Open Mike 16/11/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 16th, 2016 - 114 comments
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114 comments on “Open Mike 16/11/2016”

  1. save nz 1

    Rust-belt romantics don’t get it: the middle class is being wiped out too
    Aditya Chakrabortty
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/15/rust-belt-middle-class-wiped-out

    • Paul 1.1

      A rebellion against neoliberalism

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Along the same vein:

      If you look just at polling data- the biggest issues concerning New Zealanders are poverty/inequality and housing. Logically, the road to political success would be for politicians who can articulate a solution to these problems. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.

      The government policies that cause the housing crisis and inequality turn out to be very profitable for those with lots of money. For example, more than a third of the 2016 Rich List members have investments in property, real estate or development. Housing prices are largely being driven up by these investors seeking strong financial returns. These same investors are the same people who can fund- or not fund- a politician’s campaign.

      Even if a politician found other avenues of funding, it doesn’t fix the problem. These big investors might pour resources into opponents.

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        Donald Trump spent well under what Hillary Clinton spent and won. Money does not seem to have the influence you think it does in deciding elections.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          You’re trying to distract from the message that politicians are owned by the rich.

          And, yes, money does have an influence on voting.

          • Chuck 1.2.1.1.1

            “And, yes, money does have an influence on voting.”

            Then Dotcom and Colin Craig would of succeeded based on the millions they each spent.

            In 2014 the Greens spent more than Labour, but that did not translate into more MP’s for the Greens (compared to Labour).

            Money has an effect…after all how does a political party get out its message to potential voters? But its a mistake to say throwing money at a party influences voters to any great degree. Its more if a voter agrees with the party policy’s and personal to carry out said policy’s.

            • Gosman 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Exactly. Money plays a part but ultimately you still need to have ideas. Those ideas are more influential than the money that is used to promote them. Draco’s problem is his ideas are so wacky and out of kilter with mainstream thinking that he has to conjure up the idea that there are people trying to stop others from accepting them.

            • DoublePlusGood 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Nope. Money has an *influence* on voting. It does not guarantee anything.

          • Gosman 1.2.1.1.2

            If money plays less of a role in politics than you think it does why would all politicians be owned by the rich? I think your issue is you can’t convince politician’s that your ideas are something they should follow so you use the role that you think money plays in politics to explain the failure of your ideas to be adopted more widely.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.2.1

              Again, you’re trying to distract from the main point – that the rich own the politicians and because of that the politicians won’t even entertain ideas that will affect the wealthy negatively even though those ideas will be better for the society.

              • james

                OK – since you state it as a fact – do you think Andrew Little is owned by the rich?

                Do you believe that he will never entertain ideas that will affect the wealthy in a negative way?

                **BTW _ I do not think he, nor most are ‘owned’ in the slightest. Just curious on your view.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I believe that politicians will listen to and do what the wealthy want more than they do everyone else. If they didn’t then lobbying wouldn’t be worth it now would it?

                  An oligarchy has broken our democracy. It must be dislodged

                  I define the American Deep State as a hybrid association of elements of government and top-level finance and industry that is able, through campaign financing of elected officials, influence networks and co-option via the promise of lucrative post-government careers, to govern the United States in spite of elections and without reference to the consent of the governed.

                  These operatives use their proximity to power and ability to offer high-paying jobs to government officials to achieve outcomes foreclosed to ordinary citizens. As professor Martin Gilens of Princeton, who studied the correlation between American popular opinion polls and public policy outcomes, concluded: “[T]he preferences of economic elites have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do … ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.”

                  I’m pretty sure that the same is happening here in NZ.

                • Craig H

                  The Labour Party gets very few donations from businesses or the wealthy currently.

                  Another issue is getting lambasted in the media, whether fairly or unfairly.

                  Another issue is believing a lot of the macroeconomic misinformation peddled over the past 30 years.

                  Hopefully Grant Robertson’s speech at conference repudiating trickle down economics is the start to everyone moving to a better macroeconomic place.

                  • BM

                    The Labour Party gets very few donations from businesses

                    Do you consider that good or bad?

                    • james

                      Another question would be – Is this because Labour dont want them, or businesses have little faith in labour (or simply dont like and/or trust them)

  2. gsays 2

    Weka, stephanie and others, thanks for your efforts over the last few days in respect to the ban hammer.
    Obviously I aren’t privy to all that has gone on, but the niggle from some authors was getting really petty.

    Yes it is a last resort but I feel it has been appropriate recently.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Morrissey 3

    “I want to start by apologizing to all the U.S. military members,
    their families, and the fans who I offended by my actions on Sunday.”

    When you see how easily intimidated are moral pipsqueaks like this fellow, you realize just how strong and resilient Colin Kaepernick is….

    http://deadspin.com/mike-evans-has-already-caved-on-his-national-anthem-pro-1788997001

  4. Bill 4

    Remember the TPPA and the line about how it’d be really good for you and me and for NZ in general?

    Now, John Key’s own words..

    I still strongly believe the United States still gains more than it actually gives from free trade and I’d urge him (Trump) when he gets a chance to sit back and get some advice on how we might be able to progress it.”

    So there you go folks. Liberal politicians (yes, both National and Labour are quintessentially liberal) are knowingly out to throw you and me under a bus. It’s not an accident. It’s not that they have a different understanding from yours or mine of what transpires under free trade deals. It’s just that in their calculation, you and I don’t matter.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/president-elect-trump-calls-key-following-quake

    • weka 4.1

      Why are you using ‘liberal’ instead of ‘neoliberal’ there?

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Because neo-liberal is just a re-hash of late 19th C liberalism.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          Ok, but isn’t that a bit obscure for most people who use the term liberalism differently now? (ie not referring to the late 19C)

          • Wayne 4.1.1.1.1

            Since when did free trade become a “neo-liberal” concept in that the only people who use the term do so as a point of abuse.
            For instance are any of CER or NAFTA or the China FTA an invention of the evil right.
            In fact without either CER and the China FTA New Zealand would not have survived the GFC as well as it has. In fact this is the reason why we don’t have the angst that led to Trump. Unlike the US the “right direction/wrong direction” poll has NZers consistently voting right direction.
            This bodes well for John Key’s re-election chances.

            • Bill 4.1.1.1.1.1

              There is no ‘evil right’….just liberalism. There is a well established and understood economic theory based on free trade that is referred to as ‘liberal’ or ‘classical’ economics. (Throw in the ‘neo’ if you must)

              Interestingly (disturbingly) according to the words of Andrew Little (and I disagree on this point) the Labour Party has always favoured free trade.

              Which is essentially to claim that the Labour Party has always been liberal.

              • adam

                Which means Andrew is either being obtuse, or just another liberal rewriting history.

              • Macro

                Andrew Little would be quite wrong on that point.

                8
                New Zealand has a long history of protectionism . Tariffs, first introduced as a source of government revenues, assumed their role as an instrument for protecting domestic industries in the late nineteenth century. Fifty years thereafter, in 1938, the government made the tariff protective structure redundant by an introduction of an extensive import licensing scheme. Originally justified as a response to the country’s deteriorating overseas currency reserves, the import licensing controls remained the dominant means of protection in New Zealand over the next fifty years to come.

                http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/downloads/quota.pdf
                The import licensing scheme was a 1st Labour Govt initiative, and it served us well until it was trashed by the 4th Labour Govt.

                • Wayne

                  Macro,

                  You are right about the establishment of import licensing by the first Labour government, though elements to were pre-existing. Which is why Andrew Little is wrong with his history, at least that part of it extends prior to 1984.

                  By the early 1980’s import licensing and all the associated controls had reached the end of the road. It was hugely holding back NZ, and was leading to massive economic problems. Anyone who travelled overseas could see that it was no longer useful.

                  That is why Muldoon got voted out and the reformers were voted in.

                  Not withstanding Trump, there is zero prospect of import licensing or anything like that being reintroduced.

                  And I am pretty certain quite a lot of his anti-trade rhetoric is just that. Which is why we could yet see a son of TPP. And Trump will be able to say what a great deal it is – in fact a tremendous deal!

                  • lprent

                    Personally I have no problems with Trade deals. Such a pity that the TPP isn’t one.

                    Much of it is about things that have nothing to do with trade, but more with defining the laws by overriding the local legislative and regulatory environments. In the case of NZ that means that many of those changes are retrograde – they actually constrain our trading environment unfavorably.

                    Since about the only trading benefits were for tariffs for a small minority of companies in the rural sector, and with most of tariffs being decades away – why would we be interested in TPP or any similar deal? It is a crap trade deal for us.

                    Basically for NZ, TPP just looked like a photo-op deal for Key and some of the ministers. The deal that was on the table before the US jumped on board looked a whole lot more useful for NZ and its future economy.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Personally I have no problems with Trade deals.

                      I do as they bring about increased poverty for all nations involved while a few people get inordinately richer.

                      Far better to fall back on the basis of free-trade:

                      Willing buyer, willing seller.

                      But treat the country as a single entity rather than putting it in the hands of individuals.

                      Put in place standards that the other country must meet before we trade with them. This will be better for us – they won’t be able to undercut us by cutting back on worker and environmental protections as an example – and better for the other country as well because that other country must bring their own countries living standards up to meet ours.

                    • lprent []

                      Yeah I agree about the standards. But…

                      Those usually have to be done at a multi-lateral level in something like the WTO or the current changes to international tax agreements or whatever. But generally they tend to get done country by country. That is effectively what most agreements do, including most trade agreements. Have a look at the large amount of legislation about standards that has gone on between NZ and Aussie over the last 3+ decades post CER.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Those usually have to be done at a multi-lateral level in something like the WTO or the current changes to international tax agreements or whatever.

                      No, they don’t have to at all. We could set the standards that we will trade at with some variance that allows for tariffs or other types of restrictions around those standards. Other nations do the same.

                      Taxes shouldn’t need to be negotiated at all. Just have it so that all local economic activity will be taxed locally with no transfer pricing or shifting of that activity offshore by any means.

                      That is effectively what most agreements do, including most trade agreements.

                      I know that’s what they’re supposed to do but they actually don’t. Or are you really going to claim that China has the same environmental and worker protections that we do?

                  • DoublePlusGood

                    For corporations perhaps. For the people? No.

                    • Brutus Iscariot

                      Inequality within Western nations has increased, yes. Essentially wealth has been transferred from the working and middle classes in western countries, and been passed to workers in emerging economies like China.

                      The argument that trade and globalisation have benefited no-one is incorrect.

                      Since you’re all enlightened humanists here, you should be happy to have taken the hit so that poverty in other countries is decreased.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Since you’re all enlightened humanists here, you should be happy to have taken the hit so that poverty in other countries is decreased.

                      Why should we have go into poverty just so that another nations people can be slightly better off but not out of poverty themselves while a few people get very much richer?

                    • Macro

                      Actually Brutus – your analysis is only partially correct.
                      Canadian Dr John Mc Murtry in his book “Unequal Freedoms – the global market as an ethical system” written in 1998, writes:

                      Such “necessary sacrifices” however applied not only to Mexico’s indigenous people, but also to farmers across Canada, as established tariff and marketing board systems of secure prices and sales were to be progressively dismantled by NAFTA. The problem also applied to the estimated 500,000 manufacturing workers, who according to the Canadian Labour Congress, lost their jobs within 3 years of the original US – Canada FTA because goods could be produced elsewhere at lower wages (for example at 63 cents per hour paid out by US corporations operating in Mexico). ….The problem was also applicable to Mexican workers. Their life – wages eventually collapsed by 60%, and unemployment rates sky-rocketed as transnationally mobile capital left the Mexiacn economy in massive splurges of speculative currency ventures, quick-profit investments, and capital flights

                  • Macro

                    “It was hugely holding back NZ, and was leading to massive economic problems. Anyone who travelled overseas could see that it was no longer useful.”

                    Tell that to the women machinist in our clothing factories, the rubber workers in our tyre factories, the car assembly workers in our assembly plants, the small businesses around the country manufacturing home appliances, the boat builders, the glass makers – we now even import wine bottles for the wine we make here. The list is long. The forests we planted arenow owned by foreigners. Our logs are shipped off-shore to be milled in Japan and China, and our log-truck drivers are instructed to drive even longer and faster or else loose their tenuous contracts, endangering themselves and every other road user.
                    The effect of the US-Canadian FTA was the loss of 500,000 jobs in Canada alone. Free Trade agreements also hurt workers in the US, (over a million seamstresses in what was the largest clothing industry were made redundant not to mention the near demise of the automotive industry. How else can you explain the reactionary response we have just witnessed in the US?

                    • Wayne

                      The Lange/Douglas reforms are more than thirty years ago. The world has moved on.

                      For instance in 2005 unemployment was about 3.2%. Today is under 5%. Participation rates are higher than the 1980’s. The employment effects of the reforms are long gone. Sure, old jobs have gone, but new jobs have been created.

                      The road toll is around half of what is was in the 1980’s with 2 million more people.

                      The pre 1980’s world is not coming back, even in a modified form.

                      As for the reactionary impact in the US, as evidenced in the election. Yes, it is real. But that is why I referred to the “right direction/wrong direction” poll. In the US the majority of people have been saying wrong direction for 15 years. In NZ people have been saying right direction for 15 years, except in 2008, but that was why there was a change in government at that time.

                      Maybe in the last 15 years successive governments have handled the effects of the market reforms better than in the US.

                      For instance there has been no change in income inequality in NZ since 1992. A lot of that is due to government policy such as Working for Families, accommodation supplement, free doctor visits for kids 12 and under, increases in welfare payments, minimum wage of $15.25, etc.

              • lprent

                Which is essentially to claim that the Labour Party has always been liberal.

                In economic terms? It isn’t a binary issue. Our economic responses tend to interrelate with those of the rest of the world.

                There has always been a significiant part of the NZLP and its precursors that have been strongly in favor of it over a long period. Tariff barriers or import rationing usually cause internal costs to be higher and act like a drag on the economy. It makes it harder to get the goods and services required to develop the resources and industries here in NZ.

                However those same people are also quite aware that there are penalties for that as well. Winding up being a freeish trade economy in the midst of the fortress tariffs of other countries of the 1930s to 1970s means that it was hard to sell goods and services from here.

                So we kept a rationing system (import licensing) to allow the balance of payments issues to be handled. Since we we still having quite severe periodic balance of payments problems in the late 60s and early 70s, the slow reduction of our own barriers took some time.

                The other rationale for trade barriers is to allow for local nascent industries to form – often for strategic reasons. However if they can’t be reasonably efficient and have prices that are similar or lower that competitors form offshore then they act as a tithe on locals and other businesses.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  It makes it harder to get the goods and services required to develop the resources and industries here in NZ.

                  Oh noes, we might have to work a bit harder and develop that ability ourselves.

                  Oh, woe is us.

                  /sarc

                  However if they can’t be reasonably efficient and have prices that are similar or lower that competitors form offshore then they act as a tithe on locals and other businesses.

                  It’s pretty much physically impossible for other nations to be more efficient than us. That’s simply the nature of physical reality.

                  • lprent

                    Oh noes, we might have to work a bit harder and develop that ability ourselves.

                    It is the usual thing. Why expend effort and resources on something that we can’t do well, when we could expend those same resources and effort on something that we can do well.

                    Doing a penance of the chores of hard and boring work to me is such strange fetish – on the par with self-flagellation.

                    Doing something that is more productive makes work enjoyable.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Why expend effort and resources on something that we can’t do well, when we could expend those same resources and effort on something that we can do well.

                      Except that we can do it as well as anyone else – once we develop the capability. And those other nations can do what we do well and they will develop the capability – as China is developing its dairy capability. China already develops its own IT hardware.

                      By refusing to develop our economy because of trade we’re actually making it worse for ourselves in the long run. Keep doing what we’re doing and in a couple of decades we’re going to be a bunch of paupers down at the bottom of the world with absolutely nothing as we would have failed to develop our economy and exported all of our raw resources as well.

                      Societies specialising results in the collapse of that society.

                    • stunned mullet

                      DTB – there are always going to be some items which it is far simpler and cheaper to import than manufacture ourselves – many of which we don’t have the capability to manufacture locally.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      there are always going to be some items which it is far simpler and cheaper to import than manufacture ourselves

                      Actually, it’s physically impossible for it to be any cheaper. It’s still going to use the same resources.

                      many of which we don’t have the capability to manufacture locally.

                      We may not have it now but we could develop that capability. Simply being human allows that to happen.

                    • Actually, it’s physically impossible for it to be any cheaper. It’s still going to use the same resources.

                      Yes, if I print one copy of a book myself it uses the same amount of paper and ink as if a professional publisher does it for me. So, if we just ignore the cost of the time it would take me to learn how to create a book and to become sufficiently practiced at it that I could print one that was worth owning, and if we ignore the cost of the machinery involved or the time it would take me to replicate the work of the machine via handcraft, and the wastage involved in me doing all that for the sake of one book, yes it would cost about the same because it uses the same resources. Of course, we’d have to be completely delusional to ignore those things, which is why we don’t ignore them.

                    • lprent []

                      Indeed. Good answer to whoever you were replying to.

                      Time is a resource and usually counted as a direct cost. Skills and education are resources and is an overhead cost. Plant, tools and machinery are resources and a overhead cost. Providing power, heat, water, mailboxes, etc to sustain a business involves resources and services provided by others and is expressed as an overhead cost.

                      All of those things (and many more) make up the true cost of the resources used in a product or service. There is a whole branch of accounting (cost accounting) that apportions the cost of overhead resources for an enterprise across their products or services. Like basic economics it is deadly boring, and something that most people should learn because it looks at the dismal reality of dealing with and using scarce resources.

                      Forgone returns from not using those resources in a more productive enterprises is an opportunity cost.

                    • Macro

                      That is very true – if talking about one off manufacture. But for instance, when we manufactured tyres in NZ, NZ had one of the most efficient tyre factories in the western world – despite having the use of cast off machinery that no one else wanted. The 600+ workers were well paid (causing one National MP to decry in the House the rates as scandalous!) So with the closure of the factory – because the international company could do so and bring the tyres in from Asia, 600+ families lost their income. Wage rates declined, and now both partners are required to work full time. Whereas just 30 + years ago, one income could not only buy a house, but support a family.
                      Wayne says that times have changed. Yes they have and not for the better. He quotes unemployment rates in justification that things are all well and good. Of course he completely overlooks the fact that we now count a person as being “employed” if they have 1 hour per week of work. Futhermore, as has been pointed out to Wayne numerous times, the cost of putting a roof over ones head has now risen exponentially in the past 30 years whereas wages have not. Food banks were unheard of 30 years ago. Homelessness was something that only occured overseas. Young people could leave one job and begin another overnight. Nowadays the unemployment rate of people under 25 is national disgrace.
                      Just a street away from where I now live a man and his family had a business in the basement of his house where he manufactured Freezers for the local market. I still have one bought 40 years ago and it is still working as well as it did when it was first bought. When we bought the freezer I didn’t know Gane nor the fact that it was constructed in a house basement by him and his family. In fact we lived at the other end of the Island. It was only in recent years that I learned the history of these remarkable products.
                      There are still NZ manufactured freezers available but they are under pressure from cheaply made and cheaply constructed overseas competitors. If we are really serious about work for NZers (and at the same time preserving resources) we need to bring back import restrictions.
                      The first free trade agreement in recorded history was between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.It seems that things went very well for a while. But if you read further, the downside of this trade was devistating to both countries and Israel went through a rapid decline which took years to recover.
                      It is often said that there is nothing new under the sun. Its also said that those who fail to learn from history are forced to repeat it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      @PM

                      Yes, if I print one copy of a book myself it uses the same amount of paper and ink as if a professional publisher does it for me.

                      Good job I’m not talking about individuals doing everything for themselves but our society.

                      Simple fact of the matter is that an automated factory is just as efficient in NZ as it is in China. And it doesn’t even have to be a big factory – size makes no difference. A small factory is just as efficient as a large one.

                      @Lprent

                      Forgone returns from not using those resources in a more productive enterprises is an opportunity cost.

                      But we’re not really doing that are we?

                      We’ve still got ~7% of our working age population in agriculture. That should be down at 2% – enough to feed ourselves. The ~100k people freed up should be going into more productive fields.

                      How productive is our service industry considering that it pays minimum wage and makes up ~70% of our economy?

                      The loss doesn’t come from diversifying our economy but from spending too much effort to do more of the same. That’s what happened to dairy.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.2

            I don’t think so, no.

            You were able enough to pick up on what was being referred to, and as you’ve indicated on occasions in the past, political labels and what they refer to or indicate aren’t your forte.

            Liberalism, whether in its first outing or in its new garb was, in my opinion, only ever all about free trade and an attempt to increase the purview of the state or establishment via the loosening up of social mores. (The social dimension – accentuated this time around – was or has been merely intended to act as a distraction from, or compensation for, the deleterious consequences of the economic dimension)

            • Robertina 4.1.1.1.2.1

              Neoliberalism is characterised by the much freer moment of capital and goods made possible by technology, which is partly why it gets its own name.

              More immediately it’s right to question the term because liberal and liberalism have become pejoratives in the alt-right.
              It’s chilling as the subtext is hostility towards a free press, women, and so on.
              I’m not suggesting you’re using it in that sense, and I’m not suggesting you’re alt-right.
              I disagree with your suggestion though that the ‘social’ or positive side of liberalism was a deliberate distraction. There is a relationship but it’s more complex.

          • adam 4.1.1.1.3

            Weka you may have noticed, people have moved away from liberal as a term for progressive politics. Apart from the continued poisonous use by the right, which is ironic because the majority of them are liberals in a classical sense. The term fails, because of it’s on going association with a particular brand/ideology of economics.

            What has become more common are words like progressive, open minded, and/or free thinker.

    • Scott 4.2

      But you are thinking of it as a zero sum game.

      I don’t know if they are right or not, but proponents of the TPP would probably say that the US would gain more than they lose, and so would every other member of the TPP, including us – that the result would be improvement for all involved not a redistribution from state to state.

      • Gosman 4.2.1

        I think the issue here is most people don’t understand the point of freeing up trade. Most people I have come across think it is to allow nations to sell their goods and/or services to the other country. What it really does is allow consumers and businesses in your own country to access goods and servcices that are either better quality or better price or both.

        • save nz 4.2.1.1

          Sounds good on paper Gosman until you realise it is the leading cause of inequality. The greediness and lack of fairness and transparency of the last 20 years is now causing a back lash from voters around the world from the UK to USA.

          • Gosman 4.2.1.1.1

            Incorrect. In fact trade protection causes greater inequality than free trade. For example most people can afford electronic items that even rich people only dreamed of even 20 years ago. Slap on trade barriers on those items and the only people able to afford them will be the wealthy.

            • Clump_AKA Sam 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Wtf r u going on about noob

              [looks like you are the noob here. Please tone down the abuse (a read of the Policy might be a good idea too) – weka]

            • save nz 4.2.1.1.1.2

              It’s great most of us can afford a TV and cellphone (often made by slave labour in factories and the e waste being dumped into the environment) but the issue now is that people can’t afford the basics, housing, power, water and food or they can afford it, but then low and behold their job gets cut unexpectedly and they become homeless or what have you.

              I think if you surveyed people and asked if they would prefer a stable house and job over TV with Real Housewives of Auckland and a cell phone – I think most people would prefer the former.

              If you have a look at Cuba for example – they seem to be having much better outcomes in some areas by not having free trade. I’m not advocating that trade is bad, more that it has been captured by a global elite of lobbyists and not working in societies best interests only their own.

              (from wiki) “Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent[190][267] is the tenth-highest globally, due largely to the provision of free education at every level.[268] Cuba’s high school graduation rate is 94 percent.

              Cuba has the highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world and has sent thousands of doctors to more than 40 countries around the world.[280] According to the World Health Organization, Cuba is “known the world over for its ability to train excellent doctors and nurses who can then go out to help other countries in need”. As of September 2014 there are around 50,000 Cuban-trained health care workers aiding 66 nations.[281] Cuban physicians have played a leading role in combating the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.[282]”

              • Wayne

                I have not been to Cuba, but based on what I see on TV, it looks to be one of the poorer countries in the world. Part of that is the embargo, but a lot of it is due to their socialist system.

                Their agriculture and infrastructure (trains, roads, industrial plant, electricity, etc) look appalling. There was a recent TV programme on Cuban trains. The narrator was a UK train enthusiast and was clearly sympathetic to the socialist cause. But the trains he was on were worse than any I have seen in any country I have visited which includes a lot of third world countries. The people in the towns and villages that the trains went through were obviously very poor, though the people were not malnourished. Cuba has never bought Chinese or Russian trains, they are still using US General Electric trains from the early 1950’s.

                Socialist agriculture everywhere it is practised is a failure, at least compared to family farms or for that matter corporate farms. That was obvious from the agriculture adjacent to the train.

                Frankly I am skeptical about the doctor ratio. I suspect the doctor training does not relate to a seven year training programme that we expect in NZ.

        • lprent 4.2.1.2

          Sure, but since we already have that – then why would we want to restrict it with something like the TPP?

          Perhaps if you confine yourself to looking at the situation here rather than doing some dumb puff quoting from international economics 101 you might actually find out why people think that something like the TPP absolutely sucks.

          • Gosman 4.2.1.2.1

            Whether the TPPA in it’s entirety is a good quality trade deal is a separate matter. What can be stated is that coming to an international agreement on trade and investment is generally better than not having any agreement at all. For example would you prefer a flawed UN or an international free for all?

            • Clump_AKA Sam 4.2.1.2.1.1

              I wrote this in reply to some one else but thought I’d put it here with some unedited bits in it just so I can say one again goose you come across as bat shit crazy.

              The Gold Exchange Standard[1] primary objective was to increase trade and it was supposed to do that through stability. So instead of trading a ton of gold for a ton of milk you could go in and pay for goods on the international markets with US dollars and obviously notes are much more easily transportable. As a consequence the US dollar is the world reserve currency. It’s the default currency traded between trading nations including New Zealand.

              If you think about what this means it means that New Zealand requires a large amount of US dollars at any one time. The upside is as long as every one plays by the rulz and the terms of trade is predictable. So that will increase trade between member nations leading to increased prosperity and potential peace amongst member states.

              But there was a problem. Between 1950 and 1969 Japan and Germany recovered after WW2[2] and the US share of global economic growth fell from 35% to 27%[3] so Japan and Germany recovered structurally and started producing goods. And what happened was New Zealand increasingly became a net importer[4] of Japanese and German goods vs the rest of the world resulting in a negative balance of payment vs the United States so New Zealand ends up managing deficit. During this process New Zealand did muddle through but the down side become apparent when the US had to brake the rulz in order to finance their Vietnam war so the US was forced to print more US dollars to finance the war and print them at a rate that was higher than newly mind gold and this makes the kiwi dollar increasingly more questionable vs gold and nations became nervous and started to sell US dollars for US gold. As the system became A symmetric because the US became willing to do what ever they pleased because they’ve been printing more and more money.

              The US has sealed its own fate because the US dollar fell[5] against the kiwi dollar. Other nations started stepping away from the gold standard as it was seen as artificial stimulus had started to protect US political interest. So instead of using reserves of US dollars to purchase New Zealand’s currency ie to revalue the kiwi dollar to defend our exports. Foreign governments started selling US dollars for gold. At the time NZ unemployment[6] was about 6% and all of this culminated in the President Nixon weekend when Nixon decided to brake up the Breton Woods system[7] and they broke it up by suspending conversion of US dollars into gold. So they dis aloud foreign countries from buying US gold and this created an overall currency crises. And this is used as a political weapon by political leaders to divert attention away from the realities of these causes. This is America having a protectionist system protecting looking after its own political interest and New Zealand says those are our interests to and maintaining deficit spending.

              So John Keys publicly stated intention lower interest rates in order to protect New Zealand dairy prices and housing prices and to stabilise the currency against speculators[8] is all just political speak because it’s counter intuitive when you try to protect the value of your currency by letting it go down. IT DOSN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. When you read the attached article[8] what John Key means by this is a devaluation of the Kiwi Dollar in order to make NZ exports less expensive and foreign goods more expensive to stimulate the demand for domestic goods and create jobs. Essentially what they did by braking the Breton Woods system is create a trade and currency war. I’ll link this video[9] of Nixon and I want you to watch this video now and listen to the political speak this is very important for ant one to begin to understand when things go wrong central authorities such as governments and central banks will use political language to defend positions that are hopeless. So go and watch Nixons speech then return here.

              What you saw in the video turned out to be a huge political success Nixon and the New Zealand Government. The entire public think this leaders are saving us from speculators and a foreign caused exchange rate or trade crises. So it’s the begged thy neighbour policy. Blame a some one else for the problems in our currency which peg to commodities[10] or at the wrong value and couldn’t maintain international trade with trading partners sensibly.

              So it ended up being a political success but in the 4 months since John Key told the reserve bank to “get on with it” the kiwi dollar rose 3% against the Australian dollar which isn’t a huge move but IMF (International monetary fund) members are able to choose any form of exchange rate agreement[11] that them access except paying fair prices for NZ milk solids.

              So the NZ dollar is a currency that floats freely and is pegged to a bundle of commodities weighted against the US dollar.

              This ends the investor rights lesson and there’s a reason why it’s kept complicated in the eyes of the public, and as soon as you take a look at them it’s easy to see why, and notice I said from the public. They’re not complicated to all the lawyers and accountants who write the detail and regulation, but of course in the interest of constituents, dosnt happen to be the public, or there own countries. So these are highly protectionists for the benefit of private power, not small business owners, effectively raising tariffs through patient of value add or trade marks. If you can figure out what all this means, it has nothing to do with provisions that undermine the dairy industry, including incidentally, regulation of environment protections and rather strikingly the phrase climate change isn’t mentioned in any modern business literature which are illustrative of the whole economic and dairy structure.

              References:

              [1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_standard
              [2]https://www.quora.com/How-did-Germany-and-Japan-recover-in-such-a-short-amount-of-time-after-WW2
              [3]https://ourworldindata.org/gdp-growth-over-the-last-centuries/
              [4]http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/ReserveBank/Files/Publications/Bulletins/2009/2009dec72-4zhang.pdf
              [5]http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/currency
              [6]http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/the-1970s/overview
              [7]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton_Woods_system
              [8]http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/national/81890667/Prime-Minister-John-Key-says-Reserve-Bank-needs-to-get-on-with-it-on-housing-measures
              [9]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD99SGj4IGM
              [10]https://www.oanda.com/currency/iso-currency-codes/NZD
              [11]http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/nft/2014/areaers/ar2014.pdfu

              • Gosman

                This is nonsense. John Key has not advocated any preferences around the NZ Dollar indeed I remember a few years back The Greens were pushing for essentially what you are asking for and John Key stated that it was a bad idea to try and manipulate the market.

                Your analysis falls down on a number of areas of fact:

                1 – NZ real interest rates are amongst the highest in the developed world. Countries like Japan are offering negative interest rates on their government back bonds.

                2 – The NZ dollar is at historically high levels compared to many of our key trading nations such as Aussie and US Dollars. It has not develued during John Key’s term in government.

                3 – The NZ Dollar is not pegged to any commodities but floats freely and is set by whatever the demand and supply for it is.

                • Clump_AKA Sam

                  FYI the float is dirty not free

                  • Gosman

                    Evidence for this please. I suspect you can’t find any independent source that backs up your claim that the NZ dollar is a quasi-pegged currency against a basket of commodities.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      I told you to read the article again

                    • Red []

                      It’s difficult as it puts you to sleep

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      That’s what the designers intended

                    • Gosman

                      No. Your article makes claims that the dollar is essentially pegged to a basket of commodities. I want you to link to something that actually states this is the case.

                      BTW your references are bollocks. Most of them are just references to articles telling you basic economic information not supporting your arguments.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      Do you even know what a free float is?

                    • Gosman

                      It is quite simple – Provide a reference to a source that backs up your asertion that the NZ Dollar is essentially pegged to a basket of commodities.

                      Do that and you have won this round.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      The infomation you require is in the #8th link. You’ve yet to demonstrate even basic knowledge of currency regimes yet profess to know it all so I’ll assume you understand the economic terms you throw around

                    • Gosman

                      The 8th link is all about the housing market and immigration. It doesn’t mention the currency at all.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      Ok I’ll now assume that you haven’t a clue what a free or dirty float is. A dirty float is when you manipulate interest rates.

                      You’ve also demonstrated that you can’t even grasp the basic concepts that you talk about so you will learn a lot from those investopedia links I put up

                    • Gosman

                      Now you are trying to claim that the currency is manipulated via interest rates and NOT pegged in a quasi basis to a basket of currencies. Your story keeps changing.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      If markets moving is causing you discomfort then they’re markets Yu shouldn’t have been monitoring in the first place

      • save nz 4.2.2

        If TPP is so great why do governments keep it secret from the public while letting large corporates write it.

        Is it fair that the way these trade deals are written helps the global .1% while making things harder for those in the middle and terrible for those at the bottom.

      • lprent 4.2.3

        It is pretty damn hard to find *any* significiant benefits to NZ from the TPP over the next decade. If you look outside the rural sector, it imposes nett costs to most of the businesses and people here.

        The TPP is what I call crony capitalism. Over decades it provides benefits for a few. It costs the majority a hell of a lot over that same time period.

        And to preempt the usual waffle that you tend to be inclined to do, please remember I’m a MBA programmer who has spent my working life building exports in the private sector. I like free trade (within limits) and agreements that foster a less constrained trading environment.

        If the proponents of the TPP can’t convince someone who has supported every other trade agreement since CER, then it is a seriously flawed agreement. From NZ’s viewpoint it imposes a less free trading environment than the one we have already.

        BTW: If I get an idiotic unthinking and dogmatic response, then I am liable to revert to roasting.

        • Scott 4.2.3.1

          It’s your site Lynn, of course you can call the TPP whatever you want to. I’m not about to argue with you about it.

          But plainly, other people disagree with you (and Kelsey and the like), and many of them know a good deal about the topic. Maybe even as much as you or Ms Kelsey. I’m not going to appoint myself arbiter.

          I was merely pointing out to Bill why the US might think is gains from a trade deal, without that meaning someone else loses by it.

  5. b waghorn 5

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/org/KRXy

    I hit the replies button and ended up here.
    lprent

    • save nz 6.1

      Still waiting for John Key to follow the reports recommendations…

      Among the report’s recommendations:

      Every country should establish a searchable public registry that identifies the directors and actual owners of all companies, trusts and foundations incorporated within its borders.
      Governments should hand out stiff punishments to lawyers and other middlemen who knowingly register a corporation or trust “whose primary purpose is to evade or avoid taxes or to engage in money laundering.”
      Governments should discourage money laundering through real estate by requiring the disclosure of the real owners for all large real estate cash transactions.

  6. Morrissey 7

    Great Moments in Television No. 1:
    Morton Downey praises Oliver North as “a hero.”

    Renowned as the most obnoxious person on television, this fool’s television show used to run in New Zealand, long ago. He was a kind of unholy combination of Murray Deaker, Paul Holmes, Paul Henry, Mike Hosking and Leighton Smith. In this clip he tries, unsuccessfully, to bully a porn star, Seka.

    At about the 2:57 mark Seka taunts him….

    SEKA You probably believe Ollie North!

    MORTON DOWNEY JR. Yes, Ollie North was a HERO, dear, he’s a HERO! Wear your cap as well as he wears his! HE was a HERO! We’ll be right back!

  7. Pasupial 8

    Power is out to 430 customers in the Dunedin suburb of Tainui after a line came down.
    The outage happened at 9.10am after the line fell on Cavell St near the intersection with Magdala St.
    Three Delta trucks were on the scene about 9.45am.
    A spokesman said power was also out for an extra 450 customers for three minutes at 9.50am as workers carried out switching to isolate the area and safely carry out repairs.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/hundreds-without-power-tainui

    Forty minutes seems like a long time to isolate the area, though apparently; “Standard safety protection operated immediately”. But then you’d think that “Standard safety” should also ensure that lives wires didn’t fall down on a wet but not stormy morning. If only someone had said something earlier…

    “To me, every day that I went to work at Delta was like going to a storm situation — there was stuff breaking all over the place.”… comments came as the ODT found 68 public safety incidents had been disclosed in the company’s 10-year asset management plan — a Commerce Commission requirement — earlier this year.

    The incidents occurred between April 1 last year and April this year and “not surprisingly failed poles and conductor [power lines] down events account for 80% of total”, the document said… board chairman Dr Ian Parton would only insist the priority remained a “safe and reliable network”.

    That was dismissed by Delta whistleblower Richard Healey, who said the claims and figures could not be reconciled.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dcc/every-day-delta-%E2%80%98storm%E2%80%99

    • weka 8.1

      Was the Tainui one one of the rotten poles? Is that the first one to fall?

      • Pasupial 8.1.1

        No, this a line falling down from the pole, not the pole itself falling (though that does rather beg the question why). Plus, though the pole looks a bit warped, it is nowhere near as bad as many I see walking about.

        For a pole coming down you’d have to go all the way back to Friday, though to be fair that one was hit by a truck:

        The impact left the pole damaged, and wooden debris and broken insulators spread around the base. Neighbours said they lost power as a result.

        The Otago Daily Times understands the pole, which was red-tagged indicating it was unsafe to climb, was installed in 1930 and in 2013 was identified as “condition one”, meaning it was not fit for design load… the top was completely rotted out and it should have long been replaced.

        Other red-tagged poles, which had rotted below the ground, would have been knocked over by the impact.

        https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/pole-hit-power-cut-two-houses

        • Pasupial 8.1.1.1

          Delta’s reassurances to the public don’t feel very reassuring:

          Delta’s claim to the ODT ”there was no danger to the public” from the falling 6600V line was also clearly false as it scorched the earth when it hit the ground.
          ”If there had been someone nearby they would be dead.”
          The line could have also struck a low-voltage line on the way down, sending up to 6600V into surrounding homes.

          This could damage wires, causing fires or electrocuting anyone who happened to be touching a metal surface electrified by the current… High-voltage lines coming down in relatively light winds should not happen on well-maintained networks, but had become all too common in Dunedin and Central Otago as a result of a decades of Delta neglect….

          The spokesman did not respond to numerous questions, including whether Delta stood by Mr Cameron’s previous statements the network was safe, and whether a transformer had failed this week.

          He also did not respond to Mr Healey’s claim the extra 450 customers only lost power because a switch, which would have isolated the fault, was not working, and would not confirm whether the line fell as a result of an ageing strain insulator failing.

          ”We have maintenance programmes designed to stop preventable faults, but until we know more about the cause, we won’t speculate,” he said.
          He did say the network performed well for its age and given the weather in Dunedin and Central Otago.
          ”The reality is that despite the best efforts of our people and systems, sometimes faults happen on any network.”

          https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/delta-denies-6600v-danger

  8. Ovid 9

    This looks promising for Dunedin with the council doing more in social housing.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dcc/dcc-buy-cohousing-project

  9. North 10

    Charlatans everywhere ! The gay bit……’The Tamaki Westboro Destiny Church’.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11749215

  10. Russell Brown’s “Hard News” has a story on fake news that ought to be read by this blog’s Trump enthusiasts. That realisation was prompted by this sentence:

    The belief that Hillary Clinton, if elected, was going to precipitate World War III was remarkably popular in the weeks and months before the election, especially amongst professed left-wingers.

    And after I got down to this one I had several commenters at this site in mind:

    Every time during this US election campaign that I got involved in a social media argument with someone telling me things about Ukraine or Syria – which was far too many times – I’d find myself explaining that I actually follow a few people who cover those conflicts closely, and none of them say that’s what’s happening. Sadly, I was often referred to screeds by John Pilger that didn’t tally with any reliable reporting either.

    Hmm, yes, you’re not the only one Russell.

    • Karen 11.1

      Yes, it would be good if quite a few people who comment here read Russell’s post.
      I suspect they won’t however.

      • Morrissey 11.1.1

        Shame on you, Karen. You need to do some SERIOUS reading about the U.S.-instigated and supported ISIL insurrection in Syria. Russell Brown is not a serious commentator.

        • Karen 11.1.1.1

          I am talking about the post not extolling the virtues of Russell Brown. I think perhaps you should read the post again.

          There is a problem when people use just an internet story for information without doing some serious research for confirmation elsewhere from reputable sources. I do not mean CNN, BBC etc. I mean investigative journalists and academics who do have expertise in a particular area. For example John Pilger does not have the level of expertise in the Middle East required IMO. That is not to detract from work he has done in other areas.

          Research takes time and energy. Some people seem to think RT is somehow unbiased. It is not. That does not mean everything on it is wrong but it is needs to be evaluated in exactly the same way CNN needs to be evaluated -with a large degree of cynicism. Motive is often difficult to see but the main problem is when people blindly repeat misinformation and then think it is fact because it is being repeated.

    • Morrissey 11.2

      So Russell Brown, who doesn’t seem to read anything serious about politics, is having a go at John Pilger?

      That would be laughable if it were not so sad.

      Brown watchers will recall his gullibility of three years ago, when he indulged the cynical, but much smarter Matthew Hooton after the death of Nelson Mandela….

      Open mike 31/12/2013

    • mauī 11.3

      He looks to still be very hooked into the BBC and CNN type news which have failed to convince people at election time recently. Disappointing.

    • Paul 11.4

      Russell Brown isn’t fit to lick Pilger’s boots.

      • Karen 11.4.1

        Pilger has done some really great stuff and he may do more in the future. That doesn’t mean he is an expert in every area he writes about or that he is some kind of oracle who’s word must be accepted uncritically. Also sometimes he can be an arrogant shit.

        View story at Medium.com

  11. Morrissey 12

    “DO YOU THINK it comes under the category of hate speech?”
    A brazen Mike Hosking criticizes Brian Tamaki for misusing a public platform.

    Seven Sharp, TV1, Wednesday 16 November 2016, 7:00 p.m.

    Bishop Brian Tamaki has shot his ignorant mouth off yet again, this time preaching that the Canterbury earthquake of 2011, which killed 185 people, was a result of Christchurch’s sinfulness. [1] The mayor at the time was Bob Parker, who is now Sir Bob Parker. He is understandably angry. Less understandable is his choice to talk to Mike Hosking, especially when it concerns the misuse and abuse of a public platform.

    Less than a month ago, Hosking was the subject of an official complaint by Canterbury University professor Bronwyn Hayward for precisely what Hosking was criticizing Brian Tamaki for this evening. Professor Hayward excoriated Hosking’s ignorant, smug and incendiary comments about Māori, excoriating his “use of a privileged platform to air prejudicial and ignorant opinions.” [2] As repulsive and ridiculous as Brian Tamaki is, Mike “Contra” Hosking is the last person in the world to be admonishing anyone about anything.

    The following is a rush transcript, an impression. No doubt complete transcripts will soon be available….

    MIKE “CONTRA” HOSKING: Do you think he believes it?

    SIR BOB PARKER: It’s absolutely disgusting. For this man to be saying this. I’m told it’s out of context…

    MIKE “CONTRA” HOSKING: [with deadly gravitas] DO YOU THINK it comes under the category of hate speech?

    SIR BOB PARKER: It’s absolutely disgusting. For this man to be saying this. I’m told it’s out of context. … You can’t blame a person for holding a view. But I had a look at Leviticus today, and I think he’s a hypocrite.

    MIKE “CONTRA” HOSKING: The whole world is full of weird and wonderful people and I’m wary about giving him a platform.

    [1] https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/watch-its-utterly-disgusting-former-christchurch-mayor-bob-parker-demands-apology-brian-tamaki-over-outrageous-comments

    [2] http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/201821524/controversial-comments-cleared-but-condemned

    • Chris 12.1

      Hasn’t Parker got better things to be disgusted by? He needs to get down to his local repertory theatre. He’d be good there.

  12. weka 13

    [In order to keep Open Mike and Daily Review free for other conversations, please put all discussion, comments, link postings etc about the US election under one of the posts about the Election – weka]

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