House prices predicted to drop after the general election. Yeah nah

A correction in house prices is looming as the number of homes being built reaches a record high, says economic forecaster Infometrics

It predicts house prices will continue to rise, but only until December 2017.

After that they could fall by 11 percent over the period until September 2019, particularly in the regions outside Auckland.

Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan said despite very strong house price growth right now “you are going to get to a position where you do have an oversupply of property at the same time as population growth will be slowing”.

Earlier, Infometrics predicted that building approvals would increase rapidly, rising to about 40 percent up on current numbers by 2018. Read more »

Disabled patients sue Government

Guest Post

Three intellectually disabled men are suing the Government for upwards of $100,000 each, alleging ill treatment such as warehousing, neglect and discrimination in forensic health facilities.

The three “special patients” will have their case heard in the High Court at Wellington this week, with five defendants including the Attorney-General and two district health boards accused of various human rights abuses.

All the defendants deny the claims. The men are likely to get name suppression and will not appear in court.

They have provided video statements to police interviewers.

The case, in which the men are seeking declarations of ill treatment and compensation from the Government, follows Herald investigations into conditions at secure health and disability sites this year.

These included the case of Ashley Peacock, a 38-year-old autistic man held for five years in the isolated ward of a mental health unit, and who has experienced periods of prolonged seclusion, the medical term for solitary confinement.

His living conditions – he sleeps in a seclusion room with just a mattress and a urine bottle – were recently labelled “cruel, inhuman or degrading” by Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier.

Interesting article which raises some questions. Read more »

American’s first Amendment rights violated by Social Media companies

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This month the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

Center for Security Policy  Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch. The lawsuit alleges that Spencer and Geller as well as the organisations they run, have often been subject to discrimination and censorship by twitter Facebook and YouTube because of the beliefs and views they express. They believe the censorship and discrimination is because these social media organisations consider their freedom of expression to be offensive to Muslims.

Read more »

Mental Health Break

Whaleoil readership survey results: Whaleoilers’ favourite food

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Our analysis of written responses reveals a love of vegetarian, home grown, fresh food,Italian and Indian food as well as bacon ( no surprises there )

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Read more »

Map of the Day

Trump is just too far behind Clinton to have any chance. Oh wait…

Nate Silver lets the data do the talking.

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This is very, very dangerous

New Zealand academic Dr Jarrod Gilbert writes

There is no greater crime being perpetuated on future generations than that committed by those who deny climate change. The scientific consensus is so overwhelming that to argue against it is to perpetuate a dangerous fraud. Denial has become a yardstick by which intelligence can be tested. The term climate sceptic is now interchangeable with the term mindless fool.

No greater crime?

Meta studies show that 97 per cent of published climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that it is caused by human activities. The American Association for the Advancement of Science compared it to the consensus linking smoking to cancer. The debate is over, yet doubt continues.

Oh really?

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The worst of these problems will impact more greatly on generations to come, but to ignore them now is as unconscionable as it is selfish. It ought be seen as a crime. Read more »

Fox selected to review the foxes in charge of the hen house

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The Marlborough Express, the paper that wouldn’t publish the late night emails from “Mayor Sowman”, has announced that the Theatre Trust has appointed well known Auckland Luvvie Richard Jeffery.

The Marlborough District Council has appointed Richard Jeffrey as a consultant to look at the Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust’s management and governance of the ASB Theatre.  Read more »

Photo of the Day

Violet Gibson, the woman who shot Mussolini: From an upper class life on Merrion Square to the mental asylum and what if she had succeeded. Photo by: Library of Congress.

Violet Gibson, the woman who shot Mussolini: From an upper class life on Merrion Square to the mental asylum and what if she had succeeded. Photo by: Library of Congress.

The Woman Who Shot Mussolini

At 10.58am on Wednesday April 7 1926, Benito Mussolini paused to salute an ecstatic crowd in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. As a group of students broke into song, he cocked his head in their direction. At that moment, a slight, bespectacled, shabby woman, standing less than a foot away, took aim and shot him at point-blank range. The first bullet grazed Il Duce’s nose, releasing a spectacular torrent of blood; the second jammed in the pistol chamber.

After the shooting Mussolini, was still alive because he turned his head just as Violet fired, set out for a triumphal visit to Libya with a sticking plaster on his nose. Meanwhile Violet was half-lynched, then dragged, badly battered, into a room containing the colossal marble foot of the Emperor Constantine, there to be revived with brandy before being dispatched to prison. It was the end of her life in the world.

In 1926, at the time of their bathetic encounter, Mussolini was a splendid figure of a man who liked to display his muscled torso shirtless. Violet was tiny (5ft 1in, and emaciated), unmarried and not much loved, 50 years old but looking 60, and odd enough in her behaviour to have been twice admitted to sanatoria for the mentally ill.

The Honourable Violet Gibson, who believed she was acting on God’s orders, had just come closer than anyone else to assassinating Mussolini. She had, as she would later boast, shaped history that morning – though not in the way she would have liked. Public sympathy and admiration for the “saintly” statesman exploded in the wake of her attack, one of four attempts made on his life in less than a year.

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