Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Five further thoughts

465 Responses

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  • SteveH, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Look at Jamie Whyte’s argument against raising the minimum wage in the Campbell Live minor leaders dinner… It makes sense that raising the cost of something (human labour) will reduce demand (jobs) for that thing. The reality is that it doesn’t, but that isn’t intuitive so in that discussion it’s too hard to present the alternative point of view.

    There's a pretty easy counter for that particular example. If the minimum wage is not a living wage then those people on minimum wage need to be topped up with benefits. Thus a lower (or no) minimum wage is in fact corporate welfare. I thought you were against corporate welfare Dr Whyte?

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    It makes sense that raising the cost of something (human labour) will reduce demand (jobs) for that thing.

    There is no evidence for that. It's bullshit. Johnny Walker Black Label. Chicken Nuggets. Diamonds. You charge like it's worth a lot, people buy more of them. I don't know where you want to go with this. We could say it "just makes sense" that people with more money in their pocket will spend more money. That high wages for matching productivity grows the economy. That demand is driven by the wallets of the people who work for someone. That low wages destroy training and job security incentives and result in lower productivity to match the reduced wage.


    EDIT: PAY PEANUTS, GET MONKEYS.

    Since Nov 2006 • 608 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to SteveH,

    There’s a pretty easy counter for that particular example. If the minimum wage is not a living wage then those people on minimum wage need to be topped up with benefits. Thus a lower (or no) minimum wage is in fact corporate welfare. I thought you were against corporate welfare Dr Whyte?

    But that's countered by the common sense idea that working harder earns more money. A lower minimum wage "creates more jobs" which increases competition making thus naturally driving up wages.

    It's not necessarily right, but it makes sense.

    And minimum wage is just one example - I honestly think the majority of right wing policy - especially fiscal - is rooted in this intuitive common sense sort of stuff which therefore is so much easier to promote and defend.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Not The Messiah,

    I wonder if part of Labour’s problem is the word Labour. Same for the Greens. I am probably way off here but I wonder if a new party, new groovy name and combining the best talent from both might be an option. If we look at the party’s ( ok small ) that abandoned Labour – The Alliance, Act and even United future, they all had success in getting seats ( ok proportional to their size ) and still do even if many say that they are loopy ( but they are all right wing ). A new large centre-left party, whose policies are similar now and have been acclaimed as good policy by so many, might just be appealing. Big risk but it ain’t working now anyway.
    Internet/ mana probably lost because of dotcom but you do need big money to get ahead/ started/ competitive and Colin Craig ( another loopy ? ) proved this by almost making the 5%…The possible formation of a new centre left would have the experience and resources in place ( to a large degree ) already.
    Just a couple of ideas..thoughts anyone??

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to tussock,

    Simple lies repeated often beat complex reality every single time.

    Indeed, very true. But take Greens climate change policy - a carbon tax. Well, that's simple enough. But then they had to appease the masses with some kind of offset by way of a tax cut, wasn't it? Offsets in environmental management (effectively tradeoffs) don't really solve fundamental issues. I felt the same about they way they approached extractive industries - they were gong to use the money from increased royalty receipts to pay for something else. Another tradeoff.

    The thing about true environmentalism - it accepts that the Limits to Growth thesis is real. The Greens seemed to be trying to say we could continue to 'grow' our economy AND they would also pay down debt faster. I'd have rather seen a fully costed plan for an economy in decline. Not one party (aside from NZF perhaps) seemed to want to admit we're headed for very hard times. The whole world is.

    How does NZ maintain its sovereignty going forward is the real question.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    Russell, you are absolutely right to consider again point 5. I could not believe the arrogance of Labour and Cunliffe to reject an offer by the Greens to cooperate in the campaign, that was a major misjudgment and poor decision. Also it is shocking to see the party vote for National in so many traditional Labour seats. Labour has been punished this election, that is the clearest bit of analysis that must be taken. And Cunliffe has some things to answer to. I am in a dilemma though re the leadership, there will be the ABCers now calling for blood and Cunliffe's head, but they are the last thing Labour needs.

    Josie Pagani and others flatter Stuart Nash and a few others, but he and Kelvin Davis are to the right within Labour. Again, the question arises, what does Labour stand for, and if they think a light blue or National version of a party will make it, I think they are very wrong. I fear the worst, an intensive internal fight for direction and leadership within Labour now, which will damage the party's reputation more. I fear that Labour are beyond repair now. We need a totally new left of centre, social democratic party, which ideally covers grounds that both Labour and Greens have traditionally stood for, and that also takes up the positive policies that Mana has stood for. Then we may get a united force that the voters will consider a valid alternative.

    I cannot see Cunliffe surviving this though, and the best alternative may be Grant Robertson now, if there is a change of leader. Shearer, Nash and others will not solve anything, they will mean the final split and death knell to Labour, I am afraid.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to SteveH,

    That [lack of climate change attention] makes me very angry.

    There was a big debate. Youtube. Climate voter. 99 minutes.

    It's horrific how few shits the National party give. They see climate change as a way to game an international set of agreements to profit from shorting the market. And it's really just all about giving a lot of money to people here for burning coal, because that's how our country fucks up the system the best.

    Their opinion on climate change is that they can't personally stop it, it's some future government will be paying the bills, so just don't fuss and grow your GDP and whatever will be, will be. Being part of the solution is not on their radar. Building for the future is "picking winners" and a cardinal sin. Quarterly profit sheet, gentlemen, stay focused.

    Since Nov 2006 • 608 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    But that’s countered by the common sense idea that working harder earns more money. A lower minimum wage “creates more jobs” which increases competition making thus naturally driving up wages.

    Makes no sense to me. If it were true then countries without minimum wages for decades would all be earning shitloads by now since they must have high rates of employment and mass competition. They aren't. They are by and large earning miserable amounts of money.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Pete, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    I think the best counter to the "It's just common sense" theory is the "we've tried that and it doesn't work" argument

    Deregulation of power market - higher prices
    Trickle down theory - proven not true
    Other examples are available but I'd lead with the simple and empirical

    I like your theory though

    Since Apr 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Not The Messiah,

    You are onto it, I have spent a fair bit of time on this, and yes, if you start a NEW left of centre, or progressive party, that may combine the best policies of Labour, Greens and NZ First, it will likely be a winner and a valid alternative to voters. So there is a new opportunity opening, not for madcaps, but some that may have smart and sensible ideas and plans. I am all for it, I am through with Labour, and will never vote them again, I only voted for the Labour electorate candidate because I could not risk it going to the Nats. Otherwise I have little time for Labour, Cunliffe, Shearer, Goff or whosoever leads it. They really shat on me and others by not taking a clear and fair position on social security. Moroney was in my eyes a poor advocate or spokesperson for the area, hardly ever asking questions to Bennett, she is a "moron" in politics, I fear, sorry for the abuse. Labour has left us wanting, and even the lesser evil choice was not enough to convince enough voters. They got what they deserve, I fear, sorry to say it, but that is how I feel after a terrible night and day of reflection. They dragged the Greens down with it, and allowed Winston to gain. This is a total shambles now.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    How does NZ maintain its sovereignty going forward is the real question.

    I don't think talking up the looming oil crash is a vote winner. Talking up the jobs and lower prices and economic boost we'll get from building renewables, that works. Or could work, at least, in theory. The interested people can figure out for themselves that it'll help in important ways later too.

    But really, our leaders mostly don't give a fuck about climate change because trying to help costs net votes. Obviously the economy will crash if we don't get there in time, very hard, unlike anything ever seen before, but that doesn't win votes either. Not here. All people care about is today.

    Like the dairy boom. It will crash, banks will be ruined. But propping it up in the meantime is a vote winner. Even though that makes it worse. Always.

    Since Nov 2006 • 608 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Not entirely sure this is the thread for it…. But I have this broad theory about left-wing vs. right-wing political theory…

    I'm of the opinion that the old left vs right just isn't there any longer. National and Labour are much a muchness. National swallowed the dead rats and have borrowed us into oblivion.

    What we have now are two main parties that represent the ideology of globalization. There are competing political ideologies emerging but they are not left of centre-left or right of centre-right. If you are so inclined, here is the way academia is looking at it these days;

    http://mams.rmit.edu.au/es4cefpg6ifj1.pdf

    Worth reading if only to understand/recognise the six core claims of globalism and then read the last few paragraphs where the author explains what a new political landscape might look like.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to CJM,

    ne sector of society sees these people and understands their need to be rewarded, respected. Another sector of our society doesn’t, gets irritated by their neediness.

    I guess you are describing Labour and the Greens in that second category - I think that is how they are perceived by many of the people in the jobs you describe. I spend a lot of my working life with large numbers of what were once heartland Labour voters - the skilled and semi-skilled in manual and service work. I am often struck by how poorly they are represented in Parliament. State sector employees like teachers and former bureaucrats are over represented in Labour and the skilled and semi-skilled working with their hands and brains are way underrepresented. And they know it.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to tussock,

    We are presently involved with the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan hearings here in the big city. I am dismayed about the Plan's lack of provision for expected sea level rises. We even now have areas designated for special housing, and for other development, which are close to the Manukau and Waitemata Harbour, which could well be flooded, or at least prone to flooding, in a few decades to come.

    National are head in the sand with the idiot Tim Groser, and they do generally deny that climate change will have significant effects. They have given voters an impression that all will be well if they are in government, but that is a huge lie. They have NO answers, solutions or plans to the increasing challenges coming with global climate change, and sadly, with a shockingly poor media here, most New Zealanders are amongst the most ignorant in the world on this issue. I know of more informed people in so-called 2nd and 3rd World countries, and definitely in Continental Europe also, than here.

    People are sold the illusion it will not matter much, they can carry on as usual, the economy will "grow", they can run their 2 cars per household on endless fossil fuels, and nobody will expect them to change. This future National government should be called the GRAVE DIGGER GOVERNMENT!

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    "Italy has such a law. I am fond of it"

    Ah, those poor dumb voters, they just can't be trusted to make the right decisions

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Not The Messiah,

    Just a couple of ideas..thoughts anyone??

    Possibly a UK-style LibDem movement? Would disbanding Labour and starting afresh be cracking a nut with a sledgehammer, or is it really too long gone to be fixed? Swinging to the centre-(Right) worked for Tony Blair in Britain and Bill Clinton in the States, but only up to a point.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Bodmin, in reply to John Morrison,

    At last a Labour supporter with some sense I thought I was on my own till now.

    Auckland • Since May 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Tinakori,

    I spend a lot of my working life with large numbers of what were once heartland Labour voters - the skilled and semi-skilled in manual and service work. I am often struck by how poorly they are represented in Parliament.

    I suspect this group never fully recovered from the Employment Contracts Act. It's since splintered into various camps:

    - those who keep the faith and likely belong to the NZCTU, which has been in slow decline
    - "Waitakere Man", who has climbed the ladder like the UK's 'Essex Man' and supposedly now supports the blue team
    - slipped down the ladder, and likely among the ranks of the non-vote

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to tussock,

    I don’t think talking up the looming oil crash is a vote winner.

    It's not a looming oil crash - it's a looming credit crash/crunch/squeeze/strangle whatever you want to call it.

    We have borrowed too much. The interest costs we are paying are crippling.

    Demand and prices for our bulk export product (WMP) is in rapid decline.

    The tax take will decline next year - the cost of government will increase.

    Our lenders will charge a higher risk premium.

    Our interest rate outgoings will increase again.

    We are at the mercy of our lenders.

    They will repossess us, unless we come up with a Plan B.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • krothville,

    I think that if the left wanted to, they could also co-opt the "common sense" type sound bites, but for some reason, haven't twigged on the strategy the right has always used, or can't figure out a way to boil their policies down to that "it just makes sense" kind of thing.

    But it's not really that hard to do:
    "It just makes sense to try to prevent climate change because it's going to destroy our baches and beaches"
    "It just makes sense to raise the minimum wage because it will save the government money and people will be able to feed and clothe their children"
    "It just makes sense to tax the rich more, and give middle NZ a break"
    "It just makes sense to make it cheaper for people to own their own homes by making it harder for people to flick houses for profit"
    "It just makes sense to introduce rent controls like Germany so that people aren't forced to spent 65% of their income renting a 3 bedroom house somewhere in Auckland"
    "It just makes sense to subsidise insulating houses so we can save money on healthcare"

    And I could go on and on and on. It's actually not that hard to boil it down like that, and start that "fair go" zeitgeist thing someone mentioned earlier.

    Since Sep 2014 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    But that’s countered by the common sense idea that working harder earns more money.

    That one gets the immediate retort of "you've never worked a day in a manual labour job in your life, have you?" On the whole the people on minimum wages are the ones working the hardest. Those jobs are often relatively unskilled which means employees have little power and therefore the toughest conditions. Because minimum wage is not high enough a second job or longer hours is more common - you can particularly see this trend in the US. The idea that those people are not working hard enough is frankly insulting (I know you're playing the devil's advocate here).

    A lower minimum wage “creates more jobs” which increases competition making thus naturally driving up wages.

    Employers don't say "we've got X to hire with" and then divide that by the minimum wage cost to figure out how many people to hire. They say "we require Y people" and then pay whatever is required to get the Y people they need (within the limits of profitability). That argument hinges on the idea that lower wages allow businesses to expand quicker and therefore employ more people, but that can obviously only work if the demand is there and even then in many case other factors will be the limit (e.g. capital).

    And minimum wage is just one example

    Right, but my point is that many of these policies aren't that hard to rebut. They only seem like common sense on a very superficial level. And often you can always point to the US for an example of where they take us.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    It's not necessarily right, but it makes sense.

    Only to the ignorant. Of course the current government isn't interested in better education, but in more profitable schools. Ditto for broadcasting.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Not The Messiah, in reply to Marc C,

    Thanks Marc C...From reading some other posts I think it likely that Labour are in self destruct mode. National in many ways seem a well oiled ( whale oil ? ) machine. Despite the exposure of all the dirty politic stuff from so many quarters, the sacked ministers and John Keys derision of anything/ anybody supporting a different view from his, people seemed to just fall for the Trust me we're the best, I'm right you're wrong approach. Why spoil a good story with the truth. I am still bewildered that so many fell for JK's lies, his overt arrogance and below the belt punching. If you cared to look ( and it was not hard to see ) at how much damage National has done to this once socially largely equitable country. There seems some sort of inverse logic is at play here, where the dirtiest man wins. But it worked.
    I fear that JK ( and National ) will take this election result as a mandate to go wherever they want, and if that is a continuation of policy that has got us in the large pile of DonKey doo we are in, and the distinct possibility of John picking up his pen as soon as possible and signing up for TPPA - oh dear we are really doomed. Waiting 3 years to try again will be way too late.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to tussock,

    There was a big debate. Youtube. Climate voter. 99 minutes.

    Less than 3,000 views. That kind of proves my point doesn't it?

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Not The Messiah,

    Internet/ mana probably lost because of dotcom but you do need big money to get ahead/ started/ competitive

    Well, point is they wouldn't have existed were it not for Dotcom. He didn't lose it for them. Being an ex-pat myself, Kiwis generally aren't that welcoming of foreigners. But heck, he's made more millions in fewer years than the PM ever has. And in an area that the PM hasn't got a single, solitary clue about. Dotcom's not an "old boy", you see - he doesn't play golf - he plays internet games. Aside from all his business achievements, he even managed to make himself No 1. in the world in Call of Duty (not sure of what version). But, here he is PARTICIPATING here in little old NZ with our youth;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/games/9230565/Gamer-who-conquered-Call-of-Dotcom

    As I've said elsewhere on here and I'll say it again - Kim Dotcom is a modern genius in the biggest growth area on the planet at the moment - the internet. And look what our Government has done to him. It is shameful. My grandchildren would benefit immensely if this entrepreneur manages to stay here and become a leading contributor to our society in the future.

    Wake up NZ.

    Okay, I won't say it again.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

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