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Open mike 11/03/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, March 11th, 2020 - 129 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

129 comments on “Open mike 11/03/2020 ”

  1. Morrissey 1

    How the UK press is misinforming the public about Britain’s role in the world

    by MARK CURTIS, 9 March 2020

    Britain’s national press consistently portrays Britain as a supporter of noble objectives such as human rights and democracy. The extraordinary extent to which the public is being misinformed about the UK’s foreign and military policies is revealed in new statistical research by Declassified UK.

    The research suggests that the public is being bombarded by views supporting the priorities of policy-makers. It also finds that there is only a very small space in the British press for critical, independent analysis and key facts about UK foreign policy.

    The research, which analyses the UK national print media and does not include broadcasters such as the BBC, suggests that there is little divergence between the liberal and conservative press.

    This is the first of a two-part analysis of UK national press coverage of British foreign policy.

    Disappearing foreign policies

    Key British foreign policies, particularly in the Middle East, are being routinely under- or un-reported in the UK national press.

    The Egyptian regime under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in a 2013 coup, which killed hundreds of people and has become increasingly repressive, jailing tens of thousands of opponents as well as journalists. During this period, the UK government has deepened military, trade and investment with the regime, in effect acting as an apologist for it.

    Yet a search for press articles in the two years ending in December 2019 finds none covering the full range of UK cooperation with the Sisi regime. A handful of articles (less than a dozen, mainly in the Independent and Guardian) occasionally mention an aspect of UK support for the regime. But this number is very low given 1,018 articles mentioning Sisi during the same period, Egypt’s long historical relationship to the UK and the fact that the UK is the largest investor in Egypt.

    The lack of press reporting is especially striking given that the government has itself been consistently announcing its support, especially in military relations, for the Sisi regime.

    Read more….


    • Climaction 1.1

      so the west is complicit in supporting both arab despotic regimes and israeli apartheid regimes.

      love them or hate them, you've got to respect the governments of the wests ability to be all things to all people while supporting all sides in all arguments

  2. Ad 2

    Well, if the economy does all go to hell in a handbasket, I want to see our Minister of Finance avoid the cumbersome corporate-welfare routes suggested by National or continued by NZF's PGF.

    It's time for giving money to the workers.

    Cut out the businesses: support the people direct, as recommended buy the EPI.


    The Dow's drop of 2,000 points was a decline of 7.79%; the S&P 500 fell 7.60% and the Nasdaq dropped by 7.29%.

    Warning that the economic hit from the outbreak "will come fast" when it arrives and "hit lower-wage workers first and hardest," Josh Biven of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute said it will be crucial for the government to introduce a swift and targeted response.

    Biven called on the government to make a plan for "rapid direct payments to individuals" just as was done by President George W. Bush in 2008—when one-time checks of $600 for individual tax-filers and $1,200 for joint tax filers were issued—in order to stem the bleeding from the financial crash that year.

    "We could use this model but do even better this time," said Biven, suggesting $1,000 for each individual and $500 per child.

  3. Blazer 3

    joined at the hip–.'On Monday both ANZ and National called on the Government to cancel a minimum wage hike from $17.70 to $18.90 per hour slated for April, pointing out that under-stress businesses are already under the pump.'(Stuff)

    Why should a foreign bank interfere in NZ politics?

    We do know they have a record of fraud,money laundering and misfeasance,can blame junior staff for non compliance with regulations ,do not welcome the new reserve capital ratios and that a favourite to become the new executive is former N.Z National P.M-John Key.

    • gsays 3.1

      With the banks concern for businesses, seems like the time is right for a Tobin tax or FTT.

      Also if business relies on minimum wage to function then perhaps a few of them should disappear.

      • KJT 3.1.1

        Capitalists don't like Capitalism. Not really news.

        The capitalist notion that "businesses that can't, or won't, pay the cost of the resources they use, should be allowed to fail, and make room for more efficient users of resources" very quickly turns into looking for a handout from the "socialists" when things turn to custard.

        Rather ironic. Especially as the businesses looking for handouts, are the ones that have most successfully privatised their profits, and socialised their losses, in recent times. Paying minimal wages, and getting tax payers, and rate payers, to subsidise their business costs.

  4. Peter 4

    I heard the roaring inferno this morning. The conflagration, the bonfire of all the regulations being turned to cinders.

    "The reality is though," to quote the esteemed leader of the Opposition, is the Australian bushfire image he's trying to create is a mirage, election crap.


    It's like someone who can't talk or use sign language trying to sell ice cubes in Greenland.

  5. joe90 5

    Come on covid-19, ninth circle these vile pricks.

    • joe90 5.1

      This fucker, too,

      This is quite unlikely to occur this time around. Not to put too fine a point on it, from an entirely disinterested economic perspective, the COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents.


      • Wensleydale 5.1.1

        Occasionally, the mask slips and you see the true nature of things.

        1. If you're not generating revenue, go away and die.

        2. If you're poor, go away and die.

        3. If you're old and dependent upon the state, go away and die.

        4. If you're not old, but still dependent upon the state, go away and die.

        5. If you're disabled, sickly or mentally ill, go away and die.

        6. If you're not one of us, go away and die.

  6. A 6

    I know most people won't care about people with PTSD not being accommodated in social housing.

    Words cannot express the terror of being constantly triggered due to living in a home that is unsuitable. We call ourselves civilised while pissing on the most vulnerable and ensuring they know their needs are resented and considered a great inconvenience.

    FYI anyone with PTSD (and with medical documentation stating they need low noise, privacy, etc) is simply told "we don't have properties like that" and it's been that way for decades. Disabled put last as usual.

    The shit of it all is that the same people in the welfare system will point out that these people, without trigger free/low trigger housing haven’t worked, or don’t want to work. Well, yes because they are in a constant state of panic or drugged into zombie status so they can handle their fucking housing.

    In the meantime Kainga Ora puts up another video letting everyone know the story of the priviliged state house tenants who didn't have PTSD and could use the available housing stock had their lives improved…eg, "living here allowed me to…..". Others are supported in buying the home they are in.

    NOTHING for people with PTSD because after being abused, shot at (possibly in service to our country), tortured they just have to deal with it.


      • A 6.1.1

        I happen to believe that counseling in particular is the most dangerous alternative therapy we have in NZ. Why?

        – there is no definition of what counseling is/is not. This means any number of random or in some cases made up techniques can be incorporated without any oversight or valid research into what is being offered (think of gay conversion therapy as one example)

        – hard to believe but there is no regulation of who can call themselves a counselor (sexual predators, conmen, pretty much anyone you can imagine). And yes, I am certain that this point is correct – people are so naive they can't understand that there are no barriers to practice.

        – public has a false sense of security around getting help, fueled in no small part by the constant reinforcing blurb at the bottom of any mildly concerning news article

        In summary, counseling presents itself more like an alternative therapy than anything scientific and the lack of skeptics looking critiquing it is concerning.

        The most dangerous place in the world is your mind, so who you permit in there matters. As individuals we should do everything you can to avoid our broken and overburdened mental health system. I disagree strongly with the current strategy which is to encourage even more people into this system, many of whom may not even need treatment.

        And I’m waffling on again. I don’t know what kind of therapy Prince Harry had, but the fact that it was 7 years screems exploitation and fostered dependency. In my experience this seems more like counseling, less like other treatment modalities that have science behind them, and set time frames

        • greywarshark

          A – I didn't realise there was no basic licensing that would sort out the types of people you mention. I suppose it is a follow-up on that airy-fairy idea of 'treatment in the community', people rallying round helping each other etc. As you say the mind is us. I get confused as to why young people are so willing to take drugs, white powders that could be mostly Ajax cleaner. One way to get the synapses fizzing and fusing.

          • Alice Tectonite

            A is somewhat misleading.

            Proper counselors have a post grad qualification (diploma or masters level) in counseling & membership of a professional body with code of ethics etc (NZAC.org.nz). So called or self proclaimed counselors lacking both of these are more likely snake oil types

            • greywarshark

              Are there safeguards against the snake oil merchants? Something that would limit what a helper/listening ear does, and come down hard on someone getting into real supposed therapy?

            • weka

              "proper counselors"

              There are good counselors out there without postgrad qualifications, some don't even have a professional body. Some of the counselors who are bad for clients have postgrad degrees and a professional body. Being a member of NZAC doesn't mean you are good at what you do or that you don't cause harm.

              • Alice Tectonite

                I know people who've had bad experiences & that colours my opinion. I wouldn't go to anyone unqualified or without membership of a professional body. You are correct that isn't an absolute guarantee.

              • KJT

                Agree, Weka. But it does presuppose a degree of monitoring and accountability.

    • weka 6.2

      Thank-you for this comment. All compassion this government.

  7. Stephen Doyle 7

    Simon's front bench must be shaking their collective heads in disbelief and his ineptitude.

    My guess is they've decided to take the loss of the election in 2020 on the chin, and dump him shortly after. It's now too late to make a change at the top without having it look like panic. I know Labour managed it in 2017, but there is no Jacinda in the National Party.

    • Sacha 7.1

      Looks like he has had the hard word from Goodfellow and the other party bosses, judging by the backpedalling. Loser.

    • peterh 7.2

      What makes you think the nats front bench are any better, if anyone heard Mark Mitchel on the radio with Hoskings this morning you would shake your head and say, ineptitude

  8. Sabine 8

    I hope that our suits in parliament have enough brains and heart and above all guts to put something like this forward should shit hit the fan and the thus distriubted shit cover all of us.


    Mortgage payments will be suspended across Italy as part of measures to soften the economic blow of coronavirus on households, a minister has said.

    Laura Castelli, Italy's deputy economy minister, told Radio Anch'io: "Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households."

    Italy's banking lobby group ABI said lenders would offer debt holidays to small firms and families.

    Suspending debt payments is not unheard of in Italy.

    Some small businesses and families were given time off during the financial crisis before having to repay.

    I would even go so far that maybe the government could put out a rule that forbids landlords from evicting people who may not be able to make rent payments (commercial/residential) should the country need to pull a shut down like we have now seen in China and Italy. That may actually help people to get over such a period and then be able to go back to their businesses and start working again.

    If we can bail out Insurance Companies, the Farming Industry, etc then surely our critters in parliament can come up with something like that to help the people who actually finance government. Joe and Jane Six Pack aka 'The Tax Payer".

    • joe90 8.1

      Billionaires' economic anxieties first.

      • Sabine 8.1.1

        wonder how many shell companies the orange shitgibbon has and how much he stole from the treasury – not only by way of tax cuts for the rich only – but also by ways of 'building a shitty wall that falls over in the wind', 'sanitizer', 'facemask' and of course 'oil' and 'hotel' and 'tourism' and 'golfing' and "hospitality' and and and.

        Here is hoping that our overlords have more sense then that. But then, i wonder if forsight is something that is done in our government. Or if they just go lalalalala and wait for the worst to happen before they start doing something.

        • joe90

          tRump declined to use the WHO test kits.

          According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump, the current President of the United States who is supposed to be managing the Coronavirus epidemic and how the testing is conducted, has listed investments in V.F. Corp (VFC) and Thermo Fisher Scientific Corporation (TMO), both of which moved jobs out of the U.S. in high profile outsourcing deals. There is reason to believe that Donald Trump stands to profit from medical testing of coronavirus that will now take place in the United States.


  9. Anne 9

    If this scenario plays out, then we will see the longest drought period in the north on record ending with a big bang towards the end of next week and into the weekend:


    • Sabine 9.1

      And the middle of the country too. Because it has not rained much here either. And the waikato is burned crisp – all these brown hills of New Zealand. Many of whom never grassed over since the drought from the last year.

      • Anne 9.1.1

        Lets hope it happens without damage to structures and crops. 🙂

        • Sabine

          Yep. And hopefully not to much soil erosion. Crop you cna replant, structures you can rebuild, but rebuilding washed down soil is another thing altogether.

    • Wensleydale 10.1

      This is the second soap-box Stuff's given this guy to spout his smug, self-aggrandising crap about how renting is a mug's game and the real money's in ownership. (The last one was about how not all landlords are miserly vultures out to ruin the lives of their tenants.) Thanks for that, Captain Obvious. What's next week's article? Graeme Fowler tells us trees are made of wood and water is wet?

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        While much of what Graeme writes in this article will be nothing new to anyone over 30, it does have a legitimate audience of younger people who may not have yet thought these things through. Certainly I don't read anything that rates as "Fucker of the Year" in it.

        Very few people go from leaving their parents home direct to owning their own; almost everyone by choice rents for a period of their lives.

        It takes time to get a deposit together and have enough income to qualify for a mortgage.

        Until you are in a stable relationship most people don't want to be tied down to a single home; they want to travel, move to different places, and want the flexibility of renting.

        Or you are going through a period of transition in your life, new job in a new town, break up of a relationship, etc that means renting is the best choice for a period. Sometimes misfortune means that a dream crumbles, life takes a turn never planned for and owning your own home now lies out reach.

        This doesn't gainsay any of the obvious problems NZ has with it's entire housing market, the lack of social housing, the lack of a mature rental market, and the unaffordability of new housing, combined with an effectively insatiable demand are creating many, many problems.

        Renting is a legitimate market … yet it obviously brings out that envious, resentful aspect of many people in the way landlords get routinely demonised; especially on the left. Everyone denies it, but it's plain as the sullen words on the page, and it's weirdly unhelpful because once trust is lost in the landlord/tenant relationship it always ends unhappily.

        • Sacha

          Renting used to enable saving the required deposit. Not any more. People 'resent' being told that the moon is made of cheese.

          • RedLogix

            I agree totally. When we started 20 years ago we had several tenants who made the transition to ownership, and we celebrated with them. That isn't happening now, but it's a problem with the whole housing sector, not just landlords.

        • Chris

          He owns 70 houses and says renting is for losers because it's money down a black hole. That's at least a nomination for Fucker of the Year.

          • RedLogix

            Almost everyone needs to rent at some point in their lives, so providing them is scarcely a 'fucker of the year' offence.

            What he is saying that renting long term is not a smart plan; which when you think about it's not obviously in his business' best interests. He's giving advice in the best interests of his tenants …

            • Chris

              He owns 70 houses.

              • RedLogix

                Ah … so it really is just envy.

                • KJT

                  Yeah. Sure.

                  • RedLogix

                    Graeme started out as a very working class auto mechanic and has succeeded at something very few people manage at this level.

                    It's my observation that middle class liberals tend to prefer working class people to remain poor.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  I'll see your 'envy', and raise you 'greed'.

                  Which of the "Seven Deadly Sins" one trots out in a slanging match can be informative. Wonder if, on the way to 70 rentals, the individual concerned ever paused to ask themself: "Is 10/20/30/40/50/60 enough?"

                  Why on earth would anyone envy the greedy – they're 'ugly', and a bit sad.

                  So nice to be off the treadmill – now, if I can just find my Lotto ticket… smiley

                  • RedLogix

                    now, if I can just find my Lotto ticket

                    I have more respect for Graeme's hard work and risk tolerance than hoping on a Lotto win TBH. Yes he is an outlier, most landlords stop at one or two units because the work and risk involved is more than they can accept. A smaller number like us stop at less than 10. Many who try to go past this go broke pushing the limits.

                    So what exactly is the threshold that defines 'greed'? And why do so many on the left despise competency and success?

                    • Chris

                      So you've got about nine rentals?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Can’r speak for the “so many”, but I don’t depise.

                      For myself, greed is "more than I need".

                      For others, greed might be "more than I want", in which case the 'greed threshold' becomes much more elastic. I feel genuinely ‘blessed’ to have steered clear of that particular trap.

                      I predict we will witness, as we have already started to, the worst of humanity, including people fighting over toilet paper in a supermarket, people hoarding supplies meaning that others miss out, people going to work when they’re sick or letting their kids out of the house when they should be quarantined.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Chris
                      None of your business … literally.

                      @ DMK

                      That I can accept.

                    • Chris

                      You think owning 70 houses is a measure of success?

                    • RedLogix

                      There are many ways to measure success, but in his chosen domain Graeme has done spectacularly well. It took a lot of hard work, discipline, and competency. You're welcome to say this isn't for you, but turning it into an ethical issue strikes me as really odd.

                      Consider your favourite big hit musicians … those outliers who make tens millions as distinct from the vast majority of equally talented musos who can't feed their families. We never think of these people as 'ugly' and 'greedy' … because we're primed to like and admire them and we see them as remote from us.

                      But culturally there is a widespread resentment of landlords for a complex of interesting reasons, some psychological and some because of class resentments festering back generations.

                    • KJT

                      I'm happy about socially useful "competency and success" being rewarded. So long as the "successful" person pays enough tax, to pay for the public expenditures that helped his/her "success".

                      About, finding more "successful" ways of ripping everyone else off, by investing in making a disfunctional housing market, more dysfunctional, not so happy.

                    • RedLogix

                      ways of ripping everyone else off, by investing in making a disfunctional housing market,

                      Again there are all the usual pathology's on display. Providing a home via the rental market is not 'ripping anyone off'. If you cannot or do not want to qualify for a mortgage, nor for social housing, then you need a landlord to provide one for you.

                      The deal is simple, you the tenant get a home on terms that suit your immediate needs, and the landlord invests in their long-term prosperity.

                      And interestingly if you talk to actual landlords, most of us hate high asset prices. For us the ideal unit to purchase is something in the last 20% of it's economic life, that no-one else really wants, and we can buy cheaply then add some value to bring it up to an acceptable standard. For most buy and hold rental investors, high asset prices are a bit of a PITA and we tend to close our cheque books.

                      Yes I know that paying $400 pw rent looks like we're making out like bandits. But the reality is that after fixed costs like rates, insurance and management typically only 50% is left. Then we have any mortgage interest and tax to pay. Many tenants would be quite surprised if they saw their landlord's annual accounts.

                    • solkta

                      For us the ideal unit to purchase is something in the last 20% of it's economic life, that no-one else really wants, and we can buy cheaply then add some value

                      What utter bullshit. These are the same houses that first home buyers want because they can add value in the same way.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Solkta

                      I did say 'ideally'. I agree that a dysfunctional housing sector has created a big shortage of houses across the whole market, and that this now means landlord investors and first home buyers compete with each other all too often.

                      But the idea that we drive prices up is not always correct; typically investors make their best margin when they buy. They work strictly on the numbers and look for properties they can get as cheaply as possible, while home buyers will get emotionally invested and will often pay over the odds.

                • Chris

                  I'm not envious one jot. I can't see how you've arrived at that conclusion, not logically.

                  • RedLogix

                    As I said, everyone denies being envious always. Yet for something that apparently never happens, it's kind of odd that we have such a well known word for it.

                    • Chris

                      What do you want me to say to that? “Yeah, sorry, you've caught me out. I lied. I'm envious"? I’m in fact anything but envious. There’d be some situations I’d find repulsive, but I’m likely to be saddened more than anything. I’m certainly not envious.

                    • RedLogix

                      I'm not expecting you to say anything you don't want to.

                      I'm not here to score points, I much prefer to converge a conversation toward at least a common understanding of each other's perspective, rather than diverge into mutually antagonistic dugouts.

                      Yes there is such a thing as greed, but it's doesn't necessarily follow that every competent, successful person must be greedy. Outcomes are by nature never evenly distributed. You might want to look up Price's Law. It's a bit brutal, but it's a fact of life.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "Everyone", "always", "never" – what do they say about hyperbole?

                      Nevertheless, given a choice between being labelled 'greedy' or 'envious', more NZers would opt for 'greedy' – why, it's almost a virtue. God save us from those virtuous ‘greed-is-good‘ righties.

                      If we allow our appetites to become so disordered that we ignore the welfare of others, our spiritual life dies. We are no longer able to be the channels of God's love and so are cut off from our true life, that which endures for eternity. That does not mean that we are not part of God's plan. We do fit into his providence, but in the same sense that a greedy pig is part of the monks' plan. The pig is eaten and so contributes to the life of others. The greedy and sinful person contributes to the life of others by, for example, enabling them to develop the virtue of patience and the gift of forgiveness.

                    • RedLogix


                      If we allow our appetites to become so disordered that we ignore the welfare of others

                      So when Graeme Fowler advises people renting to that it's not in their long-term interests exactly how is this 'ignoring the welfare of others'?

                      He provides rental homes that almost everyone will need at some stage in their life. Not everyone qualifies or wants a mortgage. Exactly how is this 'ignoring the welfare of others'?

                      There always was an idea that somehow poverty is a virtue. Well it isn't, it's the source of many evils and far too often used as an excuse to justify failure.

                    • KJT

                      For a "lefty" you sure parrot a lot of right wing memes.

                    • RedLogix


                      There is some truth in that. Mainly because I don't set up a false dichotomy between left and right wing thinking, and I reject the false binaries of typical tribal politics, us good, them bad.

                      So yes you are going to sniff me and wrinkle your nose because I'm saying things that challenge a lot of left wing assumptions. Put me on a right wing site and I'll get the same response for exactly complementary reasons; they'll sniff the lefty in me.

                      After decades of sterile, largely futile lefty rage, I realised the only people who get anything of lasting value done are those who can create a conversation and sustain the creative tension between left and right. Pete George in his own way has long been attempting something similar. (Whether we’re any good at it or not is another matter.)

                      Yet oddly enough last time PG and I conversed we had such a robust exchange I realised I'm not all that right wing at all.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      @RL – Clearly we need a lot more virtuous lefties like your mate Graeme and your good self. Would either of you be prepared to share your 'rental property largess' in order to make that happen? Might even go some way to addressing the evils of poverty!

                      Maybe sharing is an antidote for both greed and envy. Now, what to do about the other five. You know I'm just kidding, right? wink Why should/would any hard-working individual share more than a small fraction of their wealth – it’s their wealth, for God’s sake.

                      "Hyperbole is the last refuge of the linguistically insecure."
                      "Hyperbole is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
                      "Hyperbole is the last refuge of the incompetent."
                      "Hyperbole is the last refuge of someone with nothing useful to say."
                      "Hyperbole is the last refuge of a failed argument."

                    • Chris

                      Nobody's saying poverty is a virtue. To the contrary, the left is about, or should be about, eradicating poverty. That's what the right responds with when accused of denying the poor access to resources.

                      (And saying you're wrong about what I think is far from diverging into an antagonistic dugout.)

                    • RedLogix


                      Well I'd guess that GF pays more tax than all us combined, but I don't think that is what you mean by 'sharing'; that is a concept that only has meaning when it's undertaken voluntarily. (By contrast taxation is an essential social obligation that no-one would call sharing.)

                      Many left wingers struggle with the idea that outcomes are inherently unequal, and for a very small minority, spectacularly so. This has always been the case throughout all human history, long before capitalism or bastard landlords, it's a tendency that is baked into all social systems that pass over a minimal threshold of prosperity. Success creates opportunity, which combined with good luck and competency, will always produce more success … in whatever field of endeavour. This of course drives inequality, which left unmoderated drives to gross extremes of wealth, and triggers it's own cascade of known problems.

                      Trying to drive equal outcomes by preventing success is the terrible mistake the Soviets and Maoist's made. We do not need to repeat this failed experiment.

                      Therefore the left might want to look at the problem of inequality through fresh thinking. Andrew Yang promoted his own version and there are a lot of people doing this in quiet corners of the internet working through what is a much more difficult and intractable problem than is commonly assumed.

                      In some senses you may well be in the right domain, that relative poverty (inequality in this context) is not so much an economic problem, but a spiritual or psychological one.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      @RL: Not fussed about absolute equality of outcomes; would settle for all NZers having at least enough resources, and there is 'enough' in NZ for that to happen – the barriers lie elsewhere.

                      For those that find the goal of 'enough for all' unpalatable/unrealistic, there's always the issues of defining and distributing 'enough' to fall back on.

                • Muttonbird

                  Not envy, just push-back against the class distinction amateur landlordism encourages.

                  Encouraging everyone to own two or more houses is incomparable with encouraging everyone owning a house. They are contrary positions and it is impossible to achieve both without there being a lot of empty houses.

                  Fowler and his followers suggest that winners and losers just are and always will be and that is a very right wing view of the world – just ask Hosking.

                  Socially conscious lefties, as far as I know, hope for a situation where everyone has enough rather than an increasingly divided world of first and second class citizens. Haven’t we supposed to have left all that behind?

                  It just not believable to talk about socially conscious people (in your words, middle class liberals) wanting working class people to remain poor. The idea of one person owning 70 houses, or nine, or two even, if followed to its conclusion ensures a lot of people will definitely remain poor. A lot of them working class families.

                  • RedLogix

                    Encouraging everyone to own two or more houses is incomparable with encouraging everyone owning a house.

                    GF with 70 units is an extremely outlier, the vast majority of landlords are ordinary middle class people who work for a living and over time have one or two units they rent. These days often through professional property managers.

                    Not everyone will ever want to do this; being a landlord is absolutely more risk and work than most people want to take on. Most people don't want to make the necessary 20 -30 year sacrifice to make it work.

                    Moreover there are only about 250,00 landlords in NZ, and the point many people miss is that the individuals involved actually move in and out of the industry all the time. We are not a fixed group.

                    wanting working class people to remain poor.

                    Yet this is precisely where GF started and now everyone slams him for becoming wealthy.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I don’t slam him for becoming wealthy, professional landlords are required as you say. But Fowler getting on the soapbox, having a column as is so important for self important realty people these days, and encouraging amateur landlordism isn’t really helpful for a fair society, in my opinion.

                      His advice is for everyone to buy, fine if that were possible, but also for young people to buy a rental first then another home to live in later but importantly, "don't sell the rental".

                      This is amateur landlordism and the point I'm trying to make is that not everyone shares in the benefits of the logical outcome. Those being secure communities and confident kids.

                      This doesn't sit well with true lefties who consider the wider picture.

                    • RedLogix

                      I can see the apparent objection you have; in this I think GF is projecting his own experience without properly qualifying it.

                      Let's put it this way, if I outlined an investment opportunity that demanded 20 – 30 years of work and sacrifice, with no certainty of success … just how many people do you think would leap at it?

                      I'd accept that GF might have been more accurate if he'd explicitly made this point; that being a landlord just isn't for everyone.

                      Because I can assure you that after 20 years at this it's pushed my risk tolerance to the edge more than a few times.

                    • Muttonbird

                      There's a few of these opinion columns cropping up on the enlarged property platforms offered by the main news organisations.

                      Fowler for Homed on Stuff and Ashley Church for One Roof in the Herald.

                      Church is increasingly political, particularly over the last few months.

                      This is against the new background of real estate agents promoting themselves as rock stars. They have glossy billboards all over town often with short and sage life advice one-liners for the public.

                      Fowler doesn't even seem that bright. I don't mean that as an insult – just that the article posted by Chris is pretty basic and offered nothing useful to renters or investors really.

                    • Incognito []

                      In the FIRE economy, realtors are the priests of the House of Mammon and their prophecies are taken for gospel.

                    • Chris

                      So it doesn't matter what the endeavour is, it's okay if it involves sacrifice and hard work? Loan sharks? Clothing trucks? All okay if they work hard and make sacrifices? The consequences of that endeavour don't matter?

                    • RedLogix


                      Fowler doesn't even seem that bright.

                      Actually no. He's an ordinary bloke, but since when was it necessary to have an IQ north of 130 to express a legitimate opinion?

                      The difference is this, GF read the same books that many other people were at the time, but he acted while others procrastinated.

                    • Muttonbird

                      But is his (and others’) advice doing any good for greater society, Red?

                      For the many, not the few, and all that.

                  • RedLogix

                    advice doing any good for greater society,

                    I can understand why you ask this question, and I really don't think it has any easy or glib answers.

                    The obvious answer is just repeating what I think we both agree on, that landlords do provide a legitimate and necessary service. Almost everyone at some stage in their life will need a rental home for a period.

                    At another level landlords are doing something akin to what banks do, we make our capital available to others to use for their immediate benefit, the tenant gets a home now, the landlord gets a long term investment. This is a win for both parties.

                    But I suspect neither answer is going to satisfy you. TBH I'm a bit distracted at the moment and don't feel I can do this justice. The whole notion of 'the greater good' feels like a conceptual can of worms.

                    • Muttonbird

                      At another level landlords are doing something akin to what banks do, we make our capital available to others to use for their immediate benefit, the tenant gets a home now, the landlord gets a long term investment. This is a win for both parties.

                      Fowler disagrees. He believes this is only a win for the landlord and he advises the public as such.

                      I'd say 'the greater good' is a cornerstone of socially conscious thought. It's distressing to read it labeled as a conceptual can of worms.

                    • RedLogix

                      He believes this is only a win for the landlord and he advises the public as such.

                      Again you clearly misconstrue what he is saying. Given that virtually everyone wants or needs to rent a home at some point in their lives, this is clearly an immediate win for the tenant compared to sleeping under a bridge.

                      But in the long run you need to be thinking about how to move on, we all agree that renting is not an ideal long term solution. But too many people won't take responsibility for this and procrastinate … they don't act.

                      It's distressing to read it labeled as a conceptual can of worms.

                      Oh it's one of those nice ideas that looks superficially simple and attractive enough on the outside, but the devil is in the details. Like marxism.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I haven't misconstrued what he was saying at all. It would be hard to since it was so staggeringly basic of thought.

                      ‘You should own a home because pets’.

                      Read like wannabe Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life…

                      ..and where is he now?

                    • RedLogix

                      and where is he now?

                      Taking sly pleasure in a family's medical misfortune really is ugly.

                    • Chris

                      You seem to be saying that everyone needs to rent at some stage and that it's a temporary thing until the person’s ready to buy a house and for those who stay renting it's their fault because they fail to act.

                      The difficulty with that is an unacceptably high number of people are never ready because they've been completely locked out of the market. And a significant part of the problem are people like Graeme Fowler.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Had no idea who Peterson is, but according to his Wikipedia page he was/is something of a climate change skeptic – sad about his medical conditions, but best given a wide berth, IMHO.


                      "But in the long run you need to be thinking about how to move on, we all agree that renting is not an ideal long term solution. But too many people won't take responsibility for this and procrastinate … they don't act." – RL

                      Thing is, renting is an ideal very long term 'solution' for many, just not so many in New Zealand. Might that have something to do with a greater percentage of NZ landlords playing 'fast and loose', or is it mainly because NZ renters make comparatively 'poor' tenants?

                      In fact, all renters by choice unanimously agreed that tenants rights in New Zealand needed drastic improvement, especially when compared to countries like Germany or Sweden where long-term renting remains a common practice.

                      “I’m appalled by the lack of rights tenants have in New Zealand and how poorly you’re treated by agencies. It truly is the only negative thing about this country,” says Laura, a Wellington-based renter originally from Ireland. “We’ve never missed a week’s rent in over three years, always have perfect inspections, and we’re still treated like scum by the agency we rent from.”

                      “I do think that New Zealand would greatly benefit from some of the rental protections put in place elsewhere in the world, such as rent control and decade-long leases, to cultivate a sense of security for those people who prefer not to buy. But let’s face it, I’ll have to move back to Europe if I want this type of thing in the near future.”

                      While some improvements to renter’s rights have been made in the past year, such as banning rental bidding and limiting rent increases to once a year, rental insecurity remains a constant source of stress for many tenants. Research from Australia suggests subpar tenancy law reflects broader cultural values that associate the meaning and making of home with homeownership. As a result, many tenants struggle to feel at home in their rental property which subsequently impacts psychological health and overall well-being.

                      “Most rental properties are barely liveable… and that messes with my mental health,” says Sam. “I’ve spent some time in the US where, for all their problems, long term rentals [in cities like] LA and San Francisco are warm and dry, while rentals in New Zealand are mostly damp and sad. Short term leases are a real downside – I’d sign a five-year lease in [a heartbeat].”

                    • RedLogix

                      And if either of you bothered to read the thread properly you would see at least two places where I clearly acknowledge exactly these problems … that we have a housing sector beset by high demand, low supply and high prices. This impacts everyone, from social housing tenants, everyone in the rental sector and home owners.

                      There has been a toxic brew of reasons why this dysfunction has come about … but fixating on landlords as the sole cause of these problems reveals more about underlying resentment and bitterness than anything that will actually help.

                      And yes much of our older housing stock falls well short of modern expectations. But they were all new homes decades ago and generations of families did happily live in them without it necessarily affecting their mental health. That they were built 50 or more years ago poorly oriented to the sun and prone to dampness is not actually the fault of their current owner.

                      Getting them to perform to modern expectations is like pretending you can make a Hillman Avenger run just like a modern 2020 model car. Sure you can mitigate the worst of it, but a full noise reno in many cases makes little economic sense. Spending $50k to bring an 80 yr old house up to spec when you're barely netting $5kpa profit out it simply isn't feasible.

                      It would make much more sense to demolish and build new, but building costs in this country are off the scale. Trust me I've run the numbers on this many times, but they never quite add up.

                      There are some great builders out there, but in general I’m eternally disappointed by the NZ building industry; they’ve long under-performed. Again just one of many factors in a toxic brew.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "…but fixating on landlords as the sole cause of these problems reveals more about underlying resentment and bitterness than anything that will actually help." – RL

                      I asked your opinion about the cause(s) of "these problems", and suggested two possibilities – that you chose to characterise that question as "fixating on landlords as the sole cause of these problems" is a classic misrepresentation, and reveals an unnecessarily defensive position, IMHO. I certainly have no reason to be resentful or bitter towards landlords – I've been a tenant in four properties (in NZ, England (x2), and NZ), the last thirty years ago, and the landlords were straight-up, as was I. I'll never be a renter again (touch wood), and I have no desire or need to be a landlord (thank God).

                      I do feel that bad landlords should not be landlords, and that bad tenants should not be tenants. But I also believe that bad landlords typically have more 'options' than bad tenants – just the way it is.

                    • RedLogix


                      Apologies, my response was to both of you and I didn't accurately answer your question

                      Might that have something to do with a greater percentage of NZ landlords playing 'fast and loose', or is it mainly because NZ renters make comparatively 'poor' tenants?

                      There is certainly be an element of both. I can't speak to how many bad landlords there are but I can tell you that of the 50 odd tenants we've had in 20 years, 5 of them have caused problems. (Although I have to say that since we moved to 100% professional management that number has dropped to zero, tenants don't tend to play games with managers who will evict them without compunction.) But just for the sake of argument I'm willing to accept that bad landlords and bad tenants exist in similar numbers and total impact.

                      It is however definitely true is that the vast majority of both landlords and tenants are perfectly good people and discharge their side of the contract reliably. In all the rancour it's easy to overlook this. When we were still in NZ we often got to know our tenants, and generally enjoyed interacting with them. Sadly a small minority saw this as a weakness and wound up exploiting it, and we made our share of naive mistakes as well.

                      But these are problems that would exist regardless of any other consideration, so my specific answer to your question is 'neither'. Yes bad landlords and bad tenants do exist, but this isn't especially germane to the much wider problems our whole housing sector is chronically groaning under.

                    • Chris

                      RL – So you acknowledge the problem but reject the suggestion that the likes of Graeme Fowler (70 houses, major income generating operation) are a significant cause of that problem?

                      Or is that you acknowledge the problem and accept that the likes of Graeme Fowler (70 houses, major income generating operation) are a significant cause of the problem?

                      Surely good/bad tenants doesn't matter. It's an occupational hazard any landlord must accept. The consequences might be worse for those with one or two extra houses, but bad tenants come with the territory.

  10. A 11

    Latest from Peak. Starts with pointing out it is too late for Europe and the US where the “don’t test, don’t tell” policy is about to backfire in a phenomenal manner.

    Goes through what the gold standard of handling the pandemic should be (most western countries are screwed…thanks CDC and WHO!)

    Makes suggestions around what govt's could do to improve the situation for people including

    – removing restrictions of dispensing medication so people can get a few months at a time

    – ensuring quality information and understanding panicking people is not the same as preparing them. We need to be prepared and the best way to do that is gradual, additional purchases over multiple shopping trips.

    – testing asap, don't make it hard

    – mortgage relief so the choice isn't go to work and spread the illness or lose the house

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Too right A I have heard about these people self-isolating. That solves the government's problem, but what about their living costs, their possible need to have food delivered to the house if they are on their own, or the family is in lock down with them?

      Who ties the threads together in the back of the rousing announcements so that there is a robust safety net – ensuring what people need to survive is available. Government needs to be there to assist those who need care out of the institutions. Is there a help-line and a set of officials for sourcing and delivering different needs and a weekly budget that meets the costs?

    • weka 11.2

      Some good points there. I would add raising benefits.

      I don't think it's too late for the US and Europe, it's a matter of degrees and how people cope. Unless we are going to close our borders, what happens there affects us here.

  11. joe90 12

    Move over 'Murica, there's a new kid in town.

    Charles Kindleberger, one of the intellectual architects of the Marshall Plan, argued that the disastrous decade of the 1930s was a result of the United States' failure to provide global public goods after it had replaced Britain as the leading power. Today, as China’s power grows, will it make the same mistake?

    As US President-elect Donald Trump prepares his administration’s policy toward China, he should be wary of two major traps that history has set for him. The “Thucydides Trap,” cited by Chinese President Xi Jinping, refers to the warning by the ancient Greek historian that cataclysmic war can erupt if an established power (like the United States) becomes too fearful of a rising power (like China). But Trump also has to worry about the “Kindleberger Trap”: a China that seems too weak rather than too strong.

    Charles Kindleberger, an intellectual architect of the Marshall Plan who later taught at MIT, argued that the disastrous decade of the 1930s was caused when the US replaced Britain as the largest global power but failed to take on Britain’s role in providing global public goods. The result was the collapse of the global system into depression, genocide, and world war. Today, as China’s power grows, will it help provide global public goods?


  12. Muttonbird 13

    Labour ad ideas:

    National isn't planning GST increase if elected, but won't entirely rule it out.

    11 March 2020

    Will Simon raise GST to 17.5%?


    • Herodotus 13.1

      I note : Min wage proposed increase from $17.70 to $18.90 = 6.8% so how does this equate to a 20% cost increase 1:52 into video.

    • Chris 13.2

      Coming from Bridges that's as good as a promise they will.

  13. joe90 14

    Wonder if Boris is going to take this on the chin.

    Health minister and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries says she has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

    Ms Dorries, the first MP to test positive, said she had taken all the advised precautions after finding out, and had been self-isolating at home.


    It is not known how many meetings Ms Dorries had attended at Westminster or in her constituency in recent days.

    The Department of Health said she first showed symptoms on Thursday – the same day she attended a Downing Street event hosted by the prime minister – and had been self-isolating since Friday.

    No 10 did not comment on whether Boris Johnson had undergone testing, or whether he will now be tested.

    All health ministers, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, are to undergo testing for the virus, along with other officials who have come into contact with Ms Dorries.


  14. Andre 15

    Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi have been called for Biden.

    Michigan exit polls have Biden 52% Sanders 43%

    Missouri exit polls Biden 55% Sanders 39%

    Mississippi exit polls have Biden 76% Sanders 20%

    Awfully hard to see a path to the nomination for Sanders now, barring Biden suffering a major medical event. Or even what value might be achieved by Sanders staying in the campaign much longer.

    • millsy 15.1

      Sanders is sinking without trace.

      Time for his supporters to get behind Biden and throw out Trump, Pence, DeVos, Carson and all those other slime bags who want a theocratic free market state.

      • KJT 15.1.1

        And. So does Biden.

        So. How is supporting Biden going to end up any different from Clinton?

        • millsy

          It's not like there is much of a choice. Believe me, I am aware of Uncle Joe's record. Jacobinmag puts up an article every other day, but we have to work with what we have to work with.

          We may even get surprise. LBJ was pretty conservative, but his record, apart from that little war in SE Asia, is the most left wing one since FDR.

  15. Jimmy 16

    I do not know much about the US politics, but who is more likely to be able to beat Trump in the next election? Biden or Sanders? Surely the answer to that question is who the Democrats want to win this thing.

  16. Exkiwiforces 17

    Hi everyone, sorry for not posting here on a more regular basis as I’ve been bumping my fat fingers over on Twitter and I’ve been back down the tunnel as well.

    Anyway I thought I might share this with everyone, as a lefty I’m a bit weird as I’m pro defence but also pro green with social issues as well.

    I’ve been following this new SOPV capability announcement by NZG since the 2019 WP on the Defence since my two cousins (one as a cook in the RNZN & the other as a part of research team doing his PhD on something to do Ocean thingy’s) caught up in a near capsizing of one the RNZN OPV’s a while back on a run down Sth. The current OPV’s a barely fit for duty down Sth or operate in the Southern Ocean all yr round, the current OPV’s are 100t over weight, too short in length and in the beam (width), the lack of a combat mission system to talk/ data link to the new P8’s, Seasprite Helo’s note these are not normally carried down Sth to the weight issues of the OPV’s and UAV’s when they eventually enter service, and the unsafe means of launching & recovering boarding parties with their RIB.

    This PPP show https://pacificexpo.com.au/conferences/PDFs/New-Zealand-Southern-Ocean-Patrol-Vessel-Pacific-2019-Presentation.pdfthe… capabilities that the RNZN & NZG are after this ship isn’t going to come cheap, but when one considers the operation environment and the effects of CC in the Southern Ocean with no or little hope of help if something goes wrong is going to be money well spent. Especially when the Antarctic Treaty is up for renewal in the early 2040’s and the ever increasing threat from over fishing from poachers by nation states or via 3rd parties operating in what is now called the “Grey Zone” also known as “Hybrid Warfare” which the current International Base Rule System is push to it limits of normality at we are so use too in its current form.

    • greywarshark 17.1

      That's a laser light on that particular policy matter that we wouldn't hear much about Ex Kiwi keep it up. Helps to be informed.

    • Macro 17.2

      The sad fact is ExKF that when it comes to major purchases such as replacement ships aircraft, etc. cost is the determining factor – inter-operability is second, and actual ability to do the job it is supposed to do is third. I remember when I first joined the RNZN in 1974 – it was the time of commissioning the 4 Brooks Marine PVs which were to replace the long serving ex WW2 inshore ML's. What a disaster they were. Designed for the Atlantic and expected to operate in the Pacific with a much greater wave length. We fought fro years to get the politicians to understand they need to give those manning the vessels extra hard living allowances because they were so sick making and everyone was injury prone from being flung about in rough weather. I remember the day while I was then on the Naval Staff in Def HQ in Stout St. The 4 Patrol Craft happened to be in port at Wellington for some celebration or other and the Admiral decided it would be a good idea to invite the cabinet on board for a trip around the harbour 😉 Oh and by the way it might be an idea to have a little excursion out beyond the heads. Fortunately there was bit of a swell in the Strait. We had our submission for extra allowances for PC crew prepared and it was agreed by Cabinet pretty much the next day.

    • KJT 17.3

      I agree.

      Note the purchase of the Charles chuckum after my mates at sea on her sister ship, and one of our ex seagoing managers, all said, "don't buy it".

  17. Rosemary McDonald 18

    The 72 year old dad of a foaf arrived in NZ about a fortnight ago on his first visit. Spiked a temp and developed a cough last night.

    Foaf phoned Healthline rather than risk potential spread of Something Nasty by taking dad to a GP clinic.

    Healthline totally dismissive and discounted even the remotest chance of papa having picked up Covid 19 prior to leaving India.

    Whew. What a relief.

    Foaf has papa at local after hours clinic as I write.

    System working just fine.

    • weka 18.1

      what's a foaf?

    • Macro 18.2

      As your foaf's dad arrived from India 14 days ago, the chances of him having COVID -19 is very slight. India reported it's first case of the virus on 30 Jan. – after he had travelled from India – and that was a case of the virus being imported by an arrival from China so it is unlikely that foaf's dad had picked it up from them.


      India reported the first confirmed case of the coronavirus infection on 30 January 2020 in the state of Kerala. The affected had a travel history from Wuhan, China.

      There are now a number of further cases being reported and more detail is on the link above. Obviously it depends on the area from which your foaf's dad arrived as to whether there is a likelihood of infection or not – but again all of these seem to have arisen after he has left the country.

      • Stunned Mullet 18.2.1

        Doubt that the reporting and testing in India is particularly accurate.

        • greywarshark

          Don't miss link at 11 above. He seems onto it and shows sources and diagrams.

  18. Rosemary McDonald 19


    This is very,very goodnews indeed.

    Nasty wee silencing tactic from everyone's favourite council stymied by onto it judge.

    • Macro 19.1


      BTW the two young women on the start of the video sang a beautiful wiaata for Jeanette at the gathering on Sunday. Two amazing young people. The spirit of Jeanette lives on.

  19. Alice Tectonite 20

    SFO confirms investigations into Auckland & Christchurch mayoral election donations. (link)

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