Open Mike 19/07/2018

Written By: - Date published: 5:53 am, July 19th, 2018 - 113 comments
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113 comments on “Open Mike 19/07/2018”

  1. The Chairman 1

    Councils nationwide are considering funding alternatives to rates.

    However, changing how councils receive their funding overlooks the fundamental problem. The money is still expected to largely come from ratepayers, albeit collected through new means.

    Therefore, merely changing how the funding is gathered doesn’t address the sustainability factor – i.e. many households are struggling to pay rates as they stand, let alone having to deal with new additional forms of payments.

    Hence, instead of looking at new ways to tax ratepayers, councils need to look at ways to reduce costs.

    Additionally, they need to look at how they can tax visitors/tourists in ways that don’t capture locals.

    Furthermore, examine how they (councils) can generate new commercial revenue streams (preferably export dollars) through their enterprises as a means of becoming more self-funded.

    • tc 1.1

      Rates don’t cover what they should as councils haven’t raised them enough to meet the costs they bring on themselves by allowing developers to turn land into buildings/homes.

      Successive councils have done nothing about ageing water, sewage, inadequate roads and now find themselves in the same spot as Rod Carnegies Telecom and Feltex….bleeding with no reinvestment.

      So the models never worked and the last 3 terms of national saw an acceleration of that demise as they kicked that can down the road along with many other cans like the environment and CGT.

      Yet another systemic issue that needs a long term fix.

      • The Chairman 1.1.1

        Allowing developers to turn land into buildings/homes also provides council with additional funding due to consent fees and ongoing additional rates revenue.

        When council revenue fails to meet costs, they tend to just up the rates. Yet, as you highlighted, infrastructure still tends to be neglected as many councils waste money focusing on the nice to haves instead of the must have.

        And while it does require a long-term fix, the solution isn’t merely looking for new ways to charge ratepayers, which seem to be what’s going to be offered.

      • SaveNZ 1.1.2

        Not sure about other councils but Auckland has certainly raised it’s rates for infrastructure by separating out wastewater for example, and creating very expensive COO’s for transport, but the rate payers have yet to see any benefit from this in terms of value. In fact it sounds like the usual screw up when there are different bodies at the trough and spending a good part of the budget on themselves.

        Plenty of money for America’s cup villages, billionaire secret stadium reports, billion dollar IT failures, massive waste in bad legal advice that keeps the trough going for private legal firms, digging up the roads and kerbs continually while consenting more trucks to rip them up and corporate welfare for developers aka Westgate (which is now under legal action as the developer is sueing the council (aka ratepayers) over terms.

        Councils need so stick with the basics and avoid the Rogernomic ‘investment’ and PPP’s with private companies!

        Take the good from the old days and the things that work now and combine them Not remove what worked in the past and increase what is not working now (aka the housing affordability and pathetic transport options that is doing the opposite).

        • The Chairman 1.1.2.1

          “Take the good from the old days and the things that work now and combine them Not remove what worked in the past and increase what is not working now…”

          Indeed, SaveNZ.

        • Molly 1.1.2.2

          Snap!

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.3

          Not sure about other councils but Auckland has certainly raised it’s rates for infrastructure by separating out wastewater for example, and creating very expensive COO’s for transport, but the rate payers have yet to see any benefit from this in terms of value. In fact it sounds like the usual screw up when there are different bodies at the trough and spending a good part of the budget on themselves.

          You’re either badly misinformed or lying.

          1. It was the last National led government that created the CCOs – against Auckland’s wishes
          2. Auckland transport has made massive improvements so it be said that we’re getting value for money there. Same can be said for many other council services.

          You seem to be complaining about costs without having any true understanding of those costs or the benefits that the city is getting.

          Plenty of money for America’s cup villages, billionaire secret stadium reports, billion dollar IT failures, massive waste in bad legal advice that keeps the trough going for private legal firms, digging up the roads and kerbs continually while consenting more trucks to rip them up and corporate welfare for developers aka Westgate (which is now under legal action as the developer is sueing the council (aka ratepayers) over terms.

          You, again, are confusing what Auckland Council has done with what central government has done.

          Councils need so stick with the basics…

          What are the basics?

          See, I’d include parks, social areas, entertainment and social functions as well as roads, telecommunications, electricity and water infrastructure.

          Take the good from the old days and the things that work now and combine them

          Almost sounds good but what if what worked in the past was actually bad?

          • Molly 1.1.2.3.1


            1. It was the last National led government that created the CCOs – against Auckland’s wishes
            2. Auckland transport has made massive improvements so it be said that we’re getting value for money there. Same can be said for many other council services

            Auckland Council missed opportunities during the Unitary Plan to offset the harm caused by National and other detrimental policies.

            When the majority of Aucklander responses indicated during consultation that many understood the need for compact planning for the city, Auckland Council were threatened by Nick Smith that unless they accepted SHA’s the plan would not be ratified. The planning of Auckland should override the political wishes of the government, if following them ensures higher infrastructure and transports costs, not only for provision but for those who live here.

            I don’t have the same experience of Auckland Transport that you do. The customer service I have personally received has been consistently bad, and the level of service and the cost continues to ensure the extra personal financial cost of using AT, is not rewarded by an improved system or long-term planning for those outside of central Auckland and it’s environs.

            Auckland Transport needs to be remerged with the planning department of Auckland Council. How people move, and how they experience their built environments are inextricably linked. They need to be considered as such, when transport or planning designs are proposed.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.3.1.1

              When the majority of Aucklander responses indicated during consultation that many understood the need for compact planning for the city, Auckland Council were threatened by Nick Smith that unless they accepted SHA’s the plan would not be ratified. The planning of Auckland should override the political wishes of the government, if following them ensures higher infrastructure and transports costs, not only for provision but for those who live here.

              City planning should have absolutely nothing to do with central government. And if central government tries to hold a city to ransom to force its policies upon that city they should be done for bribery/treason or something. The practice is simply corruption.

              And I’m pretty sure that most Aucklanders actually want a more compact city with multiple hubs. Having to commute to the city centre everyday is not the most efficient option. Having businesses pay for people’s transport between work and home would encourage that more efficient development model as the businesses would be demanding better public transport and building where their workers are rather than in a central location.

              I don’t have the same experience of Auckland Transport that you do.

              I didn’t say it was perfect but it’s definitely gotten a whole lot better.

              Auckland Transport needs to be remerged with the planning department of Auckland Council. How people move, and how they experience their built environments are inextricably linked. They need to be considered as such, when transport or planning designs are proposed.

              QFT

              Excessive specialisation is a problem in and of itself.

              • Molly

                “City planning should have absolutely nothing to do with central government. And if central government tries to hold a city to ransom to force its policies upon that city they should be done for bribery/treason or something. The practice is simply corruption.”
                Agree. But the processes in place are not robust enough to ensure this is seen as a problem. I was really disappointed that Auckland Council did not call their bluff.

                “And I’m pretty sure that most Aucklanders actually want a more compact city with multiple hubs. “
                I’m also pretty sure that many Aucklanders just want access to healthy, affordable housing so that they can have a good work/life balance, and be in a position to contribution to their local and wider communities. Until we effectively address the housing crisis in Auckland (and other parts of NZ) this won’t happen. Effective planning would have contributed no small part to working towards this goal.

      • Molly 1.1.3

        The transparency of spending is also missing.

        I submitted against the targeted rates for the issue of kauri dieback because I believe that targeted rates should be used for localised projects that benefit a specific community only – not a core service of council. Especially, given the use of council funds for non-core services, such as America’s Cup, V8 racing, unreleased reports into proposed conference centres, failed IT projects, and ATEED. Goff has proposed setting aside $1million to investigate the statue proposal for Bastion Point. (BTW, I don’t agree with Auckland ratepayers contributing, but if it does get erected, I hope they make sure that Papatuanuku is crying at the state of our environment.)

        Opportunities to recover the loss of the development contributions that were capped by National, have – and continue to be – missed. The huge increase in capital gains by many landholders as a result of the Unitary Plan rezoning, was allowed to pass untaxed. During a housing crisis, both landbanked residential sections and overseas owned residential properties should be taxed at a higher rate.

        Primarily, do the things that everyone on a limited budget has to do. Prioritise spending, and utilise the mechanisms available to increase income.

        Auckland Council needs to stop considering that Auckland ratepayers are the first and only source of increased income.

        • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.3.1

          Auckland ratepayers are not the only or even majority source of Auckland Council revenue raising. It’s ideological to keep focusing on all council services as being funded by ratepayers.

          Just over half of AC funds are raised from assets and other income sources. The assets are what Aucklanders contributed to in the past, many of them now dead.

          https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/about-auckland-council/performance-transparency/Pages/budgets-spending-saving.aspx

          The Auckland Council group raises enough revenue each year to pay for all of the essential services we deliver to Aucklanders. This figure was $3.7 billion in 2015/16, made up of approximately $1.56 billion from rates, with the balance from user charges, service fees, licenses and returns on investments.

          • Molly 1.1.3.1.1

            Yet, we are in the process of stripping assets from the control (and future benefit) of all Aucklanders.

            The concern over raising rates is justified, when developers contributions have been capped, existing ratepayers need to pay for infrastructure – even while property capital gains was extremely high. The CCO process which has split off essential services, has not only corporatised the delivery of those services, it has created a culture within Auckland Council that is seeking for something profound to contribute. They find it in ATEED, and promotion of events or iconic landmarks.

            Ratepayers have contributed all along to the procurement of assets, and I accept that the budget contribution of property rates is not the majority. But i still see a lot of that budget being spent on non-essentials, and creating targeted rates to accomplish core services instead of prioritising, is both a method and an ideology that needs to be questioned – and preferably, stopped.

    • Stephen Doyle 1.2

      It’s true that councils need to have more access to funds. A major problem would be in the quality of decision making over how those funds should be spent. The fiasco in Kaipara should be a warning. Even in larger councils such as Auckland, the quality of some of the arguments is worryingly low. No government is doing to devolve power to councils if it sesnses a fiasco is brewing.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Councils nationwide are considering funding alternatives to rates.

      There’s only one way that works and that’s doing it through IRD and as a percentage of income plus a square metre charge. The IRD collects it from everyone’s income and disperses it to local government according to address registered.

      Every house someone owns is charged at, say, 3% of income and that is then passed to the relevant local government for that address.

      Hence, instead of looking at new ways to tax ratepayers, councils need to look at ways to reduce costs.

      Ah, so you’re here to demand decreased services and even more infrastructure decay.

      Really, there’s only so much fat that you can cut from the government budgets before it starts to negatively impact the services that the government provides. And that fat has been cut long ago.

      The only fat now would be the privatised services that cost more while providing less.

      • millsy 1.3.1

        Council’s have cut a whole lot of fat over the past 30 years and it still isn’t enough for some people. Most council services have been privatised and outsourced. This time 30 years ago New Plymouth’s council owned a bus fleet, electricity network, a power station, a portfolio of rental property, rubbish trucks, and so on. It has mostly all gone, but rates are still going up and people are still complaining.

        • KJT 1.3.1.1

          Privatisation correlates with rising costs. Who would have thought it!

          • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.1

            Anybody with half a brain who could do basic logic, i.e, not economists or politicians.

      • Johnr 1.3.2

        It’s not so much a matter of cutting services, rather doing them more efficiently.

        I walk my dog around Half Moon Bay (auck) each day and the lack of commonsense in the service part of council is astounding. Having talked to these people, here are some examples.

        Two different shaped rubbish bins, oval and semi circular. They are emptied by two different contractors.

        Another contractor arrives to clean the toilet.

        Another contractor arrives to pick up any rubbish in the car park

        A security guard arrives, early morning to walk the passenger ferry wharf.

        Four people arrive to mow the lawns, one on a ride on, one with a blower and two with edgers. This takes about half an hour then they all get in the truck and go else where. If the next place is 15 min away that’s an hour lost. Much more efficient for one guy to spend 2 hours and then travel 15 minutes.

        I kid you not.

        • Molly 1.3.2.1

          That is a result of the change in procurement policy, that took place about four years ago. The issue over council collecting rubbish is the same. A private contractor and an Auckland Council one are now patrolling the streets, effectively doubling the amound of fossil fuels used for rubbish collection.

          More pertinently, the issue is one of Auckland Council sidestepping it’s responsibility to ensure efficient and ongoing waste management, by introducing competition, and thereby creating an excuse for themselves if standards drop.

          • David Mac 1.3.2.1.1

            In the Henderson Borough Council in the 60’s, a contractor called Keen collected the rubbish, my Mum used to leave a few bottles of DB out for the collection prior to Christmas. I don’t think this is anything new.

            If we lived in NY we’d have a history of criminals running the service.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.1.2

            That is a result of the change in procurement policy, that took place about four years ago.

            Ah, no. What Johnr describes started happening in the 1990s – I was one of the contractors.

            It was the drive to privatisation that Labour started in the 1980s and it’s done us bad.

            More pertinently, the issue is one of Auckland Council sidestepping it’s responsibility to ensure efficient and ongoing waste management, by introducing competition, and thereby creating an excuse for themselves if standards drop.

            Are you saying that it would be better and that ACC would be more accountable if the City ran it’s own monopoly for their services?

            • Molly 1.3.2.1.2.1

              “Are you saying that it would be better and that ACC would be more accountable if the City ran it’s own monopoly for their services?”
              Yes. Especially for core services, where if any excess results it can be directed into maintenance, or enhanced infrastructure rather than distributed as profits.

              The procurement policy enacted by Auckland Council took those 1980’s and upscaled them. A local resident who had been maintaining the local reserve, was not even eligible to tender for continuing his 25 years of service, because the focus was on getting large contracts from bigger suppliers. The level of service dropped.

              But also, the local contractor took pride in contributing to his local community, and would often do extras like mowing the rugby field just before a game, rather than according to schedule. That contribution also confers a local sense of ownership, and valuing of community assets.

              Instead Auckland Council, gave that contract and many other smaller ones to an Australian owned contractor, who then contracted out to smaller operators who would be persuaded to take reduced rates in order to maintain profits.

              Then the council pays further money to try and instill a sense of community cohesion. Make of that what you will.

              • greywarshark

                Molly at 2.18pm
                Great. When an illustration of the problem is presented so clearly anyone except, red-necked po-faced l..nies can see why everything is getting dearer and yet standards are dropping.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.2

          Two different shaped rubbish bins, oval and semi circular. They are emptied by two different contractors.

          That’s in large part because Auckland City used to be multiple cities and each city used it’s own private contractors etcetera.

          Four people arrive to mow the lawns, one on a ride on, one with a blower and two with edgers. This takes about half an hour then they all get in the truck and go else where. If the next place is 15 min away that’s an hour lost. Much more efficient for one guy to spend 2 hours and then travel 15 minutes.

          Sending four guys out to four different locations would be more efficient in some ways. Would need more vehicles and more tools but may end up saving on labour.

          I do have problems with that though in the social and safety aspects. Having someone else allows them to socialise which helps with their mental health and there being two people helps with safety when things go wrong.

          • Johnr 1.3.2.2.1

            @ DTB

            We have a plethora of people and vehicles visiting every day, and I presume a bunch of other places also.

            I would suggest that it’s simplified and localised.

            Put a shed with a mower in it and other simple tools and a front end loader rubbish bin outside, and I could provide two fit agile pensioners to do all that is required, with pride, right now.

            Couple of hours a day, they’d be delighted to be occupied with meaningful work and a pension supplement

      • The Chairman 1.3.3

        I concur. The notion of doing it through IRD and as a percentage of income plus a square metre charge has merit.

        It’s more progressive as it take incomes as well as property size into account. Improvement value (the value of the property’s buildings and other structures) should also form part of the calculation.

        When I say councils need to consider ways to reduce costs, I’m talking about finding efficiencies while deferring or canceling nice to have projects. Ensuring expenditure on essential services and infrastructure are prioritised.

        And when infrastructure requires renewing, councils should be looking at tried and tested options opposed to becoming guinea pigs, taking on board additional risk adopting untested technologies that can result in failures and unforeseen cost blowouts.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.3.1

          It’s more progressive as it take incomes as well as property size into account. Improvement value (the value of the property’s buildings and other structures) should also form part of the calculation.

          And just how are you going to do that?

          When I say councils need to consider ways to reduce costs, I’m talking about finding efficiencies while deferring or canceling nice to have projects.

          They do actually do that. Unfortunately, for the last ~30 years the sole idea of improved efficiencies has been privatisation which has decreased efficiencies and cost us more. In fact, I believe that it’s written into law in some way.

          It’s a major problem with following the neo-liberal ideology.

          And when infrastructure requires renewing, councils should be looking at tried and tested options opposed to becoming guinea pigs, taking on board additional risk adopting untested technologies that can result in failures and unforeseen cost blowouts.

          Yes, because the Industrial Revolution happened by doing everything the same way as the previous centuries…

          … Wait, no it didn’t.

          Not trying new ways of doing things prevents us doing things in a better way.

    • millsy 1.4

      The thing about this debate is that no one is willing or able to say what council services they would cut and what funding mechanisms they would use to replace rates with. And if a 3% rate increase is too much for people, I cannot imagine how they would have coped with the 10+% increases 30-40 years ago.

      • David Mac 1.4.1

        Councils will never have enough, they’re insatiable. If rates doubled we’d get a 10 million dollar statue on Bastion Point instead of a 2 million dollar one.

      • Molly 1.4.2

        millsy, the debate is broader, and should be ongoing.

        Are all the funds currently in Auckland Council being prioritised in a way that ensures essential services are met, and infrastructure and maintenance are planned and budgeted for effectively?

        If not, why the hell are we paying for ATEED, and other non-essential services before that is done?

        The lack of transparency that Penny Bright protested about, exists.

        It is not a knee-jerk reaction to ask these questions.

        • David Mac 1.4.2.1

          I think part of it is as simple as ‘Drains ain’t sexy’

          I think you’re right re: Penny Bright.

          “Who are you paying? How much? and How’d they get the job?”

          I agree Molly, they seem like perfectly reasonable questions of somebody that has no money of their own.

        • Johnr 1.4.2.2

          ATEED should not exist.

          That’s a whole council entity given over to promoting a small sector of business at the expense of all ratepayers.

          Unfortunately Goff missed an opportunity when the accommodation industry bleated and moaned when he asked them to fund half the costs.

          He should have grown some and said, ok we’ll shut it down.

    • Sacha 1.5

      Local councils overseas have access to funding streams other than local ones – usually state or national contributions towards services delivered by councils.

      In NZ, successive govts have put more responsibilities on councils over the years but not added revenue or ways to get it. Regional economic development and tourism is just one example – in Auckland, that’s Ateed.

      There have been some thorough reviews of this already over the last decade. Time to implment their recommednations and improve revenue sources, or explicitly give some responsibilities back to central govt agencies.

    • KJT 1.6

      Councils have been delegated more and more functions, without the corresponding revenue, so central Government can pretend to have a surplus.
      Overpaid council “management, subsidising roads for trucks, privatisation of services and councils feathering their own nests, doesn’t help.

  2. Adrian Thornton 2

    Here is a debate that would bring some much needed balance and reason into the this ridiculous Russia hysteria that is sweeping MSM…if they actually wanted fairness and balance in their reporting that is…

    Debate: Is Trump-Putin Summit a “Danger to America” or Crucial Diplomacy Between Nuclear Powers?

    https://www.democracynow.org/2018/7/16/debate_is_trump_putin_summit_a_danger

    • Bill 2.1

      Thanks for that link Adrian.

      Greenwald’s reference to Obama and Clinton re: their positions in 2007 on “meeting the leaders of North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran without preconditions” is illuminating.

      But us sheep have to be herded through that gate there. No discussion. No debating the pros and cons. No choice, no informed decision required.

      Hup, hup, hup….gerron with you!

  3. The Chairman 3

    David Cormack argues (in the following below) the new boss is starting to look like the old boss.

    And so we reach this Government, which has an opportunity to make a real difference for the people of New Zealand.

    And while there are some positive noises, we’ve seen a desperation in their attempts to appease “business”.

    Business isn’t even an actual thing. When we say “business”, we mean CEOs and boards who are duty-bound to do as much as possible to get as high a share price as possible.

    And one of the ways to do that is to pay your workers bugger all.

    So you want to keep them happy? Don’t do anything for the workers. That’ll get your business confidence surveys looking rosy.

    Labour and the Greens tried to look all business friendly by putting in place the “Budget Responsibility Rules” at a time when it’s never been so good to borrow.

    Even business leaders have said they’d be fine if those got shelved. I’m told that there is zero chance of that happening this term because they must give off a perception of reliability.

    When your government is more worried about “reliability” and “perception” and not doing the right thing, then they’re just seeking power for power’s sake.

    Which is what many accused National of doing.

    Meet the new boss. It’s starting to look a lot like the old boss.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12085832

    • tc 3.1

      Gosh another granny article smudging this govt into the last one.

      My how surprising they should get some bots and save as they only need a few simple rules to create meandering prose.

      When they start attacking education, environment and health etc that’s when they become like the old one.

      It’s just more of the required rebuild we always see after the haters and wreckers of national have been turfed out.

      • Robert Guyton 3.1.1

        I went to an event last night where Winston Peters (and Shane Jones) spoke (about regional development) and also this issue of “business confidence”. Winston deftly skewered the naysaying “business community” and the media that carries their “unconfident” mewling, saying it was a disgrace how they carried on and noted the dissociation between “business confidence” as it is being presented, to actual economic measures: when business confidence is low, business does especially well, when it’s “high” as it usually is under a National Government, economic gains are all but stagnant. That’s telling ’em, Winston! He spoke confidently and elegantly about a number of issues, was amusing and quite gracious, I thought. He also gave a serve to Natty voters in the audience (this was Southland 🙂 when someone asked him for more money for roading here. Winston cited National’s ridiculous “roads of National significance” and pointed out that many in the room voted for them, and deserved what they got (or rather, didn’t get). Gotta say, it was a great evening. I spoke with Winston briefly about our original meeting long ago when I was introduced to him by Rod Donald at a press party in Bowen House and he had very kind things to say about Rod.

      • The Chairman 3.1.2

        @ tc

        “When they start attacking education, environment and health etc that’s when they become like the old one.”

        Some would argue they already are. No money for nurses and teachers and consent given to miners to explore a marine sanctuary.

        And as for the “required rebuild”, with Labour taking a similar fiscal stance as National, they’re finding they’re struggling to afford it.

        • solkta 3.1.2.1

          No money for nurses and teachers

          Yes that’s right the gummint has been offering a zero wage increase to these people.

          • The Chairman 3.1.2.1.1

            “Yes that’s right the gummint has been offering a zero wage increase to these people.”

            No. But what they are offering is insufficient and they claim to have no more money. Which is largely due to them taking a similar fiscal stance as National.

          • SaveNZ 3.1.2.1.2

            If our entire economy is structured over appeasing private and foreign investors and giving them corporate welfare and extra benefits to drive up prices, don’t be surprised if the locals now can’t afford to live in their own cities and require a massive pay rise to afford what they used to.

            When a one bedroom Kiwibuild is now $500,000 and you need an income of $120 – $180k to afford one, while a nurse starts on around $26 p/h after a 3 year degree, (how to afford the deposit for a start), let alone the $650k for a terraced apartment and have to compete against 19,000+ applicants including ‘new’ residents from around the world with money from their parents who don’t have to rely on work for a living, then you have to make it fairer somehow, because if you don’t then we are going to keep sliding down the OECD tables… and become an Asian country that many our politician’s seem going towards, in terms of extreme inequality. The whole point many of the migrants come here is to escape problems in their home country, and come to a country that is safe and equal so politicians are not doing anyone any favours by underpaying essential people we need in the city to have a decent quality of life!

            If wages were linked to house prices I think the government might be handling the housing situation very differently (and imagine it the employers had to peg their minimum wages to rising living costs) than allowing the private sector and the COO structures and foreign ‘investment’ in the housing market would be a no no as would volatility.

            Instead government and business would advocate a very simple structure, not top heavy of building housing of decent quality that did the job without mod cons and easy to maintain, and have a very simple transport structure that did the job straight away with more trains, ferries and buses, not rely on a 20 year plan costing billions on infrastructure (while refusing to use existing train lines) that nobody will know if it will be enough and doesn’t even cover the whole of the city.

            Government and business would also be trying to lower living costs (instead of increasing them under the current neoliberal system) so that these businesses were not constantly under wage pressure (against workers having this battle to bear alone).

            Oh well, just a dream, I guess. Back to reality of increasing living costs for profit while keeping wages as low as possible and then doing worthless speeches about not wanting inequality and poverty.

            • solkta 3.1.2.1.2.1

              You really do take any opportunity to go on one of your long winded rants. All i did was point out some bullshit from the chairperson.

              • solkta

                ps.

                Tying wages to house prices would have to be your most stupid suggestion to date. Just think of the chaos when the house market next corrects and wages are reduced by 30% while mortgage obligations remain.

                • SaveNZ

                  It was not a literal suggestion, but more how government and business would have to radically change their approaches if business were effected by the same conditions as workers aka wages and living costs pegged, rather than blinding stumbling on with the neoliberal approach.

                  If living costs were seriously factored into the equation of wages then it would change the idea of what fair wage offers are.

                  The nurse offer is a case in point. The nurse offer is a good offer on paper, but practically is it now with student loans and foreign buyers and dual residents being encouraged into NZ markets to compete on housing but not earning the same wages or even paying the same interest rates or income taxes?

              • SaveNZ

                I always wonder what is the point of posting on these sites if you offer zero solution or opinion, but just act as a bully to one line attack other people who bother to post a point of view but offer zero solution or input yourself, maybe lazy trolling?

                If you think the nurses and other health care staff, should except the offer, why don’t you bother to say why, instead of attacking other’s who don’t agree with you and bother to offer an opinion why they don’t.

                • solkta

                  If you hadn’t noticed, and if you haven’t you would be the only one, that the chairperson is a concern troll. I don’t see the point in you jumping to its defense.

                  In terms of the nurses and teachers, i’m of mixed opinion on it. Yes they probably do deserve more but also significant increases have been offered given the circumstances. There is so much to fix after three terms of nact.

                  In terms of teachers i can say from my own experience that there are a significant number who don’t deserve their jobs let alone more money. I would be more supportive of increasing teacher pay if more was done to force old school school teachers to professionally develop or get out.

                  • SaveNZ

                    I don’t see the Chairman as a troll because he/she offers an opinion. Yes he/she is negative about the government but from what I understand it (maybe wrong), he/she relies on a benefit to survive, so maybe is not seeing the rock star economy yet and has not for a while? Therefore maybe justified in his/her pessimism.

                    • solkta

                      Then you are a fool.

                      The very idea of a concern troll is to offer a supposed opinion.

                    • Blazer

                      @SaveNZ .You have wonderful ideas ,expressed well.

                      Think its already too late to reverse this-‘and become an Asian country that many our politician’s seem going towards, in terms of extreme inequality.’

                      The line that foreigners are responsible for 3% of property sales is quite ludicrous.

                    • In Vino

                      Just to even things up, I agree with solkta about The Chairman.

                    • cleangreen

                      Solkta;

                      You are so wrong here when you said;
                      “you would be the only one, that the chairperson is a concern troll. ”

                      I also have often cited Chairman and you as right wing trumpets.

                      But that is not a critisism.

                      But the fact that shows is when you twist the narritive to deliberately favour your views to suit your position, is usually the issue we are concerned about.

                      I dont mind you and others who dont agree with our left wing opinions.

                      Save NZ makes sound points that should be considered firstly, and not rubbished.

                      Fact;

                      Property values is now one of our biggest threats now going forward. That is no secret, nor is it a secret that national were so satisfied to see property prices go so high now that it is a major problem now.

                    • solkta

                      @cleangreen

                      If you are going to quote me please have the basic decency to quote enough to not invert my meaning. What i said was:

                      “If you hadn’t noticed, and if you haven’t you would be the only one, that the chairperson is a concern troll.”

                      So which is it, do you think The Chairman is a troll? They claim to be left wing and concerned, but you say that you have “often cited Chairman and you as right wing trumpets”. How can The Chairman be left wing, as they claim, yet be a right wing trumpet, like you claim, and not be a troll?

                      And you think that i am right wing? That just says to me that you don’t understand much of what you read here.

                      Yes property prices are one of our biggest problems going forward. That doesn’t automatically make what SaveNZ says sensible or coherent.

                      edit:

                      ps If we are both right wing and presumably both trolls why would i spend so much time stripping back The Chairman’s concern trolling? I’m confused.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    “There is so much to fix after three terms of nact. ”

                    ….and don’t forget the Fifth Labour Government….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Labour_Party#Fifth_Government_(1999%E2%80%932008)_and_opposition

                    Ensured a smooth path for their successors.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      It’s a war: Grant Robertson vs the nurses. Some would argue that he can’t be held responsible for his budget because it was prepared by public servants. But why would they want to discriminate against nurses? The nurses waited until Jacinda went into recess before striking, so she wouldn’t be seen to be their target. Winston has been shrewd in not reacting to them making him seem the bogeyman in the situation – I guess he saw it coming & has seen it so many times before that it doesn’t bother him. Blame appropriately, identify the cause: who made the budget decision?

                      And why have the nurses waited 30 years to strike? What happened to the old idea of wages keeping up with inflation? The signal they’ve been sending to the public for an entire generation is that they’re dead keen to be martyrs to the cause of neoliberalism.

          • Molly 3.1.2.1.3

            Staffing levels are dismal in many parts of the health system, so it is not just about offering higher wages to the individual, it is also about making sure there are enough individuals within that system to provide a high standard and continuity of care.

            Breaking it down into individual, short-term alleviation of long-term financial pressure is a narrow perspective to frame the negotiations in.

    • Robert Guyton 3.2

      Having listened last night to Winston Peters and Shane Jones describing what they are offering to the provinces, I would say the “new boss” is looking very, very different from the “old boss”.

      • The Chairman 3.2.1

        Would that be corporate welfare with little more than trickle down actually going to the struggling people of the provinces?

        • Robert Guyton 3.2.1.1

          Eeyore. There was one there last night as well; he got the short shrift. Winston’s the master at skewering doom merchants like him (and you).

          • Rosemary McDonald 3.2.1.1.1

            ” Winston’s the master at skewering doom merchants like him (and you).”

            Winston comes across as a bully who plays on his curmudgeonly elder statesman image to deride those few braves who dare to ask the difficult questions.

            And that is what we are supposed to do….question, question, question.

            Only fools sit back and assume Our Leaders (of whatever hue) have their hearts and minds in the correct place.

            Labour has history…and the Greens are spinning their wheels… and NZF can in no way ever be described as “Left”.

            So…a coalition partner of convenience….but one that should be treated with a great amount of respect.

            Shame on you Robert Guyton, for celebrating Winston’s worst tactics.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1.1

              the Greens are spinning their wheels…

              No they’re not.

              No new drilling for fossil fuels in the oceans of Aotearoa!

              We’re also getting our cities moving (at last)!

              We’re more than doubling the spend on public transport over the next three years and pumping it up to $11.7 billion in total over 10 years. This includes $4.7 billion for a new rapid bus and light rail for our major cities.

              And finally, no more taxpayer subsidies of large scale irrigation!

              Cleaning up our rivers just got real! Thanks to our confidence and supply agreement, the Government is winding down taxpayer subsidies for large scale irrigation schemes that lead to over-intensive land-use.

              So, yeah, not just ‘spinning their wheels’.

            • Robert Guyton 3.2.1.1.1.2

              Rosemary! Winston’s “worst tactic” looks like something else when he’s using it to neuter a righty moaner, Imo.

            • ianmac 3.2.1.1.1.3

              When asked a straight question Winston usually gives a straight answer.
              Ask him a silly question especially one intended to get a rise and he lets strip. Ask Guyon who asked the same dumb question four times on Monday morning.

              • cleangreen

                ianmac
                True every word as Guyon is a ‘born slimy trickster’ that loads the question for his use to try and get his answer the way he wants it.

                I dickhead he is for sure.

          • Puckish Rogue 3.2.1.1.2

            In other words:

            Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

    • Ad 3.3

      David Cormack blows bubbles of fact-free and reference-free hyperbole and achieves nothing except a minor ideological morning burp.

    • ianmac 3.4

      Mr Chairman. This column suggests that the last Government was hopeless.

  4. marty mars 4

    Great story showing the reality of what happens when war comes – so pleased these people are safe here – kia kaha!

    https://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/food-wine/news-features/nz-not-home-pair-glad-be-here

    • veutoviper 4.1

      Excellent article written with great empathy and insight into the actual on the ground realities of life in a war zone. I am pleased to see the two women and their families settling in well down south – and wish I could send them lots of parsley for tabbouleh as it grows wild in south Wellington! Love dolmades and tabbouleh although I make my tabbouleh gluten free with rice or quinoa not bulgar wheat.

      Actually I always enjoy reading the ODT and should do so more often. It is a relief from the Stuff and Herald mediocrity. SoI took a detour from that article to others in that issue. The Kamokamo article was really interesting for its history of the introduction of potatoes etc to NZ via James Cook et al, as well as of kamokamo themselves and other Pacific origin vegetables. LOL.

      • marty mars 4.1.1

        Cool. Yeah I like the odt for a change of pace and a different angle – plus it’s home down there for me so i never know if old schoolmates are gonna be in there or not.

        • veutoviper 4.1.1.1

          Hate to say it but I have only visited our Deep South a couple of times, despite having lived overseas for many years back last century! (Love using that expression.) What I have seen etc of the south I have loved.

          See you did a +1 over on the clash of the titans post. I would second that and do likewise but have a self imposed ban from commenting on certain authors’ posts. My self-preservation instincts are still strong, despite my advancing age. It looks like this interesting clash will continue later today, so off to get popcorn and wine. I recommend watching from the sidelines and not participating – its got the feel of potential collateral damage.

          • marty mars 4.1.1.1.1

            I’ll take your good advice ☺ I love agreeing with lprent.

            I’m south in so many ways – love it and love so many other spots from muriwai on down.

  5. Morrissey 5

    Has our government spoken out in any way about this?
    And if not, why not?

    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2018/07/17/satanic-hangmen-tighten-noose/

  6. esoteric pineapples 7

    Fox News journalist Chris Wallace manages to get past Putin’s sophistry and under his skin

  7. Pat 8

    “…. Its international airport, the country’s third-busiest, already has more than two million passenger movements a year, is planning for five million movements within 30 years, which might require a new terminal. ”

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/07/18/158353/struggling-queenstown-names-its-price

    Given our distance from our main markets and a commitment to reducing fossil fuel use how can we be seriously planning on a near tripling of inbound tourism over the next few decades?

    • cleangreen 8.1

      Pat;

      “how can we be seriously planning on a near tripling of inbound tourism over the next few decades?”

      We simply cant as air travel is so dirty and caues airmosheric air pollution much worse than anyone even thought.

      https://www.eta.co.uk/environmental-info/air-travels-impact-on-climate-change/

      Quote; – “To keep the climate safe we need drastic cuts in air travel. Efficiency savings such as more direct flights shave off small fractions but are dwarfed by planned growth.”

      • Pat 8.1.1

        so our councils (and gov?) are making financial decisions on insupportable assumptions…..now whats the odds those decisions will prove to be the wrong decisions?

        Or does the QLDC not believe we will attempt to meet our Paris commitments? ( I havnt looked but I suspect they are not alone in these types of assumptions)

    • Molly 8.2

      I have broached this subject with friends and acquaintances a few times, regarding the pursuit of a conference centre and tourism that requires high and increasing levels of air travel to make pursue their growth goals.

      When I suggest that if we are serious about climate change, this approach needs to stop, I am met with blank looks – and the words “Do not compute” can almost be seen scrolling across foreheads. We will no doubt come to the conclusion that industries that are pursuing growth rather than sustainable practice, do not create enough benefits in order to offset the externalities for us all. The sooner the better, because then we can plan a smoother transition into alternative industries and sustainable business practices.

      • Pat 8.2.1

        Its hard to believe that these organisations dont grasp what emission reduction means….that being so, why do they continue to plan for a BAU future….incompetence.

  8. joe90 9

    A tRump Tower in Moscow, whatever it takes.

    .

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that President Trump will discuss allowing Russian investigators to come to the United States to question U.S. citizens, including a former American ambassador to Russia.

    Sanders said during a White House press briefing that Trump is “gonna meet with his team” to talk about the potential for Russian officials to question U.S. citizens like Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from January 2012 to February 2014.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397701-white-house-trump-open-to-russia-questioning-us-citizens

    • marty mars 9.1

      Unbelievable this – It just feels like that blimp was almost a twin to t.rump certainly in terms of naievity.

      All these misspeakings – wtf is going on with that? He said apparently the OPPOSITE of what he now says he was going to say – ffs luckily he’s not on jury duty or doing something important.

  9. joe90 10

    Oh look, someone’s twigged.

    /

    WASHINGTON — The fall in the percentage of economic growth flowing to workers is “very troubling,” a worrisome sign in an otherwise bright American economy, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told a Senate panel Tuesday.

    Testifying in front of the Senate Banking Committee, Powell expressed concern that the share of profits going to American labor had fallen “precipitously” for more than a decade and was not reversing course.

    http://www.theledger.com/news/20180717/fed-chair-decline-in-worker-share-of-profits-very-troubling

  10. David Mac 11

    I hope Donald doesn’t get ‘would’ and ‘wouldn’t’ muddled up when Generals question him about the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      Yeah I thought that too. Interviewer: But would you drop the bomb? Trump: I wouldn’t. Media then headlines howls of outrage from the Trump hinterland. Press conference: I mis-spoke. I meant to say I would. Slip of the tongue. Interviewer: Freudian? Trump: Damn right I’m Freudian. Ain’t nobody more so.

  11. Robert Guyton 12

    I/S spotting this potentially-wonderful news:
    “Good news from Nelson: the Waimea dam project – the one National wants to pass a Muldoonist Enabling Act to rip land out of a forest park for – has escalated in price and looks doomed:
    Updated costs for the proposed Waimea dam have added a whopping $26 million to its bottom line, putting the future of the controversial project in doubt.

    “Unless a solution can be found to close the gap, the dam won’t go ahead,” Tasman district mayor Richard Kempthorne told a media briefing on Thursday morning. “There is no doubt this is a major setback and possibly the greatest challenge yet for the project.”

    A long-time supporter of the dam as the best option to augment the water supply for Waimea, Kempthorne said he was “gutted” by the updated figures, which represent a 35 per cent escalation in costs.”

    I swam in the river regularly when I was a boy and I’m deeply hopeful that the good news from I/S signals the end of the project.

  12. joe90 13

    Someone’s been busy – ‘idiot’.

  13. AsleepWhileWalking 14

    Look out! HNZ buys home and beneficiaries may move in. We need neighborhood watch…report suspicions activity to the police immediately…Tuakau street no longer safe..

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018654207/neighbours-shocked-by-racist-anonymous-letter-about-hnz-purchase

  14. instauration 15

    Alternarrative facts – Magnitsky narrative
    Shortlived link to Nekrasov doco – otherwise desisted by Browder threats.

    Well worth the 125 minutes – persist for the twist. )))

  15. instauration 16

    “Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes”
    Window has closed. Stream is gone now !
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/a-blacklisted-film-and-the-new-cold-war/5602457

    660MB

  16. instauration 17

    From:

    Torstein Grude
    ‏@TorsteinGrude
    Replying to @MaxBlumenthal

    The Norwegian documentary film “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes”, directed by Putin critic Andrei Nekrasov @antiputinismus exposes @Billbrowder’s fraudulent Magnitsky narrative. A personal copy of the film can be requested from me on torstein@piraya.no (I’m the producer)
    12:58 PM – 9 Jan 2018

  17. eco maori 18

    Good morning The Am Show Friday days off a most people want to buy a house Duncan and Our Government is doing it’s best with this hot potatoe that national gave them with a underarm bowl its good now that they are accepting reality on Global Warming that’s what public opinion does .
    There will be enough gas coming out of some party’s head quarters to proved gas for the next 100 years for methanex lol .
    Mark S that story yesterday about your son Hunter being briefly lost well I got a niece that would do that try and walk home at 4 years old get lost that was stressful.
    Yes they are trying to get Eco Maori to walk there crooked line with land mines and big holes in the systems line .
    Ka kite ano P.S the song by Johhny Cash I walk the line.

  18. eco maori 19

    Some music that Eco Maori is listening to

  19. eco maori 20

    Many thanks to the European Union for assessing a total ban of the use of plastic bags we don’t need to use this stuff that poisons our precious taonga the wild creates of Papatuanuku you lead Us all down the correct path .Ka pai ka kite ano P.S France has already started the ban link below.

    http://www.euronews.com/2016/06/30/france-bans-plastic-bags-what-about-the-rest-of-the-eu

  20. eco maori 21

    Here we go kirk hope trying to say our low wage economy is not the problem behind our low productivity . 1 this man wants wages to stay low so he and his business round table m8 can take all the proft’s and run to the bank he is getting payed 300 x the lowest pay rate of one of his employees Eco Maori would like to see this person try and live on the minimum wage of 40 hours x $16.50 =$660 in Auckland that’s the rent payed so how is one to travel to work by clothes many expenses to pay to survive in Aotearoa . What is wrong is to much money is invested in property if a third of that money was in business and 3 % of that invested in science and research well thing would be a lot different. The big problem is that wealty people do not pay there fair share of taxes all around Papatuanuku I apploud the Europeen Union for fining Google for anti competition business practices IE a default policy that forces everyone to use there soft ware. Big business are sharks . I booked consumer web site for one month payed $10.00 with credit card I was happy found the info I was looking for on NZ consumers web site till I checked my bank account and found 3 more charges from consumer NZ site you see this business that is founded on looking after the consumer’s has a default setting on there site one has to physically tick a box you don’t even see to not be charged $10 a month obviously I rang them up and complained this is how most big business behave and this behavior NEEDS TO CHANGE . Ana to kai ka kite ano the link is below .

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/105627756/new-zealand-has-issues-but-the-idea-it-is-a-lowwage-economy-is-a-myth P.S when wages are pushed up business will have to lift productivity to cover the wage rise or fold that’s the capitalist way NO

  21. eco maori 22

    A few years back I had a reasonable sized business in forestry I folded it because some of my employees were ripping me off getting paid for work not done .
    I wen’t Dairy Farming and if one knows Dairy Farming you don’t have a life so no time to cross check there bill well to cut a long story short Accident Compensation Corporation charged me cover for my workers when the business had folded this would not have been hard for ACC to see as there would have been no earning for the company . I trusted ACC to have there facts right . I did not find out that they had billed me for nothing I only owed them half of what they charged me . They had set Lawyers on to me I payed the part that I owed and more . Because of these farcical charges ACC ruined my credit for 15 years they ruined my future business potential earnings I have the prof to in hard copy. What also got me was some how some earnings had been filed to Inland revenue 5 years after the fact it was not much but how does that compute . So I have the time to sue ACC now for this some one else has been at play here. link below

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/105130307/acc-claimant-says-he-will-never-give-up-fighting P.S what I don’t get is ACC think that when you get injured that ones bills living cost are going to go down by %20 they only pay you %80 of your earnings
    Yes ACC needs to change back into a humane organization and not a for profit organization that it is after who has had his fingers in it money man

  22. eco maori 23

    Good evening Newshub trump is loving all the commotion he is causing he is basking in it like a sun bather in the sun. Mean while everyone is focused on the circus he has created around him self he is rolling back all the Environmental Protection Agency’s laws by 20 years so his coal producing m8 can start burning OUR environment again that’s what he is up to muppet. He is most likely changing the laws so he can win the next election no matter what happens.
    I can see what is going to be the out come of the visit by the connadian couple trip I will let you know when it happens .

    Its been a good week for all our kiwi sports stars Ka kite ano

  23. eco maori 24

    The Crowd Goes Wild well with the Netball when the troops lose the Generals are at fault .
    Watch out James some mite think you have a flower on your ear with the way you described the Chiefs and the Hurricanes lol were’s your jandles .
    Congratulations to all the UFC fighters coming out of the City Kickboxing Jim in Auckland Kia kaha tangata been meaning to acknowledge the success City Jim is having in there field of sports.
    Makarere te Wahine are cleaning up the field in the Papatuanuku Dragon Boat racing in Tahiti te Tane are doing great as well Ka pai ka kite ano

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