I was told that the Aboriginal people up there are called Rock Apes so I would suggest that systemic racism is a significant factor.
            Having their traditional way of life destroyed and families torn apart by forced removal of their children by “Government Welfare Agencies” with consequent loss of self esteem and self respect is a significant factor.
            The historical bouts of genocide they endured is certainly a significant factor.
            Addiction is a significant factor. The massive cages on the petrol pumps is a clue to that, don’t you reckon ?
            I got a ride from a truckie who told me about an ex mate of his who sells chilled meths to the “rock apes” and gets more for it than he would get for selling decent scotch or other spirits. The truckie told me that he himself had no great time for abos but even he “couldn’t be cobbers with a murdering bastard who’d do that, and laugh about it”.

            As for Moerewa, I have no doubt that many of the factors that affect Kalumabaru have been present there also, most especially the theft of their lands and resources and the desecration of their culture.
            Treaty settlements and their whakatauaki “”Tama tu tama ora, tama noho tama mate” give me great hope for a Maori renaissance in that place.
            No doubt that will just add to your jealousy and bitterness, eh Old Man ?

            By the by, I really don’t think Mr Edwards would mind if you “hijacked” this thread any more than you have already done and did suggest some solutions, though it would be a shame if, as I suspect, one seemingly so articulate and ostensibly so well educated turned out to be nothing more than an empty vessel.

        • Alan, “What fatuous tripe. Have you no clue as to the harm multi-generational welfare dependency does to individuals and communities?” What is YOUR solution?

          • 3.1.1.2.1

            Good tough question, Sally. It would be a topic for a whole new thread. My opinion is that many things need to be done both to fix the problems and to ease the transitions for those affected. These problems have been created over decades and generations of bad policies and will take time to undo. I could make a list to start a discussion but it would be a long one and would hijack this thread.

        • How accurate you are Seaweed! Cheers.

      • I take it you are talking about communities that seem unable
        to provide employment for their individual members and then seem
        to not care or show responsibility.
        A bit like removing standards in building practice and getting
        leaky homes eh?

        • 3.1.2.1

          Misinformed on both topics. As our best friend in a remote community told us in her youth everyone had market gardens and supplied the nearest big towns with vegetables and water melons. Now there are none. The young have either fled to Australia or subsist on drink and drugs. The community facilities are maintained by the elderly who were brought up with and haven’t lost their work ethic.

          The standards were not removed in the building industry but changed without adequate public information about the consequences which had already occurred in Canada. Leaky homes are just another consequence of relying on bureaucracy instead of yourself and passing off responsibility for your own decisions.

          • Do you actually know anyone that is on a Benefit?

            Do you know anyone that has left their partner because they were beaten every night and raped before they were allowed to sleep? Do you know anyone who’s child was abused by their father or caregiver? Do you think that the person who’s child is abused should stay with that person because if they leave they will need “a benefit” to be able to survive and feed said children?… or as your comments seem to be….they should not be able to get tax payer money because they are bludgers because Paula Benefit and the NACTzies say they are? !!!

            • McGehan Close, John Keys very hollow PR promise to an underclass for a brighter future. When that underclass eventually rattles the gated community those Bennett supporters will quickly demand to be protected, and by that big old inefficient bogey, the state.

              • 3.1.2.1.1.1.1

                I agree with Kat, I would be the first to jump the fence if I lose my job and can’t feed my family. the rate this country is going, all the savings from cutting welfare and more will be spent on prisons. Sometimes prison is an improvement in lifestyle, much caution needed.

            • 3.1.2.1.1.2

              Yes, I know quite a few people on benefits. We were close friends with a founder of the Battered Women’s Support Group many years ago. Your inferences about my opinions on these issues are completely wrong and I have never said anything to justify them.

            • Sally….of COURSE nobody objects to helping these poor souls in their hour of need. What many of us would bitch about is still supporting them 10 years and 3 more children later.

      • Are you having an affair with PB? Caring for fellow humans also has nothing to do with multi-generational welfare dependency …has someone cut out your heart? Is your ego grasping at your intellect?

    • “All that is good in this country” . Are you b—-y joking Simon Prast?

      • What do you mean? NZ has always…up until now…has been a great country to live in, with good work ethic and general good health and well being..the NACTzies are selling our good country…are you happy with that?

    • Well said Simon. I saw you and Marama Davidson on the box the other night and well done you and her.
      I would like to see “Campbell Live” (coz he seems to be the only media right now doing the important “honest” media) get you, Brian Edwards, Bryan Bruce from “Inside Child Poverty New Zealand”, “Child Poverty Action Group” and anyone else who is truly for the people of NZ and not necessarily from a political party, have a heart felt “discussion” NOT debate, about these policies and how they affect ordinary and disadvantaged Kiwi’s. I am seeing too much Bene bashing, especially when the NACT’s are bringing in some other law change such as GCSB, Sky City stuff etc etc etc…Bene’s are their diversion and it is soooo wrong, but it seems to be working with the “sheeples” of NZ.

      For the Human rights Commission to step in about GCSB and have their funding threatened by JK for doing so is so wrong. For the Law Society of NZ be writing to overseas authorities to object. There is TOO MANY wrong things going on with this current Govt to NOT STEP IN and inform the “Sheeples” of NZ that the current Govt are NOT managing OUR country in the right way, needs to be done. “The Smiling Assassin of the NWO” must not sell off our country that NZers worked so hard for. If you think I am a looney, I am not. I am just passionate about right and wrong. xxxxx

  4. 4

    Annelies van der Poel

    Thank you to both you, Brian, and Simon, for words very well spoken.

    Are you sure it’s not hypocrisy, rather than plain ol The Simpsons kind of irony?

    It’s unbelievable, she seems more and more like a rather sinister and buffoonish cartoon character herself.

    Regards
    Annelies

    • There is nothing cartoonish about that woman (Paula Benefit), she is out to draw blood…and it will be the blood of children unfortunately that will be drawn…I am very sad.

  5. Although I am not affected by these welfare cuts, I too am truly dismayed at the punitive attitude towards a group of people less fortunate than myself. I am watching with interest the success of Work and Income to find ‘suitable’ jobs for their clients. After all the WORK half has not been all that successful in the past. Hopefully this fairytale will have a happy ending. A sad day.

    • And that is precisely where people such as myself – who’ve been beneficiaries at some point, have battled our way out of it, believe others should too and that a percentage (but well short of “all” or even “most”) of beneficiaries are bludging – find a disconnect with Bennett’s* policy.

      If there were jobs for all – including those over 50, those returning to the workforce, those leaving school or university with little or no experience – then punitive measures to fill those empty vacancies with unemployed people would make sense. But there aren’t, so it doesn’t.

      And increasingly, what jobs there are are demeaning. I don’t mean turning your hand to an honest day’s toil, even if it means working up a sweat and perhaps getting dirty. I mean things like casual jobs in call centres where, as if being told to “f… off” by everyone you speak to on the phone isn’t bad enough, your supervisor drills into you just how worthless you are because you didn’t convince enough of them to let their dinner go cold while you signed them up to a different telco.

      Where you have no security and no sense of belonging, nor are you afforded any appreciation or any of the many non-monetary rewards of work. Where you and your workmates are too broken down by the end of a shift to contemplate a few beers at the pub, or any of the camaraderie that normally comes with being part of a workplace.

      When there’s a decent job for everyone but the utterly unemployable, then I’ll back Bennett’s bullying, because it will have a purpose.

      * Let’s not fall for the illusion she sheds a tear for anyone unfortunate enough to have to deal with her Department. Like many who’ve left behind their roots she’s ashamed of what she was. Happy to campaign on it if it wins her votes – and the condescending approval of her ‘betters’ in Cabinet – but her self-loathing (or rather past-self-loathing) manifests itself regularly in her attitude to those who are where she once was.

    • Janet, your thoughts are great, but are you prepared to stand up for those more UN-fortunate than yourself? Paula Benefit is wanting people to find ghost jobs…Many of those that are meant to get ghost jobs are those with very little children….don’t you think that the priority should be getting our thousands of youth employed into jobs first….so that at least the mums can stay with their babies longer?

  6. 6

    I feel sorry for Paula. National has a habit of getting women to do their dirty work a la jenny shipley.She is simply being used.

  7. “Judy and I”

    • Glad to see you got to the nub of this post so quickly, Christopher – an example of poor syntax.

      Sadly, it isn’t. The ‘me’ follows ‘told’. You apparently prefer ‘told I’. Each to his own!

      • 7.1.1

        Ole, Brian! My pet hate is journalists who don’t know that prepositions govern the accusative and make the same ghastly mistake while thinking they are doing good. Sets my teeth on edge.

        • Though in this case the accusative, if it is indeed an accusative and not a dative, follows the verb ‘told’. An example might be ‘Tell me a story’ in which the story is what is being told TO me.

          • 7.1.1.1.1

            Yes, dative via the implied “to”. Same form in English as the accusative. The most common mistake seems to be the “with Judy and I” type.

          • if you take out Judy, you’re left with telling “I” which just doesn’t make sense! It has to be “me”.

            • 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Private Eye which regularly publishes examples of the misuse of ‘I’ when the correct useage is ‘me’ call it ‘the nobs’ pro-noun’ (and don’t tell me me I’ve put the apostrophe in the wrong place because in this case ‘nobs’ is a plural. So there.)

        • OMFG

      • 7.1.2

        Maurice Prendergast

        Of course it’s ‘Judy and me’ What an inane comment to suggest otherwise

      • A brilliant columnist AND able to choose the correct syntax in this instance, which so many people get wrong… Pity you’re married, Brian, or else I would propose!

  8. One of the cruellest changes today is the end of the Widow’s Benefit. Now if your husband dies you are instantly a ‘Jobseeker’ – a welfare bludger who is expected to be ready for full time work. This is regardless of any grief, trauma, distraught teenagers, or complex legal issues you might be dealing with.

    • Wasn’t John Key’s mother a widow on Government assistance for Widows? A spoonful of Irony with your hypocrisy anyone?

    • This Govt has NO heart

      • I feel for the Widow’s Hilary, they have lost their love and all their hopes and dreams, their partner who wishes to be involved with their and their children’s lives. It can sometimes be seen as a good clean end. Should she be treated differently? She is still expecting to qualify for a benefit to be able to survive and feed her family. Is this any different to the single parents who are wanting to provide for their family who have been let down by a partner that they thought would have provided for them?

        The mother who is not a widow, but who has to run to save her life ( and perhaps her children’s lives) is left no alternative than to become a single parent and on the welfare system to enable her to survive and feed her children and even keep fighting through the courts regarding access to keep her children safe from the abuser. It is NOT a good clean end.
        That mother, who because of abuse , either physical, emotion and/ or monetary or both or by any other means is seen differently, and that should not be the case.
        WINZ has different classifications that are in the “TICK” box of ALL beneficiaries. “Widows”, “Divorcees”, “Solo Mothers”, “Solo mothers who declare the farther” etc etc. and they are treated accordingly, and they have been financially treated accordingly for ever.

        I am not saying that a widow should be treated with the same questions or tests that a divorcee or a person that left a relationship from a violent partner…etc should be treated….BUT…why should they not be treated the same? They are all asking for welfare help…..so they ARE ALL IN THE SAME CATEGORY….wether you like it or not!!

  9. The beauty of life in Mission Bay is that you are entirely insulated from the undeserving poor on whose behalf you generate such rage. Yet you attribute your own success to the strength of your mother’s character as do very many other successful people including our prime minister. Few attribute it to parents who were helpless, hapless welfare beneficiaries for the full extent of their upbringings.

    Frankly I think your rage should be reserved until it is shown that the results are actually negative. It is being reported that the pilot trials have been exceptionally successful.

    • Well I actually attribute it to the combined influences of my mother and father, who was a drunk, wife-beater, embezzler, bigamist and con man. I very much doubt that I would have followed the life path which I have without his genes.

      Unlike you, I’m not a believer in ‘the undeserving poor’, though it’s pleasing that, if they do exist, you are ‘insulated from them’ in Mission Bay.

    • 9.2

      The reports I’ve seen trumpet the number of people no longer on a benefit. There is no mention of how many many of them are actually in work. I guess it you’re a National Party supporter, that’s “exceptionally successful.”

      • Agreed John. The numbers National bandy about probably aren’t the truth. Certain National politicians have a habit of not being entirely truthful. I suspect that the number they talk about are inflated, because quite frankly there are more jobs being lost than being made… Of course 170,000 jobs Key promised was air talk.

      • 9.2.2

        “A new way of dealing with hardcore beneficiaries will also be introduced, with the Government trumpeting the success of a pilot trialled in 24 Work and Income offices since October.

        Work and Income says the results are “some of the best from any case management trial” in recent years, with 6000 of the 10,000 people in the pilot no longer on a benefit.

        More than half of those people found work, the rest opted out or cancelled benefits for reasons such as no longer meeting eligibility requirements.

        From today, 91,000 people will be enrolled.”

        http://tinyurl.com/mnnp7a2

        • You have a terminal case of confirmation bias if you believe the figures provided by Work and Income. You actually think statistics generated by government departments and bandied about by ministers are genuine? Ask anyone honest who’s worked in the public service in the past decade+ – information generated by any ministry or department that attracts high levels of media, public and political interest draws high levels of political interference, these departments employ armies of communications and ministerials staff that massage the figures and produce “key messages” that endorse Government policy and “prove” it’s all hunky dory.

          • ok…I’ll indulge you.

            What source, pray tell, should we rely on then for reliable statistics?

          • 9.2.2.1.2

            I think I have as much scepticism of bureaucracy as anyone, Madeline. However the assertion was that no numbers have been given. They have.

            As such they are now a target for fact-checking and media and opposition scrutiny.

            Your allegations may or may not prove true. We shall see. I make no assumptions and await evidence.

        • It’s all a loads of rot

        • For me the most telling part of the comment was

          “…the rest opted out or cancelled benefits for reasons such as no longer meeting eligibility requirements.”

          So that’s 3000 people who have gone… where?
          They no longer qualify for benefits
          They don’t have jobs
          They go… where?
          They eat… what?

          Statistics on reducing benefit numbers are meaningless at best, tragic at worst, if they are not accompanied by an equivalent number of jobs created. Unfortunately the job market is a finite resource, simply pushing people off the benefit does not change that.

          I believe the UN calls it “Avoidable mortality” when people die as a result of a failure to make accessible the necessities of life; food, water, shelter and medical care. Nobody says it of course, maybe they don’t want to look like a drama queen or maybe they just don’t want to know, but to those of you who are out to catch “the bludgers” even if it means that a few “innocently disadvantaged” get caught in the net, just what price are you prepared to pay?
          One? Two? Three “avoidable mortalities” how many are acceptable losses?
          Or do you truly believe that you can take away the necessities of life and no one will die?

          • 9.2.2.3.1

            “Unfortunately the job market is a finite resource”. No, it is not. This is a classic mistake and it is simply not true.

            Jobs grow with economic development. The economy grows when incentives and conditions are right. The aim of any government is to do what it can to create the best conditions under the circumstances of the day. Of course people will have their own ideas on how to achieve that but the overall goal is (surely) common to all parties and politicians.

            I am no fan of Paula Bennett. But the benefit system was clearly not working and needed an overhaul. It is essential to break the welfare dependancy culture cycle. It is unacceptable for people to sponge off the state for ever and a day because they are too lazy and feckless to get off their backsides. We must weed out those people and get them back to productive activity.

            BUT those people are in a minority among benefit receipients. It is totally right that those who are in genuine need of help from the rest of us are offered some. However it is also right that those needs should be regularly reviewed and the people concerned expected to manage their lives back to ‘normality’ as best they can, with some help/mentoring if appropriate.

            Benefit funding comes from taxes. Taxpayers have a right to expect that the money taken from them is spent wisely, and not dished out with no checks & balances to all and sundry.

            • 9.2.2.3.1.1

              Actually Toandfro you are right about the first statement, there is no need for the job market to be a finite resource and much could be done to reduce benefit dependency by employing people here in New Zealand, thereby boosting the local economy, getting money moving, creating yet more jobs and bringing prosperity.
              Outsourcing jobs to overseas contractors is indeed a false ecconomy and costs the average taxpayer much more than is saved by taking the slightly lower tender bid. Perhaps a financial incentive from the government to encourage companies to hire new zealanders and to contract to NZ companies would go a long way towards helping to end ‘welfare dependency’ and in the long term would more than pay for itself.

              Until this occurs though my original question remains… since the jobs are at present NOT there… how many people are you prepared to kill to end ‘welfare dependency’. Because, however distasteful you might find the subject, the fact remains that people will die. The saddest thing is that the majority of them will be the most vulnerable in our society.
              The mentally ill, who are currently being targeted by the government which is forcing them into the active jobseekers category (after all, telling them to “toughen up” is a tried and true cure for mental illness), a stress which even the mentally healthy find devastating in the current job market.
              And of course children.
              And those that venture into the sub legal job market to try & feed themselves and their children.

              Because some people will just go off, maybe fight for a while, but eventually just give up, & die quietly or take the option offered by a bottle of pills (yes, I’m talking about suicide, not addiction but the fact is that the difference is often hard to tell) and you’ll never have to see or know or admit that you had any responsibility in their deaths.
              Most people, however, will fight to stay alive and to feed their children. And when there are no legal jobs and no legally obtainable food people will take the ones that are not legal and people will steal to survive. And then we have death by violence, abuse & neglect.
              But again… you didn’t pull the trigger so it’s not your fault. They made the choice to go into crime rather than to simply sit passively and die. You are not responsible.
              Further, New Zealand already has a homeless population. people who are dying each year from starvation and hypothermia. Again out of sight & out of mind. Again not your responsibility.

              So who is responsible?
              If we take away the necessities of life.
              And people die.
              Who is responsible?

              If we put people in the position where there are absolutely and only two choices, to die or to steal, then are we not responsible for the consequences whichever choice they make?

              We have honed the notion of individual responsibility to such a cultural fine point that we have convinced ourselves that murder by proxy is not really murder. But if we create a situation where all available choices are bad we may not be responsible for WHICH bad choice the person makes, but we are still responsible for the fact that we put them there in the first place.

              • 9.2.2.3.1.1.1

                Actually there a quite a few even unskilled jobs for which employers are forced to import labour or contract it out. Ask farmers and horticulturists. And since the pilot trial showed 30% of long-term unemployed were able to find jobs given help and incentives it seems your claim is demonstrably false.

                Leaving people on long-term welfare is indeed out of sight and out of mind. It is a recipe for both mental and physical illness and drug and alcohol addictions.

                We employ a large army of bureaucrats to ensure that people are not left without the necessities of life and we expect them to continue to do that as well as giving the necessary support and encouragement to escape the inter-generational welfare trap with all its harmful, well-documented consequences.

                The truth is that Paula Bennett is attempting to do more for these people, not less. But the Left are blinkered by ideology and moral indignation.

  10. 10

    No, Brian, I live in a mixed community where some kids hangout on the streets while parents drink and where drugs, crime, idle welfare and illiteracy span generations harmfully and resistent to intervention.

    I don’t have your rose-tinted glasses.

    • Sorry Alan, I was sure you said you were ‘entirely insulated from the undeserving poor’. As a born again Kiwi, I don’t understand irony.

    • Where I live I know of many solo mothers relying on government support, and I can say they work harder than most. It is simply not fair, nor intelligent to presume the reasoning for other people’s hardship.

      On the contrary, where there is compassion there is intelligence. Let’s apply that thought to our dear leader Paula Bennett.

    • Wow. All those kids you see on the streets come from homes drawing welfare? DId you see their bank statements? Maybe you just have prejudiced-generalisation-tinted glasses? (very popular amongst the “all poor people are lazy” clique)

  11. I guess the least harsh judgment for her is that she’s demonstrating cognitive dissonance. She’s just the latest in a long line of politicians arguing that their personal success – which was due at least in part to significant supports from the welfare state – is proof that anybody can succeed without such supports today.

    • 11.1

      Don’t misrepresent so shamelessly. She doesn’t say that at all. She says that welfare should be a support but not a substitute for useful paid work.

      • No argument, its a good start to reduce the dependence on welfare. Having a meaningful job, working honestly for a fair reward and being able to pay the bills and put food on the table for ones family used to be a fundamental ethos in this country.

        Some time ago the Ministry of Works was deemed to be encroaching on the market place, inhibiting private contractors and was unceremoniously scrapped in a destructive act of right wing ideology. And yes, a Labour govt was just as guilty in the 80’s with overseeing the closure of Post Offices, downsizing of the railways, forestry and meatworks without a plan to replace those jobs other than the make believe of the free market.

        It’s fairly obvious to me that the socioeconomic ills that accompanies systemic unemployment and beneficiary dependency can best be addressed by direct govt intervention in creating a social outcome of full employment. I doubt Key and his cronies ever had any real intention of doing that.

        • 11.1.1.1

          Take a look at this segment from Campbell Live last night:

          http://www.3news.co.nz/Gisborne-kids-becoming-entrepreneurs/tabid/367/articleID/305035/Default.aspx

          Brilliant school teaching little kids to earn money, grow vegetables and cook their own lunches.

          That is the solution that government social work or pretend jobs will never achieve. If you can’t get a job, start looking for customers instead.

          • No mention of ‘pretend jobs’. This country has a small enough population and the primary and secondary industry sectors to make ‘real jobs’ happen, and for the benefit of all. It just needs a vision, and to be managed. The private sector hasn’t done it, can’t do it and never will do it.

            All this tweaking and fiddling around with the welfare system and beneficiary’s is a nonsense. Paula Bennett, and her convenient beneficiary ‘back story’ is just a token gesture for Key and his govt and nothing more than lip service to those at the bottom of the heap.

            • 11.1.1.1.1.1

              The Russians knew all about Government jobs. Their joke was “We pretend to work and the Government pretends to pay us”.

              • 11.1.1.1.1.1.1

                Well call them SOE’s then. That’s a nice down the middle type term I would expect has a definite appeal to all. Bit of State, bit of Owned, bit of Enterprise.

                Yes, so SOE jobs it is eh?

              • 11.1.1.1.1.1.2

                How did the Russians get into this Alan? I thought they were last year’s bogeyman. Isn’t it the Islamists we blame these days? I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up as I grow older. On a more serious note, Bill Sutch was wont to say that full employment was the sheet anchor of any welfare state. The sooner we go back to that rubric the better

                • 11.1.1.1.1.1.2.1

                  @Tony, the Russians had the most experience of the government as employer which Kat is advocating. Muslims are irrelevant to that. Paula Bennett is trying to achieve full employment too.

    • But she has taken away any support to learn & train for free that “She ” had

  12. “Biological” is not the same as “deterministic”. That being said, I completely agree that success in a capitalist society is largely a product of luck: http://veryrarelystable.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/busting-capitalist-myth-with-tools-you.html

    • 12.1

      Luck plays a part in all life but you also make some of your own. The harder I work the luckier I get is not a complete myth.

      Despite Brian’s protestations you don’t get a doctorate by bunking school and sleeping all day.

      • That sounds right, Alan. But the easiest qualification I ever got in my life was a Ph.D. A fellow student once observed to me that B.Sc. stood for ‘bullshit'; M.Sc. stood for ‘more shit'; and Ph.D. stood for ‘piled higher and deeper’. And there’s this lovely quote from ‘Lucky Jim’ – “His thesis cast pseudo light on non problems.” It’s probably harder to get School Cert than a Ph.D. The Ph.D. student has the advantage that almost no-one will know whether the thesis which he/she is advancing is right or wrong.

        • 12.1.1.1

          Good one, Brian. I have a B.Ed, and was going on to get a M.Ed but never did… I wonder what your student friend would have called them :)

        • 12.1.1.2

          A PhD still takes 3 years of work, Brian, as well as sufficiently good results to be accepted for entry in the first place.

          And it leaves you knowing the difference between dative and accusative and no doubt quite a lot of other esoteric things while those who spent their youth idle and disorderly can hardly string a sentence together.

          • Ah …Who can speak from experience here?

            Follow the money and find out the huge (funny) money factories: Endowment Foundations world wide that had enabled breathtaking ignorance to be thriving through the veins of Economics, Business, Science in particular our the so called Ivy League variety, ensuring one is trained just enough to paper shuffle. The whole idea that you start with a ‘physical’ item in science for a start has created such a small working space for science to take part in. Our world is made up of a great deal of phenomena that as Einstein would admit verges on the many things peer reviewed systems disallow. Relativity is but a small part of a mysterious puzzle most of us are afraid or are unable to be truly willing to explore.

            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/091298645X/ref=s9_qpp_co_p14_d99_ir01?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=left-2&pf_rd_r=0V6FEBFW5H63BZBXEC7C&pf_rd_t=3201&pf_rd_p=1280661782&pf_rd_i=typ01

            Is a rollicking ride to show how far we have come in particular in the last century.

      • In fact, you don’t even get doctorates at school. Is this some new charter schools plan?

  13. Thanks for your honest and searing personal reflection.

    Neverthess, despite growing up in circumstances that at times were not that too dissimilar to your own, or Paula Bennetts, I think your assessment:

    “Well, it comes down to this: I think I’m lucky to be ‘comfortably off’, lucky not to be at the bottom of the social heap and lucky not to be in prison. It has nothing to do with application, hard work or moral uprightness”

    …is a message likely to breed more of the deprivation you abhor.

    I always remember my best friend, a 2nd generation Samoan from West Auckland who was continually tempted to buy-in to messages like yours. We both sat in the same school prize-giving when the wise and erudite Judge Mick Brown told us, “Young men, always remember – the world does not owe you a living. But a good society owes you an opportunity”.

    It turned his life around and he is working hard amongst his wider family and the community to impart the lesson he learned – that ultimate success is not a matter of being “lucky” – at least not in a country like New Zealand.

    As much as you and I and my friend have been grateful for state assistance and “welfare” in our lives, the welfare trap is a terrible reality for some.

    Which is why my friend and I are supporters of John Key’s aspirational society. That may not be palatable amongst some of your regulars. Nevertheless, I saw the change in his life, compared to the alternative path travelled by many of our peers who relied on “luck”, and who didn’t think effort makes a difference.

    • I wasn’t recommending luck as a stepping stone to success, merely observing that the major factors that determine one’s chances of living ‘the good life’ have a lot more to do with accident of birth than with application, hard work or moral uprightness. You’ll certainly do better with these admirable qualities, but if you’re born in the slums of India, you have almost no chance; and if you’re born Maori and poor in New Zealand, the path to success is going to be much harder. Otherwise, as I was at pains to point out to Nigel Latta, you have to explain the disproportion of Maori at the bottom of the wealth scale and the top of the imprisonment scale as some racial defect, what my mother used to call ‘bad blood’. I don’t buy into that argument.

      • “I wasn’t recommending luck as a stepping stone to success merely observing that the major factors that determine one’s chances of living ‘the good life’ have a lot more to do with accident of birth than with application, hard work or moral uprightness.”

        No, sorry, I think that is dissembling as there is little real practical difference between the two. A lot more? In India – yes, although I note millions are being lifted out of poverty every year there.

        But in New Zealand? With free education, health, and a welfare safety net? No! No! No! You may put the emphasis on “determination”, and good luck to you (pardon the pun), but you will bring little luck to any who live on the margins who would take your message to heart, when the alternative is patient and consistent exercise of good volition in accordance with the dictates of likely cause and effect. I don’t want to get into a confrontation, and I do not doubt your good intent, but your words are a self-fulfilling prophecy of disaster if many on the margins were to heed them. Such as….

        “Otherwise, as I was at pains to point out to Nigel Latta, you have to explain the disproportion of Maori at the bottom of the wealth scale and the top of the imprisonment scale as some racial defect, what my mother used to call ‘bad blood’. I don’t buy into that argument.”

        And neither do I. However, you seem to overlook the alternative – that it may have (to quote you) “a lot more to do with” an accumulation of poor choices.

        Are people, despite the many disadvantages and troubles they suffer in life merely snow flakes blown in the wind by circumstance and their passions? Sometimes it can seem that way, but I’d suggest ultimately, no.

        Or at least it doesn’t have to be that way.

        • 13.1.1.1

          ..and yet how to explain the accumulation of these ‘poor choices’ in ethnic categories without ultimately relying on a racist argument (none of which have ever had any empirical success when investigated)? The only explanation left is that the environment (being other people) does not start us all at the same point nor treat us all equally.

          • Yep. I never argued that life was equal – it is not and it never will be.

            But that is very different from saying we do not have opportunity

            So what are ‘Maori’ able to control more easily and readily? Their personal and collective choices – or the actions of others?

            What do you teach your children? Where do you put the emphasis?

            That’s why I despise Hone Harawira. I do not doubt his sincerity. Nevertheless his message is toxic, and ultimately passive – other than modelling how to harrangue and insult so that maybe some largesse is shamed out of those he similarly despises. Hardly seems like a recipe for long-term success for a group whose highly sophisticated stone-age ancestors were prepared to take their collective destiny into their own hands, and turn the Pacific Ocean into their own private lake in search of better opportunity.

            “Brown people have such a difficult and unfair hurdle to overcome” may assuage the conscience of the chattering classes, but out in strugglesville rhetorical and semantic nuance isn’t the name of the game – not when there is the temptation to throw in the towel and “blame the system”. In far too many cases I’ve seen it act as self-fulfilling prophecy in the lives of people who, no matter what difficulties and crosses they had to bear, did not make good use of reasonable opportunities.

      • OMG so much pussy footing….why doesn’t anyone have balls any-more
        ?

        • 13.1.2.1

          I take it that your definition of “having balls” means agreeing with you.

          • Probably, but don’t go asking Sally to parse the grammar, or we may be in need of an exorcist.

          • 13.1.2.1.2

            Spiteful, unnecessary and uncalled for – it’s refreshing to read something straight to the heart without all the clever, clever, look at me and what a great education I have had nonsense

            • 13.1.2.1.2.1

              So “the bitch is a bitch” is the kind of contribution you prefer. You should stick to reading them then.

              • 13.1.2.1.2.1.1

                Quite unnecessary response Alan. You sound unpleasant.

                • 13.1.2.1.2.1.1.1

                  The phrase was Sally’s contribution to the critique of Paula Bennett, and presumably her preference to “pussy-footing” rational discussion.

                  To me, that indeed sounds unpleasant. And appropriate to challenge Jan’s endorsement and snarky comparison.

    • Your are a fool Kimbo if you think JK has ANY of New Zealanders goals in his objectives. He is purely a BANKER with the NWO in mind, he is a puppet to the Bankers and the USA… and NZers are his pawns in his game. WAKE UP NZ.

    • Kimbo I am just truly boggled that you can disparage the influence of “luck” while at the same time extolling the importance of “opportunity” and completely fail notice any flaw in your logic at all.

      It is very common to hear people, such as Ms Bennett, who have “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” to argue that “I started with nothing & I got to where I am today through hard work and if I can do it anyone can!” the corollary being that “…therefore if you haven’t made it then it’s because you didn’t work/try hard enough.”
      It gives them the opportunity to dismiss the unwealthy as unworthy through not having worked as hard as they did (a quite blatant fallacy that doesn’t stand up to more than the lightest of scrutiny) and completely ignores that every door you knocked on had 2-300 other people knocking on it who weren’t so “deserving” as to get the job. And that sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try or how many doors you knock on. Sometimes the opportunity just isn’t there.

      My favourite irony is that your argument for dismissing the value of luck is based on you & your friend having been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to hear that speech that inspired you so much. Not to mention the additional luck that the “wise & erudite Judge Mick Brown” didn’t get food poisoning or the flu & have to call off that particular speech.
      Sometimes the luck/opportunity that life throws us can be something so small that we never even recognise it for what it is and give it due credit. That just possibly your friend got to where he is today because Judge Mick Brown ordered the Beef and not the chicken the night before that speech.

      • Thanks for taking the time for a thoughtful response, Debbie.

        I don’t deny the importance of “luck” when doing a final analysis of where people who “succeed” end up. As you rightly discern, I’ve had plenty. And some bad luck too, pretty much like everyone else around here.

        What I am opposed to is anything that sends the message to those who are struggling in a New Zealand context that luck is the PRIMARY thing that has to happen to transform their circumstances. If your circumstances are bad, then the primary thing you can control to try and change them is your choices. I’m not making the rules – just reporting them.

        As someone else here has posted, quoting the great golfer South African Gary Player, I think, “the harder I work, the luckier I get – and yes, I am aware that due to genetics and race Gary Player was VERY lucky.

        In that sense, while opportunity is sometimes a synonym for luck, they are not the same thing. You are right that “Sometimes the opportunity just isn’t there”. But this is New Zealand where everyone had forebears who had the courage to undertake the risk of immigration in an attempt to change their circumstances and destiny. Most have a capacity to work hard as they can and work as smart as they can – and opportunities that were previously non-existent tend to happen more.

        Is it a “sure-fire” thing? No, but little in life is. Is it, to quote you, “logical”? No, much of life isn’t. However, in the context of seeking to transform the lives of those who may be mired in state dependency when other alternative destinies may exist, I think the message of working hard and smart is invaluable – much more than, “It has nothing to do with application, hard work or moral uprightness”. Really?! Nothing?!

        Yes, I am grateful for the luck/opportunity that was bestowed on me by the NZ education system. I am proud of the intent, and much of the good that comes from the welfare state. Yes, I was indeed lucky that Judge Mick Brown was there that evening – just as I was no doubt negligent when many other similar messages from good educators were casually dismissed in my foolish youth (and many round here would probably rightly still accuse me of still neglecting wisdom).

        However, I can assure you I do not “dismiss the unwealthy as unworthy through not having worked as hard as they did.” And as much as it is emotionally satisfying to dump on Paula Bennett, I don’t believe she does either. No one is unworthy of respect – especially due to the human capacity to make choices, including learning from previous bad or unlucky(!) ones. I look back, no doubt like you, and realise I made some real stupid ones, which, but for the grace of God…

        Maybe folks need to take a breath, and remind themselves – neither Bennett nor National is dismantling the welfare state. I’ll leave it to others to propose plot theories about Trojan horses…

        • I always count it as one of the greatest gifts that life can offer to encounter a person with an intelligent and well thought out opinion that differs from mine. Thank you.
          I agree that hard work is not irrelevant. My view is that both luck and hardwork are essential factors in creating a good life. The difficulty is that the proportion of one to the other required in any single instance or any single life can vary to quite devastating degrees, and that, as with any sliding scale, there are always those at the extremes who lack one or the other (or indeed both) ingredient at some point in time where it is vital. The playing field is not level.
          I will disagree on one thing, although perhaps it is simply a matter of semantics. I believe that no one is unworthy of compassion, respect, however, to me is like trust. It must be earned.
          It has been pleasant talking with you.

    • Since when did John Key capture the market on aspirations? I’m particularly vexed by the repeated assertion that only right-wingers know how to aspire to better lives, and that everyone else is lacking drive. This is plainly wrong – my working class parents came to this country for a ‘better life’, and their children (all ‘lefties’) have garnered higher degrees and built businesses without buying into the ‘I walked barefoot for 20 miles in the snow to vote Tory’ mentality…that Ms Bennett seems to have internalised. It is entirely possible to have aspirations for oneself and for an equitable society. To me, Mick Brown’s quote seems to epitomize those values.

      • “Since when did John Key capture the market on aspirations?”

        Since when did Norman Kirk have the market cornered in discerning it was “time for a change”, and he was it?

        Or when did Rob Muldoon have all bases covered so that he could deliver, “New Zealand the way you want it”?

        All three were acts of legitimate political branding to encapsulate a memorable message to the electorate.

        As John Key’s opponents seem to delight in using it as a stick to beat him with, and they seem to lack a similarly easily discernable or memorable message, you may want to ask them.

        “I’m particularly vexed by the repeated assertion that only right-wingers know how to aspire to better lives, and that everyone else is lacking drive”.

        Uh huh. As you are responding to my post, I assume you are attempting to pin that label on me. In the context of the discussion, I have little doubt most/many beneficiaries aspire to better lives, and do have drive. Some may not. All deserve assistance, which can include an upskilling, where required, to utilise their natural drive and ingenuity to the fullest extent possible so the opportunities to change their circumstances are maximised, so they can move beyond the difficulties and precarious existence of welfare dependency and a potential poverty trap.

        Which I’d suggest is pretty much what R J Seddon, M J Savage, and Peter Fraser had in mind when they laid the foundations of the welfare state. Which, I remind you, the NZ National Party has continued to maintain since it first took office in 1949.

        • You are right that politicians seek to connect with the electorate in order to get elected, and that they always have, yet the current National Party rhetoric works hard to connect almost exclusively with aspiring to a better life. It’s this I object to: that if you don’t put your own affluence and position first, you are somehow seen as a feeble leftie with your hand perpetually out, bludging. In addition, it implies a moral superiority in being affluent or entrepreneurial – where there is none. No-one gets rich on their own.

          (And yes, yes, the National Party has more or less maintained the welfare state since its beginnings, although they are in general not the architects of such policies – and have at times been active in dismantling, devolving and demeaning…hence this thread of Brian’s.)

  14. Agree with your points Brian – people who have been helped in their own lives should remember the assistance they’ve been given. They got to where they are because they were given a hand. Some people only need a little help to get them through a ‘bump’ in life and others need significant help to help them scale mountains and valleys of generational difficulties. It is so wrong to categorise them all into one – welfare beneficiaries, and to develop a policy based on this simplistic characterisation. No one choses to be poor.

    Not sure when Bennett last tried to make a living as a part-time worker but – it is difficult to find part-time work, pay is low, if you have small children you have to pay for childcare (and finding quality safe childcare is no easy thing)transport costs, costs for clothing.

    Politicians make policy because they believe there are enough New Zealanders who agree with them. Perhaps this is the sad case for this policy?

  15. I also find it hypocritical to judge others too harshly for their faults and defects, especially when I’m pretty much held together by defects and character flaws which rob me of any delusions of superior virtue. But I have to agree that sometimes, defects be fucked; you just have to follow your heart and call a spade a spade.
    Bennett has jumped into an empty lifeboat and lowered herself down to the water, leaving everyone else to drown! She has barged to the front of the aid line and scoffed everyone’s survival rations, only to spin round and unleash a tirade of crumb-flecked abuse at the bug-eyed, incredulous ranks! She has escaped the gravitational pull of poverty by means of rocket fueled welfare boost, only to swiftly deny that boost to everyone behind her, as if there’s only room for one huge monolithic body to orbit at such lofty heights…..well maybe she has a point there, but never before in the field of human history has so much greed and treachery been insulated by so much fat and spite…..etc etc (insert one more fat joke here)…..

    [Edited to remove unduly offensive comment.]

    • 15.1

      Maurice Prendergast

      Well there’s one thing you have to give Bennett credit for – she’s got on top of her anorexia!

      • I remember in her early days as the member for Waitakere announcing that she was… immensely proud of her Westies. The coffee splattered everywhere.

      • I see from your photo that you are a real oil painting Maurice.

    • Idea for a cartoon. Captain Coward. Paula Bennett having slipped into a lifeboat, happily asleep in her hotel room. Leaving her passengers to drown on her tilting ship : (

    • Lol, thank you thats the best laugh had all week. I agree that the benefit should be a stepping stone to better employment, but at the moment its what employment. WINZ have encouraged (bullied) us to find suitable work……it is really hard to find work between the hours of 9 – 2.30. I have had some interviews and immediately come up against discrimination re my status as a solo mum. The main question being who is looking after your child when she is sick and who is looking after your child before and after school. I know there is afterschool care but there is no before school care. The Short of it all is yes we are being pushed out to find work that employers do NOT want to give us. How about focusing on the people on the unemployment and those with kids over 14, not us with very young kids, enable us by making education an option.

    • Your whole huge spiel …..is the bitch is a bitch

  16. I think Jon Stewart on the Daily Show best summed up what I think of the aspirational society

    “The biggest problem with the denizens of bullshit mountain is they act like their shit don’t stink. If they have success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserved it. If you get a break, it’s a handout and an entitlement. It’s a baffling, willfully blind cognitive dissonance best summed up by their head coach in what is probably my favorite soundbite of all time:

    (Plays quote from Coach star Craig T. Nelson telling ex-Fox News host Glenn Beck, ‘I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No.’)”

  17. The most disturbing thing is the way right wing commentators and their pet media continually bang on about the cycle of welfare dependency as if it is the rule rather than the exception. They are such an easy target, and somehow this minority is used to frame the entire debate. Only on social media channels do I ever hear about the comparative drain on state coffers from fraud and tax evasion. That somehow never enters the public consciousness, because it’s being perpetrated by the right class of people.
    Disturbing too is the way people jump to the defence of Key and Bennett, who reaped the full benefit of welfare support. These changes will make it nigh on impossible for a solo parent to study to better their prospects and those of their children. I suspect Bennett will be the last MP of her ilk.
    The cycle isn’t a welfare problem, it’s an equality problem, a poverty problem. It doesn’t matter if your opportunities are limited by a benefit, or by a solo parent earning the minimum wage, hunger is still hunger, sickness is still sickness, need is still need.

    • you have hit the nail on the head there, They achieved success through sate support that did not punish but provided opportunities.To para-phrase Bomber Bradbury,”they grew up in an era when welfare was gold plated now it is s__t encrusted”The problem is not that the right wing is wrong with their arguments but that they are not presented as the proportionally correct manner that they need to be.For example,generational dependency is a rare event not the norm,with the majority on welfare for only a few months. The biggest cost is not solo mothers but pensioners on super. No one talks about making them jump through hoops,be drug tested or even means tested to see weather someone with millions in the bank should receive “welfare”. Finally, thank you for your long and continuing service to New Zealand,it is people like you ,Brian,who give me hope for our country.

    • Thanks Hamish, you seam to understand as soooo many don’t

  18. Perhaps some of the ‘aspirational’ tribe here may wish to acknowledge the difference between the prescriptive (in the lap of the Gods) and descriptive (after the event) perception of luck.

    • The difference is that you can’t control the cards that are dealt from lap of the Gods – but you can avail yourself of as many opportunities as possible to learn how to play them as well as possible – then assist others to do likewise.

      • Aha! cards, dealing, gambling, learn when to hold em, learn when to fold em………golly!

        • I wasn’t the one who suggested, “And the ‘Socialist’? Well, it comes down to this: I think I’m lucky to be ‘comfortably off’, lucky not to be at the bottom of the social heap and lucky not to be in prison. It has nothing to do with application, hard work or moral uprightness”.

          Instaed, take it up with Dr Edwards.

          Although I’m confused as to why, if one really believes that, you would be against the Sky City-pokies-expansion-for-convention-centre deal…

          • Given the description of the early years of BE and how he has progressed from those times, it would be be fair to say that where he finds himself today could easily be regarded as fortuitous.

            Trying to pigeon hole me with the Sky City fiasco?

  19. Love to see you write something about your thoughts on this article .. Case and Point …

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10898462

  20. I hear the same arrogance when councils declare there will be no beggars in our town.  People on huge salaries, with no idea how the other half live, act like nannies. In this case she does have some idea but still shows little compassion. It’s been said many times – the quality of a society is measured by how the poor are treated. 

  21. Refreshing to read your thoughts – great that your prepared to share through a fairer redistributive system. Very few wealthy people seem open to that. I hope that the future holds a way more productive, democratic redistributive system that brings people at the bottom way up. Capital Gains is a start, FTT would be good and a proper progressive tax system for pay. The Labour Party has the infrastructure – the foundations to become a lot less friendlier to the greediest of capitalists – but it seems to not be able to break away completely from the 80s! Anyway, it is proper to expect a decent chunk of the profits and incomes of the richest to be taken off them and redistributed – esp. in our little country where theres plenty to go around. We shouldnt have the level of division we have – and its getting worse.

    • 21.1

      “and its getting worse”

      Except it isn’t. NZ’s Gini coefficient inequality indicator has been stable since 1995.

      Getting more people into jobs will improve and reduce it further.

      Never mind the facts, feel the ideology.

      • “A Brighter Future” Where are the jobs promised under NACTzies?…..they will NEVER deliver…so CHANGE Govt…

        I DON’T CARE WHO you vote for….just DON’T VOTE FOR NACTzies!!!!! cOZ THEY don’t DELIVER!!!

  22. If you commit crime and have a warrant out for your arrest and cower and hide, you lose your benefit. We cannot harbour criminals in a society that looks to uphold a justice system. No problem there.

    If you have no kids at home during the day, just get a job instead of finding reasons to continue depending on others. Earn some self respect. If you genuinely can’t find work and are trying, the support remains.

    If you have some ailment, find a job that allows you to work around/ with it. It’s the hand you are dealt, but it’s yours so own it. If you are really ill, the support remains.

    It is not a right, but a luxury to be picky about the jobs you have and how hard you can work to get them. Spend as much time and effort at moving forward as one might complaining about doing nothing and it can be amazing what can be achieved.

    The helping hand that is socialism and benefits still exists for those who need it, but remember, it is that, a helping hand, not a right of complacency. Social support is essential, and a great part of our country. It’s abuse and use as a long term crunch is simply wrong.

    • 22.1

      Back in the sixties, as I recall, hardly anyone was on a benefit. Have people changed or could it be that there aren’t enough jobs available?

      • 22.1.1

        Our local paper just printed a photo of two young sisters who gave birth on the same day. No mention of any fathers.

        People have changed – and in direct response to poorly administered welfare.

        • 22.1.1.1

          “No mention of fathers.”
          So they must be solo mothers and, automatically, shiftless.
          Ever heard of benefit of the doubt?

          • 22.1.1.1.1

            No, automatically on welfare which was your query about why it had increased. Or do you doubt their benefit?

            • You should look after your girls better Alan!

            • 22.1.1.1.1.2

              Or supported by working partners or husbands – Benefit of the doubt.
              I do doubt their benefit. Why do you assume it?
              Because if they’re young mums, they must be automatically on welfare? Oh! Really!

              • 22.1.1.1.1.2.1

                Excellent. I bet you $1k they are or will be as soon as they can qualify? Taker or faker?

                • 22.1.1.1.1.2.1.1

                  If you’ve got a thousand dollars which you are prepared to risk (and there is a risk, however small you think it is) then you’re richer and more foolhardy than I. Neither taker nor faker, just a poverty-stricken realist.
                  My point is that you appear to assume that all, or most, beneficiaries are bludgers which is patently not true.
                  You would, justifiably, be aghast if I stated that it is only possible to amass a fortune by breaking the law so all millionaires are crooks.
                  Let’s stop stereotyping.

                • 22.1.1.1.1.2.1.2

                  Give up, John. The issue is simple and straightforward. The benefit system has created a welfare dependency that didn’t previously exist, encouraged more young men to abandon their children and young women to perpetuate a cycle of maternal welfare dependency

        • 22.1.1.2

          PoliticallyCorrectedNZ

          Alan can you provide a link for this please? Most papers have an online presence now. I look forward to reading the article and welcoming the two precious angels into our world.

          • 22.1.1.2.1

            It is online but I don’t think it is right to provide a link to it. Others may not have your professed good intentions.

            • 22.1.1.2.1.1

              Alan you have referenced something that doesn’t get mentioned a lot. That is the issue of children growing up without their father and often in households with a revolving door system of ” partners”. This can never be good for children and can have some dire consequences.

            • 22.1.1.2.1.2

              PoliticallyCorrectedNZ

              I think we can run the risk, you did say the article is already online after all?

              • 22.1.1.2.1.2.1

                I’m sure you can run the risk but I am not going to expose the young women to either a political brawl or worse. Maybe you should think more of others you claim concern for.

                • 22.1.1.2.1.2.1.1

                  You’re happy to slag them off but not happy for others too. Hmmmmmmmmm

                  Maybe you should slag people off in the first place without any evidence to back it up.

                • 22.1.1.2.1.2.1.2

                  @mpledger, I think it is appropriate to use them as a general but anonymous case but not to make it personal or to expose names.

                  I note neither you nor your mate expose yours.

                • You’re been a little precious there Alan. Google had me find the girls in a matter of minutes. There is nothing in any of the media pieces about them that warrant you using them as fodder for your political point scoring, other than your own prejudices and bigotry. Small towns, smalls minds.

                • 22.1.1.2.1.2.1.4

                  Your sacharine comment about welcoming angels was a pathetic attempt at point scoring. My reference was as an illustration of behavioral change that John Northcott doubted.

                  If you think my inference is unjustified no doubt you will offer me the same wager I offered John. My guess is you won’t.

                • Who is John?

      • :)

    • What jobs? There are not jobs during school hours!!!! Are you serious? I have a degree, certificates, 23yrs of work force experience and I can not get a job during school hours because EMPLOYERS DO NOT WANT TO HIRE SINGLE MOMS!!!!! Why because if that said kid is sick then the mum will have to take time off work to look after them, shift work is impeded due to school hours. If you are so sure its easy….I will send you my CV and you can find a job for me. Because the last 3 interviews I went to had issues with my single mum status.

      • 22.2.1

        Tiffany, wherever there is a problem there is an opportunity. Can you start a business employing single mums? You sound as though you have some useful experience and skills to do so.

      • Go Tiffany, I support your efforts. I just wanted you to know that not everyone on these threads is not supportive xxxxx

  23. I hear your message…and confess it is not unlike my own view of life. We were of a vintage where human dignity and care for our fellowman was somehow magically maintained in spite of humble living standards.
    Personally I believe technology changed everything and now those of us who remember have a chance to speak out,to influence grandchildren and lead by demonstration. Are your neighbours ok?

    Your blog hit a nerve. ;)
    Thanks.

  24. It’s hard to argue against philosophy (doubly so one you agree with) but harder still to argue against science. From the comments: “It is being reported that the pilot trials have been exceptionally successful.” This, if it is indeed the case, is a stronger argument than any amount of words.

  25. We live in a strange society one where a person down on their luck through circumstances often beyond their control can be penalised by threats of having their support (benefit) cut off, and at the same time we have a former government employee who, by fraudulent means, stole $17 million dollars of taxpayers money. He gets a slap on the wrist of a light jail sentence, and is free to resume life practically as if it never happened.

    Then we have a Minister of Social Development who used the welfare system to live and train herself, then once she has attained a position of power, she removes the means by which others can do the same.

    She then has a the gall to say that she is removing the ‘dependency’ of welfare from the unemployed, sick, infirm, and solo mums. Hypocritical is a word which fairly describes the Minister of Social Development who was dependent upon welfare herself.

    • Yes Bob, but, where is what you have said “Publicly” shown? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for what you said and your genuineness…but how do we get the general sheeples of NZ to see what you have stated as we all know is correct?

      • Hi Sally
        Google “paula bennett dependency” to find oodles of references of her plans to remove welfare dependency.

  26. What’s interesting is the theme in many of the replies here that assumes a) “support is available” and b) “there is work if you’re willing”. when (and here is the news, folks) neither of those statements is true – nor has been for quite some time.
    not only are there nowhere near sufficient jobs for anything like full employment, but the number created each year consistently fails to match population/workforce growth; is it any wonder those few positions that are available for “ordinary workers” are increasingly equivalent to slave labour – minimum wage (which, relatively, decreases each year), fewer conditions (like tea breaks, sick pay, overtime rates), less opportunity coupled with higher turnover (to avoid having to offer pay rises), not to mention enforced drug testing and “trial” periods, etc … and lucky to qualify for holiday pay – let alone severance, let alone “bonuses” – if/when you’re “let go”.
    and when you are “let go”, what support is there? none, for (at least) the first 6 weeks – which means if you’ve been existing hand-to-mouth, you’re now buried. then when a benefit finally arrives, if you’re lucky it pays the rent and one meal a day. the great lie of our welfare system is that current benefits are “liveable” – they aren’t. once you are reduced to that less-than-subsistence level, you are in grave danger of becoming locked in to it, as everything meaningful in life degrades around you. oh, and did i mention that if you happen to have been prudent and saved, or had a windfall such as an inheritance, “the system” will offset that against what they’re willing to give? so much for incentives. and now they’ve introduced a system that disallows benefits altogether.
    the bare fact of it is that the neoliberal-controlled world is deliberately progressing a slave/master economy, and IF you are lucky enough (with luck increasingly becoming the only available criteria for change) to have a choice, it is only between master and slave.

    • Well put, Bruce. I agree entirely.

    • 26.2

      Yup, Bruce. A neat encapsulation of the issue.

    • 26.3

      Two points:

      1. If you can’t get a job, look for customers. The world doesn’t owe you a job, you owe it to yourself.

      2. There would be a lot more jobs and opportunities in this country if bureaucracy hadn’t appropriated so many resources and so many property rights. Ideology has costs – Green and socialist ideologies much more than most.

      • A further two points:

        1.If you don’t have any bread, eat cake.

        2.Of course neoliberal capitalist type ideologies and resultant appropriation of resources work just fine, that must be why there are plenty of jobs, surely.

        • 26.3.1.1

          Go look for a job in socialist France, Kat. Comparatively we are much better off since the strangulation of our resources and property rights is less severe. Be grateful.

          • Well Alan, I wouldn’t get much joy in the UK or the USA either! both bastions of capitalism. But you ignore my point which is I don’t necessarily agree with the old socialist regimes as a sole panacea to the economic and social ills that confronts the world today. And neo-liberalism is a gross failure.

            So we could apply some good old Kiwi ingenuity to the problem.

            • 26.3.1.1.1.1

              Both the UK and US have massive immigration pressures precisely because they are efficient at generating jobs relative to their neighbours and socialists.

              • 26.3.1.1.1.1.1

                Hardly call 2.5 million out of work in the UK or the 12 million out of work in the USA ‘efficient at generating jobs’.

          • Has anyone brought you up to speed. Socialists and Neo cons are twins with a puppeteer in wolfs clothing. One has a feeling David Rockafeller is that puppeteer but who knows for sure. Its hidden in plain sight. A Cowboy and Indian sort of equation. Him against her. Rich verses Poor. While we are squibbling about such details John Key has been handing over sensitive data on the rich resources of New Zealands mineral and oil deposits of resonance testing from large exploration work our tax has been used for (every solo mothers yearly sum total in NZ would be less that 1% of these tests) on our coastal areas as well as land to his mates or his paymasters mates.

            The top of the pyramid has all fingers and toes in sight, However the left and right hand are often quite blind to each others assistance. One hand does a spot of dividing and finally the left, drops in for some ruling. Or the other way around. Offering up the chaos to begin with and organising the solution.

            THere is no doubt the 2 party parliamentary system in every single western country (bar none) have well and truly been dragged into the Resource Extraction Mafias sphere of influence. Germany was sorted with smelling salts after WW 2 so they could trip around the multi party system just for kicks. The buying of the media at the turn of last century was the only true way to start on such a campaign of war and terror from the Great War to this farce of a war in Syria where Assad is blamed for the work of this hugely sadistic group. Al jazeera is now under this wing of control as the 4 reporters that tried to tell the truth of what was happening in Syria right at the start of the conflict got their marching orders: were made quickly redundant.

            Left or Right – Its one big poker game with David R assisted with a secret deck up his sleeve to keep all the players in line.

    • Bruce, sad but true…it really should not be like this….this is “KIWI LAND” geez, I never thought our Kiwiland would be tied up in NACTzieland…they must go next elections…the only way we can do this is to make sure all your friends and family actually VOTE…and be sure you let them know….vote for anyone you like….just NOT NACTzies etc

      • And hope for good weather or they’ll all decide they just can’t be bothered. ( getting out and voting ) This is a well known trait of Labour voters.

  27. Throughout our “golden period “we didn’t have enough jobs. The government in their wisdom used its departments to create work and divide the countries wealth more evenly.Dismantling the public service not only redistributed wealth it also created social chaos. We now reap the benefits of those changes. It really all does come down to redistribution of wealth. For one man to be wealthy another must suffer poverty. The more you have the less someone else can have, its what our government tax and welfare system is meant to address. We are still stuck in the Gordon Gecko catch cry “Greed is Good”

    • 27.1

      Agreed, pjr. Back then, the value of the collective approach to running our society was embodied in the big government departments. Apart from providing critically important on-the-job training to many school leavers, these departments soaked up much of the workforce which could not get work in the private sector.

      The principal failure of policy development and economic strategy during the era of Rogernomics and Ruthenasia was the precipitate flight from collectivism to extreme individualism. The dismantling of the old Ministry of Works is possibly the most egregious, but by no means the only, failure during this era. Even ardent supporters of neo-liberal economics have conceded as much when we’ve debated the issue; come back, MoW, all is forgiven!

      We’re surrounded by evidence that New Zealand is too small a polity to be able to function successfully with the level of individualism which underlies current policy settings.

    • 27.2

      Wrong in absolutely every detail. When was this “golden period”? Government departments are inefficient at creating jobs so they reduce the net number of jobs the country can support by requiring more resources to produce less for each one.

      Employment crashed here when oil costs rose and European trade barriers hit our primary exports. Nothing whatever to do with dismantling the public service.

      “For one man to be wealthy another must suffer poverty.”
      A nation’s wealth is a function of its expertise and efficiency. Very many wealthy men have helped raise the wealth of everyone else. Communism has amply shown the consequences of obstructing this process.

      • Wrong. Govt departments are very efficient at creating jobs as long as they are managed appropriately. That’s the point, appropriate management of resources has been sporadic in the past mainly due to lack of management skills.

        New Zealand suffered through this lack of management skill, especially when the oil crisis hit. This is no better illustrated than in the closure of the likes of the MoW.

        I would argue that in moving on from the industrial age yardstick, human and environment input contributes substantially to the nation’s wealth in the 21st century. Unbridled capitalism has amply shown the consequences of destroying this productive base.

        • 27.2.1.1

          The oil crisis hit in 1973. The MoW was disbanded in 1984. You are fantasising.

          “Unbridled capitalism has amply shown the consequences of destroying this productive base.”

          Give one example. France is currently demonstrating exactly the reverse.

          • 1973-1984 exactly! a decade of extremes from Norm Kirk to Roger Douglas.

            Human toll = unemployment, disenfranchised peoples,…..
            Environment toll = carbon emissions, deforestation, ocean pollution,…….

            France, a country deeply divided between left and right and a govt regime that hasn’t moved on in fifty years from bribery and corruption and its grandiose past. The problems are mainly structural, its economy needs reforming, too much power to the executive (Key would love it!)so what France is amply showing is more a reflection of rotten management.

            We can do much better here in NZ with the right mix. Bashing those at the bottom of the heap without an alternative fixes nothing.

            • 27.2.1.1.1.1

              1973 – 84 gave us the oil crisis, the EEC and loss of European markets, the DPB and huge expansion of unemployment welfare, and Muldoon’s command economy, import licensing, fixed exchange rate, price freezes, currency controls and Think Big government projects.

              Mismanagement, yes. Unbridled capitalism, ludicrously no.

              • 27.2.1.1.1.1.1

                Have to disagree, what followed with the intrusion of Harvard economics into the very social heartland of little old New Zealand was nothing less than unbridled capitalism in full flight.

                • 27.2.1.1.1.1.1.1

                  The minor flaw in your case is that your interpretation of the cause followed the effect. You could start a whole new philosophy of science with that.

        • “Wrong. Govt departments are very efficient at creating jobs as long as they are managed appropriately”.

          Can you kindly give some evidence to support that assertion?

          I’m not saying you are wrong (although I’m skeptical), but am willing to give you the my time and ettention for you to you prove your assertion…

          And can you please clarify how you see a co-relation between the oil crisis (I assume you are referring to the first of 1973 – or do you mean that of 1979?), and the closure of the MOW some ten to 15 years later under the Fourth Labour Government.

          “I would argue that in moving on from the industrial age yardstick, human and environment input contributes substantially to the nation’s wealth in the 21st century.”

          I agree wholeheartedly. Which is why I’m very skeptical large-scale “managing” of Government Departments (which are NOT the same as SOEs, IMHO) is a good way to get the best out of human input. Bureaucracy of its very nature imposes rigid requirements that can stiffle human initiative. I know Norman Kirk tried to “shake-up the public service” so it could deliver all the outcomes promised and sought by the Third Labour Government. The result, despite Big Norm’s undoubted skills and talents, were a disappointment to him.

          And here’s the thing – good managers deserve/in many cases expect good finnacial rewards for their efforts and expertise. Yet I seem to remember the promise to roll-back the “corporate culture and pay rates” were a useful mantra that helped get the Clark government elected in 1999.

          So I’m guessing you don’t want to pay the (brace yourself, Kat) “market rate” for these “good managers”.

          Like I said, I’m interested in your evidence, and filling in a few specifics…

          • See my replies to Alan.

            • 27.2.1.2.1.1

              “1973-1984 exactly! a decade of extremes from Norm Kirk to Roger Douglas…The problems are mainly structural, its economy needs reforming, too much power to the executive…We can do much better here in NZ with the right mix.”

              Yeah, nah.

              I’m a former member of the Labour Party who used to trumpet that sort of amorphous, non-specific “we will make better managers than the other lot” message.

              I despised Muldoon, yet was too blind in my political tribalism to realise he was the greatest, most capable adminsitrator of the “managed economy” set up by the First Labour Government this nation ever had. A man of genuine passion, and practical action for the disadvantaged – yet even he couldn’t make it work. I’m yet to hear any Labour Party critic spell out specifically where Muldoon went wrong. Instead they resort to the amorphous epithet, “Muldoonism”, or use the phrase “extremes” as you just did.

              You want an MoW? I realise it is Labour Party orthodoxy to condemn “Think Big” (“410,000 jobs”), but it was the boldest attempt ever made using the, admittedly (deliberately?) vague, model you suggest. If Muldoon couldn’t do it, no one could!

              I remember well the year I handed out leaflets for Labour in 1984, when Ann Hercus was asked how Labour would pay for all of its proposed extra social spending – “we’ll crack down on tax evasion and avoidance. Plenty of opportunity there to fund our plans to build a better New Zealand”.

              Thirty years later and Labour are still chasing.

              Thanks for the response, Kat, but sorry, I’ll stick with Shonkey JohnKey rather than the (and I seem to remember it was Hercus who pioneered the use of the phrase in the mid-1980s) “package” you’re trying to sell me….

              • 27.2.1.2.1.1.1

                I’m not selling anything, and I’m not looking for ‘customers’. I just don’t subscribe to having to be rabid right or looney left.

                • 27.2.1.2.1.1.1.1

                  I still suspect you are selling sizzle, because there is precious little sausage as you have not answered the question that was originally put to you,

                  “When was this “golden period”?”

                  nor given anyspecific response to my follow-up,

                  “Can you kindly give some evidence to support that assertion (“Wrong. Govt departments are very efficient at creating jobs as long as they are managed appropriately”.)?”

                  I’ll give you credit – you know when to fold ‘em, even if you continue to trot out the Labour Party talking points – as amorphous and non-specific as they are.

            • 27.2.1.2.1.2

              I think Alan and Kimbo are one of the same.

              • 27.2.1.2.1.2.1

                Perhaps. But if so, he is “pithy”, and I’m “verbose”.

                Or perhaps you could lay aside the plot theory, and consider it as corroboration of facts that should cause you to re-evaluate your ideological perspective.

                Just a suggestion.

                But thanks for keeping it classy, and adding a touch of amusement

                • 27.2.1.2.1.2.1.1

                  “Perhaps. But if so, he is “pithy”, and I’m “verbose”.

                  Well Kimbo, I commend you on being so honest! My humble observation is that you and Alan are very different. Alan is definitely on the other side, you appear stuck in transit.

  28. And one (un?)intentional side effect of Bennett’s welfare changes could well be that precarious workers might get more bolshie about hanging on to their jobs, if they feel the alternative is living on a park bench. That is, if the fear of unemployment hasn’t made them roll over and accept weakened conditions. We’ve got a long way to go in that regard, if Crest Cleaning’s “Part 6A” astroturf campaign is anything to go by.

    As for Bennett herself, she’s nothing short of a hypocritical ladder-kicker – the social class equivalent of a ‘house negro’ – who climbs the ladder that gave her a leg-up, only to effectively deny others the chance. The blow-up over Natasha Fuller was a case in point. She’d easily be a textbook case of too-smart-to-fail meritocracy-gone-bad in Chris Hayes’ book, “Twilight of the Elites“.

    And will the target’s of Bennett’s big stick really be inspired to look for real work? Or will it just disempower them further and drive them to sell drugs or their bodies? In America, the War on Drugs has become a handy (and increasingly expensive) excuse to attack the symptom. Furthermore, what if work doesn’t actually pay due to high effective marginal tax rates?

    From my own experiences, the dole is far from a lifestyle choice, it’s more akin to house arrest – or a modern-day leper colony with all the associated stigma. I was lucky enough to hail from an upper-middle class family who were able to get me back on my feet. Sadly, others aren’t so fortunate, and the whole social mobility thing is increasingly a mirage.

    I hope for all of our sake that anyone thrown out onto the streets don’t start getting ideas from Marx or Guevara. Not even the tallest razor-wire fences will guard against that.

    • “As for Bennett herself, she’s nothing short of a hypocritical ladder-kicker – the social class equivalent of a ‘house negro’ – who climbs the ladder that gave her a leg-up, only to effectively deny others the chance”.

      Uh, huh. And when Jenny Shipley presided over welfare reforms in the early ’90s she was a heartless rural Tory bitch from a a comfortable and sheltered urbringing in a manse that made her remote and immune to the sufferings of those she supposedly deemed to be poor due to poor morals.

      I can understand why some around here are not impressed by Bennett’s policies, just as they weren’t by Shipley’s. Fair enough. But seeing as the underlying implication is that you are doing your bit by means of this thread for justice, good, and philanthropy

      …any chance the choice of expressions can match the suppossed high ideals?

      “There is a permanent temptation, particularly for intellectuals, to suppose that one’s virtue is proportional to one’s hatred of vice, and that one’s hatred of vice is in turn to be measured by one’s vehemence of denunciation. But when Marx wrote (The Communinist Manifesto) he must surely have known that they were at best a savage caricature, at worst a deliberate distortion calculated to mislead and destroy”

      Theodore Dalrymple, “Our culture, what’s left of it”, (2005)

      • Jenny made great scones!

      • For all her coldness, Jenny Shipley at least played her cards with an open hand.

      • Ah yes, Theodore Dalrymple, the Hilaire_Belloc of Thaterite Toryism. Quoting Dalrymple with approval pretty much marks you as an intellectual pygmy, but I kinda knew that already from your posts. Honestly, I suppose you subscribe to Monckton for climate change advice and go for the trifecta by regarding Cameron Slater as a expert on something?

        Anyway, you want evidence Bennett is a sociopath? Not content with humiliating beneficiaries with invasive blood tests – just so they know they don’t even own their own bodies when Kommisar Bennett is in charge of the WINZ Gulag – she is going to make them pay for it themselves, according to the WINZ tender documents

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/14139050@N04/9296023657/

        Nothing like getting the beneficiary criminals to pay for the bullets that you use execute them with, huh?

        http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/beneficiaries-will-be-forced-to-pay-for.html

        • Is your objection to the cost of the drug test, or the test itself?

          If it is the former, on the face of it – I agree.

          If it is about drugs tests themselves – then no. Plenty of prospective employers have a reasonable right to test.

  29. A

  30. The world doesn’t owe you a living ,but the society you live in does. The every man for himself ,and “women and captains first” doesn’t appear to be working too well. Alan you most probably weren’t born in the “golden era”. If you look carefully wealth isn’t created by one man .I have yet to see true communism practiced ,Democratic socialism was possibly the closest we have come to a fair society.

    • 30.1

      pjr, if you wait for society (or the Government) to solve your problems you will wait for ever. And be miserable for ever.

      “If you look carefully wealth isn’t created by one man. If you look carefully wealth isn’t created by one man”.

      In fact good ideas generally are – and they are what increase society’s wealth.

    • “The world doesn’t owe you a living ,but the society you live in does”.

      Kindly explain how “world” and “society” are different.

  31. Women and Children have always been second class citizens, as long as old white men rule our country they always will be. Paula pffffttt, just the front for the old white men making the rules.
    I remember raising my 3 children, my husband working 3 jobs, mort rates at 22%, me saving any piece of squashed fruit that hadn’t been fully eaten to make a cake out of. Crying when the family benefit was cut as it was $6 per child per week and it was our milk and bread. My husband died t 37 of a massive heart attack , stress, over work, and in no small part, fall out from Operation Grapple in 57 when his dad was exposed to nuclear fall out at Christmas Islands…
    Anyway,,,enough chatter.
    Is there anyone here willing to stop talking and check out facebook page
    SUPPORT FOR JETHRO MORROW ,,, John Key says he isn’t worth shit, and will let him rot in a box in the ground because he won’t pay $500k a year to keep this lovely little 3 year old boy alive, when the blood transfusions stop working.
    The old white men that run the pharmaceutical companies don’t give a shit either !!! 5 minutes…read it,,,hit ‘about’ then set up an auto payment for a lousy $1 per week !! Do something that really counts instead of just talking…
    He needs 10,000 real people to donate $1 a week so he stays above ground.
    With Respect
    Shelley King

  32. I have not come across the term “hard determinist” before. However I think I get it from the context.

    It has simple elegance. If one is not directly responsible for one’s success then taking the fruits of that success through taxation (possibly in large amounts) is acceptable. Similarly if one is not responsible for one’s failure then it makes sense to assist generously to mitigate that failure.

    But I am not convinced.

    This approach ignores what one is directly responsible for, and that is attitude. In my world a person who tries is morally superior to one who doesn’t. Moreover there is enough of a connection between trying and succeeding – even if not as much as the Right would like- to make it worth encouraging people to try for purely practical reasons.

    And note in this respect that much of the reform is not to do with whether people do in fact succeed but whether they demonstrate the right attitude. For example by actually turning up to periodic reviews and refraining from using drugs etc.

    So to summarise. Trying is better than not trying and is therefore worth encouraging. Succeeding is sometimes related to trying and further reinforces the need for people to try. It follows that reforms which take that into account may be worthwhile.

  33. I’m still waiting for the evidence that has been promised of the success of these policies.
    I’m sure Mark Dotchin, Eric Watson and all those other great examples of business have increased society’s wealth.

  34. 34

    I would very much like it if all MPs were regularly drug tested (including being breathalized for alcohol) before going into parliament. They too are given money by the tax payer – each in the hundreds of thousands rather than tens of thousands, and their substance use has a greater chance of affecting me. If they failed, have their salaries cut to zero for that month. How humiliating you may say…. yes, quite, at least they could afford to feed themselves. Why is it ok for us to demand this of the poor but not of the politicians? The world is a prison yard, some of us are prisoners, and some of us are guards.

  35. 35

    Happiness of the Night

    Wall Street Banks were clever, by shifting toxic liabilities from their balance sheets to provide a more rosy picture of their state of fiscal health — that is, entities that dragged the bank down, were ring-fenced.

    The same should apply to long-term beneficiaries who make little effort to find work. They, too, should be ring-fenced; made to reside in a certain radius of their state-funded housing and not be allowed to roam outside, unless, permission is granted. It sounds harsh, but it will incentivise many of these indolent freeloaders to get of their chuffs.

    • 35.1

      Perhaps they should have yellow cloth stars sewn on their coats. No, that colour’s been taken as has pink and, I believe, green; what colour do you suggest?

  36. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS BOTHERING ME RIGHT NOW….

    NOT ONE of the articles that I have read… or discussions.. or policies…is covering the future needs of those who are “NOT YET BENEFICIARIES”….what are the Abused females/males..thinking right now? What are they thinking are their options? Do they have any options?
    Are they TOO AFRAID to leave an abusive relationship because they will be under too much bullshit and there will be no financial assistance for their children and themselves .?
    Will it be easier to stay in an abusive relationship or have no money to survive?.. because it seems that the help is NOT there any-more and they will be sanctioned into too much too soon….so they may well stay in that abusive relationship, their children may be abused or even killed, because the public say they are not worth their help. To seek help RIGHT NOW because the help is purely not there and everyone in society is against them trying to do the right thing to keep themselves and their babies safe from harm.

    Isn’t that THE WHOLE CASE SCENARIO OF WHY THE SOCIAL WELFARE SYSTEM WAS SET UP?

  37. There is a war happening right under our noses, it’s the same war that no one saw called recession.The war is on many fronts, we as New Zealanders have never been this close to an invisible enemy we can never hope to beat. Every country is in the same predicament where there are people on the bottom being told how useless they are by gutless twits who should be arrested & burnt at the stake.Being “poor” is FREE,yet it costs lives to accomplish this great skill where the poor seek out advice from those schooled blocks of wood because they are trained to do that.Creating sustainable levels of income comes hard or not at all to those who have no option but to be locked in a downward spiral, so start the first step by testing your own wisdom & plant a vege/flower/herb garden where you can sustainably feed yourself &/or make a profit from what you do.It’s being done right now all over the world because the money is not there from govt’s, they have run out of ideas to torture the poor, so strike back with independence.

  38. If it makes you feel better, Brian, the hard determinist in me understands and forgives you irrationally blaming her for being the product of her new environment. I’m sure you have your reasons.

  39. 39

    RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

    Couldn’t long term benefit use, be solved quicksmart. (1)To get off a longterm benefit a person needs a job. (2)Someone offering a job could employ someone who is on a longterm benefit.
    I’m sure there are holes in this very simple suggestion, but I am pointing out that if there is a problem, then the answer may already be here. Instead of looking to employ the best person for a position, employ someone almost as good, who has been on a benefit longterm. My car is not the absolute best model available, but it still does the job, no problem at all. This Govts endless war against beneficiaries reminds me of the endless war between Eurasia, East Asia, and Oceania, in George Orwells book 1984. It was the war itself that was vital, and in the interests of maintaining the ruling parties power – the outcome of the war was immaterial.
    And after reading through your mountain of comments, here’s a humorous snippet picked up off a news site feedback:

    “Paula Bennett should have a brain transplant with Gareth Morgan, because it would be win win. Gareth’s brain would find itself inside a soft buxom alluring body, while Paula’s brain would find itself inside a body with gravitas, that others respected the thoughts of. Externally, onlookers would be amazed that Paula’s body would suddenly start talking unusually sensibly, with a cultured grasp of decency, while Gareth’s body would appear to go bananas.”

  40. Except it isn’t. NZ’s Gini coefficient inequality indicator has been stable since 1995.
    Not by the graph I looked at In fact its taken a turn for the worse since 2010
    Feel The Facts

  41. BE, I have always found the nature vs nurture debate very interesting in explaining how individuals evolve. I am glad to have read from your comments that your mother has influenced you greatly, inorder for you to become a positive contributor in society. In a number of people, especially males the GREED GENE dominates, any sense of sympathy and understanding for those who are less fortunate as themselves is diminished. This has much to do with the caveman concept of “slaying the beast and bringing home the bacon”. Remember man’s genome has not really altered in hundred’s of thousands of years. One can tell that many of the above replies are very instinctive, “I must keep and preserve what I have and will not give charity to someone who is less fortunate”.

    • 41.1

      That maintains your record of being 100% wrong. I would be pretty confident those you accuse of selfishness actually do far more to assist the unfortunate than yoi vocal socialists.

      • As usual Alan, nothing but empty words.

      • Another trait of National supporters (see beginning of the thread) is ‘noitallitis’.

        If you don’t take care of the poor they steal and kill and then you will have to spend all your resources on security and police. Through socialism, the poor have dignity, feed their children, and even when gambling, (buying lotto tickets), return the money they are given, back to the community.

        Money goes around in circles and creates employment and opportunity unless people buy up more houses than they need, more boats than they need and employ better accountants to avoid paying as much tax as possible so they can stash large amounts of money in overseas investments.

        If the people at the top through whatever hereditary advantage they held, shared what they had, especially their knowledge through education, there would never be a need to have such a word as socialist. You obviously don’t like being called names Alan but through your over intellectualizing of every topic you encounter without reality or rationalization to assist you, a most simple adjective springs forth to describe your point of view… ……. TWAT!!!!!!

        Thanks Brian for your attempt to educate. Shame for Alan that the topic is way above his comprehension.

        • 41.1.2.1

          Phil, I am entirely immune to being called names by silly socialists that can’t maintain any other defense to their ideology. I simply chalk up another incoherent scalp.

          And I suspect the simple facts are that there is greater income redistribution now than in any time in our history and our poor are materially better off than ever before.

          But don’t let facts get in the way of your inarticulate fury.

          • ‘silly socialists’ ‘incoherent scalps’ ‘you suspect things about income redistribution’ ‘inarticulate’ ‘fury’ are all words or statements you make Alan in a desperate attempt to dismiss the honesty of my words. Thanks for further exposing yourself and all like you that arrogance is ignorance dressed up. You will continue your tirades until someone robs your home or rapes your daughter. Only then will you realise you should have tried to do more to help those less off than yourself rather than spending your time trying to defend the policies of hypocrites.

            • 41.1.2.1.1.1

              Ever more silly tosh, Phil. For tirades look no further than yourself. I confine myself to debating facts with those who can and deplore those who can only hurl abuse at those whose policies they disagree with.

  42. One thing you left out Brian is that Bennett was also able to use a Housing Corp loan to buy a house when she was on the DPB. I kid you not;http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10789399

  43. 43

    Alan Wilkinson
    July 17th, 2013 at 18:21
    Give up, John. The issue is simple and straightforward. The benefit system has created a welfare dependency that didn’t previously exist, encouraged more young men to abandon their children and young women to perpetuate a cycle of maternal welfare dependency.

    And in reply:
    No. Right-wing, money-before-all-else, devil-take-the hind-most, me-me-me policies have created unemployment and the necessity for a benefit system and the continuation of these policies has created welfare dependence.
    Now, right-wing greed begrudges the compensation of it’s victims hence the demonisation of welfare recipients to justify removing that compensation.
    Funny how the benefit system didn’t create welfare dependence until the right-wing policies were instituted, even though getting a benefit has become more and more difficult over the years.
    The issue is, indeed, straightforward.
    You give up, Alan.

    • 43.1

      Kat already lost that argument above. The liberal reforms occurred AFTER the economic shocks and the Muldoon welfare and command economy mismanagement including greatly expanded unemployment and welfare.

      You know neither history nor economics and you believe in welfare as a way of life rather than a way to a better life.

      • 43.1.1

        It’s impossible to win a discussion against a self-appointed referee.
        Back in the sixties there were plenty of jobs, little unemployment and no welfare dependency.
        Now there are too few jobs, high unemployment and welfare dependency.
        There’s a correlation there, somewhere.
        I know enough history and economics to realise that you are cherry picking the facts which suit you.
        Did I ever write that welfare should be a way of life? Unfortunately for many, it is; they have no choice. Last year, thousands applied for a few jobs in a supermarket. Of course, what they really wanted was to be welfare dependent rather than workers.(Sarcasm)
        I hereby appoint myself referee and you have lost.

        • 43.1.1.1

          John, don’t be obtuse. The sixties were before the oil shocks and the loss of trade entry to the UK because of the EEC in the seventies. That was what sparked a huge loss of unskilled jobs in NZ. At the same time the DPB was introduced with the best of intentions by the likes of Marilyn Waring but causing a slow and steady erosion of individual responsibility.

          Have you ever been an employer trying to create and maintain jobs? You will quickly find that bureaucracy is not your friend. The equation is simple: more bureaucracy => fewer jobs.

          And, no, I do not accuse most job seekers of wanting to stay on welfare and will never do so. I do accuse Labour and the Greens of destroying jobs in order to buy votes with bad policies.

          • 43.1.1.1.1

            “Obtuse” is getting close to personal insult. I will not respond in kind.
            My point is that welfare dependency is not the fault of those who become welfare dependent and punishing them, which is what the new “reforms” amount to, will not result in more jobs becoming available.
            The Greens have never been in a position to be able to “destroy” jobs and Labour has been out of office for more than four years. National has had time to do something but are unwilling or unable to do so. I incline towards “unwilling” because a large pool of unemployed keeps wages down.
            The current government has done nothing to reduce bureaucracy.

            • 43.1.1.1.1.1

              Obtuse referred to your refusal to acknowledge the rise in unemployment and welfare after the sixties occurred during the Muldoon era.

              I agree entirely that welfare dependency is caused by bad policies, not the unfortunate victims. I disagree that the present reforms are simply punishing them. I am sure that will be amply monitored as they progress by advocates, opponents and the media.

              I disagree with your assumption there are a finite number of jobs and there will be none for these people. I won’t go into the reasons but again that will become clear from the results as time passes.

              The Greens have certainly destroyed many jobs and continue to do so. Not so many operating as a political party but very many via the extremist environmental RMA bureaucracy we currently suffer, much of it implemented by successive Labour governments. I agree National have done comparatively little to roll it back but that is a function of the power of the environmental lobbies.

              National have done some bureaucratic pruning and continue to do so. Ask a Wellingtonian.

              • 43.1.1.1.1.1.1

                Does it matter when the rise in unemployment and welfare began? Incidentally, I was aware of who was PM at the time.

                If the “reforms” are not simply punishing beneficiaries then you appear to agree that they are still being punished.

                So, thousands of people applying for a handful of positions will cause jobs to be created? Perhaps you should tell the government of this miraculous process but they’ll need more than, “reasons will become clear as time passes.”

                The RMA is all to blame? That was enacted by Simon Upton under a National government. The current National government could do something about it but hasn’t. Since when have they taken any notice of lobbying? Except for the Sky City deal, that is.

                And the Greens. If you can’t find any other whipping boy the Greens are always handy. Don’t need proof because they’re the Greens.

                When are we going to see the benefits of this “bureaucratic pruning”?

          • Alan as usual you don’t know what you’re talking about. I am surprised that you still persist in making silly comments after being knocked back by so many people. Big business has invested heavily in China, as well as a start in the Far East, because of cheap labour. This has caused many local factories to close since they cannot match the slave labour of these countries. Our tax intake is diminished and our GST will continue to go up from 15%…to 20% in the next 5 years I would guess, the way things are going. The wealthy are able to claim back their paid GST through tax refunds, so the well off are not bothered while the average citizen is burdened to pay the social cost of importing cheaper goods.

            • 43.1.1.1.2.1

              So much wrong, so little time to correct.

              Manufacturing has adjusted and is doing fine, tax take is up, GST is recoverable only on expenses in the course of earning income, the richest 10% pay 80% of the tax, half the population pay no net tax, the social cost of importing cheaper goods means the poor have a better quality of life, Asians are not slaves but have migrated to their cities to enjoy the massive improvement in their own standard of living which has lifted very many millions out of deep poverty – which you apparently deplore.

              • 43.1.1.1.2.1.1

                So much wrong, so little time to correct.

              • 43.1.1.1.2.1.2

                Alan, do a little research, example start with the giant Taiwanese industry operating in China, called Foxcon.
                What do you say to factory owners in countries such as Bangladesh who employ child labour (under 12 years of age), work many hours for incorrect pay, and get beaten when a mistake is made.

            • 43.1.1.1.2.2

              You don’t understand, johan.
              Alan is always right, even when he’s wrong.

      • No, you lost the point Alan, I was never having an argument.

        The 1973 oil crisis occurred largely through a mix of US foreign policy with Israel and Syria and the Arab bloc oil embargo. The resultant holding the world to ransom by the Arab bloc and subsequent raising of oil prices caused the rampant global inflation.

        Structural problems in economies such as NZ may have been addressed after the ‘polish shipyard’ period however the social impact was not addressed and was largely left to fester.

  44. Doesn’t really match your version of the facts
    http://union.org.nz/sites/union.org.nz/files/CTU-Monthly-Economic-Bulletin-138-August-2012.pdf

  45. After reading above comments. I can only conclude that we need to shift the discussion away from 19th and 20th century paradigms of left and right wing ideologies. Bigger issues are at stake if we want to achieve a brighter outlook for future generations of New Zealanders. As a small country we are ideally placed to lead the world in developing the world’s first sustainable economy that is not rooted in the notion of eternal growth. Government can provide leadership with a long term plan to achieve this and facilitate opportunities for businesses and households to contribute to this. The current political system pushes parties to be too concerned with the issues of the day and the need to accumulate support with their target demographic, which results in electoral promises (bribes) that are not necessarily the best choice in the greater scheme of things. The present democratic system might not be the best way to achieve a long term vision. Fresh thinking is required.

    • 45.1

      I think you give the role of government totally undue significance regarding long term vision for the country. Their role is to provide security, rule of law, a social safety net and then to get out of the way.

      You also make the mistake of seeing growth simply as consumption of resources. Actually growth is generated by better ideas, greater efficiency and new ways of living. Government can only be a facilitator or an inhibitor to that.

      You are quite correct about the damage caused by incentives to bribe the electorate.

      • “Government can only be a facilitator or an inhibitor to that”

        So lets change the non-facilitating and inhibiting current regime. Full of bad ideas, inefficiency and old failed ways of living I would say.

    • hetmes, welcome to the fold! Your comments pretty much reflect my thinking which I have been trying to get across to the likes of Kimbo.

      In the meantime my vote is with Labour because: a) I feel obliged to vote, and b)that party, because it represents such a broad church, is the only one that I believe can make the changes towards a more egalitarian regime that will be ultimately accepted at all levels.

      • Yes, I thought when I read hetmes that you had found a soul-mate.

        And my critique is the same as I made of your “thinking” – amorphous.

        Don’t believe me? Let’s have a look at what hetmes said: –

        “shift the discussion” Uh, huh. Where to?

        “Bigger issues are at stake”. OK, tell us specifically what they are?

        “if we want to achieve a brighter outlook for future generations of New Zealanders”. Yes, well, as pretty much everyone at every point on the political and ideological spectrum wants that, it is a given, but please, let’s have some specifics…

        “As a small country we are ideally placed to lead the world in developing the world’s first sustainable economy that is not rooted in the notion of eternal growth”. How? Smaller countries like New Zealand often lack the resources of capital and people. And who said we are aiming at “eternal growth?”. It seems to me a lot of people around here criticising Paula Bwennett would be a lot happier if we just had growth sufficient to meet an abundance of social needs. Or is this just hippie clichés? Let’s see if hetmes is going to finally get around to telling us some specifics…

        “Government can provide leadership with a long term plan to achieve this and facilitate opportunities for businesses and households to contribute to this”. Yes, well, seeing as anyone could see the party they vote for as the best option to achieve this (and it is why I voted National in 2011), you can read whatever you want into “provide leadership” and “facilitate opportunities”.

        “The current political system pushes parties to be too concerned with the issues of the day and the need to accumulate support with their target demographic, which results in electoral promises (bribes) that are not necessarily the best choice in the greater scheme of things”. As above I voted National in 2011 because I thought they balanced the two about right, with enough stress on the “greater scheme of things”, with only enough “accumulat(ing) support with their target demographic” so they could achieve the longer-tern end. And I’m guessing most round here voted for whomever they did for precisely the same reason.

        “The present democratic system might not be the best way to achieve a long term vision”. Uh huh. And maybe it is. An interesting discussion point for abstract debate (which sometimes is a welcome and worthwhile distraction on this site, and I plead guilty to indulging myself from time to time).

        However, as we are going hammer and tongs over the fate of beneficiaries, I would have thought they deserved something more substantial. But ok, hetmes, what, pray tell, is the alternative?

        “Fresh thinking is required”. And regrettably hetmes has provided none – other than chanelling every lacklustre, amorphous and light-weight Labour politician such as Walter Nash, Bill Rowling, Geoffrey Palmer, and David Shearer who use(d) a whole lot of words to cover up the fact thay have little of substance to say, because they had precious little convictions or worthwhile practical solutions to contribute. Whom (grammar check alert – are you allowed to start a sentence with an accusative noun?) only the gullible were prepared to write a blank cheque for in the form of their vote.

        Sorry hetmes, nothing personal, but Kat, you disappoint me – you are far too easily impressed.

        At least Sally told us something specific we can all either agree or disagree with.

        • Sorry your disappointed Kimbo, however the vacuum in your verbosity is Key and his cronies never had any intention to achieve a brighter outlook for future generations of New Zealanders, only a select few.

  46. “On Your Way Down” (abridged) by Little Feat (whom I saw in Wellington in 1976) sums Paula Bennett and some of her colleagues quite well

    Sunrise
    Sunset
    Since the beginning it hasn’t changed yet
    People fly high begin to lose sight
    You can’t see very clearly when you’re in flight
    It’s high time that you found
    The same people you misuse on your way up
    You might meet up
    On your way down

    You think the sun rises and sets for you
    But the same sun rises, sets and shines
    On the poor folks too

    It’s high time that you found
    The same people you walk on on your way up
    You might meet up
    On your way down

  47. Our government represents the people of NZ not just the people that voted for the political parties that form the government. As people of NZ we should have a long term vision for our country and government should facilitate hat vision as well as providing security, rule of law etc. It is up to political parties to shift their platforms from the current opportunistic mindset to more ambitious longterm thinking and work on buy in from the public. Implementation of a vision will take longer than the current 3 year governmental term. Perhaps 10 years would be a good start with a half term assessment of performance referendum. In my opinion the time has come to break with the status quo and try new ways to achieve a society, where things like inter-generational welfare dependency for example are a thing of he past. The latter can only be described as collateral damage of ideologically driven policies by both sides of the political spectrum.

    • 47.1

      I’m left wondering what on earth you think a national long term plan would look like – beyond a collection of platitudes and impossible promises?

      It’s hard enough for businesses to forecast conditions and opportunities a decade out given the pace of change and political uncertainties let alone doing it for the whole country far further.

      • Alan (and Kimbo), I certainly do not pretend I have all the answers, and I don’t have to. Ten years ago I had a business idea, little money and a 50 year plan to bring my business to fruition. The first step was to find money, which is close to impossible in NZ (especially for a 19 year old), as everyone is too busy to put their money into real estate. In the end I found a backer in Vietnam of all places. To cut a long story short, we now employ over 800 people in NZ en Vietnam and we invested our profits in other fledgling businesses, thus sprouting 40 plus new businesses in both countries. Many of the people working with us are ex beneficiaries, recent immigrants or people who just needed a chance and one thing they all have in common, is that to flourish, they only needed an opportunity. I am a great believer in human endeavour and creativity, things that should be nurtured and allowed to shine (and not “educated” out of us, but that is a whole other subject). If I would have listened to all the Kimbo’s and Alan’s of this world, who keep analysing everything to death and come up with reasons why things can’t be done, I would not even have started my business. My 50 year plan is still there. Is it this the same as 10 years ago? No, I had to adapt to changing circumstances, but the ultimate goal is still there.
        I don’t have all the answers and can’t personally implement all the crazy ideas I come up with. But the beauty is, we always manage to bring in people who can take an idea and make it work. I don’t think Steve Jobs personally put his music collection in his mobile phone! So, asking me for a detailed 50 year plan for NZ is a bit much and pulling every sentence apart in my posts is simply unhelpful. That energy could be used positively if only to indulge my still youthful and naive believe that we make a difference if we only put our creative minds to it. This is what sets us apart from the other species on this planet, which makes it so surprising that we are hell bend on destroying ourselves.

        • 47.1.1.1

          Good on you for what you have done, hetmes. Yes, a ten-year plan is feasible but in a democracy you are never going to get such a long term accepted. Maybe though you could get bi-partisan sign up to a popular vision/objective.

          But do you have one? You haven’t given one, even if neither detailed, comprehensive nor further out than a decade.

          • 47.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I have a vision for NZ, but this is probably not the right forum to discuss this and it will probably require electorale law reform well beyond the scope of what is currently under consideration. You might have noticed that Youth Parliament rejected ELR, which is interesting. One of the speeches mentioned the lack of civic education in NZ and the fact that many young people are totally ignorant as to how our democracy actually works. I thought it essential for a proper functioning democracy, the (potential) electorate actually knows what it is participating in. Why is such an easy rectifiable issue not addressed by the politicians? is it just easier not to inform?
            A well, I am over my jet lag now and better get to work.

        • Far be it from me to discourage you in your business ideas – which of their very nature are different from the “ideas” gtovernments get when they start planning an economy. .

          Like you, I believe “in human endeavour and creativity, things that should be nurtured and allowed to shine” and the need to “adapt to changing circumstances”.

          Which small entrepreneurs, NOT big government departments with 10 year plans do best.

          Which is why I’m reasonably happy with the present political leadership compared to the alternaives.

          • 47.1.1.2.1

            China is doing pretty well, now being in its 12th five year economic plan as part of their 100 year outlook. Private enterprise has blossomed! The problem is that in NZ we think we are planning for the future if we look 5 or 10 years ahead, in government as well as in many businesses. Most businesses have no idea what they are doing next year.

            Unlike you, being reasonably happy with the current government is simply not good enough, The National led government has committed the biggest sin in my book, which is not seizing an opportunity. 45% of the vote in 2008 and strongly supportive coalition parties under MMP rules is as close to a carte blanche you’ll ever get. Happy to give them the benefit of first term jitters and the desire to have a second term, but 47% of the vote in 2012 basically told them get on with it, be bold! Thus far all this government has to show for with this mandate, is steady as she goes, some tinkering at the edges and a party venue in Auckland. Conservatism doesn’t get you anywhere, is not stimulating and is the enemy of innovative thinking.

            As people of NZ we should be far more demanding of our politicians, no matter which party they belong to.

            • 47.1.1.2.1.1

              “Unlike you, being reasonably happy with the current government is simply not good enough”

              …and yet despite repetaed posts you have given no semblance of specifics of what we should be doing differently during this “5 to 10 year plan” – nor where the present government is falling short.

              • 47.1.1.2.1.1.1

                This government had the mandate and opportunity to surprise me, which they failed to do. That’s where they are falling short. But, I am just an “angry young man”.

                • 47.1.1.2.1.1.1.1

                  Hmmm.

                  That is surprising.

                  You sounded more to me like an enigmatic woman who doesn’t know what she wants – so how the hell can I, or John Key for that matter, be expected to know?

              • 47.1.1.2.1.1.2

                “…and yet despite repetaed posts you have given no semblance of specifics of what we should be doing differently during this “5 to 10 year plan” – nor where the present government is falling short”

                Kimbo, you repeat this mantra ad nauseum and quite frankly until you present some specifics of what this current govt has done to show it is NOT falling short then your comments can only be considered as hollow rhetoric.

                • 47.1.1.2.1.1.2.1

                  ho hum, Kat.

                  You raised the issue of the status quo not being satisfactory and have repeatedly ignored overtures by Alan Wilkinson and myself to give specific examples of things that should be changed – other than personnel.

                  Come on – even you must get bored of the Shonkey Johnkey “rich dilletente banker selling out the country” line. is that truly all you have in your bag of tricks, other than YOU have a social conscience, while those who view things differently do not?!

                  Frankly, I don’t really care if others agree with me, because, unlike you, I no longer see everything in life as a matter “political life and death” depending on whom occupies the Beehive.

                  I realise that the Labour Party has long been a place of worship of the cult of personality, but come on – tell us what we should do different?

                  In a spirit of generosity (which I doubt will be reciprocated, as you are obviously weasling out of putting Labour’s policies – have they got any?!)I offer the follwoing up for scrutiny, which you will no dount dismiss with the usual glib class warfare rhetoric.

                  I am in support of the following just as a quick list: –

                  1. The Sky City Casino Convention deal. Some 20 years ago we made the foolish (IMHO) decision to allow casino licences and gaming machines. However, I like my politicians to be big boys and girls, so once that decision was made (with the full knowldge of the social costs accruing), you then get the best arrangement possible. This Key has undoubtedly done. Grown ups know that often the choices in life are not about the right and the wrong one, but the lesser of 2 evils. Despite the squawking and crocodile tears by the parliamentary Labour Party (Phil Goff went to the Sky City box at Eden Park to “tell them he disagreed with them”. Only a Labour Party zealot like you would believe that, Kat! I’ll give the Greens credit – even though they are shameless show-boaters they are at least genuine in their opposition to the casino), most of the outrage is in a far-left echo chamber. Once thing is on the way to being built, it will be a winner for National – and on balance, the country.

                  2. Partial asset sales. Sell, sell, sell! If you want government to effectively protect the weak, then I agree, it must do so. But that has precious little to do with owning assets that are “strategic”. Hah! Food is efficiently provided by private enterprise – or does the Labour party want to nationalise Countdown anmd New World?

                  3. National Standards as a first step to identifying specific problem areas in the NZ education sector, so assistance can be targeted to those whom the education system is failing, especially Maori and Pacifika – or does Labour not care about them anymore other than as vote fodder? Eveidently teacher unions (and Labour – for the moment!) believe theirs is the only profession/trade/vocation where meaningful comparison of results to determine relative outcomes cannot take place. Most New Zealanders who work at a job where their work effort and outcomes are measured continually suspect this is not true.

                  There – there’s a short, non-exhaustive list to get you going, and you’ll no doubt ignore the need to tell us what Labour are offering as an alternative and why it will work, and we’ll get more Mike Moore channelled waffle about 1973 oil shocks and “social dislocation”.

                  You forget, Kat – I am a former Labour Party member who knows what it is like to drink the Kool-Aid. I’ve dwelled in the midst of the the smoke and mirrors, I know how they are pulling your strings, and eliciting from you the loyal response you continually give. I’ve had over 30 years of seeing labour try and manufacture outrage, when they have nothing of substance to repalce the status quo.

                  Despite that, I admire your loyalty – just as I like John Key, and agree with his policies, but my days or cult-worship and working-class snobbery myths are long since offer…

            • 47.1.1.2.1.2

              You overlook a couple of minor distractions during the first term: the GFC and the Chch earthquake.

              However I do agree that much bolder reforms are needed. But I doubt the electorate is ready. If it doesn’t even understand the electoral system it certainly doesn’t understand the economy as the comments on the Herald website amply demonstrate.

          • “Which is why I’m reasonably happy with the present political leadership compared to the alternaives”

            Gee, Kimbo you may have swayed us all with such convincing detail and your very own overwhelming endorsement of the this current shonkey debacle of a govt. I think not.

            Getting back on topic with Bennett, I would put it to you that never in this little country’s history has a govt been so eager to please the defunct social conscience of the wealthy few with its callous punishment inflicting social welfare reforms.

            • 47.1.1.2.2.1

              I’ll give you credit for sticking to Labour’s talking points – as innane and misdirected as they are. Perhaps Jacinda Ardern might want to re-assess her attitude when over $30 million in benefit fraud has been identified. I seem to remember that when in power, the last Labour government, like every other Labour government before it, rightly saw benefit fraudas theft at the expense of all of us, particularly those in genuine need.

              “Getting back on topic with Bennett, I would put it to you that never in this little country’s history has a govt been so eager to please the defunct social conscience of the wealthy few with its callous punishment inflicting social welfare reforms.”

              Hah! Sorry, Kat, as I alluded to earlier I’m all-fatigued out from the last round of “never in this little country’s history” that was used to drum up outrage at the Shipley benefit cuts to be persuaded by what I suspect are corocodile tears and faux outrage on your part. Others here are no dount genuine, but in your case, I suspect it is simply political posturing.

              But if you want to stake out a position where Labour is seen as the defender of benefit fraudsters, rather than upskilling and facilitating people to perhaps change their circumstances, far be it from me to stop you rushing to occupy that ground.

              Despite the rhetoric flying around here in what is a stimulating, but nevertheless unrepresentative cross-section of NZ public opinion, I’m reasonably confident where the voters who will determine success in 2014 stand…

              • 47.1.1.2.2.1.1

                Ah…the benefit fraud card. Any mention of tax fraud, no didn’t think so.

                Just more verbosity on your part Kimbo.

                And good luck with the dead horse in 2014.

                • 47.1.1.2.2.1.1.1

                  ah…right back at me with the Labour talking points.

                  Well, gee whiz, Kat, I guess Anne Hercus had that one covered in 1984. Or maybe not…

                  And didn’t Clark and Cullen in 1999 when they raised tax rates? As much as I agree that everyone should pay their tax, I’m at least prepared to accept the facts like an adult that when you raise the marginal rates on the higher-income, rather than paying, they will hire clever lawyers an accountants to help them avoid it.

                  I don’t make the rules – I just report them.

                  Or they pour their income into creating real estate speculation bubbles.

                  Remind me on whose watch that happened?

                  And remind me again why if it is a really good idea to chase rich tax fraudsters (and I agree it is), why it is then “a waste of lots of administratve time, effort, and funds chasing benefit fraud”?

                  I note Labour have offered no specifics on precisely HOW they will collect the alleged tax evasion and fraud. But it makes a cute talking point that fails to stand up to detailed scruting.

                  Which pretty much sums up Paula Bennett’s opposite, Jacinda Ardern…

              • 47.1.1.2.2.1.2

                Kimbo, you are showing your colours by stereo typing women.

                John Key does know what I want, I told him on more than one occasion.
                One thing is for sure, he is no Einstein.

                • 47.1.1.2.2.1.2.1

                  Not really.

                  In a thread where the primary premise that kicked it off is that beneficiaries lack the capacity for volition to transform their circumstances, I’d suggest you would do better to attach that “stereo-typing” label elsewhere…

  48. “All for One and One for All”.
    Can’t get fairer than that.

  49. Although I don’t agree with the use of cannabis, its a long bow to draw that the residual amount left in the body which the tests may detect, actually equates to being under the influence of this drug, which would be the reason for not being able to perform your work duties.I am aware of workplaces which test new employees but ignore the fact that existing employees possibly use drugs .What other drugs does this test detect?

    • I heard on the radio today that over 68 people have died working in NZ forests in the past 10-or-so years.

      Cannibis use can have serious effects on work-place safety, and employers rightly have a duty to screen their (prospective) employees for it – as imprecise or as reliable of an ability to work as the test may or may not be.

      But I’m open to alternative ways of keeping NZ workers safe from the effects of cannibis use- but then, maybe Kat can tell us if that is, or isn’t a concern for the Labour Party any more?

      • Meka Whaitiri voiced here concerns pretty clear over in Gisborne during the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election.

        • “voiced concerns”?!

          Well ain’t that hunky dory.

          Call me cynical, and I know that since Bill Clinton voters are suckers for politicians who talk about wanting to know how you feel, but I prefer politicians to offer solutions, rather than psychological counselling.

          Did Whaitiri and/or Laboyr offer any policy of substance, other than show-boating their concern for their own electoral gain?

          Just asking…

        • …to clarify, Kat, when I said, “concerns” I meant detailed and specific policy.

          There once was a time, especialy when Norman Kirk was leader, that labour used to present that at an election like at Ikaroa-Rawhiti. Call me old-fashioned, but I kinda think if you want people to vote for you, you should have some specific reasons to tell them – rather than personality politics stating the present mob are incompetent (although you can’t say why), nor, more importantly why your mob are specifically better (even though you definitely can’t say why!).

          Obviously times have changed.

          Any chance you’ll change your habit of the entire thread and respond to repeated overtures and actually offer some…?

          • “Call me old-fashioned, but I kinda think if you want people to vote for you, you should have some specific reasons to tell them”

            I would call you more naive. Labour policy that has already been released such as NZ Power, Housing, Education, Jobs(to name a few) are out in the public domain. And there will be more to come closer to the election.

            I won’t be taking the bait of your posturing and entering into a general debate on policy on this blog, unless the hosts specifically invite it.

  50. “The benefit system has created a welfare dependency that didn’t previously exist, encouraged more young men to abandon their children and young women to perpetuate a cycle of maternal welfare dependency”
    Nothing to do with a lack of employment or violent relationships?

    • 50.1

      You are off on a tangent. Of course there are many genuine cases where it is entirely justified.

      But maybe the pilot trial cited above puts them in proportion: 40% benefit maintained; 30% started a job; 30% not entitled.

      The corruption of self reliance incentives is the unintended consequence of meeting genuine needs too indiscriminately. The solution is better discrimination and rehabilitation.

      • Usually about now I would grab Alan by the lapels and start punching him in the head because he has given me a sore head reading all his sanctimonious bullshit and it’s only fair that he feels the pain too.

        • 50.1.1.1

          An outstanding example of the Left’s complete inability to defend their ideology with reasoned debate.

          Congratulations on being a fully qualified member entitled to moralise ad nauseum and attack anyone who disagrees.

          Truly exemplary.

  51. According to Alan Wilkinson, “Both the UK and US have massive immigration pressures precisely because they are efficient at generating jobs relative to their neighbours and socialists”. Just heard the news concerning Detroit city’s insolvency, last time I checked the city of Detriot is situated in the USA. There are many more US cities in a similar situation. Earlier this year that country almost defaulted on payments to China as their largest bond purchaser. The USA a capitalist country showing us the way?
    Why is this Alan? Perhaps you can explain this through your special brand of economic theories.

    • 51.1

      I know this is a radical reversal of practice for the Left, but I was trained to study the facts and data BEFORE indulging in theories.

      So the latest internationally comparable unemployment rates seem to be: UK 7.9%, USA 7.6%, France 11%, Holland 8.3%, Sweden 8.4%, Poland 10.4%, Italy 12%, Ireland 13.6%.

      And the corresponding net migration rates are:
      UK 2.59, USA 3.62, France 1.1, Holland 2.02, Sweden 1.65, Poland -0.47, Italy 4.67, Ireland 1.69.

      So, as I mentioned, the UK and US have relatively high immigration rates while maintaining relatively low unemployment = good job creation performance.

      Yes, the US has been living beyond its means for at least a decade. And Detroit has been a car manufacturing city hit by recession and Asian competition for many years. Capitalism does force change while socialism tries to prevent it. But the change produces growth, wealth and better lives for most.

  52. 52

    RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

    According to one media report, six times as much money is lost through tax fraud than benefit fraud. So why is the Govt not making a song and dance about going after tax fraud – because it is not in their political interests. Tax fraud is a greater issue for the economy, much more than just six times as bad. Much of the money lost to tax fraud will end up locked away in speculation, shares, deposits, or spent overseas, giving no direct stimulus. Virtually all the money that might be overpaid to a beneficiary, will be immediately spent, and locally, thereby stimulating and cycling through the whole economy.

    “Under the spreading chestnut tree
    I sold you and you sold me,
    There lie they, and here lie we,
    Under the spreading chestnut tree.”
    (Eric Arthur Blair)

    • 52.1

      I wouldn’t put much credence on media estimates. Most tax “fraud” occurs in the black economy. Most of the black economy would not exist if it were taxed and the consequence would be a huge loss of productivity, wealth and welfare for the nation.

    • “So why is the Govt not making a song and dance about going after tax fraud – because it is not in their political interests”

      No! can’t be, Kimbo said its just a Labour ‘talking point’.

      Nothing to see here, move on.

  53. Wouldn’t the cannabis market be a part of the black economy ,and productivity, and welfare would benefit from its loss

    • 53.1

      Yes, but there already massive resources devoted to trying to shut down the drug subculture with decades of failure. IRD is not going to be any more successful. Ironically, getting people off welfare may be the most effective strategy.

      • “Ironically, getting people off welfare may be the most effective strategy”

        No kidding!

        Jobs anywhere for these ‘people’?

        • 53.1.1.1

          30% of long term unemployed found jobs in the trial, Kat. Plenty of immigrants seem to be finding work that unemployed don’t want to do too.

          • That’s because the large proportion of immigrants are either wealthy or highly skilled.

            • 53.1.1.1.1.1

              According to the news reports many are simply unskilled but willing to work in horticulture and agriculture.

              • 53.1.1.1.1.1.1

                RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

                (52.1) “I wouldn’t put much credence on media estimates.”

                • 53.1.1.1.1.1.1.1

                  I agree. All too often certain people tend to throw around numbers and percentages in order to make a point.

                  Mark Twain was fond of the saying “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”.

                  Statistics are often used, not only in advertising but more so in politics to deceive people. The consummate liar wants his forgeries to look undeniably “scientific”.

                • 53.1.1.1.1.1.1.2

                  RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

                  (53.1111111) Johan, I agree with what you agree with, illustrated by the excerpt below:

                  <<>> -copied from Paula Bennett’s wikipedia entry.

                • 53.1.1.1.1.1.1.3

                  RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

                  In November 2012, a week after unemployment was reported at 7.3 percent – a 13-year high – Bennett read out job listings in Parliament, claiming there were “300 jobs” available at retailer, The Warehouse, if anyone wanted them, as well as 40 jobs at Bunnings. The Warehouse refuted this claim, saying it only had 30 jobs available, and Bunnings only had three advertised. -wikipedia.

                • 53.1.1.1.1.1.1.4

                  Estimates of illegal behaviour are notoriously unreliable. In comparison employers have a pretty good idea of where they have to go to find workers.

  54. 60.
    60 is a big number.
    60 is the number of posts that Alan has submitted and still no one agrees with him.

    When does one finally give up?

    61

  55. 55

    Frank, if you agreed with me I’d have to reconsider my opinions.

    But I’m interested in ideas and their justification, not in a consensus of the ignorant.

  56. 61

  57. Cant seem to find any details about the trial except that of the 10000 participants 6000 were off benefits, with over 3000 into (I’m guessing if they are not on a benefit they have fulltime work)work and the rest not fitting benefit criteria. What sort of work were these people introduced into ?How long had they been on a benefit? Whats to become of the people with no income?
    Does this mean there are 100,000 jobs available and another 100,000 people to be removed from benefits?

    • 57.1

      I agree. The pilot trial results should have been properly published long before this and the media should have demanded them in a comprehensive way. As far as I can see there is nothing on the MSD website about it. Inexcusable.

  58. I see from today’s nzherald:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10900876

    “…Children in early-childhood education, ages 3 to 5, are to be given ID numbers

    It’s not the fact of having a number that should concern us … it’s the compulsion and the reason for it. Given the only group of children who must compulsorily attend early-childhood education are those of beneficiaries, it is hard to see that it is aimed at anyone except them…”

    Compulsory and humiliatingly invasive drug tests. cross matching of data to seek out those guilty of the slightest crime against the state. ID numbers to track their children. What next? The compulsory wearing of a symbol so everyone can see who is a filthy beneficiary?? As another morbidly obese person once said of an objectified and reviled minority:

    “The Jew must clearly understand one thing at once, he must get out!” – Hermann Goring.

  59. 59

    RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

    literature 101 assignment
    “Nineteen Eighty Four”/Wikipedia excerpt

    Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian novel by George Orwell published in 1949. The Oceanian province of Airstrip One[1] is a world of perpetual war[2], omnipresent government surveillance[3], and public mind control[4], dictated by a political system[5] euphemistically named Ingsoc[6], under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite[7] that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking[8] as thoughtcrimes. Their tyranny is headed by Big Brother[9], the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. Big Brother and the Party[10] justify their rule[11] in the name of a supposed greater good[12]

    [1]NZ
    [2]beneficiary bashing
    [3]GC$B has recorded every fart you’ve ever made
    [4]spin
    [5]westminster
    [6]MMP
    [7]cabinet
    [8]greenies
    [9]Key
    [10]Nats
    [11]another term
    [12]brighter future, under the end of a rainbow

  60. Crikey!

    On the one hand we have Sanctuary comparing our Government to Hitler. Then we have RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident comparing them to Stalin.

    Does that count as a double word score under Godwin’s Law? Well done, both of you. You make Kat’s analysis look detatched, measured and objective.

  61. I didn’t compare her to Hitler. You are the only one doing that, but thanks for coming and don’t let the door slam on the way out.

    • “I didn’t compare her to Hitler.”

      Uh huh.

      “ID numbers to track their children. What next? The compulsory wearing of a symbol so everyone can see who is a filthy beneficiary?? As another morbidly obese person once said of an objectified and reviled minority:

      “The Jew must clearly understand one thing at once, he must get out!” – Hermann Goring”.

      Not only are you hysterical and unpleasant, but you are also straining at a gnat to cover inherent rhetoric dishonesty.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

      “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or (take note, Sanctuary) Hitler approaches…The law is sometimes invoked prescriptively to mark the end of a discussion when a Nazi analogy is made, with the writer who made the analogy being considered to have lost the argument”.

      Not that you had much of an argument to begin with. Don’t let that door knock any sense into you as it swings back…

      • Kimbo, you are still lacking common sense. Please present your argument in a logical format, so that people can respect your point of view.

  62. “Godwin’s law does not claim to articulate a fallacy; it is instead framed as a memetic tool to reduce the incidence of inappropriate hyperbolic comparisons. “Although deliberately framed as if it were a law of nature or of mathematics, its purpose has always been rhetorical and pedagogical: I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler or to Nazis to think a bit harder about the Holocaust”, Godwin has written.”
    Just to get a little balance

    • Mike Godwin has written both in articles and in his book ‘Cyber Rights’ that it is precisely because such comparisons are sometimes appropriate that he formulated ‘Godwin’s law’ so as to call attention to the fact that frivolous use of such analogies tends to do an injustice to the valid comparisons.

      Godwin’s clear statements about the intended application of his law does not prevent some people from attempting to censor others arguments by invoking it even when the comparisons it is leveled against are in fact valid.

      What makes such misuse more worthy of note than other sleazy argumentation tactics is what it says about people’s perception of the Nazis. By pretending the Nazis were so evil that NO comparison to them, however apt, is reasonable, we essentially say that Nazism was some sort of fluke that could never happen again, and that, sadly, is untrue.

      People tend to overlook the fact that the Nazis were a legitimate political party duly elected to leadership of an advanced, modern country by the exact same democratic process as leaders are elected in every Western nation today.

      And Kimbo, the self confessed National Socialist Party ‘convert’ is merely an understudy of John Key, the master of obfuscation.

      • I’ve never sought to censor anyone (sounds like you have me and Key confused with Labour’s ill-fated post-2005 Electoral Reforms), and it is obvious it is waste of time to try with Sanctaury. Indeed the more he/she posts, along with johan and frank_db, the more reasonable Bennett’s reforms appear. A worthwhile rule of thumb to judge the worth of a politician’s worth policy is by looking at the more strident critics they attract. Bennett smells like roses in comparison to some folks.

        Also, I’m not so sure I’m an understudy to any master of obfuscation, Kat. On the contray – how about we flush out? That’s lots of useful background info about Godwin’s law, but how about you tell us – is comparing Bennett to the Nazis an (to quote you) “apt”, “reasonable”, and “valid” comparison?

        Simple question…

        • No, I wouldn’t describe Bennett as a Nazi per se even though the policies she is trumpeting could certainly parade as quasi Nazi.

          • You do know “quasi” means “virually”, “practically the same thing except in name”, and “closely resembling?

            Yes, of course you do.

            OK. Thanks. I appreciate the honesty. Can’t say I admire the judgement, but far be it from me to ‘censor’ your right to express your opinion.

  63. Brian Edwards. Sometimes I think you like to start an argument and then leave the country. That is called stirring!!!!!

  64. Ovicula’s rule of political debate: before entering into any discussion with a Libertarian, remember that spouting slogans and obscure figures is how they replace the sex they never get. You just make them happy, they use you, and you feel violated and disgusted when it’s over.

    Thanks for the post, Brian. One day we’ll stop them and rebuild. I hope that day comes soon.

    • 64.1

      The usual intelligent, issue-focused analysis from the Left. You people are really outstanding intellects, aren’t you?

  65. Aschully….on reflection it may be more accurate to describe Bennett as only a Dummkopf, a deluded wannabe Key inner-circle member with merely fascist tendencies.

    Not hard to picture her in the black uniform with jackboots though, but then perhaps sergeant Shultz’s uniform would be a better fit!

  66. What a debate. My thoughts in respect of benefits is that there is a) actual need (genuine misfortune), b)perceived need (lazyness) and c) no need (fraudsters and bludgers). Seems to me that we’ve punished a for the benefit of b and c. And I’m a socialist Brian.

    • 66.1

      MSD would say the results of their pilot trial were that a) 40% of long term beneficiaries have actual need and remain supported on their benefits; b) 30% needed help and/or motivation to return to work and have achieved that; and c) 30% were wrongly being supported due to either fraud or maladministration and have had unjustified support withdrawn.

      Do you have or need any evidence that either the process or the outcomes were unfair to any category to support your belief/claim?

  67. Dave, I fully agree with the above analysis. Some people have a perverse liking for giving people who are down and out a kick in the guts. The Nats should be proud of their “leadership” and “pitbull helpers” (Bennett) who contribute little but to create a low wage economy, overprised housing, a non-competitive retail food market, an over-taxed populous, especially with GST place on food basics.
    What a legacy for a former wheeler-dealer of currency, no surprise that he appears to have no feel for the average person.

    • 67.1

      RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

      Lets hope the one thing that can be agreed on, is that the segment of beneficiaries with actual or borderline mental health issues, living in tenuous circumstances, are not “pushed over the edge”, by policies, whether you agree with them or not, that are being increasingly designed to place more and more pressure.

      • Yes, I can agree with that wholeheartedly, RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident – and I hope the media and community watchdogs monitor the situation, and gives urgent feedback it it occurs.

  68. 68

    What an utterly ridiculous rant.

    • Your usual insensitive tripe, Alan.

      • 68.1.1

        When did NZ house prices explode? Under the Clark Labour government.

        Who created the low wage economy? The anti-trade, anti-development, anti-business, bureaucratic central control freaks of successive socialist governments.

        Who overtaxed? Same Labour governments.

        Who raised income tax again after Douglas wanted to reduce it drastically to compensate for GST? Labour.

        Who was content to leave long-term beneficiaries stuck in the welfare trap? Labour.

        Who do you blame for all this? National!!! Nuts, ignorance or simple, straightforward dishonesty?

        • I think that I struck a raw nerve Alan.

          JK and the National gov’t decreased the tax rate from 38% to 33%…….to benefit the wealthiest 10% of New Zealanders. This meant a loss of $1.1 billion in the next nine months. To meet the unavoidable tax intake loss we had to borrow money from our accommodating Chinese friends, whom you of course detest so much.

          JK is in a hurry to sell our assets in order to balance the books, although he tells everyone that the money is to go to upgrade schools and hospitals. Does that sound like a TUI ad, YEA RIGHT!

          • 68.1.1.1.1

            Your biggest problem aint what you don’t know, but what you know that aint so.

            The books are going to be balanced without asset sales due to the improving economy due to good management – which is also likely to doom the Left’s election chances.

            Reducing the idiot “Anderton” surcharge rate did not benefit the wealthiest NZers since they are far too sensible to pay themselves a salary and the amount of tax collected from them fell immediately the surcharge was implemented since far more were incentivised to take avoidance measures.

            http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/tax-take-wealthy-fell-when-top-rate-went-wb-125109

            Instead it benefited the ordinary Kiwis who earned more than the modest $60k the loony Left targeted with that tax – as well as all NZers indirectly by reducing the complexity of the tax system and resulting paperwork costs.

            • Treasury warned the results should be treated with caution, but that it showed “the elasticity of taxable income is substantially higher for the highest income groups”, meaning the higher the income bracket the more capacity that group of earners has to manipulate declared income.

              Wet night on the island Allan? have another scotch eh!

              • 68.1.1.1.1.1.1

                “the higher the income bracket the more capacity that group of earners has to manipulate declared income”.

                Really?! You mean they don’t all line up and voluntarily pay extra tax?! Someone tell Ann Hercus!

                Someone order me a scotch to assuage my damaged expectations.

                I’ll make a pragmatic Shonkey JohnKey National supporter of you yet, Kat.

                “Come on over to the dark side…”

                • 68.1.1.1.1.1.1.1

                  Hair trigger finger Kimbo? That was a direct quote from the link Alan posted. Seems as though you agree with my take on it though!

                • 68.1.1.1.1.1.1.2

                  Usually I wouldn’t pull you or anyone else up on grammar (especially as I make the occaional typo and grammatical error), but as it is relevant to your post, might I suggest next time you use speech marks so it is obvious you are making a “direct quote from the link”.

                  “Seems as though you agree with my take on it though!”

                  He he. As I’ve pointed out many times, Kat, I don’t make the rules – I just report them.

              • 68.1.1.1.1.1.2

                Yes, it was wet last night but a beautiful day today. No scotch needed, just a good cup of coffee and sharing crisps and dips with my wife and our dog.

                I guess it’s a shocking surprise for the Left that ramping up tax rates doesn’t make either the country or the government wealthy. Unfortunately, the Left are such slow learners that crashing their heads against reality is just a permanent way of life for them.

                Cheers.

            • 68.1.1.1.1.2

              “The books are going to be balanced without asset sales due to the improving economy due to good management – which is also likely to doom the Left’s election chances”.

              Latest news is that JK will not be able to balance the books. New Zealand is falling further into debt, govt debt has increased under JK’s watch. Let’s not even mention personal debt which is way out of control. This continuation of sending our hard earned money overseas will bankrupt this country. The NZ economy continues to stagnate.
              Due to increased unemployment, manufacturing outside the primary sector is in trouble and NZ exports are down.

              JK continues to rely on the Maori Party, John Banks and Peter Dunne for support to prop-up his government to pass legislation. However, JK has found it necessary to befriend Winston Peters, as possible future support. Now that is the actions of a desperate man considering that JK wouldn’t have a bar of WP in the past.

              Some people may be impressed with Alan and Kimbo as paint by numbers economists, however I am a long way from being convinced.

              Alan, you must try harder, to produce evidence of the latest vintage, not years, and years and years ago, that JK is doing the best job for New Zealanders.

  69. 69

    Time to summarise this debate:

    A torrent of abuse from the loony Left for Paula Bennett, John Key, the National Government and anyone who defends them – without a single shred of evidence to support it.

  70. Sadly Brian, your blog has been hijacked and really should be re named the “Alan Wilkinson Show”.

    Unfortunately, I must confess to being more on his side of the political spectrum than yours, but this endless know all, answer for everything diatribe is wearing thin.

    His expertise is so wasted in this forum. Surely we can nominate him for a top position at the UN, or perhaps the World Bank, or…..anywhere.

    Briefly back on subject. When Paula Bennett was first appointed a minister a lot in Labour couldn’t wait to rip her apart. I think she deserves credit for the level of political skill she now demonstrates. There’s no easy turning of this lady.

    • 70.1

      No bureaucratic sinecure for me, thanks rick. It’s not hard to research the facts nowadays. It just takes the will to do it rather than believe what people claim.

    • Well Rick, at least you know where you are with Alan from Tapeka, unlike Kimbo from Limbo.

      Alans ‘show’ can sometimes be a bit of an indulgence in nostalgia, a familiar old horror movie from yesteryear, like hearing Muldoons voice in print.

      Please do expand on these levels of Paula Bennetts political skills, may as well keep the entertainment going!

      • 70.2.1

        That’s a low blow, Kat, considering I can’t think of a single thing Muldoon did that I approved of.

        • Well then, do us all a big favour Alan, and cease trying to put his voice into print!

          • 70.2.1.1.1

            Your delusions are getting out of hand, Kat. Perhaps a lie down and less scotch?

        • 70.2.1.2

          Just remembered: Muldoon pardoned Arthur Thomas. Chalk that up as one good thing he did.

    • 70.3

      RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

      Where are the answers? If more at the bottom of the pile, including grandparents raising grandchildren, could be made to look harder for answers, by applying more pressure, while the environment for answers remains static, and answers are no longer in Aus, then perhaps more answers will synesthetically appear, according to the laws of nature and statistics, in Paula’s universe, that is not for turning.

      Although not her biggest fan, can she please choose to discuss her views on backbenchers, where she might prove entertaining, and as subtle as a blindfolded flatulent hyperactive elephantine ballerina in heat, on rollerblades, bellydancing to the flight of the bumblebee, in a fine china shop, chortling “I bought a house and did training while on benefits! I made it, so anyone can, hee hee!” and chirping the chorus “..don’t worry about a thing, there’s tons more fine china, advertised on trademe, tra lala lala, yipee, weeeeeeeeee………………………………”

  71. An interesting thread, this, Brian – as much for the territorial elbowing as the debate about Bennett’s policies. I’ve conscientiously tried to read all of it, but some of the regular posters are clearly of the Adamsian Vogon poetry school of commentary: write mind-numbingly tedious posts, and then attempt to kill off the opposition…

  72. Can we please put this out of its misery? It long ago descended into the sort of useless slanging match that these debates on the web always seem to turn into

    • 72.1

      It is never useless to point out the loony Left has no foundation for its perennial wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  73. Sorry Tony but any mention of the Vogons is worth waiting for

  74. What about the Rocky Horror Picture Show stint surely that should be highly regarded ?

  75. Oh look another ‘poll’……

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10903329

    • 75.1

      As previously discussed, I’m on Dotcom’s side re the Hollywood extradition extortion attempt.

      However, I doubt Key is being dishonest on this – too much at stake. He may however be wrong on the evidence Dotcom eventually produces. He is only human and/or what he “ought to” have known may differ from what he actually knew. Time will tell and in the meantime everyone else is just guessing.

      • I feel another Tui ad coming. I’m certain that JK has never experienced a convenient “senior moment” of forgetfulness (Yeah Right). Flips are another matter. No, I will never be able to work with Winston to Yes, I think we can do business.

        • 75.1.1.1

          Are you going to tell us you have never changed your mind about anything six years later? Yeah, right?

          • A sign of desperation from JK……or could it be a brilliant psycho ploy by the Teflon Kid?

          • 75.1.1.1.2

            RepublicansPushGilmoreForPresident

            There must be some last worditis going around.
            The Teflon kid’s psycho ploy, or convenient amnesia, is being tested by the desperation of his false truth juggling, as he risks forgetting to forget what he has forgotten to remember, and remembering to remember what he has remembered to forget. Strategy must be working, if it can make a two metre pirate look increasingly credible!
            see: http://thestandard.org.nz/dotcom-developments

            Hypothetical question to Teflon: “Your face is turning red. Is your nose growing longer?”.
            Answer from Teflon: ““The simple explanation is, that I’m afraid you don’t have all the facts, because basically, as far as I’m concerned, I’m absolutely certain that indeed, my nose is not growing, because according our comprehensive legal polling, I obviously DON’T HAVE A NOSE, since I have not read any reports, nor seen any evidence, nor signed any memos, supporting any claim to the contrary, and I don’t intend to, as there is no obligation upon me to do so, and I will not be looking any further, into something LYING outside my remit, and therefore completely reject such a groundless silly assertion. Yup, so just recapping, I cannot make it any more plain, that this remains my position, and it may come as some surprise to you, but as far as I’m concerned, it has never been proven conclusively, that I have ever knowingly had a nose, which is how the facts now stand, as I see them, and that is the end of the matter, trust me””.

            …but wait, there’s more! Locally manufactured, and packaged by merchant bankers, this is our most UNBELIEVABLE product line ever. Our Teflon, will never loose its plasticity, can squeeze through any orifice, mold to any position, fill the narrowest gap, be bent through the tightest u-turn, is odourless, slightly toxic, and available only in beige.
            But should you not be completely satisfied with its performance, just blame global conditions.
            For those wanting to renew their purchase of genuine honest to goodness, pure and natural Teflon in 2014, we’ll throw in a complementary cocktail party accessory, made by Dunne&Banks Ltd, from recycled materials that no one wants anymore.
            This incredible limited time offer, is complete and utter madness. We must all be crazy. Everything must go. Phone nowwwwww!!!! ! ! !

  76. I’m with Nell. Only found Brian’s blog today & started reading from 15th July. The little gray box on the right crept slowly down… shedding much heat and very little light

  77. You’ve had it easy, Christine. I started reading this thread exactly sixteen and a half years ago and I’ve only just made it to half way ! In the process, I’ve grown a long white beard, witnessed the birth of my grandchildren (while reading Alan Wilkinson’s 112th comment) and – just in the last two years (shortly before reading Alan Wilkinson’s 6074th comment) – the birth of my great-great-grandchildren. I feel like one of those milkmen in the classic Monty Python sketch.

    That little gray box really does move at an imperceptibly slow rate.

    • 77.1

      But I’ve only made 6053 comments! And my total word count is less than Kimbo’s average.

      Nell’s Vogon comparison was a teensy bit unkind but I must admit failing to survive some of the Kat-Kimbo metaphysical bog-fights.

      • Yes!!

        Quite right!!

        How dare my superior (I refer to quantity, not necessarily quality) word count be ignored.