Who should be responsible for ensuring that homes are affordable?

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The overwhelming majority of Whaleoil readers agree that no one is responsible for ensuring that homes are affordable. Market forces,  supply and demand, determine house prices.

Read more »

John Key not told about China’s trade retaliation issue

The Prime Minister’s department was aware Zespri in China was warned about trade implications against New Zealand companies.

However, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) did not brief Prime Minister John Key or his office, because it was judged the claims by a Chinese industry group were unsubstantiated.

Zespri last week confirmed that one of its representatives in Beijing was given “unsubstantiated information” by a Chinese industry body about the prospect of trade restrictions by China and had passed that on to Embassy officials.

Its confirmation came after media reports that China could take retaliatory action against dairy and kiwifruit exports from New Zealand if a formal investigation into alleged steel dumping by China is launched by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

MBIE is understood to have received two complaints from New Zealand steel producers about Chinese steel flooding the New Zealand market. Read more »

Europe’s leaders deliberately miss the point

German officials are calling for tighter guns laws after the shooting in Munich that killed nine people and the gunman, a deranged 18-year-old who was obsessed with mass killings.

“We must continue to do all we can to limit and strictly control access to deadly weapons,” German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats, told Funke Mediengruppe, which owns a series of German newspapers.

Gabriel said German authorities were investigating how the German-Iranian dual national had gained access to a weapon despite signs that he had significant psychological issues.

“Gun control is an important issue,” Gabriel told the newspaper chain.

The youth opened fire near a busy shopping mall on Friday evening, killing nine and wounding 27 more, before turning the gun on himself as police approached.
The Munich shooting was the third act of violence against civilians in Western Europe – and the second in southern Germany – in eight days. Read more »

Brief Whaleoil Readership Survey because of poorly phrased original question

Dear Readers due to my inexperience I phrased a question poorly in the recent Whaleoil readership survey so the results were inaccurate.

Readers were able to select from a number of options as I wanted their age, gender, and sexual preference but I put it all in a single question instead of three and not every part of the question was answered by everyone. I think readers felt that they had to select only one option which would explain why there were 786 in total who answered male or female but only 171 in total who selected heterosexual or homosexual.

In order to get an accurate picture I have redone that part of the survey and hope that you will all be so kind as to answer it for us.I have also added the option of not answering the sexual preference question.

I am asking the question because Whaleoil was a big supporter of the gay marriage bill but we have been accused of being homophobic by the left. I am interested to see how many gay readers we have for that reason. The results from the first inaccurate question, indicated that we have seven gay readers.

I have added a question about where our readers live as someone in the comments on the blog indicated that they would be interested to know that statistic.

My prediction for the results are as follows…

Read more »

Washington Post editorial in cold sweat about Trump

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.

Why are we so sure? Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. That experiment turned out pretty well — but Mr. Trump, to put it mildly, is no Dwight David Eisenhower. Leading the Allied campaign to liberate Europe from the Nazis required strategic and political skills of the first order, and Eisenhower — though he liked to emphasize his common touch as he faced the intellectual Democrat Adlai Stevenson — was shrewd, diligent, humble and thoughtful.

Read more »

Hide on poverty

We have had an avalanche of reports on child poverty and this week academics delivered a report on teen poverty. It made for a change. The concern again is material poverty: the lack of a phone, a car or a holiday.

But the poverty that should concern us most is of spirit and ambition.

We have an established drumbeat that poverty is something done to people about which they can do nothing. The only cure is a government that cares enough to provide that car, that phone, that holiday.

The only hope given such an outlook is to bellyache and complain, to engage in political action, and, as a last resort, to effect do-it-yourself transfers of wealth no matter the law.

Nowhere in the analysis of poverty is what is self-evident looking about our streets, shopping malls and schools.

There is a listlessness, a hopelessness, a nasty enviousness among those making up the statistics. There is no self-respect, no drive, no push to make a better life for themselves and those around them.

We know that providing the phone, the car, the holiday, won’t make a jot of difference. The problem is one of outlook and values.

It’s easy to change a person’s material circumstance. It’s much harder changing values. I am afraid that’s where the problem lies and it’s been generations in the making. It is not easily solved and I doubt government policy can fix it. It’s going to take each of us and the community to reassert the values of successful living and prosperous society. Read more »

Whaleoil General Debate

keep-calm-and-don-t-shoot-the-messenger-3Morning everyone, and welcome to Whaleoil’s daily General Debate post (another one called Backchat will start at 6pm). To participate you’ll need to register a free Disqus account.

There are some rules, and if there is one thing about Whaleoil that you need to know is that these rules are dispassionately and strictly enforced.

Face of the Day

Marama Davidson Green Party MP speaking at the Conference on Palestine 04.2016

Marama Davidson Green Party MP speaking at the Conference on Palestine 04.2016

Green Party MP Marama Davidson will be joining a women’s peace boat in late September which will highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the Green Party said today.

Israel has blockaded the Gaza strip by land, sea, and air since 2006, resulting in plummeting living standards and health services, high unemployment, and severe food insecurity, according to the United Nations.  Read more »

Word of the day

The word for today is…

albedo (noun) – 1. The fraction of incident electromagnetic radiation reflected by a surface, especially of a celestial body.
2. The spongy white tissue on the inside of the rind of citrus fruit.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : “Ratio of light reflected from a surface,” 1859, from Latin albedo, literally “whiteness,” from albus “white.

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 24

2For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.