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What was the point of Jacinda Ardern? Her progressive global branding veiled political failure

What was the point of all that? (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

What was the point of all that? (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)


January 20, 2023   4 mins

No one saw Jacinda Ardern’s resignation coming, though many of her critics have been willing it for years. She has, she says, no more gas left in the tank after her five and a half years as New Zealand’s Prime Minister.

It has been gruelling stint, taking in not only the pandemic, but also the biggest terrorist attack in her nation’s history and a volcanic eruption that claimed 22 lives. Having faced  sustained vitriol from some of her opponents, and with a young daughter born while she was in office, it’s perhaps understandable, if disappointing, that the inspiration for working mothers the world over might now want to leave politics to spend more time with her family.

Ardern insists that she is standing down for personal reasons, and not “because it was hard”. But her political woes must have made that decision easier. Ardern’s popularity has been sinking for over a year, the country faces a crippling cost of living crisis, and her Labour government faces a daunting election this year against a resurgent centre-Right National Party. It is a far cry from 2020, when she was re-elected to become the first NZ Prime Minister to win an outright majority under an electoral system designed specifically to preclude such an outcome.

This is the leader who inspired “Jacindamania” and became an international progressive superstar. How did she fall from grace so spectacularly?

Covid-19 did play a part, but not in the way generally understood. Ardern’s Zero Covid strategy was driven by the cold reality of a health system that wouldn’t stand up to even a mild outbreak after decades of austerity. And contrary to critiques from abroad about “Covid dictatorship” and “never-ending nightmares”, the policy was actually successful. Within three months, New Zealand eliminated Covid, lifted all restrictions except closed borders, and life in the country returned to normal while the rest of the world descended into chaos. No wonder her pandemic management strategy was wildly popular, supported by 75% of the population as late as July 2021.

The problem, though, was the government’s failure to prepare an exit strategy. Complacency meant that vaccination roll out was slow, and the country was unprepared for the next wave: the Delta variant’s arrival, in August 2021, sparked a three-month lockdown in the largest city, Auckland. Once it became clear that the country’s success relied on luck and ad-hoc measures rather than enlightened leadership, Ardern’s popularity tanked.

The plan for re-opening once high vaccination levels were reached was similarly poor. Despite having watched Australia’s failures, New Zealand repeated many of their mistakes, with shortages of testing leading to an explosion of cases at the end of 2021, as well as staff shortages in shops and hospitality, and supply chain disruptions, and a health system still on the verge of collapse.

More controversially, New Zealand relied on vaccine mandates; Ardern described vaccination as “the golden ticket to freedom”. When the mandates sparked a protest movement that occupied the lawns in front of Parliament, the government refused to engage. The weeks-long standoff ended in violence when police moved in to clear the protesters, and it has rent the country’s social fabric, with 64% of New Zealanders believing the country is now more divided than ever.

It is this division, more so than any pandemic mis-management, that ultimately toppled her — it’s a division she was elected to address.

Ardern’s initial victory, in 2017, was based on promises to fix the widespread socio-economic disadvantage plaguing the country following four decades of neoliberalism and post-2008 austerity that would make even George Osborne blush. At the time of her election, over one in five children lived in poverty and inequality was high, with the wealthiest 10% owning 59% of all of the country’s assets, while the poorest half owned 2%. Housing affordability was a perennial issue — the average house would cost seven times the median income — while the country had the worst homelessness rate in the OCED, with almost 1% of the population living on the streets or in shelters.

Yet, almost six years on, what’s changed? Child poverty rates remain unchanged, while inequality has increased. House prices have increased by 58% over the past five years, with the average house now costing 8.8 times the average income. New Zealand, according to one economist, is now a country of “the landed gentry”, which dominates wealth and housing opportunities. Meanwhile, homelessness has worsened considerably, with more than 26,000 people waiting for social housing, up from 5,000 five years ago, as targets to build social housing have been badly missed. Even sympathetic commentators are examining Ardern’s legacy and asking “what was the point of all that?”

Undoubtedly, the pandemic thwarted some of her ambition and the government’s response exacerbated some of the problems. Record high inflation won’t have helped. But Labour was struggling to make progress with its agenda well before Covid struck. Indeed, this was the reason it was trailing in the polls in late 2019, which the pandemic masked for a while: a failure of imagination.

On housing, for example, Labour backtracked on closing tax loopholes that only benefit investors and drive up prices, while its grand plans to build 100,000 “affordable” homes in the decade came to nothing, as it struggled to incentivise the private sector to do so. Likewise, the solution to the homelessness crisis has been to put people in emergency housing, usually motels. With scant progress on building new social housing, the average stay in this “transitional” system has increased from 3 to 21 weeks over the past five years. On child poverty, it has relied on inadequate increases to welfare spending, rather than any structural changes that would address poverty and inequality.

This, then, will be the legacy of Jacinda Ardern: a missed opportunity. Ardern recognised the need to address the socio-economic disadvantage brought by 40 years of neoliberalism, and made bold promises of state action to do so. Yet when it came down to it, neither she, nor her government were able to break free of the Blairite Third Way mentality.

Despite talking a big game where the “days of thinking that the state can be a passive bystander and the market will provide
are over”, her government relied on short-term fixes, deferred to the private sector, advanced the interests of the asset class, and tinkered around the edges of child poverty or homelessness. Ardern leaves her country facing a cost of living crisis, and her party with no clear successor with fresh ideas how to address it, or the other social ills crippling it. Despite being hailed as the harbinger of a new, progressive Left, Ardern simply turned out to be more of the same.


Tom Chodor is a Senior Lecture in Politics and International Relations at Monash University.

TomChodor

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Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

No country that experiences immigration-fuelled population growth like NZ’s (foreign-born pop 27%) can ever hope to keep up in terms of house building, public services or infrastructure. All you get are runaway house prices, crumbling health systems and clapped-out utilities. Same in Canada, same in the UK, same in Oz, same in Ireland.
No government can solve this problem without dramatically reducing the level of immigration.

As Kemi Badenoch said:

“People – rightly – recognise that building more homes while doing nothing to bring immigration down is like running up the down escalator”

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

You’ve hit the nail on the head. Ironically for somebody quite left wing culturally Ardern had taken a much harder line on immigration than most, changing the rules so any immigrant had to be earning above the median wage in order to qualify for a visa, and drastically reducing the number of jobs that qualified as skilled workers visas. In NZ unlike the UK and American it’s the right that want uncontrolled immigration as they use it to drive down wages

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That’s very interesting Billy Bob. I didn’t know that about NZ politics. Thanks.

I suspect raising the bar for work visas and capping annual immigrant numbers will become standard in all western countries in the future. Only by decreasing demand can the supply of housing etc meet the public’s needs.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

NZs inflated housing market is the source of much of its problems to be honest. Prices are currently falling after spiking during the pandemic but the median house will still set you back around 13x the median salary (it was around 11.5x when Ardern took office). The median salary has grown by just over a quarter during her tenure, with the minimum wage going up slightly higher again but it still couldn’t keep up with the rapid house growth despite more consents being issued today than at any time since the 70’s. The ridiculous prices charged for housing and rent (there’s no rent controls and little in the way of tenant protection) often leave little else to spend on productive sectors of the economy so productivity has stagnated, although NZ certainly isn’t alone in that regard.

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

One of the major reasons for house costs is land supply which is controlled by locals councils with strict zoning in place. This means that in populated areas such as Auckland the cost of a building section is huge. Contrary to your assertion about renting and tenant protection, the Labour government has made being a landlord very unattractive by making it very difficult to evict tenants. Most claims to the tenancy tribunal are taken by landlords for unpaid rent and damage and the like. It is time consuming and tends to favour the tenant. If a landlord wins, there’s no system for forcing the tenant to pay up. Rents have to be reasonable and tenants can apply for a rent reduction (even after they have signed an agreement to pay this amount) if they believe it is too high. These changes have contributed to some landlords selling up further reducing housing stock as usually rentals house more people than owner occupied dwellings.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

They had tinkered with the tax laws to make it more difficult for property speculators to snap up vast amounts of housing, but tenants protections in NZ are minimal compared to other developed nations. The squeals from landlords about having to put a heat source capable of heating a single room in their rental shows just how easy they’ve had it

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I suggest that you have no actual experience of being a landlord. I have and tenant protection is NOT minimal.
By the way, the current policy for those in state housing is nil evictions. This has led to some tenants living in misery while their noisy anti-social neighbours pay no price for their thoughtlessness and in some cases criminal behaviour.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

Try being a landlord in almost any other first world country and you’ll see just how easy you had it comparatively. You’d also have had to bring your slum up to a liveable standard and paid capital gains tax on your earnings. If being a landlord in NZ is so difficult, why is an ever increasing amount of the housing stock being bought by landlords rather than first time buyers? Home ownership rates are the lowest they’ve been for 70 years

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So that’s a no – you’ve never been a landlord then?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

No, but I’m sure you’re about to tell us how hard it is to charge young families over half a weeks wages to live in a slum, all because you were able to use the equity in a house you bought 40 years ago for a song to outbid them, preventing them from owning a family home of their own. Those entitled tenants even expect a $100 extract fan in the bathroom for their $600 a week rent. The cheek of it!
Also there’s lots of things I’ve never been, but that doesn’t mean I can’t criticise them. You’ve never been PM but you attack her quite frequently on this thread after all

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well you appear to know everything about what I think and believe already so there’s not much point in me commenting.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

So I’ve pretty much got it spot on haven’t I? That’s exactly what happened

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In Switzerland there are very strict rules on what people can do and also The Guinness and Peabody Trusts used to be like that. Pre 1960s , council housing was built for hard working honest people. Lax rules and the sale of keys by council staff hs meant meany people living in social housing are not entitled to it. One estate I know of , the council had to knock it down and rebuild as it was cheaper than to evict those living there.
The simple solution is undertake Doomsday Boook No 2 of social housing, evict those not entitled to live there; prosecute council staff for criminal activity and re-introduce rules of 1950s and/or Peabody Guiness Trust.
The Welfare State was designed for honest hard working people who had endure the squalid Victorian slums and World Wars; not the criminal and feckless. It worked well up to the early 1960s where the concepts of ” Self Help ” espoused by Sam Smiles and encouraged by Keir Hardie combined with Methodist Principals of Mutuality and Cooperation dominated the Labour Party.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In Switzerland there are very strict rules on what people can do and also The Guinness and Peabody Trusts used to be like that. Pre 1960s , council housing was built for hard working honest people. Lax rules and the sale of keys by council staff hs meant meany people living in social housing are not entitled to it. One estate I know of , the council had to knock it down and rebuild as it was cheaper than to evict those living there.
The simple solution is undertake Doomsday Boook No 2 of social housing, evict those not entitled to live there; prosecute council staff for criminal activity and re-introduce rules of 1950s and/or Peabody Guiness Trust.
The Welfare State was designed for honest hard working people who had endure the squalid Victorian slums and World Wars; not the criminal and feckless. It worked well up to the early 1960s where the concepts of ” Self Help ” espoused by Sam Smiles and encouraged by Keir Hardie combined with Methodist Principals of Mutuality and Cooperation dominated the Labour Party.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

So I’ve pretty much got it spot on haven’t I? That’s exactly what happened

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It is not the landlord’s fault, it’s just the going rate for a ‘slum dwelling’. Many tenants turn any house into a slum.
Most houses in Australia and New Zealand are not that well built. Architectual standards could and should be improved in terms of land and energy use, quality of building materials, general liveability and aesthetics.
No real winners here except short term for some shoddy builders and their investor support.

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well you appear to know everything about what I think and believe already so there’s not much point in me commenting.

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It is not the landlord’s fault, it’s just the going rate for a ‘slum dwelling’. Many tenants turn any house into a slum.
Most houses in Australia and New Zealand are not that well built. Architectual standards could and should be improved in terms of land and energy use, quality of building materials, general liveability and aesthetics.
No real winners here except short term for some shoddy builders and their investor support.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

No, but I’m sure you’re about to tell us how hard it is to charge young families over half a weeks wages to live in a slum, all because you were able to use the equity in a house you bought 40 years ago for a song to outbid them, preventing them from owning a family home of their own. Those entitled tenants even expect a $100 extract fan in the bathroom for their $600 a week rent. The cheek of it!
Also there’s lots of things I’ve never been, but that doesn’t mean I can’t criticise them. You’ve never been PM but you attack her quite frequently on this thread after all

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So that’s a no – you’ve never been a landlord then?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

Try being a landlord in almost any other first world country and you’ll see just how easy you had it comparatively. You’d also have had to bring your slum up to a liveable standard and paid capital gains tax on your earnings. If being a landlord in NZ is so difficult, why is an ever increasing amount of the housing stock being bought by landlords rather than first time buyers? Home ownership rates are the lowest they’ve been for 70 years

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I suggest that you have no actual experience of being a landlord. I have and tenant protection is NOT minimal.
By the way, the current policy for those in state housing is nil evictions. This has led to some tenants living in misery while their noisy anti-social neighbours pay no price for their thoughtlessness and in some cases criminal behaviour.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

They had tinkered with the tax laws to make it more difficult for property speculators to snap up vast amounts of housing, but tenants protections in NZ are minimal compared to other developed nations. The squeals from landlords about having to put a heat source capable of heating a single room in their rental shows just how easy they’ve had it

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If my memory is correct Labour attempted to bring in Cap gains tax in 2012 – Key’s second innings- to forestall the inevitable housing blowout – only got 27% of the vote – so I guess the haves in NZ got what they wanted – a growing level of despair , anger, and resentment – do they sleep OK at night – probably – as do most greedy, arrogant self satisfied sorts………….Twas too late for Adern to do much by then – the horse had bolted !!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

At their peak house prices had still climbed by more than NZ$350k since Ardern took power, although they have since fallen back down to around NZ$250k more and falling still. If she had been braver and willing to use some of her vast political capital during her tenure she could have brought NZs tax system much more in line with other developed nations. Unfortunately she was far too timid in the face of vested moneyed interests

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

…agree with most of what’s in your comments BB, but from what I hear from ‘reliable sources’ in Wgtn, it’s less a question of timidity on Jacinda’s part, than the fact that her cabinet has been fashioned for diversity objectives. So ‘tribal’ self interest and lack of competence have defeated most reform efforts, even in areas which have wide public support.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

I think NZ like most countries has a paucity of ministerial talent, so it’s probably due to lack of ability rather than anything too ideological. The only tokenistic appointment I can think of from the top of my head was the foreign minister

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Like most of the human turds dominating ‘national’ govts and supranational organisations worldwide now, Jacinda Ardern has been nurtured by the World Economic Form. Klaus Schwab has openly boasted about this. So it IS ideological and, let’s face it, these numpties have been chosen, not for any “ministerial talent” but their ideological compliance in pushing the various WEF agendas.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Like most of the human turds dominating ‘national’ govts and supranational organisations worldwide now, Jacinda Ardern has been nurtured by the World Economic Form. Klaus Schwab has openly boasted about this. So it IS ideological and, let’s face it, these numpties have been chosen, not for any “ministerial talent” but their ideological compliance in pushing the various WEF agendas.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

I think NZ like most countries has a paucity of ministerial talent, so it’s probably due to lack of ability rather than anything too ideological. The only tokenistic appointment I can think of from the top of my head was the foreign minister

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

…agree with most of what’s in your comments BB, but from what I hear from ‘reliable sources’ in Wgtn, it’s less a question of timidity on Jacinda’s part, than the fact that her cabinet has been fashioned for diversity objectives. So ‘tribal’ self interest and lack of competence have defeated most reform efforts, even in areas which have wide public support.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

At their peak house prices had still climbed by more than NZ$350k since Ardern took power, although they have since fallen back down to around NZ$250k more and falling still. If she had been braver and willing to use some of her vast political capital during her tenure she could have brought NZs tax system much more in line with other developed nations. Unfortunately she was far too timid in the face of vested moneyed interests

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

One of the major reasons for house costs is land supply which is controlled by locals councils with strict zoning in place. This means that in populated areas such as Auckland the cost of a building section is huge. Contrary to your assertion about renting and tenant protection, the Labour government has made being a landlord very unattractive by making it very difficult to evict tenants. Most claims to the tenancy tribunal are taken by landlords for unpaid rent and damage and the like. It is time consuming and tends to favour the tenant. If a landlord wins, there’s no system for forcing the tenant to pay up. Rents have to be reasonable and tenants can apply for a rent reduction (even after they have signed an agreement to pay this amount) if they believe it is too high. These changes have contributed to some landlords selling up further reducing housing stock as usually rentals house more people than owner occupied dwellings.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If my memory is correct Labour attempted to bring in Cap gains tax in 2012 – Key’s second innings- to forestall the inevitable housing blowout – only got 27% of the vote – so I guess the haves in NZ got what they wanted – a growing level of despair , anger, and resentment – do they sleep OK at night – probably – as do most greedy, arrogant self satisfied sorts………….Twas too late for Adern to do much by then – the horse had bolted !!

J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Millions of immigrants in the U.S. and Europe don’t bother to get a visa.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

In the contest between most governments’ globalist agenda and meeting the needs of its citizens, bet on the globalist agenda. Mass immigration will continue apace, if only to increase the supply of leftist voters (so Trudeau/Biden/Harris think), and to meet labor demand. These are, to quote Mark Steyn, “the babies we couldn’t be bothered having”.
Of course the establishment-right has reasons to back transformative immigration as well, but they at least are out of step with a large portion of their voter-base.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

You racist! Just kidding – but that refrain is one of the reasons many countries have immigration levels that are too high to adequately absorb. Canada now has a target of 450,000 per year – literally all of whom go to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. That is a lot of people to house every single year.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

NZs inflated housing market is the source of much of its problems to be honest. Prices are currently falling after spiking during the pandemic but the median house will still set you back around 13x the median salary (it was around 11.5x when Ardern took office). The median salary has grown by just over a quarter during her tenure, with the minimum wage going up slightly higher again but it still couldn’t keep up with the rapid house growth despite more consents being issued today than at any time since the 70’s. The ridiculous prices charged for housing and rent (there’s no rent controls and little in the way of tenant protection) often leave little else to spend on productive sectors of the economy so productivity has stagnated, although NZ certainly isn’t alone in that regard.

J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Millions of immigrants in the U.S. and Europe don’t bother to get a visa.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

In the contest between most governments’ globalist agenda and meeting the needs of its citizens, bet on the globalist agenda. Mass immigration will continue apace, if only to increase the supply of leftist voters (so Trudeau/Biden/Harris think), and to meet labor demand. These are, to quote Mark Steyn, “the babies we couldn’t be bothered having”.
Of course the establishment-right has reasons to back transformative immigration as well, but they at least are out of step with a large portion of their voter-base.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

You racist! Just kidding – but that refrain is one of the reasons many countries have immigration levels that are too high to adequately absorb. Canada now has a target of 450,000 per year – literally all of whom go to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. That is a lot of people to house every single year.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not the “right”, but employers of large numbers of people, both private and state (e.g. including, in the UK at least, the NHS)

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

National and ACT are both to the right, and both want the immigration floodgates open to prevent wages rising

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

National and ACT are both to the right, and both want the immigration floodgates open to prevent wages rising

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That’s very interesting Billy Bob. I didn’t know that about NZ politics. Thanks.

I suspect raising the bar for work visas and capping annual immigrant numbers will become standard in all western countries in the future. Only by decreasing demand can the supply of housing etc meet the public’s needs.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not the “right”, but employers of large numbers of people, both private and state (e.g. including, in the UK at least, the NHS)

PĂ€r Sandqvist
PĂ€r Sandqvist
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Same in Sweden, housing and the welfare system cant cope when immigration is to fast or to big. Not enough teachers/schools, doctors/nurses/hospital beds, social workers, police et c.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Yes I am sure it is true all over the high-immigration western world. Hopefully, eventually, we will start to see public policy balancing immigration numbers with the country’s ability to provide services and housing.
Though I’m not holding my breath!

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

A struggling, impoverished environment is the biggest reason to slow and reverse population growth and cut immigration.
Cultural impoverishment comes next. ‘Multiculturalism’ is no substitute for locally evolved civilisations!

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

A struggling, impoverished environment is the biggest reason to slow and reverse population growth and cut immigration.
Cultural impoverishment comes next. ‘Multiculturalism’ is no substitute for locally evolved civilisations!

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

The housing problem everywhere is caused by high land prices. Typically 30% or more of the cost of a residential unit is the land cost. And that is because of restricted supply caused by (a) planning systems and (b) resistance to further building by existing home owners.
We could solve the land supply problem at a stroke by abolishing the need for planning consent. But I suspect that would not be a popular solution with many electors

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Exactly, high land prices are the ‘root of all evil’ but that can be solved.

In 1536 on the eve of Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Monasteries owned about 5 million acres* of England, considerably more than the Crown itself.

Thanks to Thomas Cromwell & Co by 1540 they owned NOTHING, and all this was achieved through Parliamentary Legislation.

(*England total acreage about 32 million acres.)

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

What are you suggesting here Charles ?
Two of the biggest landholders are the royal family and the government. The government – especially the MoD, but probably also parts like the NHS and Railtrack/BR/whatever it’s called these days – own huge amounts of land and property they neither use nor need.
But this would require the government to confiscate it’s own assets ! Something I’d support on many levels. The wealth released could be used to pay down national debt, create a sovereign wealth fund or give every citizen (every legal citizen that is – nothing for illegals) an equal share. Show me the leader who has the guts and imagination to do this. I really hope we can find one.
The C of E probably still has a lot of excess land too … time for “round 2” ?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I agree completely.
In fact Cromwell’s position was that ALL the Monastic Lands had originally belonged to the Crown and he was merely repossessing them. What a genius!

ps. The Church of England should be immediately disestablished.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Agreed. Should have been disestablished decades if not centuries ago. It has no more legitimacy or authority than any other religion these days. Not even Welby thinks so – he’s pretty much just another religious relativist. If he doesn’t think the C of E is any better than any other group, he’s got absolutely no business being in the House of Lords when the others aren’t.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Nor do the other 25 Bishops! In fact it is a jolly cosy little scam and a national disgrace when “all is said and done.”

What on earth Christ would have thought about it, I fear to think.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Nor do the other 25 Bishops! In fact it is a jolly cosy little scam and a national disgrace when “all is said and done.”

What on earth Christ would have thought about it, I fear to think.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Agreed. Should have been disestablished decades if not centuries ago. It has no more legitimacy or authority than any other religion these days. Not even Welby thinks so – he’s pretty much just another religious relativist. If he doesn’t think the C of E is any better than any other group, he’s got absolutely no business being in the House of Lords when the others aren’t.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I agree completely.
In fact Cromwell’s position was that ALL the Monastic Lands had originally belonged to the Crown and he was merely repossessing them. What a genius!

ps. The Church of England should be immediately disestablished.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

What are you suggesting here Charles ?
Two of the biggest landholders are the royal family and the government. The government – especially the MoD, but probably also parts like the NHS and Railtrack/BR/whatever it’s called these days – own huge amounts of land and property they neither use nor need.
But this would require the government to confiscate it’s own assets ! Something I’d support on many levels. The wealth released could be used to pay down national debt, create a sovereign wealth fund or give every citizen (every legal citizen that is – nothing for illegals) an equal share. Show me the leader who has the guts and imagination to do this. I really hope we can find one.
The C of E probably still has a lot of excess land too … time for “round 2” ?

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

If the population grew at a slower rate, we could build the extra stock within the planning system.
I don’t think planning consent or the Greenbelt policy will ever be abolished. Just like I don’t think the NHS will ever be seriously reformed. You need to think within those constraints if you want to improve the system.
One thing we could do is cap the number of immigrants we allow each year to a number which it is possible to expand our systems to cover.
I suggest the cap is set at half the number of new houses completed in the previous year. In the year to March 2022 204,530 new houses were completed. So the cap should be about 100k.
Personally I think we could exclude students from this cap as long as they return home upon graduation or apply for a work visa which is counted towards the cap. Ditto seasonal workers housed by their employers (farm workers, slaughterhouse staff etc).

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And if we introduced a one child policy or stopped immigration entirely we would not need any new houses at all within a few years and prices would drop hugely. But we depend on low paid immigrants to make the economy work; or we will have to work harder or more effectively.
The planning system is the government, or their advisors in Whitehall trying to second guess the market. How about just allowing the market to decide it, and take away the gains of those who get rich by obtaining the planning system? That’s a lot easier than trying to make the economy more productive!

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

100k immigrants a year is not a trivial amount of people (especially if you are not counting foreign students in the total). But we should impose that limit and then let the market decide how it adapts to those constraints. We could help things along by allowing companies to write off 100% tax against capital investment in automation machinery etc. We could help by encouraging kids into apprenticeships for disciplines we are short on rather than mindlessly paying for them to take low quality humanities degrees.
But I am afraid that fantasising about removing planning controls and letting the market rip doesn’t get us anywhere. It might make logical sense to take as many immigrants as the job market can absorb and let developers build the homes they need to live in – but it is a political non-starter. Nothing annoys home owners more than a big new housing estate going up in their backyard. And home owners are the ones that vote.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

100k immigrants a year is not a trivial amount of people (especially if you are not counting foreign students in the total). But we should impose that limit and then let the market decide how it adapts to those constraints. We could help things along by allowing companies to write off 100% tax against capital investment in automation machinery etc. We could help by encouraging kids into apprenticeships for disciplines we are short on rather than mindlessly paying for them to take low quality humanities degrees.
But I am afraid that fantasising about removing planning controls and letting the market rip doesn’t get us anywhere. It might make logical sense to take as many immigrants as the job market can absorb and let developers build the homes they need to live in – but it is a political non-starter. Nothing annoys home owners more than a big new housing estate going up in their backyard. And home owners are the ones that vote.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And if we introduced a one child policy or stopped immigration entirely we would not need any new houses at all within a few years and prices would drop hugely. But we depend on low paid immigrants to make the economy work; or we will have to work harder or more effectively.
The planning system is the government, or their advisors in Whitehall trying to second guess the market. How about just allowing the market to decide it, and take away the gains of those who get rich by obtaining the planning system? That’s a lot easier than trying to make the economy more productive!

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Some planning regulations are stupid, but quite a lot are there for good reasons. Look at the kinds of shitty communities developers build when they are given a free hand, sure, you might get a lot of units up, but they will not be good communities to live in.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Most young people want to live in an urban environment. Also there are many rules on contamination, archaeology and the environment which are applied where they are not needed which pushes up costs.
The construction of good quality blocks of flats in urban areas, especially on contaminated land, with off site construction( as in Germany) with shared gardens and strict rules on behaviour (which used to be applied by the Guiness and Peabody Trusts) would greatly increase supply. Contamination is only really a problem where it enters groundwater, surface water, is in the form of airborne dust or gas.
Aneuran Bevin said ” If we do not build enough houses we will critcised in two years and if not high enough quality, ten years”.
If Local Authorities were allowed to apply rules which were relevant and construction companies improved the quality of their planning applications so they were granted first time, costs would be reduced and speed of construction increased.
If say we applied the same thoroughness to construction that Japan applied to manufacturing and increased R and D, we could reduce costs and time plus increase quality.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Exactly, high land prices are the ‘root of all evil’ but that can be solved.

In 1536 on the eve of Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Monasteries owned about 5 million acres* of England, considerably more than the Crown itself.

Thanks to Thomas Cromwell & Co by 1540 they owned NOTHING, and all this was achieved through Parliamentary Legislation.

(*England total acreage about 32 million acres.)

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

If the population grew at a slower rate, we could build the extra stock within the planning system.
I don’t think planning consent or the Greenbelt policy will ever be abolished. Just like I don’t think the NHS will ever be seriously reformed. You need to think within those constraints if you want to improve the system.
One thing we could do is cap the number of immigrants we allow each year to a number which it is possible to expand our systems to cover.
I suggest the cap is set at half the number of new houses completed in the previous year. In the year to March 2022 204,530 new houses were completed. So the cap should be about 100k.
Personally I think we could exclude students from this cap as long as they return home upon graduation or apply for a work visa which is counted towards the cap. Ditto seasonal workers housed by their employers (farm workers, slaughterhouse staff etc).

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Some planning regulations are stupid, but quite a lot are there for good reasons. Look at the kinds of shitty communities developers build when they are given a free hand, sure, you might get a lot of units up, but they will not be good communities to live in.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Most young people want to live in an urban environment. Also there are many rules on contamination, archaeology and the environment which are applied where they are not needed which pushes up costs.
The construction of good quality blocks of flats in urban areas, especially on contaminated land, with off site construction( as in Germany) with shared gardens and strict rules on behaviour (which used to be applied by the Guiness and Peabody Trusts) would greatly increase supply. Contamination is only really a problem where it enters groundwater, surface water, is in the form of airborne dust or gas.
Aneuran Bevin said ” If we do not build enough houses we will critcised in two years and if not high enough quality, ten years”.
If Local Authorities were allowed to apply rules which were relevant and construction companies improved the quality of their planning applications so they were granted first time, costs would be reduced and speed of construction increased.
If say we applied the same thoroughness to construction that Japan applied to manufacturing and increased R and D, we could reduce costs and time plus increase quality.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago

We are very lucky in the UK.All our immigrants are highly skilled teachers, doctors,mathematicians,wealth creators etc.:}

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

And very adept at paddling a canoe, lilo, or dinghy.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

And remarkably young for their apparent looks too, in many cases.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

To comment on their physiognomy is rather disparaging don’t you think?

After all was it not your good self who complained about someone remarking on the ‘equine smile’ of Jacinda ‘the Hun’?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Touché though one could have accused me of ageism but for the fact that the rules for accepting refugees differ for those aged under 18.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

How stupid can WE get?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

How stupid can WE get?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Touché though one could have accused me of ageism but for the fact that the rules for accepting refugees differ for those aged under 18.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

To comment on their physiognomy is rather disparaging don’t you think?

After all was it not your good self who complained about someone remarking on the ‘equine smile’ of Jacinda ‘the Hun’?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

And remarkably young for their apparent looks too, in many cases.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

And very adept at paddling a canoe, lilo, or dinghy.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Yes I am sure it is true all over the high-immigration western world. Hopefully, eventually, we will start to see public policy balancing immigration numbers with the country’s ability to provide services and housing.
Though I’m not holding my breath!

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

The housing problem everywhere is caused by high land prices. Typically 30% or more of the cost of a residential unit is the land cost. And that is because of restricted supply caused by (a) planning systems and (b) resistance to further building by existing home owners.
We could solve the land supply problem at a stroke by abolishing the need for planning consent. But I suspect that would not be a popular solution with many electors

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago

We are very lucky in the UK.All our immigrants are highly skilled teachers, doctors,mathematicians,wealth creators etc.:}

rue boileau
rue boileau
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Same in Germany, it’s a complete disaster.

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

The lack of housing is nothing to do with immigrants. It is a result of the deliberate destruction of the public housing sector started by Thatcher and continued since. The ‘market’ will never meet housing ‘need’ because if it did house values would plummet. I have a friend who has lived in the same house for 66 years; his parents bought it in the 1950’s for ÂŁ20,000 and it is now ‘worth’ ÂŁ950,000. If it had kept pace with inflation that would be ÂŁ160,000, but even allowing for the real term historical increase in house values it should not be more than ÂŁ220,000.

Our entire economy is now built on a Ponzi scheme of house values that is nothing to do with productivity of any description. This has zilch to do with immigrants. There have always been people who could not afford to buy and council houses were built and rented at levels that allowed people to work and save and eventually the cost of the house was repaid via rent. They were also not reliant on public funds just to survive.

Now it is common for people who rent to be paying MORE than a mortgage costs; but they cant buy because with 60% of their wages (as against a historical 30-35%) going to simply have a roof over their heads they can’t save a big enough deposit. Kimi Badenoch, as you would expect from an extreme right-wing Tory, would much rathe tell everyone that out housing problems have been caused by immigrants rather then their policies. They have been in office for 13 years.

In 2019 house completion was still below 2007 levels, which was then extremely low and just before the crash in 2008:
https://www.statista.com/statistics/746101/completion-of-new-dwellings-uk/
Do you recall that according to Tories it was Labour that allowed immigrants to ‘flood in’, but again the real figures show this to be a lie:
https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/united-kingdom-shift-immigration-interrupted-brexit-pandemic

Still, we mustn’t blame the poor old Tories for our housing catastrophe must we? Nothing to do with them guv, just all those nasty immigrants. Destroying the public housing sector and not replacing any of it has turned out to be a spectacular disaster that has distorted our economy, it also creates a great deal of instability and is fundamental to mental ill-health, alcohol and drug addiction, educational failure, domestic abuse, family breakdown and the rise in racism.

When I talk to people who openly express anti-immigrants sentiments 99% of thee time I will hear that a family member, or relative, can’t get housed but all these asylum seekers can. When questioned they can’t ever provide an example and it is always someone who is a friend of a friend of my cousin/aunt/nephew etc. They are convinced that somehwere there is a secret stash of houses reserved solely for ‘immigrants’. Again, when asked where these houses are kept hidden they can’t say.

But this is the clever thing about blaming immigrants it means that all those people deperate for housing are not blaming government policies, as though they had nothing to do with the current situation. Let me tell you without immigrants a lot of bottoms aren’t going to get wiped and one day that migh mean yours.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

Up to early 1970s one could only obtain a mortgage if one had saved with a building society for five years, had a 10% deposit and a maximum of 3.5x a single person’s salary was lent. By allowing two salaries it increased money available, so prices went up.
The push for social housing came when it was realised many men volunteering for the Boer War were unfit due to being raised in slums and the heroism of those who came from poverty and fought in two World Wars. Homes fit for heroes was the phrase.
The right to council housing was earned.
Pre late 1960s, council housing went to honest hard working couples and there were strict rules on what people could do. There is a saying ” One can take a man out of the slum but not the slum out of the man”. I disagree but if people with slum mentalities live in decent housing, it becomes a slum.
Post late 1960s, the basis was need. Honest hard working law abiding can have need and so can the feckless and criminal. There is also the selling of keys by council staff.
Allowing feckless people with a slum mentality into social housing and then not being able to evict  them means the weak, women and old become intimidated by bad behaviour. Let us return to  1960s those requirements, where social housing has to be earned  and evict the criminal and feckless.
A friend who was raped by a neighbour in social housing asked that the man was moved or she was moved: it did not happen. Another couple has had appalling behaviour from a neighbour for fifteen years, which adversely affected their daughter, before the Police eventually forced the council to move her.
Why is it the Labour Party no longer practices the sort of behaviour espoused by it’s  Non- Conformist( Methodist/Baptist) founders?
Perhaps if only honest, hardworking and law abiding people were seen to live in social housing and there was an absence of criminal and feckless behaviour, there would be less criticism of  immigrants.

Ivan Tucker
Ivan Tucker
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

I don’t think those figures add up. With the average price of a house in 1950 being ÂŁ1891 and ÂŁ2530 in 1960, anything that cost ÂŁ20,000 in ‘the 50’s’ would have been an almighty mansion. And unless it was in Moss Side, that would be worth a lot more than ÂŁ950,000 today. So assuming this is a real person you’re referring to the figures are way worse than you say. My own parents bought their three bed house in Surrey for ÂŁ3000 in 1970.
However, any post that starts with “The lack of housing is nothing to do with immigrants” is surely based in ideology rather than truth. Immigrants may be 5% of the story or 50% of the story but they assuredly cannot be *nothing*. That just isn’t possible.
And given levels of net migration post New Labour’s criminially idiotic belief that there would be 13,000 annual new migrants post 2004, averaging about 250k a year since then, just how many houses do you think can be built per year? And what is the endgame of that in the long run that doesn’t involve an endless kicking of the can down the road?
Thre has been a housing crisis in this country for several decades now, which has persisted through labour and tory governments. It didn’t improve greatly under Labour, although homelessness provision did eventually improve well into the Blair years.
I am left wondering whether the people you say you have spoken to who have expressed concerns about immigration, are in their own way as much your straw men, as the straw men you say they refer to, in the form of people they claim to know but in fact can’t identify?

Last edited 1 year ago by Ivan Tucker
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

Up to early 1970s one could only obtain a mortgage if one had saved with a building society for five years, had a 10% deposit and a maximum of 3.5x a single person’s salary was lent. By allowing two salaries it increased money available, so prices went up.
The push for social housing came when it was realised many men volunteering for the Boer War were unfit due to being raised in slums and the heroism of those who came from poverty and fought in two World Wars. Homes fit for heroes was the phrase.
The right to council housing was earned.
Pre late 1960s, council housing went to honest hard working couples and there were strict rules on what people could do. There is a saying ” One can take a man out of the slum but not the slum out of the man”. I disagree but if people with slum mentalities live in decent housing, it becomes a slum.
Post late 1960s, the basis was need. Honest hard working law abiding can have need and so can the feckless and criminal. There is also the selling of keys by council staff.
Allowing feckless people with a slum mentality into social housing and then not being able to evict  them means the weak, women and old become intimidated by bad behaviour. Let us return to  1960s those requirements, where social housing has to be earned  and evict the criminal and feckless.
A friend who was raped by a neighbour in social housing asked that the man was moved or she was moved: it did not happen. Another couple has had appalling behaviour from a neighbour for fifteen years, which adversely affected their daughter, before the Police eventually forced the council to move her.
Why is it the Labour Party no longer practices the sort of behaviour espoused by it’s  Non- Conformist( Methodist/Baptist) founders?
Perhaps if only honest, hardworking and law abiding people were seen to live in social housing and there was an absence of criminal and feckless behaviour, there would be less criticism of  immigrants.

Ivan Tucker
Ivan Tucker
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

I don’t think those figures add up. With the average price of a house in 1950 being ÂŁ1891 and ÂŁ2530 in 1960, anything that cost ÂŁ20,000 in ‘the 50’s’ would have been an almighty mansion. And unless it was in Moss Side, that would be worth a lot more than ÂŁ950,000 today. So assuming this is a real person you’re referring to the figures are way worse than you say. My own parents bought their three bed house in Surrey for ÂŁ3000 in 1970.
However, any post that starts with “The lack of housing is nothing to do with immigrants” is surely based in ideology rather than truth. Immigrants may be 5% of the story or 50% of the story but they assuredly cannot be *nothing*. That just isn’t possible.
And given levels of net migration post New Labour’s criminially idiotic belief that there would be 13,000 annual new migrants post 2004, averaging about 250k a year since then, just how many houses do you think can be built per year? And what is the endgame of that in the long run that doesn’t involve an endless kicking of the can down the road?
Thre has been a housing crisis in this country for several decades now, which has persisted through labour and tory governments. It didn’t improve greatly under Labour, although homelessness provision did eventually improve well into the Blair years.
I am left wondering whether the people you say you have spoken to who have expressed concerns about immigration, are in their own way as much your straw men, as the straw men you say they refer to, in the form of people they claim to know but in fact can’t identify?

Last edited 1 year ago by Ivan Tucker
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I am glad to see the commentary on the way Covid policy was driven by an underfunded health care system. All through the pandemic Canadians were told that “ICU’s are full” – “hospitals have run out of beds” – etc. What most didn’t understand is that the same thing could be said every bad flu season. Canada has one of the lowest rates of ICU’s per population in the western world. However it was all framed as being due to the unique nature of Covid.

Persephone
Persephone
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Actually, our run down public services are due to 40 years of deliberate underfunding. It’s not a problem you could solve by limiting emigration, which New Zealand relies upon to fuel it’s economy; it’s a problem you could solve by increasing taxes and spending more money to FUND our run down public services. But that would require a change in the values of the people ruling us (our political class remains deeply committed to neoliberalism).

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

You’ve hit the nail on the head. Ironically for somebody quite left wing culturally Ardern had taken a much harder line on immigration than most, changing the rules so any immigrant had to be earning above the median wage in order to qualify for a visa, and drastically reducing the number of jobs that qualified as skilled workers visas. In NZ unlike the UK and American it’s the right that want uncontrolled immigration as they use it to drive down wages

PĂ€r Sandqvist
PĂ€r Sandqvist
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Same in Sweden, housing and the welfare system cant cope when immigration is to fast or to big. Not enough teachers/schools, doctors/nurses/hospital beds, social workers, police et c.

rue boileau
rue boileau
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Same in Germany, it’s a complete disaster.

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

The lack of housing is nothing to do with immigrants. It is a result of the deliberate destruction of the public housing sector started by Thatcher and continued since. The ‘market’ will never meet housing ‘need’ because if it did house values would plummet. I have a friend who has lived in the same house for 66 years; his parents bought it in the 1950’s for ÂŁ20,000 and it is now ‘worth’ ÂŁ950,000. If it had kept pace with inflation that would be ÂŁ160,000, but even allowing for the real term historical increase in house values it should not be more than ÂŁ220,000.

Our entire economy is now built on a Ponzi scheme of house values that is nothing to do with productivity of any description. This has zilch to do with immigrants. There have always been people who could not afford to buy and council houses were built and rented at levels that allowed people to work and save and eventually the cost of the house was repaid via rent. They were also not reliant on public funds just to survive.

Now it is common for people who rent to be paying MORE than a mortgage costs; but they cant buy because with 60% of their wages (as against a historical 30-35%) going to simply have a roof over their heads they can’t save a big enough deposit. Kimi Badenoch, as you would expect from an extreme right-wing Tory, would much rathe tell everyone that out housing problems have been caused by immigrants rather then their policies. They have been in office for 13 years.

In 2019 house completion was still below 2007 levels, which was then extremely low and just before the crash in 2008:
https://www.statista.com/statistics/746101/completion-of-new-dwellings-uk/
Do you recall that according to Tories it was Labour that allowed immigrants to ‘flood in’, but again the real figures show this to be a lie:
https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/united-kingdom-shift-immigration-interrupted-brexit-pandemic

Still, we mustn’t blame the poor old Tories for our housing catastrophe must we? Nothing to do with them guv, just all those nasty immigrants. Destroying the public housing sector and not replacing any of it has turned out to be a spectacular disaster that has distorted our economy, it also creates a great deal of instability and is fundamental to mental ill-health, alcohol and drug addiction, educational failure, domestic abuse, family breakdown and the rise in racism.

When I talk to people who openly express anti-immigrants sentiments 99% of thee time I will hear that a family member, or relative, can’t get housed but all these asylum seekers can. When questioned they can’t ever provide an example and it is always someone who is a friend of a friend of my cousin/aunt/nephew etc. They are convinced that somehwere there is a secret stash of houses reserved solely for ‘immigrants’. Again, when asked where these houses are kept hidden they can’t say.

But this is the clever thing about blaming immigrants it means that all those people deperate for housing are not blaming government policies, as though they had nothing to do with the current situation. Let me tell you without immigrants a lot of bottoms aren’t going to get wiped and one day that migh mean yours.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I am glad to see the commentary on the way Covid policy was driven by an underfunded health care system. All through the pandemic Canadians were told that “ICU’s are full” – “hospitals have run out of beds” – etc. What most didn’t understand is that the same thing could be said every bad flu season. Canada has one of the lowest rates of ICU’s per population in the western world. However it was all framed as being due to the unique nature of Covid.

Persephone
Persephone
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Actually, our run down public services are due to 40 years of deliberate underfunding. It’s not a problem you could solve by limiting emigration, which New Zealand relies upon to fuel it’s economy; it’s a problem you could solve by increasing taxes and spending more money to FUND our run down public services. But that would require a change in the values of the people ruling us (our political class remains deeply committed to neoliberalism).

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

No country that experiences immigration-fuelled population growth like NZ’s (foreign-born pop 27%) can ever hope to keep up in terms of house building, public services or infrastructure. All you get are runaway house prices, crumbling health systems and clapped-out utilities. Same in Canada, same in the UK, same in Oz, same in Ireland.
No government can solve this problem without dramatically reducing the level of immigration.

As Kemi Badenoch said:

“People – rightly – recognise that building more homes while doing nothing to bring immigration down is like running up the down escalator”

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

New Zealand’s draconian, CCP-inspired, authoritarian bullying, zero-Covid policy was successful in just the same way that flogging a child to within an inch of its life is successful in deterring misbehaviour: it might work in the immediate term but it does much more harm than good in the medium term, and it’s abusive and entirely unethical. I don’t understand how anyone with a modicum of compassion and good sense can look, especially knowing what is now known, at what Adern did to her people in 2020 and 2021 with anything but abject horror.

For a reasonable, statistically informed, assessment of the impact of her policies, see https://hatchardreport.com/new-zealand-is-stuck-in-the-dark-ages-excess-mortality-trends-in-new-zealand-and-overseas/ This analysis finds that excess deaths in NZ were indeed suppressed in 2020. But in 2021 and, especially, 2022 the excess deaths are way above normal. Many people predicted this in 2020.

Moreover, “During weeks 17 to 36, there were 1,319 more excess deaths in 2021 than in the equivalent period in 2020. These were the weeks of maximum Covid jabs, and the total excess deaths during this period account for 84% of the 2021 excess over 2020.“ Serious questions need to be answered about this and resigning as PM does not get you off the hook.

That said, I suspect that what is happening here is that Adern has been offered a promotion and, after a brief period of rest, she’ll be back and taking up some senior position or other in the global government apparatus that is being set up around the former international public health organisation known as the WHO.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I stand corrected, thank you.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Here’s the thing, I live in NZ and the draconian policy you speak of for me actually entailed only 6 weeks of lockdown over the entire pandemic. The supposedly sealed border had 250,000 people enter the country (5% of the population) during the time it was closed to foreign citizens. I’m not going to defend the vaccine mandates for healthcare workers as I believe that was a misguided policy which was rather quickly rescinded, but all up I’ve lived a much less restricted life than almost anybody in Europe

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Neil Ross
Neil Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Isn’t the geography and population density of NZ slightly different to Europe?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil Ross

Massively so which is why it was so much easier for NZ to keep the virus out until the much less dangerous Omicron variant, something that wasn’t an option for most countries but what does that have to do with the point that was made?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil Ross

Massively so which is why it was so much easier for NZ to keep the virus out until the much less dangerous Omicron variant, something that wasn’t an option for most countries but what does that have to do with the point that was made?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Interesting, so how does that square with Andrew Horsman’s comments above?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed I live in Auckland and the lockdown was no big deal – glad I did not own a business tho…..

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Auckland did it worse than the rest of the country, but it was still less than most other countries. The fact unemployment is at record lows implies to me most businesses didn’t struggle too much

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Where do you live Billy Bob? Maybe visit some some provincial towns especially those who depend on tourism and look at the number of businesses and shops which have shut down or clearly struggling by operating on reduced hours.
The official low unemployment rate is taken from the household labourforce survey and only counts those who are actively seeking work. Look up Lindsay Mitchell’s blog if you are interested in finding out the actual number of working people who are benefit dependent.
This government is run by people who do not know how a small business works and their policies do not help them. An example is removing the ninety day trial period for new employees.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

Tourism was always going to struggle due to the pandemic, people simply weren’t flying whether the borders had remained open or not as the rules were constantly changing elsewhere in the world. Until the whole world gave up on Covid restrictions people simply weren’t going to risk an expensive flight to the bottom of the world.
The unemployment figures are calculated the same way they’ve always been, so they’re still low by historical standards

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“expensive flight to the bottom of the world”.

That’s a great expression, and will be useful to quote when your, of your descendants hand the place back to the Maoris.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

What on earth are you on about?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I thought you were giving the place back?
Indigenous rights and all that tosh!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Then you are very much mistaken, I suggest you have a read up on NZs history

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The place does seem to be the most painfully woke in the world, bar Canada maybe. But it’s likely a huge pretence just to humour the ‘originals’, and if so, it’s very well done!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

How it’s portrayed in the media is very different to the reality. You ask most kiwis about the culture wars and you’ll get a blank look. Most of that nonsense passes the country by thankfully

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“Most of that nonsense passes the country by thankfully”.

But NOT you sadly, why not?

For example your ridiculous vanity/virtue signalling the other day, when Andrew Brigden MP made an innocuous remark about the Holocaust. QED?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Why shouldn’t I follow what’s happening elsewhere in the world, simply because I live in NZ?
Also I don’t believe it’s virtue signalling to say that referencing the holocaust was incredibly clumsy on Brigden’s part. Trying to conflate the systematic murder of 6 million people with a vaccine rollout is nonsense

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Rather than “nonsense “ it was simply stupid, and he should have realised that the Holocaust, and all that appertains to it is a toxic subject to be avoided at all costs.

I put this down to his slightly ‘geeky’ scientific background, but do NOT believe any malice was intended. What do you think?

Anyway very glad you are paying attention from your eerie at the “bottom of the world”.

As for NZ history it seems like yet another case of Vae Victis! followed by the mandatory whinging!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

No I don’t think what he said was malicious, just stupid. I think standing him down was an over reaction but he fully deserved criticism for linking the two.
Also I don’t believe it’s a case of Vae Victus with the Maori. I’m fairly conservative in my opinions but they do have genuine grievances due to the Crown ignoring the peace treaty it signed with them. Unfortunately it has descended into a bit of a gravy train for the lawyers

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

No I don’t think what he said was malicious, just stupid. I think standing him down was an over reaction but he fully deserved criticism for linking the two.
Also I don’t believe it’s a case of Vae Victus with the Maori. I’m fairly conservative in my opinions but they do have genuine grievances due to the Crown ignoring the peace treaty it signed with them. Unfortunately it has descended into a bit of a gravy train for the lawyers

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Rather than “nonsense “ it was simply stupid, and he should have realised that the Holocaust, and all that appertains to it is a toxic subject to be avoided at all costs.

I put this down to his slightly ‘geeky’ scientific background, but do NOT believe any malice was intended. What do you think?

Anyway very glad you are paying attention from your eerie at the “bottom of the world”.

As for NZ history it seems like yet another case of Vae Victis! followed by the mandatory whinging!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Why shouldn’t I follow what’s happening elsewhere in the world, simply because I live in NZ?
Also I don’t believe it’s virtue signalling to say that referencing the holocaust was incredibly clumsy on Brigden’s part. Trying to conflate the systematic murder of 6 million people with a vaccine rollout is nonsense

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“Most of that nonsense passes the country by thankfully”.

But NOT you sadly, why not?

For example your ridiculous vanity/virtue signalling the other day, when Andrew Brigden MP made an innocuous remark about the Holocaust. QED?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

How it’s portrayed in the media is very different to the reality. You ask most kiwis about the culture wars and you’ll get a blank look. Most of that nonsense passes the country by thankfully

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thanks, that shouldn’t take too long.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The place does seem to be the most painfully woke in the world, bar Canada maybe. But it’s likely a huge pretence just to humour the ‘originals’, and if so, it’s very well done!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thanks, that shouldn’t take too long.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Then you are very much mistaken, I suggest you have a read up on NZs history

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I thought you were giving the place back?
Indigenous rights and all that tosh!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

What on earth are you on about?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“expensive flight to the bottom of the world”.

That’s a great expression, and will be useful to quote when your, of your descendants hand the place back to the Maoris.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

Tourism was always going to struggle due to the pandemic, people simply weren’t flying whether the borders had remained open or not as the rules were constantly changing elsewhere in the world. Until the whole world gave up on Covid restrictions people simply weren’t going to risk an expensive flight to the bottom of the world.
The unemployment figures are calculated the same way they’ve always been, so they’re still low by historical standards

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Where do you live Billy Bob? Maybe visit some some provincial towns especially those who depend on tourism and look at the number of businesses and shops which have shut down or clearly struggling by operating on reduced hours.
The official low unemployment rate is taken from the household labourforce survey and only counts those who are actively seeking work. Look up Lindsay Mitchell’s blog if you are interested in finding out the actual number of working people who are benefit dependent.
This government is run by people who do not know how a small business works and their policies do not help them. An example is removing the ninety day trial period for new employees.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Auckland did it worse than the rest of the country, but it was still less than most other countries. The fact unemployment is at record lows implies to me most businesses didn’t struggle too much

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Interesting. Glad that you did not bear the brunt of the worst of it. It’s extraordinary, though, isn’t it that we are comparing the extent of tyranny in what we thought were our respective civilised liberal democracies.

Maybe it was, though, ever thus and we just did not quite know it: as H L Mencken wrote 99 years ago, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I think it’s always been the same. How many Japanese were locked up during the war in the states, and how many suspected Communists were arrested and harassed by the authorities even if they’d never committed any crimes. This was just done on a larger scale.
I also think it was more cowardice than tyranny. It would have taken a brave politician to stay open after others had locked down. If they had done so and deaths soared above that of their neighbours the public would have wanted them sent to the Tower

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You may be right. They acted not like leaders, but like cowardly followers. Mencken’s aphorism could be modified for our times: “the whole aim of practical globalist politics is to keep national political, corporate, religious, and cultural leaders alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Here’s another one, from CS Lewis, that could easily apply to Adern and her “progressive”, oppressive, ilk: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yup Johnson tried going down that road initially, and was condemned by all and sundry as a mass murderer. That example set the tone worldwide probably for all politicians.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

He should have listened to our finest legal mind, Lord Jonathan Sumption, KS.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

He should have listened to our finest legal mind, Lord Jonathan Sumption, KS.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You may be right. They acted not like leaders, but like cowardly followers. Mencken’s aphorism could be modified for our times: “the whole aim of practical globalist politics is to keep national political, corporate, religious, and cultural leaders alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Here’s another one, from CS Lewis, that could easily apply to Adern and her “progressive”, oppressive, ilk: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yup Johnson tried going down that road initially, and was condemned by all and sundry as a mass murderer. That example set the tone worldwide probably for all politicians.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I think it’s always been the same. How many Japanese were locked up during the war in the states, and how many suspected Communists were arrested and harassed by the authorities even if they’d never committed any crimes. This was just done on a larger scale.
I also think it was more cowardice than tyranny. It would have taken a brave politician to stay open after others had locked down. If they had done so and deaths soared above that of their neighbours the public would have wanted them sent to the Tower

Neil Ross
Neil Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Isn’t the geography and population density of NZ slightly different to Europe?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Interesting, so how does that square with Andrew Horsman’s comments above?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed I live in Auckland and the lockdown was no big deal – glad I did not own a business tho…..

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Interesting. Glad that you did not bear the brunt of the worst of it. It’s extraordinary, though, isn’t it that we are comparing the extent of tyranny in what we thought were our respective civilised liberal democracies.

Maybe it was, though, ever thus and we just did not quite know it: as H L Mencken wrote 99 years ago, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Like Trudeau,the kindness oozed out of her!Who could resist that equine smile?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

ya dunno what you are talking about – bad comparison – plus you are a pea brain for getting into childish physical put downs – go somewhere else cos we are attempting grown up conversations here !!

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

Equine smile! Brilliant! A face only a horse enthusiast would love.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

Yup, someone else who thinks it’s funny to laugh at looks. Can we have some jokes about disabled people too please?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Or Scotchmen, they are always good for a laugh don’t you think?

I had no idea you were quite so ‘woke’ Mr Stewart!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Or Scotchmen, they are always good for a laugh don’t you think?

I had no idea you were quite so ‘woke’ Mr Stewart!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

She should be on the front cover of ‘Horse & Hound’.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

Yup, someone else who thinks it’s funny to laugh at looks. Can we have some jokes about disabled people too please?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

She should be on the front cover of ‘Horse & Hound’.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

ya dunno what you are talking about – bad comparison – plus you are a pea brain for getting into childish physical put downs – go somewhere else cos we are attempting grown up conversations here !!

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

Equine smile! Brilliant! A face only a horse enthusiast would love.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Ah, the ever-useful revolving door for ‘retired’ politicians..

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

The left head to the UN, the right get given plum jobs with big banks

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

The left head to the UN, the right get given plum jobs with big banks

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I stand corrected, thank you.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Here’s the thing, I live in NZ and the draconian policy you speak of for me actually entailed only 6 weeks of lockdown over the entire pandemic. The supposedly sealed border had 250,000 people enter the country (5% of the population) during the time it was closed to foreign citizens. I’m not going to defend the vaccine mandates for healthcare workers as I believe that was a misguided policy which was rather quickly rescinded, but all up I’ve lived a much less restricted life than almost anybody in Europe

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Like Trudeau,the kindness oozed out of her!Who could resist that equine smile?

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Ah, the ever-useful revolving door for ‘retired’ politicians..

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

New Zealand’s draconian, CCP-inspired, authoritarian bullying, zero-Covid policy was successful in just the same way that flogging a child to within an inch of its life is successful in deterring misbehaviour: it might work in the immediate term but it does much more harm than good in the medium term, and it’s abusive and entirely unethical. I don’t understand how anyone with a modicum of compassion and good sense can look, especially knowing what is now known, at what Adern did to her people in 2020 and 2021 with anything but abject horror.

For a reasonable, statistically informed, assessment of the impact of her policies, see https://hatchardreport.com/new-zealand-is-stuck-in-the-dark-ages-excess-mortality-trends-in-new-zealand-and-overseas/ This analysis finds that excess deaths in NZ were indeed suppressed in 2020. But in 2021 and, especially, 2022 the excess deaths are way above normal. Many people predicted this in 2020.

Moreover, “During weeks 17 to 36, there were 1,319 more excess deaths in 2021 than in the equivalent period in 2020. These were the weeks of maximum Covid jabs, and the total excess deaths during this period account for 84% of the 2021 excess over 2020.“ Serious questions need to be answered about this and resigning as PM does not get you off the hook.

That said, I suspect that what is happening here is that Adern has been offered a promotion and, after a brief period of rest, she’ll be back and taking up some senior position or other in the global government apparatus that is being set up around the former international public health organisation known as the WHO.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I see. Neoliberalism done it, and Jacinda failed to fix it.
But I would rather say that the rule of the educated class, dripping with conceit and condescension, of about one hundred years, has Made Things Worse.
The working class? Homeless, and dying of despair. Educated women? Obsessed with “barriers.” Pensions? Instead of the savings of older people creating jobs for younger people we have the wages of young people desperately trying to buy homes paying for the pensions of old people that bought their homes for a song a generation ago. Because Justice.
How about we call a spade a spade. The world is ruled by credentialed administrative governments of the educated class that Make Things Worse.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I see. Neoliberalism done it, and Jacinda failed to fix it.
But I would rather say that the rule of the educated class, dripping with conceit and condescension, of about one hundred years, has Made Things Worse.
The working class? Homeless, and dying of despair. Educated women? Obsessed with “barriers.” Pensions? Instead of the savings of older people creating jobs for younger people we have the wages of young people desperately trying to buy homes paying for the pensions of old people that bought their homes for a song a generation ago. Because Justice.
How about we call a spade a spade. The world is ruled by credentialed administrative governments of the educated class that Make Things Worse.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

They’re all the same – Ardern, Johnson, Sunak, Trudeau, Merkel, Rutte. So very meh

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

No they are not all the same. Ardern was rather like Trudeau, but a very different beast from, say, Johnson. Johnson’s government leaned left on the economy, and centre-right on socio-cultural issues. Ardern’s government was a very muddled affair, but overall could be described as centre-right economically, and uber-woke socio-culturally. I’ll post a comment about Ardern’s government shortly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ludwig van Earwig
Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

All YGL. Including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, William Hague, Nathaniel Rothschild, Emmanuel Macron, even Putin’s name comes up, although unconfirmed..

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

No they are not all the same. Ardern was rather like Trudeau, but a very different beast from, say, Johnson. Johnson’s government leaned left on the economy, and centre-right on socio-cultural issues. Ardern’s government was a very muddled affair, but overall could be described as centre-right economically, and uber-woke socio-culturally. I’ll post a comment about Ardern’s government shortly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ludwig van Earwig
Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

All YGL. Including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, William Hague, Nathaniel Rothschild, Emmanuel Macron, even Putin’s name comes up, although unconfirmed..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

They’re all the same – Ardern, Johnson, Sunak, Trudeau, Merkel, Rutte. So very meh

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago

Every year for the last ten years at some point in the year I have lived in New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand in December 2019, lived on the South Island throughout 2020, and began my travels again in March 2021.
Some of the challenges that beset the West somehow seem clearer and easier to isolate in NZ because it really is a very simple country with atrocious media, to call it thin is an understatement. However, it enables you to see what’s going on without any noise.
Just as in the North of England a radical upgrade of infrastructure would transform communities and create opportunities the same applies in New Zealand. North/South Auckland and Hamilton/Auckland cry out for rapid transit systems and I mean rapid. In the South Nelson/ Richmond is becoming gridlocked and public transport is non-existent.
If you own a “Bach” and other properties to rent out none of this is an issue but if you want to create cohesion and do really care about the less fortunate you need to be able to move people in and out of working employment areas quickly and efficiently and of course, opening up areas close by will take the pressure off housing costs. The best examples are the commuter train services to the North of Wellington but passenger transport on rail elsewhere has disappeared. Imagine a fast rail link between Dunedin and Christchurch.
I offer just that one example because what Jacinda has brought into sharp focus for me is we desperately need politicians who recognize or have the skills to find people who can manage issues and ACT and make changes!
During the outbreak of the virus in China in January 2020 when the Chinese did not turn up for the second week of the lunar new year she failed to introduce emergency planning measures to create capacity and instead relied on her mother knows best media performances when she joined the UK in lockdown. Unfortunately, Kiwi’s completely wrong-footed her and within a fortnight the numbers were so low after the Black Lives Matter demo in Auckland that drove a coach and horses through the restrictions she was forced to remove all restrictions. But she then had two problems 70% of the population with no experience of the Virus thought they were going to die if they got it (her performance had been too good) and of course, the pesky thing kept on leaking out through quarantine.
Again if she had really studied the Virus and its outcomes that summer she would have realized that she was saving only 1,500 deaths a year (3 -1 on flu) whilst trashing the economy increasing debt and generating a K-shaped recovery. If you study the NZ health sight you will see tragically despite being vaccinated (95% 60+) those deaths have occurred (90% 60+ Comorbid etc )as a kind of natural catch up so no lives have in the end been saved.
She has spun, she has woked, but she has not done the one thing we expect from leaders identify the problem find a solution, and manage/oversee a solution. Politics to her is an emotional narrative, pulling in backward-looking grievances, not the business of actually effecting practical policies that make a difference and solve problems. It’s the emperor’s new clothes Kiwis have realized and she is toast. That is what I have against her kind of politics not that she makes mistakes or has a different view from me it’s she makes absolutely no difference on the things that matter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago

This I think is the key point. I may well not like Jacinda Ardern, but to my mind she really is a symptom of a much wider problem. Her power was effectively via the WEF route and with that, like many others around the world she became a national leader, nationally elected but with the outlook of globalisation and the associated corporatism. She didn’t start it, but all she did was embrace it more obviously than others.
People by and large don’t want an international mega-figure as their national political leader nor do they prioritise, ‘seats at the top table’ and ‘global influence.’ Crime, migration, the economy domestically matter the most to the vast majority I would posit. Blair became ever more the international figure as his time in office went on. Boris Johnson was very quick to make Ukraine his calling card rather than the business of hard domestic improvement.
I first got a sense of the trend during the Iraq war protests in the UK. Many of the complaints about Iraq seemed to me to be (perhaps in a roundabout way) a call for less internationalism. A common refrain was, ‘we are not the world’s policeman’ and that the UK should ‘know its place.’ Internationalism in the minds of many around the Iraq war was was really the de facto importing of other people’s problems and arguments rather than an exercise in global influence. Similarly with the EU to leaders the EU was an opportunity in collective power on a global stage, to many the EU was the opportunity to have your livelihood outsourced to Bulgaria.
The neofunctionalist ideas of spillover effects were generally about they EU, but they are it seems applicable to other international and supranational organisations. Domestic leaders are having to almost ride two horses.
It does of course beg the question of what to do about it all. Much intergovernmentalism and supranationalism is de facto irreversible. A baked in constitutional deficit. The answer probably lies in populism but it is hard to see how it will reify and certainly it won’t be a fast process.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I entirely agree Jacinda is part of a much larger movement. Mary Harrington in her article on Tony Blair highlighted this difference between the virtuals and the actuals and the former were all in favor of Jacinda but it’s the latter, the people whose work is practical that needed her support.
In writing my comment I am aware that her failure to deliver is not exclusive but she is the poster child for the left/woke/WEF and therefore should be judged accordingly.
I also used infrastructure because I noticed on my recent visit the remorseless building of houses continues but the infrastructure is nowhere to be seen, The developments at the bottom of Lake Hawea are substantial but I see no evidence of this tiny township changing in terms of its facilities. What I did do is ask people where they were moving from one word Auckland. Put the working opportunities into other cities and the people will gladly move.
How do we get away from where we are? Switzerland, Japan, and Singapore are worth looking at. What are the qualities which come to mind? Infrastructure, a sense of identity and self-worth, and in the case of Switzerland a breakdown down into regions (Cantons) to bring the government close. The latter is ironic given where Davos is.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I entirely agree Jacinda is part of a much larger movement. Mary Harrington in her article on Tony Blair highlighted this difference between the virtuals and the actuals and the former were all in favor of Jacinda but it’s the latter, the people whose work is practical that needed her support.
In writing my comment I am aware that her failure to deliver is not exclusive but she is the poster child for the left/woke/WEF and therefore should be judged accordingly.
I also used infrastructure because I noticed on my recent visit the remorseless building of houses continues but the infrastructure is nowhere to be seen, The developments at the bottom of Lake Hawea are substantial but I see no evidence of this tiny township changing in terms of its facilities. What I did do is ask people where they were moving from one word Auckland. Put the working opportunities into other cities and the people will gladly move.
How do we get away from where we are? Switzerland, Japan, and Singapore are worth looking at. What are the qualities which come to mind? Infrastructure, a sense of identity and self-worth, and in the case of Switzerland a breakdown down into regions (Cantons) to bring the government close. The latter is ironic given where Davos is.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

I’m glad you’re not in charge of building infrastructure here. A high speed train line from Christchurch to Dunedin would stretch for over 300km, over tricky terrain, in a country prone to earthquakes just to service two cities with barely half a million people between them. It would be an incredible waste of money

Katherin MacCuish
Katherin MacCuish
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So you’re saying that NZ shouldn’t build railways??

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

No, I’m saying the a country of 5 million people that’s around a fifth bigger than the UK and sits on major tectonic plates needs to be very careful about where to build them to avoid them becoming a white elephant. Labour actually reopened a train route from Auckland to Hamilton which is much less ambitious than anything the original poster mentioned and was slammed for it due to it being an economic drain

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Motorists pay registration fees and huge petrol taxes which were ringfenced to be spend on roading projects. Ardern’s government removed this and have wasted millions in consultants’ fees for projects such as a stand alone cycle bridge to the main Auckland harbour bridge instead of upgrading/building another bridge for all traffic which is urgently needed, as well as the hugely expensive train between Hamilton and Auckland. I think that this may have been shut down temporally. The subsidy per passenger per trip was in the hundreds of dollars.

Last edited 1 year ago by miss pink
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

I’m not denying there’s been mistakes made, but that’s hardly unique to this government. The PPI debacle around transmission gully is as bad as anything Labour have messed up. I’d also doubt the PM has much input on deciding which roads are built, that would be delegated to ministers and councils

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The transport projects I referred to are not mistakes they are an example of government policy put into action. I live near transmission gulley and thank Stephen Joyce every time I go on it for finally pushing this project through, first proposed after the second world war. Yes, there were some issues with the contract but maybe the fact that the Labour transport minister did not appear to visit or be across the details of such a huge project allowed issues to grow. Yes the PM is ultimately responsible for the performance of her government.
Prior to covid, the labour government was headed for defeat at the next election because their major policies were a disaster. Kiwibuild is one example.
Ms Ardern was their brand and was on the news every day during covid advising us to only listen to her as the voice of truth. Now that the tide is turning she runs away. I have no respect for her.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

This post implies to me that your objection to Ardern is simply that she was from the wrong team rather than anything she did or didn’t achieve personally. To blame Labour for a project and contract that was entirely designed and signed by the National party when they were in power shows it’s simply tribal for you

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Perhaps you could address what I wrote then? I’m not on any team or tribe.

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Perhaps you could address what I wrote then? I’m not on any team or tribe.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

This post implies to me that your objection to Ardern is simply that she was from the wrong team rather than anything she did or didn’t achieve personally. To blame Labour for a project and contract that was entirely designed and signed by the National party when they were in power shows it’s simply tribal for you

miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The transport projects I referred to are not mistakes they are an example of government policy put into action. I live near transmission gulley and thank Stephen Joyce every time I go on it for finally pushing this project through, first proposed after the second world war. Yes, there were some issues with the contract but maybe the fact that the Labour transport minister did not appear to visit or be across the details of such a huge project allowed issues to grow. Yes the PM is ultimately responsible for the performance of her government.
Prior to covid, the labour government was headed for defeat at the next election because their major policies were a disaster. Kiwibuild is one example.
Ms Ardern was their brand and was on the news every day during covid advising us to only listen to her as the voice of truth. Now that the tide is turning she runs away. I have no respect for her.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  miss pink

I’m not denying there’s been mistakes made, but that’s hardly unique to this government. The PPI debacle around transmission gully is as bad as anything Labour have messed up. I’d also doubt the PM has much input on deciding which roads are built, that would be delegated to ministers and councils

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My understanding is, and it’s implied in my post, that the link was slow and that’s what put people off. My experience of NZ is it will take a generational shift to move people to use public transport and it requires subsidies but the other benefits make it worth it. Infrastructure is everything.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
miss pink
miss pink
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Motorists pay registration fees and huge petrol taxes which were ringfenced to be spend on roading projects. Ardern’s government removed this and have wasted millions in consultants’ fees for projects such as a stand alone cycle bridge to the main Auckland harbour bridge instead of upgrading/building another bridge for all traffic which is urgently needed, as well as the hugely expensive train between Hamilton and Auckland. I think that this may have been shut down temporally. The subsidy per passenger per trip was in the hundreds of dollars.

Last edited 1 year ago by miss pink
Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My understanding is, and it’s implied in my post, that the link was slow and that’s what put people off. My experience of NZ is it will take a generational shift to move people to use public transport and it requires subsidies but the other benefits make it worth it. Infrastructure is everything.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
Lizzie Scott
Lizzie Scott
1 year ago

I hate it when people start with “So you’re saying
”
Then ??

Chris England
Chris England
1 year ago

I don’t think we should.
Historically we have flown- it is cheaper because our geology isn’t suited to rail- and we don’t have the population to warrant it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

No, I’m saying the a country of 5 million people that’s around a fifth bigger than the UK and sits on major tectonic plates needs to be very careful about where to build them to avoid them becoming a white elephant. Labour actually reopened a train route from Auckland to Hamilton which is much less ambitious than anything the original poster mentioned and was slammed for it due to it being an economic drain

Lizzie Scott
Lizzie Scott
1 year ago

I hate it when people start with “So you’re saying
”
Then ??

Chris England
Chris England
1 year ago

I don’t think we should.
Historically we have flown- it is cheaper because our geology isn’t suited to rail- and we don’t have the population to warrant it.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You know very well then that Christchurch, once the earthquakes of ten years ago happened, should definitely not have been rebuilt based on the geology of the area. Sometimes you have to find work rounds.
What strikes me about Dunedin is it has so much to contribute to the rest of the country and yet effectively feels cut off. One of the reasons that Dunedin and Christchurch have not grown and Auckland has is that connectivity has never been achieved. If it was THEN the population centers would reach critical mass. As far as I can see everyone dislikes Auckland as a living experience but is forced to live there. Other cities can take up the slack if they were connected properly.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Really ? I’ve been to NZ a few times, though not for around 20 years. But I always quite liked Auckland. I can remember cycling into the centre from Howick (in the south). Far quieter and more pleasant than a similar trip in any UK city. There are far worse places to live !
I also noted (in a trip to Auckland’s main library) that the Auckland building codes at the time (again, around 20 years ago) enforced minimum areas for different types of housing. These were about twice the size of equivalent types of UK housing at the time !

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Really ? I’ve been to NZ a few times, though not for around 20 years. But I always quite liked Auckland. I can remember cycling into the centre from Howick (in the south). Far quieter and more pleasant than a similar trip in any UK city. There are far worse places to live !
I also noted (in a trip to Auckland’s main library) that the Auckland building codes at the time (again, around 20 years ago) enforced minimum areas for different types of housing. These were about twice the size of equivalent types of UK housing at the time !

Katherin MacCuish
Katherin MacCuish
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So you’re saying that NZ shouldn’t build railways??

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You know very well then that Christchurch, once the earthquakes of ten years ago happened, should definitely not have been rebuilt based on the geology of the area. Sometimes you have to find work rounds.
What strikes me about Dunedin is it has so much to contribute to the rest of the country and yet effectively feels cut off. One of the reasons that Dunedin and Christchurch have not grown and Auckland has is that connectivity has never been achieved. If it was THEN the population centers would reach critical mass. As far as I can see everyone dislikes Auckland as a living experience but is forced to live there. Other cities can take up the slack if they were connected properly.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago

Apart from luck of geography for closing borders and the outsized influence the USA has, Canada faces many of the same issues with the exact same ‘grievance, social justice do nothing but make things worse’ policies. Sadly our population is so brainwashed at this stage that anything approaching the centre is wearing a red MAGA hat so good luck with changing that. I suspect I’d break out several bottles of Dom if Trudeau ever resigned but what waits in the wings is likely more troubling. If we are being honest, the legacy of female leadership from the last couple of decades is not great. It saddens me. Merkel left an utter mess for Germany and Arden looks to do the same. Harris is an affirmative action midwit

..my god what role models are we leaving for sane young women. I really wish this had not been the case.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

There were many men and women in New Zealand, about 30% at the time, who were profoundly frustrated by the events of 2020 and looked upon the rest of the population as “sheeple”. They knew what was coming and now many others have finally got it because as always in history once people are affected either by food shortages or in their pockets they wake up. At the time I said Jacinda was one of the most dangerous politicians I had come across. What makes people like her dangerous is how gullible people are.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

There were many men and women in New Zealand, about 30% at the time, who were profoundly frustrated by the events of 2020 and looked upon the rest of the population as “sheeple”. They knew what was coming and now many others have finally got it because as always in history once people are affected either by food shortages or in their pockets they wake up. At the time I said Jacinda was one of the most dangerous politicians I had come across. What makes people like her dangerous is how gullible people are.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago

This I think is the key point. I may well not like Jacinda Ardern, but to my mind she really is a symptom of a much wider problem. Her power was effectively via the WEF route and with that, like many others around the world she became a national leader, nationally elected but with the outlook of globalisation and the associated corporatism. She didn’t start it, but all she did was embrace it more obviously than others.
People by and large don’t want an international mega-figure as their national political leader nor do they prioritise, ‘seats at the top table’ and ‘global influence.’ Crime, migration, the economy domestically matter the most to the vast majority I would posit. Blair became ever more the international figure as his time in office went on. Boris Johnson was very quick to make Ukraine his calling card rather than the business of hard domestic improvement.
I first got a sense of the trend during the Iraq war protests in the UK. Many of the complaints about Iraq seemed to me to be (perhaps in a roundabout way) a call for less internationalism. A common refrain was, ‘we are not the world’s policeman’ and that the UK should ‘know its place.’ Internationalism in the minds of many around the Iraq war was was really the de facto importing of other people’s problems and arguments rather than an exercise in global influence. Similarly with the EU to leaders the EU was an opportunity in collective power on a global stage, to many the EU was the opportunity to have your livelihood outsourced to Bulgaria.
The neofunctionalist ideas of spillover effects were generally about they EU, but they are it seems applicable to other international and supranational organisations. Domestic leaders are having to almost ride two horses.
It does of course beg the question of what to do about it all. Much intergovernmentalism and supranationalism is de facto irreversible. A baked in constitutional deficit. The answer probably lies in populism but it is hard to see how it will reify and certainly it won’t be a fast process.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

I’m glad you’re not in charge of building infrastructure here. A high speed train line from Christchurch to Dunedin would stretch for over 300km, over tricky terrain, in a country prone to earthquakes just to service two cities with barely half a million people between them. It would be an incredible waste of money

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago

Apart from luck of geography for closing borders and the outsized influence the USA has, Canada faces many of the same issues with the exact same ‘grievance, social justice do nothing but make things worse’ policies. Sadly our population is so brainwashed at this stage that anything approaching the centre is wearing a red MAGA hat so good luck with changing that. I suspect I’d break out several bottles of Dom if Trudeau ever resigned but what waits in the wings is likely more troubling. If we are being honest, the legacy of female leadership from the last couple of decades is not great. It saddens me. Merkel left an utter mess for Germany and Arden looks to do the same. Harris is an affirmative action midwit

..my god what role models are we leaving for sane young women. I really wish this had not been the case.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago

Every year for the last ten years at some point in the year I have lived in New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand in December 2019, lived on the South Island throughout 2020, and began my travels again in March 2021.
Some of the challenges that beset the West somehow seem clearer and easier to isolate in NZ because it really is a very simple country with atrocious media, to call it thin is an understatement. However, it enables you to see what’s going on without any noise.
Just as in the North of England a radical upgrade of infrastructure would transform communities and create opportunities the same applies in New Zealand. North/South Auckland and Hamilton/Auckland cry out for rapid transit systems and I mean rapid. In the South Nelson/ Richmond is becoming gridlocked and public transport is non-existent.
If you own a “Bach” and other properties to rent out none of this is an issue but if you want to create cohesion and do really care about the less fortunate you need to be able to move people in and out of working employment areas quickly and efficiently and of course, opening up areas close by will take the pressure off housing costs. The best examples are the commuter train services to the North of Wellington but passenger transport on rail elsewhere has disappeared. Imagine a fast rail link between Dunedin and Christchurch.
I offer just that one example because what Jacinda has brought into sharp focus for me is we desperately need politicians who recognize or have the skills to find people who can manage issues and ACT and make changes!
During the outbreak of the virus in China in January 2020 when the Chinese did not turn up for the second week of the lunar new year she failed to introduce emergency planning measures to create capacity and instead relied on her mother knows best media performances when she joined the UK in lockdown. Unfortunately, Kiwi’s completely wrong-footed her and within a fortnight the numbers were so low after the Black Lives Matter demo in Auckland that drove a coach and horses through the restrictions she was forced to remove all restrictions. But she then had two problems 70% of the population with no experience of the Virus thought they were going to die if they got it (her performance had been too good) and of course, the pesky thing kept on leaking out through quarantine.
Again if she had really studied the Virus and its outcomes that summer she would have realized that she was saving only 1,500 deaths a year (3 -1 on flu) whilst trashing the economy increasing debt and generating a K-shaped recovery. If you study the NZ health sight you will see tragically despite being vaccinated (95% 60+) those deaths have occurred (90% 60+ Comorbid etc )as a kind of natural catch up so no lives have in the end been saved.
She has spun, she has woked, but she has not done the one thing we expect from leaders identify the problem find a solution, and manage/oversee a solution. Politics to her is an emotional narrative, pulling in backward-looking grievances, not the business of actually effecting practical policies that make a difference and solve problems. It’s the emperor’s new clothes Kiwis have realized and she is toast. That is what I have against her kind of politics not that she makes mistakes or has a different view from me it’s she makes absolutely no difference on the things that matter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

‘The point’ for me personally ‘of Jacinda Ardern’ and other of her ilk, is to illust