The Dim-Post

February 26, 2012

Not too bright

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 6:58 am

Some half-wit Herald columnist called Damien Grant opines on the madness of spending money on the social welfare system – in a very well thought out argument he’s particularly exercised by the idea of training beneficiaries for gainful employment:

Why? Why is it that despite hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on beneficiaries, free education, free health care and subsidised housing, we are going backwards?

The answer was provided in stark relief in recent weeks in the sudden appearance of Tania Wysocki, not very reluctantly, on the national stage.

Despite receiving the equivalent of a $43,000 salary to sit at home with her two children, she wants the state to give her even more money so she can learn how to be a vet nurse.

Wysocki is threatening to get her kit off in protest at not being given access to enough free child care.

The idea of working for a living seems not to exist for her as a possibility.

I don’t know what Damien Grant thinks a vet nurse does, but the one we go to has to stick a thermometer up my cat’s ass and check the reading without getting the flesh stripped from her arms. That seems like working.

But why ARE we going backwards? Let’s have a look at the MED 2011 Economic Development Indicators, which compares us with other OECD countries. Let’s see . . . New Zealand managements skills: Low. Formal innovation: Low. Equity Market Developments: Low and deteriorating. (Our business leaders aren’t developing companies for each other to invest in). International Trade: Low and deteriorating. Net Foreign Asset Position: Low and deteriorating.

Our labour utilisation is really really high. New Zealanders work really hard! But the companies they work for are very badly run and heavily indebted, with minimal investment in growing productivity and unable to compete in international markets. That’s the real problem, not some solo mum who wants to train herself up to be a more productive worker but can’t because of MSD’s pointless, byzantine restrictions on childcare eligibility.

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114 Comments »

  1. and she apparently sits at home staring at her kids! Staring at them!
    Not practicing on them with thermometers or anything.
    lazy solo bum huh?

    Comment by Cnr Joe — February 26, 2012 @ 7:37 am

  2. Hmmmmm. Rich people are being persecuted to pay for the idle poor the world over apparently. You’d think if you were getting paid to contribute a rant to a newspaper you could at least come up with the theme for it yourself:

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1405838&format=text

    Comment by Guy Smiley — February 26, 2012 @ 7:38 am

  3. Do I buy that new machine or a bigger boat, the boat obviously.
    Do I up skill that worker or give the wife a new kitchen, the kitchen obviously.
    Do I do that management course or take the family to Disneyworld, Disneyworld obviously.

    Why our SMEs suck.

    Comment by Stephen — February 26, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  4. I am totally unqualified to know if you’re right, but I suspect the other thing your post shows is that it’s easier for columnists to write a piece that picks on someone than it is to make the MED Economic Development Indicators sound sexy in an opinion piece. Now if the MED Economic Development Indicators were a solo mum on a benefit who wanted more money/won lotto/was related to an All Black – then we’d be talking about it.

    Comment by John-Paul — February 26, 2012 @ 7:47 am

  5. Whale Oil did a series of posts on Tania Wysocki that expanded substantially on the shallow sensation in The Herald, collated here.

    She seems to be doing what she can to change her situation and get into work, she does seem to have a bit of “I should be helped’ mentality but is also obviously prepared to do what she can for herself.

    She makes a good point about childcare eligibility for different levels of education, that should be addressed.

    One problem with her ambition – a lot of vet nurses are churned out of Polytechs but there aren’t many jobs available.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  6. …she does seem to have a bit of “I should be helped’ mentality…

    And I’d be willing to bet that in any dealings you have with govt agencies you have some fucking expectations of them too, Pete George – being a citizen of the country an’ all.

    This Damien Grant’s piece is like reading a really long comment here by James.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 26, 2012 @ 9:03 am

  7. sit at home with her two children

    Marilyn Waring’s Counting for Nothing should be required reading for this sexist fool.

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

    “I should be helped’ mentality

    Part of the social contract – we pay taxes on the understanding that they’re not just tithes.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 26, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  8. Damien Grant is a troll.

    Comment by irishbill — February 26, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  9. Yes, unfortunately a good chunk* of our “business leaders” want to be Western-wealthy without actually building the business success to do it. Hence their obsession with keeping the lowest tax rates and labour rates in the world – easier to keep that money for themselves than build successful organisations and contribute appropriately to society.

    * and it is only a certain chunk IMO. Some of our truly successful, genuine leaders are proponents of smarter social policy. Unfortunately they are a) relatively low in number and b) frankly only building average sized businesses in a global sense.

    Comment by garethw — February 26, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  10. “One problem with her ambition – a lot of vet nurses are churned out of Polytechs but there aren’t many jobs available”

    That’s not a problem with her ambition, Pete, it’s a problem with teh whole economy. What industry should a solo mum with a background in farm work be upskilling for in this age of plenty? the one with all the jobs?

    Comment by nommopilot — February 26, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  11. +1 re social contact, Rhino.

    Pete – I’m struggling to understand (as per PMilt’s comment) why you wouldn’t have an expectation of being assisted by the State in our social democracy like ours, when the person in question clearly wants to retrain to obtain work, in the anticipation of providing a better life for her children.

    The State should be bending over backwards to enable this person to become a net taxpayer.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 26, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  12. The use of the term Galtian- infused term “citizen heroes” betrays the quaint ideological bent of Damien Grant.

    In the interest of balance, I hope tomorrow a columnist will write a similarily reasoned piece in the Herald of the need of the proletarian heroes of the workfoce to throw off the shackles of the parasite boss class and line up our captains of industry against the wall.

    Except they won’t – advocating class violence is only ever ok when the shills for the elite do it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 26, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  13. Forgive me if I’ve got this wrong, but contrary to Damien’s embarrassing fuming, $43,000 isn’t a huge amount of money for three people to survive on in the year 2012 surely?

    We found it a sufficient but definitely not handsome amount for two adults to live on, and that was a few years back – how far will it really go right now, for the needs of one adult and two dependent children needing childcare ($Arm) and steadily increasing amounts of healthy food for growing bodies ($Leg)? What think the rest of the Dimpost comment denizens?

    (Apologies also if this has been canvassed before on other threads about Wysocki)

    Comment by Sam F — February 26, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  14. Danyl, It’s time to let everyone in on the experiment. You’re getting other people to write Dim Post entries aren’t you?

    Comment by Andrew M — February 26, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  15. I think the criticisms of our business cimmunity are overly generalised. The people I kmow who run businesses work hard and have risked their own assets to create jobs. Graeme Hart and Eric Watson on the other hand are sociopaths who have never contriibuted anything to our economic wellbeing.

    I was intrigued by this:

    In 2009, New Zealand’s GDP per capita was about 25 percent lower than Australia’s. From 2000
    to 2008, New Zealand’s real GDP per capita grew faster than that of New South Wales and
    Victoria, but slower than that of the other four Australian states. New Zealand has since been
    more severely affected by the global fi nancial crisis, so the average growth in real GDP per capita
    from 2000 to 2010 was slower than all the Australian states.

    Australia is a growing destination and the most common one for emigrating New Zealanders,
    resulting in a large and growing New Zealand diaspora. However, the magnitudes of the net
    outflows are not a great deal bigger than experienced by some of the Australian states to other
    parts of that country.

    perhaps we should stop with the pretense and consider ourselves as another state of Australia and make our comparisons that way rather than with “Australia” as a whole.

    Comment by NeilM — February 26, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  16. Gregor – in theory, yes, but the State can’t bend over backwards to enable every person to do exactly what they want. Ultimately it’s up to individuals to bend over backwards to get somewhere, when the State is in a position to help it should be a bonus, not a first expectation.

    nompilot – how many more vet nurse positions do you think we should have? As far as I know (my stepdaughter trained to be a vet nurse and I’m familiar with the trouble she had finding relevant work afterwards) there are a lot more trained than there are jobs. I was questioning whether training to be a vet nurse is going to be the self sufficient solution she hopes, no matter how much State assistance she gets.

    We could spend a lot more on training assisatnce and end up with little more than better qualified beneficiaries and higher levels of borrowing.

    Of course the State could force every vet to sell their boats and employ three times as many vet nurses, but I didn’t see any party propose that.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  17. Stephen @3 Why our SMEs suck.

    If owning an SME was such a cushy way to make a fortune I’m surprised a lot more people don’t resign from their jobs and start up their own businesses. And having been employees they will have more empathy for workers and employ a heap more staff – if they haven’t all started their own lucrative businesses in the times they aren’t off boating.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  18. Also there is the problem that apparently she isn’t getting that quoted amount – that includes childcare funding she was told she wasn’t eligible for, and that someone earning that amount would be receiving a lot more from working for families, so the equivalent salary is a bit lower.

    Comment by Luke — February 26, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  19. “As far as I know (my stepdaughter trained to be a vet nurse and I’m familiar with the trouble she had finding relevant work afterwards) there are a lot more trained than there are jobs.”

    Perhaps, then, we could make this thread into a diatribe about how stupid your stepdaughter was/is? And I assume she or you paid for her training in full … she better not have taken out any student loans to pay for this career choice, seeing as it’s my (and other’s) tax dollars that are subsidising her interest-free lifestyle choice (not to mention the 75% of course costs covered by the taxpayer in any event). I mean, why should I have to put money towards her childish predilection for dealing with cute and cuddly critters – she ought to bend over backwards to get there herself.

    (I’m simply raising this as you seem very happy to join Cameron Slater in criticising Ms Wysocki’s choices, thus assume you’re quite prepared for that blowtorch to be applied widely. In fact, it would help us if you gave us her name, so we could do some background digging into how she currently is living and what else she’s up to.)

    Comment by Grassed Up — February 26, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  20. NZ’s high labour-utilisation and low productivity* stem from decades of downwards pressure on wages; making it easier to simply hire another than invest in new plant, skills, or in process innovation. Apparently we need more flexibility which will allow business to deploy labour in ever more casual arrangements.

    *Labour productivity, not total factor productivity. But total factor productivity is only a useful measure for businesses and their bottom line (because they have to service capital), not for states. Ideologues conflate the two.

    Comment by George D — February 26, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  21. As far as I know (my stepdaughter trained to be a vet nurse and I’m familiar with the trouble she had finding relevant work afterwards) there are a lot more trained than there are jobs. I was questioning whether training to be a vet nurse is going to be the self sufficient solution

    There’s not much demand for any kind of trained person in New Zealand. That’s your daughter’s real problem. If you’re entering the labour market with skills, but have to compete with a reserve army of labour with skills and experience, you’re going to have a tough time.

    Comment by George D — February 26, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  22. “We could spend a lot more on training assisatnce and end up with little more than better qualified beneficiaries and higher levels of borrowing.”

    I agree there is not unlimited capacity for vet nursing in the New Zealand economy. My point is that there are not many jobs at the bottom end in any industry at the moment. That is why we have high unemployment.
    You’re right that no party proposed much in the way of any policies that could help create employment and the current government, which your party is a crucial part of, is doing exactly nothing in the way of providing leadership in creating jobs. Unless you count kicking people for being unable to find jobs that aren’t there.

    What is your problem with an “:a bit of “I should be helped’ mentality”? Should those in need just ‘man-up’? This woman wants to work but also wants to be a good, present, parent not someone working a 60 hour week foisting her kids off to childcare so they can grow up not really knowing their mother? Why do you think she shouldn’t have help with this. We should all be trying to help people in this situation to bring the next generation up in a way that allows them to thrive.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 26, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  23. My other two daughters started tertiary and then change course to get qualifications that had a better chance of getting them a job. They both got employment, but like many it was overseas. However that did enable both of them to pay off all their student loans within three years (foreign money coming into the country). Both may return if there was suitable employment available. All part of the same wider issue.

    However while it’s easy to see the problems and it’s easy to blog idealistic answers it’s much harder to come up with solutiions that are workable and affordable for the country.

    Grassed up @19 you seem very happy to join Cameron Slater in criticising Ms Wysocki’s choices

    You seem to have not actually read what Whale posted.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  24. nompilot: Why do you think she shouldn’t have help with this.

    I haven’t said she shouldn’t have help. What I’m saying is that she and everyone else should do everything they can to help themselves. If they can benefit from some available State help then well and good, but it shouldn’t be their first expectation.

    From what I have read of Whale’s posts on Wysocki she is trying to do things for herself.

    Her (and Whale’s) main beef seems to be that child care assistance favours lower level of education (to level 3 which is pre teriary equivalent), they think it should at least equally help people going for better qualifications.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  25. Good points Grassed up. Well said.

    Comment by ianmac — February 26, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  26. @PG,

    I have no idea what it is you are trying to say (and I never read Cameron Slater, because I respect myself too much). You say Wysocki “does seem to have a bit of “I should be helped’ mentality but is also obviously prepared to do what she can for herself.” So the complaint is … what exactly? That, despite doing what she can for herself, she finds that she needs help of a different form than is available and so asks for it? So while “if [someone] can benefit from some available State help then well and good…” – but if you can’t, don’t dare ask for different help because we all know that the available forms of help are exactly the rights ones for us to have in place and no other! How fortunate we live in the best of all possible worlds!!

    And then you say she is doing the wrong course anyway (because there are no jobs available in NZ for it) … despite the fact your own child did the exact same course with generous taxpayer assistance and then took off overseas to enjoy the benefits? How can we see this as anything but “if my lot benefit, it is proper … but if anyone else wants help, it is bludging”? Is this what “common sense” looks like?

    Look – you seem to be just typing for typing’s sake. So could you do everyone a favour and just turn off the computer for a while, go out for a good walk/watch a movie/dig the garden and then come back to blogging with recharged batteries and some actual thoughts (as opposed to reflexive typing)?

    Comment by Grassed Up — February 26, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  27. Grassed up says “I have no idea what it is you are trying to say (and I never read Cameron Slater, because I respect myself too much)”.

    Having previoulsy said “I’m simply raising this as you seem very happy to join Cameron Slater in criticising Ms Wysocki’s choices”.

    It looks like you’re making assumptions based on nil information.You are obviously commenting without bothering to read properly or at all about what you’re criticisng. And then accuse me of ‘reflexive typing’.

    Wysocki’s case, like most involving training, education and job seeking, involves a variety of factors, some very difficult to deal with. It’s not a straighforward case of ‘State pay more to get her the job she wants’.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  28. Pete has finally danced on the head of a pin for too long and has finally become dizzy. At last his vanilla ‘we should all be reasonable, use common sense and steer a middle line’ with no values is exposed.

    Comment by DT — February 26, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  29. Sure, Pete.

    Three simple questions, then.

    (1) Was it wrong for the state to support your step-daughter training to be a vet nurse, rather than have her (or you) pay for it all?
    (2) If so, do you feel any personal guilt about taking advantage of that wrong policy (at the expense of other taxpayers)?
    (3) If not, why is it OK for the state to provide support X to your daughter to become a vet nurse, but not support X + Y to Ms Wysocki to do so?

    Your position seems to boil down to “my stepdaughter is young and single and student loans already exist so it’s OK for her to get one to do whatever she wants (even if there are no NZ jobs and so she goes overseas to enjoy the benefit of that largesse), but Ms Wysocki is older and has kids and there is no support set up for her so it would be wrong to give it.” This is simply privileging the status quo ante (which, remarkably enough, seems to have done you and yours very nicely … thanks very much).

    Comment by Grassed Up — February 26, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  30. Yes – if you actually read Whale’s posts he’s actually quite supportive of what Wysocki is trying to do. Less surprising that he wraps it into some kind of conspiracy against Labour for allegedly “pimping” Wysocki to the Herald and offering no actual support, but hey, it’s Whale. And he even big-ups Jan Logie of the Greens for trying to help out (although I suppose theoretically there’s no harm in praising individual Greens while they’re hoovering up former Labour’s supporters but no real threat to the governing coalition…)

    Anyway, as nasty as Whale’s online behaviour has been at times – certainly I wouldn’t be a regular reader for exactly that reason – you can’t always telegraph exactly how he will approach an issue. I remember him posting on Auckland cycle priority measures once (advance stop boxes etc), where you might assume he would be dead set against it all, and we had quite a civil exchange where I explained some of the reasoning – again he was supportive once he felt someone had explained it more clearly than the Council had managed.

    (And apologies Pete for the drive by swipes earlier this week, that was uncalled for on my part).

    Comment by Sam F — February 26, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  31. reflexive typing is a perfect description of your style, PG

    …”education and job seeking, involves a variety of factors, some very difficult to deal with.”

    so, again, what point are you trying to make? we know solving the problem of high unemployment in a depressed global economy is not a simple thing, but thanks for stating the obvious.

    So you don’t think she should go with vet nursing, fine. What industries do you think rural solo mothers should be looking to upskill in?

    but, preferably take the advice at #26. turn off your computer.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 26, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  32. Like I say, Slater long ago used up my capacity for caring what he thinks, so whenever his name is mentioned I just assume the worst without bothering to look to see any different. Apologies for this misunderstanding (but for nothing else).

    Comment by Grassed Up — February 26, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  33. Grassed Up @29, 1) simple answer – Wysocki has the exact same opportunity my step daughter and daughters had to get a student loan.

    Wysocki wants more than that. And when you look at the detail of the story she had a reasonable point regearding equal access. But you don’t want to look at the details, just make assumptions (on sketchy knowledge) which in this case are incorrect.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  34. nompilot, would you take advice from Henare O’Keefe (Local Hero of the Year)?

    The social ills are there, I won’t pretend otherwise, but my passion and fervent prayer has been to get Flaxmere to get out of grievance mode and to take total and absolute responsibility and ownership, you know, we may have the issues but we harbour the solutions as well.

    Let’s not wait for government, let’s put our heads down and backsides up and get on with it, and hence we have our Flaxmere Heroes calendar we launch every year, and this is an illustration saying to the people of Flaxmere, look, if you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you feel you’re hard done by, take a look at August, take a look at September, these people are in the same boat as you, but they’re not crying about it, you know, they’re doing something about it.

    That’s from an interview here, it’s worth a listen right through. (Warning – some may nor want to listen because it’s a Paul Holmes interview).

    She may be a bit unorthodox but at least Tania Wysocki is trying to make things happen for herself, with whatever State assistance she can fairly get.

    It’s better than just complaining like hell about the Government in one breath and then expecting them to provide everyone’s solution in the next.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  35. “Wysocki wants more than that. And when you look at the detail of the story she had a reasonable point regearding equal access.”

    So … once again … what exactly is your point? Should she get this (and thus be in the same effective position as your step daughter) or not?

    Actually, no. Please don’t answer. I no longer care. I’m going to take my own advice and switch off. And, Pete … seriously, you need to do the same. Your blogging is a problem.

    Comment by Grassed Up — February 26, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  36. “to get Flaxmere to get out of grievance mode and to take total and absolute responsibility and ownership”

    Flaxmere is a suburb. Are you saying there is no place for the government to take action? Because the party you ran for is part of that government.

    The problem is that there are no jobs. The people affected by that problem are absolutely the least empowered to do anything about it so what are you actually talking about when you admonish the unemployed to “take responsibility”?

    “It’s better than just complaining like hell about the Government in one breath and then expecting them to provide everyone’s solution in the next.”

    It’s the same breath, actually. I am complaining because their solutions to our problems seem to be to sell our nation’s assets. This shows they do not understand what the problems are or how they affect people. (or, of course, that they don’t care)

    I expect people who purport to lead to actually show some leadership and display recognition of the problems faced by those who are struggling.

    I know the community has a role but there needs to be leadership at the top to make any real social progress with these kinds of issues.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 26, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  37. Ha

    IrishBill already said it.

    Damien Grant is a troll. He said that stevedores were about as skilled as supermarket shelf stockers.

    Comment by sheesh — February 26, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

  38. Jan Logie breaks down Wysocki’s income and expenditure here…http://blog.greens.org.nz/2012/02/21/aspirational-beneficiaries-get-shut-down-and-shamed/# .
    Of note perhaps is that her income appears to be around $37000 and her outgoings around $43000.
    I can’t fault her for wanting to get work that stops that scenario getting worse and I think it in all our interest that we help in providing the impetus.

    Comment by Peter Martin — February 26, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  39. Are you saying there is no place for the government to take action?

    I’ve not said that. Obviously there is plenty of action the Government should take. And yes, the Government should show leadership. But just as much as that, individuals, groups and communities need to use their own initiative. Many worthwhile things can be driven from the bottom.

    It’s often easier to get things started and to prove them on a small scale and then expand upwards and outwards (if it fits the wider environment).

    Dr Russell Wills, also from Hawkes Bay, is a good example. He’s been involved in a number of initiatives there (he led the Family Violence Intervention Programme, Before-School Check Programme, and Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee), some of which are being expanded and widened. His value was recognised to the extent that he’s now Commissioner for Children.

    Government is more of an umbrella administrator and decision maker. Many initiatives come from a ‘lower’ community level, and if they are compelling they should be adopted by Government.

    Far better than theories being imposed on a blanket basis from the top down. And yes, National Standards is a good example of the latter, the concept may or may not be a good idea but regardless of that the implementation was poor.

    Another exampe was the UF ‘ban 1080′ policy. I’d love to see 1080 banned, it can be a horrible poison. But that’s going to take time, research and experiment. Alternatives are best to be proven on a small scale and the ones that work best can then be expanded.

    There’s too much expectation that the Government should do something big to ‘fix it’. Most things involve a combination of smaller solutions, not all of which will suit all areas and segments of the population. So input and initiatives from a lot of people on a smaller scale is important.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  40. ‘There’s too much expectation that the Government should do something big to ‘fix it’.’

    Sometimes the expectation is predicated on the promises made around election times.

    You know along the lines of ‘We will concentrate on equipping young New Zealanders with the education they need for a 21st century global economy.’ and then cutting cut the Training Incentive Allowance and $146 million from skills training .

    Or during governing times.

    Such as the Finance Minister and his 2011 budget promising economic growth of near 4 percent and 170,000 jobs over four years.

    None of this is of any help to Ms Wysocki and her ever increasing peer group yet for some odd reason political parties feel the need to raise folk’s expectations. Perhaps all folk really need is the opportunity to feature on a calendar…

    Comment by Peter Martin — February 26, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  41. There’s too much expectation that the Government should do something big to ‘fix it’.

    I’m intrigued by this concept that the govt doesn’t exist to ‘fix things’ by taking on big jobs that are beyond the capabilities of the residents of a suburb in a provincial town. It’s an interesting concept, but it does leave open the question of what therefore the govt does do?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 26, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

  42. ‘but it does leave open the question of what therefore the govt does do?’

    It sells the big public assets…

    Comment by Peter Martin — February 26, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  43. That’s a great MED package, Danyl. Tks. The MSD set of social indicators is also excellent. In my relatively rapid read I thought the data are capable of a slightly less pessimistic interpretation to that reached by your cranky 85 year old Winston Peters voting doppleganger on summer leave from the Dannevirke Eventide Home. An economic historian, for example, might look at Fig 1.4 on the growth in real gdp per capita and suggest a society trying to cope with a couple of big shocks to the economy (the fallout from the UK entry to the EC which destroyed the model on which the economy had previous been based and which had been delivering lower and lower marginal gains) and then the fallout from the 1987 sharemarket crash which hit us hard as were still making the transition to a different trading model (away from unsophisticated primary industry exports with guaranteed markets supporting a protected domestically oriented manufacturing sector) to a more diversified economy based on further processing of agricultural goods to wider markets and a developing manufacturing sector oriented to exports. The latter part of the graph shows us gradually rejoining the pack as a result of the evolution of this approach – which continues. I know your doppleganger is a great believer in simple answers to complex questions but I find the alternative to his views at least as persuasive.

    Comment by Tinakori — February 26, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  44. the question of what therefore the govt does do?

    It does what we allow it to do with our votes and input, within our current system of democracy. It has a big part to play in big things, obviously, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t do anything on smaller scales.

    There are provincial towns that feel neglected and marginalised by Wellington based government. The best way to change that is by doing something about it for themselves. It’s hardly a radical or new concept, but there are people who think it could be given a good nudge.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  45. PG @ 44:

    Pete, what people want and would allow government to do with the powers we have given it is to do a simple thing like help with childcare so a sole mother can help herself by training for employment.

    Your arguments are convoluted. Its all cliched and meaningless. Government can and should help people. Yet people should try and help themselves. This is an example of where a person wants to help themself, and a tiny bit of government help would allow that. You came out really strongly in favour of this “journalist’s” very out there opinion piece, but you can’t defend it in any other way than through meaningless catchphrases and homilies. Sorry to be a hater, but I’m not following you at all this time.

    Comment by DT — February 26, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  46. 1. Government should deal with the big things – national and international.
    2. People and communities should be as free as possible to make their own decisions and do things for themselves.
    3. Some things of greater interest need to be imposed top down, and some need to be pushed bottom up.
    4. There’s a big overlap in the middle that requires good communication both ways.
    5. If people want to have more say in things they need to get more involved, either via political parties or apolitical organisations.

    My main interest is at 4. My main target is local community. Political blogees are mostly too fixed in ideology to be useful beyond testing ideas.

    Comment by Pete George — February 26, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  47. Pete 44 “The best way to change that is by doing something about it for themselves.”

    Pete what is needed to change the terrible rate of unemployment is jobs. That pay incomes.

    As someone who almost managed to start a political party before jumping onto a passing bandwagon, you surely must understand the amounts of volunteered time and donated money required to create any kind of community initiative. In this economy there are just simply not that many people with free time (most of mine is spent with my family, for instance) and money to make such initiatives work.

    You abandoned your community project as soon as the United Otter party offered you an opening. Because getting community groups off the ground is hard.

    On the other hand we elect and pay people to run the country and part of their job is to ensure that people have jobs, affordable homes and lifestyles which don’t involve prostitution in order to pay to ride a bus. You may have low expectations of government but I would at least like to see some sign they are even aware of the issue and thinking about solutions.

    What you say about “communities” taking “responsibility” is meaningless because both of these things are general terms not specific entities or actions.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 26, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  48. Entitlement issues aside, one of the fundamental issues is that those who want to climb out of the welfare trap are obstructed by goalpost-shifting, as was also the case in the Fuller-Johnstone controversy.

    Regarding the MED indicators, for every Lloyd Morrison there are maybe a dozen Rod Deanes. And Damien Grant’s latest shill for the FIRE sector is symptomatic of a collective industry narcissism that makes Wall Street look like Mother Teresa. More recently he’s started posting on SOLO Passion.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 26, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  49. PS. such collective narcissism is also known as ‘the cost of everything and the value of nothing’.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 26, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  50. http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/crackdown-liquidators-snags-herald-columnist-95027

    Says it all really.

    Comment by KH — February 26, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  51. Dare I say that collectively you lot are sounding like The Standard lite. That is all.

    Comment by stephen — February 26, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  52. I’m so glad that is all Stephen. I assume we can expect to here no more pointless potshots form you then?

    Comment by Gregor W — February 26, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  53. @ Pete George – are you Shelley Bridgeman? I just ask because you’re writing style and her’s bear some similarity.

    BTW Pete, you do realise all the examples you cited in your comment 39 of how “It’s often easier to get things started and to prove them on a small scale and then expand upwards and outwards” are actually state funded, right? Untied Future’s 1080 policy, National Standards, not to mention the Family Violence Intervention Programme, Before-School Check Programme, and Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee of Dr Russell Wills, and his current position as Children’s Commissioner…

    Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe Pete George is not Shelley Bridgeman after all. Maybe he is Danyl, pushing out satire at it’s finest. Tell me Danyl/Pete/Shelley, do satirists have to moonlight as hookers? And should we ask Sean Fitzpatrick about his experiences?

    Sigh. And I was going to give up sarcasm for lent.

    Comment by bob — February 26, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  54. “That is all.”

    Suspect it won’t be, Stevie. You’ll get all angry about something and call someone a cunt or a wanker in your typically erudite fashion, oui?

    Comment by Guy Smiley — February 26, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  55. I’m so glad that is all Stephen. I assume we can expect to here no more pointless potshots form you then?

    Little Stevie and his collection of (no doubt stiff and crusty) sock puppets has been replaced by software. There is the [[http://trevorstone.org/curse/|Elizabethan Curse Generator]] available as a desktop widget or app. Here are some samples from mine:

    Thou churlish scurvy-valiant nut-hook.
    Thous caluminous weather-beaten toad
    Thou wayward hedge-born basket-cockle
    Thou dankish elf-skinned baggage
    Thou tottering tickle-brained codpiece

    More likely to pass the Turing Test and much more creative!

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 26, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  56. Maybe you want to defame me with slurs of kiddy abuse as that is ‘the’ height of sarcasm in your world Rhino, remember that’s what you did to someone else here you didn’t like.

    Hi Guy! Strange how you and Rhino *always* appear truck and trailer innit geezer, people will begin to talk.

    That is all.

    Comment by stephen — February 26, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  57. That is all.

    And

    innit geezer

    It’s rather funny how teenagers pick up on phrases and repeat them because they think they’re “cool” or “badass”, isn’t it? It’s even funnier if they pick up mondegreens and malapropisms (“de rigour” being the latest). I’m wondering if “All hands” or that Internet perennial, “beaurocrat” are going to make an appearance.

    Maybe we’ll even have some eighties/nineties retro slang like “old school” (or is it spelled “old skool”?).

    And homophobia? It’s the eternal spectre of adolescent boys. I almost feel pangs of nostalgia for that time when things were so simple, so basic, when my little world seemed like the whole world.

    Still, looking at my iPod, “Thou meager pigeon-toe’d knave” is still funnier. So what, really, is his worth? I suppose that I really have to adopt that vapid, diluted “irony” of hipsters to really appreciate Little Stevie. Then he’s kind of cute, and then I’d actually miss him if he went away.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 26, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  58. “But why ARE we going backwards?”

    Lack of business investment by business owners in productive assets including up skilling people has correctly identified in why NZ is going backwards. Why don’t NZ business owners invest in production?

    The real idiot out of the NZ herald is Bernard Hickey with his “why doesn’t the government just print money.” Well it already does and government printing of money leads to mal investment, speculation and incorrect allocation of resources.

    Many business owners (and other general investors) are not going to create & invest out of retained earnings (businesses equivalent of personal savings) into productive assets when it is easier to tap into government money printing. Especially when the money printers then set low interest rates.

    Also inflation (largely caused by government money printing) harms business owner decision making in whether to purchase productivity improvements, as aside from usual business risk, often inflation kills the expected return on investment and makes such investments marginal. The time horizons involved are often 10 years or more. Low wage economy is the result.

    Comment by Simon — February 26, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  59. remember that’s what you did to someone else here you didn’t like.

    First, I have an excellent memory, so I don’t need reminding.

    Now, please be consistent, clear and coherent with your tenses and your verbs.

    “Did” is correct, but the rest of the sentence is not. Now assuming that I “defamed” Pete George (when in fact he simply imagined that a sarcastic put-down was defamation somehow equivalent to being raped or, using his blanket term, “abused”), I “didn’t” like Pete George is incorrect. The correct word is “don’t”, as my contempt both preceded the even and continues after it.

    “Didn’t like” itself makes me uncomfortable because the term is far too imprecise. Admittedly, my feelings are rather complicated, more so perhaps than such an essentially simple person deserves, but I am treating him as an aesthetic phenomenon and not as a person, so his subjectivity in this case is unimportant. More nuanced and precise words could be used. For example, you could say that I “despise” Pete George, but as I said, I don’t really consider him as a person so much as a kind of thing or epitome of a tendency in politics and discourse… perhaps you can say that I have “disdain” for him, or that to venture beyond single words into more complex phrases, I experience “a paradoxical mixture of ennui and aggressive distaste for someone so persistently and intrusively banal”. The world, I feel, would be a better place with conservatives who at least have clear, concrete ideas in which they believed, but alas, that anthropomorphic fog is has none that can be defined, and refuses to do so when challenged. What do you think could describe that feeling?

    Now of course there’s “schadenfreude”, a word meaning “pleasure taken in the misfortune of others” which could be shoehorned into a general description of my overall amusement, but on the other hand, you could use the crude but effective “sadistic” to describe my approach.

    As for you? Do you want me to “defame” you? I’m sorry, you’re simply not worth it; you’re losing in a competition with some software on my iPod… however, since my overweening sense of superiority has been noted here, could you please confirm it with yet another of your ejaculations?

    Noun
    ejaculation (plural ejaculations)
    1.The act of throwing or darting out with a sudden force and rapid flight.
    2.The uttering of a short, sudden exclamation or prayer, or the exclamation or prayer uttered.  [quotations ▼]
    3.The act of ejecting or suddenly throwing, as a fluid from a duct.
    4.(biology) The forcible ejection of semen from the mammalian urethra, a reflex in response to sexual stimulation.

    Definition 2 is preferred in this case.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 26, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  60. Simon, the operation of monetary policy and the inflation rate in New Zealand are not atypical. Monetary conditions are in fact tighter than most other OECD countries. However our firms underperform compared OECD counterparts. Can’t blame a fait currency for the failure of Atlas I’m afraid.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — February 26, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  61. Damien Grant is a wannabe Paul Holmes.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — February 26, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  62. Oooh, big words from RhinoSmiley, thats a portmanteau right? See I’m seeking approval from you because you have bested me with your ‘look at me’ displays of extremely tedious literary prowess, kind of like a Bonobo seeking a fencing experience.

    Guyocrates, do you mean fiat or is this your own we special dead currency society.

    That is all.

    Comment by stephen — February 26, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  63. Not that evidence is magically going to salvage this thread any more than tight money is magically going to produce long-run growth, but: NZ’s 20-year annual inflation rate: 2.3%. Australia’s 20-year annual inflation rate: 2.6%.

    Comment by bradluen — February 26, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  64. Guyocrates, do you mean fiat or is this your own we special dead currency society.

    Okay, that’s not bad; my iPod can’t produce gibberish like that. However, Andre Breton and his company of surrealists did better with “The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine” about eighty years ago or so. That particular game does produces interesting imagery.

    You see, that game, called “Exquisite Corpse” after that famous sentence (look up art history, dear boy), requires an understanding and use of the rules of syntax: work out a sequence of article, adjective, noun… and so on, and then use random words. I had some students come up with “The sad guitar will sleep beautiful honey” for example.

    See I’m seeking approval from you

    Yes, indeed you are. If you weren’t, you would have ignored me, but you couldn’t resist, could you? “Approval” in your terms is praise or criticism, but in any case, it’s notice, which you are absolutely, pathetically dependent upon. Yes, I do notice you – I see you as a source of amusement. On your terms, I am gratifying you because if I affect to despise you or love you, you still see me responding to your posts – and that means that you’re dependent on my responses. Now I’m amused to see you reflexively respond to my prompts, and so then, I wonder, what will your next spasmodic response be? Will you demonstrate that you are simply a creature that responds to the equivalent of electric shocks, pokes with a sharp stick of whatever?

    You’re a random phrase generator – but can you beat my iPod? So far, you have shown yourself to be dependent upon me. Will you continue to prove it?

    Okay, breaking the fourth wall for a moment here, both Pete George and Little Stevie think that they’re playing with the discourse, but neither really understand that the medium itself is a game.

    As you were…

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 27, 2012 @ 12:02 am

  65. For fuck’s sake, stop feeding the trolls!

    Comment by The Green Blazer — February 27, 2012 @ 6:22 am

  66. Now assuming that I “defamed” Pete George (when in fact he simply imagined that a sarcastic put-down was defamation somehow equivalent to being raped or, using his blanket term, “abused”)

    I thought this disgrace was history but as Rhino as chosen to continue his crusade of self denial I can’t leave this unanswered. Rhinocrates continues to try and minimise the gross abuse he directed at me on Saturday, where he made insinuations of sexual child abuse and wife beating.

    When challenged he then tried to minimise his abuse and continues to attempt that – for example by comparing what he did to rape. Even the ‘not too bright’ can see it had nothing to do with rape, it was all about him trying to diminish his offensiveness.

    And worse, this deliberate diversion of abuse was in relation to a link on the thread to a sickening, disgraceful image relating to children that I spoke up against.

    Rhino tries to hide amongst words – words can’t describe the disgust I (and others) feel for the picture, for the abuse directed at me for speaking up against the picture, and for the continuing attempts by Rhino to deny any responsibility. Being grossly offensive is bad enough, continuing to try and defend it is indefensible and escalates the level of offence – and that can be likened to a rapist in denial.

    Comment by Pete George — February 27, 2012 @ 7:12 am

  67. Thats it. Pete George, Stephen, Rhinocrates, Guy Smiley. You’re all fucken banned. For three weeks.

    Comment by Aztec — February 27, 2012 @ 7:38 am

  68. And worse, this deliberate diversion of abuse was in relation to a link on the thread to a sickening, disgraceful image relating to children that I spoke up against.

    Spoke up against? This is like saying that you spoke up against Swift’s Modest Proposal, as if that earned you some kind of moral brownie points, as if the performative act of being a humourless, self-centred git was somehow valuable. You really should just shut up for a bit Pete, it is really really embarrassing.

    Comment by Keir — February 27, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  69. Something like one in five posts on this site are now made by Pete George. More to the point, he consistently derails thread discussions with his meaningless pompous claptrap. His right to compulsively peruse some inane Quixotic crusade on behalf of a non-party that doesn’t even register in the polls does NOT extend to ruining the rest of this blog communities experience.

    Pete George is a troll who is quite beyond reasoned or even unreasoned cajoling. He is a slightly simple old man who has suddenly discovered that a blog site gives him a captive audience for his ridiculous views. Danyl should ban him before he completely trashes his comments section forever.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 27, 2012 @ 8:24 am

  70. Yes – although it’s fun to see erudite people jousting with the common-or-garden trolls,* it does seem to crowd out the topic under discussion, and hasn’t prevented the problem from metastasing through almost every thread.

    * I’m not sure if PG qualifies here – I think he holds his personal opinions sincerely, even though their existence is sometimes under debate :P

    Comment by Sam F — February 27, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  71. Keir, Sanctuary, it was DeepRed who posted the linked to a picture depicting pieces of kids in a butchers shop, not me. Regardless of the Swift connection that was using gross graphics. It was Rhinocrates who then intimated I was a child abuser. I happened to not like either and spoke against them.

    Were you not offended by the picture?
    Did you think what Rhino said was acceptable “mocking”?

    Comment by Pete George — February 27, 2012 @ 8:55 am

  72. “You really should just shut up for a bit Pete, ”

    Pete you really are failing to understand a lot of what is said to you and misconstruing it. If you don’t like a picture on the internet, don’t look at it. The picture you’ve been squawking about for 3 days now is pretty mild compared to what’s out there in the wilds of the intertubez and it’s about time you STFU about it. nobody is making you look.

    You do derail nearly every topic and what you say is mostly, as described above, “meaningless pompous claptrap”.

    How about taking a little break for a few days? How about staying on your own blog so the rest of us can have a choice of whether we want to know every little thought you have?

    Comment by nommopilot — February 27, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  73. nommopilot – you and anyone else can choose to take your own advice and ignore me, but instead a few choose to keep repeatedly attacking me regardless of what the topic might be about. Others (like Rhino) divert off topic far more than me.

    Comment by Pete George — February 27, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  74. “do you think what Rhino said was acceptable…?”

    Dude, you lit the fuze. Grow a pair and don’t come whining when despite everyone telling you in the plainest terms possible terms not to light fuzes and then stand around you get burnt when the bomb goes off.

    Would you go to a metal concert and insist on telling everyone around you what is so great about country and western? If you did, you would have no one to blame but yourself when a couple of bikers dragged you behind the port-a-loos for a good kicking.

    You are at the wrong concert.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 27, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  75. you’d be easier to ignore if you’d just go away.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 27, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  76. continuing to try and defend it

    You’re wrong; I’m not trying to defend it at all. “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” is a classic and commonly-used example of a leading question in response to one of your own. The fact that you lack even the most basic cognitive ability to comprehend that or see your own rhetorical error is amusing, but it’s not my responsibility or anything that’ll “defend”, let alone apologise for.

    I would find you amusing, but the fact is, you think that your purely imaginary and contrived sense of offense is as bad as the real abuse suffered by beaten children and raped women. That’s not funny or even not even delusional; it’s sick and it trivialises real problems and it reveals your pathological obsession with making absolutely every issue yet another episode of The Pete George Show.

    Go away and let real people talk about real problems.

    +2 Sanctuary and nomopilot “meaningless pompous claptrap” indeed.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 27, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  77. YAY for Aztec!

    Comment by insider — February 27, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  78. it does seem to crowd out the topic under discussion

    Indeed, but I’m (perhaps vainly) hoping that the sacrifice of this or a few threads will finally drive the egomaniacal fool away for good. Then they can stay on topic. In the meantime, it’s like trying to have a serious conversation with road works going on outside the window – the drone goes on and on, and whenever someone says something important, it suddenly increases in volume and drowns out their words. The difference is that road workers are doing something genuinely useful.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 27, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  79. Perhaps migrate your comments to disqus Danyl? I think they have a way ignore people.

    Comment by Chris Bull — February 27, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  80. > Then they [threads] can stay on topic.

    Err this is Dimpost. Staying on topic is a rare option.

    Comment by insider — February 27, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  81. Please! Stay with us PG; banality aside I at least find your earnest and, no doubt, deeply committed musings faintly endearing.

    Completing the cake your seemingly bottomless capacity to receive such pointy thrusts from the dimpost intelligentsia without flipping out should be an inspiration to confused conservatives netwide.

    Besides if wasn’t for the satireballon floating just out of reach the rest of us would miss out on the brilliant explications of said bright sparks.

    @50 (KH) re NBR crackdown-liquidators-snags-herald-columnist – gist of appreciated for those without subscription

    Comment by luke — February 27, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  82. words can’t describe the disgust I (and others) feel for the picture

    To be fair Pete, you seem to be the only commenter disgusted by this picture.

    Whether that say’s something about the rest of us, who knows, but personally, I find it difficult to be disgusted by an image that is tame (it showed relabeled beef, not severed infants heads) and was very, very clearly a visual homage to the pre-eminent satirist of his time.

    Personally, I actually think DeepRed’s reference was quite subtle.

    I may be reading too much into it but, much as some believe Swift intended, I think DeepRed’s target is probably Danyl’s serious(?) proposal of scientific/statist solutions to what is essentially a human problem, essentially mocking the tyranny of good intentions.
    Either that or Danyl is truly the master satirist and intentionally mocking himself by channeling Swift in his post.
    I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Irrespective Pete, I think you might need to take some advice and drop this one. As I noted in the original thread, moralising on a satirical blog is essentially pointless. Unless of course, you are attempting some kind of satire within satire in which case, bravo Sir!

    Comment by Gregor W — February 27, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  83. Grant is looking for a reaction I suspect.

    Wysocki doesn’t get paid $43,000. That figure is gross. Furthermore, it includes provision for childcare when she is in training. This amounts to more than $100 per week, which she does not receive. Her gross income is in fact less than $30,000.

    Comment by Ross — February 27, 2012 @ 10:42 am

  84. Correction: Her net income is less than $30,000..

    Comment by Ross — February 27, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  85. Equity Market Developments: Low and deteriorating. (Our business leaders aren’t developing companies for each other to invest in). Net Foreign Asset Position: Low and deteriorating.

    You can lay a lot of the blame for both these on our desire as a country to consume – we’re REALLY good at spending more than we earn. We’ve been like this pretty consistently since we lost our export adavantage with the UK joining the European market. To that end, bank overseas ownership (in particular) is more a symptom than a cause of low development of domestic capital markets, and our poor NFA position.

    International Trade: Low and deteriorating.

    I disagree – our international trade as % of GDP is at the high end of most international comparisons.
    Where we suffer is our size. You don’t need to get very big as an NZ business before you HAVE to export to grow larger. In comparison, a firm in the US or UK or Aus has a much larger domestic market to hone their skills and products in before being forced into the international arena to pursue growth. And then, once they get there, the larger domestic base makes implementing new technology and entering markets is much less risky to the overall firm.

    Comment by Phil — February 27, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  86. Pete George, you may take solace in the fact that it appears Rhinocrates is a teacher who has just bought himself a new ipod. The abuse that you recieved is probably driven by the fact that on his salary this purchase leaves him without any spending money for the next 7 months.

    Semantic ambiguity and wanky word play doesn’t pay the bills (unless you are AA Gill, Boris Johnson etc)

    Comment by King Kong — February 27, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  87. Semantic ambiguity and wanky word play doesn’t pay the bills.

    Sure it does. Pretty much every politician uses these techniques in spades.
    Combined with a healthy dose of pathos / bathos one could do spectacularly well when stumping to a receptive audience.

    Shame this isn’t one.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 27, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  88. Most business folk I know don’t always invest in more capital equipment because they have to bet their house in order to do it. Also, the NZ market is so small that the scale they could produce at would flood the market and therefore depress prices, making it impossible for them to stay in business. So instead, if they perceive a need, they employ another worker. That way, if it doesn’t work out, they can let that worker go. Shit for that worker, I know, but at least the businessperson can continue in business employing the other workers, whilst (hopefully) keeping their house.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 27, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  89. I would agree with the statement that companies in New Zealand are badly run and not much of the returns are going back into the businesses.

    This has been the situation here for a very long time. But it has improved. Labour inspectors are tightening up big time, the rules have changed, and now business owners are “encouraged” (to put it nicely) to spend what is necessary on their businesses or be closed down otherwise.

    We are in a temporary rut. These businesses that have been allowed for many years to carry on with high staff turnover, understaffing problems, old machinery and equipment, are just starting to put it right. A lot of people on benefits are a part of the legacy of the “tin-pot company syndrome” this country has put up with for far too long. Sickness beneficiaries, in some cases, are there because of the effects of working, at one point, in businesses that have little or no regard of employee health. Low morale in certain industries has prompted female workers to have children, take a year off of maternity leave, then go on the DPB.

    The good news is that all this is starting to turn around. What concerns me, though, is the huge discrepancies in this country between work and pay in terms of beneficiaries, on a range of different benefits, who take on training programmes and are worse off, who help in the community regularly and only receive a benefit, who choose to study and are rewarded with criticism about being a student and a lot of debt.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 27, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  90. “and now business owners are “encouraged” (to put it nicely) to spend what is necessary on their businesses or be closed down otherwise”

    Who, pray tell, is doing the shutting down? And what are the consequences of shutting down on the workers? I think you may be confusing businesses that have dangerous equipment or unsafe work practices, with companies that over-utilise labour and under-utilise capital, which was the point I think DM was trying to make.

    The claim is that NZ companies are “poorly managed” but I think the reality is more complex: the distance to market (and a small domestic market) really does impacts on business viability and business investment decisions. E.g. if you have the opportunity to improve productivity by purchasing a large piece of equipment, chances are it will increase your firm’s capacity. That is, how much you can produce. All that extra output has to go somewhere. “That is where export markets come in” I hear you cry. But our closest export market is Australia. By comparison, firms in the town of Forbach in France can wheel their excess products or produce by hand across the border into Germany.
    Size of market does impact on productivity: if you produce widgets for a town of 500, you need a payroll officer and an accountant. If you produce widgets for a city of 1,000,000 your factory can probably get by with 2 payroll clerks and 2 accountants (this is where the enhanced productivity of computers is a help). Firm 1 undoubtedly has the finance function with the lower productivity (output per worker). But there’s little you can do when the next nearest town is half a world away.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 27, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  91. Re 71: no, and yes. What I am offended by is not jpegs, not arrangements of pixels, but the fucking existence of child poverty in God’s Own Country. The fact that you are offended by a collection of pixels in a certain order is because you have confused real things with unreal things. This is not my problem, it is yours, and your philosopher’s.

    I would be very grateful if you commented less, and thought more.

    Comment by Keir — February 27, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  92. @ Luke #81: compare Mr Grant’s comment of:

    “We have instilled a culture of entitlement.
    Wysocki is threatening to get her kit off in protest at not being given access to enough free child care.
    The idea of working for a living seems not to exist for her as a possibility.
    The real inequality in New Zealand is that people earning money are forced to give it to those who are not”

    With this
    (you’ll need to subscribe to read the article, copyright NBR):

    Mr Grant was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The Court of Appeal described the $280,000 fraud as a “complicated scheme which used stolen investment records, fraudulent declaration of loss of scrip, and interference with postal boxes, in order to obtain duplicate stock certificates which were then sold and the proceeds converted into gold bullion.”

    To be fair to Mr Grant, he pleaded guilty and appeared as a witness for the prosecution of his two co-accused. He describes the offending as the lapse of judgment of a 23 year old and points to his subsequent 20 years of good work.

    Every offence of this nature is committed by someone with a sense of entitlement who is forcing someone to give money to those who have not earned it.

    Comment by KH — February 27, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  93. To be fair to Mr Grant, he pleaded guilty and appeared as a witness for the prosecution of his two co-accused. He describes the offending as the lapse of judgment of a 23 year old and points to his subsequent 20 years of good work.

    So in other words, Damien Grant’s youthful self can be excused for committing a crime, but a youthful woman can’t be excused for having a kid when she perhaps shouldn’t have.

    Comment by The Green Blazer — February 28, 2012 @ 7:51 am

  94. Good lord, Damien grant is a convicted fraudster who cravenly sang like a canary to save his own miserable skin, and now he turns around and has the temerity to lecture others? These SoloPassion types are nothing if not comprehensive wankers.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 28, 2012 @ 8:01 am

  95. Righto! off to solobashin’ for a word with master Grant

    Comment by Cnr Joe — February 28, 2012 @ 8:09 am

  96. Language please Sir. We refrain from baseness here.

    Comment by merv — February 28, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  97. Nobody seems to have commented on the most controversial element of Damien’s article. He has adopted without question Gareth Morgan’s critique of our generous, non means-tested universal pension as part of “Welfare”.

    This is a fairly important point. If pension costs are counted as welfare (which they are and they represent by far the largest element and fastest growing part of it) then it has to reshape our view of what “bludging” and “entitlement” are.

    Surely it would have to count as bludging if you have a regular income from work or investments but still want the state to give you a weekly pay cheque on top of that with no obligations on you to prove you need it.

    Surely it counts as a sense of entitlement if you are living in a half million dollar mortgage free home yet expect the state to provide your day to day expenses for the rest of your life so that you can gift that asset (completely tax free) to your children.

    New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the OECD and one of the lowest rates of pensioner poverty. I do think we have an issue with welfare dependency, we are just looking at the wrong people.

    Anybody who has not read The Big Kahuna should give it a read – it’s very provocative read…

    Comment by Richard29 — February 28, 2012 @ 8:38 am

  98. “These SoloPassion types are nothing if not comprehensive wankers.”

    I still can’t believe they called their blog that. It’s just a wanky euphemism for Wanker. meta-wank.

    @96: I agree with you about the big Kahuna and it’s a shame it hasn’t really been noticed by anyone… allow me to linkwhore it one more time:

    http://www.gmi.co.nz/bigkahuna/

    Comment by nommopilot — February 28, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  99. MAF is doing the shutting down. And it’s not just businesses with unsafe machinery and equipment. More businesses are being told to galvanize this and purchase that to get up to the new standards.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 28, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  100. @97, shoot, I live in a half million dollar (almost) mortgage free home, but that doesn’t buy you much in Auckland. I suppose I could sell up and move to the sticks when I retire, living off the difference instead of burdening the taxpayer, but if all Auckland retirees did that the price of houses in the sticks would go up. Gotta watch those unintended consequences.

    For all my self-entitlement whingeing, I totally agree we need to focus more on child poverty. The problem with doing this by mucking around with pensions are the perverse incentives arising from asset and means testing. I mean, my accountant/lawyer would just advise me to gift the house to my children before I retire, or to put it into a trust or something. As it is, I”m wondering why I put so much of my salary into Kiwisaver when (a) there is a high likelihood the investment will be lost in a share market crash sometime in the next 20 years or (b) because of my thrift I’ll get punished when it comes time to work out my pension.

    I think the best way to get people to take child poverty seriously is to give children the vote. Because they’re too young to vote, parents get to cast votes on their children’s behalf. Imagine. The bigger your family, the more votes you get. Political parties would be falling all over themselves to make sure the itnerests of children and families were given prominance. And because the poor tend to have more children – and having more children makes you poor – some of those policies would be aimed at alleviating poverty. The old wouldn’t be sacrificed to pay for these policies as there numbers are increasing and they have high voter turnout. There. Problem solved.

    Comment by Me Too — February 28, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  101. @ Me Too (100)

    One of the alternative options is a reverse mortgage – which allows people to slowly eat the equity in their home while staying put. Gifting an asset to your kids wouldn’t work too well under Gareth Morgans proposal as the assett would still be liable for an annual capital tax so you are also givting them an obligation.

    it’s funny you mention kids voting as a solution – that’s another hobby horse of mine and I agree with you 100% :)

    My main point was that bludging is in the eye of the beholder – one quote I heard said that the baby boomers on current policy settings will get back 80% of all the tax they ever paid in super payments over the course of their retirement. As super makes up significantly less than 80% of government spending it means that a whole generation (my parents) are being cross subsidised by a whole other generation of workers (mine).

    That is not economically sustainable – so lets hope that young people get out and vote and ensure it is not politically sustainable either.

    Morgans proposal does not end universal non-means tested payments – in fact it flattens the paying field by paying them to all people equally and pays for it by taxing wealth (capital) instead of just income.

    Comment by Richard29 — February 28, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  102. “Morgan’s proposal does not end universal non-means tested payments – in fact it flattens the paying field by paying them to all people equally and pays for it by taxing wealth (capital) instead of just income.”

    This is the key thing. There should be no poor people in this country because we have a lot of sustainable resources and a low population. EVERYBODY should have good food, shelter and heating. the basics. It is a massive ongoing failure of our economy that this isn’t the case.

    A universal basic income would mean that people can have the choice between living a modest lifestyle with more free time (somehow in this day and age not wanting to spend the better part of your life making widgets is seen as a character flaw) or spend more time working and enjoy more of the luxuries. But no one should be in poverty and I think the big kahuna is a good start for debate around the kind of change that is going to be necossary to get us off the current path of growing poverty and growing inequality.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  103. Gifting an asset to your kids wouldn’t work too well under Gareth Morgans proposal as the assett would still be liable for an annual capital tax so you are also givting them an obligation.

    Which is no bad idea if that asset is generating an income (someone elses rent) or obviating an expense (your own rent).
    I dunno why people are shitting kittens about it really – well, I do actually, if those people are asset heavy.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 28, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  104. “I dunno why people are shitting kittens about it really – well, I do actually, if those people are asset heavy.”

    Same reason that no one will support policies that increase the supply of affordable, quality housing: because no one with equity in a home wants to lose a chunk of equity when house prices drop, and those with their pudgy fingers on the dials of government policy and media ownership are all pretty asset heavy…

    Comment by nommopilot — February 28, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  105. because no one with equity in a home wants to lose a chunk of equity when house prices drop

    Very true, but you’d have to make the assumption that;

    (a) tax change introduction would be graduated
    (b) if value drop across the board then everyone is affected equally
    (c) let the banks take a wash on their speculation – if values drop below purchase price across the board, tough shit for them. They spruiked values in the first place with easy credit. No sympathy.

    those with their pudgy fingers on the dials of government policy and media ownership are all pretty asset heavy…

    All I can picture here is some unholy hybrid of Stephen Joyce and Peter Dunne.
    Thanks for ruining my lunch, nommo.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 28, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  106. “(b) if value drop across the board then everyone is affected equally”

    The impact of this differs though. People with more equity (i.e. people who are older, especially if they own modest houses) will suffer less. Sure they lose equity, but people with low debt are no worse off when it comes to buying and selling (they just can’t borrow so much against their home). New home owners with 80-90% mortgages will end up with negative equity. More bad news for the young who got their timing wrong. But good news for the young who waited until the policy changed.

    In short, not everyone is affected equally, there are winners and losers. .

    Comment by Me Too — February 28, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  107. New home owners with 80-90% mortgages will end up with negative equity.

    Only if you don’t apply (a) and more importantly (c).

    In short, not everyone is affected equally, there are winners and losers.

    Agreed. I generalised.
    Equally affected rather than affected equally.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 28, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  108. “All I can picture here is some unholy hybrid of Stephen Joyce and Peter Dunne”

    throw in a bit of Gerry the Hutt… there goes dinner

    “In short, not everyone is affected equally, there are winners and losers. .”

    That’s the problem with any big change. People plan their financial strategy based on the rules at the time which said borrowing a huge amount based on an inflated property market was a good idea (because there was still room for the bubble to get bigger) so that’s what a lot of people have done.

    The trouble is if we can’t – as a country – find a way to build a lot of new homes and upgrade a lot of cold, leaky ones we’re going to see unwanted increases in costs of living (rents go up, heating prices go up), poverty diseases from overcrowding and damp leaky homes and general misery.

    If only we had a labour force available to be trained and a burgeoning timber industry that needs a boost in domestic markets… oh, and a government with some kind of a plan beyond selling our organs to pay our hospital bills…

    Comment by nommopilot — February 28, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  109. let the banks take a wash on their speculation

    Uhhh…. the bank has lent people like you and I the money – they’ve got a loan asset with a fixed (maturity) return. The have no equity stake in your/my property, and consequently take no direct gain or loss from your property price moving.

    In fact, given that Bank profits have been (inflation adjusted, and accounting for the IRD cases) fairly stable over the entire cycle, you could make a strong case that they have no preference to see accelerating or declining property prices.

    Comment by Phil — February 28, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  110. nommo: “Same reason that no one will support policies that increase the supply of affordable, quality housing: because no one with equity in a home wants to lose a chunk of equity when house prices drop, and those with their pudgy fingers on the dials of government policy and media ownership are all pretty asset heavy…”

    What farm subsidies are to the French, the property bubble is to NZ.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 28, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

  111. Uhhh…. the bank has lent people like you and I the money – they’ve got a loan asset with a fixed (maturity) return. The have no equity stake in your/my property, and consequently take no direct gain or loss from your property price moving.

    They do take a direct loss if the debtor has no ability to service the debt.
    Which, if property prices take a significant dump and the debt owed far outweighs the nominal value of the asset (resulting in a negative equity situation), might not be an unusual occurrence.

    Further, if property dumped across the board, a wholesaler re-evaluation of debt positions might be the only way out of the situation. Given that banks would have ostensibly borrowed the money to lend out, then they might have to wear the difference to their creditors.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 29, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  112. Nah you’ve got it all wrong. Start up a charitable trust, then you won’t be paying any tax what-so-ever. Banks and lending institutions looks at charitable trusts favourably because they have no tax obligation. If you’ve got one freehold house, with a charitable trust you can have three houses (all with a mortgage) but you pay no tax on the profits so you can pay the mortgages off quicker, and the amount you give out to the community as part of your obligation of having a charitable trust is pretty much at your own discretion.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 29, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  113. At nommo’s @98 link, there is now an ebook version, only 14.99.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 29, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  114. When Mr grant has repaid the 100k/year cost for his prison stay, triple civil damages to those he defrauded, and repaid crown law for his prosecution, i might consider his opinions as other than laughable.

    Comment by Al — October 11, 2012 @ 12:23 am


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