Thursday, 31 May 2007

NZ the way Jordan Carter wants it.

Labour hack Jordan Carter imagines and blogs an alternative history that would have resulted if the Labour Party and the Alliance re-united in 1994. (You can see it here.)

"Imagine," he imagines, breathing hard all the while, that this "more left-wing Labour Party" had taken power in 1999, but with "a wider activist base and a more radical policy and caucus, and aided by the Greens as a coalition partner." His imagination, such as it is, has served up some frankly febrile predictions about what life would be like in New Zealand in 2007 under such a collectivist's wet dream.

To help our erstwhile alternative historian (who seems to have overlooked a few things), I have added the necessary touch of realism to Master Carter's wet dream. Here is how this place would really look if the nightmare situation he describes had truly taken place:

  • Health spending would be sitting around 9-10% of GDP and, with the consequent inflation in the Government health system, surgery numbers are down, waiting lists have soared, and small medical supplies companies are listing on the stock exchange at the rate of twice a week. Radiologists are still on strike.
  • The 1991 benefit cuts would have been reversed, and beneficiary numbers increased from 270,000 to over 400,000. Shareholders in Sky City and Restaurant Brands/KFC buy condos on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile the three poor saps left to pick up the tab for this welfare explosion have just bought the last remaining flights out to Australia. There are no lights still burning to turn out: Kyoto has put paid to the power stations.
  • The industrial relations system would have been re-collectivised, days lost to strikes would have gone through the roof, and no ferries would have crossed Cook Strait since Xmas 2005. No killing has been done at any meatworks since the General Strike of 2003, and meat has been changing hands at $100 per kilo in some inner suburbs of Helengrad.
  • Tertiary, early childhood, vocational education and training have been made "free" at point of use, private schools and early childhood centres have been nationalised, and Jane Kelsey, Susan St John and John Minto are writing the curriculum. NCEA has been scrapped for being "too challenging" for students. No one can read, or write, or do sums (but they're all very good at some stick games), and teachers wear kevlar stab-proof vests to schools, which they pay for themselves out of their meagre salaries.
  • Nation-wide investment in public transport has have been far higher over the past decade, and flowers and trees now grow on NZ's (very) few motorway systems. Auckland's buses are still empty. There is no work to travel to, no rush hour to negotiate, and Queen St is being dug up again. Car imports have been banned, and the average age of cars is twenty years and rising. Petrol taxes are now set at $3 per litre to help pay for public transport and the MPs' Superannuation Fund. Mike Ward is the Minister for Transport.
  • New Zealand would have focused economic policy on local production, not acceded any further into the WTO system, and reinstuted protectionism on local industry. Sue Bradford is the Minister for Trade. Import licensing has been reintroduced (making the holders of these licenses fabulously wealthy), and families in Porirua no longer able to buy cheap imported bedding, clothing and appliances are now making underwear out of their curtains and boiling up rocks to make soup. There is no internet because nobody can afford the locally-assembled computers, and (since they've all been assembled at the Sheltered Workshops) they don't work anyway.
  • New Zealand's distribution of income would be moving solidly in a more egalitarian direction, with no one earning over $20,000pa except for civil servants and MPs. Everyone else has been made equally poor, and everyone is equally miserable. Blam Blam Blam reissues "There is No Depression in New Zealand" in a limited edition, with free packets of soma for the first 1,000 buyers.
  • Public spending would be at around 42-44% of GDP, around $17bn a year higher than it is today. Interest rates are at 20% and climbing, but still no-one is buying the dollar...
  • The country has been renamed the People's Republic of Aotearoa, the Treaty relationship has been put into a modern, bicultural context, and Co-Prime Minister Turia (head of the new Upper House, called the Council of United National Tribes) has just "negotiated" a co-management deal with Fonterra whereby tribal leaders will receive each year's dairy payout to redistribute as they see fit. Farmers are shooting and burying their sheep and cattle.
  • Immigration is no longer a problem, and the only flights now are outbound. Without a political platform, Winston Peters retires from politics and buys a corner dairy.


  1. He is such a prick really, why isn't he in the Alliance? Answer- because he actually wants to do these things, and Labour is his vehicle. However for now, he is the wrong side of the political cycle.

    Of course presumably he forgot full state funding for incumbent political parties, a prohibition on third party funding of political campaigns and the like to.

    Fuck he's a prick, how dare he think he has the right to take more money from people who are productive to spend on those who do nothing or to prop up monopoly services that he wants to define to meet the needs he thinks everyone else has.

    Why does he engage in such intellectual onanism without justifying it, and when will he do something himself about the poor he so cares about?

    Wanker... grr time to have dinner and a glass of wine

  2. "how dare he think he has the right to take more money from people who are productive to spend on those who do nothing or to prop up monopoly services that he wants to define to meet the needs he thinks everyone else has."

    Spot on, Scott. The hard left in a nutshell.

  3. More likely - Jenny Shipley would have become New Zealands first elected woman Prime Minister.

  4. Rubbish!!

    Not even that level of welfare could save Restuarant Brands!!

    Ha. All else is correct and amusing.

  5. "Not even that level of welfare could save Restuarant Brands!!"

    Yep, you're probably right. ;^)

  6. Carter actually thinks that if 10% of GDP were spent on health care that waiting lists would be eliminated.

    What theory, and what part of the massive expansion in funding for health in the last 8 years without any improvement in waiting lists would convince Carter of that?

    Is there any country in the world that has found a way not to ration health care either by price or by waiting?

    If Carter has not figured out that the fundamental reason for waiting lists is a zero price, and that waiting lists are demonstrably not fixed by higher funding, however high, he must be particularly lacking in insight. In fact, this is reflects poorly on his intelligence - what he is missing is just so obvious.

  7. I think you've missed the opportunity to really nail it, PC. What Jordon doesn't understand is basic reality. Raising public health expenditure to 10% of GDP, and increasing public spending by 10% of GDP, wouldn't actually result in more government spending at all. Jordon's policy prescription would lead to dramatically lower GDP.

    These anti-wealth pinkos just don't get is that even in their system, there is no welfare without wealth.

  8. Yep, IP, you're absolutely right.

    In my defence, I figured Jordan and co wouldn't accept that argument, and if they did they wouldn't manage to integrate it.

    But it's absolutely true, and that's one thing the Third Way whackoes have learned, but Jordan still hasn't: that there is no welfare without wealth.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.