Friday, September 01, 2006


Along the vein of my favorite topic Rights and Responsibilities, we now have the drivel from the East and Bays Courier attempting moral outrage over a pensioners rent rise.

They exclaim loudly about the 261 percent increase Ken Cameron was suddenly faced with; and pull the reader in with stories about how will he pay his $165 per week rent bill with his $200 per week pension.

But they make the fatal mistake of actually explaining the facts around the circumstances which dissolves any sympathy someone should have for Mr Cameron. You see the reason for the change in Mr Camerons rent bill from $63 per week to $165 per week was due to him losing his income related rent status. Which is because he didn't fill out the form for it.
Or more accurately he did - but with the expression of "get lost".

So the one task that he was being paid $5200 per year to do was fill out a form. One form that was delivered to him, that he knew full well needed to be completed and that he didn't do. If he can't handle the responsibility of filling out one form, why should he expect society to give him the right to carry on living in that place? This is someone that we are paying over $15,000 per year for the simple task of carrying on living, and filling out a form.

Nice work if you can get it.
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Abuse of parliamentary letter head, or wandering blog posts.

In my previous post I was actually intending to go a slightly different direction and bring up a few more areas specifically along the lines of HC's abuse of parliamentary letter head in making a submission about the tenanting house in her area, and the interference in judicial process not being isolated to the painting saga. In fact the latter isn't even limited to our own judicial process with documents obtained under the Official Information Act showing that they've even attempted interfering in Australian cases.

But without repeating the framework of the previous post I guess I'll now need to wait for another event before heading down that line. Would seem with the issues swirling around this Government I shouldn't have to wait too long for something pertinent. Maybe I should just wait for something specific like the speaker refusing to uphold parliamentary process again?
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why do you always start with "PainterGate"?

OK - first I'll quickly vent that I despise the term and all the "Gates" anyway. Please can we find another way of referring to *all* those events except the actual WaterGate Scandal?

But more to the point why do all the right wing blog commentators always start their chronological lists of convention and law breaking by this Government and its officials with PainterGate? First issue I have with this is that no-one actually remembers that "scandal" for what it should be anyway. Ask anyone left / right / central / libertarian / indifferent what PainterGate was about and they will pretty much all tell you it was about HC signing her name to someone else's painting.
Which of course is the trivial and stupid thing it should have been about had HC not pressured the Attorney General about the open case using official parliamentary stationary, had HC not lied to police with regards to both the paintings whereabouts, knowledge of events, had HC not had a Secretary destroy the painting (which at that point was evidence) etc. If these were the issues brought to mind by the phrase PainterGate, then sure use it. Otherwise refer to the specific events which actually had some measure of real wrong about them. Who really cares about the "fraud" of signing her name to the painting - very few at a very academic level.

Second issue I have is when you are compiling these lists it is far better to start it from 1999 when Labour first took power - rather than waiting until 2002? This gives the impression that Labour actually waited until its 2nd term before its predilection for weighing self-interest over law and convention came to the surface.

In actual fact this surfaced in the first *months* of their first term, where they cancelled the contracts with both Timberlands and the U.S.A. F-16 purchase contracts. What raised my heckles at that time was the comments that they did so "as they could without penalty". This event while quite crucial in viewing the subsequent events in a particular light is one that very few New Zealanders attach *any* significance to. The significance is one that I do not like discussing - mainly because it is one that the stability of the free market actually depends on very few people exploiting. Which is that *anyone* can terminate virtually *any* contract *without penalty*.

You see penalty clauses in contracts are unenforceable. By law. And the maximum that can be "recovered" by anyone for breach of contract by another party is their actual economic loss. No more. Because it is a civil not criminal breach.
This is why when you look at the contracts used in the construction industry these work on the basis of large bonuses for timely delivery, and not penalties for late delivery. Because unless actual economic loss could be shown (which would frequently be difficult) then the penalty would be unenforceable.

So the explicit statement made by the Labour party at the very start of their first term was that they would look at any law or convention, and weigh up the penalty of breaching it against their personal benefit.

Sound familiar to anything recent?
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Congratulations to the Distribution Workers Union

How does it feel knowing that you single handedly just managed to get 500 of your workers sacked?
I quite like the idea of having my groceries delivered direct from supplier to supermarket, so I'm quite glad the Distribution Union has pushed progressive towards this "novel" idea.

This would seem to be a fairly universal issue for Unions in that they believe that striking is their ultimate power. Without realizing it is frequently the means by which an employer can judge just exactly how useless to a business a certain segment is. Sure there are some sectors in which the Union actually has a true power, because its workers have real skill bases which are difficult to replicate. The irony is that those tend to be the professions in least <i>need</i> of a Union or representation.

So all that tends to happen in the low pay / low skill arena is that the Union progressively screws over its members both by taking and wasting their money directly, and by decreasing their usefulness to their employer.
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Monday, August 28, 2006

So which economy do you want to live in?

Hattip: Scoop
The Canterbury Manufacturers Association has recently gone on the offensive again against companies like IceBreaker that are proudly New Zealand owned and operated - at least as far as their high wealth operations are concerned.
The CMU is highly critical of the fact that they offload their low-wealth operations like the actual clothing manufacture onto countries like China, while retaining the design and patent operations locally.

I love Mr Walley's (from the CMU) quote:
“Yes, they may be registered in New Zealand, their shareholders benefit as do the people working on their designs but do they provide for New Zealand’s export development or contribute all they can to a reduction in the trade deficit?”

It is extremely hard to rebut a comment when it generally says everything you wanted it to in all but tone. The real question is where do we want to compete, where do we want to be as a country? I know that I would far prefer to be supporting that New Zealand company that has made the realisation that we want the high wealth value adding jobs in this country. And offload the menial, likely to be replaced through capital investment jobs elsewhere.
How are we going to reduce our trade deficit? Through increasing our labour productivity levels - something really not particularly possible in the jobs that Mr Walley wants to protect. But if the profits from IceBreakers Chinese operations are repatriated to here, then it is something highly possible. Mr Walley doesn't seem to understand that it is far better for our trade deficit to have each New Zealander earning the trade dollars from "10" Chinese workers, than only pulling in those dollars for their own work.

Mr Walley continues with "“‘Buy Kiwi Made’ is important in promoting New Zealand’s export and economic growth, it also means that you just might be buying your job, you are certainly supporting New Zealand values.”"
The question is which job do you want, and do you want your children to have - clothing design and architecture, or sitting behind a sewing machine?
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New Zealanders voting for what they want

Unfortunately it looks like this is increasingly diverging from what I would want.

The results from the Tamaki by-election for the Auckland city council are in; One corrupt Labour politician replaced by another Labour politician. There are now another 2500 people in Auckland that need to shut up and stop whining about the rates levels / increases because they just explicitly supported them.
The Auckland City Council just got the message that they are on the right track continuing to waste our ratepayers money thanks to you.

All 3 supermarkets near me have stopped stocking barn laid eggs. It would seem that despite people's rhetoric about wanting to ban cage farmed chickens they really just do not care. Given the eclectic collection of free range eggs that manages to survive I'm guessing it wouldn't have taken that many people supporting barn laid eggs for them to at least continue to be stocked. As it stands now the cages will be getting my dollar again because I'm not incensed enough to sacrifice 7 ECU's for the sake of 1 1/2 chickens happiness.
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