It’s not fair, get over it, get it right

Written By: - Date published: 10:40 am, July 22nd, 2009 - 83 comments
Categories: Media, phil goff, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

The ludicrous attacks by the media on Goff over the dole scheme show that this is not an even playing field.

Key is allowed to lie again and again. Ministers are allowed to shirk their responsibilities. The fact that 1300 more people on the dole each week barely gets a look in. The journos are all smitten by Key’s personality (did you see Oliver Driver on Sunrise? painful), so of course they decide it’s more important that Goff didn’t articulate his alternative policy well at first than that the Government has rejected that policy and has no policy of its own.

It must be tempting for Goff to back off now and lick his wounds. That would be entirely the wrong thing to do.

Keep attacking the Government. Keep standing up as an alternative. Just stop shooting yourself in the foot by not getting the obvious stuff in order before you go public.

It’s great if you come out attacking in the first round but it’s undone if you spend the next news-cycle chasing your tail because you weren’t prepared when you should be getting in the next bites. That lesson should have been learnt with the Worth affair. It better bloody well be learnt this time or history will repeat, again.

And for God’s sake, play it more aggressively in the House. The Prime Minister who is standing by while the worst increase in unemployment on record occurs is the person shown on TV mocking you for coming up with an idea and you’re not hitting back harder from the moral high ground? That’s a fucken disgrace.

[Update: Goff does much better on Breakfast this morning. Using real examples focused on the actual issue, not allowing yourself to get distracted into correcting yourself. Shouldn’t have needed to be on the defensive though]

83 comments on “It’s not fair, get over it, get it right”

  1. Lew 1

    Good advice, Eddie.

    Since the election (and before) there’s been altogether too much whining of the ‘not fair!’, ‘voters wuz duped!’, ‘waah!’ sort. Tough. People win who change their actions to meet reality, rather than trying to deny it or complain about the absence of some mystical set of rules which don’t really exist under which they would have won.

    L

  2. Good point Lew, and good post Eddie. Labour does need to do better.

  3. Jono 3

    Oh my God, Binglish got a full ten minutes on Morning Report this morning, interupted only by patsy questions, and clarifications of his own talking points by Geoff. R. Why bother even having an interviewer?

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    Stick to the script. Unemployment or underemployment is the issue- if Goff keeps hammering away about the effects on individuals, the blowtorch will quickly be turned back on English.
    He seems to be doing pretty well on that- the contrast with Australia sticks out like dogs balls.

  5. Zaphod Beeblebrox 5

    Stick to the script. Unemployment or underemployment is the issue- if Goff keeps hammering away about the effects on individuals, the blowtorch will quickly be turned back on English.
    He seems to be doing pretty well on that- the contrast with Australia is obvious and timely.

    • Ron 5.1

      I was really disappointed by the NatRad coverage of all this. English got away with lying while apparently Labouir had an “embarrassing u-turn” when they clarified their position.

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    Sorry repeat entry

  7. Unfortunately, Kiwis seem destined to do this recession harder than in many other countries. While there are many deep-seated problems with the New Zealand economy, in part related to the post-2000 boom, the fundamental reason why we will do it tougher is the National-led government.

    It’s reluctance to intervene in all but the most trifling of ways (i.e. Jobs Summit, 9-day fortnight, short-term assistance) demonstrates its traditional indifference to those who will have to bear the greatest burden in the global financial crisis.

    The United States, Britain, and Australia, have all implemented fiscal stimuli packages, targeting increasing consumer spending, which have somewhat softened the impact, but National acts as if it were the proverbial ostrich, oblivious with its head in the sand, only with its own thoughts to keep it company.

    • infused 7.1

      It has done very little actually, and looks likely to cripple those countries in the future.

    • gingercrush 7.2

      The United States, Britain, and Australia, have all implemented fiscal stimuli packages, targeting increasing consumer spending, which have somewhat softened the impact, but National acts as if it were the proverbial ostrich, oblivious with its head in the sand, only with its own thoughts to keep it company.

      The US is at 9.5% unemployment and its still rising. Britain has over 7% unemployment. Even Australia is set to have unemployment about the same as New Zealand. Considering they didn’t have an induced recession (whereas NZ was in recession when the world-wide recession hit) and are spending billions . Stop talking shit.

      Anyway, New Zealand is providing stimulus. Our unemployment rate will not reach the height of others. The US is in a lot of trouble. States are basically bankrupt. The stimulus was in all the wrong places. There’s even talk of a further stimulus package. Their debt levels are at sprialling heights. Their dollar is in trouble. Risk of big inflation in the coming years.

    • Swampy 7.3

      The US Britian and Australia all have far bigger economies than us.

  8. Yeti 8

    Oliver Driver used to be a Labour Party activist. He was the guest of honour at Phil Twyford’s campaign launch in 2005 and has a long record of left-leaning or anti-National comments. You might want to ponder why he has stopped supporting the Labour Party, along with hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders since 2005.

    • snoozer 8.1

      Driver’s still a leftie, he has had some strong interviews against Key. But he gets sucked in by the showpony personality like the rest of them.

  9. Come on Eddie – you’re now trying to cover your own butt for trumpetting Goff’s killer jab which actually turned out to be an air swing.

    Given that the Standard has patented the flip flop brand, you’ve now got to laugh at Goff getting caught out in similar territory.

    Actually, I’ll give you credit (I scanned the first time) because I think you’re right that Labour blew a winning hand with Worth. Which again shows the issue is not how the media is portraying Goff or Labour but their own strategies.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the “Goff gaffe” angle.

    The small minority babble away on the blogs. The great majority watch TV and hear/see “unemployment … dole … jobs … Goff … jobs … jobs …”.

    Good.

    Sure, it should have been better presented by Goff, but this is the turf Labour want to be fighting on. People care about what’s happening to people like them. Not the lastest self-absorbed “it’s all a game” talk from the courtiers in Wellington.

    The more unemployment gets in the headlines, the harder it is for the government to pretend it has nothing to do with politics. Keep at it, Labour.

  11. burt 11

    He’s not really leadership material is he. He should stick to dreaming about how he would spend rich pricks money if he had the levers rather than spilling his mindless fantasies of kicking rich folk for votes in the media.

  12. gobsmacked 12

    We know that Goff is leadership material, because the Right spent the last nine years telling us so, in their futile attempts to undermine Clark.

    Now they’re doing the same, and the only reason they might get traction is if people in Labour have no spine, no attention span, and no memory.

    Far too many headless chooks in politics, I reckon. See National’s four leaders in six years as evidence.

    • Swampy 12.1

      You mean after Labour had three prime ministers in three years, that was just about a political record for NZ wasn’t it? Four leaders in six years (1987-93).

      Goff has been in politics too long, he is yesterday’s man, along with all the other remnants from the Fourth Labour government.

  13. vidiot 13

    “The fact that 1300 more people on the dole each week barely gets a look in. ”

    So was Goff lying this AM on Breakfast when he said ‘2000-3000 people were losing there jobs every week’ ? Talk about not getting it right.

    • Derek 13.1

      You might have to remove the ‘v’ from your handle, mate. There are 1300 more people on the dole each week. There’s also 2000-3000 losing their jobs.

      Pretty simple really. Not everyone who loses their job is eligible for the dole. That’s why this whole issue is up for discussion in the first place.

      Talk about not getting it right.

      • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1

        Here’s one of those missing from the dole figure.

        • Swampy 13.1.1.1

          He owns two houses, apparently he doesn’t live in either of them. If he is in danger of losing his property he must be in net debt even allowing for the value of the two other properties – which appear to be worth at least $600,000.

          Whilst I have no doubt that losing his lifestyle block would be heart wrenching the Labour Party must well know that there are a lot more people around who face financial hardship who don’t even own a house, let alone own two that they don’t even live in.

          If he is at risk of losing the lifestyle block he must have taken out a mortgage to buy it, whereas it seems to me he could have traded the other two properties for it and have much less debt.

          I choose to live a modest lifestyle which involves virtually no debt. Far too many people these days take unnecessary financial risks, overcomitting themselves with borrowing, they leave themselves wide open for situations they have not thought about. Supposing the guy got sick, he could end up on a benefit or some other circumstance and the same would have happened.

          Maybe there is something about his case that isn’t so obvious from the newspaper article, but it does seem to me he has missed an obvious opportunity to be free of net debt, as many people who just focused on owning the house they live in would be at his age.

    • snoozer 13.2

      you just made a munter of yourself, vidiot. Pure and simple. You obviously don’t have the slightest clue what the debate is.

  14. RedLogix 14

    Keep in mind that only 32% of people who loose their job actually get the unemployment benefit. That means that if benefit numbers are increasing by 1300 pw, there are 1300/0.32 = 4000 odd people actually loosing their jobs…16,000 per month, or about 200,000 per year.

    BTW the comparable number in Australia is 96% because they have a much higher qualifying partner income. I guess this is another comparison with Australia that we won’t be hearing from that nice Mr Key anytime soon either.

    • jarbury 14.1

      That’s an issue I think Labour should highlight in this debate. If Key’s so keen on emulating Australia’s economic performance he should look at how Australia also supports its workers so much better.

      Perhaps that’s why their income levels are so good?

  15. Zaphod Beeblebrox 15

    Yeah Australia are really suffering from their overspending profligate government. The Reserve Bank are now predicting uemployment will only peak at 7.5%. Will NZ be able to revise their figure down?

    I’m sure they will be able to reverse some of Howard’s middle class welfare and tax cuts if they need to, with a strong economy they will be in a position to pay down their debt and get everybody saving again. And they will have some decent infrastructure.

    Thanks to our gutless, myopic leadership, we will be in no such position next year.

  16. Hmmm… John Key seems quite downcast and serious today in answering the questions. Quite a change to his usual demeanour.

    • Ianmac 16.1

      John actually tried to answer questions without getting hysterical about 1987. Perhaps there has been a shift in the polls? Na. Too soon.

  17. gingercrush 17

    Just stop shooting yourself in the foot by not getting the obvious stuff in order before you go public.

    Did it again today with Bruce Burgess. Goff is just not helping himself. Started well with the dole proposal (good policy for Labour) but he just messes up. Instead of Goff landing punches its been National this week. That really shouldn’t be happening in troubling economic times. It seems with both Goff and Key, their support behind the scenes aren’t as strong as they should be. Thus both are prone to mistakes. For Key its less critical because he’s in government. For Goff who needs momentum its critical he starts getting it right.

  18. mike 18

    Oh dear Mr Goff you are having a terrible few days..

    TV3 – “Bruce Burgess also owns two other rental properties on top of his lifestyle block. Burgess appears to have never told the Herald this.

    But he did tell Goff. Oh yes. He told the Labour Party about his financial situation alright.

    He told Labour he owned three properties. It’s just that Labour never told the media. Phil Goff never told the full story in Parliament about Burgess.

    It was the Government who went away and checked out Burgess’ story.”
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/Goffs-second-cock-up—opinion/tabid/209/articleID/113560/cat/772/Default.aspx

  19. RedLogix 19

    Yeah play that line out mike… and see how well it resonates with tens of thousands of other hard working kiwis just like Burgess who have worked damm hard for the modest investments they have managed to scrape together over the years.

    • mike 19.1

      Burgess has property worth over a million bucks! – hardly the battler from struggle St Goff made him out to be.

      Key even gave him great advice in the house about checking his facts but he still blustered on – someone put this poor bugger out of his misery

      • RedLogix 19.1.1

        So what. You have no idea what the equity or cash flow is. Being forced to sell up in the current market may well create an even bigger loss.

        A million dollars on paper is nothing extraordinary, its pretty typical of many middle class folk his age… and that was the point Goff was making.

        • gingercrush 19.1.1.1

          Then don’t overexpose yourself Redlogix. You know full well as an investor that you don’t expose yourself into a situation where you have more debt than asset value. The idea that we’re meant to have sympathy for this guy is beyond the take.

          The real point of course is that Goff and the Herald painted this as the sole property being at risk when it is likely the house is at risk because he overleveraged on his lifestyle property. The idea such a person deserves welfare is absurd.

          • RedLogix 19.1.1.1.1

            All investment implies risk and exposure, but the point is that this guy who has worked all his life is now faced with loosing everything. At the age of 61 he will not be able to stage a recovery and will likely be a state dependent all the rest of his life.

            I have a colleague at work who will loose his home (and about $100k of equity) next month, because his partner lost her job six months ago. Slowly but surely since then they have sunk deeper and deeper into debt. He’s tried everything. He got a letter from the bank Monday giving him a deadline. You may not have any sympathy, but it’s different when it gets personal.

            As it is for thousands of kiwis in just this position; liabilities that they, and the banks who lent to them, thought perfectly reasonable just a year ago, have now become lethal due to circumstances wholly beyond their control.

            But as you say if Key wants to attack a man who is unemployed, go for it.

            • gingercrush 19.1.1.1.1.1

              You may not have any sympathy, but it’s different when it gets personal.

              Did you play this line when Labour and Pharmac wouldn’t fund Herceptin for women with breast cancer? I don’t think so.

              As you clearly don’t listen. Read the transcripts of question time. Did John Key attack Burgess?

            • Swampy 19.1.1.1.1.2

              Not lethal. Tough, yes.

        • Lew 19.1.1.2

          Yeah, what the hell? Nobody with a lifestyle block and two investment properties is entitled to cry poverty. I speak as someone just about to enter the property market – it’s people like that who are making it bloody near impossible for me to do so on reasonable terms.

          Sell one, bank the cash or shore it up into the mortgage of one of the others. That’ll at least buy time to find another job.

          L

          • RedLogix 19.1.1.2.1

            As I said above Lew, you have no idea what his equity position is. Logically if the bank thought it worth his while to sell up and recover enough cash then that would likely have been done by now.

            All young people have to work hard to enter the property market. My first house was a $55,000 Keith Hay box in Kawerau, circa 1985. Within a year or so of purchasing it the mortgage hit 23%, and was gobbling up almost half my income. (With two young children and only one earning partner.)

            Sorry but you seem to want it handed to you easy street; well it never was.

            • Lew 19.1.1.2.1.1

              RL,

              It’s bloody stupid of you to claim I don’t know his equity position and then assume that I expect to have things easy, pal.

              If they have two rental properties and a lifestyle block, and are able to service the debt on them with a combined income of $75,000, that makes them a damned sight better off than plenty of the people who supposedly form Labour’s core constituency.

              I feel sorry for them. They’ve been used as political currency by Phil Goff, and it’s ugly.

              L

        • Swampy 19.1.1.3

          Middle class own a million dollars? You have got to be kidding. We all hear all the time about how New Zealand is falling behind in standard of living, doesn’t sound like it.

          My parents are retired and their house (with a small mortgage) is worth at most $300,000, Dad’s super scheme wouldn’t be worth much, yet definitely middle class in their day

    • Swampy 19.2

      Assuming they are investment properties, he should have paid off the mortgage on the lifestyle block and put the other two properties into a company or trust so they wouldn’t expose his residential property to risk. Maybe the lifestyle block was really expensive and he overcommitted himself. Maybe when he was on ACC he should have thought about the risks that he might not be able to pay off the mortgage if he got sick and ACC didn’t cover it.

  20. gobsmacked 20

    I doubt Phil Goff is bothered if John Key wants to start attacking somebody who’s unemployed.

    And it looks like National may have much bigger problems:

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2009/07/22/update-on-brash-email-investigation-english-worried/

    Interesting …

    • gingercrush 20.1

      Actually John Key didn’t attack Burgess. What he did was put Goff firmly in place and explained what this guy would get. The fact Goff decided to hide things is the real issue. As Garner rightly points out if Key tried to what Goff did. Clark and Cullen would be quickly on him about it.

      I’m not sure why you are acting like these things won’t impact Labour. When if it was National you along with all the other patsies would say how terrible National is being. But perhaps you’re right. Perhaps for the wider public this isn’t a matter they’re concerned about. But you don’t get the media off-side. Both Tuesday and now today the media have criticised Goff. That has to be a concern. One only has to look at English’s leadership of the National Party and the constant criticism the media gave him to see how much damage that can cause. That is the critical problem Goff has.

      • gingercrush 20.1.1

        As for the Brash emails. Funny how the police said just a month or so ago that the case was pretty much closed. Yet with some pressure the police are now investigating the thing properly. But if there is damage to National, no doubt it’ll be interesting to see how they handle things.

        —-

        Lprent if you’re reading this. Why couldn’t I edit the post above because Lew replied to another comment upthread.

        [lprent: probably because I’ve been fiddling with the server tonight tightening up the firewall boundary rules to prevent the shutdowns. I have reset apache web server at least 10 times tonight. That would prevent ajax links (like the edit) from working ]

  21. felix 21

    I don’t like agreeing with ginger but this was a terrible example for Goff to use.

    I feel sorry for anyone who loses their job and even more their home, but when you’ve got two more… well there are other people with bigger problems who I feel for more.

    I’m not really interested in the specifics of how much he owes on the properties etc, the point is it doesn’t exactly look like desperation, does it?

    The problem I have with this is that Goff could have easily found genuine examples of genuine cases of genuine need. Why didn’t he? Why the hell did he go with “Guy who’s in danger of losing one of his houses”?

    Also ginge the reason you can’t use edit is because you touch yourself at night.

    [lprent: I’m sure that you touch yourself as well. Bloody hard not to if you are wearing the body. I suppose that there are certain conditions that may prevent you from noticing….
    In other words – don’t try to start flamewars especially in such an unsubtle way. Thought that crude approach disappeared with the ‘sod.. ]

  22. RedLogix 22

    It’s bloody stupid of you to claim I don’t know his equity position and then assume that I expect to have things easy, pal.

    It’s not usual for you to conflate two wildly different things like this.

    1. Do you or do you not know his Burgess’s equity position? Given that it does not appear to be in the public domain at present, I assumed that like me, you do not know either. But logically anyone can make a reasonable guess that in the current depressed market it is not good. If he is forced to sell now he may well loose a lot of hard earned savings. Through no real fault of his own.

    2. Like many people your age you have bought into the dumb idea that the ‘baby boomers’ are evil incarnate. When I was your age, I too looked at older people who have accumulated some assets and savings and thought that “it’s people like that who are making it bloody near impossible for me to do so on reasonable terms.” You will disagree with me for now, but one day in 20-30 years time you will think differently.

    • Lew 22.1

      RL,

      Do you or do you not know his Burgess’s equity position?

      I don’t. it’s irrelevant. He owns a bunch of properties. How much of them he owns is between him and the bank.

      Do you know my position or my expectations for the real estate market? No? Didn’t think so.

      Like many people your age you have bought into the dumb idea that the ‘baby boomers’ are evil incarnate.

      No, I haven’t. Baby boomers are fine, it’s property speculators I can’t abide.

      The housing boom which has almost priced people like me out of the market has been driven by demand – by people buying additional investment properties instead of other forms of investment, largely because there’s no incentive to do otherwise. That’s fine, it’s peoples’ right to do so, and to keep the private profits for themselves. But then when it all comes tumbling down, why should they get to socialise the losses? If it’s bad for the big bad capitalists, why is it any less bad for the smaller capitalists? Capitalists all the same, and not creating all that much economic value with their investments beyond what the bubble creates. Call it an incentive.

      RL, you presume to criticise me on the basis that I’m responding from a position of self-interest. You’re no better – you have a bunch of property. It’s only natural that you should be defending those who want a safety net under their investment failures – and only natural that I shouldn’t want to subsidise them. Or you.

      L

  23. RedLogix 23

    felix,

    You miss the point entirely. Regardless of how many properties this guy owns on paper, the chances are he will loose the lot. That’s a lifetime of savings down the gurgler, and at his age little chance of recovery.

    • J Mex 23.1

      Without too much problem, I could rustle together a room full of property developers in exactly the same position. I trust you would will extend them the same sympathy, Redlogix?

      Sad, yes. A situation for the New Zealand taxpayer to fix? Hardly.

    • felix 23.2

      Not really RL.

      My point was that this was a poor example for Goff to choose.

      You may well be right (although you’re only guessing too, there are many possible scenarios) about the details of his situation – I’m talking about the perception.

      I just think Goff could have found a better example. But then again, it’s struck a chord with you, so….

      • burt 23.2.1

        Goff should retrospectively validate his media statements.

        Otherwise I agree with you felix, shabby choice of example and the battle is lost. Did Goff even consider his core constituents when he choose that example?

  24. burt 24

    mike

    Key even gave him great advice in the house about checking his facts but he still blustered on someone put this poor bugger out of his misery

    Here here.

  25. burt 25

    RedLogix

    You miss the point entirely. Regardless of how many properties this guy owns on paper, the chances are he will loose the lot. That’s a lifetime of savings down the gurgler, and at his age little chance of recovery.

    I won’t argue about loosing it all because that might be true however is it the state’s responsibility? Arguably anybody in possession of circa $1m of property should not be so exposed to a few months of unemployment. Sure I won’t argue that many are and that is a big problem, but once again is it the state’s responsibility to insure them against poor financial planning?

    • RedLogix 25.1

      As I guessed, the ‘million dollars’ worth of property is now loosing money and is a liability. Even selling them won’t help.

      There are a LOT of people in this position who because of a relatively short-term crisis wholly beyond their control, could be totally wiped out. Then many will become state dependents for the rest of their lives anyway. Whereas with a little support (the same as they might get in Australia) might them through this period, bloodied but not broken. The last great Depression broke millions of ordinary people, not because their long -term position was bad, but because of a short-term cash flow crisis.

      Burgess is a perfectly good example. This Depresssion is hitting thousands ordinary middle class people, many of whom WILL have assets of some sort or another. Ignoring them, allowing them to go under, just because ‘its not the taxpayer’s problem to fix everything’ will create a political and economic firestorm.

      • J Mex 25.1.1

        Like I said, Red, without too much problem, I could rustle together a room full of property developers in exactly the same position. I trust you would will extend them the same sympathy,and expect that the government should bail them out?

        Seriously?

        I think you are out on your own on this one. Not even the rabid right wingers think that people with three properties should be able to get the dole.

        Can’t wait for next week – Goff: “The Stig is a perfect example of someone who we should be trying to help. He owns 27 luxury cars, but since being made redundant from Top Gear he cannot afford his interest payments on his supercars”. The recession has only compounded the Stigs problem, with his Aston worth $50,000 less than what he paid for it two years ago. “The cars are not economic” Goff said and then issued a challenge to John Key as to what he was going to do for the Stig.

        • RedLogix 25.1.1.1

          I could rustle together a room full of property developers in exactly the same position.

          Your strawman is on fire.

          No-one is asking that property developers get bailed out of their business losses (although farmers and bankers seem to have few qualms about queuing up for govt hand outs), all I am arguing for is that NZ’s partner qualifying income for the unemployment benefit is pathetically low.

          With the same sort of social safety net that is available in Australia, ordinary middle class people like Burgess may well be able to struggle through the crisis; without it they may well loose everything. If you think that is a good thing, you should say so.

          I think you are out on your own on this one. Not even the rabid right wingers think that people with three properties should be able to get the dole

          Effectively he doesn’t own them; the bank does. Burgess will likely loose a lifetime of savings for the want of being able to pay a mortgage for a few months. But fine, if National wants to eat it’s core constituency, who am I to stop you.

          • Lew 25.1.1.1.1

            RL, Bruce Burgess, owning two rental properties and a lifestyle block, is by definition a property investor, one step back from a developer. It’s not a difference of kind, it’s a difference of degree.

            L

          • burt 25.1.1.1.2

            Effectively he doesn’t own them; the bank does. Burgess will likely loose a lifetime of savings for the want of being able to pay a mortgage for a few months.

            Then the guy should have stopped at two properties and kept some cash in the bank. It’s not rocket science is it. If you have no liquidity in your investments then you have exposed yourself to the whim of the market. Sorry but IMHO he is an Idiot for stretching himself so thin that a few months of no income wipes him out.

      • burt 25.1.2

        RedLogix

        Perhaps you could explain why anyone would be prudent about their investments when the state will just mop up for them when they spew their guts because they did not follow age old methods of spreading risk and maintaining capital ratios that prevent short term cash flow problems from wiping them out?

        • RedLogix 25.1.2.1

          It is really very simple. Whether Burgess owned one or a dozen properties, his position is pretty much the same as tens of thousands of other ordinary middle class kiwis.

          It is all very well to prattle on about being prudent, but the crisis we are now facing is beyond the horizon of any normal ‘risk management’. Even the banks when they where funding Burgess thought the risk was acceptable.

          • burt 25.1.2.1.1

            Interesting, you normally have a lot to say about the foolishness of high debt levels but now you seem to have changed your position. Is there a reason for this?

            • RedLogix 25.1.2.1.1.1

              Interesting, you normally have a lot to say about the foolishness of high debt levels but now you seem to have changed your position.

              Where? All I am saying is that high debt levels are a feature of middle class life the world over. This creates a huge economic and political risk.

              And while it seems ok to bail out (or in the case of NZ, guarantee) the banks who were profiting from these high debt levels, why is ok to walk away from the middle classes who will be broken by them?

              After all it’s people like Burgess who have paid tax all their lives, but the banks who rorted IRD to the tune of $2.5b … enough cash to pay an unemployment benefit to 200,000 people like Burgess for over a year.

            • burt 25.1.2.1.1.2

              I spent 6 months without income 3 years ago. I’m still here. I didn’t buy much during that time but I also wasn’t required to sell anything. My capital/debt ratio changed a little during that time.

              I also don’t have $1m worth of property eventhough I could easily support it on “good times” cash flow. I just know that I couldn’t in “bad times” cash flow so I didn’t get that exposed.

  26. dave 26

    Key even gave him great advice in the house about checking his facts but he still blustered on someone put this poor bugger out of his misery

    Yep. Hon Phil Goff: Why did the Prime Minister answer in the House yesterday that a person who has been made redundant and who has a spouse earning $26,000 a year is eligible for financial support for job search or retraining when he or she is not?

    Hon JOHN KEY: Because it is correct.

    Key is correct. Anyone like to find out why Goff asked that question – and after Key told him to make sure he has all the information. What a prize idiot.

  27. RedLogix 27

    I spent 6 months without income 3 years ago. I’m still here. I didn’t buy much during that time but I also wasn’t required to sell anything.

    That is how long Burgess has been out of work; how long my colleague’s partner has been out of work… they have survived as long as you have without selling anything either.

  28. burt 28

    RedLogix

    You are not making much sense over all of this. I get the bit about a little bit of money spent by the state can save people from severe reorganisation of their affairs. However as long as we still have people struggling and requiring benefits for day to day expense, renting shitty properties while on state housing waiting lists – I don’t get how anyone can suggest that we bail out people who have over exposed themselves investing in multiple properties. But hey drop me a line if you ever become finance minister I’ll mortgage myself to the limit and stop working so that your new policy can keep me in the lifestyle that I would like to become accustomed to.

  29. RedLogix 29

    I’ll mortgage myself to the limit and stop working so that your new policy can keep me in the lifestyle that I would like to become accustomed to.

    Please extinguish your own flaming strawmen.

    • burt 29.1

      So property speculators should be entitled to state support when they hit hard times… You and I will need to agree to disagree on this. I think there are much higher priorities for state support than people who have over extended themselves with multiple investment properties, but I accept that is just my opinion.

      • RedLogix 29.1.1

        I cannot help it if you persist in thinking in cliches.

        If you read the article correctly you will discover that Burgess’s problem is not his investment properties. The rents are more or less paying the mortgage. The problem is the mortgage on his own home. And that is an issue tens of thousands of kiwis are facing right now.

        And before you go off half-arsed about selling up the other property to reduce his debt; the current value of them is less than the principle owed on the mortgages, that doesn’t help either.

        I’m not arguing for state funded bail-outs of business failure, simply that the qualifying partner income for the unemployment benefit is too low. Still if Burgess and his wife divorce and live separately he would be eligible for the state support you would deny him. Do you think that’s a good idea too?

        • stormspiral 29.1.1.1

          How come nobody seems to have noticed that this is not about Mr Burgess? It’s about what are the needs…or am I living in another universe?

          Yay! Let’s go for more prisons, while the tax system morphs into a savings scheme for the middle class. These things were meant to be safety nets, as in food, clothing and shelter. That’s what the benefit scheme was desighned to do. It’s failing badly because of neorightist policies.

          One big gap that does matter is the gap between rich and poor. Never mind medians and averages.

          • Ari 29.1.1.1.1

            Yep. If anything we need to be looking at if the lowest levels of benefits are enough right now. But that’s not sexy enough for either wing of the free market party. 😉

        • J Mex 29.1.1.2

          “If you read the article correctly you will discover that Burgess’s problem is not his investment properties. The rents are more or less paying the mortgage. The problem is the mortgage on his own home. And that is an issue tens of thousands of kiwis are facing right now.”

          Redlogix, Burgess owned the lifestyle property for 20 years. That means his property was probably debt free or nearly debt free. I assume that he used the equity in that property to buy two more which is why he now has the big problem.

          If that is the case, he must be able to sell the other two properties to recoup “most/much” of that equity. Sure, they may have decreased in value, but the drop can be nowhere near sufficient to destroy all the original built up equity

          For your version to be correct, He paid off a mortgage for 20 years and didnt make any headway, Then bought two properties. That doesn’t stack.

          • RedLogix 29.1.1.2.1

            As I have said elsewhere, the unemployment benefit is means tested on income, not assets. Unless you want to argue for that (and by all means let’s hear that nice Mr Key argue for it too) then your argument has no legs whatsoever.

            • J Mex 29.1.1.2.1.1

              That’s not the issue and you know it. The issue is that Phil Goff held this guy up as a very public poster child as to why the rules should be changed to allow him welfare. It would seem that pretty much every one (except you and Phil) acknowledge the absurdness of that.

      • burt 29.1.2

        RedLogix

        Perhaps you are a little too close to this or perhaps I’m a little too far from it for us to see eye to eye. If some twit wants to ignore centuries of investment wisdom and ignore the potential for property values to go down and over mortgage their family home – then why the hell should the state bail them out. Arguably you are arguing that we should get into another sub-prime mortgage crisis because the state should insulate people from property market fluctuations and enable them to have properties worth less than the mortgages on them. Owning property is not a god given right and additionally property investors have made first home buyers suffer.

        IF the guy had kept a reasonable (perhaps 20%) equity share in his family home when he was using it for leverage to take advantage of tax incentives available through being a landlord, then none of this would be an issue right now.

        When this guy over extended his mortgage on his family home he could have taken insurance to cover loss of earnings do you really think we should socialise that cost so more people can make stupid investment decisions risking everything on nothing changing in the short term ?

      • burt 29.1.3

        RedLogix

        A few years ago a young guy asked me for some advice on buying his first home. I talked to him about the costs, the benefits and the long term picture. He was determined to get a 95% mortgage with the repayments being as much as he could possibly afford at that time (to buy the best possible house he could afford at that time). I told him I had suffered much higher interest rates than today (as at that time circa 7.5%) and that he should plan on being able to continue meeting his mortgage repayments if the interest rate rose above 12%. He said he couldn’t see it happening again and that 9% would be about as high as he expected interest rates to go, oh to be young and know everything eh. My ‘old head’ advice of maximum 80% mortgage and planning for interest rate increases were standing in the way of what he wanted to do. Income protection insurance would have also reduced his ability to repay a mortgage so he was not interested in that. Hope he is OK these days, I haven’t talked to him for a while but all that aside, I would be pretty pissed if my tax dollars were helping him keep his house when he understood the risks even if he didn’t want to accept them.

  30. felix 30

    burt I do wish we could stop agreeing on things. I’m starting to worry about you.

  31. omygod 31

    LOL!

    “The ludicrous attacks by the media on Goff”

    a.k.a the inevitable turning of the press on Goff after they have been lied to by his incompetent media and PR advisors one too many times!

    Those turkies better have income protection insurance cause no-one will be hiring them any time soon!

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