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Open mike 09/04/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 9th, 2010 - 28 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…

28 comments on “Open mike 09/04/2010 ”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    You can’t cut taxes without cutting spending. If you try, then all you have done is raise future taxes.

    I suspect these numbers are not something peculiar to the US and that similar polls would show similar results here…


    The simple fact is that people like govt services, but don’t like paying for them. Durr. Politicians that implicitly promise them this free lunch are dishonest.

    If we really want lower taxes, we should demand the government cut the spending first.

    • Armchair Critic 1.1

      Even if NACT just cut their ministers troughing and left the spending the same, for a start…

  2. prism 2

    President Obama gets some bad comment from some here, though I don’t know if its intended to be ironic. Now he is working on the nuclear reduction problem and has pushed the Israeli problem along. Health improved somewhat, not bad in a country where improving changes is like walking through treacle.

    In an interview this a.m. the lead analyst from some US entity commented that as we are so far away we probably wouldn’t know details of USA domestic policy. I thought that we would probably know as much as the average American!

    • ianmac 2.1

      Yes.I heard that comment about NZ probably not knowing about USA domestic policy. “We jist be poor country folk yr honour. Oops -yr honor.”

    • Quoth the Raven 2.2

      The old nuclear treaty expired so they sign a new one all hail Obama. Obama deserves to be denounced as the charlatan he is. One of the first things he did in office was order a drone attack on Pakistan that killed a number of innocent children. He just authorised the assassination of an American citizen without being charged or having a trial. This when he condemned bush for detaining people without charge. He’s taken executive power further than even Bush did and he recently renewed the patriot act. Did you forget the little thing about him escalating the war in Afghanistan or the cronyism of the bank bailouts? And healthcare “reform” please it’s health insurance reform it hardly addresses the underlying problem of health costs at all. Do pray tell what actual progress (not hollow rhetoric) has been made on Israel?

      • prism 2.2.1

        qtr You are probably right in what you say about Obama, I don’t know if there are excuses for any of those things you quote – the best of two bad policies for instance, but I want to believe he is going to be better than the other charlatans the USA has had recently. Cold reality will set in soon I suppose – another the Winter of Discontent.

        • Quoth the Raven

          I highly recommend you read that link on healthcare. Just read it myself and it’s absolutely superb and a bloody eye-opener.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It’s the typical story of capitalism – restriction and then prices increased to boost profits for the shareholders.

            • Quoth the Raven

              The thing is many erroneously believe that regulation, restriction, regimentation, etc will save them from the rapacious capitalists ignoring economic reality. .

        • Jenny

          Bush light? any takers?

  3. prism 3

    Have gone to whanau ora area

  4. Olwyn 4

    There was an item on Morning Report today about those on invalids’ benefits having a form to sign which allows case workers to question their doctors. Apparently, if they do not agree to sign the form, they must then go to a WINZ designated doctor. It would seem, by the numbers going from the invalid’s to the sickness benefit, that the WINZ staff, having demanded information about the patient, are then able to challenge the doctor’s assessment of their health status. Not only does this come close to infringing on patient confidentiality, it is another area in which professionals are being reduced to policy checkout chicks – judges are not up to the task of sentencing, councils are not up to the task of administering cities, and doctors are not up to the task of diagnosis. Presumably, the only people who count as qualified in these areas are the government and its political allies.

  5. ianmac 5

    Olwyn. Yes to all of your post. And Saun nailed it when he questioned Mike Smith (?) about the numbers on the invalids benefit. The quarterly figures of intake to the invalids benefit since 1993 have been between 400 and 500. The figures from WINZ own stats show the most recent quarter at 23! What can explain this? Mike did not know. But it seems to support the complaint that they are chucking beneficiaries off the list perhaps against the laws set out. Or they might argue that those people should not be on the invalids benefit for over 16 years. Watch this space.

    • BLiP 5.1

      This sort of approach to providing government services is being reflected in ACC as it moves towards the private enterprise insurance model where a set number of claims are declined regardless in the knowledge that most of the claimants won’t bother with an appeal. Sickening.

    • Descendant Of Smith 5.2

      I was interested in this post as most posts here seem to have some factual data to at least provide a basis for drawing an opinion and is one of the reasons I like this site. My wife has worked for years in the disability sector and she’s not noticed any particular change from her end.

      In my search for data I came across this report which at least attempts to explain the complexities of Invalid’s Benefit numbers which might help draw a few better informed conclusions.

      Invalids Benefit Growth

      I can’t find more current numbers than 2008 but it would seem from the above report that there are lots of factors influencing the numbers and it would seem simplistic to draw the above conclusion without much more robust data.

      If someone knows where more up to date figures are then a link would be appreciated.

      I could quite easily draw a conclusion for instance that older unwell people might be staying in work during a recession and so the inflow has reduced for that reason. I just don’t have any facts to back that up.

      • Descendant Of Smith 5.2.1

        The Herald article provides a little more accuracy perhaps:

        “Rotorua People’s Advocacy Centre co-ordinator Paul Blair – a qualified barrister – said Work and Income regional health advisers were ringing doctors and “cross-examining” them about whether their patients were really incapable of working 15 hours a week.

        Work and Income head Patricia Reade said there had been no change to the way eligibility for invalids benefits was assessed since the 14 regional health advisers were appointed in 2007.”

        Even the advocates aren’t saying that case workers are contacting doctors – they are talking about regional health advisors which as I understand are medically qualified and Work and Income are saying no policy change has occurred. This according to the article has been happening since 2007 so it’s not a recent change.

        I care about this because my wife works with people with Intellectual Disabilities and rabid scaremongering in the media often causes them much distress which she has to tidy up.

        • Olwyn

          Thanks for that clarification, Descendant of Smith. I still think, however, that this government is far too fond of undermining the judgement of professional people, and this is still a version of the same thing, if a milder version than I first thought.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            I am of course assuming the newspaper report is accurate.

            I think this government made it quite clear pre-election that they don’t need policy people (experts) because they know what’s best. Paternalistic daddy state is much more evil than nanny state. We’re at least getting what we should have expected.

            As a rule though, at least in my experience, public servants are for the most part professional and neutral and don’t enact policies until the actual policies are in place.

            • JAS

              Of course they don’t need policy people, afterall they are entitled to breach the Privacy Act, the Human Rights Act and probably any other act that gets in their way – all by quoting nonsense about “the greater good”.

              I quit my job at the then DSW in the early 90’s because I couldn’t in good conscience administer the (then) new National party policies, sadly I think this incarnation are going to be worse.

              • JAS


                I had the wonderful experience today of walking across the stage to recieve my degree in front of my very proud children, and as I sat there during the ceremony I was saddened to know that many single parents have now been denied that chance with the removal of training incentive allowance for higher level study.

              • r0b

                Hey – congratulations JAS!

        • ianmac

          The discussion on Friday Morning Report had Saun Plunkett reading from the WINZ own official quarterly report, for I think the December quarter. 23 went onto the invalids benefit. Every quarter from 1993 had at least 400-500 people added. Please explain.

  6. pseudopanax 6

    It seems that Joyce’s claim of being able to throw it back without exceeding the limit has been picked up on. This just in from Gareth Hughes – a drinking challenge! My understanding is that Joyce and Gareth plow through the 3/4s of bottle of plonk each, and then check their driving ability at both 50mg and 80 mg. Then, if Joyce can’t drive, he has to commit to lowering the limit.
    Or something.

    Great idea, and while we still need a few more details, my money’s on Gareth. The Minister may have studied every aspect of animalism at Massey, but Gareth’s Uni training is far more recent.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Little by little, stone by stone, the rich man’s mountain comes crumbling down …


    Underlying trend: Support for Key and Nats … falling. Support for Labour … not rising.

    Let’s hope Labour can work out what voters are looking for, before 2011 (Hint: it’s not winning a point of order with Lockwood Smith, or whatever it is that seems to get Labour MPs excited these days. Try talking about the people’s jobs, not yours).

    National can lose the election. Do Labour want to win it?

    • Armchair Critic 7.1

      I’ve been looking for trends for the last nine months or so. The one I can see now that I like the most is the confidence in the government. It is dropping, not to put too fine a point on it.
      Fingers crossed the first “how’s that latest poll looking” comment at the sewer is due before the end of this year.

      • gingercrush 7.1.1

        The confidence measure is a key one me thinks. Also if other polls, i.e. TV One, TV 3 and one of the newspapers come out with polls showing something similar would be important. Right now on my gut instinct I’d say National isn’t performing well and some people (not many) are anxious towards National. National lately has released several policies and reports and been on the whole criticised for them meanwhile some Cabinet Ministers aren’t performing as they should be. Yet Labour seems missing half the time and just apathetic.

    • ianmac 7.2

      Thanks Gobsmacked.Hope that the fall will be a bit more than the margin of error. Will the Herald headline “Slumping Fortunes of National!!”

  8. lprent 8

    Oh damn. Got another instance of the re-edit allowing access to the comment by someone else.

    I’m going to turn off the one option that could be the remaining problem. If anyone sees it happening, let me know.

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