Today’s most shameless example of corporate propaganda masquerading as journalism comes, as it often does, from Stuff. The article discusses the subject of whether New Zealand’s welfare system is too generous and whether this is responsible for the difficulty that employers are currently having retaining staff.
What distinguishes the corporate whores like Susan Edmunds – who write pieces like this – from people who used to practice what was known as journalism is that, here, no effort is made to provide any kind of balance to the piece.
The only people quoted in the piece are business owners and right-wing thinkers, such as the Chief Executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association. Nowhere are any worker’s representatives or even any workers given a voice.
The obvious rebuttal to the slant of this piece is to point out that the free market dictates that if you can’t get workers then you have to pay better wages, so that employers are themselves to blame if no-one wants to work for them.
In 2001, I worked at a variety of bars and cafes in Christchurch to save money for a move to Northern Europe. At the time I was generally paid $8 an hour, as that was the minimum wage at the time.
Later that year I was working in Sweden, where they paid me $22 an hour for equally unskilled work and apologised for it being such a low wage.
When I was in Northern Europe, I was surprised to learn that they do not have minimum wage legislation. They were surprised to hear me tell that such an implicit deal is not universal.
My stories about being paid barely enough after tax to buy a Big Mac after an hour’s work were met with surprise – after all, isn’t New Zealand supposed to be a wealthy country?
The reason for this is cultural: it’s not culturally permissible in Northern Europe to employ a person to work full-time for you and then to not pay them enough money to live on.
Kiwis don’t afford each other the same degree of respect. Ultimately, the reason why there has to be minimum wage laws in New Zealand is that in our culture it’s not considered immoral to pay someone less than they can live on for their full-time labour.
This is even though such an arrangement is the norm in societies where the interactions between employer and employee are between free men. New Zealand has been influenced by the master-slave employment relationship that characterises the New World of which we are a part. We have been influenced by America, Australia and Brazil.
The reason why Bill English lies about how all Kiwis are on drugs is so that his owners in the National Party membership can import third world workers on temporary visas to work for wages that Kiwis know too well are unfair.
In terms of profitability, there’s not that much of a difference between a slave who can be beaten at a whim without consequence and a worker on a temporary visa who can also be abused without consequence because if they complain about it they will get sent home. Because the former is illegal in New Zealand our employer class has to settle for the latter.
All of this raises a question.
In Saudi Arabia they have solved this problem by importing a slave class (that now outnumber the native Saudis by over two to one, just like in ancient Rome). It’s easy to get into Saudi Arabia as a worker from Pakistan, Bangladesh or the Philippines – it’s just that you have no rights and can be disposed of at any time.
A similar arrangement would suit the mentality of New Zealand employers down to the ground. After all, if you don’t want to pay your workers enough so that they can eat and send their kids to school with shoes on, why not just import slaves?
Perhaps all Kiwis can agree that, if our economy won’t work without a steady supply of fuel in the form of cheap temporary workers who get disposed of as soon as they get sick or complain, it’s best that we use foreigners for the purpose?
Making slavery legal again in New Zealand would also make it possible for the New Zealand middle class to have domestic servants, which is, after all, the fantasy of every National voter.
With a General Election called for the 23rd of September this year, the political fashion season is now upon us. Kiwis everywhere are asking themselves “What political cause do I have to pretend to support this season in order to virtue signal my advanced and Christ-like moral sophistication?” This article has the inside goss.
The first thing that everyone needs to know is that gays are out, refugees are in. Gays have been fashionable for long enough – homosexual law reform has been fashionable since the 1970s – and have now become an entrenched part of the Establishment, fielding more than twice as many MPs as would be proportionate for their numbers in the population.
Cynics might point out that the sort of refugees that have the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to make it to New Zealand are probably middle class anyway, but the trendy thing to do is to blame it all on American bombing.
Now that America has a white man in the big chair once again, it will now once again be fashionable to talk about the drone strike campaign that killed hundreds of thousands of people during the reign of Barack Obama.
Talking about this was exceptionally fashionable during the last years of George W. Bush, because the indiscriminate nature of the killing naturally upset human rights fans. Drone strikes regularly claim dozens of ancillary fatalities that are written off as ‘collateral damage.’
It was highly unfashionable to speak about this during the reign of Obama because he was just so goddamn ball-achingly cool. But now that it’s trendy to compare Trump to Hitler it will also be trendy to talk about the drone strikes again, as one can have little doubt that drones are something Hitler would have gleefully used had he been able.
Women are also out, and this has made it even more fashionable to be pro-Islam this season.
The fact is that, despite the rhetoric about the gender gap (almost entirely produced by yuppie lesbians trying to smooth the path to a C-suite position), it is really hard to get away with paying a woman less for literally the same work in New Zealand.
The vast majority of the feminists who were fashionable at university are now middle-class and assuming positions of power themselves – and often at greater rates than the males of Generation X because the females tend to have higher educational standards.
And what’s less cool than a competent, educated middle-class person in a position of power?
Throwing women under the bus is probably the only way we political fashionistas can cope with the cognitive dissonance that would be brought about by simultaneously supporting them and an aggressively male supremacist religious tradition that considers women barely better than animals.
Do note that transsexuals are not the hot new thing this political fashion season. It seemed for a long time as if they would be, because of all the noise they had been making.
But New Zealand has long ago had an openly transsexual Member of Parliament – a Georgina Beyer, assigned male at birth, who completed two terms as an MP for the Labour Party from 1999.
On the clearly unfashionable side of things is the economy. Bill English said that the economy was the primary issue this political fashion season, and he’s the epitome of uncool.
So whatever you do this political fashion season, don’t point out the fact that refugees cost the country $100,000 per year each, and so taking even as many as a thousand per year costs more money than the Feed the Kids Bill would have done.
Hungry kids are out, unless they are foreigners. So mentioning the $100,000,000 per year expense of taking in 1,000 refugees might be this season’s biggest faux pas.
Cannabis users will have to continue their forty-year wait to become fashionable, because most of them are poor, mentally ill and Maori and all of those are associated with being grotty and poor and uncool.
Alcohol will still be fashionable, though, because the alcohol industry will continue to dump tens of millions into advertising until the plebs can’t talk or think about anything else.
So get ready to crack some chardonnay with your newly-made Syrian friends on the 23rd September this year.
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This essay is based on a premise that will aggravate some and endear us to others: that Kiwis born in New Zealand are significantly more representative of what constitutes Kiwi culture than Kiwis born outside of New Zealand, and so much so that this factor alone can tell us things about ourselves.
To put it more precisely, the premise is that the higher the correlation between voting for a particular party in the 2014 General Election and being born in New Zealand, and the lower the correlation between that and being born overseas, the better that political party represents New Zealand and Kiwis.
With that defined, here are the political parties of New Zealand, ranked in order of how unlikely it is that a Kiwi born in New Zealand would vote for them. This unlikelihood is expressed as a correlation.
-0.74, ACT: It isn’t really surprising that the Get Rich Quick party has the lowest correlation with being born in New Zealand. The entire point of the ACT Party is essentially to rape the country and then sell it off, not to the highest bidder, but whoever comes up with some cash first.
The ACT Party has a relationship to New Zealand roughly analogous to the relationship a medieval Arab slave trader had to his Nubian slaves. Perhaps the best example of how the ACT Party fails to be Kiwi is that, even in a political environment where the centre-right National Party has completely crushed all opposition, they can’t manage more than one single seat.
-0.36, National: This correlation is fairly similar to that between net personal income and being foreign-born, which suggests that most of the immigrants that we let in on the grounds of being rich vote National.
As for those of us born here, we tend to not like National much because they’re not really the party of the Fair Go. They’re more like the party that charges First World prices while paying Third World wages. They don’t have quite the lowest correlation though because there’s something Kiwi about capitalist exploitation, as we are, after all, children of the Empire.
-0.22, Conservative: There is something mildly Kiwi about a party that just won’t give up in the face of insurmountable odds. Especially when that party is led by a weirdly creepy fundamentalist Christian fellow who sets off all kinds of sexual predator alarm bells in the heads of those watching him talk.
There is a well-established conspiracy theory that the British dumped their sexual deviants in New Zealand in the same way they dumped their criminals in Aussie. If there is any basis at all to this sort of thing then the Conservative Party are perhaps a natural long-term manifestation of this policy.
-0.01, Green: The Greens are a mixed bag. In some ways they represent the very best of us, and in others the very worst. In so far they represent the best of us, the professional, scientific and technical class – those with the best understanding of the systems we rely on to support ourselves and the challenges facing their sustainability – tend to vote Green.
In so far they represent the worst, there is no party more puffed-up and self-righteous, and supporters of no other party are as likely to hate you for disagreeing with them. In that manner the Greens represent the kind of of arrogant elitism that has used New Zealand as a social psychology laboratory for over a century.
It’s easy to imagine that the Greens might want to bring in ten million refugees in one hit and make it a criminal offence to raise public opposition to the idea. Which is exceptionally unkiwi.
0.01, Labour: Labour are basically the same as the Greens, and for similar reasons. This is why the strength of the correlation between voting Labour and being born in New Zealand is essentially nil.
The Maoris, who have the highest positive correlation with being born in New Zealand, are likely to vote Labour, as are the Pacific Islanders, who have a negative correlation with being born here. European Kiwis, who tend to vote National, counterbalance the immigrant Europeans who tend to vote Green.
All in all, the Labour Party is a big mess of confusion about which little can be accurately said.
0.54, Internet MANA: Perhaps fittingly, the next three parties on the list are all led by Maoris. Hone Harawira, whose family name is deeply entwined with the entire New Zealand power structure, was the public face of this abomination.
However, a party funded by a big fat criminal from Germany has an upper limit on how Kiwi it can ever be, and despite Hone’s best efforts Internet MANA tops out at 0.54.
0.62, Maori Party: Blundering mindlessly forward into your own destruction despite both obvious signs that the path forward is suicide and many chances to turn back is quintessentially Kiwi (this is essentially the spirit of Anzac).
So when the Maori Party stakes the entirely of its political capital on a hamfisted attempt to “help” Maori people by taxing them into the local Mental Health Unit on account of them using tobacco, it’s perfectly representative of them to double down and to keep increasing the taxes despite repeated warnings from academic researchers that it is counterproductive.
0.69, New Zealand First: Maybe no-one should be surprised that New Zealand First has come in second place in this study. After all, they are called New Zealand First, as opposed to Global Banking Interests First (as National should be called) or The United Nations First (as Labour and the Greens could combine as).
Being led by a Maori who doesn’t know if he’s left wing or right wing and who is a little bit shy about even identifying as Maori in the first place is like a Kiwi caricature.
And that leaves us with the most Kiwi party of them all, which is…
0.77, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party: The Legalise Cannabis Party represents the best of New Zealand – full of young people, free thinkers and Maoris, these are the kind of people who will not believe any kind of rubbish simply because it is handed down from an authority figure.
Apart from the All Blacks, Vegemite, and being shy about getting naked, cannabis use is the strongest identifier of actual Kiwi culture out of the lot of them. There’s nothing else that brings Kiwis of all classes, races, cultures and occupations together like smoking weed.
If any of this reasoning has failed to convince the reader, just ask yourself: who would Billy T James have voted for?
This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.