Mana and what it means for Labour in the 2011 election
Labour puts on brave face over National gain
Labour's leadership was yesterday putting on a brave face over the party's sharply reduced majority in the weekend's Mana byelection which sees Kris Faafoi enter Parliament as its newest MP. Mr Faafoi, a former television reporter who was leader Phil Goff's press secretary until he was selected to run in Mana, won with a majority of 1080 votes against National list MP Hekia Parata.
Oh God Faafoi was an awful candidate wasn't he? On paper he was solid. A political broadcaster who was born in the area sounds like gold, but his campaigning was appalling! He got beaten up in the TV interview, embarrassed himself with his super infant memory crap and then made that simpering explanation to explain his below par performance in the media as "it's easier to ask the questions than answer them".
Mate, maybe you shouldn't be the one attempting to answer them then.
Oh and that jaw droppingly racist 'dumb ass coconuts' comment. Ugh. Bang-head-on-wall-now moment
The lesson here is that most of those stumbles were seized upon by the blogs which drove much of the media glare, Political Party's will have to have a gaggle of on-line activists during the election next year to answer this stuff as soon as it happens.
Mana was about the candidate AND it suggested the Governments tightly balanced plateau of the economy still allows for the vacant politics of aspiration to appeal. This latter point is not good for a Labour Party needing to sell the downturn to next years electorate as to why the country needs to throw out a one term Government.
Luckily for Labour, they do. This economic crises is unlike anything the modern world has seen since the 1929 Depression. Best case scenario is an impoverished decade of pain and high unemployment, the worst case scenario is a Depression that makes the last Depression look like a small case of the blues after reading the final Harry Potter book.
If the economy turns, aspiration politics, no matter the strength of the candidate, ends up sounding as hollow and vacant as it really is.
The counter argument to Nationals public service slashing privatization agenda starts here...
Social problems linked to wealth gap: study
The greater the gap between rich and poor, the more likely people will grow up a drug user, a criminal, less educated, obese, pregnant while a teenager, even less trusting of others.
That is the main thesis of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by British researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which tracks income inequality against social indicators including health, education and crime.
The topic was the subject of a Victoria University-run forum on inequality last week, which invited academics and Treasury analysts to see whether Professor Wilkinson's ideas resonated with New Zealand data.
...and builds here...
Most people unhappy with new taxes: poll
More people are unhappy with tax changes than are pleased, a poll shows. On October 1, the Government increased GST from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent, increased benefits and reduced personal income tax rates. A nationwide HorizonPoll survey of 1558 people between November 16 and 19 found 8.2 per cent felt better off because of the changes, 53.5 per cent thought they were worse off while 35.6 per cent felt their situation was unchanged.
The decade long credit splurge debt chasm was caused by suppressed wages due to neo-liberal policies in the 80s and 90s creating the illusion of wealth from over inflated house prices.
The stimulus to date has merely prevented an all out collapse and the current policy of slashing public spending is the exact last thing this Government should do because all that will achieve is hurt the poor, make economic recovery even slower and see unemployment rise.
Where do we raise the funds to continue funding those services? There are plenty of ideas, tax evasion controls, a Tobin Tax and a land value tax could all provide the tax needed to continue funding public services.
Attempting to use deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma domestically to solve a global crises caused by the same deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma is about as counter productive as a Paul Henry Supporter Book Club.
Using this crises to justify privatizing public services is purely political, and Labour needs to harness the anger of those being asked to do with less because of corporate greed in a much better way than they did in Mana if they want to win 2011.