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Open mike 31/01/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 31st, 2020 - 114 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

114 comments on “Open mike 31/01/2020”

  1. Ad 1

    Happy Brexit Britain.

    Looks like there's been mostly upsides from the election result, and any forecast Brexit instability will be camouflaged by Coronavirus economic impact.

    Sometimes the doomsayers are just wrong.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      Britain gets its sovereignty back today.

      Rather than beginning today as many predicted, the Brexit chaos ends today.

    • Paddington 1.2

      In this case, very wrong.  Britain will be stronger for Brexit, much stronger.

    • mpledger 1.3

      The Scottish parliament have voted to have another independence referendum.  Northern Ireland is going to blow up but now the old-Irish outnumber the Anglo/Scots-Irish so they'll probably rejoin Ireland.  The UK is going to be just down to Wales and England.  So, yea, if Boris' legacy is to lose resources, population and territory (which all equates to income and security) then he's doing a great job. 

      • Paddington 1.3.1

        That's all just speculation.  You're making the same mistake as other remainers – passing judgement based on hypotheticals.  The EU is a poisonous animal that needs major reform.  Hopefully Brexit will start a landslide of countries either leaving or demanding change.

        • RedLogix 1.3.1.1

          Odd how progressives queue up to shit on the 'white racist, jingoistic' motives that saw Trump elected, yet when it comes to Brexit this is all a fine and good thing.

  2. Andre 2

    The impeachment is really showing how the false idea that there's a legitimate "both sides to every story" really gets in the way of reporting objective truth and facts. Sometimes the facts, law, and moral legitimacy are all on one side, and all the other side has is lying, wilful ignorance, and shamelessness.

    https://www.salon.com/2020/01/30/give-it-up-media-cowards–theres-no-way-to-both-sides-impeachment/

    • Gosman 2.1

      It should make it easy for people with the Truth to win over the voters they need to take control of the levers of government then.

      • mac1 2.1.1

        Some of us remember a salacious weekly rag of that name- the NZ Truth- and what it did, and to whom……

        https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/02/17/something-similar-political-skulduggery-was-rife-in-1975-why-not-in-2014/

        And as Trotter asked in 2014, "Why not in 2020"?

        Especially when, in the 'robust' arena of politics, the Advertising Standards Authority graphically itself sets a very low bar as to what truth is.

        https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/408537/national-party-ads-ruled-acceptable-despite-criticism

        • Anne 2.1.1.1

          The NZ Truth :

          My mother (long since departed this mortal coil) was an active member of the School of Philosophy in Auckland. It was a branch of the quite famous London School of Philosophy which, among its members, sported some famous names. 

          Around 1975 the NZ Truth printed a headline along the lines… "School of Philosophy in Auckland a Communist Front”. The claims made were bollocks – a finer more upstanding group of people you could not meet. 

          That is one example of the damage that sick rag incurred on organisations and individuals who were deemed, for one idiotic reason or another, to be a danger to the security of the nation. It was a time of gross ignorance and collective institutional madness and I sometimes wonder who was behind that newspaper.

          • Peter 2.1.1.1.1

            While that rag has gone don't you think the ways of media in the world now are far more insidious? For example, a blog site posting headlines along the style of the one you quote, do it everyday about all sorts of things can, because of the nature of media, reach everywhere.

            Fortunately there aren't people with scumbag motives any more which you thought were at the Truth.

            I mean now we have ethical people like David Farrar. 

            • Anne 2.1.1.1.1.1

              While that rag has gone.

              Well, that scumbag Cameron Slater did try to resurrect it a few years ago. Fortunately it failed along with his own reputation.

              Yes, you have a point. It still goes on… but there are plenty of people with scumbag motives. It's just they are more spread around now and not so concentrated.

              • mac1

                Yes, Anne, the scumbags now are not so concentrated and are more visible through social media.

                Worse now than when the mass media were the only source of news apart from word of mouth?

                Twenty years ago, before social media really kicked in, as a parliamentary candidate I was very falsely rumoured to have had two drug convictions and to be a supporter of paedophiles.

                What would have been the harm if social media had been used to perpetrate such lies?

                Then a reporter asked about the drug convictions. My answer was of course no, and it would be a matter of public record for a journalist to verify or find false.

                That never went further.

                With today's social media and ratbags like Slater?

          • gsays 2.1.1.1.2

            Hi Anne, I can happily report the School of (Practical) Philosophy is still going strong in the provinces here in the 'Tu.

            By far the most impactful/nurturing/loving/growth periods of my life.

      • Macro 2.2.1

      • Andre 2.2.2

        And how does this relate to the Hunter Biden issue?

        Your link is to a US company effectively bribing foreign officials. This is explicitly illegal, although the combover con wants to make it legal.

        Hunter Biden was hired for a fake job by a foreign company. There is no law against this. Presumably it was in hopes of getting Joe Biden to feel favourably towards that foreign company and hopefully influence Joe's actions. But there is zero evidence that any actual influence happened, and a lot of evidence that Joe's actions, as part of a public bipartisan and international policy, in fact were likely to make things more difficult for that foreign company.

        So one instance is of a US company knowingly playing the corruption game with knowingly corrupt foreign officials. The other is of a foreign company gambling by putting bait out to try induce corruption in a US official, and losing the gamble when the bait failed to catch any actual influence.

      • Andre 2.2.3

        By the way, thank you for illustrating how easily a false "both sides" bullshit diversion gets traction and spreads around.

        • RedLogix 2.2.3.1

          I thought you'd love it … 🙂

          While it's almost certain that Hunter Biden didn't technically break any laws, the media mantra that he's squeaky clean doesn't hold much water either.  Given that Ukraine is a notoriously corrupt country, the probability that the Biden's could withstand serious scrutiny strikes me as pretty low.

          But still Joe is or was the leading Dem candidate so I guess that makes him untouchable.

          • Andre 2.2.3.1.1

            I've yet to see any media that says Hunter is squeaky clean. Pretty everything I've seen has a definite tone that Hunter is a low-talent sleazoid just cashing in on his proximity to daddy.

            However, when it comes to corruption, the issue is Joe's actions. Not Hunter's. And it seems Joe's actions with respect to Ukraine corruption were indeed squeaky clean (possibly surprisingly), his familial proximity to Hunter notwithstanding.

            Dunno about Joe being untouchable. There's plenty he's getting bashed for, quite reasonably. Like his record as the senator from MBNA, his openness to shit like gutting Social Security and so on.

            But latching onto the Repug tactic of falsely smearing Joe to try to divert from Darth Drumpf's high crimes and misdemeanours just contributes to growing the bullshit pond making it ever harder to fish out the few chunks of truth still floating there.

            • RedLogix 2.2.3.1.1.1

              And it seems Joe's actions with respect to Ukraine corruption were indeed squeaky clean (possibly surprisingly), his familial proximity to Hunter notwithstanding.

              Or maybe not.

              Trump is such a polarising figure there are few independent voices left who can be trusted to give us the whole picture. Everyone has reason to select only those parts of the story that fit their narrative. It’s not safe to accept uncritically anyone’s version of what is really happening here.

              Still I keep circling back to my original contention, that this whole shit show is being driven by a group of very dangerous Washington anti-Russian hawkes who were enraged by Trump meddling with their insane scheme to split Ukraine and the Crimea away from Russia.  Unable to attack Trump directly they're using the Democrats as a proxy.

              Well there is the delicious possibility that Trump will be convicted and removed from office. But to imagine this will necessarily translate into a win for the progressive left … well that's a lot harder vision to conjure up.

  3. Ad 3

    All the best for Brexit Day Britain.

    Doesn't seem to have hurt your economy despite all the doomsayers. And any evidence of impact will now be washed out by Chinese virus impact.

    Sometimes one doomsday just gets replaced with another.

    • Muttonbird 3.1

      There's not even this much spin for BoJo coming from the Tory machine!

      • Ad 3.1.1

        Bojo doesn't need spin.

        Unemployment is fine.

        Business confidence is fine.

        Inflation is fine.

        Political order is locked in for the next five years, and opposition reduced to irrelevancy.

        No major EU regulatory issues to speak of.

        If you were going to do some major international trade rupture, now's about the best time.

        • Muttonbird 3.1.1.1

          Nothing about social consciousness?

          Also an irrelevancy in your world it seems.

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.1

            I was and am a Remainer, a Labour supporter, and very much an internationalist when it comes to social movements.

            And on this one we lost on all counts.

            There's no redeeming it.

            2020 is now a year of accelerating entropy.

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes the sight of all the Brexiter's all gloating about their 'win' when none of the actual consequences and costs of this omnishambles have yet to arrive, is all a bit sick making. 

              Remember the vote was split pretty evenly, if Brexit does turn to custard, there will be a lot of people loudly and with very good reason turning hard on the political class that led them out of the EU.

              And the US has not even started the process of demolishing the Brit's will to live when it comes to trade negotiations.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2

      Ad, your optimism is Admirable – only time will tell if it’s also well founded.

      "Brexit it is then. But 31 January seems like much ado about nothing other than the issuing of a reminted 50p coin that is going to highlight the stark differences that exist between young remainers and old leavers. We are living in an increasingly digital age and the young mostly don’t use cash, preferring plastic. Big Ben is also not going to bong so there will be no ringing in Brexit. Not a good start methinks.

      GDP growth appears to be flat and imports have fallen after the stockpiling that took place on Brexit fears. Over the Christmas period retail sales failed to rise for a record fifth month in a row in a sign of just how weak the economy is. But PMI data released last week was slightly better than I had expected, while there was a marked rise in business confidence after the election. However, confidence is fragile and this may well be a temporary reprise before reality bites."

      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/30/is-uncertainty-lifting-now-brexit-is-finally-happening-experts-debate-the-data

      • Ad 3.2.1

        UK

        Wage increases: Yes

        Interest rates: Flat

        Inflation: Good

        Budget stimulus: coming this year

        GDP growth: Solid

        Balance of Payments: Good

        Unemployment: Good

        Inward investment: strong

        We don't have to wait – the UK has appeared to have got on with things.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1.1

          Much like a marriage, or a divorce, some ramifications of Brexit may take more than a few days to surface – I’m too cautious to rate it an unqualified success, yet… smiley

  4. joe90 4

    The folly of international travel.

    (google translate)

    The terror of the spread of Coronavirusfrom China he arrived in Rome. And in two distinct situations. On Thursday morning, a Costa Cruises ship was stopped in the port of Civitavecchia (after stopping in Marseille, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca) for two suspected cases of Coronavirus on board. The two people who manifested symptoms were put in isolation in the on-board hospital, their cabin sealed, and were joined by Spallanzani doctors to undergo specific tests: they are husband and wife, Hong Kong Chinese, boarded the "Costa Smeralda" in Savona a few days ago and arrived in Italy at Malpensa on 25 January. They had fever and breathing problems. In reality, the woman would have triggered the alarm after showing up on Wednesday evening at the hospital on board: but it would have been judged by health professionals not to worry and with "mild symptoms" of flu. On the other hand, her husband would not present signs of the disease. All the other passengers of the ship, about 7 thousand, were unable to disembark until 3pm.

    https://roma.corriere.it/notizie/cronaca/20_gennaio_30/virus-cina-paura-due-casi-sospetti-roma-turisti-cinesi-ricoverati-all-istituto-spallanzani-607f1282-432f-11ea-bdc8-faf1f56f19b7.shtml?refresh_ce-cp

    • joe90 4.1

      Of course Xi and his privileged party officials will be just fine in their HazMat bunkers and kit. Fuckers.

      The development is significant. If the virus spreads in Xinjiang it could leave the estimated 1 million Uighur Muslims detained in prison camps across the region highly vulnerable to infection. Uighurs call the region East Turkestan.

      The camps are filthy, have poor infrastructure, and are packed to busting with prisoners, according to testimony of former inmates. This makes them an ideal breeding ground for disease and infection.

      https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wuhan-coronavirus-xinjiang-uighur-squalid-detention-camps-2020-1?r=US&IR=T

      • aom 4.1.1

        In the other hand Joe, the Uighur's might be in one of the safest, most infection-isolated places in China at the moment.

        • joe90 4.1.1.1

          The Wuhan coronavirus has reached Xinjiang in western China,

          In the early stages Xi's bungling, authoritarian mob covered up the epidemic, and then reported that it had confined the outbreak to Wuhan.

          Do you really thing they'll lift a finger to contain, and prevent the spread of the virus into minority communities they view as enemies of the state?

           

           

        • A 4.1.1.2

          Why yes!  I'm certain they want to keep their organs free from disease.

    • Molly 5.1

      A better idea would be for the council to acknowledge the housing crisis, and as a response put a higher rate on unused housing.  The income acquired from that would then go towards providing social housing.

      Asking home owners that have the capital to invest in housing, and then leave those houses empty assumes it is only the 'hassle' of being a landlord that has stopped them using those houses for their intended purpose.  In terms of the rise in capital value, when they leave them empty, it increases the scarcity of available property, thereby increasing the value.

      Capital gains tax is also unlikely to kick in after a prolonged period of time, negating any social benefit from this type of housing investment.  The owners are openly taking houses from the available market and hoarding them in order to increase their personal wealth.  I consider it unlikely that they will change this strategy at a request from council.  If they do it will have to be sweetened with further financial benefits from Housing NZ and Auckland Council.

      In recognising the housing crisis for the problem that it is, we should consider those who purchase these houses to keep them out of the market in order to increase their personal wealth as hoarders.  Safe, accessible, affordable housing is a necessity for our people, communities and country.  House hoarders should be regarded as similar to those who would stockpile food or increase food prices during a food shortage.  Therefore, they should be required to offset the harm done with targeted misuse of resources and charged higher rates.

      • A 5.1.1

        Brilliant!! 

      • Sabine 5.1.2

        it would also be nice if the government could look into tax loop holes that allow property owners – be it residential or commercial – to write of any looses incurred on a rental property to be written off. 

        If the loss incurred is that of the property not being rented then maybe the property is not rentable at the price the owner asks, or maybe it is in such a shitty state that it can't be rented in the first place. 

        But clearly as it is now, it must be more profitable to leave commercial properties empty to the point of whole towns centers being 'for lease' with no one biting. It can't all be the fault of those that wont' lease these properties? Right?  And someone please explain to me why property in Tokoroa, Whakamaru, Putaruru, Rotorua etc cost the same as in AKL? Surely it ain't market forces? 

        Same with residential property that is empty for 9 month a year and only goes on air bnb every now and then, or is kept empty all year round. It must be more profitable to not rent these properties and in that case something is very very wrong in our tax system. 

        So where is the government here? Or is that one of the things they may look at this time around if we kindly vote them back in, cause obviously the last three years they had not time to look at that. Right? 

          • Sabine 5.1.2.1.1

            hold your horses

             

            under the exempt:

            Excluded properties

            There are some residential properties that aren't affected by the ring-fencing rules, including:

            • your main home (if you have more than one home, this is the home you have the greatest connection with)
            • property that comes under the mixed-use asset rules
            • farmland
            • property used mainly as business premises
            • property you've identified to us as land that will be taxed on sale, regardless of when it's sold
            • property owned by companies (other than close companies)
            • employee accommodation
            • property owned by Government enterprises

            If you're unsure if a property is affected by these rules or not, we recommend you talk to your tax agent.

             

            again, does not address the willful keeping empty of properties, and does not address business properties, commerical properties, etc.  Essentially it addressed the bare minimum and again only 'residential' and only some 'residential'. 

            Our government does not have sharp teeth, but it allows for loopholes. For everyone they close they open half a dozen others. 

            • Nic the NZer 5.1.2.1.1.1

              IRD introduced this last year. The horses have already bolted.

              • Sabine

                 So the appearance of doing something is more important than actually doing something. Oh my!

                • Nic the NZer

                  I think you will need to describe the manner in which these land bankers are actually profiting prior to being able to identify how to collect the tax on that profit.

                  Its entirely possible that owning but not utilising a property is a loss making activity and that is what the ring-fencing rules discourage.

                  But my general conclusion on this situation is that, the govts focus on using monetary policy for circa 30 years has been much better at suppressing wage growth than housing price growth. The economy doesn't automatically balance these prices so that housing is affordable, nothing necessitates that. Its not an issue effected by tax rules and rates so even the implementation of the policy changes your demanding doesn't fix the problem.

      • Jimmy 5.1.3

        That's a much better idea…increasing rates on unused properties.

      • mac1 5.1.4

        Similar actions taken in NZ 127 years ago under the Liberal government.

        https://nzhistory.govt.nz/cheviot-estate-taken-over-by-government

        Four of my ancestors directly benefitted from this, from the Kinloch estate on Banks Peninsula.

        For a sum of $1 billion in today's money, 4,800 farm properties were created. That's $200,000 per property. The impetus came from a land tax that penalised land holders who farmed uneconomically, forcing them to sell. Yet, even then, only 13 of 219 estates were compulsorily purchased.

        What essentially is the difference between then and now in terms of social harm, social need and social action?

      • Ed1 5.1.5

        Something like this was used by Vancouver with some success; see :
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-empty-homes-tax-increase-1.5376581

        • Molly 5.1.5.1

          Yes, and Prince Edward Island a favourite holiday destination for many, have increased tax rates on holiday homes specifically to address the harm that partially lived in  houses have on community.

          "P.E.I. has long worried about the impact of absentee landowners. But unlike the rest of the country, which is so consumed with the issue of foreign ownership that even Canada’s top housing agency has gotten involved, P.E.I. identified those people and enacted laws to prevent them from taking over ages ago.

          “Years ago, the Americans and foreigners were just buying up the island like crazy. All the shoreline, farmland,” said Wayne Ellis, president of the Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, Canadian, American or from the moon, a non-resident can own just five acres of land or 165 feet of shoreline. Listen, this is a small province, if there’s no rules, it could be bought out.”"

          We seem slow in recognising this truth here.

          "…Islanders already can’t compete with foreign buyers for land, so restrictions are trying keep property in local lands. Substitute empty lots for empty condos and Chinese buyers for Americans and out-of-province bidders – and you could be talking about Vancouver and Toronto and not beautiful coastline 20 minutes by car from Charlottetown.

          “Rules on foreign ownership are the exception more than the norm. They have some rules like that in Australia,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., about the island’s laws that are dealing with a sea of Asian buyers…"

           

          "…P.E.I., equally, wants foreign investors and has a program to encourage them to come to the island, but it wants them to buy and become residents.  This is a small province, if there’s no rules, it could be bought out

          Scott MacKenzie, chair and chief executive of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission known as IRAC, says the application alone costs one per cent of the purchase price, although if the deal falls through and you are rejected, only 50 per cent of the fee is refunded.

          In a normal year P.E.I. gets 100 applications for individuals that exceed the five-acre or 165-feet of shoreline limits, and about 50 applications from corporations. There are a number of considerations before an appeal will be considered. One of the stipulations is that no more than 30 per cent of a community be made up of non-islanders…"

          "…“If you are coming here to move here and be a resident of P.E.I. and be a member of the community, even though you are a non-resident right now, there is a good strong chance that the application will go through. If you are a corporate farmer from Ontario and you realize that you can buy farmland in P.E.I. for $2,500 an acre, whereas it would cost you $25,000 in Ontario and you simply want 1,000 acres to farm from afar, you’ve got a problem,” MacKenzie said.

          Tracking out-of-province buyers might be a problem elsewhere in Canada but P.E.I. keeps a handle on the situation through a tax structure that effectively doubles property taxes for non-residents, creating an incentive for people to prove they are living on the island and meet the minimum stay of 183 days…"

          There are many established and existing examples of ways to address the housing crisis.  A number of solutions that will aid the increasing the access and affordability of housing our people.  What we lack, is the political bravery and will.

    • They should use the Public Works Act, ie government declares there's a housing crisis and it will be aquiring empty houses in Auckland to facilitate a Public Work of housing people.  Anyone with a house that's empty more than a few months will get a compulsory purchase order telling them what the government's going to pay them for taking their house off them.  Advance notice that if rentiers were to win any court case resulting from this move, the government's response would be "Tough shit pal, Parliament's sovereign."

      Give six months' advance notice and I'd expect it would be hard to actually find an empty house in Auckland when the notice period expired.  The rash of sales by foreign capital-gain farmers might well also lower property prices in Auckland.  Win-win, except for the rentier fucks causing the problem.

      • Poission 5.2.1

        or say with  tougher ring fencing,that the property is an investment and not a revenue earner hence deductions are not allowable for tax purposes (and no offsetting against salaries etc)

      • Sabine 5.2.2

        You don't only have a housing crisis in Auckland and you don't only have empty houses in Auckland. 

        You will find that housing crisis and empty houses for tax speculation and land banking go hand in hand in the whole of the country. 

      • RedLogix 5.2.3

        I wonder how much under-utilised Maori land is sitting around that could be compulsorily purchased at a non-negotiable price?  There's a nice piece of unusued land near the Manakau that would make a great housing estate …. 

        • Sacha 5.2.3.1

          Not nearly as ready as that golf course in Remmers nobody is currently living on..

          • Drowsy M. Kram 5.2.3.1.1

            yes

          • RedLogix 5.2.3.1.2

            Maybe if everyone could be clearer about what categories of people are going to have their land confiscated eh …. but starting with the kulaks has a satisfactory feel to it.

            • Psycho Milt 5.2.3.1.2.1

              Compulsory purchase isn't confiscation.  Also, if we have a housing crisis, why continue to indulge capital-gain farming in the worst-affected areas? 

              • RedLogix

                But it is confiscation of future value. People grudgingly accept compulsory acquistion under the Public Works Act because usually the resulting road, school or hospital is of benefit to the whole community.

                Taking property off existing owners for the much narrower  benefit of new occupants just doesn't have the same look and feel. You can argue this is a Good Thing tm for the new occupants, but this is balanced off by the negatives for the old owners. 

                Capital gain farming is the result of decades of distorted tax and fiscal incentives. The fix is to reform them (which incidentally TOP was the only party last election to directly address forward, centre and comprehensively … but of course all the tribalists here refused to even try to understand) rather than playing whack-a-mole with the symptoms.

                Incidentally the fact that some owners prefer to leave valuable properties empty rather than rent speaks volumes to how much hassle and risk tenants can be, compared to the modest returns they generate.

                • Capital gain farming is the result of decades of distorted tax and fiscal incentives. The fix is to reform them…

                  Yes, we should fix the crap tax settings that encourage capital gain farming, but in the meantime we have a shitload of properties sitting empty so doing something about the symptoms would also be good.  I wouldn't envisage many compulsory purchases taking place under my suggestion, because most of the capital gain farmers would cash in ahead of time rather than find out how little the government is willing to compensate them.

                  Incidentally the fact that some owners prefer to leave valuable properties empty rather than rent speaks volumes to how much hassle and risk tenants can be…

                  Then they should sell those properties to people who are willing to let people live in them. The country has a housing crisis and can't afford to have thousands of houses sitting empty.

                  • RedLogix

                    because most of the capital gain farmers would cash in ahead of time rather than find out how little the government is willing to compensate them.

                    Ah so you really do have at least a partial confiscation in mind. 

                    Yes, we should fix the crap tax settings that encourage capital gain farming, 

                    But it's more fun having a crack at property owners … right?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      This seems so bizarre – if owning houses that no one lives in for extended periods of time is OK (because of all that "hassle and risk" shit), then just imagine when the ranks of owners of untenanted accommodation swell to 11 billion. 

                      All it would take (apparently) is limitless energy (to power the leap-frogging) – coming suddenly to a planet near you. Or maybe a new “global world order” is more your style – maybe one that approves of owning empty houses. wink

                      If you don’t like sharing your resources, just say so. I certainly prefer not to share, but tough times call for…

                    • RedLogix

                      This seems so bizarre – if owning houses that no one lives in for extended periods of time is OK

                      Never said it was OK. It comes about because leaving the property empty and earning only capital gain is more attractive than the relatively modest return from tenanting it.

                      Let's say you own a $2m property and it's asset price increases 5% pa, which yeilds a paper gain of $100k risk free. It's essentially being used by the owner as a bank deposit with a decent interest rate. Yet tenanted it might also have another cash income of say $50k, although a tenant incurs extra costs around property management, repairs and maintenance, meeting ever changing rental standards and accounting. Not to mention the non-zero risk of some expensive drama with the tenant. All this reasonably reduces the expected rental income to maybe less than $35k pa which is a very low 1.5% return on the total asset value. 

                      You can see why some owners rationally choose not to bother with the risk involved. You'd never go to the same effort to achieve such a low return from a bank deposit or similar low risk investments.

                      Of course socially none of this is desirable, but it makes a lot more sense to tackle the root cause of the problem. TOP's policy of taxing all assets at a low but consistent rate would achieve the outcomes everyone wants here, but without the proto-marxist revenge fantasies.

                    • But it's more fun having a crack at property owners … right?

                      Hardly – I'm a property owner myself.  I'm having a crack at people whose capital gain farming involves depriving others of housing.  Regardless of how "rational" that farming is, in a housing crisis the government needs to strongly discourage it.

                    • RedLogix

                      Here's another reason why a house may stay empty. For obvious reasons it's older people over 65 who tend to be home owners, but these are also the group who are most likely to be in hospital or rest homes for extended periods. If there is a reasonable prospect of their recovery, they aren't going to sell or rent the home they hope to return to.

                      Similarly if they've moved long term to a rest home, renting the property may have an immediate impact on their RCS. At that age they (or their PoE) may well have no interest nor capacity to become a landlord; so the home sits empty for an indefinite period. I've no idea how to guess the fraction of homes tangled up like this, but I'd wager it's more than a negligible few.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Yes, there are valid reasons why a house may stay empty.  And there are valid reasons for the homeless, those living in cars or in other unsafe circumstances, or put up in motels by the state, to be granted access to empty or otherwise under-utilised houses or commercial properties.

                      Just suggesting that such access shouldn't be ruled out in perpetuity, and might make a significant contribution to addressing the growing shortage of affordable housing.

                      "Empty properties now made up 7.3 per cent of Auckland's private dwellings, compared to 6.6 per cent in 2013."

                      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12270554

    • Jimmy 5.3

      This is the best idea since the captain of the Titanic said "Lets have a closer look at that iceberg"!

      If I owned a property worth $1.52m in Ponsonby, I would not want it rented out to HNZ tenants.

      • Sabine 5.3.1

        that is cool. 

        But you should not be provided with one tax write of either. 🙂 Instead you should be taxed to the fullest so maybe that you find a tenant who is not a Housing New Zealand tenant. 

        And i would also like to point out that there is not one 'house' in Ponsonby that would be worth 1.5 million, the land has the value, the hovels on them not.  So the question that needs to be asked of the owner of that 1.5 million dollar sliver of land in Ponsonby, why should the rest of the country finance your land banking? 

        • Jimmy 5.3.1.1

          If the house is sitting vacant, no rental income is being earned and the owner is still having to pay maintenance, insurance and rates. If the property is not available to be rented, they cannot claim any expenses for tax deductions or for losses to be carried forward as these losses are now ring fenced. If house has been empty that long its pretty easy for IRD to say property is not available for rent therefore there is no tax deductions. So they shouldn't have even one tax write off.

           

        • halfcrown 5.3.1.2

          Nice one

      • Psycho Milt 5.3.2

        If I owned a property worth $1.52m in Ponsonby, I would not want it rented out to HNZ tenants.

        And if you were leaving it empty to farm capital gain during a housing crisis, your country might want to take some steps to make that seriously not worth your while. 

  5. Cricklewood 6

    This will never happen. Be suicidal politically given the property rights ramifications.

    Also ineffective  given a few hundred dollars worth of timers would circumvent detection.

  6. RedLogix 7

    Finally a well written and thoughtful article on where next for the global world order:

    But Oxford University's Ian Goldin believes it is time for radical change.

    He says many international institutions like the UN, the IMF and the World Bank have become "overloaded" with "mushrooming mandates".

    What's needed, he argues, is a back to basics approach and a root-and-branch rethink of the very idea of global governance.

    Professor Goldin has set out five core principles that he says could and should guide all future global initiatives or collaborations.

    The first principle involves overreach, he says, recognising that not every dispute should actually be subject to global governance. Global action should only be required on genuinely global problems….

    The second he terms "selective inclusion" — pinpointing the necessary key players who need to be included to achieve results…..

    The third principle is what Professor Goldin calls "variable geometry". Efficiency is essential ….

    The fourth principle, is legitimacy. ….

    And the fifth and final principle, is enforceability….

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-31/liberal-international-order-under-threat-china-us/11905652

    • Ad 7.1

      Principles and big regulatory institutions are awesome, but I think you forget sometimes that they only emerge out of a sustained global crisis. Today, more people and governments are reacting with more force about a global flu than global warming or species extinction.

      All of the post-WW2 UN machinery annoying Mr Goldin  has lost mojo because they  are broadly fine or they don't have executive power to change much.

      In trade, the decline of the WTO is being replaced with big regional pacts.

      In development, most people are getting hauled out of poverty.

      In human rights, those states who allow themselves to be held to account, are accountable. In financial restructuring, pretty much the Washington Consensus and New Public Management are installed globally. The rest is honestly UN make-work.

      Nothing has regulated the concentration of wealth, and since the late 1970s no one has even given it a good go.

      Same with environmental degradation. Some big wins, but mostly losses.

      So broadly people are  settled about what they can change and what they can't.

      And people generally accept that the global  instruments they have are the ones that will stay around.

      Most big regulatory orders only alter according to really big crises – and so far there's nowhere near enough agreement that there is one that needs a really big global regulatory body to regulate the crisis down.

      We just don't  have the political tide …

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        Thanks, that's an engaging response Ad. I agree totally the timing is not now.

        But there are two components to any substantial change, one is preparing the ground, sowing the seeds …  and the other is the trigger to action. I accept, very reluctantly, that it will probably take another serious catastrophe like WW2 to trigger change …. but in the meantime it's definitely worth thinking ahead about the nature and range of choices we might have.

        • Ad. 7.1.1.1

          Red, I'm just in a different place.
          Call it Pretend and Extend, call it NeoConLeft, call it anything you like.

          But the institutional setting and the strength of democracy and distribution is about as good in Australasia as it is across the world bar Scandinavia.

          In my remaining professional lifetime we should enjoy this peak institutional point and enable existing institutions and settings to stay there doing what they are doing for the foreseeable future.

          It’s only going to get worse, so preserve it.

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.1

            Call it Pretend and Extend, call it NeoConLeft, call it anything you like.

            lol … you may have noticed that I rarely label anyone with anything. I assume that everyone, has something to teach me.

            It’s only going to get worse, so preserve it.

            Probably, although at my age I've been around long enough to know that the future rarely works out quite like how I expect it will. Therefore there are reasonable grounds to remain somewhat optimistic.

            I do respect your intensely realistic and pragmatic views, but keep small corner in your heart for your dreams to live on in. wink

  7. Sabine 8

    this was a good question to ask, and it was a painful question for hte Chief Justice to read. 

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4851016/user-clip-chief-justice-roberts-reads-senator-warrens-fastball-question

  8. adam 9

    A nice calling out of woke and virtue signaling types who infest the internet. 

    Fav quote of the day. It's big sorry – It's at the 5:52 point of the below video. The rest of the video is neat, especially near the start with a clip from Joe Rogan. 



  9. Cinny 10

    plunket is spouting off on the wireless telling people jlr is one of those who have been charged…….

    Would that not be a breach of name suppression?  There's no mention of it on the news.

    Admin, please delete comment if not appropriate, thanks.

    • Enough is Enough 10.1

      There is no suppression.

       

      They just haven't been named by the SFO

    • Chris T 10.2

      What name suppression?

       

    • veutoviper 10.3

      Best that no-one speculates on who may have been charged at the moment especially on here  

      There was a lot going on last night in that regard with David Farrar having to take down a post on KB. (He was ‘asked’ to do so …) Certain MSM reports have also been running close to the line in trying to identify the accused, with one or two items also disappearing into the ether in the last 24 hours.  

      Legal situation is not as simple as EiE makes it out to be re name suppression – eg my understanding is that currently things are in the period when applications can still be made for name suppression.      

      • Enough is Enough 10.3.1

        Of course applications can be made. That is why the SFO has not named them.

        But there is no suppression order yet. That is why Soper and Plunket are saying who it is. They won't be charged for breaching suppression.

      • Cinny 10.3.2

        Hi VV 🙂  Good advice, thanks.  plunket was going on and on about it all afternoon, like he had the biggest scoop in the world, he even had slippery simon on his radio show cheering him on.

        No doubt there will be a very good reason why the other news outlets haven't touched plunkets so called scoop.

        • veutoviper 10.3.2.1

          I meant to listen to that broadcast (streamed on TDB) but forgot and comments on TDB about it are not very specific.    Plunket will probably not be censored/charged with, for example, breaching name suppression as this is presumably not yet formally in place for anyone associated with the case  – whether as a defendent or as  a witness.*  But I wonder whether he may have opened himself up for defamation depending on what he said, but its best not to pursue that line of thinking here on TS or elsewhere public.

          Re other news outlets, Soper's speculation disappeared from The Herald tout suite, as did Farrar's post on Soper's contentions – and also tweets between Soper and Farrar where Soper supposedly claimed Farrar had misread Soper.  But Farrar really needs to do a sweep and clean of his GD 30 January comments (354) especially from 6pm on …  LOL

    • Tiger Mountain 10.4

      Rather dubious charging if the Nat whistleblower copped it…and leader & President wriggled out

      • Anne 10.5.1

        Lols. Nearly two years down the track the Nats have suddenly acquired a moral compass and have decided not the keep the donation.

        I see he's also trying to project some of his conduct onto Jacinda Ardern. That's the action of a guilty person.

        • Fireblade 10.5.1.1

          National have probably already spent the $100k donation, but paying it back will be easy enough.

          Just a quick phone call to Beijing with the promise of another Beijing-approved list MP, and the money will be in the Nats bank account before Simon can say "godbless Xi Jinping".

  10. Adrian Thornton 11

    Corporate Media Are the Real ‘Sanders Attack Machine'

    https://fair.org/home/corporate-media-are-the-real-sanders-attack-machine/

    US media will have taken heart in the UK media's public destruction of Corbyn, and will surely be taking the gloves now that Sanders is becoming a serious threat to their comfortable status quo.

    Bernie 2020!

    Turn Labour Left!

    • Andre 11.1

      I get it that Corbyn's selection as Labour leader gave you a years-long bout of priapism that finally climaxed with the release of the 2019 manifesto. Which led to Labour's worst election result in almost a century.

      Did the result give you even a moment's pause to consider whether the things that excite you personally might not in fact result in actual progress? Y'know, because implementing change requires actually holding power?

      No?

      Didn't think so.

    • Tiger Mountain 11.2

      Trump has turned his attention to Bernie now…https://theintercept.com/2020/01/29/trump-sanders-2020-election/

      If the Sanders campaign wins Iowa Caucus, the industrial strength shit sprayer will certainly be deployed. Mr Sanders is running a similar organising style campaign on the ground as Trump, but appealing to vastly different facets of human thinking and behaviour.

      [Fixed typo in user handle]

      • Ad 11.2.1

        Bernie is still the Republican gift of Trump Term 2 to the world. 

        The attack files go back a long, long way.

        And, in case we didn’t see Corbyn’s Catastrophe Mark 2 coming, he’s as risky as Goldwater was, . 

         

      • Tiger Mountain 11.3.1

        A long public life offers more opportunity for vetting I guess, but from observing Bernie Sanders recent iterations I think he has less to worry about than ex Republican Warren and Welfare slasher Mr Biden! But if the Sanders campaign gets a few Primary wins on the board, all manner of revisionist takes on Bernie’s life will likely be presented.

        joe90’s linked piece makes it clear Sanders regarded Wallace a quasi fascist type, and the praise was in regard to his populist radar.

  11. Chris T 12

    Small piece of advice

    Are we allowed to mention the Mallard defamation case or is that likely to get me binned again?

    Thanks

  12. Dennis Frank 13

    "The pure temple politics of the Greens where exclusion is the new inclusion, where online Identity Politics activists create resentment and no solidarity are proving to be about as successful at recruitment as Donald Trump at a feminist folk festival."  Guess who?  Someone unable to comprehend political compromise!

    "Green apologists will ignore all this criticism and state that the Greens can only do what they do because of NZ First. That’s horse shit. If you had good enough strategists, you’d outplay Winston and Shane in a second while holding the fire to Labour’s feet, but the Greens have no one good there other than Chloe, Julie-Anne Genter, Jan Logie and Gareth (who is resigning this election). The behind the scenes crew have all the strategic capacity of moss."  https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/01/30/if-marama-davidson-made-s-speech-in-the-forest-and-no-one-noticed-did-she-make-it/

    "Marama’s serious run in Tamaki Makaurau is likely to split the Labour vote and allow a John Tamihere candidacy for the Māori Party to succeed which would be the ultimate irony."

    "I’ve been a Green voter my entire political life, it’s so sad to see the sorry state the Party is in now with such limp leadership when it’s core issue of the Climate Crisis is the ONLY issue."  I'm genuinely surprised.  He always seemed typical Labour.

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