I've been thinking about John Key's comments around the Budget asking us not to be jealous of the rich.

The masses are not to be resentful when the rich got more goodies in the Budget. It's not their fault if you are a loser. As a wealthy friend said this week, with a smirk, "don't hate me because I'm rich".

So here's the Budget agenda: move from a progressive income tax system to a flat consumption tax that impacts more on the poor. Then ensure there's a huge dollop of money given back to our richer citizens.

The second part of the agenda became clearer this week. Bill English was so pleased with his budget success he let his guard down with his business supporters at a function.

He confided that now the rich had more money to splash around, the National Government would look in its second term to sell them shares in profitable state assets so they could make even more money without doing anything.

The newly rich aren't being asked to buy shares in basket cases like KiwiRail. That asset was hocked off on the cheap and then stripped off with everything that could be sold.

After it was wrecked, the taxpayer buys it back and spends millions fixing the problem.

Instead English is offering plum assets such as Kiwibank. It's a big money maker and he wants to let the "mum and dad" investors join the party.

The outrage that our Government gives rich people money so they can buy a share in a very profitable bank that the taxpayers who didn't get a tax cut already own isn't explained. The Government even offers to keep a shareholding, too, so that these new lucky punters know that their investment is risk-free.

We always do, it seems. Remember giving the millions of taxes to the Bank of New Zealand and Air New Zealand? We privatise profits and socialise the losses. Eventually it all lands up controlled by banks and multi-national investment funds, anyway. Truly obscene.

We've been duped since the Lange Government embraced turbo capitalism in 1984.

Apparently we can make it only if we sell our public assets, embrace so-called free markets, scrap pesky regulations; slash taxes so our elites can maximise their profits.

The problem for them is the number of people not becoming lucky winners is huge and growing. Eventually people discover it's all a con.

I accept that the left has lost the ideological war of ideas to the right. No wonder with the social democrats swapping sides.

The left intellectuals we used to rely on to challenge ideas have retreated into academia. The staunch left survivors parroting on about an economic system built around the needs of people, rather than the needs of some to make profits, is rather quaint and eccentric.

The generations that grew up under Rogernomics, I'm pleased to say, are not all buying the ideology of individualism after all.

The fight between socialism and capitalism isn't over yet.

I was challenged last week to put this to the test.

So we organised a left versus right debate on Wednesday at Auckland University on the question, "Is Capitalism working?" Unashamed right winger Matthew Hooton, aided by the NZ Herald's Fran O'Sullivan, with liberal conservative cover from National's Nikki Kaye, agreed to give us the reasons why capitalism was better than socialism. Unite's Mike Treen and NDU union leader Maxine Gay joined my team.

The auditorium was standing room only, overflowing in the aisles and outside. We won the overwhelmingly majority of the nearly 400 students present. When the right has to justify its dogma it doesn't stand a chance with a thinking audience.

Next month we've invited Roger Douglas to come with a team to defend neo-liberalism. We've booked out the biggest room on campus.

Let real political debate begin. I'm not jealous of the rich's new wealth. I'm just annoyed that in the Budget they got it at the expense of the poor.