Red Alert

New Year Hangover brought to you by the letters N.A.T….

Posted by on January 1st, 2013

If you thought that your hangover was starting to fade, National has made New Year’s Day a cracker for short sighted, unfair and just plain dumb policies to come into force.

Prescription Charges Up. Today is the day prescriptions rise from $3 to $5. Might not seem much from the comfort of Tony Ryall’s viewpoint, but a trip to a pharmacy in any low income area will tell you a different story. Many people struggle to pay for their medicine now, let alone with the price increase. Maryan Street has covered it really well here. Unfair, and just plain wrong.

Student Allowances Abolished for Postgrads. I have covered this a few times on Red Alert, but from today no postgraduate student will be eligible for allowances. Shortsighted, and likely to drive many bright hopes overseas. And so unfair to those in the middle of programmes who had no warning of this from National. Like my constituent who simply can’t afford to complete her Clinical Psychology qualification because even using a student loan she is $75 a week down in “income” and can’t afford to look after her daughter on that. Shame.

No more Kyoto. From today the government has abandoned our commitment to the Kyoto Protocol in favour of our own “voluntary” commitments. We used to be respected in the world for our work on climate change, but National has systematically undermined that through changes to ETS and now this. Our reputation with small island states will take a major hit. We are now seen as not only not a leader, but not even doing our fair share.

In fairness today also marks another increase in tax on tobacco. Labour supports this, as the international evidence shows price is one of the most successful ways of stopping people smoking. But it has to go along with access to other treatments to help people kick their addiction.

So, its Happy New Year from National. But actually I am feeling really positive today. 2013 will be the year we see New Zealanders come together to find a fairer, more hopeful and compassionate future for our country. That is Labour’s way and that is our goal.

26 Responses to “New Year Hangover brought to you by the letters N.A.T….”

  1. GeoffC says:

    So what is our beloved labour party going to?
    More micro social policies tinkering or something long term ?
    We lag behind other developed countries in some policies fiscal and monetary .
    Oh and happy new year to all those who wana engage I. Meaningful dialogue

  2. Grant Robertson says:

    Hey Geoff. In terms of fiscal and monetary policies, Labour has some clear and very differentiated policies. This speech from last year covers a fair few of them.

  3. GeoffC says:

    How about 38 degrees and locality organisations that are providing input outa the UK.
    How about a tax on hot money short term investment money.
    What’s the plan for the next ten years when we face our own fiscal cliff.
    64 billiion dollars borrowed. Y the Tories just to stay afloat.
    How is labour going to shore up the economy?
    How I ask is central govt with its slow rusty levers going to get the cash to solve all these issues.
    The people of new Zealand want a plan, a concise costed plan to recovery, the middle want solutions, solid governance and vision a boldness away from orthodoxy staid failure of the market driven neo
    In experiment to one where ALL benefit.
    Sleepy old new Zealand is lagging behind in the transition phase to something else…other countries are testing transitional policies now…

  4. well, well, well says:

    Pleased to see we are out of Kyoto. It is a dog we should never hve attached ourselves to.

  5. GeoffC says:

    @ well well well
    Thanks for your opinion there jack…now how about why?
    What’s your solution to this complex issue?
    Do you understand the implications of no controls?
    Without being rude a statement without any understanding has a label attached to it.
    So if I may, is it right or fair that carbon polluters have little controls over their activities that endanger the community. Do you like pollution that is causing such damage.
    Challenge ortodoxical dogmatic ideological statements and actions.
    The poor poor individual in society is dumbed down, tuned out, and turned off…time for labour to reconnect, to provide a mechanism that will stop the rotting of society.

  6. Jackryan says:

    Grant, honestly the postgraduate issue is politics and not a significant social or education issue. Those who you suggest are the ‘best and brightes’ can get one of the many scholarships out there, especially minorities. If you have not assisted your clinical psychologist in this than you have not given her the best advice you could give. Going overseas is not going to help any kiwi, they will not be able to access the subsidised costs and are better off getting a loan in NZ or just going into the workforce. Even those not deemed ‘best and brightest’ can get an industry scholarship in areas where demand exceeds supply. If you wish to discuss this more please head down to the University of Canterbury graduation on the 17th April and we can discuss this more.

  7. Nick K says:

    So, is your student mother who cannot afford to fund her postgrad studies suddenly going to be able to afford an airfare to Australia?

  8. bbfloyd says:

    “Those who you suggest are the ‘best and brightes’ can get one of the many scholarships out there, especially minorities”

    So how many thousand scholarships are there to choose from? Enough for every one of those wanting to study, and who are bright enough to deserve one?

    Oh. I know…Lets have a game show to see who gets one. It can be sponsored by one of the people freindly multi national corporations that own most of our economy…

    Good television as well… It could be run along “idol” lines… Having each prospective student show why they should get it…to be voted on by the viewers.

    Too bad about the thousands that miss out on their scholarship, but hey, they came up short on the day… and watching them compete with each other for the right to study is instructive to those still at primary/secondary school… Gives them time to prepare their strategy for the show…

  9. SPC says:

    NickK – the singles will go to Oz, the ones stuck here will remain on welfare support or in low paid work.

    Jack Ryan – the point is they cannot afford to support themselves off the living cost component of the loan. Are there really industry scholarships in that many areas – social work, psychology, teaching, nursing, … ?

    The real result of the end of post graduate student allowances is that those from homes where there is not the means to financially support them will

    1. not commit to do any study. Many will simply go to Oz where the unskilled work is paid well enough to offer something.

    2A. those who do under graduate study will then go onto Oz to work for the better pay. Maybe with enough savings, then come back to complete their post graduate study – using the living cost component off their loan. Then going back to Oz to work.

    2B. But some who go to Oz after completing under graduate study will opt for an extra years work and then do their post graduate study there (maybe with some well paid part-time work).

    The policy really exposes the end of the Tory pretence to support equality of opportunity to all through education.

  10. Jack Ryan says:

    Bb Why should we fund every person who wants to be a postgrad? Even before the GFC NZ was producing more graduates than it needed. Way too many universities and graduates right now. You do understand the difference between wants and needs right?

  11. SPC says:

    And if places are rationed according to who can afford to continue to study, then we do not have a meritocracy based on equality of opportunity do we.

  12. Red Guard says:

    Excellent point made SPC, closing off further opportnities to our brightest is simply not clever; it is however short term and sending a rather curious message.
    What however is of more significance here is the Tories further erosion of health care provision to our most vulnerable, a $2 increase may not mean alot; however for those on low and fixed incomes, it will be yet more re-prioritising of an increasingly under pressure budget.
    For taxperyers in general, it may mean a little less pressure off the costs of preventative measures, however in the long term inevitably resulting in higher intervention costs.

  13. GeoffC says:

    Simple elitism with a tokenism thrown iin for good measure.
    Post grad of any type not only provide higher education, a stimuli on societal i influencers and directors but provides opportunity to extract oneself out of the mire that our society has become.
    Is our beloved country come to this that we sell places at university etc,
    No hope for the masses, time for a complete system change where the money flows but I the right direction.

  14. Jack Ryan says:

    Right now there are doctoral graduates coming out without a job. I saw a CV the other day and applicant was doing call centre work. How disenhartening after 3-4 years of study not being able to get a job in their research area. I can’t see under any system unless people are just employeed not matter the cost, how this can continue and be good for NZ. All the pots here are all forgetting the fact that there are no positions for the thousands of graduates coming out. Meritocracy or not, if there are no jobs then all we are funding is other countries work force.

  15. SPC says:

    Jack, it’s ridiculous to think that the answer is to make it more difficult for people leaving school during economic downturns to get an education. You cannot just turn the tap on and off, that means there are people who have opportunities being closed off to them. And what exactly is the problem with providing means to the children of New Zealanders to do well overseas? A country is not a mercenary corporation looking at making a profit from its people. Kennedy was wrong, it’s not about people serving their country it’s about a country serving its citizens well-being.

  16. GeoffC says:

    Regarding Kyoto climate change, interesting article post on TS.
    Also reread a speech by Cunliffe “dolphins and dole ques”
    Brave brave speech signalling a new direction with actions.
    Is this signalled direction regarding climate etc by cunliffe also Part of the LP new direction.?
    The public are ready, are the beltway ready to engage and lead?

  17. SheepDog says:

    The sheep! They are awakening!

    Oh, no,

    they are not.

    Back to the grazing nothing to see here.

  18. GeoffC says:

    @ sheepdog interesting analogue please feel free to explain your point more…bit dull otherwise of wise sheep herder.

  19. bbfloyd says:

    @jack… So you agree that the government is failing to ensure a level of investment/leadership in the country that they are supposed to be representing that would allow highly educated, and intelligent people to be able to remain in New Zealand, and contribute their expertise to the mix here…

    You understand, of course, that a small minority of students pursue post graduate studies, therefore, denying a percentage of those aspirants access to that opportunity based on ability to pay is not only elitist descrimination, but ultimately self defeating….

    You, of course, do understand that using the fact that the raiding party has failed utterly to do what they trumpeted in 2008, and 2011? as in provide the conditions that would have the numbers of our “best and brightest” not having to leave to pursue careers overseas, permanently in most cases, is doing no more than making excusees for incompetence, and corruption?

    Surely, you understand just how badly we have been let down, and just how much of our future has been hollowed out when highly educated, and intelligent men, and women can only get “call center” jobs?

    Pointing to that situation as an excuse to cut access to higher education in the fashion that it has is short sighted, bigoted, and exposes a political outlook based on expedience.

    Those of us who really care that our children, and grandchildren have the same opportunities that we, and our parents, and grandparents had, understand that without the opportunities to reach ones potential made available to any but the wealthiest, then our chances of being able to build on what has gone before is lost…

    Do people really hate being part of the great egalitarian experiment so much that they would rend the fabric of our, very young, society so willingly, and without a thought for the future?

    The question in my mind right now… Are we turning into a nation of self absorbed, ingnorant rednecks, or is it me who is being naive, and this is what New Zealanders have always been?

  20. GeoffC says:

    One wonders if our best and brightest free thinkers have long ago left our fair shores in search of the base dollar lessening our creative pool of thinkers. People who create challenge explore..well we have grant Robertson and his cricket commemtary I guess.
    Time for mediocracy to give way and let NZ find its progressive bold new pathway.

  21. bbfloyd says:

    “One wonders if our best and brightest free thinkers have long ago left our fair shores in search of the base dollar”..

    A largely accurate assessment geoff… Although, a lot of the highly intelligent, and succesful kiwis I came across while playing on the circuit in australia were there not just for the money, but for the opportunity to pursue careers in their fields of expertise..It was referred to repearedly as having a “quality of life” that they were never going to enjoy in New Zealand.

    Something successive tory administrations seem to be either unable, or unwilling to even acknowledge, let alone actually have a response to… Generally, they are too busy ensuring a smooth transfer of wealth from the poor, to the rich..

    Understandable when one considers that their only reason for existence is to regather the wealth “stolen” from their owners descendants by those evil socialists, and given to undeserving wage slaves…

  22. GeoffC says:

    On topic…I ponder after the nethuisouth held in dunners that the labour party adobt modifies the methodology of intra connectiveness and organise a policy hui type event that bring together all interested and relevant parties individual and organisation to interact, to organise, and to provide input on the labour new direction and it’s policy platform whilst strengthening the isolated actors within society.

  23. bbfloyd says:

    @geoff..That sounds dangerously like socialism, or Gasp!, collectivism… You know that’s a pathway to communism, don’t you? it’s in all the pamphlets…Expect the knock on the door any day now…

    I can see it giving a batter chance of the party reaching “true” consensus on policy, and longer term consensus at that…I can envisage it would be very difficult, or at least a long winded, process to change policy once the “thrashing out” stage has evolved into resolution…

    Ideally, if the process works as well as possible, then alterations to policy can take on a largely evolutionary aspect. If evolution is our existential reality, then we are fools to think we can usurp that process without consequences..

    Ah well….If we’re going to insist on calling it a democracy, then we should at least operate it like one is supposed to be…..give the electorate the tools to contribute to the decisionmaking process…right on !

  24. GeoffC says:

    Hmmm no more like reconnecting to the community in a active manner, progressive maybe.
    Perception imagery outdated language with imbedded meanings.
    Is our society for people or simple at the whim of the big faceless mega corporation overseas owned and able to dictate to us kiwis,
    Progressive open govt inclusive that provides a wider opportunity for the community to become involved and influence labour new direction.
    There fify.

  25. bbfloyd says:

    @geoff.. actually, the first paragraph was an attempt at a joke..(I know, dry doesn’t translate well in print)..

    I was actually agreeing with you… But thanks for the clarification anyway…You’re right. “give the electorate the tools to contribute to the decisionmaking process”..

    “new direction”? Why? What is wrong with a return to a labour party that was once a collective of like minds, that used to thrash out party policy on the conference floor every year, and one which took note of the rank and file membership?

    That’s not “new”, but simply something lost, that now is becoming found again.

    Of course, evolving a modern approach to what was a traditional mechanism is a sensible, and realistic response, given that the realities we face today have evolved since the drift away from the days of open policy debate..

  26. GeoffC says:

    In the wide middle labour has a dualopoly mixed message perception issue.
    Old style being socialist red under the bed raise tax robin hood style to middle age polarised issues captured party by interest groups.
    New modern progressive, social democratic, centre left of wide moving dynamic centre area.
    Opportunity, equality, growth, hands on job creation.
    New direction is a rebranding or recapulating the message into modern meaningful term away from any negative perceptions of the middle or margins.
    The electorate is desperate for leadership, desperate for hope, desperate for a new direction away from profit driven market driven corporate business first me me me neo lib invest cap.
    Soo our beloved catch all party must be just that…a reinvent itselft into a modern progressive social dem party, open free mad connected.
    It must make a stand for its core beliefs but by using modern language that can’t be twisted spun or lacks bite.
    Me, I am promoting open govt policy regional hub hui that similar to net hui south.
    Open free dynamic community involved and connected with real outcomes.
    Bring the people to govt as govt isn’t going to the people.