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Open mike 04/07/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 4th, 2021 - 54 comments
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54 comments on “Open mike 04/07/2021 ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    New Zealand's long history of amateur landlordism has created a little third world in our own country.

    Problems were difficult to uncover with little resource available to police landlords' behaviour, and little incentive for tenants to come forward, (Salvation Army's Queenstown community ministries director Lieutenant Andrew Wilson) said.

    "It's a vicious cycle. Particularly for vulnerable communities like our migrants and our low income earners. Their house is the only thing that might be secure for them and so to risk making a complaint to their landlord or to the property manager or whoever, risks that house over their head.

    Little fiefdoms are created by ordinary, power-hungry people, many of whom are completely unsuited to public function. NZ landlord's unregulated behaviour allows for a dangerous power imbalance.

    Tenancy reform should go much further. Not only should houses for rent have a warrant of fitness, but those renting and managing them should too. It is wrong for the government to rely on tenants to police the actions of their landlords, and masters.


    • KSaysHi 1.1

      I'd like to see the entire system favor people buying their own home especially the vulnerable. Unable to see someone who is able to borrow to purchase property + rent it out at exploitative levels with occassional maintanence grudgingly chucked in as adding value to society.

    • RedBaronCV 1.2

      I looked at this. As far as I can make out these are the "working poor" who are being stuck with this. But I can't see why the state should stick up social housing for them, because that is a straight and large subsidy to employers from the taxpayers.

      Maybe the employers need to pay much better wages or accept that their "business" is not actually viable? Or we could use local bed taxes or differential rates on hospitality providers to fund the housing.

      • Sabine 1.2.1

        The min wage atm is 20NZD plus kiwi saver, holiday pay, sickness leave. so 800 before tax a week. Median Rent is 570. NZD for pretty much any shitter. You have yet to heat your house, pay for your commute, eat a meal and buy some pants. Mind you wont' do that cause the money will not stretch that far.

        The government nor the bosses will ever be able to pay more then the landlord will charge.

        So the best the government can do is use some of the taxes that it collects from these same poor min wage workers and provide low income housing.

        I mean we can spend several hundred million on Jeff Bezos movies (in the name of money), on the Americas Cup (in the name of money) and other assorted crap for rich people. Many whom not pay any taxes at all – see Jeff Bezos and any of the Americas Cup tossers. Or is offering freebies and tax incentives/write offs for tax avoiders only something to discuss when its National who does it?

  2. Ad 2

    If this writer is too tired, she should just stop.

    Plenty more will take her place.

    Her endless, pointless, meandering self-pitying melancholy has no use.

    Greta is better.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

  3. RedLogix 3

    Carbon intensity in the developed world has been declining gradually for a decade or so now – it would drop a lot faster if the trad environmentalists would get out of the way and let the rest of us get the job done.

    [TheStandard: The site’s chief censor moved this comment to Open Mike as being ‘off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in’. Which of course is a dishonest excuse for not wanting to have a debate they don’t want to have.]

    • Ad 3.1

      A grid stabiliser battery system would be great for a wind power dominated system.

      Not a replacement for days of low wind, but a very important feature. Lot more useful than just leaving it to the spot market.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2

      Carbon intensity in the developed world has been declining gradually for a decade or so now – it would drop a lot faster if the trad environmentalists would get out of the way and let the rest of us get the job done.

      Red, no mention of "the trad environmentalists" (that I could see) in that great (v. positive) "RenewEconomy" link (thanks) – could you expand on how you see "the trad environmentalists" getting in the way of "the rest of us" implementing VPPs and large battery projects? Are there perhaps some "trad environmentalists" in Aussie who are opposed to solar VPPs and large battery initiatives, or is it as simplistic as "trad environmentalists" bad, you (presumably) and "the rest of us" good?

      Can't help wondering if "trad environmentalists" are, on average, at least as keen on renewables and big batteries as "the rest of us", and if (for some reason) you're seeing a division where none exists. Apologies in advance for any misinterpretation on my part, it's just that to me your comment read as being from someone who's a little pissed off at "trad environmentalists". Personally I think they're still a useful part of the mix – the environment needs a bit of ‘traditional’ TLC more than ever, imho.

      Did you know over 27% of Australia's electricity generation now comes from renewable energy.

      WWF welcomes pumped hydro proposal for Queensland

      Totally Renewable Yackandandah: How far have we come?



      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        And the reason why I'm throwing rocks at the 'trad environmentalists' is their Malthusian insistence that we're all doomed, when the exact opposite is the case. It's science, tech and heavy industry – for all of the manifest flaws and imperfections they have at present – which are delivering on projects like the one I linked to above. And in doing so heading us in the right direction. But as I pointed out in my short series earlier in the year, there is only one way to get carbon to zero (or negative as is really required) and the trads are standing obdurately in the way of achieving this.

        It is of course a point that's so irksome to them that this perfectly relevant comment gets moved off the post – but I'm accustomed to that now.

        I might also add a personal note that the lithium needed for these batteries comes from somewhere. As I finish typing this I'm going to go back to work (yes we commission 24hrs/7 days) to get another crucial part of the plant ready for feed tomorrow. It involves mixing literally tonnes of concentrated sulphuric acid with a dry powdery like material in a somewhat exothermic reaction – and the responsibility for getting this right sits with myself and one of the process engineers. Wish us luck.

        • Sabine

          the point is not that WE are all doomed,

          the point is some are.

          Chances are YOU will live your life out in relative comfort and safety, but the question is will the generations after you?

          Mind, we may all become Fremen and drink our piss and get vaporised rather tehn buried, but for now we seem to be loosing.

          So really everyone needs to work together. Unless one values technology above humanity then we could turn the world into the matrix, where humans are the batteries for machines. 🙂
          Maybe we are all just replicants?

          Working Together:

          • RedLogix

            Unless one values technology above humanity then we could turn the world into the matrix, where humans are the batteries for machines.

            Maybe you could consider it like this – that technology creates the platform on which human progress – our humanity as you name it – develops. Take away the energy density and materials that we now have, and we immediately revert back to pre-industrial world and the same social conditions. And I have zero rosy-eyed illusions about what that would mean – especially for women everywhere.

            It's not a binary choice between 'technology' and 'humanity' – both are entwinned together. Of course any arbitrary 'good thing' can become an evil when taken to an extreme – that we always must guard against. I'm perfectly happy to concede that technology absent an informed and principled social fabric can become a 'matrix-like' tyranny of it's own. We see this already in the trend toward unchecked and ubiquitous surveillance. But the correct response doesn't involve smashing all the cameras and machines – the manifest failure of the Luddites is the example that leaps to mind.

            So really everyone needs to work together.

            Yes. I've been kind of saying this all along – I appreciate hearing it from others too.

          • Muttonbird

            Another point is that renewable energies would not be explored and developed without the insistence of 'trad environmentalists'.

            They drive political and social change through activism. Emissions spewing industry does not change because they want to – the profit motive explicitly prevents that. They change because they have to – due to public and political pressure.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          But are all "trad environmentalists" devotees of Malthus? You have such good ideas and intentions that it's difficulkt to reconcile these with your confrontational style of commenting – a style that you probably share with a few of those "trad environmentalists".

          For example, what do you want to achieve by suggesting that (all? most?) "trad environmentalists" "are standing obdurately in the way of" your one and "only one way to get carbon to zero"? How do you think that style enhances your comments; how might it might help to win few of the obdurate trad environmentalists to your cause?

          Or do you believe all "trad environmentalists" are lost causes, to be ridiculed and pilloried as useless millstones to 'progress'? In which case, best of luck with fashioning the millstone which (whether you recognise it or not) is a hinderance to others at least considering your ideas and opinions.

          • RedLogix

            You have such good ideas and intentions that it's difficulkt to reconcile these with your confrontational style of commenting

            Can you not see that being arbitrarily kicked off a thread for manifestly dishonest reasons is just another form of confrontation?

            Complaining about my 'tone' is frankly a bit rich, when at the same time I see trad environmentalists shutting down nuclear power plants in Germany and increasing that country's carbon emissions as a direct result. That is so frankly delusional I'm bound to pillory and ridicule those who would defend this Malthusian style of thinking. The idea that resources are finite turns out to be paradoxically wrong. Our adaptive abilities should be obvious, though they clearly are not. We’ve been adapting to resource scarcity for millennia, and the idea that we would stop today, at the pinnacle of our development so far, is a peculiar one.

            The Simon–Ehrlich bet provides academics with plenty to argue over, but the larger trend is unambiguous – resources are becoming more, not less, abundant in relation to the labour time it takes to “buy” them. The period since 1900 has been marked by world wars, famines and depressions. Yet population grew at an average rate of 1.33 per cent per year and the five-metal basket of commodities grew more abundant at an average rate of 1.75 per cent per year. Adding the increase in population and the increase in abundance indicates a combined rate of around 3.08 per cent, indicating a doubling of abundance every 23 years. These figures are a salutary reminder to those who, like Paul Ehrlich, see resource constraints as limiting economic progress.


            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Can you not see that being arbitrarily kicked off a thread for manifestly dishonest reasons is just another form of confrontation?

              RL, don't know what you're trying to achieve by describing someone as acting "arbitrarily" for "manifestly dishonest reasons", but please consider that it might not have the desired effect. We're all in this pig’s-breakfast together – it's going to take heaps of good will and cooperation, yesterday and now, to spare future generations the consequences of our current catastrophic trajectory.

              'Trad' and other environmentalists are keen on protecting (even regenerating) natural ecosystems that have been degraded due to habitat destruction, be it by unsustainable resource extraction, pollution or other encroachments. They too deserve our support, and thanks, for at least some of their efforts, imho.

      • greywarshark 3.2.2

        DmK Thanks for the enquiring commentary. We need to interrogate the 'technology and engineering' will fix all proponents. I find so little concern for ordinary humans and our ability to carry on with human lives that I am sensitive to this matter and have little time to concentrate on the truth or value of the programs being instigated.

        • AB

          Enormous effort and ingenuity will go into finding technology solutions to the climate crisis – and much of this will be driven by the potentially staggering profits to be made by whomever owns and commercialises the technology. It might save us, or it might not. It might save us, but in doing so push all the existing inequalities of market-based economies to stratospheric levels because of the enormous economic power that would accrue to those who own the salvation technology – and the absolutely abject weakness of everyone else.

          Personally, I think that expecting the same driver (profit/endless capital accumulation) that got us into this climate crisis to also get us out of it, is a touch incautious. I think it is more likely that any salvation consists of pitching us from this crisis into a new, different one. But we are not in a position to turn our backs on whatever technology throws up, and it's going to be a very rocky ride.

      • Andre 3.3.1

        As the wiki entry notes, the big issue with compressed air storage are the intertwined issues of efficiency and thermal management.

        in short, compressing air raises its temperature. A lot of the energy that goes into the compressor ends up as the raised temperature. If the stored compressed air simply cools to the environment, that heat energy is just lost. There are schemes to try to capture and store that heat, but at best they might raise the round-trip efficiency to 70%, but AFAIK no large installations have actually come anywhere near that efficiency yet.

        Pumped hydro storage in contrast easily achieves routinely efficiencies greater than 70%, with over 80% common. It also uses much more established technology. These factors which is why almost all electricity storage worldwide is pumped hydro. New Zealand is blessed with lots of suitable topography and water sources for pumped hydro. So it's seems unlikely there will be much by way of compressed air or battery storage her in NZ (except for a bit of local grid stabilisation).

        Outside of NZ, it appears thermal storage in conjunction with concentrating solar is the second biggest storage technology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_energy_storage_power_plants . Compressed air to me looks like the best fit with wind energy, at least until there's some kind of massive breakthrough in battery tech.

    • Gabby 3.4

      Well the Easter Bunny is away at present.

  4. Cricklewood 4

    I've got a question… maybe someone with a better understanding of the issues can explain.

    As I understand it if an employee say steals $20 from the till it can be a criminal matter ie theft as a servant but if an employer steals an employees legally entitled wages this is an employment matter?

    Surely now we have a Lab majority govt its time to make wage theft a criminal offence? I read so many stories about wage theft and it seems a torturous process to get any resolution and when caught and finally fined the protagonists melt away.

    Making it a criminal matter on the same footing as theft by a servant will sort alot of the scumbags out given delay and obfuscation wont protect them any longer.

    Anyone able to explain why it wouldnt work?

    • Bruce 4.1

      This is from a few years ago and a different country but it still true here.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      I think this interacts with company limited liability and bankruptcy law. Owners and directors are only responsible for a companies debts as long as they are running it responsibly.

      Wages are of course a debt which the company carries until pay day arrives.

      There are also potential issues with how the inability to pay wages arose. Its possible for example a major contract collapsed or was unpaid leading to sub contractors being unable to pay their employees.

      • Cricklewood 4.2.1

        Thanks, could legislate around that right? Business circumstance/failure is very different to systematic under payment etc

        • Nic the NZer

          Its certainly possible to have criminal convictions for certain types of employment violations. For example prostitution is legal in NZ but someone may still be prosecuted for employing underage people.

          I think there are situations where employing with no intention of paying will be criminal. Just you need to prove intent in such cases and they are already at the severe end of violations.

          Its also important to understand with company law that the company and its officers are different entities and companies don't make decisions, their officers do.

      • Sacha 4.2.2

        You seem to be conflating unwillingness to pay wages with inability to do so. These are going concerns.

        • Nic the NZer

          No, I am highlighting that a similar inability to pay wages can result from either intent or be outside of control.

          • Sacha

            You doubt that our justice system can take the distinction into account? Otherwise it's a red herring.

            • Nic the NZer

              Did you notice the original comment is followed by one more saying thanks. Its like I managed to explain there are some complexities to think about and it seems in a way that allows them to be reasoned about, as the questioner subsequently does.

              What is your (futile) attempt to post a contradiction contributing? Maybe you should go a post a reply on twitter or something where it can be properly appreciated?

              • Sacha

                Business circumstance/failure is very different to systematic under payment etc

          • RedBaronCV

            There doesn't seem to be any reason, other than tradition, that allows employers to hang onto things like holiday pay redundancy etc. IMHO they should have to pay these amounts over to the IRD as they are accrued or the worker becomes eligible not leave them as an employer liability. It would lessen worker loss and give employers a better view of their cash. Rather than have employees giving interest free loans and losing out badly if there is business failure.

      • McFlock 4.2.3


        The thought of a reverse "theft as a servant" offence comes to mind: not stealing from the employer, but stealing for the employer.

        Sorts out the owner/manager distinction, for a start.

    • Descendant Of Smith 4.3

      Because employers have more power than workers.

      My wife and my children have all had wages, PAYE, student loan payments either not paid to them or not forwarded to IRD.

      In this day and age these payments to IRD should be paid same day as wages – it is not the employers money it s the workers. This would help identify dodgy and problematic employers much, much earlier.

  5. Muttonbird 5

    Brilliant as always from Sharon Murdoch.

    • Tiger Mountain 5.1


    • McFlock 5.2

      I find Murdoch is consistently really good at going deep – not always going for the most obvious connection, but making something visually intriguing to keep the audience's attention while going for the less obvious connection that has a stronger punch.

      That one is one of them.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Welcome to neo-McCarthyism.

    RNZ’s “Redline” programme I heard today was verging on 50s scaremongering such were the number of hearsay comments, unattributed speakers, and lightly examined assertions.


  7. greywarshark 7

    I am afraid of our selling every little bit of NZ to foreign investors and have the PTB regard it as the Right Thing To Do!

    Advert – https://www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz/innovation-skills/capital-education?gclid=CjwKCAjwlYCHBhAQEiwA4K21m90gG90QY8LQmz7vPjrZ-7476nG5_YfZYuhMwj63ZY0X6_eq5NdcORoCPp8QAvD_BwE


    2021 July 4 – https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-border-exemptions-visas-approved-for-14-wealthy-investors/FOZ6MDRPX7SBEEOAV77FCVZPDM/

    Understand this? ~~~ Investment News for financial advisers in New Zealand … https://investmentnews.co.nz
    7 days ago — AMP Wealth NZ has officially pushed back the long-awaited investment shift to a BlackRock-managed passive strategy into the September quarter. The change …

    2021 May 17 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300309160/wealthy-investors-due-to-arrive-on-new-border-exemption

    2021 May 4 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/five-wealthy-investors-granted-border-exemptions-then-residency/KQYAQUJENGTAPAP47OM3TXBKKA/

    2020 Aug 17 https://www.oneroof.co.nz/news/the-ultra-rich-foreign-buyers-who-are-all-about-nz-38288

    Get your bargains here in the basement of the world!

    And Tether – getting money in return for 'milk tokens' – Money has gone mad. Let's face it. The ultimate drug, and the derivatives are even more hallucinatory!

    • RedBaronCV 7.1

      Why don't we know more about this. Are they visitor visa's with no family exemption attached so they cannot be used for a holiday. Are they residency visas in which case should they not be issued after any investment and local jobs have occurred?? If they are people wanting to undertake projects etc are they then going to want to drag all their own people in? Any obligations to train the locals? Any ban on buying existing land buildings and business. According to the stuff story none of them want to invest unless they can actually come here. I really can't see what's in it for the locals except more colonisation.

      Colour me suspicious but isn't MOBIE stuck in the neo lib dark ages?

  8. Byd0nz 8


    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • weka 8.1

      Noticing a tendency for you do say something is wrong without explaining how. Moved this comment to OM to circumvent this becoming a problem. Maybe invest a bit more time in sharing your own thinking.

      (and we don’t have like/dislike buttons on TS for a reason).

      • Byd0nz 8.1.1

        Noticing a tendency for you do say something is wrong without explaining how.

        I don't think my comment needed much explaining unless ignorant of American war crimes committed all over the Globe.

        • Sacha

          Does my agreeing or disagreeing with a comment add much value to the discussion in itself? If not, maybe I could say nothing, or write a reason..

        • weka

          Lots of people reading don't know what you are talking about. Better to explain.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.2

      OK to use the thumbs-up emoji on it's own, or in combination with text, imho, but I'd be wary of using the OK hand emoji.

      Quite like using the smiley-winky-laughie emojis since they were made available (presumably for a reason.) If others don't like thumbs up/down, then there's always:

      +1 … +10 … +100, etc.
      ^ … ^^ … ^^^ … ^^^^ … ^5 … ^ this, or (just) this, etc.

      A blast from the past – we really are spoilt for choice these days. Time for some gdr.



      • Treetop 8.2.1

        Gee some of the emojis and abbreviations I do not get them.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Didn’t/don't get a lot of them either, Tt, but reckon I’m improving thanks to TS wink

          • Treetop

            I do not get them as in not understanding the meaning.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Not always understanding how their appearance reflects the stated meaning? Me too frown

  9. Incognito 9

    Talking of intimidation of academics: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300349283/eat-a-bat-and-die-vile-threats-against-wuhan-lab-conspiracybuster

    “A colleague said to just think about what happened to climate change scientists, we’re in their shoes now, and that’s a really good point. I kind of want to reach out to climate scientists and say, ‘I know what you’re going through.’ ”

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