Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I wonder how much easier the decision was made by the minimum wage rise?

Recently I blogged about the "silver lining in the minimum wage cloud" - that it may finally encourage New Zealand to invest in automation and some real productivity.  It appears that we might have the first large companies heeding this movement: Stuff Union disappointed at Fonterra decision.

"A total of 400 jobs would go but 100 staff would be rehired.The work will be transferred to one remaining Eltham plant where automation was being introduced."

The only question in my mind remains whether this would be such an easy decision, or whether the Unions counter proposals would have had more merit if not for the meddling in the labour market? I presume a lot of people will see this as a negative - I'm sorry but I cannot see this as being other than positive for New Zealand - especially when you compound:
While 400 jobs were affected at the existing factories, the new equipment would require new skills so the company expected to employ more than 100 people at the new facility."
For New Zealand's future I'll take 100 skilled jobs over 400 unskilled any day.  How else are we to move to a high wage economy?
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My god - the RMA worked!

Hattip: Stuff
"Government ministers said today they weighed up the economic benefits of mining $400 million worth of coal and the risk to a population of rare native snails before deciding the snails must move."

What makes this even more surprising is that Chris Carter actually allowed this to go ahead. Then again I suppose it was only the extinction of a species in the balance as opposed to some Maori going for afternoon Pipi's...

"Under the mitigation package, Solid Energy would pay for:
The relocation by hand of up to 250 snails from the proposed mining site;
The establishment of an expanded new habitat for the snails that was as close to the old habitat as could be reasonably achieved;
The protection of this area with intensive predator control and a predator-proof fence;
The protection of an expanded proportion of the existing snail habitat that would not be mined, and intensive predator control across this area;
The development of a captive management programme for the snails;
The conducting of a wider survey of the surrounding environment to locate other possible areas of habitat for Powelliphanta Augustus."

Got to say - this looks like a fairly comprehensive package that makes sure these snails should survive - I'm all for the decision.  However the problem is still that "Solid Energy said recently that it had already lost about $7m in cancelled orders due to mining hold-ups pending the snail decision."
We have got to find a way to make this process faster.  Its just like the Marina - if the refusal had taken 6 months from start to finish no one would be quite so p*ssed off about it; it was the wasted years in the process that makes it so galling.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Looks like David Parker was right

Hattip: TVNZ (wrt: Housing New Zealand gagging order and cover up)
I mean if Auditors cannot find millions of dollars worth of fraud without someone drawing them circles and highlighting paragraphs - then what IS the point in hiring them?  A bit like having the crown law office really - the impression of propriety in process?
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Maori children miss out on new Government assistance

Hattip: NZ Herald
Ms Wynd said: "the future workforce will be predominantly brown, and we need to take steps to ensure adequate investment in them now."
Ms Wynd seems to miss the point that these statistics are showing that the benefit queue will continue to be predominately brown - unless something drastic is done to reverse that trend.  Getting these families into work and removing incentives for creating large dependent families are needed - not increasing the handouts.
Already in this country we have 5th generation dependents - where are these people going to learn a work ethic (even a bad one) when there is no one in their family, and increasingly their extended family in whom to look to?

Enforcing parental responsibility would be a start - 232,000 children in homes without incomes is far too many, regardless of race or religion.
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Maori party leader doesn't believe in capitalism

Hattip: Lindsay Mitchell
“Water is a basic human right under international human rights law (United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)” said Mrs Turia.

At first Tariana's statement seems perfectly reasonable - until you realise that food and shelter are also defined as basic human rights.  The allocation of these on a free market basis works; so why can it not work for other "basic human rights"?  (Although personally I would tend to define it as a need rather than a right anyway...)  At worst the Government can always act as a market facilitator to ensure that there is a supply of fresh water at reasonable cost / supply etc - but at least it would make the provision explicit.  Besides - it's not like I get my water for free now anyway?

I have to admit to being an on this matter, but at a skim the proposals from Rodney would seem to be reasonable?
Hattip: Scoop
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Monday, April 10, 2006

Lets be honest shall we?

Hattip: Stuff
"It is a bleak place, it is a place where there is not much hope, a lot of unemployment," he said. The area was so depressed that people "wanted to get off their faces".

The primary reason people in places like Porirua, Otara, Otahuhu etc "get off their faces" is because they are bored - not because they are depressed.  The underlying cause - endemic unemployment - may be the same, but it changes the strategy for tackling quite considerably.  Attributing it to depression is a way of disowning the problem - it is so much harder to tackle a nebulous mental condition and certainly the person cannot help themselves out of it.  Whereas boredom allows the person to claim the issue and claim responsibility for helping themselves out of their own rut.

It is too common in too many societies to remove responsibility from people for their actions - and the consequence of this is the removal of "hope".
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Weekend Sport

OK - can't comment on the Warriors yet - I know we are down 20-0 at the half time break but won't know the fulltime until tonight... However it was interesting to see Russel Smith as the first NRL referee to nearly get Steven Price to lose his rag!

Been a long time since I've played a full 90 minutes of soccer - and I am feeling it today (can barely use my right leg...)
2-all draw with all four goals scored in the first half - then a war of attrition in the second.  Good fun though ;-)
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