Posts by Neil

  • Speaker: What almost everyone is missing…, in reply to Moz,

    Yes it’s a huge problem in Australia as well. It does seem to be finally getting a bit more political traction than here in NZ.

    The construction minister Salesa is proposing home owners pay the builder’s insurance. A bit like pedestrians having to pay motorists’ insurance in the event they cause injury driving down footpaths.

    And that insurance would only cover 10 years.

    It doesn’t suggest any faith in the building industry to do the right thing.

    What shocks me is that banks here will still lend to people buying, especially apartments. We *know* that the vast majority are not fit for purpose but the banks will still lend against them.

    It’s completely unethical. At some point the banks will pull the plug on apartments because of the losses they face but in the meantime many more people will be unwittingly drawn into this nightmare.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted,

    Catalan independence leaders appear to have learnt all the wrong lessons from Brexit. Holding ill-conceived referenda to force through major changes without significant support doesn’t lead to any peaceful democratic solution. Especially if it’s a bad solution in want of a problem.

    They may benefit instead from looking at the New Caledonia independence referenda process.

    In New Caledonia there is a real issue of independence as a legacy of colonialism. But the population is quite divided with no clear majority either way.

    What has come out of the Matignon Agreements (1988) and Nouméa Accord (1998) is a process of 3 referenda. The first of which was last year and the 2nd next year. That time frame gives a good picture of how the leaders of the various communities have understood the need for considered action to avoid the risk of communal conflict.

    It’s a complex process that serves to a degree to buy time and diffuse tensions.

    It’s a genuine attempt to reconcile genuine major communal differences that last year got an 80% turnout. Holding an ill considered and illegal referendum and declaring independence on a 43% turnout, as the Catalonian independence leaders did, looks very shoddy and authoritarian in comparison.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted,

    It’s a bit hard to take seriously Puigdemont‘s claim to be merely implementing the democratic will of the people. From Wikipedia:

    The referendum was approved by the Catalan parliament in a session on 6 September 2017 along with the Law of juridical transition and foundation of the Republic of Catalonia the following day 7 of September, which stated that independence would be binding with a simple majority, without requiring a minimum turnout.[17][18] After being suspended, the law was finally declared void on 17 October,[19] being also illegal according to the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia which requires a two third majority, 90 seats, in the Catalan parliament for any change to Catalonia's status.

    The independence parties which had at the time a slim parliamentary majority - but not a majority of electoral votes - organised a referendum that would be binding with a simple majority with no requirement for a minimum turnout. I don’t think that comes anywhere close to being democratic.

    It’s little wonder the Catalan High Court declared the referendum illegal.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted, in reply to Robert Southon,

    The sentences are counterproductive, making martyres of them isn’t going to help resolve the conflict.

    But they are not guiltless. They declared independence on the basis of a referendum they ran which had a turn out of just 43%. If they had been able to continue with that I can’t see how civil unrest could have been avoided.

    The essential conflict seems to me to be not between Catalonia and the central government but within Catalonia society based on how people identify. Stirring up that sort of situation with exaggerated grievances never works out well.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: What almost everyone is missing…,

    Leaky buildings still being built highlighting the very urgent need for action especially action on laws governing apartment building management.

    Currently, f you buy an apartment you’re taking on a very big risk.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: What almost everyone is missing…,

    I think I might have referred to this issue somewhere up thread:

    Widespread defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel revealed

    1100 out of 1200 buildings tested show evidence of compromised construction. The true extent of which may not become known for many years leaving anyone owning an apartment in such a building in a very difficult position.

    This plus the continued building of leaky buildings on top of the $47 billion (more likely to be 2 to 5 times that) cost of previously built leaking buildings plus other issues such as passive fire resistance defects will all add up to a huge tsunami of pain and financial hardship for thousands of people.

    It will also greatly undermine confidence in intensification as apartment buildings will all be suspect.

    One reason this has not got the attention it deserves is so many people don’t want this to be out in the open. They want to sell up before this becomes common knowledge, while they still have a chance to sell to the unsuspecting.

    Isn’t it seriously odd how such a major issue got zero attention during the local body elections.

    And neither Labour nor National happen to show the slightest inclination to confront this disaster. The more time goes by with nothing done the greater the disaster will be and the greater the number of people who will have their lives destroyed.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted,

    The two opinions most commonly expressed by friends in Barcelona:

    1. The independence movement is driven by wealthy families who stand to gain financially and the extent to which Catalonia has been in any way negatively affected by the current system is vastly exaggerated. Cf Brexit.

    2. The central government’s response of using force to shut down the referendum was wrong and counterproductive.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: What almost everyone is missing…,

    It’s all been overtaken by other events. Who would have thought that there was no te reo word for allegation that didn’t also imply rumour. Nudge nudge.

    I don’t think it’s that surprising that a policy premised on demonising ethic groups winds up pouring money into property developers. If it was a National govt one might think that was all planned.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: What almost everyone is missing…,

    Two years wasted and millions poured into the pockets of developers.

    And it doesn’t look as though the government has learnt anything from this disaster.

    No one forced them, as they are now claiming, to build houses no one wanted to buy. That was a choice.

    It was also a choice not to listen to those saying this is not good policy.

    Twyford is now finally saying he will early next year direct councils to stop their capricious decisions on height controls in CBDs. That should have been done the day he entered government.

    Still no movement on reforming the Unit Titles Act which is desperately needed if apartment buyers are to have any hope in maintaining and governing apartment buildings. The whole intensification project will collapse if this is not dealt with quickly.

    Also no curiosity about how the construction industry gets away with outrages prices for buildings that are often substandard - leaky buildings are still being built.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics,

    There’s a lot I agree with in Jessica McAllen’s article on the government’s mental health funding priorities.

    The most at risk are the voices least heard.

    Another important point she makes is that mental health is not necessarily a continuum.

    Major mental health issues such as BPAD and Schizophrenia can first occur without much warning, There is often little opportunity for any preventative intervention in the most severe forms of mental illness.

    Appropriate funding for these people – the most at risk – is not currently on the government’s agenda.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

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