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Open mike 26/08/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 26th, 2022 - 60 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

60 comments on “Open mike 26/08/2022 ”

  1. PsyclingLeft.Always 1

    Once upon a time, tertiary education was recognised as a public good. Students were supported to study, because their education was our education; their success was the progress of our country. Those who ended up making more money on the other side paid it back through higher tax settings, in turn investing in education and support for those who came after them to flourish.

    All of this changed through the "personal responsibility" era of slash and burn economic reforms, intent on instilling corporate sensibility and cost-cutting in our supposedly public institutions through the 1980s and 1990s. These were political decisions. Political decisions can change this system once again.



    Yep. Those who instigated and implemented the demise of NZ free University Education….had already had theirs. (Lockjaw Smith ! )

    Of course I do not absolve some of Labour…..the rogernomes were in boots and all…

    However….it seems to me that we COULD have free Uni again….and I suggest maybe some means of IF you get it..agree to stay and work for the Betterment of us all in NZ ?

  2. Adrian Thornton 2

    "Of course I do not absolve some of Labour…..the rogernomes were in boots and all…"

    You know Labour is still a Third Way, Free Market political party today right?

    There ain't no free Universities coming from that type of "Labour" Party any time soon…the best we can hope for is some sort of student debt relief, when the mountains of debt piled upon anyone one wanting to get further education starts effecting their own class and the economy too adversely…

    Turn Labour Left!

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.1

      Adrian…of course Labour was…and still is to an extent that way. And I proactively fight to get change. I'd like to know what do you do? I certainly see your comments. And agree with quite a few.

      The problem I see is that for some….Labour is a target…for whatever reasons. But….I absolutely see national and act as a worse option.

      We would be back to the 90's shit before….you could protest.

      I did give Chloe Swarbricks comment precedence….

      • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1

        @PsyclingLeft.Always, " I'd like to know what do you do?"…I do plenty don't you worry…we (Siobhan and I) have had a bookshop in Hastings for about a decade, The Little Red Bookshop, that is a well known spot locally for political debate and conversation…and not just with Lefties I might add.

        The various bands I am in nearly always have a political message either tucked into the show or for some shows are the centre piece of the show…and various other direction action methods, which I probably shouldn't go into on a public forum…

        "The problem I see is that for some….Labour is a target…for whatever reasons. But….I absolutely see national and act as a worse option"

        Fuck National, who cares or gives a shit about them, they do what they do, and have the right to do so…the only concern and any political energy spent by any Leftie should solely be directed at our party (Labour/Greens) and what they do…or as more often the case, don't do…Labour should be the target of our critiques, and they should hear them….loudly and relentlessly, until they start acting like an actual Labour party that we can all be proud of supporting…which isn’t this outfit today that’s for sure.

        Turn Labour Left!

        • Louis

          Agree with PsyclingLeftAlways. What are the results of the political debate and conversation in a bookshop? Does it lead to constructive, meaningful actions? How does this political messaging help turn Labour left? Have you joined the party to talk about your ideas to influence it's direction? You should care about what National are proposing, NZ politics is cyclic, National will ultimately gain power again at some stage in the future, but it does appear that Labour is often the target of critique, even when National are in govt.

          New Zealand Labour Party policy process summary


        • PsyclingLeft.Always

          Hi Adrian. I have given thought to your reply. As initially…it seemed as a bit of a lecture (admonishment ?)

          Anyway, thinking…I did look up the Little Red Bookshop. moving quickly past the facebook one at St Pius X Catholic High school (Atlanta USA : ) and I found your one.

          First …I liked that your home page Quote was Neil Gaiman !

          Second. ..The Bicycle Pages….and the Shop Bike ! Is that still running? Who built ? Very cool.

          Have you read this? Kennet Bros : )


          Have you heard of RAD Bikes ?


          I agree Labour could be more Left. And I appreciate your efforts re same. Be assured I am also trying. ( I contact Ministers…MP's etc.) And I engage with Voters potential (and disaffected others)

          Best wishes Shop..and If Biking..Keep Upright : )

    • Sabine 2.2

      And with student loan relieve, some medical debt relieve for our beneficiaries, some 'winz' housing debt relieve for the homeless that were settled iwth motel housing costs under N (L charges takes 25% of bene directly to pay for that emergency housing) and so on and so forth.

      Anyone saying anything about that? June 2022


      Low income New Zealanders now owe more than $2 billion to the Ministry of Social Development as they continue to have to borrow money to survive.

      Or is that not sexy enough?

      • Blazer 2.2.1

        2.1 billion is enough to buy thousands of houses.

        Those 40,000 empty homes in Auckland need urgent attention.

        'Lockdown project': NZ's richest man Graeme Hart starts on Auckland house-buying spree – NZ Herald

        • PsyclingLeft.Always

          Hi, sadly that link is paywalled… can you give a heads up what was in it?

          Oh re Mr Hart….he's under the radar. Well kind of.

          Hart says he lacks interest in making money for its own sake

          As of March 2022, his net worth was estimated at US$9.7 billion


          • Belladonna

            Article was from February 2022 – so hardly hot news.

            Basically, he (or companies under his corporate umbrella) are buying up run-down houses in lower-cost areas like Mt Wellington, on large parcels of land. The implication is that these are potential multi-unit developments (following the changes in Auckland's unitary plan opening the doors for this).

            Each one has been set up as an individual company – which is pretty standard practice for developers – it ring-fences their costs – and limits their responsibility for things like leaky building (since they wind up the company, once the development is complete) [I don't agree with this, but it's standard practice – and no one is looking at changing the law]

            Not really seeing the downside here….

        • Belladonna

          The article implies fairly heavily that he's buying with the intention of developing multi-unit sites on the properties.
          By October 2021 (when he did the buying) – it's pretty unlikely he's buying with the intention of flipping quickly for capital gain (he'd missed the boat on that one).
          Why is this a bad thing?

          Do you have evidence that the houses are currently sitting un-tenanted? Because the article doesn't say that. If he's planning on developing – then the tenancies might be short-term – but he's unlikely to forgo the passive revenue stream.

          • DB Brown

            I don't know where to go for the figures but I thought a good proxy for empty houses would be:

            Number of dwellings – number of dwellings connected to grid = empty houses.

            We might miss a few that have gone off grid – but the city should have those figures too?

            • weka

              Stats NZ also has figures from census night. I'm guessing this is where the 40,000 figure comes from, in this table it's 39,393 for the Regional Council area that surrounds Auckland. I think somewhere they have smaller area stats? Rough and ready, and it's from 2018, but still an actual count of the night.


              I like the electricity connected idea, but suspect there are barriers to that data eg privacy and it's nothing to do with councils so they won't have easy access to the data. Another small reason to nationalise power supply.

              • weka

                You'd think someone had done this analysis before, but I guess it ruins a good story. 'Unoccupied private dwellings' will have a specific definition for the purposes of the census. eg I don't know if it counts houses that have just been built. Obviously it counts houses where people are away for the night. Or on holiday.

                • weka

                  ah, some good people have indeed done this work.


                • lprent

                  An private unoccupied dwelling is one that doesn't have anyone in it at midnight on census night and for 12 hours afterwards. So census was Tuesday March 6th 2018.

                  Doesn't include houses under construction. However it does include houses being renovated or having remedial building with the occupants in other accommodation.

                  Does include all of the baches in places like Sandspit, Manakau heads, Piha, etc. There are a lot of those. You can drill down and find that there are a lot of unoccupied housing on a weekday in those kinds of areas. Generally these types of homes are useless for housing people short of housing. They are too far from work, services, and shopping.

                  Also includes houses on 10 acre blocks where the people live in town for work and weekend (the Auckland region has a lot of lifestyle blocks). Same high proportion of unoccupied housing in those areas as well. Ditto. Not to mention that these are usually used during weekends.

                  Includes flats and houses that have had tenants leave and haven't been rented yet. Most landlords expect on average a number of weeks of that happening per year. Typically about 2-3 weeks every year on average as people buy places or move suburbs, cities or countries.

                  So when you drill down, you find areas with large amounts of rental accommodation have higher unoccupied private dwellings – just like the areas with baches.

                  Includes places whose occupants who are out of town, on holiday, working at the time (think truck drivers, taxi drivers, night shift workers, etc).

                  What you really have to look at is the percentages and trends over time.

                  In the 2001 census the unoccupied private dwellings was 7.0% in the Auckland region.

                  in the 2006 census the unoccupied private dwellings was 7.6% in the Auckland region.

                  In the 2013 census the unoccupied private dwellings was 7.0% in the Auckland region. A symptom of the unfettered immigration.

                  In the 2018 census it was 7.9%.

                  And I'd put the caveat on 2018. That was probably the most poorly run census for the last century. National sliced the funding by about 50% in the 8 years after the aborted 2010 census. They wanted to have tax cuts for the already wealthy – so they cut critical services like the census.

                  It has been acknowledged that the 2018 census missed a lot, and much of it is conservative estimates rather the solid data. The census collection rate was well down on the 2013 census even after they rectified with post-census work. So a conservative stats approach would tend to say that a house was unoccupied rather than guess if it was occupied on census night.

                  But in other words this is a bouncing percentage for the Auckland region. It depends on a lot.

                  Going by a raw number is ridiculous stupidity and daft propaganda. Sure it is only ~12,000 private dwellings less that the total number in the Dunedin City Council – our 7th most populous urban area. But absolute numbers simply aren't that useful.

                  And if you look at the 2018 census for Dunedin City, the unoccupied private dwelling percentage in the 2018 census was 7.4%. Right in the normal urban range.

                  BTW I think that you have go back quite a while before it goes out of the 7-8% band.

                  I do wish people would think about 40k over 500k private dwellings actually means.

              • Sabine

                They have been around for a while now.

                from 2016 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/rise-of-the-ghost-homes-more-than-33000-auckland-dwellings-officially-classified-empty/3JXSEQNUK36SBG7UBQMJ3VUPGU/

                from 2015 https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2015/05/28/are-vacant-homes-adding-to-aucklands-housing-shortage/

                here is Phil Twyford 2018


                essentially its a bipartisan failure to a. capture the amount of empty houses in NZ to their full extend – i.e. how many, where, and why? and then rule/regulate/intensivice owners to open up these homes either to tenants or to new owners. Such as Gareth Morgan who a few years ago was quite open about the fact that he owned multiple homes but does not rent them.


              • Blazer

                Whether its 40,000 or 25,000…this is how you deal with it.

                'Properties deemed or declared empty in the 2021 reference year will be subject to a tax of 3% of the property’s 2021 assessed taxable value. '

                Empty Homes Tax | City of Vancouver

                Vancouver real estate: Impact of tripled empty homes tax | CTV News

                Vancouver mayor proposes hiking Empty Homes Tax to 5% of property value | Urbanized (dailyhive.com)

          • Blazer


            That buying residential properties and leaving them vacant was a viable ,rational exercise has been proven over the last 5 years.

            I have been past two of his properties recently-Kawiti Ave and Elstree Ave…no sign of development.

            • Belladonna

              But were they vacant?

              Really, it seems as though this was a poor article to choose to support your claim that there are vast numbers of Auckland properties sitting vacant.

              • Blazer

                People have provided links to support the fact.

                Those 2 looked' vacant…did not stop and knock on the door.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Empty 'homes' are a manifestation of a real blight on society – inequality.

                'TINA types' at the top of the table may be oblivious to the many downsides of poverty, but it's not their fault – they're dealing with a lot too.

                The Side Eye’s Two New Zealands: The Table [16 August 2022]
                The point is, we can improve. And the starting point for that is to get over the awkwardness and start acknowledging the problem.

        • weka

          Those 40,000 empty homes in Auckland need urgent attention.

          Which empty homes? 40,000 is the number of unoccupied dwellings in Auckland on the night of the 2018 census. It's not the number of houses that are empty.

          The Census captures information about unoccupied dwellings on Census night.

          There were 191,649 unoccupied private dwellings as at Census 2018. “Unoccupied dwellings” is often misreported in the media and represented as empty homes. That's incorrect.

          "Unoccupied dwellings" contains a significant number of properties where residents were temporarily away on Census night. They might have been staying with friends/family, away for business, or on vacation. To report these as empty homes is misleading as it includes a large number of properties that are usually occupied.

          The Census further classifies “Unoccupied dwellings” into two sub-categories:

          Residents away

          Includes homes that were known to be temporarily unoccupied on Census night. They are not considered to be empty.

          Empty dwellings

          Includes properties that are determined to be empty by using both Census responses and other administrative data and processes used by StatsNZ.


          Were there really 40,000 ghost houses in Auckland at the last Census?

          No. Auckland is often the focus of media coverage when reporting on empty homes. It has been reported that there are nearly 40,000 “unoccupied dwellings” (or 'ghost houses') in Auckland. Claims are made that the number of empty homes are increasing.

          Whilst it's true “unoccupied dwellings” is increasing, a closer look at the sub-categories tells a very different story when it comes to "empty dwellings".

          Click on the link to see actual figures for empty houses in the last three census. In 2018 it was 17,130. Now take into account houses that have just been built, houses that are rentals and between tenants, houses about to be demolished. Not sure which category holiday houses fit

          • DB Brown

            Census haha. Why on earth didn't I think of that.

            By the trend the real number (of vacant but habitable [sic] dwellings in Auckland) is likely between 10 – 15K.

            These are not the headlines we was looking for!

            Still, even 10K more houses in the rental market would help a great deal. Could help, by my calculations, up to 10K households.

    • Louis 2.3

      Grant Robertson: “It's a social democratic party, the Labour party and that social democratic tradition acknowledges obviously the role of the market, that's part of it, but it also acknowledges the role of the state, particularly where there is market failure where we do need to improve equity where we should drive towards equity and the state playing an enabling role. I think that there isn't a great internal dispute in the Labout party about that vision anymore. I think Covid shown us that the state has got an absolutely critical role when a crisis comes along but it's equally got a critical role being an enabler of innovation and a supporter of that and people like Mariana Mazzucato and the work she's done around the mission economy and those sorts of concepts. That to me is a social democratic party in the modern world, the state playing, that enabling innovating role as well as the protecting and supporting role. So I think that's a social democratic tradition and you're absolutely right, on any given announcement I will be attacked from further to my left on not having gone far enough and on the right I'm being on the path to socialism and that probably points us to the fact that we are in about the right place”


      • Stuart Munro 2.3.1

        Complacency is a pretty poor argument when you've built the fastest growing inequality in the OECD.

        • Louis

          I didnt see Grant's view on the Labour party as being complacent at all.

          • Stuart Munro

            Labour has a lot of catching up to do – we have been going backwards for decades.

            I will be attacked from further to my left on not having gone far enough and on the right I'm being on the path to socialism and that probably points us to the fact that we are in about the right place

            NZ has stampeded to the right over the past few decades, without any popular movement to that effect, and without producing any of the promised social goods with which Labour's moral decay was ostensibly justified.

            This made Labour unelectable for the whole of the 90s, and even today their grassroots support remains seriously eroded. When a party of the left finds itself level-pegging with a party as lacking in plausible policy and human qualities as National they need to ask themselves some very serious questions.

            • Louis

              Your opinion implies the only reason "NZ has stampeded to the right over the past few decades" and voters have elected National govts is entirely the fault of the Labour party, which I doubt that is the only reason. Frankly, with the level of misinformation and hysterical anti govt rhetoric, I'm surprised Labour isn't doing worse in the opinion polls. A recent Curia poll had Labour inching ahead.

  3. observer 3

    Three days ago on Open Mike. there was a link to a story about a girl identifying as a "cat" in Australia. The story was picked up by the NZ Herald:

    Here is that story now:


    There's a good reason it's been removed. It was fake.

    Not for the first time, those who seek confirmation bias from the Daily Mail, Spectator and other right-wing media, end up looking like fools. Inevitable result: undermining any legitimate point in the ongoing debate.

    It's Open Mike, I can't/won't tell anyone what stories to try and spread here. But if you don't want to score spectacular own goals, maybe do a little homework first?


    • Visubversa 3.2

      It is so hard to tell truth from satire these days. Is Pizza a gender?


      • observer 3.2.1

        Not always hard. Good faith helps. Not having an agenda helps.

        If you want to believe something because it fits your prejudices, you probably will.

        Try the link I provided. A lot more useful than yours.

    • joe90 3.3

      The story was picked up by the NZ Herald:

      Wait until they hear about these people.

      • Macro 3.3.1

        laugh 🙄

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 3.3.2

        OMG..its the actual sheeple !

        • Visubversa

          That is the great thing about Gender Identity ideology. Because it is just that – an ideology – just like a religious ideology, you can make up anything you like. There are about 6000 "gods" currently on offer around the world (and that is without an exhaustive dive into the Hindu pantheon. And soon there will be that sort of numbers of gender identities.

          There will of course, still only be 2 sexes in mammals (which includes human beings.)

          Fortunately, thanks to the enlightenment and the separation of Church and State, in civilised countries, people cannot be forced to believe in any one of these identities, or the whole ideology that supports them.

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            Well…..I was just humorously thinking..they finally done it. Went full mettle sheeple : )

            Anyway…agree re gods. (gods noted). Neil Gaiman is a pretty amazing Story maker/recounter. "American Gods"…"Sandman" etc.

            gods..are absolutely fictional…but still..the Idea? Very Interesting : ) And how Humans have Imagined…re-purposed and at times twisted..beyond all recognition, the original intent.

            Absolutely agree re the Enlightenment . Going to burn Galileo? Monsters.!
            And also with you on separation of church and State. Always.

            The Gender thing..I have stayed well clear of ! As the extreme views on both sides…not something I want.

            Oh and re Mr Trotter and his …"the Red Flag"….i had the luck to never hear live ! (that would maybe need therapy?) But had seen on TV. Was akin to some terrible event..which you were struggling to process. I sometimes replay (rarely mind ) …when hearing of his latest utterances.

            Gives a perspective : ) …

    • Blazer 3.4

      I posted that link…..from news.com.au-'Australia's leading news source'.

      I suggest you contact them with your …advice.

      • observer 3.4.1

        "Australia's leading news source" is how the Murdoch press describes itself.

        "Fair and balanced" is how Fox News describes itself. Again, it's Murdoch.

        It's up to each of us to decide if we want to treat them as credible sources of information. Not a difficult choice for me.

        • Blazer

          Hardly a 'spectacular home goal'….anyway keep doing your…homework.

          I won't quote the definition of 'hyperbole'…you may not like the…source.

  4. arkie 4

    Those complaining about student debt forgiveness in the US curiously silent on PPP loan forgiveness:

    Sanders remains a voice of reason:

    Perhaps there’s another reason for their complaints?

    • Peter 4.1

      The military angle is important. You have to have poor, uneducated soldiers go away to war to protect the wealth of the rich. Those that survive can then come home and be entertained by Republicans who voted against a bill boosting healthcare for veterans exposed to toxins during war.

  5. joe90 5

    Meet Teddy-boy Greg. He likes Russia.

  6. Stephen D 6

    Re: Trevor Mallard

    The opposition are graceless bunch of pricks.

    Mallard has given over 40 to public service. First as a teacher and then as a politician. If anyone deserves a gong, Mallard does.

    • Bearded Git 6.1

      National MP Sir David Carter got his gong and he was the most biased Speaker I have seen.

    • Cricklewood 6.2

      Let's not call it public service, he has been very well remunerated for his work.

      He's also at times behaved extremely poorly

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2.1

        Let's not call it public service, he has been very well remunerated for his work.

        Some gongs are deserved, others not so much, and some don't want them anyway.

        No-siree! Silence reigns over gong-refusal [19 February 2013]
        The Star-Times, in its request, did not ask for the reasons given for the refusals, but many of those who have publicly declined an honour did not agree with the imperial or "titular" system – where recipients are called "Sir" and "Lady" – which was scrapped by Helen Clark's Government in 2000 and then reinstated by John Key's in 2009.

        Bolger, a well-known republican, declined because he "didn't believe in knighthoods".

        Chop off the top of the honours list. They don't need any more rewards
        [31 December 2021]
        The so-called lower reaches of the honours list, though – the Queen’s Service Order (QSO) and Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) – are a different story. Far and away my favourite part of the system, they actually do something useful, recognising people whose achievements would otherwise genuinely go unacknowledged. Most of them are awarded for services to the community in some form or other.

        So much depends on unsung backroom heroes. I’m thinking here of stage managers, age-grade sports coaches, office managers who hold entire organisations together. They deserve greater accolades. Let’s celebrate not the politicians, so often in the spotlight, but the submission-makers; the roadies rather than the rock stars. Some people labour all their lives with very little light shone their way.

        Let’s recognise them.

        And some recipients turn out to be a mixed bag at best.



  7. Ad 7

    If Brisbane flood-risked towns can do quick and effective 'managed retreat', so can we.

    Relocation should be considered for flood-prone towns – environmental engineer | RNZ

    Te Hapua. Kaeo. Awanui. Rangiputa.

    Thames. Paeroa.

    Ashburton. Rakaia.

    Aranui and New Brighton. Waikuku Beach.

    Kairaki. Kaitangata.


    Westport. Fox Glacier.

    South Dunedin. Henley.

    Coastal Nelson. Otatara.

    Northern Napier.

    Coastal Tauranga and The Mount.

    Auckland such as Parakai and Helensville, and Clevedon.

  8. DB Brown 8

    Heads up Tauranga – Jabfree Jesus is here to save you!

    "said she helped a woman who had failed to conceive with IVF become pregnant through meditation"

    OMMMM, or is it UMMMMM?

    I have questions!


    • mauī 8.1

      Basically committed the crime of having a different point of view on the jab. Misinformation or healthy scepticism? A healthy democracy allows healthy scepticism in my view.

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