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Resource optimisation

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, July 6th, 2012 - 84 comments
Categories: housing, tv - Tags:

You might have heard of this new TV series called The Block, where they get 4 couples to compete to do up dilapidated houses. It’s the most expensive non-fiction programme ever made in New Zealand. It’s vacuous, contentless garbage. But what gets my goat is they took 4 perfectly OK, not flash but OK houses, and munted them so that they could be done up on TV.

Here’s the pictures of how the houses looked at the start of the series from the series website and, to the right, Google Street View pictures dated November 2009.

 

We have a housing crisis in this country. There aren’t enough modest but decent houses for low and middle income families. And we have a crisis of crap TV in this country. So, what does Mediaworks (a company itself in deep financial trouble) do? It splurges a fortune on taking four perfectly fine houses, bashing the shit out of them, and then getting some amateurs to do a half-arse job doing them up (you can bet ever corner will be but – no in-wall insulation or double-glazing).

It’s just so bloody stupid.

84 comments on “Resource optimisation”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Is it taxpayer funded ?

    • Dv 1.1

      HS – yes it is taxpayer funded.

      • shorts 1.1.1

        searching the NZ ON Air site it doesn’t show any funding for The Block

        http://www.nzonair.govt.nz/funding/fundingsearchpages/fundingsearchtvprograms.aspx

        not defending the show… nor about to waste my time watching it either

        • Dv 1.1.1.1

          Mediaworks got a 43m subsidy from the Nacts.
          Not directly funded, but we are paying as Taxpayers for Mediaworks.

          • shorts 1.1.1.1.1

            weak

            • Dv 1.1.1.1.1.1

              $43million is not weak!!

              • Fortran

                It’s a loan at a good rate of interest.

                • McFlock

                  That’s nice.
                         
                  Given that we’re so wonderfully in debt, it was a loan we lent out with borrowed money. Money we borrowed at interest.
                     
                  So we’d be lucky to break even on a deal that enables a supposed going concern to continue operating even though it failed to budget for a regularly-incurred and predictable operating expense.
                           
                  But it’s not like the government is helping out a media company at all.
                     
                  Query: if it’s such a good rate of interest, why didn’t mediaworks borrow from someone else at a cheaper rate? Or can’t they sort out  borrowing money for themselves, as well as being unable to budget for a mission-critical operating expense? 

                  • vto

                    Well McFlock, it has to be one of two things;

                    Either a facility available to all businesses

                    Or a related party loan.

                • mike e

                  Fartrain how many other businesses are given loans by the govt
                  Then Add Steven Joyce into mixture former Media works CEO share holder.
                  Crony-ism corruption!

          • higherstandard 1.1.1.1.2

            Isn’t that ‘subsidy’ actually a deferred payment which they’re paying back to the government and being charged high interest rate on ?

            • shorts 1.1.1.1.2.1

              subsidy loan call it what you want but it has no real bearing on the show in question…

              or is every single piece of content on mediaworks directly subsidised by the govt loan – of course not, its a silly argument

              I don’t agree with the handout/loan/subsidy the govt gave mediaworks in case you’re wondering

              • higherstandard

                If this show is government subsidised it is yet another waste of taxpayer money along with other shite such as shortland street, outrageous fortune etc etc

                • mike e

                  GC etc. Joyce has handed over programs that were developed by TVNZ to media works for free, more Crony-ism!

                  • higherstandard

                    There is a long sad history of mindless shit being funded by NZ on air under the red team and the blue team along with a whole heap of attendant troughers at TVNZ and within the acting and entertainment community …………a pox on all their houses.

                  • Vicky32

                    Joyce has handed over programs that were developed by TVNZ to media works for free,

                    Even if they’re rubbish, and they probably are, that sucks..

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.2.2

              I think the point is that they weren’t paying market interest.

              • I thought they were paying market interest, at a far higher rate than the government can borrow for.

                It’s believed the loan is being made at 11% interest.

                Maybe they should make some more loans at that rate.

                http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/prime-minister-defends-loan-mediaworks-4109116

                • Lanthanide

                  Ahh, but then it comes down to what “market interest” means, doesn’t it?

                  If MediaWorks had to go to the government to get the loan, at the 11% rate, it means no other commercial lender was willing to lend at that rate on the terms that MediaWorks wanted.

                  Say a commercial lender was willing to lend to MediaWorks at 23%, then the “market rate” for their loan would have been 23%. If the government then charged 11%, they wouldn’t be charging the “market rate”.

                  Of course that is a bit of semantic word play: if the government was making a profit at 11% (and it appears they were), then in and of itself it isn’t a huge problem.

                  Except of course that the question must then be asked why the government is giving MediaWorks special treatment: what if Bob’s Butchery was going under, but a loan of $1m at 11% would prevent that?

  2. vto 2

    for fucking fucks sake they could have come to christchurch and not had to do that.

    and they could have helped some folk down here.

    it’s what you get in a society replete with wealth. another indicator of this is when society obsesses over food – see all the food shows. we are at a peak, that much is clear.

    • Vicky32 2.1

      see all the food shows

      I started watching Masterchef as a friend/colleague of my son was in it (she was eliminated about halfway through, sadly, – though IMO from paediatric nurse to chef is a huge step down… ) I kept watching, and was shocked at the huge wastefulness of it!
      It’s all about a certain type of cuisine that I find quite repellent… rare meat is sickening, and the expensive ingredients, tiny portions and emphasis on appearance speaks to a certain self-indulgent kind of ‘lifestyle’.
      A tiny point which is more a matter of my personal opinion – they’re such carnivores! A vegie dish or two would not have gone amiss…

  3. Chris 3

    Not sure this will make you feel better or not but there was an article the other day the other day saying that it is likely they will all be knocked down after the show anyway.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/residential-property/news/article.cfm?c_id=76&objectid=10815056

    Actually scratch that it makes it obviously makes it worse.

    • Deano 3.1

      that makes me how angry.

      and vto is right,. why the hell didn’t they do this in christchurch?

      • shorts 3.1.1

        do we really need reality shows taking advantage of the devastation of property and people in CHCH?

        these sorts of shows are insulting enough in themselves imo but no need to add insult to injury

        • Deano 3.1.1.1

          How would it be ‘taking advantage’?

          If you want to make a show about repairing broken houses, don’t go and break some houses and then do a crap job of fixing them – go to where there are lot of broken houses and fix them up properly, improving the lives of the people who live there.

          You could make it competition-based if you want and it would actually have some soul to it as well, much better TV.

          • shorts 3.1.1.1.1

            Christchurch residents need and deserve our collective help… not reality TV making light of their hardship in pursuit of advertising dollars

  4. It’s just so bloody stupid.

    Unfortunately that just about sums up much of commercial television in New Zealand now, including half the ‘news’ coverage.

    Commercial TV probably does cater well for the MacImbecilic demographic, which seems to be a sizable group. The rest are out of luck – it’s hard to even pick much decent pay to view TV.

    • Kevin Welsh 4.1

      Agree 100% PG.

    • bbfloyd 4.2

      still havn’t worked out how sky gets away with putting ad breaks on every channel bar the movie channel…. I thought double dipping was illegal….. or have the laws been quietly changed?

      Don’t have sky btw… Don’t enjoy being fleeced…..

    • mike e 4.3

      That’s your party included PG what happened to Tvnz7 !
      Handed over to the private sector for Free.
      Pathetic git still defending bad govt at all costs.
      Like the banking sector needed competition from Kiwibank.
      WE need a private broadcaster to give them a hurry up.
      But alas the worm helped turn of the last bastion of public broad casting.
      Pathetic Grovelar how did you get your ban lifted

    • mac1 4.4

      MacImbecilic? Oy!

      On behalf of the Macs/Mcs of this world.

      Mac1.

      I do agree with your view of commercial TV, though.

  5. Uturn 5

    It’s the most expensive non-fiction programme ever made in New Zealand.

    All “Reality” TV is fiction. I’ve seen five minutes of three renovation shows. There was a re-run of one recently, with Terry Serepisos. Some “teams” were trying to increase the rental value of viaduct appartments by seeing who could make theirs the most banal. I thought I was literally going to implode. Then there was an Aussie version, complete with bickering ego-toddler tradesmen, arguing over where to stack gib board, causing a similar reaction. Another where Aucklanders go round the country telling Hotelliers how to run and present their rooms and business. The only reality TV I like is Police ten 7. The way the old guy takes it all so personally. Hilarious.

    • McFlock 5.1

      I do recall watching one of those “Auckland business advisor teaches rull nuzilurs how to pay their bills” shows – one of the grateful average kiwis receiving his advice was in Alexandra.
         
      The suit told her to rent her garage out as a sleepout – okaay. However, the two had a disagreement because the suit wanted the garage just lined with gib, carpet down and bob’s your uncle. The owner refused to rent out as accommodation an uninsulated shell, on the grounds of general decency and a typical Alexandra winter (for the JAFA business folk here, the phrase is “life threatening”).
          
      The smart lady took some of his advice on bill management, and knew exactly when to tell him to stick his asocial amoral greed. The suit was talking to camera about being disappointed that she wasn’t doing everything she could to help herself, but I was most impressed. 

  6. Newt 6

    I agree. We are doing up our ex-state house at the moment… I was yelling and screaming at the TV because of what they did before and the morons they chose to do it.

    Unfortunately I will still watch it to see what happens and get ideas for our ex-state house…

  7. just saying 7

    Just as an aside,
    I’m sick to death of the competition format for a large number of “reality” TV programmes. As if we weren’t already soaking in cultural social darwinism. Competition in all things. Winner take all. Rardy rardy rah.

  8. Rupert 8

    Now come on – trashing those houses would have also done wonders for the affordability of the surrounding neighbourhood…

  9. RJL 9

    I fail to see a problem here.

    Sure, it might not be TV you want to watch — in which case don’t watch it.

    And while it might cost a lot of money, it is the sponsor’s money, and the money is mostly going into our economy. Presumably, the sponsors have calculated (correctly or not) that the programme will earn them a net profit (in terms of increased business or similar).

    • Deano 9.1

      So, we’re not allwoed to criticise anything as long as it doesn’t invovle public money and is profitable?

      Ethics and sensible use of our society’s limited resources don’t enter into it?

      • RJL 9.1.1

        You can criticise whatever you like, but I can’t see why this particular programme is so problematic.

        It costs someone a lot money, and likely seems dreadful if you are not part of the demographic it appeals to. However, it is no worse than any other TV programme made for entertainment (and the sponsor’s benefit). At least it’s made in NZ, so most of the money spent on it is spent in NZ.

        I would personally much rather watch The Block than say the Olympics, but I don’t begrudge (too much) the fact that the Olympics will be on our TV.

        • bbfloyd 9.1.1.1

          I have to admire your faith rj….. Can you point to the company(s) in new zealand that will make the most profits?

          Or are we looking at a crass misuse of adverising revenue that would have been spent anyway?

          This looks more like defending “broken window” economics, rather than any meaningful action that would, or could benefit businesses in auckland any more than any other form of advertising would have…..

          Indeed, it could damage the reputations of sponsors if this does turn out to be the turkey it’s looking like becoming……
          Verrrry clever…….

          • RJL 9.1.1.1.1

            bbfloyd,

            If you are interested in who the sponsors are, you can read the relevant press releases for yourself. I have no idea which sponsor will recieve the biggest payback on their investment, or whether this form of advertising is more effective for the companies involved than alternatives. Presumably the companies involved thought it was a good idea, and believe it can be justified to their shareholders.

            Some of the sponsors expecting a return (Kiwibank, say) are NZ owned, while others (Mazda, say) are international companies, but it is hardly the fault of Mediaworks that some of the companies willing and large enough to sponsor this sort of programme are foreign owned.

            “The Block” also employs NZ crew and the production expenses occurred largely in NZ, etc. I know that the production company Eyeworks is now foreign owned, but most of the production cost has been spent within NZ paying NZ crew, NZ builders, etc.

            You don’t have to like the programme, and you don’t have to watch it, but that just speaks to your own good/poor taste.

        • QoT 9.1.1.2

          “You can criticise whatever you like …”

          but

          “Sure, it might not be TV you want to watch — in which case don’t watch it.”

          Danger, Will Robinson! Paradox incoming!

          (And yes, dear critic, the paradox does involve recognising the hidden “and shut up” on the end of the second statement. It’s only clear as day.)

  10. DH 10

    I feel a bit sorry for the mugs who buy the properties. A rushed job is a crap job. The handyman skill of the average person is pretty low even when they take their time, bodging a quick do-up is guaranteed to cause grief & more bills for the new owners.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      They use licensed tradesman for all the serious stuff, they just get to choose the paint and clean up

      Plus there is a site foreman on hand to check the tradesmen.

      This is how the real world works too – without the cameras

      • RJL 10.1.1

        Yes.

        The “mug who buys” one of these properties is actually getting a much better “guarantee” of quality work than somebody who buys a normal property.

        Most normal properties have been subject to numerous iterations of DIY of various skill-levels. The pseudo-demo work on these properties is actually a good thing from that perspective, as it resets the house to its basic structure. The damage done was actually pretty feeble and cosmetic and done to things like decking, gib board, windows, and toilet and kitchen fixtures. This would all be replaced anyway.

        The biggest risk (for a buyer) with these properties is that some of the design decisions will be tragically fashionable, and therefore date really quickly.

  11. Kevin 11

    The viewing public loves it, call it vacuous, a waste of taxpayer money etc, but it has been tipped as the biggest show of the year for TV3:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1205/S00200/tv3-breaks-new-ground-with-the-block-nz-partnerships.htm.

    • MAgnus McManus 11.1

      Doesn’t say too much about the viewing public then does it?

    • Vicky32 11.2

      The viewing public loves it,

      They know that how?
      I recall my son doing a study of ratings and how they’re determined, in media studies at school. Ratings households have to be homeowners, so that lets out a huge proportion of the population – and have to actually be blood families, no flatmates allowed.
      Apparently, old widows and/or widowers are allowed, as I heard of one nutty old besom who always tuned the TV to sport, so that any sport would rate highly, even when she was out! (In memory of the late Mr who was a sport-obsessive, apparently). This one old dear represented 400 people and so any piece of rubbish can rate highly, “The viewing public loves it” if one to ten ratings households can be induced to have it switched on, on the TV with the device attached. Let’s see, what would a yuppie house-buying couple want to watch? Oh, The Block, maybe?

  12. mike e 13

    If these brain dead producers had any grey matter up stairs they would be rebuilding houses in Christchurch instead of wrecking homes to get viewer ratings.

  13. Populuxe1 14

    So basically your big whinge is that the Government may have made a sensible loan to a NZ business to make NZ television programming that if other reality TV show of it’s kind are any guide to go by, will no doubt be enormously popular – but you think it’s beneath you. So really you’re just exhibiting pretentious snobbery for the tastes of the common Joe. Really nice.

  14. Jenny 15

    It’s tragic

    The concept of a staged competition pitting desperate combatants against each other for the entertainment, was a perversion 2000 years ago when it was first dreamed up.

    Everyone of these houses looks like an ex state rental. The first two definitely are.

    In both a litteral and allegorical drama on the privatisation of state assets – perfectly good state assets end up in the hands of private “investors” to do with as they wish. They proceed to wreck them, to squeeze maximum profit out of them, while those who these assets were built for go without.

    Compare the side by side photos of the first Labour MPs proudly carrying furniture into the first state rental, with these private sector wreckers. I imagine that these old Labour MPs would be shaking their heads in grief and shame that their great project to address poverty and end homelessness has ended up as a decadent television spectacle where people desperate for are home are pitted against each other in a sort of gladitorial contest for the entertainment of the masses.

    Whlle the cynical and jaded media Caesars who dreamed up this spectacle gaze over their bloodless but no less serious contest.
    The losers in these modern games will be condemned, not to death but to debt. While we cheer. (That is, if they can swallow their pride to take out a huge mortgage, to live in the purposely ruined and then horridly rushed patched up house, that they desperately tried to win, but instead will always be a bitter reminder of their loss.)

  15. Rusty Shackleford 16

    What a whiny tosser. They are a private company. They can do what ever the fuck they want as long as they act within the law. If it was paid for with govt funding, then sure. It was a stupid waste of money. But, it wasn’t so stop whining like a little baby, Eddie.

  16. mike e 17

    RS if it weren’t for Steven Joyce’s CronyismsTV3 would be bankrupt its relying on Gvt hand outs and glamorising of alcohol add’s

    • Rusty Shackleford 17.1

      They’re are behind on their licensing fees. The govt lent them money to cover the fees. That’s basically like the school bully who steal your lunch money giving you a line of credit for the arrears you owe him.

      I think the bigger issue here is the infringement on free speech caused by huge licensing fees. 

      • lprent 17.1.1

        Radio spectrum is a very limited resource. That is especially for analogue systems like radio and TV stations which broadcast over wide segments of the bandwidth. Personally as a programmer, I’d prefer that the waste of bandwidth is curtailed to a single plus backup channel with a fully digital broadcast for ALL broadcast media to multiplex in.

        I think the license fees are too low for broadcast media in comparision to alternate uses.

        • Rusty Shackleford 17.1.1.1

          It’s impossible to know whether the radio spectrum is priced too high or too low because it is monopolised by the state. 

          • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.1.1

            Not quite: the real question is whether the current pricing is achieving the social good required.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.2

        I think the bigger issue here is the infringement on free speech caused by huge licensing fees.

        Which is why its important that parts of the spectrum are provided free to public broadcasting and non-profits, don’t you think?

        Sounds like you would agree.

        • Rusty Shackleford 17.1.2.1

          Provided for free by whom? 

          Public broadcasters and non-profits (as if that is some huge virtue) can easily broadcast from other avenues. Or they could buy broadcasting rights at the market rate (which is currently impossible). 

          • Colonial Viper 17.1.2.1.1

            So you disagree, even though it would greatly aid freedom of speech?

            I thought you were interested in increasing the freedom of speech of NZ citizens.

            • Rusty Shackleford 17.1.2.1.1.1

              Nobodies freedom of speech is being infringed under a system where broadcasting is not govt owned. 

              • Colonial Viper

                So why are you not for giving ordinary citizens easy ways to get airtime?

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  Ordinary citizens have easy ways to get airtime under the current regime?

                  Actually they do. It’s called youtube.  

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Its got to be TV time and radio time, that’s really valuable stuff for ordinary citizens to have access to so their voices and everyday stories can be heard.

                    Would you hinder their free speech and deny them that, Rusty?

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      “Its got to be TV time and radio time…”

                      Why?  

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Because its VALUABLE that’s why. Even the corporates realise its VALUABLE. Are you denying the value of TV and radio time in promulgating free speech?

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Buggy whips were valuable once as well.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I thought you would be supporting ways to give ordinary citizens access to TV and radio broadcast time, and instead you’re trying to tap dance away from it.

                      you’re really not much of a free speech proponent are you?

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      I’ll ask you again. 

                      How does the current regime give ordinary citizens easy access to free airtime. 

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m sure between the two of us we can think up some ways, right? Public broadcasting which gives people the opportunity to hear each others views, hear each others personal stories, etc.

  17. prism 18

    Actually it’s not just freedom of speech we ordinary citizens need, it’s also freedom of information as unskewed as possible, and without commercial influences, on matters affecting citizens and the whole country.

  18. prism 19

    CV
    I think there are large numbers supporting radionz and we’ll get back TV7 or similar I am sure as soon as we get these nation killing nasties out. Did you hear the discussion on Singapore’s methods and true situation on Radionz this a.m. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jokey Hen didn’t see them as a good template.

    and
    Rusty
    Buggy whips were valuable once as well.
    Used for whipping horses asses on occasions – still of value when so many h.as around.

    • Rusty Shackleford 19.1

      I think you failed to grasp the point prism. CV is lamenting that ordinary people don’t have enough access to broadcasting time. Which is about as dumb as someone in 1950 lamenting that people don’t have enough access to transport because the horse and buggy industry is in decline.

  19. prism 20

    Rusy S
    I got the idea that CV was concerned about the public getting quality broadcasting time, probably as opposed to the delivery of the sweepings from the minds of popular DJs. There needs to be solid informed stuff for the people who want to listen and learn something on how the country is running, could run and why the difference. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so!

    CV talks about hearing each others’ stories. I don’t know if he is referring to private station talkback but I hope not. Listening to the half-formed ideas of the populace doesn’t provide much light on their subject. It would be different if talkback callers had thought through the problem and had some positive suggestion to make. If this is the access to broadcasting time you endorse I think it’s time to call in the horses again, and follow up with a shovel.

    • Rusty Shackleford 20.1

      That’s the problem. Most people don’t want quality broadcasting. They want to watch trash television. Which is fine. If you want to learn something, read a book or download something decent off the internet. 

      • prism 20.1.1

        Rusty S
        No wonder our little nation is going down the gurglers with people as dismissive as you about being informed and the government ensuring that we are through providing full information and support to our culture’s self-expression freely to the nation.

        Get yourself a book what a suggestion. Reading any old book might be something for you to aspire to. Me I want a national broadcaster to inform us all, who have the interest and desire to hear, and see.

        And the internet is like a library without shelves and without a critical buying system. I do find some of it very good for information but much is unreliable, and much of what is there is from overseas, and I want to hear some overseas but more of what is happening here.

        • Rusty Shackleford 20.1.1.1

          Govt backed broadcaster does not automatically equal an informed populace. More likely the govt would spend a ton of cash and nobody would watch it. Lefties would be able to act smug and decry the lack of interest from the general populace and how the country is going down the gurgler. Meanwhile life would go on.

          • prism 20.1.1.1.1

            Rusty S Good reply from a don’t care about an informed democracy and responsibility of government to be nearly transparent to voters and taxpayers. I guessed this final comment so won’t bother to argue any more points.

            • Rusty Shackleford 20.1.1.1.1.1

              haha, you are a giant baby. Get in a huff, commit a straw man then take the ball and go home. Intellectually lazy (at best) in the extreme.

               

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