Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

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Gordon Campbell on National’s Mickey Mouse policies on trade

September 14th, 2017

mickey-tppSupposedly, trade is war by other means, and the rationale for it seems just as empty-headed. Once again, the free trade = good mantra was taken as a patriotic given in this morning’s RNZ interview with Trade Minister Todd McClay. Apparently, the European Union – our third biggest export zone – says it wants to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand by the end of 2019. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the politics of fear and neglect

September 13th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

irrigationIn years to come this will be seen as a watershed election for New Zealand. Is the country able to embrace change and elect a government willing to tackle the serious problems we face in health, housing, education and income inequality – or will it allow itself to be spooked by lies and diversions into settling for another three years of evasion and denial? Judging by last night’s Newshub poll, National is succeeding. So long as we keep talking about Labour’s plans, we’re not talking about National’s lacklustre performance during its nine years in office. Mission accomplished. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the likely path of Hurricane Jacinda

September 12th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

jacinda-imageSo far, Labour’s tax plans have been treated like an incoming hurricane in the Caribbean – how big will it be, what path it take through the economy, how much damage will it do? Are these going to be gi-normous Category Five taxes that flatten everything in sight, or something that may require only some extra rationing beforehand, and a bit of judicious sandbagging…

Given that every other economy in every other developed country copes with a far more extensive capital gains tax than the one we’ve got already, the amount of fear and trepidation being lavished on what Labour might have in mind seems excessive. Chances are the levees will hold, no matter what recommendations emerge from the tax working group that Labour plans to entrust with exploring the likely options. These will be options. No one has said the findings of the tax working group will be mandatory, and binding on all first responders. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on National’s fake news onslaught

September 6th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Can National succeed in lying its way into a fourth term of office? Given its entirely fictitious claims of a $11.7 billion hole in Labour’s alternative budget, it won’t be for lack of trying. In fact, National can win this election only if it can scare the public about the alternative. Sadly, that’s a sign of the moral erosion that’s happened in conservative politics. Once upon a time, conservatism was about protecting what’s worth preserving in our traditions. Now it is all about inciting fear of change, and by any means available. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the US public’s attitude to nuclear war

September 5th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Worried about North Korea? Feeling concerned that nuclear war could break out any day now, either intentionally or by accident caused by mutual misunderstandings? Luckily, and despite the heated rhetoric, both sides are continuing to frame their threats in defensive terms – vowing bloodcurdling responses, but only if the other side attacks first.

Sure, it is tempting to blame this standoff on the flawed personalities of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Unfortunately though, this recent MIT report on public attitudes to several global war scenarios suggests that the American public is far more tolerant of the mass killing of civilians – either by nuclear or conventional means – than the nice people in the media commentariat commonly tend to assume. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on scrapping the rights of gang members

September 4th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

So, Police Minister Paula Bennett thinks some New Zealanders deserve “fewer human rights than others”. The New Zealanders now in the firing line being brown people, in gangs. To that end, National is promising to allow police to search cars and houses of criminal gang members for firearms at any time – without the Police needing to go to the trouble of having evidence, or obtaining warrants. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the funding crisis in the health system

August 31st, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Much as Health Minister Jonathan Coleman may like to muddy the water, the crisis in our public health system is hardly the fault of the managers of the nation’s 20 District Health Boards. This crisis has been brought about by systematic under-funding by central government, not by inefficiency at the local level. The outlook is just as bleak. In Westport and Canterbury, the government appears to be contemplating public private partnerships for new health-related construction projects – yes, the same model that has failed so comprehensively in Britain – and that approach will leave DHBs even less able to cope with its deficits in future. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on Winston Peters and MSD

August 29th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Relatively speaking, it is far more common for people to be underpaid by MSD thanks to bureaucratic error, or through being ill -informed by MSD about their true entitlements. The relatively low take-up rates for some targeted benefits is a genuine scandal. The current Winston Peters overpayment kerfuffle isn’t one – and currently, he looks more like he’s the target of the scandal than the guilty party. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the Greens’ ongoing problems

August 24th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival. Green candidates are not expected to win electoral races; they’re there solely as a presence to carry the Green message and harvest the party vote. A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame.

Clearly, a resurgent Labour Party doesn’t need that helping hand any more. And Dunne has now gone, by his own hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on DHB deficits and free trade

August 23rd, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need.

Spot the difference with New Zealand, where DHBs are under intense pressure to reduce deficits within a climate of chronic underfunding. Read the rest of this entry »