The Jackal: January 2013

31 Jan 2013

Metiria talks 'I'm in - for the future'

Hekia Parata - Asshole of the Week

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has been blasted for calling it "karma" that staff in her own ministry had not been paid, as she faced more controversy on her first day back.

Ms Parata, who survived a Cabinet reshuffle last week, was asked on her way into Parliament yesterday if she had been briefed on Education Ministry staff not being paid today,

"Yeah, karma eh," she replied.

This is no bloody joke! People are going without an income, which can have serious consequences especially for those on tight budgets. How exactly does Parata think teacher's are maintaining themselves, servicing bills and paying rent when there's no consistency with their incomes?

Novapay is an indictment on just how inept the National government under John Key's "leadership" has become. Not only did National Minister's ignore advise that Novopay wasn't up to scratch in the first place, they've been entirely remiss in fixing the problem, a problem they've known about for a very long time.

The Public Service Association national secretary, Brenda Pilott, slammed Ms Parata for her response, saying ministry staff had worked hard to try to solve Novopay issues.

"The minister should not be making such flippant remarks about ministry staff which, at the same time, seem to make light of the whole Novopay debacle," Ms Pilott said.

"The fact is there are many ministry staff who have been working very hard to try and pick up the pieces and help fix the Novopay problems.

"For their minister to then turn around and joke about the fact they themselves haven't been paid is pretty unacceptable.

"What would be real karma is for Hekia Parata not to be paid."

I bet Parata would jump into action if it was her considerable pay packet that was being messed with.

As Minister of Education, Parata is directly responsible for the continued incompetence in regard to the Novopay debacle. She should do the right thing and resign forthwith, because her flippancy and continued blundering clearly displays a lack of concern, a lack of concern because she obviously doesn't give a damn.

Despite the Novopay Governance Board member, Leanne Gibson, promising over a month ago that Novopay would be sorted in two weeks time, the extensive problems don't look likely to be fixed under the current administration anytime soon.

So for her continued mismanagement, incompetence and now obvious disregard, Hekia Parata wins this week's asshole award. 2014 is too long to wait for the opportunity to vote her out.

30 Jan 2013

Russel Norman vs John Key

Nationals revolving prison door

Today the NZ Herald reported:

Government announces 40-hours of work a week for inmates in plan to cut boredom and reoffending.

Up to 1400 inmates will be working 40 hours a week - without pay - by the end of this year as part of a plan to create more "working prisons" in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key announced in his first speech to Parliament for the year that the number of prisons with fulltime work programmes would be expanded as part of a drive to cut reoffending.

Will making prisoners work 40 hours a week with no pay cut recidivism rates? This is a somewhat complicated question to answer, being that no studies have been conducted in New Zealand to verify the Prime Ministers claims.

Instead we have to look to where the prison policy National has been copying at the behest of the Sensible Sentencing Trust is coming from, the United States.

A study conducted in 2004 by the Developing Justice Coalition (PDF) found:

Work programs can be administered while in prison to provide inmates with experience and skills that increase their employability upon release. There is no national program designed to provide inmates with useful opportunities to work while in prison. The types of programs that are in place, however, are not necessarily designed to reduce recidivism. Work programs are implemented for a variety of reasons, including earning revenue for the prison and occupying and pacifying inmates. Although the programs were not specifically intended to reduce recidivism, studies of some work programs report reduced recidivism rates, but qualify these findings by admitting biased data. As mentioned earlier, the selfselection process of program participants results in a group who are less likely to revert to criminal behavior with or without the program. Studies have shown substantial effects of employment programs on reducing recidivism for older men.

So only work programs where prisoners have a choice have shown any benefit in reducing recidivism rates and older men are shown to respond best. Typically effective work programs include courses on job preparedness, career development skills and help with job placement.

Other things that have been shown to actually reduce recidivism include sophisticated risk assessments, meticulous re-entry planning and post-release supervision carefully tailored to each offender’s circumstances.

Clearly John Key isn't talking about voluntary work programs or any of these other worthwhile things when he blathers on about the plan to create more “working prisons”. The Prime Minister obviously just wants to create a large group of people who will work for free.

Asked whether working prisons were a form of cheap labour, Mr Key said: "Not really. There already are work programmes which are ... sometimes controversial because they take work ... off the private sector. But the aim here is to build up that skill base.

Giving prisoners menial work for 40 hours per week with no pay has no benefit to society or the prisoner... It only benefits those who are using the free labour force.

Therefor the main effect to Nationals prison privatization and unpaid work program will be to undercut the job seeker who will often be competing for the same position as prisoners. They will of course not be able to compete, because the prisoners are being paid nothing. This is more commonly known as slavery and along with having absolutely nothing to do with reducing recidivism rates, is currently against international law.

Another point to make is that putting released prisoners into lowly paid jobs upon their release without any career path doesn’t reduce the recidivism rate either.  There’s no question however that released prisoners need employment to avoid involvement in criminal activity, but it’s only high quality jobs in terms of pay rates and/or viable career paths that have been shown to reduce recidivism.

So the main problem is the creation of enough well paid jobs, and that’s an area where National is completely failing.

Instead of learning from the United States' mistakes, National seem intent on copying the worst their system has to offer. This is the height of stupidity, being that the US had a re-incarceration rate within three years of 43% in 2004, largely because prisons are now treated as a business enterprise and not a way to rehabilitate people. Studies have also shown a recidivism rate 3% higher for convicts coming from private prisons.

Despite a decline in crime rates, there was a huge prison population increase of 705% between 1973 and 2009 during the private prison boom times making the United States the world leader for all the wrong reasons. They spend a staggering one in every 14 general fund dollars on incarceration, so that’s clearly not a system we should be emulating.

National has unfortunately been busy building many more jail cells than even the Corrections Department predicts will be require, while Garth McVicar has been busy scaremongering in order to get harsher penalties imposed. The SST receives funding from the private prison industry, or more precisely Serco, which puts into perspective McVicar's get tough on crime crusade.

National will fill those thousands of extra prison bunks by changing laws to ensure more low-risk offenders are sent to prison instead of granting them probation. That’s what the right wings attack on the Justice system and particularly legal aid was really all about... Creating more prisoners.

After all, John Key has made no secret of wanting to lower wages even more, and having a slave labour force available will do just that.

Metiria Turei vs John Key

29 Jan 2013

National fails Christchurch

Today, Stuff reported:

Horror stories of Christchurch families living in garages and tents continue to surface almost two years on from the February 2011 earthquake.

Some families are still stranded in sheds or illegally overcrowding friends' and relatives' houses.

Meanwhile, rental housing prices show no sign of abating and welfare agencies believe this year could be worse than the last.

Demand on Christchurch's social services continues to increase: people who have never needed help before are queuing up at food banks and many families still face impoverished living conditions.

National has clearly failed to meet the basic needs of those impacted by the devastating Christchurch earthquakes. Instead of mobilizing government resources to help, National appears to be happy to sit back and let people fend for themselves.

Such a hands off approach might be OK if there wasn't such widespread damage, but with another winter soon approaching it's clearly not good enough to leave families living in tents almost two years after the disaster.

One of his social workers had a week-long waiting list of families needing assistance with school uniform grants. Another had recently been supporting a young family living in a tent, and a couple renting a washhouse.

A desperate woman with a newborn baby emailed Gorman last week asking for any free food because she said she was "paying so much rent, I can't afford to live".

"We are seeing many, many new people. Some who may actually own property but are so stretched by having to be out of their houses and pay horrific rents," he said.

So things are getting worse not better in what is a shameful display of government incompetence! If National can't get their act together within two years to rehouse and ensure people's basic needs are being met in Christchurch, they obviously don't have what it takes to run the country.

Pacific Island Evaluation social worker To'alepai Louella Thomsen-Inder said:

"Some homes have no curtains, babies are crawling around on rotting carpet, it's damp and the children are running around with no shoes on and with visible skin conditions."

Tenants Protection Association manager Helen Gatonyi believes this year is "shaping up to be the worst".

"When winter strikes this year, we predict it's going to be very difficult for a large number of people."

Completely unacceptable! National is in fact failing to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which New Zealand ratified in 1973. The right to housing is considered a right to an adequate standard of living, with Article 25 stating:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Therefore National is in breach of its international obligations as well as its social obligation to the inhabitants of Christchurch. So what is John Key's government doing about the problem?

The Government's investigation into overcrowding, homelessness and unsuitable living conditions in Christchurch was kick-started in June last year, but the results are yet to be released.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment had hoped to have the report finalised by the end of last year.

A spokeswoman said the release had been pushed back to ensure the information was correct and the report "robust".

The delay is likely to be caused by a request from Gerry Brownlee to heavily redact the reports. The Canterbury Earthquake "Recovery" Minister wouldn't want the serious nature of his callous indifference to become publicly known.

National can only hope to downplay the issue, because if the truth fully came out their complete failure would cause a huge public backlash. Such needless suffering is something most New Zealanders wouldn't accept.

Clearly Nationals neoliberal agenda and every man for himself ideology is not up to the task of rebuilding Christchurch, and one can only assume that a Labour led government would have done a lot better.

28 Jan 2013

Let the Banks Fail

David Shearer - New Era: New Solutions

Metiria Turei's State of the Planet speech

A speech by Green party co-leader Metiria Turei given on Sunday, January 27, 2013:

Our challenge is to build a movement of like-minded New Zealanders who share our vision for a better future. And that work starts today. If we want to change the world we need to build the political machine to deliver it.

E rere haere ana ōku mihi ki ngā tangata whenua o tēnēi rohe, ki Ngāti Whātua. He tino nui tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi rā. Ki te maunga i tū mai nei, Maungawhau, tēna koe.
E kī ana te korero, whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei.

I send my greetings to the people of this land, to Ngāti Whātua. You have shown great hospitality to us today.

He hari tō tātou ngākau ki te hui i roto i tēnēi rohe ataahua.

Greetings to the mountain that stands here, Maungawhau. It is said, pursue that which is precious, and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain.
Our hearts are happy to meet in this beautiful region.

So how great is it to be here under the beautiful Maungawhau? I've spent a lot of time, climbing up and down this maunga, coming here to Tahaki for parties and picnics and late night frolicking. This maunga has been welcome respite for generations of Māori and Pakeha alike. Yet, beneath this cool, green surface lies a heart of fire, a powerful force for change waiting to be unleashed. Today I want to issue a call to action to unleash the passion and the power of the new Aotearoa New Zealand, those who care for our children and their birthright. There is much to do because our children face real challenges in this 21st century world.

Global Snapshot

The world faces the toughest challenges we have seen in a long time.

The effects of the global financial crisis still echo around the world. Income inequality in OECD countries is at its highest level for the past 50 years. The planet is suffering massive bio-diversity loss. Eco-systems are under more pressure than ever. The hurt of climate change is biting. Extreme weather events, storms, cyclones, droughts and fires are getting worse. I want to acknowledge the people of Samoa, Fiji and Australia who have suffered for extreme weather over this summer. The people of the Pacific can realistically wonder if their islands will even exist in a few years; threatened by a problem they did not create.

It's terrifying. But the tide is beginning to turn on the destructive thinking that has led to climate change. Here in New Zealand the will of the people has turned it already.

Successes of 2012

When you elected a record 14 Green MPs into Parliament in 2011, it was the growing Green movement making its voice heard loud and very clear.

In 2012, our new and bigger team held the Government to account and delivered good green change.
We are still working with Government where we can. The home insulation scheme, a truly transformative legacy from Jeanette Fitzsimons, has insulated about 200,000 homes and we are working to continue it. We have worked to clean up toxic sites throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and have secured $10 million dollars to clean up the old tui mine near Te Aroha. We continue to work on Ngā Haerenga, the Aotearoa New Zealand Cycle Trail, 18 Great Rides that will take cyclists through some of Aotearoa New Zealand's most iconic and picturesque country.

But you've also made it clear that the National Government's business-as-usual, lazy thinking is facing extinction. You've made it clear you want us to tackle that old ostrich thinking head on and be a strong opposition to the Government's destructive agenda. Under National over 40,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost. So we launched a manufacturing inquiry, with the Labour, New Zealand First and Mana parties. It will report on solutions for working people in Aotearoa this year.

Finding ways to get New Zealanders, especially young New Zealanders, back into work is a critical priority for us this year and unlike the Government we are looking at new ideas to do something about it.

We put child poverty on the political agenda while National blames everyone else but their own indifference for the 270,000 kids trapped in poverty.

We have pressured the New Zealand Superannuation Fund into higher ethical standards.

We had the Fund drop mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper&Gold after Amnesty International reported torture and killings in West Papua by the mining company's security as thousands of mine workers were striking over their wage of less than NZ$2.50 an hour.

We asked the Auditor-General to investigate National's dirty deal with Sky City for a convention centre. It's just plain wrong for John Key to get a convention centre paid for with the crime and misery driven by problem gambling.

We held the Government to account over the privacy debacle at ACC, and forced the authorities to investigate the breaches.

We have made Parliament more accessible for those with disabilities and continue to fight for a genuinely accessible Parliament for all citizens.

The Greens belong to what's been called the 'new majority' - the new consciousness of environmental issues, human rights, fairness and the need for good change. Green is good, and it's getting bigger and better every day.

The future Aotearoa New Zealand

The future Aotearoa New Zealand will look and feel different to the New Zealand of today. It will be more ethnically diverse with growing Māori, Pacifica and Asian communities. It will be older, with more opportunities for older people and more innovative, better educated young New Zealanders than ever.
Our ways of living are changing too.

Women who marry do it later. We work more, parent older, and demand safe homes and relationships.
We are becoming a more tolerant society. While a majority support marriage equality, young New Zealanders do so overwhelmingly. To them the notion that their gay friends and family should be denied their equal rights is unthinkable.

The future Aotearoa New Zealand does not fear diversity - it embraces it. The future Aotearoa New Zealand values service to our communities and allows everyone to find decent work that pays a living wage. The future Aotearoa New Zealand doesn't see one person's human rights as a threat to another's.The environmental challenges and the economic uncertainties that we all face generates a new appreciation of two ideals lost in the last three decades:
       • Solidarity - we are all in this together
       • Democracy - governing under shared values and through dialogue
These are weft and weave of the fabric of a fair society.

Together they have given us a great school system, fine tertiary institutions, hospitals and community health care, hydropower, roads and trains, communications: the platform for individual achievements, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The political question is; who speaks to this future Aotearoa New Zealand? To this new, tolerant, diverse majority, to this recognition that we are in this together? What party speaks to the aspirations of the Aotearoa New Zealand of tomorrow? The Greens.

The Green Party is an agent of hope for a new Aotearoa New Zealand. An Aotearoa New Zealand whose smart economy is built from our clean green brand and natural advantages. An Aotearoa New Zealand that is inclusive and progressive. An Aotearoa New Zealand where we are environmental champions at home and abroad. But being just an agent for hope is not enough. We need to back our hope and aspiration with action. The Greens have always been a thought leader, ahead of the curve on the critical issues of our time. And as a political force we have become better at turning our ideas into action.

At Ratana this week, I announced our Home for Life plan to help families achieve the Kiwi dream of owning their own home, and being more secure in a rental home. We have offered to New Zealanders a progressive ownership scheme that will get young families on the ladder to home ownership through a deposit and mortgage free rent to own system - affordable and accessible to young families. We have offered better tenancy security and a warrant of fitness so that those who rent can stay in their homes longer, have greater certainty over rent increases, and know that the homes they pay good money to live in are warm and dry and won't make their kids sick. We have made the dream of home ownership into a plan of action for whānau, for families. But no New Zealander will receive the benefits of this housing plan if we don't build community support for it and if we don't get elected.

The challenge I set out today is to redouble our efforts, to make our movement the most effective on the ground political force in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I'm in. Are you?

I'm in - for the future

Today I'm launching our plan to give all Kiwis who care about tomorrow the chance to shape political outcomes today. Called "I'm in - for the future", the Green Party will offer anyone who wants to, the opportunity to be part of our campaigns to change Aotearoa New Zealand for the better.

Our challenge is to build a movement of like-minded New Zealanders who share our vision for a better future. And that work starts today. If we want to change the world we need to build the political machine to deliver it. We will back ideas with action to make them a reality. Just go to and sign up. I'm in and I hope you will join me.

Last year, 3264 New Zealanders signed up to be Green Party Asset Keepers in the Keep Our Assets campaign. That is 3264 volunteers around the country working to stop asset sales. Of those, around two thirds were not our members. This new model of organising, of giving everyone a political voice and the opportunity to support our campaigns is working.

I am proud to say that the Greens have collected over 185,000 Keep Our Assets signatures - more than half of the coalition total despite being the smallest of the coalition partners. "Im in - for the future" extends this opportunity across all of our campaigns. In 2013 we will back our ideals with our actions.
I'm in. I hope you are too. In 2013 more people will have a chance to win on the things they care about and that are important to our country.

Our first priority in 2013 is to stop asset sales.

The Keep Our Assets petition is close to completion. We want to collect the remaining signatures by the end of February. I am asking every Green member and every New Zealander who supports public ownership of our profitable and strategically important power companies to sign up now for one final push to force an asset sales referendum. Throughout February we have collection events planned around the country. We need more volunteers and helpers.

New Zealanders oppose asset sales. The Government is in a mad rush to get rid of two power companies this year. We can build an even stronger public campaign to force a referendum and we will deliver a stinging rebuke to this policy when we vote in a referendum. But we need your help. The signatures won't magically appear on the petition, the leaflets won't just arrive in letter boxes, the phone calls to coordinate volunteers won't be made unless we are all in together.

And once we stop the Government selling our assets we need to turn our energy to building new ones.

In 2013 another priority will be our campaign to get the CBD rail link in Auckland built. Yes, we need a Mayor and a council elected in Auckland committed to building the rail link. But we have that already and the link isn't getting built. We need to build pressure on the Government in Wellington to deliver the public transport Aucklanders want and need.

In 2013 we will campaign for the survival of our public schools. Schools are the hubs of our communities, where the bodies and minds of future New Zealanders are nurtured and set on a path to realise their full potential. Make no mistake, our schools have never felt so unsupported, so threatened as they do under this Government and this Minister. If the Government keeps attacking schools and kids, they've got a fight on their hands.

2014 is election year, and the Government is going to fight the 2014 election with fear and money.

They will scaremonger about the Greens and they will throw every cent from their very deep pockets so they can stay in power to deliver more of the same failures.

And we will fight their fear and money with people and passion.

What we lack in dollars we will make up for with action.


Our coalition of supporters, dedicated to building a modern and progressive Aotearoa New Zealand will be unstoppable because we will be on the right side of history and represent the best of our country.

The Green Party will offer New Zealanders policies full of opportunities to build a better Aotearoa New Zealand, to give everyone a decent start in life, a good job with a living wage and an abundant environment to be proud of. Together we are powerful and passionate. Together, we will build a caring country that honours our past, makes good green change in the present and has our gaze set firmly on the opportunities of the future. This is a rally cry for a new year, crisp with fresh promise.

So, I'm in - are you?

27 Jan 2013

Anti Shearer faction loses traction

Being that I've made no secret about supporting the Green party in their quest for a better New Zealand, it might surprise some readers that I also support David Shearer in his role as leader of the opposition.

My support for the Labour leader has recently been ridiculed by what I call the anti Shearer faction, which is an unfortunate group of largely deluded commentators and bloggers who are trying to control the debate by bullying and misinformation over at The Standard.

It amuses me somewhat that the anti Shearer faction cannot actually provide any real argument as to why David Shearer is bad... Instead they just waffle on and on providing the same defunct statements over and over again as if repeating their speculations makes them compelling and true. I bet the right wing are loving it.

Even after multiple requests on my part for some actual evidence from the protagonists to validate their dislike for David Shearer, the best the anti Shearer faction can come up with is 'go read what we've already written'. This is annoying because their presumption that I haven't already waded through all the anti Shearer rubbish is entirely wrong!

Instead it takes a rightwing propagandist in the form of Matthew Hooton to get to the crux of what the anti Shearer faction actually believes:

Even with that proviso, the extreme language at The Standard about Mr Shearer is unprecedented, and it is again being ramped up.

A nickname for Mr Shearer has emerged: Captain Mumblefuck. His intelligence and admittedly poor diction are derided.

We are told he is a bully and coward for demoting Mr Cunliffe, and a puppet of Trevor Mallard and Annette King. He is accused of appeasing the middle class, his 100,000-house KiwiBuild policy is criticised as a veneer for public private partnerships and he is widely suspected of having a secret neoliberal agenda.

Elsewhere, based on research by Mr Trotter, some even hint he may be some sort of agent for foreign intelligence services.

Since the November conference, writers at The Standard have demanded that despite Mr Shearer having the overwhelming support of caucus – and well above the 60% threshold required for him to automatically keep his job – he should put his leadership to a vote of party members and union affiliates this February.

To pressure him, a false rumour was spread in recent days that Mr Shearer planned to announce this weekend a membership and union vote. The motivation is because most Standardistas are confident he would lose.

So lets list and respond to the anti Shearer faction's arguments:

1. David Shearer is an intelligent person who sometimes has a slight case of poor diction. He is nonetheless fully understandable. Shearer doesn't actually mumble as much as start some sentences with the wrong word before correcting himself. This is a common human condition that's usually caused by nerves, which will improve as Shearer's confidence grows.

2. The way in which the media and some bloggers manipulated the leadership challenge situation ensured that David Cunliffe had to be demoted. That's how the game of politics usually works and there's no reason to call David Shearer a bully for following the rules.

Brian Edwards' claim that Shearer or his colleges rang the Labour caucus to bully them into voting for him is completely unverified. It's likely to be another vindictive rumour similar to Eddie's concerning a supposed upcoming membership vote to decide who is leader... A decision that in my opinion has already been settled.

3. There is no evidence to show that David Shearer is a puppet of Trevor Mallard and/or Annette King. If that were the case, the caucus would not have voted unanimously for Shearer to be their leader.

4. Public and private partnerships are a way to ensure that the available workforce and infrastructure is utilized efficiently. Without employing the private sector a Labour led government cannot hope to provide a healthy home to all New Zealanders.

5. Labour's housing policy will also help the poor by providing more entry-level accommodation. People moving into new state housing will relieve pressure on the rental market, thus ensuring rents are kept down. Rents are currently exorbitant in more built up areas mainly because of a shortage.

6. There's no basis for accusing Shearer of supporting the right wings neoliberalism... In fact his various speeches have often rallied against Nationals defunct agenda, which has been highly detrimental to New Zealand. Labours current policy is clearly not in line with Nationals and that's not likely to change.

7. David Shearer is not an agent for foreign intelligence services.

So now that we've got that all settled, can we move onto more important topics please?

26 Jan 2013

Citizen A with David Slack & Dr Wayne Hope

Logan Dawson - Asshole of the Week

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

A young farmer who encouraged his dogs to attack boars at his property and then filmed the attack has walked free from court.

Logan Dawson pleaded guilty to two charges of ill-treating a boar, and two charges of baiting a boar - charges which have never before been laid in New Zealand, the RSPCA said.

The 24-year-old was discharged without conviction, but ordered to pay almost $8400 in reparation and a $500 donation to the RSPCA when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court today.

Dawson admitted encouraging his dogs to attack a number of boars at his Waikato property to train them for pig hunting.

It's true that you can use a real pig to start training a dog to hunt, but they're meant to be kept from actually attacking the pig. So let's get something clear, this has absolutely nothing to do with how you're meant to train a pig dog. There simply doesn't need to be any blood shed to start training a pig dog properly.

That makes Dawson's excuses for why he was particularly cruel to a number of wild pigs entirely unacceptable. To actively torture an animal in that way displays a level of inhumanity that should not be tolerated. But to then film and promote that cruelty online shows that Dawson is a complete sadist!

In fact to maim or kill because one desires to see the pain of an animal shows that Dawson is sick in the head, and the judge should have at least ensured he was psychologically assessed to determine if there was any further risk. Who is Judge Riddell to say Dawson won't do the same thing again but keep it secret, or perhaps even move onto torturing humans?

Another thing that's pissing me off about all this is the way in which it's been reported. The granny Herald's article for instance is written to ensure Dawson is painted favourably. The online version is also half the size of the print edition FFS! That's not proper journalism, that's biased reporting... Here's a bit of what they didn't bother to publish online for some reason:

Once a person had an animal in captivity after catching it in a wild state, that person became the person in charge of the animal and subject to the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Being that Dawson is guilty of killing an animal in such a manner that the animal suffers unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress, he should have been charged according to what the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (PDF) actually states:

25 Penalties

(a) in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to both.

Clearly the fine given to Dawson by Judge Riddell is a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket in comparison to his crimes and what should have been handed down. Such a pathetic punishment will likely not change his nasty behaviour at all.

Dawson's lawyer Thomas Sutcliffe told the court his client was a novice hunter and had taken advice on training his dogs from hunting books, television and off the internet, Radio New Zealand reported. Dawson never knew what he did was wrong.

That's because Logan Dawson is a sadistic asshole! There's also the fact that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Judge Rosemary Riddell ruled that a conviction far outweighed the gravity of the offence and would seriously affect his career prospects in farming.

A conviction would seriously affect Dawson's career... Good job. Why would we want a fuckwit like Dawson who has displayed such a complete lack of empathy towards animal's suffering working on a farm?

New Zealand has a serious issue with animal cruelty with a lack of proper law enforcement which allows it to continue. Until we properly ascribe punishments that fit the crimes, animal cruelty will be an unresolved issue and a blight on our international reputation.

25 Jan 2013

Enough Food For Everyone IF

Key should sack himself

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Mr Key also defended his Education Minister, Hekia Parata, saying there had been calls to sack her.

"Over the last two months I've had plenty of people telling me I should sack Hekia Parata. I challenge you, name one person who cares more about Maori kids doing well in education in New Zealand that beats Hekia Parata. You won't name anyone, because she cares almost more than any of us that those young Maori kids succeed and she is succeeding."

That doesn't make sense... Parata cares almost more than any of us but nobody else cares more about Maori kids? Yet another logical fallacy by the so-called Prime Minister of New Zealand.

I think Key has entirely lost it... If Parata actually cared about the educational outcome of Maori children she would start showing that by doing her job properly. You simply don't get good outcomes by attacking teachers and their schools, it's as simple as that.

Not only has National done its best to undermine teachers by implementing a pay system that was never going to be up to scratch, they've threatened to close schools, reduce teacher numbers, increase their workloads, introduce unqualified teachers to undercut them and generally screw with what is a world class education system.

Then there is the fact that inequality and poverty are at unprecedented levels under a National government. Poverty impacts greatly on student's ability to learn or even attend school for that matter. Poverty leads to sickness and unwell children simply cannot attend school.

So that's the legacy Parata is leaving for our children. In my opinion Key should sack her forthwith... He should also sack himself while he's at it.

23 Jan 2013

Morgan's anti cat crusade

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Yesterday the Herald revealed a campaign by economist Gareth Morgan to eradicate domestic cats.

Dr Morgan's website, Cats to Go, advises cat owners to keep their pets indoors 24 hours a day, fit them with a bell, and not replace them when they die.

Although Gareth Morgan's heart is probably in the right place, all he's really doing is ruffling people's feathers. Cats have been domesticated since at least Egyptian times, and to expect that to change anytime soon is simply delusional!

Yes! We all know that native birdlife needs to be better protected, but there are a number of other factors that impact more than family friendly felines.

Other readers said cats controlled pests like rats and mice, and the real threat to birdlife was herbicide, agricultural chemicals and humans themselves.

Rats as it so happens are caught by cats, and cats are therefore protecting birdlife from a far more rapacious predator. By ensuring rats and mice numbers are kept low, cats have an important role to play within human society.

It's been speculated that an unbalanced diet resulting from native birds eating human foods has a detrimental impact on their health. There's also stoats and weasels that should be the focus of any genuine environmentalist before cats are even considered.

Advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said responsible dog ownership had been highlighted in recent years, and the same needed to happen for cats.

That included neutering cats, keeping them inside as much as possible, and fitting a bell to their collar - shown to reduce by half the number of native birds killed by domestic cats.

Mr Hackwell, a cat owner himself, said his Wellington family were giving serious thought to making their current moggy their last.

University of Otago research showed domestic cats killed at least 1.1 million native birds a year, he said.

"It's not insignificant ... no matter how well you feed them, they still want to come and show you the bird they have caught. There's no question that cats have an enormous benefit as companion animals ... I own a cat, I like cats ... but I am aware of the damage they do."

I couldn't find the Otago University study that showed 'domestic cats killed at least 1.1 million native birds a year'. However I did find this Otago University article (PDF) from October 2010 about cats wearing bell collars:

Previous studies have shown that domestic cats kill tens of thousands of native birds each year in New Zealand.

Suddenly tens of thousands turn into millions in order to promote Morgans anti-cat crusade.

The real problem is feral cats, which are often the result of uncaring humans that don't properly feed or abandon their pets. A feral cat can have a hugely detrimental impact on wildlife, and an education campaign as well as government funding for neutering cats would go a long way to resolve the problem.

22 Jan 2013

National Park or National disgrace?

Bob Jones loses the plot

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The owner of that gabbling voice ought to be publicly burnt at the stake, an event which would draw tens of thousands of TV viewers seeking compensatory revenge for their suffering, and it would be only fair if Mr Kenneth was allowed the honour of lighting the faggots, notwithstanding that such an entitlement could yield tens of thousands of dollars to charity if auctioned off.

Actually, to make it a decent day's outing, the chairman, directors and management of Harvey Norman should also be put to the flame, which considering the horror they're inflicting, is letting them off very lightly indeed. Put this moderation down to me getting soft in my old age.

Mind you, if this lot found this prospect upsetting, then out of humanity we could scrub burning them at the stake and substitute beheading - after all, plainly they don't need their heads.

Bob Jones has obviously lost the plot. Not only should the Herald get rid of the senile old fool, he should probably be locked up in a dementia ward where he can't peddle his particular brand of insanity.

Of course nobody likes the Harvey Norman adds, but to say that the voiceover guy should be 'burnt at the stake' and the 'management should also be put to the flame' or beheaded is entirely repugnant!

Such an article shows that Jones is a psychopath, and therefore should have no place writing for our main newspaper.

Although everyone has the right to freedom of expression, there are limits. Clearly the befuddled Bob Jones' article is yet another breach of New Zealand law which states:

306 Threatening to kill or do grievous bodily harm

(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who—
(a) threatens to kill or do grievous bodily harm to any person; or
(b) sends or causes to be received, knowing the contents thereof, any letter or writing containing any threat to kill or do grievous bodily harm to any person.

Of course the Police won't bother to uphold the letter of the law, because Jones is in the old boys club... More commonly known as the mafia in other countries.

21 Jan 2013

John Stansfield - Hero of the Week

If you caught the news on TV One tonight, you would have seen a great little story about this guy called John Stansfield. He was reported as 'jail breaking' unused land to use for gardening, which is a great way to use land that is basically being wasted by the council.

Waihekepedia reports:

John Stansfield is a colourful, iconic islander and part of the left-wing collective known as Orapiu Grove Farm. He is an organic farmer, solar water heating salesman, political activist and wag. Once a union organiser and chief executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation, admits he took a delight in making life miserable for the gambling industry. He calls pokie machines the "crack cocaine" of the gambling industry and has been known to have one-armed bandits dropped from helicopters to make a point.

Most excellent! Amongst his various achievements, Stansfield is involved with organic farming and founded Clean Stream Waiheke Ltd, which employs twenty people and along with other community-based organisations helps keep Waiheke Island beautiful.

Clearly John Stansfield is the type of Kiwi New Zealand needs more of... So well done mate, you've won this weeks Hero award.

Greenpeace and people like you

You can donate to put this video on TV.

20 Jan 2013


Garth McVicar - Asshole of the Week

Today, Stuff reported:

Crime will rise if gay couples are allowed to marry, says the head of the country's victim lobby group.

Sensible Sentencing Trust leader Garth McVicar has submitted to Parliament that changing the law to allow same-sex marriage will be yet another erosion of basic morals and values in society which have led to an escalation of child abuse, domestic violence, and an ever-increasing prison population.

"The marriage amendment bill will not benefit society at all and will ultimately have detremetal (sic) effect on crime at all levels," the submission read.

So letting gay couples marry, which in most cases will increase the couples love for each other, is going to be bad for society? WTF! It's likely that the opposite will occur, with the long overdue law change ensuring that gay people are more accepted within "normal" society.

Criminologist Dr James Oleson, from Auckland University, an expert in deviance, said he was not familiar with any research that would suggest homosexuals would be responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.

For McVicar's argument to be plausible, he said, it would have to be proved that allowing homosexuals to marry degraded morality, and that this produced more crime. "But I'm not sure that's true." The more common drivers of crime were economic issues, alcohol, drugs, education and employment and family dysfunction, Oleson said.

In my opinion, the law change would strengthen communities and therefore reduce crime. It's only through a less prejudiced society that we can hope to reduce discrimination, which would also reduce the likelihood of crime occurring.

McVicar did not respond to requests for comment.

So not only is McVicar obviously a cowardly homophobe, he's also a bigot as well, with the deluded old fool often expressing racist sentiments that just goes to show he's an asshole of the first order.

Let's hope that the media gives McVicar and his Insensible Sentencing Trust even less attention during 2013.

Rodney Hide's brain fade

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

State house rentals average $110 a week. Repairs and maintenance take half that and rates and Housing NZ staff the other half.

Taxpayers keep Housing NZ afloat, kicking in $165 a week for each house. They also kick in another $230 every week in interest on what the Government must borrow to keep the house government-owned.

Clearly Rodney Hide has pulled his figures out of his own ass! The government is not borrowing $230 per week in interest for every state house. According to the article there are 70,000 state houses, which would mean the government is borrowing over $837 million per year in interest alone.

Taking the value of all state houses and then calculating the interest on that is obviously incorrect, as the government already owns most of that housing stock.

Likewise the $165 per week is money that effectively gets paid back to the government in various ways. The biggest additional cost to the taxpayer comes from maintenance costs, which have grown exponentially with many hundreds more state houses being left vacant since National came to power. With less state houses being built to replace the ones National leaves empty or demolishes, fewer people are now being accommodated by Housing New Zealand.

This ends up costing the taxpayer more in the long run, because there's additional social costs to people paying too much rent for what are often unhealthy homes in the private sector. There's also lost capital from demolishing what are usually perfectly sound houses. In effect the neoliberal agenda is a bit crazy, with only people like Rodney Hide who are a bit touched in the head supporting it.

The obvious policy is to use that $395 weekly subsidy to finance state house tenants into their own houses. And that's exactly what the National Government did on being elected in 1949. That very first state house at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar, tells the story. David and Mary McGregor bought their house, declaring it "our little bit of New Zealand". The then-government used the taxpayer subsidy to make tenants independent, rather than keeping them dependent. There's no doubt the National Government of the day won votes doing so.

Perhaps it's just Rodney Hides' tendency to not read Labour policy properly, or perhaps he has a bit of weekend brain fade. Whatever it is, Hide seems unaware that Labours housing policy (PDF) is designed to make people independent through home ownership.

Just like the last right wing government that reduced state houses by 13,000, the current National government under John Key is determined to undermine the effectiveness of our state housing sector.

They do this predominantly because it helps their property investor mates make more money... But they also degrade our state housing because they simply don't care their policy changes plunge more people into hardship.

19 Jan 2013

Do Americans think we face tyranny?

18 Jan 2013

ACC levies to balance the books?

Today, the Dominion Post reported:

A mother who suffered more than a decade of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband has been denied ACC cover because of a technicality.

The Christchurch woman, who cannot be named, married in 1994 and her husband soon began to display abusive behaviour. That escalated into continual sexual, psychological and physical abuse until she left him 12 years later.

The couple's three children were also subjected to sexual abuse and in 2009 the man was sentenced to five years in jail for offences against the family.

Speaking to The Dominion Post, the woman said the details at the trial of her former husband's abuse were so horrific that she suffered a breakdown soon after and was diagnosed with severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

How horrible! Not only has this lady and her children been put through years of horrendous abuse, the state is now denying her and her children the help they need. Surely this is taking the right wings blame the victim mentality too far?

One rule stated that the claimant had to be an earner at the date of injury and incapacity.

But a second rule meant that the date of the injury, in the case of mental injury caused by certain criminal acts, is the date on which the claimant received treatment for that injury.

The woman's application for weekly compensation could only prove that she worked until March 13, 2007, while her first date for counselling for symptoms of mental illness was on April 30, 2007.

That's entirely unfair! The injury to the ladies mental health obviously occurred while she was in the abusive relationship. The fact that it took her a month and a half to seek assistance after stopping work is neither here nor there, as it's the actual time of the injury that should be considered.

ACC is effectively saying that somebody doesn't have a mental health injury until they're diagnosed with one, with ACC all too willing to deny assistance because the exact date of the injury is difficult to prove. However any competent judge should see right through such bullshit, and rule accordingly with consideration to the circumstances involved.

This is obviously an incorrect way for ACC to operate and although their rules are being followed, the system should be flexible enough to ensure abuse victims are supported. Without proper systems that ensure abuse victims get the assistance they require, ACC is creating more people at the bottom of the cliff.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Policy advice from the ministry released this week shows it recommended cutting the workers' and earners' levies by 17 per cent for the 2013-2014 year.

Labour says the Government's decision to disregard that advice and ACC's own recommendation to cut levies by 12 per cent was driven by its political goal of returning to surplus by 2014-2015.

So not only are struggling workers and businesses paying more than they should, ACC is not properly allocating that money to the people who need it the most. It's an entirely unacceptable situation whereby the governments drive to pay for the tax cuts for the rich is adversely impacting on peoples lives.

In other words Key's government is destroying people's lives through their defunct neoliberal agenda.

Late last year ACC Minister Judith Collins announced the Government would not cut ACC levies for workers and businesses as recommended by the ACC board. ACC's 12 per cent cuts would have reduced levy income by about $330 million a year thereby undermining the Government's goal of returning to surplus.

But Ms Collins said it was decided not to cut levies because the Government was mindful of economic uncertainty and it wanted to have confidence that levy reductions were stable and sustainable.

Surely ACC's Board and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment would have considered the long-term sustainability of cutting levies before they made the recommendations? This is yet another case of the government ignoring advice it doesn't like, and having no valid argument for doing so... What a bunch of idiots!

15 Jan 2013

Key massages Hobbit figures

Today, Stuff reported:

Prime Minister John Key has defended the number of jobs he claimed The Hobbit films created - after NZ First leader Winston Peters said the 3000 figure was "plucked out of thin air".

In November, Key said filming The Hobbit movies in New Zealand created about 3000 jobs.


Weeks later Key was quoted as saying, "We think around 3000 people have been employed because of The Hobbit". He used the figure to justify massive subsidies the film-makers received.

Yesterday, Peters said the 3000 jobs figure had been "plucked out of thin air" and no-one in the prime minister's office knew how many jobs would be created when the subsidies were signed off.

"Now the first movie has grossed more than $1 billion, Warner Brothers should repay the $67 million subsidy the movie moguls sucked from Kiwi taxpayers."

I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately the article by Kate Chapman is a bit weak in terms of highlighting just how disingenuous the government is being.

Eddie over at The Standard clarifies:

Even if we pretend that 3,000 is the right number, $67m for 3,000 jobs is $22,000 per job. That’s more than the income tax revenue that the government gets in two years from the average full-time job. And that’s the kicker. These jobs didn’t last two years – not most of them. Most of the work on the Hobbit was short-term. The entire production was done in a little over a year. The extras and minor parts played by Kiwis were a few days or weeks. There’s a huge bloody difference between a 3,000 jobs that last a couple of weeks on average and creating real, lasting work.

So even if the over-inflated 3000 jobs is correct, it would have been better for the tax-payer if the Hobbit wasn't made in New Zealand at all. We would've lost that feel good feeling of being proud our little country could make such blockbuster movies here, but we would also have been $67 million better off at a time that the government is struggling financially.

$67 million would go a long way in today's climate, and personally I would rather see that money going towards keeping some woman's refuge centres open and feeding more kids in schools… The government might even be able to start a healthy homes policy to reduce ill health, particularly in low decile areas. Those are much more admirable achievements than simply making Peter Jackson and Warner Brothers richer.

Being that the main changes to workers rights that caused all the problems was so that more non-unionised contractors could be used, many of these contractors would only be working for a week or days if not less and counting all these people is entirely incorrect.

It's the same tactic National use to try and justify their job figures, whereby part time workers are counted while more full time jobs have actually been lost. I guess expecting honesty from John Key and his ugly bunch of honchos is too much to expect.

13 Jan 2013

Too big to jail?

Education for the rich

I've been enjoying Kerre Woodham's articles in the NZ Herald recently, with her straightforward style and obvious Kiwi idealism coming through in spades. However her offering today concerning student loan repayments is as naive as they come:

Well, they can't say they weren't warned.

Actually student loan debtors can, because the changes in law are being made after their contracts with the government were signed. The problem in my opinion is the entire student loans scheme itself, whereby many intelligent young people are now being denied an education because they are poor.

There's also a big difference between people who actively avoid repaying their loans and those who simply cannot afford to make payments. Woodham has unfortunately lumped them all together in her unjust tirade.

The ramifications of inhibiting many generations of New Zealander's from following the Kiwi dream by shackling them to debt at an early age and there being less opportunities to repay that debt have obviously not been considered by Woodham nor the government. Why should they give a fuck, it doesn't effect them or their children after all.

People consistently refusing to pay back their student loans are being targeted by the Government as the IRD increasingly uses legal action and debt collectors to claw back money from the arrogant oiks who have been sticking two fingers to the New Zealand taxpayer.

National isn't just targeting "arrogant oiks" who are actively avoiding repayments... They are also targeting former and present students who have been adversely affected by a lack of jobs that pay enough to survive on.

The phones ran red-hot on talkback this week with the overwhelming majority of people, including those who were diligently paying back their loans, believing it was time that the Government stopped dangling carrots in front of these individuals and started using a stick.

What a load of meaningless tosh! The people who frequent talkback radio are generally bigoted and ageist themselves, so it's little wonder that they support National punishing young students. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Woodham et al. started marching down the street with pithforks and torches chanting about their hatred for young people who simply want an education without paying the earth.

It was pointed out that if you wanted a free education, then access to courses would be restricted; that most of the people who'd attended uni when course costs were free had no access to any sort of living allowance - unless it came from their parents.

They had to work; and that many students today work and study so they don't have to apply for living costs, minimising their loans.

Yes, it's hard work to study and to work part time, but, hello! Welcome to the real world. It's a tiny minority of people who have reneged on their loans, but let's get that $418 million back off them.

There's a contradiction in terms for starters... How can a "tiny minority" of student's cause $418 million in debt? Such a huge brain fade certainly isn't worthy of publication in our main newspaper.

Woodham is obviously reminiscing about the good old days when you could gain a free education, with students who didn't come from upper class families being able to work part time or in the holidays in order to pay their living costs because there were enough well paid jobs around.

Up until recently, students used to have access to a non-repayable living allowance while they were studying. The government scrapped that because they only want rich kids to gain a higher education. That's what this is really all about... Elitism!

That way other people will be able to have the opportunity to get the sort of education that these loan defaulters have enjoyed.

That makes no sense... Making it harder to get a loan in the first place, placing a living allowance on tick and having a harsh regime of punishment if you default on repayments is going to reduce the amount of people attaining an education. Less educated people means a society in decline, and therefore another economic downturn on the horizon if the right wings neoliberal agenda is allowed to continue.

Woodham is unfortunately buying right into National's ageist agenda here whereby students are viewed as some sort of leech on the taxpayer. The fact of the matter is that without students being able to take out loans that might never be repaid, less people will be educated, and any sort of education is better than none.

12 Jan 2013

More action needed on youth unemployment

It's not often that I agree with anything Fran O’Sullivan writes, let alone on her advice concerning government policy for youth unemployment... But her article in the NZ Herald today is a step in the right direction.

If I have one New Year's wish it is that John Key returns from his Hawaiian summer holiday brimming with enough determination to challenge the nation's employers - and himself - to tackle youth unemployment.

It is truly bizarre that the number of unfilled skilled jobs is increasing at the same time as we have record youth unemployment and many graduates find themselves working in jobs that don't pay them enough to get on top of student debt and have enough over to save for their futures.

Of course Fran O’Sullivan is talking in code here... What she's actually doing is trying to lead people down the path of more state interference and a harsher regime of government repression particularly for young people. That's what the first job summit was all about, and it gained National momentum that they're desperate to find again.

There is no escaping the fact that O’Sullivan wants National to appear to be doing something about youth unemployment with another economic summit, when all they've actually done so far is make a lot of promises and failed deliver. We don't need another job summit from National; we need action and policy changes that will work to reduce youth unemployment... However I suspect a change in government will need to happen before anything improves.

O’Sullivan is being particularly insincere when she says Key might come back from holiday with all the right solutions, when National has been continuously displaying a complete lack of proper governance and no solutions at all to remedy the social and financial issues the country faces. They're an ideas free zone, and nothing is likely to change in that respect.

The fact of the matter is that National won't give up their gravy train and will simply continue to blame youth for the problems they face. Unemployment is just one issue amongst many and with things getting harder under the neoliberal agenda, youth are getting tougher and less likely to follow the rules.

This dynamic was factored into the right wings plan whereby they've built many more jail cells than is currently required. Things are going to get tougher, particularly for those who resist the fascism that's endemic within National's ideology. Despite that fact, O’Sullivan does her best to sugar coat the problem with some subtle get tough on youth and blame the victim propaganda.

Many have been brought up on a "follow your dream" diet only to find out too late that just following dreams doesn't always result in a job. An injection of realism is long overdue.

But that's no reason for the nation's leaders to shrug their collective shoulders and do nothing about the jobs deficit.

Key could start by cancelling the top personal tax break and "reinvesting" the hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise have gone into Bill English's Treasury coffers into a massive state-backed scheme to train young people in the skills needed for today's workforce.

Key could do that but he won't... There's too much riding on National placating the baby boomers, who make up the majority of voters. National hopes to maintain power by ensuring their tax free havens and tax breaks for their support base remain in place.

I hope that I'm wrong, but Key won't put what's best for the country ahead of Nationals potential re-election. They will of course roll out some bribes closer to the election, but this won't include incentives for people who don't have much of a political voice. That will mean the youth will continue to be ignored by the current ageist government, and the relevant negative statistics will continue to worsen.

But the Prime Minister needs to be bold and courageous.

There are big gaps in the New Zealand workforce, many of which should be filled from within - not simply by bringing in more immigrants because this country's leaders still will not comprehensively tackle the necessity to invest in skills training. Or because talented New Zealanders and those "workers" with some get-up-and-go have done just that, because New Zealand pay rates are too low. Or because they don't have the necessary skills for the jobs on offer.

I hate to agree with O’Sullivan here, being that she's a National party propagandist, but having youth sitting around doing nothing while the government spends millions on setting up immigrants to tackle the workload is a lose lose situation.

The social disintegration from creating an underclass with little hope for a brighter future apart from winning Lotto is one of the reasons New Zealand has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world. Experts have pinpointed the gap between rich and poor as being of particular detriment to a developed society, and New Zealand under a National government has excelled at creating more inequality than ever before.

The neoliberal agenda has and continues to cause untold misery for many Kiwi families... It's therefore well past time that National woke up to their numerous failings and put what's best for the country ahead of their own selfish agendas.

11 Jan 2013

Idle No More Short Documentary

Another manufactured crisis

Yesterday, The NZ Herald reported:

The Government plans to hound student loan holders who have gone overseas leaving big debts behind. 
Australian-based borrowers in particular will be targeted, as the Inland Revenue Department increasingly uses legal action or debt collectors to claw back money from the most reluctant payers.

I hate to swim against the tide here, but what this is really all about is National trying to ensure that education is only available for the rich, with those who are unable to repay student loans because of a weak job market being unfairly targeted by a government that is essentially ageist.

They're also hell bent on revenue gathering because their costs have ballooned out of control. Targeting "freeloaders" isn't the only way National is further taxing the people to try and balance their dodgy books, with various other taxes being recently announced in order to restrict and punish.

The problem is that the National party is controlled by a bunch of old white men who often develop negative policy that's specifically targeted against younger people. Unfortunately John Key and the rest of the tory scum don't have the best interests of the country at heart, and as long as the already wealthy are strengthening their positions, they simply don't care if the best and brightest have the opportunity for a higher education.

Overseas-based borrowers are responsible for 80 per cent of overdue repayments, which amounted to $418 million in October. 
"It's fundamentally a fairness issue," said Revenue Minister Peter Dunne. "There's a certain sense of annoyance amongst people who stayed in New Zealand and diligently worked to pay off their loans that these freeloaders overseas are, in some cases, getting away with it."

What a load of rot! There is no "sense of annoyance" amongst the working class in New Zealand about the few people who have left and are not repaying their student loans. This is another manufactured crisis in order to get Peter Dunne into the media spotlight.

It's also an inefficient use of capital whereby funds recovered aren't going to be more than the funds spent in chasing the bad debt. There's also the issue of selling the debt to a foreign collection agency when the contract is only pursuant to New Zealand laws.

Suing student loan debtors, taxing wages or repossessing items in foreign countries will also have a number of additional costs that makes the governments entire student loan debt recovery policy defunct... It's clearly unworkable in practice and in law.

Mr Dunne said that simply getting in touch with borrowers abroad was often enough to increase the rate of repayments.

"The vast majority, when contacted, realise they've got an issue and they have to do something about it. A few say, 'Go to hell', and they're more likely to be the ones that end up in court.

"We've also had cases of irate parents discovering that their darling had left the country with a rather large debt and have taken steps of their own."

The majority of borrowers overseas were in Australia, and IRD had become more aggressive in its pursuit of those with huge debt. It was increasingly employing debt collectors and in the very worst cases, borrowers were taken to court.

About 15 were being pursued for legal action in Australia at present.

Mr Dunne said the new measures would not collect all of the overdue payments, and only a culture change with regard to student loans would erase the mountain of debt.

The real problem here is the neoliberal agenda that believes younger generations should pay for the governments fiscal and social mismanagement.

Instead of actually living within their means, the government and many baby boomers who largely had free education themselves are happy to go along with the blame the young mentality. Who cares if the numbers don't stack up, as long as the government can appear to be doing something about the huge debt their mismanagement has caused, your average Joe Blogs will go along with the propaganda.

Of course Cameron Slater has an opinion... He wants to send in the debt collectors after creating false Facebook accounts to find out people's information. Who cares about the terms and conditions of Facebook itself or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF) that states a debt collector cannot misrepresent... Who cares that it won't work at all to reduce the student loan debt, as long as it creates more jobs for fat useless bastards like him, the tory slob and other ideologically blinded morons will continue to applaud National's stupidity.

There's no doubt that the governments idiotic idea to make former students pay-up no matter what will end up costing the taxpayer more than is recovered. They will also turn more people away from seeking an education in the first place, which is obviously another one of Nationals agendas.... Educated people are harder to control after all.

9 Jan 2013

Where's my electric car?

Yesterday, the Guardian reported:

Electric car sales rapidly picked up speed in 2012, with numbers almost doubling in the first nine months, ahead of a new generation of models by BMW, Ford and Tesla Motors arriving in 2013.

The acceleration hugely outstripped growth in the wider car industry, which saw a sales increase of just 5.4% in 2012 against 2011. The turnaround for the low-carbon cars' fortunes follows a £5,000 government grant launched in January 2011, which saw sales leaping in the first quarter of 2011 before quickly declining.

Although the uptake in the US isn't as good, this is most excellent news, with a dramatic increase in sales required to ensure less greenhouse gas emissions are produced from transportation.

Without a drastic reduction in the use of petroleum vehicles, climate change and its various negative effects on the planet will mean a reduction in mankind's progress, progress that is currently being inhibited by the status quo.

Despite the drastic circumstances of a warming planet, manufacturers are still overpricing electric vehicles in order to sell petrol cars that in the long run make them and the oil and gas industry more money.

Being that vehicle manufacturers are largely owned by the oil and gas industry, they're simply trying to offset the lost capital from people not filling up their tanks with petrol. It's not because of rare materials or a lack of technology; it's because of industry driven greed that electric vehicles are still unaffordable to the general wage earner.

The myopic situation of planned obsolescence unfortunately means that manufacturing companies are run on a purely shortsighted business model, without any real long-term projections taken into account as to the true cost of climate change.

There's no doubt that it will eventually start to eat into their profit margins, but until that happens, car manufactures aren't likely to start selling electric vehicles in accordance with what they actually cost to produce.

Even with government subsidies, the current level of uptake for electric vehicles is not enough to avert more climate catastrophes, and in most cases government's are only paying lip service to proper regulations, with the New Zealand’s government in particular entirely averse to implementing policy that could reduce carbon emissions through better transportation systems.

It's not all doom and gloom though, with a recent groundswell of activism ensuring a movement away from the reliance on fossil fuels. Demand for more clean and green alternatives is also set to increase and with the current low costs of manufacturing, we're certain to see more electric vehicles on our roads in the near future.