Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Creepy Party

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  • Kumara Republic,

    Muldoon's single biggest mistake - a lot more so than Think Big and the 1981 Tour combined - was the cynical evoking of the Dancing Cossacks as an excuse to abolish the Kirk Govt's compulsory super fund. It's on a par with, if not worse than, Nigel Lawson pissing away Britain's North Sea oil wealth in tax cuts. Whereas Norway planned ahead and never looked back.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    DR, Muldoon wouldn't have got the chance to abolish compulsory super if voters hadn't given National their tick. It's not like he sprung it on the country by stealth, as opposed to a lot of what happened with the subsequent Labour and National governments and their unannounced slash-and-burn policies. Whose mistake was greater: Muldoon's, in doing it? Or the electorate's in letting him?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Whose mistake was greater: Muldoon's, in doing it? Or the electorate's in letting him?

    It was so dishonestly sold that I'd have to say the former.

    Either way, the scrapping of compulsory super just as it was getting underway was a tragedy for New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Eh, even if Muldoon hadn't scrapped compulsory super, either Douglas or Richardson would have cashed it all in. When you have crappy Finance Ministers for over twenty years it's hard to have nice things.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Maybe, maybe not. You have to admit, though, he does fill the "flag-waving National member" niche for us with great panache.

    Tush. Any political party is like a family -- if you've got a mind of your own, you have to spend a lot of time saying "I adore 'em, they're basically good people but punching the silly bastards in the face is not OK."

    (On the subject of the BNZ bailout. The $650 million cost of the bailout was the same amount that Jenny Shipley took from the beneficiaries that time around.)

    To be fair, Steve, how many beneficiaries, pensioners and others would have been fucked fifty ways to Sunday if Bolger had been a real "neo-liberal" purist and let the BNZ fall over? It would have been a no-win cluster-shag no matter who won the 1990 election.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    To be fair, Steve, how many beneficiaries, pensioners and others would have been fucked fifty ways to Sunday if Bolger had been a real "neo-liberal" purist and let the BNZ fall over?

    I think that one is a plague on both your houses deal.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark,

    He (Craig Ranapia) does fill the flag-waving National member niche for us with great panache

    Indeed. I still remember angry, yet highly-articulate, outbursts in the letters section of Victoria University's Salient from a Mr "Craig M Ranapia, Young Nats" in the late 1990s.

    And then, a little later, in 2003, I seem to have a memory of Mr R writing relatively angry letters to the Dominion Post in support of George W's invasion of Iraq. If memory serves me right, there was much talk in R's letters about the imminent danger of Sadam's "weapons of mass destruction".

    On another note, Russell confirms my growing feeling that he's superbly liberal on what might be called 'moral' or 'identity' issues, but tends toward the slightly Right of Centre on Economics. Or is that too simplistic, Russell ?

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    On another note, Russell confirms my growing feeling that he's superbly liberal on what might be called 'moral' or 'identity' issues, but tends toward the slightly Right of Centre on Economics. Or is that too simplistic, Russell?

    Probably a bit simplistic. Russell's definitely of the lefty "tax and spend" persuasion, but also of the righty "free trade is good" persuasion. And moderately far from centre on both counts, from what I've seen.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    how many beneficiaries, pensioners and others would have been fucked fifty ways to Sunday if Bolger had been a real "neo-liberal" purist and let the BNZ fall over?

    I have to agree with Kyle, fucked if you do, fucked if you don't. I have to admit that with the total collapse of the financial system the possibility of a welfare state goes with it. The whole system relies on the pretence of money and its perceived value. The problems arise when the greedy want all that "Hard Earned Money"™ for themselves, pointless really.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Bum, forgot what I was going to say. Fair point Craig, but who should have bailed out the BNZ, Fay,Richwhite & Co.?. After all, they did make a packet on the deal.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    On another note, Russell confirms my growing feeling that he's superbly liberal on what might be called 'moral' or 'identity' issues, but tends toward the slightly Right of Centre on Economics. Or is that too simplistic, Russell ?

    It's hardly recent. I'm supportive of both trade unions and rules-based free trade. Like Kyle, I'd be keen to see the rules embrace environmental impact.

    This isn't really a right-wing view. Since World War War 2 ended and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was formed, it's essentially been the consensus among nations.

    The "anti-capitalist" protests at the beginning of the century were amazingly incoherent -- heavily-subsidised American steelworkers marching for continued protectionism alongside farmers from developing countries who were being badly hurt by protectionism. It just didn't make sense to me.

    I mean, really, would you rather have New Zealand's primary sector the way it is now -- or as a heavily-protected, inefficient basket case sucking up the nation's tax money the way it was in the 1970s?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Bum, forgot what I was going to say. Fair point Craig, but who should have bailed out the BNZ, Fay,Richwhite & Co.?. After all, they did make a packet on the deal.

    I think the word you're after with respect to Fay and Richwhite isn't "bailed". It's "jailed".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ah, but. They didn't break the law did they? However, if only they had been caught with a bit of pot then we could have seized their assets.
    Doncha just love Justice?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I think the word you're after with respect to Fay and Richwhite isn't "bailed". It's "jailed".

    How feasible would it be to declare them 'terrorists' and freeze their assets?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    OT but relevant: I love the way Vodafone is spinning the latest cutout - fire @ Skycity dun caused it all-

    fact is, the email failed yesterday (and later the webmail), and did ditto again today - and I'm a wee way away from Sky City...

    I have a nice email from a Vodafone person explaining that they *are* working on increasing their capacity (no mention of that in te news eh?)
    but with no gaurentees that everything wont collapse again apopo-

    Back ONT - DeepRed, I'd seriously love this to happen!

    These - things - have mainly removed themselves from our shores. Wise move. But - anything they have left here should be sold, and the monies put back into - Health would be a really good area.

    IF the monies were controlled by the people at the sharp end - nurses, clinicians, radiographers, lab staff, ambos - all the people that will help keep you & me alive in the very likely event of an emergency-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think the way forward in trade isn't the traditional consensus that's been honoured in the breach since WW2. While that gives us cheap electronic toys and markets for milk, it also fucks the planet and the workers.

    I see fair trade as the way to go. Not the tokenist fairtrade where the wealthy, liberal minority-in-a-minority buy fancy chocolate and hessian bags, but an actual level playing field for workers.

    If a country uses cheap labour to produce goods or services, its products get taxed by the difference. If it isn't applying decent environmental standards, it gets taxed by the notional cost of those standards. That way, providers have to compete on quality, not on exploitation and pollution.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I see fair trade as the way to go. Not the tokenist fairt rade where the wealthy, liberal minority-in-a-minority buy fancy chocolate and hessian bags, but an actual level playing field for workers.

    If a country uses cheap labour to produce goods or services, its products get taxed by the difference.

    That's not fair trade, that's protectionism.
    "Oh look, your competitive advantage comes from cheap labour. Can't be having that. Here, have a hefty tariff to make up the difference. What's that? Our customers won't buy your products because they'd rather buy local stuff if it's the same price? How very sad."

    If it isn't applying decent environmental standards, it gets taxed by the notional cost of those standards.

    And who determines that notional cost? Oh, that'd be the importing, developed economy that's got to a point where it can be all high-and-mighty about the environment. Why do you think China and India have been kicking up such a stink about Kyoto? It's not that they don't care about the environment (at least not in so many words), but that they really object to being told by a bunch of countries that already went through their dirty-polluting-industrial-growth-economy stage that, no, they're not allowed to grow their economies through dirty, polluting industrial means. Hypocritical much?

    That way, providers have to compete on quality, not on exploitation and pollution.

    And although I agree with you on the pollution thing (but not your "solution"), I don't agree about "exploitation". When your national median wage is USD0.50/day, is it exploitative that you're being paid USD2/day? Fuck no! Would it be exploitative in a country where the median wage is USD10/day? Absolutely. Exploitation is mostly relative, and if you support real fair trade you'll understand that and allow for it. If you insist on levelling the playing field such that the only competitive advantage available to any player is capital intensiveness, you destroy any chance for developing economies to grow under their own steam. You ensure that the only way they can possibly play the game is for big-money multi-nats to come in with all the high-cost equipment required to produce high-quality goods, employ a handful of (probably expat) workers to oversee the production line, and do nothing to help the local economy grow. Is that really what you want?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If a country uses cheap labour to produce goods or services, its products get taxed by the difference.

    A provision that wealthier countries would presumably happily use to nobble New Zealand exports while we continued to buy theirs, surely?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Globalise labour, fine. I see no problem with introducing a law that says you need to pay the minimum wage of the country in which you're selling your products to the people in the country in which you're making your products, adjusted for the local cost of living. And provide the same union protections. Anything less says that it's okay to treat people inhumanely, because they're developing.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    If it isn't applying decent environmental standards, it gets taxed by the notional cost of those standards. That way, providers have to compete on quality, not on exploitation and pollution.

    Yeah, right. Don't they do that in Germany. Well Sort of.
    We were told in the Eighties that User Pays was the way to go, I have often wondered how Big Business slipped through that net and continued to "Socialise" their environmental costs.
    We have the technology...

    Why do you think China and India have been kicking up such a stink about Kyoto? It's not that they don't care about the environment (at least not in so many words), but that they really object to being told by a bunch of countries that already went through their dirty-polluting-industrial-growth-economy stage that, no, they're not allowed to grow their economies through dirty, polluting industrial means. Hypocritical much?

    We are all in this together, we only have the one Planet. When today's developed countries were, well, Developing, we didn't have the technology we have now. If the West wants the cheap stuff then the West should ensure that the manufacturing process should be as environmentally acceptable as possible by supplying the technology as part of the trade deal. Even if the workers are paid shit they shouldn't have to live with our shit. It would be a start and fend off some of the criticism that developing countries, rightly, use as an excuse to do little in terms of pollution control.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    On another note, Russell confirms my growing feeling that he's superbly liberal on what might be called 'moral' or 'identity' issues, but tends toward the slightly Right of Centre on Economics. Or is that too simplistic, Russell ?

    I haven't checked in with any political economic theories on the matter, but I'd struggle to call tarriffs left-wing these days. In NZ tarriffs protected farmers and working class manufacturing employees (and their bosses).

    The last 30 years has shown that farmers didn't even need the protection, it was just supporting their inefficiencies. Not exactly working class either.

    Working class employees sure, but at the expense of even poorer employees overseas? That's just nationalism dressed up as being left wing. We'd be better to devote our activism to enforcing decent labour and environmental standards for where ever our consumer goods come from.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I haven't checked in with any political economic theories on the matter, but I'd struggle to call tarriffs left-wing these days. In NZ tarriffs protected farmers and working class manufacturing employees (and their bosses).

    Generally, tariffs are considered to be a left-wing action because they're about job protection. The right-wing action would be to remove the tariffs and say "Let the market sort it out." Obviously the benefit accrues across class boundaries, but the rationales involved do fit roughly into the left-right paradigm.
    Protectionist measures as a whole are completely contrary to classical right-wing economics, because they're an interference in the sanctity of the market. They prop-up inefficient producers and shelter them from competition at the hands of more-efficient producers.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Well, Peter Tashkoff is certainly making a name for himself. He wants to challenge Rodders for the right to stand for Epsom.

    Good luck to him, and may Act's demise be swift and absolute.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Generally, tariffs are considered to be a left-wing action because they're about job protection. The right-wing action would be to remove the tariffs and say "Let the market sort it out." Obviously the benefit accrues across class boundaries, but the rationales involved do fit roughly into the left-right paradigm.

    I think left wing needs needs a second half beyond "more government intervention". The intervention needs to be about redistributing income and opportunities from the top to the bottom.

    NZ's system of subsidies and tariffs on trade didn't really do that, at least not consistently, so I'd tend to define it as government intervention on nationalistic grounds.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Globalise labour, fine. I see no problem with introducing a law that says you need to pay the minimum wage of the country in which you're selling your products

    Don't tell Peter Jackson that -- after all, the big attraction for so-called "runaway productions" to places like Wellywood and the slave school of West Auckland is the access to high skill, relatively low-cost labour without having to deal with the US trade guilds.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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