In keeping with my last post, I thought I would look to see what other claptrap the New Zealand left was spouting that I might have a dig at. Sure enough, Labour’s Red Alert blog didn’t disappoint.
Darien Fenton complains that the NBR, having published the latest rich list, has referred to our 150 richest people as “national treasures”. Here’s a quote: “They talk about “wealth creation” as if they have done it all on their own, without the help of governments, taxpayers, workers and the generations gone before.”
This tickles me pink (as it were). It’s undeniable that previous generations have laid crucial foundations for our society, but Darien totally underestimates how quickly wealth can be built up in the modern world by successful entrepreneurs, identifying opportunities and creating successful businesses and harnessing the productive capabilities of their countrymen.
A case in point is South Korea. North and South Korea were pretty well equally flat broke after the Second World War. Their cultures and work ethics were more or less identical and both were protected and funded by super power allies. One of them allowed entrepreneurs to create wealth, the other didn’t. And now the wealth disparity between them couldn’t be more stark.
I also find it amusing that Darien asserts that our wealthiest 150 couldn’t have achieved what they did without the help of taxpayers. These people are taxpayers for pity’s sake, and they pay vastly more tax than the average citizen. Indeed, it’s a surprisingly small proportion of the population who pay more in tax than they cost the government. For their tax contributions alone our wealthiest people should be considered national treasures. And while it’s true that businesses couldn’t operate and create wealth without workers, those workers wouldn’t have jobs if the entrepreneurs weren’t out there thinking up ways to provide goods and services that people were willing to pay for.
It really is as though Darien and her ilk believe that there is a fixed amount of wealth out there and that it’s a zero sum game. The wealth of our top 150 has increased by 20 per cent, so that’s $x billion that the rest of us can’t have, but would have had it not been sucked up by the top 150. Suffice it to say that I think that that’s a pretty warped view of how an economy operates. It’s not surprising, though, when you look at Darien’s background. Her “varied” CV appears to consist of a research assistant role, an admin job, and then a range of positions within various unions, before being elected to Parliament on Labour’s list.
None of which really has any bearing on the title of this post. The other item that caught my eye browsing Red Alert, was a piece by Carol Beaumont alerting us to the fact that New Zealand’s rate of physical and sexual violence against women was the highest in the OECD. Clearly this is not good, but, were Labour not in opposition at the moment, would this worrying statistic have been deemed suitable to grace their blog? I can’t believe that this problem has developed in the last two and a half years since Labour lost the last election. On that basis, it rather appears that the emergency to which Red Alert is alerting us is the fact that Labour is not in government. By voting for them, the name suggests, we can make all these problems go away just as they did last time Labour was in government. We will all, no doubt remember how crime wasn’t an issue back then. So, what will they call the blog next time they’re in government and there’s no more emergency going on?