Thursday, 13 April 2017

Two Very Different New Zealanders.

New Zealand's Janus Face: John Clarke we will long remember for encouraging us to laugh at pomp and power; Sir Douglas Myers for making us fear them.
 
TWO PROMINENT NEW ZEALANDERS died this week. One, a highly successful businessman; the other, a comic genius. Ironically, Sir Douglas Myers will be mourned by the sort of New Zealander who hated the fiercely egalitarian, social-democratic nation that John Clarke’s humour both celebrated and ennobled. That these haters were responsible for destroying “Fred Dagg’s” New Zealand only sharpens the poignancy of his creator’s departure. While John Clarke lived, the society which he chided and cherished maintained a peculiar posthumous existence. With his death, it passes over permanently into the realm of history.
 
The New Zealand which Sir Douglas Myers helped to create is, however, very much still with us. The wrenching economic and social deformations of the 1980s and 90s, which he did so much to promote, have hardened now into a rigid hierarchy of winners and losers. In 1970s New Zealand; the New Zealand of Fred Dagg; Jack wasn’t just as good as his master, he was, in all probability, and after taking all the relevant factors into consideration, better. To suggest such egalitarian heresies in twenty-first century New Zealand, however, would do very little to enhance Jack’s – or Jill’s – career prospects.
 
It was one of Sir Douglas Myers most bitter complaints that, in pre-Rogernomics New Zealand, businessmen were regarded with a mixture of derision and pity. The smartest people became doctors and lawyers, he recalled, or, if the doors to the medical and law schools were slammed in their faces, accountants. But only the real no-hopers, the certified dummies, went into business. The inheritor of the Myers family fortune set out to change all that. Like Ayn Rand, he made it his mission to turn capitalists into heroes.
 
It was an attitude which supplied an endless quantity of grist to John Clarke’s humour-mill. It wasn’t that he found greed funny, far from it. Where the humour lay was in the conviction of men like Myers that greed could somehow be imbued with high moral purpose. That, in the most memorable line from Oliver Stone’s movie, Wall Street: “Greed is good”. Nothing is more deserving of the satirist’s wit than the spectacle of sinners pretending to be saints.
 
But, if Clarke’s celebration of the seditious mixture of fundamental decency and rat-like cunning that makes up the ordinary Kiwi and Aussie won him huge audiences on both sides of the Tasman, it was received with cold fury by New Zealand’s political and bureaucratic elites.
 
There was something deeply subversive about Clarke’s humour. Like Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, his comic success flowed from the revolutionary notion that servants are smarter than their masters. Australia’s cultural gatekeepers took this as a given and happily sponsored Clarke’s genius. Not so, their Kiwi counterparts. As Clarke recalls of his days working for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation: “I dealt with directors who thought they were comic geniuses and regarded me as a hired hand. I never had those problems in Australia.”
 
Perhaps it was Clarke’s gift for making the pompous and powerful feel that not only were they regarded as ridiculous by the people they bossed around, but also that, at any time, these servants might decide to cast their masters’ ridiculousness aside, that made him persona non grata. It is surely no accident that following Clarke’s self-imposed exile to Australia, New Zealand satire, or, at least, what passed for satire on New Zealand television, ceased to speak truth to power. Becoming, instead, a comedy of cruelty, in which the strong were lionised and the weak were mocked.
 
Which brings us back, neatly, to Sir Douglas Myers and his mission to elevate the businessperson to the highest rungs of the social ladder. Such a transformation could not, obviously, occur while those obsessed with making money were ridiculed. If New Zealand’s cradle to grave welfare state made its citizens comfortable enough to laugh at those who devoted their lives to accumulating wealth, then it would have to go.
 
As Clarke, from the other side of the Tasman, summarised its deliberate deconstruction:
 
“A social democracy with only one previous owner was asset-stripped and replaced by a series of franchises.”
 
We really did not know how lucky we were – until our luck ran out.
 
John Clarke we will long remember for encouraging us to laugh at pomp and power; Sir Douglas Myers for making us fear them.
 
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, 13 April 2017.

34 comments:

The Veteran said...

It's quite sad your belief in the continuation of class warfare and your fixation against 'rich pricks' so called. I guess it comes with the territory inhabited by those who continue to beat the them and us drum and who believe that socialist Venezuela represents some sort of utopia.

greywarbler said...

It's interesting how the children of wealthy people feel so entitled to throw their weight around. They are beneficiaries of a daddy state as usually the money comes from the father. And they can be mean. Myers received the benefits of an alcohol empire, and not from making the product or growing and making wine himself. Has he any relationship to Sir Dove Myer Robinson?

As for John it does seem the end of the golden weather, the nostalgic icon of decentness, home repairs and sunny beaches and belief that we had things fairly right, with a bit of tweaking. I am very sorry for Brian Dawe, his partner in parody and irony, they hit it off so well, had the timing and one perfect. It will be like having an arm cut off.
We of a certain age will never forget John. I have asked some youngish people what they thought about him, and they are not familiar with the name.

Kat said...

The irony is that this country was built by a mixture of class that for a brief period in history appeared somewhat united in goals. The post WW2 period up to 1973 were the golden years.

Then we rapidly joined the rest of the world. Obviously we didn't have to but we did. So now, how do we get back to were we once were. We can't and we won't. Unless we can overcome the long white cloud of greed, fear and loathing that now hangs over this country.

As Bob says: "People are crazy and times are strange, I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range. I used to care, but things have changed"

greywarbler said...

I was wrong to say that Sir Douglas Myers had ridden on the coat-tails of family, though he did but then improved on the old firm.

But the obituary from National Business Review-NBR by Paul Goldsmith reveals the unfortunate leap forward businessmen take when sweeping the government of a country in with business approaches that fail to give little stress on the citizen's needs.

As vice-chairman of the New Zealand Business Roundtable from the mid-1980s (and later chairman) he advocated fearlessly for liberal economic and social policies.

Though he was one of the richest men in New Zealand, Myers was passionately committed to improving the country’s economic performance for the good of all Kiwis.

“I realised that gaining personal satisfaction was dependent on living in a place where everyone could get satisfaction. In a large country, like Brazil, it is possible to tolerate extremes in living standards. Not so in New Zealand. It’s too small; relationships are too intense. So I was convinced that everyone had to strive to be better, to be more productive, so the whole community moved forward. It’s not good enough to live in a beautiful country. That’s why you’ve got to kick against the pricks, and get off your chuff and do something. The main beneficiary of the reforms, as I saw it, was the average kiwi.”

His essential message was aspirational:

“Travelling abroad before 1984 people would sneer: “What an adrift little country you come from.” I wanted to be associated with a country that had pride and could achieve. When I told people I was from New Zealand I wanted the reaction to be, “Great! What a neat little place”.”


Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It's quite sad your belief in the continuation of class warfare "

Only because the working class has lost. Funny how people who have a vested interest in this sort of thing, i.e. the winners of this awful contest, only call it class warfare when the working class fight back. There are also the ones who maintain are no classes anymore. They'd know better if they actually got out of Remuera, and their bubble of elite destinations.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

“What an adrift little country you come from.”
Perhaps the people he mixed with. The people I met overseas before all this neoliberal nonsense spoke about New Zealand with a sort of wistful envy. In fact I had to disabuse one young English chap, in Texas of all places of the idea that New Zealand was an earthly paradise. Only comparatively speaking. And after Douglas encoded did their thing? I regularly went overseas and read the local newspapers, and I had relatives who sent me papers as well. There was never/hardly ever a mention of New Zealand in them at all. Except of course when that arse Paul Holmes made the "cheeky darkie" comment.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I was really sad to see John Clarke leave New Zealand. But I'm not surprised that he did given the pomposity of people in the New Zealand media at the time – several of whom I'd taught – obviously not doing a very good job there. But I'll always remember he was talking about I think one of the Trevs – or it may have been a Bruce – and said something like, "And he broke out all over his body, in tiny little red spots – about the size of an MP's brain." And I've loved him ever since.

Sanctuary said...

I cracked a cold one and raised it to the grim reaper when I heard that Myers had died. I was quite surprised at how sad I felt at the passing of John Clarke, I felt we'd lost something special.

John Clarke loved his fellow men, Doug Meyers did not.

That'll do for me as far as epitaphs go.

Sanctuary said...

"...So now, how do we get back to were we once were. We can't and we won't..."


Nothing that has been done cannot be undone and no victory can last forever. Change can be rapid - if you had asked any Russian aristocrat in 1913 what form their country might be in a decade they would never have predicted the USSR. Similarly, the NZ Labour party only became the second largest political in New Zealand in 1925, yet ten years later in was in power and implementing the welfare state.

Neoliberal capitalism will be torn down, well within in our lifetime.

Wayne Mapp said...

While I appreciate that your ideological view will have you condemning Douglas Meyers out of hand as someone to fear, you have painted an extremely lopsided view of view of him.

Yes, he was born into wealth with all the privileges that that implies. But he also thought that New Zealand business woefully underperformed, and apart from meat and milk processing, simply could not cut it on the international scene. The reforms of the 1980's of which he was a key proponent were all about modernising the New Zealand economy and making it internationally competitive in sectors beyond the traditional. There is plenty of evidence that this endeavour has been successful.

An important part of his intent was to ensure that a large number of young New Zealanders would have opportunities to succeed in business.

As one of the Deputy Deans of Commerce at Auckland in the 1980's, I worked closely with him and Wayne Walden in establishing the Lion Nathan Maori Business scholarships. My concern was that there were insufficient Maori in business, that it was not seen as an aspirational career for Maori. We established an admissions programme to increase the Maori and Pacific student intake. Lion Nathan also supplied a number of annual scholarships for B.Com students.

Today there are probably thousands of graduates from these programme. Today it is normal to see Maori and Pacific business people throughout the business professions at all levels. The treaty settlements are well managed by the graduates of these these programmes. Iwi have the internal capacity among their members to provide the necessary skills. Invariably they are highly skilled graduates aged 45 and under.

The University of Auckland has generally benefitted from the philanthropy of the Meyers family to the extent of many tens of millions. Along with contributions from other successful alumni Auckland University has a very strong Foundation. It is part of the reason why Auckland University is New Zealand's most successful University.

While the old left may pine for a New Zealand that has long since disappeared, I for one do not regret its passing. New Zealand of the 1960's and 1970's was a narrow stultified nation. Baby boomers in fact rebelled against it, they knew we could do better. Even at the time Fred Dagg was not seen as an aspirational model.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Wayne. If Douglas and by implication Myers did such a good job on sectors beyond the traditional, how come we are still exporting largely unfinished raw materials, wood, milk, and meat? We were supposed to be adding value. How's that worked out? See that's the thing – we were promised a high skill high wage economy. I have to keep asking where is it? And no one ever seems to have an answer.

greywarbler said...

Commenting on points from the comments. These occur to me:

1 About how the thinking goes: Ignoring and abandoning NZ achievements so that more people could get into business. Also the thinking that there was too much emphasis on meat and milk processing. Well we have definitely advanced from there. /sarc

2 Enlarging our business endeavours (which concentrated on exports)
meant that the NZ domestic economy became secondary and weakened. And
when exports from here to any country rise, they expect a rise in purchases of their goods.

Result - Many of the new businesses have utilised our resources and sold overseas only resulting in the profits being balanced out by unrestrained imports that have exceeded our overseas earnings.

These imports have challenged our cost structures and closed domestic businesses limiting new opportunities for business, and left us with a chronic balance of payments because of the unfettered imports.

Employment has been lost as the domestic businesses have closed down, cost of labour has been reduced with lower wages, and so the enticing imports or substitution goods are purchased using credit.

To compete with these imports and overseas cost structures, resources must be obtained cheaply and there are constant attempts to undermine safety and standards regulations, and as mentioned above wages have bottomed out. Not good for NZs individually or as a country.

Investors scramble for reliable propositions in NZ and turn to housing and commercial buildings and the market has insanely inflated on these.
To shore up the balance of payments and pump-prime what would be otherwise revealed as a moribund economy, wealthy investors are encouraged into NZ with whatever goodies we can entice them with. Education, tourism, are chief money-earners and being milked to the extent that their quality is being degraded, and our brand also, though constantly being patched with another major industry of obfuscation, that of public relations.

What a pig's muddle Myer and the minions have created for NZ while they laud themselves as superior because they have created a drug line of money and advantage for themselves. Back to Hogarth's 'Good gin. Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence'. And that's okay with you Nationals is it, Wayne. The men and women who know no shame!

BlisteringAttack said...

The image I have of Myers is the 'beer baron' struggling to down a glass of beer. Probably one of the few times in his life that he drank beer.

Reminds me of the tobacco executive quip: 'We don't smoke the shit, we just sell it.'

Victor said...

I'm not sure that he ever used the term but my impression is that Doug Meyers genuinely wanted New Zealand to become a "meritocracy" rather than the kind of closed shop for the privileged that had no doubt sustained him in his gilded youth.

The problem with meritocracies, though, is that they normally last for just one generation between the decline of one ruling caste and the rise of another. As far as New Zealand's concerned, I suspect that moment has come and gone.

And then there are questions of wherein lies "merit" and who contributes most to society.

As to John Clarke, I confess that my younger immigrant self found his appeal difficult to fathom. But now, I crack up every time I hear him. As someone wise once said (approximate quote): "tragedy is international but comedy tends to be national", which is itself a sort of tragedy.

Kat said...

Wayne Mapp
"New Zealand of the 1960's and 1970's was a narrow stultified nation. Baby boomers in fact rebelled against it, they knew we could do better"

Your focus is primarily concerned with business and finance. Sure we "baby boomers" new we could do better but not all of us wanted to throw the baby out with the bath water. What may be good for business may not necessarily be good for the country.

Fred Dagg as an "aspirational model" is an interesting comment. I would argue he was more an ambassador for comic relief, borax poking and general piss taking. John Clarke was a brilliant satirist and a pioneer in showing that as New Zealanders we could be funny. He also happened to have a low opinion of politicians, and rightly so.

monty said...

Hear hear Wayne. Nz in the mid seventies was a stultified sclerotic socialist country offering a dreary future to any young baby boomer entrepreneur. By some absolute miracle the 1975 Labour Govt arrived. Douggie was one of several smart enough to offer a powerful over-view of how NZ could lift itself out of some playschool of 50's protectionism. Thank God is all I can say. Otherwise we'd be some impoverished backwater like Algeria. All this talk of the evils of neoliberalism is just crap!! A walk down Posonby road today compared to 1975 is all you need to convince you of our Chris Trotter's world is seriously defunct.

Mindbender said...

Re Wayne Mapp 14 April 08:16 - ask Bob Jones why he hasn't employed someone with a BComm degree in over 50 years in business.

I'm sure he'll tell you that a Bcomm degree is a rote course for dullards that can't think for themselves.

A BComm degree is a filler course for halfwits that can't cut it in science or arts.

Fact.



Alan said...


Yes Wayne the old Left may indeed pine for a New Zealand that has long disappeared. It was an egalitarian New Zealand of strong unions, full employment, good working conditions, high wages, tariff loadings to protect a diversifying economy and jobs, incomes, and a sense of pride in being part of something bigger.

It was a New Zealand where the new cascade of business degrees too often in the hands of sociological morons didn’t have to turn their noses up at Maori beggars or window washers or featurees in Wanted pages. It was the New Zealand where children’s snobbish comments were corrected with “Just remember. Jack’s as good as his master!” It was a New Zealand that embodied a message of care for all in its public health and public education systems -community no less; a place where there were no super-wealthy in gated communities or homeless under bridges. It was a place where you could leave your ignition keys in the car in town and where you often didn’t know where your back or front door key at home was. .

That place of greater social harmony has gone; destroyed by the greatest and most shameful political betrayal of the century, the betrayal of everything in Labour’s history and Constitution by Roger Douglas and his disciples. It has been replaced by a philosophy of unapologetic greed and self-interest, with wealth as its central reward; deserving winners and deserving losers.

So no wonder resentment, anger, and anti-social behaviours wend their way through the social fabric to appear as road-rage, in court queues, if not in mental health issues.

We have created an aristocracy of wealth, and a society based on greed that cannot finally work for the benefit of the whole.

And of course the beneficiaries of this disaster are well aware that new troglodytic norms are developing, as death removes those who remember something different, and those too young to know replace them.

Alan Rhodes

greywarbler said...

Thinking about John Clarke and his wonderful satire with Brian Dawe. Has been going for years, but still the Oz government is notable for its defects which it wears proudly. And the thought which hurts - does it just anaethatise us against the politicians' malign failures, pretence and posturing. Does it lessen our critical faculties which are diluted into laughter at the lampooning?

Slavoj Zizek with his thoughts:
t’s much more complex than that. I think that’s their biggest mistake. Isn’t is sad that the best left-liberal critique of Trump is political comedy? People like Jon Stewart, John Oliver and so on. It’s nice to make fun of him, but you laugh at him and he wins. My God! There is something terribly wrong with playing this game of ironically making fun of Trump. You know, in medicine they call it symptomatic healing, when you take some things, they just neutralize the effects, like you have this pain, but they don’t heal the disease itself.

Criticizing Trump is just symptomatic healing. Trump is an effect of the failure of the liberal-left. Everybody knows this knows this now. The only way to really beat Trump is to radically rethink what does the left mean today. Otherwise he will be getting ordinary people’s votes.

https://qz.com/896463/is-it-ok-to-punch-a-nazi-philosopher-slavoj-zizek-talks-richard-spencer-nazis-and-donald-trump/

greywarbler said...

Victor
That you didn't understand Fred Dagg being funny was because you hadn't grown up in our particular farming-saturated economy. There was a tension between farm and town with both being drawn and repulsed by the other to some extent. Fred Dagg represented the supposedly-stolid farmer with clever ways of showing up ignorant townies.

It could be compared with the Oz outback type portrayed in the film Crocodile Dundee who displayed his special ability of telling the exact time by the sun using a trick. Fred gets his dogs to respond exactly to his command whistle, but then confides his method is to watch them and whistle just as they decide to move.

Kat puts it well at 14/4 15.47.

And on Myer I quote again from my earlier excerpt:

“Travelling abroad before 1984 people would sneer: “What an adrift little country you come from.” I wanted to be associated with a country that had pride and could achieve. When I told people I was from New Zealand I wanted the reaction to be, “Great! What a neat little place”.”


This comment just shows he suffered from cultural cringe and worshipped the conformist attitude of the upper, wealthy class overseas that he aspired to belong to. He didn't value NZ achievement which was different from the older countries and disparaged. He and his kind were apply their clever, calculating business minds to improving and making NZ more effective with some efficiencies, while still being a leader in the world with a progressive economy. To get there we needed unions and business operators and all of us being educated in the economic management of our national enterprises. This would have seeded a flourishing of many different initiatives, using our potentialities that would have arisen with encouragement, and wise assessment and mentoring.

Our difference from the norm would have been a strength. But no, any opportunities for modernising and change with a flourish of new businesses and ideas were crushed with only a few able to survive. These have mainly been using the new technologies and overseas-oriented business that skirts the mass of NZ workers, leaving job seekers in desperate low-skill slavish jobs, or well-paid high-level jobs, with little in between. Myer and indeed Wayne Mapp were unable to form an individual, unique style for NZ to follow and used their knowledge to follow what was said to be a hard road, but actually was the easy one for neo lib fellow travellers. They were performers for the wealthy overseas who enjoyed the premiere and applauded their reverse performance of Les Miserables.

The kauri, our iconic tree is an analogy, it is under stress of extinction from an identified new and debilitating, possibly imported virus or organism. Urgent efforts are under way to save it, and also to save the bird kiwi and the people Kiwis from annihilation or nihilism resulting from replacement by robots or AI, which the alert amongst us have recognised as a possible future.

(Annihilation - complete destruction or obliteration.
Nihilism: a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility - Merriam-Webster)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"A walk down Posonby road today compared to 1975 is all you need to convince you of our Chris Trotter's world is seriously defunct."
Walk down Ponsonby Road for a while, but I don't remember too many beggars in 1975. Of course it's all their fault – bad decisions, they're lazy, drugs blah blah blah. I remember being shocked by beggars in Texas. And the first time I ever saw one in New Zealand was under a Roger Douglas government. So you can take your stultifying and shove it where the monkey shoved the nuts.

Slugger said...

Could you imagine Myer's bugling jugs of piss at a workingmen's club?

Probably not.

But he would take every cent of the 'profits'.

Kat said...

I used to live on the border of Herne Bay and Ponsonby in 1973, a friend purchased a villa there for $27k. That same villa sold recently for $2.6m.

Whose world is "defunct" again.

Pinger said...

I did hear Myer's referred to as the 'Monty Burns' of New Zealand.

saltyone said...

I put the blame on Air New Zealand for NZ becoming the land of the wrong white crowd. We sent our best full of hard work and unwavering moral compass into the cesspits of greed and lazy paper crime.They have returned to rip the guts out of the kiwi dream. Everything is on credit the Beamer the Bach the Boat and the Bling. We always import the poor copy, the price corrupted process, the knock off and the knackered ideas seen on the big OE. Fred Dagg gave us a belly ache,Doug Myers a swollen liver.

Ben Hur said...

Lovely column, Chris. John Clarke has gone from our lives far too soon and I, for one, will sorely miss the hilarity and fun he has enriched my life with since I was a teenager in the mid-to-late 1970s.

I also wanted to compliment you on a column recently in The Press. As usual, a well-thought out piece about us blindly following and believing the Americans all the time in conflict situations.

I'm kind of thinking that the Sarin Nerve gas was probably delivered by
air from Syrian government jets, just because Bashar al-Assad has proved
that he will kill his own people to cling to power and Putin is, in my
humble opinion, a war criminal, as is Assad. And, supposedly, some victims were eye-witnesses to the air drop of toxin.

But a very good column anyway. Trump's targeting of the Syrian airbase
may escalate things there when they are already a powder-keg and that is
what I fear.

Ben Hur said...

As for John Clarke's passing, Chris, I'm sure this will give you a smile and a touch of wistfulness as well:

http://aotearoasunrise.blogspot.co.nz/2017/04/tuesday-poem-carnival-by-william-esther.html?showComment=1491943177405#c8974731495755135877

Nick J said...

I am going to take Wayne Mapps point that Myers did a lot of good as a benefactor, which is admirable, but which raises the age-old question of “noblesse oblige”. Charity in effect based upon what the “aristocrat” deems right from a position of power. The humble peasants don’t get a say in what is good for them and are supposed to happily suck it up. In Waynes world which is one of social privilege this is the model for conformity and consequent rewards.

Victor made mention of the generational nature of “new” systems that result in stasis as those who benefit seek to enshrine their new privileges upon their class and children. Ultimately as I see in dealings daily in Wellington a nomenklatura of civil servants and corporate bureaucratic apparatchiks emerge. Degreed up to the wazoo with ”method” they achieve nothing greater for us as a society, we appear modernized, up to date, yet no more advanced. Wayne is the academic model of this, he has done brilliantly by being part of this whole system of advancement. It has worked wonders for his class, what might it now achieve for Random Rangi of Tokoroa? Starter for 10…….

Alan talked of the goal of social harmony being absent from the NZ that Myers worked hard to create, spot on Alan. If you were to ask a random civil servant what his department delivers for the public good I very much doubt (if they could answer the question) that broad based benefits to all citizens would be the answer. Before Douglas these guys were civil servants who served the public, they now “case manage” “clients”.

Grey, I really liked your summary and answers, you caught the spirit of the era. I was a student in the early Muldoon years, Dagg really captured the zeitgeist. I was deeply uncomfortable during the tour when it became obvious that we were a nation divided and in search of a new direction. The underlying current was that we had to change, but few were aware that we were in danger of rejecting the good that begun with the 1935 Labour government and remained despite many National administrations until 1984. My generation voted in Lange, and behold creatures like Myers rose to prominence, did their “good” deeds of which they were the major beneficiaries, and the baby drained out with the bath water.

We are poorer for both Clarke who showed us as we were, and for Myers, a man clearly demonstrated to us where a Randian super hero approach leads to (yes we also need “alternate” examples, as Wayne points out they can appear really “good” without a certain deconstruct).

myrthaofulwie said...

A very perceptive article, in my opinion. The rise of Myers and co coincides with the point at which the rich-poor divide stopped narrowing (in the Western world), and started to widen again. We are heading away from equality and back towards "Victorian values" and the "Ebeneezer Scrooge economy" (where we hope the rich will be visited by a ghost at Christmas and have a small attack of generosity) at a rate of knots. Mechanisation was supposed to free everyone for a life of leisure - instead it's freed the 1% from needed the rest of us except as a pool of cheap labour chasing ever diminishing jobs.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a revolution before long - though being the 21st century it will probably happen online. Maybe hackers could level out everyone's bank accounts, or something!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I see Jim Bolger is now saying that neoliberalism has ruined the country. But is he going to apologise for it all – too late though this may be? Of course not. Conservative politicians talk big about responsibility, but very rarely take any themselves.

Robert M said...

Actually the world changed in 1967 and it changed again in 1985 when the City, Wall St and Tokyo were fully released with unlimited finance due to the rich maintining their inheritance, apying less tax, less death duties and no longer being obligated to refinance their assets through depreciation. They could now leverage and take advantage of the best spot option.
NZ had gone down the drain not because of the marginal activities of Myers or Dagg but because most of the talent left this country long ago and the education system has been destroyed and now passes everybody. The major cause of educational change was that by the turn of the century the majority of the students were to thich to think and could no longer understand or do the School Cert English or Maths syllabus, something easier had to be provided for the sons of National voters- and for those, it has be so easy, the appropriate pay is about the level of Peru or Egypt. Study developments in Argentina or South Africa. The country is now half and half and the bottom half should be reduced to 5000 a year pay.

jh said...

Blogger Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It's quite sad your belief in the continuation of class warfare "

Only because the working class has lost. Funny how people who have a vested interest in this sort of thing, i.e. the winners of this awful contest, only call it class warfare when the working class fight back. There are also the ones who maintain are no classes anymore. They'd know better if they actually got out of Remuera, and their bubble of elite destinations.
........
They call it racism when the working class strike back. Globalist liberals are aligned with a wealthy business elite where the country is growing on the back of it's construction industry.
...
Deceased working class mother from Invercargil had a prospect of a trip to Australia put to her. Her reply was: "ohhh no! What would I want to go there for?". She was bonded in the community: it's features and it's people. Everything was locally made and the people had deep intertwining roots. Now however they want to put a Chinese garden in Queens Park.

""My old home town, Invercargill, is increasing its diversity, with education organisations – including SIT – bringing hundreds of international students to the region, and with them comes economic development to the community as well as their culture. My mum who lives in Invercargill is always telling me about the different ethnic restaurants and cafes that are opening up in town."
https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/lawtalk/issue-896/maximising-the-benefits-of-superdiversity
Marina Mathews argues that it "could be a good thing" when New Zealanders are out numbered by Asians in Auckland (because Pac nSave sells more rice now than potatoes) [see Smart Talk at The Auckland Museum RNZ]

The working class mother BTW had two kids and was a model of sustainability.

jh said...

Jim Bolger also says the treaty settlements are not full and final and whether or not they will (ever) be is "over to us".
I disagree. The treaty is like a piece of string or a bottomless hole. It is that way because of the circumstances that lead to it's signing. So it is over to Maori. However you never know when people will be satisfied; John Travolta's house is an airport terminal with several aircraft (including a 747) parked outside).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" education system has been destroyed and now passes everybody."
I get sick and tired of people saying this – and stuff like this. It's Bullshit! Ask my son, who managed to fail a few things. Actually I find it much preferable to the old days where 50% failed no matter what. God help us, will 'you people' stop making these weird generalisations? Utterly lazy thinking.