Red Alert

UK Labour rethinking welfare state

Posted by on January 3rd, 2012

Liam Byrne is having a look at some sacred cows in an article in today’s Guardian :-

Labour is calling for a radical rethink of the welfare state, arguing that the benefits system has betrayed its founding principles and “skewed social behaviour”.

In a significant redrawing of Labour’s position on welfare, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne, on Tuesday argues that the ballooning of the system has provided support that is unearned, and mislaid the original ideal of providing help to those that contribute.

Heralding a series of speeches over the next few months designed to mark out new territory for Labour, Byrne claims the party must recast the welfare state to meet the original intentions of its founder, William Beveridge.

72 Responses to “UK Labour rethinking welfare state”

  1. darrenw says:

    “providing help to those that contribute” – exactly what welfare should be for!!

  2. Andrea says:

    Never mind the twaddle above the line, Trevor. Read what’s below the line on that article – and ponder.

    ‘Clean, green, and clever’ had better include heaps of opportunities for the people who work hard with their hands – such as the ex forestry, road building, labouring and trades people dumped by the 1980s – 1990s employment and social disasters, or your welfare bill will be very large indeed.

    And, while we’re at it – where ARE the similar jobs for women??? The processors and machine operators and factory hands. Lots of silly words about ‘baby factories’ and DPB scroungers – but where’s the work that gives a genuine choice of how to have an income? Something better-paid and with more future than ‘caregivers’ and ‘cleaners’ at minimum wage, thanks.

  3. SPC says:

    This is clearly to improve Labour’s ability to gather support from the middle class by limiting it’s support to to those in need to providing security to those in employment.
    This is effectively establishing a bi-partisanship to treating those on welfare as second class citizens – a
    permanent underclass without the entitlements of the established.

    The 1% will be pleased.

    Essentially those involved are seen as less likely to vote and thus can be ignored, where else can they go. They have now only two options seek electoral change so they can form their own party and gain a representative voice of their own or they stop voting and express their activism on the streets.

  4. Cactus Kate says:

    Geez Duck for a moment there other than a Farrar/Slater cut paste, I thought you’d had an ephihany and we’re going to tell us all how Labour planned to stop welfare for families (who don’t need it), remove long term beneficiaries from eligibility and cut the welfare spend vote so it could be spent on more deserving areas.

    Guess not so back to the application of insect repellant and sourcing of the hotel umbrella for me then so I can walk to the nearest spa to get a massage from someone who appreciates full employment comes when there is no minimum wage.

  5. SPC says:

    The poor must exist to either provide votes or cheap services to their betters.

  6. Cactus Kate says:

    SPC they do, in third world countries providing cheap goods and services to NZs poor. Most earn less working 60 hrs a week than NZ beneficiaries do by sitting on the couch. That’s why even the left in the UK admits they have to look at welfare. It’s not working.

  7. john says:

    ACT would support this, they also only get 1% of the vote

  8. SJW says:

    Cactus Kate,

    You sound like you are supporting the move toward encouraging greater numbers of people to be in poverty because others are even poorer?

    Are you aware of the benefits that all members of a society gain from having a welfare system? Or in the event that your poorly thought out ideologies came true, would you simply be the first in line complaining when the problems from cutting welfare arose?

    I am horrified by the cost of the welfare system in this country as well as others, however I do not feel that recipients of welfare are the cause of the issue. It is only when the causes of the issue are addressed that things will progress. Focusing on and taking punitive actions toward the victims of a systemic fault is only going to create more problems.

    I forgive people off the street holding narrow and misinformed attitudes toward the welfare system. I do not think much of people working in high political circles in doing so. I consider this article to be sloppy and narrow minded misinformation.

    Yeah, just keep up that ‘dumbing us down’ activity.

  9. SPC says:

    Typical 1% thinking, there is a necessary consequence of globalisation (free trade), a transfer of jobs to cheaper labour markets.

    The increase in productivity from comparative advantage is supposed to add value sufficient to outweigh this – but if all that value extends merely to those with capital (1%) or those that retain jobs in the professions and trades jobs able to buy cheaper imported products/goods then others bear the cost in terms of lost jobs.

    The consequence of welfare is not a cause, the existence of minimum wages is not a cause – what we had was a conscious decision to move to globalisation to improve profits on capital and enable cheaper goods in the west. This would inevitably be at the expense of jobs.

    And the 1% answer is to focus on the welfare cost and minimum wage levels to exacerbate further the inequality resulting from globalisation.

    When National chose the low minimum wage option through the 90’s they still had a total number on welfare higher than we have now – as wages in production elsewhere are cheaper than getting to and from work here. Our low wages are in domestic economy services sector (cost plus) jobs. There are only so many cleaners, fast food/retail and carer jobs at whatever wage level.

    You cannot reduce working for families and lower the minimum wage – without extending poverty to those working – and incomes for minimum wage working families are little above the level for people to afford housing and food and power now.

    PS Tax credits for families were introduced with GST at 10% -WFF was a belated catch up to compensate for not increasing those in line with inflation and limited to those working (not those on benefits).

  10. tracey says:

    He means give in to those who believe the few bludgers render the entire system broken. Mind you a few have put out real information including on here but some cling to their views no matter how unfounded. Labour did a huge review and clampdown in 2007, and they still got voted out and by a partythat has done exactly what labour did

  11. KJT says:

    The UK Labour party (Like NZ Labour in the 80’s) have a cheek even calling themselves Labour anymore.

    A total sellout to the Neo-Liberal wealthy.

    NZ Labour need to decide if they are NACT lite or a real party for ordinary New Zealanders.

    The best way to cut welfare is to stop exporting our jobs and our skilled people.

  12. Curious says:

    I agree that welfare needs a rethink.

    I can only talk from personal experience. I know DPB recipients that would sooner spend the money that is meant for their children’s welfare on smokes, alcohol and drugs. Of course not all DPB recipients do this but some inevitably do. I find it hard to watch children going without proper food and medical care while their caregivers are high and/or drunk on substances bought with the money meant for those children.

    I don’t want to see punitive measures taken against beneficiaries but I would like to see those that abuse the system held accountable.

    Long term welfare dependency breeds hopelessness and despair. We do these people a diservice through our complacency and with the way we politicise their collective plights.

  13. Lindsay says:

    With a new welfare shadow minister you have the chance to also re-position Trevor. Under Clark NZ Labour had firmly adopted the ‘work is the best way out of poverty’ principle. Then, under election pressure, Annette King muddied the waters by agreeing to give the work incentive, the In Work Tax Credit, to beneficiary parents.

    Labour has traditionally been the party of reform. Welfare reform isn’t beneficiary bashing. It is looking objectively at what the current social security system has delivered and comparing those results with what the architects envisaged. There is a yawning chasm.

  14. SPC says:

    The surprising thing is that is general support for ideas such as food in poor area schools (an easier option now Fonterra will be placing fridges in schools with their milk delivery roll out) but no party proposes this as a policy.

    The other idea of requiring insulation in rentals within 5 years (and this creates more jobs and delivers wider gains to society in reducing poverty and improving energy efficiency) – yet National and Labour still continue with voluntary roll out and many landlords simply ignore this.

    As the documentary put it late last year, the successful focus overseas is on direct support to assist the well-being of the poor. This can include medical clinics in schools to supplement the B4 Well Child programme (should be made compulsory at pre school and age 5).

    Even increased cash payments to those on welfare with children can be made with a card limitation to gain public support.

  15. Cactus Kate says:

    On the contrary SJW, the supposed third world is kicking the arse of countries like UK and NZ. Brazil is doing better than the UK and the UK still doles out foreign aid to it. An unsustainable result.
    The emergence of third world countries will see the end of welfare as the west knows it now. No third world country can afford to pay its people to not contribute. The 1% nonsense is a fallacy as well. The entire NZ population is in the 1% compared to the rest of the world.
    SPC can quote NCEA economics all they like, simple fact is NZ competes in a global market and that includes welfare and wages.

  16. fureongo says:

    Sounds like what the National Party is planning to do here. Welfare reform.

  17. Huginn says:

    @ Cactus Kate: January 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    as in Kerala, South India . . .

    “. . . a place that offers real hope for the future of the Third World. Though not much larger than Maryland, Kerala has a population as big as California’s and a per capita annual income of less than $300. But its infant mortality rate is very low, its literacy rate among the highest on Earth, and its birthrate below America’s and falling faster. Kerala’s residents live nearly as long as Americans or Europeans. Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there’s truly no place like it”

  18. SPC says:

    Ah yes cactus returns to the meme that globalisation by and for the 1% over the 99% is the design of the elites of the West that the rest of the western population is to be ruled over by. So that profits on capital can be maximised and labour (and unemployment) costs minimised – just one thing that is not consistent with the make-up of the populations of voting citizens.

    So we can see the connection between ACT party thinking and its level of popular support in a democracy … .

    Is ACT party accord thinking in economics really at a higher academic level than any criticism of it? Yeah right.

  19. Quoth the Raven says:

    Critics of globalization (above) are sadly misguided. Trade liberalization between nations and the processes of globalization, along with economic liberalization within nations has been of the most immense benefit to peoples of the world. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades. In fact The Brookings Institute estimates that half a billion people have escaped poverty since 2005 alone. And as these market forces are unleashed the world is becoming a more equal place (see Parametric estimations of the world distribution of income).

    I know this is Trevor’s post, but linking it to Darien’s post on his portfolio: these benefits would be even greater to the masses if barriers to the movement of labour across nations were progressively dismantled. If a so-called “Labour” party is committed to the interests of labour than perhaps one of the most valuable policies it ought to promote that would benefit labour everywhere is the free movement of labour around the world and not simply narrow jingoistic economic policies.

    Globaization enriches our lives not only materially, but culturally. We can eat at a Thai restaurant, watch a South Korean film, or read a Japanese novel. And globalization promotes peace for as French liberal Frederic Bastiat said “when goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will”. Further to that point, globalization undermines nationalism and makes nation-states themselves, those blights on humanity, increasingly irrelevant as people find they may have more in common culturally with foreigners than their compatriots and national culture is eroded as our cultural lives are enriched.

  20. john says:

    In one statement will learn that globalization enriches life’s in New Zealand and the next we have know idea why we all want to catch the next bus to OZ.

    The catch is if employers don’t want meet current wage rates they scream ‘lazy New Zealaders don’t want to work’and employers then can lobby to import cheaper labour of shore and of coarse Kiwi’s go to Oz and wages rates are hold down

  21. SPC says:

    Critics of the critics of globalisation choose to ignore this.

    Their apologetic for the rise of imperial capitalism, is merely an extension of their class war against the working class of developed nations.

    Unless nation states (thus they disparage democratic government of the nation state as an impediment to the primacy of imperial capital) mitigate the consequences of higher profits for private capital derived from lowering of wage rates to a global market level, it undeniably results in greater inequality within developed nations. Greater profits, income and wealth to the few with capital resources and shedding of jobs to the lower wage rest of the world.

    In a sense the proponents of imperial capitalism and the one world labour and capital market are the latter day communist internationale – they have no solidarity with nation state citizenship and representative democracy.

  22. Dylan says:


    There is no arguing against the economic benefits that countries get when they can utilise their comparitive advantages in free trade. But I can’t help but feel that the intelligent posts you always manage to create are also misguided by quite a dogmatic/ideological approach.

    There are of course downsides to globalisation. Aside from the obvious ones such as brain drains and loss of jobs, the main one I take issue with is the international reliance it creates as global financial networks develop. In short, it seems if the USA crashes, the whole world crashes with them. In the EU we’ve been watching crises in certain countries spread to the whole of Europe, and now there are talks of the UK possibly leaving the EU. National has recently been partially blaming the recession in New Zealand on global economic conditions that are out of our control. I do not like the idea of New Zealands economic wellbeing being at the whim of global financial markets that have always been volatile and that we have no control over. I think New Zealand would do well to implement protectionist measures to reduce certain imports while increasing exports to help foster a greater degree of self reliance.

    Another thing is that countries in the past have managed to get themselves out of depression due to external help. As we move towards a more globally linked economy, in the future there may be no such thing.

    Also weather the integration of culture is a good or bad thing is completely a matter of opinion. For example I think alot of the American culture we import has adverse effects on our society, teaching younger and younger girls promiscuity (my 5 and 3 year old girl cousins always watch Lady Gaga and I hate it) and making unhealthy addictive foods available to us (some girls at my work bring fast food back for lunch every day and I also dislike seeing this behaviour amongst my people).

    (My next points were making my post way too long. Also I hope I’m making sense, I’ve been battling my way out of depression recently and the doctor said that my intellect was probably the first thing to go).

    Quoth, I can’t help but feel your driven both by intelligence and ideology. I don’t know weather that’s good or bad, it could be stopping you from coming up with some great economic philosophies, but I also think it’s truley the basis to charisma and in convincing others of your beliefs.

  23. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    Considering we once had a time when there was full employment and this was a deliberate government policy, by both parties. This just wasn’t a platitude either, small towns and regional centres were deliberately targeted for new businesses that created jobs. The reason for getting rid of this policy seems lost in time but considering we now have record borrowing( one of the reasons why full employment was ‘unaffordable’ at the time).
    Dont you have to laugh at the Spiny Spinister, gloating about a foot massage from someone whos ‘glad of a job’ ( how condescending!) in a society with no minimum wage ( or old age pensions). Of course her law degree mostly paid for by the NZ taxpayer would have cost her her parents far more than could have afforded if she had been been born in China. Her family status meant could have aspired only to a shop ‘manageress’ had she been bought up in a society like Hong Hong where she now works.

  24. v says:

    Huginn says:
    January 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Dig a bit deeper into the “Kerala Model” and you will find one of the most hard working peoples in the world — a diaspora which would put most others to shame.

    Ya think that may be the message that needs to be picked up ?

  25. Frontrower says:

    Workfare. Mutual Obligations. Wisconsin Works.

    And bowl the state house slums and replace them with modern houses integrated into non-HNZ dominated communities.

  26. Frontrower says:

    (Sorry about the post script, thought about adding this comment but ran out of time to edit the first post.)

    The aim of the welfare system should be to act as a last resort, the place where people go to be retrained with skills that will get them into permanent employment.

  27. john says:

    @Frontrower in realty the welfare system has not been a place people go to be retrained and permanent employment is rear,most work is causal & is at the lowest hourly rate that is legal,and jobs are not checked against labour dept, and people go from one causal job back to welfare back to causal work for years

  28. Ralph B says:

    SPC: Do you realise how daft you sound bleating on about “1%” and “99%”?

    For a start, the whole Occupy thing represents a grand total of about 0.0001 of 1%, not the 99% they claim. And as CK says, all of NZ (and in fact most of the west) is in the 1% anyway. Do you really want to reduce New Zealand to third-world status just to even things out?

    The OECD is the 1%.

  29. […] Trevor Mallard has put the cat among the pigeons on Red Alert by hinting at some recalibration of policy (or at least rhetoric) on welfare reform in Shearer’s Labour party under cover of an opinion piece in the Guardian by the UK shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne. That Byrne’s piece says nothing that hasn’t been said many times before (and not just on the Right), and that it lacks any concrete proposals in favour of abstract rhetoric (“providing help to those that contribute”) somewhat neuters the cat, of course, and leaves the pigeons safe to indulge in some ritualistic feather-ruffling and chest-puffing. […]

  30. SPC says:

    Ah a new talk back radio slogan – people on welfare in the West are part of the 1% … how rising inequality within the OECD is not important as the poor are still better off than they many are in other parts of the world …

    Ralph the people concerned about inequality within the OECD include the IMF … as this of itself limits prospects for growth and the desired society outcomes from economic production.

    Quite apart from the fact that the same inequality within the OECD is now being duplicated within developing nations via globalisation.

  31. Olwyn says:

    What has “skewed social behaviour” is the reliance on the benefit system by our political and business leaders to undermine full employment, so as to join the globalised economy without risk of serious civil upheaval. Beverage’s system presupposed more-or-less full employment, and one should not lose sight of this. Making people’s benefits contingent on chasing non-existent work, so as to satisfy middle class baying for blood, is just plain brutish. Properly rethinking welfare requires the rethinking of a lot of other things as well.

  32. Frontrower says:

    @John. That’s the problem. The welfare state is being used for low or no skilled workers. Workfare must have training for real skills that are in demand by employers. Or else it is nothing more than window dressing.

    Peter McCardle once told me that the biggest road block to his employment/skills was not the Left, but it was Treasury. (Welfare being cheaper than spending on upskilling.)

  33. john says:

    When people enter the welfare system they should have all career options looked at and advice given,from studying to trade training and applying for the current jobs,when welfare is been used has a causal workforce this is the cycle that is a trap for the poor & when the national party is not looking at the lives of these people, a short fix is all will be gaining.

    AGREE Frontrower

  34. Tracey says:

    ” I know DPB recipients that would sooner spend the money that is meant for their children’s welfare on smokes, alcohol and drugs. Of course not all DPB recipients do this but some inevitably do. I find it hard to watch children going without proper food and medical care while their caregivers are high and/or drunk on substances bought with the money meant for those children.

    I don’t want to see punitive measures taken against beneficiaries but I would like to see those that abuse the system held accountable.”

    What do you propose to hold them accountable that won’t punish their children for the sins of the fathers?

    Just as you know dpb recipients who would spend money on smokes and alcohol I know men who have left their first family, and started a second with new children who they pay for while not paying for the first children. I have heard that one way to address this problem has been the proposal by Mr Dunne to erase interest owed by those parents to encourage them to pay down some of what they owe. BUT doesn’t the mother live in an inflating costs kind of a world, so money paid back in 2012 for non payment in 2005 is not worth nearly as much?

    My understanding (could be erroneous) was that the Reserve bank Governor once stated, many years ago that in order to meet inflation goals we actually couldn’t have 100% employment, I also understand many economists calculate it is cheaper to pay welfare than spend the money on getting people into full employment.

    Who determines what a “real” skill is?

    It is a fallacy to believe that those on unemployment benefits are not chasing jobs. My nephew failed to chase a job, and he got stood down from his benefit for a few weeks until he agreed to attend a seminar, and attend any interviews they set up. Conversely when he got a job for a fixed period of 4 months, and that job ended, he was royally run around by WINZ when he tried to get back onto the benefit at the conclusion of the work. he had kept them in the loop the whole time.

    “And bowl the state house slums and replace them with modern houses integrated into non-HNZ dominated communities.” We had this, but then the houses were put on the market in the affluent areas and were bought up by developers an others…

    “the supposed third world is kicking the arse of countries like UK and NZ. Brazil is doing better than the UK and the UK still doles out foreign aid to it. An unsustainable result.”

    How is the low income end of Brasilian society faring under this “arse kicking”?

    Dylan, good luck with your battle back to wellness.

  35. hellonearthis says:

    Sounds like Cactus Kate wants more 3rd world working conditions.

    Where the people at the bottom of the heap (especially mental illness) are left to rot. Have a look at the suicide rates of those slaving away for 3rd world wages. NZ should be forced into that kind of society where eugenics is an unfortunate by product of such legislation.

    If the state plans to kill the poor, then surely the poor will have to eat the rich.

  36. Tracey says:

    Ralph B wrote

    “Do you really want to reduce New Zealand to third-world status just to even things out?” Cactus Kate seems to be suggesting that would be a good thing?

  37. Quoth the Raven says:

    Dylan – I wouldn’t deny that there are downsides, but the benefits far and away outweigh them.

    The interconnectedness of the global economy does mean we are affected by events far from our shores, but they can be both negative and positive. Look at it this interconnectedness and interdependence another way. Imagine a man who was once a subsistence farmer in rural China or India. His family could have faced starvation with the failure of his crops or a drought. But now he works in a factory he is part of a market economy it means that he is more dependent on others and others are dependent on him and now he does not face such vicissitudes and his children can go to school instead of work.

    This increased interconnectedness and interdependence of the peoples of the world that globalization engenders also raises the consciousness of individuals of humanity as a whole. It allows people to overcomes narrow parochialism (if only certain political parties would do the same). This is a positive for peace (in fact the last decade has seen saw fewer war deaths than any in the past century) and overcoming any problems we may face together. See this paper on the issue: Globalization and human cooperation. Related to this, I recently saw this story from the BBC on how Korean pop music is influencing Japanese attitudes towards Koreans for the better.

    The straightjacket of the Euro is another example of the harm that politicians with their schemes and plans, however well intentioned they maybe, can cause society. It shows that although supranational economic integration is positive for the welfare and prosperity of mankind, supranational authorities have the potential to do great harm.

  38. Tracey says:

    “His family could have faced starvation with the failure of his crops or a drought. But now he works in a factory he is part of a market economy it means that he is more dependent on others and others are dependent on him and now he does not face such vicissitudes and his children can go to school instead of work. ”

    What percentage of former farmer, now factory workers children go to school and what percentage go on to be something other than a factory worker?

    If all farm workers in those nations took up this new beginning, what would happen to agriculture in those countries and wages int he factories?

    I enjoy reading your posts for the most part QTR but can’t help feeling they often come from a place of theory rather than reality. You used words and links to support your opinion and then, at times express that opinion as though incontrovertible because of your links and words.

    For example the following is by and large your opinion

    “I wouldn’t deny that there are downsides, but the benefits far and away outweigh them. ” Have you ever read Jaques Ellul’s work?

  39. Huginn says:

    @ v:January 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Dig a bit deeper into the “Kerala Model” and you will find:

    -A set of wealth and resource redistribution programmes that have largely brought about the high material quality-of-life indicators.

    -A set of high material quality-of-life indicators coinciding with low per-capita incomes, both distributed across nearly the entire population of Kerala.

    -High levels of political participation and activism among ordinary people along with substantial numbers of dedicated leaders at all levels. Kerala’s mass activism and committed cadre were able to function within a largely democratic structure, which their activism has served to reinforce.

  40. Huginn says:

    @ v:January 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Keralans work hard, that’s for sure, but so do New Zealanders.

    The difference is that since 1957 Keralans have voted in a succession of Communist Party of India governments to concentrate on equitable growth emphasising land reform, poverty reduction, educational access, health and child welfare.

    The level of political engagement among Keralans is very high.

    The Keralan diaspora is huge, but the high level of education means that diaspora Keralans are able to get better paying jobs abroad which in turn enables them to remit more money back home.

    And speaking of 3rd World conditions – I saw fewer beggars in Kerala last week when I was there than I see on the streets of Auckland these days (although I found the portraits of Josef Stalin a bit creepy).

  41. Quoth the Raven says:

    Tracey – As agricultural productivity increases, because of for example increased mechanization, the labour necessary for the same output diminishes. Labour is then freed to engage in other work, to produce different goods and satisfy different wants. For example agricultural output in China has increased whilst the number of people employed in agriculture has decreased. So that is what happens to agriculture in those countries they produce more with less labour. What happens to wages in the factories? They gradually get higher and higher. For instance, wages in Chinese factories are increasing. The increasing rates of school enrolment and higher levels of income mobility that developing countries are now experiencing show that their children are going to school in increasing numbers and people continue to move up the income ladder.

    I provide links to data and academic papers not to show that my opinions are incontrovertible, but because I believe I have evidence that they comport with reality. Compare that to the hyper-pessimistic and inchoate anti-capitalist musings of others.

    Finally, that the benefits of globalization outweigh the downsides is obviously just my opinion, because any such opinion on “benefits” will be informed by my values. What I value may not be what someone else values. That half a billion people have been lifted out of poverty in just a matter of years is of importance to me, because I value the well-being of these masses of workers. Others may not value that so they will not see it as a benefit.

  42. Dorothy says:

    as so often, the Guardian letters page has numerous succinct and knowledgeable refutations of Liam Byrne’s attempt to resurrect Blairite policies:

  43. SPC says:

    QtR, the economic gains derived in developing countries from access to developed nation markets is not the point at issue. The fact is that an inevitable consequence of globalisation is increased profit to capital and a growing inequality within developed nations – an inequality that is now being replicated in developing nations (billionaires in India, China, Mexico etc).

    The relative success of Kerala in terms of outcomes, despite low incomes, shows the limits of economic success if resulting wealth is not spread equitably.

    Globalisation was the outcome of need to access developing world resources in a post imperial era, so “western” capital traded jobs for resources and investment opportunities (though still resisting free trade in agriculture as the developed world can feed itself). The only problem is this is a time limited option as world resources are finite and in the meantime the consequences of the transfer of jobs and production offshore are now impacting on the fiscal management capability of the electorally accountable governments of western nation states.

  44. Cactus Kate says:

    More typical leftist nonsense here. Not even from Labour voters but those left of. I’ve never suggested half the twaddle assumed here. I bet from people who’ve never left the suburb they live in let alone travelled to other countries to see how well off nZ is. Trevor’s original post brought in a global aspect to it and encouraged debate of these issues. Typical of a far left perspective all globalization is deemed bad for little ole NZ.

    Point is that those in NZ not making it in NZ wouldn’t even survive in Asia and countries deemed third world are outperforming the UK, NZ etc because of it. As another commentator said above NZ IS the 1%… Even beneficiaries are the 1%.

    I don’t know what planet GWW is on but as he (assuming he is a he as all women on the internet have a better decorum) personalised the issue, my family are a mixture of teachers (all who in HK are paid twice+ what they would be in NZ) and land owners I would say I’d be doing even better if I was born in HK. There is even a state education sector here to satisfy demand if the student qualifies through good enough grades.

    However even if I was a “shop manageress” (an occupation you seem to thinks an unworthy one) I am sure I would be a better one than you the Ghost who Wa**s.

  45. SPC says:

    Oh cactus, once upon a time it was then assumed that all leftists went to the USSR for indoctrination and were fellow travellers, now the left is categorised as insular and nationalist (not part of globalisation based around the movement of international capital, skilled workers, tradeable goods and services in, of and by the private market).

    Once the left was posed as a threat to the democracy of nation states, now the democracy of the nation state is called a problem to the internationalisation of the economy.

    Globalisation is not deemed bad by the left, the impact of globalisation on levels of inequality within the OECD and within developing countries is (part of the criticism of free trade is that it is not fair to developing nations in agriculture, and takes no account of the environment or labour rights and is largely designed in the interest of western capital). It is the cause of rising unemployment in the West, the wider impact on government revenues from this (and the increased instability of the international financial system) impacts on the affordability of welfare and thus the reason for this topic.

  46. KJT says:

    QOR. Imagine how much faster those people would have been lifted out of poverty, if their employers had to pay them real pay instead of slave labour rates, while the owners of big companies ran off with the windfall. Leaving us to pay for the downsides.

    Cactus Kate would not be a highly paid lawyer, if she had been born in a third world country, because her family would not have been able to afford her education.

  47. waterboy says:

    All aspects of how we run the country should always be looked at. I am in favour of Welfare reform if the intentions are that those that need assistance from welfare receive it and that it acheives us having a backstop for those who for whatever reason find themselves up sh$t creek.

    If we are havinf welfare reform because of a few tossers who yell loudly, then i say what is the point. They only think everyone is lazy or has made bad choices, and many have never been in the crapper, and many are morgaged to the hilt and dont have a plan should things go wrong.


    Welfare reform to make things better, not save pennies and pander to tossers.