Waiting list for state houses at an all time high

Photoshopped image credit: Luke

This is the year of delivery. In the 16 or so months that this government has been in power, we have reached a number of new highs. The acceptable rate of methamphetamine contamination in a house has been increased. The number of homeless people has increased – not that you would know it, since the media steers well away from the subject. The latest high we have reached is the number of people waiting for a state house, which has increased by 63% since this government took office.

This is probably due to a number of factors, but introducing policies that stick it to private landlords will definitely not have helped this situation. quote.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford opened 11 new state homes for the elderly in Whangārei yesterday, for tenants who are elderly or have limited mobility.

He said the waiting lists had grown partly because people now see some point in asking for help, after years of living in appalling conditions. end quote.

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Will Shane ever get the nephs off the couch?

One of the objectives of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is to reduce the number of young unemployed Maori, particularly in the Far North. Straight away, I disagree with this policy. The fund should be used to get young, unemployed people into work, whatever their ethnicity.

There are lots of reasons, though, why this policy probably will not have much effect, particularly when it comes to Maori. One of those reasons is because the government has just made it easier for people on benefits to stay on benefits, without sanctions or reprisals. There is simply no incentive from a financial perspective for the nephs to get off the couch at all.

Then there is the other reason. Colonisation. Yes, you read that right. quote.

Jones announced $60m for regional employment hubs – centres that bring together government services for employers and employees, all from the PGF coffers.

Alongside the hubs are investments in two existing programmes, $13.2m for He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) and $8.8m for the Pacific Employment Support Service, then another $20m for digital connectivity in rural areas and maraes. end quote.

A focus on infrastructure for Maori. What about planting all those trees, Shane?

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You can take the girl out of the fish and chip shop…

Henry Cooke on Stuff opines that Jacinda has managed two successful Waitangi Days in a row. I guess that depends on what your view of a ‘successful’ Waitangi Day looks like.

If it is because she has served breakfast for the second year running, then yes, it was successful.

If it was because she managed to massage the numbers relating to Maori unemployment and prison inmates to make them look better, when arguably they have hardly changed, then yes. It was successful.

In reality, this government has done nothing for Maori other than throw a bit of money around. It may sound good, but it will turn out to be a drop in a bucket, and will make no difference at all.

But, in the lead-up to an annual event which can often be marred by protest, splashing a little money around often works wonders, as it did this year.

Maori are never quite as hard on Labour-led governments anyway and the fact that Labour now holds all the Maori seats will also help to smooth things, along with the fact that a fair few of the Maori MPs turned up for the occasion.

Jacinda’s speech was poor; she stumbled when asked about the Articles of the Treaty, clearly having no idea at all, and she spoke no Te Reo.

Unlike Simon Bridges, who gave a full speech in Te Reo. quote.

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Hobson’s choice

Photo credit: Newshub

Why is it that, in a country that does multiculturalism as well as New Zealand, Don Brash is continually branded as a racist? Why is it that when all he asks is that we are all treated as one people, he is branded as a racist? Where exactly is the racism in that?

There is none. Don Brash wants to bring an end to the favouring of Maori when it comes to splashing government money around (as we have seen in the last few days) because it fosters a prolonged sense of entitlement, and the positive discrimination it engenders has never done anyone any good. Many Maori feel aggrieved because they are being left behind by the rest of the country, and they think that more government money will fix it. It won’t.

I came here in the 1980s, around the time that the settlements started and, even though my ancestors had never lived here, I felt it was a fair allocation of taxpayer’s money to try to address the wrongs of history. I never imagined that, over 30 years later, the settlements would still be going on, and that the grievance train would become longer and more bloated than it ever was back then.

Our indigenous people, who have been very well treated compared to many other indigenous people around the world, are still feeling aggrieved, and still feeling that the government owes them more. Their children have no future. They have no jobs. They are living in poverty. If they cannot see that the way out of their children’s despair is to encourage them to take advantage of the free education system that every New Zealand child is given, where is the hope for any of them? The solutions are all there. They just have to learn how to use them.

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We really have reached Peak Stupid

Some of you will remember the classic children’s movie Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. For years, it was shown on TV at Christmas, and was a family favourite for a couple of decades. I haven’t seen it for a while, but if asked, I would probably have said that is because it has become a bit dated. But no. That is not the reason we no longer see it. Apparently, the movie is racist.

Yes. That’s right. quote.

It’s one of the iconic scenes in the popular Disney classic, but now a US academic has branded Mary Poppins as racist for blackening up her face.

The scene, which features Julie Andrews as Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as Bert, is set on the rooftops of London and includes the song ‘Step in Time‘.

Poppins, with her face covered in soot, innocently dances with Bert and his fellow chimney sweeps in what is one of the better loved scenes from the 1964 hit film.

However Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, an English and gender studies professor at Oregon’s Linfield College, has argued the scene is racist. end quote.

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Beads and blankets?

What is that noise I hear? Is it Simon Bridges growing a spine? I almost cannot believe what I am reading here. In response to government funding of $100 million for Maori landowners, announced over the weekend as a sweetener for the Waitangi Day celebrations, Bridges has compared the gesture to ‘beads and blankets’.

Simon can get away with this, of course. He is Maori himself. quote.

National Party leader Simon Bridges has likened Government funding for Northland and for Māori landowners announced on the weekend to “beads and blankets”.

On Sunday the Government announced its Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) would invest up to $100m to unlock the economic potential of Māori land.

It also announced that the PGF would spend $20.4m in the Kaipara district, with a further $6.8m from the National Land Transport Fund, on transport infrastructure, food and horticulture. end quote.

This is, of course, all part of the longest and most expensive election campaign in New Zealand’s history, aimed at buying an electoral seat for Shane Jones in the Far North. It is pork barrel politics at its absolute finest. quote.

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What’s in a name?

“I have a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel”

So the hard sell for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) begins. Those pushing it are likely to struggle. Most people in favour of CGT already vote Labour, and if they are using tax to attract voters, it won’t work. Most people are genuinely scared at the prospect of CGT, because it really is mostly a tax on inflation. Very few asset sales will be taxed on an actual increase in value, if adjusted for inflation.

So, to quell those fears, Grant Robertson has a cunning plan. He is going to call CGT by another name. quote.

On Friday the Government confirmed it had received a report from the Tax Working Group which recommends a broad-based capital gains tax, among other possible tax reforms, designed to make the tax system more ‘fair’.

The Green Party openly supports introducing a capital gains tax.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said he sees the argument as one of extending an existing capital gains tax. end quote.

Winston of old would have been shouting from the rooftops against CGT, but now he is trying to be clever, saying effectively we already have it. We don’t. The Bright Line Test is a tax on property speculation, and speculators pay tax on the proceeds of property sales because to them, it is income. Winston is softening everyone up for CGT’s introduction. Make no mistake. quote.

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Flagship policy a ‘dead duck’

If it walks like a duck… talks like a duck… Kiwibuild, the flagship policy of our government, designed to bring relief to all those young families ‘locked out’ of the housing market, is an abject failure. Twyford has virtually admitted it. If they were unable to meet their first target of 1000 homes built by July but knew they would be able to meet their next target of 5000 by the following July, they would have said so. Instead, they have decided not to measure their progress over the first 9 years of the project, but will still build 100,000 houses in 10 years. If you believe that, I have a very large bridge to sell you. Nobody believes it. They just want the damned thing to go away.

Stacey Kirk doesn’t believe it either. quote.

When project deadlines start blowing out, its only ever downhill from there.

Longer delays, greater costs, more corners being cut to try and get it back on track.  

KiwiBuild was never going to be able to reach the milestones the Government had set – not without significant reform of the Resource Management Act. And yet, it could prove to be the most unforgiving policy to get wrong. 

But then, Labour never fully expected to be enacting it when they made the grand election promise.

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Unfair pay agreement

Before I start, I want to make something clear. I believe in fair pay. It is the cornerstone of our way of life. The minimum wage should be for those starting out. That it has turned into a way of life for so many people is a shame. What I do not approve of is compulsory, across-the-board pay agreements which reward those that work hard and those that don’t in equal measure. There is nothing fair about that.

But that is were we are heading if the report from the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group is anything to go by. I have said this would be a case of ‘back to the 1970s’. However, it is much, much worse than that. It is more like back to Soviet Russia. quote.

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A reality check for Jacinda

Jacinda Ardern cracking Photoshopped image credit: Luke

Tracy Watkins seems to have stopped drinking the government’s Kool-Aid. Her latest article is quite critical of Jacinda, comparing her supposed ‘star’ status at Davos with the reality of what is going on at home. It makes a refreshing change to see the media reporting things as they are, for once. quote.

From being feted as the Davos darling by the world’s media, Jacinda Ardern’s return to New Zealand must have felt like a bucket of cold water in her face.

Ardern arrived back to a KiwiBuild shambles,  an unsettled back office, cancer waiting times, cost of living gripes, state sector strikes, (another) employer backlash over industrial relations reforms, fresh NZ First rumblings, tensions with China, and a bunch of political headaches that are about to land on her desk – chief among them how to sell a capital gains tax, but also a raft of reports and inquiries on problems that Labour kicked down the road after getting into office.

No wonder Ardern looked like she’d rather be anywhere but here when she fronted her first Beehive press conference after Cabinet on Tuesday. end quite.

Sorry, Tracy, but that is her job. She may love being in the media spotlight and sharing the stage with royalty and billionaires, but her job is to run New Zealand… and she is not doing it very well. quote.

The reality on the domestic front is that climate change progress is stalled, while the “wellbeing” Budget is a much harder sell to a domestic audience because nobody is really quite sure what it means, and “wellbeing” in layman’s terms means being able to afford to fill up your car, or buy a house.

end quote.
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