Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > 2013 – The Year that Was

2013 – The Year that Was

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2013

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National – High Point Achievement Award

Staying high in the polls despite controversies; scandals; obvious lies told by it’s Leader; making it harder for first home buyers to own their own home; rising child poverty and inequality; kids eating out of rubbish bins and increasing poverty-related diseases;  damage to our precious image as a “Clean and Green” nation; rampant corporate welfare; ongoing harrassment of welfare beneficiaries; lack of jobs; threatening to kick tenants out of State Housing; cuts to early childhood education; reducing worker’s rights and attacks on Unions; increasing wage gap with Australia; … and on it goes.

New Zealanders must have cast-iron-stomachs to tolerate such a blatantly  anti-Kiwi party that goes so badly against our much-vaunted “fair go” and supposed “egalitarian” nature.

National – Low Point Screw-Up Award

Hard to choose.

There is so much ghastliness from this shabby government – where does one start?

Perhaps this little story, that recently appeared on Radio NZ’s website;

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Pharmacies 'carry cost' of increases

Source

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Perhaps nothing better illustrates the transfer of wealth better than the poorest people having to pay for higher prescription charges, whilst those on higher incomes received a $4 billion tax cut.

Someone had to pay for Key’s generosity, and New Zealand’s poorest and lowest paid workers drew short straws. That is how a wealth transfer occurs; high income earners get a tax cut and low income earners and welfare beneficiaries  get increased user-pays government charges; a rise in GST; and costs for  privatised services.

Meanwhile, the Middle Classes scratch their heads and wonder why the poor can’t put food on their table?

National MP of the Year Award

Maurice Williamson – for his “Big Gay Rainbow” speech.

Priceless.

For that speech alone, he deserves his seat in Parliament.

Labour MP of the Year Award

David Shearer – for grace and courage under fire from those around him; the Left; the Right; the media; et al.

We yearn for decent politicians in Parliament who look, sound, and behave like ordinary Kiwis – but savage them to pieces when we actually get one.

Typical.

NZ First MP of the Year Award

Tracey Martin – one of Parliament’s best kept “secrets”. One to watch out for as her career in politics is on the rise. Recently elevated to Deputy Leader of NZ First, she has the potential to increase her Party’s public approval (once Peters has taken retirement – perhaps in Tauranga?).

She may actually make serious inroads into the left-wing vote…

Green MP of the Year Award

Russell Norman – for calling John Key out as the new Rob Muldoon.

Unerringly accurate.

Maori Party MP of the Year Award

Tariana Turia – for her unceasing battle against Big Tobacco. This woman has more cojones than half of Parliament rolled into one.

It’s a shame she’s resigning. This blogger would love to see her carry on her Associate Health Minister role in a Labour-led government. God knows we need someone of her integrity and determination to stand up to corporate power.

Best Party Policy Award

Mana Party – for it’s Feed The Children Bill. Hone Harawira and his Party managed to forced National to take some action on this problem. It may not be enough, but Mana got the ball rolling.

Mana deserves to be back in Parliament next year. Hopefully with a couple of extra MPs?

Leftwing Blogger of the Year Award

Burnt Out Teacher, on The Daily Blog, for her poignant insights into the teaching profession; the education system; our children; and how National government ministers simply haven’t a clue.

As an example of her brilliant writing, check out her blogposts here.

Honestly, she is bloody good.

Honourable mentions go to blogger Marama Davidson for her deep social conscience and feminist ideals, and Martyn “Bomber”  Bradbury (the latter for trying to herd bloggers cats) for making “The Daily Blog” one of the Left’s most effective tools.

Rightwing blogger of the Year Award

Cameron Slater. Always.

The man is a constant reminder why we carry on the struggle for a saner, fairer, society.

Thank you, Cam. Please don’t ever give up. You’re the best motivational we have.

Most Coherent Rightwinger Award

Matthew Hooton. The guy is scarily rational-sounding. Please god, do not let him take leadership of the ACT Party. Pretty-pleeeaassse! (See previous blogpost: Suggested candidates for new ACT leader)

Runner-up: none. The rest are as mad as a box of cats.

Muppet of the Year Award

Len Brown.

’nuff said.

1st Runner-up: Colin Craig.

Chemtrails. Moon Landing Hoax conspiracy.

Again, ’nuff said.

2nd Runner up: again, Colin Craig. For being daft enough to threaten The Civilian with a law-suit. (Unless… it was a clever conspiracy by Craig to gain more publicity for his Party?! What next – chem-trails in the sky spelling out “Vote Colin Craig in 2014“?!

Naive person of the Year Award

Bevan Chuang.

Dealing with Cameron Slater?! What were you thinking, woman?!?!

Really, Really, Dumb Comment of the Year Award

John Key, on the asset sales referendum,

Well the numbers don’t look like they’re that significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around about 40 per cent.

Source

Key added that the number was  “not absolutely amazing, it’s not overwhelmingly opposed”.

Not “significant”?!

More people voted in the referendum (1,297,281) than voted for National in 2011 ( 1,058,638).

Only an idiot who is hell-bent on losing an election dismisses a voter turn-out that was significantly larger than those who voted for your Party.

It seems that Aaron Gilmore was not the only one who allowed his Tory arrogance to slip out.

Really, Really, Dumb Action of the Year Award

Goes to John Key for taking two ex National Ministers, who supported the 1981 Springbok Tour,  to Nelson Mandela’s funeral – whilst deliberately not inviting any of the anti-Tour leaders of the protest movement.

On top of which, Key then abused Hone Harawira for going to South Africa – and Harawira was actually a part of the anti-Tour leadership!!!

“This is a guy that went to South Africa on a jolly and shouldn’t be billing the taxpayer for it. The bottom line is we took a delegation – whether he likes it or not – that represented, in our view, the right mix. I personally don’t believe there was a role for him to go to South Africa.”

Source

Class act, Mr Key, real classy.

Curious Story of the Year Award

The blockade of our meat exports to China for, ostensibly, “paperwork problems”… (see previous blogposts:   What’s the beef, guv? and Taiwan FTA – Confirmation by TVNZ of China pressuring the Beehive?)

By “coincidence”, at the same time, New Zealand trade officials were also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement deal with Taiwan – which Beijing China considers a renegade province.

Did Beijing flex it’s muscles with a subtle warning of what might happen if the FTA deal went too far? Was the “paperwork problem” a face-saving cover-up by Key’s government?

I believe it was.

Reality Check of the Year Award

Whilst the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) currently has unemployment at 6.2% – the recent Census Survey revealed that true unemployment was actually 7.1%!

So next time the Nats are crowing that unemployment is dropping, just remember, as the old song goes,

“… it ain’t necessarily so!”

See previous blogpost: The REAL level of unemployment

Runner-Up: The same Census revealed that 12.9% of households rely on some form of communication other than landlines: ie, cellphones (see previous blogpost: Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (Part rua).

Which makes the Roy Morgan poll the most accurate, as it is the only one that currently phones respondents on their cellphones. Other pollsters call only landlines.

Stasi Award for the Year

Peter Dunne and John Banks – both of whom voted for the GCSB and Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security (TICS) Bills. New Zealand moved a couple of steps further toward being a policed surveillance state.

The irony of Banks voting for these two Bills should not be lost on us. ACT is supposedly the Party that wants to get government “out of our lives”.

Voting to increase state powers of surveillance and data gathering is anything but.

Epic fail.

Direct Action Award

The chap (chapess?) who left this message on the footpath outside a National MP’s electorate office:  One Dunedinite’s response to the passing of the GCSB Bill…

Direct. Too the point. Nicely done.

John Key Liar of the Year Award

… goes to ****drrrrrumrolllll****

Luigi Wewege!!

For lying about *not* being in a relationship with Bevan  Chuang – and then being sprung by Kiwiblogger, David Farrar. (See: Not in a relationship!)

Hint to Mr Wewege: if you’re going to deny a relationship, make sure you haven’t been Tweeting her with naughty messages. Doh!

Honest Blogging by a Rightwing Blogger Award

This Award is rare as hens-teeth – but this year it is given to David Farrar, for reporting on Luigi Wewege who lied about *not* being in a relationship with Bevan  Chuang (see above).

Good stuff, DPF.

 Spiteful, Hateful, Intemperate, Tosser*Award

To Michael Laws! Ten years in a row – a world record for tossers!

This time, for abusing women who decide to bear, raise, and care for children with Downs Syndrome, instead of aborting them. (See: How human is Michael Laws?)

This was a new personal-best low for Laws, whose humanity is in dire question.

Laws,  you really, really need to STFU.

(*note the acronym)

Runner-Up: Bob Jones, for his bizarre and downright repugnant comments about encouraging someone to commit suicide. (see:  Calling all white, old, rich men who are decent – please rein in your peers!)

Jones was put firmly in his place with this beautifully written blogpost by Sarah Wilson –  What is the cost?

H is for Hypocrite Award

Paula Bennett – for her on-going vendetta against welfare beneficiaries. National’s victimisation of the unemployed, solo-mums, widows, etc, is nothing more than a nasty attempt to blame these people for being out of work.

Yet, when Key, English, or one of their other taxpayer-bloated,  National cronies have to explain why the economy is not doing so well – they refer to the Global Financial Crisis as an excuse.

Of course, when Bennett was on the DPB, she did very, very well out of the system (see previous blogpost: Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy).

Runner-up: National MP and Associate Social Welfare Minister,  Chester Borrows. For aiding and abetting Bennett’s rampage against the poor and the dispossessed (see:   OIA Request points to beneficiary beat-up by Minister Chester Borrows).

Shame on them both.

Victorian Era Bash-The-Poor  Award

Destiny Church co-leader, Hannah Tamaki – for suggesting on an episode of TV3’s The Vote that the poor in New Zealand shouldn’t be complaining if they live in cold, drafty houses and can’t afford heating.

They should all just cuddle up under a blanket.

Well, there y’go! Sorted!

Event of the Year

The death of Nelson Mandela – one of the most inspirational human beings in modern times.

#1 Suggestion to National Leader, John Key

Call an early election.

Lose.

Then feel free to enjoy another holiday in Hawaii.

Permanently.

#1 Suggestion to Labour Leader, David Cunliffe

Nothing would better send a strong message to New Zealanders that child Poverty is a growing crisis in this country, than if you took on the portfolio of Minister for Children.

It would send a message that the welfare and future of this nation’s children is our number one priority. Nothing else is as important.

Quite simply, our children are our future.

Wouldn’t this look good on the door to your new office on the Ninth Floor,

Rt. Hon. David Cunliffe
Prime Minister
Minister for Children

Ticking Time Bomb for the Nats

Increasing child poverty?

Widening wage gap between Aussie and Kiwi workers?

Growing wealth inequality?

Dangerous deep-sea oil prospecting/drilling of our coast?

Stubbornly high housing prices?

Lack of jobs?

Nope. Whilst all those things are growing problems  and a toxic brew for any  government, none of them will bring down the Nats.

But this will;

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Mortgage woe looms

Source

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Further mortgage rate rises 'inevitable'

Source

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Most people can easily become accustomed to a constant ‘diet’ of bad news of poverty, inequality, environmental damage, etc. They aren’t affected by such problems on a day-to-day level.

But as interest rates rise, so will mortgage payments increase  for the middle classes,  and that, people,  will  be a weekly (or fortnightly) reminder. Coupled with low wage growth and rising prices – and home-owners will start to be seriously hurt in their back pockets.

Every week/fortnight.

In their wallets.

This will put a stake through the heart of  Key’s aspirations for as third term.

Dear Leader’s last remaining ‘gloss’ will be stripped away. And all his pathetic attempts to blame the previous  Labour government will be treated with the derisory contempt it deserves.

As always, it will be naked self-interest from the middle classes that undoes this wretched, incompetant government. (A government that can casually throw millions of tax-dollars at Rio Tinto, Warner Bros, Skycity, et al – but seems paralysed – like a possum caught in the glare of approaching headlights –  when it comes to feeding hungry kids at school.)

Self-interest by the middle classes – the central theme of neo-liberalism.

Gotta love the irony.

On a positive note, summer is here; we’ve survived another year of Tory mis-management and Key’s lies; and our economy may start to pick up if Aussie and Chinese markets stay bouyant. Fingers crossed.

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Kiwi-Xmas2anim

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Merry Christmas to one and all!

And Kiwis – vote yourselves a really neat prezzie next year: vote yourselves a new government!

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 26 December 2013.

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References

Radio NZ:  Pharmacies ‘carry cost’ of increases

NZ Herald: Budget 2012: ‘Paper boy tax’ on small earnings stuns Labour

NZ Herald: Norman – Key ‘acting like Muldoon’

TVNZ: Williamson’s ‘big, gay rainbow’ speech makes world headlines

NZ Herald: Peters’ new kid plunges into fray

Radio NZ: Further mortgage rate rises ‘inevitable’

Fairfax media: PM playing down voter turnout

Radio NZ: Key criticises Harawaira for tax-funded trip for Mandela funeral

NZ Herald: Mortgage woe looms

Fairfax media: Wewege denies relationship with Chuang

Kiwiblog: Not in a relationship!

Fairfax media: School breakfasts bill goes before Parliament

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= fs =

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  1. Allyson Lock
    31 December 2013 at 10:33 am

    I think the main problem is, there is not an outstanding alternative to National. I won’t be voting for National at the next election. But I’m honestly having a hard time deciding who else there is to vote for.

    • 31 December 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Only a year left to decide, Allyson… 🙂

      Labour?
      Greens?
      NZ First?
      Mana?

      And National’s allies,
      Peter Dunne?
      Maori Party?

      Plus dozens of other Parties not represented in Parliament such as Colin Craig’s Conservative Party, The Alliance, etc, etc.

      Ah, MMP, we’re spoiled for choice!

  2. Alistair Hill
    31 December 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Dead right on the interest rate rises – and there in lies the nastiest little problems facing New Zealand. Anything that overtly increases an individual’s basic costs (mortgage or taxation) is a political suicide move.

    Aside from the fact that interest rate rises have a shocking effect on the export side of the economy, which is really in no condition to take another currency hit at the moment. But, we also have a foolish love affair with property speculation. The real elephant in the corner is that we have a tax system that encourages property speculation over other forms of investment to such an extent that any attempt to use capital gains tax to rebalance the drastic inequalities inherent in our society is a political killer.

    I really hope that David Cunliffe has got the ability to sell CGT for what it is – necessary and a tax take rebalance away from the rich that will ultimately bring real benefits to all New Zealanders rich and poor alike, because if he can’t we might be condemned to another dose of destructive neo-liberalism.

    • 31 December 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Alistair – indeed. As our interest rates rise, so will the dollar, as foreign speculators buy the Kiwi. That will further kill our export sector and destroy more jobs.

      There have to be ways to build houses for New Zealand families without stoking inflation; increasing the RBNZ OCR; borrowing more from overseas for speculation; and fueling the property bubble/boom.

      I’m leaning toward a state house-building programme where a rent-to-buy process could be implemented as well as the State Housing model. This would lock in prices for new homes; the State retains ownership; and if/when a family moves on (for say new employment elsewhere, or because their family has had new additions), the State simply switches equity from the old property to the new.

      Coupled to a Capital Gains Tax, we have to get away from the boom/bust housing price-cycle. Our private debt is already reaching (surpassed?) Greece-proportions.

      We are headed for B-Day (Bust Day) on this problem.

      • Rae
        1 January 2014 at 12:21 pm

        Yes yes to govt rent-to-buy scheme as it is going to take some serious intervention to re-establish a home owning society, again which to my mind is the cornerstone of a decent society.People who have their own stake in the ground and their own whenua on which to stand just do better than those without, no doubt.
        I fear with current attitudes that it may not happen, and given that this govt wants a more “flexible” work force, I would imagine that one that owns their own homes would be regarded as definitely less flexible

        • 1 January 2014 at 7:02 pm

          I have all but written of this current National-led coalition as utterly hopeless, Rae.

          They aren’t so much interested in housing for New Zealanders as privatising what remains of state housing and implementing short-term, dubious , “solutions” for our housing problems (I refuse to call them “issues”).

          Bill English blames the Reserve Bank for it’s new restrictive policies, which make it harder for first home owners with low deposits, to buy their own home – and yet he himself signed off on the RBNZ policy.

          http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/rbnz-seeks-feedback-low-equity-loan-restrictions-bd-141097

          Therefore, the Reserve Bank’s policy has National’s stamp of approval on it.

          We need State intervention (the State being the community working together through central government) to roll back housing unaffordability and the subsequent lowest home ownership rates in our modern history.

          Otherwise, things will get worse.

  3. Peter Kennedy
    31 December 2013 at 5:16 pm

    1. David Shearer will never get my vote. When he publicly stood up and castigated a beneficiary for painting his roof while he was supposed to be “looking for a job”, that was the final straw for me. It proved how out of touch the Labour Party was with reality. What was the beneficiary supposed to do? Go out and “hire” painters? How was the guy supposed to pay them? Get a “loan”?
    2. The left needs to mobilize now. It needs to cull it’s right wing hangers on from the Douglas/Lange days, and all those who have come on board since with a similar agenda.
    3. As for Tariana Turia, Labour could’ve given everything she had ever wanted and she’d still turn her back on them, such is her hatred of the party over the slight she took at the Foreshore and Seabed Legislation. Expect Whanau Ora to be gone by lunch time, if National get back in, with both Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia steeping down. As for the Maori Party’s much vaunted stance of being in the tent, rather than outside it, all National has ever offered the Maori Party is the merest sprinkling of crumbs.

    • 31 December 2013 at 5:41 pm

      David Shearer will never get my vote. When he publicly stood up and castigated a beneficiary for painting his roof while he was supposed to be “looking for a job”, that was the final straw for me. It proved how out of touch the Labour Party was with reality. What was the beneficiary supposed to do? Go out and “hire” painters? How was the guy supposed to pay them? Get a “loan”?

      Fair point, Peter.

      Expect Whanau Ora to be gone by lunch time, if National get back in, with both Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia steeping down.

      I concur. Which will make their six years of support for the Nats one, great, big, waste of time. At the very least, if the Nats dump Whanau Ora (or, more likely, water it down until it is non-existent), it may serve as a salient lesson for Maori the next time they consider making deals with a National-led coalition.

  4. 8 January 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Frank, re your comment, “I have all but written of this current National-led coalition as utterly hopeless, Rae. They aren’t so much interested in housing for New Zealanders as privatising what remains of state housing and implementing short-term, dubious , “solutions” for our housing problems (I refuse to call them “issues”).”

    You’ve got it sussed. Short term solutions is all National is capable of. For longer term solutions, that it when people elect a Labour government.

  1. 11 February 2014 at 9:26 am
  2. 18 February 2014 at 8:02 am
  3. 27 October 2017 at 7:18 am
  4. 1 November 2017 at 8:00 am

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