Neoliberalism: The dam containing New Zealand’s potential

Neoliberalism is like a dam. It is a dam impounding a huge reservoir of potential. The potential being impounded is the potential for New Zealand to be better than it is. And that is just the way the owners of Neoliberal Dam like it.

The trickle down economic theory flows into the top of Lake Neoliberal. And there, it stops, forever trying to fill an endless reservoir. The wealth stays impounded behind the dam, far below the intakes it is never meant to reach and start flowing down the penstocks to the turbines of the power station.

The power station is idling. The flow is just strong enough to allow the turbines to idle, without actually being engaged to drive the shaft between the turbine and the generator. The tail race which drains the turbines is surprisingly

It have been like this for decades. The power station operators at Neoliberal Dam talk about how they want it to recognize its potential, but the operators are beholden to the owners who just want to hoard the potential. They do not want to generate meaningful output because that would require their business plans to significantly change; it would require them to invest in projects that would suck up some of their ill gotten gains.

The communities downstream from Neoliberal Dam know that there is something wrong with it. The spill way has never been used in all the time it has existed. The outflow level never fluctuates seriously. However they do not have the time, the money or the know how to take on its owners and get them to see things from the locals perspective. Nor do the owners of Neoliberal Dam want to meet the locals. The elected representatives of the local communities are beholden to Corporate Power Company and are reluctant to speak ill of the deals being done behind closed doors.

But in a sign of a changing climate, protests about the mismanagement of Neoliberal Dam are beginning to occur with increasing frequency. Overseas the 98% living downstream of Neoliberal’s sister dams are starting to display signs of displeasure. How long before that displeasure reaches New Zealand remains to be seen in a country where the prevailing attitude still largely seems to be “She’ll be right mate”.

But to this observer, wondering what it would take for the turbines to start to work, the answer is clear. The only way to deal with the Neoliberal Dam, is to either change the owners and completely overhaul the dam or blow it up and start again.



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