Word of the day

September 1, 2014

Comminatory – threatening, punitive, or vengeful; a clause inserted into a law, edict, patent, etc, describing a punishment that is to be imposed on delinquents, which, however, is not in practice executed with the rigor that is conveyed in the description, or not even executed at all.


Two killed at WINZ office

September 1, 2014

Two people are dead and another seriously injured after being shot in the Ashburton WINZ office:

 

. . . A balaclava-clad man carrying a sawn-off shotgun entered the Work and Income office on the corner of Cass and Moore streets and fired several shots before fleeing on a bike.

The gunman was last seen heading towards the Ashburton river. Shots have reportedly been heard since coming from the river. 

A source told Fairfax Media that one person was shot dead on site and another died at Ashburton Hospital.

Police confirmed that two people had been killed and the third person was in hospital. . . .

This is firstly a tragedy for those who died, their family friends and workmates.

It is also a shock for the community and other public servants:

Ashburton District Mayor Angus McKay said he felt “weak at the knees” when he heard about the shooting at the town’s Work and Income office.

“Ashburton is not this kind of town,” he said.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett called it “an extreme situation and tragedy”, adding that all resources were going into looking after WINZ staff.

She was travelling down to the town this afternoon.

Public Service Association (PSA) said the shooting was a tragedy and nobody should go to work in fear that they might not return home. 

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy,”

“We don’t know what the cause is, but we will be supporting our members from Ashburton Work and Income at this terrible time. . . .

This has already been used for political point scoring on Twitter.

It shouldn’t be.

No political views justify killing innocent people at work.

It’s a tragedy.


Rural round-up

September 1, 2014

Agri-careers promoted – Sally Rae:

Agriculture is ”far more than milking cows and drafting sheep”.

That was the message from Jacqueline Rowarth, professor of agribusiness at Waikato University, to a group of Dunedin secondary school pupils last week.

”It’s everything that New Zealand does because New Zealand business is agribusiness … Our whole lifestyle is from what we export,” she said. . . .

Effluent making power, hot water :

Dairy effluent could be used as a source of heat and electricity on Southland dairy farms.

If trials are successful, the dairy farming waste product could become a valued resource in the future.

Monitoring at two farms in Dacre and Pukerau has shown that anaerobic digestion of dairy farm effluent in unheated effluent ponds, is consistently producing large volumes of methane, even during the cold conditions of the Southland winter. . .

Retiring Fonterra director looks for new challenges  – Gerald Piddock:

Jim van der Poel has lived and breathed Fonterra for more than a decade.

But after serving on the board of the country’s biggest company for 12 years, the Waikato farmer will step down as a director at Fonterra’s annual meeting in November.

A board member since 2002, van der Poel was immensely satisfied with the role he played in Fonterra’s development over the past decade. . .

No excuse now – Richard Rennie:

The right kit, the right market conditions, and high-quality supply mean there will be no excuses for Fonterra’s executive not to deliver higher dividends and milk prices to its shareholders.

Large-scale south Waikato farmer Ian Elliott believes that after last week’s $1.2 billion investment announcement into plant and Chinese market ventures, the company should be poised to achieve its full potential for New Zealand and farmer shareholders.

“Having investment into plants that can produce higher value products removes that last barrier to achieving the optimum returns for farmers,” Elliott said. . .

Time to leverage export dominance

Fonterra has given its value-creation wheel a strong crank by announcing more processing plant construction at home and a new joint venture with Beingmate, the No 1 infant formula company in China.

Its borrowing intentions of $1.2 billion will increase the debt:equity ratio to 45%.

At home it needs to expand peak processing capacity and avoid the constraints which cost farmers about $900 million last season in foregone revenue. . .

Council approves dam funds –

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has approved an advance of $3.1 million to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) to cover the period until financial close on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

The decision was made in a public-excluded session of Wednesday’s council meeting and supported by all councillors present.

Given the lodging of appeals to the High Court on the proposal, financial close for the scheme will no longer occur by September 30, with the best estimate now March 31 next year.

All investment funds contributed by the council in this development phase are part of its overall financial contribution to the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.  . . .

 

 

 


Political Compass

September 1, 2014

Political Compass places New Zealand political parties:

 

compass

Whoever is behind it says:

This time around there can be no more important and over-arching issue than the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which New Zealand is poised to sign, yet receives scant attention in the campaign and is ignored in any of the “surveys” that we’ve seen. From the authenticated leaked information that’s available, it’s clear that this agreement is much more than the free trade deal that its National Party adherents describe. It is in fact an unprecedented move towards international corporate involvement in governance, including vital areas like education, health and pharmaceuticals, environment, agriculture, investor rights and much more. Under the TPPA, government legislation in the interests of the public — but against the interests of foreign business — may be challenged by a corporation in a closed tribunal on the grounds of impeding free trade. This precise thing has already happened in Australia, where the country’s plain packaging laws on tobacco were legally challenged by a tobacco company. The truth is that many of the electoral policies of some NZ parties could not be implemented under the TPPA! This, and not the flag, is the real sovereignty issue, and it\`s barely being raised. By comparison, every other electoral issue is window dressing.

I don’t think most voters share this view of the importance of the TPPA, nor what appears to be a hard-left, anti-trade view of it.

However they are right about this:

We remain perplexed about the electoral alliance between Mana and the Internet Party, given that Mana’s leader is an avowed socialist, while the Internet Party’s founder is an economic libertarian in the mould of the anti-state Pirate parties of other countries. . .

I took the test:

 

compass1

 

That isolates me from any of the parties but I think that’s the fault of the placing of the parties, the questions – some of which are on issues and ideas which aren’t relevant here – and assumptions made about how answers relate to the parties.

TVNZ’s Vote Compass shouldn’t be taken as fool-proof, but it has the parties better placed and is based on questions more relevant in New Zealand.

It put me in a similar place but has the National Party there as more centrists and liberal than the Political Compass does:

tvvc1


Bribe-O-Meter update

September 1, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union has updated its Bribe-O-Meter to include four of the wee parties:

The Taxpayers’ Union have added the Green, ACT, United Future and Conservative Parties to the ‘Bribe-O-Meter’ hosted at taxpayers.org.nz.  Excluding ACT and New Zealand First, the total election ‘bribes’ – that is new spending not already in the budget covering the next parliamentary term, equals $12.7 billion, or $7,486 per household.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “The Bribe-O-Meter is enabling Kiwis to judge for themselves the various bribes this election. With the addition of the minor parties voters can assess which political parties are offering taxpayers value for money.”

“As of the end of last week, National’s election promises add up to $329 per household. The equivalent figure for Labour is $2,776, the Greens $2,893, United Future $1,253, and the Conservatives $236. ACT is in the negative, committing to cut spending by $6,876 per household.”

A lack of detail in New Zealand First’s policy documents has made it impossible for the Union’s independent expert, Dr Michael Dunn, to calculate credible figures for the Party’s inclusion in the Bribe-O-Meter.  Public and private requests to New Zealand First have, to date, not resulted in amelioration. 

If someone who used to do social policy costing for IRD can’t figure out NZ First’s costs, the problem is with the party and its policies.

Mr Williams says, “While National, Labour, the Greens, Conservatives, ACT, and United Future have provided the Union with sufficient policy and financial material to estimate the cost of their election manifestos, New Zealand First apparently just doesn’t have the information for our expert. It appears that Mr Peters makes promises to all and sundry, but no one at his office is adding up the cost.”

“We are delighted that in the last week, parties have come to us to test our expert’s assumptions and the Bribe-O-Meter’s methodology. On the basis of new information that parties have provided we’ve updated our figures and are able to provide more transparency to the voting public on precisely what parties are promising.” . .

The Bribe-O-Meter is here.

bribeometer

 

This puts the lie to claims by Labour and the Green Party that they will be fiscally responsible.

National’s promises amount to a total of $558 billion which is  $328.81 a household.

Labour’s total is $4,707 billion – $2,775.68 per household.

Green Party’s total is the highest – at $4.707 $4.906 billion, a cost of $2,893.03 a household.

The Act Party would reduce costs by $11,660 billion – a reduction of $6,875.60 per household.

United Future’s total is $2.124 billion –  $1,252.51 per household.

The Conservative Party’s total costs amount to $$0.400 billion – $235.88 a household.

NZ Firsts costs are a like its leaders utterings – whatever he thinks it is.

Labour and Green Party policies are already at 7482.68 billion.

That doesn’t take account of the cost NZ First and Internet Mana would require for their support.

Nor does it take into count the added costs of higher taxes, higher interest rates, higher inflation, more welfare and a stalled economy.


Work best way out of poverty trap

September 1, 2014

Welfare has a place for people who can never support themselves and others who, for a variety of reasons, need temporary help.

But it’s a safety net that can turn into a poverty trap.

The best way out of that trap, and the best answer to poverty, is work which is why National has put so much effort, and so many resources, into helping those who can help themselves to do so.

The policy is working for the people going off benefits on to work and its working for New Zealand by reducing the long term economic and social costs of welfare dependency and poverty which comes with it.
Clearly, our policies are #working4nz.


Stay on track or stall

September 1, 2014

Finance Minister Bill English (from 15:30ish)

. . . exporters have done a fantastic job. they’ve had a high dollar, they’ve had their export markets, US, UK, Europe in massive recession and still they’ve done well. . .

. . . the last thing they want is the whole shebang tipped upside down by politicians setting interest rates, higher income tax, capital gains tax,  carbon tax and . . .  the government taking over the energy and the housing markets. . . .

Labour and the Greens will add new taxes, put on capital gains tax, carbon tax and put up income tax to pay for a lot more wasteful spending.

Our focus is on building confidence, because a new job and higher pay come from businesses who are investing and the good news is they are really starting to get some momentum and the last thing we want is to stall that momentum. . .

. . . First we spend a lot less and we don’t raise new taxes. Secondly the quality of our spending is much better specified because we’re spending for results. . . ours is focussed on getting results kids learning, more elective surgery . . . they are just throwing money at the problems.

The choice for voters is staying on track with National or stalling under a government led by Labour.

It’s a choice between National which respects other people’s money and the need to spend it wisely and Labour and its mismatched mates who want to take more of other people’s money and spend it in the mistaken belief that the quantity of the spend is better than the quality.

It’s a choice between continuing to go forwards or stalling and going backwards.


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