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Open mike 22/02/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 22nd, 2023 - 96 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 Policy).

Step up to the mike …

96 comments on “Open mike 22/02/2023 ”

  1. PsyclingLeft.Always 1

    Ardern lends helping hand at Hastings marae


    Onya Jacinda. Still giving. All the Best for you and Family : )

  2. lprent 2

    I'm pretty sure that I've figured out where the recent caching problems were coming from.


    Changed (in the internal cacher) the site html/xml Cache-control to public and an max-age of 0.

    Javascript and CSS to caching with an max-age of 600 seconds. That is simply to allow dynamic style updates to cause only short amount of confusion at the expense of a slightly slower page display.

    The rest of the media and images to public with long max-age.

    That seems to be working in my test cases where I could see the problem previously.

    I'll check on the different desktop / mobile settings later. However I think I have added a setting to make sure that the cache is stored by device type (it was rather late/early when I did it).

  3. Peter 3

    Christopher Luxon, quite likely to be Prime Minister later this year, does not accept the word of the Police Commissioner.

    The Commissioner provided specific factual information but the Leader of the Opposition is more prepared to accept anecdotal information off the street.

    It is to his advantage to have as many upset and fearful and he'll use concern and fear about crime to paint as scary a picture about the community as possible.

    Scarier than any crime in cyclone stricken regions is that anyone would so wilfully use misinformation for political ends in the circumstances. Scarier still is then expect to be seen as a leader. And scariest, that dumb arses won't have the nous to see his crap for what it is.


    • Tony Veitch 3.1

      OMG, does he ever give a straight answer to any question?

    • Graeme 3.2

      Sorta wonder if there's not a bit of cover / denial of some other problems going on here. Blaming 'gangs' to cover an inflated insurance claim or omissions that led to a greater loss.

      Then there's the elephant up the hill…

  4. arkie 4

    The Greens have floated a windfall profit tax to help support the cleanup.

    "The Green Party has said a number of times that in this inflationary environment, there are a number of companies that are making massive, unearned windfall gains simply because of constrained supply.

    Shaw wants to table the Climate Adaptation Bill before the election but said it was unlikely to pass before the end of the year.

    The bulk of the bill addresses the issue of managed retreat, relocating settlements away from vulnerable areas.

    "We are going to be looking and seeing what we can do to accelerate it."

    Asked whether an amnesty for RSE workers who have overstayed was a good thing, Shaw said climate change was displacing more and more people both here and in the Pacific.

    "I think having an immigration system that treats people with dignity and takes account of those circumstances would be no bad thing at all."

    Shaw said there were thousands of people who lost everything in Cyclone Gabrielle and the top priority now has to be to make sure they have everything they need.


    Sensible proposals from the Greens

    • Sabine 4.1

      Have the Greens come up with a solution to Slash that could be regulated into law? I hear they are good at that.

      • arkie 4.1.1

        Here's their Forestry policy.

        The Polluter Pays principle could be applied to forestry slash.

        • Sabine

          Well tell them to get on with it, as we now have pictures full of damage and harm done by not regulating the forestry industry when burning slash was verboten.

          wE could have saved some bridges and maybe prevented some of that real bad flooding. But then we are only ever living in the moment and forecasting is not something we do.

          Btw, Slash has been a problem for years now. But surely after the windfall tax on rich people such as them will take away all problems.

          • arkie

            Obviously it's the Greens lack of specific slash policy that has caused the long-term issue that successive governments have failed to regulate. /s

            The windfall tax proposal is to fund the work needed to restore the damaged regions infrastructure, it's not trying to solve the slash problem.

            Nothing the Greens can do will satisfy those who would never vote for them.

            • Sabine

              2017 we had the same problem with Cyclone/Storm Debbie and the huge floods in Edgecumbe. The Bridge at Tane Atua was almost taken out by slash, the surrounding farmlands and houses were all several meters under water. I know that cause i was there.

              So yes, if you remove a way of rubbish removal but don't come up with an alternative that is legislated/regulated into law then some of the issue that arise could be called man made.

              I don't fully blame the Greens for that. The Greens are the party they are. But since 2017 i do blame the Labour Party and the Green Party for the lack of regulations created to make the forestry industry safer and to provide a frame work / guidelines on how to dispose of the rubbish they leave behind after clear logging.

              So i don't give a shit about their 'tax the rich' – btw, all of them are rich, crappola, but i do care about the fact that neither Labour nor the Greens are doing anything about slash.

              But hey, maybe that is for the next storm.

              • arkie

                What this proposal is for is the funding of restoration of vital services for those affected by the latest storm. The Greens have decried the lack of planning for the future for their entire existence. The Labour party has been in complete control of the legislative process since 2017, the Greens can only make proposals. But those who want to blame the Greens will continue to do so it seems.

                • Sabine

                  Bruh, i don't really fucking care that you are upset that i am not happy with the Greens and the Labour Party. I really don't. No more then i care about some N or A supporter being upset that i am not happy with these two parties either.

                  this upsets me, the disposal of slash needs to be regulated and it should have been done when burning of slash was phased out on the grounds of the environment.


                  I mean how many more time do we need to see the same thing happening before Green supporters demand that they do better.
                  Oh a tax on rich people – that people like James Shaw will be able to aptly avoid cause they are a tax lawyer and they know how to avoid taxes. Seriously this shit has gotten old.

                  • arkie

                    This is all a derail from my original post. It is what-about-ism.

                    The government needs to fund infrastructure restoration now, and getting that additional funding by a windfall tax on excess corporate profits is the proposal.

                    • Sabine

                      no it is not.

                      It is the logical extention. You remove something, and another thing will fill the voild.

                      so preventing forestry businesses from burning slash is good for the environment – that might very well be that way, but if no alternative is proposed for the removal of said slash what happens is that it accumulates, and eventually will become a danger.

                      And we have seen how destructive it is – there are enough clips about bridges being taken out and land covered in old rotting logs to make that clear.

                      This should have been regulated a long time ago. The last time to regulate that was in 2017. The next best time is now. I am waiting with baited breath.

                      This tax the rich shit is just feel good band aids. Non of the rich people will pay these taxes as they already have structured their income streams so as to avoid paying any meaningful taxes.

                      Have a chat with James Shaw about that. They are an accountant and thus are knowlegable about such things. Also if you google rich paying taxes on only the first 70 grand you will find articles going back years stating that rich don't pay taxes. So that is just a feel good, look we are doing stuff window dressing.

                      Never mind that Labour had a chance of doing so a few years back and all we got was a wee feel good extra tax bracket that literally brings pennies in. Timid, fake, band aid solution that makes people think stuff is being done. Not.

                      ditto for the freeze the rent cries. Unless you properly regulate the rental market you will always have rents increasing. Why? cost increase, renting is a business and businesses must bring profit. Unless the government starts building to rent in large numbers we will always have a housing crisis.

                      So you regulate the rental market. Freezing the rent will achieve nothing more then at the very best a bit of relieve on the treasury as the accomodation benefits will not be needed to be increased. And the accomodation benefit is a direct benefit tot he landlord. Might that have something to do with the ever increasing rents? Oh, lets not think that. ey?

                      We need a government that has the guts to regulate industries. And sadly we don't have that.

                      So slash will take out communities/bridges/roads every other year, and house prices will go up when housing stock goes down, and rents will go up as housing stock goes down.

                      Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat. Until we finally elects some people with guts.

                    • Molly

                      More a specifics issue.

                      The slash problem – and foreseeable increase in damage it causes in foreseeable increases in violent and sudden weather events, is something that can be focused on that will produce immense benefits going forward.

                      Members of the public only need to view some of the images and videos to understand how we all bear the cost of the slash issue not being prioritised:


                    • arkie

                      We need a government that has the guts to regulate industries. And sadly we don't have that.

                      And that is because we keep electing Labour governments and then blame the Greens for Labours timidity.

                      You do you though.

                  • Sabine

                    sorry James Shaw is an Accountant, that too makes them qualified enough to not pay the taxes that they are advocating for.

                    • weka

                      are you suggesting that James Shaw will use his skills to avoid paying tax? What evidence do you have for that?

                    • arkie

                      It's irrelevant because the proposal is for a company windfall tax, it's right there in the quote of my original post. It's not a proposed tax on individuals.

                    • Sabine

                      I don't suggest that James Shaw will use his skills, i suggest that his tax accountant will, and if his tax accountant does not so James Shaw should fire him for not doing his job.

                      I suggest that some people might ask James Shaw on his opinion on that as an Accountant. If anyone knows the system he does. James Shaw will know how to structure financial affairs in a manner that will result in paying the least amount of tax possible, and i would go so far as saying that everyone currently, and past, in parliament will do exactly the same.

                      Fwiw, every person in that income class will have an accountant that will do their darnest to avoid his client to pay taxes.

                    • weka []

                      I think this says more about your world view than anything.

                      Greens’ co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw had given their party a total of $122,472 between 2020 and the end of 2022.


                      Afaik, all the Green MPs tithe part of their salary to the party. I’m pointing this out because not all people on high salaries are greedy in the say you are saying.

                  • weka

                    Hey Sabine, how are things in your neck of the woods?

                    re the politics, three things.

                    1. the Greens don't have a magic wand. The idea that they are responsible for legislation since 2017 is just wrong. Labour/NZF were the govt in 2017, Labour in 2020. In order for the Greens to have more influence to pass legislation they need more MPs, which means more party votes.

                    2. the Greens have limited resources because they have 10 MPs. I agree how they prioritise those resources is a matter of public interest, but it's also up to the party and membership.

                    3. please explain why legislation around slash should take precedent over regen forestry or taxing to help with post-flood recovery/

                    • Sabine
                      1. thankfully we have a new mayor who is not going to build low income housing in flood prone zones, aka, reserves in low income housing as proposed. Other then that, crime, drug use, domestic violence, etc are all up, and my shopfringe now has a full row of metalblocks to prevent further ramraids. As one would say, just a nice day in Aotearoa.

                      2. I dont' actually care about the resources and such. I just expect them to put forward sensible bills.

                      They can be tooth and nails on Self Id, they can be tooth and nails on regulating the removal of slash.

                      3. We are planting trees for harvesting. For some farfetched carbon schemes that do nothing to make anything better.

                      In regards of the slash, maybe burning it is an option again, if all the good minds of this country can not come up with anything else.

                      Or else, mulch the shit, give it away for people to heat their homes, sell it overseas, or simply stop the growing of pines for profit.

                      But above all, i would like to people to admit that slash is an environmental man made disaster that seemingly is harder fix then just killing cows/sheep or other animals for their farts.

                      4. Friends have finally been able to contact us. Thankfully.

                  • Shanreagh

                    Have you got alink about this burning of slash being forbidden.

                    The only time I have seen/heard of any restrictions was after the forests had been clear felled and the remaining left overs piled and burnt. But that was not a forbidden act more of a waiting for proper condtions requirement.

                    Slash usually comes from pruning. From very early times in the growth cycle the trees are pruned and instead of removing the prunings, as home gardeners/orchardists do, the prunings are left around the tree on the ground. Then next pruning the same. And so it goes on.

                    I cannot remember any time when pruners removed the slash from around the growing trees to an area and then burned these.

                    So when you get to harvest, not only do you have the leftovers from the actual felling but 30 or so years of prunings that may or may not have decomposed.

                    What I do remember is that recently foresters have resisted any moves from home firewood gatherers to remove material suitable for burning. I know there are H & S fears, but these could be worked through.

                    In the 'olden days' prior to neo lib selling off of Forests, in some communities Service Clubs removed at harvest waste, cut it and distributed it for free or $$$$. Or SC hosted days and supervised those private people wanting to gather firewood.

                    Some of the slash is in areas away from areas of greatest need for firewood.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    …i am not happy with the Greens and the Labour Party…

                    Seriously this shit has gotten old.

                    No-one is getting any younger, but the idea of an effective tax on wealth will never get old, at least for me.

                    Petition request (petition opened yesterday, closes 17 March)
                    That the House of Representatives pass legislation requiring forestry companies to pay for damage from slash.

                    Has 8 (make that 10) signatures so far – I’ve just signed.




                    • Sabine

                      who cares. Dude. I am not happy with any of the Parties atm. Non of them are doing the work that needs to be done. Some tinkering on the fringes were the fraying is obvious.

                      I would like to see free public transport. I would like to see trains. I would like to see houses build for rent. I would like to see communities be created preferably not in flood plains. I would like to see GST removed from food. I would like to see the first 25 grand to be tax free – this would also benefit anyone who is on a fixed income / benefit. I would like to see smaller community clinics being build, student loans removed from healthcare / well fare jobs.

                      And here we are 2023 and we know that house prices are going to go up again, food prices will go up – shortages are mostly assured given the distruction in our food growing areas, people will lose their houses but the mortgage will still need to be serviced.

                      And so on and so forth.

                      You are correct. I am so over this.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    who cares.

                    We both care enough to comment here, and I would like to see what you would "like to see" @11:21 am.

                    Civilisation is fundamentally buggered, a victim of its own 'success', and yet my irrational hopes and dreams are a comfort.

                    Subjugate the Earth
                    To some degree this faltering civilisation is a victim of its own, incredibly rapid success…

          • lprent

            Well tell them to get on with it, as we now have pictures full of damage and harm done by not regulating the forestry industry when burning slash was verboten.

            I am intrigued. Perhaps you'd care to point out where and when the central government stopped the forestry industry burning slash?

            I had thought that this was a council issue and fire service issue.

            That the reason that forestry had been prevented from burning was because their neighbours thought it was a really bad idea. Both because of the smoke and that the forestry companies causing wildfires. It made it hard to get permits to burn from councils and fire service.

            Yet somehow you seem to be in the grip of absolute knowledge that the Greens and Labour legislated against it.

            But I'd have expected that would show up in this forest practice guide on slash. On burning it says (and I have pointed out the relevant requirement in bold). All pretty sensible limits about doing slash burns.


            6. Burning can be an effective option to reduce the amount of slash in a birds nest. The processing slash can sometimes burn for weeks which can pose a severe fire risk in dry or windy conditions. Burning debris can also roll downslope creating a risk of starting fires. High levels of fire supervision and resourcing are required when burning processing slash.

            7. Seek specialist advice if you wish to use burning as a slash management technique.

            8. Have a fire permit if required, a Burn Plan and Fire Control Plan, and follow all local fire authority requirements. Check the relevant council’s air plan and forest insurance requirements and consider any ecological implications.

            9. Ensure designated areas of protected vegetation are protected from burning. Consider over-sowing burnt areas to reduce the risk of surface erosion.

            The fire service says in the section about "Farms, rural properties and rural businesses"…

            Local council requirements

            Local councils may have bylaws about domestic and industrial burning. Please check your local council requirements.

            Regional council requirements

            Regional councils may require resource consents for open burning on commercial and industrial sites. Please check your regional council requirements.

            Not a word about central government or legislation beyond the duty of councils. In fact the most interesting thing was the issues about getting insurance when lighting fires on forestry or farming land to indemnify against burning their neighbours. Also an issue for councils.

            In these forestry regions councils aren’t exactly stuffed with Greens or Labour councillers.

            Perhaps you're merely delusional and determined to blame the wrong people? Or just full of self-righteous bullshit.

            • woodart

              yes, yr last two sentences nails it lprent. fun fact, bitter, bile filled people give off far more heat when burnt.

      • arkie 4.1.2

        Why won't the Greens do something about slash! /s

        Green Party spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said forestry was an important industry to the East Coast but could not continue the way it had.

        “They are externalising the impacts of the industry onto the local environment and local people.”

        The industry has said that it has changed practices since 2018 when heavy rain and flooding in Tolaga Bay left tonnes of forestry debris strewn across farms, resulting in multiple prosecutions.

        But Sage said it was clear more needed to be done.

        Along with a community-initiated review, Sage said the Government needed to tighten the current national environmental standards for plantation forestry.

        She said a levy should be explored along with an end to clearing entire forests during harvest. Given the economic impacts of any changes, Sage said a “just transition” needed to be supported and smaller councils such as Gisborne District Council also needed more support to monitor the industry.

        “They are a small council with a small rates base. They only have two compliance officers but thousands of hectares of forestry to monitor.


        • Sabine

          then hire some more compliance offers to monitor the thousands of unmonitored hectares of foresty areas. It will save houses, lifes and bridges.
          What is cheaper?

          • arkie

            Yes, that's what the Greens are advocating in that quote. Did you read it? Those hiring decisions are the responsibility of the underfunded Gisborne District Council, not the Greens, funny that.

        • lprent

          The industry has said that it has changed practices since 2018 when heavy rain and flooding in Tolaga Bay left tonnes of forestry debris strewn across farms, resulting in multiple prosecutions.

          The problem is that slash usually takes many decades to decompose. We had wood piles on the farm that we chopped out in the 70s that were still not decomposed by the early 2000s. That wasn't even fullgrown trees. It was just scrub bush – mostly wilding pines. The piles just got overgrown and decomposed only at the bottom.

          Forestry would need to bury it, chip it, or move it offsite. All of which are expenses. For decades they mostly just left it onsite in piles, often on steep hillsides or probably in gullies.

          Still accumulated there decades later unless it got a good solid storm.

          • weka

            regenerative forestry would treat it as a resource. One potential is to use hugelkultur. Scaling this up would be dependent on the location and a matter of design.

            • Graeme

              Mounding is fine on flat country, most of the forestry on East Coast isn't, and a lot is very steep. This makes it very difficult and expensive to harvest to start with, let alone deal with the slash.

              Coming up with a mechanism to restrict harvesting to flatter sites will be tricky, forest owners would have had an expectation of a return, so will want compensation. Best alternative would be to make forest owners responsible for their waste.

              Surely there must be some grounds under the RMA to prosecute, or even a civil case by insurers.

              • weka

                definitely needs to be regulated, and the power and will to enforce the regulations.

                What won't work is a national solution applied locally, there is no one size fits all. As you've said, those particular hills shouldn't be in pine anyway. But if we leave it to the forest owners, it will just be more extractive/polluting BAU, they will just pass the pollution on somewhere else in the cheapest way possible. There will be a regenerative solution that suits that place.

                Don't know if they still do this, but Dunedin City Council used to give permits to locals to go in and take the useful firewood from their forests after they'd felled or pruned. Solutions like this aren't hard to design once we place other values alongside or ahead of profit. Again, this is not going to work everywhere, but these are the kinds of things we should be thinking about. Burning slash in the age of climate change should be a crime, both because of the pollution and the wasted materials/embodied energy.

                • Graeme

                  Probably the easiest solution would be for the Government to buy the trees on the problem slopes to remain as a permanent forest. It wouldn't be that much, the net return on them would be marginal because they are so hard to harvest. Recovering the higher value trunks is hard enough, getting the next grade isn't economic, so there's 'slash' that would be on the trucks in easier country. Some of what's in the mess would be saleable logs elsewhere.

                  The other side of the coin is that harvesting the trees is jobs for local people. So will cleaning up the mess, once there's a way of paying for it.

                  • weka

                    that's a really good solution. Transition them to permanent mixed species forests to increase biodiversity and stability. That's the jobs.

                    • Shanreagh

                      Thus completing the cycle at NZ taxpayers expense from

                      1 owned by NZ taxpayer through NZFS. Forests built up by funded provided by NZ Govt/taxpayer

                      2 neo lib experiments especially 'selling the family silver'

                      3 cutting rights sold at bargain basement prices to mainly overseas firms at a cost to NZ taxpayer

                      Now – suggestion is cutting rights are purchased back.

                      4 Cutting rights purchased back at a cost to NZ taxpayer/NZ Govt

                      5 land is restabilised/retired/replanted etc at a cost to MZ taxpayer/NZ Govt

                      When will the madness that was neo lib and small Government ever end?

                      Then there are the costs both inside and ouside the Forestry industry that have happened while we participated in the neo lib experiement.

                      a whole communities that supplied the labour to these forests wiped out, in more ways than one, as owners flew in pruning crews from around NZ thus severing the local connection with these forests.

                      b costs met by the community/taxpayer in damage to roads by logging trucks

                      c mud and localised floods

                      d still selling commodities (logs) overseas and very little processing into more valuable products in NZ and thus no employment opportunities.

                      and so it goes on.

                      There is a lot of myth making and ‘woe is us’ from forestry owners. I have covered some of this further down thread.
                      before buying anything we need to sharpen up the people’s side of the ledger as a means to derive a realistic cost.
                      I may be wrong, though I doubt it, but my view is that the extraction methods used up the coast and Northern HB may not have met the commonly applied best practice extractions for sensitive land. These extractors I feel use the iron fist.

                      And lets read Arkie’s link also below from Dame Anne Salmond on the makeup of slash.

            • gsays

              Another solution to work alongside of the hugelkultur is (reaches over and puts on a scratched record) biochar.

              Mobile retorts moved to where the waste is. Charcoal, pyroligneous acid, (wood vinegar) creosote and wood gas are the by-products.

              Here is an example:

              We can make a scaled up one here either a tweaked version or manufacture under licence.

              FWIW this is the one I want to build here, at home.

              • weka

                nice one! What would we do with those (by)products at the amount being produced?

                Does pine make decent biochar?

                • gsays

                  Pine, yes. It's carbon.

                  Forestry cadets in tune with Graeme's local suggestion is another winning idea.

                  As an aside, for fireworks, the soft woods- pinus radiata and willow for example, make fast, hot black powder, while hard woods make slower longer burning black powder.

                  • gsays

                    I forgot to mention wood vinegar's many uses.

                    A feriliser, insecticide, aids seed germination, repels birds…

                    This is a sales pitch but still informative.

              • joe90

                Who needs a barbecue/smoker.

                THE #CHARCOAL | Hilario Artigas, a resident of #Agüero (#Huesca), was a great rural wise man, knowledgeable about many of the techniques necessary to take advantage of the resources of the #mountain. One of the many trades that we were able to recover with him in our documentaries was that of charcoal burner. In 1999 we were with him to see what this job of transforming #holm oak #firewood into #charcoal was like.

                btw, Eugenio Monesma's Lost Trades is an absolute gold mine.


              • NZ example, with involvement from Professor Huhana Smith – was covered on RNZ a week-or-so ago.

                Using biochar for art and also as land restoration – and especially filtering contaminants out of streams.


                Not on a commercial scale (or at least not yet) – but a fascinating take on the topic.

                I loved the kiln – suitable for small scale – and a beautiful thing in itself.


    • arkie 4.2

      Seemingly too wild for some.

  5. arkie 5

    Rents continue to climb to record highs while the supply continues to increase:

    Rent in Aotearoa is at an all-time high, with the national median weekly rent reaching $595 in January, according to the latest Trade Me Property data.

    Following three stagnant months when the national median weekly rent remained at $580, rent jumped 4% or $25 a week in January when compared to the same month last year.

    Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd said the jump would be “unpleasant news” for renters.

    The number of rental listings nationwide increased by 1% year-on-year in January and marked 10 consecutive months of supply jumps.

    Nearly every region had an increase in listings when compared with January 2022, but the biggest were seen in the lower North Island, where rental listings were up 52% in Manawatū/Whanganui and 40% in Wellington.


    Rent freeze now

    • Sabine 5.1

      Gonna get worse. the country lost a huge amount of houses, and has neither the skill nor the material so rebuild fast and efficient. Never mind the closure of Marsden Point and the washed away roads.

      Our issue in NZ is really that no one does risk assessment and forecasts. The what if road is taken by no one it seems.

      But on the bright side, house prices will go up again, after all we just lost a huge amount of them. s/

      • arkie 5.1.1

        Or in this case the issue is landlords profit-seeking to the detriment of those trapped in the rental market, those who are feeling the effects of the increasing inequality in our society most keenly. It is long past time for rent controls.

        • Sabine

          like we need controls on how to remove slash. lol.

          • arkie

            Multiple things need to happen, it's almost as if it's not dichotomy, lol.

            • Sabine

              been needing to happen for the last 20 years, yet here we are and we are learning that we got fuck all done.

              • arkie

                And when during those last 20 years were the Greens the government? Lets assign blame as it is appropriate, those that led the government during that time; the big two.

              • Tony Veitch

                Easy solution – vote Natz or Act.

                A sure way to make all the problems get much worse! Heigh ho!

        • Molly

          "Or in this case the issue is landlords profit-seeking to the detriment of those trapped in the rental market,"

          Is it the issue? Or a politically expedient "issue" that directs focus away from successive and continuing government failings in addressing the housing crisis?

          • arkie

            Or is it both? At the same time? I'm just asking questions?

            My post was about the disconnect between housing supply and rental demand and rental costs. Continuous rental price increases is profit-seeking, and renters don’t have the luxury of waiting for prices to fall of their own volition. Controls are a way to protect those least able to weather the rising ‘inflation’ of prices, those on the lowest incomes.

            Rent controls now!

            • Molly

              @arkie, this movement assumes that ALL landlords make huge profits on their rentals, which may be true for some, but not for all. There are a myriad contributors to housing unaffordability in our country, but let's just look at one in regards to the increasing cost of rent: banks.

              Since, October 2021, landlords (unlike any other business) are unable to include the mortgage interest on their rentals. It may be a surprise to some, that a foreseeable effect of that is that landlords would then raise rents. (In actual fact it was so foreseeable, that in 2020 rental rules were introduced that tried to limit that business response to increased costs/reduced income)

              This approach protected the ones that have made the most profits from the housing crisis – the banks. The banks are also the ones that create rules that give them the least exposure while their profits soar. They do not have to concern themselves with the rising costs of maintenance, rates or insurance. They just have to demand that insurance is taken – to protect their profitability.

              There has been no credible attempt to address bank profits as a driver of housing unaffordability.

              As successive governments fail to deliver affordable housing, they do invariably consistently attempt to politically demonise the private providers of housing (simultaneously ignoring/rejoicing in the fact that private provision allows them to kick their responsibilities further down the road).

              • arkie

                providers of housing

                This is a landlord's self-assessment. Is it an investment or are you ‘providing’ housing? Can't be both. A charitable housing trust provides housing, private landlords hoard houses. If landlords want to 'provide housing' then they can register as non-profits, otherwise they are profit-seeking investments.

                A landlord provides housing like a scalper provides tickets

              • SPC

                Rents are a function of a market.

                Landlords have said they would raise rents because they would have costs meeting a higher housing standard. Not all landlords were in this position.

                Some of those with mortgages on their property say they will raise rent because they are beginning to lose (phase out) mortgage deductibility. Not all landlords are in this position.

                The changes will raise the quality of our housing stock and reduce the presence of those speculating in property with borrowed money.

                The changes are designed to reduce property values and increase home ownership.

                Windfall profit seeking during a shortage results in either taxation or price/rent control.

                The tax changes are of a design to move investment into new building, where the extra money is useful, not bidding up the value of existing property and reducing the level of home ownership.

  6. Gosman 6

    This is a fascinating read and a warning how Woke politics tends towards eating it's own.

    " This might be just another lament about “woke” campus culture, and the loss of traditional educational virtues. But the seminar topic was “Race and the Limits of Law in America.” Four of the 6 weeks were focused on anti-black racism (the other two were on anti-immigrant and anti-indigenous racism). I am a black professor, I directed my university’s black-studies program, I lead anti-racism and transformative-justice workshops, and I have published books on anti-black racism and prison abolition. I live in a predominantly black neighborhood of Philadelphia, my daughter went to an Afrocentric school, and I am on the board of our local black cultural organization.

    Like others on the left, I had been dismissive of criticisms of the current discourse on race in the United States. But now my thoughts turned to that moment in the 1970s when leftist organizations imploded, the need to match and raise the militancy of one’s comrades leading to a toxic culture filled with dogmatism and disillusion. How did this happen to a group of bright-eyed high school students?"


    • Molly 6.1

      Good article. The Telluride Association had a deserved reputation for quality education.

      I looked at Deep Springs College a few years back, (they have a list of well-known alumni).

      Interesting collaborative approach to management and curriculum, which worked for decades.

      Failure to value critical thinking in such processes has led to the equivalent of an authoritarian wolf in progressive clothing, taking control of the flock.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Here is an interesting short video from Peter Zeihan on the implications of the threat growing of US sanctions on China.

    As Zeihan points out, there are implications following Blinken's recent statement alleging that the Chinese are preparing to send weapons and ammo to Russia.

    Apparently, this is based on US intelligence, which has proved to be fairly accurate. And calling the Chinese out is seen as a warning shot that severe sanctions will be imposed if China takes that step.

    Zeihan argues that one of the first sanctions would likely be to lock the Chinese out of the US dollar. This would have severe implications for the Chinese, as, according to Zeihan, they are a voracious user of the US currency.

    If that were to happen there could be major implications for us, given that exports to China are 21 billion, more than double our next largest trading partner, Australia.

    Firstly, we may have pressure put on us to impose trade sanctions on China. But, more importantly, it may well affect the ability of our customers in China to pay for what they import from us.

    Interesting times.

  8. lprent 8

    Damn – got the word. Car written off from flooding in the cyclone 3 odd weeks ago. The carpets got wet.

    It got water in the carpets and the underlay. Quoted $1500 to lift, dehumidify, and replace – but with a risk level for the insurers. Car is insured for under $10k.

    Looking for another Honda Fit RS hybrid – mostly used for a fortnightly trip to Hamilton. But I may pay a bit more and get a more slightly more recent one.

    Damn, even with the low ~5000 km over the last 18 months, I really enjoyed that car. Far more so than the similarly underutilised 2005 Caldina because I didn't have to squeeze into the door and headroom.

    • woodart 8.1

      take the money from insurance co, buy yr car back cheap, dry yr carpets , change yr insurance to third party($130 approx), and drive on..if you like the car and use it sparingly, its the sensible option.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.2

      Sorry to hear that – best of luck with a replacement.

    • Graeme 8.3

      Possible the car is worth more as parts to the insurers. Also your mention of risk to the insurer flagged in the quote, they'll be wary for a reason.

      I'd be taking the payout and getting as far from the flooded car as I could, urban flood water can do nasty things to cars.

    • Visubversa 8.4

      The carpet on my car got wet on one side – dodgy door seal – parked on a slope and driving rain. I just left the windows open when driving, and when parked outside my house in the sunshine. It has all dried out OK. The car is 16 years old and I am not planning on keeping it for more than another year so I have not bothered claiming on it.

      • woodart 8.4.1

        use lemons to reduce the smell of damp carpets. sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let it dry, then vacuum. fun fact, cars are waterproof .dont buy into the myth that you have to throw them away so quickly. if yr car is worth less than 5-6 grand , full insurance is a rort. with (rising)premiums and (rising) excesses, you have to have a claim over 2 grand to break even.go 3rd party.

    • It seems as though this has become the default position for insurers – with water damage. Since they can't be sure that there isn't associated electrical damage as well.

      Coincidentally, I had this brought to my attention by a friend in the UK – whose Tesla was involved in a relatively minor nose-to-tail accident (they were the meat in the sandwich). And, despite what looked like relatively minor damage to bumpers and crumple zone on the boot – the car was completely written off by the insurer.

      It seems to be a combination of the Tesla supply chain for parts – and the heavily plastic/light-weight construction of EV – which results in 'replace' rather than 'repair' being the default option.

      Did a quick look around, and it seems to be worldwide (so not just a thing in the UK)


      • lprent 8.5.1

        Probably they'd auction it and get say half of the insured value. Someone will pick it up as -is-where-is as a flood damaged car. So say $5k.

        The nett loss to insurance is $10k -$5k – 0.5k = $4.5k.

        The alternate is that they have a nett loss of $2k to fix (1.5k – 0.5k excess + $1k of admin and legal expenses). The overhead of running a claim is pretty high. You're organising everything dealing with repairer, the client, the auditors, and god only knows who else.

        However you can't know what other damage there is.

        Say that there is a 50% chance that an extra $1k of damages show up to fix some electrics or the aircond. So that is another $2k costs ($1k for repair, $1k for admin). You're now looking at a nett loss of $4k to insurer.

        Now it only requires one more little thing and it is a nett loss.

        And that is just the direct costs. Having expensive people and systems dealing with your claim for a second hand 10yo car might mean that the insurer screws up on a much larger claim – say a 60k new car with wet carpets.

        It is cheaper for them with the risks to write the car off.

        Unfortunately for me, that means I now have to spend time organising finance for another car – and I hate dealing with banks. But who knows when the insurer will cough up, and running without a car is fraught with problems.

        I'm working in Hamilton today – have taken my partners usual car. If she has a working need for a car, then she is going to be using a uber or a scooter. Sure 95% of the time we only need one vehicle. I ride a bike, my partner often just walks.

        But when we do overlap on time dependent stuff – well this is Auckland. For instance it gets really hard to get to PBTech for that bit of hardware that is only available at Glenfield – to get The Standard back up. Which has happened – I once had motherboard network ship failure. Which is why TS now has 3 separate network chips and 6 ethernet ports (and why I have a spare server level box that I use as a workstation for a swap).

        Takes about 40 minutes round trip in a car. Takes 2-2.5 hours in a bus. And that includes me walking about 2km on my crippling arthritic big toe.

        And then I have to deal with used car sales people. Pleasant folk who like expending my time .

  9. arkie 9

    For those interested in a solution to our forestry slash problem, one of our leading forestry experts, David Norton has an article in the conversation:

    These ultimate causes are complex but primarily revolve around historic poor land management decision-making and human-induced climate change.

    Among the key drivers of the current problems in Tairāwhiti are the large areas of exotic tree plantations that were established with government support after the devastation of Cyclone Bola.

    But this devastation also reflects earlier poor land management decisions to clear native forest off steep, erodible hill country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which was also encouraged by the government of the day.


    • Shanreagh 9.1

      I just wanted to take issue with a small part of the attachment. The author seems to think that the forestry only really started after Cyclone Bola. There was forestry planted for Soil conservation (Soilcon) works near Ruatoria, Mangatu (huge plantings from the late 1950s/early 1960s to counter the massive flooding of the flats out of Gisborne by the Mangatu River), then moving south the Wharerata forests and Patunamu, south to Mohaka, around Tangoio and the Devil's Elbow.

      All planted before 1987-1990 the time of the asset sales.

      It was these forests that were parcelled off and sold to (mainly) overseas interests for cutting rights. Undoubtedly companies have added to the land that they acquired in late 1980s/early 1990s. They may be onto a second rotation cutting on some areas.

      It was of concern to some that land that was growing good trees because of stewardship from NZFS (govt) was only in NZFS ownership because the trees were a first line attempt to stop the land from slipping away to the sea. NZFS were good at managing forestry regimes.

      At the time they were planted it was not really envisaged what future felling regimes would look like. Later before the asset sale NZFS had developed expertise in selective and careful logging on soilcon areas. There was a recognition that these were not to be treated like regular commercial forests.

      Such nuances were lost in the division into land that was conservation only, or commercial only. No land could be mixed use these were Treasury and SOE driven divisions.

      So there are, to my view, some areas planted in trees that should have been treated for their highest and best use and that was being managed as a soilcon resource. It should not have been subject to the rigours of a logging regime over huge blocks.

      I am not sure what, if any knowledge the new owners of the wood or the crews they flew from forest to forest to tend to the silviculture requirements, had of the history or of how to manage on 'tender' land such as this.

      As an observer it has seems to have got much worse, in extraction work even allowing for climate change. The just seems to be an air of we'll carry on regardless, we'll not learn, we'll chase whatever $$$$$ we can. Some of the skidder sites further down into HB were visible from the main roads and were a real mess.

  10. Visubversa 10

    Now that we have our Census papers it is time to tell Statistics what we think of their assertion that we all have a "gendered soul".

    “This new Gender category will be used as the default category for sorting all the other data – so despite also collecting data on Sex, they are absolutely desperate to know your Gender. So desperate in fact that if you don’t answer or don’t know, they will answer the question for you”.


    I am contemplating refusing to complete that portion of the Census on the grounds that I am being forced to have a political opinion.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1

      Now that we have our Census papers it is time to tell Statistics what we think of their assertion that we all have a “gendered soul“.

      Talking of souls, I'm contemplating refusing to complete the portion of the census form that deals with religious affiliation.

      I am contemplating refusing to complete that portion of the Census on the grounds that I am being forced to have a political opinion.

      Fortunately (for me), my sex at birth and gender are congruent (such a conformist!), and I'll be completing my census form accordingly.

      Fwiw, no-one will be forced to disclose their gender in order to complete their 2023 census form. One can choose to answer the 'sex at birth' question only, and avoid the 'gender' question if unsure or uncomfortable about gender-related matters.

      Gender [in 'Design of forms for the 2023 Census' – StatsNZ PDF]

      Respondents must answer either this [gender] question, the sex at birth question, or both questions. They will not be able to proceed further on the online form if they have not provided a response to either the gender question or the sex at birth question.

      Findings from testing
      Generally, our testing found that respondents were able to work through this question accurately and without any known error. Some respondents, especially those who were older, had difficulty with the concept of gender. The most common misinterpretations were confusing gender with sex or sexual identity, or not understanding why both sex at birth and gender were being asked.

      Some respondents presumed this might be because others might feel uncomfortable or sensitive when answering this question. While it was perceived as being a sensitive subject, many respondents noted the value of collecting data about gender.

    • SPC 10.2

      their assertion that we all have a "gendered soul".

      While that lines up with your opinion that having a gender different to birth sex is not real/is a belief/is like a religious faith – the concept is related to their sense of identity/a matter of their psychology/psyche/sense of self/conscious being.

      The idea of a female psyche in a male body (male psyche in a female body) was mooted back in the 19th C.

      I see however, no evangelism about a gendered "soul" (that survives mortal life death) as a requirement to identify as transgender (or agender, non binary, gender fluid, gender queer, etc).

      • Visubversa 10.2.1

        And it belongs in the 19th C. You no more have a "female brain" in a male body than you have a "female kidney" in a male body. What you may have is a psychological issue where for various reasons you identify more with one set of sexist stereotypes than another. And you can identify as a cocker spaniel if you like – it does not make you one. The rest of that ideological claptrap is as made up as any other religion.

        • SPC

          You and anyone else can strawman that psyche is to be equated with the physical brain, but that does not make it so.

          And you and anyone can claim that they do this

          "their assertion that we all have a gendered soul.

          but offer no evidence for it whatsoever.

          And you will get called on it every time that you do.

          Is anything you claimed in 10 true?

  11. arkie 11

    Minister Nash does little to encourage us that this Labour government is prepared to do what is necessary to deal with the slash issues:

    Dame Anne Salmond has seen some actual research on what is in the forestry 'slash' bedevilling Tairāwhiti, and it doesn't bear out the forestry minister's claim

    Over the past month or so, the Minister of Forestry Stuart Nash has repeatedly tried to fend off an independent inquiry into forestry slash. In the process, he has made statements that don't bear close scrutiny.

    When questioned by RNZ about the devastation caused by the clear felling of pine plantations on the East Coast, for instance, he said, "My understanding is its 40 percent from harvesting operations and the rest is indigenous.” The media should be fact-checking these claims.

    Under these tragic circumstances, it seems inexplicable that the Minister of Forestry should try to defend the indefensible, and be able to make misleading statements to that end.


  12. roblogic 12

    New 3 Waters meme 😀

  13. tsmithfield 13

    What is going on with the Inter Island Ferries? Apparently only two out of six running at the moment. This is starting to make us look a bit 3rd World.

    It is becoming a major issue, not only for passengers. But also freight in both directions. This could become a major hinderance to the recovery up north if goods and equipment need freighting from the South Island to the North.

    And, it is a major nuisance for business. We have been told to add at least an extra week to freighting times.

  14. Shanreagh 14

    Imho it's never too late to develop Aotearoa NZ – we just need to be leery of growth.

    And cargo cult economic ideas parachuted in on unsuspecting natives such as from the Chicago School per NZ Treasury.


    • Drowsy M. Kram 14.1

      yes P. Douglas vs R. Douglas

      "…I [Paul Douglas] was disconcerted to find that the economic and political conservatives had acquired almost complete dominance over my department and taught that market decisions were always right and profit values the supreme ones…"


      • Shanreagh 14.1.1

        Yes I read that about the Douglas at Chicago and his dismay to find that a form of macro economics he did not like much had taken over……

        Of course the NZ Douglas had his form go hand in hand with our Actoid and Natoids keenness on small Government. A perfect match for textbook ideology.

  15. Ghostwhowalksnz 15

    Has anybody else noticed the media obsession with the flood issues for the elites or the upper middle class in their urban fringe lifetsyle blocks ?

    'The musician’s four-bedroom $3.3 million dollar property saw water rushing through it before draining down the hill towards the ocean.

    Despite being listed by homes.co.nz as being on a steep rise, the 1882m2 property still saw waters rise right up to its front door and a minor slip on the front lawn.'


    The author Matthew Scott then goes on to give incorrect/misleading information about council data/maps on flood prone areas

    The map shows that homeowners atop the ridge shouldn’t have to worry. Last week told those homeowners a different story.

    The same council data shows that an overland flow path from the ponding area on Garden road runs right through the Finn estate. Which is exactly what occurred

    An clue would be this property sits on a sand ridge behind the beach road, but the Finn home is a saddle between higher ground each side. Must have made a flatter building site and the real estate web site mentioned does show flattish lawns.

    Hint , always check the overland flow paths

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • Incognito 15.1

      The same council data shows that an overland flow path from the ponding area on Garden road runs right through the Finn estate.

      I have no idea what you’re talking about. Why don’t you illustrate your point with an actual image or link or something with the property in question highlighted and the overland flows shown as well?

    • Shanreagh 15.2

      I am amazed GWWnz that you got as much as you did from this really poorly written article from Matthew Scott.

      Talk about once over lightly on the maps/geography aspect from the author, as you say.

      The subject of geography often gets bad press from the purists. However any geographer and any person who observes landforms will be able to tell you that hills are not hills and flats are not flats. There are a myriad of landforms where they are mixed so we get flattened tops of hills, we get lakes on mountains, we get ponding areas and swamps on land forms that look like hills. So we get saddles between ridges and on them water drains down from the ridges on either side. All these occur naturally ie without direct human intervention.

      Only a person with no geographic or map reading experience would think that living on a hill you wouldn't have to worry.

      My Dad used repeat the truism 'water finds its own level' and to that I want to add that in finding its own level water finds its way back to its old levels and old patterns. It finds its way back to drained swamps, and overland flow paths. This often occurs in times of climate stress as we have just had.

      I have also seen it happen in times of yore (1980s) when culverted/diverted streams just blew out and re-emerged down valleys.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 15.2.1

        Yes. Theres an existing pond -wetland behind the top of the dunes and there is a overflow point from that pond towards the beach. It goes over the dunes via a saddle that is Neil Finns place and the council GIS shows that .

        often with stories about flooding slips if it interests me I look it up on google earth or my online NZ Topo maps.

        In another elite centered story theres was small slip in a gully in Parnell, which from my previous work I was familiar with that area. There the claim was the council reserve ( actually overgrown low value land) had caused the slip and the story had the owner saying 'what was council going to do about it'

        Of course slips are natural occurences and the owner of the land below doesnt have to do anything unless they have deliberately excavated below without retaining. Modern building codes require a building site to be stabilised before building, usually in ground piles. However this cottage seems to pre date all this.

        Like flooding areas , slope stability can be ignored by buyers who dont wonder why its so cheap in this area .

  16. Shanreagh 16

    often with stories about flooding slips if it interests me I look it up on google earth or my online NZ Topo maps.

    Good idea.

    Though I guess you would have a good sense of 'tosh' talking even without doing this.

    It all seems to tie into this constant expansion/growth at all/any cost.

    We have had a pandemic and now floods and losses.

    Buzz words/phrases like BAU, build back better

    What seems to be missing is the phrase 'build back better or not at all.' For some land doing nothing and retreating is the best option.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 16.1

      Most of our work was geotechnical and a portion was in the Waitakeres. I used to say to people privately back then that if you live there start thinking of moving on.

      if a cyclone hits Auckland the area is so vulnerable ( especially those on town water and sewage) as the damage will be widespread to roads and infrastructure and will mean they will be unable to move back home for months ( for some not ever).

      There was old evidence of previous slips everywhere…regrowth covers it up unless you know where to look

      There were places also in Karekare close to the stream…I imagine they are gone now , but the road in is virtually unusable – it was barely usable in ordinary times.
      Personally I feel that place is finished as nothing is really worth rebuilding or fixing the road enough . Watch for the outcry when thats decided

      The future rainfall and cyclones can only be worse

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