Response to Scoop Wellington chain on plans for the public library

The purpose (in the larger cultural/historical picture) of closing or even demolishing the library (and also building a giant white elephant convention centre) was (is still) to destroy the very concept of a ‘public’ library. Read the rest of this entry »

The pandemic effect of coronavirus and the overheated reality of air travel – any connection?

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

The novel coronavirus seems to have spread around the globe about as fast as it takes a fleet of airplanes to travel around the globe. Some of those planes carried the virus to NZ. Is there any other connection between air travel and the virus, perhaps in the economic drivers which may have led to the extravagant growth of both? Read the rest of this entry »

Coronavirus brings reflection. Can it help us understand the Post Truth Era?

From the New York Times, 24 May, 2020, copywrite article.   In this excerpt from the article we see what Americans’ aspiration had been turned to in the eighties, the time of the global neo-liberal coup.   Now in 2020 it is the billionaires that are admired, and the disconnect is even more obvious.  The Post Truth Era has come from this base.

Will the Coronavirus Kill What’s Left of Americans’ Faith in Washington?

Sabrina Tavernise

Patricia Bolgiano has lived through multiple economic downturns. Each time, she said, leaders in Washington responded in ways that left her family behind, while a select few got wealthier.
She grew up poor in Baltimore, and remembers a rising culture of wealth in the 1980s that bore no resemblance to her life.

“‘Dynasty’ and ‘Knots Landing,’ that’s what you aspired to,” she said. “You wanted those Linda Evans haircuts and shoulder pads. I could never have afforded any of those things. I was working in a low-end retail job. There was just this big disconnect.”

Mrs. Bolgiano was working in a call center at a regional bank in Maryland during the stock market crash of 1987 and the savings and loan crisis.  She remembers scared-sounding customers on the other end of the phone, and secretaries talking about their bosses’ golden parachutes.  It happened again 20 years later.  One evening in 2008, she was driving and listening to the news on the radio. Banks were collapsing. She knew what was coming next: bailouts for Wall Street, and no accountability for what they had done to hurt the economy.
“They knew they could get out of anything,” she said.

“The Axis of Viral” – trying to make sense of the strange world of viruses

Rob Wallace in his book of blogs ‘Big Farms Make Big Flu’ combines his scientific training and interest in viruses with his sense of social justice looking at how the recent neo-liberal economy of food profit production influences our world (and it is global). Read the rest of this entry »

Wellington councils should not rely on suggestions of ‘officials’

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

WCC Cr Diane Calvert says they should follow WCC official’s advice on council funding response to the Covid-19 crisis. But the ‘officials’ of both WCC and WGRC are where our society’s neo-liberal desperation has settled. These are the officials (GWRC) who advised the bus changes, and who (WCC) advised simply locking up the library without a plan even though it had experienced no earthquake damage. And where did the decision to remove the electric trolley buses replacing them with diesel come from. And then there is the new giant white-elephant-in-waiting, the convention centre (dubbed Conven-19 by writer Dave Armstrong).

Cr Paul rightly says all councillors were elected on their merits in their own constituencies. To disrespect other councillors such as Calvert has done in this case illuminates the frustration and arrogance that she and the other neo-liberals feel now that they (and Mayor Foster for that matter) seem to be in the minority on council now.

Richard Keller

Swarbrick and Salmon in the print media main stream

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland

Great to see Chloe Swarbrick’s editorial in the SST (05/04) and Dame Anne Salmond’s philosophical analysis in the Dom Post (02/04). Read the rest of this entry »

Water privatization still on the cards

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington
13/03/ 2020

Dear Editor:

In Dave Armstrong’s rambling discussion of water in Wellington (10/3) he does recall that there was fear that water supply would be privatized in what I would call the ‘there is no other way’ neo-liberal hysteria of the 80s/90s introduced by the Labour government then carried on by National. What we need to understand is that the neo-liberal has quietly settled in and the threat remains. The overriding mentality is still money over conservation. Primarily water meters would still be used as a tool to privatization. Armstrong mentions that Iona Pannett is one who still fears privatization. Keep in mind that Pannett is and was a Green which has not been neo-liberal, unlike Labour and National.

Richard Keller


published 23/03/20  ??

Mike Moore was a typical neo-liberal.

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland

PM Ardern says Mike Moore ‘helped open up New Zealand to the world’. This is a simplistic and inaccurate description. Read the rest of this entry »

What is bias of WCC staff?

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington
18/12/ 2019

Dear Editor:

Dave Armstrong (17/12) is right to note that the ‘bureaucrats’ (council staff) who came up with the plan for the bus changes (‘bustastrophy’) are still intact. Not much has been said about that advice, nor the background and inclinations of those who provide so-called ‘expert’ advice. Read the rest of this entry »

Labour government roots centered in the Cold War and their Neo-liberalism

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland

11 October, 2018

Dear Editor:

The nature of this government’s reluctance to get on with upgrading the remuneration of teachers and nurses, to name but two, which had stagnated under the previous government is revealed more by their plan to spend an extra $Bln or so on an attack warplane than its current reaction to the surplus in the national books revealed by Treasury. Read the rest of this entry »