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Open mike 05/09/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, September 5th, 2010 - 20 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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…

20 comments on “Open mike 05/09/2010 ”

    • Jenny 1.1

      Great stuff.
      Thanks Joe for this link.

      The Unite union and the radiographers by fighting to lift the buying power of the low paid, are doing more to fix the recession than John Key with his gift of $1.3 billion to the multi millionaire investors of South Canterbury Finance.

      By gifting this eye watering amount of money to the already seriously rich, John Key has virtually guaranteed the worsening of the recession in this country.

      Thanks too, to, Robert Reich for explaining in an easy to understand way, that low wages and high inequality are one of the underlying fundamental causes of the recession:

      ….consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them.


      The rich spend a much smaller proportion of their incomes than the rest of us. So when they get a disproportionate share of total income, the economy is robbed of the demand it needs to keep growing and creating jobs.

      After all unlike the Christchurdh earthquake, the recession is not a natural disaster. It is an entirely man made event. And as with anything made by humans there is a an element of will. (ie of someone wanting it this way.)

      This is why John Key will tear into the low paid Radiographers like an attack dog while at the same time greasing the path of the rich speculators of the failed SCF.

  1. ZB 2

    The rich spend a much smaller proportion of their incomes than the rest of us. So when they get a disproportionate share of total income, the economy is robbed of the demand it needs to keep growing and creating jobs.

    The first thing Key, and National, wanted to do on entering office was give the few more money.
    Key, and National, ARE THE PROBLEM. The economy is bad because of their politics and
    their policies.

    As the South Island comes out of recovery due to people going back to work cleaning
    up after the Earthquake, boosted financially by the bail out of SCF. Does this point the
    way to how to lift the economy, by spending on jobs, by PAYING people more, having
    them work less, and share jobs more.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Key, and National, ARE THE PROBLEM.

      Actually, it’s capitalism that’s the problem but the psychopaths in NACT don’t help. It’s designed to deliver the wealth to the few while taking it away from everyone else.

  2. U 4 United 3

    Watching the TV coverage from CHCH it seems that the media are being solicitous in their efforts which is to be commended. I suggest that Jim from Wigram should abandon his audacious dream of being the next Mayor of CHCH. Mr Parker has exhibited the decorous leadership for which any city can have gratitude. Jim is out of his depth and should he have any ability to self-assess he’d bow-out with grace. Now!

  3. RedLogix 4

    Thanks joe, a solid and sound read. Just a few years ago that column would have been virtually unprintable in the US. Given that the left, as we might recognise it, is almost completely absent in Washington, and the mindless, no-ideas opposition of the GOP to everything and anything, simply for the sake of saying no… the chances of this kind of sentiment making into policy is zero.

    Just as an interesting complement to this article, here’s an interesting read from Joe Romm referencing David Stockman, ripping GOP policy over many decades and how it directly destroyed the structure of the US economy… purely in the cause of class warfare.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      This growing wealth gap is not the market’s fault. It’s the decaying fruit of bad economic policy.

      Quoted from Stockmans’ piece here

      The market is a social construct that is created through economic policy. If that policy creates the market in such a way that it gives the wealth to the few then it’s the markets fault as the two, the policy and the market it creates, cannot be separated. The policy is the market.

      • Bill 4.1.1


        Where do you get this idea that there are various market types?

        It’s a given that there are different ways to manage the market that will give slightly different results. But it is still the same basic market that is yielding the various and by necessity, limited results. ( In the same way that possible white wines are limited by the possibilities offered by the base ingredients, so possible policy outcomes are limited by values intrinsic to the market. Not the other way around.)

        If we employ radically different values, then we have potentially abolished the market. (Just like if we use hops and barley we will produce beer and not wine.)

        And I say ‘potentially’, because if we use tree sap instead of grapes, we will still produce white wine but won’t be able to produce beer even if that’s what we were aiming for.

        In market terms that would mean (say) aiming for equitable outputs but retaining vertical divisions of labour or private ownership or any other number of market characteristics in our policies and hoping for outcomes radically different to what we would expect from markets.

        Such, arguably, was one of the problems with the soviet style command economy. It retained vertical divisions of labour ( a market characteristic) and didn’t return private property to ‘the commons’, but claimed it all for ‘the party’ as it were (ie moved ownership from one elite to a new elite) . Which produced all types of disincentives for workers and lots of incentives to be an apparatchik which in turn saw basic schisms between haves and have nots recreated.

        btw. I’m not an advocate of command economies. They will always recreate the old divisions of labour and create new elites. That they might have better social provisioning than the less centralised market economies is not, for me, a good enough reason to advocate for them.

        edit. Just thought. Are you equating ‘market’ with ‘economy’?

        Because whereas there are limitless types of economy and they are very definate social constructs, the market has very definable characteristics and is only one type of economy…eg command economy, market economy, participatory economy etc

        • Draco T Bastard

          edit. Just thought. Are you equating ‘market’ with ‘economy’?


          The economy is societies resources (minerals, land, people etc) and the market is how those resources are distributed. Basically, I’m thinking more Political-Economy with the market being a construct of that through the imposition of rules.

          Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has competition as an essential to a Market and the dictionary as merely a place where trade occurs.

          As I said before – we’re talking past each other due to slightly different meanings. It’s one of the problems with language as each word tends to change based upon culture and the culture changes from one town to the next.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Well the nearest NZ equivalent I can think of, off the top of my head, would be if Richard Prebble had written this piece acknowledging that the whole neo-liberal experiment had been a total failure. It’s enough that the man can see the error of his ways to this extent, possibly asking too much for his entire way of thinking and use of language be re-encoded. A lifetime’s full of that kind of thinking is a hard habit to entirely break.

      I guess the point is that while everyone credible now understands that neo-liberal economics is mad, bad and dangerous to know…. the left is failing to fill the vacuum. It’s as if at a very gut level the narrative is; “Communism bad, Capitalism bad….I give up, who cares anymore?”.

      Very recently I heard someone say (forgotten exactly who) … that for all it’s undeniable failings, the worship of God had the merit that it encouraged humility and compassion. Both of which are great antidotes for not caring anymore.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        I guess the point is that while everyone credible now understands that neo-liberal economics is mad, bad and dangerous to know…. the left is failing to fill the vacuum. It’s as if at a very gut level the narrative is; “Communism bad, Capitalism bad….I give up, who cares anymore?”.

        I’d agree with that. ATM, the left have no vision as everything they said would work over the last couple of centuries appears to have fallen down. The first cracks in NZ appeared when the Labour Party brought in free-market capitalism as a panacea for a failing capitalist economy.

  4. The Chairman 5

    Christchurch the possible economic outcomes

    The fiscal response to the disaster in Christchurch will present economic opportunities for some.

    The private sector will be lining up to secure rebuilding contracts and long-term private partnerships.

    Don’t be too surprised if this disaster helps to open the door for Chinese infrastructure firms.

    Future insurance costs (for all New Zealanders) are bound to increase to compensate what is expected to be a massive insurance payout.

    Short-term, the fiscal stimulus will initially create new job opportunities and increase consumer spending, but the delays in rebuilding, coupled with already stretched balance sheets, will see the death of many currently struggling businesses.

    Consumer spending will largely be spent on offshore made goods (imports).

    There have been suggestions there may be taxpayer handouts for those uninsured.

    There could be a short-term residential and commercial property shortage, creating some temporary price distortions in the market.

    The longer businesses are closed and prevented from operating the higher the economic cost to the community and nation as a whole.

    Interest rates, the national credit rating, and value of the currency could all be affected.

    Long-term, there will be an increase in privatised infrastructure, and when added with foreign ownership, the increase in insurance costs, and the increase in imported goods, the benefits of the initial fiscal stimulus will largely head offshore.

  5. Bill 6

    You have to admit there’s a certain degree of irony in moderation existing on something called ‘open mike’.

    Anyway, if one of you admin peoples is reading this prior to one of your trap checks, can you let my comment out?

    [Done..RL. I don’t think the spam trap discriminates between threads.]
    [lprent: it doesn’t ]

  6. NickS 7


    Moral dilemma? For fuck’s sake, it was a major earthquake, in a city where there are quite a few people who can’t afford to get their contents insured, (assuming the land-lord takes care of property insurance), let alone have the income or cash to replace anything majorly damaged. And given this government’s attitude to those with little spare cash, it’s likely many poor are going to be ignored.

    • prism 7.1

      That point about property insurance NickS. It is my understanding that it is the responsibility of the tenant to insure their accommodation and if so, it treats a residential tenant the same as a business tenant, which is totally unreasonable.

      There was a case where (I think) a Dunedin student house was damaged or burnt and the landlord or ins. coy spent a lot of time hounding the tenant for hundreds of thousands. A government that desired fairness and practicality would never have allowed this situation to develop, but we haven’t had noticeably robust ones operating on behalf of the ordinary citizens lately.

      Recently a slightly extraordinary citizen near me, a very heavy woman, suffered a hole in her toilet floor apparently as a result of her weight, and the landlord informed me he was looking to her to make good the damage. He was quite surprised when I commented that I thought that it was most unfair that tenants were expected to insure the landlord’s asset.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        If the damage to the property is caused by action or inaction of the tenant, then the tenant is responsible.

        Tenants aren’t responsible for earthquakes, therefore the landlord’s property insurance will cover the landlords property.

  7. Carol 8

    It looks like a workers’ union has been working hard for its members in negotiating contracts for workers for the new supercity, which, in the first instance, will be under the management of the ATA. And I imagine that many workers are really glad they have the union working for them over this. There’s an article in today’s NZ Herald, about some errors in contracts given to existing staff:


    Some Auckland council staff were offered, and accepted, the wrong job or the wrong salary in the new Supercity this week.

    Auckland Transition Authority HR adviser Laila Harre said that among 2000 letters sent out to staff at Auckland’s eight councils this week were “a handful” that offered the wrong job or salary, because of a data mistake.

    Harre, a former Alliance leader and Cabinet minister, has been criticised by her former union colleagues for “turning gamekeeper” by accepting the role overseeing appointments to the new council. Her contract ended this week. She did not know the number of people who had accepted the mixed-up offers but confirmed some had.

    The Transition Authority is now processing correct offers and trying to explain the mess-up to affected council staff.

    Public Service Association organiser Kerry Davies said the errors were being rectified following concerns raised by the association.

    PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said a review process was built into the offers before the letters were sent out. It covered staff offered a salary below what they should be but Wagstaff was unsure if it applied to people who were offered a higher salary.

    “We have been working with ATA to resolve the issue,” he said. “We do recognise it has been a very compressed time frame and complex experience which contributes to mistakes.”

    The rest of the article is at the above url.

    But it does make you wonder why everything had to be rushed through so quickly. Will there be more errors when the supercity goes live? And I think it’s curious the blame is being put at Harre’s feet. I imagine it wasn’t her idea to rush things so much. I have mixed feelings about her being involved, but maybe it’ll be a better set-up as a result.

  8. AncientGeek 9

    Test comment

    [Test moderation…..RL ;-)]

    [lprent: Test sysoping 😈
    Damn e-mail followup works on the test system. Fails on the target system.. mutter…]

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