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Open mike 09/02/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 9th, 2023 - 60 comments
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60 comments on “Open mike 09/02/2023 ”

  1. PsyclingLeft.Always 1

    Hello. this link was an Opinion in the ODT. On reading the first part…I was wondering..where is this going?

    But it is about the UBI. And the dollar numbers "wasted"..seem amazing.

    A UBI..seems to make real sense.

    I realise this has probably been talked before…but what think?

    (I am not an economist…FYI : )
    However ..Tim Hazledine is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Auckland.

    So how could we get that last $50 billion directly into the hands of the populace? We could cut income taxes or GST, but that would of course benefit most the people who earn and spend the most.

    Is there a way of redistributing it such that without necessarily favouring the poor, it at least treats them equally with everybody else?

    Yes there is and it is an excellent idea. It’s usually called a UBI — a universal basic income.


    • SPC 1.1

      Maybe a Professor, but not very honest.

      The $50B total includes super (by far its largest component), not just welfare (and then there are WFF tax credits gone gone gone).

      And proposes doing so via UI of $250 in addition to wage income. And placing those not employed (including the sick and those on disability as well as those in old age) below the poverty level.

      To the right of Roger Douglas, while he would go for a flat rate of tax he would not end super or payments to the unemployed. It was originally proposed by TOP under Gareth Morgan – who would have financed it by land taxes.

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.1

        Additionally the choice of framing against, what happens if the govt just allows us to spend for ourselves, does away with transfer payments. Hazledine seems content to assume that somebody will just gift income over to anybody who is short, so we need not worry about who does and doesn't have income.

        Hopefully he's graduated beyond any teaching roles at this stage in his career, because these assumptions should be made clear to the audience.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.1.2

        Thanks for that. Is exactly why I was asking what think. Def consensus seems to be : a RW/libertarian dream ! ..so Ill read up Weka's links : )

    • Nic the NZer 1.2

      Heres a description of a better policy, from an expert.

      JG vs UBI

      The issue with the UBI is its a universal payment. It faces a choice in its scale (the amount of UBI paid). One choice is low (about as big as a basic benefit) in which case the next step up from out of, to in work, could be around double income. This would be socially exclusionary on welfare recipients. Eventually cost of living would restructure to adjust to this leaving long term welfare recipients relatively poor. This has been the calibre of most proposals I've seen, in many countries.

      The other alternative is a generous one, but this likely needs a big tax adjustment. This is going to be at least as disruptive as the initial GST implementation, probably more so.

      At this point the proposals tend to focus on efficiencies of universal payments. This basically is like saying MSD should just employ fewer staff, and its really not the issue.

      All these things could be achieved much better by PAYE adjustments or simplifying the provision of welfare, without restructuring much of our economic framework.

    • mikesh 1.3

      Is there a way of redistributing it such that without necessarily favouring the poor, it at least treats them equally with everybody else?

      In a sense a UBI does favour the poor, unlike GST. A UBI would make a real difference to a low earner, but it would just be "pocket money" to a millionaire.

      • Sanctuary 1.3.1

        A UBI is a terrible idea. The right likes a UBI – Freidrich Hayek, Roger Douglas and Milton Friedman are amongst its fans – because it simplifies everything. We get to keep our own money, the state collects just enough tax to cover the UBI and some core functions. The UBI is then expected to cover the cost of health, unemployment, education etc etc. The virtuous save their UBI against those things; the indigent squander theirs and suffer the consequences – about which we, freed from the burden of being our brothers keeper, need not care a jot.

        Additionally, an UBI undercuts efforts to turn the minimum wage into a living wage. A right-wing party administering an UBI would say that workers who don’t need to work for basic needs don't need a minimum wage, much less a living one.

        Much better is the idea of "Universal basic Services." UBS offers instead free housing, food, transport, education, forms of communication, healthcare and legal aid for all.

        Aaron Bastani discusses it here:

        • arkie

          The minimum wage was always intended to be a 'living' wage:

          It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By "business" I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.
          FDR on the National Industrial Recover Act, 1933

          We have let the definition slip, what is the minimum if it is not enough to live on?

        • PsyclingLeft.Always

          Oh god..favoured by them Chicago libertarian fans ? Def dodgy !..

    • Siobhan 1.4

      "The idea of universal basic income, or distributing cash handouts regardless of employment status, had a moment in 2017.

      Billionaires and the tech elite talked about the idea publicly, with perhaps the crown jewel of UBI’s moment in the cultural zeitgeist being the push Mark Zuckerberg gave the idea in his commencement speech at Harvard in May."


      I'm no economist..but I know my internal alarm bells ring really loud when these guys say its a good idea…

    • weka 1.5

      I've written critically about UBI models from a left wing pov. The main points are this:

      1. any UBI has to have welfare bolted on rather than attempting to replace welfare. This is because people have different income needs and not everyone can work in order to top up a UBI. Too many lefties see a UBI as a replacement to WINZ and that's both ignorant and dangerous.
      2. a UBI should be designed by people who understand welfare, not economists. The economist designed models have serious flaws, see TOP's UBI as an example
      3. the biggest problem for the left is how to tory-proof a UBI. The right would love a UBI that opened the door to dismantling welfare.
      4. there are better models, maybe as a transition. See the Greens' Guaranteed Minimum Income policy.





      • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.5.1

        Oh thanks Weka I will read up on those. And as I said, Im not an economist and was not sure the Profs full story cred…seemed somewhat legit on first take ?. But consensus here…he seemingly not that great ! Nor the UBI idea ! I will def take on the Opinions here..as I value them : )

        Cheers all !

        • Incognito

          IMO, Tim Hazledine has tonnes of credit on UBI and ‘welfare economics’ through loads of articles and media interviews over many years. The ’consensus here’ is merely the counter-opinion of a couple of commenters without known credentials to one recent piece by Hazledine. One of those commenters is on record as having a bias against the Economics Department in which Prof. Hazledine held a position. Make of this what you will.

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            Oh well, there you go. Another perspective. Thankyou for your input Incognito. Just goes to show how different… peoples take can be on something ? And…I not knowing what you have previously seen. Have to say, at times…i feel baffled by some of the reasoning. But at least I now have some things to read up on .

            Thanks all.

          • SPC

            The Herald also received the promotion of the once TOP idea (it is no longer policy).


            The claim that we pay $50B in social welfare “benefits” is only true if one includes super – which is 2/3rd.

            His observation that “managerialism” is a constraint on academia and thus freedom of speech is based on his own experience of change during his career – it was however simply part of the (delegations in modern jargon) regime applied to public sector bureaucracy and even corporate governance in the wider world.


            • SPC

              I should clarify my comment that UI is no longer TOP policy.

              TH says there is no party proposing to end the welfare state as he wants (and his $50B figure he mentions includes the 2/3rd "social welfare" component of super to those over 65).

              TOP still have a UI (for those not currently paid benefits and super), but it is no longer intended to end the welfare state (benefits and super would still be paid and some such as disability at more generous levels).


              • weka

                TOP still have a UBI policy as core https://www.top.org.nz/universal-basic-income-policy.

                They've been making changes in recent years to Morgan's welfare replacement system, but it's still hugely problematic. They have finally acknowledged that disabled people will get top ups, but it's unclear from the website if everyone else not able to work would be on a UBI at the dole rate (that's the end of welfare).

                There are no plans in the public on what the changes for disabled people would look like. I've seen some shockingly bad ideas on this from many quarters, so until they have actual policy on the table that can be looked at I don't trust their plan.

                They also still want to tax people's land on an annual basis, including that of people in poverty. Yes, there are people who own homes who would be badly affected by this. Compare this to the GP who want to tax rich people's excess wealth.

                • weka

                  I asked for clarification on twitter

                • SPC

                  Remove unfair and unreasonable sanctions on benefits, such as your relationship status determining benefit allowances.

                  This could apply to all benefits, or just disability or just disability/sickness.

                  They do not mention continuance or otherwise of super.

                  I think they exclude all benefits and super, but they should make it clear.

                  They also still want to tax people's land on an annual basis

                  Sure an extra charge to that of rates, but to central government. But deferral of payment for those on low income (against the equity in the home).

            • Incognito

              I didn’t see any mention of “managerialism” in Hazldine’s opinion piece on UBI!? What is your point?

              • SPC

                Which I guess was why I only mentioned it in my comment to you – as you raised his academic career at Auckland University (so I googled the guy to see what he said about it).

                • Incognito

                  I raised that?? Hmmmm …

                  However ..Tim Hazledine is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Auckland.

                  First comment @ 1 that started this thread.

                  I don’t believe I raised Hazledine’s academic career as a discussion topic as such in this thread, which would see rather odd anyways.

          • Nic the NZer

            Come on. 2/3 of his 50 billion figure is already pretty much administered as a UBI. He seems to be proposing restructuring WINZ over the other 15 billion and what department we call that in the budget. If he has a better argument he should write it, because so far its risibly weak.

            Note, the previous budget forecast error was 10 billion.

            • Incognito

              Note, the previous budget forecast error was 10 billion.

              And the relevance of this is what? What is your point?

          • weka

            I was surprised to see Hazledine's take. The article isn't well explained. Either he is in Gareth Morgan's camp (get rid of welfare, replace it with $200/wk), or he has ideas about welfare add ons that he didn't explain. Neither are satisfactory in the UBI debate/

            • Incognito

              AFAIK, Hazledine has never been affiliated with a political party. I thought he wrote the article as an academic (emeritus) doing what he and other academics have been doing which is stimulating public debate – he started and finished with his “little New Year’s wish” that clearly gave the piece a light and perhaps fluffy tone. After all, it is Election Year and ‘his’ headline certainly got attention. I did not see it as a comprehensive technical analysis (hardly!) ready for a policy proposal let alone for a complete overhaul of the welfare system in NZ.

              That said, I don’t know where Hazledine got the $50B from. From Tables 5.1 and 5.2 we spent $42.86B on Social security and welfare expenses in 2022 of which $39.187B was on Welfare benefits and this included $17.764B on New Zealand Superannuation.


              In any case, the discussion shouldn’t focus on the messenger (Hazledine) and the question whether he has cred or not, as some seem prone to, but on the message.

              • SPC

                Total social security and welfare forecast for 2023 is $50B (admin and …).

                Core social security and welfare forecast for 2023 is $42B

                5.2 table shows

                $19.5B for super

                All other payment costs 18.5b

                Total for all benefits is under $10B half of this $18.5B

                The rest is made up of family and WFF tax credits, AS, paid parental leave and the Winter Energy Payment.

                • Incognito

                  Thank you.

                  I don’t know where you get the additional $8B from for “(admin and …)” but it might be hidden column somewhere in the Excel file …

                  Why the distinction between “benefits” and the other Welfare benefit expenses? What is the relevance/importance?

                  • SPC

                    Only guessing what the difference between total and core might be (payment entitlements are core …

                    The relevance is to what a proposed UI is replacing – AS, winter power, WFF tax credits either go to those in work or on super.

              • weka

                I wasn't suggesting TH was affiliated with a party. When I said in the GM camp, I meant that some people believe that welfare should be replaced with a UBI.

                Yes, the fluffy tone bothered me.

                In any case, the discussion shouldn’t focus on the messenger (Hazledine) and the question whether he has cred or not, as some seem prone to, but on the message.

                I've been focused on the problems with the argument (I don't have a problem with the man). Did someone object to TH?

  2. Adrian Thornton 2

    email to RNZ…

    Good morning.

    It is unclear why RNZ does not even mention once the ‘suffocating’ US led sanctions that are still being illegally leveled against the Syrian Government and civilian population even while facing the massive aftermath of this earth quake?

    "A U.N. envoy on Thursday urged Western and Arab countries to lift sanctions imposed on Syria years ago, warning that the measures are exacerbating “the destruction and trauma” Syrian civilians have been exposed to since the country’s civil war started 11 years ago."


    Even after all the enormous challenges we went through in New Zealand during the rebuilding of Christchurch just a few short years ago…that the producers and presenters are not outraged that these sanctions are STILL in place while the people of Syria face an even worse aftermath, can only led one to conclude that those producers and presenters only have empathy for some human lives..but not all.


    US must remove sanctions and allow Syria to rebuild – UN expert

    "The conflict and violence have already had a dire impact on the ability of the Syrian people to realise their fundamental rights, having extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities," she said.


    And yet there are still many on the 'left' who actually support US sanctions..many of them on this very forum….that in itself is quite depressing really, if you stop and think about it.

    • Incognito 2.1

      There you go again, FFS!

      And yet there are still many on the 'left' who actually support US sanctions..many of them on this very forum….that in itself is quite depressing really, if you stop and think about it.

      Really?? Did you conduct a poll or a survey here on TS? I have missed it. How many did respond and how many confirmed your fabricated nonsense? Oh, you’ve already answered my question @ 3.1:

      …describes quite nicely one or two people here and there.

      You can’t help yourself attacking others whose opinions you vehemently object to but whom you cannot convert to your thinking or silence, not matter how hard you try – and try you do in your idiosyncratic attacks on messengers & media. Why not put us out of your misery …?

  3. Francesca 3

    Adrian , we are loyal servants to our Big brothers in the

    5 eyes alliance .As such we don't embarrass our big brothers in the media.

    As well our media takes its cues from their big brothers, CNN,BBC,Reuters, etc which of course most often have a partisan anglophone view of the world

    A more even handed report from AP ; the reality of sanctions causing mass secondary deaths is undeniable.It would take extreme propagandist skill and a pathologically ignorant public to think otherwise

  4. Fark man. I'm gonna go live in Stewart Island, probably less rain than Auckland

  5. Tony Veitch 5

    As someone in the comments said, Cyclone Bola hit a low of 980. This one is shown as 968!

    Auckland could be in for one hell of a battering.

    All the very best for all in the upper north. And Mayor Brown, call a state of emergency now, in anticipation! Don't leave it until after your tennis match on Tuesday morning!

    Opps – meant to be a reply to 4 above.

    • weka 5.1

      what was the one the other week?

      • Cricklewood 5.1.1

        Around 1000… different sort of weather system. Happily we don't have big tides next week as the surge from a low that deep would be really problematic on a 3.6m tide.

        Big problem I suspect will be wind, big trees in very wet / soft ground have a bad habit of tipping over.

  6. joe90 6

    A petrocorp army straight out of some dystopian future.

    • Russia's government is allowing energy giant Gazprom to start a private security outfit.
    • Ukraine's Ministry of Defence drew comparisons with the notorious private army the Wagner Group.
    • Experts said it's plausible that another Russian mercenary army is in the works.

    Russian majority state-owned energy company Gazprom has been authorized to create its own private security outfit, in a move that Ukrainian intelligence says is part of a war-fueled "arms race" to develop a mercenary army.

    Russia's government gave its go-ahead for the energy giant to create a private security organization on February 4, under the pretext of securing the country's energy sector.


    • bwaghorn 6.1

      Increasingly unstable country with a growing number of semi independent militia,!!!

      What could possibly go wrong??

  7. observer 7

    If anyone doesn't yet know how much worse Luxon would be than even Key or English, this detailed report of a public meeting in Rangiora says it all.


    He panders to the fringe, the conspiracy theorists, and shows himself to have the spine of a slippery eel. What a pathetic excuse for a human being.

    • Visubversa 7.1

      Note in the media that when they attack Luxon, they are "anti vaxxers and conspiracy throrists". When they attacked Parliament and Jacinda they were "anti mandate protestors".

  8. bwaghorn 8


    A little poll on a name cahnge.

    I prefer dual name signs for a while, boil the frog slowly, not an option though

  9. newsense 9

    I thought initially that Wayne Brown didn’t represent the city.

    But really he does: a bunch of 70 year olds who’d rather be playing tennis than consider something from the perspective of anyone else in the city. People who banned intensification where it didn’t flood, then victim blamed. People who have no sense of the city as an entity outside their WhatsApp group. The people who built a dead end Britomart, eventually.

    Hayden Donnel on Fletcher et al blaming the floods on intensification

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