Beneficiary Bashing – Are NZ Voters Smart Enough To See Through It?

Paula Bennett’s press release this week has sparked fears that the elections will descend into a beneficiary-bashing fest.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to embrace a social welfare system and has always been well regarded internationally because of that. It is one of our greatest achievements, along with being the first to give women the vote and declaring our nation nuclear free.

The recognition that the state should not just be there in the case of unexpected misfortune, but actively promote the welfare of all citizens, was innovative and visionary. It is what defines New Zealand as a great place to live. It means that we are all equal. Everybody can participate in the things that we all enjoy. Continue reading

Picking Winners is For Losers

There has been very little constructive debate on the value to New Zealanders of the government’s $40 million odd dollar contribution to the recent America’s Cup campaign and plans to sink more money into the next challenge. The argument that the jobs created during the building of the yachts and flow on economic benefits far exceeded the government’s contribution seems to have been taken at face value.

The Alliance Party concedes that boat building on this scale creates well paid skilled jobs. We would like to see more of this type of work for New Zealanders. But that does not necessarily mean the government money was well spent. Continue reading

A Solid Look at SOEs

Solid Energy is going down the gurgler, NZ Post is trying to get out of delivering mail, KiwiRail is closing railway lines and ordering all its new stock from offshore, and Mighty River Power is throwing money at exploration work in Chile – $250 million to date and growing – desperate to find a viable geothermal field to exploit Chileans facing power price hikes because of drought conditions.

What do all these entities have in common?  They’re all State Owned Enterprises working against the best interests of New Zealand. Continue reading

Not too late to save Hillside if the political will is there

The Alliance Party is appalled but unsurprised at KiwiRail’s announcement that they are to close Dunedin’s Hillside Workshops, making 90 workers redundant.

“We don’t accept this decision,” says Alliance Party co leader and former South Dunedin candidate Kay Murray.

Ms Murray says the Government must intervene right now to demand that KiwiRail keep Hillside workshop open and build their rolling stock there.

She says it is not too late to save Hillside if the political will is there. Continue reading