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Speaker: It's meant to be hard

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  • Deborah,

    the fact that NZ [was] ... the first country (but not State -- that honour goes to South Australia) to give women the vote

    Not so. Women in South Australia gained the vote in 1895 [link], two years after New Zealand. Wyoming was the first state in the world to allow women to vote, in 1869. [link]

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Wow - where to start?

    I agree. It's disappointing, if not surprising, that our new Government is not doing anything radical to leapfrog ahead. But then they are a 'conservative' party.

    But then they came in bereft of ideas, as National Party governments always seem to.

    What's the answer?

    Unfortunately, many people are less focussed on the horizon and more focussed on the immediate - so give us tax cuts now and bugger the consequences. National (and to a large degree, Labour) panders to that thinking.

    The politics of selfishness will be with us forever. It's up to those few of us with good ideas to keep pushing them until they get traction, and then push them through the process, attempting to keep the dilution to a minimum.

    good luck.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Wyoming was the first state in the world to allow women to vote, in 1869

    Oh, this argument!

    New Jersey. New Jersey was the first state in the world to allow women to vote.

    The framers of New Jersey's first constitution in 1776 gave the vote to "all inhabitants of this colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds ... and have resided within the county ... for twelve months." The other twelve new states restricted voting to men. Although some have argued that this gender-neutral language was a mistake, most historians agree that the clear intention was to allow some women to vote. Because married women had no property in their own names and were assumed to be represented by their husbands' votes, only single women voted in New Jersey. But, in the 1790s and 1800s, large numbers of unmarried New Jersey women regularly participated in elections and spoke out on political issues.

    The right was rescinded in 1807 and restored in 1920-something.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Wyoming was the first state in the world to allow women to vote, in 1869.

    According to Wikipedia, it's really not that simple :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • Terry Baucher,

    Excellent post. There's an irony, which would be magnificent if the stakes weren't so high, that National now has to confront the implications of three short term decisions taken years ago: scrapping the Kirk governments's compulsory superannuation scheme; abandoning full pre-funding of ACC (done in 1980 after employers howled about the surplus building up) and the Bradford electricity reforms. I can't say I'm confident about what they'll do but when the OECD is scratching its head as to why 'best practice' isn't delivering for NZ it's time to tell the Business Roundtable to bugger off and think afresh.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2008 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Introduce a carbon tax that abates GST (i.e. drop GST by an amount that reflects the revenue from carbon). This would for example make food cheaper and petrol more expensive, and there's no need for government to choose which vested interest gets the taxpayer subsidy;

    You sir, are, if you'll pardon my French, a fucking genius. I heart that idea so much that I'm not quite sure how to express the voluminous love adequately.
    Shame it's such a genius idea that it'll never happen. No, I'm not cynical. Not at all.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Murray Hewitt,

    You for PM (whoever you are) - if you want what Australia/America/England, etc has - in this day of mobile labour, you can go and get it. NZ is different - celebrate that.

    Wainui • Since Jan 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Holt,

    Great post, really nicely summarised. Well done and thanks for the good read.

    I prefer Key over the alternatives, but I'm waiting for the leadership (over administration) also. Good luck with getting any government, much less a Nat one, to even talk about decriminalisation though. Glad its not the only idea on your list. And umm... how does any government get the politics out of the classroom when the teachers unions are one of the most politically active (left) organisations there are?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    And umm... how does any government get the politics out of the classroom when the teachers unions are one of the most politically active (left) organisations there are?

    Well if previous administrations weren't hell bent on policy that would have ensured teacher's pay was low and their working conditions and security was compromised (bulk funding,vouchers anyone) then I wouldn't need the NZEI to work for me. And as it is teachers and their unions only fight for what they believe so that kids can get the best deal they can

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    A very nice thought-provoking essay, Slarty (or whoever you really are).

    P.S. And (without thinking it over for very long) the GST/Carbon tax scheme sounds like a brilliant concept.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 961 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Decriminalise drugs -- the Portuguese model is probably worth a look (another country that gets ahead by being different, not the same). Put the hundreds of millions of dollars saved into the health & education system;

    The British drugs advisory bust-up has been fascinating -- if unnerving -- to watch this past week.

    Latest: It turns out that the government had already been preparing to nobble its own evidence-based advisory group because its advice was just too ... inconvenient.

    They seem to be facing something of a rebellion from other scientific advisors now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18708 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    New Zealand punches above its weight in global affairs due to its environmental and ethical position ..., the fact that NZ is nuclear-free and generates nearly 80% of its electricity from renewables

    But can these noble attributes be attributed to courageous government policy?
    Our nuclear-free stance was people driven – finally championed by David Lange
    80% of our electricity from renewables – is our hydro dominated power system a result of government “green” policies or a legacy of pragmatic engineers?

    we are one of the few nations to genuinely accept the concepts of free trade.

    Again was this actually courageous government policy or the practical fact we are so small we had no choice, couple with the fact we have been a nation of traders for yonks.

    So forgive my frustration to have watched a new government which had been handed one of the greatest opportunities for radical change in the last decade fritter away the chance to genuinely deliver anything that will improve the position of this nation

    Frankly I don’t understand the obvious high expectations beneath your frustration with the current government’s lack of courage – why do you think this government is any different or the opportunity for change is any different to what was available to previous governments ?

    Your ideas are all wonderful and courageous, I am right behind your call for taking a bolder and uniquely NZ approach. I am just not sure how much radical change is actually driven by government or prime ministers.

    John Key is a team manager not a visionary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've taken to visiting the Daily Mail website for the sheer, monumental silliness of its flagship columnists.

    Nice to see that A N Wilson, on the topic of the drugs advisory controversy, isn't letting me down.

    I am not suggesting that any British scientists are currently conducting experiments comparable to those which were allowed in Nazi Germany or in Soviet Russia.

    But I see the same habit of mind at work in Professor Nutt and his colleagues as made those mad scientists of the 20th century think they were above the moral law which governs the rest of us mortals.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18708 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Well put Slarty. I don't agree with all your proposed ideas (I'm not sure what French Matthew will use to describe me but I'm quite against a carbon tax abating GST) but I dare say that's the point.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    I am just not sure how much radical change is actually driven by government or prime ministers.

    His example of the New Deal was a pretty good one, I thought.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Give the Reserve Bank another tool -- a compulsory super levy. So every New Zealander has a KiwiSaver account, and when the economy is overheating, people are compelled to put money in it. Think about it.;

    I've thought about it. If the state is compelling people to pay money into Kiwisaver then the state will have to guarantee the investment. As we've learned over the last year that creates a significant moral hazard.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    The British drugs advisory bust-up has been fascinating -- if unnerving -- to watch this past week.

    Although I have had to giggle at the references in the UK press to 'Nuts sacking'.

    Journalistically irreseistable, I suppose.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2354 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    If the state is compelling people to pay money into Kiwisaver then the state will have to guarantee the investment.

    Why? That's the certainly not the case in Australia or with 401ks in the US?

    We'd certainly need proper financial investment reform, but if a Govt fronted and said "complusory super, at 15% tax, income-tested super payments by 2025 and serious financial industry reform from now" I'd swoon...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    His example of the New Deal was a pretty good one, I thought.

    I agree David but it seems to me these are only moments in history - where governments or leaders act as visionaries , perhaps supported by fortunate circumstance or providence.
    Maybe I have become jaded but having met a few politicians I am not convinced they exist in a visionary environment or that visionary thinking even has a chance of staying alive in our political system.
    To ease my jaded soul can you think of courageous actions by governments in recent history approaching the arc of what "Slarty" is throwing out to us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    That's the certainly not the case in Australia or with 401ks in the US?

    401ks are optional. In Australia the employer is required to contribute, not the employee.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    To ease my jaded soul can you think of courageous actions by governments in recent history approaching the arc of what "Slarty" is throwing out to us.

    Now you're putting me on the spot : )
    There was plenty of boldness, vision and consequence to the Lange government. Perhaps, post-MMP, the boldness is more likely to be found on the fringe.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Right Danyl, I certainly envisage the NZ model being the same as the Aussie one though - you'd make the compulsion through IRD and therefore from the employer. There really isn't another useful way of doing it.

    The 2+2 model now should be formalised as 4 of salary, without the "good faith agreement to take the moneys" scam that National introduced.

    Quite right on 401k.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Now you're putting me on the spot : )
    There was plenty of boldness, vision and consequence to the Lange government. Perhaps, post-MMP, the boldness is more likely to be found on the fringe.

    I agree the Lange govt was right up there in the bravery stakes
    I think the The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was fairly advanced thinking for its time ( quite aside from its demise soon after)
    Maybe Mickey Savidge ?
    I agree the boldness is often on the fringe but what is the magic that gets fringe ideas into the mainstream ? I don't think telling John Key what he needs to do will do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    what is the magic that gets fringe ideas into the mainstream ?

    Fear or greed?

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    To ease my jaded soul can you think of courageous actions by governments in recent history approaching the arc of what "Slarty" is throwing out to us.

    Internationally? The whole end of the cold war thing. China's move to its quasi capitalism model? For NZ, Treaty of Waitangi was pretty fundamental and significant internally.

    They all have some wider public impetus though, but you need that to get it through.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

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