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

Ban on new offshore exploration estimated to cost $7.9 billion

While Jacinda Ardern is getting celebrity attention in New York the cost of reality hits home here.

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Government officials have estimated that the cost to New Zealand of banning new offshore oil and gas exploration permits will be $7.9 billion between 2027 and 2050.

The advice is contained in a just released regulatory impact statement (RIS) by officials from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

It was previously known that officials opposed the move, but the estimated cost to the Government is new.

The $7.9 billion estimate is the midpoint of a series of estimates that vary widely with different variables but represents a medium exploration scenario.

Foregone revenue to New Zealand could be higher under high exploration, $14 .3 billion, or as low as $2.7 billion with low exploration.

But Energy Minister Megan Woods contests the estimates.

Her statement on the bill, says the modelling by officials was based on a GNS report for inputs and the report itself expressed caution about relying on resource estimates, saying “this study attempts to qualify what is almost unquantifiable.”

Woods’ statement also said the model used for estimating the cost was unable to take into account any potential from existing exploration permits, covering 100,000 sq km.

The new advice has been released alongside the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill which gives effect to the ban announced in October by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

In New York:  UN gathering puts further distance between Ardern’s NZ and Trump’s America

“We have a number of challenges quite specific to New Zealand in the particular drugs that are present, but also in taking a health approach. We want to do what works and so we’re using a strong evidence base to do that.”

Ardern’s stance that New Zealand prefers an “evidence based” approach to drugs is a direct challenge to the US administration’s rhetoric on the issue, and it is not the only area where both countries are increasingly talking a different language.

I wonder what evidence they based their rushed decision on banning new offshore exploration.

 

Otago vice-chancellor accused of stealing bongs from student flats

What is it with universities these days? Massey has had it’s problems with theor vice-chancellor and Don Brash and free speech, and Victoria has been trying to push through an unpopular name change.

And at Otago the proctor has been reported to be going into student flats uninvited and taking away bongs.

Critic Te Arohi:  Proctor Enters Flat Without Permission, Steals Bongs

A Leith Street flat says University Proctor Dave Scott trespassed and stole their property when he entered their house while they were out and took several bongs/water pipes.

About three weeks ago, the Proctor was visiting flats on Castle Street and Leith Street North to deliver letters about initiations. The entire flat was away, apart from one person who was asleep upstairs. The flatmates said the Proctor let himself in through the unlocked back door, where he found several water pipes sitting out on a table and took them.

Because they weren’t home, the flatmates didn’t know what had happened to the pipes and assumed they had been robbed. They estimated the pipes were worth $400.

“We thought someone had stolen them, but then we thought that if anyone had done it around Castle/Leith someone would recognise our pipes as they are well known,” one flatmate said.

The Proctor returned the next day, and told them that he had gone into their flat and confiscated the pipes. According to the flatmates, he told them that as long as they cleaned up the flat, he would let them off with a warning and wouldn’t take it to the police.

That attracted wider media coverage, and then a follow up: Second Flat Claims Proctor Entered Home Without Permission, Took Bongs

A second flat is alleging that University of Otago Proctor Dave Scott entered their home without permission while everyone was out and took their bongs. This comes soon after Critic reported that the Proctor entered a Leith Street North flat three weeks ago while no one was home and took $400 worth of bongs.

According to one flatmate, who asked to remain anonymous, the Proctor visited their Castle Street flat in June, when no one was home, to pick up rubbish in the area. While he was there, he took two bongs, which had been sitting in the lounge, around the back of the flat.

The flat is privately owned. The flatmates said the bongs were “valued at over $300 combined.”

They said that one flatmate was called into the Proctor’s office for a meeting, where he was asked “what they were and why we have them etc.,” and ultimately let off with a warning.

“As an ex cop we feel as if he should be more educated around the law of breaking and entering, especially taking items out of the flat with no permission. If we walked into his house or even his office and took something which we feel is illegal, then it would be a different outcome,” he said.

And it could be more widespread:

Hey so I have had 4 more reports of flats having bongs fuckin stolen by the proctor so far this year.

Anyone looking to share their stories on this abuse of power please email: critic@critic.co.nz

This is absolutely fucked and we have to stand up to this fucking authoritarian repression

Update: I have a meeting to discuss this issue with the proctor tomorrow, and depending whether he agrees to sign our Code of Proctor Conduct, will be organising a protest on Thursday with specific demands and outcomes.

get ready to get on the fkn rark fam.

Update 2: Proctor cancelled our meeting. Protest is on:

Protest details:

So the proctor cancelled his meeting with me tomorrow.

This means we need another outlet to have our voices heard, to express how we feel about this abuse of power.

For those that don’t know, the proctor has been randomly entering flats by the back door, sometimes with noone home, and been pinching beugs.

This is an abuse of our rights as students, and as citizens, and unless we respond it sets a dangerous authoritarian precedent. We need to let the University of Otago know this is not appropriate behaviour of someone purportedly representing our institution.

We will gather at the corner of Castle and Dundas, on the uni drive, march down to the proctors office, then head round to the clocktower where we will submit our proposed Students of North Dunedin Code of Proctor Conduct:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lQGETJKgmVzsQ6wz5P60x_lkzzbr0X0FHkV7HbJRA6Q/edit

Chants and sign planz to come, feel free to chip in w ideas too x

This is gonna be so dope, get ready to rark it up yo for all the breathas to come: FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS ♥

It seems likely Critic will have more to say about this. If the proctor is entering flats uninvited, and if he is taking thingd, this is a serious matter.

Collins versus Swarbrick

Judith Collins made another unfathomably bad taste tweet attack again today, and Green MP Chloe Swarbrick was one prepared to call her out for it.

A reprehensible crime punished with a sizeable prison sentence, but a reprehensible response from Collins:

Swarbrick stood up to Collins:

A poor look for Collins, and Swarbrick shows more maturity than most MPs.

Also:

Bridges still complaining about compensating meth house victims

No one has suggested that drug dealers should be given any money when it was announced that people evicted from state houses over the meth contamination panic – see Housing NZ to compensate 800 tenants over bogus meth testing

The apology and offer to compensate kicked-out tenants by between $2500 and $3000 comes as a report into the agency’s meth testing regime was finally released on Thursday morning.

It found that between July 2013 and May 2018 nearly 5000 Housing New Zealand (HNZ) properties were tested for meth contamination, with about half of these tests testing positive for the too-low standard at the time.

Just one in five primary tenants were rehoused. The majority, just under 800, were found responsible and were kicked out of their properties, and 275 tenants were suspended from being housed by the agency for a period of one year.

Just one fifth of the tested properties would fail the new standard set in May, which is ten times higher than the previous extremely low trigger.

Given most homes have more than one person but just a single primary tenants, around 2400 people were likely affected.

Furthermore, about $7m in damages was charged to 542 tenants. But less than two per cent of this was actually recovered before HNZ stopped seeking them earlier in 2017, and that debt has now been cancelled.

But that’s the line of attack that National leader Simon Bridges took last week:

Remarkable Bridges is continuing his opposition to “what Phil Twyford is doing” this morning.

Bridges agrees with compensation but is barking at a passing Twyford regardless.

Jones is happy to see Bridges making a mess of leading the Opposition.

Phil Twyford has run in after Bridges’ interview making it clear that no ex state tenant convicted of meth manufacture or dealing will get compensation.

Bridges is not only barking at a passing car, he is inventing the car.

Q+A: Golriz Ghahraman on increasing refugee numbers

Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party spokesperson on Immigration and Human Rights, was interviewed on Q+A on increasing refugee numbers. Jacinda Ardern announced last week the number was being increased from 1,000 to 1,500 in 2020, but Green policy is to increase it further to 4,000 (over 5 years), something that is unlikely to be agreed on by NZ First.

“There was such an outpouring of support for refugees from community groups and individuals”.

“Countries that take the most refugees are in fact from the Middle East and Africa, they’re the neighbour countries, they take millions, and in Europe we’ve seen you know millions come across and be integrated and housed because there’s been that need and it’s so close for them”.

“I think that New Zealand has always been a country that likes to do our share, you know we like to do our fair share when these things happen around the world.

On Winston Peters saying “I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, where people are living in degradation, we have to fix their lives up before we start taking on new obligations”. On problems we need to deal with here:

“And we do. And who doesn’t feel that. You know we’ve had nine years of being told we’ve got a rock star economy…

That’s a bullshit claim. The last Government took over as New Zealand was heading into a recession and the world economy tanked, and a couple of years later the Christchurch earthquakes struck, so the New Zealand economy was under aa lot of pressure for years, only gradually recovering. One person at one stage mentioned ‘a rock star economy’.

…while people struggle to find homes, they’re sleeping in cars, the congestion on the roads, you know joblessness. So we need to get back to investing in people, and we’ve got enough to do that, we just need to take care of everyone, and we do want to do our fair share when disasters happen, when wars happen.

“We’ve got enough to do that” depends on what and how much is done.

From the Labour-Green confidence and supply agreement:

18. . Review, and adequately fund and support, the family re-unification scheme for refugees.

Ghahraman:

“So that was a Green Party win in our confidence and supply agreement. We’re going to look at the definition of family. At the moment it’s very limited to dependant blood children and spouse, which doesn’t quite fit the situation of where refugees are coming from. That kind of excludes orphaned cousins who have been adopted and now they’re left back in some refugee camp.”

Won’t that increase the number of people coming in?

“Not significantly, but it would certainly help those families to resettle better without the anxiety of having been ripped apart from their families. And we know that if grand parents were allowed to come they would do a lot of the child care for example and both parents could go out and work and contribute and integrate.”

“So we’re having a review of the definition of family, and also the resourcing for family members being reunified.”

It could be a challenge getting Winston Peters to agree. A review is just aa promise to discuss, not to change.

Q+A: David Parker on taxing bottled water

David Parker as Trade and Growth Minister was interviewed on Q+A last night.

Parker was asked about this from the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

  • No resource rentals for water in this term of Parliament
  • Introduce a royalty on exports of bottled water.

Winston Peters via Stuff (June 2018):

A coalition commitment to introduce a royalty on bottled water exports appears to have stalled, with the Government still trying to find a workaround that won’t breach its free trade deals.

Environment Minister David Parker told Newsroom the Government had not “got a lot closer to an outcome” on an export royalty since MFAT’s concerns were raised, and was instead focusing on how to tackle carbon emissions.

“The Government makes agreements as you go into coalitions as to what it is that you prioritise, and we prioritised emissions pricing over water pricing in the coalition agreement and both the Greens and New Zealand First agreed to that.”

Unless there is significance in the order that priorities are listed in the agreement this is not clear.

However, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says he is confident a solution to implement a royalty on bottled water will be found before the end of the year.

“I think New Zealanders think it’s unfair that people who bottle water and send it offshore without any return to the public, they don’t think that’s fair – I agree with them, I think that’s also true of other water bottling as well. We’re working through that.”

“Let me tell you, we’ve had so many other things on that it’s not been the priority we’d have all liked, but it certainly is now.”

Asked whether the Government still planned to introduce an export royalty on bottled water this term, Peters said: “I think I can confidently say, this year.”

Parker:

I’ve got a Cabinet paper coming through soon, in fact I’ve seen a draft of it looking at the different options. We’ve agreed in the coalition agreement that we won’t have a price on water generally during this term in Parliament.

There’s two reasons why you might in the longer term there’s the Tax Working Group suggests. One is fairness between the public and private, if private people for their own profit arre using a public resource then maybe they should…

And the second goes to the efficiency of the use of the resource. If there is a price for scarce resources then they’re inclined to be used more efficiently and so there’s less waste which is environmentally good.

He avoided saying when a decision was expected.

On issues with trade agreements and water – “Can you actually implement a tax on that?”:

Ah you are restricted by your trade agreements. There are still things you can still do, um, ah, they are very, some of them are quite complex, ah it doesn’t kick up a lot of money…

Levies or taxes in various forms are possible, but there is a sense of umbrage on the part of New Zealanders who think that it’s wrong that we export water to the rest of the world without anything coming back to the public for that privilege.

Can you do something without breaching these agreements, and this year?

Ah yes you can do some things, ah, you clearly can do some things, ah, you could also change the rules related to foreign direct investment to make it clear criteria when people are investing from overseas which is something we might consider in the second part of our…

What does he prefer?

Ah I’m not going to express a preference on this.

Can you do it this term or is it in the too hard basket?

Um, yes we can.

So it will be done this term?

I didn’t say that.

You want to do it this term?

Well I, you know, I think the principle where private people are exporting a public resource for their own profit, that something should come back to the public, is a fair play.

So Parker avoided giving any indication of when something may happen on taxing water being exported.

Then he was asked about the complication of claims of Maori ownership. “Is that going to be resolved this term?”

(Big breath) Well, no one’s been able to resolve that until now. Ah, I think there’s considerable goodwill on the part of all sides of these water debates. Ah the public made it clear they want water quality improved. You can’t do that without resolving some of the water allocation issues relating to nutrient discharge rights.

That does throw up Maori rights and interests because Maori disproportionately hold the underdeveloped land that wants the right to…

But you can avoid a foreshore and seabed mess which Michael Cullen was talking about earlier?

I think so.

And Parker was let off the hook there after avoiding committing to any time frame for taxing bottled water, and without giving any indication how Maori claims on water rights might be dealt with.

 

 

Q+A – Michael Cullen on the Capital Gains Tax and TWG

Chairman of the Tax Working group, Michael Cullen, was interviewed on Q+A last night on Capital Gains Tax and water.

He was also interviewed on the Nation on Saturday.

Scoop: On Newshub Nation: Simon Shepherd interviews Tax Working Group Chair Michael Cullen

  • Sir Michael Cullen says there’s currently under-taxation at the top end of the income and wealth scale, and under his working group’s recommendations “people who have substantial capital assets in one form or another” would end up paying more.
  • Sir Michael disputes the effect Labour’s capital gains tax policy had on the party’s 2011 and 2014 election losses: “There was no real sign, actually, that that had any great impact in shifting votes around.”
  • He says some charities getting tax breaks might not be using their income for charitable purposes: “Some of those charities – at least on first examination – appear to not be passing on much of their income out to the supposed intended beneficiaries.”
  • Sir Michael says proposed environmental taxes on things like waste dumping would be aimed at changing behaviour, not increasing revenue: “Hopefully behaviour changes, so that the amount of money that you collect at the end of the day may not be much more… there’s just a lot less waste going to landfill.”
  • He says tax cuts for lower income earners would be an effective way to offset increased user-pays charges: “Actually reducing the bottom tax rate, or having even a tax-free area at the bottom, is more effective in compensation.”

Full transcript (Scoop)

The Q+A panel on Cullens interview and tax.

 

Media watch – Monday

24 September 2018

MediaWatch

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