Thursday, February 15, 2018

Will The USA Ever Learn?

No point doing another cartoon about the pointless deaths in the USA that keep on happening when guns are so easily available there. This old cartoon of mine still sums up how I feel.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Time's Up For Bill English

After New Zealand's Leader Of The Opposition and ex Prime Minister announced his resignation, there were many Kiwis who said they thought of him as compassionate, a financially prudent Minister of Finance, a good Christian principled family man and generally nice guy etc. However Bill English's track record suggests another way of thinking about this long serving National  Party politician.

Bill English has left behind a legacy of record levels of homelessness and inequality, a dangerously huge house price bubble (one of the World's highest), trade deficits, record numbers of immigrants from non traditional sources such as Asia (that is rapidly changing the demographic balance in NZ), a large increase in Government debt and reductions in government services such as health and broadcasting. In my opinion, New Zealanders have generally accepted such policies like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled to death while having every opportunity to opt out of that fate. John Key, a recent and very popular National Party Prime Minister, called it "incremental reform". I call it turning the clock back to pre World War policies that created the Great Depression.

I once asked my father what life was like during the Great Depression in the 1930's. His reply surprised me. "Well, I was lucky, I had a job (on reduced wages) and life went on as usual for a lot of people and actually the really well off enjoyed the drop in prices, especially luxuries and the lower cost of labour and services. The problem was that 25 to 30 percent of the population were cast into dire circumstances and sort of dropped out of the economy and I hardly saw them in the streets. Although the shops were full of things to buy they could not afford to buy them and so some became so desperate, the Government had to put armed guards at the rubbish tips to stop people going there to get food to eat and clothing to wear."

Today we are supposed to be much better off, but why are the charity food banks once again being overwhelmed by the need to help the rising numbers of poor people? I put the blame at the feet of "good old guy" politicians like Bill English. Thanks but no thanks Bill! You will not be missed by the many newly impoverished New Zealanders who cannot afford to buy a house, have to pay exorbitant rents and struggle to feed and clothe their families.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Doris

Doris might be making a return to my drawing board and tablet. A collaboration with a comic writer has been resurrected and we shall see how she develops. This is roughly how she will appear.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Will It Be So?

The newly elected Labour/New Zealand First Coalition Government has made a cautious start and I have yet to see the major reforms needed to roll back the neo-liberal policies of the 1980s that extended into the 1990s. On my wish list this year would be a minimum living wage, a return to the progressive tax rates and welfare rates prior to 1984, fair trade tariffs defending local industry (from unfair competition and hidden state assistance), housing assistance for all first home buyers and affordable and enough state and council owned houses for the needy. The social, GMO restrictions and anti-nuclear reforms would be welcome to see stay. In short, more Government social assistance to reduce inequality and support for productive (NZ Owned) industries that create prosperity and a healthy international balance are what I think are needed. Keeping in mind, that in NZ, the word "Government" really is our collective democratic ability to do things for the benefit of all.

On the other hand, if marijuana becomes legalized to get support of the Green Party, then perhaps a majority of Kiwis will soon fantasize that such things do not matter anymore and so the future is now. But I hope we go no further than decriminalization and steer clear of total legalization. Marijuana is just a another generally harmful narcotic that I would hate to see available to our youngsters in the local dairy and supermarkets masquerading as a harmless recreational thing to do. I believe we would be better off without it and we should continue to restrict it to being used as a medicinal alternative to conventional pain killers etc.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Red Queen Strikes

Labour's new leader, Jacinda Ardern, has caught up to National's leader John English in a recent preferred New Zealand Prime Minister poll and has very likely overtaken him by now. Like Canada, there seems to be a generational shift taking place in NZ politics. Peter Dunne has seen the writing on the wall and after 30 plus years in Parliament (often as a Minister), he has retired.