Open Forum – Tuesday

19 July 2016

RomanForumPedestal400

Facebook: NZ politics/media+

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60 Comments

  1. Missy

     /  19th July 2016

    It has been a busy weekend for me, so I didn’t get a chance to provide any updates. However, from what I can tell it was all quiet on the domestic front as, yet again, international events dominated the news and politicians – this time the attempted coup in Turkey.

    Quick rundown on the goings on over the last few days:

    Brexit:
    Last Friday Theresa May had her first meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, in the meeting she said she would not invoke article 50 until there was UK agreement, some in the media took this to mean Nicola Sturgeon would get a veto on the timing of Article 50, thereby giving the Government an out for not exiting the EU, since it is unlikely Nicola Sturgeon would ever agree to anything. Yesterday in an interview Nicola Sturgeon also suggested that Scotland would have a veto saying that Scotland was in a very strong position with regards to the EU negotiations. Today No. 10 has said that Scotland do not have a veto, and the Brexit would happen regardless of what Nicola Sturgeon wanted, also that it would be Theresa May who would decide the timing not Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon’s office has also admitted today that they don’t have a veto. I think we can safely say that round was won by TM. Sturgeon is a bit of a chancer, and she also reminds me of a guy I used to work with who’s philosophy was that if you say something enough times it will happen.

    Commons:
    Today the Commons are voting on the renewal of Trident. This is big for the opposition especially. TM apparently stated that she would be willing to use Nuclear Weapons if need be.

    Labour:
    Well, as mentioned above it is the vote on Trident (Nuclear capability) today. The official Labour Party position is that they support Trident, Jeremy Corbyn does not. Earlier in the year he tried to make this a party vote, however, many MPs rebelled, mainly because it was against their official policy, so it is a free vote for the Labour Party. This means that a number of Labour MPs will most likely vote against their leader – one estimate is up to 100.

    Also on Labour, there have been some suggestions Angela Eagle should step down from the leadership challenge in order to give a better chance to Owen Smith, however, she has refused, so it will be a 3 way fight.

    And on the leadership of the Labour Party, I saw an article this morning that Corbyn was considering taking the NEC to court to overturn their decision last week that will mean all of the new members will be unable to vote in the leadership election – it is thought that this is because he doesn’t think he will win otherwise.

    And the media have now moved onto the weather…

    Reply
    • Missy

       /  19th July 2016

      Breaking News: Further to above, the Deputy Political Editor of The Times has just tweeted that he has heard Angela Eagle and Owen Smith (not Jones as I said above – oops) have agreed there will only be one candidate.

      And on my getting his name wrong – I will blame the heat! I accidentally called him by the name of a journalist from the Guardian.

      Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  19th July 2016

    Watched an interesting documentary on The Rise of Trump on Al Jazeera’s Faultline documentary series this morning. Worth a watch:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/faultlines/2016/07/rise-trump-160712094327197.html

    I’ve just emailed them asking if they will be doing an equivalent doco on Hillary Clinton.

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  19th July 2016

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th July 2016

        Hey Nelly, being honest mate, do you think that—despte all your best efforts over the years—Wayne is probably going to end up in *Purgatory* before he finally makes it to the *Better Place* with the brighter future? 🐻

        Reply
        • Nelly Smickers

           /  19th July 2016

          Oh well, can’t say he didn’t know what he was getting in to….. as his dad tried to tell him, “It’s a hard road finding the *perfect woman* boy”

          Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  19th July 2016

    Al Jazeera breaking news … serveral news outlets reporting up to 21 people injured in a stabbing attack on a train in Bavaria, Germany. Some victims being reported to have life-threatening injuries: Police reported to have shot at the man. They say Reuters has also just a man has attacked passengers on a Bavarian train with an axe. Updates will follow in their News Bulletins or Breaking News Banners when more is known.
    9:19am

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  19th July 2016

      Relax, Gezza. Apparently it was just a 17 years old Afghan refugee who came to Germany on his own. This poor lad was probably just going through typical teenage angst, especially regarding strange Infidel ways. So lashing out at innocent people is completely understandable.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th July 2016

        I get your point Corky. The fact that it’s expressed sarcastically & will possibly mislead *some people* into telling you you’re just being a bigot, doesn’t detract from the fact that problem we’re identifying is real, it’s getting bigger, & it isn’t going to go away by people putting their heads in the sand.

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th July 2016

      Latest Al Jazeera New Update: – Information from German Interior Ministry – German police have shot dead a 17-year-old Afghan after he attacked passengers on a train with an axe and a knife, seriously wounding three people – incident happened near Wurzburg – attacker was a 17 year old refugee from Afghanistan, as Corky says above – has been living for past fortnight with a foster family in Germany – 3 people ‘seriously wounded’, 1 ‘slightly wounded’, 14 others treated for shock.

      Earlier information:
      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/germany-man-stabs-train-passengers-slashing-attack-160718210931703.html

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  19th July 2016

        In Germany, with their record of humane treatment of other people ? How appalling.

        Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  19th July 2016

    On Al Jazeera, it has been announced by the Police that the Nice Islamic Terrorist mass-murderer’s computer showed he had been accessing ISIS videos on the internet, and that he had been radicalised so quickly the authorities had not been able to detect it.

    One of the French Ministers (didn’t pick up which one) said that they would respond by continuing their bombing campaign in the Middle-East, thus demonstrating their total inability to comprehend that this is what is causing these attacks to happen, & that if they think that doing this will destroy ISIS & stop further attacks, I have an even taller Eiffel Tower to sell them.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th July 2016

      9:32am

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th July 2016

        Slight correction to my comment above: The French Interior Minister said that while their investigation had as yet turned up no links to ISIS, examination of his computer had revealed he had recently been accessing a lot of internet material on radical Islamist terrorists.

        Reply
  5. In the Winter 2016 edition of ‘AA Directions’ magazine there’s an excellent article “Taxing Truths” by Peter King about “the giant transport money-go-round”, with additional information & stats by Mark Stockdale.

    While “the numbers are enormous”, as they say – $10bn allocated from vehicle taxes + $3.9bn from rates revenue June 2015 – June 2018 – an MoT survey shows “79% of trip choices and travelling time is either driving or riding in a motor vehicle.” Walking comprises 17%, public transport 2.8% and cycling 1.2%.

    Our spend-up is not extravagant by international standards. Of 48 nations in the international transport forum, NZ’s spend as a proportion of our economy is 46th.

    The stats regarding funding sources are fascinating to me. Public Transport Users = $320m, Tax Payers $460m, Rate Payers $1.6bn and Motorists $3bn. Of the Motorists contribution, Rego = $183m, while Petrol Tax – which makes up $1.00 of a litre of petrol costing $2.00 – total = $1.6bn. Around 65% of this goes to the National Land Transport Fund.

    As the owner of a ‘Light Diesel’, what strikes me as a possible ‘funding source’ discrepancy is RUC’s at $410m for Light Vehicles and only $790m for Heavy Vehicles? I believe heavy vehicles do more than twice the damage to our roads? If the U.S. data is relevant this is true – “Jun 2, 2009 – Freight trucks cause 99% of wear-and-tear on US roads, but only pay for 35% of the maintenance.”

    https://truecostblog.com/2009/06/02/the-hidden-trucking-industry-subsidy/

    And an exhaustive NZ study pdf, which seems to support the idea – e.g. axle passes – although I haven’t read it carefully – (80 pages) –

    https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resources/research/reports/281/docs/281.pdf

    The spend is also interesting – Roads (includes footpaths and bus lanes) = $3.546bn, Public Transport = $1.61bn, Policing and Education = $390m and Walking & Cycling = $27m
    So public transport’s spend clearly outweighs its preferred usage, although perhaps it must be offset by whatever reductions are achieved in fuel consumption, congestion and pollution?

    The article is spiked with comments from politicians, ranging from National’s Simon Bridges, “We’re focused on enabling economic growth rather than simply responding to it.” through Labour’s Sue Moroney, “… this doesn’t look like a winning strategy to me. NZ needs a smart, integrated transport system to get things moving.” to The Green’s Julie Anne Genter, ” … National … putting up fuel taxes to pay for a few eye wateringly expensive highway projects, which will actually make congestion worse, and lock people into paying higher fuel taxes … if they spent the same amount on public transport and rail and sea for freight, the roads would be safer … and we’d have a world-class transport system.”

    Finally, three examples of ‘typical’ annual contributions. A family of 5 in Auckland with 2 vehicles, own home = $2,621.51, a Uni Student in Wellington, renting, who uses PT and owns a scooter = $290.77, and a retired couple in Nelson, own home, with one vehicle + PT = $873.98

    King finishes well IMHO, “But this huge money-go-round is going to have to change … the future is electric … any solution will require robust discussion about who pays for what and who gets subsidised by whom.”

    Drive safely everyone …

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th July 2016

      Brilliant! Guest Post material IMO, PartisanZ. Extremely well-researched, well-sourced, and well-written piece that was both informative & a pleasure to read. 🙂

      Reply
      • Pretty non-partisan eh Gezza …?

        I can’t really take the credit though, its mostly just a summary of an excellent piece of journalism by the authors cited.

        Major changes coming in the transport realm though. Fuel tax has apparently been rising partly (or mostly?) as a result of increased fuel economy? As vehicles become electric and to a lesser extent hybrid this form of funding – and tax increase – will be impossible to justify.

        I wonder what people think the possible solutions are? Cheaper fuel and more Local Govt road tax? Toll roads? Some kind of combined registration and RUC’s for all vehicles? The technology exists to do almost anything nowadays …

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th July 2016

          I can’t really take the credit though, its mostly just a summary of an excellent piece of journalism by the authors cited.

          Methinks, PZ, e hoa, you are too modest.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  19th July 2016

          Yes, self-driving cars are going to kill a lot of jobs as they minimise accidents – insurance, enforcement, legal, panel-beating, medical …

          Just as fuel taxes won’t fund roads from electric vehicles – road user charges is the obvious alternative, same as diesel.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  19th July 2016

            There has been a self-driving car that killed a person.

            How can they stop other cars hitting them ?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  19th July 2016

              If it’s the one I posted about recently, the person killed was the driver.

      • Gezza

         /  19th July 2016

        Morning Ice.

        Reply
    • Thanks for that PnZ…

      I am interested that the authors have picked a win with the statement that the future is electric. I would have thought hydrogen power cars might be a significant contender..

      The amount of tax on a litre of petrol is truly eye watering and is incredibly regressive have a disproportionate impact on the poor segments of society.

      Reply
      • @ dave1924 – Yes, both hydrogen powered – with the hydrogen produced elsewhere – and perhaps water-powered, where water is converted to HHO or “Brown’s Gas” onboard? [I know almost nothing about the chemistry or technology – I’m not that way inclined].

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxyhydrogen#Brown.27s_Gas

        http://www.nlcpr.com/Deceptions10.php – claims “Water4Gas HHO and Brown’s gas are frauds and scams”

        Brown Gas Generator – Alibaba
        http://www.alibaba.com › … › generator › gas generator

        Other more sustainable options should be competing with electricity in a so-called ‘free market’, although both access to water and electricity production surely have their environmental and geopolitical implications too?

        Years ago I read a tiny news item in the Herald or Star about a Kiwi man arrested at Auckland airport trying to leave the country carrying trade secrets. He apparently worked for a company which produced and sold welding equipment based on Brown’s Gas – or similar – where the one set of equipment could do all forms of welding? [My remembered details are sketchy]. The same technology could apparently be applied to an internal combustion engine with very few modifications?

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  19th July 2016

        Since fuel tax does all go into roading I don’t think it is excessive other than I don’t think our road building and maintenance is acceptably efficient. We certainly have a lunatic amount of excessive road-coning and most time you pass a road work there is very little happening beyond the stop/go man or woman.

        Arguably food and lodging is just as regressive as transport. Equally arguably that is just a fact of life.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th July 2016

          most time you pass a road work there is very little happening beyond the stop/go man or woman

          Are they usually private contractors Al, do you know?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  19th July 2016

            Always nowadays, AFAIK. There must be ways to raise efficiency hugely. There should be an investigation into it.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  19th July 2016

              Rip one of the better bureaucrats down off your fence, give him explicit instructions about what outcomes & deliverables are expected, & what will happen to his arse if he doesn’t get straight onto the job and work it, 10 hours a day, 10 minutes am & pm for smoko, 1/2 hour for lunch, until till he’s finished investigating the whole situation & produced a clear, sensible, testable analyis in an eminently readable report with appropriate charts but few (if any) diagrams.

        • I’ll disagree there Alan. Lodging is subject to what tax that is constantly manipulated upwards in the manner fuel levies, duties and sales tax are?

          Petrol is targeted and has attracted such a large tax carrying burden due to its relatively inelastic response to price increases.

          For some like me 10 cents more a litre is easily absorbed…. for someone on 45k a year not so much.

          Its why I say its regressive – for me it doesn’t result in any real change in spending – for the less well off it means other things are drop from the regular purchases as fuel is need to get to work

          If government wanted to help the less well off petrol taxes and gst would be in their sights for lowering – but that would many spending less and politicians do enjoy being fairy god mother and scattering cash around to stay popular

          Reply
    • There’s no business like fraud business…

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  19th July 2016

      I notice that the contribution by road users in the form of traffic fines does not seem to be identified and is maybe not counted – or is ascribed to taxpayers when it actually isn’t. Then I went searching for data and can’t find any. How strange. The police are always keen to say they are not revenue gathering but don’t seem very keen to publicise how successful they are.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  19th July 2016

        That’s because it goes into general funds, contrary to what some people think.

        I would rather that they were catching unsafe drivers than ignoring them.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  19th July 2016

          Precisely because it goes into general funds we should know how much it is.

          Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  19th July 2016

    Hiay c – when you get here – just saw on AJ News @ 2:55 pm that Sagan won étape seize, mais, Froome, l’Anglais, porte toujours le maillot jaune. C’est merde, n’est pas? >:D

    Reply
  7. WikiLeaks reported suffering a “sustained attack” after it announced the upcoming release of hundreds of thousands of documents relating to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the wake of a failed military coup.

    https://www.rt.com/news/351995-wikileaks-attack-turkey-documents/

    Reply
  8. NZ ATHLETES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PROVEN RUSSIAN DRUG TAKING? I see that NZ athletes are hoping to compete in lieu of Russian athletes who have been found to be drug takers under Russian Government sponsored programs. While I understand why NZ athletes may feel they have earned a right to compete, because they are clean, I wonder if they were citizens of an authoritarian government like Russia complete with Gulags, whether our athletes would have behaved differently to their Russian counterparts? Why should we Kiwis support the Russian Government’s shameful acts. DON’T GO!

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  19th July 2016

      Don’t go!!Some contenders in NZ like golfer Ryan Fox were threatening legal challenges if they were not picked to go.Biggest party on the international circuit….Rio.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  19th July 2016

        How is this supporting Russia’s acts ?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  19th July 2016

          Actions, I mean. The gulags were closed down a long time ago.

          It’s impossible to say ‘what if…..?’ The fact is that our athletes aren’t Russian.

          Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th July 2016

      Very sage advice, I thought, Alan. My gut feeling is that Boris has the cerebral capacity, & the cajones, to take it. (MIght’ve been best to not print the quotes–but then, Prince Phillip is still welcomed everywhere, & so was our Winnie when he had that role.

      Reply

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