122 thoughts on “General debate, October 28, 2012

  1. sprouting nonsense

    profits before people in the alcohol industry has a long history in NZ

    Profits are generated from satifying peoples needs and wants.

    Without the people no profit.

    Hence all business entities put people (read customers) before profit.

    The alcohol industries simply satisfy customer (people) needs and wants.

    When the people alter their needs and wants, the alcohol industry will change.

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  2. I would like to address some of Kevin Hague’s points he made in a recent article to the West Coast messenger here, his words in italics.

    Fundamentally Louisa Wall’s Bill is about not treating gay and lesbian New Zealanders as second class citizens.

    Gay and lesbian NZers are not second class citizens now, they just aren’t heterosexual.

    Marriage is both a religious institution and a status conveyed by the State. Nobody is trying to force churches to marry couples they don’t want to. That’s not what the Bill does.

    Nobody is forcing churches at the moment Kevin, but that could change 30seconds after the bill is passed. Your own conviction on religious freedom is almost certainly not shared by a good number of your colleagues, or a lot of others with their own particular axe to grind. In short, you can not promise this won’t happen.

    But when the State marries couples it should not discriminate on irrelevant criteria like sexual orientation.

    Why is it irrelevant? why is it so inconceivable that it could actually be ok for heterosexuals (the vast majority of humanity) to have their own exclusive tradition? religious or otherwise? It is about male and female, nothing wrong with that, nothing bigoted about that.

    When the State discriminates, without any good reason, it sends a powerful signal to everyone else, including those who are prejudiced and those prejudiced against, that such discrimination is okay.

    But there is a good reason for discrimination – Male and female relationships underpin society and marriage reflects the biological ideal for raising happy, healthy children. Gay is not straight, lets all accept what mother nature dealt us and get on with life.

    The evidence is strong that the existence of prejudice and discrimination is associated with all sorts of adverse health and other effects for those who experience it.

    This is evidence of a whole another agenda right here, this is a completely separate issue.

    So the Bill is not only about recognising human rights, but also about reducing suicide, mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, violence and all sorts of other effects of discrimination.

    So what else is being planned Kevin? how is all this going to be accomplished by passing a law that very few homosexuals will even take advantage of? Surely these issues can be dealt with individually without redefining a long standing tradition? this is where I detect the scent of an entirely different and (as yet) poorly defined agenda.
    I believe others are eager to exploit this for their own ends, perhaps not Kevin Hague himself, but others almost certainly will.

    Some say that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be permitted because marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman. I say if we based our decisions about human rights on tradition, nothing would ever change and we would still have, for example, slavery and only men voting.

    Marriage is a benevolent tradition, slavery and chauvinism are not even traditions. Heterosexual marriage harms no one.

    Others have moral or religious objections. I point out that New Zealand is not a country where churches make the laws and suggest, kindly, that people who object to same sex marriage shouldn’t marry a person of the same sex. Some say same-sex marriage will harm others.

    Same sex marriage will not harm others, but the state becoming the sole arbiter of morality most certainly will. The State is not lolly scramble central for people that currently seem ‘nice’, the state is not supposed to meddle with tradition or the morals of it’s citizens.

    Marriage redefinition is exactly the same thing as combining church and state, it is endorsing the moral perspective of one group when no legal human rights abuses or inequality exists, it is only perceived inequality. Why is it that so many gay people show a remarkable indifference to this issue? Where is the pressing need? Why is the call for change primarily driven by liberal heterosexuals?

    I say show me just one person or couple who will be harmed by me being able to marry my partner of 28 years.

    You can do that now, you can exchange rings and have a wedding. Why can’t you respect my right to be heterosexual and married? why can’t you see that male/female relationships are distinct enough to be celebrated as a valued and honored tradition in our society? Concerns about adoption can and will be addressed by your bill.

    I feel that society will lose something if marriage is redefined, male and female relationships are different to same sex relationships, and ‘different’ doesn’t necessarily = inferior, but they are different none the less, why can’t you let my wife and I keep our exclusive tradition? how does my marriage harm you and your partner?

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  3. Shunda, the reform to existing marriage law is occuring because there is an existing law that discriminates against some New Zealanders. The state has already interfered in matters related to sexuality and relationships by having laws on these matters in the first place.

    Legislating that people can have their relationships recognised by the state, is not interference in what people do – denying some people the ability to do this was the interference.

    The state would be interfering, only if it was compelling people to marry same sex couples – whether within their institutions (churches) or as marriage celebrants – but there is no such compulsion – thus no interference.

    Who are the members of the Green Party opposed to religious freedom you say you know of?

    As to tradition, and children of parents leaving home to marry their partners is a tradition that developed in society, all traditions evolve. Much as urban development and scientific progress has changed the way we live. Reliable birth control has facilitated pre marital relationships for example. And fertility services have enabled delayed families. These developments mean children are a choice (less and less associated with sexual partnership itself) and as a choice, it is one that can be shared by some same sex people. This is of course the climate that has led to the modern human rights movement (in the area of sexuality) – we have simply grown in knowledge to the capability to supercede natural (biological) constraint – in both our social organisation and also in our economic organisation. What we do in these areas is now a matter of politics – thus involves the state.

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  4. Gerrit, supplying the demand of customers is what all drug suppliers do. Is this to serve people, or to cater to their weaknesses and exploit them for profit?

    Tobacco companies knew their product was harmful, while denying it, this was not as a service to the people, but only to their industry and its profit-making.

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  5. Hence all business entities put people (read customers) before profit.

    Gerrit – that’s a pretty reductive view inasmuch that it implies that all ‘People’ are customers, as opposed to a stakeholder view (i.e. parties that effect or are affected by business policy/practices).

    Certainly, many companies put the the interests of some people (shareholders for instance – as they are obliged to do) before the interests of society as a whole.

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  6. Gregor W,

    Customers set the interest in the companies products. They choose to buy or to ignore.

    Reductive problem is that society is made up of a collection of individuals and as such no company can take a position that puts society first.

    For you need to define “society”, in practical terms, that a company can put ahead of individual people/customers.

    Any company ever tried to put “society” first?

    No, simply because there is no definition that defines the “society” entity when looking at a collective of individual people.

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  7. sprouting nonsense,

    This is a vicious, dishonest Government that regularly ruins my breakfast!

    Change radio station!!

    Literally thousands on the internet, find one that is suitable for delicate stomachs at breakfast!

    Or listen to some DVD’s, talk to the kids, the wife, the cat or the dog.

    Pretty bad if you let the government spoil your breakfast.

    Take charge and change the channel!

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  8. That’s right, bsprout, do as Gerrit suggests. Bury your head in the sand as well – it’s what so many others are doing!

    gerrit – do you have an opinion about National’s decision not to publish the State of the Environment report?

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  9. Greenfly,

    I think not publishing a complied report every five years is the correct one.

    Individual report on the 22 KPI’s as and when they become available is a much transparent and better way to report environmental status.

    Be aware that we only have 37.25 years left till the methane buildup kills us all.

    And what is with the funny log in requirments on your blog, miss placing my feeble opinions on your site.

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  10. “It is about male and female, nothing wrong with that, nothing bigoted about that.”

    But isn’t the main function of marriage for political alliances between aristocrats and creating legal recognition of strategic next-of-kin ties? Surely it’s not necessary for those involved to be of opposing gender.

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  11. SPC,

    Is this to serve people, or to cater to their weaknesses and exploit them for profit?

    Companies are there to serve the people, the people choose to partake of the goods and services companies provide. Exploit? Don’t think so.

    What is this weakness prose?

    Sure people with weaknesses need protecting.

    Not though banning companies from making a profit on sales.

    But to build up weak people to a position where they can make informed individual decisions to partake or ignore companies goods and services.

    If people are so weak that they cant resist legal or illegal goods and services, the Darwin theory will weed them out.

    Give them the tools to become strong, and if they don’t they succumb.

    I suspect though you would have it that we “supported” “weak” people rather then letting nature take it’s course.

    With over 9 billion people perhaps we do need to let “nature” start taking its natural course and “weed” out the weaklings?

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  12. Gerrit – the point of the “State of the Environment” report is that it’s compiled, that is, drawn together at one time so that intelligent conclusions can be drawn. national does not want that to happen, it seems. releasing the individual reports as they are completed could still be done, but it’s the collation that is important because it allows comparisons with previous full reports to be made.
    I’ve adjusted the settings on my blog and will check my spam folder for you valued comments :-)

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  13. Gerrit – your idea of using natural selection might be fine if the individual only harmed themselves. However too often alcohol (and many drugs) are consumed by those who go on to harm others directly or by omission. For example, dependents of these addicts often lack decent food or decent clothing as the result of that addiction. It is the role of government to protect these victims from the addicts, and one way is to protect the addicts from the drug pushers – which includes the liquor industry.

    Trevor.

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  14. Gerrit, you either didn’t read the shameful statistics on my post regarding the abuse of alcohol in New Zealand or you have shares in brewery, otherwise you wouldn’t have made such a callous remark. As for your views on monitoring and analysing our environmental degradation, you obviously see little point in leaving much to the following generations.

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  15. sprout,

    You obviously did not read my comment in the manner I envisaged.

    The responsibility for your interpretation of “shameful” statistics lies not with the companies but with the consumer.

    No one points a gun at the peoples collective heads and makes them drink alcohol. Not the companies, not the state, not the peoples collective called society.

    The people make the choice on an individual basis and as such any profit made by the companies is fully justified.

    The power lies with each individual to partake or not.

    If the individual is weak, that is the individuals problem, not the companies.

    But in this modern victim based, no personal responsibility group of individuals we now call “society”, I expect nothing less from wowsers to lay the blame anywhere but at the individuals person.

    Why cant companies make a profit from alcohol that 99% of individuals have no problems making rational and responsible decisions over?

    As far as environmental degradation is concerned, we have the Methane hockey stick graph to indicate global extinction by 2050. Just 37.25 years to go.

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-09-04/game-over-or-overtime

    http://geo-engineering.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/how-much-time-is-there-left-to-act.html

    So why worry about trying to stop the unstoppable. Spend the remaining time with the kids, grand kids, parents and friends in good cheer.

    Plus chase the last of the big snapper on light fishing gear and go out in style.

    Carbon trading does nor work (tonne of carbon now worth $1) so will we see Methane trading to try and stop the unstoppable in just 37.25 years?

    No, what the world needs is population reduction to sustainable levels and if the weak succumb to alcohol so be it.

    The companies are actually doing planet earth a favour, you should be supporting, not denigrating, them.

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  16. Gerrit says:
    “The power lies with each individual to partake or not.

    If the individual is weak, that is the individuals problem, not the companies.”

    I ask; what about addiction? Alcohol is addictive to some people. Also, what about the power of advertising? These companies employ professional ‘addicters’ who are able to strongly influence human behaviour. The playing field becomes, therefore, very uneven. The individual doesn’t have to be ‘weak’, they just have to be ordinary, as evidenced by the widespread over-use of alcohol in NZ. It’s all very well claiming ‘it’s up to you’, but there are those out there running a very well financed programme to negate the ability of people to choose wisely. The same applies to the softdrink industry, the tobacco industry (previously) and many others.
    Doncha think?

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  17. greenfly,

    If you succumb to advertising then you are weak. If one can not distinguish between personal needs and wants then you are weak.

    Addiction is a weakness. I look at all the smokers and see weak people, same with drunks, drug users and all other forms of addiction.

    Not saying that there should be no help to lift them up, but to lay the blame at an outside agency is referencing the problem externally rather then focusing on the problem internally for each individual.

    While the individual can lay blame on an external source (play the “victim” card) they don not have to focus on the place where the real problem lies, namely themselves.

    Sprout enables the victim to externally reference their problem by saying the companies are to blame for the individual’s weakness.

    The victim has the out by laying the blame on those evil companies who advertise, promote and sold alcohol,

    The victim rationalises by sprout’s logic “I would not be a weak, addicted person if they (the companies) did not exist and made a profit from my weakness”.

    Over use of alcohol in New Zealand?

    A few tarnishing it for the many.

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  18. I think you’ve completely bypassed the “strongly influence human behaviour” bit there Gerrit. What about advertising that’s directed at children… Are they “weak” because they’re more easily influenced? In my opinion, the human condition to learn from our surroundings should not be viewed as a weakness.

    However addiction is a weakness that some people are more predisposed to have. The real problem is that advertising plays to people’s dispositions to create addiction. In many ways advertising is a form of manipulation to encourage people’s weaknesses. That weakness so to speak is learnt behaviour through artificial means.

    Advertising is a form of propaganda to make people want things. The strength of their need is determined by the extent of advertising (manipulation) they are exposed to. Some people will have a predisposition or inherent weakness if you like to addiction, some will learn that addiction behaviour from their immediate surroundings and some people will be entirely manipulated into that addiction through advertising. A combination of all three scenarios will in most cases ensure addiction.

    None of these conditions excuse the others. Personal responsibility does not excuse manipulation through unregulated advertising. The government can only partially influence peoples behaviour so there’s less influence on other people from their immediate surroundings, they cannot change people’s predisposition to addiction but they can entirely change the manipulation into addiction through advertising. They could also increase education so that people can be more personally responsible about their health through increased knowledge.

    The victim (either through predisposition, immediate surroundings or manipulation through advertising) invariably does not rationalize their addiction by blaming the company. The company that provides substances that are detrimental to the consumers health ensures this by painting a false picture about their products. I must conclude then that your blame the victim argument is entirely feckless Gerrit.

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  19. Good grief, Gerrit!
    “If you succumb to advertising then you are weak. If one can not distinguish between personal needs and wants then you are weak.”

    Weak? Surely you are susceptible , rather than weak?
    Children are enormously susceptible to advertising. Are they weak? If they are weak by dint of their tender age, doesn’t that mean the advertising agencies and the companies they work for, are exploitative?
    I think so. Companies that exploit the fears of the vulnerable elderly are the same. Does vulnerability equate with weakness of will to you, Gerrit? Can you see that circumstances influence one’s ability to be strong-willed and that there’s nothing the individual can do about that? To charge someone with reduced ability to fight the pressures of advertising, peer pressure and so on, as weak is faulted. That’s what you are doing, I believe. There is a very great difference between vulnerable and weak-willed.

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  20. greenfly and jackal,

    susceptible is the same as weak.
    vulnerable is the same as weak.

    You are both trying to defend the weak by regulating exterior influences and references on the individual.

    I’m advocating strengthening the internal references of individuals to overcome weakness.

    If we look at North Korea where advertising is strictly controlled and regulated, we still see a massive number of weak people smoking.

    So advertising and promotional bans do not work as 54% of the population smokes (99% men) .

    http://sinonk.com/2012/07/26/a-north-korean-woman-must-be-crazy-to-take-up-smoking-the-gendering-of-smoking-in-north-korea/

    Advertising and promotional regulations simply do not work.

    Change comes from within, not from external references and controls.

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  21. Gerrit

    I’m advocating strengthening the internal references of individuals to overcome weakness.

    That’s about as silly as this statement:

    Hence all business entities put people (read customers) before profit.

    Not all businesses put people before profits… Many businesses exploit people to their detriment in order to make a profit.

    I’ve not seen any advocating on your part to strengthen the internal references of individuals to overcome weakness. I presume you mean increasing education?

    Don’t you think that reducing the amount of advertising that educates people into using unhealthy substances is just as effective?

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  22. susceptible is the same as weak.
    vulnerable is the same as weak.

    I dunno, Gerrit. I think if you’re not susceptible and vulnerable to advertising and addiction in the way that mountains of sociological and psychological research says is part of human nature which can’t easily be changed, you’re just weird. I make a strong effort to avoid being manipulated, but I’m definitely susceptible.

    Clearly it’d be more efficient if people made good and carefully thought-out decisions for themselves all the time, but expecting everyone to make perfect decisions on full assessment of complete information non-stop is inefficient in itself, especially when businesses are perfectly able to take advantage of the very research which shows exactly how most people are naturally irrational and susceptible to manipulation. Society makes laws to best suit what it is, and I really have no issue with using regulations developed with well-researched input from specialists as a trade-off.

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  23. “If we look at North Korea where advertising is strictly controlled and regulated, we still see a massive number of weak people smoking.”

    Some would say (Lin Yutang for example) that many smokers do so because they are strong willed.

    That aside, you are conflating ‘weak’ with ‘weak willed’. Vulnerable people are not necessarily weak-willed, they might (and I argue they have in many cases) have the odds stacked so heavily against them that they can’t cope. Your ‘strong/strong-willed’ person who isn’t subject to the disadvantages of another, might not last two seconds when faced with the pressures some face.
    I don’t think you are seeing this aspect at all, in common with many conservatives/right-wingers, National and/or ACT voters. With all due respect.

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  24. I presume you mean increasing education?

    Absolutely not. That is more external referenced information.

    No the internal reference comes from knowing when enough alcohol has been consumed.

    A weak person would contiue to drink till they become paraletic and addicted. A strong person would know by self actualisation when to stop for their own wellbeing.

    I don’t think you are seeing this aspect at all, in common with many conservatives/right-wingers, National and/or ACT voters. With all due respect.

    Nothing at all to do with politics but more to do with Maslows heirachy of needs.

    http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm

    Defies all political barriers.

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  25. Gerrit

    A weak person would contiue to drink till they become paraletic and addicted. A strong person would know by self actualisation when to stop for their own wellbeing.

    So your plan to remedy the widespread problem of overconsumption is for people to just miraculously develop the strength to resist the demon drink and all those advertisements? You’re argument is bordering on the ludicrous now Gerrit. An internal reference is often learnt behaviour form an external source.

    National ignores democracy

    There’s no doubt that Nationals environmentally naïve policy direction will not only be detrimental to our clean and green branding, but our Kiwi way of life as well.

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  26. Gerrit – probably worth pointing out that while Maslow’s theory acts as a good conceptual baseline (particularly wrt motivation), there is not a lot of empirical science that support the ‘self actualisation’ principle.

    It’s more of a faith based approach – the three main criticisms being that the needs hierarchy is
    (i) it is by function uni-directional (i.e. bottom up) and not transitional,
    (ii) subsequent empirical research has indicated that subjects do not actually rank needs per se, and lastly
    (iii) that it doesn’t recognise that not all individuals have the mental skills or experience to ‘self actualise’

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  27. So your plan to remedy the widespread problem of overconsumption is for people to just miraculously develop the strength to resist the demon drink and all those advertisements?

    If you dont have the strength you are weak. My point exactly. Thanks for explaining it in a language you understand.

    The demon is not the drink, the demon is not being aware when to stop ( ro start) the drinking.

    GregorW.

    that it doesn’t recognise that not all individuals have the mental skills or experience to ‘self actualise’

    Totally agree. How do we impart that skill?

    As far as the uni directional is concerned I agree as well. The needs derive from realising that ones one set of needs have been met, the next stage is self apparent.

    For example once shelter and food is sustainable acheived the next stage is easily visable and achievable.

    No expert, but the it is easy to see people on different levels and discussing self actualisation with one seeking food and shelter is a waste of time and effort.

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  28. “If you dont have the strength you are weak. My point exactly. Thanks for explaining it in a language you understand.”

    If you are already weakened by outside circumstances, you may still be strong but unable to resist one more pressure.

    Alcohol is not a demon, but it’s action is to lessen self-control.

    Knowing when to stop drinking comes with experience, typically. Are you claiming a novice drinker is weaker than an experienced one? If so, experience can be seen to influence the ability to make good choices.
    It’s not down to strength or weakness OF CHARACTER.
    Your plan to ‘impart skills’ sounds very hand-wringingly liberal.

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  29. Are you claiming a novice drinker is weaker than an experienced one? If so, experience can be seen to influence the ability to make good choices.

    Absolutely. Experience strengthes character.

    In my younger days I drunk till the room spun. Made a decision I did not like the sensation and stopped drinking to the level that induced the room spinning effect.

    Had one smoke and did not like the taste so did not have a second.

    Experience gives one limits. To not decide what your individual limits are is weakness.

    Your plan to ‘impart skills’ sounds very hand-wringingly liberal.

    Similar the need to label any ideas outside your norm into the “liberal” pidgeon hole, can be constued to be a sign insecurity.

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  30. For example once shelter and food is sustainable acheived the next stage is easily visable and achievable.

    What Maslow’s theory doesn’t take into account is stage regression and the associated psychological impact – it all blue sky thinking assuming a positive progression. I believe he himself admitted this in supplementary analysis.

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  31. re:It is the role of government to protect these victims from the addicts

    Just when did this become part of our unwritten constitution?

    The basic role of a Government is to provide those resources that society AS A WHOLE require but which cannot be supplied on an individual responsibility basis. Read a little history and you will find that from the days of electing a tribal chief through fudal systems and right up to the end of WWII that was what was practiced.

    Things like defence, infrastructure, law and order have fitted that definition for millenia. In the ealy 20th century some “governments”, but not all, introduced health care as a common resource paid for from the common purse, though that has gone to a user-pays-supported funding in almost every case because there just isn’t enough tax revenue to cover all the costs any more. Why? Because in the middle of the 20th century social welfare was introduced, in which needs no longer had to be common to all citizens and government began a roller-coaster ride of fragmenting society into ever smaller groups and seeking their vote in return for prescribed benefits for each particular segment.

    Only when we return to a situation where anything delivered by government on taxpayers’ money benefits ALL citizens, who are expected to be self-reliant for the rest of their needs, will we once again see a true community in action in this wonderful land of ours.

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  32. dave stringer

    Because in the middle of the 20th century social welfare was introduced, in which needs no longer had to be common to all citizens and government began a roller-coaster ride of fragmenting society into ever smaller groups and seeking their vote in return for prescribed benefits for each particular segment.

    Are you talking about those huge subsidies National is fond of paying out to farmers there Dave?

    Only when we return to a situation where anything delivered by government on taxpayers’ money benefits ALL citizens, who are expected to be self-reliant for the rest of their needs, will we once again see a true community in action in this wonderful land of ours.

    Reducing the harm caused by alcohol is in my opinion a common good that should be paid for by the government. It’s largely due to provisions such as education, funding Police and limiting accessibility to alcohol that our road toll has reduced. Without that funding, we would have more drunks on our roads killing and maiming innocent people. That is most definitely not in the interest of a functional society.

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  33. Only when we return to a situation where anything delivered by government on taxpayers’ money benefits ALL citizens, who are expected to be self-reliant for the rest of their needs, will we once again see a true community in action in this wonderful land of ours.

    Except when the rest of the needs of parts of society are functionally unattainable for them, aka poverty. Personally I think I benefit by society as a whole having the ability to be healthy and educated with equal or at least comparable opportunities in life, even if people in privileged parts of society can already afford it without help.

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  34. @dave stringer – who said it was unwritten? The law requires parents to take responsibility for their children’s needs, and a whole host of government departments are responsible for stepping in when these needs aren’t met. This includes cases where the parents are addicted to gambling, alcohol, other drugs, etc. It is only sensible for the government to act in a way that makes it more likely that the parents meet those needs by protecting those parents from the peddlers of gambling, alcohol, tobacco, other drugs,…

    Trevor.

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  35. re:It is the role of government to protect these victims from the addicts

    Just when did this become part of our unwritten constitution?

    Where “these victims” refers to the children and dependents of the addict…

    I had to go back to look at the context because the part you quote and your response are, by themselves entirely unsupportable. The government is absolutely responsible for preventing crime.

    Which ought to be a clue for you that your restricted meaning is also overdrawn. The people who are dependent on an addict are damaged, blameless and unable to help themselves in that situation.

    Who, if not the state, is going to assist them? When do you stop ignoring the plight of your fellow humans and admit that you are part of a society. This “rugged individualism” doesn’t work, and the principles on which your philosophy appears to be based are not even strong enough to leave a mark on history comparable to the one left by the communist philosophy, which is similarly flawed.

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  36. Oh irony, someone says social welfare ended commonality – it was the end of full employment, and with it a living wage, that did that.

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  37. Jackal
    re:- Are you talking about those huge subsidies National is fond of paying out to farmers there Dave?
    YES, that’s one of the segmentations that have occured.

    re: Reducing the harm caused by alcohol is in my opinion a common good that should be paid for by the government.

    THAT’s YOUR OPINION, and I’d fight to the death for you to hold it, even though my opinion is different.

    MIKE M
    re:- Personally I think I benefit by society as a whole having the ability to be healthy and educated with equal or at least comparable opportunities in life,

    THAT’s YOUR OPINION, and I’d fight to the death for you to hold it, even though my opinion is different. However, I believe society does provide everyone with the ability to be healthy and educated with equal or at least comparable opportunities in life. If you want an example of where low income has not restrained that opportunity I suggest you look at the current priminister who is a glowing example of what can be achieved.

    However, we are NOT all equal. I am useless at art, but play guitar pretty well and have an above normal IQ, others have different skills and abilities. In MY OPINION, only when we acknowledge those differences, accept them and make society a place to be comfortable with them will the full benefit of collectivism be clear again.

    You must also acknowledge that people who start off with no “entitlement’ attitude (e.g. many of our Asian immigrants,) focus on putting their family resources into bettering the abilities and skills of their children, so that the whole family will, over generations, have better quality of life. I don’t believe there are people out there who are stopped from bettering themselves, there are only families who can’t be bothered putting in the effort. (including many families where on parent has opted out of the responsibility for chilldren they have created and buggered off.

    TREVOR 29
    re:- The law requires parents to take responsibility for their children’s needs, and a whole host of government departments are responsible for stepping in when these needs aren’t met.

    So on one hand we say “you must do this”, and when they don’t we say “OK then, we’ll do it for you”, This is symptomatic of the greatest current evil in society, the acceptance that it is OK to have no consequences for acting in a manner that is antisocial.

    I recently saw an older woman tell a youngster to stop bothering a yopung girl who clearly didn’t want the attention she was being given. THe youth pushed his face into the womans’ and said “Why, what are you going to do about it?” (not as grammatically I might add,) and frightened the hell out of the woman. When I interfered and told him to be off and act decently he decided to have a go at verbally abusing me and telling me to “MAKE HIM” so he could go and fetch the police. (Water off a duck’s back, 16 year olds don’t frighten me I’ve raised four of them), Here is the result of no discipline in schools, no discipline in homes and no expectation of either from a vocal minority of voters.

    In the meantime, we take our examples from history of how to deal with our social issues, and fiddle, while New Zealand burns.

    BJ
    re:- The government is absolutely responsible for preventing crime.

    Here is the crux of the matter. It is the Government’s responsibility to establish in law what behaviour is acceptable in society, it is also responsible for policing adherence to that law, and prosecuting those who break those laws. It is society’s responsibility to abide by those laws that are passed by its elected representatives and make it unacceptable for them to be broken. When society takes an attitude that breaking a particular law doesn’t matter, then the efficacy of that law is nil and it might as well be struck off the statutes. There have been many bad laws over the centuries, many of which have been repealed because society has shown that they are not appropriate.

    I am not a “rugged individualist”. I believe in a fair and equal opportunity society in which people reap what they sow, and are rewarded and punished according to their deeds. However, I don’t see that that is what is happening in today’s society. We need the punishment of crime to be an absolute deterrant, not just removal of the offender from the common herd, but an experience they will never want to repeat. I believe in being responsible for yourself and your own actions, I do not believe it is OK for someone to parent a child and then abandon all responsibility for that child, nor do I believe it is OK for the parent left to care for the child to hide from society the identity of the other parent to ensure they are able to abdicate their responsibility without redress. I don’t believe it is OK to make a lifestyle choice to live on the welfare of society because the availale standard is enopugh to save you from having to labour for your living.

    Let’s have equality for all, the alternative is too horrrifying to consider.

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  38. Sprout

    In this one needs to be a little fair… Cullen and Labour did no better with property. Property and housing in NZ is a MESS and it has been since well before I arrived in 2003. It has a lot of parents, and no single place for blame. There is plenty of blame for all.

    In no particular order:

    * No effective Capital Gains Tax
    * Marginal Tax Rate on mid-upper incomes of 90% (prior to WFF)
    * Offshore banks providing effectively unlimited mortgage multipliers
    * LAQC and negative gearing
    * Council restrictions on land availability
    * Councils abandoning responsibility for subdivision planning and development
    * Council taking (without thought) responsibility to certify housing as suitable for occupancy
    * Individuals abandoning responsibility to ascertain that housing is suitable for occupancy.
    * Government de-regulation of construction industry giving us “leaky homes”
    * Government unwillingness to offend the “owning” class.
    * The “inherited” British housing model?

    – and I am sure I have missed a few in my haste. This isn’t the failing of one party. It isn’t the failing of one person. This is one of the most incredibly disgusting stews of failure and irresponsible behaviour abetted by the owning class that I have seen in my entire life… and I have seen a lot of disgusting stuff.

    So when I take issue with something on this list (as I am wont to do) and someone says “well that won’t fix it” I am not surprised. It will take a huge effort to actually FIX what is broken here.

    Anything this broken really needs to be completely replaced, but that would be exceptionally disruptive to our society, so any plan to fix this problem has to attack on several fronts and gradually ratchet down the distortions.

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  39. BJ

    There’s a simple way to get started on the housing problem, that is limit the amount banks can loan to mortgage borrowers.

    If the maximum anyone could borrow to fund a house purchase was, for example, three times their annual gross income, there would be a big hiccup in the current price escalation, with many properties finding their value frozen for quite a while. Slowly we would get to grips with the need to manufacture more affordable housing, and the government would legislate to reduce the currently unconciunable cost of planning and builing permits and certificates.

    Would also stop many so called ‘high earners’ getting into a true poverty trap by over-extending themselves to be able to get their foot on the 1housing ladder.

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  40. There’s a simple way to get started on the housing problem, that is limit the amount banks can loan to mortgage borrowers.

    Thumbs and upticks to Mr Stringer.

    I have argued the very thing myself many times in this very blog, see, for example, this thread or perhaps this thread.

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  41. Ja… and that was what I was limiting myself to when I bought here…

    Still… it is a very much more discouraging, complex and disgusting mess from my point of view, than merely the banks abetting the big bux realty business. So MANY things wrong…

    BJ

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  42. There are indeed, many issues to address BJ. However, becoming totally discouraged is the answer that governments have adopted for decades, something has to start somewhere, and perhaps an RBNZ limit of credit to any individual or family is a starting point?

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  43. It’s a tragedy that Bill English cites as a reason for inaction – the prospect of homeowners having negative equity – yet will do nothing about the cause people being loaned up to 100% loan finance. Is he saying the government will never allow property values to fall because they are continuing to allow 100% loan finance? Talk about a useless apologist for how things are, yet who is making no attemt to change anything. This speaks to his lack of credibility, or is it simply base self interest – a pro CG disposition.

    One could have lower deposit (on value of the home) requirement for first home buyers (they can be saving via Kiwi Saver), and a higher one for “investors”. Say 10% and 25%.

    Though I would allow a lower deposit level for investors building new homes.

    The idea of a ratio between income and value to lending would of course diminish capacity to borrow against existing property – but this impacts on those borrowing against their home for business purposes. I’d rather just require a higher deposit level for second home purchase (and then set a maximum amount that could be borrowed against such investment property – say 75% of the original purchase price and also 50% of current value so as to prevent property swaps).

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  44. The “inherited” British housing model?

    A very good list BJ, although I’m not sure why you put a ? at the end there. The inherited British housing model is one of the reasons many of our houses are cold and damp… Simply because the builders from the UK built houses in New Zealand facing the wrong way. Many houses were also holiday homes and therefore built for summer conditions. I would probably add that our state housing sector has been devastated by Nationals privatization agenda.

    The cost of climate change

    The issue is that to reduce emissions would mean putting a limit on dairying and using less fossil fuels while many National MP’s have personal vested interests in promoting farming intensification and further oil and gas exploration. This essentially means that nothing will change while they’re in power because they’re selfishly putting their own investments ahead of the common good.

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  45. IMPORTANT! Russell has an op-ed in the Herald. Comments are open. Come one come all! :-)

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  46. Mostly because I am not really that familiar with the Brits, so I am not sure exactly what is inherited. I know US, Oz, Russia a bit, and here.

    Not England… so the similarities I am inferring may not be what I think. So a ?

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  47. The British housing model is simple – 75% rental 25% owner occupied.
    Not a model that NZ has had a lot of success inheriting :-(

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  48. Ah… but I don’t know HOW they do that, how the council-is-responsible-for-everything arrangement here reflects what they do there. Who develops sections, putting in road and sewage and water lines… etc? I do not know. I know what is done here is pretty broken is all.

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  49. In the main properties are owned by local councils and rented to local people. The councils build large “estates” onto which hundreds of identical properties are packed, with an average size (imho) of about 1200 sq. ft.

    For private development, the process of getting building permission is so arduous as to almost never undertaken by an individual, instead, large building companies will agree with a farmer or other land-owner on the purchase of land conditional on the builder getting zoning, planning and building permits.

    IN both cases above the developer (builder or council) is responsible for providing all infrastructure.

    For something as simple as a 30 sq.ft. extension and the installation of new windows and central heating, my daughter recently spent over GBP6,000 is council fees and waited over a year for the process to be complete.

    Our system here is FAST & CHEAP compared to the UK!

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  50. The council is responsible for more of the process and retains ownership of the land? Some good and some bad there IMHO, but it is not all bad. From what you say they bleed the owners who want to make changes…

    The issue of responsibility is the hard one for me. I am used to being responsible for being sure the house I buy is a usable house. Used to the bank insisting on the inspections and there being no warranty from any part of government, implied or otherwise that anything from the utility connections inward is functional. In other words, its MY skin in the game and it is the bank’s skin in the game and WTF does the council have to do with that?

    OTOH, the land itself is going to outlast the house, and the development of a section is an expense that ought to be spread out over multiple owners, not lumbered on the first buyer/builder. Moreover, the infrastructure planning and building that happens doesn’t cover the infrastructure maintenance that follows (which the council is still responsible for). Which means that handing that process over to developers as we do (who will want to do it CHEAP) is a tad shortsighted.

    Any system can be abused and most can be broken. I think that it will take quite a serious and intense and long-lasting effort to mend the abuses here, and to fix the things that are broken. Your idea has merit. There are many good ideas which the politicians of both major parties have conspicuously ignored.

    Thanks for that detail… it somewhat explains the failure. Half-measures as I see it. NZ half-adopted a US practice, and broke the UK system in the process.

    ciao
    BJ

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  51. BJ
    One of the key factors in the UK is that the councils own not only the land, but all the improvements on it, all of which they have to maintain out of rates and rentals.

    Some developments by councils have turned into such terrible messes that there are, to my own specific knowledge, over twenty multi-story blocks of flats sitting empty and fenced waiting (for at least 20 years so far) for the courts to finally ascribe responsibility for the shoddy building practices.

    The private developments tend to be a bit better, as in some, but I’m not sure all, council areas, the developer is responsible for the first 5 years maintenance on the infrastructure, and have to post an interest bearing bond for that purpose.

    I guess the UK system is as good and as bad as all the others are. They all depend on the frailty of human nature for their outcomes.

    Have a great weekend all.

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  52. The councils build large “estates” onto which hundreds of identical properties are packed, with an average size (imho) of about 1200 sq. ft.

    Often, but not always; The Woodchurch Estate on the Wirral was a council estate, and it’s architect build a landscape of varied houses, despite lots of opposition.

    Some developments by councils have turned into such terrible messes that there are, to my own specific knowledge, over twenty multi-story blocks of flats sitting empty and fenced waiting (for at least 20 years so far) for the courts to finally ascribe responsibility for the shoddy building practices.

    Tower blocks, yes. High desity housing, so beloved of some Greenies.

    This video on YouTube shows a very happy day.

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  53. Zero tolerance for racism

    People are educated into being racist. It’s not a natural condition. Therefore it’s imperative that racism within popular media is stamped out. There should be zero tolerance for racism, especially when idiots are trying to publish and promote it. Only then will we ensure the next generation doesn’t perpetuate the mistakes of the past. Only then will we have a truly progressive and inclusive society…

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  54. Jackal – you could start with the political party and statutory boards whose reason for existence is based on the colour of your skin. “Our people…” Oh wait….

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  55. People are educated into being racist. It’s not a natural condition. Therefore it’s imperative that racism within popular media is stamped out. There should be zero tolerance for racism, especially when idiots are trying to publish and promote it.

    I agree, Hone Harawira should be banned.

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  56. Shunda barunda

    I agree, Hone Harawira should be banned.

    Banned from what exactly Shunda?

    Although racism does work both ways, I don’t think Hone Harawira is inherently racist in comparison to Bob Jones for instance. If you look at some of the comments on Whaleoil and Kiwibog, Harawira seems entirely level headed and diplomatic. The main difference is that Hone Harawira doesn’t go out of his way to promote his dislike for what some Pakeha have done, which if you had any idea about the effects of colonization on Maori, you might better understand.

    However he does let his anger at how Maori have been treated get the better of him sometimes. Personally I find it amusing at the totally disproportional amount of outrage that’s expressed towards Maori in general whenever Harawira is flippant. Compare that to Bob Jones’ recent racist article… It barely had any response at all.

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  57. Your a spray and walk away kind of person eh Shunda.

    Rodney Hide’s Union bashing fetish

    There’s been a lot of disinformation being promoted by the right wing at the moment concerning Unions. In fact if you didn’t know the real reasons behind what propagandists like David Farrar, Cameron Slater and Rodney Hide were saying, you might believe that Unions are an evil blight on society…

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  58. Jackal says “you might believe that Unions are an evil blight on society…”

    You got that right.

    Sprouts teachers union is closing down our local school for half a day next week, 500 children lose half a days education, 400 parents lose half a days work – all so a few teachers can have a union meeting.

    That’s certainly a blight on children’s education and family incomes.

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  59. Sprouts teachers union is closing down our local school for half a day next week, 500 children lose half a days education, 400 parents lose half a days work – all so a few teachers can have a union meeting. That’s certainly a blight on children’s education and family incomes.

    Given some teachers aren’t being reliably paid their wages at all under Novopay, I sympathise with them here. Most teachers I know already spend plenty of their unpaid time working on their teaching jobs, and they shouldn’t need to put up with this crap on top of that.

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  60. Photo showing his true colours.

    I am sure he did not turn down the universal education, the fact his customers do not expect him to work 140 hours a week, he can have lunch breaks, his 10 year old does not have to go to work, the universal health care and even that his parents income was high enough to go to university.

    All due to the evil Unions!

    Well. If we did not have evil employers and managers, and right wing fanatics in Government, there would be no need for unions.

    How about the manager on 750k, who just cost the people of Auckland 34 million plus, and still keeps his job.
    And do not tell me it is about port efficiency, when they replace good staff, with almost unemployable wallies off the street, to break the union.

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  61. Oh irony, someone says social welfare ended commonality – it was the end of full employment, and with it a living wage, that did that.

    THat was me, so I suppose I should make a fact or two appear on the horizon.

    The end of full employment took place when possessions became more important than people and the mAD MEN took over everyone’s perception of desirability. How? By making things so desirable that the basic family unit (1 parent out earning the other home raising children and contributing to the local community) broke down in favour of consumerism.

    If we didn’t need so many ‘things’ we would have a more stable community, and so a better society. We went from a ratio of 1.2:1.0 adult males in the work force to 1.8:1.0 and discovered there weren’t enough jobs and wages to go round, so wages were lowered because supply/demand got out of balance, and the perception of unemployment rose too the point of being ‘unacceptable’.

    So we can have full employment anytime we, as a society, rethink out priorities.

    QED

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  62. Thicker than batshit

    Key weaseling around the issue of his undiplomatic slur is in my opinion further insult to injury. Why doesn’t he just admit the gaffe, apologize to the thousands of people he’s offended and move on? That’s what anybody else with an iota of credibility would do. The story would soon die in a ditch, and Key could focus on what a government is meant to be doing…

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  63. The end of full employment took place when possessions became more important than people and the mAD MEN took over everyone’s perception of desirability.

    Full employment was ended by progress.

    The writing was on the wall most of the way through the last century, as shown in those wonderful American “dream the future” films. “Robots will help us enjoy more leisure time as they do the work we used to do”.

    Well, that’s what we got, but it didn’t work out that way in human terms. We don’t need as many people to work now as we once did, and so full employment is a concept that has had its day.

    The real problem is that we haven’t got the balls to simply admit this, and then figure out how to deal with having a growing chunk of society for whom there isn’t (and never will be) any work.

    Population growth is helping either.

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  64. Perhaps we need to move from a demand to a supply driven economic base. That way we could have everything we want and, for those who don’t consume enough, more!

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  65. Mike M says “Given some teachers aren’t being reliably paid their wages at all under Novopay, I sympathise with them here. ”

    The last couiple of pays have actually had the same reliability rate as the old system – 99.85%. However I’m not surprised people are being fooled by the amount of squealing going on.

    Mike M says “Most teachers I know already spend plenty of their unpaid time working on their teaching jobs, and they shouldn’t need to put up with this crap on top of that.”

    Oh the poor things having to use up some of their three months annual holidays.

    If they do that, why do they HAVE to have a union meeting in school time and close down the whole school, harming the children and their families?

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  66. dave stringer, while two income households has allowed an increased capacity to consume (to the point of taking on heavy mortgages to bid up house prices), unemployment was not a problem until we adopted the global market system in the 80’s. The efficiencies this allows result in surplus labour and ranking the less skilled into welfare dependents awaiting the occasional job at the peak of the economic cycle.

    We could get a better balance by supplying a social wage to partners, as we do woman on the DPB, so they can choose to not be in the workforce when children are under 5/12 etc. But given the initial opposition to WFF and resentment of the DPB cost on workers (from the fortunate ones in 2 income households), this is going to be opposed by the right.

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  67. photonz, the last couple of pays were not the issue.

    And more than the failure to pay previously, the problem was the length of time it took to put things rights.

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  68. SPC, re:
    We could get a better balance by supplying a social wage to partners, as we do woman on the DPB

    Wonderful idea, now just one question: How do we pay for it?

    The issue is not wages, its the fact that people want more and more “Things” rather than better social integration.

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  69. SPC
    it seems that you want people to work to standards and achieve specific outputs by specific dates.
    the problem was the length of time it took to put things rights

    Is that everyone EXCEPT teachers?

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  70. Actually Dave, MOST people would be perfectly OK with the pie they have if they didn’t think that someone else was getting an unfair slice of the pie or their children weren’t being short-changed on their opportunities. The picture you paint of a greedy and short-sighted population demanding “more” is a creation of the consumer society that results when we set up a debt based monetary system and the subsequent requirement that consumption and production continuously increase… to pay the interest that remains, always, a step ahead of our ability to earn no matter what the society does.

    The “consumer” society is not a necessary thing, it is an artifact, and one that we would very surely wish to do away with. With respect to the teachers, one has to examine how little respect their efforts get here and recognize that despite all the insults heaped on that union by National (which hates it passionately), they continue to produce some of the better educated youth on the planet… and National through its policies ensures that the best educated are the fastest to leave the country.

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  71. Sorry BJ, but I have to differ

    One of the problems in today’s consumer society is that so many people believe that if ANYONE is getting more than they are the system is wrong. The reality is that we are not all equal, people have different skills which are valued differently (and not always reasonably,) and so there are differences in what you can have. This is not a new thing, it’s been around since some guy managed to bring home a big piece of meat on the hoof and his neighbours thought he should share it with them.

    The debt based system was a response to demand, not the cause of it. If people didn’t want to buy on the ‘never-never’ they could have saved and got what they wanted. Sadly the “now” generation couldn’t (in general) be bothered waiting and would rather live with debt than with old things.

    I have a son who, with his wife, turn down “free credit” (just watch the Harvey Norman ads,) and save to get what they want. They ALWAYS get a discount for cash, usually far more than the value of the free-credit, and apart from a mortgage that is twice their joint income have no debt at all. Sadly, they are the exception, not the rule, even amongst my kids.

    As for teachers. Sorry, I think we pay far too little for these people – rather like we pay too little for our elected representatives at local level. Imagine, for a moment, that teaching salaries START at $100,00 pa, and have no ceiling for high performers; can you see how we would lead the world for real in education standards, as opposed to having children in the top 5 AND the bottom 5 of the OECD. Now imagine that we took our city councilors seriously, and paid them $250,000, plus expenses, plus allowances of 50% for being a committee chairman and 150% for being mayor; can you see the calibre of people who would be elected – very different to today’s motley crew I’m sure.

    As I said, different skills which are valued differently, and in my opinion we haven’t got those values right by a long shot!

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  72. BJ says “and National through its policies ensures that the best educated are the fastest to leave the country.”

    That’s because National are failing to create enough mining jobs here, so they’re going to mining jobs in Australia.

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  73. Dave – I expected you to disagree, but I know my neighbors, and myself well enough.

    so many people believe that if ANYONE is getting more than they are the system is wrong.

    I know the people I work with. The ones who don’t have the same skills and abilities as I do don’t resent my earning a bit more because I have different skills. I know myself.

    …and if someone is doing a different job from me and being paid a fair wage higher than mine I don’t bat an eye. Neither does anyone else I know.

    The less equitable arrangements of earnings and taxes, and I’ve mentioned a few of them before, draw the ire, and you in your wisdom, are defending them because inequity is the stuff of life to the right wing. Yet there is a limit to how much is needed to motivate and a limit to how much the society can stand. We’ve exceeded the first limit by quite a bit, and we’re bumping up against the second.

    The debt based system was a response to demand, not the cause of it

    Cross purposes. My meaning was debt based money, which isn’t any response to any demand at all… it is what we got when we started with fractional reserve banking and allowed the bankers to control the government that was supposed to control them. I am talking about every dollar in every wallet of every person in every country on the planet being based on debt which somewhere, somehow owes interest to some banker… the consumer economy is a response to that. Demand has to be created, and consumption increased so production can be increased so the interest can be paid back with new money based on debt that needs more production … etc Which is why there is no paying off the debt.

    It isn’t even POSSIBLE to do so in the current system… and there is a powerful need for growth in production and consumption built into that process I outlined. It is a broken monetary system… not simply debt.

    Different topic to individual consumer debt. Related only slightly.

    can you see the calibre of people who would be elected – very different to today’s motley crew I’m sure.

    I don’t think we’d get any better results at all in that field by paying them more than the teachers. The issue is not simply pay. People are not drawn to either profession for the money… they should be paid well, and in the case of teachers, respected more.

    But for the politicians, if they were motivated more by the salary, it would be wiser NOT to elect them.

    Don’t you think?

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  74. He could also have said merry, cheerful, jolly, joyful, blithe and mirthful.

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  75. He’s a Prime Minister. He should do as Gandalf suggests, and watch his language.

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  76. I know Arana, but he didn’t, and he can’t persuade me that he is so ignorant as to be using that word that way without knowledge of its additional meaning. I’m not sure our PM is entirely the person he was when he was elected. He seemed a lot smarter, slicker, smoother and competent back then… and I am NOT applying my bias about his moral, ethical and political shortcomings here… I’m serious. It seems as though something is not quite the same for him.

    Does anyone else get that “feeling”?

    ???

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  77. The ignorant PM dug himself even deeper into the batshit yesterday when he said; “gay just means weird”…

    The word has evolved into yet something else, stop being so precious and get over it.

    For your information, “gay” never meant homosexual until the stereotype caught on.

    It’s funny how the cultural elite make demands on the rest of us, yet are themselves free to interpret and redefine long standing traditions and words to their hearts content.

    The ultimate hypocrisy? Or perhaps (more likely) the ultimate in bigotry.

    Long may the push back against liberal bigots continue.

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  78. Shunda – the decision about whether a term that describes a minority group is offensive or not, lies with that group, not with the general public or individuals outside of the minority group who “decide” the term means something else and therefore isn’t offensive.
    Wanna discuss the word, “jew”?

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  79. One of the problems in today’s consumer society is that so many people believe that if ANYONE is getting more than they are the system is wrong

    I dont hold with that. Unlike many here, I don’t care that some people have salaries in six and seven digits.

    What I find objectionable is that I don’t earn a fortune, but am a top rate taxpayer.

    The NZ tax system is very out of whack.

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  80. BJ
    Debt based money – I totally agree, and there should be no more money around than we, and all other issuers, can back with precious minerals – lets rebuild Fort Knox.
    As for the rest, well, let’s once again agree to disagree, and look forward to more interesting ‘conversations’ they do help pass a cold day :-)

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  81. Actually my favored redeemable isn’t Au, but the KWH of electricity. It gets interesting to work it through. Gold will do better than debt, but its disadvantages vs Energy are real.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  82. Shunda – the decision about whether a term that describes a minority group is offensive or not, lies with that group, not with the general public or individuals outside of the minority group who “decide” the term means something else and therefore isn’t offensive.
    Wanna discuss the word, “jew”?

    Yes.

    Wanna discuss the term “fundamentalist Christian”.

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  83. Shunda – does your ‘yes’ mean you agree with my statement @4:30?
    Is it up to the minority group to be offended or not by the term used to describe them?

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  84. dave stringer, it is an irony – but if we choose not to afford a social wage to the non working partner – then couples cannot afford this option and yet with two incomes they bid up the price of housing and still struggle.

    It’s interesting that you deride consumerism, yet not the philosophy of low taxes that co-exists with it.

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  85. SPC
    re:-
    if we choose not to afford a social wage to the non working partner – then couples cannot afford this option

    rubbish, you miss the point entirely>
    A couple don’t need two cars less than 3 years old, new furniture in every room every 7 years, more clothes than a closet can hold, thirty pair of shoes, and many other things that seem to be on everyone’s wish-list, if not MUST HAVE list.

    As for the link between consumerism and low taxes, there isn’t one! If what you mean is that the working should pay higher taxes so that the non-working can have the luxuries that the working have – sorry, just dumb socialism with no understanding of personal mobility.

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  86. BJ – the problem with a KWH as a standard is that the value of a KWH depends on electricity supply and demand, being higher in the mornings and evenings when heaters are run and cooking takes place, than in the middle of the day or night. Perhaps a different form of energy – a storable, portable, easily converted and appreciated form of energy? How about a litre of ethanol as a standard?

    Trevor.

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  87. dave stringer, of course there is a link between aspiration for higher after tax income (lower tax rates or higher income) and greater personal consumption. One is required for the other – even if only to service borrowings.

    Reducing the capacity for public investment (lower taxation – either by rate or proportion of GDP) means enabling greater personal consumption.

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  88. And no I do not miss the point about consumerism – I am simply being realistic.

    A working partner may choose to survive on a mere (dole level) social wage while raising children (rather than work) – because they can then cope, and because society is validating this choice with its support. This will limit their consumption spending capability (and share jobs with others reducing welfare costs) – reducing demand pressure on house prices.

    Whereas your lecturing people about consumerism would have little impact.

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  89. Greenfly says “the decision about whether a term that describes a minority group is offensive or not, lies with that group, not with the general public or individuals outside of the minority group who “decide” the term means something else and therefore isn’t offensive.”

    So gay people who call themselves gay are now offending themselves?

    Meanwhile back in the real world, the term “gay” has been in common usage with the younger generation from primary to university students for years, with a meaning that has nothing to do with being homosexual, (or being joyful and happy).

    So looking “gay” has nothing to do with sexual preferences, just like looking “sick” doesn’t mean looking ill, and looking “phat” doesn’t mean fat.

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  90. Jackal says “The ignorant PM dug himself even deeper into the batshit yesterday when he said; “gay just means weird”…”

    Jackal shows his own ignorance. Young people use “gay” all the time as a description of how people look, meaning “naff”. This modern common usage of “gay” is even in the oxford dictionary.

    Ironically, the term “naff” comes from Polari (gay slang), used to dismissively refer to heterosexual people. And half a century ago it meant “f!ck”

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  91. Trevor

    The “redeemability” feature isn’t exactly convenient to access. You don’t use the KWH as the unit of money, your money represents x KWH of work. It is deliverable as a KWH at the government owned-run outlets in the major centers (or at the dams or other sources of supply), and gives the currency the same sort of backing that Gold does.

    One did not commonly exchange money for Au after all, one used it to tell you what the money was worth… and while you may VALUE a KWH differently at different times of the day, the KWH will do exactly the same quantity of work no matter when it is used.

    It is representative. Money represents work done. How much work? This much work. It fixes the value, is not used in a practical sense. The delivery of electricity “anywhere – anytime” is not part of the redeemability.

    I must say this is the first time anyone’s asked me anything from that perspective. I am so much more used to getting economist’s nonsense :-)

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  92. Photonz, you must be getting some of Key’s special stash. There is NO WAY that this term is not offensive to the gay community when used as it was. Nor is there any way for Key not to have been aware of that.

    He’s busted… and since it is not the first recent problem with his casually insulting people I still have to wonder if there is something developing that isn’t part of his normal makeup. The notion of a brain tumor or something equally insidious occurred to me…

    …Or it could simply be a matter of strong drink.

    Whatever it is, his usual ability to glibly evade such trips of the tongue appears to have deserted him. Some of his true nature appears.

    It isn’t as though I didn’t know it… I saw behind his mask long ago… but most New Zealanders are still innocent of his true nature. So he gets elected.

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  93. Photonz1 – from the Sport pages of Faifax newspapers yesterday, the Sport pages, comes this stinging attack on Key’s stupid statements:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/opinion/7914631/John-Key-scores-two-own-goals-for-stupidity

    “John Key scores two own-goals for stupidity” – love it! Even the sportspeople, those who cheered at Key claiming his place in the All Black line up, are calling him a dick-head on these latest brain-farts.
    Mark Reason wrires,
    “”It is a concern that a man with so little grasp of fairplay and language is in charge of sport and education in this country. I have just explained why “gay” is an inappropriate term of abuse to my 11-year-old. I shouldn’t have to do the same with the prime minister. I’m starting to worry he might be a bit thick.”

    The same applies, dear photonz1, 2 u.

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  94. Oh this is hilarious, the liberal elite and their rank hypocrisy and bigotry.

    Gay has evolved, get over it, accept it and move on with life.

    Isn’t that what all you chaps were telling me about redefining marriage? you know, that thing that is exactly the same as civil unions but for the definition of a single word?

    You lot are a disgrace, nothing but a pack of arrogant elitist ‘progressives’, the truth of this is that you expect everyone to sing to your tune on every manufactured crisis or imagined human rights issue, yet couldn’t give a rats arse about institutions that are important to others.

    Then you have the damned cheek to start telling others how they can and can not use a bloody word.

    I can’t stand the hypocrisy quite frankly.

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  95. Passing the buck over Pike River

    It’s little wonder that the Commission of Inquiry found both a lack of governmental oversight and the company is to blame for the Pike River disaster. How exactly the government deals with this will be an interesting development, because I think most agree that Kate Wilkinson’s largely meaningless resignation as Minister of Labour isn’t enough…

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  96. Karl du Fresne bigot

    Another favourite thing that right wing propagandist’s love to promote is elitism. They do this by trying to ensure the class structure of capitalism, which is characterized by the conflict between the haves and the have nots, does not change. Without the poor, the rich simply cannot stroke their egos and feel superior about their wealth. And as usual, the bigots believe thet best way to achieve this is to attack the poor…

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  97. Banks not off the hook

    I’m hopeful that John Banks will have a fair and unbiased trial, which will eventuate in a guilty verdict for a corrupt practice. A prosecution and conviction for such an offense would undoubtedly mean an end to Banks’ political career, and force a by-election in Epsom…

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  98. Japans nuclear free future

    It’s been somewhat annoying to read through the plethora of propaganda articles that have been published about the Japanese governments policy on nuclear power. Many of these articles are obviously produced by the nuclear power industry and bear no resemblance to reality. In fact some of the articles are so manipulative that they’ve spurred The Jackal into looking a little deeper into Japans nuclear free future…

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  99. Blood in the water

    It has been rather disconcerting to read some of the commentary about all round nice guy David Shearer recently, not least because it takes the focus off more important issues. Of particular concern is the amount of articles that completely write him off without a second chance, and as far as I can tell, without really giving any valid reasons for doing so…

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