Open mike 18/06/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 18th, 2023 - 41 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step up to the mike …

41 comments on “Open mike 18/06/2023 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Seats to watch: https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/132345297/want-to-know-who-is-going-to-win-the-election-watch-these-seats

    Last week Gretchen Hawkesby, the daughter of billionaire Graeme Hart, hosted a house meeting for 70 friends – and ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden. Not a fundraiser, as such, although Hart has contributed $100,000 to ACT’s war chest this year. But the implied endorsement from this influential dynasty is better than a cheque for van Velden’s campaign to win Tāmaki from National.

  2. bwaghorn 2

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/opinion/132345297/want-to-know-who-is-going-to-win-the-election-watch-these-seats

    Andrea Vance castes the bones and pokes the chicken gizzards.

    Plus is it truly democratic to allow big money 'Graham Heart' in this case ,pour money into political parties

    • Dennis Frank 2.1

      Snap! It's truly democratic if it conforms to the prescribed consensus of Labour & National: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_funding_in_New_Zealand

      To divide & rule, democracy uses such legislation, enabling the rich to use excessive leverage to engineer a suitable result. Others here may feel that Labour isn't guilty of such consensus: rumours of proposed reform may be cited. Enacting legislative reform prior to the election is the way to seem credible – if Labour were serious they'd have already done so. Have they?

      • bwaghorn 2.1.1

        Is it a case of needing a super majority,to chamde it, or can any elected government do it?

    • mikesh 2.2

      Perhaps he should be defenestrated, like Mikhail Khordokovski, he latter being an oligarch who gave financial backing to a political party, contrary to Putin's expressed stipulation that the oligarchs should stay out of politics. It seems Putin doesn't like neoliberalism very much and considers it undemocratic for the wealthy to pour money into the political arena.

      PS: They seem to do politics differently in that part of the world.

    • tWiggle 2.3

      Proposed party funding changes. Great read (and you can make a submission before July 17).

      Independent Electoral Reform Interim report exec summary

      "Our recommended changes may reduce private funding and increase compliance costs for parties. We recommend changes to state funding to address these effects. Parties are central to our electoral system and supporting them in a fairer, more transparent and up-to-date way is vital."

      "We recommend that only individuals on the electoral roll should be able to loan or donate to parties and candidates. All entities, whether trusts, companies, trade unions, iwi, hapū, or unincorporated societies should be prohibited from providing funding. They will continue to be able to participate as third-party promoters or by donating to third party promoters."

      And, incidentally, addressing a favourite bugbear of mine: easy voting rights for permanent residents:

      "Permanent residents, which for electoral purposes means someone living in Aotearoa New Zealand who can stay here indefinitely, may vote after living in Aotearoa New Zealand for a year. We recommend extending this period to one electoral cycle, to provide enough time to establish a sufficient connection to Aotearoa New Zealand. The amount of time that permanent residents can spend overseas without losing the right to vote should stay at 12 months. "

      Plus, citizens overseas should get more time before being ineligible to vote.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    There's three Labour cabinet ministers who seem worthy of respect: Willie J, his mate Henare & Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty. McAnulty has even loomed as a likely future PM, but his rise has encountered an official challenge: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/492100/emergency-management-bill-flawed-government-told-by-officials

    Can he finesse this impasse? Time will tell. Bureaucratic stone-walling is legendary in the public service, yet climate change legislation is an urgent priority. How real are these design problems? I suspect only the insiders really know.

    Legislation was tabled in Parliament last week to try to head off a repeat of the crippling effects of another Cyclone Gabrielle. But the bill is contentious, with industry and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) opposed to parts of it.

    Also, it was not clear what "immediate" action was being taken among the raft of agencies involve to fill the gaps, described like this:

    • "No agency has responsibility for the critical infrastructure system"
    • "We have been unable to set national risk tolerances and standards"
    • "A number of critical sectors are not subject to regulation around their resilience at all – such as cloud service providers, data storage centres", consumer-goods supply chains, "forthcoming technologies that will support smart cities and the internet of things, all sit outside New Zealand's existing regulatory frameworks."

    Nit-picking or design flaws? Both? The minister will need to be decisive, even if it means kicking too-hard parts of the can down the post-election road to ensure that essential changes happen fast.

  4. ianmac 4

    Liam Dann knows a thing or two:

    News of the recession last week was good, not bad.

    You’ll never hear a politician say that. They’d get slammed by the public and swamped with hard-luck stories that made them look callous and uncaring.

    But I don’t care. I’ll say it.

    This economic slowdown shouldn’t have come as a surprise and, frankly, if the choice is whether to rebalance the economy sooner or later – I’m in favour of sooner.

    It’s pretty simple. We had a pandemic and had to shut the country down to save lives.

    We borrowed to get through that, we lived beyond our means for three years.

    Now we’re going through the payback.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/liam-dann-harden-up-new-zealand-this-was-the-recession-we-needed-to-have/4XY6IKBFV5GHXKPIKKBIOMEIRY/

  5. ianmac 5

    Oh.

    So, good! The economy has contracted. If the GDP numbers had shown a surprise lift in economic activity that would have been a bigger worry.

    That would have put pressure on the Reserve Bank to keep lifting the official cash interest rate – risking a worse recession further down the line.

    It now looks more like the RBNZ got it right in saying that the hikes are over.

    Unfortunately, we can’t expect any politicians, from either side of the house, to be grown-ups about this.

    Given the highly emotive nature of the word “recession”, National and Act couldn’t miss the opportunity to attack, even if that meant wilfully conflating the supply-side and demand-side problems in the economy.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    Jack Tame interviewed (on Q+A) Graham Grant, CEO at Seequent, who said our tech sector currently contains 12,000 companies & 120,000 people

    He also suggested that sector will surpass dairy in the next few years. Seems a sound basis for economic optimism! yes

    https://www.seequent.com/company/

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Dog being kicked when he's down. Poor Boris. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/jun/17/just-an-ex-mp-rishi-sunaks-allies-pour-scorn-on-beaten-boris-johnson

    Johnson called on his own tiny band of remaining MP followers not to vote against the recommendations of the privileges committee when they are put to the House of Commons, apparently because he does not want to expose how little remaining support he has on the backbenches.

    With Labour well ahead in the opinion polls, Sunak and his strategists believe they can now draw a positive from the Johnson-related dramas and episodes of late, by contrasting the former prime minister’s rule-breaking and chaos with the more studious and thorough style of the current one.

    It now seems probable that the report, which would have led to Johnson being suspended for 90 days and having his right to an ex-MP’s pass for life rescinded, had he not already quit as an MP in fury, will be approved without a vote.

    • ianmac 7.1

      Will Boris stand for his ex-seat at the by-election?

      • Dennis Frank 7.1.1

        I doubt it. More likely that he awaits his entry into the House of Lords, I bet! Meanwhile, he's running a sideline as an online columnist:

        https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-65930008

        Woof! Can't keep a good dog down…

      • tWiggle 7.1.2

        He's likely to lose it, as he only has a 7,000 majority, and of course he did diddly squat as a local representative. There was some talk of him eyeing safer seats, such as the 24,000 majority that adoring Johnson fan, Nadine Dorres, will stand down from.

        However, the tory-supporting press has abandoned BJ to a great extent.

    • joe90 7.2

      The top end of town put the slipper in, too.

      A skill unmatched since Tony Blair to communicate with the wider public, to make people laugh and feel good about themselves. What might he have achieved with more discipline and purpose? But second, his inner emptiness made it imperative for him always to be the centre of attention, craving affirmation and breaking truth and convention to achieve it. Finally, a total absence of moral compass, seriousness or ability to see anything or anyone as more than fodder to be expended for his own gratification, pleasure and career. People, causes and institutions would be embraced with enthusiasm for as long as they were useful to him, then spat out. Not a single person whom he encountered in his life outside his family has not been cheapened or damaged by their association with him.

      All living prime ministers before him — John Major, Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May — left office surrounded by friends and admirers of substance. Johnson left with no friends. He never has had them in politics. He was finally ejected from No 10 in July last year, not because of a coup, but because no one would work with him. Those who had hitched their fortunes to his wagon had come to see him as a total liability.

      https://archive.li/8GCyu (thetimes)

  8. tWiggle 8

    Robert Reich at the Guardian makes the case for Trump being fascist rather than merely authoritarian.

  9. tWiggle 9

    Robert Reich doesn't hide his political position. It's his definitions and comparison of the elements of fascist and authoritarian leadership I found interesting.

  10. bwaghorn 10

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/132295577/petition-to-apply-equal-animal-welfare-standards-to-imported-pork-fails

    The problem with free trade deals!!

    Our farmers cannot compete on the local market with countries that have lower standards.

    It'll be the same if we slap carbon charges on nz farmers when others haven't.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    Just saw the announcement of a new govt initiative on One News; decarbonising tourism. Came across real well – enough to make me feel they're likely to get a significant poll lift in consequence! yes

      • Dennis Frank 11.1.1

        Now that's interesting. Assuming the press conference happened today, I mean, and assuming the Minister planned that timing. Why is Sunday better than Friday for this publicity? More folks watching tv news?

    • observer 11.2

      “they’re likely to get a significant poll lift in consequence! ”

      It would be nice to think so, but I doubt it.

      Both One News and Newshub (TV3) led with the predictable National fake-macho pitch on gangs. The TV news naturally used the tangi footage to illustrate this (sub-text – "it's the scary Mowrees, so loud and rude and brown!"). Never mind the facts from Opotiki, as witnessed by people who are actually there (mayor, cops, business). Luxon knows his audience.

      The "rinse and repeat" rhetoric is the same as 2008, and Key's government solved nothing, but it's not about solutions, as we all know.

      In case anyone's forgotten, in 2020 National voted to keep funding the gangs with illegal drugs.

      • AB 11.2.1

        I agree, but sense you are being too nice to National

        Key's government solved nothing

        Key's government solved the problem that the Clark government was not re-distributing sufficient wealth upwards. Key solved that problem brilliantly: cuts to progressive income taxes which favoured the rich, raising the regressive GST which hurt the poor, inflating a housing bubble with foreign buyers and immigration that rewarded multiple property owners and landlords, real term cuts to the public sector that deferred infrastructure maintenance costs, sale of power assets so that individuals wealthy enough to buy shares could extract monopoly rents from people not wealthy enough to buy shares but still dependent on electricity. Considered from the standpoint of what the National Party's mission statement actually is, he was a success. He is lionised by them to this day for these achievements.

        but it's not about solutions…

        National believes that all solutions in this case are the responsibility of the gangs themselves, that they are simply bad people who have to stop behaving badly. There is nothing the rest of us can do but lock them up if they don't behave properly. In effect it's a belief that history and society don't exist, just individuals. It's batcrap crazy, but with enough of a germ of truth to convince some people

        • Incognito 11.2.1.1

          Law & Order is one of the foundational pillars of National’s political power. National needs the gangs to give legitimacy to some of their policies and their approach to social welfare and beneficiaries. Gangs are portrayed, by National and ACT, as the ‘common enemy’ in and of NZ. It is intrinsically divisive and polarising but there you have it.

          • tWiggle 11.2.1.1.1

            But, like the UK tories, the Nats actual solution (as opposed to L&O rhetoric), is to cut front-line policing. The meth problem began 20 years ago, and defunding police in rural areas seriously undermined police effectiveness. National was warned at the time they needed to act early, before meth use became established.

            And of course, having an uncorrupt police action, as the last 2 Labour governments have, to seriously target importation, puts away the big players and stuffs up drug networks. This has a much greater effect for users (and L&O) than continual busts of low-level dealers.

            However, it urgently needs the other part of the equation, large-scale support programs to pull people and communities out of addiction.

        • Phillip ure 11.2.1.2

          @ ab…
          That is a very tidy summary of how key..apart from the top end of town .. screwed us all..

    • pat 11.3

      “The draft Tourism Environment Action Plan is currently open for public submissions, which will inform development of the Final Action Plan.

      The consultation closes 19 July 2023, 11:59pm.

      The draft Tourism Environment Action Plan was created in partnership with the tourism industry, unions, government, Māori and environmental organisations through the Tourism Environment Leadership Group between October 2022 and June 2023.

      It explores 6 Tirohanga Hou (new outlooks) for ensuring the tourism industry protects and restores the climate and environment. These tirohanga hou are underpinned by 22 initiatives to achieve the outcomes sought.

      The 6 Tirohanga Hou are:

      • Tourism journeys are decarbonised
      • Tourism champions biodiversity
      • Visitor management is optimised for te taiao
      • Accelerated technology uptake and innovation enable regeneration
      • Tourism businesses are incentivised and enabled for sustainability and regeneration
      • The tourism system and its levers are optimised and resourced to support regeneration

      MBIE is gathering feedback on the draft Action Plan on behalf of the Tourism Environment Leadership Group. You can have your say on the draft Tourism Environment Action Plan by completing an online survey or providing a written submission. We are also hosting in-person and online workshops you can attend. ”

      https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/26815-draft-tourism-environment-action-plan-summary

      A high level aspirational consultation …not policy.

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    Apparently it is now possible to simulate a political candidate using AI. Folks will immediately want to see this happening!

    The Opportunities Party (TOP) has revealed it is working on an artificial intelligence candidate. Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday morning, TOP leader Raf Manji told Simon Shepherd: "We've been playing around a little bit with the idea of could you create an AI candidate? As it happens, you can… So we have a candidate, which is online at the moment, but I am talking to somebody about whether we can actually develop that up into, you know, a proper avatar, somebody that might be able to speak, answer questions, do interviews," Manji said.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2023/06/newshub-nation-the-opportunities-party-leader-raf-manji-reveals-he-s-working-on-new-artificial-intelligence-candidate.html

    Sounds to me like the current working model won't be impressive – so why tell the media? Well, I agree it's newsworthy. I also agree it combines enterprise with ingenuity & imagination: a potent brew. It just lacks a performance opportunity in the public domain – which isn't even being foreshadowed currently…

    • weka 12.1

      he thinks everyone knows what ChatGPT is. Not off to a good start.

      • aj 12.1.1

        I suspect his enthusiasm for AI may lose him vote.

        A ChatGP parliament FFS?

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          a ChatGPT parliament with some MPs in the background deciding on direction. What could possibly go wrong.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 12.2

      Hope TOP's AI candidate (Terri?) is ranked high on their list – best not to piss off AI !

  13. joe90 13

    Imagine the fate of Ukrainian women and girls unlucky enough to encounter the barbaric Muscovite hordes.

    @DevanaUkraine

    These are Turkish soldiers after russian capture. In captivity, the russians cut off their noses and lips. In addition, the russians themselves filmed abuse of prisoners and civilians in Chechnya, Georgia, etc. #russiaisaterroriststate

    https://twitter.com/DevanaUkraine/status/1669836724199989249

    When they finally told her, it was, she said, “the first time I behaved not like a professional psychologist”.

    “I’d never heard anything so horrible. I told them I needed the bathroom and went and cried and cried. I didn’t want them to see as they might think there’s no hope.”

    The two men had been savagely beaten. Then the drunken Russians castrated them with a knife.

    “One of them told me, ‘I don’t know how I am still alive, there was so much blood, I thought I’d die of blood poisoning’,” she said.

    “And of course it’s not just the physical damage. Imagine, they are young men just starting their sexual life and then in one second it’s all over. They still feel something, all these hormones, but they can’t do anything. They can never be sexually active. For a young man it’s the worst thing to happen.

    “Their dignity has been damaged so badly and it’s impossible to forget. The Russians told them, ‘We are doing this so you can’t have kids.’ To me this is genocide.”

    […]

    Yatsenko believes her patients are not the only ones to have been castrated. “They told me the Russians performed the castration procedure very skilfully, as if they knew how to do it. And I’ve heard about a lot of cases from colleagues treating others.”

    https://archive.li/P9krt

  14. pat 14

    A tax experts take on the Greens Tax policy proposal….well worth the read (or listen) as is the embedded graph from Twitter

    https://www.interest.co.nz/public-policy/122566/new-zealand-tax-podcast-greens-wealth-tax-proposal-ignites-tax-debate-just-imf

    • lprent 14.1

      That was an ‘interest’ing article :). Generally I’m in favour of this Greens policy.

      I was considering this the other day for an effect on my income. I’m pretty well paid and I have a chunky kiwisaver which did not returning a profit last year, but probably will do so in the current year.

      Current tax rates
      0-14,000: 10.5%
      14,000 – 48,000: 17.5%
      48,000 – 70,000: 30%
      70,000-180,000: 33%
      180,000+: 39%

      Greens proposed Tax rate
      0-10,000: 0%
      10,000-50,000: 17%
      50,000-75,000: 30%
      75,000-120,000: 35%
      120,000-180,000: 39%
      180,000+: 45%

      It’d push a chunk of my income into 39% (+6%), but dropping the 10.5% tax on the lower $10k, means that effectively gets negated. The +2% from the 25% rate would have a moderate impact. But way less than the current cost of living increases which are starting to be noticeable even to me.

      I don’t think that I’d notice these tax changes even with my well-paid income if they were in place now.

      I’d notice them a bit next year with the PIR and assuming the kiwisaver makes a profit and the top of my income tips over into 45% on the PIR. But since I’m on 10% contribution to kiwisaver + the employer 3%, extra tax would get swamped by kiwisaver contributions and make little difference.

      It’d be interesting when I get superannuation next year because that would probably push the top of the income into 45%. But would also mean that as soon as I stop working (if I ever have to), my tax on super would drop down to about 7% on the ~24k of super. Much more reasonable than the current effective rate of ~14.5% on 24k.

      I don’t have trusts because if I drop dead, everything just goes to my partner or if she is dead as well, then to parts of the family. But basically I don’t give a damn about that when I am dead.

      So even on my pretty large current personal income, this simply isn’t going to make much of a difference in income for me. But I can see that these tax changes would for me if I ever have to stop working (something that I plan to avoid if I can).

      They’d also help my the tax on my father living on superannuation and some investment income and my partner who is trying to transition to a different career path and has a low income. Effectively giving them more self-reliance and stop me having to worry quite so much.

      Certainly a lot better than the insane Act tax policy that only really benefits the already affluent (I’d get maybe $120pw which frankly is peanuts to me) and especially the excessively wealthy.

      Plus it makes absolutely no fiscal sense to me because I’d wind up paying more than that in services somewhere because they also have a enormous fiscal hole (despite their some fantasy ‘savings’). It just makes you realise that Act have to be funded by the insane wasteful and most likely completely unproductive wealthy who figure that they can ignore the requirements of societies infrastructure on productivity.

  15. Shanreagh 15

    Current tax rates
    0-14,000: 10.5%
    14,000 – 48,000: 17.5%
    48,000 – 70,000: 30%
    70,000-180,000: 33%
    180,000+: 39%

    Greens proposed Tax rate
    0-10,000: 0%
    10,000-50,000: 17%
    50,000-75,000: 30%
    75,000-120,000: 35%
    120,000-180,000: 39%
    180,000+: 45%

    I have no objection to these new rates, think it is great for this part of the Greens Policy.

    But why did they hide it in their Wealth tax announcement?

    It deserves to be trumpeted as a stake in the ground to sort tax rates and 'c'mon you guys' to the other parties.

    If they could include a mechanism to stop bracket creep in the future that would be good as well.

    • weka 15.1

      they didn't hide it. I knew about it because I listened to what the Greens and others were saying when the announcement was made. It was in the post I wrote about the whole package, a post you commented on but apparently didn't read sad

      .https://thestandard.org.nz/this-is-what-ending-poverty-looks-like-in-new-zealand/

      • Shanreagh 15.1.1

        Well clearly I did read it, despite what you say.

        My comment was about mixing it with the Poverty announcements has tended or may hide it from those who would be greatly in support of tax readjustments but not necessarily the particular use The Greens are going to make of the funds generated.

        My view is that the tax moves should stand by themselves as a bold-ish move to 'fix' the tax bracket creep etc.

        My view is that the use for the funds coming in should be based on the need at the time and generally I don't favour tagged funds, unless they benefit all.

        Poverty and its amelioration should come with explicit policies or a package of policies that stand with/against other Govt policies of the day.

        Poverty or help for low income people whether working or not, could be set up equally simply. Hence my suggestion about making more use of the records in our tax system.

        Systems that take from people especially when they operate unilaterally like the proposed wealth tax need much more thought to avoid inequities eg

        1) allegations of double taxation, 'Summary: Employee KiwiSaver contributions are paid after tax; effectively money what would have gone to your bank account is paid instead into your KiwiSaver fund' *.

        2) and working against other Govt initiatives such as funding one's own retirement eg KS or not being a burden on the state by needing social housing if one can afford to buy.

        I don't have anything against the new tax rates and I don't have anything against alleviating the plight of our most needy, whether they be working or not. I don't think they need to be cobbled together.

        I am entitled to this view.

        *https://www.moneyhub.co.nz/kiwisaver-contributions-gross-or-net.html#:~:text=Summary%3A,pay%20depends%20on%20your%20income.

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