Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The shock of the old: Welcome to the elderly age - opinion - 08 April 2010 - New Scientist

The shock of the old: Welcome to the elderly age - opinion - 08 April 2010 - New Scientist


Another take on the aging human population.

Fast food jobs shows National Government

Fast food jobs shows National Government’s contempt for young workers

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Corporate welfare is OK, but beneficiaries are bludgers! ?
The results of the policy mentioned above. McDonalds have been cutting the hours and pay of their full time workers to the extent that many have to quit to make room for subsidised employees. Rather than making more jobs, out of work people are being rotated through McDonalds on a Government subsidy. Making it cheaper for McDonalds to employ staff they would have employed anyway. Because those who have to quit, when their "full time"hours are less than 20 a week, have a long stand down makes the unemployment benefit figures look better for NACT. How to say you are solving youth unemployment while keeping business on side.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

While I generally feel that a carbon tax which is used to subsidise carbon reducing technology is a better option in NZ, there is another take on cap and trade here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Never let the evidence get in the way of ideology.


Never let the evidence get in the way of ideology.
Politicians of all stripes do not allow evidence of effectiveness to influence policy, but NZ National governments turn ignoring evidence into an art form.


Since 1984 the reserve bank act has clobbered the NZ export manufacturing industry with higher interest rates than competitors and an artificially high exchange rate.

Government gets excited about the so called housing bubble while ignoring the probably equally damaging dairy bubble. In fact much of the rise in housing is due to inflation in interest rates. Sellers try to recover interest paid when selling. Excluding interest rates from inflation measures masks the real effect on house prices. With 7 billion people looking for living space, overseas baby boomers trying to retire to safe, cheap areas over the next 10 years, overseas demand for building products and skilled tradespeople and our current immigration policy does anyone really believe house prices will drop long term. Of course people who sell dodgy financial products would like us to think so.

Applying the neo-liberal business model to infrastructure such as power and ports has resulted in duplication of facilities, lack of investment in long term projects and increased prices. The business model when used for infrastructure monopolies has failed wherever it has been applied. We are now told we will have more of the same.

Successive NZ Governments have talked about gaining wage parity with Australia while pursuing immigration and welfare policies designed to keep wages low. GDP has dropped against Australia. Also wage and salary earners share of GDP dropped from 75% to 50% in the same period. Among wage and salary earners a larger proportion is now paid to very high earners. Overseas shareholders predominate in the amount of GDP paid to shareholders. (NZ national accounts. NZ Statistics). Rather than trying to increase wages, Governments, both Labour and National, have been selling us out!


Opening the conservation estate to mining will have major effects on the "Brand" and on our quality of life. The government does not even know what the returns may be, if any. I suppose as someone once said "the definition of an honest politician is one who when he is brought stays brought". The Mining industry funded National.


The evidence shows the best educational outcomes are driven by highly trained and skilled teachers left to manage themselves. Government does not set clinical protocols for Doctors or micro-manage engineers. In NZ the curriculum, including how to teach it, is set and changed on an ad-hoc basis at every change of government.

National standards have been proven to fail in the US and UK so they are now to be introduced here. Where is the funding to help the at risk kids who are identified. Present funding is being quietly reduced.

Evidence also shows that the greater the range of society in a school the better the outcomes for everyone. Government has increased funding to separatist private schools.

Early intervention such as reading recovery, teacher aid assistance and other help allow the kids who have problems integrate and become part of the school system. 20% become disaffected with school and get to high school disillusioned with the whole process. The implied social contract that your work at school leads to a satisfying and fulfilling job does not work for kids who see their peers on the dole or working 12 "full time" hours a week at McDonald's. Funding is reduced to increase subsidies to schools for the "elite".


Fish farming is a poor second best to properly managed wild fish. Opening up most of our coast to fish farming removes a resource, vital to tourism and our NZ lifestyle, from the commons and vests it as property for a few. Harvesting wild fish stocks to feed to farmed fish depletes wild stocks more than the food gained from farmed fish. Fish farms effect on coastal water quality is well documented. Failed fish farms have left a mess in various areas which no one seems in a hurry to pay to clean up. Changes to the AMA and the foreshore and seabed act may make it impossible for the public to reduce the areas to be used for fish farming.

Dairying on the scale we are heading is dependent on imported feed and socialising the costs of pollution, emissions and land degradation. Like fish farming we will again have to pay to clean up the mess. Government has sacked ECAN because they do not allow farmers to strip mine Canterbury water.

Fishing could be a source of employment for our youth. Government allows joint ventures to circumvent labour laws and employ overseas residents.


Coastal shipping could cut a lot of our reliance on imported oil, mitigate greenhouse gases and supply a cheaper and more timely form of transport for local manufacturing. Coastal shipping pays its bills in NZ including taxes. Payment in NZ dollars to local operators makes a difference to our trade deficit. Instead NZ is one of the few countries which allow overseas ships to pick the eyes out of our coastal trade. Trucking, a much less efficient form of transport, is subsidised by ratepayers and central government. Bigger trucks are now to be allowed on the roads increasing roading costs. Foreign ships on our coast are exempt from, shipping standards, taxes and our labour laws. Substandard ships and crews of the quality of those who recently hit the reef in Australia are common.

Green Economy.

Despite the ill informed ideological nonsense the Greens spout sometimes (Like all politicians) the green new deal is some of the best ideas for the way ahead we have seen for a long time. http://www.greens.org.nz/gnd NZ is well positioned to be innovative and a leader in green technologies. National, however is business as usual. Recycling proven neo-liberal failures.

Need I go on.