A Hundred Billionaires Say “Lend Me Your Ears”

Not wanting to rain on anyone’s parade, but the picture of our Prime Minister and leaders of most of the other nations of the world “speed dating in first class” with corporate leaders and sundry other ultra rich and famous at DAVOS, is not a pretty one. A hundred billionaires bending the ears of the most influential politicians of the day has got to be bad news for the rest of us. Continue reading

The War on Terror is a War We Cannot Win

Getting our military involved in the fight against the Islamic State would be a mistake. It will simply perpetuate the mistakes that have been ongoing since Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. All US foreign policy failures that New Zealand has bought into for no other reason than we seem to feel that where the US goes we should follow. Continue reading

A Simple Solution to Over the Top Executive Pay Packets

Acting Labour Party leader David Parker totally calls it when he says no company boss should earn more than the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister earns approximately $500,000 and many would argue that is more than enough. That the average pay packet for CEOs is $1.4 million, certainly indicates that CEO pay rates are out of kilter and in no way related to work performance. Continue reading

Don’t Just Get Tough on Crime, Get Rid of Crime

Come election time there is always at least one party, sometimes more, that insists the way to prevent crime and keep everybody safe is to lock up anyone who looks a bit dodgy and throw away the key. This election is no exception.

There are many problems with this mentality, vote grabber though it may be. Yes, there is crime in New Zealand, and even one crime a year is one crime to many. But crime rates are not, on the whole, going up. Locking up people for minor offences costs the country a fortune and turns them into hardened criminals who will commit more crimes on release.

Getting tough on crime will never get rid of crime. It will always be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. No one can be locked up until they have actually committed a crime. By that time it’s too late. Continue reading

New Zealanders Don’t Like Inequality But They Vote For It

New Zealanders don’t like inequality. Nigel Latta’s programme on inequality on TV1 recently drew so many donations for the people featured on the programme that he has had to start a trust to deal with the excess funds. Every time Campbell Live on TV3 runs a programme about someone down on their luck the donations come pouring in. The programme raised many times the amount needed for a young boy’s orthodontics; a family whose house was attacked by termites were given enough for a new home. The list goes on.

When confronted by concrete examples of the effects of inequality on people’s lives i.e. people not able to afford the necessities of life out of their own income, New Zealanders dig into their pockets and try to make things right. We want everyone to have a fair go, to have a decent life.

What gets lost, though, is the connection between politics and inequality. Continue reading

The App Economy; Can We Make it Work for Everyone?

The fastest growing companies are the ones in the tech/ecommerce industry. It has been described as the ‘app economy’. The app economy gives us great innovations – but it fuels economic inequality.

Ecommerce industries employ fewer people and they often eliminate existing jobs e.g self service checkouts at the supermarkets. But those at the forefront of these industries are rewarded with million or even billion dollar incomes. Thus concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Continue reading

Do We Want the Stability of Our Society to Be Dependent of the Random Generosity of a Few Mega-Rich?

Do we want the stability of our society to be dependent on the random generosity of a few mega-rich? This was the question posed in a letter to the editor in this week’s Otago Daily Times. It is an excellent question.

The Alliance Party would like to see it as the defining question in the 2014 election. Rather than the squabbling to date about such trivial things as which politician lives in the flashest house, and whether they should live there. That’s not important in the big picture. Continue reading

Arguments We Need to Win in 2014

What’s good for business is good for everyone, right? Wrong, actually.

Businesses that pay all workers a liveable wage, that provide a healthy and safe working environment, that tread lightly on environment, that turn out quality products or services that we actually need, and that pay a decent tax on their profits can benefit us all.

Businesses that pay low wages except to an elite few (usually offshore) directors and shareholders, that are unsafe for workers, that wreck the environment, that churn out junk, and that use every trick in the book to avoid paying their fair share of taxes cost the country and the planet. Continue reading

Poverty and Inequality – Are We Bored or Burnt Out And What Can Be Done About It?

People have become bored with economic inequality and poverty issues, according to Otago University Political Studies lecturer Dr Bryce Edwards. He ruffled a few feathers, but he’s probably right. The amount of media attention and voter support the Alliance Party has gotten in recent years certainly supports his theory. Or possibly people are just burnt out. Continue reading