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Open mike 23/08/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 23rd, 2020 - 110 comments
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110 comments on “Open mike 23/08/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    If the Labour Party were to suddenly grow a brain & a spine, what would they campaign on? A plan for the post-covid economy.

    John McCrone compiles an overview: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122379921/a-kinder-greener-fairer-economics-to-replace-neoliberalism-questioning-new-zealands-chances-of-making-the-move

    New Zealand was at the forefront of the last great economic paradigm shift – neoliberalism. Can it do it again with whatever follows the shock of coronavirus?

    A recent Stuff-Massey University survey suggested a surprising number of Kiwis – more than 60 per cent of those asked – agree now is a time to be thinking differently.

    Labour, thinking itself clever, is pitching its campaign to the 40% minority who are slow learners: "Because they're just like us. Identity politics works."

    The big picture view of history says things always swing like a pendulum because society first course corrects, then over-corrects, and so has to start heading back the other way.

    Hegel, in the 19th century, deduced his dialectic principle from this. Applying it to politics, we get a synthesis of whichever key elements of left & right remain valid.

    The Millennial and Zoomer generation might all be on McWages, but they haven’t been rioting in the streets.

    Not desperate yet. Plus street protests hardly ever get the desired result nowadays.

    National debts, especially in the US and Europe, have blown out with programmes of quantitative easing (QE) that have proved hard to bring to an end. Analysts say that all the “stimulus” hasn’t reached the real economy because the system is stagnant.

    So Labour masterminds decide more of the same is the best prescription. If it is a total failure, let's do it! Dinosaur-brain Labour.

    The fixes on offer are also in fact easy enough to identify. There is plenty of talk about them. The question is just whether they are starting to form a sufficiently compelling package. The main plank of many reforms is Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) – the giddy idea that money printing isn’t actually a problem.

    The logic is that capital has changed from being wealth that actually exists – physical wealth like land, resources, gold – to being an ability to draw down on a better future.

    Looks like social credit updated for the new millennium, huh?

    In May, New Zealand’s own Reserve Bank announced $60b in QE to carry the country through the crisis. The next day, the Government rolled out its $50b Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund on the back of that move. So completely new possibilities are revealed once you change the conversation from viewing debt as a problem rather than a solution

    So here's where a Labour apologist can say "Look, we're already doing social credit!! But we can't tell the truth to the public because nobody would vote for us! Voters are morons, right?"

    • Pat 1.1

      To introduce MMT they first need to burst the bubble, break up the banks and deal with the resulting chaos…..no politician is willing to propose that even if enough would vote for it which is highly unlikely.

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.1

        MMT is an economic theory which includes how money functions into its understanding of the economy. It describes how the economy works today.

        Your probably claiming the government would need to do something before implementing Overt Monetary Financing. But in practice this is very similar to reversing the order of borrow and spend steps of QE (which its already doing today of course). Its also true that New Zealand has historically implemented OMF during the Savage era.

        This strongly indicates your own economic theory doesn't fit the real world.

        • Pat

          MMT as you well know is a description of how (some think) the political economy COULD operate as opposed to how it currently operates.

          Leaving the assets with the private banks and liabilities with the debtors and retaining the private (offshore) banks with the ability to create credit does little to solve the problem aggregate spending capacity within the economy even with the availability of currency from the issuer….that simply provides the private banks with the opportunity to extract even more from the economy, and does nothing for the debtors in the short term.

          QE without addressing these issues leaves exactly where we are right now….waiting for the whole house of cards to collapse and the assets to fall into the hands of the few solvent entities left standing.

          • Nic the NZer

            This claim is incorrect. MMT purports to describe how public spending works with QE and without QE and in a lot of other circumstances such as the Eurozone.

            To contrast one MMT prediction to parts of the mainstream, MMT describes why QE (e.g building bank reserves) has not caused inflation.

            Of course there are some possibilities also described by MMT which are more or less untested, such as OMF. So how does MMT describe that? Well its understood to be basically similar to QE but with a slightly different order of steps, but basically ending up with the central bank owning a large part of the govt debt itself. However if thats true then we already have plenty of evidence that this is also not inflationary, contrary to mainstream claims. Such things are the testable hypotheses of macro-economics and if your paying attention then MMT is getting these things right, where the economics mainstream is getting them wrong.

            As for the rest of your comment, you appear to be describing some final economic collapse, worse than both the GFC and lockdowns impacts and with govt having no ability to counteract it. I wouldn't go holding my breath waiting for this to manifest.

      • mikesh 1.1.2

        As I understand it, Socred advocated depriving private banks of the right to create money. That was certainly the case in Bruce Betham's day, though I'm not sure whether it still is. Their current policy seems to be to limit that right by making greater use of the reserve ratio tool.

        • Nic the NZer

          I don't think the idea of Banks being unable to create money can be operationalised.

          Initially (as in the Chicago plan) this was tied into the notion of a bank reserve constraint on bank lending. But reserve constraints don't limit bank lending unless your nation is willing to forego payment stability (which none are).

          But the kind of money banks create resides on their balance sheets (its a record of owing a customer their deposit balance) and so if you need every doller created to be govt backed at the central bank (in the interbank accounts) then you are just signing the govt up to create reserve balances to back every payment. If the central bank fails to create the reserves needed to back bank lending then payment or reserve constraint failures occur. So this must be an acceptable outcome in operationalising such a policy.

          Additionally bank credit and trade credit (where you pay for work, or even a meal, after its completed) doesn't look very different so I don't see much ability to legislate against banks ability to extend credit anyway.

    • Sacha 1.2

      McCrone undermined himself unfortunately by not knowing what an Overton Window is. Interesting read otherwise.

    • Nic the NZer 1.3

      There is a similar discussion going on in Australia at present.


      The public seems to think the whole national debt malarky is getting tiresome, but the government economists are pretty attached to it.

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.1

        This bit makes the RBA seem defender of the (neoliberal) faith:

        the RBA has already purchased $A45,250 million worth of Australian Government bonds under its so-called – Long-dated Open Market Operations… The Government has not been saying much about this program for obvious reasons.

        They don’t want the public to know that one arm of the currency-issuing government is accumulating a large proportion of the liabilities issued by another arm (Treasury) to follow the rise in the fiscal deficit.

        If they explained what was going on in the real world to the public, it would become very clear that the central bank is effectively ‘funding’ a significant proportion of the increase in the fiscal deficit… It would also disabuse the public of notions that such coordination between the central bank and the treasury, which is at the heart of the understanding you get from learning about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), is dangerously inflationary.

        Conservative authorities always try to prevent progress, but adherence to a paradigm past the use-by date prevents govts adjusting to the real world. ScoMo will have to get real sometime soon & pull whatever strings are required to produce an RBA head willing to create a future-based strategy for steering the economy.

        He may even be brainstorming the options as we write. I hope he initiates some kind of liaison to the RBNZ gov plus JA/GR since regional coherence would be best for future economic steering, eh?

        • Nic the NZer

          Its possible, I don't think that is something which will necessarily occur.

          Japan has been running QE for decades now. Recently MMT was discussed in their parliament and most factions denied that MMT provided a cogent description of their economy. Obviously a better description could increase the level of public discourse on economic policy and is desirable but I don't see any force actually mandating this occurs.

          Its possible that discourse could continue with central banks and treasury running QE and still insisting that at some point they will have to wind it back due to building inflationary pressures. The public may or may not believe the narrative being presented to them.

          For better public discourse it would help if the process was simplified with the reserve bank directly funding the treasury spending. Making this clear would help to show the public how public finance is working in practice and would make it difficult to oppose deficits and public spending programs politically with an invalid public debt narrative.

          Of course in both New Zealand and Australia to a reasonable extent the shift towards fiscal policy was automatic. Across the lock-down the shift in spending from consumption to saving happened, as did the growth in deficits required to compensate for this. And it must have become obvious that the RBNZ had to fund the deficit more or less directly to the tune of $60 billion because that happened as well and in a timely fashion. If the long run outcome is that the forecast inflation never occurs and the governments self owned debt is not unwound as a result, well I don't see any important difference between that outcome and another where the inflation and public finance forecast was more realistic in the first place.

          Your comment implies that the mainstream economic theory has had a period of validity, but this has never been the case. There has not been a period where a model of a barter economy was valid (which is the mainstream model, it literally attempts to model an economy with an impossible financial system). There has not been a period where there was a mandatory minimum unemployment rate (above 0) below which inflation accelerated (the NAIRU rate), so the model of unemployment is completely broken. And there has never been a period where the central bank can target the inflation rate by targeting official cash rates (and our RBNZ was never good at limiting house price increases even with the OCR about 10-12%). Monetary policy not working out as an inflation theory was as true prior to the GFC as it has been since the GFC (where its supposed to be able to increase inflation rates).

          • Dennis Frank

            For better public discourse it would help if the process was simplified with the reserve bank directly funding the treasury spending. Making this clear would help to show the public how public finance is working in practice and would make it difficult to oppose deficits and public spending programs politically with an invalid public debt narrative.

            This strikes me as helpful & sensible. I wonder if Reddell would agree. I get the impression you may be an economist by profession &/or someone with close prof experience of public finances. In the USA such people access political leverage via institutionalised think-tanks – do we have one such relevant here? If so, your suggestion ought to be examined collegially to crowd-source consensus in that context, with a view to lobbying the next govt to make the desired change.

            Your comment implies that the mainstream economic theory has had a period of validity, but this has never been the case.

            Maybe so – yet it was sufficiently plausible to win the adherence of both Labour and National for 35 years.

            • Nic the NZer

              In my limited interactions with Reddell I would expect some kind of triangulation to occur. Basically when pushed MMT is all correct, nothing surprising and not any different to the present, but also we should not do away with the concept of central bank independence and should maintain the practice of needing an authority figure to tell us which kind of deficit will be inflationary rather than making it so obvious even joe public could understand it for themselves.

              I think that equates to making the system "simple enough and no simpler" when your a PHD grade policy economist.

    • Gabby 1.4

      jfc, make up your mind.

      • Dennis Frank 1.4.1

        Expecting a mind to get made up is realistic in some limited contexts – as in using a recipe for baking a cake. When social & political contexts are ever-changing, a mind will view those as ever-movable feasts. 😋

    • Draco T Bastard 1.5

      The logic is that capital has changed from being wealth that actually exists – physical wealth like land, resources, gold – to being an ability to draw down on a better future.

      Got that bit wrong didn't he.

      MMT doesn't ignore resources. What it does is recognise that a nation's money is backed by that nation's economy and, as long as their is slack in the economy, then printing money is non-inflationary. Under such a system taxes become a form inflation control as interest rates are now (and don't which don't actually work as super-inflated house pricing shows).

      So here's where a Labour apologist can say "Look, we're already doing social credit!! But we can't tell the truth to the public because nobody would vote for us! Voters are morons, right?"

      The reason why Labour, National and ACT don't like MMT is because it proves that capitalists are bludgers.

      Once the government becomes the sole supplier of money in the system the need for interest rates, shareholders and profits disappears. And where then would the Cullen Fund and our self-proclaimed VIP of business be?

      MMT still uses a market economy – it just gets rid of capitalism.

      • Dennis Frank 1.5.1

        MMT still uses a market economy – it just gets rid of capitalism

        Seems like an insight worth recycling! I can't claim to comment from any perspective of expertise – my involvement with Greens economic policy development was always that of a radical heretic who had a partial grasp of establishment economics.

        I suspect that others may quibble somewhat. Unless you have a design mechanism for eliminating held capital, those who hold it are alway likely to be players in the game, regardless of govt making radical rule changes.

        Perhaps you are implying the incentive-structure of the game is sufficiently changed by govts using MMT that capitalist players will see no way to profit from playing?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Perhaps you are implying the incentive-structure of the game is sufficiently changed by govts using MMT that capitalist players will see no way to profit from playing?

          With MMT properly put in place having money will no longer grant more money. No interest rates to charge workers for the privilege of borrowing

          Existing owners will still be able to bludge but the economy will shift around them until they can’t. Its not an immediate fix but will come about over time.

          With the government creating money openly the private will need to be stopped from doing so and thus will end the private banks and their bludging.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Always worthwhile to read Why we can't afford the rich to get a better understanding of how they bludge so much off of the rest of us and how getting rid of them will make the economy perform better and make the rest of us better off.

          Capitalists are bludgers and they cost us billions every year. And that's just in NZ.

    • McFlock 1.6

      Hegel is the reason why Marx wrote a shit prescription even though he was a brilliant diagnostician.

    • Muttonbird 1.7

      Haven't they got enough on their plate right now?

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    If the Labour Party were to suddenly grow a brain & a spine, what would they campaign on? A plan for the post-covid economy.

    That's been true since Rogergnomics. But NZ politics has reached the point of decay where not releasing policies is more likely to win or retain votes. As it stands they're more like that song from How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying:

    Finch: Is there anything you're against?
    Twimble: Unemployment
    Finch: When they want brilliant thinking from employees
    Twimble: That is no concern of mine
    Finch: Suppose a man of genius makes suggestions?

    Twimble: Watch that genius get suggested to resign

    Releasing policy would just give the floundering Gnats and their media sycophants something to focus their malice upon – better to let them stew in their febrile resentment – it doesn't resonate with voters.

    It has proven infinitely safer for Labour to try to deliver some desirable outcome, like building houses, than it is to promise to do so. Pretty dysfunctional from a democratic perspective, but the media that ought long since to have pilloried and driven out epic non-performers like Brownlee and Smith is MIA on that front.

  3. aj 3

    Reti, Q&A: Sunlight on our policies, but we'll keep our experts secret.

    • Sacha 3.1

      Way more lucid than his 'leader' though, eh.

      • aj 3.1.1

        The only reason they are keeping the experts hidden must be because they are not credible. Reti's reason for not naming them was weak.

        ("They work for for other governments and organisations")

        This epidemic is the most important issue facing the country and I think the public are entitled to know where National’s advice is coming from so we can judge the soundness of advice for ourselves. The whole thing smacks of ‘we know best’

        • Muttonbird

          Yesterday, Reti invited his experts to present themselves if they wished.

          So far, tumbleweeds.

          • Morrissey

            Following National's devastation in October, it will be time for that hapless "Health spokesman" to RETIre, methinks.





        • Draco T Bastard

          ("They work for for other governments and organisations")

          Ah, National getting its instructions from their foreign owners.

  4. When does Jacinda Ardern get a break? Not for her the games of golf with other Leaders or celebrities. Her few days off are spent with Clarke and Neve out of the spotlight.

    I hope she is getting affirmations for her unrelenting positivity genuine mahi and care for all citizens.

    I have been accused of being a Jacinda fan. Well, yes I am, as she is remarkable.

    • Anne 4.1

      Yes, I worry about her too Patrica. She looks too thin to me. Not surprising given the huge load she is currently carrying. Yet I get the impression that if she dares to let up and have a short break she will be loudly criticised by her opponents – notwithstanding her predecessors were known to have good sized breaks from time to time.

    • Stuart Munro 4.3

      She's the Churchill of the war on Covid.

      • greywarshark 4.3.1

        Just keep on PM Jacinda and the time will fly. Then get a few things going and a quiet break in Cook Islands?

        • Stuart Munro

          Think she had family connections in Nuie – though there are plenty of quiet local places who'd be glad to have her come to that.

          I imagine such breaks depend on having talent holding the fort – Megan & Chippie seem to be growing into that role.

          The first bloke might like a bit of time to hone his artistic response to the best fishing program of all time too.

  5. Ffloyd 5

    Patricia Brenner. I heartily endorse your comment on Jacinda. She is thrown to the wolves every day but counters everything with grace, good manners, non confrontation in reply and is unfailingly unflappable. I would say the same of the frontline team. I am in awe of their ability to front up to lower level reporters who seem to be there mainly to force them into *owning up* to supposed cock ups, debacles, shambles etc and stay calm in the face of such unmitigated jackalism. New word. Just invented it. They are indeed the dream team and nobody expects them to get everything right first up. They are human. And their ability to accept and then reset immediately is in my book amazing and calming. Go the dream team. My opinion only.

  6. Anker 6

    Agree Patricia. There was a rumour on #hellholeNZ that Jacinda, C lark and Neve were at Oriental Bay yesterday. Hope it was true……..

    I am concerned labour are in a precarious position now due to the outbreak. There is unrelentingly negative publicity about it. Donald Trump is inadvertently the only one bringing some perspective (unintended of course).

    People are not commenting on the remarkable response to the outbreak and how effective it has been. Gorman etc are getting air time saying how poor the contract tracing has been which is laughable. UK got private firm doing contract tracing, rates of 50%

    i read the first two sentences of what you wrote Denis “if Labour would grow a spine and a brain”………………..wow man where have you been the last six months? What the fuck do you think labour has been doing? Brain and spine more than evident in covid response, so wake the fuck up. Right now covid and it’s immediate aftermath is all that matters.

    This election we either vote in a labour led govt or a National led govt. if you have bleated on here about labour and spines etc, don’t come crying when Collins is running the show

    • I Feel Love 6.1


      Look at this poll, shows how out of step the TV1 & Herald & Stuff & National Party etc … are, they don't represent the public mood at all, how ever much they try to rile people up. Maybe the constant attacks are making the public like the present Govt more, it seems no one expects perfection, unlike some commentators even here, the Govt are competent. I for one can't be bothered reading many journalists anymore, the disconnect with reality is getting more & more telling, I can see with my own eyes that NZ is not a hellhole, even the anti lockdown 'protest' was just pathetic, more people go watch Sat morning sport & the field up the road.

      • tc 6.1.1

        The chosen approach gets another month to rub over the electorate and now Reti has to dance on the head of a pin. How good will those dance moves be.

        That internet thing means folk don't just consume the duplicity/tawdrey/hosk spin. Also kiwis abroad keep whanau in the real picture they live each day outside the pacifica zone.

    • aj 6.2

      This election we either vote in a labour led govt or a National led govt

      I'm suggesting people vote as if their lives depend on it. Because it just might be that.

      • anker 6.2.1

        aj I agree. Vote as if your life depended on it but it likely does actually. Who do you trust to lead us through Covid. That will be the task of the next Govt.

    • Herodotus 6.3

      This election we either vote in a labour led govt or a National led govt – Whilst National is lacking Labour still IMO still be subjected to critical review of what they are proposing. Otherwise we have what the USA had in their last election – Voting for the 2nd worst option

      If the boarder issues regarding testing had not been questioned, would the current testing regime of frontline staff have been ramped up and so promptly ?


      • anker 6.3.1

        Herodotus, I don't see Labour as the 2nd worst option and I don't believe they are. They are the best option.

        The Govt had understood from the MoH that border staff were being tested. They ramped it up when they found out it wasn't. Turns out the tardiness of implementing the border checks hasn't lead to wide spread community outbreak. It has lead to one matanance man getting Covid and I fully sympathize with him………

        We still don't know the origin of the Auckland cluster………its possible that a returnee tested negative on 12th day and took it into the community as the virus is tricky and the tests not 100% reliable.

        • Herodotus

          Perhaps I poorly constructed the comment. With a poor opposition all the current govt has to do is out perform a crap performing National party. There is no challenge to have a coherent and well planned out implementation of policy. Need I detail The Kiwi Build, and Labour decided to increase the build from 50k to 100k ??

          "Turns out the tardiness of implementing the border checks hasn't lead to wide spread community outbreak" – How many fortunate outcomes can we hope for ? We shouldn't he hoping for chance to help us out. We should expect mistakes and see modification/evolving of policy to reduce the risk.

          • anker

            Herodotus our Govt has outperformed nearly every govt in the world. Just in terms of Covid nos everyday I check the figures and NZ has just gone down the order we are now 140.

            We have to hope for all the lucky breaks we can get with this virus while doing absolutely everything to the highest standard possible. To date Labour have had an inquiry into contract tracing sometime in April? and found it wanting and so ramped it up. This has clearly paid dividends in this latest outbreak. Outstanding response. Then there were the issues around testing returnees uncovered in June and since then testing regime up and running….then the idiot people absconding from quarantine, they fixed it. And now they have ramped up the testing of staff..

            We also have to hope for chance or good luck because despite all our best effort we can get unlucky e.g. the worker who tested positive likely after touching a lift button.

  7. Byd0nz 7

    Grow a spine, what a line,
    From some Trumped up fellow,
    Do you mean like NAT cold blue,
    Or perhaps like ACT of yellow.
    Red is a warm and friendly colour,
    Green is quite soothing too,
    But to grow a spine, a stupid line,
    Is just a pile of poo.

    • weka 7.1


      Dennis is left of Labour in case that matters.

      • weka 7.1.1

        it's a commenting style that doesn't suit everyone.

      • anker 7.1.2

        I usually don't bother to read Denis. Too long and so gave him a shot this morning and he opened with the brain/spine comment, which I thought was ignorant beyond belief and that sort of commentary both angers and scares me (in Covid times). I am not too bothered where Denis sits on the left/right continuum slating a govt that has managed the hardest crisis NZ has had in lifetimes when they have done an outstanding job is a plain ignorant. They have saved 100s/1000s of lives by exercising their brain and spine.

      • Sabine 7.1.3

        why? It is because he is left to labour that he raises some questions that are fair imo.

        Raising question about the long term planning is fair. It is election time, so please Labour talk. I read the speech at the campaing release, and to be honest i am underwhelmed in the parts that i expect to be the big issues in the next years. Unemployment, future investment into employment and the current issue of women losing their jobs at a higher rate then men, older more then younger, etc. IF labour thinks that promising to double the flexi scheme invented by Paula Benefit will get me or others hot n bothered, they need to think again. Promising a few dollars to those that have lost their jobs to maybe start their own business? Lol, and then they get a phone call and they are in Level 3 and can't work. lol.


        The government's existing Flexi-wage scheme – a wage subsidy to help employers hire those on a benefit at risk of long-term unemployment – would be revamped and expanded under a re-elected Labour Party, with the average amount a business can access to hire a worker more than doubling.

        The party believes scaling up the scheme could enable 40,000 people to be employed.

        Jacinda Ardern, speaking at the launch today, said $30 million will also be ring-fenced to help unemployed people start a business through an expanded Flexi-wage self employment programme, which will provide the equivalent of the minimum wage for up to 30 hours a week.

        not wanting to say anything, but that undermines the min wage like big time if you only offer wages for 30 hours while someone ends up working double or more. Nevermind tho, its the thought that counts? Right? Also anyone not being able to work from home and or in roading/heavy infrastructure/shovel ready government investment is at risk of long term unemployment in the current global situation. Any government that fools itself in believing that 7500 $ is an attractive amount to hire people is deluding themselves, but then maybe earning several thousand of dollars per week might just have an impact on that thinking when it comes the poor.

        he main elements of the scheme:

        • Business subsidy of on average $7500, and up to $22,000, to hire unemployed New Zealanders
        • Up to 40,000 jobs to be supported by $311 million investment in keeping people off the unemployment benefit
        • Ring-fenced fund to help unemployed people start their own business

        The scheme would be paid for out of the underspend from the targeted wage subsidy extension.

        Just take the 'underspend' and distribute it fairly among the unemployed so that they can eat and have a roof, and chances are that would help the community and create employment….but then we don't actually want to increase unemployment and social welfare. And i don't count the extra 25 per covid level week an increase, even tho its tacked to the main benefit, as it is temporary and can be cancelled at any moment.

        She said the wage subsidy scheme – due to finish on 1 September – had prevented a spike in unemployment.

        "We need to keep moving with our plan. The Flexi-wage is just the latest addition to the raft of jobs initiatives and business support we have already put in place to drive our economic recovery," Ardern said.

        The wage subsidy did effectively that, flatten the curve of unemployment, and the Covid unemployement rate (cause unequal is us (TM) ) will expire 12 weeks after that.

        Mind this article was from 8.8. and thus before the new outbreak showed up, but i do hope that they consider what they actually expect from people ….to start up a business, to rehire people, while at the same time not being able to have any stability at all. All it takes is a bullhorn at 8 am in the morning and you are in Level 2 – 4 and can't work.

        Yes, Labour needs to do better, personally i would rather see some ideas of early retirement, a proper increase in base benefits to the level of the wage subsidy as this is now a proven amount in regards to let people have a roof and eat.

        Not all questions are put downs, and it is jarring that there seems to be a reflex reaction to shout down those that dare ask.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The government's existing Flexi-wage scheme – a wage subsidy to help employers hire those on a benefit at risk of long-term unemployment – would be revamped and expanded under a re-elected Labour Party, with the average amount a business can access to hire a worker more than doubling.

          Which is fully against the standard economic theory (or any market based theory really). If the business could afford to employ more people to expand then they would already be doing it. They're not which means that that business has already reached its limits and throwing money at it probably won't help.

          Better for the government to help create some new businesses and actually develop our economy. That would probably employ more people and the businesses would be more likely to be sustainable.

          She said the wage subsidy scheme – due to finish on 1 September – had prevented a spike in unemployment.

          Yep, that worked well but it's not a viable long term plan. Short term and even mid term to allow businesses to adjust to the new paradigm but we're going to need something beyond that and that is mean developing new businesses and it can't be left to the bludging rich. They just don't get it nor do they care.

          The government needs to look at what needs to be done to develop the economy across a range of industries that presently aren't here. Then, and only then, will we have a viable plan.

          personally i would rather see some ideas of early retirement

          Yeah, that's going to happen. Too many people retiring and not enough workers to support them. That's why governments have been raising the retirement age for the last few decades and importing lots and lots of people.

          • Sabine

            Well, the other option is to increase unemployment level and instruct the Winz drones that part of kinder and gentler means to not harrass people into applying for jobs that don't exist and will need to be created first.

            And i have total confidence that new businesses will be created, people are good like that. But unless we have a hang on the covid crisis, and are no longer a phone alert away from a total lockdownm it is cynical in my books to expect people to actually do that.

        • Sabine have you read the budget? There is a long term plan along with short term covid beating ideas.

          I note how scathingly you write. Do you think the Government has not done enough? Covid is our present danger and our poor are not being left to fend for themselves, neither are they being blamed or vilified by their leaders as has happened elsewhere.

          The actual election has not started yet. Those things you want are fine in normal times, but life has changed, it will never be what it was, as we are running to dodge this evil but still may be overtaken by the larger problem of climate change.

          By putting wellbeing at the centre of planning we have a new social contract with this Government. People again see the Public Service as being there for their good. All of this takes time and clever balanced planning.

          In spite of the naysayers, much has been achieved, and we are doing an exceptional job in containing this virus once again. There will be great struggle to overcome the effects of the virus on the world. We are lucky to be doing that without the ongoing deaths associated with that.

          I am fearful that those who want "instant solutions to complex problems" may whittle support 'till we end up with the "bullying parent". That would be grim.

          • anker

            Well said Patricia

          • Sabine

            I have read the budget, i have linked to the the article outlining the budget and used Jacindas words. Nothing scathingly about, unless now the only opinion that is allowed is that of flowery positive humbug. Sorry, but i find that hard to believe, and again, some of us have a different perspective about certain things.

            No the government has not done enough just yet – not because i say so, but because they know that they have not done enough yet, themselves. Hence the increase in the flexi wage system and the rolling out of a few dollars to some hapless unemployed people now so that they can start their business so as to not clutter the unemployemnt queues more then that. Hence the extra 2 weeks wage subsidy. Without it Labour by now would be dead in the water and way more people would be unemployed. So Labour looks good because it did the easiest and fastest things, re-fund us some of the taxes we pay via the wage subsidy. The shovel ready jobs, nice, helped get men of the unemployment queue, now do something for the women for whom unemployment has increased.

            The actuall election started on 08.08 with the start of the election campaign, and the roll out of the budget and the promises of things to come. I personally am happy that it got extended and if only for the Government – which btw is more then just Labour, as it is also Green and NZF, to revisit some of their ideas and maybe adjust them to the new reality of Covid in the community from a as of now unknown source.

            And no a well being app is nothing worse to be proud of. So far no societal contract has been established that looks after the poorest, the homeless, the beneficiaires etc, they are still on their starvation rations via Winz and no changes in the air. (that much vounted $ 25 per week is a Covid benefits – mind any day they would like to they could just make that permanent – after all they will claw it back with the decrease of fringe benefits to the same amount).

            And if you state that much has been achieved as a Yes sayer, please link to all the things that have been achieved for those that need it the most. That is my litmus test. Will the changes benefit those that have it the hardest in our society and frankly no they have done the bare minimum as of yet.

            I don't want instant solutions nor have i ever asked for them, i have been for years now very much asking for the same things. Better housing, better benefits for those that need it, better public transport and cheaper, less cutting down of trees to build garages and such.

            As of the election, it is Labours and the Coalitions to lose, it always was. And for those that want to see Labor go it alone or only with the Greens, well it is your job to give reasons to those that a. sit on the sidelines, b. can't be arsed to vote because non of the party cares for them (1 million last time around, and c. might actually have to live with the fact that again they need NZfirst. The supporters of the No mates party will do what they want, and personally i don't care, as i will never in my life time consider voting for them.

            And personally i would very much enjoy a good write about by some of our less scathingly writing peeps, detailing us all the good things Labour has in place for us, specially the unemployed.

      • Gabby 7.1.4

        And far above, clearly.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.2

      I saw the "grow a brain & a spine" line and read no further, so thanks to Dennis I guess for having the 'courage' to lead with it.

      Ardern has brain, heart and courage in spades, IMHO, but she’s a hard road finding the perfect PM.

      • anker 7.2.1

        drowsy couldn't have put it better myself

      • Sabine 7.2.2

        it is used commonly against others. And Ardern may be the leader of the Labour Party and the PM of the country but she is not 'alone' labour. There are other members in this party that are in government and some could benefit from a brain and a spine.

        Not everything is about Jacinda Ardern. Some is literally just about the Party and like Aunty Helen, we will have to live with the Party longer then with Aunty Jancinda.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Fair enough – in my experience "grow a brain & a spine" jibes are unhelpful, but maybe now is the hour as NZ fumbles & bumbles along. Still, could be worse, eh?

          So if things are looking really bad
          you're thinking of givin' it away
          Remember New Zealand's a cracker
          and I reckon come what may
          If things get appallingly bad
          and we all get atrociously poor
          If we stand in the queue with our hats on
          we can borrow a few million more.

          We don't know how lucky we are, mate
          We don't know how lucky we are.

          • Sabine

            It can always be worse, but that is not the matter at hand , the matter is can we ask more from the Labour Party without being accused of being negative, bitter, or against the current leader of the party.

            And yes, most people don't know how lucky they are or they know it and want to do their best to keep it that way often at the expense of others. We already have quite a few people in the country for whom things are appallingly bad and who are atrociously poor. It might just not be you or me atm, but these things can change fast.

            • anker

              Sabine of course you can ask for more. People are entitled to post whatever (within moderator reason) they want.

              One of the many reasons I like the Standard is because right now since the outbreak it gets me away from the unrelenting negativity of the msm. No perspective, only blame. F..k if I was Ashleigh Bloomfield fielding what are mostly ridiculous gotcha type questions from the media, I would be very tempted to say "Right that's it. I have f..king had enough, the job is hard enough without you pack of wankers with your gotcha ill informed questions. None of you do a job that is worth much, unlike my poor staff who actually do something useful for a living and may earn nowhere near as much as you. I suspect most of you couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery, but too bad, if you think you could do better, f…king take over"

              [Fixed typo in user name]

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Agreed anker. 'Shock jock' jibes along the lines of "grow a brain & a spine" are unpleasant, unnecessary and, most importantly, detract from otherwise constructive criticism. Just my opinion (and choice of reaction), of course.

                If some feel they are "accused of being negative, bitter, or against the current leader of the [Labour] party" to the extent that it is inhibiting their commenting, then that would be cause for concern. Otoh, instances of negatively and bitterness occasionally come across as purely vindictive – intent is so easy to misread, depending on one's perspective.

              • Anne

                "Right that's it. I have f..king had enough, the job is hard enough without you pack of wankers with your gotcha ill informed questions. None of you do a job that is worth much, unlike my poor staff who actually do something useful for a living and may earn nowhere near as much as you. I suspect most of you couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery, but too bad, if you think you could do better, f…king take over"

                Quote for the month. 😀

              • Sabine

                I suggest that you stay away from the telly, radio and news print for a while, as you seem to not be managing the vitriol coming from it, i know i could not and thus did so years ago.

                As for you having 'fucking had enough'? the same counts for the people that have lost their jobs, their homes, and those that will in the near future.

                There are a lot of people in this country and elsewhere who have had fucking had enough. And you know what? It seems that no one cares. Go figure.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  When you write "It seems that no one cares.", are you referring to politicians and bureaucrats, or to NZers in general?

                  "The first thing we did was scale up school and community programmes with an additional 100,000 fruit and vegetable boxes to children over 10 weeks. We also met the cost of processing and distributing surplus pork meat to families in need to help resolve an oversupply of New Zealand pork, while providing high-quality nutrition. The Government also provided $32 million for funding foodbanks and food rescue."


                  A drop in the bucket for sure, but better than nothing.

                • Patricia Bremner

                  Sabine it is hard to defeat billionaires, they have marked the cards.

                  So now we have a chance to change aspects of the game. Hear the squawks

    • Got their colours sorted.

  8. aj 8

    A diamond in the shit pile.

    H*****gs and Sir Brian Roche


    "We are the envy of the world. We seem to want to beat ourselves up for every infringement, and as a citizen I find that surprising," Roche told Newstalk ZB's Mike H*****g.

    Asked by H*****g. why tests on border workers hadn't been happening, as expected, Roche said that was the "very elusive" question.

    "Everyone's acknowledged that what they thought was happening, didn't. So there has to be an intervention to remedy that and I'm part of the intervention."

    He urged perspective. "A mistake was made, there's a lot of moving parts, a lot of risk. No one goes to work to make a mistake; we shouldn't overstate it. There have been mistakes made. There have been some mis-communications – let's just simplify it, sort it out and move on."

    Asked if there were far too many people and departments involved, Roche said: "I think that sums up the public sector but at one level it's a cheap shot. They all work together very well. This is a cross Government thing – it's led by health, the health voice is very loud but it requires a collective effort. Not everybody works as easily in that environment as you would hope."

    Leadership was important at a political and administrative level. "I have had the privilege of lifting the hood at public health units. I was humbled by what I saw. The work they are doing on our behalf is unbelievable – and we have lost just a sense of perspective. Yes, this has come back, we have deployed hundreds and hundreds of people to safeguard the community. They have done it in an incredibly professional and sensitive way."

  9. Reality 9

    So pleased Sir Brian Roche took ignorant Hosking on regarding what is really happening. A decent sensible man talking to a jumped up self-opinionated unpleasant person.

  10. Just Is 10

    Q and A this morning had a short story on Taiwans experience with Sars and Covid, they already had a dedicated organization for dealing with pandemics after Sars had taken so many lives, they developed a system to eradicate the virus.

    The interesting thing was that the strategy was predominantly around prevention through having systems in place to to prevent and trace infections.

    Taiwan has a population of around 25million, their Rate of Testing is way below ours, testing only catches infections after the fact, where as prevention prevents the infection in the first place.

    The main prevention tools are Masks, Social Distancing and an excellent tracing process.

    Today Taiwan has six new cases of Covid, the same number as NZ.

    Testing after the fact is TOO LATE, the prevention is Far more important.

    The NZs srtategy by any standard is Gold Plated, any politician critising it should be held to account, as do some members of the media that harped on about the testing regime that existed, yet, Not a Single Case was detected due to the "Failed Testing Regime".

    That is the evidence that proves that testing is Not the Primary response, it's simply a backstop to prove the existing preventitive sytems are working.

    • Testing of boarder workers for the Covid Virus alone is a waste of time, that will only show an individual currently infectuous, we need to also be blood sampling for antibodies to see who has previously been infected, that may show the cause of current infections.This may have been happening but who would know ?.

  11. Tricledrown 11

    Just is justice is about finding the Truth so you are claiming to be a health expert.

    Its very easy to criticize but without the full array of facts it just helps fuel hysteria.

    • Just Is 11.1


      I'm just repeating what the Taiwanese Pandemic Expert had indicated given they had a specicialised Pandemic Response Organisation all ready set up.

      Taiwan was hammered by the SARS virus and learnt a lot about how to minimise the Human and Financial costs of a Pandemic, they have already gone through the "Learning Curve", and one of those lessons was that Prevention is where the majority of effort should be focused.

      Focusing on just one aspect, which, thus far hasn't been proven to be a contributing factor in the current outbreak (or any other issue) is time wasting and an unnecessary use of resources.

      In Manufacturing the same applies, there is an old saying, "you cannot inspect quality into a product, no matter how much time you spend inspecting it", it has to made to a standard through a process that ensures the required outcome.

      Inspection is the backup system

      • Tricledrown 11.1.1

        So if you don't know where or the size of the outbreak it doesn't matter.

        Every country is different.

        This disease can outsmart the best efforts.

  12. greywarshark 12

    I've been looking at our tax system in NZ for ordinary folks. Not terribly much info from IRD specifying percentages of tax charged for each code, and they are many. Their main message is you need to pay tax and then give a few chosen examples. I found what I wanted to know eventually looking at all the sites, public and private. Not straightforward, need more figures less generalisation and explanation.

    Accommodation supplement is murky. Yet just about everyone can get it if you are ordinary people, probably the wealthy have their own channels. This was written in June 2019 and quoted this from Treasury in 2017:

    In 2017, even Treasury agreed "AS [accommodation supplement] does not adequately alleviate housing stress" and New Zealand's existing housing subsidy structure is "not fit-for-purpose".

    That doesn't mean they want something better for the citizen, it may be that there is a hole in its efficiency that they want to stop up. When we are finally allowed to have our election and the party that tries to be good is returned to the bouncy castle, from each office in the Beehive there will be such a buzz and rush they will turn up the cool air conditioning. Please, please vote and see if anyone around you needs a lift to a polling booth, provided of course it's not a lockdown area.

    For all these reasons, the Child Poverty Action Group's just released report, The Accommodation Supplement: the wrong tool to fix the house, calls for the Government to remove the AS for most recipients while significantly raising incomes of all benefit recipients and low-wage workers. We authored this report with Alan Johnson, co-convenor of the CPAG.

    Bad design of the Accommodation Supplement fuels NZ's housing crisis
    – This story was originally published on Newsroom.co.nz and is republished with permission.

    Susan St John and Janet McAllister 13:01, Jun 03 2019

  13. ianmac 13

    Agreed Just is.

    The Q&A this morning had the best summary of how Taiwan manages so well. Having a health system set up to operate well. ($10 doctors visit.) Having an understood/trusted pandemic process already in place. (I don't think masks are mandatory? but widely worn.) Absence of public undermining. Can't find the Taiwan on Q&A but worth a look.

  14. joe90 14


    • JanM 14.1

      Oh help -looks like the front garden of a good many Hernia Bay villas nowadays – boring!!!!!!!

  15. joe90 15

    Fortunately, we're not heading toward a brutal winter.

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea is banning large gatherings, closing beaches, shutting nightspots and churches and removing fans from professional sports in strict new measures announced Saturday as it battles the spread of the coronavirus.

    Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the steps shortly after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 332 new cases — the ninth straight day of triple-digit increases. The national caseload is now at 17,002, including 309 deaths.

    While most of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of the viral surge in recent weeks, infections were also reported in practically every major city and town, raising concerns that transmissions are slipping out of control.


    As of Saturday afternoon, nearly 800 infections have been linked to a Seoul church led by a vocal critic of the country’s president. Sarang Jeil Church pastor Jun Kwang-hun was hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday after participating in an anti-government protest last week where he shared a microphone on stage with other activists. More than 100 infections have been tied to protesters.

    Police raided the church late Friday while trying to secure a more comprehensive list of its members who remain out of contact. Health workers have used cellphone location data to identify some 50,000 people who spent more than 30 minutes on the street during the protest last Saturday and have been alerting them to get tested. Around 18,000 of them have been tested, said Kwon Jun-wook, director of South Korea’s National Health Institute.


  16. I Feel Love 16

    Morrah on Mediawatch, 'we aren't here to make friends' regarding the way he's treating Bloomfield, my memory goes back to when that is exactly how he treated Peter fucking Whittall https://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/peter-whittall-it-is-personal-2010120217 or maybe Morrah has learned since then. I just remember the media back then wanting to Knight Peter fucking Whittall, so Morrah, I don't believe your weasel words.

    • ScottGN 16.1

      I’m starting to wonder if there’s anyone left in the media to take potshots at the government this weekend?

  17. Koff 17

    Siouxie Wiles, the biochemist who has contributed a lot of easy to understand material throughout the pandemic so far, has written another useful and cogent article in the Spinoff on how to improve the Covid response, including an analysis of National's proposals. Worth a read.


    (Posted in yesterday's Open Mike by mistake!)

    • ianmac 17.1

      You ate right Koff. Wellworth a read.

    • Peter 17.2

      The Wiles piece in discussing the National’s Border Protection Agency misses the main point. "It seems to me this policy runs the very real risk of stranding New Zealanders overseas while doing nothing to actually increase the security of our border."

      The policy is not about actually increasing the security of our border, t's about the election and making out you have somehow come up with a magic formula. Will people understand or realise the logistical stuff, the reality that Wiles mentions?

      "It will certainly stop some people who may be infectious from being able to travel. But given how far some New Zealanders have to travel to get home, it won’t stop people getting infected on the way."

      You get a test, it comes back negative and somehow, before you get on a plane, however long that is, in whichever part of the world you're in with all the local circumstances, you know, we know, Judith Collins knows, you haven't got Covid-19 when you board your plane?

      I'd like to hear how those who think that Collins is Wonder Woman can be certain no-one getting on a plane has the virus given the way the world works.

    • Thanks Koff. Siouxie is a gem.

  18. Macro 18

    50% of the speakers at the RNC are named Trump!!! 🙄

    [Add width=”100%” before /> and she’ll be right – Incognito]

    • Andre 18.1

      Where's Eric?

      • Macro 18.1.1

        He's right out of view as is Tiffany! – when I posted I tied a width of 500 thinking that would shrink the image enough but it seems that that wasn't enough. I tried to edit it but the process was beyond my capabilities 🙁

        • Andre

          They just don't get no respect, those two. Even dumb algorithms diss them.

          (I haven't yet found a way to get the image size right on first go, but what works for me with the images is posting it without trying to change anything the image button does, then immediately go back in and edit the comment and add width="500" just before the /> )

          • Macro

            Yes I have done that too in the past. Now Lynn has given us an image qualities button/option that lets you define the width before submitting; but it didn't seem to work in this case – and when I went back to edit, it came up with a lot of html script I wasn't confident in playing with.

            As for the line up at the RNC – obviously they are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

            BTW if you missed Michelle Obama's speech at the DNC – no worries – you can hear it again when Melania gives her speech.

  19. Muttonbird 19

    Just the one new community case today. Well done, team Auckland.

  20. joe90 20

    Nobody likes me

    Maryanne Trump Barry was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, “maybe I’ll have to put her at the border” amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from their parents and put in cramped quarters while court hearings dragged on.

    “All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”

    Barry, 83, was aghast at how her 74-year-old brother operated as president. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”

    http://archive.li/SX2EB (wapo)

  21. Fireblade 21

    The Standard isn't working using my Android Smartphone.

    The mobile version won't start/load sometimes today and the reply function hasn't worked for me since Friday evening. The desktop version will open, but when the reply function is clicked, I then can't type anything in the comment box.

    Everything worked earlier last week, so maybe The Standard IT gurus can investigate.

  22. Andre 22

    SMoD 2020!


    It's going to be a sucky disappointment though, like everything else about 2020. It's only about 2m diameter and only has a 0.41% chance of hitting.

    • joe90 22.1

      Be careful about what you wish for..

      There’s no denying we live in deeply partisan times and a new poll out of New Hampshire exemplifies this divide. Its results say a majority of New Hampshire Democrats said they’d rather “a giant meteor strikes the earth, extinguishing all human life” than President Donald Trump win re-election. Yikes.


      • Andre 22.1.1

        True dat.

        Every now and then I get a blissful moment when I forget that Kim Jong Orange possesses a tremendous bigly and more powerfully button that actually works. If he feels too much that nobody likes him, he might just choose to show us all. That would indeed be a pretty close facsimile of SMoD.

    • Muttonbird 22.2

      It's only about 2m diameter and only has a 0.41% chance of hitting.

      What are the chances of a direct hit on the White House? Show your working.

      • Andre 22.2.1

        Do you really want the White House, or are you actually more interested in the grossly swollen head (housing a remarkably small brain) of the current occupant? The latter is a somewhat larger target with correspondingly larger chances.

  23. Sabine 23

    went to the shops today to buy some trousers. I do that every six odd years, buy three pairs, be done with it.

    No one wearing masks, literally no one. Felt a bit 'outstanding' but i needed new trousers for work.

    • ScottGN 23.1

      Where are you Sabine? I went to my local supermarket today. Countdown Mt Eden and mask compliance would have been well north of 85-90%.

      • Sabine 23.1.1

        Rotorua. I think i saw maybe two people wearing them and they were security guys. The partner and I felt like aliens.

        We really need some public education about wearing of masks, keeping distance and such.

  24. Cinny 24

    Lmfao !!! #NZHellhole

    • Rosemary McDonald 24.1


      Thousands of Aucklanders are desperately turning to food banks as increasing job losses wipe out family incomes.

      There are now 29 registered food banks serving the city. Prior to Covid-19 there were fewer than five, and one long-standing emergency food provider believes too many food banks could be counterproductive.


      In Takanini yesterday, cars formed queues kilometres long for food parcels from the local Sikh temple, Takanini Gurdwara Sri Kalgidhar Sahib.

      Benny was among them, having lost his job with Air New Zealand during the last lockdown.

      "Tons of people have been laid off. You know, we've gone through a hard time finding a job … but because of this kind of charity's donations it's really helped."

      Bradley Taylor works as a landscaper, but the work has dried up so he and his young family have turned to the food bank.

      "At the moment we're not getting a lot of jobs due to the second wave – people are really taking a step back now and trying to save their money," he said.


      “If we think this is just Covid-related, we’re missing the point.”

      Before the pandemic, research by the Mission estimated that 10 per cent of Kiwis were living in food poverty.

      That group has now doubled, Farrelly said.

      The upside is that the pandemic has shone a light on food insecurity. There is growing awareness of the scale of the problem and the Mission is receiving proactive offers of help from the Government, Auckland Council and community groups, he said.

      As well as distributing food parcels to families, the Mission has been handing out 250 takeaway bags of food daily to homeless and vulnerably housed people who do not have access to cooking facilities.

      Not shits and giggles for all in #NZHellhole. #PrettyfuckingshitbeforeCovid

      #ActionWEAGrecommendations #Vote4atrueleftwinggovernment

  25. Muttonbird 25

    It's a worry 9 are in hospital but hasn't New Zealand done stunningly well? Middle of winter, second outbreak, zero deaths so far, and community cases coming back to zero.

    Well done team of 3.5 million.

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