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Open mike 30/11/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 30th, 2020 - 69 comments
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Step up to the mike …

69 comments on “Open mike 30/11/2020 ”

  1. Phillip ure 2

    I would like to submit that the governments minimalist move..on poverty..namely putting the rate at which claw back kicks in on any beneficiaries up to $150 could not be more of a steaming pile of incrementalist bullshit..

    ..in the sense of seeming to do something…but not really doing anything much at all..

    'cos could anyone point to where these $150 p.w. jobs are..?

    where beneficiaries trying to earn a bit more money can say to employers..'look..I can only work enough hours to earn $150 p.w…'cos winz claw back 85percent of any money earned above $150..'

    the answer is that these jobs don't exist..

    and these deeply cynical politicians know this..

    they know that this change 'reform' will do absolutely nothing to ease the grinding poverty so many face…and that ardern promised to 'transform'

    (that was back in 2016 wasn't it ..?…and we are now in year four' of this 'transforming' government..with so little to show for it..)

    and given those no-job realities…this 'reform' could set the new benchmark for neoliberal-incrementalism..

    ..given it hits both of those two marks of incrementalism..the being able to claim to be 'doing something'..

    ..but in reality ..doing s.f.a..

    • Sabine 2.1

      as it is so often, to be seen doing something is more important that doing something with substance. So we look at the sinking ship that is poverty and we give the people drowning a tea spoon to scoop up the water in the boat.

      Kinder. Gentler. of course.

    • NOEL 2.2

      Gummitt explanation

      "Up to 30,000 New Zealanders will be better off as a result of this policy and can keep more of what they earn. For some people this could be up to $70 more a week,” Sepuloni said"

      Cost to the taxpayer 320million if they can find 8hrs of work at minimum wage.

      • greywarshark 2.2.1

        Oh good Noel, you're a taxpayer (on your income?); as you will know most of us who do not have systems of off-loading GST as some businesses and wealthy do, are busily paying 15% on everything we do. Probably someone in Revenue is working out a bed tax, and a reversion to the old window tax. There is a cost of living you know, and when people cannot get this much money, or in kind, then they aren't living, more just existing and unhappy with it. Now all good citizens aren't happy knowing that situation. Do you count yourself as a good citizen?

      • Brigid 2.2.2

        "Cost to the taxpayer 320million if they can find 8hrs of work at minimum wage."

        Could you explain this? Are you saying that for every beneficiary that finds 8hrs of work the taxpayer has to pay 320million.

        It doesn't make sense

    • Sacha 2.3

      in the sense of seeming to do something… but not really doing anything much at all

      I agree it is like shifting a tax threshold so you can avoid changing the tax rate which the public might notice more.

      Is this govt pandering to voters who hate the guilt that beneficiaries make them feel?

      • Sabine 2.3.1

        no that is the labour party pandering to itself. Lookit, i am earning my keep, and if the poor wretched of Aotearoa can find a day of work they too get to keep what they earn. Equality!!!!!!!

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.4

      Covered this morning on Natrad….


      With an 'I think she doth protest too much…' from Our Leader.


      I could go on…but SSDD.

      (I'll concede it could just be cynical old moi…but I swear Ardern is sounding more and more like A Certain Predecessor every day. Soon it will be…"The reality is…" and the transformation will be complete.)

      • Adrian 2.4.1

        Why only limit your earnings to $150 dollars, if the work is there work the hours if they can be done around school hours etc,, sure some of it gets clawed back but only the amount that the government is paying over the $150 so it is a net gain over the limit. And God forbid it may even lead on to a full time job. You just can't please some people. And blaming Ardern is cynical, nasty and has all the hallmarks of the shit one sees from the right wing nut cases and lumps the naysayers in with those shitheads.

        Remember this government has doubled the amount that can be earned without penalty.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          And blaming Ardern is cynical, nasty and has all the hallmarks of the shit one sees from the right wing nut cases and lumps the naysayers in with those shitheads.

          Well gee. Thanks for that. Anyone who criticizes the Prime Minister has their mental stability called into question. Nice to know.

          In the meantime…did you actually listen to the interview with CPAG this morning? Did you actually listen to the interview with Ardern? Have you read the WEAG Report these pesky shithead naysayers keep banging on about?

          Didn't think so.

        • Sabine

          Yes, well over three years in, the government generously and charitably doubled the amount of the money people on a starvation benefit can earn before Winz claws back its entitlement.

          btw, i would like to point out that this amount is already taxed. PAYE. I.e. the government already gets a decent cut, long before the beneficiary with an 8 hour job gets any money.

        • arkie

          You just can't please some people.

          In 2018, the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) was tasked by the government to review the social security system and recommend changes.

          Its more than 200-page report was released in May last year.

          The Child Poverty Action Group's stocktake of progress on WEAG's 42 key recommendations has found none of them have been fully implemented.

          Among its recommendations, WEAG wanted benefit levels increased by up to 47 percent, the removal of some sanctions and obligations, better resourcing for frontline staff, changes to the relationship rules and greater urgency around boosting public housing.

          The government has previously said work was under way to address 22 of WEAG's recommendations.

          Can't even please themselves it seems.


    • Stuart Munro 2.5

      If only poverty relief could be rammed through without a mandate, with the same unseemly haste as the failed cult of neoliberalism.

  2. Stuart Munro 3

    The Spinoff has an easy practical measure to deter speculators from gaming our property market and tax system.

    • Andre 3.1

      Well, yes, directly loading extra costs and penalties onto the business of landlording to try to make it less attractive than other businesses is indeed an approach likely to have some effect.

      However, the problem of the unattractiveness of alternative investment strategies in New Zealand remains.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        From Stuart's spinoff link – good ideas.

        1 What about a non-monetary measure? Requiring landlords – the people who own the property, not just the property managers – to be licensed. To get the licence, they would have to pass a test showing they understand the rules and rights of tenants. The licence could be revoked if they break the rules, giving an effective sanction on bad landlords.

        2 Ultimately, professionalise being a landlord and get the “hobby” landlords out of the market, which would, in turn, reduce their demand for houses. Treat rentals like any other business where the customer comes first, rather than a capital return-making scheme with annoying tenants to deal with.

        What about allowing ordinary people wanting to invest in a house or two to do that, and then above that they would be in professional landlord territory. This was a past practice and a reasonable way of making an investment available in retirement. One house might be a bach, at (but not too close) to the beach (sea level rise etc), one might be a smaller place to which they could downsize on retirement. That could be a scenario and would be reasonable.

        Landlords above that holding, would have to stop playing with people's lives using inflationary credit, which is destroying our economy. This while under neo-liberal rules, we are doing fine. Standards and Poors probably regard us highly, the w…kers.

        And the problem of investment strategies being absent is a result of the free market and neolib strategies of under cutting nations’ enterprises by competition by price and quantity using their vertical and horizontal methods that flood the market. And also the fact that there is too much profit cream being dragged out of enterprise, piling up and spoiling, while the meagre substance that is left diminishes the viability of SMEs and micro business.

        • Sacha

          I thought most landlords in NZ only own one rental property?

          And that is increasingly beyond ‘ordinary’ for many New Zealanders, as is owning even the home we live in.

          • Andre

            And those landlords could easily shift debt from being associated with the rental property (where it makes sense to have it now because the interest is tax-deductible) to the family residence (which would be financially beneficial under the proposed scheme).

          • greywarshark

            There is a thick glossy magazine that calls itself Property Investor or such. It can picture on its cover a triumphant example of an investor made good – 21 years old and owns a whole street in South Auckland or such. It isn't the one rental property owner that is the problem I suggest. The smug smiling faces of people who are big owners often built on leverage, are not those with one property. Maybe the LVR will limit the use of leverage.

            As for magically fixing the plight of ordinary house hunters in NZ by a few changes to improve matters, you I think need to go to a Christmas pantomime to see that sort of happy change. Let us get started in a reasonable manner, so that we don’t frighten the horses. If things were changed drastically, the politicians would soon withdraw the medicine, leaving us sick at heart, and more despairing.

            Make the changes noticeably, but incrementally, with commitment and determination. Let’s do a Covid on it and bring in changes that will make a difference and that we can live with, and ultimately cheer ourselves for being wise as we see the advantages.

            • Sacha

              Make renting a better option.

            • Peter chch

              Do you not think though that biggest problem is supply (or lack of)?

              If the government went back to mass producing pre fabricated houses, over a decade or so the increase in supply would pretty much undercut the speculators.

              Anything else is just tinkering around the edges. And as for KiwiBuild, a joke from day 1.

              As an aside, at Rolleston Prison they have a brilliant business where houses are effectively rebuilt and then relocated. Provides great trade skill learning for inmates and extra income for their weekly buy ups.

              A little creative thinking like that is needed (this was actually an initiative under Judith Collins).

              • Sacha

                We need to untangle supply of homes from supply of an investment asset.

                Fixing the former requires massive investment in urgently building simpler homes where the 'market' has failed – for people to rent in supportive, well-designed and well-serviced communities (so we do not make more ghettos). Prefabs may be part of that in some places. Apartment and townhouse complexes, another.

                Fixing the investment side requires firm law changes to make businesses, pension funds, etc more attractive to invest in than housing portfolios. If we do not turn off the tap of cheap money flowing in from the world's financiers, no amount of extra housing will be enough.

              • Tricledrown

                Collins did fall as housing minister not that National had a housing minister for most of the 9 years they were in power there was no housing crisis so to avoid awkward questions National didn't have anyone to front media ,housing problem solved.

                Kiwibuild provided 600 more houses more than would have been built.

                To build the number of houses required the only option to make it happen is prefabricated houses imported plus locally built.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.2

        Agreed – but baby steps. This is a nice measure to curb the currently rampant inflation. Reform of the NZSE and a professional, critical, business press to watch it will take longer to establish, and even longer to yield results. It beats the he said she said blame game between govt. and the reserve bank, and might actually do some good.

  3. Rosemary McDonald 4

    Brilliant nail-on-the-head piece from Newsroom this morning as a follow up to the sterling work done by Melanie Reid on Oranga Tamariki, CYFs…or whatever the fuck they call themselves these days.


    As caregivers we are excluded from the process; made to feel intrusive and problematic if we question too much. And there will be trauma; as yet again they are removed from their hard-won loving and secure environment.

    I want our voice heard. Our whānau voice and most importantly the voices of the children. I want them to be able to feel they have the right to say what they want and to have that listened to and embedded in the plan that will shape their destinies.

    Because whatever happens their destinies will be changed and it is not them or the people who know them best that will do the shaping. OT controls that narrative.

    We also signed up as "transition" foster parents and over 60 children became temporary members of our whanau.

    All of those children needed to be taken to a place of safety…none were removed from functioning, safe homes…but it was what CYFS did once the children were safely in care that was the problem.

    That, and the dismissive way we as parents were treated if we advocated for these children.

    Our second to last child, a newborn, languished in legal limbo for months as social workers tried to force the birth mother to toe their line. She had done nothing wrong. At all. Every few days we contacted the Office to ask what the plan was…and where was the all important Care Plan?

    For the last few weeks of the placement we phoned the local office every single working day to remind them they needed to get their shit together. Every single day

    Eventually I made an official complaint to the Children's Commission and they put a rocket under CYFS. Baby and Mum were reunited in a supportive environment, which is what should have happened from day one.

    Our 'Boss' at CYFS a few days later gave us a bollocking for 'failing to communicate.'

    • Anne 4.1

      Excellent story. Thanks for the heads up Rosemary.

      I'm not sure how many more of them I can read. So distressing.

      “Our ‘Boss’ at CYFS a few days later gave us a bollocking for ‘failing to communicate.

      Yes. A familiar path followed by some Public Service agencies – charge the ‘victim’ with supposed failures thus diverting attention from their failures.

  4. Anne 5

    Any link possible between this meeting and the assassination of Iran's top scientist?


    Just askin.

  5. greywarshark 6

    Why not think about what we should be doing in this country instead of putting over a fake paint job so all looks good? A 'sweep the dirt; under the rug approach. I think we are too full of unearned self-esteem.


  6. arkie 7

    Jacinda Ardern says public bears some responsibility for housing crisis after failed taxation attempts

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is putting some onus on the public for the housing crisis, saying the Government had tried taxation to ease the soaring market three times without public support.

    Ardern admitted today there is more work to do and said the Government is working on potential solutions.

    “There are a range of different issues at play that we need to be responding to across the board, so it’s not just about planning, it’s not just about incomes and deposit and it’s not just about lack of supply, but actually we do need to be doing things on all of those fronts,” she said.

    “The idea that one thing is going to make a difference for everyone is just not the case and that’s why we are looking across the board and have been over the last three years.”

    Looking, searching, finding nothing and blaming the electorate.

    Just brilliant politics, transformational leadership. Kinder, gentler. Bah.


    • AB 7.1

      There is a section of the community who indulge in hand-wringing about house prices and the next generation – then have conniptions if any remedial measures (e.g. CGT) threaten to hit their back pocket. So she is right about that sort of hypocrisy making things electorally difficult. And it comes more from the sort of people who are 'soft', or potential 'soft', Labour voters – the ones who might (say) push Labour over 50%.

      Whereas people who will never vote Labour (like the scowling Mark Richardson) don't suffer from this hypocrisy – they are unambiguous and unapologetic that they will do whatever is necessary to enrich themselves and if others can't keep up it's because they are 'losers'.

      • arkie 7.1.1

        A new Horizon Research poll shows more people support than oppose the idea of a capital gains tax.

        However, when the poll dug into more detail about the asset classes people owned, opposition was significantly higher.

        The nationwide Horizon Research Poll – taken between February 28 and March 15 – found 44 per cent of New Zealand adults supported introducing a capital gains tax and 35 per cent opposed it.


        The Newshub-Reid Research poll asked voters if Labour should have gone further in taxing the wealthiest New Zealanders.

        Opinion was split, but more voters – 48.7 percent – said yes while 43 percent said no and 8 percent didn't know.

        A majority of Labour's own voters – nearly 60 percent – wanted them to go further, while a third of National voters think so too.


        The tail wags the dog. The centre holds. For shame.

        • RedBaronCV

          I don't see that there was ever any public dislike for higher income taxes plus supporting measures to ensure earnings aren't moved through trusts and companies. Not the pathetic measure we got.

          I don't see too much public pushback if sellers of properties owned for less than 5 years had to pay a withholding tax before the title change was registered. Lawyers and agents to help there. And the ability to gain an exemption certificate for the single home buyer who moves.

          I don't see too much public pushback for population shrinking measures including not issuing work visas, killing all permanent resident visas where the holder has not been ordinarily resident here for the last two years and finding out what the 267000 visa holders still here are doing.

          I don't see too much public pushback for limiting beneficial interest in domestic residences to 2-3 per person who is domiciled here and 0 for anyone domiciled overseas. Transition period for the first group and none for the second.

        • mikesh

          I think taxation methods should be decided on the basis of fairness and efficacy rather than on popular opinion as expressed in public opinion polls. Where taxation is concerned the numbers are likely to represent areas of self interest. Also, if a poll is to be held on these matters, everybody needs to be given a chance to express their opinion, not just a small cross section.

    • Whispering Kate 7.2

      Since when did Roger Douglas the pig farmer need "public support" to bring in his harsh regime of economic reform. Rubbish that she needs the public on board. Ardern is known to have said she is risk averse. She has an overwhelming mandate to do whatever she wants and frankly methinks she is happy with the status quo leaving sick and disabled, hungry kids and other unfortunates struggling on. The entire WINZ setup needs bringing into the 21st century and its saddening that people are still struggling on a weekly basis.

    • Jester 7.3

      When Labour were in opposition they screamed about the house prices increasing under Key (even though they also increased under Helen Clark). Now they are in power, the house prices are still increasing. I really don't think it makes much difference who is in government, while there is excess demand over supply they will keep increasing.

  7. tc 8

    What is the Marlborough Lines company doing owning a winery ! Yealands isn't exactly a premium high end brand IMO just another template Marlborough winery.

    Did the unit holders vote this or did the club run lines trusts just go ahead ?

  8. greywarshark 9

    Perhaps stuff can follow up on the peculiar and unhealthy extent of judges' discretion over name suppression orders in NZ which appears to be ongoing. The name is not revealed here.

    I see on reading Saturday's Nelson Mail Nov.21 about the death of David Millane, murdered Grace's father, that 'Grace Millane's killer, who cannot be named, was sentenced for life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years in February 2020'.

    Information about why NZ Courts can withhold details that would be expected to be public knowledge here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/117058919/name-suppression-how-the-uniquely-kiwi-hush-hush-policy-became-law-and-morphed-over-a-century?rm=m

    And more – as the name was revealed overseas:


    A QUESTION OF JURISDICTION Suppression in New Zealand criminal proceedings is covered by the Criminal Procedure Act. Judges can issue suppression orders for a number of reasons. These include if they believe there's a risk that naming the defendant could endanger their right to a fair trial, it would cause the defendant "extreme hardship", cause undue hardship to the victim or could cast suspicions on another person.

    People who break the order face a prison sentence of up to six months, while companies face a fine of up to $100,000.

    Andrew Geddis explains background here: Feb.26/20 https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2020/feb/26/why-are-new-zealanders-still-not-allowed-to-know-the-identity-of-grace-millanes-killer

    Nov.24/2019 Grace Millane's murderer told her he was the manager of an oil company – but in reality he had lost his job the day they met and he was in the process of applying for a customer service position.

    • NOEL 9.1

      Not permanent. Up to the Court when it is lifted. If he has made an appeal then probably next year.

    • Graeme 10.1

      Destination Queenstown's 30 / 90 day occupancy outlook

      Not pretty, peaks at 70% for a couple of days through New Year (would normally be over 100%) and through the normal Feb peak when most hotels would book to 120% and hope 20% don't turn up (mad panic when they do) we're looking at 20%

      Strange thing is that the rest of town outside of tourism is going gang busters If you want a builder or other tradie, forget it, 2022 maybe. And morning and evening peak traffic in Frankton is the most insane I've ever seen.

      But the pressure is coming on to get a Trans Tasman two way bubble going From chatter in the industry the stumbling block is putting 'clean' travellers from Australia, and New Zealanders going the other way, through 'dirty' airports that are taking people repatriating from outside Australasia. The proposal in the link is for two way travel between Canberra and Wellington. There are other pairings that don't have long haul repatriation as well.

  9. Duncan 11

    Not sure if anyone is interested as I haven't seen it mentioned.

    But Stats archives are about to disappear from easy reach.


    It's been a bugbear of mine for ages, about how the CPI has been manipulated to lower CPI and interest rates by removing housing, and any item that costs to much so people can afford it.

    This terrifies me, yet no one else seems to care.

    • Duncan 11.1

      PS, this is a warning to you all.

    • McFlock 11.2

      Didn't know there was such a thing, asnd I thought I was a bit of a nz stats nerd.

      Probably why they're ditching it – low use and not worth upgrading infrastructure. What's the actual issue?

      • Duncan 11.2.1

        How governments have manipulated CPI to exclude housing, so the so called independent RBNZ has no control over house prices.

        As a nerd I would have thought you would like to go back and see how things change, immigration, CPI basket weighting etc.

        Obviously not much of a nerd if you don't understand the implications for those doing research.

          • Duncan

            Are you taking the piss.

            Bolger and Shipley removed land costs, existing occupied builds and interest rates from the CPI.

            That is what they are trying to hide.

            • McFlock

              Well, maybe there's a copy on the internet archive if you're that upset about it.


              • Duncan

                I've downloaded all the pages McFlock.

                As security. I'm not upset about it, what I can't get my head around is why no one else is upset that history is being deleted.

                Especially a stats nut like you 🙂

          • Duncan


            apologies posted this where you may not have seen it.

            Can you please read what happened in the 90's, and base your comments and thoughts on that, as with respect, everything else is really just incidentals.

            • McFlock

              Infoshare isn't being closed, though. So that page should still be retrievable next month.

              CPI arcana isn't my field. I suspect you're arguing that because mortgage rates aren't included after 1999 they're not factored into OCR decisions, so therefore the RBNZ can't do anything.

              But that's not about keeping CPI down, I suspect it's more because the skyrocketing property market wasn't going to stop because of OCR changes, and including them in OCR calculations would have resulted in a sort of housing stagflation, where every other sector of the economy had the air taken out of it and the housing market was still overheating. And governments for the last 30+years have been terrified of upsetting property speculators by intervening in the property market in any direct and immediate way.

              • Duncan

                Land prices, the cost of existing builds and interest rats were removed McFlock.

                So the weighting of housing in the CPI dropped from 33% to 13%.

                Which means house prices can skyrocket and CPI barely moves, so interest rates don't have to increase to bring house prices down.

                I have a serious question. Can you really not see that, because it is the number 1 reason we have house prices where they are now.

                • McFlock

                  Not really.

                  I would have said that the number one reason would be an intractable reluctance by governments to shift the bright line out to ten years and levy long-term-unoccupied dwellings. And of course other people will have issues with free trade capital flows, but I tend towards direct market controls as a preference.

                  CPI is an aggregate measure, and the OCR is a blunt instrument. Trying to use those two to depress one sector while not hurting the others could well have worked the opposite way to that which was desired, leaving skyrocketing unemployment and still having an overheated property market.

                  Besides, economic predictions from aggregate measures are like divining the future based on belly lint – everybody has their own brand, each convinced they're correct.

      • Duncan 11.3.1

        Check the 90's if you need guidance, and think about the implications.

        And why Seymour is "laughingly" asking for those land costs, existing occupied buildings, and mortgage rates being brought back into the CPI.

        • greywarshark

          What about writing to the Minister of Stats – David Clark. Proper address Hon. (Name) Min of Stats. Dear Minister….

          Ask him to make sure they do not delete his title and position. Tell him that we do nott want to follow the disgrace of the Canadian leader Stephen Harper who in 2014 decided that pesky environmental and fishing stats were not needed.

          Canada's chief statistician has resigned in protest over what he says is the federal governments' failure to protect Statistics Canada's independence.

          Wayne Smith says the government's decision to create Shared Services Canada and centralize all information technology services across government has compromised Statistics Canada's ability to fulfil its mandate.
          "I have made the best effort I can to have this situation remediated, but to no effect," Smith said in a note to the National Statistical Council, which advises him. "I cannot lend my support to government initiatives that will purport to protect the independence of Statistics Canada when, in fact, that independence has never been more compromised,"


          …In the first few days of 2014, scientists, journalists, and environmentalists were horrified to discover that the Harper government had begun a process to close seven of the 11 of Canada's world-renowned Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries, citing a consolidation and digitizing effort as the reason. Reports immediately proliferated that the process was undertaken in careless haste…

          Last Sunday, CBC's the Fifth Estate aired an investigation on how the Harper government has dealt with scientists over the past seven years. The doc illustrated a battle between an ideology driven administration and mostly apolitical scientists simply pursuing the facts gleaned from their research, and how it led many to be silenced and defunded. Scientists discussed being hamstrung and dissuaded from pursuing politically inconvenient facts, instances of research that didn't fit policy directives being curtailed or shut down completely; world-renowned researchers who were summarily dismissed and barred from accessing their work; and programs monitoring food inspection, water quality and climate change being reduced. The federal government has dismissed over 2,000 scientists since 2008. ..

          …excoriated Harper for a prolonged campaign in muzzling scientists. "The government of Canada—led by Stephen Harper—has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists," wrote Verlyn Klinkenborg. "Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands—source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline."

          • Duncan

            Yeah well I might write, probably not as there is no point without widespread public support. When stats nuts like McFlock don't know what is happening, and don't seem to understand the implications it fills one with a sense of dread.

            Stephen Harper has been in NZ many times over the years since Key fled, in discussions with Bill English, and presumably Key and the National Party.

            I know this because I met one of his policy advisors while hiking.

            But personally I would prefer to deal with the NZ government on their own merits and not what is happening in Canada. I don't need to give them an excuse.

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