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Open mike 24/01/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 24th, 2020 - 82 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 …

82 comments on “Open mike 24/01/2020 ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Grow a hedgerow. Criss-cross the Canterbury Plains with them!

    "The Government has just introduced its Agriculture Bill which will govern farming in England after Brexit, shifting away from the current EU subsidy system to one which rewards farmers for providing public goods such as carbon storage."

    https://www.itv.com/news/2020-01-22/bringing-back-bigger-bushier-hedgerows-will-help-wildlife-and-store-carbon/

    • alwyn 1.1

      I trust your hedges will use Gorse. It was, after all, brought to New Zealand precisely for that purpose.

      It even has its fans apparently. Here is a most laudatory article on the stuff. They even say, about Canterbury.

      "Larry W. Price noted in a 1993 field study, in Canterbury gorse hedges “give the area much of its distinctive character”. As a consequence of the wholesale removal of hedges on the Canterbury plains between 1962 and 1989, gorse hedges are now viewed as features of historical significance. Some landscape architects even recommend their retention."

      https://www.hedgecutter.co.nz/tips-advice/facts-about-gorse-in-new-zealand/

    • weka 1.2

      Lovely hedgerows!

      Imagine if Brexit brought some good changes. Just working my way through the new UK ag Bill to see if it's actually good or going to tie everyone up in regulations.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        If they can manage the initial switchover without a logistical catastrophe, there will be occasional good things. But fewer and further between than things like degradation of worker and immigrant rights.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          And if there is a change of govt next time?

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            I think we've seen that such a proposal is a bold call.

            But an independent Scotland might be much better off.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Do you mean you think the left can't win the next election?

              An independent Scotland will be much better off, but then England will be truly fucked.

              • weka

                My question several comments above was more about whether the issues of Brexit are largely because of how RW governments will use it. So a left wing government could do more of the good things.

                • McFlock

                  The issue of how tories will use it is one thing.

                  Then there's the transition phase, especially around border checks and how they will affect industries based on "just in time" logistics and inventory control. Especially on highly-perishable items (think live shrimp sitting on a wharf for days). Maybe that's a bit like Y2K, where the problems were so perilous that everyone worked for years to stop it happening. Maybe England shuts down. Who knows?

                  Then there's whether the EU was overall positive or negative on the UK economy. That will be longer term, viewable (and eternally debatable) as the years progress.

                  Whether a left wing government will be better for the UK if the UK is not part of the EU depends on whether the EU was stopping the UK from doing anything good. The only thing that comes to mind is preferential import/immigration controls that give a local advantage to UK producers. Environmental standards, heritage measures, AFAIK the EU mandates a required minimum effort, but no maximum on such issues. Like I'm not sure that the EU prevents any of its members going zero carbon, or boosting workers rights or living wages. So in that case, the benefit of a left wing government is the same regardles of brexit, but the harms of a tory government are increased.

              • McFlock

                Labour might get it's shit together (these leadership issues as tip of the factional fighting have been going on since Gordon Brown), then it just has to win an election in an FPP environment with a hard-tory press.

                So I think the odds are against it.

            • alwyn 1.2.1.1.1.2

              "But an independent Scotland might be much better off".

              I don't think the people of Scotland, even in their most delusional moments would even consider it.

              What do you think they will do? Apply to join the EU? I think that Spain would veto any such idea. Live off North Sea oil in what they would claim as Scottish waters? There isn't very much of it left. Trade with the EU when they they would have to transport all the goods through England? That would be fun wouldn't it, particularly if England insisted on inspection of every vehicle. Have all the Scottish Banks pack up and head South? They would because the Scottish economy isn't big enough to guarantee them. Do you really expect England to guarantee Scottish based Banks? Live of their own tax revenues? At the moment they get far more from Great Britain than they pay in taxes. Do you think that would continue?

              Those are only a very few of the problems that an independent Scotland would face. I think they wouldn't ever vote to split. They would be far worse off than they are now.

              • McFlock

                That's the conservative party line. Worked last time.

                It'll be interesting to see what happens if Brexit is a Breaks-it, though.

          • Nic the NZer 1.2.1.1.2

            The Labour party is presently lecturing the Tories on the dangers of fiscal stimulus (e.g public expenditure). This is not promising at all.

            http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=44094

            The election of a Foot era Labour party would probably see the UK prosper under brexit.

            For an independent Scotland it depends how they position themselves regarding the EU.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.2

        Would be great to see hedges recognised as ecosystems in UK law. Here's a glimpse of habitat participants: https://ypte.org.uk/factsheets/hedges/animals-in-a-hedge?hide_donation_prompt=1

        Also https://ptes.org/hedgerow/hedgerow-wildlife/
        This one says 11 mammal species in hedges but fails to list them! http://www.hedgelink.org.uk/index.php?page=21

  2. Sacha 2

    Chump-in-chief boasts about obstructing constitutional accountability. https://www.thenation.com/article/trump-constitution-pennsylvania-avenue/

    Trump is aggressively rejecting the basic premise of American governance: that separate branches of government exist for the purpose of preventing abuses of power. By refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, the president is obviously engaging in obstruction of Congress. By bragging about this refusal to cooperate, however, he is doing something more. He is effectively shooting the Constitution in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    • Ad 2.1

      The impending acquittal will be a much stronger Constitutional challenge.

      The ability of the Congress+Senate to remove a wayward President will be obliterated.

      Only remaining check is the election.

      That is a proper Constitutional breakdown.

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        Exactly as intended.

      • Macro 2.1.3

        An unconstitutional verdict of acquittal would present Americans with something far worse than a constitutional crisis. The nation will have blundered its way into creating an accidental autocracy governed by a president who, even if not reelected, would remain in office until January 20, 2021, beyond the reach of the rule of law.

        “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins,” John Locke cautioned in his Two Treatises of Government. This is how autocracy comes to America: not with a declaration of martial law and tanks in the street, but by a roll-call vote in the Senate whipped by the leader of the Senate in violation of the Constitution.

        If on the day the Senate returns its verdict, history records the failure to convict the president following a trial without witnesses, that will be the day the rule of law dies in America. The courts will remain open for business. Congress will be in session. Citizens will still be able to vote. And a free press will continue to launch withering attacks on President Trump. But the American people will no longer be living in a constitutional democracy.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/impeachment-trial-without-witnesses-would-be-unconstitutional/605332/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share

    • Andre 2.2

      I dunno whether to think it's because he's oblivious that obstruction of congress is a serious crime in itself and is one of the articles of impeachment, or because he's trying to show off to his cultists and rub it in to the Repug senators how complete the craven spineless subservience he now has from them really is.

    • Peter 2.3

      He's perfectly entitled to shoot the Constitution in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue or anywhere he wants. He's the boss. It's just a piece of paper to be used to do deals.

      The collected hopes and ideals of hundreds of millions over a couple of hundred years? The Electoral College system, meets narcissism meets the world of 2020.

      • Sacha 2.3.1

        He would like to be 'the boss'. Whole point of their Constitution was always to make sure he can't be, unfettered.

        • mauī 2.3.1.1

          No doubt you would have thrown the constitution at Roosevelt too, the massive changes he implemented in the 1930's was power completely out of control.

      • Macro 2.3.2

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Cold snap induces public health warning in Florida: falling iguanas! "The males can grow to at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weigh nearly 20 pounds (9 kilograms)."

    So if you're walking underneath at the time it drops, you'll know all about it. https://www.itv.com/news/2020-01-23/iguanas-stunned-by-chilly-temperatures-in-florida-fall-from-trees/

    "They have been in South Florida since the 1960s, but their numbers have increased dramatically in recent years." Global warming.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    It's the `Labour set themselves up theory' of the Oz election: "The ALP had outlined – in quite incredible detail – its plans to massively ramp up government spending; jack up taxes, including on rental properties and capital gains; empower the unions and – shock horror – bring in some form of emissions trading scheme. It also at times adopted a sneering tone towards more traditional conservative Labor voters."

    "The Libs used this wide target and added some rhetorical contortions to suggest that Labour might introduce a retiree tax, a death tax, a car tax, and so on. These claims were then spurted out on social media. It took hold, and was effective." https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/118997353/jacinda-ardern-bets-big-on-election-year-positivity

    So looks like they've been brainstorming how to deal with the Nats replicating the Lib strategy. Moral: don't hand them the ammunition. Better to go further though: devise an effective response framing to each likely attack, well in advance.

    • Nic the NZer 4.1

      Its the self imposed neo-liberal framing of the debate which causes this.

      http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=44139

      The Labour party affiliated writers on this site can't stop explaining how proud they are of every surplus sequestered when Labour is in office either.

      • Enough is Enough 4.1.1

        Exactly

        It astounds me how some people who claim to be from the left measure this government by the same framework as David Farrarr. A surplus is not the measure of a good government,

    • Sacha 4.2

      devise an effective response framing to each likely attack, well in advance.

      Which they have shown no sign of having the skills or discipline to do for over a decade now. Still, never too late..

  5. joe90 5

    Blockbuster writes itself.

    BEIJING (REUTERS, NYTIMES, AFP) – China put a second city on lockdown on Thursday (Jan 23) and imposed tough travel restrictions on three others amid fears over the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed 17 people and infected nearly 600.

    The restrictions on train and other forms of travel will apply to tens of millions of people and come just days before the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of people travel around and out of the country.

    The Chinese authorities on Thursday morning closed off Wuhan — a major port city of more than 11 million people and the centre of a pneumonia-like virus that has spread halfway around the world — by cancelling flights and trains leaving the city, and suspending buses, subways and ferries within it.

    By evening, officials planned to close off Huanggang, a city of seven million about 70kmeast of Wuhan, shut rail stations in the nearby city of Ezhou, which has about one million residents, and impose travel restrictions on the smaller cities of Chibi and Xiantao as well.

    The train station in Huanggang, which has a population of 7.5 million and is 70km from Wuhan – the first city that was put on lockdown – will be suspended until further notice from midnight. All vehicles will be checked, and bars and cinemas closed, said city authorities.

    The railway station in a third nearby city, Ezhou, which has a population of over one million, will also close from tonight, though no other measures were announced.

    https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/china-locks-down-two-more-cities-huanggang-and-ezhou-after-wuhan

      • I feel love 5.1.1

        Even reading about the population sizes of those cities is mind blowing, for a virus out break, how could you contain something like that, all the students will be turning up soon, holy fuck.

        • McFlock 5.1.1.1

          Years ago NZ ran a health exercise where a random plane had "infected" passengers, and the authorities had to track down and isolate the passengers and their contacts.

          My uni found the students and their lecture buddies almost immediately.

          It's the non-package-tourists/freedom campers who would be difficult to find – no local contacts and no set itinerary.

          And don't forget, the Nigerians whacked freaking ebola on the head in Lagos.

          The ones that are difficult to catch are the ones with either a longer incubation time or, like measles, the ones that can hang about for a couple of hours without a host (so you need to find the people who walked through the same space as your infected party, not the people who met them face to face).

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            With the WCV won't it be anyone you shared an enclosed space with air? eg bus from the airport.

            Does the Chinese closing transport in such massive cities when there have been relatively few deaths mean that they're more worried than normal?

            • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah that would be a "contact", prioritising the closest seated of course.

              This is the early "prevention" stage of a pandemic. If it works, there will be no pandemic. If if fails, the worst case scenario is hundreds of millions get infected, maybe millions are directly killed by it, others die from other things because health systems are overloaded, and there's a huge economic impact that is more lethal than the direct infection rate.

              The level of prevention is based on a number of factors from how infectious it is to how prone the virus is to mutation into something more lethal (or the pandemic sweet spot of "pretty lethal, but not immediately so there's a good period of undetected contagiousness"). There's probably a WHO flowchart of public health options somewhere.

              So I suspect "worried" is a word that implies more concern than "following predetermined response pathways from a well-prepared plan". And some countries are more open to going full-restriction than others. North Korea seals its borders to tourists if the clouds are a funny shape.

              But don't forget there's also the opportunity for good old-fashioned racism/immigration fearmongering of people "bringing in diseases". E.g. funnelling Wuhan-origin travellers through specific ports of entry.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                If my memory serves me well SARS was able to be contained because it's fatality rate was linked to being spiky and burying itself deep in lungs. This made it more deadly to those who got it, but more difficult to spread because it was harder to cough and sneeze out being so deep.

                It's always a problem for a virus if it kills too quickly.

                Movies generally portray high spread rates + high fatality which when you think about it makes little sense. I guess the perfect virus would have a long incubation period then kill you slowly.

                Must go and watch the TV adaptation of The Stand now. Yay for Max Headroom.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX5k2hdPc10

                • McFlock

                  Movies vary greatly in accuracy, but it's a limitation of the medium that makes it difficult to portray a realistic passage of time (not to mention it's a fullt team effort, not one guy making the prediction, identifying the organism, and distributing the vaccine). They also tend to succumb to the temptation of "if these trends continue" drama.

                  ISTR Contagion wasn't too bad, though Outbreak was pretty funny in places, like when Dustin Hoffman got pissy at his boss because he wasn't allowed to deal with the specific outbreak of haemorrhagic fever he was obsessing over, but instead was directed to look at an outbreak of some lesser haemorrhagic fever.

  6. Andre 6

    MAGA: Mike's Alright Given Alternative

    Never-Trump Repugs are getting more vocal …

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gop-group-president-pence-ad_n_5e293ad1c5b67d8874acb7fa

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      God’s Plan for Mike Pence was revealed a couple of years ago: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/gods-plan-for-mike-pence/546569/

      "He’ll be witnessing to evangelicals at a mega-church, or addressing conservative supporters at a rally, and when the moment comes for him to pass along the president’s well-wishes, the words are invariably accompanied by an amused little chuckle that prompts knowing laughter from the attendees. It’s almost as if, in that brief, barely perceptible moment, Pence is sending a message to those with ears to hear—that he recognizes the absurdity of his situation; that he knows just what sort of man he’s working for; that while things may look bad now, there is a grand purpose at work here, a plan that will manifest itself in due time. Let not your hearts be troubled, he seems to be saying. I’ve got this."

      All he had to do to implement the plan was to get the Democrats on board. There was a sure-fire way to achieve that: keep nudging the Donald to provoke their moral outrage, push the transition from bleating about impeachment to actually doing it. No problem: the suckers fell for it, hook, line & sinker.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        It may or may not be useful to their electoral chances, but the Congress Democrats did the job that the Constitution demanded of them.

        Neither Pence nor anyone around him has the wit to orchestrate Trump into impeachable behaviour.

      • Andre 6.1.2

        If the topic is weird conspiracy ideas about getting the genital-grabbing golem out of the oval office, I've often mused what it would take to get the Nobel committee to offer him a prize in return for his resignation.

        I don't think it would take that much, after all the reasons for giving one to Obama don't seem to be much more than he was "not Bush".

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    The Current Mob piles Insult onto Injury to family carers of MOH disabled clients.

    Can't link from my phone parked in our 7m Bus…but on the MOH:DSS website they lay out the New Funded Family Care rules.

    Pay rates for family carers will be based on experience…but only in a PAID capacity.

    Those family carers who have done the work for years unpaid because of found discriminatory policy will not be considered "experienced" and will be paid at the lowest rate.

    So.

    Someone like myself who provides 24/7 support and "Advanced Personal Cares" (which are vital for the person's survival but are not funded by the MOH) will be told by some jumped up petty minded officious twerp of a bureacrat that what I've done for two decades is worthy of the lowest rate of pay.

    To quote an earlier commentator on this issue…fuck this fucking bullshit.

    SSDD

    • weka 7.1

      Bastards.

      This one? https://www.health.govt.nz/funded-family-care-2020

      For those not following the care worker pay rate settlement, the difference between the top bracket and the one Rosemary will be allocated is $5/hr ($20.50 – $25.50).

      • Sacha 7.1.1

        Snap. The attitude behind those details has not improved at all. Some firings are really in order.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          Is the budget blowout the issue here? Or is it a more general inability to create fair systems? I don't think it's that hard to create a process where unpaid work experience is accounted for, but I can see that some people would lack the imagination and/or ethical system to do that.

          • Sacha 7.1.1.1.1

            The amount of money is trivial in the context of their budgets. Why would you even need to have multiple pay rates for a non-professional workforce?

            No, this is more about a risk averse culture (especially Legal team influence) and refusing to see that new ways of doing things might be more appropriate. Also possibly resentment at having their nose bloodied repeatedly by the courts. Minister should be aware of all this by now.

            I’d like to hear more about how ACC has managed exactly the same issue for years.

            • Rosemary McDonald 7.1.1.1.1.1

              In short…ACC clients are ENTITLED to the supports they are assessed as needing. Squadrons of wrgglely-arsed lawyers fuelled up and ready to swoop down on ACC to protect these rights.

              The HRRT in 2008 heard that over 50% of funding for attendant care was paid to family.

              Might account for the fact that research showed the household income for ACC spinal injured was twice that as for MOH funded unfortunates.

              The pricks really, really hate disabled people.

              Hark!

              Is that the sound of the railway carriages clanking in the sidings?

      • weka 7.1.2

        also fucking bullshit is that someone in your situation going into paid work caring for other highly disabled people will likewise be paid the lowest rate despite the need for experienced carers.

        I've got a post brewing about the inability of centre left neoliberal governments to manage fair pay and their health budget within neoliberal economics. Would it be ok to use your example here?

        • Rosemary McDonald 7.1.2.1

          Use whatever…if I've posted it's with the knowledge that it us public.

          I've just got of the phone with Natrad…mayhap they'll pick this up.

          A very elderly lady the other day commented that God (her capital) must love arseholes since He made so many.

          Thanks for picking this up and doing the link thing.

        • Sacha 7.1.2.2

          See also recent publicity about over-65 home help being affected by pay rises through DHB-hired staff opening up a gap with NGO-funded ones. Govt seems to deliberately create friction, perhaps to assuage punitive voters.

          • weka 7.1.2.2.1

            What's this? Do you mean the recent attempts to remove home help for elderly were because of budget pressures from the pay increase?

            "through DHB-hired staff opening up a gap with NGO-funded ones."

            What's this?

            • Sacha 7.1.2.2.1.1

              Day job intervenes, sorry. Can pick up later.

            • Rosemary McDonald 7.1.2.2.1.2

              Sacha is more than on to it Weka.

              I have 'work' to do also…but I'd reccomend checking out the NZDSN.

              FFearless guardians of what they perceive is THEIR Trough.

              Remove the profit incentive/ requirement and the system would be affordable.

              MOH:DSS …the incubator of neo liberalism in the NZ Public Health service.

            • Sacha 7.1.2.2.1.3

              Here's one of the recent stories: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/118654829/no-time-to-care-is-there-a-crisis-in-caring-for-the-elderly

              Note that support services for over-65s are managed through DHBs rather than national MoH contracts for (stupid) historic reasons. These are more liiely to be budget pressures than institutionalised bloody-mindedness.

              • weka

                thanks to you both, I'll do a bit more research and reading.

                • "I'll do a bit more research and reading."

                  I hope you do and you'll come to realise that the biggest obstacle to reform actually lays in the senior ranks of our public service – over a number of issues.

                  That "Pretty Communist" (which would be the VERY LAST thing she is) hasn't yet got what the problem is, and I wish her the very best of luck on the next used car she tries to buy. I don't really hold out much hope though because the latest I've heard is:

                  Jacinda didn't realise how long it takes in making reform. (Well that's not the first time she's said that)

                  AND then her expression of utmost confidence in our public service. (Let's be very clear tho' – I'm talking about those in the senior ranks rather than those at the coal face – frustrated and willing as they may be)

                  I'm on the turn @ Weka. There is NO WAY I could vote for the "right's" bugger's muddle of gNatz and it's partners and pretenders.

                  But there's also no way I can ever vote for an alternative anymore that (over a glass of Chardonnay don't you know), thinks that the poorest amongst our globalised community resort to hunger strikes, planned suicides and a load of other shit.

                  Can't be done under whatever the excuses our current Labour Party have to offer up. They seem to have the distinction and inability to see what and who their worst enemas are. Thank (whatever your GOD is) there are a few months left to get their shit together and to show otherwise.

                  Currently, that interview she did with some muppett/cadet trying to prove his creds called Henry Cooke left me wondering whether she does actually get it – or whether ………..

                  Right now, I'm wondering whether she is onto it, or whether in that interview with Henry Cooke, she was just trying to be diplomatic maybe.

                  I've decided to give up on voting for the least worst option – especially when many in the political class know what they need to do

        • Rosemary McDonald 7.1.2.3

          It's all sorted!!!

          YAY!!!

          Just got off the phone from the inimitable Toni Atkinson who said I can 'do a course ' to gain the appropriate qualifications to qualify for the higher pay rates.

          As for who does what I do for Peter while I am being trained how to do it???

          We get someone else to provide the care….

          "But, but, Toni, the last couple of times we were forced to ' get someone in' those someone's couldn't actually do the tasks required…."

          'Well, you use your IF to train some to do the tasks….'

          Astute and sensitive readers will see where this is going…and as I just said to the nice lady from Natrad…I will get more satisfaction from emptying the effluent tanks on the Bus than I will from continuing to talk about this.

          At the moment…the smell of the local Dump Station is sweet perfume in comparison to the crap be presented as well thought out policy.

          Considering MOH:DSS has for years purported to be 'flexible' and to 'treat each client as an individual' they continue to present themselves as incapable of actually doing this.

          SSDD

          • weka 7.1.2.3.1

            Is the IF issue there that you don't have enough allocation to pay to train someone and pay them to do the hours? Or is it more that the work is specialised and specific to your situation?

            What were the training hoops they were suggesting? Am curiuus what they think is reasonable.

            • Rosemary McDonald 7.1.2.3.1.1

              Successive governments have spent mega millions on various programmes (through, of course, a contracted provider) dedicated to upskilling the carer workforce.

              I understand high spinal injury care is Level 4.

              Does is not strike you as even the slightest bit ironic that I, an unpaid and unqualified family carer, is expected to preform a role that the government is already funding through a contracted provider?

              Since we now have it on the Highest Authority that what I do is not even to the same standard as Level 1.

              This is rabbit hole stuff in the extreme and it is doing my head in.

              • weka

                I can imagine (by which I mean I totally understand the dynamics you are describing from other situations). The ability to institutionally insult along with injury is stunning.

                • Macro

                  This is a great thread weka and some hugely enlightening details from Rosemary, Sacha, and yourself.

                  It is shameful that our govt cannot bring themselves to:

                  a. Increase the basic benefit to a liveable level, and

                  b. Ensure caregivers and home helpers are properly funded and supported.

                  I'm looking forward to reading the post you say you are working on.

                  kia kaha kia maia kia manawanui to you all.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    This problem goes way back to the notion that privatisation would give 40% savings.

                    It's a large part of how people were sold Roger Douglas (and Thatcher, etc) reforms. The private sector could do it cheaper and more efficiently.

                    Geriatric wards were closed, public servants were laid off, people like cleaners, builders, etc had to become self-employed and meet their own responsibilities for annual and sick leave, or work for lower wages for private firms or NGO's.

                    Initially the cost structure equalled the cost of the public service providing the service with companies making their profit from reducing wages. Overtime inflation reduced the adequacy of the funding as did budget reductions to gain the savings.

                    Health, welfare, childcare, water, cleaning, building maintenance, roading all went the same way.

                    Now that we have had some years of experience of privatisation the obvious question is were those savings of 40% gleaned. Apart from rubbish collection the answer is nope.

                    "Hart, Shleifer, and Vishny (1997) apply the theory of incomplete contracts and property rights to the choice between public and private production of public services. Their study suggests that under private production, incentives exist to reduce costs at the expense of quality. Under this framework, incentives work as follows:

                    1. With private ownership, the manager has incentives to reduce costs through quality deterioration. The manager does not need authorization from the government, which will bear the political costs of quality reduction. To give the manager incentives to innovate to increase quality, the manager would need to negotiate price increases with the government to ensure compensation for his investment. Most likely, this negotiation will not result in a full appropriation of benefits from the innovation, which reduces the manager’s incentives to innovate.

                    2. Under government ownership, incentives work in the opposite direction. Because the manager is government-employed, he will take into account potential quality erosion when considering the implementation of cost-reducing innovations. In addition, the public manager will need government permission for any innovation he wants to undertake (either quality improvement or cost reduction). In the absence of a pay-for-performance scheme, the public manager will not fully benefit from the results of innovation."

                    http://www.ub.edu/graap/JPAM_BFW.pdf

                    The problem that has been occurring is that as private sector trained managers and bean counters have moved into the public service quality has also taken a back seat. I'm not sure now there is that much difference between management in the two sectors – hence the quality drop off in both.

                    I'd like to think that putting these services back into the public service, improving pay rates and working conditions for staff, providing vehicles and equipment to do their job and re-instilling a sense of public service would improve things. I'm just not sure that existing public service leaders are up to the task.

                    I remember being at a DHB meeting in the 90's where the old public service type accountant raised his concerns about the free labour that the DHB was getting after cutting hours for caregivers (contracted out). Many of them were providing extra hours for free as the clients needed this. He estimated this cost saving as several million dollars per year. Management clearly knew that they were getting this extra work for free. No changes or extra hours were put in place. The accountant resigned soon after.

                    My wife was one of those caregivers. I know how many extra hours she did without pay, how hard she lobbied for client's hours to be increased, how much what hours you got depended upon which DHB you were under, and so on.

                    A few relevant articles – though I can't find the meta-analysis I was looking for.

                    https://chpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CHPI-SocialCare-Oct16-Proof01a.pdf

                    https://www.ciwem.org/the-environment/how-should-water-and-environmental-management-firms-tap,-retain-and-promote-female-talent

                    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/privatisation-very-british-disease/

    • Sacha 7.2

      Unimpressed that the Minister has meekly let this through. Scroll down to 'Increased Pay Rates'. https://www.health.govt.nz/funded-family-care-2020

    • Kay 7.3

      @Rosemary, I was thinking of you when this story broke. I nearly broke a few things listening to it… you'll excuse me not adding any more to this thread, but not a good idea to get me started on the MOH, Minister, or just our wonderful system in general at the moment. Our battle is still going on too.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    So, if the Democrats get their way, here's who they have lined up as next POTUS: "The Pences were devout Irish-Catholic Democrats, and Mike and his brothers served as altar boys at St. Columba Catholic Church." Yep, a catholic democrat.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/gods-plan-for-mike-pence/546569/

    "Pence agonized over his “calling.” He talked about entering the priesthood, but ultimately felt drawn instead to politics, a realm where he believed he could harness God’s power to do good." The Democrats will get their man in, God willing. Trojan horse strategy.

    "But President Ronald Reagan won Pence over—instilling in him an appreciation for both movement conservatism and the leadership potential of vacuous entertainers". Ah, I get it. The Trump as vacuous entertainer thesis.

    "Pence had called Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, whom he’d known for years, and asked for her advice on how to handle the meeting. Conway had told him to talk about “stuff outside of politics,” and suggested he show his eagerness to learn from the billionaire. “I knew they would enjoy each other’s company,” Conway told me, adding, “Mike Pence is someone whose faith allows him to subvert his ego to the greater good.”"

    "Marc Short, a longtime adviser to Pence and a fellow Christian, told me that the vice president believes strongly in a scriptural concept evangelicals call “servant leadership.”" The idea that the best leaders serve the public has been widely held for a long time. Never under-rate it.

    Then, in response to pussygate, Pence took the initiative. "October 7, 2016, The Washington Post published the Access Hollywood tape that showed Trump gloating about his penchant for grabbing women “by the pussy,” … Within hours of The Post’s bombshell, Pence made it clear to the Republican National Committee that he was ready to take Trump’s place as the party’s nominee. Such a move just four weeks before Election Day would have been unprecedented—but the situation seemed dire enough to call for radical action."

    "Meanwhile, a small group of billionaires was trying to put together money for a “buyout”—even going so far as to ask a Trump associate how much money the candidate would require to walk away from the race. According to someone with knowledge of the talks, they were given an answer of $800 million. (It’s unclear whether Trump was aware of this discussion or whether the offer was actually made.) Republican donors and party leaders began buzzing about making Pence the nominee and drafting Condoleezza Rice as his running mate."

    But Trump never took the bait, and all this hidden history reveals is that Republican powers that be know they've got the perfect fall-back position should Trump fail; their own tame Democrat.

    • Ad 8.1

      In the US the number of Christian political activist groups eclipses the number of hard left activists by several zeroes. It's a really interesting crowd to run with particularly in Chicago-Illonois politics.

      Far less so in New Zealand, where religious influence is in freefall across society.

      • millsy 8.1.1

        The USA is one more Trump term away from a theocracy. And if you think that the Supreme Court and the Constitution will stop the Evangicals, I suggest you Google 'Prohibition'.

  9. A 9

    Story within the story..check out the pic in this article which has an estimated anger level (eg11%) of people viewed by facial recognition as they walk unsuspectingly down a street. Next they will be detaining people under the guise of prevention due to their anger score.

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    Toby Manhire previews Labour's election year strategy but offers no revelation: https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/23-01-2020/lets-do-this-again-whats-on-the-whiteboard-for-jacinda-ardern-and-labour/

    So will the slogan be `let's do this again' or `let's do more'? Toby does point to what the campaign will hinge on this far out – unless something new displaces it.

    "Labour will be gearing up for the inevitable from the Greens and, especially, New Zealand First. Labour’s leadership will strive to dish out plenty of “wins” for both smaller parties in the next few months. And then do what they can to ensure that efforts to assert “brand” independence don’t blow the house down."

    Walk & chew gum simultanously. Brand differentiation, while concurrently framing their three campaigns as a collaboration. This imposes a tight operation constraint, and Toby spells it out. "So a year out from the election, I’ll give you three words. Discipline, discipline, discipline.”

    • millsy 10.1

      There is one way to win.

      At next year's Budget, announce a 25% increase in benefits, to take effect on 1 April 2021. I guarantee that will mobilise the poor, unemployed and sick to outflank the tradies and soccer moms in the mortgage belt. In 2005 South Auckland held up Labour's vote in the face of a wipeout in the provinces. They need to do the same thing again.

      • Sacha 10.1.1

        in 2005 wasn't South Auckland offered Working For Families, not benefit increases? You may be stereotyping a bit.

        • millsy 10.1.1.1

          2005 was about keeping Brash out, who was set to launch the greatest ever assault on this country's living standards

      • Ad 10.1.2

        Yep I'd support that.

        Buy votes of the poor.

        Good leftie stuff.

        Unfortunately, Sepuloni is just shit.

      • pat 10.1.3

        you guarantee?,,,,are you even sure that the 30 odd percent that dont vote are predominantly in that cohort?

  11. Macro 11

    I came across this programme in Detroit the other day

    This coat design isn't just saving lives. It's launching new careers for homeless people

    Detroit (CNN)In the shadows of Detroit's tallest skyscrapers, dozens of homeless people shiver in the 17-degree cold.

    Ferocious wind gusts of 15 mph feel like cold knives stabbing the face.

    Such conditions claim the lives of countless homeless people every winter — especially those without warm coats.

    Now, a nonprofit aimed at solving that problem has accidentally led to one of the most successful homeless employment programs as the country's homeless crisis keeps growing.

    "This is so much bigger than anything I could have imagined," said Veronika Scott, the 30-year-old CEO and founder of the Empowerment Plan.

    The plan hires homeless people and teaches them how to make coats for the destitute suffering on the streets.

    I've been working with a group here in my town where there are around 30 rough sleepers a night. When one of them goes missing for a day or so there is always the worry – are they alright? And while the temperatures here, are not as severe as the winter in Mid West America, a wet and windy night can be something of an endurance. So on seeing this amazing programme I'm wondering if something like it could be carried out here. Of course, what all these people say is that they would really like to have a home they could call their own – and that is what what they really want . Their independence.

    An inspiring, and heart filling story. Well worth the 10 mins watch and read.

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