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.

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  • Kiwiracer

    I see in a newspaper this morning a fire in a garage in Turangi that was being used as a sleep out, I doubt there is a shortage of rental homes in Turangi or the house prices are rampant. . . . .just saying

    • Steve kay

      I’m from there. People just make that choice. The bigger question is, if HNZ tenants are renting their garages for $400/w, who exactly keeps that money? Of course they dutifully hand it over to HNZ don’t they?

      • KGB

        Exactly. Sub-letting is not allowed under HNZ contracts. The ‘landlord’ is also renting an illegal dwelling unless the garage is permited as a minor dwelling.
        If the house is tenanted by by beneficeries is the garage rental income declared to WINZ?
        Are the garage tenants claiming a rent subsidy on the garage rental? In the application do they state “garage at 22 Smith St” or just 22 Smith St, or is it 22a & 22b Smith St.
        What a joke on the taxpayer if we are providing subsidised rentals for both house AND garage on a single address. All based on illegal incomes and dwellings.

        • Steve kay

          But if we bring it up, we are poor bashing. Makes me grumpy

        • Ruahine

          It happens though.

    • lyall

      i spent 3 years living in a garage, some of the best times of my life!

  • Korau

    I see that the Labour Party has reportedly joined the ranks of those calling for the Auckland City Council to relax the city boundaries and make more land available for housing.

    Common sense, really, but it’s taken them a long time to realise this.

    What will PDB think of his mates throwing him under a passing Auckland transport bus?

    • Steve kay

      I love that the first sensible policy from Labour in years, get agreed to within a couple hours by the govt.

      Reminding the constituents about bipartisan politics, in turn, reminding us how petty and churlish Labour are towards National policy. RMA reform anyone?

      • Mike Webber

        This was a National party policy in 2008 and like tax cuts not kept.

  • Korau

    Shock, horror!!


    In a rebuke to the EU, and environmental activists worldwide, the
    biggest scientific metastudy yet conducted of genetically modified foods concludes they’re good for human health and the environment.

    The National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an advisory body of scientists, finds no evidence of risks over conventional crops, and huge benefits in the shape of increased yields in poor countries, and healthier crops. Nor did the boffins find any evidence of the catastrophic environmental risks touted by scaremonger green groups.”

    Source : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/05/18/academies_gm_foods_ok/

    Question: Would you eat GM foods (assuming there is a proper checking regime in place)?

    I would have no qualms eating GM (and probably have done so unknowingly).

    Edit : Added source URL.

    • Isherman

      I’ve always taken the position that ‘GM’ is really just another form of refined breeding, which in all reality people have been doing with food sources for an awful long time. Whether it be plant food stock, or animals, we have been selectively breeding food stock since man moved away from being hunter gatherers, and GM is just a continuation of that with more advanced methods. Sure, have a robust testing system, but I’ve never had any real concerns about it. One of my high school teachers was a food technologist by trade, and his explaination the GM processes made perfect sense.

      • Cadwallader

        The hysterics around GM foods are as perverse as burning witches. I have always been an advocate of GM foods simply on the basis that it makes more sense to eat crops which are designed/intended to be consumed rather than something which evolution has thrown up at random.When a naysayer starts referring to the need to eat “natural” foods, ask them to define “natural.” What is natural today may not have been so 50 years ago, 1000 years ago etc.. When it comes to dietary fads the utter nonsense which is the paleo diet stretches credibility too far. The paleolithic period lasted about 3,000,000 years yet we are asked to accept that one chef in Sydney knows the diet which represented that entire period! Really!!! The other fear peddled by the anti-GMO sector is that somehow through genetic modification crops will leap across divides and mutate into new and nasty species. This is fallacious as my understanding is that food modification is cygenetic rather than transgenetic which means that improvements in food supply overwhelmingly flow from modifications within a species as opposed to moving genes from one species to another, I’m no expert but I do enjoy debunking the hysterics of the mindless opposers by trying to check things out.

        • Isherman

          Correct, put another way, look at the evolution of any species…including our own over time and its the same thing happening by natural means. Genetic structures change naturally, we just have ability to intervene as it suits our needs best and at a pace we determine, nothing more.

          • Cadwallader

            The Abbot who destroyed Mendel’s works and observations regarding sweet-peas centuries ago would never have expected to be replicated by food-nutters 300 odd years later. Has mankind really progressed? Perhaps not given the difficulties encountered trying to rid ourselves of socialism.

    • Dan

      GM foods have been the solution to a lot of the food shortage problems for decades. But like anything that is likely to improve the lifelihood of the average third world oerson, the UN block.
      They banned DDT (not harmful) and this lead to a malaria problem
      They support CO2 reduction when increased CO2 has been shown to green the olanet and shorten harvest times
      They ban GM when in many cases GM crops can survive in regions that cant support a natural population

      The argument against GM is that you somehow get infected by the modified genes. Like the gene can somehow translocate into a human cell. Utter nonsense! Eating a GM tomato wont turn you into one, just because it lasts up to a month in the fridge. Heck, a Big Mac apparently lasts longer but this hasnt turned me into a tall goofy clown.

      I have no qualms in eating GM crops.

      • JohnO

        CO2 is absolutely nescessary for plant growth as photosynthesis cannot take place without it. All organic compounds have their building blocks in the carbon taken from the air by photosynthesis. This carbon is in the form of CO2 and its proportion in the atmosphere is now 400 parts per million which is the same proportion as 4 cents in $100.
        When CO2 was as low as 280 parts per million (1800s) it seems to be perilously close to not enough CO2 concentration to optimise plant growth. I for one am happy to have a small safety margin of essential CO2 in our atmosphere rather than being right down to a bare minimum that restricts plant growth substantially on the surface of the planet.

        • Dan

          Indeed, but Climatologists ade the politicos that listen to them seem to have forgotten Year 9 Science. It was in uni that I learned that CO2 was a major limiting factor to photosynthesis. Commerical greeenhouse growers are known to increase CO2 in their greenhouses to about the optimum of 1000 ppm to encourage rapid plant growth and higher yields. They used to do this by burning coal but now I beleive they burn CNG/LPG.

          For heaven’s sake dont tell the environmentalists that one though.

          Ironically, this (highly sinful ;/) buring of fossil fuel be avoided by growing crop varieties that are high performers at low CO2 levels (ie, atmospheric) which is where GMOs come to the fore!

    • JEL51

      Can someone explain the difference between GM & GE. I understood that GM is modifying gene material with-in the same plant tissue, where as GE is introducing outside/animal gene material to plant tissue. Have I got that right and if so, should it not be GE placed under a total ban?

  • Usaywot

    I doubt anyone raving about people living in garages has been to the Pacific islands to see how people live there. A garage is a palace compared to some of those houses. They must think moving here is better or have they been told the government, I.e. taxpayer, will provide.

  • Usaywot

    Yes, opening up more land will help Auckland’s housing crisis but thinking long term, will we lose some of the lovely small towns on the fringes like Clevedon etc. We have already lost Albany and taken to its logical conclusion will Auckland eventually stretch from Whangarei to Hamilton? Perish the thought. I think it is time to develop dormitory towns with a green belt around them. Of course that would require high speed transport.

    • sheppy

      Satellite towns are one of the sensible policy’s of Palino, way more sensible than Len’s cram as many people as possible into existing space with stretched infrastructure.
      The problem for Lenny is it doesn’t support the case for his beloved legacy trainset to nowhere new

    • Sailor Sam

      You are so right, city and suburbs from Whangarei to Hamilton is the inevitable rsult of all our economic eggs based on Auckland.
      One volcanic eruption on the Auckland isthmus will stop NZ dead in its tracks.
      Government policy should be to decentralise, have industry and services away from that city.
      It should be a by-partisan approach, but unfortunately it will never happen, unless doing nothing is the way to go and businesses move out of the city anyway because of costs and restrictions.
      When people cannot get to work, when business suffers on the bottom line then business will move to cheaper pastures and people wil follow.
      When I hear people say that all the “good” jobs are in Auckland and that is the way it is and always will be, then I suggest that they read up on history and work out for themselves why this country and other western countries lost so much manufacturing to the Asian continent.
      It was because it was/is cheaper to manufacture in Asia and despite transportation costs, still cheaper to land it here compared to manufacturing things here.
      The same holds true for jobs in Auckland, when it becomes to expensive, business will move to cheaper pastures.
      What needs to be done is making sure that these businesses move to NZ provinces and not overseas.
      That is where government policies must come in so as to facilitate this process.

  • jaundiced

    Going against the tide here, I know.

    While Auckland has a shortage of land available for housing, I don’t call removing city boundaries altogether a ‘sensible’ policy.
    Good planning is just that – planning. And planning needs to be integrated, i.e. taking into account the impact on infrastructure – transport, amenities, how sprawling populations will have access to services, shops, schools etc. And the overall impact on quality of life and environment. What will unconfined sprawl really look like?

    Planning for population growth also means managing the source of that growth, i.e. immigration.

    As I say, nothing ‘sensible’ about saying lets just throw it all open.

    • Richard

      It may relieve things on the supply of land for new housing side of things, but I can’t see it slowing down demand, in fact quite the opposite.

      It will certainly bring a windfall for rural land owners who fall into the extended zone.

    • OT Richter

      Couldn’t agree more. To me, moving the City limits is simply giving up and taking the easy route. Trouble is that it’s not that easy due to the massive costs of providing and maintaining infrastructure (roading, 3 waters, schools, parks etc). The high construction costs are borne by the developer and recovered through increased section prices, and the maintenance costs are covered by the ratepayer – costs that are not traditionally covered by the rates base that is created in that particular area. Unless of course there is a targeted rate, which in turn makes it even less affordable to live there.

    • Seriously?

      Yes, but removing the prohibition on non-rural development outside the MUL does not make it a free-for-all. Subdivisions will still need to get resource consent, and the infrastructure needs will still needs to be ticked off as a part of that (including development contributions to pay for it).

      What it would allow is for development to occur in places where those needs can be satisfied, but for which the only inhibiting factor is that they happen to be outside the MUL.

      It is worth noting that the District Councils on the fringe of Auckland strongly opposed the MUL when the ARC introduced it – and for the most part they were the ones that were going to have to cope with the infrastructure demand.

    • Wheninrome

      The cry will be that “this land is not in a good suburb or part of town” I want to live near Ponsonby and the “treed” part of town,
      Hon earth are we going to make the up and comers happy with a house in the area that they want. We could look at Auckland Domain, One tree Hill and other central parks that would solve the issue. Do you think they would be happy to forego parks for a central home in a good part of Auckland.
      Some of these young people need to get over themselves and be either happy for a highrise, or a long commute, or shift towns.

    • Around Botany Downs it is most stark. On one side of the road sections are being crammed in and hugely expensive. The other side of the road is open land which is also rapidly increasing in value because of the boundary, eventually the boundary will creep across that road and more hugely expensive sections will be opened up but just a few. Removing the boundary will mean that the land value will drop considerably and correspondingly the house prices of new builds where currently the land value is more than double the value of the dwelling built on it. In Arizona the land value is less than a third of the price os a house. Auckland it is the other way around.

      • Seriously?

        We are focused on new subdivisions, but It may also allow some businesses to relocate outside the MUL freeing up their present sites for residential redevelopment.

    • dennis

      All the planning we have done so far has had little positive effect in fact quite the reverse. The planners have had a very poor education and seem to be unable to learn from experience and observation. The current city infrastructure cannot cope with densification sand there is none available for outwards expansion.

    • R&BAvenger

      Up and out, rather than just up as ACC has been pushing is the solution to supply. Certainly has worked for Christchurch. House prices have plateaued and rental prices dropped from 1-2 years ago.

  • spanishbride

    This political cartoon’s point is relevant to NZ as well. Our MSM should take note.

  • kereru

    More info on the ‘teen’ who was arrested in Sydney. Among the details, the issue arises over why both Australia and NZ are cancelling passports to keep these individuals in the country, rather than letting them go and cancelling their passports after they’ve gone. One sentence stood out:

    Mr Khaja has also been charged with a foreign incursion offence after he was stopped at Sydney Airport on February 27, allegedly attempting to fly to Syria to join Islamic State. His passport was cancelled, prompting him to turn his attention to a homegrown attack, police allege.

    What possible reason is there for us to keep these terror plotters against their will? Let them go. Isn’t it their right to leave if they so choose? Or are we still labouring under the impression that they are loyal citizens first and Muslims second? Surely it’s a win-win situation to help send them packing, never to return.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/tamim-khaja-18-charged-with-planning-terrorist-attack-over-sevenday-period-20160518-goy56d.html

    • kereru

      Another thought – while Australia is busy rounding up Kiwi crims and deporting them, it’s keeping Islamic terror plotters who have the potential to harm the State and the wider public in a far more destructive manner. The big question is why?

    • FornaK

      I agree with you 100%
      Every person I speak too from all walks of life, smile, shake their head and say they don’t know. I honestly don’t know either.
      Are we simple members of public missing something?
      I wish someone could explain this reasoning, as I’m serious. I’d love to know.
      I can’t see anything wrong with letting them and all their friends and families head overseas, cancel their passports the minute they’re through immigration, and never let them back in the country. Would save a heap of money. Or is it too PC not to do this?
      They’re on terrorist watchable for a reason. Boarding a a plane and wanting to head overseas to these areas, surely confirms any suspicions.

  • Cadwallader

    I do not have a personal stake in the fortunes of Auckland as a city, but my concern is that in NZ planning (if it deserves to be called that?) is a disjointed affair. Putting aside the impediments posed by the RMA NZ lacks a broad urban development plan. Each vested interest opposes the other vested interests rather than melding and modifying interests. For a number of years I had cause to drive south from Christchurch and even before the dislocations of the earthquakes it occurred to me that a commuter passenger rail service between Christchurch and Ashburton similar to that between Waikanae and Wellington would be feasible. It would enhance Ashburton’s growth and would have possibly avoided the need for a new town at Rolleston. The distance Christchurch/Ashburton is about 45 miles which is marginally greater than the distance Waikanae/Wellington. The difference is that the line Christchurch/Ashburton is more or less straight and unlikely to suffer closures. It would be an hour long trip allowing for stops at Rakaia, Rolleston and Hornby. Who would promote this? The Councils of Christchurch or Ashburton or NZ Rail? Nobody did hence an opportunity is being overlooked.

  • oldmanNZ

    Raybon Kan has a article in NZH today. I know he is a comedian but he raise some interesting points.
    Why do homeless sleep on a busy street, rather than going somewhere quite? Like in a quiet side street, i guess with more foot traffic, they may get a donation, but some dont even have a hat out.
    Are they doing this as some sort of political statement?

    • Mark

      Some of them are,but also IMO it is safer to sleep out in public rather than tucked away out of sight.

  • Nige.

    I’m listening to mark sainsbury . It’s awesome. Everyone is letting him have it about how shonky the media are. He’s trying to defend shock headlines but is falling flat.

  • Zanyzane

    It actually has nothing to do with the MUL. Its more to do with Visual Height limits of 57 sacred mounts. Mt Eden, Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, One Tree Hill, 3 Kings, Mt Wellington etc. Auckland region is already 5000skm stretched from Leigh in the north down to Pukekohe in the south. Travel distance is 129km. Compare that with Houston, which stretches from The Woodlands in the North to Texas City in the south and that is a whopping 118km. with 6.2 million people with a 10,000skm. We are full with 1.5million peopple. It is about density. We do not have enough height in the centre.

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