Posts by Tom Semmens

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  • Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree...,

    Chris Trotter is a defeatist in the classic dictionary definition of the word. His unfailing willingness to accept the inevitability of defeat taints his commentary. The guy never got over the Rogernomics betrayal. We get it. Time for less aging white guys pining for the welfare state of their youth and a few more of the under 25, fire in their belly, frankly communistic leftist young Kiwis I have had the very good fortune to have met recently. Old men living in past? No thanks Chris. Go away.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree...,

    Well, I just read Clare Trevetts piece and that is such a catatonically neoliberal framing that I can only imagine that her head is so far up the arse of the political establishment she spends most of her day wondering why they haven’t privatised tonsils yet.

    The idea that the Greens are somehow crazy in a way that ACT is not is laughable in a reality based world. Yet her framing that the Greens are “unacceptable” to “middle NZ” (a group that appears to grow ever more grasping, unpleasant and blinkered with every passing day in conservative pundit land) is classic.

    My 2c worth is it has been clear for some time now that Labour support has suffered an historic collapse in the provinces, probably forever. Labour’s electoral presence in many seats isn’t even at the level of an insurgency anymore, more like Japanese soldiers in the 1970s who haven’t heard about the surrender yet. Where National does lose support in provincial NZ those votes now go to either the not voting at all category or to NZ First. So those New Zealanders won’t be put off voting Labour by this move. In fact, Labour is now largely a rump urban party often competing for the same voters as the Greens.

    As I have said elsewhere, Labour is in bad shape politically. It’s performance in opposition is woeful due to it having a bunch of MPs who are hopeless politicians. They might be great technocrats and wonderful champions of their respective factions but they seem useless at politics. The party is saddled with several high profile MPs who well past it but who cling to safe electorate seats in a grim rearguard action for neoliberalism in Labour. They seem a lazy and underperforming lot, something no leader can correct without making a few examples of some people. The trouble is, without growing their vote Labour can’t renew, since too much deadwood clings to electorate seats and the list seats are mostly made up of party apparachiks selected mostly for their factional suitability – some (Clare Curran and Sue Moroney spring to mind) can lose votes by the fistful and end up getting promoted. Given Labour’s poor state, the Greens bring an injection of fresh talent and fresh faces. James Shaw so far has proved a lacklustre and largely useless dud as a leader, but if he can be jettisoned soonish then I say all good for the likes of Julie Anne Genter, Eugenie Sage and MetiriaTurei to shine.

    While Labour is showing an encouraging sign that is finally recognising it’s parlous state with this deal and I think it also needs to consider how to play a long game with NZ First. In the long run, Labour needs it’s provincial voters back to be a credible broad based party capable of governing for long periods of time. The thing is, Winston Peters is 71. He won’t be around after 2020, max. Labour ought to be thinking now about how it exploits his departure to rebuild a presence in the provinces. Peter’s departure will provide Labour with a one off chance to regain it’s former reach. The best way to develop and enact that plan is by being in government in 2017. This deal is the best way to ensure that, as long as Labour can work with Peters

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and…,

    Surely any tax review also has to look at the dividends returned to the government by SOE's, a hugely regressive hidden tax that contributes mightily to the incredibly high cost of living in New Zealand. Sure, capital taxes, death duties and FTT's all have a place, but a UBI would be quickly made useless if the government simply kept rampant price inflation from monopoly utility providers.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Decrypting “social investment”,

    And since the sherry here is indeed dulce, I will add where the fuck are NZ’s muscular intellectuals of the left in Labour? I was at a Podemos gathering in cafe in the main plaza of my town the other week and a bunch of perfectly ordinary Spaniards had a much more bracing critique of capitalism in one afternoon than the NZLP has had in the last 40 years. Now who has a cigarette...

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Decrypting “social investment”,

    I know I shouldn't be replying to an NZ post in the middle of the night when we are on a terrace drinking beer on a glorious Spanish evening in Jerez de la Frontera, but the Labour party bugs me. They current PLP is squandering a century old legacy. If Labour has the cajones to accept just one of the four things I said it was refusing to see then it or the wider social democratic left could mount a coherent attack on the right. But its hubris is total.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Decrypting “social investment”,

    “Labour needed to be ambitious and bold to win the next election…”

    Fat chance you’ll get that from the current hopeless bunch of intellectually lazy cowards that make up the NZ PLP and it’s advisors!

    This post of Rob Salmond’s is cut and paste Blairism of the most mind numbingly vacuous. Let’s accept neoliberalism. Then let’s adopt the loaded language of the right to discuss the problem. Then say, hell, the National party is kinda on the right track!!! So vote for Labour, just like National only we promise to do it a bit better! Nothing new to see here then from the NZLP, stuck in the 1990s since forever.

    Rob Salmond, Pablo over at Kiwipolitico summed up the NZ Labour party brilliantly:

    “Labour are hopelessly co-opted and behind the times.”

    And the worst thing is, this post on policy demonstrates the Labour party is still so far up it’s own arse it can’t even see that.

    And if this all seems a bit personal and rude, well I have completely lost patience with a complacent, lazy party that refuses to accept the need for internal change, refuses to move into the 21st century, refuses to accept that it is hopeless short on talent and disconnected from huge parts electorate and still refuses to give it all up and let someone else have a go.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Decrypting “social investment”,

    Even for a country of 4.5 million where the only public voice heard is that of a particularly isolated, provincial and grasping philistinism it must take some doing to be as completely and totally fucking ideologically and intellectually bereft as the current, terminally stupid, NZ Labour party.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Crowded houses, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Larry Williams only sounds insane because you forgot he is the straight guy to Leighton Smith, who is about as crazy as it gets before you need medication.

    It is Newstalk ZB koolaid they drink every day you know.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ..., in reply to DeepRed,

    I don´t think the country can afford to let the bubble burst.An economic disaster like the one in Spain just cannot be allowed to happen. We would have a civil war.

    The only option is to stop prices rising and then let 10-20 years of inflation and wage growth to chip away at the affordability issue.

    In the meantime, an entire generation will miss out on home ownership in Auckland. For them, we need reform to give tennants greater rights of tenure, government building programs for affordable apartments and terraced housing in cities with low entry level costs for those wanting to rent to buy or long term lease, and a recognition that this can never be allowed to happen again.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ...,

    Nowadays though I guess we have to think from the goveernments point of view. Having neglected to do anything about the housing ponzi/bubble, they have got a tiger by the tail. Everyone knows what is required. A ban on foreign buyers of existingg homes, a CGT, a government led crash building program and a way to rapidly free up land for intensification. But doing anything concrete that leads to a substantial (25%+) downwards price correction would completely tank that section of the Auckland economy that complains the loudest, destroy the wealth a significant porportion of the Auckland (and therefore NZ) middle class with all the knock on effects of that (here in my town in Spain unemployment has sat at 40% since the 2008 crash, anything approaching that level would probably lead to a complete breakdown of civic order in NZ) and could even seriously damage the banking system. So the government wants to stop runaway housing inflation, but is terrrified of the consequences if it does. So it is all jaw jaw in the frantic hope that might do something.

    In the end, probably the only economically sane solution is policies designed to halt the upward price spiral without an actual downward correction, and some mild inflation combined with a wages policy that encourages actual wage growth. Unfortunately, the political establishment is completely enslaved by the magical thinking of neoliberalism, so intervention to build houses and encourage wage growth is an anathema, and the reserve bank act has removed from the policy toolbox the possibility of mild inflation to eat away at house prices.

    So we are fucked, because the government won't do anything until the political cost of doing nothing is higher than the political cost of doing something, by which time the subsequent crash will be a economic disaster.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2000 posts Report Reply

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