Open mike 29/02/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, February 29th, 2020 - 105 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 …

105 comments on “Open mike 29/02/2020 ”

  1. Herodotus 1

    Good on our PM !!😀.

    NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lashes Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison – the reaction

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12312704

  2. The Serious Fraud Office is now involved in four prosecutions and a further three investigations into questionable donation practices, with the latest targets announced yesterday – Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel and Auckland mayor Phil Goff.

    Does this suggest that electoral laws need to be reformed? Or does it show that finally electoral laws are being taken seriously by authorities and are being policed properly when complaints are made?

    Listener editorial: A simple way to clean up the political donations mess

    T

    The Greens have an idea for cleaning up political donations, starting with “an independent citizens’ assembly” because, they say, “it’s clear that Parliament is incapable of [making] meaningful reforms to itself”.

    Here’s a different idea for cleaning up political donations, which is simpler and more cost-effective than the Greens’ proposal: obey the law. Everyone else must, whatever their line of work, and political parties should, too.

    Just because parties and individuals sometimes fall foul of electoral law does not automatically mean the law needs “reform”…

    If the law is complied with and if not then policed properly perhaps it is close to good enough as it is?

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      The behaviour of some political parties needs to be reformed. Wagging a finger at them won't do it.

      • stigie 2.1.1

        Nothing wrong with the law, it means political parties should comply, the rules are there.
        Getting hysterical and saying they should be taxpayer funded is madness !~

        • Incognito 2.1.1.1

          You could say there’s nothing wrong with the Law and rules & regulations. They have been in place for a long time and are clear enough.

          You could say that it may need more or better enforcement.

          You could say that it may need more or better education.

          Fact is that all Laws need to be reviewed from time to time to test their relevance and applicability. If they are no longer fit for purpose, e.g. because of societal/cultural changes or technological developments, they need to be amended at least.

          IMO, the problem with political donations go much deeper than a Law goes and are symptomatic of a more widespread issue. Thus, it’s easier to put a plaster on the Law and pretend she’ll be right. That’s the usual response when it is too hard.

          • Pete George 2.1.1.1.1

            Nothing is going to be changed this side of the election.

            I think it makes sense to see what the outcome of the SFO prosecutions and investigations is. And observe donations reporting from the campaign period (this year) and see if there are changes in practices, that is more transparency.

            Then a review would be worth while, but rushing one now would be premature.

            • Incognito 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree that kneejerk reactions are never a good basis for political decisions but this has been going on for donkey’s years. But let’s wait and see, and wait and see, …

              You don’t think this is symptomatic of something else, Pete? You must have given it a lot of thought, looking at your blog 😉

    • weka 2.2

      If you read the GP on this, they clearly start with the premise that parliament can't self-regulate. We have laws, some people are skirting around them in ways that unclear legally (and about to be tested), but parliament won't act to sort that out. It's not like what is going on this month is a one off.

      Further, the GP position from memory is no donations and state fund instead. We're not having a debate about that and other options because everyone is focused on the NZF and Nat circus.

      • Pete George 2.2.1

        But how would state funding work?
        (I presume you mean total state funding, we already have some state funding.)

        Allocated by people's assemblies?

        Basing it on previous election results may not fairly reflect what has happened since.

        For example, Labour is now polling quite a bit more than their last election result. So are NZ First.

        Maori Party?

        Jami-Lee Ross?

        How would you ensure that new parties weren't disadvantaged by funding of incumbent parties? The high threshold makes it hard enough as it is, and we are gradually running out of parties in Parliament. That suits incumbent parties, but it's arguably not good for MMP.

      • Sacha 2.2.2

        the GP position from memory is no donations and state fund instead.

        Latest published Green party policy on this area from their website is not going as far as no donations – see p3: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/beachheroes/pages/9619/attachments/original/1573526306/Policy-Open_Govt_Democracy.pdf?1573526306

        • weka 2.2.2.1

          That's a shame.

          What's with that URL?

        • Pete George 2.2.2.2

          Generally I think their proposals on donations look reasonable, but the $35k limit does favour the Green Party who focus more on getting many small donations.

          Limiting the size of donations would affect all the other parties in parliament more than the Greens. It would affect rich people donating, unions donating to Labour, large donations from wills (Greens got one of those a few years ago) and rule out or make it much harder Craig/Dotcom/Morgan financed parties.

          • Sacha 2.2.2.2.1

            I personally favour grappling with the questions you raised above and banning all donations.

            I can see a bigger role for the Electoral Commission in collectively providing support services to help all candidates with elections, including comms support on a level footing. Why should opinion polling or donor-friendly policies determine how much is available for a civic activity?

    • Sacha 2.3

      If only criminals would just obey the law.

  3. Anne 3

    This is pathetic. Mass hysteria. What is the matter with people. It’s ignorance and stupidity.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12312732

    • Incognito 3.2

      How long before a political party will tap into (and stoke) the climate of fear in Election Year?

    • weka 3.3

      Hmm, but calling it mass hysteria might be an inflammatory overreaction too. What I see is a lot of people who are 1) scared and 2) don't have enough basic knowledge about how this might play out (and thus how to prepare). I think solving the latter would help, and I'm not seeing the MSM doing a huge amount on that eg in that article they could have linked to a MoH or other govt webpage explaining how to prepare. Don't even know if the govt has much up about this yet.

      There's a polarisation happening now between there's not need to panic, let's wait, and the people panicking. Prudence suggests taking a middle path. If the advice is to have 2 weeks of supplies in the house, that's if one gets sick or needs to isolate for another reason. But that's not going to cut it if NZ ends up in a 6 month epidemic where much of the economy is shut down.

      There are some serious political issues too about who can prepare and who can't. Lots of poor people can't afford enough food this week, never mind stockpiling.

  4. Ad 4

    Finally, a decent test for the US health system.

    Let's see if Bernie's team can capitalize it with their nationalized healthcare unicorn.

    Elections are luck. Sanders may just have caught a bit.

    • Andre 4.1

      To capitalise, Bernie will have to be quick on his feet to come up with a quick soundbite that tells people quickly why Medicare-for-all would deal with the situation better.

      That's a complex argument to try to distill down to a soundbite, and Bernie hasn't shown much deft footwork so far. He's just been coasting on his ponderous history of saying exactly the same thing for fifty years.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Today's Herald's front page is utterly irresponsible. And when they get slapped with whatever the modern equivalent of a "d" notice is, they will whine about press freedom.

  6. Cricklewood 6

    Hmm if a pandemic took hold is there provision in NZ law to delay an election for public health reasons?

    Could Trump use some kind of emergency powers in the USA as well?

  7. Incognito 8

    A first-world ‘crisis’ of a different kind also fed/fuelled by irrationality: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/119913504/lotto-frenzy-stretches-demand-for-ticket-paper

  8. millsy 9

    If you are looking for something to read, suggest "Titan" by Stephen Baxter.

    It has basically predicted what is happening now.

  9. joe90 10

    An expert on the 1918 flu epidemic in the US wrote this a couple of years ago on why it was so deadly. His conclusion; officials desperate to keep morale up during WWI, didn't tell the truth. And because the government lied, more people died.

    That is why, in my view, the most important lesson from 1918 is to tell the truth. Though that idea is incorporated into every preparedness plan I know of, its actual implementation will depend on the character and leadership of the people in charge when a crisis erupts.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/journal-plague-year-180965222/

  10. Ross 11

    I have read extensively about the issue which is why it’s a non-starter. But anyone is welcome to justify how increasing tax rates to 55 percent, while making some people worse off, is going to fly.

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

    [I’m not sure I believe when you say you have read extensively. You didn’t seem to understand the RW connections with a UBI, but then proceeded to run RW arguments against a UBI. You asked what the purpose of a UBI is and then gave a narrow, self-serving answer that you appear to just be repeating over and over. Running simplistic lines that because Treasury said it’s a no go it can’t be afforded and they must be right, as if there are no other models. Did you even read the post?

    Treasury was recommending to the Govt in 2018 that WEAG include a UBI in its brief.

    My main problem here is that despite a warning from me to up your game, you continued to run a naysaying line that wasn’t related to the Post. I’d have less of a problem with that if it was an interesting or nuanced negation of a UBI (lots of us have reservations), but all that I see is some superficial nays backed up by some random links. The post took me a long time to write, and I expect a better level of debate than this.

    Stay out of that post from now on. In premod until I see an acknowledgement. Count this as a warning for the future too. – weka]

    • RedLogix 11.1

      From which haybale did you pluck 55% from?

      Morgan's version, which everyone here likes to shit on had three core elements, a flat UBI of $12k pa, a flat PAYE of 30% and a CCT (Comprehensive Capital Tax) that had a simple formula relating to Minimum rates of return on all assets. Under this detailed proposal almost everyone was going to be better off except for some people who're asset rich and cash poor. There was even simple mechanisms to mitigate the impact on them.

      But even this was only one possible version, there are any number of ways a UBI/Tax Reform package can be put together that do not involve 55% overall tax rates. But of course having read extensively you already know this … so bullshit.

      Besides when transitioning from a benefit under the current system the effective marginal tax rate is well in excess of 55% . But this doesn’t seem to worry you much does it?

      • Ross 11.1.1

        55% was quoted above in the link I provided. Of course Treasury could be wrong and Gareth Morgan, who admitted to analysing the issue on the back of an envelope, could be right. Readers can draw their own conclusions. 🙂

        • Ross 11.1.1.1

          This document from Treasury is heavily redacted but you get the flavour of their position on the issue.

          “The disadvantages of a UBI is that it will likely increase poverty rates, in the absence of large increases in tax revenues. Spreading existing working age benefits to the entire working age population will materially reduce the level of payment to those who already receive benefits. At current spending levels, a UBI would be substantially below the poverty line in most OECD economies (OECD, 2017).

          While concerns around impact on poverty rates could be addressed with a higher payment rate, this could not be budget neutral. It would require a significant increase in tax revenues, and therefore average tax rates would rise. This could materially weaken work incentives and reduce employment levels.“

          https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2018-07/oia-20180164.pdf

          • Sacha 11.1.1.1.1

            in the absence of large increases in tax revenues

            That's Treasury's problem right there – who asked them to ignore that side of the equation? Of course other tax revenues need to be increased at the same time. Wealth tax seems a useful focus if equity is the aim.

          • mikesh 11.1.1.1.2

            I don't think any of the current proponents of a UBI are contemplating a weekly payout of $300.00. Nor are they expecting that a tax rate of 55% will be needed as a consequence.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.2

          For someone who claims to have read 'extensively' on the issue your notions about Morgan's proposal are woefully short of the mark. Both the Morgan Foundation and TOP costed variations in detail. It’s entirely possible to get the numbers to balance if that’s what’s important to you. If you want to be a little more radical, letting the RB do some M2 money creation via the UBI is an idea worth looking at. Hell if China and the USA can print trillions of whatever currency without apparent constraint, exactly why can’t we do it at a modest regulated scale?

          The big problem is that everyone looks that the idea through the lens of the existing system and whenever they see some aspect that's different they discard the whole system. It doesn't work that way.

          For instance if I'm earning … say $80k pa and I pay say a flat 40% PAYE on this. That's $32k 'positive tax' but this is also offset by say a $12k pa UBI which is the 'negative tax' portion. The net tax is now only $20k which overall amounts to a modest 25% rate.

          In this simple 'toy' example the marginal tax rate may be 40% but the effective rate for the vast majority of people is far lower than this. And this is what counts. Treating the PAYE and the UBI portions separately as if they had nothing to do with each other is a misdirection, and is why talking about UBI's in isolation from wider tax and fiscal reform never makes sense.

          Plus what mike says.

          • pat 11.1.1.2.1

            only problem with that argument is that TOP's proposal wasnt a UBI at all…it was targeted welfare….meh

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.2.1.1

              ?

            • mikesh 11.1.1.2.1.2

              At the last election TOP didn't go with a full UBI. They seemed to be following a strategy of introducing it in bits and pieces, starting with Superannuitants and 18 to 24 year olds.

          • pat 11.1.1.2.2

            https://www.top.org.nz/the_full_ubi

            “The first 2 groups to enter the UBI regime will be

            all families with very young children (under 3, or under 6 if adopted or fostered) – $200 per family per week. This replaces paid parental leave
            elders – all those citizens over 65 years of age – $200 each per week. In addition elders who satisfy a means test will be able to top up to the current NZ Superannuation level by a further $7,500 pa. We will index the top-up to elders’ costs not to average incomes.”

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.2.2.1

              Precisely the kind of transitional arrangement I was advocating above. There is no need to be all purist about it, start with something achievable and see what happens.

          • pat 11.1.1.2.3

            So those advocating UBI will now stick the label on anything if it suits their position eh?….good grief.

            You may as well advocate communism with private property rights and ownership

          • pat 11.1.1.2.4

            Try placing this idea in your head (someone who berates others for their supposed lack of reading on the subject)….TOP proposed a targeted welfare policy because by their own admission a true UBI is unworkable.

            "The major constraints on how high that a UBI can be set includes its cost to the taxpayer and its relativity to the rewards for paid work.[i] If fiscal overload is to be avoided then the taxpayer cannot be expected to foot the bill for whatever level of UBI proponents dream of. Likewise, the incentive to seek paid work cannot be undermined by the level of the UBI otherwise the resultant lack of labour available and the rising costs of production faced by New Zealand firms, would impart serious consequences to our economy."

            “It is unlikely that a UBI will ever totally replace targeted social assistance but it certainly will markedly reduce our reliance on targeting, with its stigma-laden selection criteria and its perverse impact on behaviour.”

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.2.4.1

              It's pretty obvious what the acceptable range for a full noise UBI will be. The lower limit will be no less than the current single unemployment rate and the upper limit the rate for NZSuper. That's a number between about $12k to $20k which is a pretty tight range really.

              I can't be arsed typing out all the arguments I've already made, I get the sense you don't really have a point and are just parsing words for the sake of it. The real advantage of a UBI has less to do with what level it's set at, or how it interacts with tax reform … but the fact that it is a right. It's not something you have to sit up and beg for, you don't have to play games with endless bureaucratic rules, you don't get sneered at by everyone else for being a 'bludging bene', you get some control back over your life and choices. It respects your agency rather than shitting over it.

              But I've come to the conclusion many so called lefties here are more interested in perpetuating a beneficiary class than creating pathways that might give people a way out.

            • Sacha 11.1.1.2.4.2

              the resultant lack of labour available and the rising costs of production faced by New Zealand firms, would impart serious consequences to our economy."

              We might have to change to a higher-wage economy! True, given the current lack of talent in management and leadership that transition could be tricky – unless we can persuade them all to retire or resign to be artists.

          • pat 11.1.1.2.5

            "I can't be arsed typing out all the arguments I've already made, I get the sense you don't really have a point and are just parsing words for the sake of it."

            Then you havnt been reading….or thinking

    • weka 11.2

      Mod note for you Ross.

      • Ross 11.2.1

        Yes, I see. I know I said something which apparently you didn’t agree with. But when people disagree with me, I welcome it. It's not a problem.

        • weka 11.2.1.1

          That’s nice. What you don’t seem to realise is that when something creates a problem for an author or moderator, things tend to escalate if a commenter doesn’t pay heed to what the moderator says. This isn’t about disagreeing with something you said, it’s me saying my patience is running out for you derailing a conversation under my thread. I took the time to explain some of that in the hope of a change, we will see.

  11. Muttonbird 12

    The cost of damage to the surface of the Kāpiti Expressway and the Te Rapa and Ngaruawahia sections of the Waikato Expressway has topped $80 million.

    The massive bills do not stretch to long-term solutions in Waikato, covering only repairs and monitoring.

    Two of the John Key government's Roads Of National Significance.

    The significant part evidently being National can't build Roads, so insistent are they on ensuring the lowest tender gets the job.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/410682/nzta-refuses-to-release-information-about-damaged-highways

    Have to say the bolded bit is somewhat alarming. Why do National governments leave so much crappy legacy?

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