Monday, April 28, 2008

Now we are sixed

Trev called himself a socialist, because he believed that everyone should have the opportunity to buy a Mercedes Benz. This is not to say that Mercs should have been made compulsory, nor that the state would provide one for those who couldn't afford them (or had pranged their last one). In that, Trev differed from both current Green and Labour policies respectively. The old man was a realist, an equality of access socialist.

It's worth bearing in mind with the current fad to dick around with GST. It was known at the time as God Save Trevor. I say, Good Shithouse, Trev. If there's one thing that the old man did well, it was GST. GST was a beauty. They don't build things like that any more.

The Goods and Services Tax was beautiful because of its simplicity. Anyone could work it out. If you sold something to a consumer, tax was ten percent of the price. To work out GST from the gross price, divide by 11. You don't need Excel for this kind of stuff, therefore saving anyone from having to buy useless crap for overheads. Make GST 12.5 percent? OK, divide by 8. To work out tax from gross, divide by nine. Slightly more complicated, but still within the grasp of many NCEA achievers.

While dime suggests increasing GST to 15 percent, and pascal suggests 17.5 percent because their software can do this thing, they are ignoring the beauty. It may be well and good for the geeks who have these tools at their disposal. For the Otara market street vendor haggling with a punter over some score, you'd need at least an abacus. There's the rub.

OK, how about we just take GST off food? What food? All food? Seafood? No GST on raw crayfish, but GST on mince pies? GST on street vendor nuts if they fry them, none if they're sold raw? GST on sushi, yes or no? GST off petrol? All petroleum based products? Motor oil?

These are questions only lawyers can answer. Lawyers are unproductive. Lawyers are the overheads from hell. Lawyers are gatekeepers for those with the scales of economy to employ them, as one blogger found out recently. Lawyers favour the rich.

Therefore, any attempt to meddle with GST will worsen whatever such a measure was designed to prevent. Organised money will absorb the change however they may, and there's one more barrier for the little man to do their own thing.

Colin Espiner ponders how the government can dig themselves out of this mess. It's rather simple and it's not new. NZ has to up its game. As a country, we have to earn our keep and not just rely on all that internet money that Canada wants. NZ must increase its productivity. While Labour can move pieces of paper about with the best of them, it's selling our stuff abroad that pays the bills.

That requires flexibility and lowering the risk barriers. It means cutting all the crap that is slowing this country down. It means that if the state invests in something, it expects a public dividend and is not just playing statistical silly buggers, focus group gropes and sectorial pay-offs.

Damnit, Alan Gibbs isn't on Facebook and I want to be his friend right now.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Can't read a balance sheet to save his life

Dear Russel Norman,

Pardon me, but that profit and loss statement you're reading is upside down. Read carefully, Russel, I will write this only once. Interest and exchange rates go up and down, inflation is permanent. As someone who can remember the 8 cent Popsicle, while you were in nappies in Oz, inflation has a very special place in my memory. Ask any senior citizen. Stuff costs more now. That's inflation.

As Muldoon showed back in '84, you can't peg a currency for political convenience (a bit before your time also). Attempting to do so is akin to pretending to conduct an orchestra containing instruments beyond your control. Similarly, the dark money of the banking system is beyond the control of the government apparatus to a significant degree. Yeah, it'll cost more for offshore financing, but if the price is right and it'll show growth on the bottom line, it's fair game.

Inflation is something within the powers of government. If interest rates go up, it means that we should weigh the odds of borrowing against the benefits it entails. We should aim at getting more bang for our buck. Ensuring inflation stays between a band of 0 - 2 percent per annum provides stability for the greatest possible good.

Thanks to Winston, that band was expanded to three percent. It's currently over four. I've said it to Cullen, I'll say it to you. Leave It the Fuck Alone. Monetary policy is not the issue. Productivity and international competitiveness is. Same as it has always been.

Why banning gang patches cannot work


Clothing designed to negate brutal public goods.

Never underestimate the resilience, determination and ingenuity of the human condition to be free. Fight ugly with beauty.

F&P is Dead, Long Live Ponoko!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Smile

Smile, Labour.
Say "Cheese", Horomia.
Fourteen bucks a kilo, say what?
Smile, as a sniff of petrol
Reaches two bucks a litre.
Smile as that wedge of petrol levy
Fills your spendthrift
Budget.

Smile, Labour
As you wave goodbye
To your children
In the departure lounge.
Dover going over
To warmth and clover,
Tony a vote farmer
For Obama.
Marion Hobbs
Evacuating to England,
Same as Tim Barnett.

Smile, Labour.
While China can build
An Olympic Village
Quicker than
A Vogon resource consent
For a granny flat
In Manukau

Smile, Labour.
Smile til it hurts.
Just like us.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Minista Non Grata

Well, Winston's done it this time. Dagg knows, Labour have bent constitutional conventions like Uri Geller spoons this term, but it takes Winston to break 'em. Unlike the invented-for-Winston post of Treasurer back in the Nat government, Foreign Minister bears some responsibility.

While Colin Espiner was ambivalent on which way Winston was gonna go this morning, his bro correctly called it last Friday on Breakfast's Week in Politics segment. It's 2008 Groundhog Day with Winston. Evil hordes of yellow slanty-eyed devils will ransack our manufacturing sectors, rape the mothers of this nation, walk the streets with impunity, steal Kiwi jobs in authentic Guangdong cuisine. You must have seen this Peter Brown moment from W3 by now, surely.

This is all very well and good for a party which specialises in yanking people's xenophobia chain. I do not agree with it, but one has a right to express it. NZ First's leader, no matter how misguided in his logic and naked self-serving needs, can spout whatever he likes to squeeze some votes. However, it is not a position that can be afforded to a Minister of the Crown.

We're not talking Women's Affairs here either, but the onerous position of representing this country abroad; Foreign Minister. It goes beyond the loose collective responsibility of a caucus, beyond the discipline of cabinet decision-making. For good or ill, the Foreign Minister tows the executive line. Always. Lange as PM overrode cabinet to his, and his government's, peril.

If Peters remains as Foreign Minister, continuing to diss the China FTA to all and sundry abroad with "could do better" snarks, he is acting contrary to his oath to protect New Zealand's interests as expressed through the executive and legislature. Worse still, he is diminishing the position of Foreign Minister, losing face to our international peers. He's a joke, we're a joke. Foreign Minster or NZ First leader, time to choose.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Now that's what I call a rabbit

If Labour were hunting for the right rabbit to pull out of their hat, they could have done a lot worse than the China FTA. This deal is a major coup, bigger than anything before. For starters, there's a comprehensive website. But it goes way way beyond that.

I have this theory based on a turning globe. Each century has its turn. 19th century was Europe's go. Then the Yanks had a go in the 20th C. This century belongs to the Asians. China and India is where it's at. Just wait til those middle classes come online and, well, it's a different world (I wish I had enough money to secure the licence for Tata Nanos in New Zealand. The used car market will never be the same once those things finally get here).

The China FTA sets the standard for bilateral agreements. As Queen Bee says, this thing is way better than what the Ozzies got out the US. This FTA blows it out of the water, in fact. It sets a standard that NZ can take to the WTO, changing things on a global stage. If only the WTO could incorporate the carbon credit scheme too.

Yeah, forestry got snarked, but everything else more than makes up for it.

The first-comer status is the greatest legacy that Labour 5 could ever bestow on NZ. Like a South Pacific Switzerland, it allows NZ to clip the ticket of any other country wanting to deal with China, at least in the short term. Longer term, any preferential treatment on other FTAs with other countries will automatically give NZ the same status. Saves on paperwork and diplomacy, eh.

Effects will be immediate, or as close as international agreements get: October 2008. About the same time as Cullen's budget has its first effect, just before the election. This game ain't over by a long chalk.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Better out than in

Evidence of Fight Clubs at prestigious schools and a private school which encourages physicality in their charges. Two sides of the same coin. While the feminisation of education through NCEA has shown that girls can do anything, it has left the boys with a head of steam.

Back at Huntley School, a competitor of Hereworth's, the jocks played rugby against each other. Not much of a rugger, I took solace in the unofficial annual bash. At the end of the term, a fight would break out between two tribes. Inevitably, most of the kids joined in. There would be some 200+ kids on the fields having it out. Scores were settled, grudges brought to a head. Boarders would smack day-boys and vice versa. Like square dancing, opponents moved to another scrap regularly. After a reasonable time and before things got vicious, the teachers would close it down.

I doubt this tradition has survived. Like smoking indoors and cycling with the wind in one's hair, it has been outlawed as unhealthy and possibly too mammalian for the cultured psyche of 21st century humanity to endorse.

Pissed Sith attacks Jedi



A drunk Darth Vader attacked a Jedi Master in his back garden with a metal crutch. A documentary crew filming at the time also got whacked.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Throw him to the Tasmanian Devils

I have been leaked the list of charities that NZ First will be giving the taxpayers the party's $158,000 to:

Crayfish And Shellfish Hunters
Campaign Against Support Hose
Carol's Abode for Senior Hookers
Canterbury Aplasia Sufferers' Helpline