Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Maori kill 945 children

In the wonderful thinking of our current Government it is most important to tell every potential Maori by Television ad that they have the opportunity to register on a separatist roll.  The fact that around half of Maori continue to not want to register on this roll in itself would question the point of its existence.

But more importantly at present is the waste of a further 945 lives (ECU's) in the attempt to make this artifact of separatism more relevant.  Somehow it seems more important to play around with the demographics of our electorates to the point of 945 lives.  Please tell me why?
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Everybody else just lives where they can afford to...

There seems to be this interesting philosophy that while people who work to survive must put up with living both:
a) in the locality of their job and
b) in housing that they can afford to
that beneficiaries are somehow above this.

Ngapuhi Social Services chief executive, Arapeta Hamilton, says many Maori families group together, especially in high-rent areas such as Auckland, because it is the only way they can survive.
This is definitely not the first time that I have seen these sentiments exhibited - in fact another example that comes to mind is:
"The woman living in the most expensive state house - on land valued at $1 million - had been there five years and said if the property was sold, she would have to be relocated in the same area." (NZ Herald - original article no longer available) 

A similar one could be:
"At a hastily arranged meeting days after the occupation, the then Ngati Whatua trust board, unwilling to call in police to deal with people who were essentially family members, offered the group houses in Glen Innes. The offer was rejected. "Like hell. I'm not going to give up a million-dollar view to look at railway tracks," says Anderson.(NZ Herald - original article no longer available)

Can anyone give me a coherent argument why we should continue to support the idea of people living in housing that they cannot afford so that they can be in areas in which drug and alcohol abuse is high?  It is already a posit of the above situation that these people are not in this locality because of jobs...
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rates used to further extend welfare net by stealth

Hattip: NZ Herald
Hattip: Labour Party Mailer

The New Zealand Herald article today had an interesting quote from Mike Reid raised my ire over an issue that had already been sparked by a Labour Party communication we received mailed out to us this week (more on that in a moment....):
Local Government New Zealand spokesman Mike Reid questioned whether Mr Carter's list was truly random and said rates rises varied around the country.  The rates rebate scheme's new threshold meant rebates of up to $500 for people with incomes up to $20,000.  That was bigger than any of the rises, he said.

This shows the philosophy that is endemic throughout the Labour party - that they can just keep extending the welfare net upwards through society by increasing levies and taxes to the point where the general populace cannot sustain the payments, and must pay for them through levies and taxes from other people.  It needs to be recognized that it is not OK for rates and the like to be pushed upwards to levels at which those people still paying their rates must also start paying for everybody else's as well.  Especially when the rates levied in the first place are nothing to do with a user pays basis but are already a subsidization in and of themselves.

The Labour party mailer I received posted out to me earlier this week (yes - complete with parliamentary crest....) was already proudly proclaiming their increased rates rebates availability and that it would now be available to 350,000 households in comparison to the 4,500 households last year.  To me this is actually showing how incompetent the Labour Government in its governance of councils and their responsibilities has become.  Labour either need to endorse the method of using rates to fund local Government, or be honest (sic) and start funding these services directly from central taxation.

Which method would you prefer - or what assumption would you challenge?
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Quote of the day

Hattip: Dilbert Blog
Scott Adams regularly makes my day.  But quotes that bring me close to snorting my morning coffee are worth sharing:

"And what’s up with the people who pray for material things? If you believe that God answers prayers for merchandise, it means the gap between the Almighty creator of the universe and Walmart is closing. God still has the lowest prices and widest selection, but how long can that last?"
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Inequalities of a tiered tax system

Tax return time always tends to refocus ones mind on the taxation system and its implications.  One that crystallized quite clearly for me this tax period was how the tiered tax system actually conspires against the poor to keep them in their place.

It is a counter-intuitive point but as one moves through the levels of the taxation system it becomes easier to do the "right" things with your money, investing more and delaying consumption, thus escalating the rate of wealth growth.  In addition you are better off doing the right thing by way of insurance etc so that the downside risks are also covered better than in a poorer household.

To demonstrate the partial point I will use the case of income protection insurance - something that most households know that they should have to some level, and yet those at most risk of the consequences tend not to have.
This is due to two compounding factors:
a) the cost of a given level of protection is higher for a low income worker
b) the level of Government subsidy is higher for a high income worker

The first is an understandable effect of the risk to the insurance company - but as long as the level of insurance is less than 80% of the original income actually tends not to be overly significant in the final calculation.  In a specific instance where I earn double what someone else does, but we have the same level of insurance cover the premiums only differ by 15%.  Most of that difference is due to them being a smoker - not the income disparity...

However where the big difference comes is that I can claim 39% (actually 51.5% - but I'll ignore the effects of GST registration for now) of my premium back from the Government.  My specific comparison can only claim 19% of their policy back.

And so the Government through a tiered tax system acts to encourage those low risk individuals to partake in behaviors beneficial to themselves; while those high risk individuals are left to cope with their bad habits on their own.

Can you define a single behavioral encouragement within a tiered tax system that actually encourages low wealth / income families into those behaviors that will ultimately benefit them?
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Monday, July 03, 2006

Road Noise Testing

Hattip: Scoop

For once I actually agree not only with the intent of some new legislation, but mainly agree with the proposed implementation.  Harry Duynhoven has done well with his amendment to the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Equipment 2004 to restrict the noise levels of vehicles.  Not only are they actually bringing clarity to what is a noisy vehicle by the setting of absolute decibel levels, but they are actually implementing a regime in which they can be tested in a meaningful and consistent manner (through the Warrant of Fitness testing process).

However there is one point that I think is missed in all of this - the lax enforcement of non-warranted vehicles on the road.  With the introduction of one more thing for an old / modified car to fail it will be interesting to see how much this already evident issue escalates.  This is without even considering the fact that the types of mechanics etc that actually perform these types of modifications etc in the first place actually have a vested interest in just telling their clients to come back to them for their WOF (wink, wink). 

Much like the issue with the micro-chipping of dogs the first issue that needs to be solved is the compliance and monitoring of the existing rules and regulations.  If we cannot even enforce those properly then what chance is there of the tighter regulations actually having the desired effect?  Or is this really just intended to be another way of funneling revenue into the Governments coffers anyway?
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