Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Nats Nervous nailbiting?

I wonder what thoughts are going through the Leader's head (and only public face of the National party), Mr. PM John Key. Mr Shonkey is fast losing support in the from both ACT and United future. Its looking very unlikely that Act will win Epsom thus, removing a possible coalition partner for the National party to gain a majority should its support fall below 50%.

The other conservative buddy to shore up number has been Peter Dunne. I think in fact his time has come. Given that cannabis has been quite a topical issue this election, his time , and vocal opposition to law reform of cannabis may be his down fall. Norml says 400,000 cannabis users can't be wrong.

Are Mr Keys thoughts that he will govern alone? He does have a reputation for doing things his way and he doesn't seem very good at sharing. I can only imagine, that he is not looking forward to working with any other, than his chosen few. However it did appear that he can work with the Maori party, but unfortunately for the Maori party , it did not really work for them. In fact I am sure I heard a whisper that Whanau Ora, the triumph of Tariana Turia will be dropped. It is too costly and too Maori for the conservative sensibilities and likes of possible coalition partners who want one system for all.

What a dilemma. I can't imagine how the blue rinse set of Remuera will be taking it. I am sure that a coalition between National and the Greens will cause many to reach for the cut crystal gin decanter.  National continues to cling onto a lead but the heat is being turned up and also the doubt is there.

Clearly the majority of New Zealanders do not want our assets sold off, but more of them like National than Labour so accept it?

I don't know. What I do find amusing is imagining the anxiety that was being created by the growth of the greens and possible green and labour and other left leaning coalition. Helen Clark had superbly bound a coalition together that worked for all three of her terms. National has not yet had to demonstrate any such diplomacy and as the election draws to a close I am guessing that John key has not quite got the time to learn it.

Its likely he will lead again. I expect many more people will leave for Oz. But the poorest and beneficiaries like myself, are in for a miserable time. His idea of lifting the underclass out of poverty and into work is not a genuine proposition as in reality lack of apprenticeships, taking away of the Incentive training allowance and other cuts have grown the underclass he wants to punish.

One of the brighter bits of this election, as I'm fearing the outcome is gloomy, is the wit, the Greens displayed with their bill board improvements, the number of unflattering pictures on social networks and songs by Trillion and others all strongly anti-John Key and National. If nothing else the past few weeks have been far more entertaining and exciting than the Rugby World Cup, and remember with a whole team fighting the good battle that was France vs New Zealand, we only won by a point.

I think that John may win the election but actually be the biggest loser of all times with his dreadful asset sales and draconian ideas how to treat beneficiaries.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Auckland, not what I was expecting .Its better !

I dunno what they put in the water up here, ok its smelly chlorine, but today I feel energised, purposeful, powerful and happy. Why? I am in love. No, not with a person but with an entire city.

I love Auckland and not because of any of the more usual reasons. I don't live , work or shop downtown. I have not been to any posh restaurants or cool clubs or bars and I will never be a celebrity. What I have discovered here in Auckland is a community like no other and a sense of excitement at things to come.

I came to Auckland for work, but found an occupation. As part of Occupy, I have learnt a lot about myself and about others.
One thing is universal, all around the world Occupy is experiencing the same conflicts between people and allowing people to learn new skills and ways to resolve them.

Before Occupy I was living in Avondale and New Lynn. Come on down sometime, if you are an ordinary average person  you will find it is changing.
The new train station makes it world class, and easy to get about. Into town and back as cheap as chips. my girls love the trains as they are simple to use and safe.
Our new roads are making the malls look better and the parking is still free. We have a library, make sure you use them as the government will tell you we don't need books now that everyone has a computer. Our Library at New Lynn is always packed and our Avondale library supports our local school with a homework club.

Instead of getting in my car and driving to the supermarket for an anon shop, I shop locally. I live above a block of shops that include a newsagent and post centre and a bakery. I am learning everyone's name. I also have a fresh fish shop and many choices of food takeaways from around the world. I walk a lot and meet many more people. I know Jarrod the busker.

The best thing is the old Avondale race course. I love horse racing and wish it was still in action, as its quite a spectacle. Now having a large green space is quite a bonus. I hope that it gets used for something again, if not racing maybe it could be a concert venue. Its certainly got potential. The Sunday markets are the highlight of my week.

I think that's why I feel so happy. I have moved and moved again after being evicted.It was unsettling but now I have found a nice landlord and a much much nicer place to live in. I am putting in another garden. Best of all I still feel the very real potential in my own life, in my two daughters going to great schools in Avondale. Spring is here. Its a new season and now with the election looming upon us wouldn't it be nice to have a new government?

For me its all about connectedness and community, and lucky for me, I love mine. How to get happy, go for a walk and smile at a stranger.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

What would the new style banking look like?

We are faced with an economic crisis that the National government deliberately wants to play down until, they get to park their expensive shiny leather shoes under Parliaments main boardtable again. We are witnessing on the other hand a Greek tragedy, the author of this tragedy is not Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes or Aeschylus but Greece and the European Union.

But like all tragedies, the love story and fallout are complicated and due to a triangle with the villian perhaps, being the investment banker Goldman Sachs. It was them who convinced the rules to be bent in order to admit Greece into the European union.

Its not exactly a cuckolding or even a real betrayal but there is clearly some deception involved, in that Greece, despite not meeting the conditions of the Maastricht Treaty, (by carrying too much debt) was admitted into the EU. How does this relate to the 99% protests and the 1% tax we wish to be imposed on all banking transactions in the financial markets? The austerity measures for one.

One is the consequences of the bankrupting is that, debt is now a commodity that is being globalised. At the same time as the rich, think stupid big bummed Kim Kardashian and her 18 million dollar wedding lasting a total of ten weeks versus the growing austerity cuts in the UK and Europe. School budgets, education and hospitals are facing budget cuts of up to 40%. Does she even live on the same planet?

A new banking system must evolve as the US Treasury  and the greenback is not the only or best model. Some people will see the cashless society as a way of more equal distribution. I don't. Some people will argue for a cashless society through bartering. Some people may return to the land and self sufficiency. Others will be outraged at any call for change.

 I am only hoping for banks small and  others like Kiwibank to develop a system that offer a service and do not need to make excessive profits, but instead keeps all the money in circulation and works with individuals in communities. Fuck internet banking, it puts people out of jobs for one thing.

 Maybe it's too much to hope for now but maybe it just needs an Owen Glenn to start it. Micro banking and little loans have created work and small businesses in 3rd world countries. Lets hope we develop a better way forward than sitting around watching things crumble. No-one likes witnessing a break up.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

More from the Dissenter on Occupy

I was the first to arrive at Occupy and set up my children in Aotea sq hours before the planned march down Queen st. I had planned on being the last to leave. However last week I was forced to pack up the tent for a number of reasons.
The first was hygiene reasons as we had a few flies in our tent. Teenagers are not the most clean or tidy of kiwis.
I received a huge barrage of criticism for doing this and so was less than keen to return. The tent was tied to a tree and it was time to air the grass.

The Occupy movement was also a puzzle to me because it was described as a leaderless movement yet it was pretty clear who was running the show. While there is no intention to be mean, it is a little untrue to describe it as a leaderless movt. and then run meetings along the same lines as all other organisations, with a clear chain of command.

 I also was horrified at the time spent in meetings and some of the processes used. Never again do i want to hear the peoples mike. Adults repeating verbatim is not only a little creepy it is just plain stupid. If it looks stupid and feels stupid, it probably is. I also felt a false sense of urgency was being created to make decisions quickly when perhaps ignoring and passive resistance was the better option . So apart from the direct cut and paste model used for Occupy I can say at least here in new Zealand we are attempting to put a more culturally appropriate model in place. Thanks enormously to Marama and others for taking this on themselves to correct.

Finally I had to say that there were too many leaders and not enough workers and that many of the rest seemed to be watchers, not doers.

 One person who could not really be relied on to turn up on time or be committed to any task used the term organic to describe the work model. Slacker is a more apt description. I had to confront my own Presbyterian work ethic which is strong but also judgemental. I am not the one to watch others, not work. I felt all people had to contribute to be able to share. Yet many felt that being there was enough. Hence another reason for me to move on.

The person who angered me most will not be named but, as a person who had to be heard at every meeting with a chorus of I, I, I and letters to the council etc there was a feeling of being used. If you want to stand for mayor and posture to the council and be a big noter, why pick OCCUPY. Clearly you have your own agenda which is not a shared one. The Occupy Movement had become a reductive process where people felt excluded not included. Sure the most valued people at the camp should be the cook and the cleaners, not the people on the microphone.

In the kitchen the worst aspects of human nature are always revealed. The greedy and the selfish. The person who only boils water for one and not 20 was a reoccurring problem. Despite the message to make hot water available for all, at all times, the selfish among the group failed to grasp the concept.
I saw the attitudes that come with feelings of importance as well.

The water containers needed to be filled and by far the worst job, emptying the waste water, fell onto one person. Helpers willing to walk with 20l containers of dirty waste water were few and far between. One person ended up doing far more than one person should. Feeding the streeties and homeless is not our responsibility either and yet those, not cooking, felt it socially responsible to feed these folk.

And bloody Vegans! Pardon me, but the chef was not a vegan and neither were many in the camp, but Occupy is a vegan movt. Had they made that clear at the outset I'm sure only 5 people would have shown up. New Zealand is an agricultural economy founded on meat, wool and dairy so while vegans have good ideas I need to eat my eggs, meat and dairy. The many Unions that support us, exist in part today, due to jobs derived from our brilliant past economy, founded on meat , wool and butter. So vegans, at least cook your own vegan food, instead of dictating what is cooked. Especially for those used to a diet with meat , eggs and dairy. Warning for the squeamish- skip next sentence.My bum will also thank you, as it cannot cope with the roughage combined with no toilets on site. I am still feeling like I have been to Mexico.

The security team also did well in trying to manage a camp with some dubious characters. Living out in the open and on the street will bring the bottom of society into contact far sooner than the top of society. I felt it a case of the lunatics taking over the asylum. The security team managed all incidents in the camp and yet recognised that there was a danger in becoming, just like outside security guards or members of the police or army. The security team decided to become the peace keeping team.

My biggest complaint is with the lack of bonding. If we are to live together and create a better society the first thing to do is to build a community and that means learning each others names. When more than a week has passed and no one wants to know my name I know that I am still a number but not a person who feels valued. So despite my willingness to be committed, the reality was the same lack of support, as outside Occupy, and more rules in Occupy than outside.

I still support Occupy and will be available to show my support by marching. I have also learned a lot about myself and my own values.Will I move back onto the camp? Yes, if I think it will make a difference.