Tagged: capitalism

Contraception … in … SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE

No, not quite.

The good news: NuvaRing is in New Zealand! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY

The bad news: $75 for a three month supply!  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

More information on the Family Planning website.

Sometimes our glorious socialised healthcare really drops the ball, and this is one of those times.  A number of the most effective, least side-effect-y contraceptive methods aren’t subsidised the way the good old Pill or Jab are, so it’s bloody prohibitively expensive, especially for long-term use – and a lot of people will spend a huge proportion of their life using contraception.

Of course there’s the cost of research and development and production and all that jazz, but I think there’s another really obvious reason for the good shit being expensive: the manufacturers know that their customers will pay for the good shit.  Because contraception is vital for a lot of people.  It could be the difference between getting through university and having a better-paid job before starting to have a family … or not.  The difference between protecting your mental health by avoiding the physical and psychological costs of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood … or not.  The difference between having a comfortable life raising your three kids … or struggling to feed six.  The difference between learning to live with violent mood swings, irregular or even constant bleeding, nausea and cramping because it’s worth it not to get pregnant … or not.

Access to sustainable, affordable contraception is a huge part in allowing people, especially women, to take control of their lives.  It pays back huge dividends to society.  In our current capitalist model, of course someone’s going to try to make a buck from that, and in New Zealand we do already take steps to mitigate that for some forms of contraception.  I just wish we did more.

Related: Positive Women highlights the major costs involved for users of female condoms.

Oil and colonialism: what’s happening at #Elsipogtog

The people of the Elsipogtog First Nation have, for weeks, been standing in the way of a petrochemical company’s wish to frack their land.  In both senses of the term.  Fracking will fuck up their water supply and endanger their treaty-guaranteed rights to live of their land.  They’ve protested peacefully.  This week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sent in camo’d snipers.

And the “mainstream” media didn’t give much of a fuck until persons unknown set fire to RCMP cars.  Which just handily provided an excuse to start making arrests.

This is a story which is played out all the time.  It’s a story about global capitalist interests running roughshod over people who have been systematically fucked over for generations and who aren’t expected to be able to resist.  They do.  And we should – at the very least, from the other side of the world, where it’s hard to “do” anything to actually help – know about it.

Elsipogtog: “Clashes” 400 years in the making

Al-Jazeera’s stream of the coverage on social media

Government to use private thugs to force sick people into work

You’d think that would be the headline, wouldn’t you?  Instead of “Govt will pay to shift mentally ill into work“.  That makes it sound far nicer.  It’s just a shift!  Not a private-sector jackboot up your ass if you’re evil enough to have messy brain chemistry issues.

I’ve seen a lot of people point out that this is basically what the government has tried to do in the UK, with predictable, horrific, corrupt results.

I just have a few questions.

What magical powers do these organisations have which mean for a mere $12,000 they can find suitable fulltime work for a mentally unwell/non-neurotypical person – which WINZ isn’t able to find them?

Or is it just convenient to get a private provider – who is presumably not subject to the OIA – to kick vulnerable people onto the streets so there’s no official paper trail of why and what happens to them?

Who are the companies making $12,000 for each ill person they force into work?  Who owns shares in them?

What are the criteria used to determine if a job is a good, sustainable job?  Or don’t we give a fuck?

Do they have to give any of the money back if a mentally ill person kills themselves?  Or do they get a bonus?

Fuck the bludgers

Following a piece in the Herald on “high-wealth individuals” who pay fuck-all tax, John Minto has declared at The Daily Blog that he’s had a gutsful of low-life bludgers.  And I think he makes a bloody good point.

Wage and salary earners pay tax on every dollar we earn and every dollar we spend but these layabouts hide their money in trusts, overseas bank accounts and tax havens of all kinds and leave the rest of us to keep the country running. Most of them have never done an honest day’s work in their lives. Miserable pricks.

But let’s just look back at that Herald article, shall we?  At the multiple quotes given to act like people worth over $50 million paying less tax than a construction site foreman in Auckland is somehow not a problem:

“They do it because if there’s a way you can pay less tax, why wouldn’t you? I think they are a small minority though. The average person has got relatively little opportunity to avoid tax other than by reducing their liability, for example buying duty free.”

Oh, it’s okay because they’re a small minority!  A small minority whose combined wealth is worth at least eight billion dollars.  And note the assumption – made by a fucking academic at the University of Auckland – that everyone would pay less tax if they could, and thus it can’t be a bad thing.

Or how about Andrew Ryan – yes, it’s almost too perfect, isn’t it? – who thinks that actually  rich people – people who have the resources to arrange their wealth into nearly two hundred separate legal entities – are totally paying their fair share of tax:

“These high-net-wealth individuals will most probably be paying more GST than most individuals. In order to get a true reflection of the tax paid by the wealthiest individuals, it is necessary to include the tax paid by their companies and trusts.

“Not paying personal tax on income at the top tax rate does not mean that an individual is not paying a fair share of tax, once tax paid by their associates is factored in.”

Gee.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you or I could be arm-twisted into “paying more GST” because we’ve hidden our incomes and have lots of lolly to spend on super-yachts and designer clothing?  What a terrible burden rich people bear.

It’s simple logic:  if there were no financial benefit to fiddling with their income, rich people would’t have lawyers from Minter Ellison Rudd Watts on standby to fiddle with their income for them.  Of course they’re not “paying their fair share”.

Let’s be fucking blunt here, shall we?  We have an income tax to tax income.  If you’re deliberately obfuscating your income in complex financial and legal arrangements so you pay less of that tax than a person on standard PAYE?  You’re fucking scum.  You’re a cheating, lying, dishonest, unethical shitheel.  Sure, the law may draw fancy lines between “avoidance” and “evasion” and our political masters may continue to prop up a really complex tax system to help you on your way, but at the end of the day, you are profiting off New Zealand and refusing to pay your fair share.

(32 of you fucks aren’t even filing tax returns!)

You’re a dick.  And please, please fuck off to somewhere where it’s “easier to do business”.  You ain’t going to be missed.

And this brings me back to That Roofpainting Anecdote.  Because sure, if you, as a party/leader of the left, want to try to adopt the inherently-individualistic Personal Responsibility message, go right ahead.  But can’t you at least be consistent?  Yeah, side with Random Guy Who Totally Exists about his evil bludging beneficiary neighbour.  But then maybe you could also say something like,

Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.

He said: “see that guy over there, he’s a multi-millionaire, yet he pays less tax than I do.  That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”

From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t give back to the society which has provided them and their business huge amounts of support like tax breaks, investment incentives, infrastructure, and basic law and order and social welfare which may not go directly in their pockets, but is integral to being able to operate a business secure in the knowledge mobs of disaffected starving peasants aren’t burning your Auckland head office down.

Speeches to fap to Vol. II

Well we’ve got news for SkyCity: unlike other political parties we didn’t take your campaign donations and we didn’t go to your corporate box at the rugby; your tools of crony capitalism don’t work with us because we work for the people of New Zealand and if the people of New Zealand tell us to turn off the tap on your blood money, then we bloody well will.

Dr Russel Norman, being a badass dude.

Social media fail: Sears edition

Melissa McEwen over at Shakesville has been having a shitty time with Sears over a rubbish stove, bad customer service, and a classic example of why modern capitalism is a fucking joke.

Three posts later, “Brian” from Sears’ social media team has left a comment.

Rule one, Brian: LEARN TO FUCKING PARAGRAPH-BREAK.

Rule two: If you’re going to enter social media as a large company, for fuck’s sake hire someone with half a fucking clue.  Kenmore are telling Melissa she should have DM’d them on Twitter which she cannot do because Twitter doesn’t let you DM people who don’t follow you.

Kenmore are accusing Melissa of lying on their Facebook page, then not making any retraction, and possibly deleting other people’s comments (which is par for the course on commercial FB pages, but possibly not when a large blog with a huge readership is collating their negative experiences with you.)

And now Sears is wall-o-text commenting at Shakesville with a bunch of corporate wankspeak topped with a crispy “stupid Melissa, recalls iz expensive!” coating.

Rule three: if you ever find yourself responding to a customer’s absolutely justified complaint (because seriously, expecting someone to fork out almost the original cost of an appliance again to fix a thing you know is faulty? LOL) with a sentence like the following:

I have been monitoring this case and I wanted to step in here and hopefully clarify some things regarding your concerns; the first and foremost of which is that we have all of our customer’s best interests in mind from the point at which we partner with manufacturers and vendors to provide products for our customers to the point when should they need service that we are providing every option available dependent on their specific situation or circumstances.

(Yes. That is one sentence.)

… then just stop, back away from your keyboard, and … I don’t know.  Rethink your life.

Bendon advertising: not news, also angry-making

So Stuff has a breathless report about how tits are getting bigger.

Entirely coincidentally, it reads really similarly to these stories from 2010 and 2009.

Now before you tit-bearers get your [brandname] panties in a twist, let me reassure you that these articles are Serious Journalism and not at all just slightly-reworded press releases from … who was it again?

… D cups and bigger accounting for nearly half of Bendon bras

… according to Bendon figures.

… Bendon spokeswoman Rachael Parkin

The 2010 story, wonderfully, doesn’t mention Bendon at all.  But … oops:

“A D size 10 years ago was considered wow,” says braologist Carol Rashleigh.

Who was it they quoted back in 2009?  Oh, right:

Fayreform “braologist” Carol Rashleigh

Of the “subsidiary of Bendon” Fayreforms, not the Staffordshire Fayreforms.

The 2011 rehash attempts, one assumes, to provide “balance” by also mentioning Triumph, which … doesn’t really make it better. in terms of that whole “this is just a fucking advertorial” thing.

Because here’s a few minor problems with taking Bendon’s marketers’ word for anything to do with the size of Kiwi knockers:

1.  Bendon themselves will tell you that most NZ bra-wearers are wearing the wrong size.  Usually a back size too big and ergo a cup size too small.

Bendon will especially emphasise this if you complain to their customer service department about continually being unable to find comfortable, consistently-sized bras, even when you rely on the advice of their “braologists”, most of whom incidentally have no fucking idea how to fit a bra on a fat person.

2.  Bendon stock a ridiculously narrow range of sizes, and even slightly towards the edges of the bell curve you may have to count yourself lucky to find anything, which then feeds into the following:

3.  “Sales figures” are reeeeeally interesting when you consider that small back/small cup bras can cost as little as $20, and larger back/larger cups of “odd” sizes like 10G or 18A, when you can even find them, will likely be part of the “plus-size” range, usually hidden at the back of the shop, and cost $50 if you are lucky.

Point being, as a fat woman I have 6 bras (and 2 emergency ill-fitting ones for when the laundry doesn’t dry.)  I buy bras when I have to, and I can usually buy one, two at a time if I save my pennies (and I’m damn well off).

You think maybe those sales figures are just slightly skewed by the fact that Bendon provides fuck-all for “unusual” sizes and prices “unusual”-sized people out of the market? (If the Obesity Epidemic is real, there must be demand, and capitalism tells me that demand will be answered by supply … *crickets*)

And that’s not even touching on the thinly-veiled “OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC/BUT AT LEAST THE CHICKS ARE HOT” dichotomy.  Because there’s no other reason, if people are buying more larger-sized bras, they could possibly have to do so.

I mean, “vanity sizing” is toooootally a myth.  No one would ever think to make the Ds just a bit smaller so more women can feel validated by patriarchy to have bigger knockers (and seriously, why is it ALWAYS Ds?  Or DDs?  I’m looking at you, Letters to Penthouse.)

And our population certainly isn’t getting bigger simply out of ageing and changes in the ethnic makeup of our society.

Nope, I’m convinced.  Good on Stuff, and TV3 before them, for providing such awesomely insigtful free advertising for Bendon (and Triumph!) analysis.

~

PS.  No, I will not try Kirkcaldie & Staines.  Bendon may have shameless marketers and pet journalists but at least I’ve never seen their salespeople happily gossip to the DomPost about the “freaks” they’ve had to deal with.