The bludger paradox

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, September 24th, 2010 - 81 comments
Categories: class war - Tags: ,

So. If you’re too poor to afford house insurance and you’re left homeless by an act of god, the government won’t help you.

But if you’re rich enough to own a farm, then one year you get hit by an act of god, the government will come running to your aid.

81 comments on “The bludger paradox”

  1. BLiP 1

    But if you’re rich enough to own a farm, . . . and leveraged the equity to the max and then decide to have your lambing at the bottom of the South Island in the middle of September . . . then one year you get hit by an act of god . . . aka Spring equinox . . . the government will come running to your aid.

    FIFY

    • Bored 1.1

      Its a biblical problem…Matthew 25: 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
      You would never guess which political freaks adopted this little nastiness?

      capcha Shame

      • bingo 1.1.1

        Yeah but that guy wasn’t talking about material wealth. Try taking the bible literally and you’ll get into all kinds of confusing knots. Just look at the christians!

        • Vicky32 1.1.1.1

          As a Christian, bingo, 😀 I was just about to point out, that the text Mt 25:29, is not to be taken as being about the literal, physical world, in fact AFAIK, it’s purely spiritual…
          Deb

    • sally 1.2

      Yeah, farmers get ‘hit’ by that ‘act of God’ every year.

    • Vicky32 1.3

      It happens every year! I remember having seen sad stories about dead lambs in snow ever since I first got a TV set in 1992!
      Deb

  2. Disengaged 2

    So farmer automatically = rich and mortgage free home owner automatically = poor?

    Chances are they are both asset rich, but cashflow poor.

    Your argument may have some validity, but your class war rhetoric destroys any credibility.

    • Supermaorifella 2.1

      I agree Disengaged, an over-generalised assessment of the average farmer by BLiP. I guess everyone likes to rant sometimes…

    • Blighty 2.2

      if you think they’re basically both in the same situation, why should farmers get a bailout and not people without home insurance?

      • Disengaged 2.2.1

        I don’t think either should be bailed out.

        For the farmers it is an unfortunate cost of doing business in regions prone to snow.

        Whereas uninsured home owners took the calculated risk that they could avoid insurance because the chances of having to make a major claim was small.

        • BLiP 2.2.1.1

          And, even though they are pretty much last stop before the penguins in a region prone to snow, the farmers took the “calculated risk” of an early lambing period despite repeatedly having suffered significant losses for doing the same thing in previous years. Rather than getting a government bail out, they should be pilloried for gross incompetence and putting export returns at risk. If Southland was a business, they’d all be sacked.

          Where’s Dipton, again?

          • the sprout 2.2.1.1.1

            there are ethical issues too.
            the thousands of dead Southland lambs are not an “unfortunate act of god”, they are an inevitable and avoidable consequence of those farmers chosing early lambing to maximize profits.

            • uroskin 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Why aren’t those farmers prosecuted for animal cruelty? At least in a sow crate the lambs would have been warm and sheltered.

              • indeed uroskin.
                amazing what can be overlooked when it’s done in the name of farming.
                inseminating stock so they birth when it’s still snowing buckets, leaving lambs to freeze to death in the snow.
                can’t dare question their practices be cause alternatives might be… less profitable.

            • Herodotus 2.2.1.1.1.2

              September is not early for lambing, September like April are more settled weather months. When would you like lambing to occur given that ewes unlike us are not able to be in season 12 months a year. From memory ewes come into season from March – June, then there is the timing for the farmer re making the ram available, also the later the ram and ewe unite the is the increased % of barron ewes and single lambs to that of twins. If copulation is delayed then lambing would occur at Christmas, then we have droughts, so a lamb dying from lack of pasture growth is more acceptable?
              Unfortunately farming is more of managing what mother nature throws at it.

              • Supermaorifella

                Well put herodotus. I tihnk the a lot of the comments are being made by people without any knowledge of farming. Were Labour in power I’d imagine a 50 year event like this would trigger a central government response as well, much as the droughts in Hawkes Bay did.

                • Lanthanide

                  Listening to the farmers on the radio this morning, this is more of a “first time in recorded history” for such a heavy snowfall.

              • MrSmith

                As the scientists predicted these events will become more common, but that’s right the farmers don’t believe in climate change. So now there chickens are coming home to roost, but they don’t need to worry as they will get another hand out just like last time they had a flood or a drought, they are such a bunch of hypocrites.

        • bingo 2.2.1.2

          You don’t think they should be bailed out but gosh darn you’re just too busy to make an effort to change it. It’d be too ethical… none of your business.. too socialist… too progressive… to interfereing… too uncomfortable… .

          • Disengaged 2.2.1.2.1

            Sorry? I’m not quite sure what you’re expecting me to be able to change. When farmers choose to lamb, where they choose to farm or whether they insure themselves against risk? Or whether homeowners should have insurance.

  3. Pat 3

    If you’re too poor to afford house insurance…you should sell your mortgage free home, invest the proceeds in the Bank, and rent. A better option than getting a Reverse Mortgage.

    • Blighty 3.1

      Why shouldn’t farmers have to insure themselves too?

      the question is who gets the bailout and why.

      • Disengaged 3.1.1

        They should. I work for a fairly sizeable export business. We have insurance to cover product loss, freight damage, credit risk and exchange rate fluctuation. This is just seen as a cost of doing business. Why are farmers different?

        If it is too expensive to get insurance because the risk is deemed to be too high, shouldn’t that be seen as a sign that you are farming in the wrong place? Since when is it the government’s responsibility to prop up a flawed business model?

  4. tsmithfield 4

    The difference is that farming is one of the major industries that helps pay the income subsidies the poor receive.

    • comedy 4.1

      Bullshit, they should insure themselves like the rest of us, it is a cost of doing business and it is after all tax deductible.

      http://tower.co.nz/farm/Tailored/

    • Supermaorifella 4.2

      And farming provides down-stream revenue for others in their community/region; the fact that Southland has been so bloody hard hit by the worst storm in at least 50 years affecting the output of both dairy and sheep farms makes it a nationally significant problem. Not as bad as the earthquake further north, but still a major issue that will have people feeling it’s pain for at least a couple of years.
      As an aside, don’t farms have insurance as Blighty mentions? I would have thought they did, but it’s something I’ve never had reason to consider before. Anyone know?
      Re: Comedy’s post: so there is insurance cover at least, do most farmers have it or not?

      • uroskin 4.2.1

        The premature lamb massacre by late snowfall seems to happen every couple of years, so maybe insurance companies have stopped offering cover.

    • Kaplan 4.3

      So by that logic those left homeless should be nicely ensconced in homes with food on the table, courtesy of their local farmer shortly?
      They only real trickle down I have ever seen is in the form of an obnoxious sludge in our local river.

    • fermionic_interference 4.4

      Actually 70% of NZ’s Sheep and Beef farmers make a loss.
      Unfortunately I don’t have a link to this, as I read it this summer, in the Farmers Weekly I believe.
      So it would appear these industries may not make such a large contribution to the income subsidies the poor receive, as you seem to believe.
      Also a large section of investment in these industries was based on making a tax free capital gain upon sale due to the rapidly increasing land prices through the 1990’s and the early 2000’s.
      Which again means a low level of responsibility to our society by a select few, whom search for the easiest way to make a tax free profit.

      Also if someone could find a link to this “70% of NZ’s Sheep and Beef farmers make a loss.” that would be much appreciated.

      • RedLogix 4.4.1

        They make a loss because their costs exceed their incomes.

        The biggest part of their cost increases was mortgage interest. This because for most farmers their retirement scheme is the capital gain in their land, not the cash flow from their agricultural operation.

        The biggest reason why their incomes have failed to keep pace with their costs is that sheep and beef farmers are mere price takers at the farm gate. For decades they have been told to get on board with the co-operative model that has generally been so successful for the dairy farmers…but they are simply too proud. They prefer poverty to acting collectively.

  5. KJT 5

    What about the drainlayer who went bust due to a winter of constant rain?

    Farmers are a business. Not a special case.

    • Supermaorifella 5.1

      I would have thought a drainlayer would have been extremely happy with a winter of constant rain, but I take your point. Again, does anyone know if farmers are insured, in general, or are they under-insured as a group?

      • BLiP 5.1.1

        No insurance company would touch them as far as their early lambing practises are concerned. Would you bet that’s not going to snow for a week in Southland in the middle of September? I would’ve thought that might have been an early indicator of the need to re-think the farm time table. I guess you don’t have to worry too much when you’ve got National Ltd™ not only paying your carbon tax but also acting as a free, default insurance service.

  6. burt 6

    So what is the alternative ? What sort of message do we send to people if the tax payers start bailing out people who didn’t have house insurance ? How many people would cancel their house insurance if that happened?

    However I guess the left would love it if all house insurance was socialised into taxes, along with car insurance & life insurance. Nothing better than state control via monopolies for lovers of inefficieny and one size fits all.

    • just saying 6.1

      Yeah, and what sort of message are they sending the farmers Burt?

      • Supermaorifella 6.1.1

        Individual household – personal responsibility for insurance – minimal flow-on affect if uninsured owner folds

        Individual farm – personal (or group in some cases) responsibility for insurance – some flow on affect to local community

        Regional farming area affected by worst storm in 50 years – massive impact on local economy, impact on national GDP – may require some govenrment assistance,

        • mcflock 6.1.1.1

          an individual household might be a smaller economic unit than a farm, but they still provide ongoing maintenance work and resource purchases and have an economic importance to the nation.

          Wasn’t the catalyst for the US credit crunch thousands/millions of individual households collapsing financially?

          • Supermaorifella 6.1.1.1.1

            Granted, houses (and those in the household) provide ongoing economic stimulus but it’s the scale that’s the key, as you point out. How many households were uninsured? I’d assume that the majority of owners and landlords insure their property, as they are a substantial investment. Those that aren’t (due to negligence, poverty, or some other factor) will have to reap what they have sown. I’d use the same argument for an individual farmer, or group of farmers as well. Unfortunately this has affected an entire region, which will impact that regions economic output and the national economy, making it a rather more drastic issue. Again, I don’t know if there are a lot of farmers without insurance, I’d assume the majority if not all do have cover for themselves and their property (if not they’re just as idiotic as anyone else without insurance). Christchurch, with all due respect to those inconvenienced or worse, is not New Orleans post-Katrina. Infrastructure is still to be rebuilt, some people are dislocated from where they live, a LOT of work still has to be done. But on the plus side construction will boom again in the city and the net gain could well be considerable for Christchurch in the long run. That isn’t to belittle those who have suffered loss in any way.
            The storm that is STILL affecting Southland is destroying the profits for an entire farming region, one of the main blocks of dairy farming in the country (always has been) and with substantial sheep farming in the high country (again, always has been). Even if idiotic farmers don’t have insurance (again, I would assume most do), the fact economic flow on effects from this event will affect the region (quite a bit) and the country in general for years to come as farming is still our countries largest revenue source.
            Disengaged’s comment above still holds weight in this argument, a lot of commentators seem to be assuming every farmer is some rich fat cat lording it over the area and greedily awaiting a government hand-out.

            • mcflock 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The fact is that the quake and the cold snap are probably comparable in economic to private property and the number of people affected.

              If the private insurance industry has to foot the bill for the majority of damage in either area, they’ll just hike up insurance premiums to cover (or use it as an excuse to increase) their profits. So everyone who can afford insurance pays extra, and those who can’t have to take the risk (the trouble with the poor “reaping what they sow” is that often it wasn’t them who did it).

              The govt might as well step in and thereby acknowledge that we’ll all end up paying for it one way or another.

      • the sprout 6.1.2

        umm Burt.. this just sends a message of welfare dependency to farmers

    • burt 6.2

      Yeah I never understood why farmers get handouts either. I think like any other business they should have insurance to cover such events and if they can’t afford insurance they could always sell the farm to somebody who can actually afford to run it and cover the risks associated with it.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      burt – competition doesn’t automatically induce efficiency. If anything, it does the reverse with massive amounts of duplication. The US health system costs three times more than ours because of the inefficiency of the insurance industry.

    • bingo 6.4

      dunno, give them a bailout and when things get good ask their industry to make sure cheese, milk and lamb is affordable in NZ? No wait that would be too interfering. Ah well, just give them a bailout and when things get good they can keep the profits and come on the internet all puffed up and call loser and bludger at everyone else. Business as usual.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Maybe we can ask the NFF to help us speak out about this outrageous imposition on the public purse. Isn’t welfare dependency one of their pet hates?

  8. RedLogix 8

    Sighs….too many folk missing the point. Much of life is about managing risk. Insurance is simply a way of ensuring that one a single adverse event does not wipe a person, a business or a nation out. In essence ALL insurance is simply a way of spreading risk collectively.

    Like many things, this collective risk management is best done with a mix of public and private provision. Some insurances, like property and life, tend to work ok with private provision. The acturial risks are fairly straightfoward to predict and consistent, so that private companies can structure their offerings in a way that ensures they make a profit.

    Some insurances are unatttactive for private companies, because either the actuarial risks are less predictable, or tend to come in large lumps. For instance, an earthquake wiping out a city, a major depression causing massive unemployment, a storm affecting thousands of farmers simultaneously, an epidemic killing millions…. are the kind of events that would potentially break a private insurance company because of the immense hit on their liquid reserves. They tend to call these kinds of events “Acts of God” and explicitly exclude them from their cover.

    Developed societies recognise that simply allowing people to go under when hit by these large scale ‘Act of God’ events is hugely unproductive. The need for collective action to spread the risk remains, even though private providers are either absent the market, or excessively expensive.

    That is why governments still step in to ‘bail out’ all sorts of people. From banks, finance companies and farmers, to the ill, the disabled and unemployed. It’s called a ‘social contract’.

    What stinks though is the hypocrisy from the right, while happily holding their hands out for their ‘corporate welfare’, endlessly moan and whine about the rather mean provision we stingily dole out to the poorest and weakest in our society.

  9. MrSmith 9

    What about the shop owner in central Christchurch who’s takings are down 60% since the earth quake , this guy has insurance for lose of income, but if his doors are open that doesn’t apply. so he is screwed. If he was a farmer he would get a hand out. Farmers used to be known as the back bone of the country now they should be known as the back-side of the country , they pollute our air and water then pay little tax, let them sink I say, but that will never happen on this governments watch will it!

  10. Jeremy Harris 10

    What is going on in the South Island..?

    SCF – price: $1,700,000,000
    Earthquake – price: $4,500,000,000
    Weather – price: $X00,000,000

    Southerns owing the NI a debt of bailout gratitude………………… priceless…

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    In Australia- where all the states (big and small) have equal Senate representations, rural conservatives do tend to be over-represented in influence. But under MMP this shouldn’t happen. A regions influence should be proportional to its population. Or is it that old habits are hard to break for the Nationals.

  12. Logie97 12

    @ Herodotus at 3:11 pm

    What happened to the months of October and November in your year?

    “Surprise events…” I think not. Have seen programmes like Country Calendar informing us of businesses that depend on these “Surprise events” – the slink skin industry. They are expecting such snow storms…

    The “slink” lamb skins originate principally as natural casualties of the world’s sheep populations. During lambing season weather conditions unfortunately lead to many deaths. Previously left in the fields, they are now collected and processed into one of the most sought after leathers.

    • Herodotus 12.1

      The later that the Ram is introduced the reduced lambing % of twins and the increase of barron ewes, resulting in a reduced lamd count.
      I also remember that there are more profitable times for lambs to be sent to the freenzuiing works to “meat” export deadlines.
      re later lambing there is also the reduced moisture soil levels resulting in reduced grass growth.
      I am sure that most farmers take great efforts in managing the welfare of their stock.

      More I think that this is a obnormal weather pattern and that many city people have distanced themselves from the reality of where our food comes from.
      And wihth the timing of sow creates, treatment of calfs by dairy, city people are being confused by poor farming practices and the reality of good pracices that due t the weather have unpleasant appearances but are NOT bad farming practices.
      Next thing slaughter yards will be in the spot light. This for the young maybe a bit squeemish, but old timers may remember this from the Skeptics

  13. jbanks 13

    Farmers contribute significantly to NZ’s economy. Idiots without insurance do not.

    • felix 13.1

      You say that as if they’re mutually exclusive groups.

      • jbanks 13.1.1

        Farmers without house insurance don’t get free houses either. However when their business gets damaged by the worst storm in a generation, it’s a good investment to help them out.

        • Logie97 13.1.1.1

          Farmers – pretty general catchall isn’t it. One assumes there are the hard working small family concerns and the less than hard working small family concerns. The mortgaged and the freehold. First, second, third generation and more. The near retired. The young graduates starting out. The tenanted. The cooperatives. The larger corporations. And in there, there will be the competent and the incompetent. Yet farmers seem to have this “they-are-the-backbone-of-the-country they-can-do-no-wrong” air about them. I’ll bet there aren’t many “farmers” who have much sympathy for the city dwellers who find themselves unemployed suddenly. And they probably have their own generalised opinions about teachers and other government employees as well.

        • felix 13.1.1.2

          Banksy you’re such a card*

          You said “Idiots without insurance don’t”.

          Now you’re saying farmers without insurance do.

          So either everyone without a farm is an idiot, or you don’t know what “mutually exclusive” means.

          (*fuckwit)

          • jbanks 13.1.1.2.1

            I think you better pass on the weed dopey, you’re running low on brain cells.

            We’re talking about personal home (idiots without insurance) vs business (Farmers contribute significantly to NZ’s economy)

            NOBODY gets a new personal home. Yes some idiot farmers might not have house insurance but what the hell has this got to do with their business?

            • felix 13.1.1.2.1.1

              So uninsured house owners are idiots but uninsured business owners are awesome.

              p.s. here’s what you wrote:

              Farmers contribute significantly to NZ’s economy. Idiots without insurance do not.

              Why all the weed related comments from you today, banksie?

              • jbanks

                What particular insurance policy should farmers have had here?

                This was a 1 in a 100 weather event with huge losses not seen since before most of these farmers were even born. The situation has even been officially declared an “adverse event”. Get real puff daddy.

                • felix

                  Fuck you’re slow. I’ve quoted you twice now and you still don’t see the contradiction in what you wrote.

                  Want to let me know why you’re insinuating I smoke pot? Fuckhead.

                  • jbanks

                    Look Cheech, you’re the one saying that farmers should have been insured for this “once in a generation” catastrophe. I’m telling you this is ridiculous and so there is a world of difference between uninsured home owners and the affected farmers.

                    • felix

                      Mind pointing out where I said that, genius?

                    • jbanks

                      Mind pointing out where I said that, genius?
                      Got short-term memory loss? You’ referred to ‘farmers without insurance’ and ‘uninsured business owners’.

                      Obviously it’s unreasonable for farmers to have insurance in the context of a one in 50 year event. So you’d have to be high to lump them with the ‘home owners without insurance’ idiots.

                    • felix

                      banksie. You wrote:

                      Look Cheech, you’re the one saying that farmers should have been insured for this “once in a generation” catastrophe.

                      Now I either said that or you’re a liar. So if you can’t point to where I said it I’d like an apology.

                      (wtf is with the short term memory loss? I’m the one constantly reminding you what you’ve just written. Pretty obvious who has the memory issues)

                      Now put up or apologise, crackhead.

                  • jbanks

                    This is for covering a few livestock for certain events. Not for literally hundreds lost in an ‘adverse event’.

                    Nice try though. Shows you’re at least thinking.

  14. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 14

    If you’re too poor to afford house insurance and you’re left homeless by an act of god, the government won’t help you.

    Anyone with a mortgage is going to have to have insurance because the mortgagee will require it.

    So it seems the underprivileged group of people you are asking us to help are the poor people who own mortgagee-free homes.

    How many of those do you think there are?

  15. Kleefer 15

    Simple answer – neither should get any taxpayer-funded assistance. Ever heard of the term ‘moral hazard’? National clearly haven’t.

  16. prism 16

    When it comes to contents insurance – that would be needed by all occupants, house-owners or renters. It was not regarded as a necessary expenditure for those on benefits by the Soc Welf last time I heard, and also for those on low wages also termed ‘the working poor’ which is a sizable group, they may have had to drop insurance because of more urgent costs. These people shouldn’t be condemned as stupid, they are just trying to manage with little to spare after the main bills are paid.

    I was just thinking about the USA and its hurricane area. It must be killing for people in the south trying to improve their lot to have their homes, then their trailers and possessions wiped out on a regular basis, not once in fifty years like this earthquake.

  17. jbanks 17

    Now I either said that or you’re a liar. So if you can’t point to where I said it I’d like an apology.

    You’re a typical stoner trying to sneak out the back door when called up on your drug hazed crap.

    Now you’re trying to tell me that this comment from you was actually NOT implying that farmers should have been insured.
    So uninsured house owners are idiots but uninsured business owners are awesome.

    DIAF

    • felix 17.1

      What I was pointing out, my dim-witted little friend, and what I’ve tried to point out to you several times since is that you made a stupid statement which claims a mutual exclusivity where none exists.

      Does DIAF mean “die in a fire”? Are you that angry?

      Lay off the crackpipe and have a nap, fuckwit.

      • jbanks 17.1.1

        And you are utterly wrong.

        I referred to “farmers” and “idiots without insurance”.

        These groups ARE mutually exclusive groups, because as I’ve pointed out (and what you seem to have agreed on) is that it’s unreasonable to expect farmers to have had insurance in the context of the catastrophe.

        Next time you wanna challenge me you better bring your A-game chump.

        pwned

        • felix 17.1.1.1

          You’re putting words in my mouth. Saying I said things you want me to have said because it would validate your preconceptions.

          It’s transparent and stupid. And don’t say “pwned”, you’ve only made a fool of yourself.

          I’ll talk to you again when you come down, crackhead.

          • jbanks 17.1.1.1.1

            When I suggested that you don’t think farmers should have been insured ie
            you’re the one saying that farmers should have been insured for this “once in a generation” catastrophe.

            You denied this.
            Mind pointing out where I said that, genius?

            So I suggested that you actually don’t think that farmers should have been insured
            I’ve pointed out (and what you seem to have agreed on) is that it’s unreasonable to expect farmers to have had insurance in the context of the catastrophe.

            you also denied this
            You’re putting words in my mouth

            Well which one is it smokey? Should they have been insured or not?

            As long as you keep posting on here the Standard will continue to be a joke. Thank you.

            • mcflock 17.1.1.1.1.1

              Jb, did you just quote yourself in an attempt to demonstrate that felix said something?

              Felix wins.

              You got pwned, byatch! Run home to your mama and cry now – or do you want us to call a waaaahmbulance?

              Word.

              kthxbai

              ps: yes, I too speak lingua adolescentii.

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