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Archive for February, 2011

Universal Income Revisited

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 96 comments

The tax system we currently have is a relic of the pre-IT age. In the days of manual clerk-handled accounts, it was impractical to reconcile tax accounts more than once a year. The introduction of PAYE in 1958 was welcomed as it eliminated the need for ordinary people to find the cash for a large […]

Tapu Misa: Right On

Written By: - Date published: 1:12 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 129 comments

Tapu Misa’s latest piece in the Herald is just so right I can’t really add anything to it. She nicely sums up the Welfare Working Group’s message: “We’re not saying it’s your fault you can’t get a job. We’re just saying you’re a malingering freeloader who’s not trying hard enough.”

Rebuilding choices reveal govt priorities

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 93 comments

Unless a leader is horribly neglectful in the wake of a disaster, like Bush after Katrina, I don’t think there is any grounds to criticise them for the immediate disaster response, which is largely out of their hands anyway. But the policy response that follows is a legitimate topic for political debate. And I’m worried about Key’s.

Christchurch power chart

Written By: - Date published: 11:33 am, February 28th, 2011 - 4 comments

They are doing pretty well on restoring the power. With the exception of some small outlying areas, along the strike line and the CBD most of the city has power again as you can see from this chart. At a guess it will probably take some time on the major remaining areas simply because these are the areas that had the most vertical acceleration during the quake.

Seismic events in Christchurch, food & fuel

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, February 28th, 2011 - 20 comments

Concurrently Christchurch’s second big quake, the effects of two other shocks are beginning to ripple through our country. Food prices are putting basics out of reach and this week will see another big petrol price hike. All three of these shocks will require us to pool our resources and redirect them to rebuilding resiliently.

Some personal reflections on the quake

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, February 28th, 2011 - 57 comments

There’s been lots of good stuff written on the quake, I’m not going to try to add to it in any systematic way.  These are just a few random personal reflections from inside the disaster zone, big picture and small, all that I can put my head around writing tonight.

Open mike 28/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 28th, 2011 - 48 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Welfare reforms will drive wages down

Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, February 27th, 2011 - 28 comments

The coming welfare reform is less a welfare policy and more another industrial relations policy in drag.

That’s because it won’t just be beneficiaries that suffer under this new regime but the majority of Kiwi workers too.

Open mike 27/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 27th, 2011 - 81 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

The quake: media coverage and leadership

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, February 26th, 2011 - 140 comments

Apart from Radio New Zealand, which is doing an excellent job as our public broadcaster, and The Press, the media’s coverage of the quake has disappointed. Supplying needed information has been a secondary priority behind the morbid running death count and Facebook-derived stories of the dead. Also: a response to Armstrong’s quake-article.

Tax policy for economic stimulus and growth

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, February 26th, 2011 - 79 comments

Last week, Treasury issued a press statement saying it had commissioned research on the impact of governments’ fiscal stimulus packages, now published in the influential publication the Economic Journal. One article, “Tax policy for economic stimulus and growth”, had this to say:

Open mike 26/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 26th, 2011 - 97 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

I have to (reluctantly) support Whaleoil on a course of action.

Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, February 25th, 2011 - 36 comments

It is with a great deal of reluctance that I have to actually support Whaleoil on a post about a rather obnoxious website blaming the Christchurch quake on ‘depravity’. He actually proposes a course of action that has a good chance of getting rid of this offensive site. Of course being Whaleoil some of his other statements are just stomach churning.

The Domino recessions

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, February 25th, 2011 - 67 comments

I read a book a while back that was set in the near future after what it called the ‘Domino recessions’ – successive oil shocks had created a series of economic and political crises, each one before the world had recovered from the previous recession. As the second oil shock in three years hits, that scenario looks to be coming to true.

In praise of resilient communities

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, February 25th, 2011 - 124 comments

We hear a lot of, frankly, trite comments in times of disaster about how the people affected are ‘tough’ and a special breed. People are people. But communities can be more resilient in the face of disaster if they have existing civil society organisations to rally around and help coordinate their actions. Canterbury Students’ Association is a perfect example.

Open mike 25/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 25th, 2011 - 68 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Rebuilding

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 am, February 24th, 2011 - 76 comments

Frustration had rightly been growing at the lacklustre leadership of the recovery from Christchurch’s September earthquake. Obviously, this new quake is going to require a whole new level of energy and resource. I don’t think the government will be so negligent as to go at this half-arsed or half-cocked. Here’s some things it can do.

The accelerations of the quake

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, February 24th, 2011 - 36 comments

When I looked at Geonet this morning, I found this image mapping the velocity of the earth movements in the 6.3 magnitude Lyttelton quake. It is astonishing.

With ground accelerations of up to 220% of earths gravity measured near the epicentre and 80% of gravity around the central business district it would have clearly exceeded the design specifications of many buildings.

Everything is a lie

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, February 24th, 2011 - 158 comments

There’s a hard truth to NZ politics at the moment. It’s not one people like to think about.

But it helps to be reminded every now and then: everything is a lie.

Open mike 24/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 24th, 2011 - 74 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

In praise of the bureaucracy

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 pm, February 23rd, 2011 - 120 comments

The Civil Defence centre, the police, the ambulance services, the firemen, the hospitals, the army, the search and rescue specialists, the social services – they’re all part of the bureaucracy, as are all those who provide their back office support.

They don’t get a great press and are often described collectively as a block to progress. They’re not called public servants for nothing. Thank God they’re there when we need them.

Hone, MP split, no contest 2011

Written By: - Date published: 3:21 pm, February 23rd, 2011 - 65 comments

Radio New Zealand are reporting that Hone Harawira and the Maori Party have decided to go their separate ways after the Maori Party disciplinary committee recommended he be thrown out. In a more peaceful resolution than the acrimony that has surrounded their dispute, they have decided that Hone can stick to Te Tai Tokerau, and […]

Welfare Working Group promotes eugenics

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 183 comments

The Welfare Working Group wants to get poor women to breed less by giving them free long-term contraception. Sure, this is all an ‘Overton window‘ exercise but eugenics? Seriously? Trying to stop one ‘undesirable’ strata of society from breeding is one step from forced sterilisations. Has the Right reverted 80 years?

Gaddafi not going quietly

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 36 comments

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has appeared on TV saying he will die a martyr in Libya, rather than flee into exile in the face of gathering protesters. The scale of the loyalist military’s attacks on protesters seems to be intensifying, while evidence of more troops refusing orders and defecting is also coming out. NATO may need to intervene.

Devastation in Christchurch

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 65 comments

We all know by now there is massive destruction and loss of life in Christchurch after the new earthquake. Once again, the emergency services and the people have performed admirably. Help is on the way from around New Zealand and overseas. The physical, economic, and social aftershocks of this will be felt for a long time.

Open mike 23/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 180 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Hone goes under cover of earthquake

Written By: - Date published: 4:09 pm, February 22nd, 2011 - 47 comments

With everyone quite rightly focussed on the destruction in Christchurch, the Maori Party have kicked out Hone Harawira and cancelled his membership.

Big quake hits Christchurch

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, February 22nd, 2011 - 106 comments

Christchurch has been hit by another serious earthquake. Reports are pretty thin on the ground but it seems to have been 6.3, 5km down and 10km SE of the city. A strong shallow earthquake in the middle of the day.

Libya the next domino to fall

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, February 22nd, 2011 - 5 comments

It looks like Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi will be the next dictator to fall to the wave of protests and revolts sweeping the Arab world. The military initially sided with the regime and fired on the protesters, killing hundreds. But the loyalty of the security forces to the Gaddafi regime seems to be wavering. If this hard-man can crumble, who next?

Bashing benes no solution to joblessness

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, February 22nd, 2011 - 26 comments

National’s grand plan for the economy in the age of peak, peak food, and climate change: give tax cuts to the rich and take from the poor. It’s classic Nat class war. They want to force 100,000 people off the benefit in the ludicrously long time-frame of 10 years. But they won’t be creating any jobs so other workers will be displaced and wages will be forced down.

Protest @ WINZ today!

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, February 22nd, 2011 - 89 comments

Aucklanders – the fight back against the worst recommendations in the Rebstock report starts now. Join us – Auckland Against Poverty – in a picket, 2pm today outside Work & Income, Sel Peacock Dr, Henderson.

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