Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Can Winston Ride Jacinda’s Wave To An Enduring Political Legacy?

Riding The Wave: A dark and glowering Winston Peters hurling rhetorical thunderbolts at all and sundry will find himself very poorly placed to participate positively in creative change. But, a wise and benevolent Winston Peters, determined to render every possible assistance to New Zealand’s youngest prime minister in more than a century, will leave behind a political legacy of no small significance.
 
IMAGINE HOW GALLING Jacinda Ardern’s Auckland Town Hall love-fest must have been for Winston Peters. Just one tumultuous month ago, that sort of spectacle had been his for the making. NZ First was on a roll: effortlessly rising on the swell of an electoral wave that had the pundits making serious predictions about Peters becoming New Zealand’s next prime minister. Not anymore.
 
It is only fair to note at this point that the NZ First surge was no figment of the pundits’ imagination. A month ago, Peters’ understanding of the political mood seemed altogether more profound than any of his rivals. His appeal to what he perceived to be a simmering anger, roiling just below the surface of New Zealand politics, was borne out by his party’s steady rise in the polls.
 
Political historians looked at those numbers and, recalling Peters’ ability to nearly double his party’s level of support over the course of the formal election campaign period, began speculating that the final NZ First vote might actually equal (or even outstrip!) that of the ailing, Andrew Little-led Labour Party. In those circumstances, the precariously placed, Party List-only candidate, Little, could, conceivably, have lost his seat in the House of Representatives, putting the post of prime minister well-and-truly in play.
 
The rise and rise of NZ First proved equally unsettling for the Greens. Their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Labour Party should have been a source of political reassurance, but the fact that it expired on Election Day made it a constant source of worry. With NZ First nipping at their heels in the polls, and their own history of losing support over the course of the formal campaign period, what guarantee did they have that Labour would not pull another “2005” on them by striking a deal with Peters?
 
Recklessly, the Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei, lashed out at Peters; castigating him and his party for their “racist” policies. Then, even more recklessly, Turei seized the opportunity of her party’s AGM to declare the Greens’ determination to legislate a “preferential option for the poor”. The signal to Labour was unmistakable: MoU, or no MoU, the Greens had lost faith in their putative coalition partner. Labour was sinking and the Greens were standing by to pick up all of those Labour voters sensible enough to abandon ship. A five-point surge in the polls suggested that this just might prove to be a winning strategy.
 
Labour’s answer was Jacinda Ardern – and it was devastating! As her first, astonishingly accomplished, media conference drew to a close, it was clear to every political observer in New Zealand that the game had changed.
 
How seriously it had changed for the Greens was made clear by their catastrophic slide in the One News/Colmar Brunton poll of 17 August. Amidst all the smoke and flames of Turei’s and the Greens auto-da-fé, however, it was easy to miss the less dramatic, but equally important, decline in the fortunes of Peters and NZ First.
 
The outcome of the 2017 General Election may now turn on whether or not Peters is able to discern the full strategic significance of Jacinda’s Love-Fest.
 
On his multiple tours of the provinces, Peters had registered a great deal of anger and resentment: feelings which, like Donald Trump, he believed he could distil into a winning brew of electoral moonshine. But, anger and resentment aren’t the only emotions out there in the electorate. As the heart-breaking responses to Turei’s turn towards the poor made clear, so are desperation and despair.
 
‘The Wave’ is not, however, generated by anger and resentment; nor is it impelled by desperation and despair. These raw emotions are just the foam at the Wave’s crest. Driving the Wave is a massive tide of dissatisfaction with the way New Zealand society is evolving. The voters want change, yes, but not for the purposes of punishing their fellow citizens and/or destroying the things they hold dear. The change they are seeking is creative and constructive; change to usher-in a fairer, more inclusive and more joyous nation.
 
A dark and glowering Winston Peters hurling rhetorical thunderbolts at all and sundry will find himself very poorly placed to participate positively in such creative change. But, a wise and benevolent Winston Peters, determined to render every possible assistance to New Zealand’s youngest prime minister in more than a century (think Winston Churchill and the young Queen Elizabeth) will leave behind a political legacy of no small significance.
 
All the great historical changes contain a blending of radical and conservative impulses: a determination to construct a better future on the solid foundations of a cherished past. If Peters draws the correct strategic lesson from Jacindamania, he will make himself the champion for all that made New Zealand great – and can make it great again.
 
This essay was originally published by The Press of Tuesday, 22 August 2017.

27 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'm not sure that the words "wise and benevolent" should be used in the same sentence as Winston Peters. Cunning, shit house rat, rabble-rouser – or consummate politician, depending on how charitable you want to be (I haven't forgotten the gold card.) And wasn't Winston Churchill pretty much in the throes of dementia by the time of the young Elizabeth? Just askin'. :)

Jens Meder said...

And what constructively more fair, egalitarian and all-inclusively economic welfare policy can there be -

than a basic universal (retirement) wealth ownership creative savings rate built into our taxation system, with participation by and for all, from "cradle to grave" ?

Polly said...

Chris;
If Winnie becomes party to any future government of New Zealand, THEN WE ARE ALL FUCKED.
End of story.

Nick J said...

I hope to hell you are right Chris. Another 3 years of the current mob would be a nightmare for all those excluded by their "feed the rich" politics.

After my usual trudge along Lambton Quay emptying any spare change to those reduced to begging there is something I really want from Labour...a commitment to make sure that the benefit system is accessible, sufficient, plain vanilla and administered kindly (as opposed to the punitive and obfuscating manner of today). These people deserve better, and they need hope that they can improve their lot (that means more jobs and education policy etc).

And if that is what Jacinda is committed to deliver, then my vote is hers.

J Bloggs said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Winston Peters is no friend of Labours. Rely on him at your peril.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

There is only one way Winston Peters can make for himself a legacy which endures for a hundred years or more.

That is to support a National led government with the price of his support the abolition of Maori electorates. If he does that, his name and deeds will be taught in the history classes of 2117.

peter petterson said...

The Jacinda wave continues to roll ashore. Who next will be swept away? Dunne is done by his own hand. Who will be next? If National falls below 40% would the Tories dare to get rid of English?

Victor said...

GS

I think Victoria and Lord M might be a better parallel and similarly fraught with peril.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Adolf. Winston is getting on, but I think he would probably like more than one term. I'm really sticking my neck out here, as I truly believe that no one should that actual money on what Winston is likely to do. Whatever is best for Winston obviously.

jh said...

The change they are seeking is creative and constructive; change to usher-in a fairer, more inclusive and more joyous nation.
......
Inclusive is usually code for multicultural which comes packaged with a narrative holding that immigration is making us (all) better off. The only benefits presented are ethnic foods and festivals. As for joyous, all the evidence (I've looked) holds with Robert Putnam's unwelcomed result that diversity is the inverse of social cohesion. And since reality and the official narrative do not square up we will need continual propaganda such as RNZ's Smart Talk series where Paul Spoonley talks to Paul Spoonley.

jh said...

What is it about Winston Peters that he gives National supporters the creeps?

I think it is his resistance to immigration (as documented fastidiously by Paul Spoonley). It was "a deliberate strategy" that saw a settlement who mid-last century whose peoples were 95% form the British isles to "part of Asia". The Labour Party started the process for ideological reasons and National continued. Why?
Dick Smith pointed out Scanlon's massive property development investments. In NZ we are no different:
Cracks me up how people get so riled up about immigrants. Especially them chinese.

Dime loves em – i like their food, i like their reasonably priced blow jobs, i like that they only seem to commit crimes against each other, i like that they have made me a fortune in property, i like that they built me a kick ass house.

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/05/editorials_on_immigration.html
dime
I didn’t know Asians would be the “dominant ethnic group” by 2040. Shit happens though.
Grey Power are just a horrible group of old selfish bastards. As someone else said, not many of them will still be around to speak loudly to the new immigrants.
Maori used to have the monopoly on the gimme gimme gimme attitude, but Grey Power are catching up. Selfish old people who couldnt care less if they bankrupted the country, as long as the country was still white.

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/11/grey_power_against_asians.html

Winston is a reminder of broken trust - a sell-out.

Jens Meder said...

Polly - did you say that if Winnie becomes participant in government, we all will participate in the ultimate experience of normal love ?
Whether intending to praise or bewail this possible political outcome, is not the introduction of personal intimacies into a political debate an irrelevant exposure of one's intimate frustrations ?

Nick J said...

Jens I am not sure what you mean by a basic universal (retirement) wealth ownership creative savings rate built into our taxation system,? I think you might share my skepticism of UBI funding (reasons below).

There are real stresses that the modern capital model places upon the economy by way of automation. The issue here is that you replace wages and drive down cost by using machines, which in theory means a greater profit. The whole idea of a UBI is to recognize this and use the greater profit margin to funds the UBI. So far so good, but what actually happens is that the capitalist system is inherently built to compete, competition always squeezes profits...so where is the UBI to be funded from? I know there are lots of models but the nature of the "market" economy precludes an easy redistribution of funds.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"As for joyous, all the evidence (I've looked) holds with Robert Putnam's unwelcomed result that diversity is the inverse of social cohesion. "

No, you haven't looked at all the evidence. I have looked at a lot of it, but not nearly all of it – and in the academic databases. And unfortunately I threw it all away when Chris forbade you from introducing this topic ever again.:) But the one peer-reviewed journal article that impressed me most was entitled something like "Why can't economists agree on the benefits or otherwise of immigration?" So I'm calling Bullshit on that.

Polly said...

Jens Meder, 23 Aug 11.03am
No.
No.
You might need a drink?.
Thanks for the reply.

David Stone said...

Nick J
Re your response to Jens
The term "Universal Basic Income" is misnomer unless it is truly "Universal" I think that's the whole critical point; It is a basic income distributed universally , i.e.. to everyone.
I would strongly opine that only practical way of providing that would be by the state making that the way money is introduced into the economy, into circulation; Instead of being introduced by the central bank introducing new money by creating it to buy already issued government bonds. This places it in the hands of the banks (who are almost exclusively the holders of govt. bonds). Up until about 15 years when banks lending was subject to the constraints of a 'fractional reserve ratio'the state controlled the total money supply by this mechanism. (The new money in the hands of the banks being multiplied up by the interaction between banks and borrowers , see money multiplier wikipedia). Thus the "seed" new money is positive money, the multiplied component of the total money supply is debt. Now as clearly stated in a Bank of England article a few years ago, there is no state control of the volume of debt the banks can issue (i.e. money they can put into circulation). It is only limited by how much people are willing to borrow and how the banks assess their capacity to pay it back (With interest) . Money is not the same thing for a sovereign government as it is for an individual citizen who has to work with the money he (she) can earn. The problem for government is to balance money supply in terms of inflation.
So my contention is that a genuine UBI could only be introduced by a government willing to reinstate the control of of bank lending to as it was with a fractional reserve ratio, and not add to the money supply by buying back their own bonds with new money, but distributing it to everyone.
The instinctive fear of people who know if they think about it that they themselves would carry on with their life's work for extra earnings and the satisfaction of their job is that too many other lazier people would not, and the economy would grind to a halt . I think only a few would opt to make no contribution, and we at least theoretically take care of those people anyway, but in a cumbersome , expensive, uneven, and demeaning way.
JK Galbraith in his little book "Money, Whence it Came and Where it Went" says " the process by which money is created is so simple that the mind is repelled" , And that repulsion needs urgently to be overcome by everyone.
Cheers David J S

Jens Meder said...

Nick J - by a basic universal (retirement, for a modest start) wealth ownership creative savings rate built into our taxation system I mean a proportion of our taxation system earmarked for annual contributions into our NZ Super Fund, to keep at least our universal retirement UBI sustainable at a reasonable rate.

The initial contributions rate of $2billion per annum (2% of GDP at that time?) would do for a start, and with an unconditional $1000.- KiwiSaver kick-start to all who have not received it yet - from cradle to grave - will systematically widen more capital ownership per head of population, so that in time the currently poor will also have some income from capital ownership like well over 50% of us have it already.
Beside that, the whole national economy will be also more wealth and taxable income creative, and capable of taking better care of those who for whatever reason, are really unlucky.

Automation requires a lot of capital investment and maintenance, and competitive cost cutting as long as it is not at the cost of reduced hourly earning rates of labour, is one of the great advantages of competitive capitalism.

Because of this, are not all those participating in capital creation, ownership, and investment worthy role models, to be made attainable by all - "from cradle to grave" ???

Richard said...

As to the success..to date and obviously going forward with an election success for Ms Ardern it seems all too easy to see a similar parellel.

1972...its time and Holyoake exiting and leaving "gentleman" Jack Marshall to face Norm Kirk's onslaught.

Key as well realized the music was about to stop, and the time to go was now before the mirage faded.

Well faded it has in three months or so, Ms Ardern is day by day re
-affirming in words and deeds an earlier familiar cry "Its time".

Mr English and Co not up to the challenge on current form, lacking insight into the fundamentals facing NZers day to day.





Jens Meder said...

David Stone - is not buying back govt. bonds by govt. with NEW MONEY or giving it to the people - instead of buying back bonds or giving money to people out of taxation revenue and profits from govt. owned assets -

plain inflation, leading to hyper-inflation once all available wealth reserves have been consumed ?

Nick J said...

David J S, I agree about the getting rid of the fractional banking system and bringing it back under the state, I struggle with the actual generation of money to pay people by creating it without tying it to production and income generation (defined as the difference between sales and the cost of production).

Jens, I now understand what you meant and I might comment on what you (and many others) suggest, the generation of a savings fund that people will use to fund their retirement, and money available for investment to generate income. Many prefer this to tax and pay as you go but it has some very distinct issues.

If collected funds are invested they in effect "tax" the economy because they demand a dividend, you could argue that this money should go straight into funding todays superann, and that it leaves less for private savings. Then there is the issue that over time there are financial crashes, so investments that look good might just get crushed by market crashes. It leaves a lot to chance over long periods. Maybe that is the safer option?

With regard to automation why would a capitalist do it unless it was going to reduce aggregate wages? Hourly rates dont matter, total hours reduced do. Capitalists also dont pay the costs of acquiring skills, training and education (unless perchance they actually pay some tax), nor the cost of writing off that investment. Which means that capitalists per se capture the profits but rely upon socialising the costs aka the wages that are distributed to be taxed and spent creating the infrastructure, and working components (including people) within which they operate. Should they be asked to pay for this too? Is that not fair?

Unknown said...

Thought of the Day.
Globalists are Darwinians.

David Stone said...

Jens
Buying back government bonds by Govt. is what reserve banks have always done. But never before to a fraction of the extent and volume that US Japan UK and EU have been doing since 2008 under the Quantitative Easing programme they embarked on in an attempt to stem a global systemic collapse that was occurring in the banking / monetary industry. And yes it is causing hyper inflation, but only in share markets, derivative markets, and peripherally housing markets, because no one is confident to start up or expand employment creating enterprises, and banks won't lend for these things anyway because they don't have any confidence in their success either. So they are only lending that QE money Govt. has placed in their hands to speculators in the above markets ,as that is the safest and most profitable use it can be put to. None of it is getting into the hands of the people or the "real"economy so it can't cause inflation of ordinary consumer goods as in classical galloping inflation examples of history. Or even arrest a general slide toward deflation that they are all terrified of.
QE for the masses (which a real UBI would in fact be), could indeed cause hyperinflation and there are plenty of examples of attempts in history to escape depression by printing money indiscriminately. If money were to be issued universally it would need to be withdrawn at some stage as well. This is something that reserve banks have always done when necessary too, just the reciprocal of buying bonds with new money, they sell them to the market and extinguish the money they are paid for them in times of inflation. The money supply has always been managed like this until it was all handed over to the banks to manage, and reserve banks confined their role to manipulating interbank interest rates. Taxation could be used to withdraw money from circulation under a UBI funded with fiat money too . Perhaps taxing additional earnings quite heavily.
Nick
I don't think the present money creation is in any way tied to the cost of production or income generation, that's what's causing the massive wealth distribution inequality we have. Money needs to be constrained to serve primarily as a medium of exchange and only secondarily as a store of value, and it needs to be largely in the hands of consumers for there to be a market for any production or for any income to be generated.

carlos e said...

Off topic guys.
Nothing has changed essential in this election since months ago.
It's still looks like WinFirst makes the decision who to put in and neither want him on their team, and he hates all other parties,so that is a failure of MMP. And bad for us all.
First past the post would be better this time for NZ.

Jens Meder said...

Nick J -
With a permanent NZSF savings rate built into the taxation system to partially pre-fund NZ Super, this does not replace "tax and pay", but only helps it not becoming a crippling burden to the reduced proportion of working age people in relation to the increasing proportion of longer living seniors continuing after the BBB - (Baby Boomer Bulge).

And since the collected saving are wealth creative, are they not actually a more constructive component in our taxation system than mere redistribution for direct wealth consumption ?

If the NZSF is not invested in govt. bonds, but in profits earning tangible and marketable assets, its dividends are not a taxation burden, but pure taxable income and wealth creation.

The wide spread and diversification of its investments makes the NZSF more secure than any investment in a single asset.

And normally - if say the value of the house you own crashes - are you not still better off than if you owned no house at all ?

On automation, please take note of the capital investment in agriculture where full employment by 80% of lowly paid population was replaced by only 10% (?)doing all the work - has actually raised the living standards of all, even of the normally small proportion of unemployed.

And can you refute, that profitability is actually the physical priority need for survival of any energy consuming biological or economical organism, and that no growth can occur without stored up reserves or profits in current activities over the energy or wealth consumed ?

Richard said...

As to the success..to date and obviously going forward with an election success for Ms Ardern it seems all too easy to see a similar parellel.

1972...its time and Holyoake exiting and leaving "gentleman" Jack Marshall to face Norm Kirk's onslaught.

Key as well realized the music was about to stop, and the time to go was now before the mirage faded.

Well faded it has in three months or so, Ms Ardern is day by day re
-affirming in words and deeds an earlier familiar cry "Its time".

Mr English and Co not up to the challenge on current form, lacking insight into the fundamentals facing NZers day to day.





Jens Meder said...

David Stone -
I don't think QE (Quantitative Easing) money never enters common circulation and is not inflationary in the "real economy" - but it is not hyper-inflationary as long as it is done just once at a time of low inflation, and not all the time year after year.

Also I think, that as long as Govt. Bonds are registered as public debt to be repaid out of govt. revenue, they are no more inflationary than a fractional reserves overdraft banking based house mortgage, the value of which also ends up in common circulation eventually.

All of that works very well as long as all the borrowings and debts are repaid out of earnings eventually.

And is not the slight inflation through overdraft credit a natural necessity or inevitability because of the additional, new wealth ownership existence created by building a house ?

David Stone said...

Hi Jens
I'm not sure I've successfully worked thru the series of negatives in your first paragraph, but my point was that most QE money has not worked it's way through into the general economy because of the lack of confidence in the economy since the GFC.
Generally, in normal times reserve bank money creation thru bond purchases to keep the money supply in balance with a growing economy is not necessarily inflationary as you say.
No argument with the rest of your remarks.
D J S