Word of the day


Splenetic –  affected or marked by ill humor; bad-tempered irritable; peevish; spiteful.

Trust putting money where mouths are


The save TVNZ7 campaign was never going to succeed.

But it has spawned a trust, fronted by David Beatson, which is prepared to put money where the pro-public broadcasting mouths are:

 I am now driving the formation of a new, not-for-profit trust to establish a nationwide, free-to-air, public television service. . .

The disappearance of TVNZ 7 signals the completion of TVNZ’s transformation into TCTV – Totally Commercial Television.

For six years, as chairman of NZ On Air under both a National-led government and a Labour-led government, I confronted the difficulties of striking the balance between the commercially-driven interest of our major television networks and the public interest mission. It was tough enough in 1995-2001. It will be even tougher now. . .

Totally Commercial Television has a clear and simple mission: build audiences of active consumers who generate business for advertisers who generate profits for the shareholder.

The public broadcasting mission is much more complex: its purpose is to add value to all our lives – regardless of our age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, geographic location, or our consumption habits. Real public broadcasting enhances education, promotes health, encourages participation in public life, builds understanding between majorities and minorities, and constantly engages with its audiences. We don’t see much of that on TCTV.

We need a dedicated, non-commercial, free-to-air, public broadcasting TV channel, to put some balance back into our TV diet, to take some of the commercial pressure off NZ On Air, and to secure important components of the broader public broadcasting service mission from the vagaries of the advertising market.

No other country in the developed world relies solely on the good will of advertising-funded, free-to-air commercial television broadcasters to deliver the public interest values that define the public broadcasting mission. . .

. . . I’m establishing a not-for-profit Trust to raise the funds required to set up a bare-bones, non-commercial, nationwide channel to fill the public TV broadcasting role that TVNZ 7 has vacated. We’ll work together to keep the momentum for change growing.

We’ll be looking for support from corporate sponsors, public interest charities, community organisations, individual philanthropists, education and health service providers, cultural institutions and community organisations, minority and special interest groups.  – people who can see the public benefits from a small, Kiwi adaption of the American Public Broadcasting Service [PBS]model.

I can’t see any reason for the state to continue owning two commercial TV channels.

It would be far better to sell both and have a dedicated non-commercial, free-to-air, public channel. But given that is unlikely, a Trust could be the best vehicle to deliver the sort of programmes for which commercial channels and their advertisers have no appetite.

Right smarter than left


Prime Minister John Key says the right is smarter than the left.

Well of course they are, if the left was smarter they’d be right wouldn’t they?

More seriously he also explains that Capital Gains Tax could work and why it doesn’t:

A capital gains tax on ‘absolutely everything’ would work in a perfect world, although no politician has the guts to introduce one in New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key says. . .

If government was prepared to do with a capital gains tax what had been done with GST – put it on “virtually absolutely everything with no exceptions – they work well.”

“Because, in theory, if you earn NZ$100,000 from going out there and having a job, and you pay tax on it, well fair enough. If you earn NZ$100,000 from buying a property, well you probably should pay tax on that – fair enough,” Key said.

“But this is where the problem comes along, and that is, that no politician has the guts to do that. Because they go, ‘well that’s a vote-loser.’ They turn around and say, ‘OK, we’re going to have exemptions – the exemptions are all private housing,'” he said about Labour’s and the Greens’ policies.

That is why a CGT wouldn’t earn much and if existing property was exempt it would be a very long time until it returned anything at all.

The fact that three-quarters of housing was owner-occupied, and would therefore be exempt under those proposals, meant their argument that a CGT would discourage investment in housing was “nonsense.”

“The theory is they’re going to sock it to rich guys who live in Parnell – so they’re going to really nail them. But actually, those rich guys in Parnell are way smarter than the left, because they’ve already worked out to buy a big house in Parnell [which] would be exempt,” Key, himself a wealthy Parnell resident, said.

“So [those house prices will] go up faster, not go up slower.”

“It encourages people to go into housing; it doesn’t discourage them,” he said.

Countries which have  CGT had a housing bubble just like we did here. The tax was no deterrent and might even have inflated prices by reducing the number of properties for sale and incentivising those who did sell to seek more for them.

Key reiterated his argument during the election campaign that New Zealand already had a capital gains tax on housing if a property was bought and sold with the primary intention of making a profit.

“And by the way, IRD are hiring people, at Bill English’s request – it’s always his fault – and they are trawling through these returns, getting lots and lots of money from people who are doing just that and not paying their taxes,” he said. . . .

He also said that a CGT would apply to other investments including productive ones like farms and other businesses. Then people don’t sell so they don’t have to pay the tax and eventually they pass the assets on when they die so there’d have to be a gift duty.

One new complicated tax leads to another. Gift duty was canned here a couple of years ago for the very good reason that the costs of administering it didn’t justify the amount collected.

Argentina has a CGT and it encourages people to hold on to farms rather than selling them. That’s led to a lot of land being leased from absentee owners. Reducing the supply of land for sale increases the price.

I’m reluctant to say any tax is good, but simple taxes are better. Any CGT that has been proposed for New Zealand has been complicated by exemptions which add to costs and incentivise avoidance.

If politicians don’t have the courage to apply a CGT to almost everything, as GST is, they’re better not to apply it at all.


España 4 – Italia 0


El Pais says:España ha inscrito su nombre con letras de oro en la historia del fútbol –  Spain has written its name with gold letters in the history of football.

They’ve won their second European Cup final against Italy, 4 – 0, following their World Cup win last year and European Cup four years ago.

They are the first team to successfully  defend the European championship title and win three major titles in succession.

I watched the start of Spain’s opening pool match against Italy, which they drew 1 -1, in a wee bar in Vejer de la Frontera. The locals were very excited about that; the oles will be even louder now.

Radio Whale


Newstalk ZB’s talk back spot this morning has dual – and maybe duelling – hosts: Cameron Slater, of Whaleoil fame in the blue corner and John Pagani in the red one from 11 – 12.

If you’re in the lower North Island you’ll be able to listen on the radio otherwise you can tune in to Newstalk ZB’s live stream.

All that’s “green” isn’t good


“Green” might be the new black but all that is “green” isn’t necessarily good as this exchange from Question Time last week shows:

4. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) to the Minister for Economic Development: Does he stand by all his recent statements as Minister for Economic Development in relation to the Pure Advantage report New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race; if so, why?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development): Yes, especially my statements that it is important that New Zealand take advantage of all its opportunities for economic growth within sensible environmental and safety protections.

Hon David Cunliffe: Why, then, did he say that he fundamentally disagrees with New Zealand getting a slice of the $6 trillion world market export opportunity in the move to a clean economy, and why does he believe this would be “far too value-destroying” for the New Zealand economy?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Because the Pure Advantage** people promote shifting a whole lot of resources, particularly Government resources, into subsidising those industries as a way of actually achieving that level of growth, and although* we of course support and encourage our high-tech* and cleantech* industries—and some of them are doing a fantastic job—there is a limit to how much you can support them without being value-destroying for other parts of the economy. Also, saying that certain industries should not be invested in when they represent between them roughly 80 percent of our exports would be value-destroying.

Hon David Cunliffe: Why will he not heed the actual call by Pure Advantage, as clarified by chairman **Rob Morrison, to level the playing field so big pollution has to play by the same rules as innovative Kiwi cleantech* start-ups?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I am not quite sure what the member is alluding to, but I presume he means that industry should pay higher costs around, for example, emissions than they currently do. Of course, that would mean that they would be paying costs that their competitors in other countries do not face, which would be value-destroying. The challenge for New Zealand as a country trying to grow its exports is to make sure that it does not hobble its exporters with tests and costs that other countries’ exporters do not have to face.

Hon David Cunliffe: Why did he describe the Pure Advantage group of business leaders as self-interested and accuse them of bias in asking for “very big subsidies into industries and firms that would … not be economic …”, when its recent report does not call for specific subsidies; and if he cannot substantiate those claims, will he now withdraw and apologise to Pure Advantage chairman Mr Rob Morrison and trustees such as Mr *Phillip Mills, Mr *Jeremy Moon, Mr *Mark Solomon, and Sir Stephen Tindall*?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I am sure that Rob will be quite capable of the robust debate, as I am sure he has been in the past, and I have had good discussions with him about it as well. The point I was making is that in the report it talks a lot and in very positive terms of countries that make very, very big subsidies to industry, such as Spain and the Nordic countries—and also, for example, America with the Tesla Motors** company—and suggested that would be a model for New Zealand to follow. Obviously I disagree. . . .

“Green” jobs are supposed to be good but they come at a considerable cost:

Hon Tim Groser: Is the Minister aware that the Pure Advantage report suggested that a very good model to follow would be the Birmingham City Council** green growth strategy, which produced 270 jobs at a cost of nearly $2 million a job, and does he think that is a sensible model to follow for New Zealand?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Yes, I am aware of that and a number of other models cited in the report. I think that illustrates the problem with the approach. The debate has actually moved on and in the New Zealand economy we are focused very much on greening our successful export industries and developing new industries, and not just trying to pick winners, as Mr Cunliffe seems to be advocating.

We have only one world and it behoves us to take care of it for those who follow us but sustainability is supposed to balance economic, environmental and social factors.

All that’s “green” isn’t good when it’s based on emotion rather than science and if it doesn’t stack up economically and socially.

July 2 in history


626 In fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and kills his rival brothers Li Yuanji and Li Jiancheng in the Incident at Xuanwu Gate.

706 Emperor Zhongzong of Tang had the remains of Emperor Gaozong of Tang, his wife and recently-deceased ruling empress Wu Zetian, her son Li Xian, her grandson Li Chongrun, and granddaughter Li Xianhui interred in a new tomb complex, the Qianling Mausoleum, located on Mount Liang.

963  The imperial army proclaimed Nicephorus Phocas to be Emperor of the Romans.

1298  The Battle of Göllheim between Albert I of Habsburg and Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg.

1489  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born  (d. 1556).

1494  The Treaty of Tordesillas was ratified by Spain.

1555  Turgut Reis sacked Paola.

1561 Menas, Emperor of Ethiopia, defeated a revolt in Emfraz.

1582  Battle of Yamazaki: Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated Akechi Mitsuhide.

1613 The first English expedition from Massachusetts against Acadia led by Samuel Argall.

1644 English Civil War: the Battle of Marston Moor.

1679  Europeans first visited Minnesota and saw headwaters of Mississippi in an expedition led by Daniel Greysolon de Du Luth.

1698  Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.

1776  The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with Great Britain.

1777 Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.

1823  Bahia Independence Day: the end of Portuguese rule in Brazil, with the final defeat of the Portuguese crown loyalists in the province of Bahia.

1839 – 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinque took over the slave ship Amistad.

1871  Victor Emmanuel II entered Rome after its conquest from the Papal States.

1877  Hermann Hesse, German-born writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1962).

1881 Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield.

1897 Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained patent for radio in London.

1900 The first zeppelin flight took place.

1903   Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born. (d. 1995).

1903  King Olav V of Norway, was born (d. 1991).

1917 Murry Wilson, American musician and producer (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1973).

1917  The East St. Louis Riots ended.

1929 Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, was born.

1930 Carlos Menem, former President of Argentina, was born.

1934 Tom Springfield, British singer and songwriter (The Springfields), was born.

1934  The Night of the Long Knives ended with the death of Ernst Röhm.

1937  Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan awee last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.

1938  The electrified rail line between central Wellington and the northern suburb of Johnsonville was officially opened by Minister of Railways Dan Sullivan and Wellington Mayor Thomas Hislop.

Electric trains come to Wellington

1939 Paul Williams, American singer (The Temptations), was born (d. 1973).

1940  Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested and detained in Calcutta.

1950  The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto burned down.

1953 Mark Hart, American musician (Crowded House and Supertramp), was born.

1954 Pete Briquette, Irish musician (The Boomtown Rats), was born.

1956 Jerry Hall, American actress and model, was born.

1962  The first Wal-Mart store opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.

1966  French military explodeed a nuclear test bomb codenamed Aldébaran in Mururoa, their first nuclear test in the Pacific.

1976  North and South Vietnam, divided since 1954, reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1985 Andrei Gromyko was appointed the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.

1987  Nilde Iotti was named as the first female President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

1993 – 37 participants in an Alevi cultural and literary festival were killed when a mob of demonstrators set fire to their hotel in Sivas during a protest.

2000 Vicente Fox Quesada was elected the first President of México from an opposition party, the Partido Acción Nacional, after more than 70 years of continuous rule by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

2001  The AbioCor self contained artificial heart was first implanted.

2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.

2003  Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, insulted German MP Martin Schulz by calling him a “kapo” during a session of the European Parliament.

2004 ASEAN Regional Forum accepted Pakistan as its 24th member.¨

2005 – Live 8 took place in London’s Hyde Park and other locations around the world.

2008  Ingrid Betancourt, and 14 other hostages held by FARC guerrillas, are rescued by the Colombian armed forces.

2010 – The South Kivu tank truck explosion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo kills at least 230 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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