Sunday, August 6, 2017

Talking past each other

There've been a lot of posts in the last week about Metiria Turei's admission that she didn't mention her flatmates to WINZ when she was on a benefit because it might have affected her accommodation supplement - usually along the lines of how the Greens need to dump her because otherwise the NZ public won't vote Green.

 And yet, here on the left, we're thrilled that Turei's had the guts to put herself on the line over this and are backing her to the hilt - hell, I've switched my support from Labour to the Green Party over it. That's how far apart the two sides' thinking on this is.

Readers of this blog are probably well sick of having to skip past comments from me trying to explain that difference, but regardless, here's another attempt.

To explain leftists' view of Turei in terms right-wingers can actually understand, an analogy:

Suppose previous governments had made our tax system more complicated and punitive, and people were afraid to have any dealings with IRD because its staff were tasked with treating everyone as a likely tax evader and squeezing the maximum possible tax payments out of them. Now, suppose a senior member of ACT introduced the party's policy on tax reform, and emphasised its importance by recounting how our current tax regime is so difficult that when he was starting out 20 years ago, his business would have gone under if he hadn't taken the some cash jobs, and that the compliance requirements were so confusing that he still has no idea if his returns back then were accurate or not, and that his experience was by no means unique, and this is why it's important that we reform our tax system.

Cue outrage on the left about tax evasion, calls for criminal prosecution, and a frenzied competition between Labour spin doctors and journos to see who can dig up the most damaging dirt about the ACT candidate from 20 years ago. I'd probably also be well grumpy, never having tried to establish a business myself and therefore completely free to be as judgmental as I felt like. I might even bang out the odd post about how ACT needed to get rid of this self-confessed tax-evasion criminal or its brand would be toxic to the general public.

Is that how ACT supporters and right-wingers in general would see the announcement, though? Not really - to them, the guy would be a hero for putting himself on the line on behalf of struggling businesspeople, and the many news stories about the current tax system and its problems would be seen as great progress. National would reluctantly confirm that they couldn't put a tax evader in charge of Inland Revenue, to avoid being tainted with his admitted offence, but would be quietly pleased and would continue working with ACT.

That's pretty much the situation with Metiria Turei right now, if you're on the left. If you're struggling to understand how the left can continue supporting her, keep the above analogy in mind.

46 comments:

Ray said...

Thing is it is your money earned by taking risk and possible the sweat of your labour that the government claims is theirs.
You have a legal right to minimise your tax if you use legal means.
On the other hand signing a statuary declaration knowing it to be incorrect, allowing the father of your child to dodge his legal obligations are both illegal.
And let's remember this is a woman who has regularly called for other MPs to resign on far less evidence than is available in her case.
How is any Green MP ever going to be able to comment about a breach of the law with this hanging round their necks?


Allan said...

Wrong, in all counts Mr Milt. The person in question was not stealing any money off other people by making fraudulent claims for a government welfare handout, he had actually gone out and earned the money and not expected someone else to provide for him. All that he did was try and prevent someone stealing his hard earned money and spending it on useless individuals who expected him to provide for them. Taxation is theft. What is it about socialists who think that it is their god given right to take money from hard working individuals and give it to those who in most cases have made very bad life decisions, taken no responsibility for their actions and then expected everyone else to feel sorry for them and pay exhorbitant taxes to support their indulgent, irresponsible lifestyles.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Taxation has crept higher and higher. Income tax didn't even exist until the end of the 1800s. The bigger the state has gotten, the greater streams of taxation they have sought. This arbitrary but compulsory extraction has been constantly opposed, but not very successfully due to socialist pressure brought to bear across decades.

Now we reach a situation where it is conveniently ignored that there are contributors to the tax/benefit system, and takers - largely because left govts have made the system so intricate and encompassing it is no longer cut and dry who is a benefactor and who is a beneficiary. Especially over a lifetime.

I have argued elsewhere that the contributor still retains different rights because without him, there is no tax/benefit system. Remember that even in your scenario PM the 'tax evader' is still a net contributor.

Do you want to argue that both parties have the same rights to rip off the system?

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Milt

I'm obliged to you for your erudite admission that the left is bereft of morals.

Lying and theft appear to be fine in your world, especially systematic lying and theft from other NZers over period of five years.

Psycho Milt said...

Thank you, Ray, Allan and Lindsay, for illustrating my point.

Adolf: I get it, you hate the poor. Or at least, the "undeserving" poor, as defined by the well-off. Dickens wrote many books that could help you become less hateful towards your less-well-off fellow citizens, perhaps you should try reading some.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Milt

Your last comment was beneath contempt.

Waikikamukau News said...

Psycho Milt, Adolf DLT claims to be a "moderate christian".

A recent poll by WAPO and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 46 percent of all Christians said that a lack of effort is generally to blame for a person being poor.

Among Democrats, 26 percent blamed a lack of effort and 72 percent blamed circumstances. Among Republicans, 63 percent blamed lack of effort and 32 percent blamed circumstances. A statistical analysis of the data showed that political partisanship is the most important factor in views on the causes of poverty, but religious identity stands out as one of several important demographic factors.

Adolf DLT fits both profiles, a right wing hater and a christian.

Tom Hunter said...

Okay, I'll have a crack at trying to get you to understand the anger (that's over-stated - more like eye-brow-raised pissed-off).

First, here's an example of something that is identical - but presented in a completely different manner. Russel Brown in Public Address describing his own experiences dealing with the Welfare system at the same time

There was no way of spreading the income over a longer period, so if I happened to get paid twice in one month, we’d tip over to the higher abatement rate (from memory, it was triggered at $100 per week) and, between witholding tax and benefit abatement, I would lose nearly all of the income from the second job. We’d go forward only to be hauled back again.

It figured out to a 93% marginal tax rate, FFS! That's insane, and counter-productive to getting people off welfare. And so yes, presented with such rules, Russell lied about how much he'd earned in particular periods. I can imagine any number of economists talking about irrational rules producing rational - if counter-productive outcomes.

So I read that article and felt the same emotions as Brown: annoyance at the stupidity of the system and acceptance that he'd done what he needed to do when presented with state bureacratic stupidity, and no great condemnation of the man. Hell, I would have done the same! If Turei had presented like that, perhaps it would have gone over better.

But I got none of that from her! No sense of Brownian sadness, regret, annoyance at the system.

No, what I got - and this admittedly piggy-backs on her persona and expressed attitudes going back to McGillicuddy days - was an overwhelming sense of entitlement. That she had gleefully and laughingly "stuck it to the man" simply because she thought she was clever. Between her live-in mother taking care of bubs and the apparently fairly well-off father, she was nowhere near being in Brown's position. She screwed the system because she was - and I think still is at heart - an anarchist who enjoyed screwing the system and now tries to play the poor, woebegone victim ("think of the children".

It's entirely of a piece with the rest of her personality: the Castle, the super-flash designer clothes that she flaunts, the overwhelmingly smug, superior air that she carries around on every single issue. And so of course she's staying on as Co-Leader even though foregoing a Ministerial position now means she'll be able to achieve zip even if part of a Green-Labour government.

Why remain as leader in that case? Because she keeps her nose in the trough. Becuase she deserves it, don't you know.

Oh and BTW, while WINZ is out of your hair once you're off welfare and have paid back any arrears (as Brown did), the IRD is never far away from the thoughts of anybody in a business, large or small, together with the knowledge that making genuine mistakes could still see your life destroyed till the day you retire. It's no surprise that my accountants regularly try to sell me insurance against being audited. I turn it down because I don't think I have anything to worry about - but perhaps I'm being foolish in the world of the Administrative State and the ever-expanding universe of rules and regulations, where everybody is a criminal, and it merely remains to find out who (which I believe was Beria's maxim). That's what I and many others live with as part of our privilege. Your whole line "Suppose previous governments had made our tax system more complicated and punitive...." gave me a chuckle. There's no "suppose" about it.

All of which is why I say she can get stuffed.

Andrei said...

"A recent poll by WAPO and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 46 percent of all Christians said that a lack of effort is generally to blame for a person being poor."

But she wasn't poor was she. The Father of her child owned a house in Auckland FFS and he should have been taking care of her and their child. And she was getting a top class education on the taxpayers dime while swanning about playing politics

It was all jolly good fun not grinding poverty

Anonymous said...

I don't have a view but the comments are interesting.. I enjoy Troll Adolf DLT's humour when he accuses others of telling porkies....hilarious.

Lord Egbut

Psycho Milt said...

Tom Hunter: can't say I've seen the Turei you describe, and I've seen her talk about it in person. But you're right, she has no regret or sense of contrition over what she did, because it was in response to a stupid, oppressive system that needs changing.

For an example of why that isn't a sense of entitlement and doesn't destroy my analogy, check out the first three comments on the thread - none of them accept the premise that the person in my analogy had done something morally reprehensible, and I can see why they would reject it. The premise that the poor also don't regard dealing with an oppressive system as best they can as being morally reprehensible, though, that one seems to be a stretch.

Your whole line "Suppose previous governments had made our tax system more complicated and punitive...." gave me a chuckle. There's no "suppose" about it.

And yet prosecutions, convictions and prison sentences for tax fraud are rare, despite it involving more people and much larger sums of money than benefit fraud. There's no "suppose" about previous governments having made our welfare system more complicated and punitive either, but that gets no mention anywhere in any right-wing comment I've seen on this incident.

Psycho Milt said...

Your last comment was beneath contempt.

Read your own last comment again, and picture how the recipient might react to it.

Psycho Milt said...

Sorry Lindsay, I forgot this bit earlier:

Do you want to argue that both parties have the same rights to rip off the system?

I'm arguing that in both cases we should look at the point they're trying to make, rather than sanctimoniously rushing to judgement and trying to leverage political advantage out of it.

The Veteran said...

Lets not talk about the electoral fraud then which actually I consider to be the worse crime as striking at the very heart of the electoral process ... by someone studying to be a 'lawyer'.

Psycho Milt said...

Yes, let's not, seeing as John Key falsely claimed to be living in Helensville on multiple registration forms.

David said...

PM, I am judging MT by her approach to this matter and her ability (or lack of same) as evidenced by a) how she "announced" it and b) how she has responded to the fallout.

Now I can plainly see that she is the darling of the left and its struggle against the man ( aka the establishment, or the state), the Joan of Arc figure in a padded jacket if you will, riding into battle, fearless against overwhelming odds. Just the image for dreamers to get in behind. HOWEVER
If she had first gone to WINZ or whatever the current equivalent is, fessed up to them, estimated the extent of the rip-off and reached a settlement with them, she would have been able to describe her struggle, shown that she actually had a semblance of a moral code in spite of the youthful indiscretions, committed herself publicly to reform of the system and most importantly would have been able to carry her part and many more besides along with her.
Instead we get the big finger shown to every honest taxpayer and beneficiary, many of whom have voluntarily suffered considerably greater hardship that MT would ever have face if she had not wilfully, consciously and repetitively cheated and lied her way into a position that demands honesty and integrity in order to function effectively.
In short she has shot herself in both feet, proven herself to be a liar and fraudster and has disqualified herself morally from the position she is now hanging on to for grim death.
MT has to go.

The Veteran said...

PM ... he had a home there. Got it. A home. That's where he lived a couple of nights a week. OK, sure, he had another one in Parnell and Premier House when he was PM. If you're going to apply your logic every Cabinet Minister from outside Wgtn living in a ministerial residence would not be able to vote their 'home' electorate. Your 'girl' ... not her home, did not live there. You're dancing on the head of a pin.

Psycho Milt said...

What pin? The guy lived in Parnell but registered to vote in Helensville. That's pretty clear-cut, I would have thought.

I don't care that he registered in an electorate he didn't live in, because it's trivial. You, on the other hand, apparently consider it a crime that strikes at the heart of the democratic process, so shouldn't Key at least be stripped of his knighthood?

Psycho Milt said...

Instead we get the big finger shown to every honest taxpayer and beneficiary...

Well, the ones who've never been on a benefit and never mind casting the first stone certainly seem to see it that way. Fortunately, those people were never potential Green voters in the first place, much as socialists aren't potential ACT voters. A lot of us see what she was actually getting at and support her request that we do something about it.

Andrei said...

What pin? The guy lived in Parnell but registered to vote in Helensville. That's pretty clear-cut, I would have thought.

No he maintained a residence in Helensville where he sometimes resided

Same thing comes up with University Students who might register in their home electorate even though they are living in another city at election time until the term ends

And for that matter non New Zealand residents who vote in the NZ Embassy in London every election as they do - all that is required is that you have been in New Zealand at some time in the past three years

Andrei said...

To explain further Milt

Either the woman falsely claimed to reside in an electorate where she didn't or she resided in her boyfriends house which would have made her ineligible for the DPB an committing an offense for which people are actually imprisoned

A student might validly choose between two electorates but someone falsely claiming to live in an electorate where they have no residential connection in order to influence the election results subverts our democracy

Anonymous said...

There is a thread on Pundit about this. The rules are looser for MP’s but Key was not an MP at the time.

Per Andrew Geddis:
“A person is only qualified to register in an electorate if it is "the last in which that person has continuously resided for a period equalling or exceeding 1 month". So if you have never continuously resided in a given electorate (say, Mt Albert), you simply cannot legally register to vote there, full stop.
*snip*
Key owned property in Helensville which was never his family's primary home, but we don't know how much time he personally spent at it”

Seems very unlikely that he spent a whole month there immediately preceding enrolment, in each of the three years that he enrolled in that electorate, while his family lived elsewhere in the same city.

Tom Hunter said...

Well this is great Psycho. I see those principles have already had an effect on the Greens new Tax Policy:


1. If expenses are tight, just pay as much tax as you think you can manage. It’s fine if it is less than what the law says.

2. No more will you be harrassed by the state by being asked to verify things such as expenses or income. No more tax audits. We will simply take your word for it.

3 You can income share if you want to. Split your income between flatmates or don’t. Up to you.

4 Lying to the IRD is no longer an offence if you have children.

5 If your business receives income from new clients, you don’t need to pay tax on this income until they have been a client for three years.


Awesome! Party Vote Green for this voter on Sep 27.

I have to admit that the average Left-wing voter probably believes that this is how it happens with the IRD now anyway. How else could there be $1.4 billion in tax fraud or whatever it is? The really good news is that little guys like me will be far out in front of big boys like Apple when it comes to being in the cross-hairs of the IRD. Pretty much SOP for bureaucracies where it's less about cost/benefit and more about the easiest way of getting a 100% success rate. Turei will fit right in.

Tom Hunter said...

Just one other thing, Pyscho, what did you think of National raising that benefit level a couple of years ago - for the first time in twenty five years? Were you pleased? Impressed? Did it make you think more highly of National in terms of being compassionate and so forth?

Or are they still heartless bastards in your opinion?

Just curious.

Brick said...

Trying to discuss this with a socialist is a waste of time - a pre-requisite for socialism is entitleitis - what I feel I need is what you, as a worker, must provide for me. There is a place for the social fabric, but why it has to be wasted on no-hopers, addled by drugs, compulsive breeders, and the totally indolent baffles me. For what it is worth, I came from Labour household, not a privileged one, but we all went on to better ourselves - no benefits, self responsibility, and hard work. When I hear socialists like PM and Chris Trotter pontificating, when it would seem they are better educated than most, I am equally baffled. It is NOT different when it is Labour (or Green), laws are put in place for a reason, and there is a political process for changing them. Cheats and liars like MT are a blight on any civilised society. But then - all you need in this world is sincerity - once you can fake that you have got it made.

Psycho Milt said...

No he maintained a residence in Helensville where he sometimes resided

There's that thing about the law forbidding the rich as well as the poor from stealing a loaf of bread, again. Want to vote in an electorate you don't live in? Nae bother pal, as long as you can afford to buy a house there - if you can do that, we'll be happy to make excuses for you about how maybe you stayed in the house every now and then. If you can't, well then the rules actually apply to you, Mr broken-arse no-cash proletarian - vote where you live!

And for that matter non New Zealand residents who vote in the NZ Embassy in London every election as they do - all that is required is that you have been in New Zealand at some time in the past three years

And that you vote in the electorate you last lived in, not in one where you "maintain a residence" you might stay in every now and then.

...someone falsely claiming to live in an electorate where they have no residential connection in order to influence the election results subverts our democracy

I think our democracy's strong enough to cope with the occasional alternative type wanting to take the McGillicuddy Serious Party's candidate from 195 votes to 196, just like it can cope with the occasional millionaire deciding to buy a house so they can vote where they don't live.

Still, knock yourselves out - if you dig hard enough, maybe you'll find one our MPs defaced the Queen's currency in their youth, or went swimming without a bathing costume - the possibilities for righteous outrage are endless!

Psycho Milt said...

T...little guys like me will be far out in front of big boys like Apple when it comes to being in the cross-hairs of the IRD. Pretty much SOP for bureaucracies where it's less about cost/benefit and more about the easiest way of getting a 100% success rate.

And you don't see even the slightest relevance of that statement to what Turei's telling us about the social welfare system?

Psycho Milt said...

Just one other thing, Pyscho, what did you think of National raising that benefit level a couple of years ago - for the first time in twenty five years?

I thought it was very clever politics. However, nothing in National's approach to the social welfare system or beneficiaries themselves suggests there was anything more to it than that.

Tom Hunter said...

Of course I do. It means the likes of Turei are the Apple Inc's of the Welfare world.

Thing is - I'm not cheering for Apple.

Psycho Milt said...

There is a place for the social fabric, but why it has to be wasted on no-hopers, addled by drugs, compulsive breeders, and the totally indolent baffles me.

You and Heinrich Himmler would have gotten on like a house on fire.

Tom Hunter said...

I thought it was very clever politics.

Chuckle. Figured as much. Someone needs to show this thread to Bill English: I'm sure he and other National MP's thought they might get a few Socialist votes., or at least be seen as decent people, even if some of their more rabid followers would not be.

But seeing this would set them straight: anything less than giving welfare beneficiaries as much money as demanded by the Greens means being defined as Heartless Capitalist Bastards. Class Warfare to the end of days.

Fine. As you say we're talking past eachother. Benefit cuts and tax cuts then: you'll still hate my guts but at least I'll have more money in my pocket.

Andrei said...

Want to vote in an electorate you don't live in? Nae bother pal, as long as you can afford to buy a house there - if you can do that, we'll be happy to make excuses for you about how maybe you stayed in the house every now and then. If you can't, well then the rules actually apply to you, Mr broken-arse no-cash proletarian - vote where you live!

Boy talk about a chip on your shoulder Milt

Here is what the elections website says about your residential address

This is your home address. A New Zealand Post Box or rural delivery number isn't enough to describe your address. We require your full home address so we can enrol you in the electorate in which you 'reside'. You 'reside' at the place where you choose to make your home because of family or personal relations or for other domestic or personal reasons. Just because you may be occasionally or temporarily absent from that place does not mean that you do not reside there. Being absent from your place of residence because of your employment or education (or your spouse's employment or education) does not affect it either. The most important factor in working out where you reside is where you choose to make your home."

It appears MS Turei chose to make her residence that of the Father of her Child but that puts her at odds with the welfare authorities over her DPB - What a dilemma

Psycho Milt said...

The most important factor in working out where you reside is where you choose to make your home.

Oh, shit - Key's screwed, then. Do you think they'll lay charges?

Psycho Milt said...

I'm sure he and other National MP's thought they might get a few Socialist votes., or at least be seen as decent people, even if some of their more rabid followers would not be.

But that would have been very foolish of them, and they're not fools, so I think my assessment's more likely - very clever politics.

Socialists are well aware that successive governments since 1991 have run social welfare benefits at too little to live on, and have also set up a Byzantine bureaucracy aimed at making sure as few people as possible receive their entitlements (these do exist, regardless of what Heinrich Himmler had to say about useless eaters), and have steadily made the approach of the bureaucrats more punitive to try and force people off benefits so the government can trumpet lower beneficiary numbers. So, if Bill English wanted to attract the votes of socialists, he'd have to show some intention of dealing with those issues, not just bung the beneficiaries an increase that covers a few years' cost-of-living increases and mostly gets abated against accommodation supplements. Because just doing that would make it look like a cynical ploy to undercut Labour's support.

The difference between what English did and what Turei's doing is that Turei actually plans to address the issues. Which means she's not having any trouble convincing socialists to vote for her.

Brick said...

No Milt - Himmler & I would have little in common. That is about as stupid as saying that you and Maduro would do the same. There is a place for benefits - but these, as Savage always intended, were to be a hand up not a hand out. Political stupidity by the left, in the hope of gaining voters, has led to a ridiculous situation where the benefit has become a way of life for many, who are quite capable of doing better for themselves. Rather than throw mud at Key for a really non-existent (except in your mind) address problem, to my mind his greatest failure (and that of the current government) was to do nothing to commence the rectification of the welfare system over the last 9 years. As Thatcher put it - socialism works only until the money runs out. You can only flog a productive horse so far until he founders. Just stay entitled Milt - there will be a better day tomorrow - perhaps!!

David said...

What? No response to the ethical/moral issues raised earlier PM? No opinion on credibility and integrity? Your silence has been deafening!

Andrei said...

Seems all is not well within the Green Party PM

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/95542553/two-green-mps-threaten-to-quit-over-metiria-turei

Psycho Milt said...

Rather than throw mud at Key for a really non-existent (except in your mind) address problem...

Cheek! It was the Veteran who derailed my thread with stuff about electoral roll registrations.

Psycho Milt said...

What? No response to the ethical/moral issues raised earlier PM?

The OP was entirely about why people on the left don't see the ethical/moral issues of this the way people on the right do.

Psycho Milt said...

Seems all is not well within the Green Party PM

It is now - cleaned out some dead wood and made space for new talent. Must be a real prick when you do that whole "Either she goes or I go" spiel and everyone says "Righto. See you later, then."

The Veteran said...

Milt ... your KDS is fascinating ... "shit, Key's screwed". Is that 'screwed' as in your own MP with his 'home' in Palmerston North and his 'luv nest' in Wgtn where he held court with Parliamentary stenographers. Now where did he vote? Just askin.






Psycho Milt said...

Ian Lees-Galloway lives in Palmerston North and works in Wellington. John Key lives in Auckland and worked in Wellington. I've no dispute with either of them voting in the places they live.

Psycho Milt said...

Should also mention, re the stenographers: it'd be all the same to me if he was drinking belly shots off hookers while having a dominatrix fuck him with a strap-on - although, having met him once that does strike me as pretty unlikely.

The Veteran said...

PM ... I'll go with you on that. Just plain cheating on his wife is good enough.

Anonymous said...

I said previously I did not have a view, mainly because most of the comments are are partisan politics....them bad, us good etc.

I will go with this article which cuts through the holier than thou bullshit I have been reading on this blog. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11899851

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... was the Bryce Edwards who penned your article the same Bryce Edwards who wrote ... "A classic example was the support the VRWC (Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) gave to Labour to ensure that Kim Dotcom didn’t get any MPs in parliament. If you believe that wasn’t coordinated with the left then I have a bridge to sell you." Just askin.

If it were the same person then one might be forgiven for saying his opinion ain't worth a 'bucketful of warm piss' to quote a US Vice President of yesteryear.