An open letter to Phil Goff, on reading Friday’s Herald

Dear Phil,

 

I am deeply disappointed you are letting Nick Smith’s electioneering define the Labour party, and apologising for that definition. It is hard to see how Labour will ever have an independent identity if it leaps to deny sensible policy whenever National attacks it. Even using their term, “nanny state” fails politics 101 – never repeat your opponent’s terms of abuse.

 

Of course it is good to admit mistakes – the people expect it when you have lost an election. But you are apologising for the wrong ones and blind to the real ones. In the process you are in severe danger of becoming National-lite – and not even very lite.

 

Your real problem was that when you developed innovative policies you didn’t take people with you. If you had a sufficient majority you didn’t think you had to explain. You had a theme of economic transformation – good, we need that – but you don’t transform the economy without explaining what you are doing and expect people to understand.

 

Your government never proposed restricting people’s showers or forcing them to use a particular type of light. You probably never understood that – certainly your minister for Building and Housing didn’t, and ran for cover rather than explain to the media that Nick Smith was lying.

 

The great irony in your apology is your statement that Labour should have been more focussed on what really counted for people, such as the struggle to make ends meet. The policies you are now repudiating would have saved New Zealand families hundreds of dollars on their power bills. Is that not part of the struggle to make ends meet? Just as energy efficiency standards for household appliances, which most people aren’t even aware of, have saved householders $148m since my Member’s bill in 2000 made them possible, and those savings go on growing.

 

The proposed standard for hot water use is the same as has been done for years in the Building Code for home heating. We are used to not being allowed to build houses with no insulation. Everyone supports that, it is a no-brainer. No-one describes that as nanny-state. But it isn’t done by prescribing just what you must put in your ceilings and walls. It’s done by saying how thermally resistant your ceiling and walls must be, and you can do that however you choose.

 

The proposed hot water standard was aimed at reducing electricity waste and saving householders money. You could meet it easily with a solar water heater; or a hot water heat pump; or in many houses just with better pipe and cylinder insulation and better house design for shorter pipe runs; or, as a last option, if you couldn’t be bothered doing any of these, you could meet it with an efficient showerhead designed to give you a good shower at high pressure with a finer droplet and less water. It didn’t affect existing homes.

 

National members have admitted to me that they knew what they were doing, they knew they were misleading the public, but it was too good an opportunity to miss because Labour hadn’t explained its policy – even to its ministers, it seems. Phil, do you have to perpetuate their lies?

 

The lighting standard was similar, and on its own was expected to save households who currently have incandescent lights around $500/year. Many current incandescent lights would not have met the standard, but the better ones would have, along with compact fluorescents and halogen lights and LEDs. There would have been a lot of choice on the market, including some better types of lighting that don’t come here now because there is not enough demand for them. At the same time the standard would have knocked out some poorly performing compact fluorescents that are letting consumers down.

 

The great irony here is that the Government has now seriously upset its Australian friends because unless we set a standard for efficient lighting, theirs is undermined. A trans-Tasman agreement says anything you can legally sell in one country, you can sell in the other. We have always worked in tandem on energy efficiency standards. The Government has a foreign policy problem on its hands, and we may end up having a standard for lighting after all, but this government may be able to explain it better to the public.

 

Phil, I wonder if you realise the damage you are doing to climate change policy by categorising energy efficiency standards as nanny-state. Codes and standards are the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions world wide, certainly more cost-effective than an ETS, particularly the one we are now likely to get from National.

 

Phil, a lot hangs on you if we are to prevent a second term of this government. Get some PR advice and stand for something. Have a good conference.

 

180 thoughts on “An open letter to Phil Goff, on reading Friday’s Herald

  1. That’s spiney-as Jeanette. Those in Labour with jelly will quiver at your steel.

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  2. Phil is truly lame and that Labour has no one else close to being able to take over means it’ll never be a one-term Nat government.

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  3. Yeah, like that’s the reason.
    People don’t like being told what to do Valis, the labour party is a long way from being an advocate for the working class man (cue feminist outrage) and his family.

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  4. And the Labour Party did absolutely zilch for animals. Even worse than National. Now Anderton is singing his own praises about the things he did for animal welfare when he was minister. It makes me spew.

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  5. You’re right on this Shunda; Labour has not been an advocate for the working class man or woman for a very very long time. Phil Goff was a minister in 1984-1990 Labour government, and a supporter of Douglas. As minister of education he increased tertiary student fees by almost 1000% (check the statistics if you don’t believe me), and tried to introduce the first student loans scheme.

    In my opinion, Goff and the Labour party are a worse enemy to working class people than the National party have ever been. With National you know where you stand; Labour are a pack of lying, deceptive, untrustworthy, back-stabbing &&^%*%&. I think the Green party members are only just starting to truly realise how toxic Labour is.

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  6. What Phil Goff says is in effect that Labour Party does not understand its own policies, and therefore is not prepared defend them. Why would anyone want to vote for such a Party?

    By contrast, the Green Party does understand its own policies, and is certainly prepared to defend them. Unlike Labour, the Greens do know the difference between their actual policy and the nonsense that other parties sometimes try to foist onto them as “Green Party policy”.

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  7. fair comment..

    and pretty much echoes what i said at kiwiblog..this morning..

    “..# philu (5700) 0 9 Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    i think many feel labour will move to the right..

    i don’t..

    i think they will go further to the left..

    apart from anything else..

    (taking where they sit on any international ideological spectrum) it is hard to see how they can go further right..

    and anyway..progressive-politics are on the ascendant..

    i am trusting labour will be smart enough to see/do that..

    and f.f.s..!

    cd goff stop buying into that rightwing meme/spin ..?.. of ‘nanny-state-politics’…as a virus similar to aids..?

    i mean..looking at the impending legislation from national..(around nanny-state issues..drinking..etc..etc..)

    it is hard to see how they could avoid accusations of being more ‘nanny-state’ ..(whatever the f*ck that ‘really’ is..?..eh..?..)

    ..than labour ever were..”

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  8. i wrote a ‘poem’/(doggerel?) in honor of goff having his marlon brando moment..

    and riding that triumph into the conference..

    “big phil’”.

    he rode into town on a bike of black..

    (and no..he wasn’t sitting on the back..)

    he strode that stage like a man of steel..

    saying/spitting..’curse that nanny-state..!

    labour will never again ‘feel’..!..’

    the pretenders to the throne there quaked/blanched in fright..

    cowering at such a manly/macho sight..”

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  9. Jeanette denies being “nanny state”, then proceeds to list a bunch of iconic “nanny state” measures: dicating standards of insulation, banning certain types of light bulbs.

    Of course she’s right: they are not really nanny state, they are fascist state.

    Listen love – my house, my insulation and lighting decisions. And my body, my alcohol and smoking decisions.

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  10. Jeanette is right Goff needs a reality check.

    Do you folks remember Bob Jones? Not really my favourate, but I think he was a good psychologist. So I will quote.
    “If you can imagine a politician in a boy scout or girl guide uniform, then thay are no good running the country.”

    Now can you all imagine Phil Goff in a boy scout uniform?

    Or is he the leader of the Pack?

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  11. Yup, I usually wear my spiked jack boots when forcing unwanted insulation on people. Most of my victims know better than to resist those babies!

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  12. Nope Shunda – straight as. Herein lies the difference. If you can’t feel the steel now, I doubt you ever will.

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  13. Hey watty – try to wrap your tongue around this foreign word,

    ours

    (You can do it if you try)

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  14. The first “point” would be Jeanette mentioning “nanny state” as a National party term, it isn’t.
    Helen Clark used that term to describe Jenny Shipley of all people.
    As it turns out Helen was engaging in a bit of “transference”, perhaps Labour are most guilty of what they accuse in others?

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  15. Phil Goof is a piece of very old red office furniture, he develops as much excitement as rolling an office chair into a filing cabinet.

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  16. Actually Valis, while I disagree with much of what Jeanette says I can respect her for at least sticking to what she believes in, unlike these other morons that think they are telling us what we want to hear.
    I just don’t understand why she seems almost hurt by the latest developments from the Liarbore camp. These people have been screwing the Greens for years, time to sever the commie ties and get down to core environmental issues, the socialist experiment is over.

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  17. Whilst you may be able to make ‘good decisions’ – as you apparently have perfect knowledge, there are many who don’t – they rely on good regulation & standards & advice from ‘experts’ (not estate agents perish the thought) to at least try to ensure that their new (or old) houses are fit to live in.

    Something like 60% of NZ houses are still wooden tents & that is a great drain on our national purse.

    As far as ‘dictating’ what shower heads or light bulbs we should buy you surely joke ! It seems a no-brainer to me that we should only be able to buy those that comply to reasonably good standards & save us all cash.

    Why pray, should developers or builders be allowed to foist on us sub-standard products & then be able to walk with our money in their pockets ?

    Oh! I forgot – the market will sort it !

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  18. What socialist experiment? We’re in the country that is rated second in the world for business freedom. Do you know what socialism is Shunda?

    And very funny to respect Jeanette for sticking to what she believes in in one paragraph and then urge her to ditch it in the second.

    Think before you type.

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  19. - “It seems a no-brainer to me that we should only be able to buy those that comply to reasonably good standards & save us all cash.”

    I think “no-brainer” is a very apt description of your position.

    Thank you for wanting to save me cash, but maybe a powerful shower is my little luxury? Maybe I don’t want to save money on this particular item.

    Why on earth would you imagine that it’s got anything to do with you?

    – “Why pray, should developers or builders be allowed to foist on us sub-standard products & then be able to walk with our money in their pockets ?”

    The answer, of course, is that they shouldn’t – and typically don’t.

    The question is whether it is anyone else’s business or responsibility other than the parties directly involved. And of course it isn’t.

    – “Oh! I forgot – the market will sort it !”

    Someone who knows absolutely nothing about cars can buy a Toyota or a Honda with complete confidence. Why is that?

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  20. No I wasn’t suggesting Jeanette ditch the environment Valis, that is what you were referring to? ;)
    Thinking just fine thanks.

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  21. Jeanette was not talking about banning certain TYPES of light bulbs – just inefficient bulbs. Most of these would be incandescent, but some CFLs would also fail to meet the standard.

    Trevor.

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  22. Again, Jeanette is not talking about banning certain shower heads. If you want to use a lot of hot water when showering, that is fine if you have an efficient hot water heating system, such as solar or a hot water heat pump.

    Trevor.

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  23. I believe the term Nanny State appeared through Lindsay Perigo in the mid 90s. However, it shows Jeanette doesn’t get it – a lot of people are sick of being treated like children by paternalistic “we know best” politicians.

    If people want to save power by buying energy efficient lightbulbs, let them, don’t force them. They may prefer incandescent bulbs for all sorts of reasons, and frankly it isn’t YOUR business if they buy more electricity as a result.

    To say “We are used to not being allowed to build houses with no insulation. Everyone supports that, it is a no-brainer. No-one describes that as nanny-state.” you can say why mandate it? If everyone supports insulating homes, then why make people do it?

    Most adults get on with their lives quite happily without being told what to do by others, especially when it doesn’t affect anyone else. That you see is the reason why the term nanny state has moved into the popular lexicon.

    Sadly, the Greens are the nanny state party par excellence.

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  24. If everyone supports insulating homes, then why make people do it?

    If everyone supports it then why are there (and were there) so many uninsulated houses?

    How come even now, people are building and selling single glazing (not even storm windows) on houses that have half-million dollar price tags?

    Something is wrong. The end result in PRACTICE does not resemble the end result according to market theory. Not saying the market can’t work, but it does NOT manage to be as efficient as some would like to believe it is.

    ===================

    Perfect knowledge is required for the market to work perfectly. Most people can’t muster that sort of information, can’t handle it even if they manage to gather it.

    All adults are fools some of the time. No adult knows everything about everything, no matter that some of us try quite hard to know as much as possible. Where the consequences of a mistake may be severe we have customs and regulations that guide and protect us… and where the problem is spread to the broader society, laws.

    That is how a civil society functions. Libertarianism does not provide fore the former, only the latter, and in the long run there are no surviving examples of such a system recorded in history.

    Which isn’t to say that we appreciate being talked down to :-) Nor that the folks in the Beehive didn’t stray from the paths we voters approved of in general. The regulations can go too far. The balancing act that democracy requires of government is extremely difficult. Lean too far to one side or the other, and the government falls.

    BJ

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  25. Wat

    However YOU perceive it, unless we decide to burn it down when you die, it belongs in part, to the country as a whole. It is part of the wealth of the nation as a whole.

    Much as clean rivers are part of the wealth of the nation as a whole. The fact that it is a man-made thing does not affect the fact that it will (well it really should) be lived in by many generations to come. Not crumpled up and discarded when you pass on.

    It is as much a piece of the national infrastructure as a hydro dam or the harbour bridge. You may OWN it, but it is still not entirely yours, because YOU are not going to last as long as it does and you cannot take it with you.

    BJ

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  26. Yeah, right!! And yet we’ll bear the costs of your ill-health, road accidents, liver failure, energy wastage, septic tank pollution and so on and so on. Responsibility for “individual” choices is picked up by the rest of us, no matter how foolish or dangerous they were. Think about it.

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  27. - “However YOU perceive it, unless we decide to burn it down when you die, it belongs in part, to the country as a whole. It is part of the wealth of the nation as a whole.”

    No, it isn’t. You have no claim on it whatsoever. It is not your wealth. It belongs to the estate of the owner. And yes, the beneficiaries could indeed choose to burn it down if they wish.

    – “It is as much a piece of the national infrastructure as a hydro dam or the harbour bridge.”

    No, it isn’t. Dams and bridges are typically not privately financed and contructed. They are provisioned by the state using taxpayer’s money. Big difference.

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  28. I absolutely agree it’s not fair for others to bear the costs of my ill-health. So implement a scheme where that doesn’t happen.
    In reality, it’s the “healthy” people who cost the national health system far more than those who drink, smoke and die young. Why should I pay the cost of your selfish decisions?

    – “…road accidents…”

    What road accidents?

    – “…energy wastage…”

    Do you get my power bill? No, you don’t.

    – “…septic tank pollution…”

    What?

    – “Responsibility for “individual” choices is picked up by the rest of us, no matter how foolish or dangerous they were. ”

    Largely because collectivism has been foisted on us. The solution seems simple…

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  29. Trevor29,

    What’s that”if” doing in there?: “if” I have an efficient hot water heating system, such as solar or a hot water heat pump.

    As long as I’m paying the bills, and externalities are priced in, then my showering arrangements have absolutely nothing to do with Jeanette.

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  30. - “Perfect knowledge is required for the market to work perfectly”

    That has to be the most profoundly ignorant statement you’ve ever made here.

    A market is a discovery process and has value precisely because each individual knows just a tiny little piece about infinately complex matters.

    Also, you are mixing up too different concepts here: freedom and free markets.

    A free-market will discover the costs of various goods and services. I then have the freedom to choose whichever of them I want, based purely on my own preferences.

    Did you ever stop to think that there’s a reason why we all haven’t insulated our houses to the highest degree? Or do you just assume that everyone else is stupid when they don’t agree with you?
    We have limited resources and we have to make careful choices and trade-offs. We have to pay for housing, transport, food, healthcare, education and entertainment. Who the hell do you think you are to tell other people – complete strangers with circumstances completely unknown to you – how to budget their earnings?

    If I had some more money I’d probably take the wife on holiday, which we haven’t had for years. I wouldn’t spend it on insulating the f****** house.

    Now, you and Jeanette take your jackboots and **** off.

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  31. There are very few people who would spend money double-glazing their homes, because they’ve heard that warmer homes and the reduction in illness that accompanies them, will reduce the costs to them as taxpayers paying for the health system. They’d do it for their own comfort and direct gain.

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  32. regarding the ‘freedom’ to be able to buy perfectly good Toyotas or whatever vehicle you care to name – do you mean those that congest roads, burn fuel that emits tonnes of contaminants, require large factories that belch out fumes & use scarce resources to produce a means of conveyance usually containing one passenger when they can easily transport 4/5, ones that require developers to provide hectares of space that is used infrequently for parking e.g. at supermarkets etc., ones that when scrapped fill our tips with material that could be recycled but isn’t – need I go on ?

    Oh, & by the way, it is only through sensible Regulation that these Toyotas are much more efficient than would otherwise be the case if these Regs. weren’t in place.

    Can I presume that if you had your way there would be no Regulation of any sort for anything, including Laws (which are regulations after all ), and Anarchy would be the ‘order’ of the day. Give me strength !

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  33. NIce post – Thanks Jeanette!

    The difference between Labour and National is firstly that National are way more politically astute – as in thay know how to manipulate the system to do the bidding of their cronies – to the point where Nick Smith recently said he “makes no bones” about tipping the balance of the RMA further towards developers.

    Honesty is hard to beat, even when it is so obviously maligned.

    Labour tend to try to do a reasonable job of producing policy based on evidence, while at the sametime trying not to get too offside with the lobbists. They try to juggle too much and collapse in a confused heap wondering where they went wrong.

    It seems Goff is trying to blame evidence based policy for Labours woes.

    He should look no further than his own spine!

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  34. so..the ‘freemarket’ hasn’t been so kind to you..eh..? wat..?

    no money..no insulation..and holiday-free..?

    ever thought it might be time to road-test a new ideology..?

    ..(instead of just clinging to the tattered remnants/slogans of rogernomics..?..)

    just a thought..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  35. McTap says:
    September 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    “He [Phil Goff] should look no further than his own spine!”

    he may be looking for some time, don’t you think?

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  36. wat dabney says:
    September 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

    > Did you ever stop to think that there’s a reason why we all haven’t insulated our houses to the highest degree? Or do you just assume that everyone else is stupid when they don’t agree with you?

    It has to do with the fact that it is quite expensive to retrofit insulation, particularly wall insulation, into an existing building. However, it is much cheaper to do when building a new building.

    Until it was made compulsory (1977, I think), builders would often save money by not putting insulation in the houses they were building. All it took was for the initial buyer to make the mistake of not insisting on a house with insulation – every subsequent owner could wish the house was insulated, and even think it was absurd that the builder didn’t spend the extra on insulation, but the cost of retrofitting insulation would still make it uneconomic to rectify the situation after the fact.

    That is why it is efficient to require insulation of new buildings, but not of existing buildings.

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  37. Wat

    Your ideological willful ignorance is showing.

    The market discovers what the current situation is ONLY if it is permitted to do so. It isn’t government that conceals things for profit (though it may do so for power).

    Since corporations and individuals profit from deceiving others, and the resulting market failures have been so profound and obvious, it really doesn’t seem to me that you are even remotely in touch with reality here.

    Which isn’t too surprising.

    A free-market will discover the costs of various goods and services.

    It will discover the CURRENT costs. Future costs do not touch the invisible hand and it ignores them.

    Or do you just assume that everyone else is stupid when they don’t agree with you?

    No Wat, but I do understand people who are kept ignorant enough to do stupid things from time to time.

    I learn from people who bring actual intelligence to the table even if I disagree with them… but you don’t seem to learn from anyone. Nor apparently, do you THINK very hard before posting, as evidenced by the following.

    We have limited resources and we have to make careful choices and trade-offs. We have to pay for housing, transport, food, healthcare, education and entertainment. Who the hell do you think you are to tell other people – complete strangers with circumstances completely unknown to you – how to budget their earnings?

    When I had simply pointed out that I have observed half-million dollar houses being built ON-SPEC without double glazing or even secondary glazing (storm windows).

    At a half-million dollars, the marginal cost of secondary glazing is in the noise, and since there was nobody making any decision about what the customer might “want” except the builder – who is STILL trying to sell that house for all I know- I think that STUPID adequately describes that situation. However, what I quite certainly did NOT say was that everyone who lives in an existing house has to pump money into the double-glazing retrofit industry. That was simply the conclusion you jumped to, because you would rather be angry with a Green than right about anything.

    I don’t expect an apology from you. You’ve proved my patience but convinced nobody here of anything else. Good luck with taking a vacation. I haven’t had one since I came here 6 years ago.

    BJ

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  38. “When it doesn’t affect anyone else” is exactly teh point, liberty. In a perfect fantasy world, like wat’s, where every single ecternality could be prioced in, I would gladly accept his argument. But the reality is that every power staion built, every water and irrigation system built to supply humans and animals does affect everyone else, and the externlities are never and can never be completely facotred in.

    Setting minimum performance standards, which is what Jeanette is talking about (not ‘banning’ anything or any activity), is a no brainer when the rest of the community has to live with the externalities.

    Liberty and wat think that every single individual lives in a bubble. The boys in the bubble!

    Unfortunately, reality is quite different. Your pure individualism is as toxic as the pure communalism that others have aspired to. Great for informing the logiccal limits, but useless for true governance and leadership.

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  39. Kahikatea

    You are correct, but it is not impossible to get a good result on the cheap.

    If I OWNED the house I am in, I would do it a wall at a time. Might take me a year or so, but because of the idiotic wallpaper mania of the past, unpainted, unsized, just stick it on and she’ll be right, it is the only way to get rid of the wallpaper without going completely nuts. Pull down the gib and replace it, with insulation behind it, a wall at a time. That would be pretty cheap do-it-yourself work. Then I’d do secondary glazing for all the fixed glass in the house. That’d be less than half the cost of double glazing but would get much the same result.

    The really nasty bits are the high-ceiling wood-finish installations which either were insulated when built or really can’t be without taking off the roof.

    respectfully
    BJ

    Sadly, I do not own my house… yet.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  40. “Someone who knows absolutely nothing about cars can buy a Toyota or a Honda with complete confidence. Why is that?”

    Never heard of GOVERNMENT MANDATED minimum safety standards, Wat? And obviously you haven’t heard of the Ford Pinto scandal then?

    “The article alleged that Ford executives were aware of this fuel tank design flaw before the model went into production, but had determined that the cost of paying off lawsuits would be cheaper than the cost of redesigning the Pinto and fixing the flaw. “Mother Jones” based their claim on an internal Ford executive memo that they had obtained. The memo, which would later be known as “the Ford Pinto memo”, described a “cost-benefit analysis” that balanced minimal model repair against a major lawsuit.”
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/352259/the_tale_of_the_exploding_pinto.html?cat=27

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  41. Since people pay for their vehicles, use of the roads, and externalities, what business is it of yours if people choose to buy a car and enjoy all the wonderful benefits that flow from it? This isn’t North Korea you know.

    – “Oh, & by the way, it is only through sensible Regulation that these Toyotas are much more efficient than would otherwise be the case if these Regs. weren’t in place.”

    What nonsense. What standards for build quality and reliability are you talking about?
    Toyota and Honda don’t build to government standards: their high quality and constant improvement are purely the result of competition. And as for fuel efficiency, why would you imagine that the punative petrol taxes around the world are not having a very powerful effect?

    – “Can I presume that if you had your way there would be no Regulation of any sort for anything, including Laws (which are regulations after all ), and Anarchy would be the ‘order’ of the day. Give me strength !”

    No, you can’t presume that at all. There are regulations and there are regulations.

    Regulations governing how your house connects to mains sewage are justifiable. Regulations telling you how to build your house are not. You can build a traditional Maori hut and live in that if you want to. You can build a house of ice and snow and watch it melt in the summer. You can build it out of gingerbread. It’s entirely a matter for you.

    It is a mistake to think that regulations are inherently a good thing. Many of them are welcomed by large companies purely as a way of stifling competition. Indeed, business groups actively lobby for more regulation. What does that tell you?

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  42. Toyota and Honda don’t build to government standards: their high quality and constant improvement are purely the result of competition.

    Wat, that is one of the most amazing contrary-to-fact statements ever made by someone on this blog. It isn’t science, its law and its fact and you CAN just look it up.

    Japanese manufactured cars are required to meet the requirements of the ECE

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECE_regulations

    …and the Japanese government tests them.

    Crash Tests, Child Seat Safety tests…

    http://www.nasva.go.jp/mamoru/indexe.html

    Just plain wrong.

    BJ

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  43. Phil,

    There are relations in another (quite poor) country to whom we send most of our disposable income; especially at the moment putting a girl through college and paying for her accomodation and living costs to give her some sort of future. It’s not cheap, but it’s our money and our choice. So when you people take it upon yourselves to dictate how others must for forced to spend their own money, maybe you should just remember that we have all made our existing trade-offs for very good reasons and that, despite your own high opinions of yourselves, you don’t know a damn thing.

    – “ever thought it might be time to road-test a new ideology..?”

    You mean refute peace and freedom simply on the grounds that I could do better plundering other people? What a deeply unpleasant person you must be.

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  44. Toyota and Honda typically exceed government safety regulations.

    How can that be?

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  45. That’s right, greenfly. Because if the government didn’t stop them the supermarkets would be selling us poison.

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  46. Regarding importing vehicles, there is too much stupid regulation. The vehicle I own for transporting my family is no longer allowed to be imported while newer less efficient vehicles are. This sort of regulation is making our vehicle fleet less environmentally friendly, not better. We should be able to import vehicles based on their fitness for purpose.

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  47. Wat…

    They DO build to meet government standards. They better them but there are enough places where they first had to change to meet them that you cannot say what you said and be accused of truthfulness.

    BJ

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  48. I’m interested in the relationship between spanking and light bulbs.

    Maybe Phil’s comments indicate that the Labour party is interested in spanking in the dark?

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  49. “..maybe you should just remember that we have all made our existing trade-offs for very good reasons..”

    well..stop f*cken moaning then..!

    your choices..as you say..

    and how that makes some excuse for yr vile rightwing politics..

    i can’t quite see..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  50. “..peace and freedom..”

    so..the last twenty-five years of the reaganite/thatcherite/douglasite ‘revolution’..

    brought you “..peace and freedom..”..eh..?

    go figure..!

    (you really bought/swallowd the bullshit spin..hook line and sinker..eh..?..)

    is “..peace and freedom..” having some of the worst child poverty figures in the oecd..?

    is it wat..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  51. funny how we all have different takes on what is ‘deeply unpleasant’..

    eh..?

    see..that’s how i find those oecd figures..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  52. “Toyota and Honda typically exceed government safety regulations.”

    Of course thats totally unrelated to being compelled to meet such safety standards by governments convinced to mandate them by consumer advocate organisations.

    Yep its amazing how the threat of being forced to cease to trade can be concentrate the minds of corporate CEOs.

    I’m not even arguing the complete effiacy as demonstrated by the Ford Pinto and General Motors Cadillac scandals or even the morality of the regulations, but merely pointing out the flaw in your own argument.

    Competitive pressures alone aren’t sufficient as in at least two cases, corporate managers have determined that it is more cost effective to bear the costs of civil litigation that to resolve design flaws in vehicles that the manufacturers had acknowledged internally within their organisations to be dangerous.

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  53. No Phil – apparently Labour’s mistake was in supporting Winston Peters.
    Whom they will be happy to support in future.
    Bit like the Titanic’s Captain blaming a passenger for asking for ice in their drink.
    Somewhat wide of the mark.
    Dexterious use of the Language – that’s what we’re paying for.

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  54. Fact… at least 80% of the populace need to be Nannied… in their ignorance of the real issues… egged on by MSM & policies of Main Political Parties who continue to Nanny them & feed them Bull***t whilst Greens tell it like it is & get pilloried by MSM & said Pollies.

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  55. Of course not only you but I warrant many Greens contribute to such Charities such as World Vision to help educate Third World children/village development/micro credit schemes etc.

    In the interest of fairness we should all do so if we have any spare cash – most do have spare cash even if on min. wage as small savings in expenditure each week can mean a lot to them e.g. $10 per month can help a child in Bangladesh to escape abject poverty.

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  56. It tells me that Corporations fight for Regs. that give them competitive advantage & fight & lobby against those that don’t.. perfectly reasonable under current conditions I agree. Suits you Sir ?

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  57. Quite right SleepyTreehugger – we’d still be driving around in wafer thin non-strengthened crash buckets if ‘the market’ had it’s way = cheaper, more effecient, all the more profit.. great, NOT.

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  58. Greenfly

    ” Unfortunately, reality is quite different. Your pure individualism is as toxic as the pure communalism that others have aspired to. Great for informing the logiccal limits, but useless for true governance and leadership.”

    That is the most communistic statement I have read for a while.
    As all communist statements – utter dribble.
    If you can,t do better, give up

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  59. Phoolu
    He is probably a genuine kiwi worker and does not have WINZ to pay all his bills.

    Pride, phoolu, pride.
    Something you are missing….eh?

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  60. BJ
    “I don’t expect an apology from you. You’ve proved my patience but convinced nobody here of anything else”
    You are wrong. Wat has a very convincing argument and thoughtful comments.
    It is just that you and others on here have an idealist mindset that you fail to see others point of view.
    Such narrow mindness is really sad and will cost the greens dearly when FPP comes in.

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  61. ‘pride’..?

    sheesh..!

    some would claim i have too much..

    unless you mean i should feel a lack of ‘pride’..

    ‘cos i have raised/am raising my boy..on a dpb..?

    (don’t hold yr breath..eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  62. - “and how that makes some excuse for yr vile rightwing politics.”

    Peace and freedom is vile to you?

    – “is “..peace and freedom..” having some of the worst child poverty figures in the oecd..”

    Why did you limit your claim to just the oecd? Are children outside the oecd of no concern?

    If you really are concerned about child poverty, perhaps you should start thinking about how the oecd countries came to be so wealthy? You’ll find it has everything to do with economic freedom.

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  63. wat said..
    “.. wat dabney says:
    September 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    – “and how that makes some excuse for yr vile rightwing politics.”

    Peace and freedom is vile to you?

    – “is “..peace and freedom..” having some of the worst child poverty figures in the oecd..”

    Why did you limit your claim to just the oecd? Are children outside the oecd of no concern?..”

    the oecd figures on child poverty were just releasd..

    “..If you really are concerned about child poverty, perhaps you should start thinking about how the oecd countries came to be so wealthy? You’ll find it has everything to do with economic freedom…”

    well..no wat..

    those countries at the top of the scale..are the higher taxing/higher levels of social support ones..

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  64. People spending their own money to help the genuinely needy is a good thing.

    Sadly, Labour/Green policy has absolutely nothing to do with helping the genuinely poor, who by any measure all live overseas. There is nothing more nauseating than listening to them cynically seeking power by advocating violence not in the name of the desperately poor, but simply in the name of reducing local inequality within a rich country like NZ.

    While people starve and die abroad, Labour/Green boldy state that no child in NZ shall go without a 42″ plasma.

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  65. I agree that the economics is compelling, but that doesn’t give us the right to use violence against people to force them to fit insulation.

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  66. I think you’ll find that selling poisoned baby food was against regulations, so can hardly be cited as an example of what would happen if, er, there were no regulations.

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  67. Perhaps not, but our ability to do so does give us that right.
    Might makes right. It is only those with might whom hold rights and it is through that might that those rights are formed and retained.

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  68. They exceed safety regulations, get it?

    Safety is now a selling point for cars, and the market has responded.
    Previously Volvo was famous for decades as making the safest cars, so if that was your concern you could have bought a Volvo. All without intrusive regulation. And incidentally, I don’t recall British Leyland making cars that were safer than those made by private companies. How does that square with your belief that the government is all that stands between us and vehicular death?

    And don’t forget that safety typically has a cost, and many people might sensibly choose a less safe car for a cheaper price. Higher government safety standards are not automatically a good thing you know, in any field. By all means give people the information, and if we were all richer we’d happily pay more for higher safety, but leave us free to make these trade-offs for ourselves.

    But the broader point was that a competitive market leads to better products even in the absence of regulation. Cars are vastly more complex than houses, yet I know that Toyotas and Hondas have great build quality and superb reliability; all entirely as a result of market pressures. So I don’t have to know anything about cars, I just need to buy from a trusted brand. There is no reason why houses should be any different. You try and make a big deal about the asymetric information, but that’s just rubbish: buy from a trusted brand and pay for expert independent advise where necessary. I know we’re supposed to be all “no-logo” now, to show how removed we are from grubby materialism, and not about to be mislead by those tricky corporations, but the fact is that logos convey a lot of information to consumers.

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  69. Frog, in essence, if there was a carbon tax (notwithstanding my disagreement with that option per se), the externalities would be captured. You want some people to pay for externalities, but meanwhile you believe in massive transfers to those you don’t think should pay for the externalities their behaviour causes (e.g. let’s have more children). You haven’t a shred of argument against letting adults act voluntarily with each other at all times. You prefer to ban rather than convince. For a simple example, if my mother wants incandescent lightbulbs and pays her own power bill, then why is it your business? If the electricity comes from a company that has to respect property rights, needs permission from property owners whose air land or water it may pollute, what is the problem? Other than if you’re a control freak who doesn’t like that people aren’t doing exactly what you think is good for everyone else.

    It is the strawman that those who don’t want the government telling them what to do “live in a bubble”. There is a difference between being a hermit and wanting to be lovingly embraced and told what to do by a state that is unfettered in its willingness to regulate and control – it’s called freedom and individual responsibility. Free people do interact with others, they all make decisions, as long as one’s body and property are protected, then remarkably most of the time adults can be social and not need the state to tell them what to do.

    Why use violence instead of persuasion? Or do you fear the merits of your argument aren’t enough when some people weigh them up and say “actually I’d rather pay more for electricity and have a light bulb that gives me what i want”.

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  70. wat – car safety isn’t just about the safety of the person who bought the car, pedestrians and the drivers of other cars have to be factored-in too.
    The regulations that prevent the use of previously-allowed-but-now-banned hood ornaments that were responsible for gouging the victims of ‘car strike’ are an example of this.

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  71. Yours certainly is an odd position to be arguing from wat – with regards melamine, I’m suggesting that the regulations around the industry were responsible for a rapid and effective closing-down of the practice of adding melamine to milk. Had there been no regulations, the market would have dealt with the issue far more slowly and with greater loss of life and damage to infants. Do you see this as a good thing, the ‘adjustments of the markets’?
    Cynical and careless maunufactures of food products could simply move on, begin again under a different guise, were there no regulations. Does that scenario sound somehow attractive to you?

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  72. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

    Perhaps you could let us know where New Zealand child “poverty” fits into the global picture, rather than your bizarre cherry-picking of industrial countries only?

    – “those countries at the top of the scale..are the higher taxing/higher levels of social support ones..”

    So you’re saying that all these desperately poor countries have to do is, er, share their $2.50 per head around more equally? Truly your ideology is beneath contempt.

    Capitalism is the greatest solution to poverty in the history of mankind. Nothing else comes close. In China alone, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty since free market reforms were introduced. The same for India. And now Africa is starting to realise that Capitalism is the solution to its problems:

    http://bottombillion.com/

    Peaceful free trade for mutual benefit. No violence. No coercion.

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  73. Phil’s ideology, beneath contempt?

    That’s a bit strong Wat! You’re not suffering from gout, are you? Something’s sure twisting your undies!

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  74. Libertyscott and wat both frequently cite their opposition to the use of violence in all situations. I assume they oppose the use of smacking, however ‘trifling, gentle or loving’.

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  75. - “Cynical and careless maunufactures of food products could simply move on, begin again under a different guise, were there no regulations. Does that scenario sound somehow attractive to you?”

    How does the presence of food standards prevent such behaviour?

    Fraud, in any case, is already a criminal offence.

    Poisoning babies would be a criminal offence in any country. I think you need to find a better example.

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  76. Look a little closer.

    The issue of connecting to mains sewage is fundamentally different to the issue of how much insulation goes in the roof.

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  77. The option of loving parental correction for the benefit of ones child is fine.
    It’s not an attack, you see. It’s parenting.

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  78. The vital thing regarding poverty is to find what works to fix it. A lot of work has been done but the answers are invariably the same and can be summed up in one word: Capitalism.

    Those who cherish their violent ideology over the lives of billions of people deserve all the opprobrium they get. And then some.

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  79. “How does the presence of food standards prevent such behaviour?”

    I didn’t say ‘prevent’. Nevertheless, food standards serve as a disincentive to operate outside of the regulations. It also provides a mechanism to rapidly locate, test and remedy the problems that do arise and to punish those who emperil others by their actions.
    You seem to be willingly misconstruing my argument wat.

    I think you need to find a better example.

    I think you need to address the issue with more integrity.

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  80. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha – Oh Wat, you wag!

    Here was me thinking you might have some kind of integrity to your ideology!

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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  81. Perhaps you should provide some examples of the regulations you are talking about.
    So far it’s just been about the company which willfully poisoned babies. I hardly think that people willing to poison babies would have been dissuaded from their scheme by the thought that the might be breaching a food standards regulation.

    Examples please.

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  82. If you can’t see that there is all the difference in the world between parenting ones children and dealing with other adults then I hope you never have children; or deal with other adults for that matter.

    Do you believe that people should be free to get tattooed all over their bodies and have piercings by the dozen? To drink alcohol? To hitch-hike across the country?

    Presumably you do.

    And do you extend that same freedom to your own four-year old child?

    What? You don’t?

    It’s not the same, is it? Good parenting of young children does not mean treating them like mature adults.

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  83. Let’s abandon the melamine case then wat, it seems too challenging for you.
    Is your case that food manufacturers should be constrained by no regulations other than those that would be delivered in a court of law as a result of malpractice?
    If that is your argument, you favour stealing choice from people who might like to choose their foods based on recognisable standards; lists of additives etc. No need for that information wat? People should choose blindly til they do fall ill , then they can ‘take it to the courts’?

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  84. Wat – you oppose violence in all it’s forms, even the ‘subtle’ violence of regulation and yet you prescribe it in this situation, against the most vulnerable members of our society. I’m sensing lack of integrity here.
    btw – if my ‘4 year old child’ was determined to cover him/herself with piercings, I WOULDN’T hit them in response. Would you? Nor would I hit them for wanting tattoes, wanting to hitch-hike or wanting to drink alcohol. Again, would you?

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  85. “Libertyscott and wat both frequently cite their opposition to the use of violence in all situations. I assume they oppose the use of smacking, however ‘trifling, gentle or loving’.”

    I love how the wet bedded anti smacking brigade witter on about how they are anti violence yet support cocercive taxation and State regulation against peaceful people wanting to interact by consent. These are the worst and most obvious violent acts perpetrated in our society…yet not a peep from the Comrades on that.

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  86. James says he “loves” our claims of anti-violence. Fair enough James.

    He goes on, inexplicably, to claim that tax is the worst violent act of all!

    Taxing people is worse than battering them to death???

    James! Idiot!

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  87. Greenfly, when Wat says he opposes violence in all its forms, you have to realise that he defines as violence any use of force to enforce values that he disagrees with, but does not define the use of force as violence when it’s to back up values that he agrees with. By the principles of circular logic, this guarantees that he is always right.

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  88. wat dabney says:
    September 13, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    “I think you’ll find that selling poisoned baby food was against regulations, so can hardly be cited as an example of what would happen if, er, there were no regulations.”

    spectacular reasoning from Mr Dabney there

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  89. Lets just ignore the fact that prior to colonisation they were living perfectly fine in their mechanical (read non specialised) societies for tens of thousands of years. Lets just ignore the fact that it was the disposession of land and resulting population booms which almost entirely caused this status. Lets just ignore the fact the the corruption and greed introduced by capitalist ideologies are the single biggest factor in th continued poverty of africa. Lets just ignore that the state of rhodesia was in such a terrible state, one of the closest approximations of the libertarian state, that it brought about a revolution that decimated africas bread basket. Lets ignore the massive intergroup tensions introduced due to the poverty capitalism has brought and the murder and slavery established through peoples greed for money generated through the extraction of precious materials.

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  90. Sapient – that ‘ignoring’ thing sounds easy! Wat can do it standing on his head!

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  91. Wat

    Until the government made safety an issue, there wasn’t any “market” for it, and damned little notion of how to get it.

    None.

    I don’t know what it is you are imagining but I am old enough to remember cars that did NOT have seat belts. The closest thing was in the notions of the motorheads that you had to stay in the seat in order to be able to control the steering wheel. RACE cars had seat belts.

    Then came the government. Safety became an issue. In the END it became a marketing strategy, but it took the better part of a quarter-century.

    I lived that. I lived it in the USA, not here. I am still annoyed that I can’t have a full harness instead of an exploding balloon in my dashboard, but the point is that safety came to the automotive world because governments (which represent people) demanded it on behalf of the people.

    The people themselves were not a well-informed market. They had no idea what was possible. You can pooh-pooh the idea that the market needs perfect information, but if you remember economics you MAY remember that this is one of the conditions under which market-theory develops.

    It isn’t perfect. It CANNOT be perfect.

    Insulation is a similar issue to automotive safety. In the case of insulation it is a health risk that people WILL take, when the temperature goes down and the bills go up. The doctor is paid for, the power bill is not. Moreover, houses (usually) last a lot longer than cars. A good house can last for centuries. So can really atrocious houses.

    You won’t live that long, your kids may or may not inherit, but the lack of insulation is something that is easy and cheap to correct during construction and the price of power goes up a hell of a lot easier and faster than the insulation goes in later.

    So it is in the interests of the PEOPLE of the country, not you in particular, to see to it that houses are built insulated… because someone who is NOT you is going to be living in it eventually…. because it is NOT just yours (though you have sole rights to it while you own it), it is part of the country’s wealth, and because we also get to pay for your being sick, or your kids being sick, and because power wasted on heat is money wasted for the economy as a whole.

    Yet nobody here has indicated any requirement that you go to the larger expense of insulating, after the fact, the house you live in now.

    The government subsidizes that effort if you make it. So you do get to pay a part of the costs of everyone who does take advantage of it, but that is part and parcel of the the point I made above, that we-the-people have an interest in the quality of housing in the country.

    Just as we do in other countries. As you’d find if you wandered through the house building process in the USA (as I know that one) or somewhere else.

    BJ

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  92. I like the thrust of Chris Trotters essay (pubilshed) in The Dominion Post, The Timaru Herald, The Taranaki Daily News, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Evening Star of Friday, 21 August 2009.

    “The truth of the matter is that most of the young New Zealanders currently raising children long ago stopped using the “smack” as part of “good parental correction”. If they hit their kids at all, it’s only in the extenuating circumstances already contained in the current legislation – which basically sanctions the use of parental force to prevent a child from either inflicting or experiencing greater harm.

    These parents are part of the great virtuous circle of childrearing which traces its origins back to the dramatic cultural shifts of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. With each passing generation, this circle will widen until, in a relatively short space of historical time, the use of corrective violence will almost entirely disappear from New Zealand society.

    Sue Bradford’s “Anti-Smacking” law reinforces this trend – but it did not create it. And, regardless of whether the law survives this referendum result, the trend will continue.

    So why have these young New Zealanders (along with their non-smacking parents and grandparents) voted “No.” instead of “Yes.”

    The answer, I believe, is because, intuitively, they perceived the legislation repealing Section 59 of the Crimes Act to be a product of an extreme, left-wing ideology, which locates the source of most of modern capitalist society’s social pathologies in the “bourgeois” nuclear family.

    Other examples of social legislation – specifically those implicitly critical of conventional sexuality and the institution of marriage as traditionally defined – were widely perceived as being inspired by the same ideology. But, because they impinged upon the lives of such a small number of their fellow citizens, most “ordinary” New Zealanders were willing to let them pass more-or-less unchallenged.

    But, the “Anti-Smacking” legislation was a different kettle-of-fish altogether. It implicitly criticised both the conduct and the ethics of the overwhelming majority’s immediate – and extended – families. The law repealing Section 59 hit people directly where they lived.

    And they weren’t having a bar of it.

    Certainly, the Christian Right placed itself in the forefront of the backlash against Sue Bradford’s Bill: and that was only to be expected. As the polar opposite of the ideology informing the last Labour-led Government’s social legislation, they were better placed than any other group in society to discern its logical political terminus: a society in which the broader community – rather than the child-citizens’ natural parents – would become the agency primarily responsible for their upbringing.

    And you don’t have to be a fundamentalist Christian to recoil in horror from that “Brave New World”.

    Poor old Labour. Having stripped away all of its traditional economic and political radicalism in the name of the “free market”, the only truly revolutionary programme its post-millennial caucus had left was the one that effectively spat upon the values and traditions of 87.6 percent of its core constituency.

    The 2009 triumph of the “Noes” is, therefore, no more than the deafening echo of Labour’s 2008 defeat.
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2009/08/deafening-echo.html

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  93. “Labour are a pack of lying, deceptive, untrustworthy, back-stabbing &&^%*%&. ”

    Actually I think there’s some decent people in Labour – but this is a fairly apt description of the leadership. However, I think Labour stopped being “the party of the working class” back in the 1930s when it did deals with Fletcher’s and other big businesses. Labour then and now sees workers as consumers to be serviced, rather than citizens in control of their own destiny.

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  94. “No, it isn’t. You have no claim on it whatsoever. It is not your wealth. It belongs to the estate of the owner. And yes, the beneficiaries could indeed choose to burn it down if they wish.”

    It’s my toy! Mine! Mine! Mine! and I’ll smash it rather than let you play with it!

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  95. “… many people might sensibly choose a less safe car for a cheaper price. ”

    I’d prefer it if other people didn’t buy a car with brakes that frequently failed, even if it was cheap.

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  96. “In China alone, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty since free market reforms were introduced.”

    By ‘free market” you mean the state builds the infrastructure, banks are ordered to loan money cheaply to the state’s favourite business people, unions are banned, anybody who complains is carted off to the re-education camps, environmental laws are quietly ignored, the exchange rate is fixed, competion is heavily regulated (particularly for foreign companies), your land isn’t your land if the local party boss wants it for his/her business and intellectual property is up for grabs?

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  97. Wat

    I think we see the problem here. You are asserting that you and your heirs and assigns will own this property forever. This is not only false, it is impossible.

    You do not understand that you are at best a tenant with some ownership rights to the house ONLY a tenant of the planet. You have some rights, not TOTAL rights, to the resources you consume.

    Since I pointed out that it was yours while you live there and that you could assign it to heirs if they wanted it, and they could burn it down if THEY wanted to do so, that is not an issue. In my view, the burning down of a house should not be legal, the house needs to be recycled to the best ability of people who disassemble it, rather more carefully than an arsonist does. However, nobody here has advocated changes in the laws in that regard. You own it? You can bust it up with a charge of C4 (meeting safety requirements assumed).

    However…

    You have responsibilities you refuse to accept in terms of your tenancy on this planet, and that is a point on which we really seriously disagree.

    Walk lightly on the earth.

    BJ

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  98. ‘red alert’ shunda..

    didn’t you know..?

    oh..!..you will love it..!

    it could become your new home..!

    quick..!..run like the wind..!

    they are waiting for your incisive analysis..etc..

    (as are we..eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  99. The Labour Government had engaged itself in too many distractions, such as the smacking debate, when the focus should have been on solving New Zealand’s disgraceful child abuse rates.

    “It is not about smacking, it’s about giving the best possible start to our children.”

    This is a slap in the face for the Bradford-Greens.

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  100. So what. Politicians that fight for the centre vote must pander to the center voter. Phil is speaking from his perception of what’s politically expedient, not from any other principle.

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  101. Phil – the ‘Mallard post’ on Red Alert that drags it’s fingernails across my blackboard the most, is the ‘bullrush is back and pc is out my window’ ploy from the tough guy.

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  102. Goff indulged in a bit of self-slapping at the weekend. Given that almost all MPs voted for the bill you are so fascinated by jh, you’d have to concede that Goff was slapping all and sundry. Given that slapping and its many manifestations was what the bill was about, you’d have to conclude that Goff has learned nothing at all.

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  103. Well said Jeanette, it’s refreshing to have politicans that are informed and have intelligent suggestions and moral conviction.

    Sadly Key has welcomed in a new era of politics… policy via the polls. Instead of leading, he is led. Goff is falling into the same trap… and once again we are reminded, the only genuine difference between Nats and labour is the colour.

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  104. Um… “Peaceful free trade for mutual benefit. No violence. No coercion.” Doesn’t sound much like Capitalism to me.

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  105. You have to realise that Wat and James define violence and coercion as not being violence or coercion if they are to enforce principles that they consider are basic human rights. And about the only thing they define as a basic human right is private property rights. Defining violence and coercion as not being violence and coercion if they are in the service of private property rights dramatically reduces the amount of violence and coercion you see.

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  106. That’s just hilarious! Who knew? Is it any wonder there was an uncomfortable sense of disconnect in their posts! How can someone maintain that self-deception for so long, without going, ‘Oh, I have been a silly b*gger! I’ll grow up now!”

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  107. greenfly,

    You still profoundly misunderstand the argument.

    Nobody (and I mean nobody) is arguing for no regulation. The point being made is that regulations should exist for the protection of others. Hence I cannot market a cuddly child’s toy which has a propensity to explode killing everyone in the room. Nor can I market babies’ milk that kills babies.

    But the building insulation regulations you are advocating are not for the protection of others; they are simply you trying to boss other people around because you think you know better than the buyers themselves. It is you quite happily telling us that you’ll use violence against home buyers who happen to have different priorities to yourself. And then you claim you’re justified on the bizarre grounds that it’s a “regulation” and therefore must be a good thing because, after all, “regulations” are also what helps protect babies from being poisoned.

    Try to understand that these are not your houses. Nor are they Jeanette’s. You don’t get to choose the drapes, the wallpaper or the soft-furnishings. And you don’t get to choose levels of insulation or building materials. If a builder promises that the house will stand for 100 years but it goes all soggy after 10 then that is fraud and would be handled in the normal way. But it absolutely has nothing to do with you, Jeanette, the council or other ratepayers.

    And if some regulation is good, it certainly does not follow that more is better. As I said, much regulation has nothing to do with protecting the consumer and everything to do with complete screwing them by limiting competition. When businesses are actively lobbying for legislation, don’t you think that should give you a clue? Sadly you people get such a kick out of ordering people around that you fall for it every time: the legislation gets passed and the businesses laugh up their sleeve at you and how they use your own conceit and desire to control other people as the means to manipulate you.

    – “If that is your argument, you favour stealing choice from people who might like to choose their foods based on recognisable standards; lists of additives etc”

    Don’t be ridiculous. It is you people who love banning stuff that remove consumer choice. If you want to see stuff labelled in a particular way then you are perfectly free to start your own business. But no, you find it much simpler to threaten still more violence don’t you.

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  108. Wat – clearly you are opposed to violence and the use of threats of violence. Can you tell me, are there children in your Libertarian world and do they enjoy the same rights as an adult Lib, or does a young Lib have to ‘come of age’ before they can be free from the violence of adult Libertarians?

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  109. Sapient,

    I’m somewhat surprised to see that the old Victorian romantic notion of the noble savage, living in harmony with the land, is still with us.

    – “Lets just ignore the fact that prior to colonisation they were living perfectly fine in their mechanical (read non specialised) societies for tens of thousands of years.”

    You think Africans liked living in grass huts and living a harsh hand-to-mouth existence in patriarchal societies underpinned by violence? Do you think it’s their natural position? Do you think Africans don’t want freedom, peace and prosperity the same as the white Massa? From your comfortable armchair do you envy the visceral existence which is the life of the black man living in his mud hut?

    And what colonisation would that be? Which particular tribes conquering which other tribes are you referring to?

    Oh wait, now I get it. How stupid of me! You totally ignore blacks colonising and enslaving other blacks. You actually don’t have a problem with it! You ignore it completely as the normal condition of the black man, and it’s only when whitey enters the picture that you get fashionably indignant.

    Wow! That is some serious racism you’ve got going there pal.

    – “Lets just ignore the fact the the corruption and greed introduced by capitalist ideologies”

    You know, when one African peacfully and voluntarily exchanges some of his crops for those of another African, that’s Capitalism right there. Another word for Capitalism is Freedom. It is not an “ideology” which is introduced, it is the state of affairs that exists in the absence of violence and threats.

    – “Lets just ignore that the state of rhodesia was in such a terrible state, one of the closest approximations of the libertarian state,”

    Now I really would love to read a lot more about Rhodesia being a libertarian state. Truly. Take as much space as you like to really expound this one.

    – “Lets ignore the massive intergroup tensions introduced due to the poverty capitalism has brought and the murder and slavery established through peoples greed for money generated through the extraction of precious materials.”

    You know what? If I threaten you with a gun and take your watch, that is not “Capitalism.”

    I just thought you should know.

    I wouldn’t want you to make a complete fool of yourself.

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  110. greenfly,

    – “are there children in your Libertarian world and do they enjoy the same rights as an adult Lib”

    Of course not. They are children.

    – “or does a young Lib have to ‘come of age’ before they can be free from the violence of adult Libertarians?”

    I think you’ll find that loving parents of all political views agree that corporal punishment can be appropriate and for the benefit of the child – including many who have never had cause to themselves smack their child.

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  111. How could there be those who ‘never had cause to themselves smack their child’?

    Are some parents blessed with angels?

    Can you enlighten me further wat?

    Children who don’t require smacking?

    Inconceivable!

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  112. A parent’s relationship with their young child is no different to their relationship with other adults?

    Man, have you got issues!

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  113. Once again, you demonstrate two big logical fallacies. The first is an inability to see shades of gray.

    Those who cherish their violent ideology over the lives of billions of people deserve all the opprobrium they get. And then some.

    All of us agree with this statement, of course. But who is actually cherishing a violent ideology in the knowledge of such as you imply? I wouldn’t accuse you of this, wat. It would require that I believed you are being insincere, which I do not. That you don’t hesitate to make such extreme statements about our intentions verges on the hysterical. Its Perigosis again and just a stupid tactic when trying to challenge someone’s worldview.

    The vital thing regarding poverty is to find what works to fix it. A lot of work has been done but the answers are invariably the same and can be summed up in one word: Capitalism.

    Here we have naive idealism in full flight. You’re quite right that Capitalism has brought huge benefits to people’s standard of living. It is much different to go from that to saying it is the only thing that can, and imply that unregulated Capitalism can have no downside. Moral arguments aside about what system is the best in principle, almost any system would work as advertised if all participants accepted the rules and didn’t game the system. But all systems fail in their ideal because they are instead corrupted by the participants, Capitalism no less than any other. The best current example is the US, which relies on the violence of its military to ensure an economic climate and access to natural resources that is to its advantage. You can’t expect anyone to take you seriously when you argue against all attempts avoid the obvious pitfalls in your preferred Nirvana.

    And that’s not even to mention arguments made elsewhere about how your extreme individualism is impotent when faced with crises that require quick collective action to avert disasters.

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  114. What is the mystery?

    Do you imagine that every parent who agrees that corporal punishment may on some occasions be appropriate must inevitably have encountered such a time?

    I’d never supposed that for one minute.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a minority of parents who support the right have themselves has cause to use it.

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  115. In poll after poll, too numerous to mention or reference – approx. 80 % of those polled have little knowledge of the ‘real world’ & live in some kind of fantasy land defined by ‘soaps’, gossip, hearsay, etc. sorry if this is unpalatable but is is true. Are you part of the 80& or 20 % ?

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  116. Goodness! Most parents don’t smack? This is good news indeed! I wonder how that situation developed? Market feedback perhaps?

    And yet the Libertarian parent reserves the right to smack and consequently exercisesd the threat of violence over their own children, day in, day out. What a curious contradiction.

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  117. It is complete nonsense to claim that ‘all poor people live overseas’. Just to quote a few obvious exceptions

    – homeless people living under motorway bridges in Auckland – a 92 year-old woman I know personally who lives in squalor & bad health as she has so low an income, so little ability to cope & is neglected by her relatives, relying on charity & the help of friends to survive – just a few of the many who live under your radar.

    Such poverty & degradation in such a rich country is certainly a disgrace, & denying it’s existence is just part of the problem.

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  118. Ignoring retro-fitting of insulation in uninsulated homes cannot be ‘efficient’ by any measure. The costs to the individual, society, the Taxpayer, & the personal misery of living in a cold damp house ( I have personal experience of this, the landlord refused to even install a fire let alone insulation, but on returning to live there himself, the first thing he did was to install a wood-burner, & next to price up retrofitting insulation ). Sorry, the value of insulation far exceeds the cost in any situation.

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  119. By what feat of logic do you separate ‘connecting to the sewage’, which in your world ‘is justifiably regulated’, from ‘how you build your house’ which is not ?

    Surely ‘building your house’ is incomplete without some means of disposing safely of waste materials produced in/by the house or occupants.

    Therefore connecting to the sewage would be one regulated way of completing the build, one unregulated way would be let it run onto the veg garden – but in any case the disposal method WOULD be part of building your house. Do you agree ?

    This illustrates your confused ‘thinking’ on this issue & many others.

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  120. Valis,

    Unless you are a Capitalist then axiomatically you believe in some coercive system which is absolutely underpinned by a willingness to initiate violence.

    I understand why you people choose to whitewash this fundamental feature of your system: it doesn’t fit with your self-image.

    When Jeanette gives a speech about sharing wealth people look at her with her kindly grandma face and twinkle in her eye and give very little thought to the fundamentally neo-fascist nature of the policies she’s advocating, or the inherent violence that goes with it.

    As I have pointed out before, Green policies are very close to those of the British National Party. Yet for some reason, because Nick Griffin is a fat slug rather than a white-haired smily lady, people wrongly imagine there’s some gulf between them. In reality, they preach much the same stuff – violent thuggery.

    – “It is much different to go from that to saying it is the only thing that can, and imply that unregulated Capitalism can have no downside.”

    Firstly, the justification for regulated Capitalism is that it is the only way of living which is compatible with liberty. I know lefties like to imagine that they are above grubby material interests and that Capitalism is all about filthy lucre, but in fact the reverse is true: it is incidental that Capitalism is the most powerful antidote to poverty known to man. It’s true justification is the observation of human rights.

    – “Moral arguments aside about what system is the best in principle, almost any system would work as advertised if all participants accepted the rules and didn’t game the system.”

    I disagree.

    Capitalism assumes self-interest and peacefully harnesses it to deliver a higher standard of living by far than any alternative.
    And where these is a minimal government which restricts itself to keeping the peace and ensuring freedom, then there is no system to be gamed. The only way to get rich is to deliver the best goods and services at the best price to willing customers.

    By contrast, all the other systems depends absolutely on the creation of an activist state, willing to use violence to achieve its ends, and putting people in positions of power over others and expecting them to behave like saints.
    It becomes a magnet for every special interest group to lobby and manipulate for concessions and favours. Very soon you end up with a government which responds only to those groups who get themselves organised in anticipation of a big pay off at the consumer’s expense. Yes, precisely the sort of activist state which people here dream about.

    – “And that’s not even to mention arguments made elsewhere about how your extreme individualism is impotent when faced with crises that require quick collective action to avert disasters.”

    I have argued that a legitimate state is one which maximises the liberty of its citizens, or you will indeed end up with another Somalia where no-one has any freedom. So a minimal state means one that does indeed maintain an army and police force.

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  121. - “Sorry, the value of insulation far exceeds the cost in any situation.”

    As I have said, the economic case is not in dispute.

    You just don’t have the right to go round to your new neighbour’s house and threaten him with a poker unless he insulates to a degree you find satisfactory.

    The initiation of violence against someone requires the bar to be set very, very high. Yet here you are reaching for your gun just because someone’s house is a little less cosy or efficient than you deem appropriate.

    What is wrong with you?

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  122. - “Setting minimum performance standards, which is what Jeanette is talking about (not ‘banning’ anything or any activity)…”

    Apart from the stuff you ban because it doesn’t meet her standards you mean?

    – “is a no brainer when the rest of the community has to live with the externalities.”

    What externalities? We are assuming that all externalities are included in the price of fuel. If they are not, then that’s where you should be looking. And if they are, then there is no longer an externality, is there.

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  123. - “You have to realise that Wat and James define violence and coercion as not being violence or coercion if they are to enforce principles that they consider are basic human rights.”

    You should understand that we are talking about the initiation of violence against others. Think about it.

    – “and about the only thing they define as a basic human right is private property rights.”

    Apart from the freedoms of speech, association, religion etc you mean? Those things, in fact, which are inherent in the condition of being a free person.

    – “Defining violence and coercion as not being violence and coercion if they are in the service of private property rights dramatically reduces the amount of violence and coercion you see.”

    Again, you have misunderstood. The issue is the initiation of violence. Do you see the difference? Do you see how resisting violence is legitimate?

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  124. What Wat ???

    Ignoring your patently rediculuous statement equating the Greens with BNP

    you appear to agree that any functional state must be regulated – conclusion – the discussion revolves around how much, of what type, by whom, & for what purpose.

    One interpretation of what you state is that there should be minimal regulation but a standing Army & Police Force. Question – who regulates them ?

    Another implication of your argument – as teased out from the noise by others, is that regulation (laws) that suit your purposes are fine but those that don’t are not. Admitted by you if not explicitly. e.g. some regulation of Buildings is OK like connection to a sewer, but not minimum insulation standards ( the unwise, gullible or stupid, should be allowed to live in wooden/brick tents irrespective of their knowledge of what is required to give them comfort & good health plus savings on fuel bills )

    Therefore my conclusion on reading your many posts on this subject is that agreement on regulation (laws) which we can reasonably be expected to live by, is subject to political negotiation after reasoned discussion, voting in fair elections, thus selection of ‘the peoples’ representatives who will pass laws & regulations in parliament. Surely this is what we have.

    I am therefore confused. You seem to argue for no regulation, or only ‘sensible’ or ‘light’ regulation, but then state a few instances where you would encourage or perhaps tolerate some regulation. It’s a matter of interpretation as to whether this would be considered ‘correct’, ‘light’, market friendly or what Wat. You would consider it one, I another.

    What it all comes down to in my opinion, is a matter of degree, direction, purpose, & who benefits for what purpose. A society, Utopian surely, that can function well without any regulation, direction or laws, is one that has tempted novelists since writing began, without any success.

    One that has some degree of politically negotiated regulation is surely the only one that can work, given human nature, therefore the discussion can only be about the who, how, why, not about the IF.

    Your faith in the power of ‘the market’ is surely misplaced given the many instances of it’s failure to satisfy it’s aspirations to benefit the many. It seems to me that it has succeeded in satisfying the few at the expense of the many. Therefore a New Paradigm is essential.

    Your example of Somalia seems to reinforce my view that Armies (armed populace) & dedicated Police Forces (to one seat of power at the expense of others) can be a recipe for disaster. Many examples can be found of Armies & Police Forces misdirected by Tyrants causing mayhem for populations both foreign & domestic. A strong case in my view for minimal fully volunteer Defence Forces & Police to be lightly armed (Police not with firearms) with a strict remit to operate within Territorial Borders except in extreme circumstances & only with approval of say 66 % of the elected Parliament (not the PM or President). A statute I believe intended by the US Founding Fathers & connected in my view to the carrying of Arms by the populace as part of an armed Militia for the defence of the populace against Tyranny.

    Only my humble opinion.

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  125. Wat

    This business about “initiating violence” is dumb. Repeating it doesn’t make it true. When people don’t follow laws and regulations imposed by the society they are a part of, there are a lot of things that happen, warnings, infringement notices, fines, going to court… before there is any violence on offer, even the passive violence of being placed in a jail (assuming one is smart enough not to argue with the police who are only doing their job). I know it is part of your religion, but this claim about violence is not relevant or sensible. We ALL obey the same laws, we all MAKE the laws through our system of self-government.

    The law is there to be obeyed, you don’t like it you have all the avenues available in a democracy to change it, and if you think it infringes on your rights as a person you can take it to the courts to get the law overturned.

    Somehow I don’t think that the courts will agree with you on this one.

    However, your real problem is far simpler.

    You just don’t have the right to go round to your new neighbour’s house and threaten him with a poker unless he insulates to a degree you find satisfactory.

    It isn’t the house of “my neighbour”. It is the house of my LANDLORD.
    A house which, due to our society’s problem with giving tax advantages to landlords, a lot of the rest of us have to live in. Since (by your own form of reckoning) “violence” has already been initiated against us (on our landlord’s behalf) to force us to live in this house rather than buy or build our own… (see how stupid it really is to claim “violence” is what is happening here), we have every right to “insist” on its being insulated.

    It IS in the interests of the society to make sure it is an efficient house. Wasting money is bad for the society, not just for the renter who has to pay the utility bills or the taxpayers who have to pay the medical bills this year. It is bad for the society long after we’re gone and the house continues to afflict the people in it, with the money burned in heating it (or healing its occupants) becoming unavailable for investment or commerce. This is NOT good for the economy.

    Furthermore, since said landlord gets to deduct the cost of insulation projects almost entirely, the case is really that the taxpayer is paying for it anyway. Just as we are all paying his flipping mortgage interest. So it comes from the renters and owner occupiers anyway. To subsidize the landlords.

    Which means that the landlord does not have the absolute rights to it that you seem to think he does. Even to a greater degree than if he/she lives in the house… because other people’s health and wealth are being taken from THEM as a result of his failure.

    …and you don’t have an absolute right EVEN when you are building the house just for yourself. In its lifetime a house is extremely likely to be rented in this society, because we haven’t got the sense god gave a headless chook when it comes to taxes and investment properties.

    BJ

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  126. Unless you are a Capitalist then axiomatically you believe in some coercive system which is absolutely underpinned by a willingness to initiate violence.

    Capitalism does not? PLEASE DO NOT explain the nature of this utopian fantasy further. The wage slave is every bit as much a slave as any other . Oppression is imposed by another human or a corporation rather than a government doesn’t become legitimate. I have to wonder, with all due respect, if you are in fact an inhabitant of this planet.

    I don’t know when Jeanette has ever given a “share the wealth” speech. You might want to go find something IF YOU CAN, to back up your rant. Your ideological problems with reality are again pushing the limits of truth.

    Greens are all about REGULATED Capitalism Wat… and in pretty much the entire rest of this thread you have been objecting to being REGULATED.

    However, the self contradiction in your post is that you then go on to describe the benefits of a “minimal government” which has no power to regulate much of anything.

    If it DOES have that power it will suffer the same fate as every other, attracting the seekers of power and using the police to enforce its regulations.

    If it does NOT have that power, the Capitalism is unregulated and goes right to the extremes of slavery and corporate despotism described elsewhere.

    This inherent contradiction is part of the Libertarian fallacy. It also underpins the arguments about election finance.

    You have to govern WITH PEOPLE. So you have to make sure that everyone has a say, not just the people with money. That makes the election finance laws CRITICAL to the maintenance of the democracy and you were just here recently arguing that money should talk loudest.

    Sorry about that ideology Wat, but it IS broken.

    BJ

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  127. Hmmm.
    So coercive force may be used by the parent against the child because the child is assumed to be less cognitively able than the parent and as such needs the correction of the parent to make choices which ultimately deliver a superior outcome to the child.
    So in this you are admitting both that not every individual is equally cognitively gifted and that a superior outcome for an individual may be obtained, and is desirable, through the intervention of a more cognitively able body.
    Accepting that it is valid for a parent to use coercive force against their offspring for this reason it also becomes valid for the state to use suh coercive force against its citizens as invaribly the state consists of individuals more intelligent and with more access to information and resources and contains more such individuals, thus being better able to make a decision regarding some matters than the citizens themselves and leeding to a superior outcome through such action.
    The fact that you agree with the former but disagree with the latter speaks of nothing but hypocrasy; that is apart from hinting at severe impairment in your own cognitive abilities.

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  128. China didn’t introduce ‘free market’ reforms in the sense that free-market fundamentalists define the term. They introduced reforms to harness the power of the market, but rather different from either the utopian free-market ideal or the version the IMF tries to impose on third-world countries.

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  129. First,
    I hate this comments system; it makes it so much harder to keep track of comments.

    Second,
    While I do not envy the situation at all the situation may be considered superior to that of today as they were able to exist within their own means and the waring, whilst present, was no-where near as profound as today and with weapons significantly less powerful. Even by your own standards of liberty they were in a better way.
    Actually, no that was not colonization as the crucial part of colonization is the imposition of a significantly different culture. The damaging part coming in this instance from the introduction of a culture not suited for the region which vastly grew potential for greed and lead to bloodshed far exceeding anything previously experienced. That bloodshed being non-conductive of any form of prosperity or liberty.

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  130. Greenfly,
    What fatigue? Wat fatigue!
    Wat fatigue? Indeed indeed!

    Thought this comments system is fatiguing me more than a wat ever could hope to; maybe that was the intention. :P

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  131. Sapient – I’m with you on the comments system as well. Linear was easier.
    Searching for replies to a range of comments is a headache, especially if you are away from the keyboard for a day. Good to see the blog lively though.
    As to that what ails us..reminds me of ‘whack a mole’. (swat a wat?)

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  132. Simplest thing to do about the comments problem is to use the preview feature, as this forces the comment to the end of the thread. Even if it is a reply-to. Bug or Feature… who can tell? …and it seems to me that preview helps the quality of the posts immensely. The harder bit is that the distance from comment to reply WHILE IN THE PROCESS OF REPLYING seems to have increased.

    In other words, I have to have a second window open on the thread to see the comment I am replying to, otherwise I can’t find the thing when I want to check that I am in fact replying to the comment, not just the little bit I remembered. Preview helps with that as well, as the reply shows up in context, but gets posted to the bottom.

    This is almost workable but still less good IMHO, than the system without the threaded replies.

    If it automatically threw up the preview (and/or the context message it is a reply-to) it might be better.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  133. I know what the phrase ‘initiation of violence’ means in the context of the normal English meaning of the word ‘violence’, but I’m not entirely clear what it means in the context of the definition of violence used on Planet Wat Dabney.

    So I’ll just ask you have previously used this concept of violence to argue that taxation is not legitimate, but that private property rights are legitimate. So how do you work out that defending one is initiating violence and defending the other isn’t?

    (By the dictionary definition of violence, in both cases it could be either the defender of the principle or the challenger of the principle who initiates the violence, if it gets to the point of violence)

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  134. BJ,
    I find that if I am going to do that its easier to just not bother hitting reply in the first place and just type it into the default box down the bottom; I did use preview but now that this threading comes into play I dont preview as it does exactly what you state and in doing so removes the one advantage of this inferior system. :P . Unfortunatly neither option solves the actual problem.

    As to the scrolling around thing, I long ago started using external word processors for that purpose when the replies were more than afew paragraphs; if your going to bother having multiple tabs one might as well use a superior processor and cut + paste. Also gives the benefit of being able to hit ‘save’ for a latter encounter with wat, etc.

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  135. Labour then and now sees workers as consumers to be serviced, rather than citizens in control of their own destiny.

    Amen!

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  136. The concept of ‘enforcing’ basic human rights seems rather contradictory to the concept of basic human rights ;-)

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  137. Apparently world news – Greenpeace attempts to stop Palm Kernel Shipment to Tauranga – British Company accused of off-loading toxic Waste in West Africa killing & maiming hundreds – Dutch authorities to prosecute them for serious crimes – knowingly exporting poisonous waste & dumping it after they acknowledged internally that they knew what they were doing.

    Will NZ Govt. step in to stop this trade in Rain Forest destruction ?

    Capitalism & Free Markets at their worst !

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  138. Two specific identities that crafted the National Party’s key catchword phrases were Richard Long and Textor Crosby.

    Phil needs to reread Nicky Hager’s Hollow Men, to see just how cynically manipulative the “politically correct” and “nanny state” phrases are and how as Jeanette wisely points out, he has been ambushed/caputured by them.

    Basically they are used as a weapon to encapsulate anything that focus groups identify as a prejudice that could be harmful to conservatives. Not suprisingly issues such as human rights, anti racism, economic equality, environmental protection,required those engaged in such destructive activity to be shielded, by demonising those who are advocates for eliminating prejudice.
    Michael Laws is the perfect personification of this syndrome and its utterances and these two categorisations viz.Nanny state and political correctness.

    But most of the media to their shame in NZ have also bought into this cynically calculated word game and the DomPost and NZ Herald particularly so, as are their press gallery reporters.

    Dumb stuff, but Long and Textor-Crosby managed one of the most effective communications word coup d’etats, by making part of the everyday venacular.Goff should have known better, though his mate Michael Moore is one of the worst perpetrators of the use of this word game b***s**t

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  139. Richard – you are correct. The Green party and it’s members and supporters have been subject to similar and very effective ‘word games’ for years and in my opinion, hobbled by that. At the moment, it’s ‘eco-terrorist’ that is being embedded into the public conscience and flashed out into the media whenever there is a need to batter the Green movement back into impotence.

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