Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: On the trail, pt 1.

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  • Damian Christie,

    S'okay James, I got what you were saying. And yes, I think these days we appreciate more that just because you paid your taxes, you're not necessarily going to get paid enough to support you when you retire. Or maybe the fact we've been tricked into accepting that is what means they can pull the super rug out from under us?

    @Merc - yes, all benefits are means tested apart from superannuation, that's my point.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1129 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Danielle,

    those two Pixies shows

    speaking of inequitable distribution :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I would like to see a means-tested superannuation, just like every other benefit. I don't think that's unreasonable, even if everyone else does.

    I'm for it. The only question is about how generous the means test is. There's some fucking rich people getting pensions. It could be that, say, the median house value is not counted, but any assets beyond that are counted in some way that adds up to them working like income.

    It would, IMHO, very rapidly help solve our property inflation problems, because pensioners with all their money in property would actually have to seriously consider cashing it up.

    It's not my favourite thing to do with benefits, but that is so radical that I don't see it happening for at least 20 years. I think we should have a universal benefit. The very concept of retiring is something I find creepy, it's like the financial death preceding the physical one (which is often preceded also by a social and mental death). The process of getting old and becoming useless is a horrible industrial offshoot, totally at odds with human nature. Instead, the old should be slowly changing their responsibilities, dialing down the more intense ones, and falling back to roles that are less about power and technical ability and more about helping the next generations through, and preserving the history of their times. They should feel valued until the day they die. Which in many cases, is well before 65.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8500 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think we should have a universal benefit.

    Certainly avoids figuring out who the deserving poor are.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to BenWilson,

    The process of getting old and becoming useless is a horrible industrial offshoot

    Well, sort of. Getting old in itself is kind of seen by many as a rather positive industrial offshoot. Old age/uselessness never used to happen. And still doesn't in many countries

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1129 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think we should have a universal benefit.

    As in "universal basic income"? I agree, but I'm not sure how or if it should be abated for retirees with large savings. For working people on moderate to large incomes, any UBI they receive can be compensated for through progressive income tax; but retirement savings are not taxed. Discuss.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Sacha,

    Certainly avoids figuring out who the deserving poor are.

    This times 1000. One of the most attractive things about a UBI in my opinion is that it turns the question away from who is "entitled" to a benefit - because everyone is entitled - towards what the various needs of the recipients are.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I'm not sure if bulbul is a parody, but there are some substantive points raised there, amidst the hostility. I think that making some kind of enemy of the generation is foolish. I don't see the baby boomers as a lost cause, whose deaths we can only anticipate. I want reason to be seen well before then, and they are perfectly capable of it. Like National Party voters, I don't think all of them are just about class/financial strata interest. Many genuinely believe National will make things better for the country. I just happen to think they're mistaken, at the moment.

    Also, purely in terms of self interest alone, there is a big case for the "what to do about pensions?" debate happening now. Because if it's left too much longer, and their numbers begin to drop off, they could seriously end up chewing on some pretty drastic measures by a totally bankrupt nation.

    To that end I'm very, very stoked that Labour has made this a central plank with some quite important and radical (by the standards of the last 30 years) policy suggestions. I hope this continues beyond the election, if they lose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8500 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to BenWilson,

    Instead, the old should be slowly changing their responsibilities

    What about if you'd like your 'responsibilities' when you retire to be sweet FA? I find this new obsession we seem to have with older people continuing to 'contribute economically' pretty creepy myself. There's a big difference between being socially valued (which older people could do with more of, no question) and being 'encouraged' to stay in the paid workforce. (I come at this from a diametrically opposed place to you, Ben: I have almost no desire to continue working into my seventies. Fuck that. I'll be old. I could be doing something fun instead.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3655 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to BenWilson,

    The process of getting old and becoming useless is a horrible industrial offshoot, totally at odds with human nature. Instead, the old should be slowly changing their responsibilities, dialing down the more intense ones, and falling back to roles that are less about power and technical ability and more about helping the next generations through, and preserving the history of their times. They should feel valued until the day they die. Which in many cases, is well before 65.

    When my dad turned 70, I laughed and pointed out that, if he were an Aztec, he still wouldn't be able to sit around and drink booze whenever he liked, cos he only met half the criteria: he didn't have a grandson to be a warrior for the state.

    He didn't want to sit around drinking anyway. He took up learning Spanish and Maori, which involved living in relevant places for periods of time, and read a whole lot of books he'd always meant to. Extremely interesting conversations. It's not what books you read, but how you read them. Benefit of experience and all that.

    There's 'work' and there's 'work', and there's 'retirement' and 'retirement'. I don't accept the redefined 'work'. I reckon your work isn't whatever you can find to earn a crust. Nor do you 'retire' when you can't find any more.

    We get told our work doesn't matter, only our incomes and lifestyles. I reckon that's arse backwards. Your income and lifestyle doesn't matter. It's what you do with your life that counts.

    I'm not interested in propping up other people's cosy arrangements. Yes, it suits some people to have us all chasing some mirage. And of course we want to be comfortable and to live like kings. It seems heaps better than the other options, no matter what you have to do to get it. But does it really suit you, your lifestyle, when all the actual costs and actual benefits are honestly weighed?

    The concept of my work being finished and it being time to retire makes no sense to me.

    Ramble, ramble, sputtering stop.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Danielle,

    What about if you’d like your ‘responsibilities’ when you retire to be sweet FA? I find this new obsession we seem to have with older people continuing to ‘contribute economically’ pretty creepy myself.

    Those two sentences do not appear to be related in any meaningful way. I do not think Ben meant 'responsibilities' to mean 'contribute economically'. Nor that retirees should have jobs.

    But he can tell you that himself.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds,

    Can I add my predict.? [And I agree with yours]

    We will get a no result on the night.

    Nats not over 50%, all friends burnt; ACT dead and Maori diminished. But Lab + Green not over the mark either. No Winnie.

    Nat minority gov? Norman offering conf. and supply? Boom! interesting outcome... v. angry Nats. Heh. Partial Goff redemption, and interesting new parliament. Anyone got a call on AK Central? I'm calling Epsom for the lickspital Goldsmith.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    We will get a no result on the night.

    Labour and National are virtually indistinguishable. I don't understand why they don't go into coalition together, combine the best things about each other's ideas, and discard the silly rhetoric.

    Could someone please explain?

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds,

    DCB one has content the other only form.... [yes, as in criminal]

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    DCB one has content the other only form…. [yes, as in criminal]

    I do not agree at all. Both have a small amount of content and a whole lot of form. Slightly different compositions, but those differences are superficial. The structure is the same.

    And we're talking graffiti, not murals.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    Interesting you say this Patrick, I was asked by my hairdresser this morning what I thought would happen. And thinking somewhat on the spot, I came to the same conclusion. Nats won't get over 50%, they never do, and unless the Greens give them confidence and supply, which is - in their own words - highly unlikely (and likely to destroy the Greens forever if they did), I don't quite know what might happen.

    Arguably Maori/Mana/United/Greens could go with Labour, whatever that would mean.

    I've spoken to a few commentators about Auckland Central, if I were giving odds I'd say its more likely to stay with the incumbent. And I agree about Epsom, unless Key tells them to do otherwise.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1129 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    The veil of competition must be keep at all costs.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    There's a big difference between being socially valued (which older people could do with more of, no question) and being 'encouraged' to stay in the paid workforce.

    Indeed. With a universal benefit they could "retire" at any time they liked.

    (I come at this from a diametrically opposed place to you, Ben: I have almost no desire to continue working into my seventies. Fuck that. I'll be old. I could be doing something fun instead.)

    I don't think you're diametrically opposed at all, you're about a hair's breadth from my position. I think even that gap comes down to taking my reference to responsibilities as meaning "paid employment". It surely does not mean that to me at all. I mean things like "spending time with your grandchildren" and "getting involved in many things you never had time for before". The more old people are encouraged to do these things, and the more younger people value them, and are seen by the old to value them, the happier society will be, right across life spans.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8500 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to DCBCauchi,

    The curse of the long-time contributor: I think I'm also responding to previous things Ben has said along these lines, so I may be ascribing an opinion to him which he hasn't actually expressed in his most recent post. Sorry Ben.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3655 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I don’t think you’re diametrically opposed at all, you’re about a hair’s breadth from my position. I think even that gap comes down to taking my reference to responsibilities as meaning “paid employment”. It surely does not mean that to me at all. I mean things like “spending time with your grandchildren” and “getting involved in many things you never had time for before”. The more old people are encouraged to do these things, and the more younger people value them, and are seen by the old to value them, the happier society will be, right across life spans.

    I’ve been meaning to say something like this. I don’t think the problem is retirement. The problem is how we value work. My mum is still in her 50s, but has been able to cut down hours to spend time with her grandson (whose parents appreciate the time), take more responsibility with the various agencies and organisations she volunteers with, and just enjoy life. She’s hardly well paid, but I’m fully aware that many people don’t have that option – or load themselves up with costs that mean that doing so is much more difficult. Having lived most of her life in relative poverty, her tastes and spending are rather modest.

    What do New Zealanders expect? I don’t know. But I suspect that surety of wellbeing encapsulates those expectations, whether this is retirement, study, or work. We’re well aware that there are gaps in all of these, and that most of us feel like if things went badly we could fall into any of them. That I think is driving a shift in the general feeling. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the turn of this election so far.

    Also worth noting is that in a 3 News poll last night, voters ranked their first five issues; environment, food prices, schools (2nd equal), hospital care, petrol prices, and people in poverty. These are all issues which the Greens and Labour absolutely own, and issues that speak to people’s wish for a fair and inclusive society.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2134 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Arguably Maori/Mana/United/Greens could go with Labour, whatever that would mean.

    It would mean a first in NZ history, that the party with the most seats was not in government. I don't know what the outcome of that would be. It could be seen as just a happy part of how MMP works, that a majority was actually formed out of the minorities, and the real majority thus actually happy. Or it could do huge damage to minor party support, and polarize people towards National. Much would depend on what that coalition actually did.

    I also don't know what it could mean if the Greens supported National in a coalition. It could pull them apart. But they could also wrest very big concessions, and thus have their greatest win of all time, swelling their own support amongst right wingers, who have often cited their only reason not to vote Green being the leftist economics.

    A further possibility, not to be discounted, is a Grand Coalition. That would be the most stable and natural alliance I can actually see working. Labour could concede partial asset sales to get compulsory savings and CGT (neither of which are particularly opposed by the conservative base), and some more asset development.

    If that happened, it could be the beginning of a new era of consensus politics. Or it could be the catastrophe that destroys one or other main party.

    If the Nats refuse this outright, it could paint them into the neoliberal corner that I believe their leadership really infest. They might have to negotiate new leadership. B'linglish?

    I can't understand why people don't find this election exciting. To me it has the potential to be the dawn of a new era for NZ politics.

    As Bomber and his panel pointed out last night, this is a lot closer than people realize. A 5% swing could change the entire makeup of government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8500 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The prospect of a many-headed hydra was brandished before the last election to dscourage voters from straying from the traditional FPP choices (which still overly inform the pronouncements of both politicians and media).

    The only requirement for an MMP government is that the governing coalition is larger than any other potential one. If National has no majority and few viable partners, that might conceivably mean Labour+Greens minus elements like Winston or Hone who are seen as more unstable. I'm not holding my breath for a big collapse in National's vote in any case.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Ta Damian, and good luck with the new human.

    How about a true minority Nat gov? As biggest party? Could that work under current rules? Or is Key more likely to call new election with the gamble that a vote for the others is a vote for instability?

    DCB yes and no. Pre this election campaign I'd agree, but by throwing Lab out we got them to listen, greens not only real opposition now: Assets/Tax/Youth/Transport/Afganistan/Pharmac./ACC/Aid/Telly ... all big differences now

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi,

    As for a grand coalition, the politicians certainly seem to be able to work together when it's a matter on voting on their own pay and benefits, or how transparent and accountable they should be.

    The people they appoint to run our publicly funded organisations take their lead as to what acceptable accountability is likewise.

    It will be interesting to see what the politicians demonstrate after the election. Who do they really represent?

    As for the idea that a particular group of issues 'belongs' to a particular side, I watched a little bit of that so-called leader's so-called debate. It was very unedifying. Squabbling children. If they're the 'leaders' what must the rabble be like!?!

    And where were the other political party leaders? Surely they had something relevant to contribute to that discussion we might have wanted to hear. My guess is that John and Phil acted as one in their refusal to participate if the 'minor' parties were included.

    This is a very important election indeed. It tells us whether there is any hope for our political system at all – or whether it is irretrievably broken. The Westminster system.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    DCB yes and no. Pre this election campaign I’d agree, but by throwing Lab out we got them to listen, greens not only real opposition now: Assets/Tax/Youth/Transport/Afganistan/Pharmac./ACC/Aid/Telly … all big differences now

    Yeah, but did we get Labour to listen? Or to tell better lies?

    I'm reminded of worthy attempts to treat psychopaths with counselling. Instead of giving them empathy, it taught them how to fake empathy and become better psychopaths.

    Fool me once, fool me twice. But fool me three times?

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

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