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Open mike 06/07/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 6th, 2010 - 24 comments
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Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

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24 comments on “Open mike 06/07/2010”

  1. Bored 1

    Yesterday I took a swipe at one of my pet hates, the cult of the expert, that narrow focused person who in somebodies (I dont know whom) opinion “knows more and more about a smaller and smaller subject till he ends up knowing everything about nothing”.

    Todays rant is the next logical step, that experts get iit wrong. Check this one out.


    Which in turn leads us to the very thorny issue of in whose opinion? Paid for by whom? Over to you guys to deduce what happened with the above example.

  2. eye saw 2

    Be careful you are starting to be an expert on this subject.

    • prism 2.1

      e/s Funny and true. What’s that principle – Hynecker’s? That in studying something you change the nature of it. Perhaps expertise on experts will result in improvement.

      • Bored 2.1.1

        Theres a real danger there as eye saw noted, I will be careful to shoot myself when the expertise on experts gets too intense.

        • prism

          Bored – I meant to say that the hope is that expertise on experts will result in (their) improvement. Don’t give up and shoot yourself, it may take a while to dent the carapace of superiority that so many experts don!

  3. Jenny 3

    Loved by his caregivers who describe him “as a joy to have” . A 38 year old blind and autistic man is being ordered from his residential care by IHC bureaucrats in what seems to be a purely cost cutting exercise.

    Richard’s special needs care was cut by the department, forcing his care to be taken over by other patients of the rest home.

    Because of the stress this situation is causing, IHC are now ordering Richard’s expulsion from his home of 7 years.

    “The staff don’t want him to go, the other [residents’] families don’t want him to go and the other [residents] don’t want him to go.”

    IHC to evict disabled man who is a joy to have

    According to stuff.

    “This is the first time in the chief executive’s 20-year work history with IHC that anyone has been required to transition out of services.”

    Refusing to comment Health Minister, Tony Ryall, referred reporters back to the ministry.

    Ministry disability support services group manager Anne O’Connell justified Richard’s expulsion by saying IHC was entitled to do this if “the relationship is such that it is having an adverse effect on the client or other residents”.

    Disputing the family’s claim that the cuts had created this “adverse effect” a ministry spokeswoman said she believed the hours of care provided were appropriate. This statement was made in spite of the fact of Richard’s medical condition worsening, IHC had cut 115 hours of funding for his support per fortnight.

    In my opinion this unprecedented and callous action must be reversed.

    The threat is that these sorts of cuts and resulting remedial actions, will become the norm within IHC and other government departments held responsible for the care of our most vulnerable members of society.

    I challenge all Standardnistas and other left activists to do what ever they can to support Richard’s family, to get IHC to reinstate Richard’s full entitlement to care which would allow him to stay in his home of seven years.

    • prism 3.1

      We can’t always give needy people exactly what they would like, the wants are often idealised and exceed the government’s ability to pay. People’s expectations have risen as government assistance was provided for more and higher levels of services to disability sectors. It may be that they need to be rejigged.

      Past government, in a rush of idealism believing being in the community was all and that the institutionalised life limited the life options of those living there, have abandoned the idea and sold the homes and land set aside. Now spending on the individual is the norm and no doubt rising in cost. The ‘new’ system may soon be found to be unacceptably costly and then what will be provided?

      At the same time, people caring for relatives in their own homes, are not always receiving the help they need, particularly respite care. This will become more necessary with the growth in dementia which when advanced, turns adults into unpredictable and unreliable children. Nurses are being attacked and having to work under disgraceful pressure, and this is being accepted as the norm.
      See Stuff http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/3883597/Hospital-assaults-going-unreported

      When trying to limit the difficulty of working in one residential home, where tape was put over the mouth of one patient, the nurse was sacked even the home was castigated and I think closed. Yet the constant unpleasant environment that can be caused by brain lapses or total madness should be recognised, and understood by authorities and mitigated against to improve working conditions.

      It isn’t a well paid, glamour job where the employed can prance around in their suits and isolate themselves from harsh reality of life, so that many decision makers and funders will never experience or inform themselves of that reality.

      Funds are also being cut for assistance to older people living in their own homes, with home help cut to the bone in some areas.. Housework involves a lot of manual work, and yet the system is dropping standards to those who need it.

      We need to recognise the broad problem, that it is growing and the cost too, and seek ways to provide reasonable living standards and care that is affordable and is secure. It will involve change, and should give everyone involved a fair living and working standard.

      • Jenny 3.1.1


        We can’t always give needy people exactly what they would like, the wants are often idealised and exceed the government’s ability to pay

        Prism there can only be one answer to your excuse for cutting social services:

        Bull – shit

        The government, can afford afford a billion dollar of tax cuts, that mostly go to the well off.

        The government, can afford to keep spending millions on an expensive and increasingly pointless war effort in Afghanistan.

        The government, can afford letting rich bankers and financiers make billions of dollars in speculative dealings, completely tax free.

        The government, can afford to gift more than $20 million dollars to the wealthy New Zealand Rugby board to pay for the world cup.

        The government, can afford to give themselves a 10 percent pay rise.

        Prism, paraphrasing your poor excuse for this injustice:

        We can always give greedy people exactly what they would like, their wants are often idealised and never exceed the government’s ability to pay

        • Jenny

          Apologists for cuts to beneficiaries like those affecting Mr Heather, or to cuts in ACC or the pay freeze in the public sector, always claim the government has no more money for such things.

          This is all pure unadulterated bullshit.

          Apart from the examples I mentioned above where government funding is never a question.

          I forgot to mention one of the biggest of them all, the hundreds of millions of dollars magicked up by government to protect private investors ie. those relatively few kiwis with enough discretionary income to invest. Guaranteed up to a million dollars per investor, this scheme is not for the benefit of the average Kiwi battler who would be lucky to have any discretionary income at all.

          The government has guaranteed $120 billion in retail deposits with a total of 73 institutions participating in the Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme. The Crown Financial Statements as at 31 May 2009 state that potential loss associated with the guaranteed entities are in the range of $650 million to $700 million under a liquidation scenario for all guaranteed non-bank deposit-taking entities. This liquidation scenario assumes that all such guaranteed entities default, but that default does not expose the Crown to a potential loss in all instances. An update to 30 June 2009 will be released in the full-year Financial Statements in October.

          Currently Treasury is budgeting a net loss in default payments of $771 million.

          Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has described this scheme as a “moral hazard”. According to Dalziel:

          “Blanket retail deposit guarantees are generally undesirable because of the economic distortions they create.’

          “Economic distortions include encouraging guaranteed depositors and deposit taking institutions to make riskier investment decisions since gains are privatized and losses are socialised.’

          This is not to mention the tens of billions guaranteed to protect wholesale depositors in the separate Wholesale Deposit Guarantee Scheme. Fortunately unlike the retail guarantee, no public money has yet been spent to bail out the wholesalers in this country and in fact the government has made money from the registration fee. But this happy state of affairs is conditional on the recession ending soon. If the taxpayer is ever called on to honour the wholesale guarantee the cost could be in the billions, and you can forget about any social provision at all.

          All this makes me wonder where centrists like Prism will go when the choice is between honouring these depositors guarantee schemes and unwinding decades of progress in social provision.

          • prism

            Hello Jenny
            It’s a cold winter’s day and I could do with some of your heat and fire.
            I am expecting government and others to make more suggestions of cuts to benefits and government programs ‘going forward’. All the good services and assistance that have been obtained over the years are likely to get nibbled down if not slashed. That makes me sad. But pointing at others saying why did so and so get a bigger helping – taking the high-minded line doesn’t prevent that on its own, though the point should be made strongly when arguing for retention or provision of benefits

            Being sharp and seeing how to argue one’s case and lobby and use money effectively and not allow it to flow down the cracks will be more helpful to the people who need assistance and aren’t in a position to argue than tub-thumping and going for the impossible dream. From Prism

            • just saying

              “tub-thumping and the imposssible dream”

              Is this a reference to the “idealised wants of the needy” from your earlier post.

              Who exactly are you talking about? and if possible, references please.

              I have a feeling you are talking of particular groups but you are skirting around naming them.

              • prism

                js Have just got back. Concerning my comments you refer to – I think we are all needy at times, and some needs get more favourable attention than others. My interest is in the state giving more assistance to parents, more services, buses that take medical staff around poorer communities so that children and their caregivers have free access to health checks and remedies.

                My point was that the expectations of remedies and standards of care are constantly rising amongst the general population and cannot all be met. Making a case for being on the priority list for what is available from the productive economy to the dependent population is a task for each group and sub-group. And deciding allocations is another hard task when there are other competing things the government is required to support.

                • just saying

                  Hi Prism,

                  I’m still a bit confused after going back and reading this and previous comments.
                  The medical services you describe, providing services to poorer communities sound great.

                  Are you saying that services are proviced to the elderly at the expense of families?

                  I think it it very dangerous to buy into the idea that slashing social services is necessary and inevitable. Arguing about which services should be cut most is exactly the kind of response the government is hoping for from the left, because it tacitly accepts their premises. “Austerity” measures as a response to the recession aren’t just unfair and cruel (the poor did not cause the recession so why should they be made to pay for it?), they are IMHO much more likely to deepen it.

                  Having said that, it seems that with grey power etc., the senior sector has some very good representation for their interests, and the elderly are a powerful voting block. I do agree that other needy groups could use some extra support in getting their needs similarly listened to and addressed. (Not that any needy group in the community has it easy).

                  • Jenny

                    After splurging trillions world wide on propping up delinquent banks, and reckless finance companies, the time has come for the vulnerable, the sick and the aged to be stuck with the bill.

                    Belt Tighteners of the World Unite!

                    captcha – restricting (should be constricting)

  4. Carol 4

    I just want to check out something that has occured to me while listening to the Supermarket vs Produce growers discussion on Nat Rad Nine-to-Noon just now. It seems that the supermarkets are putting a big mark-up on fruit and veg, compared to the retail cost, because they can. And fruit and veg are pretty basic food items that we need.

    In contrast it seems they have less of a mark up on more discretionary items, like alcohol. But I don’t drink or buy alcohol, while I do buy fruit and veg (mostly from the fruit and veg shops). I’m never usually that bothered by alcohol issues because they mostly seem pretty marginal to me. I’m never bothered by other people getting merry on it when I’m socialising with them.

    But, doesn’t this produce-supermarket issue mean that, when I buy fruit and veg, especially from fruit and veg shops, I’m paying over-the-top, and, in so doing, am actually subsidising other people’s alcohol habits? This is what it sounds like to me. Am I right?

    • jcuknz 4.1

      Sounds pretty right to me … but that is the penalty we temperate people pay for our small amounts of booze a discount prices. Paying through the nose for our F&V. But judging from the comparative prices quoted on TV3 last night I’m not sure it is worth the effort to hunt out the independant vege shops becuase their prices were not markedly less and require cash rather than credit card. We pay for convienience.
      Another booze angle …. here in North Dunedin the pubs seem to be closing down, Captain Cook, Gardie, that one next to the hospital …. leaving just bottle stores and a couple of tiny bars/restaurents.
      Or do I not know where to look?

      • just saying 4.1.1

        All student pubs. Probably a big part of the reason in your neck of the woods.

  5. jcuknz 5

    “But won’t extending unemployment benefits worsen the budget deficit? Yes, slightly — but as I and others have been arguing at length, penny-pinching in the midst of a severely depressed economy is no way to deal with our long-run budget problems. And penny-pinching at the expense of the unemployed is cruel as well as misguided. ” Paul Krugman NYT Today.

  6. Olwyn 6

    The supermarket offers a snapshot of how consumerism and wealth are not the same thing. It has been observable for a long time in supermarkets that discretionary purchases are cheap and necessities, like fruit and veg are expensive. So people struggling to make ends meet forgo the veg and buy the so-called luxuries, by necessity. Then we get hand-wringing articles about obesity and dental problems.

  7. ianmac 7

    JOHN FLETCHER argues that the national standards for schools are neat, plausible and wrong. Sums it up well. (John was former Principal Lecturer in Education, CCE.

  8. prism 8

    The duopoly of supermarkets here have been squeezing the maximum profit for their businesses particularly since the Australians have become so strong. They have threatened NZ businesses that if they don’t agree to contracts offering lower prices, then they will buy in from Australia where size of operation reduces cost.

    The apple growers are alarmed at how their prices are being held at historic levels while inflation generally, and some services, have caused rises in costs. Yet the supermarkets sell at today’s prices, and when they cut for specials, are using the extra margin they receive from blackmailing the growers into low wholesale prices.

    I have packed apples and can recognise the blemishes and damage that second grade apples have, and these are sold very cheaply by the producers, yet often are near full price in the supermarkets. Also for convenience at the checkout, all apples may be priced the same, except perhaps for one variety being featured. Yet some apples are more popular, easier to grow, are older varieties without the probable royalties paid for growing newly developed types. Basically there is a price set that suits the supermarket and has no relation to their buy-in price.

    Costs incurred from between the producer and retailer were mentioned on the RADNZ 9toNoon prog. But the producer apparently covers the freight and is charged the expenses of major promotions. Coolstore costs must be included of course, for out of season apples. Spoilage as a cost was mentioned, but apples are long-lasting. And incidentally, spoilage is probably increased by the sharp angle that fruit is displayed at in many supermarkets, resulting in fruit impacting on others in the display or falling on the floor. It would be interesting to have some ballpark figures for the steps that the supermarket pays for before the margin is placed on the fruit and is sold to us.

  9. prism 9

    You will probably have caught up with Radnz 9toNoon interview this morning –

    09:20 The tradeoffs between torture and terror post September 11
    Jeremy Waldron, New York University law professor.

    He makes the point that Obama has provided leadership to improve the approach taken to this practice but also that it still goes on, as you point out.

    • G8 9.1

      I won’t shop at traditional supermarkets (the big 2) due to the price fixing. My local Asian Supermarket has everything and on average 30% cheaper.

  10. Bunji 10

    Just have to share:
    Big Budget Porn shot in London Hospital
    MP Penny Mordaunt:

    “Although I cannot claim to have seen the final picture – as I understand, these things are no longer claimable on parliamentary expenses – it was a big-budget affair and generated substantial income for the hospital.”

    “But apart from cheering up a few of the in-patients, it cannot be said to be contributing to the objectives of the primary care trust.”

    With quotes like that, I think I like her even though she’s Conservative!

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