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Open mike 01/03/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 1st, 2021 - 51 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

51 comments on “Open mike 01/03/2021 ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    WTB often talked about the need to understand the value of fire-resistant plants. Here's a recent piece in support of that thinking.


  2. Ad 2

    This is a nice succinct analysis of the powerful grip that white evangelical Christians have over the US Republican Party.


    Evangelicals may be only 28% of the US electorate as a whole now, but only 3 House Republicans joined with Democrats last week to vote for the Equality Act which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Trump's speech today to CPAC is going to be a theatrical wonder of the tropes these people adore.

    • Macro 2.1

      And yet!

      20 God spoke, and these were his words: 2 “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.

      3 “Worship no god but me.

      4 “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. 5 Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. 6 But I show my love to thousands of generations[a] of those who love me and obey my laws.

      A statue of Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, 26 February 2021.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        But they will punish women who have abortions and take birth control. Cause….God!

      • Nic the NZer 2.1.2

        Is number 4 considered a stand alone commandment of the bible?

        Or is it mixed into 5?

        • Barfly

          Seems like number 4 is very anti-photography and art and etc etc

        • Macro

          Verses 4 thru to 6 are all part of the 2nd Commandment.

          Some of the commandments have extra explanatory verses added – just to make things clear.

          I put this up to show just how hypocritical this sector of the American society can be. Some in this sector look upon the chump as a Messiah! And in some sense that is precisely what he is to them. 2000 years ago the Jewish people were also looking for a Messiah. Then, after generations of oppression and exile, it meant God intervening in the world in a way in which the people couldn’t do by themselves. It would be a time of great tribulation, some kind of super-human figure out of Marvel comics would appear, who would remake the world, destroy the hostile powers (there would be a lot of blood shed) and bring down a new Jerusalem from heaven where the dispersed Jews from all over the world could return and gather. Then would follow a new age of peace and goodness that would last forever. Essentially this is how those on the religious right in America perceive the chump.

      • joe90 2.1.3

        Too funny.

        Now the artist behind the huge statue of Trump – Tommy Zegan – has revealed that the object was made in Mexico; a country that has been the target of much Trump racist abuse over his political career, and somewhere he has literally sought to build a wall against.

        “It was made in Mexico,” Zegan told Politico’s Playbook newsletter. Zegan, who lives in Mexico on a permanent resident visa, described the transport of the monument to CPAC in full to Playbook.

        Politico reported: “Zegan spent over six months crafting the 200lb fiberglass statue with the help of three men in Rosarito. He transported it to Tampa, Florida, where it was painted in chrome, then hauled it from there to CPAC.”


  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    The PM seemed to acknowledge on RNZ today the difficulties for some people in accessing payment for personal work absence for COVID related reasons.

    Surely it is time to let individuals have a go at handling this by quoting their IRD no., and organising their own direct payments through IRD. Company wide issues, such as downturns, layoffs, etc. the employer can handle. Enough employers have shown already what they think of Mr Robertson’s “high trust” model! Though to be fair, a number of prominent employers seem to have taken it more seriously as time elapses.

    The NZCTU needs to be much firmer, and make it clear that employees disadvantaged for COVID related absences will be protected, by action if need be, including Employer shame listing. The Mediation Service and Employment Court are still oversubscribed with COVID related cases, according to union organisers I know.


    • DukeEll 3.1

      Even though it looks like the business are paying the price for Employees or their families playing silly buggers in lockdown?
      lockdown 2 everyone was blaming the business handling frozen food, now business should be caned for working out having to pay for lockdowns 3 & 4?

      • Treetop 3.1.1

        Some businesses are as reliant on the government as a person who is reliant on a benefit. The employee is reliant on the employer. At some point the employer may require a job seekers benefit.

    • Sabine 3.2

      maybe it is the duty of the Government to look after people that can't work rather then the businesses?

      Maybe the Government a year into covid should have set up a webpage solely for wage -replacements and covid – isolation/quarantine payments that are so easy to use that even someone with lacking literacy skills, or less then best english skills can get onto it, fill out the forms and receive a payment if the criteria applies.

      In saying that, after April there will be 10 sickdays, and it will be the business costs to pay isolation costs. 10 working days = 14 days.

      but sure, lets find some more fault at the majority of businesses that have done right and are doing right by their staff, that are currently trying to continue to do business under less then stellar conditions and who for their own needs were given a 13.000 grand loan to tide them over the plague years – small businesses that is. The big businesses is a different story altogether..

      As for your 6000 complaints filed, as per the Government stats in Dec 2020 NZ had 2,734,00 in employment. While that does not undo the hardship that people who laid complaints have suffered, it is a fairly small number compared to he overall number of people employed.

      I guess it is easier to pick and blame a business – any business to lay the fault fair and square at their feed, but frankly the valentines lockdown should have never been lifted, and frankly if it would have not been lifted, we might not be where we are today.

      The incubation period is 14 – 21 days, so to lift a lockdown 3 days into an outbreak was dumb. I can get where they felt the pressure to lift it, but at this stage any lockdown period for any outbreak should be 14 days at a minimum, and even longer if the new strains behave differently then the initial strain.

      And if the government finds that in the poorer areas of our country and in our cities kids go dot work because otherwise the family suffers financially then the government can finally lift benefit levels and make applying for a benefit easier and faster. Cause on that stage the government is an actor who did not show up to play.

      And last, what we are also seeing is the idiocy of various governments investing pretty much solely into Auckland and now every time they lock down that one city the rest of the country suffers. Maybe they need to think about decentralizing their populations and their businesses. Just a thought.

      • Adrian 3.2.1

        There was no need to keep the 3 day lockdown going as all indicators pointed to it being tracked and traced and contained, but some self-entitled dickhead lied, then spread the virus for the best part of a week against all advice. Should 5 million people have their health needs, education, businesses and recreation disrupted without penalty?

        • Sabine

          Nope there was good need to keep it. Tracking and tracing is after the fact.

          As per numerous articles from England, Europe and US this new strain is more contagious, affects childrens and in some cases takes longer to detect.

          Track and Trace always comes after the infection. Thus its a good tool to find people after the fact, but as shown it is not a preventive tool at all.

          And the 5 million people of this country need to finally understand that this is here to stay.

          I had a medical specialist appointment on the 15/2, that i rescheduled for 01/3 🙂 i have now rescheduled it to the 19 April (after easter for business reasons), it is now the 4 time i am rescheduling this thing. The doc and i we will have a glass of bubblies when we finally get this done. We are all depending on the government to do the correct thing, and with this fucking virus the correct thing is 14 days of lockdown plus track n trace to eliminate any misses. And at the very least if that would be set in stone everyone could plan around it. right now it feels like we are still making it up as we go along.

          Oh and that self entitled prick who “lied” and spread it could not have done if the lockdown would not have been lifted. We all know that people don’t do what they are supposed to do, heck there are people that don’t believe in this virus…..and then there are all the rich pricks that jump into their fancy cars to travel to fancy batches in the nice areas of the country when the city gets lockdown. …..

          • Adrian

            Rubbish, the longer and more onerous lockdowns are there will be less compliance even if only in numerous small contacts, and longer lockdowns would almost certainly lead to the spreading of more conspiracy theories and public displays of defiance. It is a very fine balance that the Government is seeming to do very well. But some dickhead who costs every single one of us time, freedom and the ability to earn a living should not get off without any repercussions.

        • Treetop

          Level 3 lockdown essential workers still need to go to work and childcare could be required. This cannot be excluded. Another bubble is permitted for childcare at level 3.

      • Peter ChCh 3.2.2

        How about employees take a little self responsibilty and take out income protection insurance? Very cheap and tax deductible. A no brainer.

        • Sabine

          Honestly i would guess most do already. You know in case they can't work anymore. Are you saying that employers need to take out income protection insurance for their staff too?

          edit. Most people that work that i know have it, but it only kicks in if you have no income for three month. So it would not apply to this scenario. But you know that? Right?
          Btw, employees in NZ have no way to write anything off – they can’t even write of the cost of going to work, that is for the bosses / self employed only.
          And do you really think that the South Auckland Lady that cleans the plague hotel for min wage should take out income protection insurance? Seriously?

          • Peter chch

            Wrong. Employees can get a tax deduction for income protection insurance and for the cost of tax return preparation.


            And wrong again. Employers and the self employed cannot claim the cost of travel to or from their work, only the costs whilst actually working.

            And yes, all employees should. The premium is based on their income level so even the 'South Auckland lady' can afford it.

            As regards when it pays out and how much, that is specific to the terms of the contract, just like any other insurance contract.

            And why on earth should an employer pay for their employees income insurance? Whilst IPI is deductible for the employee, it is not for the employer (other than for specified 'key person' insurance).

            • Sabine

              That is great as i have never heard of this.

              We have it as self employed people, but sadly my partners only kicks in after three month of unemployment. so thanks to your information i will ask him to check this out 🙂

              I wonder how much a South Auckland cleaning lady on min wage has left over to spend on such an insurance once she paid rent etc, and also if she can continue to pay for such an insurance should she receive a housing benefit or such.

              As for my question to the employers paying, that really was what i understood.

              But for what its worth, Employees pay already for an unemployment insurance via their taxes – Paye – and they should rather get unemployment benefits then add another expense to their already meager earnings and high cost of living.

            • Steve

              Not so simple on that tax deduction for income protection… yes you can get a deduction for your premium, but only if the payments should you claim are taxable and in many cases the claim payments won't be subject to tax. Individual circumstances will determine which is the better outcome, but sucking it up on the premiums for many will be a far better outcome..

              • Sabine

                and thanks for that bit of information too.

                so you can not write of the monthly payments unless you get a payout on which you would be paying taxes? Am i understanding this correctly?

          • Jimmy

            Your accountant seems to be having another bad day Sabine.
            I think Peter chch is correct.

        • McFlock

          It's called "PAYE".

          • Sabine

            Yes. It seems that people like to forget the inconvenient truth that employees pay their full taxes every week with no way out to minimize that take tax.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              And all the support for claiming for a non-working spouse (through disability for instance) was removed years ago. I pay $5,000 more tax per year than two people earning the same amount although I have two people to support and provide for in retirement. I only wish that $5,000 could go towards retirement savings.

              • Sabine

                even worse when you pay into this scheme – national unemployment insurance via the government – aka unemployment benefit but you are denied unemployment benefits because your spouse has an income that is above an arbitrary threshold, never mind that fact of having paid into the service.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  Which is exactly what has happened. Worked in a job where being assaulted for the state was part of her job – not very well paid either for the stress and trauma.

                  • Sabine

                    that practice should be illegal as she was clearly charged the full amount of taxes when receiving her pay check.

                    that literally falls under taxation without representation, and while this also applies to man, i would venture a guess that the vast majority of those in this scenario are women. Cause……

        • Graeme

          Except there will be an exclusion that covers natural disasters, wars, insurrection and pandemic. Standard on all business insurance.

          By your comment you obviously don't have any business insurance yourself.

        • Siobhan

          Ignoring the fact that people on middle low incomes are struggling to pay rent let alone insurance, ignoring the fact that heavily mortgaged homeowners are increasingly letting their house insurance lapse etc etc…Lets just talk about the awesomeness of Insurance policies in NZ in general..


          Could insurance companies lose the right to be unfair?

          Questionable insurance contracts may soon be a thing of the past as the Government looks to change the law that allows insurance companies to be exempt from areas of the Fair Trading Act"


          Has this actually happened yet? Or are 'we' still reviewing the options?

          Personally I wouldn't call any insurance policy a "no brainer"…..do your research…and then do it again…

        • Pat

          Employees have income protection insurance by default…its called jobseeker

        • KJT

          They do. It is called, "paying taxes for welfare" including unemployment benefit. Much less costly than private insurance, even if we double the payments.

    • McFlock 3.3

      Also there needs to be protections for staff who get dropped from rosters rather than being given leave (or after getting leave, as a punishment)

  4. Pat 4

    The trap of viewing the world in aggregate…

    "None of this is necessary to reduce the risks of a banking collapse. The Reserve Bank’s own stress-testing exercise last year showed the banks could easily handle a 40 per cent fall in house prices. Homeowners are paying a record-low six percent of their disposable incomes in mortgage payments. They could easily handle a doubling of interest rates."


    6% of disposable household income equates to around $95 per week….much of what Mr Hickey says is true except unfortunately his conclusions.

    • Adrian Thornton 4.1

      Thanks for that link.

      "New Zealand's economy is a housing market with bits tacked on"..exactly right, it has become quite clear that this Liberal Free Market economic ideology, installed without public consent by Labour/Lange in 1984 has turned out to be in effect little more than a ponzi/pyramid scheme for the bulk of NZ citizens, using our homes as it's major currency…it's nothing less a obscenity, and one I am quite sure will be regarded by future generation as one of the most shameful periods in our short history.

      Sadly it seems that neither Labour nor National have the vision, let alone the ideological drive to bring any real sanity to bear on this problem (or climate change for that matter).

      I guess this is what happens when you live in a country with a ideological duopoly monopolizing the political conversation (with lots of help from a pretty lackluster media).

      Bernard Hickey
      “This week the idea that New Zealand Inc is just a housing market with appendages rather than real society and body politic graduated to full joke status. It’s official. This is a too-big-to-fail market and every policy, every political ambition and every investment choice must bow down before the great gods of the real estate agencies.

      To prove it, the current Government, which railed against an “unsustainable” housing market in crisis while in opposition, has allowed over $200 billion of capital gain since it was elected in late 2017.

      The Reserve Bank forecast this week prices are likely to have risen 51 per cent in Labour’s first two terms, delivering an extra $535b to homeowners. Tax-free.”

      Turn Labour Left!

  5. Muttonbird 5

    Multinational tech companies do not share the interests of local communities. We see the damage Airbnb does to the residential rental market, and now they refuse to acknowledge local Covid restrictions.

    Time to kick them out of this country. Perfect opportunity to do so before tourism resumes.


    • Sabine 5.1


    • Adrian Thornton 5.2

      +1,"Multinational tech companies do not share the interests of local communities." add to that list multinational banks, oil companies etc.

      • Tiger Mountain 5.2.1

        One of the more blatant ones is polluter Rio Tinto, does anyone really think they are going to clean up their 8500 tonnes of toxic “ouvea premix” waste in Mataura before buggering off when Governments finally stop pandering to them with taxpayer funds?

        Other multinationals shaft the host country in sneakier or less obvious ways–check the Australian owned Banks–one of NZ’s biggest exports remains repatriated profits to offshore owners, particularly since 1984 when Rogernomics ushered in some of the freest in and outflows of capital allowed in the world.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Westpac 30 years ago used to have a 2% margin in borrowing in New Zealand compared to Australia. It was a bit tricky to see at times but if you took the rate of inflation in both countries and then the difference between that and the mortgage interest rate for a 30 year mortgage New Zealand always was paying 2% more.

          New Zealand was seen as a cash cow.

          I suspect it hasn't changed much.

          • greywarshark

            Banks shutting down in small towns, Kiwibank also which seemed to copy the big boys, afraid of anything different.


            "Our community needs and deserves to be serviced by our only state-owned bank in a fit-for-purpose way – face-to-face, phone, internet and via an app.

            "Kiwibank will need to consider more than just its economic reasons," she said.

            "If the prime minister agrees to an inquiry and the inquiry highlights these negative impacts, the government should require that all major commercial banks operating in New Zealand – as part of their licence to operate – be required to provide a level of service that redresses these issues," Stoltz [Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz] said.

            Part of bank's value is they are a repository of cash, that handy stuff that you can spend when you have it without running up debts through credit cards, and just adding extra cards and layers of complexity to small transactions. (Cheques are gone by about July.) Society and with it all of us, is being diminished by stealth and our naivety about what is happening and its future effects is appallingly high.

            • RedBaronCV

              Yes banks should have to provide service levels to get a banking licence ( or maybe pay a big fee if they don't have the coverage) and other banks could then tender to provide. There may even be an argument for the transaction system being operated independently of banks sort of like the ATM net so we each "own" our own bank account number and that is visible to the bank that hands out the mortgage.

              Plus it is now just about impossible to transfer one off money to another named party (think tradies bills) without an online account and even with an on line account amounts for individuals are usually capped at a daily amount of around the $700 to $800 level.

              Overseas online fraud is endemic ( maybe half a billion ??) in the UK last year? – not sure anyone really knows but us customers are paying for that.

              All this when one of the major banks didn't notice an online criminal ring operating under it's nose in Australia.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          I'm pretty sure they have like many other companies a tried and true practice of selling to another company just before closure who then goes bust and has no money to clean up.

        • gsays

          In regards to Rio Tinto, what makes me annoyed is the Environment Minister is devolving responsibility to the council.

          Leaving the locals to take on a multi national corporation does not sound like a fair fight.

          Perhaps the government is afraid of repercussions from the TPPA (or whatever it is called now).

      • Descendant Of Smith 5.2.2

        Multinational fast food chains, retail chains, supermarkets….

        There are very few that do have New Zealand's interests at heart.

        You then compound that by the fact that many buildings are now owned by out of town lawyers, accountants, property developers who do not have the local communities interests at heart and just see the locals as a means of wealth extraction.

        Sigh and then there are all the bastard out of town landlords……….

        This myth that New Zealand is made up of small businesses is just bullshit.

  6. Morrissey 6

    Twitter's brutal, anti-democratic censorship regime is a menace to free speech

    Why on earth would this post earn a "potentially sensitive content" warning?

  7. RP Mcmurphy 7

    think global act local used to be the call. now all good men are required to come to the aid of protecting Robbies Park in the Parnell Rose Gardens. The proposal to ERECT a memorial to the crash of TE 901 is an act of gross vandalism and for some unknown reason is backed by phil goff and richard northey. hunter s. thompson would describe these two as grubby little ward heelers and that is precisely what they are. if this plan goes ahead then history will not treat them and their henchmen pippa coom, cathy casey and the rest of the gang kindly and karma will bite them badly.

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