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Democrats almost as incompetent as Labour

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A couple of years ago I offered to help my eldest son pay off the balance of his university loans instead of just chewing it down slowly via the IRD. He thanked me but said he was confident that the Labour government would wipe his loan sooner or later.

Looks like he might be right, assuming a desperate Ardern Labour government in 2023 decides to copy the Hail Mary pass the Biden Administration has just chucked for the upcoming Mid-term elections:

The Biden administration is canceling up to $20,000 in student debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for individual borrowers who make under $125,000 per year, and it’s extending the pause on repayments by four months, the White House announced on Wednesday.

As the Powerline folks point out, this is terrible public policy:

It is cynical beyond belief. Take a hint from the extension of the repayment obligation through to the month following the November elections. It is also incredibly unfair to citizens who have foregone college or paid their debts. Making honest citizens feel like chumps should be beyond the bounds.

Young voters tend to drop off a lot in mid-term elections but this should motivate the ones with student loans. As none other than famous Liberal polling analyst, Nate Silver points out, there’s more cynicism here:

The legal boundaries it pushes also shows how much the Democrats care about laws; it’s based on the outrageous legal stunt of using a 2003 law passed in the wake of 9/11 – the HEROES Act – that allows for the Department of Education to waive or modify student aid programs to respond to national emergencies. But that was aimed at military reservists who might be pulled out of university to serve. In this case the national emergency is the one that was declared around General Tso’s Sickness and which the Administration will be in no hurry to remove. As Nancy Pelosi said on the subject a couple of years ago:

People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an Act of Congress

Still, Franklin Roosevelt invoked the World War I-era Trading With the Enemy Act as legal ground for his “bank holiday.” in 1933 and Obama said on twenty two occasions that he did not have the power to screw the immigration laws – and then went right ahead and did it anyway. His decision is still in place. Same here. Pelosi announced the other day that she’s changed her mind on this, because of course.

But it gets worse:

A new model just published by the prestigious — and non-partisan — Penn-Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania shows that rather than the $300 billion number being thrown around by Democrats as the cost of the student debt bailout plan, the true cost is at least $519 billion for debt cancellation alone. And there are other factors to consider, making the total cost of the plan at least $605 billion and perhaps as much as $1 trillion.

And then worse, courtesy of the US Department of Education:

The White House doesn’t know exactly how many eligible borrowers will actually end up applying for loan forgiveness — or how much it will cost.

The Education Department hasn’t yet released the website where people can apply for loan forgiveness by attesting that they meet the income requirement — and it’s still unclear when that will be released, a person familiar with the matter tells Axios.

“It’s an understaffed and overcommitted organization,” Charlie Eaton, a UC Merced associate professor of sociology and student loan expert, tells Axios.

Now that truly sounds like Labour here. Did anyone in the Biden Administration actually ask any questions as to how this was going to work in practice? How can you fire up a bureaucracy that fast for something that’s only going to end in a few months?

There are two cynical takes on this; either it’s merely step 2 for wiping all student loans (earlier steps were around postponing repayments); or it’s just an election ploy that will be forgotten soon after?

Still, I can’t help wondering if Biden’s advisors have totally failed to read the room when you read stuff like this, Student Loan Forgiveness Is Left-Wing Trickle-Down Economics.

I’m a blue-collar worker, and when I talk to other blue collar workers about student loan forgiveness, it’s one of those subjects where no one disagrees. It gets a resounding, 100 percent “Hell no!” every time it comes up.

This isn’t because we’re anti-college. Most of the folks I work with and talk to have kids in college or have kids that graduated college. But if you ask if college students’ loans should be paid off by taxpayers, the answer is always the same: No way.

Unlike progressives, we don’t see student debt cancelation as an avenue out of poverty. We see it as a tax on those of us who chose not to go to college, who now have to pay for those who already got a big advantage in the labor market by way of their degree.

Or watch this sarcastic advertisement that’s already running.

Biden will get the vote of every person with a degree in Gender Studies who can’t find a job that can pay off the stupid ripoff cost of the university that provided it. But that’s a lot less than the numbers of working class people.

Back to the implications of this for NZ. A few months ago fellow blogger Nick K assured me that the government would not wipe a multi-billion dollar asset (recall that loans are assets for the lender) and I replied that it was merely a line item in this government’s current $133 billion budget spend up. so why wouldn’t they do so in order to get the votes?

Written by Tom Hunter

August 29, 2022 at 6:00 am

The Abuse of The State

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Although I don’t focus on NZ politics I think it’s the job of every blog to support other blogs when there is common ground and when something needs to be pushed and gets buried by the MSM, or at least most of them.

In this case my support goes to a post by “Bomber” Bradbury over at The Daily Blog and his links to a story by journalist Aaron Smale at Newsroom, Officials’ finger pointing over abuse scandals:

Today the country’s top public servant fronts up at the Royal Commission into abuse in state care. Aaron Smale argues that an odd attempt to warn off a blogger from criticism of the social development ministry shows how raw the nerves are at the highest levels in Wellington.

I was recently phoned by blogger Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury with a query. He’d been getting some heat from the press secretary of Public Services Commission boss Peter Hughes. But it wasn’t Bomber’s own words that were getting him unwelcome attention. It was words I’d written and Bradbury had directly quoted that were stirring up concern in the office of the country’s top bureaucrat.

Over to “Bomber”, who shows the email he got from the PSC, hauling him up on these “false statements”. According to Smale, Bradbury was a bit worried at first about legal exposure, hence his check back to Smale, who revealed that nobody had contacted him to challenge the story. Bradbury promptly demonstrated why he got his nickname in his response back to the PSC:

The fucking ‘incorrect sentence’ is a direct quote from another bloody news story.

Are you saying that you have contacted Stuff, challenged them on this sentence and they have in response to your challenge corrected the sentence and that I am in fact using an uncorrected version of the original news story?

Now why would you be harassing me over a story quoted in another paper unless you knew you didn’t have a leg to stand on and know that no one read the original story back in February but fear my constant repetition of it might catch alight?

See, now you really are starting to attract my attention.

You pulled this stunt with Waatea, you pulled this stunt with me, I think you also tried it on with my podcast.

See, now you really do have my attention.

State Services goon attempts to gag blogger from highlighting disgraceful MSD tactics of the past   

That works for me as a title.

What do you think?

As an aside he keeps referring to Oranga Tamariki as a “the neoliberal welfare experiment” and I’m not sure why? It sounds like just the usual Socialist hair-on-fire propaganda, as I thought OT was just another useless government department? I’ll look to our readers to explain, if possible.

Then there’s this news about an anti-euthanasia group that was holding a silent protest in Parliament during the debate over that bill

Without any prior warning, a Parliamentary security guard began rudely demanding that we leave the Parliament building immediately under the urgent order of Trevor Mallard. Remember, we had not done anything illegal, we had not done anything disruptive, and we were there as guests of a sitting MP.

None of that mattered to Trevor Mallard, who quickly appeared in person to reinforce his eviction of a small and peaceful group of disabled and terminally ill New Zealand citizens.

I watched stunned, as Trevor Mallard stood over a woman with terminal brain cancer, and berated her with a raised voice, threatening her with a trespass notice as she sat in her wheelchair, made powerless and with eyes watering.

Which then gets worse:

I immediately made phone contact with journalists from 1NEWS and the NZ Herald, both of whom indicated that the Parliamentary press gallery was aware that something serious had just transpired in Parliament. They also told me that they were keen to come down and interview us, but they would just need to clear it with their editors first.

An hour later, after hearing nothing further from either journalist, I contacted them for a second time. It was then that I was told that their editors had refused them permission to report on the incident.

I have to admit that, having read that last story before reading “Bomber’s”, it was a sick joke to read the last line in his TDB article:

The Daily Blog – telling the State to fuck off since 2013.

Sure, sure. Telling it to fuck off while constantly making it bigger and more powerful. What’s the old saying – If Only Stalin Knew!

From Garrick Tremain’s website:

Written by Tom Hunter

August 27, 2022 at 6:00 am

24 HOURS IN POLITICS A LONG TIME … A WEEK AN ETERNITY

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Been in Christchurch this week doing God’s work. Won’t bore you with the saga around my getting home … suffice to say I got through much like the ‘Message to Garcia’.

Come Tuesday Dr Sharma will be expelled from the Labour caucus. I think there is also an even chance that Labour will invoke the Waka jumping legislation to force his exit from parliament. Big call that but Sharma has done the unforgivable … he has embarrassed the PM and thrown mud at her by claiming that Labour MPs had been schooled by the PM’s office on the need to circumvent the OIA and how to do it … and one suspects there’s more to come. Clearly Sharma, while exhibiting a touching naivete about the realities of life as a backbencher, is not about to go quietly and one wonders if the next thing we’re about to see is an application for a judicial review of the decision to suspend him from caucus alleging a breach of natural justice given that it is now confirmed there was a secret meeting held the night before the caucus meeting (to which Sharma was not invited) which determined the outcome of the caucus meeting which was a fait accompli.

One thing more … Sharma, unlike many Labour caucus drones, actually has a calling to fall back on. He doesn’t depend on his parliamentary salary for a livelihood. Labour doesn’t own him and clearly Sharma doesn’t see himself as owing anything to Labour. Whatever, Hamilton West will now be firmly in National’s sights.

And then to cap it all off the news that the Crown is to appeal the decision in the NZ First Foundation case. One wonders if David Parker as the Attorney-General was briefed on the matter and gave his consent (either by commission or omission). I’m sure WRP will be have a view on this. Clearly there’s more water to flow under the bridge and this will continue to be a millstone around Winston First’s neck.

Written by The Veteran

August 20, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Posted in NZ Labour Party, NZ Politics

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A plague on both your houses!

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The discussion of our terrible housing market – especially the massive and relentless rise in house prices over many years now – is one I’m used to hearing often from the friends of my kids. In fact one of them joked a year ago in Wellington that when she’s at some party and doesn’t know anybody, a sure-fire conversation starter is to talk about how her Generation, Gen Z, may well be screwed when it comes to buying a house, especially those who lack the Bank of Mum and Dad.

Yet as is often the case, it takes the perspective of a foreigner to really bring home the news of just how bad things are. In this case via a Canadian who tried – and failed – to get a foothold here in NZ, New Zealand shows how a housing crisis can become a catastrophe:

I arrived in New Zealand’s capital of Wellington in early 2020 with my fiancée, a New Zealander, to buy a house and start a family. We knew that the Pacific country’s overheated housing market would be a challenge, but we’d lived in Toronto and Vancouver. We considered ourselves prepared. We’d soon learn that New Zealand’s housing problems are similar to Canada’s, just much worse.

Having scrimped and saved for years in Canada, and with a slightly stronger currency to exhange, they decide to have a crack at $750,000 place, all 800 square feet of it with a miserable commute, no backyard, no parking spaces, no grocery store and in one of our worst areas for socio-economic deprivation.

An adviser looked at our bank balances and asked if we were expecting a large donation from family. Our smiles faded. Without at least 20 per cent down, the bank wouldn’t even look at our application papers. A year later, we tried again with the help of a mortgage broker. The result was the same, but house prices had soared by 50 per cent. We started packing our bags for Montreal, which still has relatively affordable homes.

Admittedly he’s a journalist so no great loss for New Zealand, but there are plenty of brighter and more valuable people – and ones younger than him – who are making the same decision. As he puts it:

When my fiancée and I decided to announce we were leaving New Zealand toreturn to Canada, I prepared myself for awkward conversations. I needn’t have worried. Most of our friends beat us to the punch with their own plans to leave, turning the first months of 2022 into a long going-away party. For those who remained, the conversation boiled down to one question: “It’s the housing, isn’t it?”

For those who love history, here’s the bipartisan aspect to this disaster.

Yes, I know that John Key and National were stymied over changing the Resource Management Act by Peter Dunne, but I’ve always had three problems with that excuse.

First, that attempt was not made until late in the Key Administration. A government of National and ACT alone (National/ACT had 63 seats between them) could have made the changes in his first term as PM between 2008-2011.

Second, Key worked on Wall Street and made a fortune. He also ruled the National Party well (preventing Jamie Lee Ross incidents or killing them off quickly if they did happen, re Richard Worthless). Yet we’re supposed to accept that that he didn’t know how to apply a blowtorch to the soft and squishy lower reaches of that preening wanker, Peter Dunne, and others?

Third, in any case the housing crisis is driven by more than just one factor in the form of the RMA, and none of those others were addressed by National either.

In 2017 I thought that Labour’s Phil Twyford had some good ideas for getting the housing market to work better, especially the parts that have driven city land prices, which is the primary component of the overall house price insanity.

But those ideas all vanished and he was left holding a typical Labour/Left Big Government solution in the form of the ill-fated Kiwibuild.

I suspect that the real reason that National and Labour are so helpless in the face of this market failure is that house values now constitute such a part of our “wealth” – feeding our consumerism via increased borrowing against the rising value of housing – and are the only investment in New Zealand that’s “safe”. Dropping those values to levels that are more affordable for young people, let alone crashing them back to where they should be in terms of wage and salaries, would incredibly economically damaging to too many people.

Especially the people who got on board this gravy train years again, like the Boomers and Gen X’rs like me. People who vote. BY contrast this is what our kids and grandkids are facing, courtesy of Michael Reddell’s updated analysis of housing costs in New Zealand, especially in relation to incomes and Price/income ratios, with the key insight:

At best, it takes 33 years for price/income ratios to get back to three – the sort of ratio seen in large chunks of the US, in cities large and small. At best, it would take almost a quarter of a century to get back to a price/income ratio of four.

Frankly I can no longer see this being resolved, given that, as Michael Reddell points out, both the leaders of the National and Labour Parties have said that significant price drops – say 25% – would not be acceptable.

Why? It would simply put us back two years. Although buyers in the last two years would be looking at negative equity, that’s a temporary situation that can be worked out of and has been in the past.

If you’re not willing to unwind a clearly screwed-up marketplace by even a small amount because some recent entrants will feel some (book-value) pain then you’re basically admitting that the current situation of relentless and ever larger price increases will continue, which will lock out a lot more potential entrants, particularly the young. The graph above is a “best-case” scenario if price drops are not permitted – and it shows an awful situation for people wanting to enter the housing market.

In a sense our housing market has become rather like any welfare system or drug addiction: the more people who are hooked on it the less chance there is of changing it. The only difference is that with housing it’s the newest entrants who have the most to lose.

Which means that what we have here is a Ponzi scheme, and they never end well. But they do end, irrespective of the authorities.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 15, 2022 at 4:09 pm

IT’S ALL IN THE PRESENTATION

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From over at Kiwiblog the revelation that fewer than 50% of pupils are attending school on a regular basis. Worse for Maori at 33% and worse still for Pacifica at 30%.

No doubt we will shortly see a breathless announcement from the Beehive that Labour has made good on its promise to reduce class sizes.

It’s all in the presentation.

Written by The Veteran

July 26, 2022 at 2:49 pm

2000 dead

with 11 comments

“So, uh, yeah, just going to leave this here, then

So it was said a long two years ago.

Together with this gloating Tweet from some Jacinda worshiper at the time.

Today’s numbers.

And of course the people dying now are exactly the same sort of people we knew in January 2020 that this thing targeted:

Six were in their 70s, five were in their 80s and five were aged over 90.

As it has been for months now. It’s almost as if General Tso’s Sickness is merely a substitute for the normal 500-700 flu deaths we get annually, plus those who die from pneumonia, otherwise known as “Old People’s Friend”. The suppression of such deaths in 2020 and 2021 is likely also feeding these current numbers, as is often seen with excess mortality from year to year around the world.

Gee, I guess that since we’ve maxed out on the lockdown strategy – simply because we’re so broken and exhausted by the previous ones – social distancing is gone, and since it’s hard to see how we could force our already “world class” vaccine rates any higher, I guess it’s back to masks, masks, and more masks, especially for school children – right Professor Baker?

And as I predicted in October, 2021…

We’ve already noticed that, as the bad news of rising cases began to turn up, Jacinda and her team were quick to pull her from the daily Podium Of Truth, leaving it to her minions to deliver the news… At some point soon I suspect that Adern and company will not even bother talking about the vaccination rate, and if questions about either it or case numbers are mentioned, they’ll just waffle around them…To do otherwise would be to take numbers that have been useful to the government so far – case numbers and vax rates – and watch them be steadily turned against the government…

… is this news from the MOH:

…the ministry can now start reporting on people hospitalised where the main reason they’re in hospital is due to Covid-19 or with Covid-19 as a contributor.

They will be making a similar change to deaths reporting, away from all people who have died within 28 days of a Covid-19 infection to people who have died because of a Covid-19 infection or where it was a contributing factor.

Which will automatically drop the numbers from the ones quoted in the RNZ reports, although they may stick to the numbers counted under the original definition. You’ll also note that this daily news item is no longer top-of-page material but buried much farther down in scrolling or even having to be searched for, which fits with both it becoming “boring” background news, and also not hurting their precious Labour government.

DE RIGUEUR IN ZIMBABWE AND NOW NEW ZEALAND

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Suggest you look at this explosive piece by Victoria O’Brien exposing the tangled links between Nanaia Muhuta (Minister of Local Government and Associate Minister of Maori Development), her sister Tipa Muhata (Co-chair of the Maori Advisory Group, part of Three Waters; Co-chair of the Waikato River Authority; Co-chair of the Maori Health Authority; Member of the Waikato Regional Council and Member of Te Maruata (sub-committee of Local Government New Zealand which advises on local government policies and legislation) and Gannin Ormsby, Nanaia Muhuta’s first cousin and husband, now outed as a convicted criminal; director and sole shareholder of Ka Awatea Servies Ltd which works with central and local government to provide business opportunities for Maori as well as advising on regulatory functions and a government appointee to the expert panel charged with developing a waste strategy for the country … this all reads like something out of the Mugabe family history.

The response from the Beehive was to deny any suggestion of nepotism with the standard ‘nothing to see here, move on’ … that Nanaia Mahuta had recused herself from the appointment process which was all above board and in accordance with the Cabinet Manual ………. hmmmmmmmmm. But in a follow-up article here O’Brien exposes discrepancies in the Minister’s answers to a raft of QRAs (questions for written answer) submitted by National’s Paul Goldsmith and Simeon Brown and ACTs David Seymour regarding her involvement in the appointment process. On 6 July Simeon Brown lodged a further seven QRAs regarding Mahuta’s involvement. To date … silence.

But the problem is not just with the Mahuta family. This from Bryce Edwards … no friend of the ‘right’. Quote … The most recent government appointment controversy has been about Matthew Tukaki’s role as head of the panel advising on reform of Oranga Tamariki. It turns out that Tukaki’s CV and claimed attributes were less than accurate, and that Government never actually checked these claims before appointing him. Kelvin Davis, the Minister for Oranga Tamariki, has responded to this revelation by explaining that he already knew the candidate, and “we just trusted in what they had done, and I’d heard about the stuff he’d done apparently overseas. He was also the head of the Māori Council”. In response, the New Zealand Māori Council disputed the claim that Tukaki was ever their head … unquote.

Edwards went on to say quote … The farcical mini-scandal has continued, with fresh revelations that although Tukaki was being paid $1000 a day for his services to Oranga Tamariki he had also erroneously billed and been paid an extra $60,000 (since repaid). And just a few days ago Tukaki was appointed as the Director of the Suicide Prevention Office … unquote.

More disturbing perhaps the fact that Davis went as far as to claim Edwards was being racist in exposing this quote … He’s being condemned for being highly successful and some people don’t like that. Some people, don’t like the uppity Māori but I can’t fault his work … unquote. So, in Kelvin’s brave new world, any criticism of Maori is to be seen as red-neck racism. Give me feekin strength … I know any number of good Maori New Zealanders who are shaking their collective heads over what this government is doing to tarnish the name of Maoridom.

Many of you will recall how Labour, when in opposition, went apoplectic at the news that Conor English (brother of BIll English) had been appointed as an Independent Advisor to the Reserve Bank on monetary policy or the revelation that following Ian Fletcher’s appointment to head the NZSIS it transpired that John Key’s mother was best friends to Ian Fletcher’s mother and that Key went to school with his brother. The MSM had a field day. Shock horror indeed. But of the shenanigans outlined above not so much … amazing what $55m buys. Robert Mulgabe will be cheering from the furnace.

Written by The Veteran

July 23, 2022 at 4:31 pm

Posted in New Zealand, NZ Labour Party

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NO COMMENT NEEDED

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Written by The Veteran

July 22, 2022 at 3:02 pm

Tax is Love

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Since the MSM have given up on any satire, mockery or humour in general if it attacks Left-wing ideology and political parties, it seems to me that it is the duty of the blogosphere and social media to spread such humour far and wide in compensation.

Herewith a wonderful piece from Dr Bryce Wilkinson at the NZ Initiative, which I’m sure they won’t mind having repeated in full.


THE BEEHIVE REBUTS MISPLACED FEARS

We in the Beehive are aware of some unfounded dissatisfaction amongst the great unwashed.

There are stories of a health system in crisis. This is not so. If it were, we would have told you.

The real emergency is, as everyone knows, climate change. Think not of hospital shortages today. Think instead of all those who are going to drown in 2100 because they did not notice sea-level rise. Subsidies for electric cars are more important than yet more money for hospitals.

There are also stories that the amalgamation of Polytechnics has destroyed their creativity and independence.

This is absurd. Our new structure has at least 21 people with “chief executive” in their titles. The 21 oversee the chief executives of the 16 polytechnics. What chief executive would not welcome such support?

Some are complaining that the top boss is earning $13,000 a week while on ‘special’ leave. That is what we call a fair go for the ordinary bloke. Others can learn from it.

School truancy. Another problem inherited from the other lot. What everyone is missing is how much worse it would be if parents were paying directly for their truant children. Private schools are the pits.

Some are concerned that around 40% of school leavers are barely literate. Will they be able to pay enough in taxes to support our retirement? Perhaps not, but again think of how much worse it would be if parents had greater school choice.

We had to shut down partnership schools because too many parents did not understand that state schools were best. Imagine if we told parents which schools were poor performers. There would be chaotic disruption. People need government to protect them from themselves.

There are stories that people are feeling unsafe in the streets. There are shootings. It is said that police are powerless to prevent reoffending by ten-year olds because of the laws protecting minors. Nor can they do much about hardened criminals given our lenient courts. Our judges even struck out Parliament’s three strikes legislation, before we did. If they do not understand our constitution, who does?

All such complaints are unkind. You are paying for approaching 450,000 public sector employees who wake up each morning thinking only of how they can best help you each day.

Our excellent governance arrangements ensure nothing stands in their way.

Tax is love. Enjoy its fruits.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 20, 2022 at 2:14 pm

BEING PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION

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As the country struggles to come to grips with inflation at a level not seen since the dying days of the deeply flawed Lange Labour government their nice Mr Robertson, in an astonishing outburst of chutzpah, declared there was nothing to see here … that our economic fundamentals were sound. Cynics might suggest that the Titanic too was declared unsinkable.

The sixth Labour government has distinguished itself by its wholehearted and enthusiastic embracing of Social Credits A + B theorem and the notion that the country can print its way to prosperity. And now they’ve been caught out, possum like in the headlights, and reduced to saying ‘its not our fault’.

When you live by the sword you die by the sword and the day of reckoning is fast approaching. This government has no solutions (only band aide ones). It’s failing on just about every metric that matters … the economy, on health, an education system going backwards, on productivity, on competitiveness and on law and order with the result that our best and brightest are lining up to flee the country for a better life. It is a reactive government, devoid of ideas, presiding over a bloated bureaucracy, driven by inertia.

It is truly part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Written by The Veteran

July 18, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Posted in New Zealand, NZ Labour Party

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