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 »

Map of the Day

A land tax in name but not in substance will achieve sweet Fanny Adams

A land tax is an annual levy based on the value of the land owned. In its 2010 report the Tax Working Group advocated for a land tax to make the system fairer, i.e. a way to broaden the tax burden away from income, but the option it presented was to apply the tax in New Zealand.

The disadvantages of a land tax, as outlined in the report, are that any tax levied on a piece of land automatically decreases the value of that land and it disadvantages groups likely to own large land masses, for example farmers and Māori authorities, and groups with fixed incomes.

In short, constituents the government would not want to mess with – its traditional farming base, homeowners in leafy suburbs enjoying the benefits of high house prices and the growing number of ageing New Zealanders moving onto a pension.

But that is never going to be a problem for Mr Key because he has no intention of levying the tax on anyone living here, in fact he has also talked about exempting New Zealanders who have moved overseas and still own a home here.

A tax on non-resident, non-New Zealanders is going to present a very narrow target.  Keeping in mind that the intention is to take the heat out of the property market, will it have any practical effect beyond the government being seen to be doing something?   Read more »

Tagged:

Adults make better decisions on diet, so dairies close to schools need to be banned

That’s the gist of the argument put forward by the Morgan Foundation:

The Morgan Foundation, started by Gareth Morgan and his family, has made the call in a submission to the Advertising Standards Authority, which is reviewing its code for advertising to children.

Many other submitters are also worried about children being targeted in or around their school environment.

A study released on Wednesday showed schools were surrounded by take-away and convenience stores.

Many of them were decked out in the colours and logos of ice-cream or soft drink brands.

Morgan Foundation general manager Geoff Simmons said that sort of branding should not be near primary schools, nor should billboards advertising junk food.

It was time for the advertising code to be broadened to reflect the way children are bombarded with marketing from many sources, he said.

“In the past we have tended to take a very narrow view of what constitutes junk food marketing to children.

“When we look at the sort of marketing that children actually see it is much broader than the narrow definition of advertising.” Read more »

Green taliban co-leader James Shaw attempts to scare investors out of fossil fuels

" Don't shoot "

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said Finance Minister Bill English needed to open his eyes to climate change or risk being hit by the “perfect financial storm”.

The Greens are calling on the government to require all public fund managers to disclose their exposure to climate risks, following Dr [Jan] Wright’s report.

“Publicly managed funds in New Zealand have significant investments in the fossil fuel industry, in assets that could lose value rapidly as major economies like China and the EU shift to cleaner energy,” Mr Shaw said.

“New Zealanders, who have money tied up in these funds, should be aware of how much of their savings are exposed if the value of the fossil fuel industry declines.”

I don’t even know where to start.

The clean non-oil energy storm has been predicted for nearly half a century now.   Any change is hardly going to be rapid, and investors are hardly going to get caught overnight. Read more »

Photo Of The Day

First claim: In an interview to be with CBS', Charles Cullen at first says he thought he was helping people by ending their suffering.

First claim: In an interview, Charles Cullen at first says he thought he was helping people by ending their suffering.

The Tainted Kidney

Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is a former nurse who is the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history and is suspected to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. He confessed to authorities that he killed up to 40 patients during the course of his 16-year nursing career. But in subsequent interviews with police, psychiatric professionals, and journalists Charles Graeber and Steve Kroft, it became clear that he had killed many more, whom he could not specifically remember by name, though he could often remember details of their case. Experts have estimated that Charles Cullen may ultimately be responsible for over 300 deaths, which would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history

Cullen, is serving eighteen consecutive life sentences in a New Jersey penitentiary. Behind bars, he can no longer take life, yet he’s found a way to give it—in the form of an organ transplant. But no one wants to give him the chance to play God again.

The Angel of Death looks sleepy. His face shows nothing. His eyes are closed. Charles Cullen sits motionless in the wooden defendant’s chair of the Somerset County Courthouse as, hour after hour, his victims’ families take the stand. They read poems and show photographs, they weep and yell. If Cullen hears them, he doesn’t say; he never does. During his years in custody, Cullen has never apologized or made excuses. He has never issued a statement, offered a public word, never faced the families of his victims. In fact, the only reason he’s in court today is because he wants to give away one of his kidneys.

To that end, he has cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to appear at his sentencing on the condition that he be allowed to donate an organ to the dying relative of a former girlfriend. To many of the families of his victims, this deal is a personal insult—the man in shackles still calling the shots, the serial-killer nurse wanting to control the fate of yet another human life. But for the families of his New Jersey victims, this is the first and last chance to confront Charles Cullen. So they are here, and they are angry.

Read more »