Tuesday 14 September 2021

Not Understood: Chris Trotter Replies To Susan St John.

Wishful Thinker: While the people from the “leafy suburbs’” salaries, house-prices, social-status and children’s futures depend upon them not understanding either the economic disadvantages of unequal wealth distribution, or the sheer dehumanising agony of grinding poverty, then they will go on not understanding it. Do you not understand, Susan, even after 30 years? They don’t want to know! Their ignorance is blissful.

I HAVE BEEN an admirer of Susan St John and her work for the best part of 30 years. So much so that in 1992 I put her picture on the cover of my magazine, New Zealand Political Review. In a country where the number of progressive public intellectuals is shrinking alarmingly, Susan stands out as a forthright champion of social justice for New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens.

It is sobering, therefore, to find myself branded a cynic by this tireless campaigner against child poverty – not to mention being called out for my patronising and dismissive attitude towards Labour-voting women! Had the case Susan presented in rebuttal of my Daily Blog post “Staying Focused: Why Labour Still Won’t Help The Poor” been strong one, I would have breathed a heavy sigh of contrition and retired hurt.

But, Susan’s case was not strong, it was weak. The old saying, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride”, sprang to mind. Or, perhaps more accurately: “If expressions of support for the poor were more than empty rhetoric, then beggars would no longer be found sleeping on our streets.”

Because what Susan read in my posting wasn’t cynicism, it was realism (albeit expressed with a fair measure of sarcasm). That the reality described is grim I would not for one minute dispute. That I would be a great deal happier if this government’s conduct of social policy showed more evidence of empathy and courage is, similarly, indisputable. But wishing something was so, doesn’t make it so. The grim realities of poverty in New Zealand must be faced squarely – and so must this Labour Government’s consistent failure to adopt the policies required to reduce it.

According to Susan: “Two things drive the ‘don’t do anything about the poor’ group attitude. The first is naked self-interest, the second is ignorance.” I agree. Unfortunately, Susan declines to properly interrogate the former, and spends far too much time speculating about the latter.

“Naked self-interest” is a fearsome beast – with a truly terrifying ability to prevent us from hearing any argument calculated to weaken its grip on our priorities. It was the American journalist and social reformer, Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) who expressed this aspect of self-interest best. “It is very difficult to make a man understand something,” wrote Sinclair, “when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”

Knowing this to be true from bitter personal experience, I could only shake my head sadly as Susan waxed eloquent about Jacinda Ardern re-dedicating herself to the task of making “a more equal society” by providing “the leadership she’s so good at, to get the neoliberal left to re-envision the future.” How did she propose to do this? “In a sentence: appeal to their self-interest and challenge their ignorance.”

And off Susan went, in her best imitation of Don Quixote, tilting at the same windmills against which she has been setting her lance these past 30 years: The counterproductive under-investment in Māori and Pasifika communities upon which New Zealand’s economic future will increasingly depend. The dangerous stigmatisation of the poor, which our increasing reliance on private philanthropy only intensifies. (There’s a reason why people talk about something being “as cold as charity”.) The self-evident benefit to the whole of society of providing jobs, housing, health and education to all citizens. The fundamental moral obligation on the part of all human-beings to prevent children from suffering in circumstances of acute material deprivation.

But, Dear God, Susan! If this worked, it would have worked already. It would have worked 30 years ago when Jim Anderton, Sandra Lee and Jeanette Fitzsimons offered every single one of those policies to the New Zealand electorate and saw the Alliance’s vote drop from 18.3 percent to just 7.74 percent in the space of three consecutive elections. (Only to disappear altogether from the New Zealand Parliament three years later.)

While the people from the “leafy suburbs’” salaries, house-prices, social-status and children’s futures depend upon them not understanding either the economic disadvantages of unequal wealth distribution, or the sheer dehumanising agony of grinding poverty, then they will go on not understanding it. Do you not understand, Susan, even after 30 years? They don’t want to know! Their ignorance is blissful.

It is also disappointing to hear the same wishful thinking that plagued the politics of middle-class suffragettes more than 100 years ago, repeated in the twenty-first century. The highly contentious notion that enfranchising women would, somehow, “tame” society. That women were beings in possession of a higher moral sensibility that mere brute males. That a society in which women enjoyed equal rights with men would ipso facto be a kinder, gentler society.

Do you really suppose, Susan, that all these “kind Labour women” have only to “flex their muscles” and their “deep-felt concern for the unconscionable struggles of families and women doing the undervalued social care in society” will be translated instantly into the sort of “transformational” change that will bring capitalism, that unceasing generator of inequality and social injustice, to heel? There are many adjectives that could be applied to this sort of magical thinking: “patronising” and “dismissive” are two of them. Just one name, however, is sufficient to dispel it altogether: Margaret Thatcher.

With the Iron Lady firmly in mind, just think about the sort of policies which those 400,000 former National Party voters (the majority of them, if we are to believe the pollsters, women) who gave Jacinda’s Labour Party its crushing parliamentary majority, had been happy to vote for when John Key was New Zealand’s prime minister. Where was their “deep-felt concern” for the poor and exploited then?

Perhaps, Susan, that’s why you and your fellow philanthropists created the Child Poverty Action Group? Because it is much easier to extract charitable donations from the wealthy when the recipients of their generosity are blameless infants – not improvident parents. Had you called it the Poverty Action Group, it would have been a great deal harder to prise open those wallets from the leafy suburbs. Action against poverty requires action against wealth; action against privilege; action against racism and sexism. In a sentence: action against naked self-interest and ignorance. And that, as you know full well, Susan, is a much harder sell.

Seemingly, there are plenty of opportunities for cynicism in the fight against poverty. More than enough for realists and idealists.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 14 September 2021.


Odysseus said...

"Action against poverty" requires helping people to make good choices about family planning and education. Welfarism frustrates social mobility by creating an endless poverty trap and a permanent underclass. God save us from Chardonnay Socialists.

Guerilla Surgeon said...


There are a surprising number of YouTube videos about this online. I posted this because it's the shortest. Not enough will, too much and dithering in this country unfortunately. Plus of course naked self-interest.

greywarbler said...

Good forthright far-seeing points from you Chris. There is a measure that any thinking and/or progressive person should apply to their plaint and cause - and that is:

Am I doing the same things I did last century? And - does that approach work? For instance how well did I succeed last century? Have the good results fallen away, or become overwhelmed by the worsening effects of the early happenings of the 21st century, though only two decades into it?

If we are all so smart in what we think and the processes we follow, why then have we this abysmal society we wake to every day? Or have we become so coarsened, so obsessed with standards of wealth and display, human bower-birds, that we have no care or vitality to improve the shameful conditions and the self-centred thoughts that swirl like viruses themselves, along with the real viruses and disasters we are forced to react to? From what I observe, we have lost our integrity as NZrs.

(I compare us to Sweden which had a high tax, high welfare society that performed well economically I believe. This changed, the individualistic, right wing grew, Stig Larsson not only wrote fiction, he observed a lot of the back-alley behaviour there. Now right wing terrorists have emerged.) Malaysia's The Star covers the recent Swedish teenage bomber. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/living/2021/08/21/sweden039s-once-idyllic-image-threatened-by-gang-violence-and-crime-risk

That same year, Larsson, an illustrator and journalist at a news agency in Sweden, began writing for the British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. It was the start of a career spent investigating and exposing the far right, which would include the 1991 book Rightwing Extremism, the founding of Swedish anti-fascist magazine Expo in 1995 – and regular death threats against him. Bullets arrived in the post, anonymous calls referred to him as "Jew-fucker", and on one occasion a group of neo-Nazis gathered outside his office with baseball bats (he spotted them and headed back inside).

Kimbo said...

And there is the key false premise at the beginning, “we shouldn’t do anything for the poor”. A straw man that even ACT doesn’t believe.

As per my comment a few days ago, why is Susan St John still a thing? Along with John Minto, one of the most implacable unchanging ideologues in NZ public life for well over a generation What kind of person never changes their view, ever? Or change their role of perpetual harpy? Not a sensible one, I would suggest, and no, noble intentions don’t rehabilitate the stubbornness. Hence, my phone is off the hook to St John.

As cynical as he is, Michael Bassett explained well a few years ago why St John’s values are NOT Labour voter values:


Kimbo said...

The issue here is NOT that the poor should be NOT be assisted. The vast and overwhelming majority from all ends of the spectrum do want to address the issue....and pay the cost if it will truly address the problem. And it is rank dishonesty to allege otherwise. The real issue is HOW - and that should be a matter of healthy debate...and open minds. Something that St John has demonstrated she does not possess.

That the likes of St John stubbornly refuse to accept theirs's is not necessarily the best, most practicable nor, in the absence of mass buy-in, the best way is ultimately her problem, not ours. Including when she doesn't get her way and resorts to the tedious and childish default position of trying to shame others.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Action against poverty" requires helping people to make good choices about family planning and education. Welfarism frustrates social mobility by creating an endless poverty trap and a permanent underclass. God save us from Chardonnay Socialists."

Jesus Christ, not this again. Poor people's choices are just as good as wealthy people's choices in fact, sometimes a lot better. It's just that their choices are somewhat restricted by poverty. I have a whole bibliography on this, but you wouldn't read it.
But for people who aren't twisted by libertarian/neoliberal ideology, here is something – written not by a "woke" (Christ I can't believe I used that word) sociologist but by an economist.

“Bad” Decisions, Poverty, and Economic Theory: The Individualist and Social Perspectives in Light of “The American Myth”
John HenryDepartment of Economics , University of Missouri-Kansas City , Kansas City , USA

Patricia said...

Poverty is caused by lack of money. Nothing more nothing less. It affects a persons whole life; their health, their education, their expectations. It has nothing to do with budgeting. If you haven’t got enough money you can’t budget. My generation had it all and what did we do? We pulled away the ladder and pulled up the drawbridge with the neoliberal economics of the 1970s/1980s. And what is worse that neo liberal mantra is still being taught today. Unfortunately economics only changes one death at a time. As Upton Sinclair said “ “It is very difficult to make a man understand something,” when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.” The Government could double benefits tomorrow and could provide warm housing, jobs and food for all. And this is what this Government should be doing. After all it is Reserve Bank that issues New Zealand dollars. It is not suggested the poor are given US$ For god’s sake. Don’t give up Susan and ignore Chris. He is just having a “bad moment”.

Kat said...

Here's a song to go with the post:

Nick J said...

Had a conversation whilst walking the dogs this morning with a woman who does IHC care work. As we know there is no commercial margin or profit to be had, and the work doesn't require great education or skill. Yet it is hard and very trying work with low wages.

The Chardonnay socialists and the former newly kind Nat ladies might wish to consider who these workers are dealing with. Likely changing and washing their frightened incontinent elderly parents in the resthome, or comforting their distraught handicapped children in the middle of the night. Their parents, their children.

As mentioned there are low wages for doing these necessary services. But that is easy to brush aside when there is plenty of cash and leafy suburbs to isolate you from the discomfort of having to see and do these things yourself. Perhaps that little black frock purchased for the soirée on hubbies law partnership salary indicates theres plenty of leaway for him to pay more tax. How shameful must careworkers wages and the conditions of those they care for get before the wealthy care enough to vote to pay more tax? Can't see it happening any time soon.

The Barron said...

When Ruth Richardson imperiled the poor, part of the progressive resistance was a number of meetings or conferences. The Government's move towards Wisconsin derived stigmatization and vilification of beneficiaries was the 'Beyond Dependency' Conference. Grass-roots and academic progressives countered with the 'Beyond Poverty' conference. Up and down the country meetings were held. Chris was often a speaker, Jane Kelsey, Sue Bradford, Mike Smith, Hone Hawawira, Moana Jackson and Susan St. John was often heard.

There were different views of different pathways to reduce poverty and empower the disempowered. All were listened to, and often consensus reached. Where not, there was certainly an understanding of other progressive views and why it was envisioned that each could benefit the differing groups that were in poverty or otherwise disadvantaged.

The intellectual left were away from the lecture auditorium and interacting with those at the frontline and those that were in poverty.

Social media had seemingly killed the strength of those meetings and seminars. Progressives' are at time seen as speaking at cross purposes or talking past each other. The Maori views are dispensed through on lot of networks, the Pasifika another, Migrants another and those looking at universal social policy often unable to express the views of the client base.

The post-Covid world needs intellectual rigor and the anger of the streets both be heard. It will only be when there is some type of unity of understanding that the progressive groups can influence the government and societal direction in order to advance the cause of the poor.

greywarbler said...

Kimbo at 12.34 Could we please hear and see no more references to Michael Bassett or any of the Gang of Four? They have done their damage and are lucky to be still around and self-satisfied. And their wonky views on past history leave them. Perhaps a rodent trap can be set up to catch and dispatch them as part of our Predator-Free NZ program.

greywarbler said...

GS says it well against Odysseus' view at 13.21. Nuff said. Poor people's choices don't reach as far as those of wealthier class, or more ambitious, feeling they deserve more and are made to fit in with family or neighbourhood expectations. That's my observation.

Jens Meder said...

Susan St. John is right in that for a systematic attack on poverty we have to enable Govt. to raise more (taxation) revenue for that particular purpose -

not so much in the form of charity for immediate consumption, but primarily in the form of long term wealth ownership accumulation by the poor.

Even though the bulk of this higher taxation money would come from higher income earners, it might become politically and emotionally more acceptable for them if it is clearly visible that the poor also participate in that effort through the taxes and contributions they pay from their welfare benefits.

While an effective effort against poverty has been initiated already through the NZ Super Fund and KiwiSaver, an invigorating "shot in the arm" for our team of 5 million would be in granting the $1000.- KiwiSaver kick-start unconditionally to all - from cradle to still alive seniors - who have not received it yet.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I don't find St John credible. Take this claim from her post:

"Instead of Labour taking credit for subsidising foodbanks, the Prime Minister could express alarm that able-bodied, desperately needed in the health sector, are diverted to service the ever-expanding charities. The food parcel recipients who are made time poor and feel diminished and stigmatised are not likely be productive cheerful workers either. This is what the European settlers left Britain in the 19th century to escape."

She has this 180 degrees wrong. Settlers were trying to escape compulsory state assistance - not "ever-expanding" charity. But don't believe me. Here is historian David Thompson:

"Arriving in the early nineteenth century, European settlers shrugged off Old World values to demand that the elderly and the poor should take care of themselves. English law and practice had for several centuries given the needy a legal right to compulsory assistance from their tax-paying neighbours: it was this history that New Zealand colonists reversed in New Zealand's first welfare experiment, a 'world without welfare'."

Chris Trotter said...

To: Kat @ 14:41

You cheeky monkey!

Kat said...

Thought you may like that one Chris, nothing like a bit of satire.

Kimbo said...

@ greywarbler

Kimbo at 12.34 Could we please hear and see no more references to Michael Bassett or any of the Gang of Four? They have done their damage and are lucky to be still around and self-satisfied. And their wonky views on past history leave them. Perhaps a rodent trap can be set up to catch and dispatch them as part of our Predator-Free NZ program.

Well, gw, as I'm not really much of a fan of the "trigger warning" culture that treats people as infants in need of continual emotional and mental protection lest unpleasant or unwelcome views that do not fit their plausibility structure and cause resulting discomjfort

...and as this seems to be a place of adult ideas and conversation

...I reckon that if I post anything you don't like

...you should instead choose to act like a big brave greywarbler and exercise your capacity for agency

...and just ignore it.

But what has been duly noted is your paid-up membership of the "hair trigger anti 1980s neo-lib" club. I hope your efforts here today to repel faithfully and continually the evil specter of Roger Douglas et.al. receive an honourary mention at the next AGM.

Wayne Mapp said...

The one thing the government could do is hugely expand the State house (Kianga Ora) build programme. Up to say 10,000 houses per year. Which is about 3 to 4 times the current build rate. It could be houses of all types from 1 bedroom to 4 bedrooms, to cater for all the different circumstances of people. Within 4 years the Kianga Ora housing stock would go from 60,000 to 100,000. An extra 150,000 to 200,000 people (or more) in Kianga Ora housing.

Some of the other suggestions here, such as doubling benefits, would have multiple problems. Basically it would mean benefit rates would be significantly higher than the current minimum wage. That means the minimum wage would need to go to about $30 per hour with the inevitable knock on effects. Higher unemployment being an immediate effect, along with rampart inflation.

A big Kianga Ora programme has none of these effects. In fact it would expand employment. It also means a much, much larger percentage of low income New Zealanders (waged and unwaged) would have rents at 25% of their income. Probably the single mose important thing to reduce material poverty.

I am quite surprised that the government has not been as mobilised on state housing anywhere near to the extent I would have expected. It is something that would not alarm the 400,000 who switched their vote. In fact it would reinforce why they did.

Jens Meder said...

So far, not a single contributor to the discussions here nor even Chris himself has been able or willing to draw attention to some other way of wealth creation than through saving some of one's fruits of labour or income for it.
If there really is no other way, then why waste time by not focusing on a fair and effective way to raise our personal and collective savings rates for emergency reserves and needed and useful - i.e. profitable - investments with universal participation in the effort, including welfare beneficiaries.
While contributions by the latter can be only very modest, they should not be left feeling as mere consumers of charity, but as fully egalitarian citizens also contributing to the effort of overcoming poverty.

greywarbler said...

The Barron 15.29
Thanks for the reminder about Wisconsin Works. We bought into the USA attitudes and models without applying much NZ intellectual power or practical policies. And haven't bothered much since. No wonder St John's arguments don't carry weight. It's 'If I can do it so can others'. And possibly they could, provided they stick to A Plan with some ambition in a disciplined way.

greywarbler said...

Lindsay Mitchell
I think your views about the early settlers and British poor relief may be skewed. The workhouses that the British elderly might have to live in were as enjoyable as present NZ government charity to our poor single parents.

Nick J said...

Wayne, thank you for that bit of economic sanity. What you might have added is that the increase in housing supply would reverse the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich via rentals. And with any luck reverse speculative price growth in housing.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Some of the other suggestions here, such as doubling benefits, would have multiple problems. Basically it would mean benefit rates would be significantly higher than the current minimum wage. That means the minimum wage would need to go to about $30 per hour with the inevitable knock on effects. Higher unemployment being an immediate effect, along with rampart inflation."

I'm pretty sure that there is no obvious correlation between the minimum wage and employment Wayne. At least outside economics 101 received wisdom. And I'm also pretty sure that there is not necessarily relationship between an increase in the minimum wage and inflation – at least according to some economists.So increasing benefits would not necessarily have the effect you claim. In fact I've sort of lost a bit of respect for your opinions since you claim that Afghanistan was stable. :)

Wayne Mapp said...


Minor increases in the minimum wage don't have a measurable impact on employment.

However, I was responding to suggestion of a massive increase in welfare benefits, a doubling in fact. There are obvious downstream implications of that, including a requirement to hugely increase the minimum wage. Quite clearly that would impact on employment an inflation. The $5.00 flat white of today would cost $6.50 to $7.00. A Mac cheeseburger would go from $5.00 to $7.00. Just to think of two examples. Right across the economy all basic goods including food would go up in price, probably by about 20% But the overall capacity of the economy would not have increased. Our terms of trade would not improve. Hence the reason for my comment on unemployment and trade.

As for Afghanistan, how many predicted the sudden collapse? In my view (one also held by Helen Clark) if the West had sustained a relatively modest presence in Afghanistan (say 5,000 to 10,000 troops or so, along with Bagram Airbase) the previous Afghan government would have been able to hold on. Not well, but in a sufficiently satisfactory way. Perhaps enough for a political settlement that included the Taliban, without them having total control.

Who among us would say that Afghanistan is now better off by the Taliban having a total victory? It looks like there will be economic chaos, plus a massive restriction of human rights compared to the previous government. In my view the Taliban has not understood the level of social change of the last 20 years in the way they are treating women and girls. I don't just mean Afghanistan but the wider world generally, but especially in the west. Throughout the west, women are far more prominent, particularly in government. They will be taking a particularly dim view of the actions of the Taliban. Women leaders won't be saying "your country, you can do what you want". The Taliban are going to have a hard job to gain acceptance in the UN, NGO's and western capitals.

greywarbler said...

Wayne Mapp and his thoughts on state housing are great. They are practical and I feel that present day Labour have their boots stuck in treacle of private enterprise and sharp-faced land and building speculators. Give them a surprise. Give some of the housing entrepreneurs coming from da people, some encouragement provided they do their homework properly. And put those houses in a trust which sells them, keeps an eye on their maintenance, and buys them back at a fair price based on historical cost plus maintenance spent. Everyone wins then. Note - historical cost plus; not hysterical.

greywarbler said...

A constant rise in by increment, in wages would go into increased spending in the nation and building business levels. So no sudden rise but regular, plus tiny houses, and more state houses, and perhaps some agreements with self-chosen strugglers to work to an agreed plan, and the state would assist.

Shane McDowall said...

On topic song recommendation : "Kill The Poor" by the Dead Kennedys" (1980)

greywarbler said...

Your patronising comments received and understood kimbo.

Kimbo said...

Don’t like the patronising answer, greywarbler?

Then don’t make the patronising request in the first place.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Interesting Wayne. I was unaware that anyone outside the fringe was advocating an instant doubling of the benefit. Having said that it is miserly, and has been for some time. If you'll pardon my saying so, it's definitely a right wing trope to point out the extreme as if it were the norm on the left. Still, I can forgive you that given that you do so quite gently. :)
Who predicted a sudden collapse? Well, perhaps not as sudden as that, but anyone who studied Vietnam could have predicted a collapse. How long would you expect to support a corrupt government? How many young New Zealand kids lives are worth sacrificing so that women in Afghanistan can have a better life? Particularly as it's nowhere near us, and we only went in there as usual to legitimise the American intervention.
Who would say Afghanistan is better off? Definitely not me, but I would question why we would support for 20 years a government that people won't fight for. And I would also question if it was ever going to change. So the 5000 to 10,000 troops would be a permanent addition? Sorry, eventually they have to sort things out themselves.

Nick J said...

Or perhaps "Lets lynch the landlord" , same album.

greywarbler said...

Kimbo re yours of 12.34
There is no way that I could 'patronise' a hard-line neo liberal like yourself.
I was mildly requesting that references to the treasonable characters who rallied round Douglas and the Treasury white-ants to introduce measures that would ruin our micro-economy and the foundation of our democracy. Supplicating I was, not patronising.

But this is what you hand out, representative of your position, at 18.15.
...what has been duly noted is your paid-up membership of the "hair trigger anti 1980s neo-lib" club. I hope your efforts here today to repel faithfully and continually the evil specter of Roger Douglas et.al. receive an honourary mention at the next AGM.

This is my last comment to you; my decision as a thinking individual, not part of a self-satisfied cohort with an AGM. My desire is to see again a country that assists citizens in social mobility, opportunity and co-operation, which would not be advanced in spending time defending against the malice that arises from the current hegemony.

Tom Hunter said...


I took a look at that link and discovered the following:

Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser argued that there was dignity in work, and an obligation. Walter Nash, Finance Minister to both of them, told the Labour faithful in 1936 that work was essential to win a reward. Fraser backed sending workers to other centres if jobs couldn't be found in areas where they lived, so long as they could return home for visits. When faced in Parliament with a question about what he would do with someone who refused work on such terms, Fraser replied that the welfare state had no place for the "ingrained, degenerate loafer". If people who could work did not understand their obligation to do so, they forfeited all right to maintenance.

I can only assume that the worship of the First Labour government, particularly of its deep compassion for the poor, the homeless and those without jobs, does not nowadays extend to the sentiments expressed about them by the heroes of that government, given how radically different is the modern Left's opinions on the subject?

greywarbler said...

Tom Hunter I am unsure of your point. However I think everyone is confused these days so that's ok. Today's Labour drawing heavily from the legal and business management trainees, decided the money was in concepts and no person of standing does manual work. They happily killed off the small semi-skilled jobs and imported what would have been locally made.

Young people spend all their time gazing at devices where life is happening and seems more exciting. If they won't come forward to work at unexciting jobs, there could be incentives ie each job satisfactorily done entered on a CV which would open free trade training of their choice once they had accumulated certain points. There aren't that many people who won't work at all, people need to see an advantage and receive acknowledgment for their jobs -- people set themselves to work for a reward.

Labour and National need to enable business to employ NZs and assist our young on a career path doing more then sitting at computers and modelling ideas and promotions, actually make things for each other in a circular economy that picks up on multipliers.

Kimbo said...

@ greywarbler

Tom Hunter’s “point” is that if you had taken the time to read the Michael Bassett post to you so vehemently objected, you would have found that which he has quoted of those two rampant “if you do not work you shall not eat” neo lib (sic) political reformers of the 1930s and 1940s....MJ Savage and Peter Fraser.

greywarbler said...

Here is something for you to fret about kimbo. Put someone right about looking after our environment practically and effectively instead of nitpicking at someone who doesn't conform to your lofty views about other things. Be of use to the country in its hours of need.


The Environmental Defence Society is calling for an urgent reset of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme because of the way it is driving a massive expansion of carbon farming across our landscapes. The price of carbon has now soared to over $60 per tonne.

“Vast swathes of the countryside are being bought up by foreign companies for conversion to large scale pine plantations, principally driven by the increasing price of carbon. This is a perverse and unwanted outcome driven by short-term expediency,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.