Why it has never been more important for New Zealand to rise above dangerously divisive 'us vs. them' politics

Why it has never been more important for New Zealand to rise above dangerously divisive 'us vs. them' politics

By Jenée Tibshraeny

I am writing this piece from the Parliamentary Press Gallery, having had a few weeks out of the political beltway.

There’s no longer sand in my hair and I can’t keep justifying having pavlova for breakfast, but I am (undoubtably for a limited time) still viewing the world through slightly rose-tinted sunglasses.

It is from this sunny disposition that I urge people not to buy into us vs. them politicking this year.

Boomers vs. millennials, farmers vs. townies, property investors vs. renters, greenies vs. polluters, kiwis vs. migrants, motorists vs. cyclists, gangsters vs. law abiding citizens, NIMBYs vs. YIMBYs, and the list of tired and unfair stereotypes goes on.

Sure, humans have been grouping people based on shared values and pitting them against those whose values threaten theirs for centuries.

There’s comfort knowing there are others in your boat, and that your misfortune is possibly someone else’s fault.

Yet it’s easy for politicians to play this up; make people feel hard done by, blame it on another set of people, and then say, “We’ll fix it if you vote for us”.

It’s equally as easy for us in the media to regurgitate this mentality.

As humans, we will always be drawn to people similar to us. There’s nothing wrong this. But surely, we’re smart enough not to let others put us in a box and create division.

You can be a kiwi migrant, a baby boomer making sacrifices for your adult children that your parents didn’t need to make for you, someone who hates gangs but evades tax, an environmentally-focussed dairy farmer, a property magnate millennial (ok, maybe less likely) - you get the idea.

This isn't rocket science. Yet we keep buying into polarising labels.

I can evidence this with the number of clicks on stories with headlines that play on these stereotypes.

Last year Green Party MP, Chloe Swarbrick’s “OK boomer” quip went viral, National's beneficiary bashing saw it hog the news for weeks, and NZ First MP Shane Jones got a disproportionate amount of coverage for the likes of calling protesting farmers "rednecks". 

But here’s the thing, not only is an us vs. them approach nonsensical, it’s dangerous.

The social media effect

Pre-internet and social media, if you wanted to find people riled-up about the same issue as you, you’d have to leave your home and vocalise your discontent to someone in the flesh.

If you were a politician who wanted to say, “Poor you. I can help. Vote for me.” you had to do so through the media, which would vet you to some extent or call you out on false claims.

Now (for better or worse) you can form communities online - anonymously, from your couch.

Rather than go to the town hall to talk to 20 others with the same qualm, or keep quiet because your outlook is too ghastly or socially unacceptable to vocalise, you can gather with hundreds, thousands, millions, of likeminded people online.

They can affirm your view and give you tunnel-vision.

Add in targeted advertising campaigns, and it isn’t too difficult for you to believe your deluded view is reasonable.

I am nervous about bringing the March 15 mosque terror attacks into this discussion, but I believe it’s the ultimate example of a person disenfranchised from society, developing radical ideas, and being validated by others to allegedly commit a heinous crime.

In the same way New Zealand wasn't immune to a terror attack, we aren't immune to the populism, stemming from exclusion, wreaking havoc in other parts of the world. 

An era of migration

The other reason I’m so wary of divisive stereotypes is because we live in a time of unprecedented migration.

People no longer neatly remain in one country, with one political system, and a limited number of religions that provide a blueprint for how to live day-to-day.

The mass movement of people provides as much opportunity as it does challenge.

Building enough infrastructure to keep up with New Zealand’s population growth is an issue successive governments have failed to address.

My fear is that this creates a hurdle to inclusion. In other words, if we didn’t have a shortage of houses and clogged roads, immigration might not be such a polarising issue we can’t have a sensible discussion about.

If we as individuals, as well as policymakers, don’t make concerted efforts to include people disconnected from their families and homelands, natural divisions will grow. The same goes for including our most vulnerable - solo parents, the sick, the poor.

Rather than harness the wealth of skills and ideas that come with a diverse society, we’ll shoot ourselves in the foot.

I’m not saying we should sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya. There are a number important and sometimes emotive issues that will rightly be robustly debated this year.

The grouping of people in this process is inevitable, as is the calling out of politicians and policies that are out of line. Our democracy hinges on the opposition, media and public holding the government to account.

Yet my plea is that in the process, we check our unconscious bias, and not get lazy and resort to pitting groups of people against each other.

Until my next high dose of sunshine and salty air...

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While I don't disagree, I think you are p*ssing in the wind. I would like to think that mankind can change into a more tolerant and accepting society but that is wishful thinking. Reality is mankind is exceeding selfish - it starts with "me" and then extends to the immediate family - my evidence the property spruikers who seem to be very malevolent attitude toward anyone who has a different point of view. Additionally this website seems to tolerate this behavior so can be considered an enabler.

Perhaps people should read this article on moral grandstanding.



You don't disagree yet you immediately start attacking the noblest members of the interest.co community. Furthermore you then accuse our fine hosts of the crime of enabling, really calling for them to censor differing opinions. The gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down BadRobot, very BadRobot. The struggle will continue!

I seem to remember that you were banned from commenting on this site not so long ago Zachary, So I presume you're not referring to yourself as one of the noblest members of this community. :)

Kettle pot black. While I'm all for constructive dialogue, frequently certain topic's devolve into name calling and insults. So it is OK to call people "morons" or any other insult that has been hurled - your outrage is what I would expect from someone who is moral grandstanding. If you actually care to read what I said - while in principal I don't disagree, in practice I think anyone is p*ssing in the wind.

"The struggle will continue!" - oh how heroic (and yes I am being sarcastic).

I have rarely called people names or called for banning, except maybe people who confuse lose with loose.

Anyway you can't deny you have responded to this article with name calling and suggesting more censorship. I'm not "moral grandstanding", I just think it was an odd response to the content of the article.

...and it must be a "struggle" if you call for censorship. Weird...

Then why were you banned, did you get caught commenting here without any undies on or something?

I think it was to do with Zachary swinging comments too close to the far right of the political spectrum.

Quite possible. There are a few clearly on the Right who post regularly, but it’s far outweighed by the Left leaning participants.

Nothing wrong with a healthy balance.

Most people support capitalism, as it encourages competition and improvement. The issue I have with it is power is now too concentrated, to the point of being anti competitive, and governments have become too cosy with big business.

That is the exact raisson d'etre of capitalism, to gather as much of it as possible to oneself or corporation, erasing as much as possible of competition, which is exactly why capitalism is becoming hated. Perhaps a system the emphasises more the enterprising rather than acquisitive nature of people is what we need.

Perhaps in the end I am pointing out some inconvenient truths. You seem to want to make this about censorship - if you consider removing abusive posts and banning people who repeatedly abuse other people then I'm all for "censorship" - but I am not advocating censorship of ideas. You seem to want to confuse the two. Additionally in the space of a few words you have implied that I am "odd" and "weird" - I'll take that as a compliment. The point I have made and will continue to make is that not everyone thinks the same way, not everyone believes the same thing.

That I believe is the problem with our society - an inability for people to accept that maybe, just maybe people might have a different idea.

I'm pretty sure we all understand that people have different ideas BadRobot.

You are half there.
Ideas is the looking forward, predicting the future, ideas are that part.

People have different understandings of what just happened (the present) and different understandings of the past (including complete gaps of past events).

Common language calls it out, as people say "an idea of the past"

Bad robot is a good robot.

There's plenty of malevolence on both sides of the property debate, and dare I say it, the "spruikers" get worse than they give.

Free speech means that all views can be aired and judged accordingly. It's the best system, bar none.

Not much differ than when we are at schooling, honestly those selfish behaviour can be regulated, managed by sets of rules & disciplines. We are naive society that believe in mature, self regulated control - If we look at largest populations on the planet & understand why they have to manage it in authoritarian way, but hey.. some of them want to escape from there then end up here. NZ is very cheap never understand that the past 500 years of that largest population history, culture & psyche - everything you do is about that... for your own kind of consumerism. The rest of the world matter are bullshit, the selfish mantra is the only way to make this world go around.

BadRobot, I'm not quite sure if you're sarcastically trying to exemplify the "us" vs "them" mentality or if you have completely missed the point of Jenée piece?

Oh I understand what Jenée is saying - I just think it is naive to believe that people want to or will change - the selfishness / "us" v "them" - call it what you will, is not going away any time soon. I think it has become ingrained in our society. Am I cynical - yes.

People confuse talk with action.

Not everyone shares the same view of reality, groups either fail to see this or take advantage of it.
Individually its helpful to appreciate critical thinking skills are skills that need be acquired.

Does not the potential of a Labour/Greens only government provide the potential to sort out the “Boomer” once and for all. From reading Mr Hickey’s column in Stuff on Thursday the introduction of a 0.5 - 1.0% wealth tax would lower property values 15- 20% and drive those holding above average value there, but having at the same time low income, off their land. Now that is a policy that will satisfy all the anti Boomers neck and crop. A vote winner to be sure. Of course the devastating financial, emotional and familial upheaval to the elderly would be secondary to a new way to tax grab. Great potential there for the take, but also to create the greatest social rift NZ has ever seen. The uttering and mutterings about town even now a bad enough. Highly and dangerously divisive element for a small country.

Bernard has been a long time promoter of a 0.5 to 1.0 % land tax ... and he believes it'll drop land prices by 10 % or more ...

... but , it has to be universal ... no exemptions ...

Ideally , it ought to be started low , and gradually built up ... to cause less disruption to peoples lives

Well the local bodies already have the mechanism in place whereby they charge a higher rate for a higher value. So government could just lump into that and then they can divvy up the spoils afterwards. And that way, they can collect GST too. QED!

..yes .. from a governments perspective , land tax gives them regular income in good times and in bad . . As land values rise over time , tax collected rises ...

Wealthy landowners will hate it .... it's the ultimate " take from the rich and give to the poor " ..

GBH is your take that it is a tax on just the land value or is it the combo, to put it simply, of land and house?

Land Tax is levied on the land only .... which incentivizes improvements , and discourages land banking ...

CGT disincentivises improvement ...

It’s a bit unfair though isn’t it? Just five years ago in Auckland we had a council that wouldn’t let us subdivide our properties. Now you want to tax the hell out of us because we didn’t!

... if I had the power to do so , I'd happily let you subdivide your property ....

And , no ones proposing to tax the hell out of you because of your councils decisions ...

.... regular workers would find that the tax was fairly neutral ... the land tax being offset against PAYE tax cuts ...

You can see in NSW & Oz and the screw up stamp duty is.

If you wish for an authoritative voice on land tax , I can recommend British author Fred Harrison , " wheels of fortune " ...

Jenee Tibshraeny wishes to see it otherwise, but the society of Us versus Them is what we live in now. And it is a wealth tax, or more narrowly the land tax that Hickey favours, that offers the resolution. He's by no means alone: read the latest issue of The Economist, hardly a socialist publication, on "The horrible housing blunder: why the obsession with home ownership is so harmful". Yes, a land tax would depress property prices, but if introduced carefully that depressing could be smoothed over a generation. And retired folk need not be impoverished, as payments could be deferred till the sale of the family home. Only undeserving progeny need be affected, by the diminution of their Great Expectations. Meanwhile ending the rocketing-up of property prices, allied with a massive subsidised-state-rental-housing building programme, could end extreme poverty, and with it the battlefront between the Us and the Them.

Well ,'Us and Them' battles get more common when inequality gets greater. So it's natural, and no surprise, that it is happening.
But why make meaningful policy changes to fundamentally address this issue when politicians can use band aid. Why, a benefit increase here, a winter heating allowance there....

The us vs them approach is an impediment to making policy change to reduce inequality. Change requires public consensus and the chances of achieving this is reduced when you put people against each other. IE an asset rich baby boomer might be less outraged about policies aimed at reducing house price growth if this was interpreted as a way of them helping their kids and grandkids, vs if this was portrayed as them losing the battle against "millennials". 

Well you could almost conclude that adversarial Westminster Parliamentary system is the source of the Nile for all of that. Probably many thought MMP would dissipate some of that, and hoped there might be more “consensus” type decision making coming out of parliament. Not so. Seems to be than one party would still sooner harpoon good policy rather than have the other claim the benefit, get the fame in other words. Sure there was such as the child smacking thingy, but even that was redolent of a political tactic.

Public consensus.
More political consensus and political leadership. Leadership full stop.
Some historical context would be helpful, even if you got Tom Scott to comment on times seen and recent, for context.

I see the identity politics as a sign of failure by the COL to engage with the majority. And engage with people as individuals, rather than a group they are ascribed to.

Further flagship policy has been outsourced to an unpopular flawed character.
There is a difference between political activism and political governance.

We have had a year of "Delivery" fail spectacularly. Emotions are set to ramp up.



But that boomer is already helping his kids and grandkids - no need for the state to force his hand or for Chloe or yourself to lecture him .

Fair comment. And another angle in terms of forcing the hand, lest we forget. The instance of elder abuse is not insignificant. Plenty of court transcripts of theft and worse from the grannies.

And those that are not his kids or grandkids just get screwed?

So (as an example) the poor kid who lost his parents in an accident when he was still school aged and therefore didn't get the benefit of a two income stable family home and his parents wealth the leverage off is just left to rot in poverty because the hurdles of getting into housing are pretty close to insurmountable for him?

Yes, it is a pretty lazy article by the Economist, confusing one's wanting to own the roof over their heads, with it also being (accidentally in most cases) your main source of income via non value added capital growth because of poor economic policy.

It seems to have escaped them that someone has to own it, either the occupier or the investor/landlord.

Foxglove, did you read Jenée's article??? It's bout mitigating the "us' vs "them" attitude. How can you reply: "Does not the potential of a Labour/Greens only government provide the potential to sort out the “Boomer” once and for all"

It was a question actually. Apologies for the omission of a ? But it was an indirect question admittedly.


Why did people suddenly care about others when 'OK Boomer' became a go-to for people tired of explaining how life works differently to how it did in the 1970s in response to unsolicited advice and not when people were pricing their kids and grandkids out of the housing market and making living in what was once an idyllic pacific paradise borderline unaffordable even for DINKY professionals?

Because it kind of seems the dominant political group at the time was absolutely fine with all that, but as soon as the people they were walking all over pushed back slightly, we get 'divisiveness is bad!!!!'. Frankly they should be thankful they are getting off so easily.


(I more or less agree with the substance, just the push-back against 'OK Boomer' as if it some sort of war crime against humanity by the very people who have snarking away at lazy millennial steretypes is hilariously to me)

And they don’t like sloppy grammar either

... ungrateful boomers ... if they have sloppy grammar they ought to get a mop and clean up after the dear old lady ....

That's my fault for trying to be snarky on the internet before I've had a caffeine hit in the morning. The coffee is free at work during the week but I have to pay for it if I want it at home.


I am a boomer. I freely admit that as a generation many of us have been greedy. We received pretty well a free tertiary education. At the height of our income earning abilities assets of all classes were cheap. We were able to use both our excess income and our ability to borrow money to buy them and many of us sure did buy up large. I am one of the greedy ones.I bought heavily into several asset classes but not into residential housing investments. I retired young, have helped my children and others with housing and other costs and have more than enough capital to live on until I die. Hence in 2020 all asset classes are fully priced, we are sitting very pretty in retirement and many of those born after us will need help to just buy a modest home to live in. Some will never own their own home due to a variety of reasons. New Zealand has changed for the worse.

I can't remember where, but I read a fascinating article a few months back on Boomer selfishness (sorry for the generalization). Basically the article argued that this generational selfishness stemmed from the whole anti-establishment age of the late 60s - early 70s. It started out as a leftist ethos, but one founded on individual freedoms. This set the base for the rise of neoliberalism in the 1980s, which was the conservative realization of these antiestablishment roots.


It's great to read an article like this, well done.

I spend last weekend with an Architect friend who is convinced the world is going to hell in a handbasket, he supports the move to impose draconian regulation on others to meet climate goals which are I think based on beliefs that are almost impossible to prove.

So i've been thinking and having the odd drink too. I have come to think that my friend is actually aware that the world we live in is turning, he feels disenfranchised, like his near perfect world is spinning out of control. He has a bit of house debt but his house value is high, his business is a lot tougher/competitive, than it used to be, his children have large student loans and are putting off having children. He worries about high levels of immigration, high debts, a govt following its own trajectory not responsive to the electorate. Lots of mergers and acquisitions have reduced competition, an elite is expanding rapidly, yet there are meth problems, welfare,gangs, high rates of suicide, depression.
I think his AGW fears are really fears of a world spiralling out of control, like a war is coming or some other catastrophe.

The warning bells are being rung

Thing is, AGW isn't hard to prove, there is data a plenty, and its been studied, torn apart, debated and rechecked umpteen times, and the scientific consensus is its real, its happening, and depending on what we do about it, it's most likely going to be a major problem for the human race. There's is uncertainty about how bad it might get, and how quickly we will adapt, but there is no credible doubt about the fact that it is happening.

I talked to a professor in Norway, he told me the climate is incredibly complex. He didn't feel comfortable making predictions.

Not surprising, it's far too complex a system for one person with a typically very narrow focus of study to make predictions on the outcome of the whole system.

But somehow not too complex for you ?

You're as sharp as a golf ball today... ffs.

I'm not the one making predictions , the scientific community (multidisciplinary teams of scientists) are modelling the process and they are the one making the predictions you f***wit.

And a fine self-appointed spokesman for the scientific community you make.

Its all about lab space.


Where the future is being made today

... and , what effect from the underwater volcanos and vent holes . .. 1000's of them , constantly spewing gases ...

My Pinatubo in the Philippines altered the worlds climate for 2 years after it erupted in the early 1990's ....


IMHO it is not a question of if climate change is real or not - the answer is for the human race to be a good caretaker of this planet - currently it's the only one we have.

Before I get into replying to the climate change topic, I'd like to say that the article is a very good and timely article with pertinent points.

On the topic of climate change, the below is something I posted on farcebook recently in response to someone bemoaning the inadequate societal response to the issues of climate change.

Climate change is an easy topic to get all wound up about. Sadly, it is over an order of magnitude less risk to the human species than other human caused issues.
The amount of ecological damage done to the planet in the name of feeding the current population is immense. Something like 96% of the mammalian biomass on the planet is either human, livestock or pets. About 75% of the bird biomass on the earth is poultry.
There are many countries with wildly unsustainable birth rates (and now unsupportable current populations with an even more dire issue of still high population growth rates). There are some countries with a median age of 18 years. Think about that statistic for a minute (hint, it isn't due to everyone there dying in their 30s). Even if the average number of children per female went from 4 or 5 down to 2, the population will still nearly double from now until the peak as the lower half of the population mature and give birth to children.
Until we as a species drive the net overall growth rate down to zero, it will not matter much in the long term about per capita carbon (or other "climate change" related material generation) reduction as the forcing function will still be increasing. There are far more urgent things that the species needs to be addressing and virtually nobody appears to be covering this current and future catastrophe in the same manner as climate change despite the very real near term deaths and very poor quality of life for the survivors in the areas with very high sustained birth rates. Sustainability needs to become a primary goal, and growth should be only acceptable when coupled with sustainability (higher conversion efficiency, etc.).

What is the source of your text in blue?

I wrote it.

For some of the sources of data, look at: https://www.pnas.org/content/115/25/6506

For country fertility rates, look at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependencies_... I would strongly recommend looking at the correlation between country long term population growth rate and "unrest". One might possibly be able to discern a pattern if one looks sufficiently hard (or bothers to look at all).

The above links can be found via rather simple google searches in less than a minute of research. I strongly recommend that people research data that they run across on the interwebs... life would be so much better if people evaluated critically data that is presented (and discarded the specious data that doesn't align with the data that is found!). Sadly, most want their conclusions spoonfed to them, and do not want to spend the time doing the critical evaluation of the available data. Also sadly, many of the search engines provide biased search reasults, so one needs to apply appropriate filters to the search results.

If you want to consider correlating data

For you is the control and reduction of human population a priority over solution to climate change?
If you listed them, on a list.

You will find similar on www.populationmatters.org and yes us accepting that there is too many of us and the damage we are doing is probably paramount to fighting the negative effects we are having on the planet, including driving the current change in climate, which is beginning to happen quite noticeably now.
It's truly gobsmacking to see the denialists doubling down when what is happening in Australia is staring them in the eyes. Just gobsmacking.

1. In your heart of hearts do you think there are too many humans alive now?

2. What do you see as happening in Australia?

Yes, I do as we are using the planet's resources as if we had another one on the side, but of course no-one, let alone me is going to advocate that someone go round with a lethal injection bumping off every seventh person or something. Trouble is if we do not get our a's into g we will end at war again, which will have much the same effect.

In Australia I see a country slowly becoming almost unihabitable

While you are flat out questioning me, how about you tell me how you feel about women in a position to limit the number of children they have and how falling population is actually happening where women can do that.

Reproductive rights, up to women completely. Whatever women determine.

No time for any one (any gender) to limit any others reproduction or reproductive rights.

Complete education and income equality, complete equality of opportunity.

Communities / societies should facilitate jobs for people, and rising incomes for people (any and all gender).

. .there is no such thing as " scientific consensus " ...

Science requires 100 % proof of validity ... it's not a poll , and the majority wins ...

... " the science is settled " byline is equally dismissive of further debate as the " OK boomer " rejoinder ..

Sigh.. thanks for demonstrating you don't even understand the meaning of scientific consensus.

Then let's put it this way, because it is so, the only proof of climate science will be after the fact, as in, too f#%&%g late and many people are suggesting it is a socialist conspiracy.
K, then let's run a couple of possible scenarios by, climate scientists got it all wrong, but we took steps to mitigate climate change which did in fact lead to a more socialist world. Now we have a healthy planet and a political system that is not liked. (We have had those before)
Scenario 2, the climate scientists are right, but because we could allow our beloved capitalism to not carry on, business as usual, we end with a functionally dead planet, and I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say, that if the oceans die, then we are goneburgers.

Here is a possible way for CC not to have to be divisive.

We don't need to address whether it is AGW or natural variability, given we can all agree the climate changes. I've quoted her before, but as Judith Curry points out - here's what we can all agree on:

There is widespread agreement on these basic tenets:

1. Surface temperatures have increased since 1880
2. Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere
3. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the planet

And here are the practical things we can do to improve the health of the planet:

Climate pragmatism has 3 pillars:

1. Accelerate energy innovation
2. Build resilience to extreme weather
3. No regrets pollution reduction

And the full points she makes are here:


Kate , I reckon its vital that we clean up our act ... we're pooping and polluting a beautiful planet , the only one we currently have ....
. . but I think climate change will continue , regardless .... it just does that ....

What gets up our noses is the hysteria by some , the extinction rebellion antics , the shaming and " stolen childhoods " .... that's setting back a good cause ....

Yep, Judith Curry calls it the 'Madhouse effect' (her bullet point #16) and it gets up her nose too :-).

Here is a view that matches press reports at the time and temperature data, and compares the data used now, the revised and adjusted temperature data in today's representations of the past.


Here is a presentation looking at how weather data is collected, collected and adjusted.
This explains why graphs of temperature looking at historical data, explains how the historical data is changed.
So a graph of 1970's temperature made in 1980, the compared to a graph of 1970s temperature data made in 2015. Looks different. Different because historical data has been adjusted.


Remember there is few data sets for Russia, Central & South America, Africa, Far East, Near East etc.

Satellite data seems less adjusted.

That's excellent.
Taleb makes good points on CC. He's not a skeptic but makes the point that even if the theories are wrong we can't take the chance on them being wrong, given consequences.


Science is the pursuit of the truth, not consensus.


Consensus finds a way through conflicting opinions and interests. Consensus is achieved when the outcome of discussion leaves everyone feeling they have been given enough of what they want. The processes of proper science could hardly be more different.
The accomplished politician is a negotiator, a conciliator, finding agreement where none seemed to exist. The accomplished scientist is an original, an extremist, disrupting established patterns of thought.
Good science involves perpetual, open debate, in which every objection is aired and dissents are sharpened and clarified, not smoothed over.

Suggest you go read the link I posted before about what scientific consensus actually is before you make a bigger fool of yourself repeating this trash.

Is your issue with
A. Consensus
B. Good science

Scientists Reach 100% Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming

I think it's just bizarre how people including a number on this website, have no expertise in climate science at all, and think they are right while a huge body of scientists and research suggests otherwise. Just bizarre.
And don't get me started on some of the ridiculous conspiracy theories.
Put it this way, I have two acquaintances who are strong CC deniers, they also believe in homeopathy, UFOs etc.

Sorry Fritz but you do know that Judith Curry left the alarmist camp because of the non scientific way that they were presenting the argument. She left not to become a denier, but that's what she was labeled.

And there are many scientists like her, so it's not a one way street by any means. Meanwhile the main spokesperson for the ACC team is a 16 year old girl. Really, when are the adult scientists going to step up.

Even centerists like Bjorn Lomberg are openly called deniers when he clearly states that he believes in CC but because he disagrees with the alarmists over the solution, then he is 'a gin' them, in their opinion.

Judith Curry, as Kate points out, has a far more rational and balanced solution.

And here is my suggestion to realign everyone's thinking. 1) Let's not take too seriously the outliers at both ends of the curve, ie those that say humans have absolutely no impact (0%), and those that think humans are toxic and not part of the natural environment ie are responsible for 100% of CC. What we are all left with is everyone else, including you and me, that will have an opinion (scientific?) that humans contribution to CC is between 1 and 99%.

So first question is what % do you think humans are responsible for?

The second question then, is there a certain % point above or below that you could label someone an alarmist or denier, eg above 50% alarmist, below 50% a denier? Are there other categories?

No the very dominant scientific view is that humans are to a large extent responsible for the CC we are seeing. In my books, if you think humans are less than 50% of the basis for it, you are a 'denier'.
Believe the alternative if you wish, just as you can believe the world is flat if you wish.

And your above 50% conclusion ie the camp you are in (but are you at 51 or 99%?), is based on what? And so at 49% you are a denier and at 51% you are an alarmist. What you are saying is by group identity, the 51%er has more in common with the 99 or 100% than the 49%er?

This is a silly conversation.
The vast majority of the climate science community think human activity is driving a large proportion of climate change.
It's a very small proportion that think human activity is having minor or no influence.

Yes it is silly to think that anyone who thinks humans cause less than 50% of CC must be a denier.

The problem is you can't quantify any % as being in denial, other than when they say 0%.

The 50% or less you draw as 'the line' for being a denier is completely fictitious. Or maybe you would like to quantify what that means in climate data terms.

What you will find is that there are plenty of people sitting one % point + higher than you who will make the same value judgement about you being a denier because you are beneath them on what % they think the line is for being a denier, and on it goes.

No wonder the spokespeople, examples and solutions being offered as proof of who is causing what are a complete waste of money is actually achieving any meaningful outcome.

What does vast majority mean?


Have you got insight, some of these surveys. Surveys or word searches.

A very astute comment. I think you're right that AGW is just an avenue for a lot of angst about the treadmill that most seem to be on.

It would behoove your friend to realise though that what he's proposing would wreck the economy even further, making his life and the lives of his children much harder, and for what? Nothing I say, other than a sense of moral superiority.

I think his children would have other views looking at the data...but yes let's not rock the Boomers world just yet...theres more to be squeezed out before they are dead and buried.

What data are you referring to, have you some particular data sets that you can recommend and link please.

Would it really reck the economy though? Let’s say the average homeowner spent just 2% of their home value (20k on average in Auckland) on solar panels, insulation, etc. and let’s say we banned any new fossil fuel cars from entering the country. Would the economy really go bust? I doubt it.
Even if you are a climate change denier you must admit that there is a chance that you are wrong and all those scientists are right. Wouldn’t it be best to at least do the quick wins to reduce CO2 just in case?

> he supports the move to impose draconian regulation on others

I take draconian to mean a little more than what you're suggesting. But even then, if you think imposing a 2% tax on homeowners is anything short of drastic, then I think you're a lot more wealthy than your average kiwi. Seems to be the case with Green voters, unsurprising why the party does so poorly in South Auckland.

> Wouldn’t it be best to at least do the quick wins to reduce CO2 just in case?

I don't think it would make an iota of difference what New Zealand does either way. We're already doing a spectacularly good job at being stewards of the environment in my opinion. Things can always be better of course.

I guess if you don’t like the idea of regulation then the more capitalist approach would be to put a decent price on environmental damage. Currently we are allowed to destroy the environment that we all own for free, and that subsidy is distorting our purchasing decisions. How about an environment tax for polluters that is then divided up and returned to everyone. If you destroy the environment more than me then at least I get something out of it. And maybe people would then choose better options without the need for regulation.


Boomers have a vested interest. To own as many houses as possible (risk proxy for banker profits) and drive prices up so they can make as much free cap gain as possible for their retirement. Those getting the short end of that are naturally unhappy.

Its election year. Just get of your iPhone and vote for policy to help yourself. Asset rich boomers will vote National (= immigration and overseas ownership floodgates to open) because that's in their interest to do so. That's what democracy is all about.

I'd vote for an asset tax, triple for offshore owners, and enjoy the corresponding drop in income tax. We absolutly should be motivated to work productively, vs the debt based asset sta king we are today. TOPs tax policy is interesting.

but would you accept the resulting correction in asset values from a asset tax?

Absolutely. Minimal debt so no issue.

.. theoretically ... if your asset has ramped up 200 % in price over 10 to 15 years , say .. . and then it pulls back 10 % or so .... are you glass half full happy about the 180 % gain you still have .... or , sobbing into your half empty glass about the 10 % you lost ?

Depends on their leverage. An investor with 5 million of properties @ 70% LVR would have $1.5 million in equity. A 10% drop would see 1/3 of their equity gone ($500k), putting bringing them down to 78% LVR.

Are you employed in accounting or finance role NZDan, even your interest.co name implies that. Would I be right?

In neither.

NZ introduced a land tax in 1878 ... and it was only abolished in 1992 . .. although by then , very few people had to pay it .... it'd been watered down over the years ...

.. in 1878 it was set at 1/240'th of the unimproved value of the land ... 0.4 % ... and then a £500 exemption was placed on it . . So very few people paid it at all ...

But , by 1895 , land tax accounted for 76 % of total government revenues ...

we also had aggregation laws to stop large farmers absorbing everyone else.

... what I like about the land tax is that it is so simple , easy to apply , cheap to collect ... and , it doesn't disincentivise improvement , as a CGT does ...

Everyone pays a little . . no exemptions ... rich land owners pay the most .... and , revenues collected can be offset against income tax and company taxes..

I am a big fan of asset taxes, unfortunately Local bodies are already riding that to death. So we need asset taxes and councils need to return to core services or govt need to take over core services from council and leave councils to just do the fluffy stuff around the edges, funded by gas taxes or such. Then again thats been done to death too, gas in Aussie is $1. 40 ltr


... agreed that rates are usurious , compared to the " services " provided ..

Councils around the country need to be held accountable for their spending .... back to core services , and less fluffy stuff ... no more " climate change emergency " virtue signaling ...

Too true. But the core problem there is the councils are no longer councils they are corporates and all that goes with that. If the councils of old had had ever heard of a “mission statement” it would have been a heck of a lot different to the equivalent in today’s world.

Going back a bit the Lange/Douglas lot introduced and increased GST for which they provided fair income tax compensation. That was going to be, it was said, the panacea, the great solution. Then the Clark/Cullen lot took away the compensation. Then the Key/English lot, remember the Nats had cried foul in the first place, increased GST. So we can reasonably expect any compensation for a land tax will inevitably in time be snatched back.

... the only way to sell a land tax to the electorate would be to lock in a rock solid promise of PAYE and company tax cuts .... lay out the new brackets and %'s ahead of LT introduction ...

Has any government anywhere, in recorded history, ever delivered a rock solid promise?

Michael Cullen made a rock solid promise in 2005 that if we give Helen Clark 3 more years he'd gift us interest free student loans , and Working For Families ...

... that bribe worked ... for him & her ....

.... and them.

... and us.

The funny thing about Chloe's " OK boomer " snap , was that it was aimed at Gen X guy . .. who was disrespecting her right to speak ... basically he was being a total dick , as alot of our MPs are at times ...

Swarbrick has demonstrated her own illiberalism and hostility to free speech on several occasions, in regards to the petroleum and arms industries. Her quip just demonstrated what we all knew already - the greens are the only party in parliament interested in judging you on your immutable characteristics. Dangerous stuff.

The Greens do seem to shut out debate , new ideas , science .... they appear to have a mind set in concrete ... the " we know best " and " you are wrong " dogma ...

Hey Pot, have you seen Kettle?

Sorry Pragmatist, I don't think GBH is being hypocritical. Resisting the hysteria of climate change fanatics is not denying science or being stuck in your thinking. It's just common sense.

Opposing nuclear energy, GMO, free speech and plastic in any form is just dogmatism. Judging people on the colour of their skin, their age or their gender is wrong.

Nuclear energy of course would be the most effective thing we could do to tackle CO2 emissions, bar nothing.

... I think there is too little discussion on the usefulness of nuclear power as an alternative to coal fired power plants ....

GM may have an important role to play , too ... we need to keep our options open ....

... more science , more research .... innovate , adapt ...

Indeed, and I mostly ignore PDK and his posts, things aren't going to be that bad. However anybody with half a brain that reads this website sees GBH pivot straight to the climate change deniertalking points as soon as the subject is raised. E.g.. the underwater volcano thing. He's a denier through and through.

... no , I am not ... you're wrong there ...

Your posts speak for themselves. You do not believe human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are responsible for the rapid climate change we are experiencing. No doubt you were going to go back to your "climate has always been changing" deflection/BS.

... just because I dont believe human activity is the prime driver of climate change does not preclude my belief that we need to clean up our act ... as I have said many times ... it's not " denierism " ... its anti-hystericalism !

Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean green nuclear and solar power is the way forward ...

Bingo, you deny the problem.

... no ... the problem is we cannot halt the inevitable ...
But ... we can choose to clean up ... 'cos it's a fine thing to leave a gorgeous clean Earth for future generations ... BINGO !

Nope, if you deny that we are the major cause of the rapid change that is significantly different from the slow multi-millennia long natural cycles of the past then you are denying the problem. Its really that simple. If we aren't the major cause, then there is nothing that can be done, we can't move the planets orbit, or change the sun spot cycles, and we're fucked.

... not all of us agree with you about the severity of the effects of a naturally occurring climate change ...

Some of us reckon it won't be so bad .... BUT ... regardless of that , let's work hard towards having less impact upon the environment ... baby steps .. bit by bit we'll get there...

But Gummy, it's not about 'belief' from amateurs, it's about science from experts

.. separating two issues here ... whether or not we're the prime cause of climate change is still not proven 100 % ...

But the fact that we're polluting waterways... dumping rubbish ... messing up the environment ... oh yeah , we need to get on top of that ...

.. in a calm , rational manner.... yes...

That is something we will NEVER be able to prove 100% for certain, even if we take steps to reduce our emissions and the warming of the atmospherei stops, we will still argue about whether or not it was us or not, even if the bloody planet fries and we did nothing, we still won't be able to prove 100% we did it. It is a gamble to some degree or other, but when I take a gamble I like to know the odds I am up against to the best of my ability, and all in all, we do seem to be tracking for much of what the climate science is telling us. It might not be as dramatic as some say or happen as fast, but I tell you what, if the oceans die, we are all goneburgers. Now, do you not think we should be doing all we can to reduce as much as we can, our effects on the planet? I know I bloody well do. Australia this year, must, must, must be seen as a warning of the possibilities and doubling down on the denial will get us nowhere. I am not willing pass the pain on down to my grandkids after I am gone, without having put some sort of effort in.
I am sick to death of this.

Belief... sigh. how about data. That stuff the scientists are using and saying "oh shit, oh shit". It would be bloody fantastic if you deniers could explain some natural cause for the warming that stood up to scrutiny, then we could forgot about trying to stop it, and probably go the complete opposite way, and just get on with burning the coal/oil/gas to build the infrastructure we'll next to cope with what is coming since we have no other choice.

If it us, (and that what the science is saying), we can take steps to avoid it/limit it. If its not, we need to take steps in a completely different direction to get out of the way of what is coming.

I will not respond to any more of your comments : accusing me of being a " denier " once again ....

.. just boring behaviour dude ... and patently wrong ...

Clearly : I want a clean , beautiful blue and green world ...

... goodbye to you , sir .... and best wishes : Gummy ♡

Fair enough, i've had about enough of your mendacious shit too.

You are a denier, its just not clear which part of AGW you are denying..
1) that there is unexpectedly sharp warming,
or 2) that human actiivity, (mainly the burning of fossil fuels) is responsible for it. Please clarify.

Edit: actually, looking back, its quite clear, you deny both.

just because I dont believe human activity is the prime driver of climate change ....

not all of us agree with you about the severity of the effects of a naturally occurring climate change

So yes, you are a denier, and you've said so repeatedly. Real shame the science is against you on both.

The next subject of the deniers vitriol is Sir David Attenborough, that somehow he is lying about the perilous state of the wild world, Sean Plunket, Peter Williams main culprits there and the howling wolf packs behind them that bark and bay for his blood (or at least his knighthood). He's been in the natural world for 70something years, he's seen it all, he knows what he is talking about, he has no fathomable motivation other than his love of the natural world being destroyed before his eyes, he does not need to profit from anything anymore.

The strongest animals will evolve and adapt.... its nature isnt it and what they are capable of. That is why the fish came on the dryland, to survive its predators, we wouldn't be here without it.

Oh come on, do you really not care enough to stop the destruction by us? Really? It is not like some tortoises found themselves on some islands and a slow adaptation to the existing conditions saw some develop long necks any more. It is US destroying them rapidly, and you can seriously just sit back and say "to hell with it, the devil can take the hindmost". This sort of attitude probably angers me as much as anything else, because the natural world is on a hiding to nothing. There is no adaptation to what we are doing. It is NOT okay.

Well nature understands itself better. Some stupid dumb people have been killing the cuddly koala by giving them water from a bottle. Turns out they were actually drowning the poor creature. The fish Tiktaalic wanted to escape its deadly environment so quickly developed 4 legs. It was able to walk on the sand. It then took big gulps of air whilst it developed lungs which meant it didnt die out and become extinct. Instead it is the ancestor of all the land animals. So a koala developing wings should not be that hard. It would add to the fossil record and provide tangible evidence of evolution, something which does not exist...

Evolution takes a long time, we are destroying things in a heartbeat. If you are wanting to promote creationism, then please do so openly, so I can dismiss it as summarily as you dismiss what the human race is doing to the earth and try to make a nonsense of evolution. Have a nice day.

"If you are wanting to promote creationism, then please do so openly"
As a fence sitting agnostic I dont know if that's true. I cant see the validity of the evolution theory though. You say it happened over a long time but the act of the fish escaping from the sea predators happened in an instant when the first one took its first steps. Many CC alarmists are also evolutionists but dont see the two hand in hand... I dont agree we should mistreat the environment

Then stop making excuses for us doing exactly that. There are still fish in the sea that use their fins in a "walking action" there are still lungfish in the world, able to live both in and out of water". I get the feeling you are, in fact, a creationist, being as you cannot get your head around how it is that evolution happens and how long it takes for it to do so. The rudimentary fish that first popped its head out of the water, did not overnight evolve into anything that could live entirely out of the water. Evolution is a gradual process.

Pragmatist futile banging our head against the deniers and suggest we don't waste energy.
It's frankly whacky that people who have no expertise in climate science challenge the vast weight of climate science opinion.

Indeed, I'm about done with this site.

Mr F , not you too ... please reserve the harsh moniker " denier " for those who really deserve it ...

... there's alot of us who wish for sustainable progress in reducing our footprint upon the planet ... little steps will get us there .. giant leaps of faith may backfire badly ...

You're only banging your head against our denial of the need for mass hysteria ... that's all ...

But you are a denier, you have repeatedly done so on this very page.
Or you can correct me by saying you agree with this statement: "Human activity is the primary driver of the (unexpectedly fast) global warming that has been observed in the last century (approximately)".

I've always found this comic to be a relatively clear demonstration of just how fast the planet is warming now compared to the last several millenia of human existence. Of course you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink.


Where does the comic get its data set from?

It says at 16000BCE.

Prag you are too hard on yourself.
Just because some one doesn't violently agree with you, how does it follow they are diametrically opposed to you?

People can agree there is a problem, don't have to agree the cause, as the solution is not dependent on the cause.

Can I ask, in your career are you using and applying science, or are you more from arts & literature.

HT to complement that. It is said two good men with opposing minds will have better friendship than two bad men of the same mind.

Its not me he's disagreeing with, its the weight of scientific evidence. And the basic description of the issue.

AGW/ACC = The change in climate brought about due to the effect of human activity. He claims he's not a denier, then he goes and denies both that its happening, and that it human activity is by far the most likely cause for the abnormal recent changes.

He's denying being a denier, then making statements that confirm he is denier.

I am also asking if you are experienced with root cause analysis, having applied it somewhere.

Don't ask me, ask the scientists that are studying the issue and making the claims.

The hysteria is coming from the deniers preventing anything being done, and you are the ones that give them energy

Key word being opinion.

What opinion do the Russians have?
The Chinese
The Indians.
Folk from Central and South America.
The near and far east.

Does the bricklayers opinion on your cancer MRI scan matter? No. Same thing goes for the laypersons opinion on AGW. Let the suitably qualified and trained people battle it out, then ask them what the data says.

"Same thing goes for the laypersons opinion on AGW."
You do realise that everyone has opinions on matters that do not concern them through social media. Everything from people who have an opinion on megxit to the guy who tried to pressure the restaurant management to let him bring his pooch for dinner. As I had to look up the meaning of AGW I wont comment on this topic, today that is

Climate is warming. But there is masses of evidence that it is not serious - most critically ARGO data from last 15 years places tight bounds on ECS at about 1.7°C per CO2 doubling, and CO2 is unlikely to ever even double to 560ppm. Evidence 'for' is confined to computer models that are not even remotely realistic (can't do water physics and clouds), yet are claimed to be reliable in predicting global heat fluxes to within 0.1%. But they fail badly in both quantitiative (all too hot) and qualitative (heat in wrong places) predictions. Most tellingly every time you look closely at a 'scare' you find that the underpinning assumptions are heroically pessimistic - eg assume massive increases in CO2 output (RCP8.5), assume massive near term acceleration in sea level rises - up to 10mm/yr from very linear 1-2mm/year seen around most coasts for last 100 years, assume ECS of 3-4°C, etc. Always in the same sky-is-falling direction to sex up the scare. Retired scientists with life times in physical sciences but without careers to worry about or masters to appease have a strong tendency to be luke-warmers, trust their judgement as they have the luxury of championing truth, rather than chasing dollars and power.

So the fires in Australia are not that severe? Baby steps...

Ah, that old chestnut. One of the deniers’ faves, picking out an exceptionally hot year from the past...
You do realise it’s the trend that’s s important right?

So you agree years have been worse than now.
Why was this not offered as context by MSM.? You should be upset with them

Or are journalists allowed to write any thing, say anything because they are not climate scientists.

See here.
Here see the lot, see round the 2:40 to 2:55 mark.


Does rainfall count?, more rain fall. While being described as a drought. Or it's all subjective, even what's happened in the past. It doesn't matter?

Tell us all about how the 1939 Black Friday fires started in spring and burned with increasing intensity for months on end, please tell us how they were fought with modern aircraft, equipment and fire retardants. Please, we are waiting

Pocket A.
Here is some science about forests and forest fires.


A problem can have more than one cause.

The solution to a problem can often be unrelated to the cause.

. . missed the kettle , but spotted the Grettle .... haaaaaaaaa !

Bernie at his best. It's really interesting how the millenials are leaning.

A very good clip Andrew.
Understandably there is frustration, and in frustration the blame game comes into play.
Unfortunately blaming does not achieve anything; rather there is need to address issues constructively.


You all do realise that if the Millennial and the Boomers swapped places in time we would be in EXACTLY the same position as we are now. Its called human nature and by all accounts its getting worse and not better, its more all about me, me, me now more than ever.

Faulty comparison ....but if I was a betting man would put a million to say you are wrong.


How come we have waited until someone makes one tiny comment in parliament to bring this up?

Simple I think - people hate to face up to reality - the world has dug a big hole and no one is willing to admit that everyone is going to have to take a big bite of a sh*t sandwich to get out of it.

i.e. no one wants to admit they are wrong.

And it's the gen Xers and Millennials and their children who are going to be doing most of the eating.

Status Quo has to change and is changing and for that very reason Trump wins in USA and trend will continue, not that it helps but people wants to revolt and in democracy with limited choice thrown may be this is how they vote.

. .. sadly , the front runners for the Democratic nomination do not appear to be the best candidates to take on Trumpy ... Warren / Biden / Bloomberg ...

Andrew Yang's the one I'd choose ...

Nobody ever could have been as surprised as me, shocked even, that Trump won the Republican nomination let alone the POTUS. And conversely, the way it currently stands, I would be just as surprised if Trump lost this year. Very strange feeling actually. It reminds me, that in America anyone can grow up to be the President, and if you don’t grow up, well then you can be Vice President

" OK Jen X'er ... "


the problem comes when we get a recession in a small country that's expensive, (high costs compared to competitors), a long way from main markets, amongst the highest taxes in the world, relatively low wages, high and increasing spending on welfare/hospitals/education, high student debt, high levels of unskilled immigration.
Local government unable to control costs and needless regulation.

A country that has had a huge increases in housing debt without corresponding production increases. A country highly dependent on commodity prices in a world that appears to be slowing fast.

If that ball starts slowing it's going to shake our world, and it won't matter what demographic you fit into.

Yep, money printing by Central Banks reduces interest rates in far flung countries like NZ and our reserve bank joined in with the latest OCR reductions. It's all going to end in tears!

We don't have the highest taxes on the world, we're about middle of the pack.

We do have some of the highest income taxes in the world though, because our tax base is narrower than most other countries because we hardly have any forms of wealth tax.

If we take housing, I think there is an obvious policy response that needn't disenfranchise anyone.
That is, for the govt simply to build much more housing, including a lot more affordable housing for sale. Whether leasehold, or sold for no or limited profit, prices on these new houses could come down to affordable levels, with only limited impact on the existing market.
Yes there are capacity constraints but this is where the govt needs to bite the bullet and build a large prefabrication plant to address the constraints.
Am I missing something?

Yes agreed and the only point to add would be how to fund new affordable housing? Answer tax empty homes in our largest cities, though I've been attacked so many times by Boomers on this subject even though it would be mostly a tax on Overseas Investors who can't even vote here. Just goes to show how protective they are over their retirement nest eggs even if it means leave the nest empty.

But also affordable homes would be self funding, only need the up front investment.

I'm interested to see what, if anything, the major parties propose in terms of income tax for the election.
The Nats could make some decent electoral gains, I think, if they increase some of the thresholds. If our household got an extra $50 pw in hand I would have to seriously consider voting for it.

I doubt and extra $50pw would help FTB's get on the property ladder. If political parties really wanted to make a difference they need to seriously increase wages and to that they need to drop NZ's business rate tax down to around 19% like the UK has to encourage business to grow, we're actually in one of the highest tax brackets in comparison to the rest of the world. However I would omit any businesses to do with property, they would have to pay the existing business tax rate (28% tax), that would include Landords, REA's etc....
Link Deloitte Global Corporate Tax rates: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Tax/dttl...

Sorry I didn't mean to imply that would make any difference to housing. It was an unrelated comment.
My point is, although fundamentally centre-left, I will vote National in the next election if it is in my interests to do so. Because the current hasn't delivered in wider goals, so how can I or anyone else have faith in them?
Given that poor choice, better to vote in self interest.

No worries Fritz and I guess you might as well. I have to admit I've lost my faith in the Kiwis too to do the right thing. At least we can sell up and cash out to pastures new. Not sure what the majority of Millennials will do apart from build tiny shoe box homes.

A stronger more equal society is in your best interests in the long term.

National's selfish policies are always short term thinking that lead to long term costs. Punishing those in poverty ensures we simply get more poverty in future.

OK, what govt services would you accept less of for your tax cut?

Cancer drugs? Roading? Serious Fraud investigation? Home help for elderly?

This idea that you can get a tax cut with no ramifications annoys me. It usually comes from well off who think all the money in tax goes to "dole blugers" and not things which they benefit from.

What a GREAT, GREAT article Jenée, well done. Ultimately the "us" vs "them" attitude comes from ignorance and insecurity

Oh Jenée, you must be so disappointed with the comments section, I cannot believe your great article has flown right over the head of the vast majority of posters. Most comments are about property or climate change, some about political parties, a few about Boomers and Millenials….. but none seems to deal with the issue you raise… our own propensity to categorise people into groups, to associate with people of similar beliefs in order to feud against people of opposing beliefs, and the consequential negative outcomes of such "us" vs "them" mentality, no one is daring to talk about our own narrow-mindedness….. very, very disappointing indeed

The 'us and them' polarisation will get worse unless the intergenerational inequity is addressed. That's why the discussion has reverted to things like housing where there is huge intergenerational inequity.
So, we need solutions that don't polarize . I have suggested some. What policies do you think can be brought through Yvil to address this inequality that is generating the conflict?

There is huge resentment out there re housing/wealth inequality. It will never go away until there is a generation with enough guts and humanity to deal with it.

you are going to have to throw another generation under the bus

Baby Roomers .... the new generation , priced out of buying a whole house , but able to purchase just the one room they need to sleep in ....

Bunk bed

.. I like that , the " Bunk Boomers " ....

Ironically that's exactly what is happening. Ahh well at least there cutting out Estate Agents in the near future. Living Big in a Tiny House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvGXer4NsEw

Fritz, I have a fundamentally different view, I don't believe in "us" and "them". I believe that thinking in terms of "us" and "them" comes from within (each person) and is not really a matter external factors such as Boomers vs Millenials, the Left vs the Right, the poor vs the rich, Christians vs Muslims etc ….. I think the "us" vs "them" mentality comes form an individual or groups's insecurities and ignorance, I think this mentality is vey dangerous and in its worst form it can lead to war. Therefore the solution, in my opinion, should not come from policies and regulation but from education and open mindedness.

I'm sorry but it's going to take much more than 'education and open mindedness'. How is that going to address growing inequality?
As long as society gets more unequal, the notion of 'us' and 'them' will only strengthen. We are returning to an almost feudal situation.
You are an architect, you must have some positive ideas.

Growing inequality? Of course society is unequal, always has been but that's not the topic at hand, if anything a "poor us" vs "rich them" mentality is the very best way to remain "poor" and increase inequality.

Inequality is worsening in most countries. The progress of the 20th century is reversing. You may be ok with that. I am not because I think everyone loses.
With worsening inequality comes growing tensions, a growing sense of us and them.
And it never ends well.
It's much more complex than 'mentality'.

It cant be that those who control the most wealth have a disproportionate influence on government, leading to greater inequality over time. It must just be how people are feeling these days. /sarc

Of course there has always been inequality, but it is getting worse and worse all the time, and then wealth must be redistributed, it cannot carry on this way

Russia. The last days of the Tsar. Aristocrats trying to trade with the serfs, jewellery for bread?

Exactly. It either goes to the loony right ( Trumps, Boris’s etc... or worse...) or it goes the other way in the more redistributive direction...

Biggest problem these days is, how do you storm a Cayman Islands bank account?

This oft made claim of rising inequality is contradicted by evidence:
what you think you know doesn't appear to be true.

. . I think its blooming marvellous how any given article at interest.co.nz can lead to a wide array of other topics .... to posters careening off into unintended debates ...

Whole lotta fun !

Fascinating displays of thinking too!

... and we cracked 200 comments .... got a double tonne . .. if only our cricketers could do the same ...

And of that grand total GBH top scores with ? contributions not out, or will GBH retire hurt .

... frazzled after being struck in my pragmatic goolies ... owwwwwch !

Or have you.

Seems we are learning the past is subjective too.

Also looks like interest.co.nz is going out of business, because like we found the other day, a good number of comments folk claimed being able to mind read.

Remember the line... you don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!

one out of the box perhaps?

... no point in having a maiden over ... been hit in me middle stump !i

Yes, cricket climate change too.


MH a master, saw him once, that was real.

The all time howler from Henry Bloefield :

" The bowler's Holding the batsmen's Willey ... "

I'm a millennial I guess and I kind of agreed with the article, the danger of heading down the route of identity politics seems troubling and in all honesty its kind of sickening to see it be used by one of my creed, it's use does however highlight the desperation caused by those that "have" not budging, and those that "don't have" not knowing what to do.

I'm no economist but I do understand vaguely the idea that economic policies are normally used to curtail human nature by providing a distracting incentive. At present I understand that the incentive to "get into the property market" is the capital gains potential, it encourages our private sector to build properties (good for everyone), but also encourages land banking, and driving up of prices far above the real value (bad for us youths).

So, cough, what if there was some sort of price ceiling which capped capital gains at say (pick a number) 20% above actual build value, taking inflation into account, and instead heavily incentivized tax breaks for building. Wouldn't this stop the land banking, increase liquidity, and still encourage people to build?

> So, cough, what if there was some sort of price ceiling

If we had price ceilings, we'd have a more affordable market, yes. Here are a few of the unintended consequences that price ceilings bring however:

* Every open home is overrun with hundreds of potential buyers, as they know they're getting the property for less than its really worth.
* Developers stop producing homes at the same rate as they can no longer get the returns they were. This of course exacerbates the problem.
* Landlords exit the market, reducing the supply of rentals and increasing rent.

A quote from Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck: "In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing." I know you're talking about capital price control and not rent price control but the same principle applies.

Yeah I've looked into price controls somewhat too, the negative effects of rent control in-particular so I understand the danger, its the reason why the incentive of tax relief would be added in, promoting building still, could also include that tax relief for rental property owners also.

Price controls such as the ones used to stop rampant telco-companies did work well, made an expensive commodity into a cheap utility, incetivized telco's to find develop better ways of offering their services, fueling technological progress in the effort to grow their profit margin.

Either way, to implement this idea against a voter base that generally holds some sort of property portfolio would be political suicide I know, but its action like this that's required to address these issues it seems(?).

What we are really needing then is brave politicians, maybe I am dreaming then after all (idealist millennial drivel)


Yeah, screw it, let's just import more and more people to compete for an even more unaffordable housing, hell, park benches are waaay cheaper


"My fear is that this creates a hurdle to inclusion. In other words, if we didn’t have a shortage or houses and clogged roads, immigration might not be such a polarising issue we can’t have a sensible discussion about"

You don't get it yet, Jenee. This is a Catch22 problem, and growth meets physical, interrelated, systemic limits.
If you asked the right questions, you'd arrive at the truth. Ask, for instance, why so many people risk their lives to get to places like NZ? Heck, they even try and get into Greece, and Australia! The problem is global overpopulation, or rather, global over-consumption divided by number of consumers. You cannot fix that with ever-more infrastructure, sprawling over ever-more food-producing land, which was sprawling over ex-forest land as it was.

The anti-immigration people are correct; in a long-term sustainable sense, we cannot support even the five billion we have here now (they are doing it totally on resource/energy draw-down. That's like emptying a finite bank account. How about you have a wee look at the Limits to Growth, as they apply to a long view of life in NZ?

Of course we will compete, more and more as ever-more people chase ever-less, ever-worse quality, resource and energy. Don't concentrate on the expressions of that competition, concentrate on the ways out of the dilemma. Telling Titanic passengers not to fight over places in the lifeboats, is a fair parallel

OK but population growth isn't happening very much in rich countries witness the latest news from China

But the environmental destruction is happening everywhere, and dollars to doughnuts the flattening of the Amazon is to export to China

The environmental destruction you are describing/thinking of are you also thinking it is climate change?

The causes are much the same, but no, I do know the results are different, it all comes as a package deal

And thus PDK, the great migrations,well before and during all recorded history. Still today, the same pressures,still the same desperate needs & desires. Except the world has grown smaller. There are borders set globally. There are instant communications and spy satellites. And there are heavy armaments and speed of action and reaction. And how do you get what you haven’t got or have no hope of ever getting. Take it from one that does have it? The world is full of protests, modern ones of course, but that the world has always been full of protests and discrimination, is a sad fact of life.

I recall years ago a cartoon in the New Yorker. Richer softer kids setting up a snowball fight with harder poorer kids. The latter have just returned a note saying “no we won’t put stones in our snowballs and thanks for the idea.” Appreciate a somewhat different vein but if you think about ALL the dynamics at play in that scene, it does capture a lot of what is being commented on here today.

Pavlova.... Yuck! Oz can have it!

Good to read your youthful optimism. Cynicism creeps in too quickly with age.
I agree - we have to work with each other and not retreat to our little echo chambers.
As I've gotten older I've come to realise that tolerance of other ideas and opinions one disagrees with is not the best response, however civility is something that is lacking in our society

well tolerance is not the worst either, meekness though really scores in that regard. But oh yes indeedy, civility is most lacking! And not far behind that, patience, respect and selflessness.

Would be good to have some examples of this lack of civility in society. I'm always treated with respect and courtesy wherever I go. I checked my privilege too and saw that it was looking fine.
You have to forgive some occasional youthful exuberance in others and a little bit of rebellion here and there but on the whole things are pretty good aren't they?

We lived for some time in a not all that good blue collar neighbourhood of the USA. And I can assure you that civility and general bonhomme was streets ahead of any part of society here. And before you say go back then. Well we most certainly would have stayed had we had the ability to do so.

Still looking for some examples of incivility here in NZ. Even something anecdotal.

Suggest you visit a builders site.

Or much of the driving on Auckland's roads...

... or Canterbury ... oh , what sweet little lambs we are behind the wheel , crusadering around the great plains and the city ...

I have driven a lot in quite a few countries and I can categorically say kiwi driving is the most aggro and uncivil of anywhere

Plenty of reasons for the Aggro, stemming from the uncivil. Nowhere else have I encountered as many right (left) lane hoggers travelling along obliviously at well under the flow of traffic speed, that proceed to get offended when you undertake them, or flash/toot to let them know they need to f-off out of the way.. Autostrada in Italy was a positively pleasant experience compared to Auckland motorways.

I think in many countries in Europe the law stipulates that you need to keep left on the motorway and "undertaking" to get ahead is generally prohibited. This is not the case in NZ.

Undertaking is not prohibited in NZ, however keeping Left is most certainly stipulated as part of the NZ road laws, in fact its the first set of actual rules after the definitions in Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, Its just never enforced or taught by the looks of it.

Anybody sitting in the right hand lane with an empty lanes to the left of them should be fined, and score a handful of demerit points too.

Well that comes back to another uncivil trait, of lack of awareness or ‘not giving a shit for others’


Zach, it's great you generally find civility in others, it's because you are cilvil to others in the first place, to those who complain about other people… start looking at yourself first

I agree, in the inter
personal circles that I traverse, civility is generally forthcoming. However, online discourse which comes to fruition via Chloe (mental block on last name) with ok boomer to write someone off due there age rather than ideas is what I'm talking about.

Kauri: "I've come to realise that tolerance of other ideas and opinions one disagrees with is not the best response,"

Really? So you suggest being intolerant of other's ideas and opinions?

.. without putting words in his mouth , I think he means we ought to stand up to things we disagree with , but to do so civilly . .

Bang on.

Bad ideas and opinions do not require tolerance but rebuke in a civil manner. My young children have many bad ideas that need correcting. There are many ideas circulating in politics, religion etc that are too often tolerated out of fear of touching various sacred cows, however if tolerated for too long will lead to societal disaster. MLK certainly didn't tolerate the normative ideas of the the southern states with their Jim crow laws, nor did Jesus tolerate the oppressive religious ideas of the Jewish authorities of his time yet both opposed such ideas with civility. My concern is that tolerance is becoming a virtue that stands in the way of progress.

Or is civility standing in the way of progress?

In the article above Jenée Tibshraeny appears to be urging us to me more civil in order to stop something from progressing.

This article seems short on specifics and leaves me guessing.

...populism, stemming from exclusion, wreaking havoc in other parts of the world.

It would be quite good to have some examples of populism wreaking havoc in other parts of the world. Not really seeing it myself. Havoc seems like hyperbole.

The mass movement of people provides as much opportunity as it does challenge.

Does that mean there is no net benefit? Can you expand on what opportuinities it does provide us?

..the wealth of skills and ideas that come with a diverse society

Can you list these skills and give some examples of these ideas?

Also when you write "we" who do you mean?

Probably valid questions but you do sound like my English teacher! In the end I used to write answers that i thought the English teacher would write and managed to scrape a pass.
Remember that when reading articles, people are going to write stuff that is going to bring in all sorts of prejudices, PC-ness, or indeed, sensible comments from time to time. It can be very frustrating reading stuff. And indeed stuff (and the NZ herald for that matter) publish the works of many appalling writers. Where I encounter this I just do not read their articles. If I did so I would become really bitter and twisted.

The 2020 election is going to be decisive as to whether those iphones every young person stares at everywhere they go actually do anything useful. The election will decide whether this large demographic, desperate First Home Buyers, have the nous and guts to organize themselves into a powerful voting lobby with the wiz-bang new tech and social platforms at their fingertips.
Personally, I don't think they can, because, at the end of the day, they just want to be like the boomers with their shiny SUV, two houses, and a chunky investment for their retirement. And who can blame them because this is the model of aspiration television and the media bombards us with 24/7.

Jenée your article raises some very great points.

Sadly, rationality is an uphill battle. Some people are just too stupid to see a position that is not their own. Just look at the comments above.

You are a denier!
You are an alarmist!

It seems that to be moderate these days is a sin of the highest magnitude.

Balanced is a good word and condition I would suggest. Mostly because things that are out of balance inevitably fall over. And believe me, it’s not hard to find that out the hard way either.

Which is it you want? Rational, or Moderate. Because if the evidence is biased heavily to one extreme, then you can't be both. I'll go with Rational everytime.

How much more destruction of the natural environment are you prepared to accept in order to achieve "balance" before you accept that something actually has to be done, and that the more "balance" prevails the more urgent and radical the action required is to achieve, um, "balance"?

Well that’s a bit curly as my comment was a response to a post that I saw as a generalisation rather than a specific issue. But will try to explain if I may. “ if all of the countries in all of the world had taken a balanced approach to their environment then it would not be said to be falling over.”

I rather like the approach of Taleb : whether CC is man made or not , why quibble over that ... when the risk of being wrong is potentially very bad for us and for other critters ...

... clean up this joint !

What are these romantic ideals of 'natural environment' and 'balance'? Taupo has laid waste to large portions of the North Island at regular several 1000 year intervals. Glaciers blanketed the southern alps and much of Northern America and Europe till 15000 years back and will again in next Millenia unless stopped. Is that balance? AI will change the world beyond all recognition within next 100 years - possibly end all life, or maybe usher in post scarcity technoutopia - is that balance? An asteroid wiped out dinosaurs and a million other species. The sun will wipe out life on earth within about a billion years. Is that balance? The only value anything has is what humans assert it to have, environmental change is a constant, and the universe doesn't care.

Moderate or undecided too

Here is a fascinating civil debate concerning climate change.

One side argues this is what is known, this is what observed & track record.
One side argues with fact and data (not track record) & in analogy and uses persuasive language and make comments around characters & identity.


Really interesting to observe what resonates with the audience. Resonates in terms of presentation style & language.

Brilliant to see both sides engage.

This new interconnected world is going to throw some curveballs. Never has the average man been able to have so much say or even have a say.
Young people today don't go to news sites for news, they go to some app probably social media.
Nothing is going to be the same, nothing can be taken for granted. We all know Jacinda has had 15 weeks holiday- or has she?

And then all the dating stuff is screwed up, what will become of the world.


What will we do with the homeless? This camp just popped up in a few months in Santa Rosa, a place with million dollars houses all over the hills.


What becomes of us when we all get a text to remind us to vote online ( not just the democrats facebook knows)? our local council can hardly get a %30 turnout which to my mind is not a mandate to govern.

Wow. 200 plus comments. Is boomer the new property tagline?

It's a clash between boomer and doomer.

Population control people see it as a should I stay or should I go question.

Sounds like they can go while the rest of us are happy to stay.

Here is another area you try to turn into something that it isn't. I suggest you do a bit of stroll through www.populationmatters.org to see how they advocate for the human race reducing numbers. Their drive is to educate and emancipate women through the world, because educated, emancipated women in control of their own lives have fewer children, delay reproduction and some even bypass the whole process altogether. Please do not try to tell us that you are opposed to this.

See my post above.

Reproductive rights a must, women must take the lead, & education & emancipation.
What you miss is the importantance of nutrition and early life nutrition. Early life nutrition and brain development.
( this is why James Shaw & Co are alienating many people by now teaching children to eat less meat & dairy, eat less meat & dairy because of climate change they say ).
- especially because the food here is regarded as super food.

No one should advocate population reduction and other population controls. No influence of another's reproductive rights.

What elements of these cause you problems?
Do you influence others to reduce family size, have less children, encourage terminations?

However on the existential plain, here is the one uniting anthem.


I'm going to make a comment to bring the total comments on this article up to a round 250....this must surely be some record!
As a 'Boomer born in 1948, and having just turned 72 years old, I would remind Generation X and all the other generations looking enviously at us Boomers that a high school classmate of mine recently passed away. Looking at my old 1962 4th form school photo I'm reminded that at least 3 of my fourth form classmates have passed away and there could quite possibly be others that I don't know of. I have also lost another 6 or 7 friends and acquaintances. Just a reminder that the Boomers won't hang around forever. However, I can't say how long I'll be around for...my father passed away aged 72 years but my mother is still alive at 96 years!

I am way younger than yourself streetwise. Keep enjoying life and have something to live for and I believe that you will have a better than even chance of making 3 figures. Queen Elizabeth will not still be on the throne in 28 years to send you a letter of congratulations. But will NZ still give allegiance to the crown I hope so and not be run by some presidentè

I'm going to make a comment to bring the total comments on this article up to a round 250....this must surely be some record!
As a 'Boomer born in 1948, and having just turned 72 years old, I would remind Generation X and all the other generations looking enviously at us Boomers that a high school classmate of mine recently passed away. Looking at my old 1962 4th form school photo I'm reminded that at least 3 of my fourth form classmates have passed away and there could quite possibly be others that I don't know of. I have also lost another 6 or 7 friends and acquaintances. Just a reminder that the Boomers won't hang around forever. However, I can't say how long I'll be around for...my father passed away aged 72 years but my mother is still alive at 96 years!

The irony of the push towards diversity is the entire philosophy highlights differences rather than emphasising similarities. I used to tell my classes that In my class as far as I am concerned there is only one race, the human race. You can choose to be something different but don't be surprised if you are treated differently.

We really need to stop emphasizing people's differences although apparently I'm expressing a supremacist viewpoint by stating that.

There will always be differences. Those getting enslaved as a bank profit proxy, or to bloat boomer retirement through rent and crazy house prices are unhappy. Were just luck it's still a democracy, and you can vote to support your interests later this year.

Remember Trump, Brexit and a Lab lead govt could never happen either...

you may not have an opinion or behave in a manner that is in disagreement with the coarse cultural, racial and gender stereotype that the very progressive left has determined to be your place. This is not racist (it is) or bigoted (it is) and is wonderfully empowering and diverse (it is not)
Sheep say Baaaaaaaa.

Good on you Jenee. A well written, smart and thought-provoking piece. Keep challenging those cynics... it's the only way to brighter future. Would love to see more people using their online influence to promote awareness of societal pitfalls, rather than diving into them!

Very good piece, Jenée. A little quote from Kevin Williamson re Identity Politics (which is what is at the heart of the thing here):
"Identity is much easier to generate than Policy"......

On the other hand, perhaps we are waking up to the idea that we've been sheep for far too long, and we're not too happy about where that has led us.