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Andrew Little as Labour Leader

 
So Andrew Little is the new Labour leader. I don't particularly agree with him axing capital gains but entirely agree Labour should ditch raising the retirement age.

Andrew needs to handle the members better. Cunliffe ditched some policies such as the tax free threshold and no GST on fresh fruit or vegetables, on reflection him saying that he would ditch policies shouldn't have been controversial. I really think he has a problem with messaging, he should try to improve his tact.

I don't really like him going around saying Labour has too much policy. It's the job of a political party to have policies. The only people who think otherwise are right wingers.

However if the rumours are true and he is introducing an Universal Basic Income to the party, this is an excellent move.

Andrew has more chance of winning if he can get his personality to counter Key's somehow. I suggest hiring image and publicity professionals.
 
Posted at 22/11/2014 20:59:30 EST 1 comment
 

Labour leadership contest comments

 
I personally would love to see a strong left guy in Labour showing everybody who's boss. However Andrew is going too far in saying that he will overturn democratic elected policy, who is advising this guy? You don't enter a democratic process saying you'll ignore democratic processes. This is appalling language. He would be much better off saying that he would work with the wider party to form better policy. Framing is extremely critical.

I also note that the two classic left candidates are both saying that they need to cut down on policy. Creating policy is the entire flaming point of a political party. This is the language more suitable to the small government right wing. In my opinion the classic left candidates have massive problems in terms of framing, they need to modify their behaviour by asserting they will work with the party including guiding their policy.

Andrew Little is a union guy and unions are very easily demonized due to nonsense and propaganda from the right. It's possible that middle New Zealand would hate a gay less than a union leader.

A strong left person in Labour taking us back to socialism would be a dream come true for me but I am 90% positive that the right of the party would sabotage such a guy like some say they did with Cunliffe. I know anybody would need the full support of the members to do this, saying you're willing to overturn democratically elected policy would be a hideous idea to get such support.
 
Posted at 01/11/2014 01:47:17 EDT 0 comments
 

Cunliffe and Labour

 
I didn't cover the election, long story short; the country is still being run by a banker and someone who was in charge of the National Party got its lowest percentage in recent history. Although if Cunliffe gets finance we can say the same thing about him.

If Parker gets finance, nothing will change. If Cunliffe gets finance, nothing will change. Many people including myself thought that Cunliffe was ultra progressive but what we forgot is he was deputy and finance spokesperson under Phil Goff. The fact is that Cunliffe kept the same people in charge as Shearer. He went left on a few issues but in my opinion, nothing overly significant apart from basic education. The tax rate from Shearer to Cunliffe was the same. In my opinion Labour will continue to be a centrist party regardless of the outcome of the latest leadership election.

I couldn't be less interested in people's theories on why he didn't go further left. The fact is he didn't and you're probably delusional. I warned when I endorsed Cunliffe that he could be just another politician, I really wanted to be wrong.

The only way that I seeing him redeeming himself is getting finance and doing a complete left turn. This won't happen. I could be wrong.

I also find it very interesting he is endorsing Andrew Little instead of his former potential deputy Nanaia Mahuta.

I am unclear who is my preferred candidate but if I wanted to be utterly cynical about it I'd say it's between a lawyer, a gay, a union leader and a maori woman. This is a simplistic redneck take on the situation and is not my personal view. I have two clear favourites.

I see additional problems for the left. We're probably looking at a split in votes on the left side which could make the centre/right victorious. Additionally if a left candidate takes it out I can imagine the wider parliamentary team will push them right. I also note that despite Cunlife's leadership many new electoral candidates were right leaning.
 
Posted at 18/10/2014 21:36:55 EDT 0 comments
 

Jobs After Coal

 
Last week I went to a Jobs After Coal presentation by Coal Action with Jeanette Fitzsimons. The most striking thing about the presentation was the fact that coal only brings in about 1,500 jobs when the market isn't depressed. The market is currently going through a depression and the current number is about 1,100. This is much less than retail, tourism, and manufacturing. Most of these jobs can be replaced.

There are alternatives to using coal products in buildings, you can use wood products as substitutes. Alternatively many biofuels actually use more emissions to produce and raise food prices, this is not the case with the solutions in the presentation.

I conducted a short interview with Jeanette.

What could replace the 1,000 or so jobs coal provides?

Since the latest layoffs there are about 1100 jobs in coalmining. Our report Jobs After Coal explores this question at some length. Briefly, there could be many times that number of jobs in a range of industries. Building new geothermal and wind power stations to replace Huntly. Recovering the waste wood that is left to rot in the forest and chipping and drying and transporting it to replace coal in industrial boilers. A comprehensive energy efficiency programme - not just insulating houses, (though this is very jobs-rich) but improving energy efficiency right through industry and commercial buildings. Keeping our railway workshops open here....it's a very long list.

I personally am less concerned what New Zealand does and more concerned about encouraging other nations to reduce carbon emissions, do the local organizations have a plan to assist with this.

You are right that NZ's efforts are small on the world stage. However never underestimate the power of example. If NZ phased out its coal mining and increased its prosperity it would be a powerful signal to the rest of the world that it is possible. At the moment however most countries are doing more than us. We are the laggards, and we provide much larger nations, like Canada and Australia, with a further reson to do nothing. China, for example, which is often criticised, has set a date in the next 5 years for its coal use to peak and start to decline. They have invested more in building solar and wind than the rest of the world together. Their cars are far more fuel efficient than ours.

Why coal and not go after oil drilling as well?

CANA focusses on coal because it represents 79% of the global warming potential of the fossil fuels currently available and economic to mine. It has higher emissions per unit of energy produced and there is much more of it. However many of us are also supporting organisations working against oil. For example, I went to sea with Greenpeace and other boats to challenge the Anadarko oil drilling in the Tasman Sea last November. Coal is easier to replace than oil, which is mainly used in transport where the use of wood waste is much less technically developed than it is for coal boilers. So coal needs to go first, while we develop more options to phase out oil.

Do you not see hope in services like electronic trees etc?

Sorry, no idea what an electronic tree is. However, I have learned over many years that the problem is not a lack of technology but a lack of will to make the necessary changes. So while there are many technologies that are useful, and I particularly welcome the reduction in cost of solar PV, the change that is needed is in human thinking and values.

End of interview.

Final thoughts: I don't hold out much hope of Big Coal rolling over but think that taking investments out of the industry may have some affect, however investments can be replaced pretty easily by people who do not necessarily care about the environment such as the Koch brothers. I think that a worthy idea would be to push hard for companies to move away from coal products, this would further depress prices and make coal unviable. Investigating ways to make the alternatives cheaper would further assist with this.
 
Posted at 10/07/2014 23:37:26 EDT 0 comments
 

Enough with Colin Craig already!

 
Yes I realize the irony of saying enough with Colin Craig while reporting on Colin Craig. Legal disclaimer my views are my own speculation, not fact. I don't know if this covers me legally, nor do I really care!

Stop reporting on Colin Craig. He probably does things for attention and by reporting on him constantly you are giving him attention. You may interpret Craig as crazy, perhaps rightly so. However there is a chance he's deliberately doing crazy things just to get noticed. Suing a satirical site was crazy, pandering to conspiracy theorists was crazy or smart marketing, suing the Greens, again crazy. These things may be designed to generate news stories and if that is his tactic it's working. This is speculation on my part, perhaps he's legitimately dumb, perhaps it's both. Fame can be addicting and he appears to do anything to get in the media.

Paul Henry is such a terrible reporter. Why does he has a show? His interpretation of Craig suing the Green Party was the Green Party needing oxygen while the opposite is clearly true. As a percentage the Green Party has about 13 times more support than the Conservatives. Which do you think needs oxygen? It's like watching Fox News. Maybe it's projection.

However Russel Norman is not off the hook. It's beyond moronic to waste time demanding an apology from Craig. You're just giving him more attention, which is probably what he wants. You look like a wet lefty. Turei has the same problem.

The opposition needs to completely ignore Craig; stop giving him attention. Craig is constantly talked about and I'm sick of it. The more you talk about him the more potential he has. While the things he says sound crazy to most people there's a certain portion of the population that agrees with his views, giving him attention enables to reach these people. Him coming out in support of conspiracy theorists was actually smart marketing.

Opps I mentioned "coming out" in relation to Craig. I'm not calling Craig gay. The most anti-gay politicians have a curious history of getting caught in gay sex scandals...

I really don't care if he sues me. People will be lining up to donate to my legal defense. I'll do a pledgeme campaign, it will be fun!
 
Posted at 20/02/2014 17:15:32 EST 0 comments
 

Lizard people? Quality journalism is totally dead.

 
It's just embarrassing that several mainstream media publications think that the lack of evidence that John Key is not a lizard person is a news story. When you can't tell if you're reading 3 News or Alex Jones your only conclusion is the media has hit the bottom of the barrel.

This may seem like harmless fun but may I point out that about 4% of the population actually believes this according to an US poll. Doing stories like this only confirms their beliefs and will also be used by them to promote their beliefs. This is how conspiracy theorists work, they consider any old flimsy story as fact if it agrees with them without actually investigating the story. Publishing this nonsense is irresponsible.

What have you actually told us? That's there's no evidence of John Key not being a lizard person. Wow, such pressing information. What's your next story? The earth is round?

You all should be fired for providing such useless information!
 
Posted at 14/02/2014 21:29:45 EST 0 comments
 

On oil drilling

 
I am not opposed to oil drilling. I am vigorously opposed to the way it's being done in New Zealand right now. I am also definitely not enthused about oil drilling even if it's done in my ideal way.

The problem with the current oil contracts is we give 80% to offshore oil companies. This is the wrong approach. Other countries give the companies only 20% and keep 80% for themselves. We should be doing that, or completely socialize the oil production. I would settle for keeping 70% to compensate for the long distance.

The money would do a lot of good. If it was me I'd spend 20% on technology and research to combat climate change, this could possibly save and earn us money if we export the technology. The rest of the money generated would be spent on (public) schools and hospitals. This economic model has minimal effect on the rich here as we can raise money without affecting their tax rate. They should be all for it, unless they have shares in multinational oil companies which are the only ones effected.

Even Sarah Palin increased subsidies to the government on oil. Not that we want to follow her lead on anything else, but I will give her credit on this.

However, I will never be enthused about oil drilling, especially in New Zealand. The fact is we like and trade off our clean and green image. Oil drilling is not clean and green. Neither is an oil spill. Such an event could be disastrous for our brand and effect other industries like fishing etc. Safe deep sea drilling is a bit like Clean Coal; it doesn't really exist. If we are going to do it then it's essential we take maximum safeguards and be prepared for a disaster ahead of time. This means buying all equipment necessary to combat a disaster in advanced. This is critical.

I don't like oil drilling but if we are going to do it we should get maximum gains and be absolutely prepared if the worst happened.

Also Greenies who think Russel Norman is going to stop drilling: You're dreaming. Sorry.
 
Posted at 24/01/2014 20:14:58 EST 0 comments
 

Election year again, my thoughts again

 
Happy third and a bit anniversary to Topical.co.nz!

What has changed?

I started this as a serious political site. However a few posts in I found covering politics kind of depressing so now I have injected a humorous style to my blogs. Sometimes it will show, sometimes it won't.

What hasn't change.

The message of the site: Between Labour and National (except the eighties) National has done the most damage to the economy and society. Labour also has more capable people, many of them are willing to listen. In general Labour is the better party unless you're rich. In the last two governments Labour has raised wages at a faster rate than National while National has lowered taxes for the rich. It's clear where their priorities lie.

You may choose to vote further left such as Greens, Mana or (on a good day) New Zealand First. I highly doubt that this will change the overall direction of the government. However if the Greens poll significantly higher than the last time they were in power, things could change. I very highly doubt it, but it's possible.

I also refuse to buy into "Polls favour National and are evil" attitude this time. Complaining about polls does nothing to convince people of your ideas. However if you're voting based on who you think will win; you're a complete idiot and should stay home.
 
Posted at 03/01/2014 01:38:20 EST 0 comments
 

On the retirement age

 
Superannuation costs will balloon in the next decade. Most people consider this a fair argument and are happy to raise the retirement age. I can accept the populous view.

However I really have to note our flawed economic circumstances. Firstly due to the global financial crisis there is more unemployment which results in more welfare and less taxed being collected. Add to that privatization and McCapitalism; corporations paying people such low wages the government has to pick up the bill. If we optimize the tax base and wages as well as stimulate the economy we wouldn't have such a problem. Even if I'm wrong we should reform the economy so it is much more progressive anyway.

Should we raise the retirement age? In my opinion, no, or as a last resort. We should consider all of the options before making such a drastic change. If we need to raise taxes to safeguard the retirement age I say we put the issue to a referendum. A raise in the retirement age or X amount of tax increase. This could possibly work in Labour's favour and against my own view as people are pretty phobic about tax increases and many people favour raising the retirement age. I also don't see National (in opposition) arguing for a raise in taxes. Of course in power they're very happy to raise taxes on the poor. I also suspect some in National would be estatic if Labour does this, however this is purely speculation.

I would also consider doing a mass buy back of previous state assets to generate some extra revenue over the long term.

I am not a member of New Zealand First, I know that this reads like one of their blogs LOL.

I ultimately believe in doing what New Zealand wants, and if most favour a raise in the retirement age, so be it.
 
Posted at 22/12/2013 03:35:17 EST 0 comments
 

Regarding the asset sales referendum

 
I was completely against the asset sales referendum, and I completely stand by my comments. National ignored the anti smacking referendum, it will ignore this. If you think differently then I have aa very nice bridge in brookeland to sell you, it's gray! However now that it is here I have voted no and if being truly fiscally responsible when it comes to the government's books means anything to you I suggest you do the same. Flogging off perfectly good profit making SOEs for the sake of a temporary lift in government revenue is NOT good fiscal management. It is in fact the very opposite of good fiscal management. Though Bill English does appear to live in oppositeland, completely detached from any reality. It is amusing to me that he complains about borrowing the money from overseas banks, but a bank actually brought part of Meridan, so instead of a very small percentage going to a bank on the money we borrowed, we're now sending an endless stream of dividends to a bank. If foreign banks increase ownership in these assets as it has been the case with Telecom and Contact Energy, how is this better than borrowing? Sure, we may save ourselves temporary debt but in the long run we'll send more to foreign banks which means the government will generate less revenue. It will have to make up this revenue through increased taxes or public service cuts.
 
Posted at 10/12/2013 15:57:43 EST 0 comments
 
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