Word of the day

October 27, 2011

Hebetude –  the state of being dull,  enervated or lethargic; dullness of mind, mental lethargy.

Labour lowers wages, threatens jobs

October 27, 2011

When National announced its policy to automatically enrol people for KiwiSaver but allow them to opt out, Finance Minister Bill English was asked why not go the whole way and make the scheme compulsory.

He replied that some people would not have enough money and others would have better things to do with it.

The really poor already find too much week left at the end of their pay packets. Reducing their take home pay be taking more, albeit for savings for their own retirements, will cause real hardship.

Other people would have higher priorities for spare money such as paying off mortgages or other debt or investing in their education or business.

Labour’s policy of compulsory KiwiSaver would  make life more difficult for the poor and take choice away for those with better ways to invest in their futures.

The other part of the policy – increasing employer contributions to 8%, will result in lower wages.

Few if any employers would be able to absorb the increased cost of higher contributions.  The choices are increasing the price for the goods and services they produce or reducing costs elsewhere and the obvious place to do that is in the wages of workers whose superannuation they are subsidising.

They can do that by having fewer staff or paying those they do have, less.

Wages might not come down but they either won’t go up or will increase much more slowly if employer subsidies increase under Labour’s policy.

This policy in isolation will make employers more hesitant to take on extra staff. Combining it with increasing the minimum wage to $15 will increase the hesitation.

Lowering wages and threatening jobs is not the policy of a worker-friendly party.

Thursday’s quiz

October 27, 2011

1. Who said: “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”?

2. It’s impôts in French,  tassa or imposta in Italian, impuesto in Spanish and tāke  in Maori, what is it in English?

3. Name the three hydro dams on the Waitaki River.

4. Who wrote and performed You’re So Vain?

5. What is a balalaika?

Fined for producing more

October 27, 2011

Milk production in Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands has been higher than expected.

That ought to be cause for celebration in a world we keep being told is short on food and where developing countries are hungry for protein.

But no, they will be fined a total of €221m because they exceeded their annual quota.

What makes it even sillier is that 14 countries produced less than their quota and total EU production was 6% lower than quota.

The quota system is to be phased out as part of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy which aim to end government protection for the dairy industry.

The process of getting away from protection can be painful but this is a good example of what’s wrong with letting governments and bureaucrats interfere in trade.

Leaving the market to set the price is better for producers and consumers.


October 27, 2011

Thursday’s quiz will turn up later. In the meantime see if you can beat my 6/10 in the Herald’s Changing World quiz,

Printing money for expensive promises

October 27, 2011

Sideswipe received a Labour Party flyer from a reader who says:

“Folks in South Auckland have just got a flyer from Labour. On the back is printed a perfect $100 note, right down to the serial number, watermarks and Doc Bollard’s signature. And no trace of ‘sample only’. The folded flyer appears to be the real deal. Perhaps it’s a Machiavellian attempt by Labour strategists to drive up inflation and damage the Nats’ record?”

Isn’t there a law about copying money like this?

Even if there’s not, how disappointing for the recipients who think they’re getting cash and find it’s only expensive promises.

Some on the left do think printing more money would solve our problems. Maybe that’s how Labour plans to fill the $9 billion hole it’s got in the cost of its policies over four years.


Sorry not sorry

October 27, 2011

The only reason a senior MP would go on a hiding to nothing by standing in an electorate he couldn’t possibly win would be if he was desperately seeking publicity.

Labour’s Epsom candidate David Parker must have thought the strategy wasn’t working so he sought more publicity by asking for a guest post on Kiwiblog.

He was given plenty of rope. He didn’t hang himself but he did tangle himself up with it and fall flat on his face when he said the Sensible Sentencing Trust had bought a place on Act’s list for David Garrett through a large donation to the party.

It must be a difficult concept for a leftwing politician, so used to unions, to grasp. But most lobby groups are not politically aligned and don’t donate to political parties.

The SST and Act Party both immediately refuted the statement.

As soon as the lie was exposed, blog host David Farrar posted an update saying the statement was wrong.

Very belatedly Parker asked for this to be added:

Garth McVicar has today (25 October) said that the Sensible Sentencing Trust has not made donations of money to any political party, including Act. It appears from his statement that the only gift the Trust itself made to Act was David Garrett. What donations, if any, came from members of the so-called Sensible Sentencing Trust to Mr Garrett or Act  I do not know.

That’s a very sorry example of how to show you’re not sorry.

No voluntary organisation can control what its members do with their own money and what they do as individuals is their own business unless they choose to publicise it.

Had anyone made a large donation the party is required by law to declare it.

It would be difficult to know if an individual donor was a member of the SST or any other organisation unless they said so. Most voluntary organisations respect the privacy of their members and don’t make their membership public.

I don’t know enough about the law to know if what was written was actionable.

But like most not-for-profit groups , largely run on the goodwill of volunteers, the SST will need every cent it raises for its own work and this slur on its integrity will damage its ability to fund raise.

However, the greater damage is that which was self-inflicted. Mud spatters the one who throws it and this episode has left Parker looking both petty and dirty.

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