28 thoughts on “General debate, July 14, 2013

  1. c’mon frog. The risks associated with our “single product” economy, the damage to our environment, the comparison to a sustainable green economic system that does not REQUIRE growth, the independence from imports and the accessibility to jobs when we produce our own stuff… and now the Chinese media castigating us? This is a hell of an opportunity.

  2. Frog, how’s about a thread on the current milk debacle. This is pure gold for the green movement.

  3. An earlier National Government was responsible for the $13 billion leaky building debacle that seriously damaged the quality of New Zealand’s housing for the next 15 years. They also dropped the apprentice training system that has led to our current shortage of skilled workers. It is obvious that this National led Government continues to have little regard for the importance of housing to New Zealand’s social and economic wellbeing and its shocking record in this area will only continue.http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/the-housing-crisis-and-crocodile-tears.html

  4. How much more useful these would be in places like New Zealand where the “nightlife” is so notably NOT a matter of being out and about all night for most of the country.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/18/tech/innovation/tvilight-street-lamps-roosegarde/index.html?hpt=hp_c4

    What the implications for criminal behaviour could be somewhat a question. After all, the lights on means that SOMEONE is there. Having that knowledge we’d be a short step from knowing how many someone’s. Letting people know that there are other people about.

  5. …and here we have elected their minion, the currency trader…

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/everything-is-rigged-vol-9-713-this-time-its-currencies-20130613

    Go ahead, tell me that Key didn’t participate, that the smiling Assassin was innocent as the driven snow. I need a good laugh today.

    ..because there is this behind his ascension.

    “…corporate forces that purport to be loyal to the Constitution, electoral politics, the iconography and language of American patriotism, and yet internally have seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent…”

    http://www.truth-out.org/video/item/17651-hedges-we-must-grasp-reality-to-build-effective-resistance

    One cannot be much more disgusted with the political realities than I am right this minute.

    How can we educate people about the problems we’ve created for ourselves.

    How can we bring their understanding up to the level needed to understand that the discomfort they’re feeling has to do with someone ELSE’S hand in their pocket.

  6. Interesting quote from this article: “What we found with River Dog is that a lot of the farmers who do not support clean rivers live in isolated areas.”

    The whole “do not support clean rivers” thing seems loaded, but can anyone with experience comment about if there’s a tendency for a different attitude or different priorities from remotely-located farmers?

  7. The news that half of children are being born to unmarried parents, is probably based on a trend already identified in the USA.

    The inability to afford to buy a home deters couples from marrying until they can, but they still have children before it is too late. Given we have WFF and yet still have an increasing inability of many to buy first homes this is causing the same dynamic here.

  8. alwyn. I disagree the NZSF is the collective form of individual savings amounts. The former contributes to the government budget each year and the latter to the individual one. It will buy rent/rates and power and food and lifestyle. (Germans printed money to pay reparations).

    Kerry, the NZSF being used as a resource by a government to maintain its present level of super payment (despite lack of 2030/2040 period annual budget revenues) is no more inflationary than borrowing the money to afford the payments or individuals having saved more in the past to spend this in their retirement. The NZSF resource just spares us from the option of borrowing at higher interest rates or cutting super costs even further than we will.

  9. SPC @ 5.07pm
    No it doesn’t relly matter.
    What is it after all? It is a paper entry in the Government books. It says we have $x which we say is a down payment on future superannuation.
    So what? If there isn’t enough being produced what is it going to buy? After all in the 1920s Germans had literally trillions of trillions of marks but bread cost that. When it was saved of course they thought it would be worth something but Government actions reduced it to nothing and wiped oot the middle classes.
    It still comes down to the very simple fact that the ONLY goods you have are those that are being currently made by people who are working and if they are not willing to share them with those who have retired then you have no means of providing a pension that means anything.
    There is of course no difference at all beween the so-called Cullen fund and people’s own savings, except for one thing. The politicians cannnot keep their grubby little paws of the money the State has and they can be relied on to waste it by spending it on their own private fantasies.
    Look at all the stupid things in most parties policies.

  10. Not really. If it has not built capability in New Zealand then its value will be inflated away when it is spent. That is, if it hasn’t either been lost in one of the next GFC’s, like many USA super funds, or been taken by a National Government to give away to their mates.

  11. Jackal, one of the main political fights between now and the future time of this super cost burden, is to preserve this NZSF intact.

    The plans from the right include placing this into Kiwi Saver accounts. And once Kiwi Saver is made compulsory by Labour they will make their move on this.

  12. So you are both correct in a way.

    It, the ability to support people before and after their working lives, depends on both. Investment in worker productivity, just as much as how many workers, we have.

    Investment in NZ’s future productivity will add to our capability to keep more non-working people in future.
    Our present miserly and short sighted path of selling income earning assets, borrowing for tax cuts and skimping on R and D, education, wages and local industry ensures a poor future for everyone.

    More than 60% of GDP going to an unproductive finance industry, will not allow for a secure future for NZ..

  13. Yes. Current consumption always comes out of current production/workers efforts and available resources.

    Which is why we should be investing in increasing future capacity to feed, look after the health of, and house people.
    Increasing current taxes on those that benefit the most from our society, the richest, to invest in capacity building. Education, sustainable energy and more sustainable local industry, for example.

    Not putting our wealth into offshore financial ponzi schemes which will fall over in the next round of GFC’s, if there value does not get lost as we end up with too many people trying to buy too little production. or bidding up the price of existing asset bubbles (land, infrastucture and shares) , here and offshore. .

    Increasing current taxes on those that benefit the most from our society, the richest, to invest in capacity building. Education, sustainable energy and more sustainable local industry, for example.

  14. Jackal.
    On this one I would have to disagree with you and say that SPC is right.
    The affordability of Super does depend on the ratio of the number working to the number collecting Super. It doesn’t really matter how much tax you paid while working or what was done with it.
    All that matters is the willingness of those who are working, and who produce ALL the goods and services, to share their production with those who do not produce anything, ie the young and those who have totally retired. It is a very extreme example but consider a society where no-one at all is working. It wouldn’t matter in the slightest how much the retired people had saved, or paid in taxes, during their working life. If no-one at all was working there would be nothing to share so they could consume as there would be nothing being produced.
    The likely problem with to large a ratio of retired to workers is that those working will simply refuse to sacrifice a large part of their production to what they come to see as drones and thos of working age will emigrate. With them gone there will be less and less for the retired to consume.
    Even if you did have millions in the bank there won’t be anything to buy.
    Sure, this is an exagerated case but it lets one focus on the real situation and makes one bear in mind that the only goods there are to consume are those that are being produced today.

  15. SPC

    Jackal, it’s the number of people on super compared to the number of workers that determines the continued affordability of universal super.

    It’s the amount of taxes those people paid over their working lives and how that money was/is spent or invested that determines affordability. It’s not a clear cut case of the amount of workers vs superannuants.

    …will they remain mentally proficient and retain eyesight and hearing in their old age?

    To a better degree than people used to, hence the increasing lifespans. You need to factor in every expense or benefit to find if there really is such a huge cost in our aging population. Using one side of the ledger is not an appropriate argument (especially for politicians) to advocate for what effectively amounts to just another tax.

  16. I see the health care cost of the aged as a separate matter as it is so very complicated to estimate. And there is also rest home care for the elderly who can no longer live alone – will the retired exercise (remain physically competent), will they remain mentally proficient and retain eyesight and hearing in their old age?

    The health care costs for older people – hip replacements/knee replacements – hearing and sight disability etc do not go down if people live longer.

    If there is any cost gain from our increased longevity it is made when people are healthy through their 40’s and 50’s and 60’s into retirement. It is then being made now rather than in the decades ahead – but we do not notice it because of the health care costs that have resulted from growing and now endemic underclass poverty – from poor housing illnesses/poor dental care/diabetes/smoking/being overweight etc.

  17. Jackal, it’s the number of people on super compared to the number of workers that determines the continued affordability of universal super.

  18. SPC

    This would increase hardship for those reliant on super and those on a benefit at age 65.

    Also, If people are living longer it should mean they’re healthier, which in turn would mean less financial burden on the state for health services. Therefore I’m not in favour of raising the retirement age just because people are living longer. I am however in favour of people being means tested. Why on earth a millionaire is getting superannuation payments is beyond me?

  19. We either afford super or we leave our elderly to starve. Which is it to be?

    In fact super has been a huge success, in reducing poverty amongst the elderly to less than 3%, at not that great a cost, it should be extended to everyone.
    In the form of a guaranteed minimum income, replacing all super and other welfare.

    The meme that we cannot afford super, welfare, unemployment, sickness benefits etc, is a lot of crap from greedy right wing nut jobs, who took everything tax payers offered, and now want to avoid paying their share to the society that enabled their prosperity..

    What we should be doing is building New Zealand’s capability so we can support all our citizens in future. Using current taxation and/or QE, not by ever increasing debt to offshore bankers, (charging for lending us their own Governments QE), or by participating in the financial industries ponzi schemes.

    The fact is resource support for tomorrows elderly will always come from tomorrows workers, whether as increased bills, (Such as power bills to pay elderly shareholders) to pay for investment and borrowing, or out of taxes. We owe it to them to keep and build up public resources,with current taxation, so they can support everyone in future.

    Nationals tax cuts for Hawaii holidays, and infrastructure asset sales are the ultimate cynical exercise in “kicking the ball down the road”.
    Making NZ’rs less able to pay for them-selves in future.

  20. And this also is very interesting:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57590249-71/google-gpas-are-worthless/

    Google has finally done what should have been done a loooong time ago. They researched the relationship between academic achievement and real world performance. They no longer take grade point averages (USDA lingo for academic achievement) seriously. Finally someone has bothered to test the value of so-called education in objective real-world terms!

    And furthermore:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/business/in-head-hunting-big-data-may-not-be-such-a-big-deal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

  21. So Treasury advises and increase in age for super from 65 to 69 from 2017 to c2050, and increasing the rate by the CPI.

    This would increase hardship for those reliant on super and those on a benefit at age 65.

    The same goal can be achieved without this hardship.

    2026-2050 age 65 to age 69 (an increase in age by 2 months each year).

    1. Benefits paid at super rate age 65 to 69.
    2. Separating a means tested rate increased by the net average wage from a universal rate increased by the CPI.
    3. Finally, placing an abatement regime on paid super (reducing amounts paid) if people are still working.

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