Friday, May 30, 2014

Karl du Fresne on Big Government

 Writing in today's DomPost:
Big Government is now so all-pervasive that many people find it hard to imagine life without it.
That was evident from a recent minor party leaders' debate on TV3's The Nation, in which ACT leader Jamie Whyte was treated as some sort of freak or traitor for daring to suggest that New Zealanders don't need constant intervention from the state in every aspect of their lives. This is clearly a dangerous heresy.
Only days later, Whyte got a similar going-over from Guyon Espiner on Report. It seems we've all become so accustomed to the smothering influence of Big Government – even to the extent of deciding whether to have children – that we can't comprehend any alternative.
Whyte, of course, believes the state should get out of our lives, save for a few essential functions.
It's an idea worth exploring, but you get the impression that for a lot of people, it's just too scary.

Why Internet/Mana should be taken seriously

Internet/Mana's first big policy is free tertiary education.

The government already spends annually around $4 billion on tertiary education. But student loans to pay fees total just over a further $1 billion. It would be possible to fund 'free' tertiary education by pushing out the Super qualifying age.

What the Internet/Mana Party are going to do is set up an inter-generational fight. They will harness the feeling amongst the young that the baby-boomers had it good thanks to the state (plenty of truth in that) whereas they have to take on debt and then work to pay it off, as well as working to support the growing demands of the Super bill.

It's a clever but extremely divisive strategy. It isn't inspiration that will get young people out voting. It's anger.

And as much as I loathe the idea of Dotcom buying influence and manipulating politics the candidates can mount a strong case and campaign for the youth vote.


Just heard it direct from Harre. She was asked what their policy on raising the Super age is and she said that they would be looking very closely at the "trade off" between generational spending. Radio Live, just before 2pm.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Here's one just finished. Oil on canvas. Zali is  Reona's granddaughter. She was playing in our garden late summer - at times throwing about a rugby ball with my 20 year-old son. One portrait alone couldn't capture her various expressions. So I painted four views on one canvas. She is life-size in each. Goes without saying but she's gorgeous.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Which principles does Sue Bradford have that Laila Harre doesn't?

Just wondering....

They are both hard left unionists; 'social justice' radicals; ex-MPs; former paid Green staffers and feminists.

But something significant clearly separates them.

Let's start using the word 'controversy'

Here's a great letter spotted in this morning's DomPost:

Compliments and gratitude to both Rex Benson and Bill Aitchison for caring enough to put some facts before the public.

Expect a real ratcheting up of the 'child poverty' CONTROVERSY - yes, let's start calling it that given so many "media and activists" misuse the data to further their own agendas - with a new book due for release in mid-June, and an election in September.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CYF staff stretched, seriously

MSD has just released a 135 page CYF Workload and 
Caseload review.  

The following pretty much sums it up:
When staff were asked what needed to change to make things better for social
workers, the number one answer was ‘more staff’
“....we are working with people and children and all of our decisions affect their lives forever.
It would be good to be able to have the time
and capacity to think, analyse and reflect rather than acting in the moment...”
There are currently 753 Care and Protection social workers. Without a reduction in the number of assessments it is recommended another 356 are required. 

CYF workers have my sympathy.

Taxing our way into prosperity?

A letter I wrote was published in the DomPost this morning -  but only half of it.

This is the entire letter:

Dear Editor

Silvio Famularo (May 24) wrote that benefits should be lifted because then poor people can spend more, increasing demand for goods and services, and creating more jobs.

To increase benefit expenditure the government would have to increase taxation. That means taking more money off people will in turn have less to spend on the same goods and services. Perhaps Silvio intended more tax on the wealthy or companies. But that will result in less support for high value commodities, less profit and less investment. Ultimately, fewer jobs.

Winston Churchill said, "We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle".