Mayoral fund for people not property

October 11, 2010

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said that the mayoral fund won’t be used to help people whose properties weren’t insured.

Speaking to Guyon Espiner on Q&A yesterday he said:

No, I think that we can’t replace insurance.  We have to be really clear about that, and the money that we’ve got in that fund, we’ve said that’s for people, not for property.  We’re using that money to help citizens, help families that are in difficult times, and that’s going to be needed for a long time ahead, Guyon, we’re going to need that for another 18 months or so as we work through these problems.  I don’t think we can solve all of the problems for everybody if you don’t have insurance.  Really, that’s the decision you’ve made.  There will be some cases of hardship, and we are the kind of community that will try to help, and work with people to solve those problems.

He’s right.

It may sound tough but it’s also fair. People who weren’t insured took a gamble and lost.

If they received compensation from the mayoral fund or central government it would send a message to people that they don’t need to worry about insurance.


HP on TV

September 4, 2010

Q&A’s bloggerhead slot aims to give two different positions on the issue of the week.

Tomorrow it’s Keith Ng from Public Address, chosen because he’s young, urban and financially literate and me because I’m not so young, rural and . . . ?

The media release says:

On Q + A this Sunday:                                                                                                         

Paul Holmes interviews former South Canterbury Finance Chief Executive Sandy Maier about what went wrong and what chance taxpayers have of recovering the losses.

South Canterbury Finance’s collapse has its origins in the global financial crisis. Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard joins Guyon Espiner to talk about his new book, Crisis: One Central Bank Governor & the Global Financial Collapse and his battle to save our finance sector during the worldwide meltdown. Was the deposit guarantee scheme that saved SCF this week well conceived? Did anyone see this coming? And what does he really think of the government’s efforts to counter the crisis?

Paul and Martin Sneddon talk rugby.  One year from RWC kick-off, are we ready? Or are the critics right to be sceptical?

Dr Therese Arseneau is joined on the panel by 2025 Taskforce head, the former Reserve Bank Governor and National Party leader, Dr Don Brash and Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, who’s soon to take over development of the Auckland waterfront.

@ Bloggerheads, are Keith Ng from Public Address and Ele Ludemann from Homepaddock.

Q + A is broadcast live 9-10am Sunday on TV ONE and repeated at 9.10pm on Sunday nights and 10.10am and 2.10pm on Mondays on TVNZ 7. 

 (TVNZ 7 screens on Freeview Channel 7 and Sky TV Channel 97)


Polls show public accept reality?

February 22, 2010

The government is open to a rise in tobacco tax; there may be fewer government departments at the end of this parliamentary term;  the requirement for a 9% return on equity from Crown Research Institutes will be relaxed; Cabinet is considering more oil exploration; Bill English is disappointed with DOC and RadioNZ playing politics; long term economic restructuring is more important than short term jobs; and falling business confidence is a dose of reality.

A media release from TVNZ highlighted these points from the Guyon Espiner’s interview with Finance Minister Bill English on Q&A yesterday.

The most important of these is that government focus on long term economic restructuring rather than short term jobs.

It takes courage from a government to do what’s right in the long term when they’ll be judged at the ballot box in the short term.

The last administration bought lots of votes and we’re paying for it now. This one is facing criticism from the left for being too tough and the right for not being tough enough.

In spite of that and the need for strong medicine the polls are holding up for National. Perhaps that shows that the public realise this and have also accepted the  dose of realism which businesses are facing up to.


The curse of opposition

January 18, 2010

Guyon Espiner ended his North & South column on his predictions for government initiatives in the coming year by saying:

Which brings us to Labour, well it doesn’t really, but I guess I have to mention them. Right at the end.

There. I think that’s accorded them an amount of space commensurate with their level of relevance.

That’s the curse of opposition, especially when you’ve been there a short time after a very long time in government.

It’s even more difficult when the new government and the Prime Minister are as popular as this National-led one and John Key are at the moment.

If Labour highlight a problem or propose new policy they’ll be asked why they didn’t do something about it when they were in power.

That’s if anyone takes any notice which isn’t likely when, as Espiner points out, they’re barely relevant.


Not easy no excuse not to try

November 2, 2009

The government is planning to tweak benefits to encourage people back into work.

On Q&A yesterday:

GUYON So this is quite interesting, it’s something we haven’t heard before, you are going to Cabinet with the policy to again send young mums who are on the DPB out to work when their child reaches a certain age, and to tighten the eligibility perhaps around sickness benefits or to reduce that in some way?

BILL Well these are policies consistent with the undertakings we made when we were in opposition.

GUYON But they’re back on the cards now that things are picking up a bit?

BILL That’s right yeah, we’ve always felt that we could do a better job of making sure people had more incentive about getting off welfare to make sure it’s a bit more difficult to get on those longer term benefits, because once people are on those they’re pretty much trapped out of participation in the work force.

Guyon is wrong about not hearing this before, as Bill said this was National’s election policy.

Not being new won’t stop criticism of it.

However, what the critics overlook is that while benefits help people in the short term it’s not good for the recipients or society if people who could work stay on them for years.

Finding work which is flexible enough to fit around child care needs for single parents isn’t easy. But not being easy isn’t an excuse for not trying.


TVNZ 7 tempted me

November 1, 2009

TVNZ 7 invites you to experience the recording of a special studio show analysing the performance of the National-led government’s first year in power .

National’s First Year featuring an in-depth interview with Bill English plus analysis and debate, kicks off TVNZ 7’s Spotlight on the Eocnomy month.

TVNZ 7 dedicates November to exploring the question of what sort of New Zealand will emerge from the recession, to demystifying economics and to debating issues surrounding New Zealand’s economy. What needs to change to ensure a prosperous future? A range of programming across the channel in November provides insight and information on all things economic.

Before the show, you’re invited to join us for a breakfast briefing about TVNZ’s digital channels.

Please join us at 8am on Tuesday November 3 for a hearty breakfast and a general update on TVNZ’s digital channels TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7. At 8.45 we’ll usher guests into the studio for our one hour show National’s First Year.

That’s what the invitation said and for a moment or two I was tempted.

Then reason prevailed. The cheapest option would be flying from Christchurch which is 3 1/2 hours drive away and there’d also be taxi fares and accommodation in Auckland. Even if I factored in the opportunity it might provide to catch up with our daughter who’s studying up there it was extravagant in terms of both money and time.

Besides I’ve got a meeting tomorrow, a dentist’s appointment on Tuesday and an assignment due in on Wednesday.

But it’s peaked my interest so I’ll try to watch the programme and now I’ve told you about it too which was probably all the invitation intended anyway.

P.S. Don’t tell David Cunliffe who’s so upset about the ads for the programme  which feature the Finance Minister, the invitation has a photo of Bill and Guyon Espiner too.


Govt wastes $1b on social services

October 18, 2009

Guyon Espiner interviewing Tariana Turia on Q & A this morning:

TARIANA . . . What I’m saying is already we have a whole range of services that are contracted out, they’re extremely prescribed, and over the years we’ve seen a huge waste of public money on these services, because none of those things have in fact empowered families to take that responsibility for themselves, to not remain in that mode of thinking that people need to do things for them.  We want to change that and that came out strongly in our conference yesterday that our people want that.

GUYON What is the magnitude of this, because I looked at a consultation document which has been released on the Ministry of Social Development website, about the Whanauora policy and it talks about a Whanauora fund being set up.  Now in the past you’d talked about possibly a billion dollars going into that.  Are we looking at that sort of magnitude?

TARIANA Well to be frank with you there’s probably a billion dollars already being wasted now, so a billion dollars that’s put into Whanauora that going to transform families’ lives so that they’re not so dependent on the state to do for them, but more importantly that their families become sites of safety.  That’s a critical part of Whanauora.

Like Stephen Franks, who was a guest on the panelwhich discussed this interview, I’m not sure how spending a billion dollars from the state helps people become independent from it.

But I agree that too much is spent now on measures which increase dependence rather than assisting people to become independent.


%d bloggers like this: