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Showing posts from March, 2016

The Power of Truth: a political renaissance imminent.

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The election of Trudeau and rise of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders are challenging the domination of Neoliberalism within our Five Eyes allies. The cause of the downfall of economic liberalism is probably due to its success in shifting the world's wealth to a powerful few and alienating the middle class. The rise of socialist politics and the labour movements 100 years ago was driven by inequality and the blatant exploitation of working people and we are currently experiencing a similar scenario that is fueling another era of political change.

For a period after the great depression Labour Governments dominated and Roosevelt's New Deal created new hope. Savage's "applied Christianity" in New Zealand was a much needed shift to a more equitable sharing of New Zealand's resources. Good housing, fair pay and well resourced public education and health systems were seen as essential to building our social capital and lifting many families out of poverty.

Sadly t…

What would really happen to Farming under a Green Government?

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During the campaign in 2014 I attended a Southland Federated Farmers meeting in Invercargill and John Key happened to pop in and give an impromptu speech. Interestingly he had more to say about the Green Party than anything else. He told those present in blatant terms what he believed would happen to farming if the Greens got into Government and Russel Norman ever became the Finance Minister. He described slashed farm profits, stock being run off farms and unreasonable environmental regulations. More farmers heard about the Greens agriculture and economic policies from Key than from the Greens ourselves.

An older woman in a rural community told me bluntly that I shouldn't even try to campaign in her community because "farmers don't like the Greens". The billboards that I put up on my own property in the same community barely lasted a week before they were ripped off and completely removed apart from the little bits of corflute that remained connected to the screws (…

New Zealand's Austerity Through Stealth

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The National Government have made much of the fact that the $50+ billion it has borrowed was to maintain benefits and services after the GFC and to fund the rebuild of Christchurch. We have not been subjected to the level of austerity measures that the Greeks have suffered, however despite the constant claims from Bill English that funding is not being cut to essential services the reality is quite different.

First of all the GFC had a minimal impact on New Zealand (probably less than the $17 billion hole left by the dairy crisis). While Gerry Brownlee talks about the $16.5 billion Government contribution to Christchurch's recovery, one analysis of actual spending estimates its contribution so far is as low as $2 billion. Much has been promised but little delivered.

It seems that much of the borrowing was needed to fill the hole in revenue from the Government's tax cuts (around $2 billion a year) and over $3 billion a year is needed to cover the increasing costs of subsidisin…

Warrant of Fitness for Rentals Unnecessary

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The car equivalent of many rental homes.
The rental and secondhand car industry wish to have the same support as landlords do for rental housing. President of the New Zealand Car Rentals and Sales Association (NZCRSA), Mr Dryvu Updawall, spoke about the inconsistencies between the two industries.

"We have to ensure that our cars are properly warranted and fit for purpose before we can rent or sell them and yet landlords can rent any old dump," complained Mr Updawall. "People live in houses for extended periods but the time spent in our cars is often brief. The chance of an incident or illness from our cars, if they are roughly alright, is actually fairly limited compared to the effects on heath from living in a badly maintained house."

Mr Updawall explained the importance of a profitable rental car industry and the value in providing cheap cars to poor people. "If only we could provide some old tired bangers that still basically function so that many more po…