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Open mike 16/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 16th, 2011 - 65 comments
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65 comments on “Open mike 16/01/2011 ”

  1. Carol 1

    There’s an interesting selection of articles on Stuff this morning. One reports that business leaders believe the worst of the recession is over and we are on the upswing:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/4545881/Business-leaders-believe-the-worst-is-over

    The second shows that NZ has had a high relative rise in unemployment during the recession, and that this is similar to Spain:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/4545882/Unemployment-NZ-on-par-with-basketcase-Spain

    And another article says that Kiwis are saving because they don’t feel very secure financially:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4546089/Debt-surge-drives-NZers-urge-to-save

    So who is benefitting from the government’s response to the recession & who is suffering? Who is the “recovery” likely to benefit?

    • jcuknz 1.1

      It is a pity that they are not saving because it is the sensible thing to do.

      • prism 1.1.1

        jcuknz – Thanks you for your usual sensible, common-sense comment.

      • QoT 1.1.2

        Well, we’re hardly encouraged to have that sort of mindset these days, are we? It’s all “you need Things and Commodities and Luxury Items or your life will be eeeeeeeeeeeempty!” Sorted.org.nz do their best but they’re terribly earnest about retirement savings and their ads are inevitably wedged between Harvey Norman screaming at you about plasma TVs and Michael Hill reminding you you need to have shiny things to feel valued as a woman/you need to buy your partner shiny things to stop her nagging you.

        • jcuknz 1.1.2.1

          Which is why I was so lucky with my life … firstly ‘whoever it was’ introduced PAYE so that I didn’t see the money leaving my pocket to meet my responsibilities in a responsible, more or less, society. Secondly I had a mentor who strongly suggested I should join the work’s retirement scheme … again I didn’t miss what I didn’t see because my employer deducted it before paying me the balance.

          But I do admit I was if not as bad as some in past years captured by the Harvey Norman type adverts, I’ve bought two cameras, a computer, and various thingies from them, and currently have urges to take advantage of their 30 month interest free terms for a third and better camera which is hard to resist.

          So I am really a sinner who has seen the light in my old age 🙂
          They say a poacher makes the best gamekeeper.
          And probably writing like the person who has given up smoking, I did that a few decades ago too.

          • jcuknz 1.1.2.1.1

            I lost track of my thread and should have ended with Kiwisaver is good and should be compulsory for everybody. If people are so susceptible to the adverts and don’t save voluntary then they need to have it done for them. It is the whole culture of NOW NOW NOW that is the problem.

            • millsy 1.1.2.1.1.1

              I would accept a cumplosory kiwisaver if the following conditions were met:

              1) There was one single KS provider, (maybe an old school savings bank), which was publicly owned and government backed.

              2) I could withdraw my KS money in the case of an emergency, ie bond for a flat, dental treatment, car repairs, etc.

              3) There were approriate tax cuts.

              Further to your thoughts about savings, I think that they should bring back things like school banking, and reinstating a form of the savings banks that we used to have before they ended up merging up and getting flogged off (ie Trustbank – whose ads emphasised their NZ ownership even as they were discussing their takever by Westpac)

        • prism 1.1.2.2

          QoT – I won’t buy from Harvey Norman – a one person protest at their crass adverts – fast spiel as loud as possible. I don’t want their s..itty ads in my house.

          captcha – spites – I might be cutting off my nose to spite my face, missing out on some bargain, but I’ve drawn my line in the sand!

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.2.1

            But why not consider selling out your self respect and peace of mind for deals on a few crap consumer items? :confused:

            • prism 1.1.2.2.1.1

              CV It’s the relentless hard-sell advertising that peeves me. Harvey Norman is the worst on tv. The commercial break in tv programs is often tiresomely repetitive but HN makes it more so.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Just saw the one about unemployment and was going to post it here myself. Interesting section of double-think by Roger Kerr:

      “Roger Kerr of the Business Roundtable said there was no reason why the country could not function on near full employment, but it should be achieved by “reforming” the welfare system to make it even less attractive not to work, while at the same time lowering the minimum wage and bringing back permanent “youth rates”.”

      Effectively he’s advocating full-employment in name only – those who are currently on the benefit will end up being paid about the same (through youth rates and lower minimum) to what they’re currently getting, except they’ll have to work for it. Those who don’t work, will be punished.

      Here’s another similar story also on stuff:
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/4545885/Cautious-hopes-for-jobs-reflect-muted-recovery

      • Pete 1.2.1

        those who are currently on the benefit will end up being paid about the same (through youth rates and lower minimum) to what they’re currently getting, except they’ll have to work for it.

        What’s the problem with working for it? Dole or work shouldn’t be a lifestyle choice, especially based on which is more lucrative and easier, benefits should generally be short term assistance only.

        Starting a job even if on a youth rate or minimum wage is better for self esteem and provides much better opportunities to work your way up to better wage rates, and to seek better jobs.

        • orange whip? 1.2.1.1

          What’s the dole worth these days? $150 – $200 a week?

          Most people couldn’t get to work and make lunch for that, let alone pay rent and bills.

          What you’re suggesting is a kind of post-modern slavery where people work for nothing but the most basic needs, if that.

        • The Voice of Reason 1.2.1.2

          The lack of jobs is the main practical problem, Pete. The philosophical problem is whether artificially reducing pay rates is acceptable. It goes against both free market and socialist philosophy, as I understand them. If you are doing the same job, why shouldn’t you get the same pay?

          The overall affect is simply to reduce wages. No jobs are created by policies such as these, they’re the same jobs that already exist, just done for less money. And less money for the worker, means more personal poverty and less cash overall circulating in the economy, and less tax paid which drives down social services too.

        • Vicky32 1.2.1.3

          Pete, you’re an idiot if you think that people on unemployment benefits don’t want to work! I have just finished a telemarketing job – I simply was no good at it – but I made myself persist for 5 weeks, and I would still be there if it wasn’t that the boss said on Friday, that it was obviously not “right for me”. (I had to agree… now I am back on UB.) However, I am worse off than if I hadn ‘t done it, because I worked only one full week of those 5, because of Christmas/New Year, and therefore earned less than the benefit every time!
          I was in fact supposed to get just above minimum wage – if I had made any sales, that would have increased… I made 1 sale in those 5 weeks.
          I started the job, but lost it inside 5 weeks, and would have lost it inside 10 anyway. So you don’t know what you’re talking about.
          As for “what’s wrong with working for it”? Nothing – except that there are costs, travel and clothes and lunch etc that beneficiaries don’t face – or can avoid..
          Deb

          • Deadly_NZ 1.2.1.3.1

            And Anyway The work for the Dole has been tried before it’s an old, tired, typical. national, bash the beneficiary Policy that Brash tried and it failed.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10345336 this was from 2005

            And this from 2007 makes for an interesting read too
            http://www.nzcpr.com/weekly67.pdf

            And even back in 1996 Winston had a go too
            http://www.jobsletter.org.nz/jbl04511.htm

            And still they go back to old ,tired and failed policies from years ago and looking back on these it seems that the NACTS have not had a clue for years.

            And the other thing thats not mentioned is that you can work Part time on a benefit and you are allowed to earn the princely sum of $80.00 Gross per week, any more than that and you get hammered by WINZ for 80c in the dollar and the rest pretty much goes in tax. Also they expect you to travel too and from to the job feed and clothe yourself for the job as well out of said $80.00. And I hear they are going to raise the $80 to the highly exalted amount of $100.00 gross. Oh and I also forgot to mention that the tax rate that the boor beneficiary is put on is secondary tax so that about 34% yeah really fair isn’t it?. So to all you beneficiary bashers out there I’d like to see you try to survive on that pittance then I’ll listen to you, but until you, are at least willing to try.. Then shut the FUCK up!!!! because you DO NOT know what you are talking about.

            • NickS 1.2.1.3.1.1

              Secondary tax rate is only around $0.15 per dollar earned, judging by my income vs hours worked 😛

              But yeah, the $80 limit acts as a disincentive for anyone looking for part time work, as unless it ways really, really well, you’re likely better off financially staying on the benefit looking for fulltime jobs. Especially when you factor in stuff like accommodation supplement…

              Personally, it works out better for me to only work 2 days a week or less, than it does for me to be getting 20-30hrs of work per week :/

              • prism

                Nick S – The complexity of the various grants etc. means that secondary tax is not the only thing to be considered for a beneficiary working a number of hours. Accommodation supplement is reduced by one receivable $1 for every gross $1 earned. That’s how it used to be and the social welfare system hardly ever changes, except to become more stringent rather than more helpful to good citizens needing it and wanting regular, reliable part-time work within travelling distance and allowing for personal responsibilities.

              • Vicky32

                For me, working 1 or 2 days a week is much worse than full time (if I could get it!) would be.
                As a language teacher I earn from $25.00 to $44.00 an hour depending on what school I am relieving at. Working two days at $44.00 an hour gets me enough that when I ring WINZ I can tell them to just not pay me the following week, and I am fine!
                But if it’s one day at $25.00, I end up with $125.00 gross, and WINZ of course charge my benefit the gross earnings. Then they mess up and decide that I am earning that every week…
                By the time I have sorted that out, I am in the hole and I wish I hadn’t worked at all, as I end up keeping $80.00 of it, out of which I must take bus fare, teaching materials etc.
                Part of the problem is, that a full day teaching comes to 5 hours, and the other part is that I have managed max four days in a row at any one school, then I might not get any more relieving for six weeks! WINZ can’t cope with casual work, but aside from the dread telemarketing (four hours a day, times 3 days a week at $17.00 an hour) and I stood that for 5 weeks – I got nothing, as the Yanks say.
                Deb

                • Colonial Viper

                  This stuff really needs to be structured better.

                  For starters for casual workers they could have a web interface where you could input your own time/days worked/money earned. Also where you can see what has actually been inputted into the system, in that regard.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Universal income combined with software similar to Xero or MYOB that’s administered through IRD (and free to use) allowing everyone to be brought under the same set of rules rather than the complexity of the PAYE/Business/trust BS that we have now and we might, just might, get a viable social welfare/tax system.

                    • RedLogix

                      DtB

                      Yes we’ve both long advocated for a UBI system but I’m impressed with the software idea. It definitely goes a major step past where my thinking was at.

                      Our tax system is still rooted in technology limitations going back half a century or more. This of course is deliberate because it perpertuates inefficiencies, loopholes and privileges that the wealthy protect at all costs.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Our tax system is still rooted in technology limitations going back half a century or more.

                      Yep, the politicians should have been looking at modifying our tax system years ago as computing power increased. Especially with the advent of broadband (which would have been helped even more if we hadn’t sold Telecom and deregulated telecommunications)

                      This of course is deliberate because it perpertuates inefficiencies, loopholes and privileges that the wealthy protect at all costs.

                      Oh, you’d really hear the howls from the rich pricks if such a system as I envision was implemented. Tax dodges would disappear pretty much over night as financial crime could be picked up almost instantly.

                  • Vicky32

                    Such a brilliant idea that they would never think of it for a moment… and yes, charging the gross when we receive the nett is something that has always annoyed me, Prism. Surprisingly enough, HCNZ uses the nett when calculating income related rent, so I presume WINZ could if they wanted to!
                    Deb

                • prism

                  Vicky32 – Yes the govt calculating on gross earnings to reduce net payments is a nice little fiddle they do on people to whom every $ counts. They are just counts when it comes to this way of handling beneficiaries\’ income.

          • Pete 1.2.1.3.2

            I didn’t say that “people on unemployment benefits don’t want to work”. Many do want to work, and it can be tough finding suitable work. But there are some who choose not to work because they can live comfortably enough on the dole plus whatever else they can wangle out of the system, including long term state housing.

            Too many think they are entitled to a comfortable standard of living without having to work. That’s unfair on those who work and pay tax. It’s also unfair on those who genuinely need benefits, who get criticised and maligned because they are lumped in with the abusers (in many people’s views).

            If abuse of benefits (which is abuse of taxpayers) could be substantially reduced it may be easier to fund a better level of benefit for those in genuine need, with less resentment.

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.3.2.1

              You know, anyone who is rorting the system should be dealt with appropriately.

              But thanks for the run down on the right wing bene bashing memes. Tell you what Pete, you get the Govt to help generate 100,000 decent paying $15-20/hr jobs tomorrow, as it will help us weed out all those people who don’t want to work. That would be a good way to start your programme of personal accountability don’t you think?

              Too many think they are entitled to a comfortable standard of living

              You are kidding, $230 pw is a pittance, where are the decent paying jobs that this government promised our youth and our adults alike.

              If abuse of benefits (which is abuse of taxpayers) could be substantially reduced it may be easier to fund a better level of benefit for those in genuine need, with less resentment.

              Hey thanks for fueling the fires of resentment, I think the first port of call is to identify all those on the rich list and other major asset owners who have been evading their tax responsibilities with complex business set ups.

              Do you think these people have been “abusing tax payers” too?

              What are you going to do about them? Because you seem to pick on people in poverty quite happily even though they are the ones with nothing to give.

              I’ll remind you: half of the adults in this country earn less than $27500 p.a.

              We are a poorly paid country with too few jobs, and we export many of our youngest and brightest to help the Australian economy. So keep yourself busy with your respectable bene bashing and ignore the fact that our business and political leaders have failed to create an economy offering sufficient gainful employment to all.

              • Pete

                I think the first port of call is to identify all those on the rich list and other major asset owners who have been evading their tax responsibilities with complex business set ups.

                Do you think these people have been “abusing tax payers” too?

                Some have for sure, also by using family trusts.

                What are you going to do about them?

                Nothing I can do about them, apart from speak against them.

                Because you seem to pick on people in poverty quite happily even though they are the ones with nothing to give.

                I think you are jumping to extreme conclusions. I’ve “picked on” people unfairly choosing benefits, and mentioned there are many more deserving of them. If less people abuse benefits and more people pay their fair share of tax then those in poverty could be better cared for.

                • Colonial Viper

                  yeah just watch your broad claims don’t stigmatise all beneficiaries, exactly like the Right like to do, putting on a reasonable voice even as they claim that a $230pw UB is a ‘life style choice’ (hey didn’t you just do that above?). Yeah what kind of lifestyle, a pretty shite constrained one.

                  As RedLogix mentions below, bashing beneficiaries is a fine past time for the Right, the rich list taking off with a few million dollars – that’s just considered clever.

                  This Govt wants to get people off benefits? We need 100,000 jobs paying between $15-25/hr. Where are they, why aren’t our business elite getting on to creating them*

                  *Rhetorical question – in the capitalist system businesses make more profits by minimising the number of employees, not increasing them.

                  • Pete

                    I agree that more jobs are needed. That’s one of the problems with trying to move people off benefits, there aren’t enough jobs for them anyway.

                    Businesses expand and make more profits by employing more employees, who need to be productive. Most of the time business owners and employees work together for mutual benefit. It’s sometimes framed as a “them versus us” relationship, that usually doesn’t work very well.

            • Vicky32 1.2.1.3.2.2

              “But there are some who choose not to work because they can live comfortably enough on the dole plus whatever else they can wangle out of the system, including long term state housing.

              I call nonsense! I constantly hear about these people, but I have yet to meet any. Or are we talking about teenagers who live with their parents? I did have a family member in this category, but she used her UB as pin money, as she was living with a boyfriend who was earning very well, but had she been on her own, she would have had no hope of comfort. In the end, she got a job, easily, because of her youth and her somewhat tarty looks… yes, she was just out of her teens….

              • ZeeBop

                The claims government is in their face, too big, but you clearly make out how actually government has fractured welfare into a thousand different groups all with odd social arrangements and cause different outcomes. Whose problem was that? There’s no principle coming from left about fairness, but the right has principle – albeit very awful principles that denigrate and harm the economy.

                The problem is simple and the solution simpler. The problem is the managing class in NZ harvest capital gains to make profits and all that needs to be done is stop them. And if Labour won’t – which seems likely – then if you can’t beat the, join them. stop buying into companies and banks that funnel money abroadm
                start putting your money into local mutual societies, into creating mutual societies. If everyone on the left started actively do right by themselves instead of waiting on Labour to do something, we’d already be half way to a better economy.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The problem is the managing class in NZ harvest capital gains to make profits and all that needs to be done is stop them.

                  IMO the managing classes are not the problem. They may be on $60K p.a., $80K p.a., $100K p.a. but they are hired help and on a treadmill like everyone else. Hate to say it, but someone who relies on a salary of $80K-$100K p.a. does OK but is certainly not rich.

                  We need to be looking at the 5000 biggest asset owners, financiers, and major shareholders in this country (although realistically some of them don’t even live here any more, or may never have lived here, and have no actual stake in NZ society). Between them they own and control the use and direction of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of capital.

                  That’s where focus needs to be put.

                  IMO management is simply hired help, even if some are paid OK.

    • Deadly_NZ 1.3

      Well I ain’t Spending, and I not saving, I just surviving. And i don’t see much in the way of joy in the future if we get 3 more years of this crowd

  2. If you want to see a speech that is uplifting, healing, forgiving and inspiring then have a look
    here. This shows Barack Obama at his best. I cannot think of a better choice of leader for the United States at this most difficult time in its history.

    One particularly inspiring passage from his speech was when he said in remembrance of Christina Taylor Green, the 9 year old who was killed,

    We should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.

    If you want to see a speech that is petty, uninspiring, seeking only to avoid blame rather than offer solutions then have a look here.

    This shows Sarah Palin as she is. If by some chance she ever became POTUS I would be very afraid for my world.

    And if you want to see something funny and showing that rapier wit for which he is famous for have a look at John Stewart’s take on Fox’s reporting here.

    Palin, Fox and the Tea Party do not have a chance …

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      This shows Barack Obama at his best. I cannot think of a better choice of leader for the United States at this most difficult time in its history.

      Not so quick. Consider the fact that Obama has finally let Summers, Bernanke et al kick Paul Volcker out (after they spent the last year freezing Volcker out of White House economic deliberations anyways) in order for them to properly pursue public policies which will favour the financial system and large corporations.

      Volcker was only allowed to implement a watered down version of his ‘Volker Rule’ which was designed to limit under the table unobservable properietary trading between the big banks. This is the type of trading in complicated paper instruments worth hundreds of billions (or trillions, no one really knows as none of it is reported, it is all off balance sheet).

      Now all remaining talk of ending “Too Big To Fail” type scenarios has left with Volcker.

      This last financial crisis has proved to be a horrific lost opportunity for the US as the plutonomy very quickly and ably reasserted its control over the levers of government there.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Further to the above. Obama by going light on breaking up and regulating the banks, has set the system up for another major crisis down the track.

        Paul Volcker is leaving as chairman of a presidential advisory board that’s being reshaped to have more of a business-outreach mission.

        Volcker, 83, was kept out of discussions on how the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which brought together business executives to come up with solutions to the economic crisis, might function next or who its new members might be, according to a person with knowledge of his views…

        “Volcker was always sort of on the outside anyway,” said Joseph Engelhard, a former U.S. Treasury deputy assistant secretary who is now a senior vice president at Capital Alpha Partners in Washington. “They pretty much used him to look tough on regulation, and now they’re done with him, they’re saying goodbye.”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-06/volcker-sidelined-as-obama-reshapes-economic-panel-for-business-outreach.html

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.1

          I agree that ideally more would be done to reform the banking system but given US politics and the make up of the House of Representatives and the Senate I do not think that he could achieve more politically. He may represent the “high tide” mark for the US.

          Do you think that Clinton would have achieved more CV?

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            No, Hilary would not have been able to achieve much more if she had brought onboard the same old team of Summers, Bernanke, Geithner.

            However, Hilary would have been a much sharper Washington operator and with the right team onboard she could have made more progress.

            It actually would have been quite a different situation in the US now because it is quite likely that she wouldn’t have focused on healthcare reform last year (that was an iceberg for her in the 90’s), she would have focused on economic reform.

            • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1.1

              “However, Hilary would have been a much sharper Washington operator and with the right team onboard she could have made more progress.”

              Definitely agree.

      • M 2.1.2

        Agree with you CV – check out this re Obama – he’s a sockpuppet:

        after all the fallout he just let the foxes back in the henhouse – the pro-wrestling analogy was perfect. The shots of Bush joking about WMD show that evil prick is without equal.

        Btw, viewed the Taleb TV show and it was excellent and a real lol moment for me was when he talked about people dissing God botherers but had such misplaced faith in the stock market. Got my A into G and have ordered the Black Swans book and also checked out a good book titled ‘Who Owns the World: the hidden facts behind land ownership’ by Kevin Cahill while waiting to take delivery of BS. This book lays out the massive power of Britain through its four stages of empire as well as the wealth of the major religions and has facts on countries around the world as well as all the states in the US.

        Derrick Jensen doesn’t mince his words either re the collapse of civilization because everyone is so preoccupied with the preservation of industry rather than the preservation of the earth – first of five:

        very dark to be sure but people are after the Disney ending.

    • QoT 2.2

      A lot of American progressives do not share your optimism about Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial. It was Christocentric (particularly uncool given Congresswoman Giffords is Jewish), and bought into that bloody “both sides are just as bad” rhetoric. Not actually what that country needs to move forward and beyond thuggish “Second Amendment remedies” politics.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      It’s not great speeches that are needed but actually changing things to make the people better off and he’s completely failed to do that. Instead he’s giving in to the demands of the republicans.

    • Deadly_NZ 2.4

      I would rather Hear a speech from a NZ politician spelling out some decent policies on how to grow our country and not let the rich pricks run off with the spoils of our hard labour.

  3. prism 3

    This morning on Radnz they have been replaying extended interviews with Marilyn Waring and various economists on the Measures of happiness providing a clear-eyed view of the result of concentrating on growth as a financial measure of most importance and GDP also. Marilyn Waring doggedly pursued the facts to write her book on unpaid work, including reading two and a half shelves on national accounting rules in I think the New York library. (Something the librarian said has been rarely done as one can imagine. It occurs to me that proper consideration of laws can be deterred by creating a huge wad of them.)

    For those who want to settle in their minds a future better direction with facts that give true indications of how we are travelling towards it, try and spend the two hours listening on the radionz audio – the link is here. It is positive stuff.

    Ideas for 18 April 2010: The Economics of Wellbeing
    The Economics of Wellbeing

    Ideas: Marilyn Waring

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks

    “What I am objecting to is not one particular bank, but a system of structures,” he told the Observer. “I have worked for major banks other than Julius Baer, and the one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax-evasion purposes, and other things such as money-laundering – although these cases involve tax evasion.”

    One of the biggest problems with our economy is that such immoral actions can be hidden away. Privacy is important but, like many things in the modern world, it’s been taken too far and is damaging our society.

    • Deadly_NZ 4.1

      Oh cool lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless. But it will scare more people that the war file leaks lol.

  5. marco 5

    From Stuff

    “One of the country’s most prestigious schools, Auckland Grammar, has become the first state school to dump NCEA exams.

    The boys’ secondary school in the upmarket suburb of Epsom will this year get its fifth form (year 11) students to sit the University of Cambridge’s international exams in favour of NCEA exams, the Herald on Sunday reported today.

    Headmaster John Morris said the move was backed by the board of trustees, the academic committee and the majority of parents.

    The school would allow some exceptions by letting weaker students sit NCEA English and maths exams, the newspaper reported.”

    • Deadly_NZ 5.1

      HAHAHA now watch Anne Tolley Toss her toys out of the cot. She will be spitting tacks, just wait for a vitriol filled response, that will pretty much consist of the same ol’ same ol’ threats. Yep business as usual for the NACTS

    • Vicky32 5.2

      That could have been predicted… So many forget that the Nats invented NCEA and left Labour to implement it…I was aware of that as my son was in the first year of NCEA kids.
      Deb

      • millsy 5.2.1

        The NCEA had actually been trialed in some form or other since the late 1990’s in our schools – I remember doing 6th English in a form of NCEA format as apposed to 6th form Cert in 1997.

        The big problem I had with it is that you either passed or failed – 100% or nothing, plus it was very confusing, I had no idea of what was expected of me.

        NCEA fits in with the Unit Standards system – something which I believe has wrecked our post secondary education system, by turning qualifications into useless bits of paper that can be be purchased.

    • RedLogix 5.3

      Nuts.

      I forget the link I saw ages ago, but the fact is that NCEA qualified students go on to to do very well at University. I’ve never seen the slightest evidence that Cambridge qualifications were proven to be of the slightest advantage in the real world whatsoever.

      The so-called Cambridge qualification is a hang-over colonial cringe. It was originally devised as a sort of sop to the colonials, pandering to their sense of class inferiority. Pure snobbery.

      • Vicky32 5.3.1

        “but the fact is that NCEA qualified students go on to to do very well at University. ”
        My son is a good example of that! 😀 (Boast, boast…)
        Deb

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2

        The so-called Cambridge qualification is a hang-over colonial cringe.

        Yep, the typical conservative/NACT NZ sux belief structure.

  6. prism 6

    Was just checking the actual Botany by election date – Saturday 5 March. Mrs Wong’s resignation applies from 17 January. (Scoop – from a government release.)
    “The by-election Writ day will be Tuesday 1 February. The last day for candidate nominations to be received will be 8 February and the last day for the return of the Writ will be Wednesday 23 March.”

    Further relevant stories from link – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1012/S00241/pm-announces-botany-by-election-date.htm

    • Deadly_NZ 6.1

      Did you see the mouthful of bullshirt out of keys mouth in the same article??

      “I would like to recognise the long service and dedication Pansy has given the National Party as both a Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament.”

      She just got caught lying and god knows what ever if thats service and dedication according to Shonky then I’m glad I vote labour

  7. RedLogix 7

    And this article in the Herald is utterly astonishing.

    The papers show huge sums of cash simply disappeared as the company and its associated businesses used money, paid by investors for apartments, to fund the business.

    When the company ran out of money, it bumped the investors on to new schemes which had yet to be created – and sold the apartments again.

    In the end, there was not a single brick laid in the main developments touted by Blue Chip.

    …..

    The Serious Fraud Office has rejected any prosecution and the Commerce Commission told the Herald on Sunday this month that it had also stopped its investigation.

    That means there are no investigations under way into the collapse that cost thousands of Kiwis and Australians their retirement funds.

    How the hell did this blatant theft go completely unprosecuted? Is the Serious Fraud Office actually corrupt, ie on the take… or criminally incompetent? Because if they are corrupt then some hard questions and investigation is demanded.

    Or if they are incompetent, then every employee of that organisation should be sacked and made to repay every cent of the salary ever paid to them … taken under false pretences.

    A beneficiary ‘abuses’ the system for a few miserable dollars and his fellows turn on him with viciousness and vitriol. But one our ‘rich slave-owner class’ steals hundreds of millions… short of a few whines and whinges here and there ….nothing happens.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    New York Times Reports US and Israel Behind Stuxnet
    Is anybody really surprised that the two major rogue nations in the world would commit a crime?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Damn clever piece of computer engineering this one. Required cooperation between large corporates and multiple agencies across countries.

      And from what they’ve learnt developing this beastie, they will have a magnificent new range of cyber weapons tech at their disposal now.

      Although I can see China being less than impressed.

    • RedLogix 8.2

      Yeah… industrial automation is my line of business and I’ve had to waste much valuable time dealing with the potential implications of Stuxnet over the last few months.

      I don’t know about China, but I’m way less than impressed.

      What really does concern me is that far too many people are utterly unaware of how deeply ubiquitous automation controllers are in the modern world. Most people sort of idly imagine that ‘computers’ are somehow involved… but in reality the actual control layer, the layer that controls the pumps, the valves, the sensors, the motors, the hydraulics and heaters… all those things that make the modern world function… are run by these highly deterministic and very reliable devices.

      For instance, once I had completed Site Acceptance Testing on a system I would fully expect it to run uninterupted for decades if I chose. There is a whole culture of reliability around these systems that has underpinned enormous leaps in technology applications over the last 30yrs.

      What has happened here deeply concerns many senior people in our industry. For a very long time we have been able to operate efficiently without the menace of virus’, trogans and malware directly impacting our systems at the control layer. To date we have been able to assume deterministic operation, from here on in we cannot. That is huge.

      At the moment Stuxnet has been written to impact only one system; Siemen’s S7. The S7 system has a very large installed base globally…. possibly around 25-35% of all systems. Just behind it is Rockwell Automation’s ControlLogix and then around a ten other vendors who would account for 99% of all installed systems. It’s not a very large target. It is almost inevitable that peer malware similar to Stuxnet will be released targetting these relative handful of systems. Once that happens, as it likely soon will, it opens the door to a lot of bad things happening.

      Real cyber-warfare for one.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Fascinating, thanks. I knew something about ladder logic once, but that’s a different life time.

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