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Robson On Politics

May 13 2008

 

Making Ends Meet

 

I don’t know when it has ever been easy for average income earners to meet all of their bills. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s my mother belonged to a group called Campaign Against Rising Prices. This was largely an organization of housewives and working mothers. Everything from petrol, food, electricity and all the daily bills stretched the family budget to breaking point. And the political parties pledged that they had a solution if only you would vote for them! They didn’t have a solution and families continued to struggle. Then we were hit by Roger Douglas, David Lange, Richard Prebble, Jim Bolger and Ruth Richardson and the great sell off of New Zealand’s public assets, GST and tax cuts to the wealthy. Rail, electricity, BNZ, Air New Zealand etc – all made Fay, Richwhite, Meyers and associated parasites even richer than they were. Douglas and friends did all right too. The market was the master. The difference with 2008 is the tools to make sure that the majority of New Zealanders are not thrown on the scrapheap have been put in place by a Labour-Progressive government. Regional and Economic development policies have seen resources spreading throughout all regions so that what each region does best is utilized to the maximum. That is a powerful factor in our high employment figures. Education and upskilling has been a priority. The social wage in health, education and housing has again been a focus of government. Research and development has expanded and Labour-Progressive has invested heavily in a forward looking development scheme for our pastoral and forestry industries. The sale of public assets has stopped and we are recovering, at a cost, a number of the privatized assets.

 

So What Is To Be Done?

 

The Labour-Progressive government does not follow the selfish philosophy of “let the market sort it out and the devil take the hindmost” of Act and National. The social wage must be strengthened to allow entry free of charge, or as free as possible, to all basic (and indeed not so basic) services in health and education. This takes the pressure off the wages and benefits of low income earners. Services assisting those with disabilities and the elderly must be given every assistance. Affordable housing in both the public and private spheres must remain a priority for action. Developing the public sector so that the state has a weapon to intervene in a rational way in the economy is vital. The fostering of quality public transport should continue apace to allow an alternative to the use of the car for both economic and environmental reasons. The development policies in the regions and entering into trade agreements that allow us to sell our high value products on the world markets are essential. In all of this an eye must be kept on the needs of New Zealanders on modest incomes and benefits. New Zealand has the physical and human resources to provide for all of its people. But it needs a government, Labour-Progressive, which recognizes that what we collectively produce needs to be collectively shared.

 

And what will The Progressive Party Fight For?

 

All of the above and more. With budget 2008 we have advocated strongly for continuing on the development path to lift the incomes of all New Zealanders and for taking the maximum steps towards improving the social wage in health, education, housing and services. In the election campaign our slogan “The Strength To Care” represents our determination not to go back to the market being a master not a servant of economic and social development. We will campaign around abolishing the student debt, increasing free health care, affordable housing, and security for the young.

www.progressiveparty.org.nz for more on policies and campaigns

 

But it seems as though King George Tupou V of Tonga is not Worried About the Cost of Living

 

To celebrate his coronation , and presumably decades of his father and he , his sister and brother and all of the little ( and even not so little) royal hangers on robbing the people of Tonga blind,  George Tupou V is throwing a number of parties which will cost $ 4millon of the people of Tonga’s money.

 

Unfortunately there is not going to be enough room for Tongan commoners at the parties. That space will be filled by the Tongan elite, Asian and European royalty and high profile film stars and artists. The 9 elected parliamentary representatives (George appoints the other 21) won’t be invited either as George obviously thinks they should be outside looking in with the commoners. The commoners could not afford the entry tickets in any case as the great majority live on or below the poverty line.  The King and his siblings do alright though with ownership of the airlines, electricity company, the brewery, the duty free shops, Tongsat and the list goes on. Oh yes and New Zealand gives $10 million a year (and we are one of the smallest donors) in what is called development aid. The only thing that has actually been developed in Tonga are the bank balances of the Royal parasites.

 

So George is not worried about the rising cost of living (and why would he as it means an even bigger bank balance for him!) and he and his guests will whirl the nights and the money away. I have one suggestion for George: When you recover from your hangover you should ask NZAID to provide you with biographies of Charles II, Marie Antoinette and Nicholas II. This should prove to be instructive reading for His Royal Highness.

 

And How the Rich and Richer Cope in Saudi Arabia

 

All you need to do well in Saudi Arabia and beat the rising cost of living is to belong to the royal family. This family receives all the benefits of the huge oil wealth and the royal monopoly on all economic life. You then repress the population, particularly the women, run a repressive police and military force (sanctioned by the G8) which tortures all opponents or perceived opponents and manipulate a narrow religious ideology to justify this state of affairs.  Personal wealth is increased by simply demanding that the countries which clamour to sell you arms pay bribes in the order of billions. Saudi Prince Bandar did this to perfection. British Aerospace (BAE) wanted to clinch a 43 billion pounds (yes pounds!) deal first negotiated by the Thatcher government and concluded by Tony Blair. To get it BAE paid Prince Bandar a BAE new Airbus commercial airliner and a payment of 1 billion pounds (yes pounds again!) into his US account. An inquiry was called for. It found that this was only part of the picture. A number of others had been paid off by BAE to get the lucrative contract. Apparently BAE and other Western companies pay offshore cash and for fleets of Rolls -Royces on a regular basis. But I am afraid to say that the long arm of the law, despite seizing records from all over the world, did not collar Prince Bandar.  He threatened Tony Blair that a contract for Eurofighter Typhoon military jets would be cancelled and all intelligence information would be stopped if the investigation continued. Tony Blair called Lord Goldsmith the Attorney-General (who found the Iraq invasion to be legal) who phoned the Serious Fraud Office who phoned …. And lo and behold the investigation was stopped dead in its tracks. Prince Bandar kept his money and so has been able to cope with the drastic rise in food prices. Anyway a British Court has condemned it all and the SFO is being called to investigate a similar BAE bribery allegation  in the sale of a  US$ 50 million radar system to poverty stricken Tanzania which they need like a hole in the head. And surprise, surprise Tony Blair’s name comes up again as the friend of BAE. For more on this and how the rich are coping with economic hard times –

www.guardianweekly.co.uk/bae


Ends

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