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Latest news headlines from Reuters

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Don’t miss Question Time on Tuesday – all hell will break loose

The government is in for a fight when parliament sits on Tuesday.

Foreign trusts, the prime minister’s integrity, departmental incompetence and a suspect land deal – it’s all there and Labour and the Greens are locked and loaded.

It all ties back to the Panama Papers, the millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that specialises in setting up foreign trusts.

It was those documents that led Labour’s David Cunliffe to discover the identity of the buyers of Onetai Station in Taranaki.

They were Argentinian brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, operating through a company called Ceol and Muir.

They were Mossack Fonseca clients, which didn’t mean they’d been involved in anything illegal but inevitably raised suspicions.

The Overseas Investment Office, which investigates applications to buy big slices of farmland (1320ha in this case) gave the Grozovsky brothers the green light in 2013.

They bought the station in 2014, and made no secret of it. Local beef farmers were taken on as advisors, they aimed to increase production.

So far so good. Prime Minister John Key says the Mossack Fonseca connection was irrelevant.

There’s no claim or evidence they used a foreign trust to pay for the station and the deal was handled this end by law firm Kensington Swan.

All hot air?  Or is there more?   Read more »

Tamati Coffey opens mouth with predictable results

Watch as the stupid rolls forth.

Read more »

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Labour declare a new crisis…Education

Labour have a habit of declaring a crisis in almost any industry sector. They declared one in manufacturing and it was promptly solved. They declared a crisis about Kiwis leaving for overseas and now they are all coming home.

The latest crisis that Labour have declared is in Education. Chris Hipkins emails seeking a whole lot of misery-guts whingers so they can pimp them to the Media party:

From: Chris Hipkins
Date: Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 3:09 PM
Subject: SURVEY: Is this costing you?
To: [REDACTED]

[REDACTED],

A free education used to be a right in New Zealand. But the cost of education is rising and many Kiwis and their children are missing out.

In fact, the cost of sending a child to school is increased at ten times the rate of inflation. Rising school donations, the cost of school trips, extras and digital devices are all driving up the cost of sending our children to school.

And the cost of post-school education is dramatically rising too, making it harder for Kiwis to train and retrain for work.

We know the stats – but we want to hear how it’s affecting people like you, [REDACTED].    Read more »

So, why does the property industry hate the compact city?

Auckland-Housing

The property industry hates Auckland’s compact city dream. The loathing is substantial.

There are a few players who like the compact city idea – but those people have more to gain from restricted supply that boosts the value and demand for their investments.

And there are the gravy train troughers who sit on committees and feel important and cherished. They like the idea too. But they are mostly consultants.

The rest of the property industry thinks the compact city sucks. It’s like dog poo on their shoes.

Partly the loathing is universally influenced by the seething hatred that the property industry has for planners and the processing hoards of hairy-foot hobbits in the Council organisation. These meddlers and haters of the world cause mayhem and angst 24/7 for the property industry with slow processing, crap decisions and constant niggle.

But the compact city is the incongruous icing on the cake.   Read more »

Council Economist tells it like it is

So, Auckland Council’s own Chief Economist gets it but the rest of Council is going to continue to act like a bunch of stubborn old stooges, and stick with the impossible dream of a building a compact city.

Auckland Council’s plans for higher density housing cannot succeed unless the city also expands further into the countryside, says the council’s chief economist.

Chris Parker said the only way to contain Auckland’s runaway house inflation – up $70,000 last month to $820,000 on a median price house – was to open up more rural land to relieve price pressure on a “dysfunctional” urban land market.

The council’s flagship compact city plan, based on more people living in apartments, terraced houses and townhouses within city limits, was necessary but unable to work by itself.

“Intensification won’t do it – not alone, it’s got to be part of a package,” Mr Parker told the Herald in an interview for the Home Truths series.

“Intensification increases the opportunities for what can be done on each piece of land and it increases the value of land underneath. The hope is that you can spread more houses on top of it, but the problem is we’re in a race we can’t win.   Read more »

Mental Health Break

Public Service Announcement: Help sponsor a KidsCan child

A first-hand account of what it’s really like for families living in hardship in New Zealand as they send their kids back to school.

KidsCan visited the Waikato with Tristram Clayton and saw Kihikihi School, which is waiting for their support. Mum, Renee Hei Hei, and School Principal, Andy Morgan, talked about the challenges of hungry tummies and making a little money stretch a long way for their kids. They also visited a current KidsCan partner school, Waihi Central School, and spoke with the principal about how KidsCan is helping the school and their kids focus on the important stuff – their education.   Read more »