Red Alert

And so it’s Christmas.

Posted by on December 25th, 2012

‘So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun

The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Lets stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s good one
Without any fear.’…

Apology to the late John Lennon but those words have come back to me this Christmas.

‘The war is over’ is his final line. I wish that were true. In a world torn with violence, millions of people are still in harms way. Then there is here at home. For many New Zealanders this Christmas will be yet another battle of survival.

‘And so it is Christmas
And what have you done?

What we have done is to set a new policy direction
for New Zealand, a different path to the one of the past 30 years. Too much has failed for too many people .

In a country with child poverty growing, unaffordable housing, huge social division, few jobs and fading hope for young people, a political party can either grab hold of the problems and address them or pretend they don’t exist, talk  in slogans and blame others for the plight.

We choose to do something about it.

‘A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s good one
Without any fear’


26 Responses to “And so it’s Christmas.”

  1. Spud says:

    Hi Annette! :-D :-D :-D !!!!

    And Belated Merry Christmas to everyone. :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D !!!!

    And Richard the First if he’s still around! :-D !!!!!

  2. GeoffCartwight says:

    Hmmm a new policy direction…tinkering more like.
    How about a transition phase to a new way as we need real meaningful solutions not policy patches to social issues, take from the middle to give to the bottom and middle or the trickle down third way is defunct in the face of the encircling gloom ( to borrow a phrase ).
    How about stand up and face the coming tide together, change modify adapt the system cause the present is stuffed.

  3. GeoffCartwright says:

    My Christmas wish list…

    Since 2006 I’ve waited and waited for someone to reframe labours message, it’s language and connection between labour party and the people of new Zealand, to reframe, to capture, rebrand the very essence which labour stands for and strives for into language that will have resonance within the electorate and with all people.

    I’ve waited for labour to reconnect and re engage in a meaniful discoursive manner with the public.
    Labour is about fairness, equality and opportunity just like the citizens that make up NZ.

    So let’s get underway – bring the new message, the new direction And it’s language into the open where the public, the citizens can see it, comment on it and be a part of the process.

    The public isn’t one group, class or other demographic segment…they are people who just want a fair deal, a home, a family, food, work and to be connected to others in a good fair society.
    Little resonance with the public will come if the old language or old perceptions of labour are still prevalent.

    Time to move along from the perceived ” intellectual, professional poli, neo socialist, robin hood, same as right but centre left, the pinko, arch feminist, the rainbow brigade and every other splinter group power clique within labour…I apologise about now for the bluntness and forgive me for all the good work done by said groupings to shift society along it path.

    But enough…labour is more than its parts and even the sum of its factions.
    It is new Zealand’s party, the one party which look after all members of our community and society. Rich and poor, health, the sick, better or worse it’s our party.

    Soo…
    New direction for all new zea landers not just a few.
    A direction to face 21st century problems not the 19th century.climate, energy, peak oil, debt crisis, financial mismanagement and mega corporations.
    A open government at all levels. Citizen power and representatives,
    Community structures that empower the people.
    a fair tax structure where profits stay in NZ.

    Engage the middle in common terms thy understand…economics is the new paradymial language.
    Own our future but why. Engage the public on why. What does treasury state?
    It our time, NZ time, peoples time, not mega corporations.
    Time to rebuild now. Bold new policy.

    But rebuild the party across community lines, re engage and listen to the community.
    We need a new message, new language and a new direction…the New Way.
    Modern progressive and with relevant meaning or…
    Or well game set match for the investment capitalists the profit takers, the Society wreckers and raiders.

  4. Matt says:

    Sounds like the Third Way, but dumber.

  5. bbfloyd says:

    @mutt…. If you have any useful, or intelligent suggestions of your own, I, and most of the contributors here would like to see them… if you must indulge in half witted reactionary sneering, then kiwiblog, whaleoil, or even the standard will welcome your input…

    You do realise just how little intellect is required to play tory politics, don’t you? or hadn’t you figured that one out yet?

    There are times Geoff can be a bit of a romantic, and hasn’t quite figured realistic timelines into his philosophising, but to just insult him in such a typically tory way only increases my respect for his willingness to put real ideas out there for all to read. Whether they are the best solutions, or not, is irrelevant… Any useful dialogue has to start somewhere, and he at least attempts to start that process…

    A far cry from the self serving drivel that has to be waded through on blog sites more suited to shallow, reactionary name calling than this one ever has been…

  6. GeoffC says:

    @matt jump on to the discussion.
    Do tell us wha you see through your coloured specs, the life and trial you live, what do you suggest, more neo lib? Unfettered investment capitalism, how about bring bak the head chopper de le revolulution.
    How about say what’s wrong with third way or something constructive.but not just one line meaningless.

    My whole point is we need in the open, meaningful debate between the public and the string pullers soas to arrive at a consensus of action.
    Polies won’t do anything if it upsets the voting middle…so I say to merry Christmas time for a go to war vs poverty, inequality and a lack of opportunity for too many new zea landers

  7. phillip ure says:

    “..We choose to do something about it….”

    could i bore down on that a bit..

    ..and ask for the specifics designed to end poverty..(child esp..)..

    ..an aspirational change is great..and a necessary..

    ..but could you expand of the specifics of that problem/solution..?

    ..’cos out here all we have seen is that last election policy..(by 2018..remember..?..)..

    ..that was then hastily shelved..wasn’t it..?

    ..so..what is new since then..?

    phillip ure..

  8. Annette king says:

    The 2008 children’s policy has not been buried. It remains our policy but with 2 years till the next election the Policy Committee of the Party revises, updates and amends all policies. That process is underway lead by Jacinda Adern. Did you look at the entire Children’s Policy? It includes an approach across many portfolios, health, social development, education including tackling child poverty. Our recent announcement on housing( the first of a number of announcements to come in this area) puts an emphasis on affordable, warm, dry housing. This is an area identified as an important element in reducing child poverty.

  9. phillip ure says:

    thank you for your response..ms. king..

    ..and no..i haven’t read all the policy..

    ..but i would think any poverty-breaking policies would have been seized upon by the m.s.m…so i am presuming there is naught of much import on that..

    (please correct me if i am wrong on that..)

    ..’cos really..when you boil it all down..

    ..poverty is caused by not having enough money…

    ..(end of story..really..)

    ..and when you look at the story told by the stats in the ensuing years..

    ..it s clear our downward trajectory to third world status in some areas can be traced directly back to the tearing away of support for beneficiaries by richardson/shipley..

    ..so to get back to there at least..

    ..it is clear those cuts must be reversed…

    ..and more money must be put back into beneficiaries pockets’..

    ..anything else is really just fiddling at the edges..and not really changing that grotesque status quo at all..

    ..and of course what puzzles me is that labour cannot sell such policies as not only repairing what is clearly wrong..

    ..but as an economic stimulus package..

    ..’cos that basic fact remains..

    ..that one of the most efficient economic stimuli is to increase the incomes of those at the bottom of the economic heap..

    ..the main reason being that all of that money/stimulus churns straight back into the economy..spent on the basics of life..

    ..(the opposite is proven by the retail recession that followed the shipley/richardson cuts..)

    ..and if looking to persuade the gimlet-eyed neo-lib/randites (in labour..and elsewhere)..of these basic economic stimulus facts..

    ..point them at venezuela..(where chavez has dragged millions out of poverty..by giving them more money..)

    ..point out to the gimlet-eyed ones that the best-performing stockmarket in the last year..was chavez’ venezuela..

    ..up 300%..on the back of all that poverty-relief..

    ..which i would submit..makes an easy case for labour to sell here..

    phillip ure..

  10. phillip ure says:

    and just to refer to yr housing program..

    ..surely that is aimed at lower-middle-class people/swinging milddle-class voters..?

    ..how on earth could anyone living on any less than a middle class income be able to afford an ‘affordable-home’ costing some four hundred grand..?

    ..that policy would not appear to help anyone living in true poverty..

    (..if i am incorrect in that assumption..could you plse indicate where/how i have erred..?)

    ..and i have noted elsewhere that this is a ‘start’..towards addressing the madness of our basic housing costs..

    ..and as such is ‘good’..

    ..but that really it dosen’t come within a bulls-roar of housing any of those 270,000 nz children living in poverty here/now/today..

    ..eh..?

    ..and i would submit that we/labour still need an affordable housing plan..

    ..some grand sweep stuff..

    ..’cos anything less..won’t really be doing very much at all..eh..?

    phillip ure..

  11. SPC says:

    phil, Labour has adopted the policy of requiring that rental properties be upgraded – warm and dry through meeting standards such as being insulated as part of their housing policy.

  12. phillip ure says:

    spc..that is all well and good..and obviously part of what is needed..

    (but..funny story..!..re ‘warming houses’..

    ..one of the most effective aspect of home insulation is the sheet of plastic laid over/fixed to the ground..

    ..(‘cos this stops the cold rising from the earth..)

    ..and without this sheeting..insulation is pretty much useless/nowhere near efficient..the cold still just seeps thru..

    ..and guess what..?

    ..the specs for insulating the housing nz homes excludes that plastic-sheeting..(!)

    ..(on/for cost-reasons..(!)..)

    ..so despite much ballyhoo..from national – labour – the greens..

    ..those houses still need more retro-fitting..(of those plastic-sheets..)

    ..’cos really..seeing as many/most of the poor can’t afford the cost of the fuel for heating..

    ..those housing insulation programs haven’t really done much at all..

    ..in relieving the miseries of the poorest..

    ..’cos the cold still gets thru..

    ..where the plastic-sheeting should/would be..

    ..(and i would submit that such costly shortsightedness sets a new benchmark in costly shortsightedness..)

    ..and is surely deserving of some questions in parliament..?

    (tho’ i guess if this no-plastic-sheeting policy was first instigated under that labour/greens program..and not just amended later by national..that could be embarrassing..)

    ..so really..speaking as one of those (still-cold) poor..

    ..if we didn’t laugh at the absurdities proffered as solutions..(by our betters/political-masters)..

    ..we’d weep..

    ..eh..?

    phillip ure..

  13. Grant Hay says:

    And if I could add a little more to what Phil said: Although I’m no expert on the retro fitting of older housing stock, I’ve done a fair bit of reading around the subject. The very definite impression I was left with was that insulation without ventilation is almost worse than useless, because what you get (especially in homes that are often overcrowded by necessity), is a humid fug which encourages more streaming walls and mould in winter and will not alleviate health problems as much as a warm and dry and well ventilated house could. Poorly ventilated houses containing moist air are also much harder to heat effectively. I was really surprised that the insulation specs didn’t include a passive ventilation kit as part of the upgrade.

  14. Red Guard says:

    Grant, good points; but I’m sure you’ll agree it is a step in the right direction? A progressive policy, however, like any policy one that is open to inivation, change and development, as should always be the case.
    Annette, loved the analogy; but 2012 did come with some very public presents for ‘Shon-Key’ and Co; Kim Dot Com, the gift that keeps on giving, John (sorry can’t recall that) Banks and his ethically challenged fund raising techniques and the debacle of the Novapay system; which Craig Foss could have done something about earlier, but I get the feeling that a delay in addressing the issues was an opportunity for a little pay back against teachers…
    …2013 will be interesting, 2014 will see an earlier christmas for these blue turkeys!

  15. GeoffC says:

    Older house stock are not passively sealed enough therefore they have enough natural design ventilation. My own experience our heat gain from insulation was very noticeable maybe an increase on passive heat retention of 15 percent.
    Any insulation is better than none I guess.

  16. phillip ure says:

    yes..geoffc..a little is better than none..

    ..but it is like giving a homeless person a sleeping bag..

    ..but a sleeping bag minus a zip…

    ..draughty..still cold..

    ..and all for want of a piece of plastic-sheeting..eh..?

    ..is ‘grand folly’ too strong a term/description..?.

    ..phillip ure..

  17. GeoffC says:

    Yea too strong word there phil.
    Drill down a bit.
    Insulation scheme is place and could be expanded easily to incorporate other aspects as you suggest.
    But first steps are important.

  18. Grant Hay says:

    Hi Geoff. There is a big difference between air infiltration (drafts) in an old house that leaks air like a sieve and a well retro-fitted older home that has been cured of drafts, insulated and provided with controllable passive ventilation and other measures such as fans in bathrooms and kitchens. As you say, anything is better than nothing, but why should the poor(and their children) always get the mucky end of the stick just because this country always wants to do things by halves rather than do it once and do it well. I have friends from Europe who look at our housing stock and shake their heads in wonder at how primitive it is. Many if not most Kiwis simply don’t know what a properly set up house feels like to live in because they’ve never experienced it. At one end of the spectrum we have the old housing stock which is both damp and drafty at the same time and on the other we have new houses which are well insulated and fitted with heat-pumps but are practically hermetically sealed, so they get condensation and dampness problems because they are not fitted with passive or active ventilation systems when they are built.

  19. GeoffC says:

    Yes yes I hear you my friend so labour might be on the right track with its kiwi build if it incorporates a few modern design features and then also expand into lower cost housing NZ funded from the few percent return that the kiwi build generates. Just phoned a Eco architect friend.
    Oh and phils plastic sheeting.

  20. phillip ure says:

    re..real affordable eco-homes..

    ..as part of my news-gathering of the past seven years or so..i have been collecting info on cool/cheap/eco-homes..

    ..so you can look in my searchengine..or if not inclined to do that..

    .just do a google search for eco-houses under $100,000..

    ..you may be surprised at the mountain of good ideas out there for cool/affordable/eco-housing..(and all definitely under half the cost of the $400,000 currently touted as the affordable home figure..)

    ..housing especially suited for many reasons..for those areas of high poverty..northland..east cape..(cheap land/high-need)..

    (low-cost/easy-construct/green/eco-homes..mmm!!!..)

    ..all it will take to kick off a real affordable house scheme..

    ..is some basic research and some lateral-thinking..

    ..it is all totally do-able..

    phillip ure..

  21. Matt says:

    @Geoff, well clearly the Third Way is a failure. The moulding of two separate, and incompatible, political positions to pursue some middle-ground of political niceties wrapped up in neo-liberal dogma. Labour sold the Left down the road decades ago and still cannot see it’s own policy failures that have done nothing for those who work for a living…

    15 billion down the drain speculating in financial assets via the Cullen Fund, another 5 or so billion into KiwiSaver accounts, continual risk-free asset hand-outs in the form of govt bonds to the financial sector which continues with Labours and Nationals permission to gorge fees from the public. A tax system that is highly regressive and basically needs throwing out completely. Fiscal policy that is detrimental to the private sector, but it’s “prudent” NOT! A monetary policy position just as silly.

    My problem is seeing a Labour party that has learnt nothing. It’s not the ideology or history of the party, there’s plenty there to admire. It’s the policy positions, not all, but especially the economic ones… Parker accused those who call Labour “National Lite” as wrong-headed, but that’s pretty much exactly what they are in an economic sense…

    But, I’m a Tory troll, I forgot…

  22. GeoffC says:

    @matt maybe Tory maybe something else….can’t see you as a troll, trolling blogs to be abusive and derail constructive discourse. We learn by listening and acting via valid justified non dogmatic statements…welcome to the discourse.
    You have stated your disagreement with LP and made some valid points IMHO too. Reflection is underway but fundamentally I don’t care which party we have as long as the system we have gives equal opportunity etc to us all. Everyone must have a chance at a good and balanced life and not just the well connected determined few. Call me a leveller if one must.

  23. SPC says:

    Matt, the money placed into the Cullen Fund was (was less than $15B in input) not wasted, it was saved. There was a temporary surplus and an awareness of a future rise in tax paid super cost. This was a means to allocate the spare capital to an investment for a future purpose.

    If the money had not been used in this way, there would have been pressure for the money to have been awarded in tax cuts, this would have resulted in a the current budget deficits being higher than they are now.

  24. Matt says:

    @SPC And? Inter-generational accounting is a myth. And no, that’s the contribution of total govt funds since inception. Why would the govt “save” in what it produces? What future purpose, to undermine current generations of NZ 16-30 year olds who will actually produce the goods and services the elderly need?. 15B that could improve education, health, infrastructure, or any other public institutions that drive public purpose… Ie. investment in REAL ASSETS not financial ones, which is just speculation (to an economist) with no end product.

    Either way, a budget surplus with a net export deficit indicates the need to cut taxes or increase spending. Otherwise it will impoverish the private sector further.

    I’ll put it for you again…

    PAUL RYAN: “Do you believe that personal retirement accounts can help us achieve solvency for the system and make those future retiree benefits more secure?”

    ALAN GREENSPAN: “Well, I wouldn’t say that the pay-as-you-go benefits are insecure, in the sense that there’s nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to somebody. The question is, how do you set up a system which assures that the real assets are created which those benefits are employed to purchase.”

  25. SPC says:

    Matt,

    1. you presume that a budget surplus would have been spent if it was not placed into the Fund. Would not the Labour and National budget offerings, WFF or across the board tax cuts, just been expanded in size at the 2005 election?

    2. the Fund/savings reduces the BOP deficit by creating investment returns. Government spending would not do that, nor tax cuts. Larger tax cuts would have increased imports and exarcebated the house price bubble.

    The Fund was the right option for the time – the problem is that it cannot grow further without compulsory contributions from employees and employers to the affordability of the tax paid scheme.

    What sort of economics involve lack of regard for the value of savings or planning the capacity to meet future demand/need?

  26. Matt says:

    @SPC, 1. No I don’t. The budget outcome is largely irrelevant, surplus/deficit, what matters is the real outcomes from budget/policy decisions. Deficit or surplus, they mean nothing to a sovereign govt. But I suppose, like David Clark, you would say deficits drive up interest rates – which has no empirical backing. WFF is basically a pseudo tax cut, which is discriminatory by nature. Again, a policy decision. They could have done many different things…

    2. Investment returns for who? The fund? Wow, awesome, still no relevance to working NZ’s. Pure speculative gains that could have been better spent. BOP economists are largely irrelevant under fiat operating sovereigns, imports are real benefits and exports are real costs. Trade deficits directly improve our standard of living. Jobs are lost because taxes are too high for a given level of government spending, not because of imports.

    3. No, it never was. And never will be. It’s a construct much like the GBC (government budget constraint) to demonise govt spending that actually improves standards of living.

    4. Savings will ALWAYS be a demand leakage, demanding contributions from citizens merely increases the size of the budget deficit. A nono in your parlance.

    5. Address the point I have posted twice for for now… There is NO nominal constraint on government crediting NZ Super bank accounts, the constraint will always be the REAL capacity of the economy to produce such things that the older generation require.

    6. Previous Labour, and current National policy, UNDERMINE the ability of our economy to do so…