The Dim-Post

May 31, 2009

Gut Reaction

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:41 pm

metiria_turei_3972039114I thought the Greens would surpise us all and elect Sue Bradford as their new co-leader – she’s easily their most formidible and effective MP but I guess her utter lack of interest in enviornmental issues counted against her in the end.

The only factoids I knew about Metiria Turei before today were that she was a corporate lawyer with Simpson Grierson and a candidate for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannibis Party which is an attractive dichotomy – so it’s a pity I found her so intensely dislikable during her appearance on Q & A this morning. How can someone with such an interesting background be so insipid? Maybe it’s just her game face.

And she’s certainly ready for prime-time – every statement she made was carefully parsed and filtered to prevent anything significant or meaningful accidentally escaping her lips. Whatever else she’s a born politician.


  1. That’s what counts. The Greens don’t really do “Leadership,” (especially not the “We need Leadership, not Likership” kind that the main parties go for), so being an electorally attractive face for the party is the main thing that will be required of her – which was also the big downside of Bradford, who’d be electoral poison.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 31, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

  2. i love the comment that the Greens have got more spending on their priorities than either Act or the Maori party, and they voted AGAINST the budget šŸ˜‰

    Prebble was particularly bitter that the govt would be paying to insulate the homes of rich and poor alike. If we want government to act to improve the lives of the poor the only way to build a sustainable coalition to support such action is to make the benefits universal.

    I’ve argued with you about this before danyl, you think Working For Families should continue to be a means tested right?

    The Greens allready support extending WFF downwards to beneficiaries, id love to see them support making it universal. That would be a great first step towards a universal basic income.

    I think that my famliy will go for one of these insulation grants [ im cold right ;-( ], and you’ll be going for one too right>?

    basically Universal=WIN: look at superannuation, Key has promised to resign before allowing cuts.

    Comment by Ebolacola — May 31, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  3. i agree there’s sometimes more to gain than lose with universality since it cuts down on administration costs and the logical extension of benefits to negative income tax seems, logical.

    I find Turei ambitious and supercilious but clearly a political animal in a way that Fitzsimons wasn’t and that Norman is. Bradford always looked like outlier from the Progressives.

    Comment by Neil — May 31, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

  4. I will be getting an insulation grant – I don’t so much see it as welfare so much as I’m clawing back a tiny, tiny fragment of the tax my wife and I pay each year.

    I support the original idea of WFF, that it set a basic minimum living standard for low income employees. I’m bitterly opposed to the extended WFF which is welfare for the middle class. That should have been the first thing English scrapped in his budget – it’s questionable at the best of times and simply insane to maintain it at the expense of saving to pay for superannuation.

    To put it this way: which should be more of a priority for the government: providing the middle class with iPods today or preventing superannuatants from starving to death in twenty years?

    Comment by danylmc — June 1, 2009 @ 7:50 am

  5. When choosing the abatement rates for a benefit like WFF we face a tradeoff between effective marginal tax rates and extending the benefit to those on higher incomes. When John Key called WFF “communism by stealth” he was referring to the situation where the tax+abatement meant someone on WFF kept only 10 cents on the dollar if they worked extra hours. If something is worth supporting ie. families with kids need more money than singles/childless couples or retirement income or insulation grants etc then means testing is just…. mean.

    Means testing wastes resources on the costly process of determining entitlement, reduces the number of people who will support the policy and reduces the incentive to work.

    If you think that WFF going to the middle class is wrong danyl the alternative is for those people receiving WFF to face very high effective marginal tax rates.

    If you don’t think WFF should be replaced with a universal child benefit then would you support means testing superannuation? there are a lot of rich folks who really don’t need it…..

    the idea that those with children should not have to contribute as much through general taxation is not that offensive…

    lets scrap WFF, WINZ, Superannuation and the independent earner rebate and just have the govt pay EVERYONE (including children) X hundred dollars per week

    Comment by Ebolacola — June 1, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  6. A large number of western countries have their birth-rates significantly below the level required for population replacement. These countries face the difficult question of how to maintain an increasing retired population with a dwindling workforce.

    Providing some subsidy to those raising children may increase birth-rates and allow more people to avoid the dog-food retirement spectre hauting Danyl. I think this is a perfectly reasonable policy, though of course it is not the only option and is not guaranteed to work (disclaimer – I have two small kids and benefit from WFF).

    If this is the case then the issue of high marginal tax rates raised by Ebolacola is significant. I once calculated my marginal tax rate was 60% (not the 90% suggested by Key but quite a disincentive to work extra hours).

    Comment by Adam — June 1, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  7. that last question is a trick one, isn’t it?

    because there will be no starving zimmers in this country. it’s more likely that they’ll just have to live on something a lot less than $NZ25k adjusted to future prices.

    today $480 weekly is hardly “dog-food” money, and even if you knocked $100 a week off they’re still off the breadline. no trips to queensland for their hols, but you get that if you haven’t saved enough.

    speaking of aussie. my suspicion is that the government is subtly incentivising new zealand retirees to head off-shore for a better deal.

    should keep the health budget down.

    Comment by Che Tibby — June 1, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  8. Turei has a good heart but her vision is standard sociology textbook young radical, lacking original thought or much analytical thinking capacity re broad knock ons =’s danger. Her Archilles heels and desire to control the world will emerge. Bradford though unpopular was more capable and savvy at any task she applied herself to. Correct me if I’m wrong – but what are Tureis credits?

    Comment by Sandy — June 2, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  9. How about the fact that she has actually devoted some time and effort to environmental issues, which you’d think would be one of the main criteria for leadership of a Green party – but, given Bradford was a serious contender, apparently isn’t.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — June 2, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  10. Those were factoids? I thought they were facts…

    And not just the ALCP, I believe also as a candidate for the McGillicuddy Serious Party.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — June 6, 2009 @ 12:54 am

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