A nation divided?

It is great to see the Herald launch a six part series highlighting the impact of inequality and poverty in New Zealand. They started yesterday with a front page piece talking about inequality in New Zealand. The piece highlights the plight of families not considered poor:

Auckland couple Craig and Carla Bradley often have only $150 a week left for food. “We have gone two days without food just so the kids can eat. That’s when I was pregnant, too,” says Mrs Bradley, 29.

Monday’s Herald piece focuses on Auckland and looks at the census data. Good reporting has highlighted that median incomes for areas across the city have departed from their historical tie to the regional average income. Basically this provides evidence that the earnings gap between rich and poor parts of Auckland has increased. We must remember this data is from the 2006 census before the financial crisis and so we can expect the current situation to be somewhat worse given that the number of people unemployment has risen from 80,792 people when the census was taken to 171,225 part way through last year.

The National Government has no clear economic plan to address poverty. Its 15 post-election economic priorities do not address the issue of poverty. Mums and dads who go without food so that their children can eat will not have spare change to invest in SOEs. National and Labour’s tax policy have left NZ with lower tax rates in the OECD for those in the highest income bracket.

On the other hand, we have the world’s most comprehensive GST, one of the most regressive taxes that impacts those on lowest incomes disproportionately. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is busy consulting on her Green Paper on vulnerable children, but until we address the root causes of inequality and child poverty we will simply be papering over the cracks.

The most chilling part of the Herald series so far has been a quote from today’s article on tax from a mother described as “comfortable”:

“During the election was when it really hit me,” says Anita. “I had been to have a facial. Then I went to a supermarket and did the weekly shop. “I drove past one of the Labour billboards about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That’s $600 a week. I thought, ‘I’ve just spent that this morning having a facial, buying products from the beauty therapist and doing the shopping. How can a family live on that?”

Compare that to the plight of Lisa, a mother Metiria spoke to last year as part of our plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014:

“How do you budget when your necessities cost more than you earn? An extra $60 a week would mean I could provide healthier food, my daughter could participate in more out of school activities, I’d get my bills paid faster so I could benefit from prompt payment discounts, and I wouldn’t have to panic if one or both of us needed the doctor unexpectedly.”

The Green Party takes an holistic view of inequality and poverty. New Zealand’s appalling rates of violence are partly a result of growing inequality. In its Green Paper, the Government seeks merely to address the results of poverty.  By contrast, the Green Party has a plan to address the causes. Until we start to do this I anticipate more sobering stories like those in the Herald this week.

38 thoughts on “A nation divided?

  1. $15 per hour is $600 per week before tax. NZ also has the unholy honour of having one of the flattest tax structures in the world, with no exemptions for the poor as Australia does. Even our hardly-liveable benefits are taxed. The poor have their incomes cut further. No wonder we rank so terribly among ‘developed nations’ on so many social indicators.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  2. George D,

    Benificiaries dont pay taxes (They do pay GST like the rest of us). A tax recipient cannot pay a tax, only receive.

    Sure the state can give with one hand and take back with the other in benificiary taxation but the state does not have any extra taxation to distribute.

    The state pays you $100 and takes back $20 in taxation. It does not have an extra $20 to distribute, it only had to tax me $80 in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  3. Georges claim that NZ benefits are “hardly-liveable” is shown to be flawed, simply by the large number of obese, drinking, smoking, play-station toting, idle, Sky-watching, car-driving, fast-food-eating beneficiary masses.

    And its not sustainable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  4. Not sure what you’re trying to say, Gerrit? Had to read your comment a few times over but I *think* you’re saying that because the money comes from the government it can’t be taxed, the money that’s called tax that matches up to the tax rates just magically doesn’t exist. Does that mean that public servants don’t pay tax on their incomes either? After all, what they earn comes from other people’s taxes as well. And if that is what you’re saying, I’m not sure how GST would be an exception – it’s still money that came from the government that’s going back to the government in tax. The only difference is that the beneficiary (or public servant) got given the money before it was taken back off them.

    Either way, I’m finally in my last month of receiving the sickness benefit and I’ve been living on $190/week (after tax). I’m extremely lucky that family have taken me in in exchange for board (covering rent, utilities and some food), because I literally cannot afford to pay market rent, utilities and other bills such as insurance/transport/the little I spend on my mobile, medical costs and food out of that money. In a lot of places it would barely cover rent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  5. All I see is a well off couple that made good life choices and worked hard to grow wealth to the point they can provide for their kids and have a comfortable life.

    Points to note on “The Strugglers”

    – they continue to have kids even though they are struggling
    – the guy is paying child support

    Call me ignorant but

    a) dont have kids with people if you dont intend on staying with them
    b) dont have 3 kids if your household earns $42,000 a year

    simple really, and 51 years old, working 7 days a week, he will be dead by the time he is 65 at that rate and then what ? a widow with 3 teenage kids and no father figure around just screams out future issues. I also fail to understand how you can play a meaningful role in your kids lives if you work 7 days a week to make ends meet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  6. Negative ticks for me :) yah. Provide your reasons please.

    One would think the following advice is sensible

    a) dont have kids with people if you dont intend on staying with them
    b) dont have kids if you cant afford to support them

    Nah its far easier to have them anyway and expect the state to front up courtesy of evil rich peoples tax money cause they can afford it eh ?

    Who cares that they made good choices, have mortgages, have their own kids to raise, they are rich and we can bleed them a bit more eh ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  7. I’m sure the Key-party will be happy that the nation is becoming more divided.. 90% of the wealth controlled by 10% of people !!

    You only have to walk around & see the that there are still quite a few kiwis driving BMW, Mercedes & Audi.. Oh yes & the odd Rolls, Ferrari & Lamborgini too !!

    I’m sure he is waiting for these words “Arise Sir. J%#n” & a rousing “God Save the Qu##n”

    “Roll on 2014″ I Say !!!

    Kia-ora Koutou, Kia Kaha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  8. Chris Miller,

    Quie simple really. If the state owes you $250 per week for a sickness benefit and “taxes” you $60 dollars for receiving it, the state only has to find $190 dollars to square the ledger.

    It does not need to raise the $60 dollars it would receive back from you in “taxation”. it is a useless paper transaction that has no reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  9. Any functional subsidy to poor people will translate into higher rents and mortgages because we have an under-supply of property – which has been deliberately engineered.

    “If you have 10 families but only 9 available homes, then those families must compete against each other, with all that they have, to not be the family that misses out. The result being that house prices are bidded-up to the MAXIMUM of what people can afford, and over-crowding and the creation of a poverty-class becomes UNAVOIDABLE. And the landlord’s get rich.”

    Poverty is primarily a supply issue – not a money issue. The money (market prices) respond primarily to supply, not the other way around.

    http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2011/10/getting-rid-of-poverty-in-new-zealand.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  10. “dont have kids if you cant afford to support them”

    So the supposed vast increase in wealth brought to us by technology and liberal capitalism has produced a society in which having children is a luxury for the better-off?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  11. Gerrit – there is a reason. If the government pays $250 in a benefit but taxes the recipient $60, they can still claim that the beneficiary received $250 rather than $190. This makes them look less miserly than they really are. Of course they then receive another $25 or so back from the beneficiary when that person then buys something and pays 15% GST.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  12. How ever you want to word it Sam. Basically im saying its wrong to expect fellow tax payers to pay towards raising a child that you had and knew you couldnt afford.

    People just seem to think its ok to take money that doesnt belong to them, for others to pay for choices they made.

    You all think of me as the enemy, some arrogant well off mid 30 year old who is stingy with his money, mabey, but at least my kids will pay their own way in life as have I, my partner, her parents, my parents and their parents before them.

    But you would take that away wouldnt you with your ideals, your high and mighty morals, easy when its someone elses money to isnt it eh ?.

    I look after my own, I am not a burden to society, respec that at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  13. Crying poverty for a family with two cars, a laptop, bamoaning no (overseas?) holiday, and who keep spitting out kids they cant afford is absurd, and the author shouldbe ashamed of himself (and Holly, too, for that matter, for swallowing this farce).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  14. Sam’s suggesting that technology advances and liberal capitalism somehow should allow indescriminate breeding is absurd.

    The key issue, Sam, is that in the pre-industrial age, if you had kids you supported them. thes epeople expect me to support their on going procreation, as well as my own. Quite how somebody could conceive that as fair or sustainable is absurd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  15. Collins’ agenda/propagand pieces conviently ignore, in the tax comparaions, the:
    1) welfare topups of WFF
    2) rates at which the tax rates cut in.

    For example, the last time I checked the US top rate proposed by Obama would cut iin at $US250,000. Ours cuts in at a paltry $70k after a recent boost from a teacher/policeman catching $60,000 (mneansing that labour considered teachers and policemen “rich-pricks” to be his with their envy tax rate.

    Collins’ peices read like they were written for The Party Faithful at Red Alert or The Standard, but he sent them to the wrong email address, and Granny-herald, being the uncritical Rudman/Misa lefty-organ mouthpeice that it is, unquestionally regurgitated them.

    To (willfully?) fail to incorporayte WFF and tax rate cut-ins is deceptive at best, and deceitful at worst.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  16. Trevor29.

    Yep slight of hand stuff for sure.

    Would be interesting if Holly Walker (and the Greens) could be more specific on what levels of taxation are required to make us “more” equal?

    Bearing in mind that there will always be levels of inequality it begs the question, what level of ineaquality is acceptable?

    If for example I have to go to work and pay 60% tax on my income, just to keep my neighbour on a living benefit (50% for the heighbour, 10% for state administration costs) is that considered exceptable equality?

    New Zealand’s appalling rates of violence are partly a result of growing inequality.

    If we look at the appalling case of the Kahui twins murder, one could not say that was a result of financial poverty. Over $2000 per week flowed into those households, double what most workers take home on a 40 hour week after tax.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0607/S00122.htm

    So if we enforced equality could we cut benefits to be more representative of wages?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  17. Many countries are feeling the recession bite deeply and many are living in poverty worldwide, yet they do not have the same rates of violence against children. New Zealand unfortunately seems to suffer very high levels of violence against children (and high rates of depression and substance abuse within society). Why are our young people so very vulnerable, that is the question. Submit your views to the Green paper on vulnerable children and then maybe we can tackle this issue once and for all. Money doesn’t always make you happier!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  18. Andrew,

    You omit that the Green Party ALSO has a policy of increasing the supply of state housing, rather than eliminating it as has been done over the years. Telling only part of the story you are. Further, housing “intensification” does NOT have a positive or negative effect on housing quantity. It has an effect on what SORT of housing some people will use.

    There is a word for housing on a vast spread-out landscape with 90 minute commutes to get to work…. the word is “Los-Angeles”.

    Auckland attempts to follow that model, but there is not, physically, the land to build another LA there, and the effort to improve mass transit is near-non-existent, while LA is spending billions to FIX what it broke. Auckland is barely started on that.

    http://secondavenuesagas.com/2010/11/30/in-los-angeles-a-subway-system-grows/

    Life in an Apartment on the upper-west side may not be what most Kiwis “aspire” to, but a lot of apartments there are LARGER than the houses on “easy maintenance” sections that are “infilling” our suburbs.

    Which isn’t the same as me espousing “smart growth”.

    I think it CAN work, because I know how nice it is in one of those Apartments with good mass transit access to the city proper and no need of a car. I don’t think most New Zealanders have a real understanding of that sort of lifestyle… and the notion of anything over 3 to 5 stories in a quake prone area IS disturbing. I read enough of your piece to realize that you left out some of our policies and misread others.

    BJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  19. If for example I have to go to work and pay 60% tax on my income, just to keep my neighbour on a living benefit (50% for the heighbour, 10% for state administration costs) is that considered exceptable equality?

    Gerrit… if you are making enough to hit the 60% threshold in any tax scheme of ours you are already earning 5 times or better the 40K the rest of us live on… you left that part out of your equation… and yes, that IS a fair level of tax if you are on that sort of income… and right now people who are making that sort of money are paying LESS in tax than I am.

    I don’t think most workers on a 40 hour week bring home $1000 after tax either…

    How many people were in the Kahui household to get to that $2000/week level? Was there benefit fraud to reach that level? There were 5 adults and 2 kids there. Is that representative of the wider population or is my Mother-In-Law eking out an existence on $300/week in a council flat more like it?

    You may not like the notion that as a high earner you may actually be “under” taxed in reality. None of us do… but raising taxes on the wealthiest is only one part of Green policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  20. BJ,

    High earner? I wish.

    The sixty percent was an example in hindsight badly drawn. Let me try again.

    I earn say $100K. To keep my neighbour at a living benefit requires say $50K

    just an example remember!!!

    So I pay 60% tax (50% for my neighbour + 10% admin fees). I get to retain $40K my neighbour gets $50K.

    The equation that the state hopes for is there are enough people in the tradeable sector to reduce my taxation so the maintenance cost of one benificiary is spread amongst many.

    Specifically that I will retain the desire to go to work for effectively more money then my neigbour. For if I dont then the state looses the need to employ the admin staff and the ability to pay benefits.

    The problem arises when the economy (tradeable sector) shrinks and the numbers of tax payers reduces.

    The state has but few options.

    One is to raises taxes on the diminishing tradeable sector, two is to reduce state expenditure (non tradeable sector) and three is to reduce benefits.

    Yep, adjust taxation lelvels is easily doable and short term will get you out of a “fix”.

    Long term not so good as it is unsustainable. You cannot keep an expanding non tradeable state expenditure at a level above what the diminishing tradeable sector can pay.

    Greens say put the minimum wage up to $15.

    Cool, has anyone researched the flow on effect on tradeable sector sustainability as ALL wages (after all if you are currently on $15 per hour you would be looking at at least $18 to keep parity).

    And the effect on the sustainability of the tradeable sector?

    In a non (even falling) growth economy it is simply unsustainable.

    And in a deindustrialised society benefits will simply not be available.

    Result will be more poverty not less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  21. The key issue, Sam, is that in the pre-industrial age, if you had kids you supported them. thes epeople expect me to support their on going procreation, as well as my own. Quite how somebody could conceive that as fair or sustainable is absurd.

    The key issue, MC, is that in the pre-industrial age, child mortality was extremely high, life expectancy was generally low (only 42% of males reached the age of 25 in London pre 1800) and death by starvation was not uncommon particularly in the cities. Also, scientific birth control was non existent.

    Furthermore, the parish system provided a primitive (though generally effective) social safety net for families that became impoverished as a result of unemployment or death so it’s not as if the concept is new.

    Which is not to say your premise that personal responsibility is incorrect, it’s just that your basis for the premise is flawed.

    Interestingly from a statistical basis, in the post-industrial era birth rates are directly inversely related to incomes across the western world (i.e. the poorer you are, the more kids you have) so it’s not a local problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  22. $50k for your neighbour on benefits??? If only! The current student loan repayment threshold is about $19k. Even when I had two jobs I’ve never made that much – the most was about $300/week, or $15-16k. $50k is nearly $1000/week, while median income for employed people only mid last year was only $800/week according to Statistics NZ. Really, you’re just making up numbers here – including the whole concept of your equation to start with, since far fewer people are on benefits than in employment, meaning it’s not a 1:1 ratio, and unemployment & etc benefits are a very small portion of what taxes pay for. (I specify because benefits to large businesses aka corporate welfare are a much larger amount.)

    But then considering most of the comments here seem to believe that all children are planned, birth control never fails (and built into this one, that everyone knows how to use it properly and has access to a method that works for them and the freedom to use it – reproductive control is actually a huge element in abusive relationships, and since people have brought up child abuse, the two often go hand in hand), people’s circumstances never change, family is a privilege and that anyone except the super wealthy could afford to support their children all by themselves if there were no government subsidies whatsoever, I’m not sure why I’m expecting anything resembling accuracy. I wonder what you all expect a low income woman should do when she finds herself pregnant, keeping in mind that forcing someone to have an abortion is just as heinous as forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term.

    Incidentally, we have about the lowest top tax rate in the OECD, so the complaints about leeching off the rich aren’t even particularly valid anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  23. bjchip:

    Believe me I’m not in the business of being economical with the truth – I just try to keep things as simple as I can. I know the Greens want to build more state houses. It’s still incredibly expensive when you have to pay $200,000 plus per-section, and all the other artificially established price inflations. State housing does not address the core problem with relates to supply-production costs.

    Also, building state houses is mostly unnecessary. If you get rid of artificial inflation’s on property prices people can build their own affordable homes.

    Ever wonder why high-rise apartments tend, generally, to be so small? Because floor area to build them is generally 2x that of a simple single-story home.

    Los Angeles: Apparently it has the highest metropolitan density of all American cities. It is a polycentric city but not spread out, as a ratio to population.

    You think forced urban intensification can work? So far it has proven it doesn’t – in America, and here in New Zealand. And the core issue is: How do we justify forcing people to live like battery chickens for if they don’t want to? Intensification in itself is not the evil – but forcing it.

    http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2009/06/smart-growth.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  24. There are several aspects to your example Gerrit, and I think that when it comes down to it, the specific numbers really really matter. There is absolutely no desire on the part of anyone here to take so much from the productive members of the society that the beneficiary is in fact obtaining more from his/her work than he does.

    Understanding your example as I think it was intended, the number of beneficiaries can overwhelm the productive people in the society, and that is definitely a risk we are aware of. It is not however, an excuse for the person on a $250k income to be able to pay 25 cents on the dollar while I on a third that, am paying 33. That is the reality in NZ today and there is a point about the WILLINGNESS of people to voluntarily accept taxation when they know that they are being screwed by people with more money.

    The fact is that I reckon we are both “right” in our way… but we have to merge the argument. BOTH responses are needed. We have to increase the number of people in work, reduce the number of people who NEED benefits to live, and ensure that tax policy spreads the load more equitably. Sweden has a top tax rate of 56% IIRC, but it also has managed the trick of making that rate increase MONOTONICALLY through the process of dropping benefits and adding taxes as one’s income progresses upwards.

    We don’t even come close. Before WFF came in you could be paying between 80 and 90% effective tax on every dollar of increased earnings between $60k and $90k of income. This is part of the reason people bought property… to shelter some of that income. It was the only escape from the IRD that was available to them. The “flat” tax effort is killing the society.

    You’ve probably forgotten but I did in fact make the point that there seems to be a “sweet spot” in the GINI index. That’s my opinion. There is a point at which driving down inequality doesn’t help as much as it hurts. Some inequality is necessary, the ACT party line has a grain of truth in it… but only if we were ACTUALLY working to a pure Marxist “from each – to each” standard in the first place.

    We are nowhere near that, and well above the GINI of 25-31 that seems to mark the most productive and happy societies.

    If we fixed our monetary system AND our tax system and pitched the pseudo-Ricardo naysayers out the airlock so we employed people, and yes paid a bit more for the stuff that isn’t made in China… we’d be a bit more likely to get where we both want to go.

    Before that happens though, we have to stop the asset sale folks.
    (Assailers??)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  25. “Sam’s suggesting that technology advances and liberal capitalism somehow should allow indescriminate breeding is absurd.”

    I never said anything like that – if you want to have a debate with a caricature you’ve dreamed up, go ahead. But please don’t put my name to it. The name ‘Mr Hyde’ might be more appropriate. BTW don’t you think your use of the term “indiscriminate breeding” rather than “families” suggests a rather deep-seated misanthropy?

    “Basically im saying its wrong to expect fellow tax payers to pay towards raising a child that you had and knew you couldnt afford.”

    I broadly agree with you. But it’s also wrong that people are put into a position of having to treat potential children as a consumer item to be balanced against other needs.

    My point is that our supposedly successful society, despite its ability to generate a vast array of goods and services, is incapable of delivering the things human beings need to many of the people living in it.

    Consequently, people are put in a situation of having to choose between living off the state, or not having families. They should never have been put in this situation and they shouldn’t be blamed for being stuck in a society that has failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  26. “we have an under-supply of property”
    Indeed. And we couldn’t have that without also having a relative over-supply of people. I’m often suprised by that lack of discussion around population. Especially from the Greens, who believe the world is finite.

    Besides 42, having kids is likely the purpose of life. What if we humans become so sucessful at fulfilling our purpose that we become too many? What if we could predict this outcome? Should we try to avoid it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  27. fin: Bingo!

    I have openly stated on my blog that I am suspicious that this “Smart Growth” movement boils down to population control – which is an ultimate necessity, some day at least.

    What I have a problem with is the method. We should use direct caps for population control – not economically starve people out of the option for kids. It creates so much unnecessary stress, which in itself is bad for the family.

    http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2009/10/explaining-new-zealands-property.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  28. Agree Sam people are being put in a situation of having to choose between living off the state, or not having families.

    Is it fair ? no, but its called living in a modern society and all trappings that comes with that and there is only really 3 options

    – 1) tax people with more money and literally hand it over to poorer people (legalised theft)

    – 2) introduce communism so everyone has a living wage

    – 3) ditch modern society and go back to simplistic tribal life where money doesnt matter and everyone contirbutes to raising the child

    Out of all of those option 1 seems to be the best but isnt far off communism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  29. Everything should be as simple as it can be, and no simpler.

    Andrew… the people who decided LA was “dense” are.

    Anyone with 3 working brain cells who has lived in NYC or Boston or Chicago and also in LA would know that the only way to get that sort of result is to make a serious error in definitions. I’ve had that argument before. I’ve also lived in NYC, LA and Boston. The difference is basically that the extended suburbs that ARE Los Angeles ( often described by New Yorkers as “a suburb in search of its city ), aren’t included in the definitions. Live in both places and the truth is quite obvious.

    I’m afraid I don’t see “the state” paying $200k a section for land. That is a reasonable approximation of a price for a prime piece of land in Auckland right now. It isn’t right but Labour and National have done an awful lot of wrong things to get us into this pickle. The list is QUITE long.

    One of my favorites:
    Consider the marginal tax (up to 90%) we used to pay as we passed through the hell between $60k and $90k, and the only escape was to “invest” in property. Funny that we wound up with people who had no interest in actually being landlords winding up as landlords for other people who got priced out of the market… because interest was deductible (AND got paid to overseas banks)… the only comparable stupidity… pursued by successive governments of various flavours here… is the war on drugs.

    …and you have your own favorites. The point however, at the end, is that there is NOT a lot of useful land in close proximity or easy commute to Auckland central… nor is Auckland central the location where all the work is concentrated. Auckland is, from the perspective of city planning or the excuse for it that has prevailed over the years, a mess.

    I would not “force” people to become apartment dwellers. I am simply pointing out that it is a very NATURAL choice that a lot of people will make if appropriately sized apartments are built. The reason small apartments are being built HERE has everything to do with profits to the builders and owners and very little to do with actually providing living space for families. Which is simply evidence that the private enterprise system does not always built the optimum solutions for society as a whole.

    You uttered something incomprehensible about 2x the size … and I would like you to clarify as I can’t comment on the incomplete thought.

    The bottom line in Auckland is that it could accommodate 2x to 4x as many people quite livably… but not if New Zealanders are in charge of building the housing. My basic premise at this point is that there is no way that any New Zealander can be trusted with housing design… the incomprehensible failure to put in heating, insulation, treated lumber, adequate waterproofing, decent joinery or adequate indoor plumbing make me suspicious of ANY of them doing something right. Then there is the little matter of the council poking its nose in with consents to alter the house, and inspectors… when I buy or sell I should HIRE MY OWN inspector, and I did… and I take responsibility if I miss some detail too… because I am the one to live in it.

    Which goes squared and cubed for any apartment development.

    No… there isn’t a whole lot RIGHT with the way this is done here.

    However, the vision that one can somehow alter the landscape so that Auckland is better connected North and South, and the outlying suburbs brought closer in time, is one that Greens support. Paving large areas of the city is not part of that vision. The property in the center will always be a bit too expensive for the poorest folks… which is as it should be. Prime real-estate is what it is because there is NOT enough of it in ANY city. Building a single house in such areas makes that house expensive, and there can be no other result. Building multi-floor apartments in such areas CAN be far more useful to far more people.

    The example set by NYC is important here. There are very very few single occupancy dwellings in shouting distance, the bulk of the population is in apartments and in the city center a car is regarded as a liability or a luxury, but never as a necessity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  30. Actually, I don’t actually see the justification for individuals “owning” property at all. The notion of me “owning” a patch of land that was there before I was born and will be there long after I die, is entirely illogical. The land is something I am borrowing from future generations and it needs to be returned to them undamaged.

    Not saying I have a better idea at the moment, just that there are a lot of curly issues around the way we do what we do now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  31. bjchip:

    Note I said Metropolitan, which does indeed include the outer suburbs – not inner-city. Going from memory metropolitan NY is less dense than metropolitan LA. You’ve lived in both cities, but that doesn’t mean you’ve measured the population of those total areas. Neither have I. Someone correct me if it’s wrong that LA is not the most dense.

    As for property ownership, I agree. It’s ultimately a rental situation; no one has “ultimate” ownership of the earth, other than life itself.
    And as tenants we should leave it for the next guy in good condition. We have no right to do otherwise.

    To say, I have a serious problem with the massive deforestation like we see with the Amazon. That’s my idea of a ‘real’ environmental problem – not inching into a tiny fraction of farmland (an originally deforested area) with houses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  32. bjchip:

    Sorry about the typing error. I meant it costs about 2x as much for a given floor area to build up than out, due to the extra structural mass of high(er) risers to support their own weight and resist earthquakes and high winds.

    -Remember that with “sprawl” services/jobs follow out to the houses, so much or most of the new traffic demand is localised to the fringes. Most of the demand does not need to cruise on down to the CBD anymore, or the opposite side of the city, except periodically. In the same way that Hamiltonian only periodically drive up to Auckland.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  33. Problem is that they include in NYC parts of Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and far up the Hudson. People who absolutely are NOT identified as “New Yorkers” in the way that people from the inland empire or the valley are “Angelinos”. It is a formal define, but it IS wrong.

    The New Yorkers in question might go downtown or to one of the other outlying suburbs a couple of times a year at best. The Angelinos are much more a part of Los Angeles… as the Sepulveda pass clearly demonstrates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  34. Chris Miller

    including the whole concept of your equation to start with, since far fewer people are on benefits than in employment, meaning it’s not a 1:1 ratio,

    You missed the whole point by not reading the full comment.

    Point being the state is using a ratio of workers taxation, required to keep one benificiary, to set taxation rates FOR THE PART OF THE WORKER TAXATION REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN THE BENEFIT SYSTEM.

    Sure my example was over the top (did you not read the THIS IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY!!!)

    Alter the figures up or down to suit but the question remains

    What ratio (to use a word you understand) of tradeable sector taxpayers are required to sustainably maintain nontradeable sector state workers and beficiaries?

    Incidentally, we have about the lowest top tax rate in the OECD, so the complaints about leeching off the rich aren’t even particularly valid anyway.

    Stawdog argument. If wages are high the higher taxation bands are fair. New Zealand has a low wage economy so taxation bands are lower. You cannot compare renumeration tax bands againt other nation without taking into consideration wage renumaration levels.

    Would like to see the Greens publish a figure of the extra state income received if the top band was increased to say 60%. How much extra revenue will be gained?

    Just to get a figure of new taxation income before we get to expense allocation.

    “Leeching of the rich”, we dont have a big volume of rich people in New Zealand to leech off.

    We have plenty of Cullen “rich pricks” in the $60K bracket but if we compare tax brackets of that group with the OECD comparable income bracket the taxation rate is pretty even.

    So where would you place the taxation rates versus income? How much extra capital will the state have to spread around?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  35. For the last 20 years Goverment policy eg destroying unions and working conditions (employment contracts act) so that individual workers must negotiate wage and work conditions, market forces dictate wages eg(shotages in labour increase demand increases wages)the opposite is apparently true also, this has not been the case ,this social policy has forced average hard working nz families to be reliant on goverment hand outs to survive WHY this social policy ? are we the average NZer reliant and then subservient (SLAVES TO BE DICTATED TO AT A WHIM) to a govt who created these policies and labour enviroment in the first place?
    Being self rightous and bashing beneficiaries is all to common and stupid (I’m alright Jack syndrome )
    Real wages must increase for our nation to prosper ,disposable income is needed so the economy can have more cash flow ,people can get off benefits and not reliant on Govt handouts
    As the argument that businesses can’t afford it ,we can’t afford not to

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  36. Hi Andrew
    After watching your link I am saddened by the amount of people who still are ignorant to what is really happening behind the doors of power
    The main stream media are still spin doctors to these corridors of power so the great unwashed (general public) are kept in perpetual confusion and ignorance
    Great link by the way

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>