Here’s Len Brown on the POAL issue, talking to Morning Report. Let’s assume he’s a rational actor, and that he knows that he’s lost any chance of unionist or left-wing activist support in the local body elections next year, that this support will swing behind another candidate, split the vote and Brown will lose to a right-wing contender . . . What’s his strategy here?
March 8, 2012
This is cute. John Armstrong, the Herald’s chief political courtier stands in awe of John Key’s mathematical analysis:
Shearer was the first to cop it. He asked Key if it was correct that under the provisions of just-introduced legislation covering the part-sale of state-owned enterprises like Genesis Energy, “half a dozen foreign investors” could legally purchase all the listed shares.
“No,” Key replied firmly before adding that no-one would be able to hold more than 10 per cent, that six times 10 was 60, and the Government was retaining 51 per cent.
It was the equivalent of the maths teacher handing a pupil the dunce’s hat and telling him to go and stand in the corner.
But . . . 49% of shares will be publicly listed, meaning half-a-dozen foreign investors could each buy 8.1%, and own all of the listed shares. Shearer was correct. Like, obviously, glaringly so. You’d think that with all the time Armstrong spends licking politicians’ fingers he’d have learned to count to ten.
March 7, 2012
Union officials are challenging Auckland Mayor Len Brown to intervene on behalf of 292 port workers who have been sacked.
But Mr Brown is refusing to take a side in the industrial dispute between the company and union members – saying he is working only for the “people of Auckland”.
Mayor Brown’s council instructed the ports to grow profits. Now, we’ve heard a lot about how the greedy wharfies have cushy job contracts that compromised the efficiency and profits of the port, but despite these lavish wages and inefficient workers the port still somehow managed to make a profit of $27 million dollars last year.
I’m no business analyst, but I’m guessing that months of stop-work meetings, losing hundreds of millions of dollars in customers, sacking the entire work-force, paying millions more in redundancy and being placed on a global black-list is also going to compromise the efficiency and profits of the port, and its ability to return a dividend to the people of Auckland, who Brown represents. You don’t have to be pro-union to see that the management’s decision to smash the union’s hold on POAL has been a financial disaster for the company they’re being paid to run.
Someone in the comments for the last post dared me to generate a chart showing the number of sickness beneficiaries over the last few years (it’s an article of faith amongst certain circles that Labour took all the drug addicts off the unemployment benefit and added them to the sickness benefit.) Anyway, here’s the chart. I’ve added in median age, to make the point that as the population ages it gets sicker, thus – I would argue – the steady increase in sickness beneficiaries.
Also, DPF suggested I show these figures as a percentage of the working age population. The problem with that is, again, the aging population – if you present the data like that then it looks like more people are going onto benefits, when actually there’s a broader – unrelated – demographic change confusing the data.
(Dates on the x-axis are at the top because Excel was being annoying.)
March 6, 2012
With all the talk about the unaffordability of the benefit system in general, and the swarthy, dusky-eyed promiscuous whores on the DPB whose numbers have swollen to threaten to bring down the entire economy in specific, I thought I’d take a look at DPB and unemployment beneficiary numbers as a percentage of the total population over the last couple decades.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t get a real sense of crisis from looking at these trends. Unemployment is obviously linked to macro-economic conditions, the DPB much less so. I suspect the dip in the mid 2000s is down to the introduction of WFF rather than the global liquidity boom.
Looks to me as if the status quo for at least the last twenty-two years (the Department of Stats only serves up data back to 1990), is that at any given time roughly 2.7% of the population is a solo-mother on this benefit, that they generally transition off it pretty quickly (66% have been on for less than four years – I’d love to know what the median duration on this benefit is, but MSD doesn’t make that information publicly available).
We’re currently below the historic average, again, probably because of WFF. In contrast, the statistics around manufactured crisis seem historically high.
(And, contra the title of this post, 97.3% of DPB recipients are 20 or older.)
March 5, 2012
Key refutes claim that his government’s stand on the Crafer farm deal is costing his government support. Meanwhile, National’s support is down. Meanwhile, completely coincidentally, National to crack down on migrants! DPFs awesomely subtle take on this: Does Labour want poor unskilled immigrants who go on welfare?
March 4, 2012
Roy Morgan has a new poll out, and this graph shows the post-election National vs Greens/Labour vote. Basically Labour is gaining and the Greens are holding steady.
Maybe National are implementing unpopular policies now on the hope that they’ll pay off over three years, and they’ll be re-elected on the strength of an economic recovery. I think this is unlikely. Asset sales, welfare reform and public service cuts are happening because they have to – English is broke and boxed into a corner fiscally.
Currently there are about 15,000 jobs available in NZ on the Seek website.
That’s a fair few.
But many jobs are low paid and part-time. The last Household Labourforce Survey showed there were 15,000 more part time jobs last quarter, but 13,000 fewer full time jobs. It’s a concerning trend. Who wants 15 hours a week on crap money?
People need meaningful sustainable jobs. Flipping burgers is a job; it’s a start, we’ve all done this sort of work.
But it’s true for those entering the workforce for the first time in a long time that they need to start somewhere but they also need a pathway to show them the way out of those jobs too.
I often get accused by some who say I’m a media hack and what would I know about low-paid work?
Well I know something. I know I cleaned the Whitcoulls Queen Street store at 16 in my school holidays for youth rates – about $4.50 an hour at the time. I powder-coated curtain rails for $6.00 an hour in a Glenfield factory a year later. I put lids on toothpaste at the Avondale Redseal factory at the same time to help me pay for my first year at university.
Like Duncan I cleaned a store while at school. But I was 14 and got $1.99 an hour for cleaning at Woolworths. I was so proud to be in regular employment, working every day after school plus Friday nights and Saturday mornings. And my first job after university was $22,000 a year only and at one point I was working part-time for $18,000 a year.
March 2, 2012
You can critique the idea of ‘after-birth abortion’ on a number of levels, but I always look to the practical. And my practical experience as a new father is that parents of infants suffer extreme sleep deprivation and this impacts in a number of ways, like putting new bags of frozen vegetables in the pantry, or leaving to work without your shoes on, or going to the supermarket, realising you’ve forgotten your wallet, going home and then returning to the supermarket and then realising you’ve forgotten your wallet again. It’s not a good time to make profound life choices. So anyone suggesting, ‘Hey, let’s give that guy with the tiny red eyes and vomit all down the back of his shirt the power of life and death!’ Is not onto a winner.