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Archive for the ‘Social Welfare’ Category

Begun, the Twitter Wars have

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The Twitter wars are actually just heating up, as it is becoming apparent that the Left regarded it as “their” platform in pushing Lefty talking points (propaganda).

Actually it’s been apparent for a long time, but in the past any criticisms of them by the Right were met with their cynical smirks of “It’s a private company and can do what it wants – isn’t that what the Right have always said?”

But with Elon Musk now in charge of a privately-owned Twitter the Left have dropped that mask and come right out in the open in their demands for government censorship to replace the censorship they’d been applying behind the scenes via the hive-mind of Twitter employees who were ideologically-like-minded to the Left – or even more so.

But all of these companies are, in fact, monopolies, and thus exist in a precarious legal state — presently tolerated, but open to government harassment and persecution any time they do not follow the government’s commands.

As proof of that, Democrats are now demanding that the Federal Trade Commission investigate Elon Musk for “undermining Twitter.” By which they mean — they want him investigated for abandoning the censorship scheme they demanded the old regime imposed.

“In recent weeks, Twitter’s new Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, has taken alarming steps that have undermined the integrity and safety of the platform, and announced new features despite clear warnings those changes would be abused for fraud, scams, and dangerous impersonation,” the lawmakers said in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan

Dangerous impersonation? Of who? Oh right….

Senator Ed Markey went so far as to participate in a hoax in which he colluded with a Washington Post reported so that that Post reporter would pay for blue tick status and then impersonate him (Ed Markey).

And then, having contrived this case of impersonation, Ed Markey screamed about it and demanded the FTC investigate Musk for permitting the impersonation.

It seems only fair that Twitter ban Markey from the platform for engaging in this fraud. 🙂 After all, that’s what’s going to happen to other “accounts” pulling similar – if vastly more amusing – stunts. Musk won’t of course, having brought back the Babylon Bee…

and Trump, or at least his account. Musk also understands the game being played here by the Administrative State and their six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.

Aside from the censorship fight there is also another interesting Twitter battle going on inside the company as thousands have found themselves out of a job – for the very good reason that they were useless drones. This Twitter thread explains what he’s doing, which is Whaling and Culling:

First, the “Whaling”: It’s a common refrain that you’ve probably heard at some point or another “10% of people do 90% of the work.” That’s what that tight 2 week deadline for Twitter Blue was for; he was perfectly aware that it was an unrealistic time frame. It was a test.

Hence, Elon was looking for the whales at the company. The heavy hitting, actually producing and hard people who have been there for a while. When the whales don’t have to carry dead weight, they perform like the equivalent of 10 people.

There are larger questions being raised here given the layoffs of more thousands of workers at Facebook and Amazon (can Google be far behind?), and those questions are addressed in this article, The Email Caste’s Last Stand, by Malcom Kyeyune:

The abrupt firing of thousands of employees solicited a new wave of outrage from Musk’s haters. But even if you remove him from the equation, Twitter couldn’t have gone much longer without massive layoffs. The same thing is happening across Silicon Valley. Last week, the online-payments company Stripe announced it would cut 14 percent of its workforce, as did the rideshare giant Lyft; Facebook parent company Meta looks poised to do the same. Like Wile E. Coyote, tech companies ran off the cliff long ago; only now is economic gravity starting to assert itself.

The article makes the point that when venture capital funding seemed to be unlimited, it not only encouraged all these Big Tech startups and established players to hire useless people, it basically developed a class of people not unlike the French aristocracy just prior to the 1789 revolution:

The problem was that France now had a large class of impoverished nobles, for which some sort of exclusive jobs program was absolutely necessary. They didn’t have diversified business interests like the court nobility at Versailles; all they had was their noble privilege, and if the French state abolished the last areas where that privilege meant something, they would truly be lost.

A similar dynamic is operative in America today. The people who worked “on climate” at Twitter, now being given the ax by the perfidious Elon Musk, are openly complaining that they won’t be able to find jobs anywhere else in this economy. They are, of course, right to worry.

Which is why reforms of things like the French Army went nowhere and why “reforming” Twitter and other companies to actually make money will require firing lots of these useless eaters.

However, the article goes even further in pushing this question out into the society beyond the world of Big Tech. You can see the connection between this and the increasing debates about things like UBI (Universal Basic Income), including – here in NZ – debates about WFF and the whole raft of tax credits and income supplements that now constitute what used to be called “social welfare”. I recommend the excellent series of posts on this subject at Kiwiblog by one “PaulL”, Effective Marginal Tax Rates, which goes into some detail about the changes that might be made to shift people from welfare to work.

Kyeyune raises the larger question of what “work” may actually mean nowadays, particularly for our class of credentialed (but not educated) drones:

In my own country, Sweden, the state picks up a lot of the slack. Here, small municipalities hire dozens or hundreds of communicators, consultants, and other plainly nonproductive personnel, and attempts to do something about it run into a very simple question: Where else are these people supposed to work? Who else would hire them? Though few will say it openly, the city of Uppsala’s nearly 100 communicators have nothing to do with communication, and everything to do with preserving social stability. It is, in essence, just part of a massive jobs program.

When I look at the thousands of people that the Labour government has hired into its myriad government departments, ministries, quangos, commissions, etc, I have to think that’s what’s also happening here in NZ. And like Twitter and those other tech firms, the question is how much longer can we afford to hire such people?

“To understand events around the world today, one must think in terms of the class struggle.”

But the New Class isn’t limited to communist countries, really. Around the world in the postwar era, power was taken up by unelected professional and managerial elites. To understand what’s going on with President Donald Trump and his opposition, and in other countries as diverse as France, Hungary, Italy and Brazil, it’s important to realize that the post-World War II institutional arrangements of the Western democracies are being renegotiated, and that those democracies’ professional and managerial elites don’t like that very much, because they have done very well under those arrangements. And, like all elites who are doing very well, they don’t want that to change.


Further reflections on ‘Military Academies’

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I think it’s fair to say that National’s proposal to send serious teenage criminals to a proposed ‘Military Academy’ has gotten everyone talking about it! So I would like to make just a few more remarks and observations about it and what people are saying about it.

There’s the usual suspects crying out about how the poor little petals who get themselves caught up in drugs, gangs and crime don’t know what they’re doing and we just need to be kind to them. The habitual crim-hugger Jarrod Gilbert is against it, so is Chester Burrows. Grant Robertson is against it, referring to Sir Peter Gluckman’s 2018 report (which I’ll talk about soon). Gharaman and Davidson from the Marxist-Pagan party were against it, which partly causes me to re-examine my own initial opposition to it!

Kiri Allen had an interesting comment:

There’s no better way to get fitter, faster, stronger, better, more well-connected criminals than by chucking them all together in an army camp to ultimately go on to form fully-fledged national networks.

Is that what this Labour Cabinet minister thinks of the NZDF – that it’s a breeding ground for criminals and criminal networks? I’ve felt the full loathing that this Labour Government has for the military this term, now I’m really seeing it clearly!

I don’t actually care what Gilbert, Burrows and other lefties think of this policy. They instinctively hate anything to do with the military. For a good analysis of it, former TF Lieutenant Colonel (and ACT party policy advisor) Simon Ewing-Jarvie has written an amusing take down of this policy from the perspective of what it will do to the NZDF.

The key thing about this policy from National is that it is nothing new, it is a re-hash of what Sir Bill English proposed before the 2017 election. BUT – the key difference is how much better Sir Bill was at selling this (bad) idea than Mr Luxon. It certainly was not received well last time, but at least Sir Bill was able to articulate who exactly it was to be aimed at and why – he gave exact figures and numbers of up to 50 people at a time, to Waiouru, backed up with data such as 20 teenagers who committed 800 offences. Sir Bill specifically sold this an “an alternative to prison”. Sir Bill was able to link this to his (very good) Social Investment strategy, and that this was only one option for a very small segment of NZ’s increasingly large pool of ferals.

Mr Luxon has totally failed to control the narrative about this. People are either confused or remain unaware about who he is aiming this at, where it will be, how many ferals are going to be targeted and what happens next to the delinquents. It just feels like a very lazy rehash of a policy which they do not understand the detail of, let alone able to sell those details through a hostile media.

The biggest failure about this policy announcement is the total lack of comprehension about how this will impact the NZDF. For starters, forcing these ferals to eat from the Waiouru Camp Mess will be a truly cruel and unusual punishment! National should know this, they should know how dilapidated NZDF camps and bases are. (Shout out to departing Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, who despite representing the biggest NZDF electorate in the country since 2011, encompassing Waiouru, Ohakea and Linton, has never mentioned the NZDF at any point in time in the House, nor has he done anything for the families or personnel in his long and spectacularly un-illustrious career).

NZDF is decimated right now, with attrition over 17%. Not mentioning how stretched the NZDF is when giving them this big task is nothing other than incompetent and stupid by National. Where is Tim van de Molen in this (supposedly the spokesman for Defence)?

If National wanted to sell this policy more effectively, they could have considered mentioning or discussing three things:

  1. The Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) scheme, staffed by NZDF personnel, jointly run by NZDF/MSD. Designed for teenagers and young adults at risk of becoming long term beneficiaries, lasting for a few months at either Burnham, Trentham or Auckland. Not perfect, also a drain on limited NZDF resources, but yields generally good results.
  2. A counter to Sir Peter Gluckman’s 2018 study of so-called ‘boot camps’ which concluded they don’t work. But his conclusion was built on shallow foundations, referencing only a study of other studies, which looked at a small number of American boot camps, and did not find conclusive evidence either for or against boot camps.
  3. The significant success of RF Cadet School. Not a boot camp for ferals, but more of a vocational school for teenagers looking to join the NZDF later on. It was an option (for people like Ron Mark) to join before heading down a path towards delinquency (such as his brother Tui went down). The benefit was that NZDF would receive a significant chunk of those teenagers as recruits when they turned 18, many of whom are still in today.

National didn’t talk about any of those things, instead they have left the narrative to be dominated by lefties and crim-hugging luvvies, whilst further undermining the NZDF. This policy announcement has been a disaster.

National has limited credibility and gets only so much attention in the media. They would be far better off discussing wide-ranging changes to our education system instead of poorly thought-out regurgitations of 2017 policy not updated to the changed situation of today, and without the mastery of detail which Sir Bill English had.

I actually think we should be punishing the parents of the ferals, probably with stocks and pelting with rotten fruit. But that’s just my opinion!

Written by Major Star

November 18, 2022 at 1:26 pm

National wants a ‘Young Offender Military Academy’

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National wants to bring in a ‘Young Offender Military Academy’ in response to ferals and delinquents running amok.

National leader Christopher Luxon has announced a major crackdown on young offenders with a new policy including youth offender military-style camps and a serious offender category for those as young as 10…

National will establish a youth offender military academy that will be delivered by the New Zealand Defence Force and other community providers.

They would target young people aged 15 – 17 years old who could be ordered to attend by the courts for 12 months.

“The whole point is that these youth offender military academy’s are going to be a total circuit breaker. They are there to provide intense structured programs including schooling, mentoring, drug and alcohol treatment but in a very, very disciplined environment.”

I have some questions about this:

  1. With what resources will the NZDF be expected to do this?
  2. Where will this be done? (Is the National Party aware of how dilapidated Waiouru Military Camp is, amongst all the other camps and bases?)
  3. Where will the ferals go after 12 months with the NZDF? What’s to stop them going straight back to where they came from?

I suspect there is some nostalgia about the Regular Force Cadet School, in operation until 1991. The RF Cadet School wasn’t for ferals or delinquents, but it was able to be a pathway taken before one became a feral. A good case in point is the comparison between Ron Mark and his brother Tui. Ron was lucky enough to be one of the about 120 or so teenagers accepted each year into ‘the club’, but alas Tui was not. Ron had a successful career in the NZ Army as a vehicle mechanic, then an officer in the Royal New Zealand and Electrical Engineers, before serving in the Oman forces and becoming an MP and cabinet minister. Tui joined a gang and led a life of crime and delinquency:

But what National are proposing is not RF cadet school. It is basically a military borstal for a year. I’m sceptical that it’ll be a successful circuit breaker for a teenager who has already embarked on a life of crime, gangs and drugs.

I’d also like to see some policy from National about how to rebuild the NZDF to do its core job before adding more tasks to the NZDF, such as parenting feral sh!theads.


It’s a rehash of Sir Bill English’s policy from 2017 which was never implemented:

Speaking to Morning Report today, Mr English denied the new scheme would be a boot camp, calling it an “intensive wrap-around service, a junior military academy”.

“There is one group of 20 of these kids who have 800 offences, we’re not talking about wayward youth getting a short sharp shock.”

He said the teenagers had committed serious crimes, including rape, aggravated robbery and murder, but could not say if they would receive any weapons training from the army while in the programme.

“It’s going to be run by the army, it will include literacy, numeracy and a focus on health, a focus on activity and discipline and character.

“It’s about providing an alternative to prison, it’s not an employment scheme, it’s not an alternative to going to school, it’s an alternative to prison, or youth justice facilities. It’s 12 months, and it includes the wrap-round services that we do see working.”

Mr English said the National Party was taking the view that the culture of the army was the right one to help the young people.

If National want to convince people (especially me!) that this is a good policy, they’ll need to counter Sir Peter Gluckman’s conclusion in 2018 that “boot camps do not work” and that the NZDF will have sufficient resources for this in addition to their core roles.

Written by Major Star

November 17, 2022 at 6:02 pm

Record Tax Take overshadowed by Labour’s Spending

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$108 Billion. That’s the sum of our money that has been taxed from our incomes, company profits and goods and services.

But Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the lower-than-expected deficit shouldn’t lead political parties to yell out for cuts as there was still a deficit and New Zealand faces “choppy waters ahead”. He’s ruled out tax cuts that “disproportionately support the wealthiest New Zealanders”. National said a “careful” minister would produce “prudent tax relief” and still invest in public services.

Those wealthy NZers who would be “disproportionately support[ed]” are also those who disproportionately provide the bulk of that tax revenue! In fact, the top 3% of NZ income earners (in 2020) paid 26% of all income tax collected. In 2012, the richest 10% of NZ income earners paid 47% of all income tax!

I’d like to keep more of what I earn. I’d like to be able to support my wife and future children with a single income, with minimal government help. I’m happy for a portion of my wages to go to a well-functioning government to wisely spend on things that genuinely make the country a better place.

The Minister of Finance has ruled out tax cuts despite the record take of income tax. Because no matter how much money is coming in, even more is going out under him! Let’s look at some figures of what I reckon could be reduced or eliminated so that we can afford a tax cut – we’re currently looking at a $9.7 Bn deficit, so can we cut $10 Bn from the books? How about we start with the following:

  • Welfare benefits were costing $23 Bn in 2017, and are now up to $40 Bn this year.
    • Jobseeker and Emergency benefit at $3.3 Bn (up from $1.7 Bn in 2017)
    • Sole parent support up to $1.7Bn (up from $1.1 Bn in 2017)
    • Wage subsidy scheme at $4.8 Bn (it was $1.2 Bn in 2020 and $1.1 Bn in 2021)
    • Accommodation assistance at $2.3 Bn (up from $1.1 Bn in 2017)
  • Health expenses are now totalling $30Bn, up from $16 Bn in 2017. Nearly $7 Bn of that is due to health services for COVID-19, including vaccines and managed isolation /quarantine.
  • Educational departmental expenses are up to $2 Bn from $1.2 Bn in 2017. Not sure we need to increase the bureaucrats in the Ministry by that much!
  • Tertiary education funding has increased from $2.5 Bn to $3.2 Bn, for an increase of just 20,000 places. That’s $35,000 for each extra tertiary student.
  • ‘Core Government Services’ departmental expenses have increased from $1.8 Bn to $2.7Bn, the headcount of the public sector increasing a whopping 28%
  • $1.4 Bn has been spent on transport expenses in relation to COVID, including ‘shovel ready’ projects and temporary relief packages
  • $4.2 Bn on “COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payments” whatever they are
  • $135 Million on the “COVID-19 Cultural Sector Response” from heritage, cultural and recreation expenses
  • $1.6 Bn on the Emissions Trading Scheme

Now, I’m well aware that inflation since 2017 has been just under 20% in total. And wage inflation has driven some of the increased tax take, and government departments will therefore need to increase their expenditure to not only pay their people, but also to purchase other services which are now more expensive. Which increases inflation, leading to employees seeking higher salaries, and around the circle we go!

But really, does the government need to be spending an extra $52 Billion compared to 2017? The 2017 budget was $76 Bn of spending. Under Labour, that has grown to $128 Bn this year. If the budget had simply kept in line with inflation, it would only be $91 Bn.

I reckon there’s an easy $20 Bn to be saved from just reducing or outright eliminating some of the increased spending above. And then all of a sudden government books are in surplus, and maybe we can reduce the tax burden on hard-working, middle-class NZers like me.

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

Something, something, sowing, reaping…

with 3 comments

Example 1,067, 891 of why I am not a good Christian, in that I have no fucking compassion for the people of Portland, Oregon, shown in this clip.

Worse, anytime contractors try to clean up and sanitise the areas in question, Antifa attack them with no reprisal from Portland officials.

I’d bet good money that every single person in that clip has voted – repeatedly voted – for Democrats to run the city of Portland and the State of Oregon in which it sits, including even Far Left “Democrats” like this moronic POS (check out the prints on her skirt).

That’s one Sarah Iannarone, an open communist who ran in Portland’s 2020 mayoral contest against a radical Democrat named Ted Wheeler. They got 86% of the vote, with the communist only losing by less than six percent (40.76 percent of the total vote).

Written by Tom Hunter

July 27, 2022 at 2:04 pm

Two people worth listening to.

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First up is long-time analyst of our social welfare system and one-time ACT candidate, Lindsay Mitchell with The Flaw in The PM’s Plan. That link goes to her website but it’s notable that National Party man DPF has the same article as a guest post:

Between March 2018 and March 2022 the number of children in benefit-dependent households grew by 22 percent or almost 37,000. To picture this increase, imagine about one hundred good-sized schools.

I spent a number of years as a volunteer working with dependent families and came to know the tragic circumstances of a typical child on a benefit. But my sample is small so let me construct a profile based on New Zealand statistics.

What follows is the typical profile of a five year old child on welfare in NZ. It’s grim. She follows up with specific examples that she has dealt with personally. It’s grimmer.

Who asks the hard questions about where all the extra money goes? Who asks why New Zealand has apparently record low unemployment but over 200,000 children relying on a parent on a benefit? Who asks about appalling and worsening school absenteeism? Who asks why New Zealand ranked last in child mental well-being in the most recent UNICEF report card? Who asks why only one in five Maori babies has married parents?

Who cares so long as the PM can pat herself on the back and claim to have achieved what she came to parliament for.

Then there’s Education which seems to be in almost as bad a condition as Social Welfare. Again, this is a guest post on Kiwiblog by long-time educator Alwyn Poole, Our Education System is New Zealand’s “Big Short”. I should note here that I’ve known Alwyn for over a decade, ever since we sent our eldest to his old Mt Hobson school, a decision we’ve never regretted. He is a passionate and smart teacher who has dealt with tough-to-teach kids from low-decile backgrounds. In fact he specialises in them.

Adults have little comparative concern about the NZ education system. Only 6% had high concern about education.

By strange co-incidence 6 (out of 2,600) is exactly the number of schools who bothered to submit to the Education and Workforce Select Committee into school attendance.

We have little medium-term thinking, let alone long-term thinking. Politicians think within their cycle, kids don’t vote, many families know that their children are doing okay, many others are disengaged and/or worried about food on the table and petrol in the car today. Adults worry about themselves and there is no NZ Education Vision or visionaries for adults to support. Hipkins has been the very worst and most inactive Education Minister in living memory – but he has been allowed to be and is rarely challenged by the opposition.

It’s quite incredible that voters pay so little attention to education as a political matter, considering first of all the massive weight of the Public Education sector, and secondly the degree of attention that many parents, at least those who are Middle Class and up, pay to their kids education. Whatever the reason it has allowed the teaching establishment and governments to get away with poor performance, the stats of which he lists and which are as depressing as Mitchell’s SW stuff. Here’s just a few:

  • In the “Southern Initiative” area 32.3% of Maori leavers have less than Level 1 NCEA – i.e. no qualifications at all.
  • Only 14.4% of Auckland young people are attaining degrees.
  • The current Auckland NEET rate is the highest since 2010. In the year to December 2021 more than 10,000 Auckland 15-24yos were Not in Employment, Education or Training.

Not even mentioned is the 40% truancy rate. I know that Alwyn has well thought-out ideas on how to deal with all of these problems and I hope to see them outlined in future guest posts.

Judging from Kiwiblog putting up these two guest articles by “outsiders” I can’t help wondering if DPF is trying to push some of this thinking and analysis into National’s policies in these areas, but I don’t know how much influence he has aside from his polling input.

From the POV of ideas there is at least one thing we can be grateful to the Labour Government for, which is that they’ve have proved that vast increases in spending after “nine long years of neglect” is not the panacea they thought it was and more importantly for that argument, has not even improved the outcomes (same for Health). If anything they’re quite obviously going backwards, which even I would not have believed possible.

I’m sure it scares the living shit out of the Left but with these institutions we are rapidly approaching a Rogernomics-type situation simply because the existing systems are failing so badly, just as the industrial ones were under Muldoon in the late 70’s/early 80’s. My natural Conservatism leads me to not like or trust revolutions – and that includes Rogernomics, which would not have been necessary had we begun making steady, substantive changes a decade earlier. I prefer changes that are less destructive even if they are fundamental, but if the status quo continues defending the indefensible then a revolution in Health, Education and Social Welfare is what we’re going to get.

See also this interview with an incredible headmistress from Britain:

Written by Tom Hunter

July 10, 2022 at 6:53 pm

Transformation: its sad and mystified devotees

with 5 comments

So much time and energy is spent criticising the Labour government here at No Minister and other Rightish NZ blogs that it’s easy to forget the criticism of them coming from the Left.

But it’s there, and not just in the form of endless, brain-dead moaning from the dwindling Trotter brigade about why this government has not re-created the glories of the First Labour Government, which is just a rinse and repeat of their 2000’s sadness over Clarke and Cullen.

Instead there are actually more intelligent, forward-looking Left wing criticisms that go into the specifics of why Labour have failed to really do anything for what is supposed to be one of their primary goals: looking after the poor.

First up is John Campbell with a piece that is not just the breathy, emotive, shallow crap he’s so well known for: Restoring Dignity, The Politics of Too Hard. Of course it would not be Campbell without some gushy stuff about Ardern at the start, a guilt-ridden visit to Otara in the middle, and the Single Tear Upon The Cheek ending about some little boy enjoying his school lunch of hot spaghetti and tomato sauce.

But in between it’s pretty meaty as Campbell focuses on a group that this government set up to advise it on how to help the poor, the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG), and it’s 42 recommendations:

When the WEAG’s report was made public, three years ago now, it felt like it would be a turning point in the country’s response to child poverty.  

It is a rigorous, intelligent and aspirational piece of work. The experts themselves were indeed expert, and also deeply committed to making a difference. The report was exhaustive and persuasive. And, as we’ve seen, the mandate they received (and honoured) from the minister was almost strident in its advocacy of “dignity”.

It felt transformative. It was intended to be.

Long story short: after interviewing a stack of NGO’s that focus on poverty, such as the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), it turns out that none of the recommendations have been implemented, despite government claims that 22 have been.

This will come as no surprise to anybody on the Right, who have observed that the primary mark of this Labour government is their uselessness, but it seems to come as a surprise to Campbell.

He does laud them for increasing benefits and welfare spending in general and the minimum wage. Of of course he would not be a Lefty unless he missed the overwhelming economic consensus that a higher minimum wage means fewer such jobs, itself based on the basic principle that making something more expensive reduces demand for it – something the Left clearly do understand when they talk of pricing fossil fuels out of existence.

But he also shows, via the likes of Bernard Hickey, that all that extra spending has created inflation that has nullified welfare and wage increases and even made them go backwards, as well as vastly increasing the wealth of asset owners (something also seen globally: The world’s 10 richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion), which in the case of NZ has screwed the housing market for young people, likely for a generation.

As we say on the Right: “well duuuhhhh!”

Meantime over at the 21st Century’s online answer to The ListenerThe Spinoff – Danyl Mclauchlan (of Dimpost satire fame), makes other criticisms of all that spending, When Labour turns on the money hose, who gets drenched?

Some of us are more drenched than others. 

There’s just under three billion going into the Emissions Reduction Plan to transition us to a low carbon economy, and it’ll be many years before we know whether this is money well spent. The agriculture and forestry sectors get $710 million over the next four years. The energy sector gets a billion. and I think it’s worth comparing that to the $70 million a year to solo parents I talked about earlier. It’s a shame they can’t all club together and hire themselves a lobbyist.

Like Campbell he briefly references the resulting inflation and its negative affects on helping people. However he also points to a bit of problem that happens with all this increased spending – sorry, “investment” – in the beloved Public Sector:

And the modern day public sector is very far from the one Michael Joseph Savage built, or even the walk-shorts and glide time stereotypes of the 1970s. It’s an amalgam of public and private entities: departments and ministries and commissions co-existing with law firms, consultancies, public relations companies, NGOs, corporations and other private sector providers. It’s carefully optimised to redirect vast amounts of public spending into private hands, and this is a problem this government struggles to confront.

This is an implication that veers close to Trotter’s reactionary utopia, even though Mclauchlan has often made fun of him as a stodgy Old Lefty – but he does not make Trotter’s specific recommendation, or any recommendation, on how to fix it.

Again: “well duuuhhhh!”

Perhaps that’s a cheap shot, given that both of these men really do seem to be compassionate and non-combative about helping the poor, although Campbell does takes shots at National and implies, via reference to a clip of Ruthless Ruth in her Mother Of All Budgets speech, that they haven’t moved very far beyond that.

But here’s the four points they just don’t accept about vast increases in government spending, including welfare spending, even as they see them with their own eyes:

  • It gets swallowed up by a vast increase in the size of State bureaucracy.
  • That bureaucracy delivers only a small proportion to the people who need it (truly trickle down economics).
  • It often just creates inflation, which screws the whole process of helping the poor. (admittedly these two men did note that, but most of their side won’t)
  • It makes the rich much richer and faster than when the Evil Right is in power.

Hell, if I based my vote purely on the massive increases in the value of my real estate assets I’d just vote Labour all the time; the Bob Jones approach.

There’s also a cyclical failure to all this, in that Labour’s Big Spending approach inevitably leads to the next National government tightening the reins, which can also hurt the poor, and which leads to the next Labour government massively increasing spending and on and on.

As both writers point out, the problems of poverty are tough, complex and hard to solve – although they make no reference to the poverty problems faced by the First Labour government which I bet the Anderton/Trotter brigade would argue were just as tough and complex then and were easily solved by all those wonderful ideas like the nationalisation of industries that the modern Labour Party and its modern supporters like Cambell and Mclauchlan are not willing to return to.

But in breaking this cycle it’s clear that it has to start with the economy and not just in the grand macro ways which have been done over the last forty years but in the micro-aspect of getting people into work – which was the argument of the First Labour government but for which nationalisation methods won’t work in the modern world.

As such I will once again suggest Germany’s response in 1948: A different economic starter motor.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 24, 2022 at 4:58 pm