Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: John Key(nesian)

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  • Suze Vermeer,

    It would be nice to know what contribution mortgage ads on TV and real estate ads in the paper make to their respective bottom lines...

    Property ads are a huge contributor to newspapers' profit. When newspaper bosses talk to staff about "difficult financial conditions", they usually cite a drop-off in property ads, so yeah, it is better for the bottom line when property is booming, but I don't think there's any conspiracy going on. It's merely a sign of the sad state of our reportage now that no one dug harder on the Bollard warnings and checked it out.

    It's easier to fill column inches with REINZ hand-delivered press releases, esp in the advertorial section where a reporter writes soft stories hand-fed by real estate agents. I've had to do this and it leaves a horrid taste in the mouth.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    It's easier to fill column inches with REINZ hand-delivered press releases, esp in the advertorial section where a reporter writes soft stories hand-fed by real estate agents. I've had to do this and it leaves a horrid taste in the mouth.

    The Herald et al seem to come down pretty hard on real estate agents at times - certainly they can use their press releases for sales figure/state of the market type pieces, but I think its fair to say that editorial right to attack the industry remains, regardless of ad income...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Picking up on one of the buzzphrases tossed around over the weekend: unless there is signficant investment in research, innovation and tertiary education by whoever is our next government, it seems to me that increased "productivity" will mean no more than lowering wages like it did in the 90s.

    I recall someone arguing that one of the main reasons for the wage gap with Australia is that their govt, employers and unions worked together to invest in capital improvements, IT and skills development - while our govt suppressed the unions and made it too easy for employers to simply hire more unskilled bodies and invest the short term profits in real estate.

    Rod Oram has written how that lack of exposure to other approaches has left our businesses unprepared to take up the productivity challenge now. That isn't about picking winners; it means making sure that all businesses have what they need to perform better, including real broadband and export support like NZTE already seems to be delivering. We already have one of the easiest economic environments to do business in, so I don't see much room for improvement there.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ah italics, the original Italian sarcasm tag. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Herald et al seem to come down pretty hard on real estate agents at times - certainly they can use their press releases for sales figure/state of the market type pieces, but I think its fair to say that editorial right to attack the industry remains, regardless of ad income...

    Innoculation is a complex beast at times, Gareth.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    After a huge amount of consideration, elimination of ACC (I've come to the conclusion that, on balance it tends to reward bad behaviour)

    I am so, so confused by this. So confused. What?

    (Also: the price of 'feminine hygiene products' [pads and tampons, for those of us less euphemistically inclined] is a feminist/working-class activist issue as far as I'm concerned. $11 for cotton wool and stickytape? Are they kidding me?)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    (Also: the price of 'feminine hygiene products' [pads and tampons, for those of us less euphemistically inclined] is a feminist/working-class activist issue as far as I'm concerned. $11 for cotton wool and stickytape? Are they kidding me?)."

    I can't actually understand why FHP as you call 'em aren't free. How is it a choice to consume such items?

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    That isn't about picking winners; it means making sure that all businesses have what they need to perform better, including real broadband and export support like NZTE already seems to be delivering. We already have one of the easiest economic environments to do business in, so I don't see much room for improvement there.

    Oh yes!

    I often despair at the lack of imagination with regard to just getting basic processes right. Part of the problem is the low wage rates: I have been in situations time and again where I can't make a case for automation because it's cheaper to just employ a bunch of cheap labour. But running a sweat shop doesn't encourage you to develop a smarter way of doing stuff that can be sold overseas...

    The NZTE overseas initiatives are widely held up as an example, so I wouldn't suggest touching them. I get more worried about the bunch of govt. people who will be deciding what constitutes a valid innovation for research credit purposes, or the blatant subsidies to keep jobs on shore.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I am so, so confused by this. So confused. What?

    Y'know, those builders and plumbers claiming to have sore backs. There must be dozens of them remaining undetected. We should abolish the ACC to get them back.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    On the somewhat related topic of bureaucrats ... I have really come to appreciate NZ's relatively efficient public service since returning from Canada, where what I can only assume to be a chronically-understaffed bureaucracy takes months or years to respond to the simplest of paper work, and then does so in the surliest manner possible.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    After a huge amount of consideration, elimination of ACC (I've come to the conclusion that, on balance it tends to reward bad behaviour)

    I am so, so confused by this. So confused. What?

    Can't sue for personal injury = risk spread via what is in effect a tax on everyone.

    You being bad / lax / negligent <> arse sued into the ground with punitive damages = you carry on with your bad safety behaviour.

    Such as... NZ's high industrial accident rate, Insurance cheap(ish) for young drivers in big cars.

    Theoretically you are dealt with by the criminal code, but let's be honest... who has time?

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    I can't actually understand why FHP as you call 'em aren't free. How is it a choice to consume such items?

    Up the revolution brother.

    Food isn't exactly optional, but I still have to pay for it!

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Insurance cheap(ish) for young drivers in big cars

    Car insurance not compulsory. That sends shivers down my spine on a pretty regular basis.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I can't actually understand why FHP as you call 'em aren't free. How is it a choice to consume such items?

    I will claim no knowledge of FHP, but I'm pretty sure I have to eat food and have to pay for it!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    slarty, does it need to be an either/or thing? ACC was introduced partly to deal with the case where there was no obvious party to sue, or where that party had no ability to pay.

    Now if ACC could recover the costs of treating you from a liable party, wouldn't that be a reasonable way of increasing the risks of negligence?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    You being bad / lax / negligent <> arse sued into the ground with punitive damages = you carry on with your bad safety behaviour.

    Utter rubbish. If you're negligent as a business, you face the very real risk of prosecution. If you're negligent while driving, the same. The ACC also works proactively to increase safety practices and standards.

    Unfortunately, in the past businesses it seems could almost get away with murder before they faced criminal sanctions. Thankfully this has changed, but it's still taking a while for attitudes to catch up.

    The alternative you suggest, where people are tied up in the courts before they receive a single cent, and risk losing everything if they fail, is extraordinarily inefficient and inegalitarian.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    ...returning from Canada, where what I can only assume to be a chronically-understaffed bureaucracy takes months or years to respond to the simplest of paper work, and then does so in the surliest manner possible.

    Well if you replace the "un" in this statement ... with... well, you know, you might be describing NSW...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    Must ask Russell to ask the lads at Cactuslab to come up with a sarcasm tag

    wot Craig needs is a sarchasm tag:

    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 224 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    But I do think, however, there's at least an argument about (say) bonding student teachers, doctors etc. to work in New Zealand for a period with the quid pro quo of (say) an additional lump sum in the form of additional student loan repayments.

    They're already doing that to some extent with scholarships: teaching scholarships that require you to work as a teacher in NZ for three years, Bonded Merit scholarships which are targeted at getting the top 500 uni students to stay in NZ for as many years as they recieve the scholarship, that sort of thing. They could definitely extend the programme, though.

    I can't actually understand why FHP as you call 'em aren't free. How is it a choice to consume such items?

    Well, it is possible to get reusable cloth pads. They're just difficult to come by in NZ and involve a very, very large degree of ick-factor and extra effort - not more than cloth nappies vs. disposable nappies, realistically, but to the extent that most people are happier to spend $6-12 dollars a month (on average) on things they can chuck out.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I can't actually understand why FHP as you call 'em aren't free. How is it a choice to consume such items?

    Others have mentioned food, might I add why should I have to pay for the roof over my head?

    People, I think we might be on to something here.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Now if ACC could recover the costs of treating you from a liable party, wouldn't that be a reasonable way of increasing the risks of negligence?

    Lets say I injure you in a car accident. A minor mistake on my part, but I'm at fault.

    Under the present system I'm charged with causing an accident and fined. If there is judged to be serious negligence I'm charged with reckless or dangerous etc.

    Now lets say you have a back injury that costs hundreds of thousands to treat, and you successfully sue me for that and loss of quality of life. I don't have accident liability insurance, or equally I do but the company finds a clause in which they can exclude me. So I'm in penury for the rest of my life.

    When you start to think about what a system like that actually looks like - and there are multitudes of sad examples from the United States for us to consider - it starts to look pretty depressing. Thank the FSM we have the alternative which socialises risk so that we're not hit with things we're not able to protect ourselves from.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    (Also: the price of 'feminine hygiene products' [pads and tampons, for those of us less euphemistically inclined] is a feminist/working-class activist issue as far as I'm concerned. $11 for cotton wool and stickytape? Are they kidding me?)

    To tagent in a slightly 'look away' direction, you might like to consider the Diva Cup. Reusable, cheaper, greener, and not full of bleach.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    slarty, does it need to be an either/or thing? ACC was introduced partly to deal with the case where there was no obvious party to sue, or where that party had no ability to pay.

    Yep, I'd kinda got to here about 4 years ago.

    Then I went to work for a big, well funded government department.

    I like the concept of ACC. I think I'd like the compromise you suggest. I'm thinking consequential loss, retraining etc. that is very poorly managed by ACC. Maybe I'm biased because my beloved basically gave up on ACC, and we funded her rehabilitation plan ourselves. And the organisation that caused the issue is still Tier 1, so they get a rebate for having a reference to Health & Safety in all their job descriptions...

    I reckon some sort of insurance should be compulsory, with a levy to catch the no-fault element. Just like the British car insurance system in fact...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Innoculation is a complex beast at times, Gareth.

    Especially when it takes the form of Story #1,798,206 about the social blight of two-income white collar families suffering the agony of not being able to afford to buy their first homes in fashionable (and over-priced) inner-city suburbs. All a cunning plot of Baldrickian proportions to keep raking in the filthy lucre from the real estate special interests... Or, more likely, enormously expensive market research showing that their readers respond to property torture porn.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "property torture porn" - wonder what the Yanks will do with that one..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

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