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Open mike 21/05/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 21st, 2011 - 28 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

28 comments on “Open mike 21/05/2011 ”

  1. ZeeBop 1

    The white line down the side of the road, why is it there? To cramp your style? Or to indicate where the best tarmac, optimum efficient path for your car?

    For decades growth was assured from cheaper oil and energy efficiency savings. And Politician scrambled to look like their policies where ‘the tried and true’ policies that created the growth. It wasn’t true though. Politicians uniformly had a choice, behave responsible and lose at the ballot box, or make ‘poor choices’ drive over the white lines and recklessly tinker with anything in sght just to look like they were being active. Because GDP measures activity not sound economic decision making, creating a heap of recyclable rubbish is just as active as recycling the stuff.

    So out of the mix came the ACT and National party with yet more stupid policies.

    What fascinates me is that the general population followed by example, run up debt like there was no tomorrow, even though they knew they had to pay it back sometime, growth was assured by the government wasn’t it after all. It has got to such a point that four men got into a car on a dark night, ignored the rule that they should not shoot at night, and still after their conviction claim their behavior was not reckless.

    Driving over the white line along the side of the road is reckless driving.

    We have created a cult of followers who believe success is breaking the rules, and wonder why our economy does not work efficiently. If almost everyone follows the rules, then it create certainty and allows participates to predict the future, but if as this govt loves to do, tinker. Whether with justice, or kiwisaver, or DPB, education, or tax (third round), under the proviso that id everyone from the right to the left is crying fowl, then its doing a great job.
    No! Its more costs, less certainty, more unforeseen risks, and poor governance that ignores the structural systemic problem with the NZ economy, that roughly 100% debt GDP of which only 30% might show up on the government books. What credible government does that? Deals to the 3/10ths of the problem? And governments are much more resilient when it comes to debt, especially when they are a nation of lots of water, great soils, temperate climate, as much oil and we use coming out of the ground, coal, hydro, gold, etc. We are not going to have a problem with government borrowing, we are having a problem with the private sector owned by overseas landlords taking profit and putting nothing back into NZ. Guarenteed to be no trickle down.

    Now I can understand four men getting into a car late at night with a loaded gun, stupid happens, but what I don’t get is why our whole elite media and government just won’t discuss the private debt problem holding NZ back, pushing 20% of children into poverty, etc.
    Those four men will never hunt again, but next year yet more children and others will be harmed by the huge unrecognised (in open media) undisclosed private dead weight debt problem.

  2. logie97 2

    Isn’t politics a strange animal or, more particularly perhaps, the press journalists’ approach to it.
    Three weeks ago, Rodney Hide would have been the third cab off the rack to be asked for his opinion on most things, particularly the budget. So they wanted to know what the mind and expertise of Rodney Hide had to say.

    Rodney who? What has changed that this man’s in depth hold on the world no longer amounts to anything.

    Bloody hell, it’s actually been five weeks already. Poor sod.

  3. lprent 3

    The like/dislike system had a nasty exploitation hole that was pointed out to me via email (thanks). So it is now off.

    I’d thought the code was sloppy when I read it. I will have to do my usual and have a closer look at it on the test system.

    • Bill 3.1

      Thought the like/dislike system was just plain nasty…and pointless… regardless of any ‘exploitation hole’.

      If I find a comment particularly pertinent or whatever, then I comment to that effect.

      And if I find a comment particularly crap, I can comment on why.

      Tick boxes are meaningless beyond creating possibly false ‘first impressions’ that then shade a readers’ take on what’s written.

      • Armchair Critic 3.1.1

        Agree. I think using the like/dislike system to hide comments is inconsistent with the approach to moderation used at The Standard.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.2

        Very often, I agree or disagree with a comment, but don’t want to reply to it because I don’t have much to say other than that.

        Definitely hiding posts shouldn’t happen. And I think that only positive up-votes should be allowed – if you disagree with someone, don’t vote them up, or vote up someone elses comment that rebuts them (or write your own, of course).

        • Deadly_NZ

          Yep Lanth I agree keep the like /dislike but do not use it as a basis for hiding messages, goes against the free speech thing ie: he has the right to write crap, but I have the right to read or not, but why should I on either the basis of what I have read or because of a personal bias, ie author X has green hair , I hate green hair, therefore I hate anything he says, and click the dislike button. Enough people like that who have the same personal bias, all click dislike, then all of a sudden you have a form of censorship, and if the other users of the site, for what ever reasons, don’t read the blocked messages, hey presto censorship by a few. Yes I know that the set up would allow a formula to set what happens and when. but just a thought.

  4. logie97 4

    Did the Minister of Tourism (Joky Hen) slip the travel editor of the BBC a backhander while he was over there recently…?

    Headlined again this week …

  5. Armchair Critic 5

    My blood boiled, reading this.
    Two subjects in the article, the cost of the visit by William Wales, and the budget allocations for ministerial travel and salaries.
    Visit by William Wales
    Declaration – I’m an ambivalent royalist.
    But WTF was the government thinking, getting one of them down here during the middle of the recovery from a big earthquake. Surely the $868k could have been spent on something more important that a photo op for the PM.
    This really is a lose-lose situation for the government. The dumb-arses have left the budgets the same.
    Two options:
    1. Increase the salary/travel budget.
    They’ve blown their salary/travel budgets previously, so they should acknowledge the fact that they are free and easy with our money and increase the salary/travel budgets.
    They reckon wages will increase 4%, so they should increase theirs by 4%. Otherwise the private sector will have to compensate by providing an increase of more than 4%, to make up for the fact that the public sector, and the government, aren’t doing their bit to meet the predictions in Bill’s 2011 budget.
    2. Decrease the salary/travel budget.
    Bill’s 2011 budget requires, what, a billion dollars in savings. Everyone in the public service needs to do their bit, including government ministers. The salary/travel budget needs to be cut, otherwise other areas need to cut even further
    Granny gives them a little cheer, though:
    …the Government is practising what it preaches…
    Let’s be clear, it’s not practicing what it preaches (i.e. belt tightening). Nor is it admitting what it actually does (i.e. loosening the purse strings). National have decided to not make a decision, they’ve failed to stand by either their words or their actions. Cowards and thieves, the lot of them.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    Wellywood sign to go ahead after all, apparently:

    Veteran Wellington film director Geoff Murphy could barely stop laughing when told yesterday that the idea would proceed.

    “We had a film industry well before this Wellywood bullshit was going on. I think it’s f …ing stupid. It is copying a foreign, bullshit glamour idea and it’s the pits of what people can aspire to.”

    A branding expert called the sign crass, said it could hurt Wellington’s image, and marked it as a city of try-hard followers.

    Apparently they have legal advice that the new sign won’t infringe on the existing Hollywood sign and they can go ahead with it. We’ll see.

  7. prism 7

    A branding expert called the sign crass, said it could hurt Wellington’s image, and marked it as a city of try-hard followers,
    NZ as a whole is a country of try-hard followers, what’s new about that if revealed by the Wellywood sign? I’m constantly surprised to find that some new NZ policy addition is a copy (often perverted and cheaper) of one used by another country. In industry it tends to be the same.

    If all the forward-looking, innovative and practical policies from overseas were considered for NZ purposes and useful different approaches adapted for prompt use here, copying would have good and positive outcomes . But as I say it is often an expedient cheap and nasty copy.

    The sign is thought of as cheap by some. But we are not putting up a serious monument here, not a war memorial or something grand and of deep significance. We in this country seem to be unable to get things done but wait and talk about some possible, better and perfectly planned project, as judged by ourselves but with the world’s opinion as the base of our thinking. “And what do you think of New Zealand?” is our regular refrain to visitors for that reason.

    Lighten up people. The sign is a benign copy which should have an immensely tall poppy beside it. It can be thought of as ironic; not a put-down but an assertion of our smarts. Not the final endnote, but with the wording able to be replaced when there is some other achievement we want to skite about. Let’s do it, celebrate ourselves and stop this atrophy caused by the ‘taste’ police and their negative mumblings.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Actually I expect that if this sign is ever built, it’s going to be a huge target for vandalism.

      The airport should have got a clue the first time – the public don’t want such a cheesy, derivative sign.

      • prism 7.1.1

        I think you are one of the atrophy bringers I was writing about Lanthanide. Calling the sign ‘cheeesy’ sounds as if its from the taste police handbook.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It may be from the taste police handbook but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. The sign really would be cheesy.

      • twonice 7.1.2

        Some kids I went to high school with are well into the street art scene in Wellington. So I’m going to pick them up late one evening and load up my station wagon with a hundred cans of export paint from super cheap, some ropes and ladders, make it look real nice before they tear it down altogether.

        • Sookie

          Sweet, you should start a website asking for donations for paint and scaffolding as I’d totally sling you some money for something that awesome 🙂 That Wellywood sign is more embarrassing than that tacky plastic waka.

        • Lanthanide

          Actually a tasteful street-art mural could rather improve it. The difficulty would be in making it visible from a distance.

    • twonice 7.2

      You don’t live in wellington, do you?

  8. Sookie 8

    There’s an article on the NZ Herald site about some number crunching done by the good old Greens regarding the Kiwis(l)aver changes. Apparently the tax on employer contributions will cancel out the governments piddly contributions, so the cunning bastards are no longer paying anything into the scheme at all. Well played, Tory scum. I suggest everyone who has Kiwisaver takes a mass 5 year holiday. What a rip.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      I haven’t read the article in the herald, but the tax doesn’t “cancel out” the government contributions.

      Basically it goes like this:
      1. You can have the employer contributions taxed, and get NO government contribution
      2. You can have the employer contributions taxed, and get $520 government contribution

      Clearly #2 is always going to be preferable to #1. Of course we’d prefer that they didn’t tax the employer contributions at all, but given that they are going to, it doesn’t somehow make the government contribution worthless – it is still worth $520.

      Rather than talking about the government contribution, what is directly relevant is that when employer contributions are taxed starting April 2012, when the default rate goes up to 3% in April 2013, if you are on the 30% or 33% marginal tax rates, then you effectively receive the same employer contribution that you did in March 2012 before the tax started applying.

      So if you are earning $100,000 a year, the numbers work like this:
      1. Today: $2,000 employee, $2,000 employer
      2. April 2012: $2,000 employee, $1,340 employer
      3. April 2013: $3,000 employee, $2,010 employer

      So in April 2013, we’re getting the same effective employer contribution that we get today, even though the rate has gone from 2% to 3%!

      • Sookie 8.1.1

        Here’s the link to the article but it seems you have a good handle on the figures. Unless someone else wants to argue the toss? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10727060

        • Lanthanide

          The Green’s numbers are taking into account the new 3% level, and saying that for incomes over $58,000, the 30% or 33% marginal tax rate will gobble up more than $521.43/year.

          They are correct, but as I outlined above, it’s a bit of a nonsense to think about it in these terms. The government has not increased their contribution from $0 to $521, but in fact have reduced their contribution from $1042 to $521. So the government contribution isn’t “offsetting” anything with their contribution.

          We can say that the increase in the minimum rate from 2% to 3% is offset by the new tax imposition, however, which is what I have done above.

          This statement from Russel Norman is fair, though:

          He said the KiwiSaver changes this week amounted to a triple clawback.

          “On one hand the Government gives less, then a lot of people won’t realise the employer contribution will come out of their salary, and thirdly they’re going to end up paying tax on it anyway – more tax than the Government’s giving them with the subsidy.”

      • PeteG 8.1.2

        ESCT tax is already on any employer contributions over 2%, so the change is to include the first 2% as taxed as well. For someone on $100k that will mean $2k will then be taxed at a third which is $667 which is more than the maximum government contribution of $520.

        For someone earning $50k the tax will be $333, so you get a bit more government contribution than that still, but not much.

        The increased employer contribution will effectively be in lieu of salary/wages so it does affect your pocket.

        It probably makes the decision to take a KiwiSaver holiday much more likely to be made, especially if earning $50k or more.

        Those in KiwiSaver might think they are hard done by, but it decreases the advantage they get over low earners who can’t afford to be in KiwiSaver and were severely disadvantaged.

  9. prism 9

    The Oz slaying has provoked comment from workers with distressed families and friends.
    This is a link going into the problem of why fathers kill –
    How do people respond? Comment from Friend –
    The friend said the three knew each other for “years”, the two men having met on a Gold Coast construction site.
    “When Paul and Tania split up, he lost the plot. He alienated his friends and that might have contributed to his mental state.”
    It was possible he had just been in the “wrong place at the wrong time”.

    So friends aren’t concerned about morals and the casual taking of the life of others, it is just bad luck, bad location. S..t happens.

    Comment from a worker with distressed families –
    “Paul Rogers, the ex-partner of Tania Simpson, was jealous and obsessed and could not accept the relationship was over.”
    She said reports the separation and Ms Simpson’s new relationship caused the murders have angered those working in family violence services.
    “These murders were not ’caused’ by the victims’ actions,” she said. “This was not about distress, confusion or psychological problems. This was about ownership, power and entitlement. The murders happened because Paul Rogers made a choice that if he couldn’t be with them, nobody could, a distressingly common scenario in New Zealand and Australia.”

    She is making the point that this behaviour is not an example of a man who loves his family but one who only thinks of himself and feels angry when he cannot get compliance from someone he expected to be able to control.

  10. Peter 10

    This from treasury as reported in the Herald in relation to asset sales

    “It (Treasury) estimates the avoided interest at $400 million a year and the dividends and retained profits forgone at $300 million a year.”

    So Treasury are implying sell the assets because the interest cost is higher than the profit from SOE ownership.

    By this logic farmers would sell their farms because we are told they make virtually no profit and interest costs are much higher. Landlords would sell their houses because interest costs often exceed profit. Most likely a lot of profitable businesses would sell up because their interest bill might be higher than profit.

    A bit sneaky of them coming out in support of NACT with statements like this. Profit is profit. Interest expenses are paid from revenue so congratulations to the SOEs for generating a surplus profit on behalf of taxpayers. The size of the interest bill compared to the amount of profit is immaterial.

  11. Peter 11

    Treasury 2011 Budget – “Its Not What You Say Its The Way That You Say It!”

    In their information for taxpayers Treasury make a virtue of forecasting nominal GDP to increase at a much greater rate than has been the case since NACT came to power. The post-Budget positive trending graph is awe inspiring. http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2011/taxpayers

    For those unaware nominal GDP includes price changes as well as changes to production. So it is conceivable future increases in nominal GDP will reflect increasing inflation and stagnant production.

    It would be more meaningful to predict changes to real GDP which takes out price fluctuations. Well surprise surprise NACT most recent attempts at running the country have resulted in periods of negative real GDP, yes we are producing less. A more honest graph would be tracking down not up.

    By way of comparison Real GDP averaged something like 2.7% positive growth under Labour from 2004 – 2008

    I do not appreciate paying my taxes to support spin doctors.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12


    Earlier today, posted on the @SecretService account: “Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can’t. Deal. With. The. Blathering.”

    The tweet was rapidly deleted but it does seem that some people in the US Secret Service are still human 😀

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