Open mike 30/03/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 30th, 2021 - 133 comments
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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 …

133 comments on “Open mike 30/03/2021 ”

  1. TheNZJerster 1

    Colins now actively getting stabbed while they look her in the eye instead of sneaking a knife in her back?

    Revealed: National MPs vote against leadership on health policy in rare move for caucus

    They getting ready to roll her soon or just reminding her she is just a seat warmer?

    Looks like most are in favor of the Government proposal of making Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield responsible for fluoride in water instead of letting each region decide themself and have decided to break with the current policy of National of being for everything that is the exact opposite of what the Government is proposing even if it was formally something National was for.

  2. Jimmy 2

    I think the government will need to bring in more rent controls. Currently rent can only be increased once a year, but with the tax changes now, I think they will need to put on either a rent freeze, or limit any rent increases to CPI.

    • Alan 2.1

      Jimmy, spend 10 minutes reading about what has happened when rent freezes have been imposed by governments, it has been hell for renters, basically they end up with no where to live.

      • Jimmy 2.1.1

        Well it's going to get tougher for the renters as I believe rents are on the rise.

        • Ad

          Government is telling us to run rental housing like a business and with every cost internalised, so guess what? We are.

      • Sabine 2.1.2

        if they can't afford the rents anymore they also have no where to live.

        • greywarshark

          That's a thought. Why not run Government like a business and charge pollies rent on their offices, reassessed annually, lease their furniture and perks, and pay them a base salary (because under the smiles and sweet nothings they are so base) and emoluments for successful projects. By George, I think I've got it!

          • McFlock

            Then the tories whinge because the union owns the office and leases it out to the MP at below-market rates, saving the party money whereas now it just saves the taxpayer money.

            • Infused

              No it's because labour pockets the extra money clever way to get additional funding

              • McFlock

                Labour were making "extra" money out of PS leasing offices at below-market rates?

                That's even more clever than claiming out-of-town accommodation allowances when your family lives and works in Wellington.

        • Jimmy

          That is likely to be an unintended consequence of this policy. It may not be a good time to be a landlord, but I would rather be a landlord than a tenant.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            I would rather be a landlord than a tenant.

            A lucky few can choose to be neither; being a tenant by choice would be OK too.

    • Chris T 2.2

      I think Labour putting on a rent freeze is inevitable and probably to the CPI as you say, given their current, put the blindfold on and fire randomly at the moving target method of policy develop.

    • David 2.3

      The government having to continue their game of wack-a-mole to deal with the unintended consequences of previous policy on the hoof announcements

      • greywarshark 2.3.1

        David The policy on the hoof announcements are likely to go back to 1984, and possibly you weren't even born then. It's been a long and winding road since then, hard to follow and understand.

        • Treetop

          As bad as inflation was in 1984 buying a first home was not out of reach.

          Is buying a first home so tough now due to the ratio of income to the cost of the dwelling and the deposit required?

          For some years now people cannot get a return on their savings like in 1984.

        • David

          Yes, I was born in 1984 and very politically aware. Now that IS a Labour government I would vote for. Yes, it was copied from Tory England 5 years earlier but it moved NZ from a political backwater. That’s why I’m so concern Adern wants to take use back to pre 1984. Where do I get my careless day sticker from?

          • Treetop

            Was the carless day sticker used to keep the cost of oil down for the government?

            Today it would be used to reduce carbon emissions and to encourage exercise.

          • greywarshark

            Oh how sweet David you live in the Now and go on your Careless way without thought for what is really happening to people around you now under the present system. And because you understand how it affects you, you think that is All You Need To Know. Ignorance is bliss they say, have a Bliss Ball and relax.

            • David

              Huh? What’s your point exactly?

              • In Vino

                To David: Your failure, David, is to be totally ignorant of the favourable features of the kind of society NZ had before those disastrous 1980s. I suspect you will have read Richard Prebble's biased ravings and taken them as gospel… Blinkered thinking by the looks of it.

                Carless days? You pretty well had them during lockdown, but you would not see that as another attempt to solve a problem through communal action, I guess.

                • David

                  Haha. That’s actually quite funny in vino. Someone reminiscing on how wonderful the times of Rob Muldoon were.

                  Maybe we need to bring back the slogan “rob muldoon before he robs you” perhaps updated to “rob robbers and Jax before they rob you”

                  • In Vino

                    I did not like Muldoon, David, but at least I was there and know about all aspects, unlike you. In 1977 I went to England, and for the first time saw queues of unemployed with despair in their eyes. I was proud to think we did not have that problem in NZ.

                    Well, the 1980s and 90s changed all that. If you see it as an era of progress, I think you have a lot to learn.

                    • David

                      Unlike me

                      You know jack about me in vino. For the record, I was in England the winter of 73 and 74. It was a god awful place bought to its knees by an over unionised workforce, every second worker on strike, dole queues around the block and abject poverty. A beautiful picture of the pre 1979 England / pre 1984 NZ you seem so keen to reminisce on.

                    • In Vino

                      Are you bad at English or something? Your comment at states: "Yes, I was born in 1984 and very politically aware."

                      Now you tell me you were in England in 73 and 74. Well done. No wonder I know jack-all about you – you tell fibs.

                      That "English Disease" of rampant class warfare you lament was imported here in the 80s and 90s. Again, well done.

                    • David []

                      Oh for goodness sake in vino. Read the string of posts!! Greywar shark was saying I probably wasn’t even born in 1984. I was saying I was and quite some time before that.

                    • In Vino

                      Express yourself more clearly. I was born in 1984 means that is your DoB. You stuffed up.

                    • David []

                      Follow the conversation more diligently!!! you still haven’t explained why you reminisce so much for the 70s…rather just go off on some tangent of deflection.

                    • In Vino

                      "Read the string of posts?" "Follow the conversation more diligently?"

                      Your so-called string starts at 2.3, and is very short. I had read it. You stuffed up.

                      Linguistic diligence is an art you still have to learn about, rather than projecting your wishful thinking about how others have reminiscences and fantasies that differ from your own.

          • mikesh

            Yes, I was born in 1984 and very politically aware.

            Oh, really?

      • Anker 2.3.2

        You mean policy on the hoof like lockdown David which saved many lifes, our health system and turned out to be better for the economy as well . I don't think you can say this housing policy is on th he hoof. People were calling for a response as soon it became clear that the impact of covid had the opposite effect on housing than what was expected i.e. prices rising. The same thing is currently happening in Australia.

        If you are going to make statements such as policy on the hoof, its better to state. what you explicitly mean. Otherwise you may be written off as someone who is here to find any angle to did at Labour. Barking dog meet car

        • I Feel Love

          "policy on the hood" just today's "talking point" which will be hammered on and on, til the next cliche.

          • Incognito

            Agreed. Clichés is all some commenters have got to offer here, it seems 🙁

        • David

          Actually, I think you can call it policy on the hoof when Treasury advice is ignored, the IRD is just starting consultation on a policy they’ve just been looped into and Minister Woods tells the opposition to go read the detailed report which doesn’t exist.

    • mikesh 2.4

      It's time the government insisted that landlords paid their mortgages out of their own pockets. Their house – their mortgage. Building mortgage payments into the rent that they charge should be a cause for protest on the part of tenants.

      • Jimmy 2.4.1

        Therefore using that logic, a business owner that borrows $500k from the bank to fund stock for his business should also pay the loan personally, rather than building it into the price he sells product for?

        • mikesh

          Not necessarily. Purchasing inventory would indicate that the business was a productive one. I think I would distinguish it from rental industry borrowing which produces nothing. That industry merely shuffles assets around.

          In any case the question is not who pays the loan, but whether the interest should be tax deductible in first case mentioned. The government always has the right to ignore the logic and declare the borrowing deductible if it, for example, wishes to encourage productive investment.

          • Jimmy

            I disagree that the rental industry produces nothing. In fact I refute that!

            It provides a home for a family.

            The tax deductibility was never a "loophole". Robertson uses that terminology to justify to people that do not understand tax deductions and business. They have now actually created an odd situation as rental income is the only business that cannot deduct interest as an expense.

            • mikesh

              It provides a home for a family.

              It doesn't actually provide a home. The family is merely being given permission to use a house belonging to the landlord. They will never own that house. The benefit the family gets from the arrangement is an intangible one: a sort of 'right to use'.

      • RedLogix 2.4.2

        Building mortgage payments into the rent that they charge should be a cause for protest on the part of tenants.

        I'm too old and too tall for this.

      • Nic the NZer 2.4.3

        Does your landlord give you a fully itemized rent bill?

      • Gabby 2.4.4

        What? Don't the rents go into their pockets?

      • Incognito 2.4.5

        So, residential property is the only kind of business where the owner is not allowed to make a profit at all and only recoup real/actual costs and not even that, now the interest on the investment loan won’t be deductible any longer? What an odd view!!

        • Anker

          Whoever thought being a landlord was a business????

          Landlords have been creaming it with untaxed capital gains and profits from renting, so if their wings are clipped mightly, really I don't care. If you don't like the heat get out of the kitchen.

          • Incognito

            Odd response. Setting up a company (LTC), employing an accountant, employing a professional property manager, and following the rules & regulations by Government and IRD and then arguing it is not a business because you don’t like it!? Whether you care is not an argument that gets us anywhere either. Some people don’t like Brussels sprouts, which is neither here nor there.

          • RedLogix

            Like so many lefties who've been schooled in resentment, you've picked the wrong target.

            Landlords provide an essential social service for a very small (if any) cash flow gain. Almost all of your rent is consumed by various cash outgoings – especially if there is a mortgage.

            The real problem here is not landlords in themselves (although I realise the hard left will always hate on us). If you want to fix the problem (rather than just vent) then you need to understand what it's root causes are.

            And the simple answer is that for several generations now the only reliable investment in this country has been property. That factor alone is responsible for a very large fraction of the speculative bubble we are seeing – and until we have a political consensus around providing some decent alternatives, nothing much will change.

            • arkie

              Like so many lefties who've been schooled in resentment

              I resent this broadbrush smearing of 'lefties'

              • RedLogix

                And I might not be a big fan seeing the smearing of all landlords so evident here. But that's beside the point, I'm a big boy now and I’m used to it.

                But broadly it's a problem when the left reacts to events based on simplistic memes that obscure the reality of issues, and prevents us from competently discovering the solutions which stand a chance of working.

                I probably haven't been crystal clear on this, the property speculation boom of the past decade formed no part of my rental business, and I've gained nothing from it to date. Personally I dislike it intensely, because of all the social problems it's clearly causing, and especially the kind of overcrowding in low standard accommodation that we're seeing. The motel boom is shameful.

                The fact that I heavily invested in building brand new quality units 20 years ago to give people good homes is enough evidence of my intent, and why I'm dismayed at seeing so many people see their first home slip out of their reach. I still recall two of our early tenants whom we threw a small party for on the day they moved out into their first new home – we were so pleased for them.

                Well all that's gone now. Because NZ has been unable to provide an alternative investment vehicle for retirement income, speculators have piled into the property market. It's notable that here in Australia with their much more generous super scheme, and a wider range of stable, relatively low risk investment options, that there is somewhat less heat in the property market here. Sure there are periods and locations that get speculated on heavily, but where NZ is seeing 20% rises, here in Brisbane for instance it's around 2%.

                • arkie

                  Issa joke m8

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    RL is making an effort to tone down his anti-left rhetoric, imho – 'lefty resentment' is moderate, considering his remarkable transformation.

                    • RedLogix

                      After a decade or so of exposure to people always willing to find someone else to blame for their problems – and never themselves – it's hard not to be at least a bit changed by this.

                      Then there this reality – the Pareto Law. It means that most of the inequality that we find so challenging is in fact baked into the system.

                      In fact it's worse than this. If the top 20% tend to control 80% of the outcomes, then in that top 20% the Pareto Law will apply again, meaning that the top 4% (20% of 20%) will control 64% (80% of 80%) of the outcomes.

                      And if we go round a third time it leads directly to the top 0.8% (20% of 4%) controlling 48% (80% of 64%) of the outcomes – leading directly to the commonly observed fact that roughly the top 1% control around 50% of the economy. Just by applying the Pareto power law three times.

                      Given the remarkably universal applicability of this law, maybe we should be more cautious before attributing inequality just to 'greed' or 'capitalism'. Clearly these might not help, but it may be true that in any purely physical system which embodies a hierarchy of values will always generate a very predictable degree of inequality.

                      It's also true that as a system gets larger (eg 7.5b humans) the absolute gap between say Jeff Bezos and the rest of us will become very large as well – again fundamental mathematics at work.

                      Once we frame the problem of inequality like this, and it is a real problem, it opens up a wholly different perspective on how we might want to deal with it effectively. (And if there is anything the 20th century should have taught us is that solutions which propose tearing 'rich people' down in order to reduce everyone to the same level of poverty work very poorly indeed.)

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      After a decade or so of exposure to people always willing to find someone else to blame for their problems – and never themselves – it's hard not to be at least a bit changed by this.

                      RL, I'm sure you wouldn't blame the NZ Government for problems your business and your tenants are facing, and neither would I.

                      I reckon it's fundamental human behaviour (rather than "fundamental mathematics") at work – the mathematics is just one way of describing inequality, but it doesn't address the root causes aka human ego and greed, which are clearly driving the behaviour of some. Why else would a multi-billionaire strive too accumulate more wealth – it's simply not rational behaviour. Financial wealth seems like empty calories to me, but each to their own.

                      And, depite "the remarkably universal applicability of this [Pareto's] law [principle]", it can be wrongly applied.

                      However, this principle has proven false in practice, as over 90% of citizens victimized by stop and frisk policies were found not to have committed any crime. The principle was erroneously applied, and instead residents were targeted by race, having little impact on crime. Improved economies overall have had a far greater correlation with lowering crime rates.

                    • RedLogix

                      the mathematics is just one way of describing inequality, but it doesn't address the root causes aka human ego and greed, which are clearly driving the behaviour of some.

                      I've just noticed that my comment above is more fully described in the "Mathematical Notes" at the end of the wiki reference:

                      It follows that one also has 80% of that top 80% of effects coming from 20% of that top 20% of causes, and so on. Eighty percent of 80% is 64%; 20% of 20% is 4%, so this implies a "64/4" law; and similarly implies a "51.2/0.8" law. Similarly for the bottom 80% of causes and bottom 20% of effects, the bottom 80% of the bottom 80% only cause 20% of the remaining 20%. This is broadly in line with the world population/wealth table above, where the bottom 60% of the people own 5.5% of the wealth, approximating to a 64/4 connection.

                      Yet as the whole article demonstrates, the Pareto law holds true across a large range of situations where 'human ego and greed' clearly play no role. Which strongly suggests that these are not the fundamental causes you're suggesting. It's entirely possible for instance that an economic system that generated rewards based purely on competency and 'value of contribution' would have very similar outcomes.

                      Unless we're willing to examine the root causes of inequality dispassionately, we're unlikely to devise responses that are effective.

                      However, this principle has proven false in practice, as over 90% of citizens victimized by stop and frisk policies were found not to have committed any crime.

                      Which strikes me as exactly what you would expect. And what it doesn't mention is that 10% of people stopped were indeed criminals.

                      One of they key principles of industrial safety management is that minor incidents are an early and visible symptom of a deeper hidden problem of poor behaviour and a lax culture that will likely result in the occasional disaster. We saw this at Pike River where there were any number of precursor incidents (the 80%) that clearly signaled the probability of a major (20%) one.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Unless we're willing to examine the root causes of inequality dispassionately, we're unlikely to devise responses that are effective.

                      RL, I'm glad we agree that it's important to examine the root causes of financial inequality and hardship. It would be so sad to be saddled with the belief that it's pointless to even try to (urgently) address the scourge of (extreme) inequality in our world, don't you think?

                      On Inequality – Tessa Bending

                      The problem, economists realised, is that you cannot objectively measure someone else’s happiness, nor their capacity for it. So economists switched approach, all but abandoning the idea of measurable “cardinal” utility and turning instead to observable preferences or “ordinal utility”: the order in which things are preferred. Abandoning the idea of aggregate happiness, economists have ever since held up Pareto efficiency as the ideal. An economy is Pareto-efficient when no one can obtain a more preferred outcome without causing someone else to obtain a less preferred outcome.

                      The problem is that we keep talking as if economics could say something about actual cardinal utility or happiness, when all it can talk about is the order in which people prefer things. We have the habit of thinking that markets are efficient at meeting our needs, when all we can really say is that they might be Pareto-efficient. And by proceeding as if market outcomes are efficient at creating happiness, we tacitly side with eugenicists like Edgeworth; we tacitly declare that, yes, for the sake of maximising happiness overall, some people really do need a billion euros more than a billion people need a euro.

                      But what if the truth is closer to the assertions of the classical liberals and utilitarians? What if we are born equal, with equal capacities to contribute to society and to enjoy its fruits? Then the inequality we see could be a massive waste of resources and a vast lost opportunity to meet need.

                      Querying Urban Inequalities – Pardo & Prato

                      Relations of power and political authority impact directly on the individual’s independence and their capacity to combat inequality. Equally obviously, the ugly reality remains in most social settings that the multifaceted gap between the wealthy and the rest within and among countries bespeak a degree of indifference—or vested interests—that pervert the profoundly human in our societies. Sadly, one hundred years after Pareto’s comparative analysis of the uneven distribution of income, the 80/20 rule of what has become known as the Pareto Principle still applies today. According to the UN Development Programme, the richest 20% of the world’s population continues to control 80% of the world’s income (UNDP 1992). More recently, Stiglitz (2014) has pointed out how extreme concentration of wealth and high-end income may reduce economic stability and also hinder growth. It may also generate ‘high-end’ inequality, which may in turn lead to a ‘plutocratic capture’ of the political system by the super-rich. As it is shown by several ethnographies in this volume, a high-end inequality may produce not only loss of financial capital but also loss of social capital, thus inducing a sense of social insecurity and humiliation. Money and access to money (Atalay, Spyridakis and Feronas, Rosbrook-Thompson and Armstrong, Pardo in this book) are only part of the problem.

                      As Prato has observed, ‘States are not abstract entities. The efficiency of the regulatory power of a state is measured through the actions of its government’. Meeting her analysis of post-Communist Albania, democratic governments across the world seem to be ‘failing in “pooling” resources and “redistributing” them on the basis of equality of opportunities and citizens rights’ (Prato 2011). Furthermore, while ‘redistribution’ remains a fundamental aspect of modern economy—or, as Polanyi (1944) would say, one of the ways in which economy is integrated in society—the relationship between democratic government and citizens should be conceived as one of ‘reciprocity, in the sense that citizens’ loyalty and respect of the rules cannot be separated from the belief that the state will protect their rights and efficiently respond to their needs’ (Prato 2011). Instead, governments appear to be failing precisely the most vulnerable.

                      Facilitated by biased political ideology, geopolitical interests—either impalpable or overtly pursued—have driven urbanization without (or with weak) growth, thus enhancing urban inequalities. Growing informal work, homelessness, intolerance, conflict, suicide, crime and the indignities brought about by the treatment of people as second-class citizens are, we shall see, disastrous consequences of the mismanagement of urban policy (Pardo, Aly, Spyridakis and Feronas, Çınar, Rosbrook-Thompson and Armstrong). We study the progressive spatial segregation of the privileged from the ordinary rest (Rosbrook-Thompson and Armstrong, Abraham, Shokeid), finding that it is the (more than economically) unprivileged who have the lowest life expectancy (Varelaki), the least comfortable homes, and so on, whereas their wealthier, well-connected fellow urbanites live longer lives in much better homes (Aly, Çınar, Rosbrook-Thompson and Armstrong). And it is the children of the former who have the least access to resources and options for self-improvement (Armstrong and Bell in this book), while being the most exposed to street crime and disease. We see how residents experience bureaucratic red tape, inefficiency, below-standard education, poor infrastructure, public services and disruptive tears in the urban fabric (Pardo, Atalay, Prato, Nugent and Suhail, Abraham).

                • Anker
                  • You made a lot of wrong assumptions here about me. I was a landlord once. I didn’t set it up as a business or as an investment property. I moved city and thought it was highly likely I may want to move back and I didn’t fancy trying to get back into the Auckland market. This was many years ago. So it suited me to rent out my home. Yes I got an accountant, a property manager and it all got set up. I paid off some of my mortgage. I was told when I came to sell my house I was told I could have been charging $100 more in rent. I told them I was happy with the rent I got as I did well out of it.
                  • being a landlord is the bloodiest easiest job I have ever done. It was absolute money for jam. It was more like a hobby than a business. But sure it fits the criteria as a business, yes it does
                  • RedLogix

                    Your story is pretty typical of the 80% of landlords who own just the one property, usually their previous home. In that scenario, especially when you start out with a reasonable equity in the old home, it's not too hard. But then again it's not so easy, that most will ever go past that one unit.

                    And now with increased costs and the deductibility of interest costs gone, I'm almost certain you'd not do the same today.

            • Gabby

              Why, they're practically saints, at least as saintly as our entrepreneurial wealthcreators. Why aren’t those wretched ingrates just signing over their paycheques to these paragons?

              [Please contribute in a constructive manner or stay out of it, thanks – Incognito]

              • Incognito

                See my Moderation note @ 4:17 pm.

              • Gabby

                Are you speaking on behalf of the 'so many lefties who've been schooled in resentment', or joining in the kicking? It's hard to tell.

                • Gabby

                  Is that a constructive contribution?

                  [Nope. Do you want some time off? It’s hard to tell – Incognito]

                  • Incognito

                    See my Moderation note @ 5:02 pm.

                    • arkie

                      I was half-joking above, but I am also tired of these right-wing assertions of ‘leftie’ resentment etc. etc. I thought Gabby’s contribution added some humour (which is often sadly absent around these parts), while also interrogating the reasoning behind such broadbrush opinions.

                    • Incognito []

                      Thanks. I appreciate your comments and contributions to the debates here. OTOH, Gabby’s contributions leave something to desire – I take a ‘holistic’ view when/before I moderate. A joke and some humour are indeed welcome, but there’s a time & place for these, not in the middle of a serious convo. Gabby can take the hints or not; my patience is shorter than a piece of string …

                      BTW, please be careful yourself with labels such as “right-wing”, as they tend to polarise and seed division and sometimes (!) they’re misplaced …


                    • RedLogix

                      There's nothing 'right wing' about noting the repeated acting out of 'anti-landlord' sentiments here – it's simply an observable fact.

                      Yet almost all people at some stage of their lives are going to rent privately, and for many blue collar working people earning less than a median income it's likely to be all their lives. You'd actually want them to have a choice of good stable homes, to a decent standard at sensible prices – and that implies landlords willing and able to supply.

                      There are of course crappy landlords and tenants on both sides of the deal, but overall it's an essential and legitimate social service. Yes we have some serious price problems in the NZ market, but the root cause of this is not the residential rental business – it lies in the structural narrowness of the NZ economy and it's relative lack of productivity.

                      Put bluntly NZ is in many ways a highly desirable place to live with a constrained supply of housing, which means ordinary kiwis, maybe up to 40% on low incomes, simply cannot afford a home here unless the govt subsidises them in some way. There are many reasonable ways we might want to approach that problem, but a new tax on landlords doesn't seem to me one of the most obvious.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Incog. Interesting you caution against the use of the descriptor right-wing but allow Redlogix to freely use woke-left, etc.

                      Is it because he's a fellow moderator?

                      Redlogix. Three successive governments have identified investors and investor behaviour as a problem and a great risk to New Zealand. First National introduced the bright line test and ring fenced something or other. Labour/NZF extended the bright line test, and now Labour have extended it further and disincentivised maxed-out leveraging by removing massive mortgage interest deductions.

                      It’s not about lefties’ resentment and envy. It’s about investors greed, a the market they broke.

                      [Interesting that you think that my comment was for and to Arkie only. Maybe because it suits your narrative and gives you another opportunity to rail against RL and the ‘special treatment’ he’s receiving here?

                      FWIW, RL was half-correct that there’s an awful lot of resentment on display in the commentary on this site. At the same time, resentment is universal, as one brief visit to KB will show you. Labelling RL’s comment as “woke-left” displays the thinking & talking of a 5-year old again; it lacks any decent analysis and argument.

                      On that note, your reoccurring nagging as self-appointed ‘critic and conscience’ on and of this site is starting to wear a little thin. Six days ago, you were at it again too and in a déjà vu all over again you proudly proclaimed “This is a hill I’ll happily die on with respect to that author/commenter. I believe he’s a wrong ‘un”.

                      You wouldn’t be the first mountaineer to die here on a self-erected molehill in a blaze of glory of imaginary martyrdom deluding yourself that you made a personal sacrifice for the greater good.

                      Criticism is valuable if it is constructive and comes with useful suggestions on how to improve this site. But that’s not the nature of your nagging, which is often personal, biased, and manipulative. If you keep up this nasty habit of nagging, you will indeed receive your martyrdom status – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      See my Moderation note @ 6:52 pm.

                    • McFlock

                      There’s nothing ‘right wing’ about noting the repeated acting out of ‘anti-landlord’ sentiments here – it’s simply an observable fact.

                      Yet almost all people at some stage of their lives are going to rent privately, a [etc]


                      Most people will also be employees at some stage of their lives, that doesn't mean people shouldn't point out that the basic employer/employee relationship is practised in a dramatic inequality of power that is routinely abused by employers.

                      The term is "class warfare". The haves using what they have to extract even more from the have nots.

                    • RedLogix

                      The term is "class warfare". The haves using what they have to extract even more from the have nots.

                      And in the usual highly predictable neo-marxist fashion everything gets reduced to a power struggle.

                      The great folly of course is that you imagine that if and when the oppressed rise up and defeat the 'haves', their innate moral purity will magically usher in a utopian era of peace, love and eternal happiness. In reality of course it would be 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss'.

                      My argument to DMK touches on this same theme, that unless we're willing to examine the root causes of inequality dispassionately and accurately, any 'cure' we're likely to come up with (eg marxism) is likely to be much worse than the disease.

                    • McFlock

                      I'm not making a call about revolution or whatever.

                      But of course things like rent and employment are power struggles. It's the basic core of the capitalist relationship. The person with the more scarce resource is the person with more power in the "negotiation".

                      Sure, #notAllCapitalists, present company excluded, all of that ointment to salve the bruised egos of the haves who might be reading. Whatever lets you sleep at night.

                      tl,dr: The root cause of inequality is the nature of relationships people are required to build under capitalism.

                    • RedLogix

                      If you recycle marxist tropes like 'power struggle' and 'class warfare' you don't get to credibly deny 'call to revolution'. But that's old and sour ground we've trod over before.

                      What if the root cause of inequality was simply baked into our innate desire for progress? As I outlined to DMK at 6:30pm above, the observed wealth inequality seen in the world, can be modelled very simply by applying the Pareto power law three times. This is a simple mathematical rule that has nothing to do with 'greed' or 'class warfare' as it's frequently applicable in situations where these things don't apply – such as engineering quality control.

                      If for the sake of argument, we accept that all economic systems will produce a predictable degree of inequality, then the next questions that come to mind are, do some systems tend to amplify it, or dampen it out?

                      And we might ask why is a huge power inequality acceptable in some instances, but not others? For instance a parent has a massive power imbalance over their children – yet it would be entirely weird to call this a 'power struggle' or 'family warfare'. (That some people do in fact behave like this is evidence only of their dysfunction.)

                      We know that once inequality exceeds a certain gradient it generates all manner of social problems – and much of this is probably linked to the innate human sensitivity to social status. We also know that with wealth and status comes power, which can be wielded for both good and evil. As you correctly state – the person controlling the scarce resource has the power in a negotiation, but that does not necessarily mean that power will always be used to harm those lacking it. I'd argue that in most instances it's not – but these constitute 'good news' and are thus ignored.

                      Essentially we've created an economic system that's capable of eradicating absolute poverty – most humans are radically better off than their ancestors 200 years ago. Yet the same system by the very nature of it's purpose has paradoxically expanded inequality. The challenge here is how to address the latter problem without killing the goose that's solved the former. It may turn out to be a much more subtle problem than 'class warfare'. And have a much more satisfying solution I'd wager.

                    • McFlock

                      What a load of rot.

                      Family relationships are not created by economic systems, and the individual power dynamics are guaranteed to change over time.

                      Capitalism is about maximising personal wealth. The same impulse to innovate for economic advantage is the impulse to export food rather than feeding the people who produced it.

                      the person controlling the scarce resource has the power in a negotiation, but that does not necessarily mean that power will always be used to harm those lacking it.

                      The requirement for employment, safety, construction, and every other damned regulation says #notAllCapitalists is trumped by #moreThanEnoughofThemAreBastardsThough.

                    • RedLogix

                      Family relationships are not created by economic systems,

                      So what, power relationships are created in all manner of contexts, it's an inescapable fact of human hierarchy. The point is that power is not innately harmful, and there is no reason to assume this in an economic context either.

                      The same impulse to innovate for economic advantage is the impulse to export food rather than feeding the people who produced it.

                      And now after 200 years of capitalism and technology we produce enough food to reliably feed most of humanity. Indeed obesity is a more common problem than famine.

                      As usual all you have is power struggle … it's dull beyond belief.

                    • Muttonbird

                      The family unit (not sure if you've ever experienced one) is described by caregivers and dependent children. For it to be successful, love and parental empathy are required.

                      It is perverse, or plain stupid, to try to analogise this family unit to the landlord/tenant relationship.

                    • McFlock

                      Is obesity a problem because we grow so much good food, or because of things like coke being half the price of milk in the supermarket?

                      Because that's captalism, too.

                      Are wages not keeping up with productivity because workers are so damned generous, or because employers have the power to increase their profits?

                      Does the government introduce workplace safety legislation for fun, or because employers are more focused on maintaining their profit margins than keeping their workers alive?

                    • RedLogix

                      For it to be successful, love and parental empathy are required.

                      Now what if that was the key to successful economic relationships too? What if instead of 'power relationships' we were more invested in 'service relationships' instead?

                      I find that a more interesting prospect than 'smash capitalism'.

                    • RedLogix

                      Does the government introduce workplace safety legislation for fun, or because employers are more focused on maintaining their profit margins than keeping their workers alive?

                      H&S legislation didn't spring from govt policy alone – it was a response to changing attitudes across the whole of society, including many employers.

                      In the 80's, well before NZ's own H&S legislation, every morning for seven years I attended a morning production meeting where the first question was always "are there any safety issues?", and nothing else would happen until we'd dealt with them. Employers are not ogres who like seeing the people who work for them hurt.

                      But it took everyone many decades to slowly develop the concepts and tools needed to turn mere sentiment into an effective legislative framework that could work. Even now it's still very much a work in progress as we learn more about the often complex sequences of events and misunderstandings that result in accidents. And it's lazy to just blame employers – often as not it was workers themselves who were most resistant to new rules and procedures intended to protect them.

                      Having worked in heavy industry settings all my life, watching the evolution of this H&S aspect has been a fascinating and frustrating aspect at the same time. And that's before I delve into the safety tech which has only appeared in the past 20 years.

                      We've reached the point where 'safety' processes and technology are considered an essential element of all projects. Not just for legislative reasons, but because of a virtually universal realisation from the board level down that accidents are way more expensive than mitigation. In many cases it’s now understood that a safety culture that works is potentially a competitive advantage.

                      Getting from the horrors of Victorian era industrial hazards, to the kind of tech I linked to above has been a complex story of changing attitudes, and growing insights on how to treat an inherently statistical challenge with many levels of complexity with a universally applicable formalism.

                      As usual your 'power struggle' narrative renders everything down to a dull and narrow view of the world, stripped of all interest and nuance.

                    • McFlock


                      Workplace safety started with people (including Marx) documenting the willingness of employers to (amongst many other things) crush children in looms.

                      In the 1980s, tobacco companies were still lying about cancer to make a profit. BHP was still exposing workers to asbestos. But you discussed safety at meetings, so capitalism is fine.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Apparently it's possible for a landlord to love a tenant unconditionally as a parent would a child.

                      It's simple. Power is good, but only in the hands of the powerful.

                    • RedLogix


                      Still in love with an ideological ghost from the 1800's eh? And pretending nothing has changed since – you're a fool for him aren't you?


                      Something like that – but then I’m the real radical around here.

                    • McFlock

                      RL, your love for capitalism is like loving a tiger at a zoo – sure, only a few people might get et in rare circumstances, so tigers are lovely and majestic. But in the wild, they're another thing entirely, especially if they're hungry.

                      One of the best-documented times capitalism was "in the wild" was the 1800s. And capitalism is always hungry.

                      How do you think child labour or even fucking slavery were abolished – their conditions in actual practise were documented by dozens, hundreds of people (including Marx and Engels). That stopped people ignoring it, and they pressured decision-makers or legislators. It wasn't that employers suddenly decided to be nice people.

                      But we don't need to go as far as the 1800s. As I said, even when you were being all safety conscious in the 1980s, many workplaces were knowingly endangering their customers or workers simply to turn a profit. Good luck turning the system that incentivises that into mutual "service relationships".

            • mikesh

              Landlords provide an essential social service for a very small (if any) cash flow gain. Almost all of your rent is consumed by various cash outgoings – especially if there is a mortgage.

              They can be useful if they do things right. ie if they are not reliant on subsidies like interest deductibility or accommodation supplements.

              And the simple answer is that for several generations now the only reliable investment in this country has been property. That factor alone is responsible for a very large fraction of the speculative bubble we are seeing – and until we have a political consensus around providing some decent alternatives, nothing much will change.

              Yes. But it is a pity that not many know how to invest sensibly in the property market. Too many take on large mortgages and then wonder why they can't make any profit. So they rely on capital gains.

          • Jimmy

            I have owned my rental property since the late 1980's. It was not purchased for the capital gain, it was purchased to hopefully provide an income stream once I retired and had paid off the mortgage, as I thought by the time I retire there may be no super. I'm sure it has increased significantly in value but its irrelevant to me as I'm not planning on selling it. The same tenant has been living in it for the last 15 years or so as the rent is about $120 per week under market value.

            I certainly do not feel like I am creaming it.

            • Anker

              Good on you Jimmy. Seriously. If you read what I have written above you will see I was in a similar situation. We are likely amongst the few who are smart enough to avoid charging excessive rents and still do ok out of being landlords.

              The thing is if you have bought an investment property and have to borrow so much, that there is no leaway for rates going up or tax right off changing then maybe you haven't thought through your business so well.

        • mikesh

          There is nothing to stop a landlord making a profit, though of course the interest should never have been deductible in the first place. In any case, isn't the house, that he will eventually own freehold, profit?

          • Nic the NZer

            The capital payments on loans have never been tax deductible. Its capital payments which lead to freehold ownership or as you called it profit.

            • Incognito


            • RedLogix

              I've explained this to mike three times now and he still doesn't seem to get it.

              • Nic the NZer

                Is it the fourth or fifth or seventh time thats the charm? I forget.

              • mikesh

                I 'get it' alright. Don't worry about that. I just don't believe it. It's crap.

                I’ve lost count of how may times I have refuted your claims.

                • RedLogix

                  At this point you now have at least two moderators considering your honesty – or lack thereof.

            • mikesh

              The capital payments on loans have never been tax deductible. Its capital payments which lead to freehold ownership or as you called it profit.

              Without paying interest you would not have a house. So you need both principal and interest in order to own a house..

          • Incognito

            The interest is a loss and always has been. For all businesses that take out a business loan in order to set up business or expand (AKA renovate). The owner foregoes the enjoyment of use of their property and in return receives rent to cover costs and to make a business profit on which they must pay income tax. Whether it’ll be mortgage free or not after the tenant(s) has moved out is irrelevant but FWIW, most tenants don’t stay for the whole duration of a mortgage. I have no idea how many ex-rentals are sold with zero mortgage, but it is irrelevant, as I said, and a separate issue.

            You seem to be saying that the property owner should carry the interest costs as well as not charge the tenant for the principal component of the mortgage because it is “personal”. In other words, property owners should provide a social good to tenants, like State Housing, and only charge part but not all of the costs they incur!? Where is the profit in that??

            I’ve given the example of a car rental and no company could operate successfully under such conditions. The rent of the car covers all operating costs + a profit to the company. These operating costs include interest on any business loan as well as salaries of company employees. A property owner usually cannot and does not receive a salary from the rent, but any professionals (e.g. accountant or property manager) contracted do because that’s their business.

            • Anker

              Well the more a business borrows, the more it will need to pay back, thus they will end up putting the rent up. And then complain because they are not making enough money.

              As I have said earlier on this thread, being a landlord was the easiest "job" I have ever done in my life. Money for jam. More like a hobby.

              It seems some "businessmen/women aka landlords haven't factored in cost increases such as interest rates going up or tax changes and now are upset about this. I am sorry if this is stressful for you.

              • Incognito

                Emotions are irrelevant here.

                Your comment did not address anything in my comment; you’re just repeating platitudes.

            • mikesh

              You seem to be saying that the property owner should carry the interest costs as well as not charge the tenant for the principal component of the mortgage because it is “personal”. In other words, property owners should provide a social good to tenants, like State Housing, and only charge part but not all of the costs they incur!? Where is the profit in that??

              I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that if you have to increase the rent in order to cover the mortgage, or at least break even, then your business is not resting on a sound footing. You should be prepared to run at a loss rather than increase the rent, otherwise you are being unfair on your tenants. I'm assuming your tenants are already paying the 'going rate'.

              • RedLogix

                You should be prepared to run at a loss rather than increase the rent

                Sighs – what you don't seem to understand is that is exactly what we did for almost 18 years, in order to cover the cash flow loss I put in many hundreds of thousands in shareholder funds earned in my day job to keep the business solvent, with interest rates close to 9% it was almost inevitable. Read that carefully – this is exactly what is meant by 'negative gearing'.

                Previous governments recognised that due to the peculiar capital intensity of residential rentals that it would often take a decade or two before the business could be expected to become 'profitable' in the normal sense of the word.

                It's precisely why the LAQC scheme was introduced, to allow the shareholder to claim the tax loss off their PAYE income in the year it was incurred, rather than store it up in the business to be claimed against future profits decades into the future. But that's long gone too.

                • Muttonbird

                  It's almost as if these things disappear because of poor investor/landlord behaviour under low single digit interest rates…

                  … you only have yourselves to blame.

                • mikesh

                  As Patrick Wymark said in the TV series The Power Game " Whom do we know who wants to flog a dead horse?".

              • Incognito

                Your arguing is starting to sound more and more disingenuous and now you’re appealing to the fairness principle. You have previously argued in several comments about the “personal” aspect of owning and borrowing for a rental property and that all associated costs are therefore (!) “personal”. I can’t be bothered digging up all the links to your comments where you said/argued these things, unless I (have to) moderate.

                I can’t be bothered with commenters who display a lack of integrity.


    • Treetop 2.5

      The government cannot rely on a landlord to not hike the rent. There will need to be assistance as far too many people are becoming stressed out over rent increases or worse homeless.

      Just to set people up in a rental is beyond many people and getting into debt increases stress.

  3. Ad 3

    Hope everyone here got their climate submissions in.

  4. Ad 4

    Good to see Goff humiliate Ports of Auckland on their safety record.

    Imagine if he did that to Auckland Transport for the same reason.

  5. greywarshark 5

    This is what we get when government starts splitting itself off from its jobs and contracting them out to some stand-alone agency, eg the Transport Authority – Te Waka Kotahi.

    …The mechanic has written a two-page letter to the minister of transport, following on the heels of a mass complaint against the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi from certifying engineers.

    Two truckers in recent days had told him they could not risk going in for a Certificate of Fitness inspection – equivalent to a Warrant of Fitness for a car – because the chance of expensive delays was too great, the mechanic – who RNZ agreed not to name – said."It's not [safe]," he said.

    "They've gotten that frustrated with the inspection process and systems, with how rigidly they're currently being enforced and how poorly outlined they [standards] are, they'd rather pay a fine than go through the process of doing major repairs on things that are highly unlikely to have any safety risk to them at all.

    "Yeah, it's just gotten to a point of madness."

    In the USA they call agency directors Czars because they gather so many powers. (J. Edgar Hoover was one, in the job from 1924 to 1972! The USA Government couldn't get rid of him – what a pathetic system. Do we want one like that, or with similar obvious failings?)

    J. Edgar Hoover joined the Justice Department in 1917 and was named director of the Department’s Bureau of Investigation in 1924. When the Bureau reorganized as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935, Hoover instituted strenuous agent-recruiting and advanced intelligence-gathering techniques. During his tenure he confronted gangsters, Nazis and Communists.

    Later, Hoover ordered illegal surveillance against suspected enemies of the state and political opponents. Despite receiving harsh criticism from the public, Hoover remained director of the FBI until his death on May 2, 1972.

    • Ad 5.1

      We have an ageing trucking fleet and NZTA are making up for years of v weak regulation.

      Next step will be another wave against the WOF certifiers.

      • greywarshark 5.1.1

        It's a bad look when expecting effective and efficient working together for the transport industry and controlling agencies. We cannot have a country that operates so erratically must be the conclusion about this. situation. Past weak regulation and probably also weak implementation, cannot change on a spin of a coin so a better practice should be planned and implemented, and truckers helped now to get up to standard without ruining them. I thought that the idea of the 'less government' method was to co-operate with business in setting and enforcing appropriate regulations.

        Business has tended to have contractors instead of employees, and I'm guessing those contractors are running expensive machines that need to be paid for by getting and doing the work and of course, getting paid for it promptly. The government agency needs to be cognisant of this and assisting them to bring their vehicles to compliance in a way that gets them back on the road in an ok condition in a timely manner.

        In the future the agency should help them keep up with their requirements so punitive and immediate sanctions don't have to be suddenly applied. The government agency could set up check points on their truck routes for instance, if it hasn't at present, so that they don't need to take time off for a big detour to the checking station. Perhaps inspectors can go to them. At present it looks very unprofessional – are these generic managers in the agency, who have no experience in this field, or just a weekend educational workshop to get oriented? One never knows in these crazy theoretical days.

        • Ad

          I know this industry and this regulator very well.

          You may recall three years ago there were a series of RNZ stories demonstrating WOF failures, then the Chief Executive of NZTA Fergus Gammie was roasted in Select Committee for regulatory failure and then shortly 'resigned', then the Chair was fired and a hard-man brought in to kick ass, then there was a Ministerial report demonstrating multiple failings, then there were multiple restructurings and firings in the NZTA regulatory teams. It went on internally for the next 2.5 years – at one point there was a 40% staff turnover across the whole of NZTA in a year.

          The Tier 1 contractors own their own fleets because they run really big Network Operating Contracts (NOCs) from NZTA and local councils and need very close accountability for them. Tier 1 freight delivery companies are the same – though some of the smaller ones still owner-operate their rigs.

          They both have a vested interest in a very well regulated heavy fleet.

          If you want to see cowboys in action you can still see them in the super-crappy-budget end of the taxi industry .

          NZTA have better regulatory staff than they've had – and the Head of Regulatory is pretty good. NZTA Regulatory Legal are very specialised and focused on what they do. That hasn't always been the case.

          • greywarshark

            That's very interesting Ad. Those people that take over a dysfunctional entity and settle in to get it steaming nicely deserve a medal. Take Sir Roger's off him and give it to someone cleaning up the messes that he was very forward in enabling.

            But what can be done to help the people found with big faults? They can't be blamed entirely, the whole system encourages cost cutting – it has been the most prominent exercise the country has been engaged in. Get rid of the fat etc. It was inevitable that she'll-be-right would find her way in.

            • Ad

              It aint sweetness and light – regulators dont have enough staff and fleet operators are incredibly marginal. I dont think it will ever come right.

              No pollie cares about regulation until its too late – Twyford was case in point.

      • Gabby 5.1.2

        Has Nick Leggett asserted that truckies can be trusted to monitor their vehicle's condition yet?

  6. greywarshark 6

    The skyscraper-sized ship has been blocking as many as 50 ships a day from getting through their main route between Europe and Asia, and has more than 300 ships waiting in traffic either side of it.

    Note that this shipping system is operating in an efficient and effective manner for its owners, to the point where it is a restraint on others' trade and has failed in its task of transporting goods from buyer to seller. Business must have restraints or it grows to be a near-monopoly or part of a narrow cartel excluding others. Ultimately it is so big, that if it fails, too many others get hurt, so it ends up being propped up – the opposite of business dogma.

    Can we get behind limiting our buying from overseas? Supply chain weakness would not then be so concerning, and country-wide incomes would start to rise if we self-limited foreign purchases where good stuff made by us sold to us, was available here. Good for us, good for the planet.

    We would have to build up our personal barriers to blandishments from well-heeled people making their money from selling us stuff, encouraging constant change and fashion. We could go all NZ funky and end up like fascinating Hobbits with our own style – the wonder of the world – in that odd little country down there living so happily while the rest of the wealthy world jumps to every new sensation that someone wants to sell them, and anti-stress devices are the latest gimmick.

  7. Pat 7

    "Compared to February last year the decline in consents was particularly severe for apartments -36.7% and retirement village units -31.4%, while consents for stand alone houses were down very slightly at -2.5% and consents for townhouses and units were up 6.4% (see the second interactive table below for the trends in building consents by type of dwelling).

    However, on an annual basis, consents for new dwellings are still running higher, with 39,725 new dwelling consents issued in the 12 months to the end of February, up 4.9% compared to the previous 12 months."

    With the borders closed and almost 40,000 consents issued in the past 12 months thats a big boost in dwellings that will flow into the property market over the coming months….and its worth noting the change of mix with a big reduction in apartments.

    With the expectation that international travel will be significantly curtailed for the next couple of years there is a good opportunity to make big inroads into housing issues, especially when placed alongside the latest changes in the housing package.

  8. greywarshark 8

    Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink? Wellington's burst pipes shoot water into the air, and has damaged buildings from the blast and constant onslaught.

    Now – another example of what we all know, too many new people into an area, too little preparation, repair and maintenance and renewal with too much new stuff going in.
    They sometimes call that a flood – bit of word-play there!
    When Campbell Barry became mayor of Lower Hutt in 2019, he quickly realised the city's water pipes had a trifecta of problems.
    "An underinvestment over a number of decades; ageing infrastructure coming home to roost; and also the growth that we're seeing in the city as well," Barry said.
    "Those three issues are really colliding together to make a situation where we need to act now with our investment and our focus."

    It's something their neighbours in Wellington have been well accustomed to – sewage pipes frequently bursting and geysers occasionally erupting…

    Wellington City is looking to invest $2.7 billion in water over the next 10 years and its capital expenditure programme is a third more expensive than previously budgeted for.
    Elsewhere, Porirua is budgeting to spend $1.1bn over the decade.
    And 32 cents for every dollar spent by Upper Hutt City Council will be going towards Three Waters.

    What's the problem with what they're doing about the problem?
    But there is a big question underlying all of these big money commitments: is the local contractor sector actually capable of doing the work?

    One way to get some notice taken about this sort of stuff is to coarsely curse – we have gone arse-over-tit under our continuing neolib-freemarket experiment.

    How can we change now? Could The Standard get a selection of leftish, Keynesian-commenting, Riccardo-ruminating, Smith-surmising economists to think up a Ted talk-type discussion, and then put it on youtube for all to see easily at any time. Perhaps Yannis Varoufakis would come on screen and clear some sediment or lees here where we need to learn to dance at the bottom of the world.

    • Ad 8.1

      Might want to hold still until Minister Mahuta has her reforms through the LTP discussion processes.

    • RedLogix 8.2

      Wellington's burst pipes shoot water into the air, and has damaged buildings from the blast and constant onslaught.

      The water in the main supply pipes is under considerable pressure (otherwise it would never get to where it's needed). The height of the geyser from a broken pipe is pretty much a measure of this pressure. This is not anyone’s fault, it’s innate to any water supply system, especially one operating in hilly terrain.

      I think I've mentioned this before, but Wellington Water operate the assets of four separate cities, Wellington itself, Porirua, Lower and Upper Hutt. An astute observer will notice that the vast majority of the problems are occurring in just one of these cities.

      • greywarshark 8.2.1

        Yes Red Logix – about the fountain. That is a fact and water is wasted and it can do some damage because of its pressure. Please don't go off in your engineering mind and not look at the main point.

        You allude to the number of cities being administered. Why do you think that Wellington is the one to show up as particularly troublesome? Do you think it is merely because it is the oldest? Of course it may be the earthquake/s there. Is there something that engineers can do to pipes to obviate that? Perhaps it is too big an area for one controller and Wellington should become a separate entity with enough problems to fill any engineer's day and year.

        • RedLogix

          Well like Ad said above, I know this entity well.

          There are three root causes I know of; the obvious one is that Wellington does have the oldest pipe network. It's also the one with the most challenging topology – water doesn't get to the high suburbs by itself, it requires big pumps and control systems to carefully control the flows and high pressures involved.

          Secondly since the 2013 earthquake there has been a real increase in failures just from all the ground movement stressing old and relatively brittle pipes.

          The third is that prior to the Wellington Water amalgamation, the city of Wellington's water supply department was in my view, clearly the underperformer for many decades. The reasons for this lie with successive councils more interested in grandstanding than spending money on core services.

          And finally I'd want to convey just how big a job it is to fix. WW have been around since 2014 and if their mandate (and funding) doesn't change, it could take at least another decade to get on top of – and that's a wild-arsed guess.

          The good news is that as old pipelines are replaced with modern fusion welded HDPE pipes both the leak rate and their vulnerability to bursting should dramatically improve. They really are a huge improvement.

          • greywarshark

            Thanks for that Red Logix. It does sound as if it needs a specialised team for Wellington who have a cunning plan, keep their eye on the ball, are using that system that checks for leaks and people draining or not, wastewater, stormwater etc in the wrong place, and have a continual working team ready to cap blowouts and with the road up for the new which will have to be ordered well in advance what with this disordered world, or maybe overhead pipes, so that the water people are onto it.

            I see Chch is going to have a Great Big Stadium said to cost over $400 mill. They are going to need more water fairly soon. And they aren't well over the 2011 earthquake yet, and the next one might come along in another decade. I think a sports arena is a sort of Paradise winking in the sunlight for these big noters.

            If only they could get a clear plan for after upheavals. First attend to emergencies, second get hospital tents up, three house people in emergency sleeping and cooking quarters, four restore roads and some sort of public transport, five get everyone working on preparing ground for the new sports arena (hint, we will feed you and give you a place to sleep) and be ready with eager contractors and designs based on somewhere in the world that sounds sophisticated.

            Crown approves Christchurch stadium funding |
   › sport › crown-approves-christch…
            2/03/2020 — Cabinet has signed off in its promised $220 million share of the $473m stadium cost after considering the city council's business case for the

            1998 – Construction company Chas S Luney Ltd built the stadium. The arena opened in September 1998 at a cost of NZ$32 Million.

            • RedLogix

              You shouldn't lose all hope here, there is a good team of competent people in WW – but their budgets are both constrained and carefully accounted for. It took over a hundred years to build the current system, and it's no trivial task to replace.

              are using that system that checks for leaks

              On the bulk water side (from the treatment plants to the reservoirs) there has long been a system in place to balance out all the inflows and outflows on a daily basis. It's possible for the office person doing this work to spot even quite small leaks within a day or so of them developing – well before anyone reports it on the ground.

              But the domestic reticulation side (from the reservoirs to the consumers) is a different story – way more complex and difficult to monitor. Having said that there are numerous techniques that have been developed that go a long way toward picking up the worst of them.

              But as for the big pipeline breaks – that's literally shit happening. There is no easy solution for this other than the long, unglamorous slog of digging them all up and replacing them at considerable expense. They'll start with the lines they believe are the oldest or most vulnerable – but sods law will still apply. Wellington is actually a tough landscape for a water supply system but with a big bucket of extra funding, the challenge can be met.

  9. Byd0nz 9

    How sickening it is to see, the little yankee puppy dogs, Canada and Australia spew out sanction drivel on Russia over a Crimean bridge build, it looks like the death throes of the American empire got stuck in their puppy dog throats. Has NZ yet to spew out the same crap on behalf of Uncle Sam I wonder.

  10. greywarshark 10
    The relentless sprawl into Sydney’s west is far from creating an Australian suburban dream, more an Australian nightmare, an academic says.

    Poorly designed, crammed-in homes in new developments west of the city are reaching hazardous temperatures, Sebastian Pfautsch says.
    Pfautsch is an associate professor of urban studies at Western Sydney University and says the urban sprawl to suburbs in the city's outer west could be a ticking time bomb for the health of hundreds of thousands of people, with some new suburbs experiencing heat 15 degrees hotter than other parts of the city.

    He took six readings in the Western Suburbs last summer that recorded more than 50 degrees celcius.
    “Which is half way to boiling point. In some places of the world, particularly Scandinavia, you may use that as a sauna temperature.”

    But people have to roast in these temperatures for hours, he says.
    The prediction is for longer lasting heatwaves in this part of the Sydney basin, he says, only making the problem worse where there could consecutive days of extreme heat.

    More important still are the night time temperatures, he says.
    “This is where our body would normally recover from the extreme stress during the day but if night time temperatures are 30 degrees and more your body can not recover.”

    Does anyone look with sorrow at the rabbit hutches new in NZ with all the same look and dark roofs and no privacy or play space crammed in together. And the dream of owning one of these? Let's Go Back to the Future and make those changes that would have been so important for keeping us to the right path instead of jumping the rails. An exciting ride for some, but what a devastation of a culture wreck.

    What smarts can we bring to bear now? Let's open up to all citizens who can find some appropriate land to take something forward that is modest, and preferably allows room for two dwellings, with proper permissions and designs etc.

  11. greywarshark 11

    Laurie Forestry managing director Allan Laurie said trade issues between Australia and China meant Australia was not sending logs there at present, and exports of spruce out of Europe were also lower.

    Here is an opportunity to buy from Australia. We can help them out with their surplus logs yes indeedy, at the right price and then use them here! Not do one of those smartarse deals if there is money in it to import them here and then sell them ourselves to China. We won't do that will we, will we!!

    • RedLogix 11.1

      lol – that would be ironic. In 2003 I spent four months helping to commission a fantastic new saw mill at Tumbarumba in NSW – that imported crappy twisted logs from NZ and processed them into top grade lumber. One of the machines was an earlier version of this, each log is scanned and according to it's shape the multiblade arbor follows the grain almost exactly. Hellish noisy and impressive to watch.

      As much as it would be delightful to see logs sent back across the Tasman for once, unfortunately I don't think NZ has got the milling capacity to take advantage of this situation. For decades we refused to invest in productive capacity to add value to one of our best resources – and it bloody shows.

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