Waste in Opposition doesn’t bode well for frugality in government – updated

01/09/2012

The Opposition is continuing to push for an MPs’ initiated referendum on the partial sale of a few state owned assets.

It’s nothing more than a tax-payer funded exercise in futility and self promotion.

If they have no concern about the need for frugality in Opposition it doesn’t bode well for a cautious approach to spending when they’re in government as, sooner or later, they will be.

UPDATE:

Keeping Stock quotes the Greens:

Your MPs will be out working in our regions and local communities next week, with Parliament taking a break from sitting. It’s a chance for us to make another big push to get the signatures we need for the asset sales petition.

We’re paying them to collect signatures!

If this is the best use they have for their time and our money it is a very poor reflection on their priorities.

 


Missing link on Planet Labour

30/07/2012

There’s at least a couple of missing links on Planet Labour – the one between action and reaction and the one between productivity and wages.

There’s no better example of this than in Dunedin MP David Clark’s ignorance about the impact on an increase of the minimum wage:

” . . . It will affect a couple of hundred thousand New Zealanders, . . . “

I presume he means there are a couple of hundred people on the minimum wage who would get a pay rise.

But what about the people who employ them and the people who might have got a job had the minimum wage not been increased?

What about the people who have to pay more for goods and services when businesses can’t absorb the extra cost of wages and put up their prices?

What about people who lose jobs because the business can’t afford the flow on increase to other wages.

Keeping Stock explains:

 . . . You see Dr Clark; it’s not just as simple as paying people $15/hour. If the minimum wage goes up, so will everyone else’s. Our wage bill is in the order of $1m per annum, so an arbitrary, across-the-board 15% wage increase would cost us an additional $150,000 per year. That would be totally unsustainable for us; our businesses run at break-even at best. There is little doubt for our businesses that we would have to reduce our staff numbers.
 
So who wins there Dr Clark? We certainly don’t; nor do the staff members whose jobs are lost, and their families. And far from the Wanganui economy receiving a shot in the arm, there are suddenly less people spending. . .

Pay rises as a result of productivity increases or a reduction in costs are sustainable.

Pay rises by decree are not and would affect a lot more than a couple of hundred thousand people.


Did you see the one about . . .

02/05/2012

Herd thinking meet herd immunity– Aimee Whitcroft at Misc-ience has a great cartoon which illustrates the benefits of herd immunity and dangers of herd thinking.

A daughter’s wedding – Look Up At The Sky shares the joy and love.

Eighties reforms recalled – Lindsay Mitchell shows that many of the “failed” polices of the 80s not only succeeded but are still serving us well.

Random numbers – Keeping Stock counting what counts.

Ode to property law – Skeptic Lawyer proves property is power.


13 more reasons to vote for change

21/11/2011

The notoriously inaccurate* Horizon poll gives 13 more reasons to ditch MMP:

A Horizon poll of 2874 people is projecting National on 46 seats in a 122-seat parliament, and Labour and the Greens on 50.

That leaves 26 seats to decide the government and, according to Horizon, Winston Peters’ New Zealand First is on track to take up to 13 of them.

The 13 are: 1 a charlatan, 2 who? 3 a man best known for alcohol induced bladder weakness. 4 who?, 5 who? 6 who? 7 who? 8 who?, 9 who? 10 who? 11 who?, 12 who?, 13  who?

* The poll’s results are very different form all others and Keeping Stock and Whaleoil explain how easy it is to manipulate them.


Tanty, tanty – updated

23/09/2011

Tantrums can be entertaining for observers, but they’re rarely amusing for the victims, especially if they’re being defamed.

You would think someone aspiring to be in government might have learned something from the Supreme Court’s granting Erin Leigh’s appeal to sue a former public servant who provided Trevor Mallard with information with which he attacked Leigh in parliament.

But no, Mallard is now besmirching the reputations of several other innocent people in a misguided and unfounded attack on Bill English.

I’m not going to dignify it with a link you’ll find more than enough about what he’s done on the following blogs:

Over at Keeping Stock, Inventory 2 asks what’s upsetting Trevor?

Whaleoil uses it for yet another post on how Labour isn’t focussing on what matters.

Matthew Hooton, one of the people maligned by Mallard, entitles his response Mallard goes mad.

Mallard’s post not only attacks these people it hurts his party and its members, which is what I assume has motivated a brief post entitled Please at Imperator Fish.

The public tantrum is stupid for many reasons including the fact that the daily political round-up at Liberation  which prompted it, covers a range of views and clearly states who sponsors it.

Any link between one of them and the Finance Minister is drawing a bow so long the archer has directed the arrow to his own foot.

Update: Dim Post has some  advice for Mallard in Deep thought punching your weight edition.

Update 2: Kiwiblog reckons Trevor has joined the truthers and birthers.


SMOG alert

03/08/2011

Keeping Stock calls them SMOGs – social media own goals and Clare Curran has scored a big one.

It’s bad enough that she tried to smear John Key by ranting about a PR company on a Red Alert Post, but to make it worse Quote Unquote points out the conspiracy is even deeper and darker than she suspects.

 Hill & Knowlton is huge – it even has a branch in Morocco – but it is a small cog in the vast global (i.e. evil) machine that is WPP.

WPP controls 20 companies in Auckland – well, you’d expect that of sleazy Auckland – but it also controls six companies in virtuous Wellington, PR agencies, ad agencies, pollsters and the like. I can reveal their names: Designworks, MEC, Milward Brown (Colmar Brunton), Ogilvy & Mather, PPR and Y&R . . .

. . . But it gets even worse. Y&R’s clients include the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Te Papa, the Met Service and the NZSO.

That’s a worry.

If you follow Curran’s logic the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Te Papa and the Met Service are all evil.

Does that explain the bad weather?


Question of the week

28/06/2011

Genuine question: with a bit over 5000 votes in total, is Hone the electorate MP with the least number of votes in modern NZ history? Seriously, I cant think of any electorate MP with fewer votes.

From Simon Bridges on Facebook.

Update: Not just the MP with the fewest votes but probably the one with the most expensive votes.

Keeping Stock quotes Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper saying it cost about $600 a vote.


SMOG – campaign word of the week

30/05/2011

It’s only Monday but it would be hard to beat SMOG as the campaign word of the week.

It comes from Keeping Stock and it stands for Social Media Own Goal.

Labour has an online game which jokes about rape. Maia at Capitalism Bad Tree Pretty (cross-posted at the Hand Mirror which has attracted comments) writes:

One of the basic rape-myths that help uphold a culture where sexual assault is endemic is that sometimes consent doesn’t matter. If you ever say that some people’s violation doesn’t matter – if you ever set some people up as unrapeable – then you, or in this case the Labour Party, are upholding that rape myth.

Rape is rape. It’s a crime. It’s never funny.

The game is called Let’s Not.  

Any political party which wants to be taken seriously should have enough sense to think “let’s not make jokes about rape”.

If Heather Simpson was still there she’d be saying “Let’s not have any more SMOGs.”

This isn’t the first SMOG Labour has made in the last few weeks but it’s definitely the worst.


Promised bang, delivered whimper

07/12/2010

I could just about feel sorry for Phil Goff.

The morning he’s making his last big speech of the year someone leaks a letter expressing no confidence in him to Kiwiblog.

Then he has a Freudian slip in his speech, confusing the current Finance Spokesman David Cunliffe with  former Finance Minister David Caygill. The irony is, as Keeping Stock, points out just as Goff is trying to paint a vision for the future he reminds us of the past.

Both stories became more newsworthy than the speech  itself, but then when you read the speech you see why.

He promised a bang and delivered a whimper.

When the economy is still in a fragile state there’s no room for big spending promises and he didn’t make any. But nor did he say anything else that’s likely to get anyone talking excitedly about him and his party around their barbeques this summer.

If you haven’t time to read the full speech, Not PC has an abridged version.


What does this say about 760,170 TV viewers?

02/06/2010

Last night’s Cheers for 50 Years which was TVNZ’s celebration of a half century of TV in New Zealand attracted 760,170 viewers.

It was the sixth highest rating programme this year, beaten only by five episodes of One News.

Like Inventory 2 at Keeping Stock I thought it was a cringe-fest..

I started watching in the expectation of seeing some of the people and programmes I’d remembered and forgotten.

That’s what they showed but in tiny fragments and I couldn’t be bothered sitting through the game show format to watch them.

In my eyes it wasn’t so much a celebration of the past 50 years as an indictment on current programmes and a warning of what’s to come.

Those 760,170 other people must be easier to please.


Dogged by the black dog

01/06/2010

“Can I ask you about the plight of Whaleoil?”  Jim Mora asked me on our discussion on the internet on Critical Mass today.

I’d been mulling over a post about him since reading Cactus Kate’s plea to Save The Whale in response to the Herald on Sunday story in response to this post by Whaleoil and comments from his wife on Gotcha.

I came across Whaleoil on the internet when I first started blogging and treated it with caution. I admired some of the posts, especially those which broke news which influenced the mainstream media. I was moved by the way he was so open about his struggle with depression but found other posts offensive.

Since then I’ve met him a couple of times. The first was at a National Party conference last year and the second, very briefly at another conference last weekend. The next day I read the HOS story and found Cactus’s post about it when I got home late that evening.

Several pennies dropped – clinical depression explains the contrasts between the intelligent and reasoned posts and the vitriolic ones.

Those who know him well have written on this. I don’t know enough to add anything on him, but I do know a bit about depression and other mental illness.

Most of us understand physical illness and have sympathy for those who are unwell.

Mental illness is different.

Those who’ve never experienced or been exposed to it find it difficult to understand and there’s often a feeling that people just need to pull themselves together.

Anyone who has been dogged by the black dog themselves, or had to cope with it in family and friends will tell you it’s not that simple and often that it’s not just the illness which is problematic, the treatment can be too.

Medication can help some people. In others it doesn’t and may cause side effects which can be as difficult to deal with as the problems it was supposed to treat. Working your way through the mental health system can be a nightmare and finding a mental health professional who can make a positive difference is another challenge.

I know stories, which aren’t mine to tell, of people’s battles with depression. From them I have some appreciation of  how difficult it is even for those who have loving and caring family and friends to support them; the frustration which even intelligent, articulate, positive  and assertive professionals who are used to dealing with complex problems in their work face in trying to help family or friends who are depressed  and how the system which ought to help so often doesn’t.

I hope Whaleoil and his family find the help they need and wish them the strength and love to tame the black dog and send it packing.

Related posts:

Keeping Stock on Helping a Fellow Blogger.

Roarprawn on Whales Tale  and Saving the Whale.

Kiwiblog on Cactus on Whale

Stepehn Franks on Whaleoil and Insurance.

Motella on Whale Wars.


What happened to the mid-term toughie?

21/05/2010

Mid term Budgets are generally the tough ones.

It’s when tough medicine is delivered in the hope people will have forgotten, or at least got used to, the taste by the time they vote.

This Budget hasn’t done that.

There were a few positive surprises and while there are a few complaints, the general response is positive.

From south to north:

The Southland Times says it was Cautiously corrective:

The Budget was more a series of cautious, reasoned calculations, political as well as economic, following a pretty well-signposted path. . .

Disinclined though most people may feel towards outbursts of impassioned applause, some acknowledgment is due that Finance Minister Bill English delivered, on balance, more by way of tax cuts than had been expected. . .

//

Mr English is entitled to claim that New Zealand now has a fairer tax system.

This does not, necessarily, amount to a mission accomplished. Far bolder measures such as capital gains and land tax options were discarded, but the bottom-line issue is less whether the changes were correctional – they were – than whether they were too meek.

Mr English and Prime Minister John Key would be happy enough if the debate in future weeks were to be primarily whether they were cautious to a fault in how far they went down the right track.

But it won’t be. Neither life nor politics is that simple.

The ODT says it’s A Budget gamble:

What really matters, though, is whether the changes will stimulate investment in jobs and in product-creating industries (without which there cannot be lasting economic growth) or simply leave New Zealanders’ habitual spendthrift ways unchanged.

. . .   The Government deserves commendation for – at long last – tackling a few of the seriously detrimental distortions in the taxation system; but for the rest, a mark of “achieved with credit” is some way off.

In essence, the Government has judged its measures to be long term: a brave and necessary conclusion.

The Dominion Post sees Bold steps towards an economic recovery:

Finance Minister Bill English has not gone as far in his second Budget as he was advised to go by the high-powered Tax Working Group earlier this year. But he has been bolder than most pundits expected. And, wonder of wonders, the Budget is a coherent document that should encourage saving and investment and discourage consumption and speculative investment in property. . .

There is something else for the naysayers to consider. Even before the financial crisis struck, economic growth had stalled in New Zealand. Without changes to make it a more attractive destination for investment and skilled workers, New Zealand was facing a further slip down world economic tables. Mr English has made a promising start to arresting the trend.

The Taranaki Daily News writes Budgeting on widening the gap:

But the Government’s `surprise’ package for middle-class earners and its across-the-board tax changes cannot hide the fact that despite being touted as something for everyone, a significant portion of our community will still be getting substantially more than others.

The NZ Herald says Budget puts NZ on course for stability:

If National’s second Budget has done nothing else it has restored reasonable personal tax rates. . .

The Budget was upbeat on the economic recovery, forecasting growth of 3 per cent a year for four years, which would reduce unemployment to 4.5 per cent in four years and return the Government’s accounts to surplus in five years.

Most important, those forecasts enable the Treasury to plan debt reductions.

National Governments are never happier than when they can reduce taxes, and never more determined than when they can remove a welfare rort.

They managed to do both in this Budget, stopping those who minimise their assessable income from claiming income support from the state. . .

The Government has not forgotten that only half the country’s top earners have been paying the top rate, and that those who do pay it provide nearly half of the revenue extracted from personal incomes.

It has given the payers a more reasonable rate. If the rest in the highest bracket have been induced to contribute fully, the Budget will have been a success.

Keeping Stock has a round-up of views from commentators.


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