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Labour needs a wealth tax

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

10/07/2020

The work of French economist Thomas Piketty, author of “Capital in the 21st Century”, has shown that to reduce inequality requires taxing high wealth (assets).  This is now mainstream thinking.  The Greens proposed tax on wealth in excess of 1M$ is a modest attempt to take advantage of this new realization.  There is still work to be done to determine what $$ thresholds should apply.

The description of this modest tax as a ‘far-left’ policy is laughable, but also provides a chance to look at an important indicator of “who we are” here in Aotearoa New Zealand.  A wealth tax is so main stream today that not to adopt this kind of tax indicates intent to increase inequality.  Is Labour still intending to characterize its government as ‘well-being’?  The adoption or not of some form of a wealth tax will be the main indicator of ‘who they are’ this election.

Sincerely,

Richard Keller

published Mon, 13/07


Narrow view Aaronovich vs broad view Thunberg

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland
02 October, 2019

Dear Editor:

The Times writer David Aaronovitch (SST, 29/9) looks at Greta Thunberg’s speeches and is only willing to hear ‘hellfire and damnation’. Why not acknowledge that she advocates both responsible personal lifestyle changes and fundamental collective action, and even voting?

Aaronovitch tries to justify his narrow observation by noting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on sea levels does not predict extinction. OK, but why stop there? Tipping points in CO2 emissions, like from the melting northern tundra for one, are still possible, and may cause temperature rises of the metaphorical ‘hell and damnation’ variety. Why would we as a conscious, knowledgeable species take a chance on that? To take that chance is dangerous, even immoral, perhaps insane. This is the big picture so few are willing to speak of that it is empowering to hear this described so unapologetically from Thunberg.

By contrast, Aaronovitch nit-picks that she is unfairly lumping all governments and politicians together. Well, Macron of France is acting like he’s been caught out. And in the possibility of climate change hell and damnation the main point is that existential decisions about our future are being made at a collective cultural level, the sense of which Thunberg captures wonderfully.

Sincerely,

Richard Keller

published 06/10/2019


‘Globalization’ is a misused term.

16 February, 2017

The Editor,  The Listener,  letters@listener.co.nz,  Auckland

Dear Editor:

The term ‘globalization’ has been a misused, even cynically used, term since the Sixties when it was proposed as a move away from ‘nationalism’ (read ‘colonialism’) which had produced two world wars in the first half of the 20th century.  Read the rest of this entry »


NZ Defence Industry Association happy weapons stocks going $up after French war talk?

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

19 November, 2015

Dear Editor:

It seems an ironic coincidence that the NZ Defence Industry Association annual conference is occurring just as weapons stock market prices are rapidly rising (as reported by Glen Greenwald on Tuesday) after the French chose their desperate and suicidal ‘war’ response to the attacks in Paris.  Those who claim that the conference is about legitimate business opportunities should be happy, then.  Read the rest of this entry »


Deja Vu on West’s “war” response to violence

The Editor,  The Auckland Herald,  Auckland

20 November, 2015

Dear Editor:

ISIS seems to have picked the right target in France given the response by the French Prime Minister, “War!”, “We will destroy ISIS”.  This is precisely what ISIS wants; they know that war in the Middle East waged by outsiders, namely the West and Russia, is a great recruiting tool to their cause.  Read the rest of this entry »


Cartoons or violence?

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

15 January, 2015

Dear Editor:

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has probably never received so much attention from French politicians.  But it is good to see the widespread support for a free press which has been expressed since the attack on the magazine’s staff.  “Keep drawing,” as DomPost cartoonist Tom Scott said. Read the rest of this entry »