Friday, March 17, 2006

Ignorance is no defence

Sorry to those that already read my rant over at kiwiblog but I'm too incensed about this point to leave it at the bottom of that thread:

All those apologists that seem to think that Labour should not be prosecuted over the theft of our $400K because the "rules were not clear" should try that excuse on their next tax return.

Law, civil or criminal, does not allow ignorance as a defence - and neither does it allow "the rules are not clear". In the case of electoral spending there is actually someone the parties can ask FOR CLARIFICATION WITHOUT CHARGE if needed. The normal person has this to a VERY LIMITED degree in terms of the IRD, where you can get a statement from them regarding tax treatment that can then be used as a defence.

My point is; everybody else has to get legal advice (often at great personal cost) if they believe a point of law is unclear. Some even have to go to court to get case law in place to make a point clear.

Let the lessons of George Orwell's Animal Farm stand - once some people are more equal than others only chaos will result.

Damn it!

DPF blogs that Labour may escape prosecution for their overspending due to the 6 month limit.
(Full blog)

What I find particularly despicable is that is Labour itself that has managed to point this out. In other words what I have blogged about before in terms of their knowing exactly what risk / return they were aiming for is probably right. They knew the potential reward, and that they could stall long enough to make the risk and punishment nil.

This starts to make me think that revolutionary France may have had the right idea - pity the lamp posts are taller now...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Government Advertising

Few things (other than State Housing) hack me off as thoroughly as Government Advertising.
Here we have news that the Liarbour Government has decided to kill 962 ECU's for the purpose of telling us about the Maori roll...


I'll bet those starving kids are real happy we are educated enough to decide if we vote Maori or not.

Smokey's scaremongering

Among the straight out lies the greens have released about the probationary period is this classic:
“If Dr Mapp's bill goes through, employees will be sacked at will during the first three months on the job. Even worse, once sacked, they become liable for a stand down of up to 13 weeks [sic] from Work and Income once they register back in the benefit system. People will be scared to start jobs and scared to change them."

Direct from WINZ:

"Anytime you take on full-time work your benefit stops - but you may still be able to get help with things like accommodation or childcare costs. If your job is for less than 26 weeks we may be able to start your payments again straight away when your job ends. "

Certainly in my counting system 90 days is less than 26 weeks - how about yours?

A hammer to smash a nut?

"Nat's bill is attack on the vulnerable;" [sic]

The reality of this, is that it is really a backlash against the employment tribunals which mean that the existing practice of putting probationary periods in contracts does not work. Too frequently: "Where a probationary period has been negotiated, it can be taken into account when looking at whether a dismissal is justified or not." [sic] this results in the dismissal being ruled unfair unless there has actually had to be disciplinary action taken during the probationary period. (As opposed to after this at which point even major discplinary breaches like theft can result in fines to the employer unless handled properly...)

Is this really about the vulnerable? I would say the point is it shouldn't be - certainly where I see these clauses actually used the most is in highly skilled positions where someone doesn't have a good grasp of whether a new employee will fit culturally or whether they actually have the skills for the job. The latter is rarely an issue in an unskilled position...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I hate to think what dodgy coding causes this!


Dont worry, it wont crash your system. Its just too funny. BTW, M$ patched it in IE 7 Beta.

1. Go to your desktop and create a new folder and call it “Notepad”
2. Open any webpage in IE.
3. Right Click and select View Source


My favourite place on earth

Pity it's on the other side of the planet from me :-( Here's hoping for dramatic improvements in long haul travel over the next few years...
Any guesses? And love to know your favourites!

How hard is it to present statistics in context?

"Statistics New Zealand reported in June that the average annual gross income for a household was $65,520 a year.

After-tax incomes of $70,000 and $80,000 among those living in state houses were "not uncommon," Mr Heatley said.",2106,3603795a11,00.html

Having a strong statistical background (and in fact earning some of my income through exploiting how people don't understand statistics) things like this really p*ss me off. Can't the papers do a story without changing the interpretation through deliberatly misleading statistics?

The above really should read:

"Statistics New Zealand reported in June that the average annual net income for a household was $48697 a year.

After-tax incomes of $70,000 and $80,000 among those living in state houses were "not uncommon," Mr Heatley said."

Gosh - makes slightly different reading eh?

What about the victims distress?

Let me start by saying that I have not studied enough of the case to make an informed decision about whether he should go or stay:

However what I will say is that distress to the family of the perpetrator should NOT be a deciding factor in this. At all. Period. Why? Because any distress that they may feel has to be balanced and negated by the distress and stress felt by the VICTIM and their family! (Sorry - I'm forgetting the key point that the perpetrator is ALWAYS the victim in this country...)

I have to say though it would be interesting to know in the context what his other conviction was, because either the "two minor driving infringements" weren't that minor, or there is something else not being told about:
Under the Immigration Act, the Immigration Minister may deport any holder of a residence permit who has been convicted of two offences committed within five years of being granted a permit, where each offence may result in one year in prison.

Whangamata Marina

I love the concern from the local iwi about shellfish stocks as being a prime reason for the cancellation of the proposal. Would make an interesting parliamtentary question as to the number of illegal (or pseudo-legal koha) hauls of shellfish have been intercepted around that area - and the associated iwi of those involved.

More amusingly I heard the comments of the Maori party saying the Whangamata marina society should be compensated for their loss. Interesting that this seems to be so far embedded in their culture now that they see every set back to someone as being deserving of a monetary handout?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

State Housing (cont...)

OK - my disclaimer now; this will not be the last time I harp on about State Housing in New Zealand as the current system is one of my top sore points; and also I believe quite a good example of the issues in the whole Labour / Socialist philosophy.

The family earning over $100 K a year and still being subsidised by being in a state house:
The first thing I have to ask is would we (or should we) still care if they were paying (true) market rental? I would say not - then the argument can only resolve again to whether the Government should be a landlord; which I say they should in a low income market if there is an insufficient supply of low income housing for the good of the country.

In terms of the last statement - the next important question to mull over is:
Would we see a shortage of 11,000 homes (as currently) if state housing was supplied on a market rental basis, at a level only designed around liquidity (which I would postulate as being less than the current supply of state housing)?

Beneficiaries profit, taxpayers lose.

"No card holders will lose their entitlement to the card as a result of the increase in their benefit or the Working for Families package. The increase in the thresholds will also mean that some New Zealanders who have not previously been entitled to a card will now be eligible for one."

And yet we still can not index the tax thresholds to inflation? Most people who know anything about finance or economics would see that as the same argument - maybe they dont have quite the same logic in history?

Monday, March 13, 2006

My favourite painting

Which oddly enough is not done by my favourite artist.

(Click the pic for a higher resolution rendition.)
I'll be impressed if someone recognises it.
Hint: Saw it at the Prado in Madrid and loved it since.

My goodness - tax decreases can lead to tax take increases

Who would have thought that was possible?

The racing industry has gained a reduction in gaming duty and a easier tax regime, Racing Minister Winston Peters announced today.
But one indicated it was hoped that growth in the industry would mean an increase in the tax take, making the moves cost neutral.