Bill Rosenberg was a member of the Tax Working Group. His presentation at the Fabian Society in Wellington is summarised here. The summary is taken from his article in the NZCTU monthly economic Bulletin. The full article will be published in the Papers and Presentations section of the website.

The Tax Working Group (TWG) has reported back. The reactions to the proposal for taxing the income from capital gains have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous and from “it doesn’t go nearly far enough” to “this is the end of the kiwi way of life”. They have exposed a class society where one group of people seemingly believe that almost everyone owns at least one investment property and a bach (no wonder they didn’t believe there is a housing crisis) while the experience of most is that buying even one house is increasingly unaffordable.

The passing of Ian Shirley brings to mind that period in time before bad Roger got us so totally off-piste. Within a few years of Ian fronting concerns about the endemic homogeneity of the then welfare state, how it lacked capacity to hear the concerns of Maori, the poor, women, new migrants, suburbia and new ghettos, Roger had us responding to attacks on the welfare state that were far more distracting. We were turned from supporting many claims for equality and emancipation – addressing power structures that denied rights and equal opportunity to diverse communities, to defending the gains, and even the edifice, assumed post-1938. The welfare state was blamed for many things and the market was offered as the centre of opportunity. Neo-liberalism took over the narratives and the issues Ian had raised were dissed as 'identity politics'.

88 years ago a mass migration of economic refugees was occurring in Kurow, North Otago as desperate families moved into the area in search of work from the Waitaki hydroelectric dam.

‘Brexit’ and political instability in the United Kingdom; ongoing prime ministerial instability in Australia and presidential unsuitability in the United States define the main symptoms of the disruptions elsewhere in the Anglosphere. The central question for tonight’s discussion is, therefore: might New Zealand also face an electoral disturbance like that recently experienced in these three other Anglosphere countries?


AnnPettiforLondon-based macro-economist Ann Pettifor is best known as one of the few economists who predicted the 2007-2008 GFC. She also led the Jubilee movement which resulted in billions of debt relief for 49 of the world's poorest countries in 2000.

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