As a Statutory Social Worker one of the tasks I had to complete was to determine whether I believed a child or young person was in need of care and protection, Continue reading
Here in New Zealand we are going through a period where we review our national flag. This has been a fraught exercise Continue reading
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Well the axe has fallen, like a slow rolling locomotive, John Campbell and his supporters have been put out of their misery. Now I have to say I like John Campbell and supported his programme. I have enjoyed seeing various politicians, shysters, crooks, and generally mean people squirm under the intense scrutiny of the Campbell Live team. I will be eternally grateful that I don’t have to pass by the honey traps that the dead sea secret mud sellers set in the shopping malls. There is no doubt that John Campbell has done a power of good.
It is a moot point whether Campbell has paid the price for pricking the consciences of the powerful, it is what it is. TV3 is a private enterprise and entitled to make decisions, as of course we as consumers are. I will make a point of not buying anything advertised in the replacement show of Campbell Live. Here is the nub for me, the thing I find obscene, distressing and sickening. On Facebook someone lamented who would highlight child poverty, who will keep politicians and bad people accountable, I read this and was enraged, we have abrogated our responsibilities to the suited crusader, Mr John Campbell esquire.
Let me explain, I am an agent of social change, I attempt to hold people accountable, call out loudly when I see things that alarm me, challenge injustice when I see it. I have written before how it is tiring defending yourself and dealing with your own injustices let alone others https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/this-frog-is-tired-of-being-boiled/. However when we rely on a highly paid high profile, journalist to be our social conscience then we are in trouble. I have lamented how people just don’t care about issues, I guess I am not completely correct but what we have seen with the slow death of John Campbell is a clear definition of where the problem lies.
It is no secret that the National Party celebrate the loss of the Campbell Live show, the question has to be asked why. Is it possible that they realised that our society’s defence against the epidemic arising from the economic policies of neo-liberal politics had come to John Campbell? That the electorate did not care about the excesses of neo-liberalism, the causalities of our “free market” economy was abundantly clear in the results of the election. Campbell was a thorn in their sides. Well I see that as a moral failure.
Any reasonable person who has a simple grasp of the reality we live in should be able to see that people are living at the margins of society, that vulnerable people are being hurt, hopes dreams and normality is destroyed as a growing number of people are being excluded from participating in society. The answer from political parties as a whole is inadequate. Labour wants to in fight about the politics of funding transgender surgeries and National throws 25.00 at families and crows about how generous it is. Enough to make me vomit. The Greens are written off as looney lefties, New Zealand first is more concerned about a bit more tar seal in Northland, Peter Dunne well if he was ever the answer the question was exceedingly stupid and The Maori Party have become as irrelevant as the ACT (the association of charlatans and tax avoiders).
The only politicians who care are soon shut up by their political masters because the voters only want to hear good news, they don’t want to have to be the ones who tell us that we need to either pay more tax or grow the cake. Perhaps we need to make sure that the multinationals who profit so much from the free market and flexible labour laws pay their share, perhaps we need to make sure that those who profit tax free from property do so no longer and perhaps we also need to say enough… demand that our Government does what is should and eliminate poverty and its close cousin of abuse in New Zealand.
Rest in Peace Campbell Live, but it is time we stood up as we should.
Tonight for you,
without further adieu
I bring to you
Verse is hard
So it’s said
has not been read
Tonight’s poem is from a man who is a poet but till now he didn’t know it. I was going to write of budgets and housing but tonight this will do.
This is the poem Andrew Little read in Parliament, quite funny I thought!
Twas the night before the Budget
When all through the House.
The National Back Benches were keen for a stoush
The promises were hung during the election with care
Of course they would fill them
How could they not
They wouldn’t dare.
September 14 was a different time
The Back Benchers quite happy, some in their prime.
Nested all snug in their leather armchairs
John, Bill and Steven washed away all their fears
There had been promises of surpluses, of poverty relieved
Of great fiscal wonders, or so they believed.
“They’ve got us this fat, the Back Benchers said”
“What could possibly go wrong?”
“We’re so far ahead!”
But Bill English knew, he just hid his fear
That all their good words were just plain hot air
It was great that Mike Hosking and Paul Henry were glowing
But nothing could mask an economy slowing.
“We have to do something, we have to be quick”
Said John Key to his Cabinet that had run out of tricks.
“Now Bennett, now Adams, Now Bridges and Tolley
Forget Steven Joyce and his conventional folly.
Where’s Woodhouse, McCully, Crosbey and Textor
If there’s one thing clear – you all have to do better.
I need plans to help Auckland, to slow housing prices
To help feed the kids, and fix other vices.
Where is the plan for trains, trucks and bikes.
My Facebook page tanking, I can’t get no likes.”
“And I’m sick of seeing Andy, the new man about town
He never gets angry, we can’t bring him down”.
Bill English stepped forwarded in canonical mood;
“Just stop there John, I don’t mean to be rude
You may not have noticed, but we have a crisis
And it’s nothing to do with our troops fighting ISIS
Exports are diving, dairy is down
There isn’t much happening in any small town
I know I have said the problem’s inflation.
But there’s something much bigger – John Bank’s compensation.
You said don’t touch taxes, levies and fees
But how will we pay for this – it don’t grow on trees.”
And then the talk came to a stop with a shudder
The Prime Minister knew -his heart now aflutter
Up from the back came a great throaty roar
Judith Collins appeared on Parliament’s floor.
“I’ve heard all of your talk, me and Todd Muller
All you’re known as now is ponytail puller”
“Out of the way – shove this in your gob
I’m here to take over, it’s my turn in your job.”
I watched a lengthy interview of Paul Keating the other day. It traversed his time in politics with Bob Hawke Keating and Hawke are both ex Prime Ministers of Australia, with Keating serving as Treasurer to Hawke. The interview was candid and interesting, there was one thing that I found refreshing.
Australia had a recession, not as bad as New Zealand’s and the economic medicine that was prescribed was not as nasty as ours. The neo-liberals did not reign supreme over there. Some of this is due to the fact that there was a minerals boom in Australia that set a whole lot of other economic indicators in place, however they did have a recession.
In life and in politics it is very rare to hear people take responsibility for their actions, however it is both liberating and honourable to do so, all care and no responsibility seems to be the catch cry of many politicians and CEO’s. John Banks was on TV acclaiming his acquittal of electoral fraud charges as innocence, what a crock of the proverbial. A man who cannot remember a helicopter ride to the mansion of Kim Dotcom is hardly reliable. The defence of accepting someone else doing the paper work is disingenuous and morally bankrupt. More so because Banksie campaigns on morals and presents himself as above reproach. Banks made a fatal mistake, he forgot the cardinal rule and that is the piper has to be paid. When Mr Dotcom was languishing at the courtesy of her majesty on remand, he needed a kindness. Banks ran like a scalded cat, the rest they say is history. But enough of how he got into the situation it is how he got out of it.
I don’t like Banks or his politics, just to put it out there and I was not unpleased to see his grubby little arrangement become undone. However if he had smply come out and said I stuffed up, I got it wrong, I should have checked it is not good enough, I would have supported him. I would have had no choice because he would have been practicing what I preach. I would have supported him staying in Parliament and supported a discharge without conviction, because in doing so he would have been setting the right example. In doing so he would have provided the best defence and shut up the critics baying for blood, and set the example.
Back to Keating, you see Paul Keating said that in the end, no matter the outside influences, the policies etc he was Treasurer Minister of Finance when the recession struck and he was responsible. I don’t remember what he said at the time and revisionist judgements are not the best but he said it was my responsibility it happened on my watch, end of the story.
Contrast this to our present day pollies, they will do anything to avoid taking responsibility. The trouble with politics is that it is turned into a giant game of gotcha, which is driven by vested interests. Health housing, welfare education, all the same. We in New Zealand have tried to run with a budget approach to these things which are driven by the ideology of low tax and the neo-liberal mantra of privatisation and the nonsense of competition and market forces, which are euphemisms for corporatisation and the shifting of wealth from the bottom to the top. We cannot have world class education and low taxes, the same with health and even housing but nobody wants to tell the truth because that is the equivalent of a bucket of cold sick for breakfast so what do we get.
What we get is secondary taxation in the form of health insurance, ever rising school fees, and the commodification of basic housing just a tip of the iceberg. Those who cannot are cast onto the heap essentially, this is a short sighted approach that is costing us all dearly financially and in real terms. It is reflected in crime, abuse and many other negative social indicators, it is reflected in children living in poverty, short of food, clothes and above all else love and affection. It starts in my opinion in a very basic place and the answers begin in solving that. It is not solved by increasing benefits, more money spent on health and education the solution lies in housing, in my next blog I will explain why, as to Banks, Key, Little, Dot Com et al, learn to take responsibility and be accountable.
I am tired, my son asked me how I was when I came home from work tonight. I realised it when I wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep for a while, instead I turned the coffee machine on and brewed up a hit of caffeine. I realised that I am tired on so many fronts and yet there is nothing I can do to change that. Some of the things that give me tiredness are good things, looking after my children and helping friends is a good thing. A certain amount of tiredness from work is apt as well. But I am tired from fighting battles.
It seems at times that life is one long battle on many fronts and as soon as you fight and win (or not) one battle the next one erupts. One of the things that I have learnt is to try to pick my battles. The amount of energy that is required to fight sometimes is not worth the return. Recently I got tired of fighting one battle, but I was unprepared to give up. Sun Tzu author of the book “The Art of War said this, “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.” I sat down and looked at my options, the first question was, is this battle worth fighting? The battle was where I should be placed on the pay scale in my new employment. It should be a very straight-forward process. Unfortunately I was being thwarted by an intransigent, petulant, pedantic pencil pusher. They were demanding yet another letter of evidence. After four bites at the cherry I had become unwilling to jump through their hoops anymore when the evidence I had provided was more than adequate! There was a significant amount of money at stake, I decided it was worth it.
Conventional approaches had failed, I had appealed to the Minister of Education and had been ignored, my employers had tried to deal with NOVO Pay but no success. I jotted down the options I had and thought of the effects that they would have. I arrived at the conclusion I needed publicity to bring pressure to bear on them and that would most likely have the best affect. The next consideration was how? I had an aha moment, a hunger strike would do the job I thought. So then I had to think about the possible outcomes, just how long did I think I could last without eating?
The answer was I don’t know and frankly I didn’t care, I thought perhaps a week, maybe more. That wasn’t the point really I needed to do something. I was being frustrated by bureaucracy and it had become untenable to continue to do nothing.
Now as always I have a point in all of this, we can become like frogs, legend has it that if you put a frog in water and then heat it up slowly it will die without trying to escape. Put that same frog into water hot enough to kill it and it will react and not slowly. We are frogs at the moment in so many ways, we are asked to put up with incompetent pay systems as Teachers, we have a minister of education that is attempting to place complete responsibility for learning success upon teachers without any acknowledgement of the social and economic environment that our students live in. We as teachers are asked indeed expected to do more and more with less and less. Pay rises under the rate of inflation, increases in student loan repayments effectively meaning pay cuts for new teachers. The removal of student allowances for anyone studying at graduate level. A conspiracist may think that this Government is attempting to dumb down the population, for what you may ask? Read this if you think I am exaggerating http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11128998
What could the Government achieve by dumbing down the population? One explanation is that in doing so it may facilitate the continuing and ongoing transfer of wealth from the have nots to the haves. This is the real ideology behind the ongoing asset sales, John Key has to reward his supporters somehow. Even Treasury agree that there is no economic benefit in the asset sales. Bill English says that First homes are affordable, what planet does the member for Dipton come from? http://www.3news.co.nz/First-homes-affordable-says-English/tabid/1607/articleID/314396/Default.aspx Well I am tired of the nonsense and tired of the struggle and although I don’t think Labour has all the answers I intend to work hard for a change in Government, who will join me?
Oh ps I won the fight with Novopay, rounds one and two any way, Round three is on its way!