29 thoughts on “General debate, June 23, 2013

  1. Dave, the rail loop will be far more cost effective than the most of the motorway projects. It’s not a luxury item it’s a necessity if Auckland’s transport system is going to function well.

  2. If you have your way we’ll be paying 95cents on the dollar tax to fund all the things you think should happen NOW

  3. If the Government has its way the rail loop won’t be built for another 10 years and one can easily imagine the level of frustration at the inefficiency of Auckland’s public transport by 2023. Those living in the proposed greenfield housing developments on the outskirts of the city will also suffer through the lack of transport options. The obsession this Government has for bitumen is almost obscene. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/government-still-messing-with-auckland.html

  4. sprout says “Photonz- interesting that you are still reading my comments and adding 1+1 to get 5″

    That’s hilarious, considering you are the trying to blaming lack of life skills in todays parents on National Standards.

    What’s especially funny, is that they were last at primary school about a decade or two before National Standards came in.

  5. “The problems for low income earners are generally because they want what they cannot provide for themselves and think the rest of us owe it to them.”

    Most low income earners just want to get paid more than $14 an hour so that they don’t have to rely on the state or join the other working poor who are now resorting to food parcels. http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/7771917/Working-poor-lift-food-bank-demand
    They do not feel that the rest of us “owe it to them”, they want to provide for themselves!

    “We have no poverty problem in NZ because there is no one who doesn’t have access to enough money to provide shelter, food and warmth.”

    Median incomes for Maori families went down $40 a week to $459 and Pacific family incomes fell $65 to $390 (2012 figures). Around half of these families live on this or less. You have no idea what many families are struggling with when trying to provide a warm healthy home and good basic food.

    “We don’t have overcrowding except by choice of those living that way, overcrowding is a perception and there are people in this world who believe your not overcrowded until you have less than 1 sq metre of space per person.”

    I’m speechless!

    “When this Government brought in National Standards it did not in any way change the curriculum, so your “Holistic” curriculum should still be there, the difference is that now there is some comparison of how well and appropriately it is being taught.”

    This government sacked all advisors for the other learning areas like Science and Technology, the only paid PD for teachers is in literacy and numeracy and most school and teacher assessments focus on National Standards. Where is the incentive to teach anything else and how knowledgeable and capable are our teachers outside literacy and numeracy? Of course most teachers do try to cover the curriculum but the capability we had is rapidly being lost and soon with the new PaCT tool being mandated we will have a national testing regime that will narrow the teaching focus even further.

    Photonz- interesting that you are still reading my comments and adding 1+1 to get 5 :-)

  6. sprout says “When this Government brought in National Standards, and a heavy focus on literacy and numeracy, then the holistic nature of our curriculum was lost and the ability to include life skills has been more limited.”

    Ah – so that’s why we have poverty and dysfunctional families – National Standards.

    What was your previous pitiful excuse a couple of years ago before we had national standards?

  7. Sprout.
    Would you be willing to tell us what you do for a living?

    For the record, I was a management Consultant for 40 years and am now retired.

    In the meantime, what I am saying is:

    We have no poverty problem in NZ because there is no one who doesn’t have access to enough money to provide shelter, food and warmth.

    The problems for low income earners are generally because they want what they cannot provide for themselves and think the rest of us owe it to them

    We shouldn’t simply raise wages or household incomes because that would not increase the productivity of the country and so enable us to obtain or produce more goods and services, it wold just set more money chasing the goods and services we already have, which is the definition of inflation – a condition I remember well from the 70s when mortgages were priced in the high-teen interest rates..

    AND

    We don’t have overcrowding except by choice of those living that way, overcrowding is a perception and there are people in this world who believe your not overcrowded until you have less than 1 sq metre of space per person.

    AND
    When this Government brought in National Standards it did not in any way change the curriculum, so your “Holistic” curriculum should still be there, the difference is that now there is some comparison of how well and appropriately it is being taught.

    I would be delighted to hear how you plan on increasing wages to be competitive with Australia and other OECD countries, depollute 80-90 percent of our lowland rivers reduce our carbon emissions per capita so they are are amongst the best in the world AND REDUCE our current account deficit all at the same time. If you don’t have ideas on how to do all that, you shouldn’t be screaming about it as you are part of the problem, and there is no “THEY” out there to do it for you.

  8. The word “poverty” has indeed become devalued, and terribly sad that is.
    I guess by the definition of “a percentage of average income” you could say that everyone with less than the average family income can be classified as poor.

    Certainly, when the minimum wage is $13 per hour, the definition of poverty could be anyone who has a gross income of less than $520 per week, but that doesn’t quite seem right as today’s family has more than one earner in general.

    By the same token, if a “living wage” is $18 per hour, then a family that has an income of less than $720 per week clearly qualifies as having less than enough to live on, and therefor “poor”.

    Take either of those definitions, and we have a major problem on our hands. If we take the first approach, we will never do away with poverty as the average will climb every time we raise the income of “the poor” and so they will continue to qualify as categorised as poor. Take the second, and Superannuation is going to have to increase by a VERY SIGNIFICANT amount in order for all pensioners to be guaranteed a “living income”.

    Sorry dbuckley, there is no number that can be put on it for definitional purposes, so I have to think back to the basics. Enough for a roof over the head, a bed to sleep on and three decent meals a day (the old square meal referred to a sandwich!) strikes me as meaning you are not “poor”. So if we know what the average roof over the head costs, and what a ‘basket of food for a week” costs, and a bed with three blankets cost, we can work out a minimum income required to maintain life. Oh! Wait! That’s what our welfare system is based on!

    Instead of taking this challenge on, I’d like to think differently. Society should ensure everyone has the ability to maintain their life, but not be responsible for their quality of life, that is their responsibility.

    It can be seen most clearly from this example. Two pensioners live next door to each other, one has spent their money on creating a great home with central heating and enough money to pay for the fuel to run it, however, they have a bad hip that needs replacing if they are to enjoy a “normal” quality of life. The other is physically fit and healthy having spent their life enjoying foreign walking holidays , however, they have has no heating system and no money to pay for one, as a result their quality of life suffers because they are cold during the winter months. Do we pay for a hip-replacement, and/or a heating system and fuel? Both have quality of life issues, neither issue has a continuity of life component, which deserves society’s resolution?

    On another front, if someone, or a family, can’t afford to live in Auckland or any of the other urban areas, perhaps the should move somewhere where their income can provide a better standard of living. Houses in MacKenzie country rent for a lot less than those in Auckland, and there aren’t so many things to spend on I wouldn’t think!

    Again though my question. What does Society own one of its members?

  9. All of which is interestin’ ‘n all, but doesn’t answer the basic question, which I’ll put really plainly: How many households in poverty should we have in New Zealand?

    Of course, I’d like the answer to be zero, but because of the way that poverty is determined, the answer has to be none-zero, and probably quite a big number.

    What should that number be? 10,000? 100,000?

    The choice is our to make.

    And this, of course, is why comparative poverty is the only game in town; back when we measured absolute poverty, then poverty did mean “malnourished children with distended stomaches and stick like legs”. The word has become devalued.

  10. Dave-While we haven’t got malnourished children with distended stomaches and stick like legs, it seems that there is a perception that we don’t have an issue with poverty. In a country of less than five million people and an abundance of food it shouldn’t happen anyway, but many families struggle to put good food on their table.

    We also shouldn’t have children living in overcrowded homes because of a housing shortage and homes that are poorly maintained and insulated because landlords have no minimum standards to meet. Maori and Pasifika families have seen their household incomes drop considerably of the last for years and it is not poor budget causing many problems but increasing costs of housing and power while incomes fall.

    When this Government brought in National Standards, and a heavy focus on literacy and numeracy, then the holistic nature of our curriculum was lost and the ability to include life skills has been more limited.

    I can’t believe your view that we shouldn’t lift the minimum wage because poor people won’t know how to use it. I am more concerned with those who manage our banks and financial institutions who over-charge for services and rip poor people off for their own profit.

    To summarize your views it seems that you are saying:

    -We have no poverty problem in NZ because we are not yet as bad as third world countries.
    -The problems for low income earners are generally because they can’t budget or cook properly
    -We shouldn’t raise wages or household incomes because money would be wasted on the poor who wouldn’t know to use it properly.

  11. Oh Sprout, you do quote nonesense at times.

    Comparative policy-focused child well-being in 30 OECD countries at http://www.oecd.org/els/family/43570328.pdf shows NZ’s position out of 30 developed countries (NOTE THE TERM DEVELOPED!) as
    Material well being 21st
    Housing and environment 14th
    Educational well-being 13th
    Health and safety 29th
    Risk behaviours 24th.

    the top 5 for Health and Safety are:
    Slovak Republic, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech republic.

    The bottom 5 are:
    Turkey, New Zealand, Mexico, Austria and Belgium

    OF note is that the dat=a for this study was complied between 2001 and 2006. IF YOU READ THE PAPER, you will see it is a typical load of unsupported opinion by academics hoping to push their particular hobby horse into a good position on the research funding finishing line.

    If this is the quality of data you use to justify all your comments, I’m afraid I’ll take them with a pinch of salt in future and not even bother checking them any more for validity.

  12. dbuckley
    I guess my definition of poverty is different to yours, because I visit third world countries and see real poverty every time I do.

    Going back in my british history books, I found a definition of poverty that was based on there being a place that people went to when they could no longer afford to support themselves, It was called a “poor house” and the people there did work that the local community required in return for shelter, accommodation, food and warmth. In NZ today there is NO ONE who need not have those four things, as our welfare system provides them all as long as the recipient learns to manage within their income. The fact that many families cannot manage their budgets is, IMHO, down to schools that no longer teach the basics of life (cooking, budgeting, etc.,) as these are regarded as unpalatable subjects.

    It will take a major rethink of our education system to overcome the “poverty” current in NZ, not a pile more money being distributed to people who don’t know how to spend it.

  13. Dave S, dbuckley has a point regarding how you determine poverty and the same could be said for environmental degradation.

    We are ranked at the bottom of the OECD for child health and safety and have growing numbers of children with “third world” diseases that are generally the result of substandard housing and overcrowding. If we are happy with these statistics then perhaps poverty isn’t a problem.

    Our wages are around 30% less than Australia and our graduates earn less than most OECD countries. Our minimum wage has been established as not a livable wage and we work longer hours than most OECD countries. We have growing numbers within a new demographic, called the working poor, who rely on state support to top up their income. We have lost 40,000 jobs within the manufacturing sector and 25% of our graduates go overseas to seek employment.

    80-90 percent of our lowland rivers are polluted and the Government has stopped the five yearly environmental reporting. Our carbon emissions per capita are amongst the worst in the world.

    Our current account deficit is one of the worst in the OECD and New Zealand’s national debt currently stands at a little over $183bn, which is almost $42 000 per citizen. http://www.positivemoney.org.nz/Site/Consequences/government_debts.aspx

    The Government is keen to sell off 49% of our Power companies to help balance the books and have encouraged both the Christchurch City Council and Auckland to sell their assets.

  14. Despite the fact that the communists around here see Mr Stringer as a RWNJ, there is at least a grain of truth in one of his assertions.

    Sprout notes that

    Currently we have high levels … poverty

    The definition widely used to determine how many people in poverty is based on taking some percentage of the median family income and asserting that those in households below this level are (in NZ) “in poverty”. I say “in NZ” as the EU do something similar, but use the phrase something like “at risk of being in poverty”

    The key point here is that we have set a benchmark, and if you are below that benchmark, you’re in poverty.

    Thus by choosing where that benchmark is, we can determine how many people are “in poverty”. Conversely, we can determine how many people we want to be in poverty, and set the benchmark to reflect that number.

    So, what level of poverty do we want?

  15. Thanks Gerrit… That is sweet… If one did a retrofit kit for some of the more common Jap 4 cylinder car engines here… or for a common Holden or Ford engine… pick out the largest market… removing the timing belts and chains… stuff that costs a small fortune to replace when it wears out… our engine rebuilders could have a hell of a lot of fun with this AND if one swaps over to a CNG or other fuel source that has different characteristics, all one needs do is reprogram the thing… or even biofuels. Works in Diesels I am quite sure.

  16. Currently we have high levels of poor health and poverty, a low waged workforce with concerningly low levels of participation (especially regarding our productive industry). Our environment is being rapidly degraded for short term gain, we have high levels of debt and we are desperately selling off our assets to overseas interests.

    No we don’t
    No we don’t
    No it isn’t
    No we don’t and
    No we’re not

  17. A well managed and healthy economy can’t be achieved by just looking at income and expenditure and “balancing the books”. A strong economy is one that has a healthy, skilled workforce with high levels of participation. A strong economy has abundant resources that are managed sustainably, and a strong economy is one that has low levels of debt and growing capital assets.

    Currently we have high levels of poor health and poverty, a low waged workforce with concerningly low levels of participation (especially regarding our productive industry). Our environment is being rapidly degraded for short term gain, we have high levels of debt and we are desperately selling off our assets to overseas interests.

    We need a Green Minister of Finance!
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/russel-explains-green-economics.html

  18. The same. However the results of the not-usable-in-court spying would be to used to build up a picture of criminal behaviour that then leads to evidence gathering that is usable in court, leading to convictions.

    How you measure this I don’t know.

    Trevor.

  19. I realise that I don’t know what the deliverable from not-usable-in-court spying is.

    The deliverable from spying in the context of police work is the same as the deliverable from police work generally: convictions arising from testing prosecutions in court.

    What’s the deliverable, and what’s the test that it is being delivered correctly, from not-usable-in-court spying?

  20. Greenfly:

    Napier. Made up of Whites and quite a few Maori’s, and the *very* rare Asian. All other “breeds” were a novelty-level minority. I remember being fascinated when I first saw a jet-Black African in person (high school).

    Personally I think Asians (and Indians) fit perfectly into the demands of western institutional society. Asians especially are highly industrious and efficient. Though my thinking here is rather “exploitive”.

  21. John Key described poverty in a 2011 election debate as being “scared to open the bills” and this definition would probably include half of all families. I wonder how Christine Rankin would manage a common scenario for many when, after the rent and power bills have been paid, there is only $20 left to buy food for the week and one of the children needs a new pair of shoes? A blanket, love, good budgeting and a bowl of cereal just won’t cover the deficits many families face. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/poverty-blaming-easier-than-fixing.html

  22. If you had data on MegaUpload without keeping copies on your own computers (like dropbox does) then more fool you.

    Never store stuff in the cloud unless you have copies on personal hard drives.

    Cloud storage is only for accessing and syncing data from different locations or sharing legally owned files with customers, suppliers or friends.

    Another beat up by Dotcom. Does anyone really believe he did not have copies of his data filed on local hard drives? If he didn’t he was as dumb as his clients were if they did not back up their data.

    How popular is his new cloud storage place? Anyone storing data there?

    If you do, make sure to have filed copies on local hard drives.

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