The Dim-Post

September 18, 2012

A footnote to the first draft

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 8:01 am

Maye I’m lacking perspective here – or just plain wrong – but I wonder if the past few months will be judged as a particularly dark and ugly time in New Zealand’s modern political history, in which the wheels really started to fall off the economy and the government avoided taking responsibility via its beneficiary-bashing campaign, blaming the economic down-turn on its victims.

If I’m right then the record should show that the main opposition party – Labour – was basically silent on the issue, cowed by their market research, and that the most articulate criticism of this scape-goating came from columnists in the New Zealand Herald. Tapu Misa wrote about it again yesterday. Paul Little on Sunday. Toby Manhire last week.

33 Comments »

  1. Well put. I don’t get the HoS so I hadn’t seen the Paul Little column. His point about paying an Australian company for this “research” is very telling about the Nacts lack of committment to supporting NZ employment.

    Comment by TerryB — September 18, 2012 @ 8:17 am

  2. I’m gonna go with “lacking perspective”. Stories about factory closures in sunset industries are pretty much a constant in life and not a sign one way or another about the state of the rest of the economy.

    As an aside, does anyone know if the new tabloid-size Herald uses less newsprint, and if so by how much?

    Comment by Miguel Sanchez — September 18, 2012 @ 8:31 am

  3. Although Labour’s been quite vocal with the line that national is an evil cult that’s destroying the economy in order to make its rich mates richer and, by the way, David Cunliffe has a magic wand.

    Marks for trying.

    They’re a bit quieter about their plan to devalue the dollar, just how they’ll do it how much it will cause pain to the not so well off. Still, the greater good and all that.

    Comment by NeilM — September 18, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  4. The real problem, and why Labour isn’t even bothering, is that the wider public is willfully ignorant of how government policy effects beneficiary numbers. This longstanding unsophistication on matters of the economy is perplexing, but perhaps can be ascribed to The Great New Zealand Anti-Intellectual Tradition.

    Comment by cognitive dissonance is a bitch, yo — September 18, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  5. I think you’re plain wrong. You might disagree with current govt policies on benefits, but that doesn’t make this a particularly dark and ugly time compared to any other in living memory.

    The economy and political climate is relatively stable, considering all the other things going on in the world and the loss of a large chunk of our second largest city. Inflation isn’t spiralling with >20% mortgages. We don’t have a post electoral crisis emergency dollar devaluation. We don’t have a PM trying to command and control the economy on a whim. People aren;t starving and, apart from Kapiti Lights, it’s still relatively safe to walk the streets, despite the efforts of messrs Rankin, Ansell and harawira to rark up the community.

    Your distaste for one set of policies (which many many people outside the media commentary circuit seem to support) doesn’t translate to a national political crisis.

    Comment by insider — September 18, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  6. It wont be these months that are seen as the dark time, this is just scene setting. I predict an incredibly negative and bitter election campaign.

    Comment by alex — September 18, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  7. You seem to be lacking perspective.

    You really need to move out of Wellington, maybe to Auckland, people are happier there.

    Comment by gn35 — September 18, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  8. This longstanding unsophistication on matters of the economy is perplexing

    It’s not limited to NZ or economics; it’s a pretty consistent modern phenomenon.
    Increasing specialisation has created pseudo-priesthoods where knowledge is retained and protected from the uninitiated.
    People naturally defer to expertise so they don’t have to think, anticipating that what they are advised from a position of authority is essentially truthful and doesn’t require further analysis.

    The US jurist Billings Learned Hand nailed it:

    “Civilization implies specialisation, specialisation is forgetfulness of total values and the establishment of false ones, that is Philistinism. A savage can never fan into this condition, his values are an real, he supplies his own wants and finds them proceeding from himself, not from an estimate of those of others. We must in practice be specialists; the division of labour ordains us to know something of one subject and little of others; it forces Philistinism down our throats whether we like it or not.”

    Comment by Gregor W — September 18, 2012 @ 9:48 am

  9. “the most articulate criticism of this scape-goating came from columnists in the New Zealand Herald”

    Ohh aaahh but isn’t the mainstream media the tool of Right Wing Death Beasts?

    (articulate maybe, but accurate, well that’s another thing)

    Comment by Redbaiter — September 18, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  10. Correct. Tzardate 2012, Anomie Times, the year of Multiple Division.

    Decorated Fight Commander “rolling” Mauler Bashitt, genial face of the victim-torture pogrom follows in the footsteps of legendary “gentleman Don” Brownbash, upon whose valiant 2004 campaign in the Sewers of Hatemongia the modern National Party was born. On other fronts “executive” John Quay pours petrol on native scrub fires and fiddles, as “heck” Yeah Parrotter tosses darts at the learned.

    The enemy stays silent and reels; still trapped in the wreck of Appeasement on the foreshore and seabed.

    Comment by ak — September 18, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  11. Is it worth somebody doing a comparison to when H1 was in a similar position to Shearer in terms of leader of the party. From a hazy memory she didn’t look to flash, yet still won power at election time.

    Comment by Stephen Doyle — September 18, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  12. “Ohh aaahh but isn’t the mainstream media the tool of Right Wing Death Beasts?”

    No, Russell, they’re communists, as you repeatedly shriek. Anyway, you seriously believe Obama was born in Kenya, so any opinions you present need to be seen through that lens.

    Comment by Judge Holden — September 18, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  13. “The real problem, and why Labour isn’t even bothering, is that the wider public is willfully ignorant of how government policy effects beneficiary numbers.”

    Yes, the minimum wage debate does need some enlightening in this country.

    Comment by swan — September 18, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  14. It’s an interesting time in society. I liken it to the early nineties, when National achieved the same results they’re heading towards now but with slightly different methods. The beneficiary entitlement mentality has seeped in a bit more due to nine years of Labour, so the methods are harsher, but there’s actually been a lot of beneficiaries of lot (and the media hasn’t covered this yet) that have been put into work placements that will eventually develop into employment.

    National is in the middle of rolling out plans to provide one year’s full salary to employers who employ long term beneficiaries, a difference in the traditional six months’ salary at 70% of wages. So while us on the centre left may disagree with this method (making their mates richer) and other methods of late, National are beginning to try to increase employment.

    Comment by Dan — September 18, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

  15. Postscript:

    This employment strategy has been copied from Labour’s pre-2011 election campaign policy

    The minimum wage in New Zealand is more than that in the US, which is surprising given that we are a colonial nation and points to the fact that it may not be wise to raise the minimum wage too much, too soon.

    Our minimum wage is currently $13.50. The US is around NZ$11.00 more or less, depending on the State.

    Comment by Dan — September 18, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  16. dan – (according to westpac) 14 New Zealand Dollar @ 0.8133 = 10.98 United States Dollar.

    So is it more here than there? whats the buying power of NZ dollar vs US dollar? (serious question – i dont have the foggiest)

    Comment by framu — September 18, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  17. NB: westpac wouldnt let me do 50c so it auto bumped it up to the next dollar

    Comment by framu — September 18, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  18. @framu

    Using the OECD comparative price measure as at June 2012, measuring a comparative basket off goods and services (baselined @100USD in the US), the equivalent basket purchased in NZ comes in @ $126USD.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 18, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  19. @dan

    Given that a lot of minimum wage service jobs in the US are supplemented by tipping, and the effective tax rate for a minimum wage earner is about 2% (including transfers), the comparison is not that instructive.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 18, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  20. cognitive dissonance is a bitch, yo @ 4:
    “This longstanding unsophistication on matters of the economy is perplexing, but perhaps can be ascribed to The Great New Zealand Anti-Intellectual Tradition.”
    Nah, probably an anti-liberal tradition: you liberals INSIST that ramping up govt expenditure will cure the economic blues, when empirically all it does is burden our children.

    “the wider public is willfully ignorant of how government policy effects [sic] beneficiary numbers.”
    You mean, like how the extension of adult minimum wage regulation to our youth, impacts on youth unemployment?

    But this govt and its fixation with beneficiaries: WTF? Even a baby-eating right-wing nut job like me knows there ain’t too many jobs for the under-skilled at the moment. Why they don’t just point to the overseas and say “look, it’s them! We just have to hunker-down until they get their shit together again”. Most kiwis would accept that.
    And instead of buggering-around with schools (all that does is piss-off parents, and parents vote) why don’t they attempt to rein in the councils and their spending? Can’t the polis hear the citizens grumbling over rates? Rates which feel like they are increasing at a rate billions of times faster than CPI? (I’m not picking on libraries here, honest!)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 18, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  21. “Most kiwis would accept that.” was supposed to be followed by genuine question “Wouldn’t they?”

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 18, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  22. Framu

    You’re looking at US$8.00 or $9.00 as a minimum wage, which makes it work out to be an average of NZ$11.00, or just slightly less.

    We have a minimum wage of $13.50, so their minimum wage is around 12% less than ours.

    Their spending power is a lot better in terms of groceries and petrol, though their social welfare system is worse, meaning that those working less than 40 hours for minimum wage here have more welfare entitlement than citizens in the US.

    Tipping accounts for around 10% of wages (average), so they’re around 2% worse off than us in terms of minimum wage, although it depends on the quality of the place you work at, in terms of the customers you attract and the amount of tips you get. Our really poor and their really poor people are actually poles apart.

    Then there’s the fact that we are an exporting nation, meaning that it’s in our best interest to be paid, comparably, less than them. We are paid a lot less than them still, on average, but not at the minimum currently due to the decline in their dollar.

    What a government should be striving for is a balance. I note also, on the other side of the coin, that previous NZ governments have done very little to curb the situation, in times such as when, because of the exchange rate, their minimum wage workers earned around 15% more than ours.

    Comment by Dan — September 18, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  23. Civilization implies specialisation, specialisation is forgetfulness of total values and the establishment of false ones, that is Philistinism. A savage…

    We evolved to live in small family based communities and we wonder why the vast and complex systems we’ve constructed via technology and easily available energy turn pear-shape.

    Complex systems will go wrong in complex ways but we have little option but to use linear narrative to tell ourselves and tell (convince) others what’s really going on. Which is always going to less than an accurate story as it has to leave out so much and then over the top of that is the ever present self-interest justifications we don’t like to own up to.

    Comment by NeilM — September 18, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  24. Don’t feed Gregors rantings. A series of long words and longer sentences don’t make him believable.

    Comment by Tim — September 18, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  25. Specialisation results in the establishment of an elitist society where doctors, lawyers and bankers are paid so much more than their actual value and those of us in need of help in those areas often have to put through the nose for it.

    That’s why I liked Labour’s no-interest student loan scheme, although they didn’t manage to put through corresponding legislation to cap salaries of people in those professions. And I find it very disconcerting that some specialist ACC claims processors/reviewers are paid half a million dollars a year to take people off ACC and reduce their income, which perpetuates this morbid system even further.

    Comment by Dan — September 18, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  26. Say again Dan?! All I take from that series of words is blah blah blah qualified people rape the working class.

    Comment by Tim — September 18, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

  27. I once thought that we had a working democracy.

    Democracies need power wielders and opponents.

    Our American leader with his wall street values has no one challenging him.

    Certainly no challengers from anyone apart from Harawira or Peters.

    Our despicable media of course can see no wrong in anything that a national government does.

    Someone has to pay for the advertisements.

    The media are going to offend their advertisers?

    I do not think so.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 18, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  28. Key always said that that he and his party would go gentle in their first term.

    We need divine assistance now that Key and cronies have absolutely no opposition at all in their second term.

    Keys Wall Street mates must be pissing themselves with laughter at how easy it was to roll over “lil ol NZ” to their way of thinking.

    The Business Round Table, Employer Federations and Federated Farmers are, of course, delighted.

    Bugger the rest of us!

    We have gone from “nanny state” to “gestapo government”.

    There is no opposition.

    This is the winter of our discontent.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 18, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  29. 27 & 28 – I’m sorry, but its wrong that there is no effective opposition to this government. Two words, Green Party.

    Comment by alex — September 18, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  30. The Green Party is an effective opposition to the National Government. Interesting on the news the other night. Russel Norman spoke first to oppose one of Key’s schemes, followed by a subdued Shearer a little later on. Can’t help but wonder if some of the media have a bias towards the greens, otherwise Shearer’s response would have probably screened first.

    Comment by Dan — September 18, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  31. Can’t help but wonder if some of the media have a bias towards the greens, otherwise Shearer’s response would have probably screened first.

    Or Labour hung back so that the Greens could be all radical and outspoken and Labour supposedly comes off as more thoughtful and considered and moderate (that would be consistent with their apparent policy to date, right?)

    Comment by Flynn — September 19, 2012 @ 12:09 am

  32. The other sign of hope is the dawning realisation amongst ordinary folks that their government is actually a bunch of incompetent nitwits and every policy initiative they attempt turns quickly to shite.

    Comment by Neil — September 19, 2012 @ 7:15 am

  33. Who is Shearer?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 20, 2012 @ 8:03 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: