It might be a popular opinion at the moment but this government deserves a lot of praise. It would be easy to point to the COVID-19 of it all and say we are viewing the world in a vacuum but that ignores all the work prior to it and the leadership shown after Christchurch or any number of issues. Hell Aunty Cindy should get a second term just for having to deal with the likes of Mark Richardson and Hosking without taking a bat to their respective heads.Side note if you work on a show that calls Taika Waititi a traitor for saying New Zealand is still racist then I expect the same level of outrage when Richardson says he doesn’t like that New Zealand is a country full of snitches because people are reporting others for breaking quarantine. Fuck you.
Anyway, this isn’t an article completely full of praise. The fact is that this government dropped the ball on this budget because they went out of their way to believe their own hype. This was, if Grant Robertson was to be believed, the big re-think of how we were going to do things in this country. And it should have been. It could have started a green new deal or re-established Michael Joseph Savage’s welfare state. Instead, it screamed please let us be a government next year. If you are going to do something then you should at least do it. Former Obama mastermind and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
On that standard alone this government fucked up. Luckily Student Media has had a few weeks to kill so we reimagined how we would fix the 2020 Budget. Now we can sit back and wait for Robertson to appoint us economic advisors. Here are ten ways Nexus Fixes the Covid Recovery.
Universal Basic Income
Ok, we kinda get that this has been something we have mentioned before but starting everyone on $250 a week isn’t socialism as much as it is compassionate capitalism. No one is saying you can’t go out there and be the CEO of a company that makes millions. Instead, we are suggesting that giving everyone a base rate from which to calculate earnings as a bare minimum is a good start. Are there going to be some people that just live off that and go surfing? Yeah. But if they are still spending money and stimulating the economy then who gives a shit. Add to that the way you could restructure pensions, and how it would eliminate red tape from student allowances, artists, and help have a constructive debate about homeownership and the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Forgive all student debt
If you have the opportunity to spend, then how about you start by calling off the hounds on a few generations of student loans. This instant frees up the earning potential and vocational re-training options of hundreds of thousands.
If Covid has shown us anything it is that our entire educational system can be nimble enough to change when circumstances dictate it. So how about we open the floodgates a little and raise the salaries of educators. We make our teachers some of the highest paid in the world then we will (possibly) get rewarded with better-educated students. Let’s also get rid of private schools and anyone who wants to teach religious instruction that contradicts scientific principles. The Caveat being that these well-paid teachers need to work a little harder to get into these programmes so that education isn’t the third career option of that C+ first XV kid we all went to school with. If you want to get paid like a lawyer you should put your time in.
Make Jacinda the country’s landlord
The wage subsidy is a half measure. Ask any business owner and they will tell you that around 15% of costs during lockdown came from wages. A lot more came from Landlords. Interest-free loans were nice but to get businesses going in the recovery the government should pay 70% of all fees to landlords during the period where businesses couldn’t trade and continue paying to level one. Now that is socialism and it fucking works.
It’s not just about where we are going…
It’s about how we are getting there. This government loves trains. But they haven’t nearly gone far enough. Put a cap on all non-hybrid cars, get a Julius Vogel style public works scheme to build an electrified network of rail, light rail and charging stations. Subsidise the cost of full-electric cars, invest in battery technology. Make the country Elon Musk’s masturbation fantasy islands if we must but let’s create a workforce and live up to the clean green marketing slogans.
Fuck the banks
2% mortgages, the lifetime of the loan. Let’s see what that does for a new housing boom. Oh ASB and Westpac don’t like it? Then we will have fewer banks and more local ownership.
Nationalise the power company and fibre internet provision. Create a scheme with fixed price power and fibre contingent on every home having an on-grid solar system and then train and build an industry to make it happen. Job creation and the environmental revolution we need.
Do you want more job creation? Legalise weed and create a brand new industry. Outlaw nicotine that isn’t grown and manufactured right here in New Zealand. That’s two for the price of one with a lot of upsides and reducing the impact on our health system.
No one gives a fuck about MediaWorks or Sky
We can’t be the only ones that don’t give a shit if Media Works goes under right. Don’t get us wrong, there are hardworking journalists and people behind the scenes but if the recent Stuff ownership changes have taught us anything it’s that media can still work in this country. That is why we should be doubling down on free access television, radio, and film. Make a national broadcaster that wants to get aggressively digital in sports rights, local drama, local content, diverse voices and television and then ring-fence it so state-owned media doesn’t become state-owned propaganda. If Sky and TV3 can’t compete then Disney, HBO Max and Netflix will. Your business model is dying. It is time to change the game. We know this, we print a magazine.
Before you say it we know this is a weird one but what if for the next 2 years the government said you can give them a thousand dollars worth of receipts for designated local tourism and they will take it off your tax bill? Thousand Dollar a year holiday on the government provided you are spending it to rebuild our economy?