World view – Sunday

Saturday GMT

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For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

Government condolences for Koro Wetere

Condolences on passing of Koro Wetere

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has expressed his condolences with the passing of Hon Koro Wētere this morning.

“On behalf of the New Zealand Government I wish to acknowledge the contribution Koro Wētere has made to the country and his remarkable service as a parliamentarian for more than quarter of a century,” said Mr Peters.

Koro Wētere served as Crown Minister for Lands and for Maori Affairs and played a key role in the affairs of his Tainui people. He was also instrumental in the complicated resolution of the Maori fisheries settlement during the 1980s. His contributions to New Zealand’s modern society include advances in Te Reo language recognition.

“Koro was highly respected across the divide of politics for his sincerity and integrity. Our deepest condolences are extended to his family and to Ngāti Maniapoto for their loss,” said Mr Peters.


@henrycooke

This is a nice statement from the man who basically destroyed Koro Wētere’s ministerial career.

Inside a youth justice residence

@JohnJCampbell : Do watch this if you have a spare 26 minutes this weekend. These are our kids, too. And making them safe is a challenge in the best interests of us all.

Young people tell their stories – Inside a youth justice residence

They come from violent homes, addiction homes, homes without safety and sometimes homes without food. Every single one of them has been exposed to gangs.

That was their normal. They followed in the only footsteps they knew. Stole cars, committed aggravated burglaries, and worse.

Now these 14 to 17-year-olds call youth justice residence Te Au rere a te Tonga home.

(A and production, shot and edited by )

Nation: Twyford on Kiwibuild progress

This morning NewsHub Nation interviews Minister of Housing Phil Twyford on progress on the ambitious but slow  Kiwibuild programme.

@Jasonwalls92

Twyford says he has been talking to bother overseas and NZ investors about preprefab investment.

He says when KiwiBuild is up and running, he wants roughly half to be prefabs.

Twyford will not names of investors, but says the Superfund has shown interest. They have also expressed strong interest in Auckland light rail.

100 proposals for development of KiwiBuild homes Twyford says. Can’t say how many will get the contracts but will be making an announcement within the next few weeks.

On prefabs, it’s an area where banks have in the past been reluctant to issue mortgages because of the complex nature of the homes. Will be interesting to see what Twyford does to get around this issue, or how he’s going to work with the banks.

@NewshubNationNZ

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the Kiwibuild unit in the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment is the ’embryo’ of the Urban Development Authority he hopes to establish next year.

The Government will formally “invite expressions of interest” from construction firms both internationally and in New Zealand on creating a prefabrication industry to meet Kiwibuild targets.

International construction firms? Chinese construction firms perhaps?

The Nation: Housing Minister Phil Twyford (transcript) http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1806/S00262/the-nation-housing-minister-phil-twyford.htm

Significant pay settlement for mental health workers

Community and institutional mental health care has been deficient ever since mental hospitals were mostly emptied several decades ago.

Last year when 55,000  aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services workers, were awarded a long overdue pay increase (from the bare minimum to something relatively reasonable) there was a notable exclusion of 5,000 mental health care workers.

Yesterday the Minister of Health David Clark announced that this would be rectified.


Pay equity settlement for mental health and addiction support workers

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased to announce an estimated 5,000 mental health and addiction support workers will soon receive the same pay rates as care and support workers.

In an agreement with unions and employers, the Government will extend the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act to include mental health and addiction support workers.

Nearly half will get an increase of more than $3 per hour which means full-time workers will be paid approximately an extra $120 a week before tax.  One-in-five workers will get an increase of more than $5 per hour or around an extra $200 for a 40-hour week.

The new pay scale reflects workers’ qualifications and experience. It will be back-dated to 1 July 2017.

“This agreement puts right a problem created by the previous Government, which deliberately excluded mental health and addiction workers from the Care and Support Workers settlement. These workers often support New Zealanders when they are most vulnerable and they deserve a fair go. This Government has delivered that,” says Dr Clark.

“Ensuring our mental health and addiction workers are paid what they deserve will help deliver a robust workforce,” says Dr Clark.

The $173.5 million settlement extension will be implemented over a five-year term and funded through an increase to Vote Health.


This will go some way towards improving mental health care in institutions, community houses and the community generally.

Mental health issues impact on many things, including general health, education, workplace productivity, crime, prison overcrowding and rehabilitation.

Paying workers more will help get more and better care for people with mental health issues and their families.

This costs a bit but it should be money well spent.

Six week present for Ardern – time out

A fairly ironic opinion from an unnamed person at Stuff that seems to lack self awareness: Labour’s baby present? Let Jacinda be a mum for six weeks

The champagne corks were popping at the Beehive when news broke that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had delivered a baby girl. The path to the Sandringham home of Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford will be worn thin with cards and presents from her MPs.

Ardern’s new baby already has enough booties and onesies from well wishers across the country to have a choice of outfits every day of the week.

So the best present Labour MPs can give Ardern is time out. Which means they’re going to have to step up.

Ardern’s Government certainly has plenty of problems to deal with, and a number of Ministers seem to be struggling to cope with their jobs.

Notably, Ardern’s and Labour’s deputy Kelvin Davis seems very uncomfortable and unsuitable for that position.

But probably the biggest threat to Ardern getting reasonable quality of time as a new Mum for the next six weeks is the media.

Can the media give Ardern time out? there’s less chance of that than Government Ministers having a trouble free time in Ardern’s absence.

Of course this will in part depend on whether Ardern wants time out from the media for siz weeks.

We can expect a big flurry of coverage when Ardern leaves the hospital with her baby. That’s unavoidable – it has already been anticipated by Ardern.’

But if Ardern chooses then to make the most of quiet family time for six weeks, will her home be out of bounds to media? It should be unless specifically invited by Ardern.

Can the media give Ardern time out if she wants it?

Economic boom, or bust? Or both?

Two contrasting views on economic prospects in the US. Given it’s size the economy in the US will impact on the rest of the world, including New Zealand.

Kevin Brady, Republican member of Congress and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee writes (WSJ): Six Months After Tax Reform, Something Big Is Happening

Six months ago, Republicans in Congress joined with President Trump to redesign America’s tax code and enact sweeping tax cuts. We were determined to let families and local businesses keep more of what they earn. The new tax code was built to help American companies and workers compete and win anywhere in the world.

Now something big is happening to America’s economy. Since January, more than one million jobs have been created.

In only six months, the economy has been reinvigorated—and the best is yet to come. That’s because the new tax code leapfrogs America’s competitors abroad. The U.S. is now at the head of the pack—one of the best places on the planet to find that next job, to build that new manufacturing plant, or to set up company headquarters.

As a result, businesses of all sizes are now investing in American workers and communities. They are bringing back their dollars from overseas and investing at home again. It’s no coincidence that small-business optimism has hit its highest reported level in 35 years.

There is a new hope and a new optimism that wasn’t here before

Given the choice between keeping taxes high and allowing families to keep more of their money, Republicans chose—and continue to choose—the American people. Empowering families to run their own lives is at the heart of the American Dream. It’s the key to our nation’s economic success, and it’s the reason that, six months into tax reform, Americans are more hopeful about their future.

But domestic tax rates aren’t the only thing that affects the US and world economies. Not everyone is this hopeful about the economic future.

Nomi Prins (The Nation): Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to the Next Great Depression

Leaders are routinely confronted with philosophical dilemmas. Here’s a classic one for our Trumptopian times: If you make enemies out of your friends and friends out of your enemies, where does that leave you?

Let’s cut through all of this for the moment and ask one crucial question about our present cult-of-personality era in American politics: Other than accumulating more wealth and influence for himself, his children, and the Trump family empire, what’s Donald J. Trump’s end game as president?

If his goal is to keep this country from being, as he likes to complain, “the world’s piggy bank,” then his words, threats, and actions are concerning. However bombastic and disdainful of a history he appears to know little about, he is already making the world a less stable, less affordable, and more fear-driven place.

Trump’s approach may force the world into sorting out some shortcomings of current trade arrangements, but it has major risks.

What the American working and the middle classes will see (sooner than anyone imagines) is that actions of his sort have unexpected global consequences. They could cost the United States and the rest of the world big-time.

Could.

So far, President Trump has only taken America out of trade deals or threatened to do so if other countries don’t behave in a way that satisfies him. On his third day in the White House, he honored his campaign promise to remove the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a decision that opened space for our allies and competitors, China in particular, to negotiate deals without us. Since that grand exit, there has, in fact, been a boom in side deals involving China and other Pacific Rim countries that has weakened, not strengthened, Washington’s global bargaining position.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Trump administration has engaged in a barrage of NAFTA-baiting that is isolating us from our regional partners, Canada and Mexico.

Trump is also annoying Britan and the EU over his trade barrages.

In the past four months, Trump has imposed tariffs, exempting certain countries, only to reimpose them at his whim. If trust were a coveted commodity, when it came to the present White House, it would now be trading at zero.

His supporters undoubtedly see this approach as the fulfillment of his many campaign promises and part of his classic method of keeping both friends and enemies guessing until he’s ready to go in for the kill. At the heart of this approach, however, lies a certain global madness, for he now is sparking a set of trade wars that could, in the end, cost millions of American jobs.

“Could, in the end, cost millions of American jobs” contrasts with Brady’s “more than one million jobs have been created”.  In fact both could be correct. Short term gains could disappear if Trump tirades turn trade into a turkey and the economy goes bad.

As the explosive Group of Seven, or G7, summit in Quebec showed, the Trump administration is increasingly isolating itself from its allies in palpable ways and, in the process, significantly impairing the country’s negotiating power.

If you combine the economies of what might now be thought of as the G6 and add in the rest of the EU, its economic power is collectively larger than that of the United States. Under the circumstances, even a small diversion of trade thanks to Trump-induced tariff wars could have costly consequences.

Good international relations generally means better outcomes. Wars of any kind are likely to make things worse.

A recent report by Andy Stoeckel and Warwick McKibbin for the Brookings Institution analyzed just such a future trade-war scenario and found that, if global tariffs were to rise just 10 percent, the gross national product (GDP) of most countries would fall by between 1 percent and 4.5 percent—the US GDP by 1.3 percent, China’s by 4.3 percent. A 40 percent rise in tariffs would ensure a deep global recession or depression.

In the 1930s, it was the punitive US Smoot-Hawley tariff that helped spark the devastating cocktail of nationalism and economic collapse that culminated in World War II.

The current incipient trade war was actually launched by the Trump administration in March in the name of American “national security.”

Using “national security” as a loose excuse for abuse is bad enough, but it has some disturbing parallels.

From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

As an absolute principle of national security, Nazi ideology called for the elimination of “racially inferior” peoples (such as Jews and Roma) and implacable political enemies (such as communists) from regions in which Germans lived.

Back to Prins:

The global economic system first put in place after World War II was no longer working particularly well even before President Trump’s trade wars began. The problem now is that its flaws are being exacerbated.

Once it becomes too expensive for certain companies to continue operating as their profits go to tariffs or tariffs deflect their customers elsewhere (or nowhere), one thing is certain: It will get worse.

I don’t think that’s a certainty, but it is a real possibility if Trump’s ‘negotiations’ turn trade to custard.

Is the US headed for boom, or bust?

It could easily be both. Busts often follow booms.

 

 

Melania Trump – ‘just a jacket’

Melania Trump has increased the controversy over the treatment of children separated from their parents and effectively incarcerated after trying to cross the Mexico-US border (there are claims some arrived at the border without their parents).

Boarding a plane on her way to visit migrant kids in Texas Melania was snapped wearing a jacket with ‘I don’t really care, do u?’ emblazoned on the back.

Image:

Regardless of the reason for wearing this it was a public relations disaster waiting to happen, and so it transpired.

MSN: Social media cared about what Melania Trump wore on her way to visit migrant kids

The first lady was first photographed in the jacket — which the Daily Mail identified as a $39 jacket from fast fashion retailer Zara, though it appears to have previously sold out — boarding a plane in Maryland earlier Thursday. She was on her way to visit a shelter for migrant children, amid outrage over the Trump administration’s decision to separate thousands of children from their parents at the border. The practice was ended on Wednesday, but thousands of children have yet to be reunited with their parents.

Melania’s PR tried to play it down.

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s director of communications, sought to calm the furor and blamed the media for stirring it up.

“It’s just a jacket. There’s no message. I hope we can talk about her important visit with children today rather than her wardrobe choice,” Grisham said, earning suspicion from some quarters that the wardrobe choice was purposefully designed to bait the media.

If it was designed to bait the media it worked, but not very well for the already widely criticised Trumps. Melania had been seen as the sensitive one with some social conscience, but that image has taken a hit.

It’s debatable whether it’s “just a jacket”. Grisham and the Trumps will be well aware of media interest in what Melania might wear.

Arriving back in Maryland, Mrs. Trump was captured on camera again. The jacket was back.

That suggests it may have been a deliberate attempt at media diversion. And the Donald added to the media attention.

That’s a lame response, even by his standards.

I really don’t care if Trump tries to blame reporting on the media. Do you?

This was very insensitive, and  if it was deliberately provocative it was a a very stupid situation to be doing it in.

This later tweet doesn’t help.

Media watch – Saturday

23 June 2018

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

General chat

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Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.