Showing posts from July, 2013

Foreign Ownership Arguments Flawed

Crafar Farms
The Green and Labour policies that will restrict foreign ownership of New Zealand property has been attacked using many flawed arguments. The fact that much of these criticisms are being reported as if they have some substance is appalling.

I will try and expose the nonsense behind each:

1) Restricting foreign buyers of New Zealand properties won't solve the problem.

This policy is part of a package of solutions, including a capital gains tax and was never considered as the sole solution. It is still an important, however.

2) It's a mad idea that no one would consider doing.

Australia has the very same policy and so do many other countries.

3) Restricting foreign ownership is just a xenophobic reaction to asian buyers.

This is a total straw man. The Green Party has questioned the sale of land to any foreign interest, whether it be American, German or Asian. "Keeping it Kiwi" is about sovereignty and control, not race or culture.

4) The number of sales to fore…

Spontaneous GCSB Rally In Invercargill

Someone had asked me a week or so ago if I was interested in organising a rally against the GCSB Bill in Invercargill in the support of the nationwide protest. I declined, not because I thought it wasn't important, but because I didn't think there was enough time to organise something that would have the same impact as our anti-mining and asset sale marches (attracting hundreds of people). However, I got a txt message from a local union organiser asking if I was attending a protest in Invercargill's Wachner Place at 2pm.

I do not generally support such gatherings when there is likely to be only a handful of people as it may inadvertently ridicule the cause by giving the impression that few care. In this case I made an exception and turned up to give moral support to whoever had initiated it.

A little before 2 pm I arrived in Wachner Place to find one or two people looking as though they were waiting for something to happen. Surprisingly within 10 or so minutes we had over…

The Housing Crisis and Crocodile Tears

John Key claims that first home buyers are "a priority" and "all tools have to be considered". His displays of concern and compassion for those desperate for a house of their own are only crocodile tears. Like Hekia Parata's claim that Maori and Pasifika achievement are her priority, there is a huge gap between the stated priority and what is expressed through actions.

It is obvious that Key has considered all the tools that will address the housing crisis and has rejected them all, not because they will probably make a difference, but because of the pain it will inflict on markets and investors. Most of our wealthiest New Zealanders derive a good amount of their income from property and bursting the current bubble will cause much distress amongst those with whom he has the closest relationship.

The 2008 incoming Minister of Housing and the Government were provided with useful information and advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that…

Eric Roy Replies, As Do I


Diversions Hide Incompetent Governance.

Obviously the best way to appear competent is just to do the job well and with this National Government there is only the occasional flicker of good sense coming through any decision. The most recent example of this was Nick Smith's determination to reject the Fiordland Tunnel proposal. Sadly this logical response to evidence and public concern from our Conservation Minister is a rare occurrence when blinkered ideology and backroom deals tend to dominate. This National led Government usually just creates an imaginary sense of proactive competence to hide their glaring inadequacies.

Hekia Parata has surprisingly withstood numerous revelations that she is out of step with the education sector she is responsible for and she has already had to reverse decisions to increase class sizes; close Salisbury School; and mandate the PaCT tool. The Chief Ombudsman's review of the Ministry's handling of the mergers and closures of Christchurch schools will probably expose more examples…

Southland Suffers Under National

Invercargill MP Eric Roy congratulated our victorious Southland Sharks basketball team and tried to claim that his National led Government is also celebrating some "wins" in today's Southland Times. I felt compelled to point out how little Southlanders have to celebrate:

SkyCity and a Social Cancer

This John Key led Government have shown time and again that their bottom line will always be what they can legally get away with, not what can be morally justified. They also regard their relationships with certain captains of industry as more important to them than the welfare and rights of ordinary New Zealanders.

Evidence of the harm that alcohol does to our society is abundant and alarming and yet when there was an opportunity to make a difference and adopt some excellent recommendations from our Law Commission, this Government backed off. Many of our wealthiest New Zealanders are booze barons and maintaining company profits was deemed more important than the huge costs incurred by our health, welfare and judicial systems (estimated as over $5.3 billion a year or $14.5 million a day). If the alcohol problem was viewed on a purely economic basis, there would be no justification for supporting the industry to the current extent.

There is great inconsistency with this Government, th…

Political Corruption and an Independent Teachers' Council

The recent survey carried out by Colmar Brunton revealed that New Zealand may no longer regard itself as the least corrupt country in the world. In 2012 we were ranked first equal as the least corrupt country, along with Denmark and Finland, based on public perceptions. According to the latest survey we would now be ranked much further down, below Spain and similar to Portugal (which were 30th and 33rd in 2012).

The five institutions within New Zealand society that are listed as the most affected by corruption are political parties, the media, Parliament, business, the private sector and religious bodies. Those perceived as less corrupt include the judiciary, the education system and medical and health services.

It is ironic that we currently have the situation where decisions regarding our education system are being made by the institution regarded as our most corrupt. The Government, the Minister of Educaton Hekia Parata and John Banks have struggled with ongoing challenges to thei…