NZ Government is Anti-Resilience

I don't believe the government has any intention of taking steps to build resilience or even to take steps to create the conditions for communities to create resilience for themselves. I believe the government are actively hostile to the concept of community resilience. I believe a government of the left would equally be hostile to community resilience but they would use bureaucratic rather than economic means to undermine resilience. It is the nature of all politicians to seek to create dependence amongst those they govern / claim to represent, but this particular government are pursuing a particularly vicious course.

Most countries in the "free" world are suffering to a greater or lesser degree from Sovereign Debt Crisis. In most parts of the world this has been caused by bank bail-outs following the collapse in credit (electronic money) supply as the value of the securities that it was backed by have plunged. The governments have been using many devices to shore up the banks but the end result is the same. The private debt of the banks has become the public debt of the Sovereign Nations.

New Zealand doesn't need to be running up a massive sovereign debt. We only had to bail out a few dodgy finance companies, the bill was less than $4 billion (thats still $1000 for every Kiwi adult and child alive. but small beer compared to the US, for example). In fact we didn't have to bail them out at all. Our government chose to extend the "bank credit guarantee scheme" to these small finance companies in order to show "good faith" to the larger institutions. In my view the gamblers that put their life savings into these institutions that were offering high interest rates and thus were obviously high risk should have been allowed to lose all. But then I'm a hard bastard!

No, In New Zealand the government is choosing keep in step with the US, UK etc, creating sovereign debt by running the economy with spending levels at the OECD average but revenue levels lower than OECD levels. Why the hell would they want to do that!

As is the way with ruling elites, they always manage to find a way to pluck an advantage from other peoples misery. Fortunes have been made in dire times of war. During the depression of the 1930's the banks ended up owning vast tracts of land across the US midwest and so-on. The advantage that the ruling elites seek most in the present crisis is resource capture.

Globalised business knows that in the near future, as a result of peak oil and other resource depletion, it is going to become very difficult to make money by the more traditional business activities like producing goods and services to sell at a profit. This is because re-localisation ( it is coming whether we seek it or not due to infrastructure failure) is going to cause business to be done on a local scale that does not fit the global corporate model. Their answer is to maintain profit and control by what economists call rent seeking. This means that they control resources such as land,water, minerals, intellectual property and so-on and charge money for access to them. This means they get paid regardless of how profitable or not the human activity requiring these resources is. Masterplan!

The problem is that a lot of these resources are in the public domain as they have traditionally seen as being too important to be controlled by private interests. This does not sit well with the rent seeking elites.

In other parts of the world, bank bailouts and the resulting sovereign debt crisis have resulted in conditions where sovereign governments will have to sell off public assets just to balance the books. Here in New Zealand, that precondition is not present so the debt crisis is being manufactured.

This all sits very cleverly with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, presently being negotiated in secret, which aims to secure a situation such that when these assets are privatised, a future sovereign government of a signatory country will be unable to re-nationalise the assets without paying punitive compensation to the usurpers.

http://blog.labour.org.nz/ind

http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/04/30/big-australia/

It seems that Labour are all for continuing the status quo which has brought us to:

1) Peak Oil
2) Massive Over population
3) Scarcity of resources

There really doesn't appear to be anyone in our major political parties that are in any way engaged with reality.

Engaged with Reality.?

Just had a visit over there at red-alert. I find the headline article like I find politicians, superficial and unwilling to engage with reality. Same goes for most of the commentators. This is the problem with letting the politicians set the agenda, the followers just get drawn along with the petty details of the whole irrelevent gabble. Then there are the trolls. Couldn't help myself have a poke at QtR. If you look under the pseudo-sophistication there is nothing but wanton fallacious argument.
I have to say that the most realistic grip on the political malaise of the country that I have seen anywhere at present comes from New Zealand First. Winston Peters speeches of the last few months have been really pertinent on the political crisis and very compatible with my viewpoint. However the stated policy of NZF is still focussing primarily on the export led economy and not addressing resource depletion per se which is a big failing, but he is addressing foreign and corporate control, which is good. I like the fact that all the other pollies despise and ridicule Winston, that makes me think that they fear him and this endears me to him greatly.
Don't really want to pursue this line here at the risk of alienating others with their own perspective. I am not a party politics person, just thought I would get that one off my chest, so to speak.

Rimu's picture

I consider the Greens to be a

I consider the Greens to be a major political party. They have the third largest representation in parliament, anyway

http://greens.org.nz/peakoil
http://www.greens.org.nz/climatechange

Are the Greens a Force for Change?

Yes, but are they a force for change? I know a few individuals in the Green Party and I have to say that many of them are frustrated by the soft approach to core issues. People usually see green issues as an "add-on extra" to the core issues of basic survival. Many voters perceive that we can't afford to be green when our backs are up against the wall economically. Look how the Irish Green Party all but collapsed in the last election. in my view as a reaction to their sovereign debt crisis. I fully expect the greens to go the same way here unless they can rapidly revitalise their act away from emphasis on less immediately urgent matters and come out fighting for self-reliance in affordable basic foodstuffs, against corporate control of utilities, against land sales, against taxpayer funded bale-outs. They also need to drop their emphasis on a whole lot of social policy stuff. I know why they got into it- because they have created a constituency out of a whole lot of disparate minority "left-ish" positions that are compatible with a certain type of "soft-greenness". This had its usefulness in its day but is now a divisive distraction.

Rimu's picture

Yes, I too am occasionally

Yes, I too am occasionally irritated by a lack of focus on issues that I consider most important. But everyone considers different things to be important because they have different values. Political parties will always be a mish-mash of (sometimes competing) issues with different people within them pulling in different directions.

Politicians don't drive change - they jump on bandwagons - bandwagons that are started by the grassroots. If you organise a big event and get thousands of people to come then a politician will happily jump up the front and give a speech. But usually they're not going to create the event in the first place. Sure, sometimes they'll strike it lucky and one of their events goes big but only if there is an issue that many people *already* feel strongly about.

There have been a lot of changes in the last year or so, with many of the old guard retiring or going to retire in a few months. It will be interesting to see what the Green Party looks like after the election.

Good comment, lets not bewail, lets be active! (but also aware)

Soon after posting, I re-read the preface in a book I recently received, and it focussed my attention again on being actively involved in change, but not pointlessly railing against the barriers that inhibit change. (As I have a natural inclination to do this and bewail, sometimes/often too much!)

By all means we should be totally aware of all the issues that apply, from political to coal face, as naivety is often taken advantage of as a mechanism for control. Recognition of these is vital. Barriers and hurdles have to be identified, alternate pathways and solutions have to be found. But bewailing without action and resolve generates negativity and can inhibit progress. Support for change is important, comes from many quarters, and in many different ways, Assistance comes from co-operation and collaboration when focussing on the positive, and acting positively.

Grassroots efforts demonstrate successful ideas and models independent (mostly?) of politics, success breeds support, support aids effort! Obvious I know, but I too am learning.... it's a journey...

strypey's picture

Social issues are core issues

A pro-resilience politics is not enough if it does not also incorporate a pro-human-rights politics. Otherwise you could look at neo-nazi survivalists as being allies of the green movement, which they are not. They'd just as easily shoot our friends that happen to be asian, or gay, as they would trade organic carrots with them. A green movement makes equal space for all beings, not just people, and certainly not just white, male, judeo-christian people. As long as this equal space is not mainstream in our society, social justice is a key green issue.

A good example is the child abuse bill. This was an important step in extinguishing the myth that children benefit from being physically violated by adults as of right, or "for their own good", just as husbands used to beat their wives as of right, and "for their own good". Children that grow up free from the threat of violence from their caregivers are much less likely to view other people, other animals, and the planet as threats which they must constantly make pre-emptive war on. You can grow your own veges but if still beat your kids (or your partner) that's a core issue which greens need to be just as concerned about as anyone else.

Being green is, above all, about being a good neighbour. That's something even christians can understand, if they remember the good samaritan.

Social Issues?

Strypey, as I have said before elsewhere, TTNZ is of necessity a broad church and I have no desire to fall out with anyone here. Your argument only stands up if your definition of "green" is the only valid definition. Arguably, if my "neo-nazi survivalist" ( a stereotypical association of words if ever I heard one) neighbour lives more sustainably with a lower environmental impact and collaborates with me on matters of common interest he is "greener" than a liberal-minded selfish over-consumer. It is a fact that the "original greens"- the founders of the Soil Association back in the 1930's, were associated with the same "Blood and Soil" type bucolic and racial romanticism that was popular with Fascists and Nazis, so don't kid yourself that the liberal left have a monopoly on green credentials. If we demand that those we associate with in our search for sustainable living adhere to a comprehensive code of beliefs then we have no movement- just a lot of factions. This is the achilles heel of party politics- if you want the main-course, you have to take the pudding with it, because parties give you an a-la-carte menu that is decided upon by the party, not the citizen.

Some of us actually believe that an immediate slap on the backside as a punishment for a serious misdemeanour is not psychologically harmful. It is coded by 250,000 years of human evolution to mean "my parent really disapproves of what I've just done". As the child desires parental approval the punishment works. The kind of quasi-judicial psychological mindgames such as "time out" or "loss of privileges" that Sue Bradford et-al would have us use merely confuses and alienates the child with a message of "my parent doesn't love me" and has more to do with state paternalism over the parent than either child discipline or family violence.

Your emotive language could have been purpose-made to alienate those who don't think the same way as you do on issues such as the one above. It reminds me of the mindset that Lenin warned against in his essay forged in the heat of revolution- "Left Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder. Its message is equally applicable to all popular movements that seek political change. In brief- the quality of your activism isn't determined by the ideological purity of your actions, rather it is determined by taking a course that is likely to engage as many as possible in the process of change. This may mean finding common ground with some people that you wouldn't necessarily want in your social life. My emphasis on the right of access to resources is an idea to put transition onto as broad a base as possible.

A force for change - not yet it seems

While their energy policies, fuel security awareness, and environmental concerns seem aligned with the realistic outlooks we are aware of and wish to be prepared for, I was disappointed to see Keith Locke on TV the other night airing matters in a way that smacked of the "old-left", and not at all focussed on core concerns as you say Kev that are neither left nor right, but a matter for self reliance, self determination, and community type resilience and survival independent of the big multi-national players and distributors of essential goods and services.

It seems to me (and this includes fuel security also), that by attacking these core issues, "green" benefits just drop out as a natural consequence, instead of focussing on the "wishy-washy" cr..p (including green-washing), we need these "movers and skakers" to be operating on our behalf, the behalf of the community, to balance out the natural power of the "right" and associated conglomerates, to make the "state" more responsive to various crises, and support communities self resiliance by focussing on these very core matters and important abilities.

These concerns should be *a*political, but they're not, and I wonder just what kind of crisis it's going to take (but I do know) to put them at the top of the priority list and not the other mundane and manipulative items shown on tv news and other general media outlets to the general public. 99% of the "public" *do* care that they can put fuel in their car, put food on the table, turn on the lights, have employment etc without being concerned about providing any of this themselves, (and really *would* be "upset" if they had to!) and that's more votes than any one party can claim.

Somehow I think the only way to start is at the bottom, by creating an unstoppable force of co-operation, self ability and measures of independence back into the hands and economy of us common lot. We still need big players for certain things of expense, complexity and infrastucture, but they shouldn't be calling the shots as well as they are, and we certainly shouldn't be so complacent about losing control of large tracts of arable and useful land to overseas interests as a matter of principle, when many of the answers lie in careful use and husbandry of all our natural resources.

phew!