Friday, 16 September 2016

A Better Poll.

Bogus? So devastating was the latest One News/Colmar Brunton poll result for Labour that the Opposition leader, Andrew Little, declared it "bogus". In desperation, Labour released its own - vastly more encouraging - internal poll data from UMR Research. Unfortunately, in political terms, this is a bit like presenting an affidavit testifying to your beauty and intelligence, signed by your Mum.
 
ANDREW LITTLE has described the latest One News-Colmar Brunton poll as “bogus”. He insists that “other polls” show the Labour Party doing much better than Colmar Brunton’s figure of 26 percent.
 
It’s a comment that recalls the famous World War I cartoon in which two British soldiers are depicted taking cover in a shell-crater in the middle of No Man’s Land. “If you know of a better hole,” says the first soldier to the second, “then go to it.” Little’s statement merits a similar dose of mordant humour: “If you know of a better poll, Andrew, then show it.” (And, no, that is not an invitation to show us your own!)
 
Regardless of its severity, it was tactically foolish of Little to deny the accuracy of Colmar Brunton’s latest survey. The Labour Leader should have anticipated that National’s chief pollster, David Farrar, would have all the relevant facts and figures at his fingertips. With impish glee, Farrar swiftly posted these on his Kiwiblog website:
 
“At the last election in September 2014 this same poll [Colmar Brunton] had Labour at 25.2%. They got 25.1%. They were very accurate for Labour. In fact it was National they got a bit wrong with a poll of 45.1% vs an actual election result of 47.0%”
 
When presented with terrible news, it is perfectly natural for human-beings to take refuge in denial. The reactions of ordinary human-beings are not, however, available to those who aspire to political leadership. Upon hearing the poll result, it was Little’s duty to thrust aside his disappointment and deliver a response that would help, rather than hinder, his party’s cause.
 
The most obvious rejoinder to a poll showing the Government’s opponents severally commanding 50 percent of the Party Vote would be to emphasise the enormous political cost of disunity. Little should have pointed to the National Party’s consistent success in rallying centre-right voters behind a single banner – its own. He should then have invited centre-left voters to imagine the outcome if, instead of dividing their support between Labour (26 percent) the Greens (13 percent) and NZ First (11 percent), they had followed the example of their right-wing counterparts and swung their support decisively behind the largest opposition party.
 
How differently the story would be presented if, instead of languishing in the mid-20s, Labour was seen to be level-pegging with National. Would David Farrar be responding to that sort of result with impish glee? Probably not.
 
Enter the massive strategic problem created by Labour’s decision to negotiate a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) with the Greens. In signing that MoU, Little and his colleagues were effectively admitting that their party’s former, dominant position on the centre-left was irrecoverable. They were also denying Labour the “Unity is Strength!” rallying cry that National used to such good effect in 2005, and which has served them so well in every election since.
 
It is worth recalling here how tempting it must have been for National to similarly surrender its electoral primacy. It had, after all, sustained a much worse defeat in 2002 than Labour’s 2014 debacle. At just 21 percent, National’s Party Vote could easily have persuaded Bill English and his colleagues to embrace the politics of permanent coalition. This was what the logic of MMP dictated: National and Labour simply had to accept that the days of parties registering support in the high-40s had gone forever.
 
Tell that to John Key! The latest Colmar Brunton poll gives National 48 percent of the Party Vote – exactly the same figure Key’s party was registering on Election Night 2014. For a party approaching the end of its third term in government, that is little short of miraculous!
 
Apart from the strategic blunder of the MoU, what else explains Labour’s failure to recover its electoral primacy? The answer is brutally simple. Unlike Don Brash in 2004-05, neither Andrew Little, nor his predecessors, have been willing to embrace the sort of policies demanded by their party’s electoral base.
 
Since 1984, no Labour leader (with the honourable exception of Jim Anderton) has unreservedly and steadfastly repudiated the ideological underpinnings of Rogernomics. A speech from Andrew Little in which he acknowledges the devastation wrought by Rogernomics, and spelling out how he proposes to right the wrongs it inflicted on working-class Kiwis, would almost certainly produce a similar galvanising effect as Brash’s 2004 speech to the Orewa Rotary Club.
 
And a much better poll.
 
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 16 September 2016.

33 comments:

greywarbler said...

Chris you are wandering in your mind! Labour has tried to hang on to the vote-for-us-theleading-opposition-party for ages and it hasn't worked. Even with some progressive and practical policies, they haven't dragged back enough voters to believing in their ability and commitment to good government, people and prosperity which would be a winning trio of promises.

So instead they have been practical and pragmatic and signed a Memo of Understanding with the others. That is what they should be pushing - three parties forging a new path on your behalf, with you the voter behind us while we do everything possible to get NZ back on track without huge overseas borrowing propping us up. A working NZ where NZs can work and prosper. Now that would be a winning slogan if backed with some forward-thinking policies, well explained to the polity and Labour presenting our current state-of-nation-finances.


Burble on about having a Tight-Two working together, and help from Winstone (can't count on him as a team player). Emphasise the advantage of having a choice from the left, all with the aim for the best future possible, and the will to make it happen etc. Labour could build on the coalition idea. Your idea of presenting themselves as The Party of Worth leading the charge, is weak - it would be more like The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Nick J said...

Under MMP the left versus right is quite even. If you were to quadrant it with a horizontal Left Right axis and a vertical conservative progressive axis you might get a better picture. I suspect NZ First would be central and at the base of the conservative axis. I would love to know where Labour sits. I suspect that there would be a centrist progressive cluster and a conservative leftist cluster, two well sundered components of one party. This may be a more instructive view of who needs to align where.

Brendon Harre said...

Get over yourself Chris, the only people who want to rekindle the fight between 1980 Neo-liberal's and 1950-1970's Keynesian's are 50+ year old romantics who want to re-fight the fights of their youth. In reality a lot of that age group are happy enough with their property portfolios and capital gains. There is no such 40+% anti-Neoliberal constituency out there to reconnect to.

The big new constituency who could oppose the government is the group who have been locked out of the kiwi dream. They don't need some arcane ideological fight -they need practical measures to help -more affordable houses, more state houses, better access to education, less immigration and less precarious workplaces.... An economic policy that switches focus from primary produce which employs very few to making our urban areas work more efficiently -which employs many. This group needs hope -not rejection and certainly not this constant despondency drip, drip, drip message that all politicians are useless and there is no point in politics, so why vote.

I think the Greens and Labour are doing a fine job regrouping and are gradually regathering the groups they need to. I believe the Labour party UMR polling (which I have not seen) that this strategy is beginning to show evidence of working and I believe that public polling will at some point reflect the decline in support for the government as the public realises how this administration have locked so many people out of the kiwi dream.

Polly said...

In all seriousness why would you vote for Labour?.
They are a National lite party with no point of differences between them and National.
Andrew Little is a bureaucrat and not a political leader, all the positions he has held, Labour party president, Nat-Sec Epmu, Leader of LP were "managed into" positions.
The unions lead by the Epmu gave him their block vote toe to give him the leadership.
He spit the dummy over the low ratings Pollsters were giving him and his party, Labour people will find hard and testing to understand that Littles own polling company UMR , paid for by Labour, can stand out so markedly to other respected polling companies Reid, Roy Morgan and Colmer Brunton, he is basically calling them cheats by the use of the word "bogus".
He is a desperate leader and because of that so is the Labour party desperate.

Chris, soul searching stuff, the best post I have read on this matter.

Patricia said...

I tend to agree with greywarbler Chris. The damage that was done in the 1980s gets compounded year in year out. I don't think even a grovelling apology would do the trick. Ever. The MoU gives the people of New Zealand an opportunity to have a real MMP parliament without having to trust any party. Having a group of parties that have the goal of improving the lives of al New Zealanders now and in the future is, in my view, a better option.

mikesh said...

48% is not, in itself, sufficient to govern. National governs only because it has, in effect, two extra seats, Epsom and Ohariu, that are not reflected in the polls. the Maori Party would probably go with a Labour led coalition if that was what was necessary for it to "sit at the table".

Jens Meder said...

Although the idea has been raised before, there never has been discussion and debate on "leadership from the Centre" for Labour, not in radical opposition to Rogernomics, but in improving and amending where Rogernomics failed -

which is in not achieving participation in widening, increasing wealth ownership prosperity also for the poor, in a creative manner that reduces welfare dependency.

If Labour confronts free market neo-liberalism with a universal personal wealth ownership creative component in our taxation system for the explicit purpose of achieving at least home ownership wealth potential for and by all, under the slogan of say, "Ownership Democracy" -

a universally basic need for each reasonable citizen of whatever political persuasion would be met - and who can argue on what grounds against that ?

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

The reason Labour is stuffed is that too many of its diminishing membership are stuck on Rogernomics, without which the country today would be begging Venezuela for foreign aid.

When you guys grow up, a few more people might vote for you.

Wayne Mapp said...

I am inclined to agree with Brendon (as naturally I would on this issue).

There is nothing like 40% of the population interested in the whole neo-liberal dichotomy. That debate may excite say 10 to 20% of progressives, but it means nothing to those kiwis who buy into modern aspiration. At the moment they are going with John Key, and are quite happy to do so. The economy works well enough for them, and radical change such as ending the "neo-liberal experiment" implies simply looks reckless and dangerous, both to them and the wider economy.

What could turn things around? Getting Jacinda as Deputy Leader could help. She is modern and connects. Graham Lowe, for all the criticism he got, saw her as a modern PM. It would not look panicked, but simply a sensible step forward. Annette King may have many qualities, but she has been in parliamentary politics since 1984.

Somehow Labour has got to stop railing about the "neo-liberal experiment" and accept that is how modern economies work. Then talk about their programme in a positive way that is connected to the economy as it is, not some pre 1980's nirvana. That is what Blair did in the 1990's with regard to Thatcherism, and it worked. For "Mondeo Man" it finally looked like Labour understood the real world and was not set about destroying the future for him and his family, but was about improving it.

Mr Tank said...

I don't agree regarding the MOU or releasing the UMR Poll ...but both, as usual, have been poorly managed. However, I do agree that until we emphatically repudiate Neo Liberalism the party will not recover. As to "Ownership Democracy" that is truly awful! I have a much better solution and slogan. All in good time...

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
I think Andrew Little and the Labour hierarchy are waiting to get a clear picture of the electorate's position before risking any such forthright stance. By the time they get that picture it is likely that some other movement will have occupied the space. It seemed to me that what happened to labour in Scotland at the last UK election was just that; Labour's natural support moved to The Scottish Nationalists.
Now though Little should be watching UK labour closely because there is going to be some guidance provided at the next election there when a Jeremy Corbyn led labour goes to the poles. An indication of what a present day western public feels about the neoliberal experiment now will get a test. Unfortunately it doesn't look like that will happen now till well after the next election here so Little will have to wait till next time to know what line to take.
Cheers David J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"accept that is how modern economies work"

No, that is how you SAY it works. Aspects of it at least are demonstrably wrong, and even such right-wing organisations as the World Bank have come to realise that. But conservatives cling to it like a life raft off the Lusitania. Which is why places like Britain are stuck in austerity mode, even though it doesn't work, it hasn't worked in 10 years or so, and in fact can't work except under certain strict circumstances. And what's worse, it is sometimes imposed on other countries.

David Stone said...

@ Mr Mapp
Have you not noticed that there's something very wrong with " how modern economies work" ? Everyone else is starting to notice.
Cheers David J S

Dennis Frank said...

The Labour brand is still devoid of content - that's their basic problem, beside which the lack of leadership competence is of secondary importance. A Labour-led government is possible if the Labour/Green MoU is validated in the mind of voters prior to the election. We have no evidence that Labour strategists get this elementary point. I suspect that they do, but have decided to wait till next year to provide the substance. Their timidity is minimising the prospect of success.

Mid-term is the best time to introduce a credible scenario for a change of government: that window of opportunity is now closing. Political strategists who don't understand that timing is crucial are useless. Labour are probably fearful that providing substance to the MoU early gives National ample time to discredit it but there's no need to be afraid if the design is robust. Advance notice of a new product alerts consumers to the emergence of a new social reality and such marketing psychology applies similarly to innovative political realities. If Labour & Green strategists are unaware of this they'll lose next year.

mikesh said...

If GFC's and overheated property markets are how modern economies "work", I think we should be looking for some alternative.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Yes, the radical right have adopted the old saying "It works in practice, but does it work in theory?" Having undertaken the biggest feat of social engineering ever in this country, they are now unwaveringly wedded to ideology. Perhaps a little less so in this country than others, but you don't have to dig very far to find ideologues on the right.

Nick J said...

Wayne I really wonder if you are being disingenuous or just willfully ignorant. I agree with you about whether people care about neoliberalism: few people are informed enough or equipped to assess the ramifications. Most people are struggling for the day.

I contend that neoliberalism is the latest form of economic entrapment that leads to mass debt slavery. Its all good whilst the debt pays for the salving trinkets like 4WDs. The proverbial will hit the fan at some stage at which point people will care. Then we will have to imagine another way.

greywarbler said...

David Stone & GS - good points.
David makes a point of stressing the words 'modern economies'. In fact the modern is like old laissez faire economies on a larger scale, and the world has become a set of imperial colonies to plunder with other nation's pirates. That is how Britain and other countries accumulated wealth until Germany got frustrated and used war to acquire wealth and more lands and resources.

The modern economies are using war to provide seed investment and capture and control resources and strategic properties (like NZ). The USA has diverted moneys from its people to invest in armaments and other deadly devices to the tune of $15 trillion I think was the last number attached to the latest financial helium balloon released to outer space. The weather reports from such floating measurers. is stormy. Modern economies pah! What sort of economies as in belt-tightening, living within one's means? That economy is for those already poor.

And modern politicians are like old politicians and leaders so well illustrated in the film Wizard of Oz. Standing behind a curtain, enveloped in a fog of green smoke, the wizard projected his normal, reedy voice into presidential-speak booming out over the populace, telling them all they needed to know. And after that the rest is silence.

manfred said...

The thing is, Labour HAVE largely repudiated neoliberalism. Grant Robertson speaks about it in his facebook releases. And THAT guy is not the sort of bloke to violate party discipline. At least not in that way. Robertson has never been in favour of neoliberalism. Jacinda Ardern has said that she didn't even consider 1984-90 to be an example of a Labour Government. Which is true, as the party was temporarily taken over by the future founders of the ACT party.

Chris, I really think you should take a more nuanced view of the current Labour Party. In New Zealand reforming governments have to work very carefully in order not to scare the horses. To an extent that means the swing voters but it also means the National Party-aligned old boys club that essentially own this little country. What Labour are proposing now is a very radical change of direction.

This involves the massive boost to state housing, higher annual minimum wage rises, increased freedom for unions to operate (without letting them hold our country to ransom like they do in France), Kiwibuild, funding for infrastructure and rail, more paid parental leave, a huge boost to health and education, cracking down on residential property speculators both foreign and domestic, a return to generous and compassionate welfare policies and a commitment to quality state education.

This is already many degrees to the left of Bernie Sanders policy platform, yet you mentioned Hillary's 2016 set of policies as being enough to lead the US into a completely new era.

You can stump for Hillary (and that I applaud you for), but you pick the Labs to pieces on a regular basis.

I was very disappointed in that Chinese names horror. I think it's more important that they apologise for that.

Jens Meder said...

Mr. Tank - on the matter of Labour's polls - I think we all (including Chris?) await with great interest your "much better solution and slogan than "Ownership Democracy".
Please give us at least some clarifying info about it before too long, while it is still a matter of great interest.

greywarbler said...

One of the problems for Labour today is that of them having yesterday's Labour figures labouring away in the background weakening the fabric of
the nation's body.

The latest is Sir Michael Cullen, Chairman of NZ Post announcing a carve up of Kiwibank to ACC and NZ Super, with perhaps some good effects but when neo-lib Labourites are involved in decision making I feel doubt in the reason and direction of their decisions.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/84293036/nz-post-reaches-agreement-to-sell-large-stake-in-kiwibank-to-acc-and-nz-super

Then I thought of David Caygill, Labour, who is a lawyer and so one of the non-productive, professional classes that led Labour away from an interest in reality of work and people, to the symbolic and theoretical
of financial and management systems. He was Chair of ACC for some years and was proud that he changed the thinking there from 'how' to 'why' which indicates his focus. Finding dates for his time of service is difficult looking on-line, and this no doubt is true of many of the neo-lib white-anters. This shouldn't be overlooked when thinking about Labour's difficulties in gathering strength and purpose to become Government again.

From Wikipedia, is the interesting information that Caygill laid the groundwork for the housing bubble:
When Douglas was fired by Prime Minister Lange, Caygill was appointed Minister of Finance in his place....
In his last budget as Minister of Finance before retiring, Caygill lifted the quarantining of rental losses on investment property, allowing an investor to offset losses on their investment property against their other taxable income.


Caygill has also been happy to serve on undemocratic Environment Canterbury to advance the interests of the water sequestration by the busy farmers there. He is happy to continue the Rogernomic decision to poison the well for us all. There is a great photo of him sitting urbane and unfazed alongside a grim Margaret Bazley at a media conference in this link:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/76972442/the-rational-approach-meeting-david-caygill

In Wikipedia on Roger Douglas it appears that he made an about-turn in thinking in 1983 after earlier writing a paper advancing reasoned action through local regional efforts.
In August 1982 he supported a contributory superannuation scheme as a means of funding industrial development and in February 1983 he wrote a paper called “Picking Winners for Investment” which proposed the establishment of local consultative groups to guide regional development. In a paper dated May 1983 Douglas argued that an unregulated market led to unhealthy concentrations of market power.

At the end of 1983 there was a marked change in Douglas’s thinking. He prepared a caucus paper called the “Economic Policy Package” which called for a market-led restructuring of the economy. The key proposal was a 20 per cent devaluation of the dollar, to be followed by the removal of subsidies to industry, border protection and export incentives. The paper doubted the value of “picking winners” and saw only a limited place for government funding of economic development.[21] His colleague Stan Rodger described the paper as a “quite unacceptable leap to the right”. It immediately polarised opinion in the Labour Party.[22]...

In 1990 David Lange said of the Government, "It is there to be the securer of its citizen's welfare. Where the market works well, it should be given its head. Where the market results in manifest inequity, or poor economic performance, the Government must get involved."[55]


It's the lack of commitment by Labour to finding an economic approach for a better future then that hangs over them now that the dire predictions about Rogernomics have come to fruition. People like Bruce Jesson and Dr Sutch have probably died of stress-induced illness from fighting the legion of financial con-men and dodgy dealers that took over NZ's body.

Brendon Harre said...

Re:What More Can Labour Do? by Bryan Gould http://www.bryangould.com/what-more-can-labour-do/

A point I tried and probably failed to make with Chris Trotter -is that sure Labour needs a meta-narrative that signals to the public what values it holds dear. But that cannot be a return to the 1970s -the pre-Rogernomics era because for anyone under the age of 50 this doesn’t mean anything.

What we would be better doing is stressing a future Labour government will uphold tried and tested social justice values like -fairness -reducing inequality.

You can see from the way people are discussing the housing debate it is this value which is significant. You can see it today wrt Bernard Hickey’s article on apartments. http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/83605/rules-around-body-corporates-need-tightening-whole-new-generation-auckland-apartment

Wayne Mapp said...

I appreciate that many commentators on this site (Guerrilla Surgeon, Mr Stone, Nick J and Mikesh to be specific) will not agree with me when I refer to how modern economies work. Sure there will be adjustments, but a major reversal of "neo-liberalism" if that is what you want to call it is not seriously on the cards.

And when the New Zealand economy has been doing consistently well for several years (since 2011) there is not much of a case for a major reversal. It is after all not that easy to get growth north of 3%, and it would not take much to push it well down.

Any political party that promises a radical new direction is likely to be left in the wilderness to contemplate their error. Nearly 50% of the electorate have decided that the economic results of the last several years are good enough for them to continue to vote National. While many of this 50% will certainly expect some things to be done better, particularly in housing, they are not willing to risk the overall package, as as some would have it the now 35 year old "neo-liberal experiment."

Mid point voters are just not going to take that big a risk. The issues of housing can be largely solved within existing paradigms. For instance on Friday the govt announced the development of Northcote with 800 new homes, 400 of them being state homes. Two or three more announcements like that will certainly make a real difference.

Labour's risk now is that it could head down to the low 20's, since there have been many polls and two election results since 2008 that have had Labour in the twenties. A mid 30's result may be beyond Labour. Winston and NZF will start to run a credible case that they should be the second largest party.

So if the consensus of the advice on the left is that Labour needs to be a lot more radical, then expect a lower poll result. From what I can see the voters are in no mood for a radical experiment.

Mr Tank said...

Lol I certainly shall Jens ;)

greywarbler said...

I haven't read yet what Bryan Gould says. This morning thought that something direct, committed and to the point and the heart would be right for present interesting times from Labour to the electorate at large.

Say they took this tone in spoken advertisements, then followed up with small adverts in the papers and on Facebook. -

Are you feeling that NZ doesn't look like a prosperous country should with happy busy people all around? Are you, or people you know poor and stressed, with large consumer debt, or almost destitute with low wages, few work hours - no house, no secure job, no life? Have you invested so that you don't have to penny-pinch at retirement but are no receiving no interest on your capital?

Labour will change this so that all can have a better life in NZ now and plan for a second stage which will take us stronger to more difficult times coming in the near future. Labour will start by helping those who are suffering most with immediate, strategic regulations that will ensure better conditions. We can't solve everything immediately but will quickly act to roll out improvements where we can. Labour knows the country faces a mountain of problems and we want you to write to us with your list of 10 problems, the worst at Number One.

With your help we can make a difference and at last pay attention to the disastrous situation our once-great country has landed in. We know what we would like to do, the previous decades of National rule have resulted in the closing of many options. Labour will find a way to overcome or go round obstacles, and pledge to act so that all NZs can have more security of housing and work. All citizens will be respected and enabled to contribute their talents to building a strong, sustainable economy and a society to once more be proud of.

And GST will be dropped from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, with 5 per cent acting as a business investment tax which is returned to the area in which it is collected. The more business that is undertaken, the more tax will return to support the initiatives and industry there.

So, appeal to those who have, but have had their assets whittled away, those who haven't, those who are prepared to work their butts off making regions thrive etc. Less political speak, a bit of a paddle to Nats backside, no apologies for past mistakes, just a sincere and not glossy picture of what will be attempted, in the short, then medium term with a view to the fast-closing future.

It would ring a bell in my head, door knock for me, make me put down my cynical shades and listen, all Labour would have to do is get past the headphones and into the visual clips. Perhaps Labour could adopt a pet that can come on tv with their speaker, or better still be captured on video and screened onto a big badge that the politician wears so that those with short attention spans will at least look at who is talking.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

They should get rid of GST altogether. It's a totally regressive tax. The only problem is of course that nobody ever thinks about GST. Not in the way that they think about income tax anyway. But it still should be done, because it's probably the most useful thing you could do for poorer people.

Jens Meder said...


As financing an improving welfare state usually requires more taxation revenue rather than less, making the collection of less GST more complicated or even eliminating it, would not be a vote winner for Labour, as it would require to collect even more income and other taxes, than Labour would have to raise anyhow for all the investment and consumption expenditure needed for what stands to be achieved.

Politically support for modestly increased taxation might be achievable if it goes straight into wealth creation as through resumed contributions to the NZ Super Fund, to deliver increased consumption potential through increased productivity and reserves for "rainy days" -

and GST is especially valuable because of achieving direct participation also by the poorest in this process.

The regressive nature of GST is - or should be - appropriately rectified via the progressive income tax principle.

Another not too unpopular tax - instead of capital gains tax - might be a financial (capital?) transactions tax, acting like a "stamp duty" of olden times.

manfred said...

The most useful thing you can do for poor people?

While I appreciate a lot of what you say, I find you to be a case of the lefty who pontificates and recites the lines but hasn't fully internalised the principles of what it means to be left wing.

This is why I continue to support and vote Labour. They fight the struggle where it is at the moment. People on the minimum wage often pay almost half their wages to rent a room in a flat. Taking on the housing mega fuck-over is the first task. Labour are simply plugging away at this, to their credit.

There's no use going on some Don Quixote crusade and shouting the catechism from the rooftops, one has to unpick the neoliberal beast piece by piece, by stealth.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" appreciate that many commentators on this site (Guerrilla Surgeon, Mr Stone, Nick J and Mikesh to be specific) will not agree with me when I refer to how modern economies work. Sure there will be adjustments, but a major reversal of "neo-liberalism" if that is what you want to call it is not seriously on the cards."

Wayne, I regard myself as someone who makes many but not all of my decisions based on evidence. Given your take on the Middle East situation, specifically the "stability" of Iraq and Afghanistan I'm not sure that you are. Evidence suggests that certain aspects of the neoliberal agenda, such as trickle-down theory, and austerity simply don't work. Particularly with regard to trickle-down theory, evidence about the concentration of wealth and by association political power, in very few hands.
I would suggest that people who believe in them (or even economies in general) – as a thing rather than as a social construct – have managed to fetishise it. Or in the case of ACT, made it into a cult. :) Now it may be that you believe in it simply because you and yours have done well under that system. In which case I guess fair enough albeit cynical. But it does leave a lot of people out of the distribution of wealth. And evidence suggests that that is dangerous. Or it might be that you just accept the groupthink that promotes it. In which case you should possibly start LOOKING at evidence. Because you can only disregard it for so long before it comes back and bites you in the arse.

Nick J said...

Wayne I don't have any argument with the accuracy of your argument. Where we diverge is in worldview that so long as 50% are doing well the economic system is all dandy. The rest you suggest will be taken care of: will they really? The way this economy is constructed the wealth flows upward and not downward. Whilst your 50% are doing well you will remain "correct ", enjoy the calm before the storm.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I should have said perhaps the most useful single thing. It's a regressive tax, the may reason that the government likes it is because it's easy to collect. And it's indirect so it doesn't affect their supporters quite so much. And yes, I did miss the quote "rent mega fuckover" as you put it, but no one I know has rented for 40 odd years, and I don't live in Auckland so it doesn't necessarily make much impact on my thinking. My bad, but 'pontificates and doesn't internalise the principles?' I'd probably internalised the principles while you are still sucking at your mother's tit. My parents both worked in factories, and I door knocked for Mike Moore when the Labour Party was still a Labour Party. And to be honest, I don't think they're doing a hell of a lot to take on the mega fuckover. Or any mega fuckover for that matter. If anyone hasn't internalised the principles of the labour movement it's the present Labour Party.

'The regressive nature of GST is - or should be - appropriately rectified via the progressive income tax principle.'

Sorry this is nonsense. GST was partly introduced so that an essentially radical right government didn't have to have a more progressive income tax. That's basically it's whole raison d'ĂȘtre. If you get rid of GST, then of course you have a more progressive income tax – but having both och....words fail me.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

And maybe you should start by looking at this.
https://thestandard.org.nz/economics-is-still-lost/#comment-1233825

Charles E said...

As I have harped on about for years it is the Greens who have betrayed the left, or more precisely your Labour Party. If all of the left outside Labour supported it, Labour would be a current match for National. So Chris is right, the acceptance of those Greens by Little is a disaster for Labour. Instead Little should steal some of their more sellable policies, both environmental and left wing ones. As National has and is doing, as it happens. Surely you people realise that there are plenty of true (blue) greens in National (I'm one), and we even have sort of left wingers as well, not that you would see them as exactly what you call left.
The trick is to have a 'broad church' party, like the US used to have two of. National are a united lot but diverse. We agree to disagree at times, so don't stand up quickly and violently, lest the boat sinks. That's why Winston had to go overboard. He kept standing up and shouting 'me, me' me!'.