SQ Transp 2048

Key issue - climate change.  How to engage on the denial and desperation which keeps us in arrogance and paralysis.  It's not that we can't do what needs to be done.  We choose not to do it.  National's leader, Luxon, accuses Labour of not being able to do things.  Really rich after its performance.   How can they overcome their nature as empty-headed desperadoes?  (Richard)


One issue that I would like to hear more about is the 3 waters changes.  What does it really mean for the average person?  Perhaps you could have a supporter of it and a person opposed to it. (Margaret)

 I think agenda-setting is key here. To me that looks like having progressive scholars and organisers along to outline what they think should be on the agenda, with discussion and questions to follow. Every Fabians talk I’ve been to has been excellent, so I don’t have any feedback on that. (Ti)


David Parker or Chloe Swarbrick. She would remind us  of what “socialism” (could) look/s like and would bring in the punters. (Tom)


Endless growth vs environmental and social sustainability (the colonial approach to economic growth via population growth and foreign investment) from the perspective of international solidarity Thank you for your work. (Daniela)


It is imperative that the Right does not win the election. And the public is being encouraged to by both the media and social media, from what I see. I will vote Labour for my electoral vote, but I am a Green Party member and will give them my party vote. I would like to see Labour win the election, but with a much larger Green presence in Parliament. This is because Labour needs the Greens to keep them from becoming a tame  Centrist party and from missing all the opportunities and work required to a) fight climate change and prepare for what we can't reverse and b) put a halt to the runaway profiteering of corporations, while the poor get poorer and their lives more desperate. These topics need intensive discussion and planning for the election. 

 We also need to find ways to activate young voters to take an interest in the election, perhaps to educate them about the Fabian Society and its past and to inspire them to fight for social justice and the environment.

We also need to find a way to educate people about the forces at work on social media to promote lies and conspiracy theories. People need to be able to discern the difference, to understand that the democratic system is not perfect but is valid and our only hope and that their part in it is crucial to the future. They need to understand the corrupt nature of big business and the Right.

This may mean doing more than holding online talks and discussions amongst members. It may mean getting out to schools, polytechs and universities and anywhere where people gather. It may mean having a presence on social media. It may mean recruiting younger people to help. (Deborah)

Kia Ora – first, thanks so much for offering these sessions, and continuing to offer them on line.  As an elder, albeit active, 5.30 is not a favourite time to be out (not only cos would have to use a snapper not gold card..) whereas when I was working in the city it was easy to continue to a talk.

  1. However – I would wish and recommend follow up if there’s suggestions as to how you can reach out for a younger actual audience.
  2. (reflecting in part on Jacinda’s departure) I’m an admirer of J’s style and of the team labour has put around and beside her.  I think it’s time someone in this country looks at models of leadership. In Aotearoa we’re at risk of mindless following of  an American model of putting tremendous pressure and responsibility of one person.  Not only could we draw on indigenous leadership models, I think there are country’s like Switzerland who manage NOT to load leadership on one individual.  Could Fabians back such alternatives?
  3. As I write I think I probably need a history talk on the origins of Fabians and current state of....I know so little! – this might help as part of a ‘brainstorming’ as to activities this year. (Lainey)

I was attempting to watch (Craig Renney and Diana Russell) online and despite the problems with the lack of sound I heard enough and then read what was published to get a handle on the presentation.What impressed me most was the comprehensive nature of the presentation. Most of these presentations are confined to just a few significant ideas, but this one by the CTU was at another level and hopefully can be used to convince Labour to adopt many of the ideas in future policy. So looking ahead , future presenters might be encouraged to do likewise. Thanks for all you do to stimulate ideas and debates that are important for our society. (Graham)

(The session with Craig and Diana) was a terrific session that I can see as a guide to what needs to be done (Jennifer) (Note: the version on-line now has better sound.)

I’m enjoying being able to catch up on Fabian sessions by video – as well as your notices, I get a reminder when they pop up on youtube.  Still nervous enough about covid crowd to put me off making the trip into Wgton to live sessions, but I’m bound to get over it.  Issues for the election – well, obviously 

1) strong political action on climate change, esp whipping the agriculture section into line, being serious about no more coal/oil/gas mining on or off shore, reducing synthetic fertiliser.  James may not be the most left-wing person in the world, but his real problem is getting policy past a Labour cabinet.  Can Labour now be pushed into serious action on climate as its, not just Jacinda’s, nuclear moment? 

2) since Labour is no longer ‘under Jacinda’s watch’, will Grant now implement capital gains tax, environmental taxes and a generally fairer tax system, in line with the Taxation Working Group amendments.  Let’s challenge Labour on capital gains. Take the heat out of housing as a speculation problem.  One time I did heard Grant talking more radically than anything that’s come out of a Labour cabinet so far (at a Fabians session with Gareth Hughes).  Let’s encourage him on new monetary policy, the sky won’t fall – just a generation of neo-lib economists. 

3) more kindness, less poverty.  Let’s give Jacinda a win on this, and ask for more.  Labour looked after jobs, families, small businesses during covid – they got the target right, they need to keep on in this direction.  The route is via higher minimum wage, higher benefits, equal pay and fair pay agreements, more legislative support for unionisation in the private sector.  Via reversal of NZ Inc’s low wage economy.  Labour’s traditional bread-and-butter appeal to voters.

4) fewer people/Maori in prison.  NZ having incarceration numbers like the US’s is just ridiculous.  (My word - others call it tool of colonisation, or even fascist state).  Change the drug laws to a sensible reflection of physical/social harm, and prohibit/regulate sale on that basis.  Decriminalise purchase/use of the minor ones.  Focus police more on white-collar crime, not young Māori males, de-privatise prisons, and reduce prison population/fiscal costs.   Not law that enables full commercialisation/promotion of cannabis; that was clearly a step too far for most NZers but a less commercialised decriminalisation would probably pass the next referendum.  NZ is nearly there on drug reform, Labour just needs another push  – it’s important not because of the drugs but because of the clogged-up, punitive, expensive justice/corrections system.    (Linda) 

From 1976 to 1978 I was a field officer to the NZ Labourers union Central Branch and from 1978 until 1990 I was the MP for Hastings.  During my time in Parliament I served as an associate Minister of Finance.  During that time I because particularly interested in how rich taxpayers avoid paying tax.  I played a role in ensuring that subsidies to the insurance and superannuation policies of the rich were replaced by broadly based assistance to families and low income taxpayers.  I also had many conversations with my benchmate Trevor de Cleene who was in the process of removing many tax breaks for the wealthy.  For some reason the Fabians have never been interested in discussing these topics.  I would be happy to share my experiences with members who are interested.  (David Butcher)

Few suggestions on key issues:

  1. We are collectively not sufficiently aware of our material reality in Aotearoa - what the state of our ecological, social, cultural, and economic reality actual is and what that suggests about our pathway and future potential for flourishing together.
  2. We are not acting from an understanding of ecological literacy, so we are acting in ways that are not compatible with the environment and therefore are merrily on a terminal pathway.
  3. We do not have a clear, consistent, and distributed non-partisan orientation/purpose as a country, so have negligible chance of pulling in the same direction and achieving high quality lived experiences for all, let alone a liveable Aotearoa.
  4. We think decentralised policy and/or market forces can drive change that achieves holistic wellbeing, when there is zero empirical evidence at scale to support this thinking.

An offer: Love to chat 1:1 with you or any of your team whose mahi is to bring about a sustainable and thriving Aotearoa, who is open to guidance from living systems to do so, and has the stomach for the broader and deeper awareness that comes along such a journey.  (Mark)

Ensuring a safe climate for future generations (Chris)

I somehow ended up on your email list during a Covid lockdown and after watching some of your online presentations became a member. I have a few ideas for future presentations.

  1. Is our tax system fair?Should we have a beginning step of say $1 - $13,999 (or less) at 0% (like the US and Australia, for example) and introduce higher tax on high incomes to compensate? Should the 30% step be moved up above $48,000? Should GST be removed from food? Should there be a capital gains tax? 
  2. Health system charges.The Labour Government campaigned in 2017 on reducing doctors' charges for superannuitants, but, once in power, did not action it. Should dental care for adults be subsidised or free? 
  1. Why is New Zealand's productivity low?  We are constantly told that our productivity is low, but never what the reasons are. Is one reason that, because wages are low, businesses prefer to employ cheap workers rather than invest in technology?    
  2. Our low-wage/high- cost economy.How has this happened? What has been the development of this over time and how can it be changed? 
  3. Economy based on primary products. Are we the only country in the world that tries to provide a first-world standard of living by exporting mostly primary products like dried milk and logs? People are often shown in the media saying that NZ needs to transition to providing high-paying jobs. How do we do that? This could be combined with 3 and 4 above.  
  4. Scandinavia of the south?The Scandinavian countries so often top various measures of well-being, such as  education achievement, having low crime and recidivist rates, and low levels of poverty and inequality. How can New Zealand match them? Frequently, I have heard that the citizens of the Scandinavian countries are happy to pay relatively high taxes because they know their taxes pay for the measures that contribute to their well-being. I doubt if New Zealanders would trust the government to spend their taxes wisely, so that is likely to be a barrier for us in regard to increasing taxes. 

I knew nothing about the Fabian Society until I began receiving emails about their presentations and did some Googling. I have asked some of my left-leaning friends if they have heard of the Fabian Society and usually they haven't, or have heard the name, but know nothing else. Perhaps one way to spread the word and achieve a wider audience would be to send current members a description of the Fabian Society plus details of up-coming presentations that could be fowarded on to potential new members.       (Sharon)


I think it's very difficult to have active participation in a digital format.  No one know when to speak.  Perhaps panel discussions with a Q & A segment. (Trudy)


I lean right, so really enjoy the stimulation of Fabian talks, because always thought provoking. Key issues-well where do you start:3 waters, co-governance, role of Reserve Bk, our tax regime, poverty traps. I’ve enjoyed all your topics recently.

I heard about you through the Glean report, else I’d not know.

You could approach groups like Inner City Wellington & ask if you could email out to them. Be good to have more young people, but I’m not the best person to ask on that-maybe more  social media presence. I’m sure many would find your speakers interesting.     (Susan)

{jcomments off}