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Open mike 08/03/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 8th, 2013 - 63 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

63 comments on “Open mike 08/03/2013”

    • muzza 1.1

      He said Waterfront Auckland was open to partnerships, joint ventures or multiple-party contracts as opposed to the standard development agreement, but investors would be seeking certainty

      WHAT!!!

      So they want and ratepayer/taxpayer underwritten profits, regrdless !

      • karol 1.1.1

        Taxpayer contributions, foreign investors wanted… say what?

        I despair.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        That’s what they always want and they have a tendency to get it as well.

  1. I just heard Solid Energy’s chair Mark Ford on Radio New Zealand news saying that former chief executive Don Elder was not available to answer questions to Parliament’s Commerce select committee because it was apparently “not appropriate”. The committee were obviously interested in how Solid Energy could get things so bad that it had gone for a significant earner of overseas reserves to the current position where it is a cot case.

    This is incredible for a couple of reasons. Firstly Elder is still getting full pay as he sits at home waiting for a telephone call. He was earning over a million a year so he must be the the best paid gardener in the country. He was the one who knew the business better than anyone else.

    Secondly why is Ford the one to decide who should appear? Shouldn’t the peoples representatives be the ones to decide who should tell them how their business is doing rather than some high paid corporate friend of the National Party?

    The corporate take over of New Zealand is nearing completion …

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2548506/solid-energy-chairman-says-don-elder-on-full-pay.asx

    • Skinny 2.1

      Waking up to hear Don Elder is ‘now’ a paid consultant makes my hangover even worst! What is it with these Coal guys? That dirt bag Whittle done the same. The only consulting Don should be doing is with his conscience. Oh that’s right psychopaths don’t have a conscience!

    • Jenny Kirk 2.2

      Sad, isn’t it. And all the environmental protections will soon be gone too. Oh, we live in a country run by
      shitty people. Is there any hope left ?

    • mac1 2.3

      mickeysavage. “He was earning over a million a year so he must be the the best paid gardener in the country.”

      I’m just off to do some gardening as a paid employee. One million dollars would employ me for over 32 years full-time, 2000 hours per year, at $15.56 per hour.

      Why should people get upset over salaries, perks and golden handshakes of that magnitude? I just don’t understand it.

      • Dr Terry 2.3.1

        mac 1 With all that disgusting wealth he will surely be buried in a solid gold coffin (oh, yes, even people like that get to die before long!)

    • freedom 2.4

      Did you hear Joyce declare he could not recall the meeting?

      he couldn’t even keep the smarmy conceipted chuckle out of his voice as he said it

    • tc 2.5

      Ford is the Nat’s ‘Mr fixit’ when he’s actually ‘Mr cover it up’

    • prism 2.6

      Subpoena the Solid Energy bloke, before he gets any elder and inconveniently dies.

  2. freedom 3

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10869811
    not a single comment, really ??? Not a single Herald on-line reader has an opinion on this topic ?

    • mac1 3.1

      Had a look at the picture in the Herald article cited above. First impression was that John Key looks crumpled. He needs to press his suit, an analogy which could be also applied to his work as an ambassador for NZ in Venezuela. But I suspect an impeccable suit in Washington has told him that would not wear well in US circles.

    • Jackal 3.2

      There probably are comments… The Herald online has likely decided not to publish them.

    • Murray Olsen 3.3

      There are comments now. Sometimes there’s a huge lag, then they publish a whole lot at once.

  3. Dirty Don the coal man and Double Dipping Bill suffer minimal consequences by fraudulently accessing public funds for their own benefit. However if you are struggling to bring up children on the DPB and lie about the existence of an unreliable partner, god help you! http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/dirty-don-and-double-standards.html

  4. karol 5

    Do these ad/marketing people think w’re stupid? We know how ads work to convey multiple messages. In response to an “eco-activist” making a complaint about the 100% Pure slogan,

    The ASA is responsible only for the regulation of advertising in New Zealand. Tourism NZ spokeswoman Deborah Gray said it did not buy advertising here with any of the ASA’s member organisations.

    “100% Pure New Zealand is a campaign that tells the story of how our landscape, people and activities combine to deliver a visitor experience that is unique to New Zealand.

    “Our unique combination of landscapes, people and activities cannot be found anywhere else – hence it is a ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ visitor experience.”

    The slogan was “not an environmental claim, and it never has been”.

    • felixviper 5.1

      “Do these ad/marketing people think w’re stupid?”

      Yes, yes they do.

      But the worst part is how often they’re proven right…

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        People do seem to be easily led by the flash advertising. That’s one of the reasons that I think stopping watching TV was such a boon for me. Instead of being led around I had to go look for information resulting in being better informed and clearer thinking which allowed me to see the BS that adverts are.

    • Colonial Weka 5.2

      Deborah Wormtongue Gray

    • Tigger 5.3

      I’m interested by this ‘ASA’s member organisations’ claim. The ASA will not refuse jurisdiction on local ads. They can’t for to do so will mean they’re not being an effective regulator and open the argument for govt regulation of their sector.

      The ASA of course won’t uphold the complaint. They are funded by corporates and controlled by conservative interests. They’re very ACT in their approach.

  5. Draco T Bastard 6

    How one crash caused gridlock chaos

    “It should be a real wake-up call to the mayor as to where the real problems and frustrations lie for most Aucklanders – that is in traffic jams.”

    Mr Brewer said he’d like more improvements to the motorway network and more bus lanes, ferry terminals and cycle and walkways, rather than the CBD rail tunnel.

    You know, it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend just how stupid some people are.

    Auckland has transport problems, most of those problems centre around the simple fact that we have too many cars on the road and this idiot doesn’t want the CBD rail tunnel, which will remove cars from the roads and thus decrease the traffic jams, built?

    Really, that paragraph is obviously some one who has an ideological hatred of rail and will do anything to try and prevent it from being built even when it will make his precious roads better.

  6. Skinny 7

    Auckland rail network is doomed to fail as long as the one way in & out Britomart station remains status quo. A loop should have been put in 50 years ago. National & Labour take a bow! 

    The Greens should make it an election promise put the acid on Labour

    • It was Labour’s policy last time to support the loop.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        What we need is for Labour support to actually make things happen.

        To do that Labour needs levers of power throughout NZ when it is both in and out of power.

        It has none currently – it gave them up.

  7. johnm 8

    Tiny Solutions to Capitalism and the crisis myth
    The artist taxi driver:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZLdWWwDlWI&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=2

  8. prism 9

    Bedroom tax is the latest cruel welfare program from the British right wing, unable to institute positive programs to encourage employers to hire and the economy to produce what is needed for their citizens.
    Will this soon be happening in NZ? This was tried here in the 1990’s I think. I know a woman who had to move to another distant town because she had a two-bedroom flat, and then couldn’t get the one bedroom one she expected in her new town. Meanwhile she was deprived of all her friends, support network etc. .

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/22/renters-downsize-bedroom-tax
    Fears about the incoming bedroom tax are growing, along with speculation about the likely consequences. Some tenants might stay but not pay the difference between their local housing allowance and their actual rent. They face eviction when discretionary housing payments, limited to six months, run out in October. Mass evictions due to arrears seem certain. Government advice for tenants with a “spare” room is ill-informed or callous. Suggesting part-time workers do a few more hours work to cover costs is deluded when an extra 63 hours are required in certain circumstances .

    Let’s take a simple example. A young woman leaving care, who was allocated a two bedroom flat costing £100 a week as there were no one bedroom flats available in her area, faces a deduction of £14 a week from her housing benefit. . She is already working 16 hours a week at the minimum wage. Working an extra three hours a week will net her less than £3 because her housing and council tax benefit will be reduced because of the additional hours: nowhere near enough to make up for the bedroom tax deduction. To earn an additional £14 a week, enough to pay for the bedroom tax, she will need to work 28 hours: a whole 12 hours more. However this doesn’t mean she has escaped the bedroom tax: in fact she will still face the full £14 being taken from her remaining housing benefit. To completely escape she must work a total of 48 hours a week at the minimum wage – three times her current working hours.

    http://www.housing.org.uk/policy/welfare_reform/‘under-occupation’_penalty.aspx
    How much will people lose?
    The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. The Government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.
    The Government’s impact assessment shows that those affected will lose an average of £14 a week. Housing association tenants are expected to lose £16 a week on average.

    How many people will see their benefit cut?
    The proposal will affect an estimated 660,000 working-age social tenants – 31% of existing working-age housing benefit claimants in the social sector. The majority of these people have only one extra bedroom.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-bedroom-tax-is-just-the-latest-assault-on-our-poorest-citizens-8478898.html
    According to Shelter, the number of overcrowded homes has doubled in just a decade; in some parts of the country, one in four households live in cramped conditions. Yet the bedroom tax is yet another means for the Government to turn Britain’s poorest against each other. Don’t blame the Government for failing to build housing: blame your neighbour instead. The refusal of both New Labour and the Tories to build council housing has left up to five million on social housing waiting lists. A house building programme is key to recovery from our economic catastrophe: it would stimulate the economy, create j obs, and bring down the housing benefit bill. But it would be a policy of sanity for a government in the grip of economic madness.

    Thousands of those hammered by the bedroom tax have nowhere to downsize to. According to the National Housing Federation, there are 180,000 English social tenants “under-occupying” two-bedroom homes, but fewer than 70,000 one-bedroom available social homes. According to Hilary Burkitt at Affinity Sutton, one of the largest housing associations, there are very few one-bedroom properties at all in regions like the North West and North East. Tenants could be driven into the higher rents of the private sector, of course, but then would need even higher levels of housing benefit. Research for housing associations shows 42 per cent of those affected already struggle financially. The rise in homelessness that will result won’t just be devastating for those involved, it will cost: last year, the number of homeless families living in B&Bs soared by nearly half.

  9. prism 10

    When I was in Britain in the 1970s there was a rort on government assistance for homeless people. So there is a synergy in treating vulnerable people harshly by government and private enterprise sweeping them up into some sort of accommodation subsidised by government. And who cares about them?

    No-one in NZ seemed to care when the Nats put rents up to market levels.
    Wikipedia In 1991 the fourth National government raised state house rentals to “market levels” amid much controversy. The Housing Corporation was now expected to make a profit.
    The Fifth Labour Government, elected in 1999, placed a moratorium on state house sales and re-established the income-related rents.

    It was an eye opener to me about our ‘caring socially responsible’ society when the market rents were introduced. Even the local churches didn’t have any sense of care or involvement. We now have Habitat with houses being built by volunteers along with some sweat equity on an individual basis. But churches could use their power to encourage a good housing system. If they combined and got government to prepare plans and consult while the churches had an expert that oversaw the liaison over the preparation and the work, government would find it hard to resist. But the churches are stuck in their own paradigms of care, and are often concentrated on their own congregations. Their quality of mercy is strained I’m sorry to say.

    • Rogue Trooper 10.1

      others (with a little on-going supervision for me-self; it’s ok to be validated for being od / “not normal” ) anyway, upon reflection, nothing that’s observed is regretted. :) (could swear like a trooper, yet, how does that help anything? they don’t refer to this site as a “vipers nest” by accident.

  10. Pete 11

    I think Claire Trevett is reading a little too much into the importance of a hat given to John Key. It’s like she’s imagining a conversation between some adviser and the Colombian President.

    -¿Senor Presidente, is the smiling gringo worthy of this fine Colombian sombrero?
    -Si

    When in all likelihood it’s just standard operating procedure for visiting delegations to get some kind of token.

  11. Rodel 12

    I refer again to this article for those who didn’t see it.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n17/james-meek/how-we-happened-to-sell-off-our-…

    Still can’t believe Key and co are following the same disastrous line of that silly Margaret Thatcher flogging off UK silverware.

  12. Draco T Bastard 14

    Why don’t economists understand money? (new video)

    When she was a student in the late 1950s, she said, it was widely understood that loans create deposits. Now students are told that deposits create loans, which is wrong.

    Much of neo-classical economics “regard banks as glorified safes.” However, “banks do not lend money” she stated. They don’t have a pot of money that they are passing on.

    Economists: Getting the basic fundamentals wrong and then getting surprised when things don’t go as the expect.

    Actually, that may be a good addendum to the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result which is something else that economists keep doing.

  13. The Chairman 15

    The unforeseen consequences of a rental property WoF

    A warrant of fitness for rental housing will create a new bureaucracy that will require funding.

    Funding will come from landlords (via their tenants) through new fees incurred.

    The quality of a rental property is generally reflected in the rent. Improving quality and imposing new fees will further increase rents.

    Deeming cheaper, lower quality homes unsuitable for rent will further reduce rental supply, also resulting in higher rents.

    A number of landlords are mortgaged to the hilt, hence don’t have the extra money or means to upgrade.

    Effectively, outlawing lower quality rentals will force the poor into higher quality homes that they can’t afford.

    Govt eyes WoF for rental housing
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10869714

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      A number of landlords are mortgaged to the hilt, hence don’t have the extra money or means to upgrade.

      Oh, noes, the poor landlords!!1!!11

      /sarc

      Well, then the government will just have to build more state houses.

      • The Chairman 15.1.1

        It’s not an excuse seeking sympathy. It’s an economic reality requiring recognition.

        • McFlock 15.1.1.1

          tell me, do WoF requirements make rental cars unaffordable? Or are other factors involved?

          • The Chairman 15.1.1.1.1

            WoF requirements increases the running cost of any vehicle Hire companies past the cost burden on. As will landlords.

            • McFlock 15.1.1.1.1.1

              1: Vehicle WoF costs are minimal compared to the capital expenditure of buying it in the first place. If the repairs to make it up to code are more than the cost of buying a new one, they write it off and buy a new one. And seriously, for houses we’re not talking gold-plating. Insulation and a roof that doesn’t leak isn’t that much to ask for.

              2: Prices are set at the most basic level by supply and demand. If the costs increase, the demand is smaller, so costs decrease again.

              Putting 1 and 2 together means that you are only correct if the cost of upgrading homes puts enough houses out of the rental market that the supply dwindles and increases costs beyond poor people’s affordability. But then there will be a glut of below-par houses that will be more affordable purchases for first-home DIYers (as Prism points out) because they’re not an investor’s choice.

              I think you’ll find that the actual requirements for the WoF will be fuck-all compared to the income provided by rents. And if I’m proved wrong, the worst that will happen is that the accommodation supplement gets larger.

              • The Chairman

                Ponder this:

                While costs incurred may be minimal compared to total investment expenditure, they are still an additional cost that will be required to be offset. Effectively leading to rent increases.

                People living in cheap, poor quality rentals generally don’t have the fiscal scope to sustain rent increases, albeit minimal..

                Higher rents will negatively effect family budgets. 

                The decline in current rental supply will result in higher demand, hence higher rents.

                Higher rents largely won’t impact housing demand as housing is a necessity, the numbers requiring cheap housing won’t just disappear..

                Tenants in low quality homes generally can’t afford to buy, hence why they are tenants

                The current housing shortfall will help sustain prices challenged by a market increase of poor quality homes, hence continuing to price tenants of low quality homes out of the market.

                Moreover, those poor quality homes can’t be rented until they meet new requirements set, hence no increase in the supply of cheap rentals.

                Additionally, investment in upgrading the properties will generally be seeking higher yields.

                Higher accommodation subsidies is not the solution, it’s a bandage and taxpayer burden resulting from poor forward planning.

                • McFlock

                  See, what you’re doing is suggesting that obstacles might be insurmountable as a justification for avoiding the attempt, without actually bothering to see if obstacles that large actually exist.

                  If the average upgrade/wof cost were 30% of the average residence, you might have a point. But given that I think we’re probably talking about single-digit percentages (if not fractions of a percent), I think the changes will be too small to have an effect on the market as a whole.

                  But on the off-chance you’re correct, cutting GST a couple of percent will compensate the poor for the change in price.

                  • The Chairman

                    The shortfall from reducing GST would also have to be offset.

                    I’m not stifling the attempt or the end objective (improving living conditions).I’m highlighting the unforeseen consequences being over looked.

                    The means to this end (improving living conditions) .needs reconsidering.

                    I’ve conceded increases may be minimal, but I’ve also highlighted the lack of fiscal scope. A number of landlords are mortgaged to the hilt and people living in cheap, poor quality rentals generally don’t have the fiscal scope to sustain higher rents.

                    If they did, they wouldn’t be living in low quality homes

                    Landlords have faced tax changes, rate increases, and insurance increases, this would add to that burden and will be passed on to tenants.

                    • McFlock

                      You’re not highlighting anything that’s been overlooked.
                      Until specific wof standards come out of proposed legislation, you’re simply pretending that the worst case scenario is among the most likely. And that therefore the policy shouldn’t be implemented. If we all followed that philosophy, we’d still be living in caves.

                      Only parata would be dumb enough to suddenly introduce standards at a level that distorts the rental market to that degree. Well, maybe brownlee, too.

                    • The Chairman

                      McFlock

                      Failing to refute my assertions, you’ve now taken to being somewhat disingenuous.

                      I’m highlighting the pitfalls proposed legislation should initially avoid when drafted.

                      Claiming otherwise is merely your unsubstantiated disingenuous assertion..

                      I’ve yet to see advocates highlight these pitfalls. Perhaps you could provide me with a link?.

                      Moreover, I didn’t say or imply the policy shouldn’t be implemented. I highlighted the means to the ends needs reconsidering. I support the end objective (improved living conditions)

                      Again,you’ve resorted to being disingenuous.

                      Look at the impact of supply and demand in Christchurch for an example.

                    • prism

                      Take a Chair man
                      You sound as if you’ll soon be thinking like that notorious sheriff in Arizona who puts prison inmates in tents as holding cells.

                    • McFlock

                      “Disingenuous”? Let’s see what you started with:

                      Effectively, outlawing lower quality rentals will force the poor into higher quality homes that they can’t afford.

                      That’s not a warning of what might happen, it’s an outright prediction you made on the basis of no data whatsoever.
                      For example, do you have any idea whether the short term housing stock reduction that results from the proposed wof policy will be at all comparable to the christchurch earthquakes? No, of course you don’t, because policy specifics haven’t been worked out yet let alone released for public discussion. But apparently you know enough to predict dire consequences for the poor. Rest assured, your concern is touching.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well you outlaw the poorer quality rentals and have the govt repossess them at market value less needed improvements.

                      The govt does them up and uses them as socialised housing.

                      Its pretty win/win.

                    • The Chairman

                      McFlock

                      No joy on that link?

                      It’s a warning that will result if the pitfalls raised above are not taken into prior consideration (and resolved) when drafting legislation..

                      I wasn’t implying the numbers would be as bad as Christchurch. The reference was to the effect of supply and demand.

                      And regardless of the numbers, impose additional costs onto landlords and those costs will be passed on.

                      Effectively, forcing the poor into higher quality homes that they can’t afford.

                    • McFlock

                      Bullshit at “warning”. It was a clear prediction. Otherwise you “asserted” nothing.

                      Care to make an actual assertion, then?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Just have the government enter as a major landlord, instead of leaving it to the market.

                  If a private investor doesn’t want to upgrade their rental property to the latest standards, the government can acquire the property for a small sum, and socialise the accomodation.

                  • rosy

                    +1 and the price is offset by fewer kids being admitted to hospitals with asthma, rheumatic fever and other illnesses that flourish in damp, cold living conditions.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Just have the government enter as a major landlord, instead of leaving it to the market.

                    Yep, just have the government own and maintain enough housing to null out demand. IMO, a 2 or 3% over supply of housing, all up to the highest standards and all set to a percentage of household income.

                    All fixed.

    • prism 15.2

      Watch out everybody who wants a house. There will be some that come onto the market ‘needing TLC’ if the WOF is brought in as the money-grubbers have to change to investing intelligently. So start getting your home maintenance classes under your belt in advance.

      And don’t forget that little ruse that one solicitor and his wife in Sydney used. Keep an eye on all the mortgage sales and pop along early to see the place, after getting a bit of info on the property. You never know, someone’s bad fortune might be your stroke of luck.

      And of course have your mortgage pre-agreed and don’t try beyond that. Look for a reasonable lender who will advise on your suitable loan cap and if they offer you a mortgage holiday don’t take it and check their standing.

    • The Al1en 15.3

      The foreseen consequences of a rental property WoF

      People don’t live in cold, damp houses and garages, and their children don’t get third world diseases.

      Scumbag property owners (slumlords) fix up their stock or get out of the market, but either way, aren’t getting money for nothing off the backs of the unfortunate.

      I don’t care about the costs to implement the scheme, just as long as it’s not self regulated or a patsy quango setting the scene.
      Those who knowingly rents out an unfit property, it’s clear, value income over society. You are not not good citizens.
      You should be hit hard, with legislation aimed squarely at your fat wallets.

      Soon as you don’t have the numbers in parliament, you’re fucked.

      • The Chairman 15.3.1

        People don’t live in poor quality homes because there is currently no better alternative – they tend to live in them because they are cheap to rent.

        Improving low quality homes comes at a cost.

        Improvements also add value, further adding to insurance and local council rate costs.

        These costs will be passed on to tenants.

        The objective is to improve the living conditions of the poor. Higher rents won’t achieve this.

        Higher rents will negatively effect family budgets.

        Savings would have to be made elsewhere – i.e.Doctor visits, heating, diet, etc…

        Cheap low quantity rentals cater to market demand.

        Not all landlords have the means to buy a quality rental.

        And not all tenants can afford to rent one.

  14. Morrissey 16

    Absurd Political Correctness Watch
    No. 1: David Slack

    The Panel, Radio NZ National, Friday 8 March 2013

    JIM MORA: All right, it’s Susan Baldacci with what the world’s talking about. What have you got for us today, Susan?

    SUSAN BALDACCI: First up is this story of a British school which has banned children playing cops and robbers.

    JIM MORA: Did you play with toy guns when you were a boy?

    DAVID SLACK: I think I had a toy gun and a holster but I don’t think I enjoyed it very much.

  15. Morrissey 17

    Glib and Spineless Watch
    No. 1: Jim Mora

    The Panel, Radio NZ National, Friday 8 March 2013

    JIM MORA: Okay, just a couple of minutes left. SHOULD JOHN KEY GO TO HUGO CHAVEZ’S FUNERAL OR NOT? I can see why he’s NOT going. Ha ha ha ha!

    DAVID SLACK: Of course he should go. He’s been leaned on by the United States.

    MORA: But he’d be seen to be endorsing a revolutionary left wing leader?

    MARK INGALLS: I’m ashamed as a New Zealander that he’s not going.

    [Long uncomfortable pause….]

    MORA: Okay!

  16. Skinny 18

    Stephen Joyce is getting away with far too much piss taking. Hearing Joyce is considering supporting New Zealand manufacturers in some kind of procurement arrangement, where joint  ventures between NZ firms get preferred consideration on big builds etc.
     
    I can hear the former skilled engineer workers from the now deceased Dunedin Rail workshop cheering from here!

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  • Foreign investors must uphold their promises
    The Government must ensure foreign investors uphold their commitment to add value to sensitive New Zealand assets* they purchase, after new figures show National has declined just 1.5 per cent of all applications, Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash says. … ...
    3 weeks ago

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