"The system is broken"
Should we continue on the same path as we have in the past, we will arrive, soon, in a society with a fabulously rich elite, a middle class shrunken into insignificance, struggling to keep its head above water, and a working class that can’t. This unhappy disparity of wealth shall be achieved with more and more production and consumption of goods and services, at a cost in environmental devastation and a fragmented, incoherent and violent society in name only. Unemployment will be for most, the norm, with no chance of contributing to, or being part of a functioning society.
“This is the conundrum of our existence. We have structured our affairs in such a way that economic growth and excessive consumption are destroying us and our world, while their absence dooms us to recession and unemployment.
Clearly we need a steady state economy that can serve human needs without endless growth. Rather than uncritically accepting this mirage of growth, we need to build alternatives” (3). The minimum wage shall be set at $17.00 per hour. The minimum wage will be adjusted to the inflation rate on an annual basis.
Work hours completed after 35 (thirty five) hours shall be paid at double time.
All workers will be strongly advised and encouraged to join a union.
Five weeks annual holiday will be paid by the employer to each worker.
Maternity leave, for both parents will be set at no less than 26 weeks.
Redundancy for every worker shall start at three month's income, for the first years service or part thereof. Every years service thereafter shall be paid at one month's income.
Co-operatives will be strongly encouraged and supported amongst workers with a common interest.
The lowest rate of taxation will be 10% (ten per cent) and apply to all income up to $30,000.
Woe betide any greedy son-of-a-bitch manipulating income to qualify for the lower rate.
A progressive p.a.y.e tax will be re-introduced. The top rate of taxation shall be 70% and shall be applied to all incomes over $250,000. Trusts and companies used to camouflage income will be banned.
Income levels will be adjusted by the annual rate of inflation.
An additional social security tax of 10% will be applied, to be used solely for health spending.
The tax rate on cigarettes and alcohol will increase. All tax received from such sales will be paid to public hospitals.
Supermarkets and dairies will be unable to sell alcohol. Local communities shall have democratic control as to whether or not alcohol outlets will be permitted in their neighbourhood.
Third party insurance for cars will be compulsory.
The tax rate on petrol will be increased and all tax received from this source will be used on roads and/or public transport.
A discussion needs to be initiated about our use of finite resources, and our almost automatic and thoughtless construction of yet more roads and motorways.
Estate duty on all estates valued at over $500,000 will be re-introduced.
All profits on second homes, investment properties and shares sold within 12 years of purchase will be deemed to be part of the owner’s taxable income.
'Hot money' sent into New Zealand to take advantage of the movement of the exchange rate will be taxed.
The exchange rate will be periodically adjusted, to benefit export businesses.
The Governor of the Reserve Bank will no longer be able to increase or lower the Official Cash Rate (OCR).
“Greater reliance on macro-economic policies in areas such as the exchange rate and interest rates to achieve profit, competition, productivity and innovation. In other words policies directed at controlling inflation by increasing supply rather than restricting demand.
Greater use of fiscal policy and an integration of fiscal policy with monetary policy, so that quicker acting and better focused fiscal measures would take more of the burden of controlling inflation.
A wider remit for the Reserve Bank so that it is required to look at broader goals such as growth and efficiency in the real economy in addition to the current exclusive priority given to the control of inflation.
A more effective monetary policy taking into account major inflationary factors, e.g. huge increases in bank lending for residential properties”(2).
Or. Replacing the O C R with an Interest Linked Saving Scheme would be more effective in controlling inflation and would encourage rather than destroy the productive economy.
The final entitlement age for superannuation will be flexible. Some people will still be capable of good work well into their 70’s; others will be worn out at 60 years of age. The amount paid will be adjusted annually by the rate of inflation, and will be 70% of the average wage.
A person will not be entitled to superannuation until they have retired from the work force. Super payments will cease upon any re-employment or part-employment that takes a person's total taxable income above the average wage.
Where there are dependant children, the family income, up to $75,000 may be halved for tax purposes.
“Public education is the most important element in the maintenance of a democratic system.
The better citizens as a whole are educated, the wider and more sensible public participation, debate and social mobility will be. Any serious rivalry from the private education systems will siphon off the elites and fatally wound the drive and funding of the state system.
Highly sophisticated elites are the easiest and least original thing a society can produce.
The most difficult and the most valuable is a well educated populace.
Fashionable education consultants (Science of Education specialists) have reduced the budgets for general education and the number of teachers, telling us there is no money and have concluded that our sophisticated system cannot afford to properly educate our people.
It should be pointed out to these specialists that there will be even less money in a society of functionally illiterate people.
We know this is a suicidal and lunatic policy position.
What we are doing is passively accepting the conclusion of lunatics” (5).
There will be no money for private schools.
Adult (night classes) education shall be re-established.
There will be extra money for kindergartens, schools and universities.
An enquiry will be conducted into teacher training, pay rates, teacher’s status within the community and the “after hours” public use of schoolroom resources.
An enquiry will be conducted into student loans with a view to the abolition of student loans.
Alternatively, The State will pay those students taking degrees for which there is a shortage e.g. Agricultural Science, Medicine.
Most university degrees will be free, e.g., Arts, Fine Arts, Humanities and the Sciences.
Some courses, e.g., Commerce, Business and Law will be charged at full cost.
Of major importance to New Zealanders, is the retention and flowering of
Te Reo Maori.
Te Reo is an official language of this country, spoken nowhere else.
Monoligual people who learn another language also learn another culture.
Bi-lingual people are more sophisticated, bi-cultural human beings.
To this end Te Reo will become a compulsory subject at all educational institutions, with a special emphasis on Language Nests (early immersion classes).
New Zealand Railways will be re-established with the aim of building a railways system similar to France.
System analysts have been given control of finances for Government departments and have been busy trying to make each separate government service profitable, yet without realizing that the public service is not a separate private corporation, but part of a whole, which is the entire public structure.
The proposal is thus:-
“To treat the rail system as a fundamental need, adhering to the 19th century idea of a national infrastructure which requires investment without any rational plan for a financial return.
In France, they have maintained a large staff at all levels. Taking the view of customer service, cleanliness, of maximum number of services, therefore of choice in the use of trains, of good food and of reliability. They have spent money developing technology to produce fast reliable trains, building new railbeds and signal systems. Property values have increased in proximity to railway stations; business goes to towns served by fast trains-thus helping the policies of decentralization. The balance of payments is helped by not importing fuel for less fuel-efficient modes of transport; e g trucks and aircraft. Tourism benefits with an influx of tourists wanting to use trains. France’s essence of success is that the entire sector is treated as providing an essential public service, worthy of the best high technology in the context of labor, maintenance, and an investment-intensive industry” (5). Making a profit is not a concern.
The New Zealand Shipping Line will be re-established to assist our exporters and to complement the railway system.
The New Zealand military forces have concentrated on developing a post modern, hi-tech, abstract idea of professional warfare (frigates and armored personnel carriers).
The result is that our forces, by training, equipment and attitude are no longer capable of fighting a real modern war, which can be watched on television news channels every night.
A typical postwar conflict now involves irregular and highly mobile combat which mixes armies with civilians and irregular forces, professional and amateur; low-cost (though in some cases highly-sophisticated) equipment and public terror. These rag-tag forces are easily capable of confounding and defeating the most powerful of ‘conventional’ armies.
Since about 1950 this type of warfare has steadily increased to, by now, more than fifty conflicts” (5).
E.g. Vietnam, Bougainville, Somalia, The Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.
About 1,000 combatants and 5,000 civilians are being killed every day.
“The National government’s neo-conservative, monetarist inspired
Electricity privatisation reforms in the 1980’s didn’t work, can’t work, and never will.
The government of the day set up five competing generators, commissioned with making a profit. Prices had to rise to pay for five sets of lawyers, accountants and marketeers, all of whom would be receiving over-inflated corporate salaries.
Networks have been neglected.
Generation capacity has been deliberately stunted, creating higher prices and leaving the nation vulnerable to black-outs.
When networks found they really had to build something, they built short-term, stop-gap, carbon-heavy, gas-fired generating stations.
In our country, which is geographically long, with a small population, sparsely scattered, needs a degree of planning and foresight no amount of market regulation can achieve". (4).
The best way of saving money is conservation. What profit-driven enterprise can promulgate that contradiction?
Electricity is not a commodity in our society; but an absolute necessity; when it is switched off, people die. We have seen that.
It has been revealed recently that electricity companies have overcharged consumers here, by about four thousand three hundred million dollars. ($4,300,000,000).
If any more proof is needed of the lunacy of the present system it is the reshuffling of assets between and around the various generating companies. No amount of re-designing will ever make this senseless model of right wing thinking work. None.
Private enterprise has clearly demonstrated it is not capable of running this essential resource.
The electricity generating and distribution infrastructure in New Zealand will be re-nationalised.
Government will take the responsibility of rebuilding the system with a unity of purpose and for the benefit of all people.
All privatised water supplies in New Zealand will be re-nationalised and placed under local, democratic control.
The Wellington City Council’s private water company ‘Capacity’ was:-
Charged with saving WCC several millions of dollars; they have not.
Charged with replacing ten kilometers of water pipe in annual maintenance work; they have not.
The Wellington water reticulation system loses nearly a quarter (22%) of its load between treatment plant and consumer’s tap.
I have compiled this budget after reading and being influenced by several writers (they have much more skill and grace).
Patricia Smith of Christchurch, who published her alternative budget in the ‘Sunday Star Times’ about a year ago. I have used the framework she provided, and modified it to mine.
(1) Tim Jackson, Economics commissioner, Sustainable Development Trust, independent advisory board to UK Government. “Prosperity without growth” ‘Questioning growth…’
(2) Bryan Gould Diplomat; Professor of Law; M.P, British Labour Party; Academic and Rhodes Scholar contributed the economic measures starting with ‘Greater reliance…’
(3) John Rhodes of Greytown, ‘Listener’ letters, “This is the conundrum…’
(4) Roger Lacey, writing in ‘The Listener’ letters page, “The National Govt…’
(5) John Ralston Saul, Canadian intellectual and writer ‘The Doubter’s Companion’,
Voltaire’s Bastards’ and ‘The Collapse of Globalism’. His contribution is to Railways, Education and Defence.