Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Contest Begins

The contest for the future leader of the NZ Labour Party has begun with Shane Jones, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe tossing their hats into the ring. David Cunliffe has a reputation for not getting on with all his colleagues, but he says he is a changed man after spending time on the Back Benches of the NZ Parliament - as punishment for being implicated in the undermining of David Shearer from the day he was elected as leader instead of him.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Email To "Afternoons At Radio NZ

Hi Jim, Jo Bennett set off quite a debate about his views on extreme differences in pay rates and it continued with more discussion about whether large differences in pay rates are well deserved and a necessary driver to get better performance out of an economy.

My contribution to this debate would be to to tell you about behavioural research with social primates that I read about. It showed that when unequal rewards were given to individuals asked to do similar tasks in full view of the others, the least and the most rewarded performed the worst. When the rewards became more even, their performances improved.

Similar research was done in a later study with humans and much the same thing happened. It seems to me that initial satisfaction of the over-rewarded was followed soon by guilt and and anxiety which affected their performance. Resentment dampened the enthusiasm of the under rewarded. 

Apparently, when the rewards in both studies became more equal, the performances improved  across all the groups. It seems to me that social primates and humans accept some inequality quite happily, but become agitated and stress out when it becomes extreme. 

When the levels of reward for work were more even in Post War NZ, I too remember a country that was less stressful in many ways and more prosperous relative to other countries at that time. Today we appear to be suffering the effects of accepting a more unequal society . 

In my opinion we are slowly losing our ranking in many ways relative to other nations because of this. My solutions would begin by restoring what worked in Post War NZ economically and keep the hugely beneficial social reforms since then. We can even use small parts of Rogernomics, that we like and work for us. The big question is, have we got the guts to stop the rot and demand change for a more equal income distribution from our Government or will it take more social problems, severe recessions, depressions and wars to inflict enough pain for us to sort our problems as a nation?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

King Billy

This is the start of a new venture. I am now illustrating Paul Campbell's column about Billy The Sheep Dog - a light hearted perspective on life on a NZ farm from a dog's point of view. It is appearing in the Kaipara Lifestyler and associated rural papers in  Northland, Waikato, Taranaki and Canterbury, published by North South Media, based in Dargaville.

In the first cartoon, Billy is dreaming about Kate and William's royal baby in the UK and imagining himself as a top dog with lots of royal puppies. The second cartoon has Billy giving advice to Peri Weepu after Peri missed out on All Black selection. The can in Billy's mouth is from a brand that featured in the massively overblown concern about the possibility of contamination by microbes causing botulism sourced from one of Fonterra's milk processing plants. The media kicked this issue around and badly dented Fonterra's reputation.
Click on the cartoon to enlarge