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Open mike 06/03/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 6th, 2011 - 70 comments
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70 comments on “Open mike 06/03/2011 ”

  1. logie97 1

    “Faith Schools on the increase” says the Herald today.
    “Almost all the 338 in New Zealand have a religious and values focus.”

    Would be interesting to know if the Herald could identify one state school that does not have a values focus.

    Perhaps the article should leave it at ‘those 338 schools simply have a religious focus.’

    captcha: routes

  2. andy (the other one) 2

    John Key complains about Womans mag using photoshop, turning bing bings top from blue to red. Meanwhile people in christchurch………

    Every know and then the mask slips and the pettyness shows.


    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Well, reading the article it’s really unclear if Key himself or just some staffers had a problem, or if the Herald On Sunday was just making the whole story up themselves, especially when they end it with the snarky ‘we always declare when we materially alter photos’.

    • Deadly_NZ 2.2

      But they don’t even look like the same photo, unless they photoshopped Keys head move as well, and if they did that then can they photoshop a look of genuine concern, instead of his perpetual superior sneer.

      Anyway I would prefer he would do something about this.
      I notice that the government takes 70% of the fuel price in taxes, so they are directly responsible for the high fuel costs, and that makes them directly responsible for this as well.
      The spiralling cost of food

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        They take multiple photos in a photo shoot, and then only use a few of them for the publication, keeping the rest on hand. So a slightly different pose doesn’t mean anything.

        The front of the dress looks a bit different, though. In the red one you can see the crinkles in the fabric much more clearly as they appear light pink, whereas in the blue they’re barely visible. So there’s scope for it being a different top altogether (although generally wardrobe changes would also include scene changes). But the note about stockists for that particular designer brand “talking” about the colour change would tend to indicate that that item of clothing doesn’t come in that red colour.

        I wonder how much of the supposed outcry was because they changed the colour from blue to red. Doubtless Key made sure she was wearing something blue to show her support for the government (instead of wearing whatever she liked, like something green or brown or whatever).

        Also the government definitely does not take 70% of the pump price in taxes. It’s more like 20-40%. NZ has the 3rd cheapest petrol in the OECD, after Cananda and the US. We’re nothing like Europe with their petrol taxes.

        • Lanthanide

          Too late to edit. I see that you got the 70% number from the article, but I’m quite confident that’s completely bogus. It’s coming from a station owner, who should know what they’re talking about, but in the context of them trying to defend themselves, I think they’re just trying to blame the government for the cost of petrol.

          • Deadly_NZ

            Maybe, but this also makes for interesting reading as well. Hope the link works.


            It’s a bit dated but you get the idea and GST has gone up as well since this was written.

            • Lanthanide

              Thanks, very useful. Looks like my guess of 20-40% was quite far off.

              Yes, GST has gone up, and National also introduced a new tax that they phased in over a couple of years that was to replace the regional 10c tax that Labour had mooted. So being 50-60% tax now is actually probably quite likely.

              This means that there is (some) room for the government to move in the event of price shocks, they can lower the tax and take the burden themselves rather than having it all land on the private sector.

              • Deadly_NZ

                but if they start to reducing how much tax then the swing voter might start to think about that ‘nice mr Key’ shit again, and he could squeak in, in november and then put the boot back in. You can just imagine it He wins and it’s – right put the tax back on fuel and hammer the bene’s and we will have this country running just the way we want it. A rich pricks holiday paradise complete with a coupla million underpaid slaves.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        It’s not the same photo – just another photo from the same shoot. Not that that makes any difference – it’s not worth anyone’s time or effort to complain about it and it’s certainly not “news”.

  3. RedLogix 3

    I’m intrigued to read this item in Stuff. A few days there was some discussion around how overvalued NZ houses were:

    New Zeal house prices remain about 20% overvalued, according to the latest quarterly ranking of global house prices by The Economist magazine.

    More interestingly I was struck by their proposed solution at the end of the article:

    The Economist suggested the best way to limit damage from a property bust is for regulators to control the amount of debt available to owners and developers.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, the root cause of property bubbles has little to do with the tax system, the lack of a CGT, LAQC’s or whatever. The root cause is simple… too much credit being pumped into the market by the banks.

    Property bubbles are an entirely predictable and avoidable failure of the ‘free market’. But what chance an ex-banker doing anything to limit the profits of the banking industry that made him?

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      I want to see someone comment on NZ house prices as a result of the earthquake.

      There was an article in Morgan Online just last week (I have them for kiwisaver) where Gareth was talking about how much further the property prices have to fall in order to meet the long term average. It was something like 15%, but a lot of the existing decline has been met with house prices staying steady while inflation ate away at their worth. He suggested a mix of gradual decline with inflation doing the same over the next couple of years.

      But I think the earthquake has fundamentally changed that already. House prices are a function of supply and demand, and we’ve just had a large supply of houses in east CHCH have a huge drop in value, probably 20-50% for sales in the next 2 years or so. There will also be a permanent exodus from CHCH, my complete guess is this will be around 20-30k people, which will put pressure on rentals and houses in the rest of the country, helping to stabilise their markets. So I would suggest that a chunk of the devaluing the needed to be carried out has now been concentrated in CHCH and specifically the east side. Homeowners there are effectively taking their UNfair share of the required devaluation as a result of the disaster.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Yes that feels like a sound analysis Lanth.

        The other factor that will have to come into play is that the building industry the last two years has been so depressed that it’s not even building at replacement rate.

        Every year a certain number of buildings fall off the end of their useful life, either they are too old or more often … they are simply in the wrong place and no-one wants to live there any more.

        And of course population and immigration work to change the base demand as well. Overall the supply of houses has been declining and eventually this has to catch up. Very hard to know how that will play out in a market where too many people will not be able to afford to buy … at any price.

        The problem with prices at the level they are is this. All very well if you can afford a $300k mortgage on a median price $350k property today … but consider the enormous risks if you lose one or more jobs inthe household, OR the market deflates 20%, OR if interest rates rise from 6% to say 9% or higher. (Within six month of when I bought my first house in 1984 the interest rate went from 7% to over 22%… so it can and has happened.)

        With supply constrained AND demand increasing prices should rise… but at the same time with price being constrained by high mortgage risks it’s very hard to predict quite how the market will react.

        • aj

          The Japan experience shows that the laws of supply and demand don’t always apply with respect to housing prices.

          • Lanthanide

            The Japanese economy in it’s entirety it’s quite a bit different from NZ’s, so the housing price dynamics, which are just an aspect of that economy, don’t really apply to us.

            • Colonial Viper

              Japan is still recovering from the massive debt fueled property price bubble of the late 1980’s. Economically, they’ve had two lost decades.

              The economy got so out of whack at the time that banks were offering 50 and 100 year mortgages because that was the only way people could afford housing.

  4. todd 4

    I really do hope the Government is listening:


    The Public Health Association (PHA) says today’s call by The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) for the Government and Health Sector urgently to address inequalities is further endorsement that we’ve had the wrong health focus for too long.

    • marsman 4.1

      Pity Paula Bennett didn’t go to say Norway or Finland and study child poverty or hopefully the lack of it and how she could make that happen.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        According to National all wisdom comes from the US. They seem to have a severe case of hero worship about it.

    • Deadly_NZ 4.2

      Now why should this government listen??? they thrive on the inequalities that are in place, and those that are to come.

  5. Salsy 5

    Seems that this story is gaining momentum (back on BFM this morning and in a local Chinese Newspapaer in Auck ) as critics examine how the National Govt operate internationally and morally Tolley does deal with dictator

  6. lprent 6

    Opps an upgrade escaped for a minute into the real space rather than the test space. Fixed now.

  7. Lanthanide 7

    lprent, since you’re working on the site recently (with the healtscare and all) could you look at making the ‘leave a comment’ box a bit more user friendly?

    Specifically right now we have a big block of XHTML tags at the bottom, and they’re all crammed together. I bet that most of them never get used, like cite, code, datetime, iframe etc.

    Could you trim out the superfluous ones and keep the same ones there, but make them clearer how to use them? Using bracket substitution here, you could make it look like this:
    [b]bold[/b], [i]italic[/i], [strike]strikethrough[/strike] etc

    Maybe even change the tags themselves, eg I think ‘quote’ makes more sense than ‘cite’.

    • Armchair Critic 7.1

      I’d use more of them if I knew what they did, and how they worked.

      • Deadly_NZ 7.1.1

        Same here. Sorry 1prent but they do get too confusing hence the old fashioned boring type with out any of the fancy bits..

      • Vicky32 7.1.2

        I’d use them but that I have sight issues… Sorry! 🙂

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      Testing my gravatar.

      captcha: appears (this thing really is magic)

    • lprent 7.3

      That was what I was working on this morning. Had to go out for a family lunch followed by shopping. Be home shortly (just waiting for lyn to get a jacket. 5 minutes. Yeah right!

  8. bobo 8

    Womens Day in trouble with PM http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10710464

    I guess red catches the eye more than blue..

  9. logie97 9

    was this email real or imagined?
    “Jamie, congratulations on your victory mate. Looking forward to catching up with you in the office on Monday. I am sure you will appreciate why I can’t be with you at the celebration tonight. Enjoy the moment. Cheers John.”

    • logie97 9.1

      “Second thoughts, Jamie. Can’t pass up a good photo-op so I’ll be in Botany this evening”.
      Cheers John

  10. nobody seems to have commented on news item listing the speakers at the coming ACT conference. Most interesting, Judith “Crusher” Collins is no surprise but Willie Jackson ? What the hell is going on ? Collins is interesting because it indicates the still close relationship the Nats have with ACT , watch Epsom. However Jackson is disapointing and odd. He should not be anywhere near an ACT conference . Is the Maori Party behind this?

    • tsmithfield 10.1

      I see the left wing thought-police are on patrol.

      • lprent 10.1.1

        I thought that was me or Trevor Mallard according to local right wing cult philosophy.

        (It used to be the two Helens, but they aren’t here anymore. Only a few nuts… )

        • tsmithfield

          I would say the same about right-wingers as well if they were suggesting that some right-wing celebrity shouldn’t be talking at a Labour Party function. That would be right-wing thought police in that case. I think freedom of ideas is worthwhile, even if they are diametrically opposed to a given paradigm.

    • millsy 10.2

      The Maori party have been subtly flirting with ACT like a bored housewife flirts with the pool boy.

      I remember a few years ago Aunty Tari turning up to an ACT conference a few years ago, looking to have all those Maori women on the DPB thrown out on the streets into low wage jobs that they cannot afford to meet the basic costs of living.

      The MP and ACT are in lock step with regards to welfare reform, and the delivery of our National Park system into iwi hands would be a perfect way to privatise DOC’s sprawling estate.

      My guess is that Jackson would take a leaf from the Tamihere playbook and go on about how neo-liberalism and chopping labour law and social security system will ‘liberate’ their people.

      (I would love to be enlightened about how forcing wages down to subsistence levels and hiking rents, and utilities, etc will improve Maori)

  11. lprent 11

    Btw: the site slowed down earlier because of a link to the friday Christchurch black humor post being linked to from the NZ Herald quake update page. The site did pretty well getting more than 3500 page views in a hour with that level of graphic content.

  12. Deadly_NZ 12

    A lilttle more on the thinking of key and co’s idea’s on who’s going to pay for Christchurch. Us.

    And lucky we not in the States..
    Something about a foreign language site..

  13. Oscar 13

    Id rather listen to Nature than to scientists that constantly rebut the data as being wrong, rather than change their theories.

    Mark my words: Global Warming is now Global Cooling. Probably won’t see any admission of wrongdoing from scientists until about 5 years from now when the debate will change.

    Gases targeted so far: S, CH4, CO2, what next? H?

    [Frankly oscar you give ‘listening to Nature’ a bad name with your obdurate inability to learn. Yesterday you were telling us that the atmospheric CO2 level were dropping. When the evidence shown to you that it was increasing, you invoked some totally made up notion that there was a ‘ 5 year lag effect’. When it was pointed out to you that the CO2 measurements are sensitive to the annual cycles dues to the seasons…. you ignored it.

    This behaviour is the hallmark of a self-deluding idiot. I wouldn’t mind too much if the delusions you are propagating were not so dangerous. As far as I am concerned I don’t want to see The Standard giving you any more oxygen….RL]

    [lprent: Moved to OpenMike. If I see this type of shallow diversion on a post again, then you’ll be getting vastly reduced opportunities to do it. I think that 1 minute == a 1 week ban sounds like a reasonable ratio for wasting my time. This just cost me 5 minutes to move and to fix the linkages. ]

    • handle 13.1

      I’ve heard reports from friends that it has been a bit chilly today – must be that global cooling, eh.

    • lprent 13.2

      I haven’t seen anyone looking at elemental Sulphur (S) as being a climatic change gas. I have noticed debate about the gas SO4, mostly arguing about its effect as a cooling agent.

      Similarly elemental Hydrogen (H) is in play in terms of both gaseous CH4 (methane) and gaseous/liquid/solid H2O (water).

      (Translation: Your ‘query’ is simply silly ).

      Furthermore – what is this doing in this post? It is completely off topic. Moving to OpenMike

      • Oscar 13.2.1

        Sorry, too early in my morning when I wrote that. I was taught that S was believed, in the 70’s to be a major cause of global warming, hence why the removal of sulfur (or sulphuric compounds)? from diesel was a “big thing.”

        Yet the intervening 40 years have shown that SO4 plays a role in cooling the climate, and scattering the incoming solar radiation. Sounds like a “sunscreen” for the earth.

        I can’t find much information online, except here and here

        I realise that the whole acid rain debate lies behind this as well, but seeing as AR generally occurs naturally in any event, whats the rationale behind continuing to ban it, given it stays in the atmosphere for just a few weeks?

        • lprent

          It wasn’t so much for global warming even in the 70’s. Even then it was recognized as causing overall cooling effects because of its effect on water condensation in the atmosphere causing cloud formation. But there are also warming effects as well with its effect on spreading carbon on to ice. It is also pretty good at low level smog… Generally it is pretty good at doing climate change – you’re just not sure about which effects outweigh others..

          Lofting it up high using larger chimneys and higher exit tempatures were pretty good at moving out of the immediate area, but massively increases its residence time in the atmosphere, causing all types of climate change issues because of where the junk lands. It helps to increase the aerosols that give rise to the brown cloud issues, which have nasty effects in melting ice (deposit dark crap on ice and it will adsorb more heat) thereby causing climate change.

          Several other nasties with SO4 like the smog issues. One of the things that SO4 is pretty good at is forming nuclei for water condensation at low altitudes, which then picks up any other crap in the city atmospheres as well as its own acidity when combined with water. This tends to cause considerable health problems.

          Similarly it causes quite bad runoff effects into rivers and seaways, especially around cities.

          And there are still questions about how much the effects are on plant life. The increase and reduction in high altitude SO4 emissions through the US and Europe were coincidental with reduction and improvement of the health of vegetation. But the pathways for that happening are not well understood. For that matter they are not well understood even around cities – but they are observable.

          Basically spewing out SO4 and other such combustion products appears quite dangerous at many levels.

  14. logie97 14

    Why is it that there appears to be a crack beginning to appear between Brownlee and Parker, and Brownlee is taking control…?

    • RedLogix 14.1

      The only way Brownlee could sideline the CCC and take over would be to contract it all out, ie a massive privatisation in the name of ‘reconstruction’.

      Lines up with my earlier conversation with Armchair Critic.

  15. Oscar 15

    Probably unrelated, but didn’t a blood moon portend a sign of bad things to come? If so, then the lunar eclipse last year which was most visible in Christchurch, probably stacks up with the folklore.

    [lprent: Also moved to OpenMike on general grumpiness grounds about diversion trolling. ]

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    National has now had time to study the economic ramifications of the Christchurch earthquake – and their ugly implications for the November election.

    My guess: Brownlee and co. have figured that their best chance is to start getting huge sums of money flowing into the economy ASAP. And for that to happen, rebuilding needs to start immediately.

    I suspect that there is a slight panic pulse going on.

    • neoleftie 16.1

      CV – there is the small issue that the Tories are pumping in overseas borrowed money ( 300 million per week ) just to keep things afloat now, if we borrow at great rates then we over inflate the money supply, all the levers are connected, too much too quickly in one area and you cause an imbalance in another key marco monetary lever. inflation, interest rate, dollar value, gosh everything is connected and finely balanced, its a trade off.
      The goldern side of this disaster is that most of the insurance money will come from outside our economy and increase the M3 supply and GDP etc in a positive way – call it overseas direct investment in a way.
      The Tories have few choice – they must look to within the budget to find the cash or…
      1) tax raises or levies – they couldnt, it would be political ideological suicide.
      2) reassign big capital infrastructure projects – GPD neutral and that just unbalances the north south productive shift.
      3) slash and burn state sector / govt spending; well that will increase unemployment and decrease spending rates and unbalance the very fragile economy.
      4) print money – i.e govt bonds; maxed out now.
      5) asset sales – only thing left really but no mandate and politic suicide.
      6) borrow more – ideoligical opposed to high levels of state debt.

      The Tories are now facing the worst scenario ever – No Cash and very little options to generate some.

      • Carol 16.1.1

        On TV3 News tonight, hints that Key may raise taxes generally.


        The Government hasn’t ruled out a nationwide tax to fund the rebuild.

        But that will be revealed in the next budget in May.

        • neoleftie

          So with little options and little cash in the kitty ( most locked up and ring fenced ) the Tories are having to resort to maybe just maybe raise taxs haha but tax exactly who…
          Perhaps they should just take back the tax cuts they just handed out last year…
          if the Tories raise taxes – spending goes down and unemployment goes up. They also have to sell it to the right wing and the ACT Extremists.
          If they hadnt given a nice big tax break by and large to the elites then we would have had the ready cash in the tax rake to either afford more debt or direct expenditure…
          In a financial crisis does a prudent person go to the pub and shout all his mates or does he bank it or spend it on the basics like food…Nope our good olde boys shouted their mates.

          • Colonial Viper

            if the Tories raise taxes – spending goes down and unemployment goes up.

            Not if they target taxes aimed at the top 5% of income earners and wealth holders. Of course, this is a NACT Government so that won’t happen.

            As a bit of trivia, the 100 richest New Zealanders have a net worth totalling in the several tens of billions of dollars. Enough to rebuild Christchurch a few times over.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.2

        BTW a minor detail I think only $120M a week is new borrowing being added to the debt pile; the remaining $180M a week (out of the $300M figure you mentioned) is us borrowing money in order to pay back old loans which are coming due.

    • MrSmith 16.2

      CV Christchurch has just been turned into the biggest socialist town in NZ. After the first quake (was there) I couldn’t have given a F— about my material possessions, all that mattered was family and friends and after the second Quake (wasn’t there) I think people in chch will bite anyone that thinks money and material possessions are the road to happiness . This is a nightmare for Wonkey and friends they don’t like emotion it gets in the way of walking all over people for the Dollar.

      • neoleftie 16.2.1

        MrSmith i think you are dead right – the rise of community connectiveness was and is a sight to behold, and people are now more concerned about other people. life as we know for a huge chunk of chch now revolves around the welfare state in all it benefical forms – welfare state is now a positive work, even tory minsters are using that language in a positive manner

      • Colonial Viper 16.2.2


  17. Carol 17

    I’m watching “Let’s Talk, on Stratos (Freeview). Sue Bradford was on talking about the Welfare Working Group report & National’s response. Helen Kelly was on talking about her background, her experiences with Early Childhood Education, the importance of unions in collective bargaining – because productivity has increased over recent times, but wages for workers havem not grown as a result. the interviewer asked about women in public life, following high profile women in politics & public life under labour.

    Kelly talked about National’s committiees etc being stacked with mostly men. She said they referred to National’s tax working group as “Twelve Angry Men”, because the group consisted solely of men.

    Some good things to watch on Stratos.

  18. Draco T Bastard 18

    Well, it appears that Family First have released the results (PDF) from their online survey. This came up on Twitter awhile back through liberal type people that I follow and all that can be said of the results is that they’ve removed all the replies that disagreed with them. In other words, they’re lying.

    Someone else got round to putting up their own survey asking the same questions. As can be expected, the results so far are the exact opposite of Family Firsts.

    H/T Imperator Fish

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      The kwiksurvey site is asking only for people who filled out the first survey to answer their survey. I would expect that they’re getting many answers from people who didn’t read that bit, or just decided to answer any way.

      While it is possible that family first might have doctored their results, it’s equally possible that they could have had completely biased sampling – eg giving out forms at churches. In this case if kwiksurvey do indeed only get respondents who answered the first survey, we could expect that their results will be much the same.

      • just saying 18.1.1

        Several feminist and left wing sites had links to the family first site for their readers to fill out the questionnaire. I expect they excluded respondants who had reached the questionnaire though these links. I filled it in via one of these sites and I expect a lot of others did too.

        • Vicky32

          I filled it in via here! I gave (as I always do) honest answers and some of them would not necessarily find favour with people here, but it is what it is.) Sorry!

  19. Lanthanide 19

    “The Christchurch coroner has defended the pace of release of the names of earthquake victims, saying people working on identifying the dead were hurt by comments from the Prime Minister.

    Last week, Prime Minister John Key said the slow public release of names of quake victims was farcical, and he had raised the issue with police.”


  20. ianmac 20

    Just had a noticeable quake in Blenheim. 11:03pm. Hope it was not the flow on from something much bigger somewhere else?

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