Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: In The Green Room

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  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Samuel Scott,

    I think you’ll find that quotas are not allowed under the GATS free trade agreement. Helen Clark talked about it and was quietly told its impossible without cancelling out of GATS. TPPA has content quota restrictions too as they are seen as anti competitive to international trade! Australia has quotas because they negotiated a subclause that allowed it. Our Broadcasting Minister in 1991 had the chance but chose not to. More info here – http://www.spada.co.nz/documents/Sub-WTODoc.pdf

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Really? I see it as neither freaky or National friendly.

    More direct subsidy, more RD tax subsidy, more integrated business environment, more graduates in innovation disciplines. Wrapped up in context that innovation is the business of adding value.

    I'd like to know more about sharing equity with the government funder. Seems fair enough but also disadvantages the perfectly legit strategy to develop and sell by reducing the market for such a company to NZ only.

    Which is about as far from National as you could get, I'd have thought.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    It looks on the shallow end like a subsidy for established business’s

    What about the numerous passages devoted to encouraging start ups?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to tussock,

    fairly unique in our potential for massive growth in renewable energy

    Exactly. And there's an argument that by growing sustainably and taking a reasonable number of immigrants, we are easing the burden on more populous and strained ecosystems, like Europe and China.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to ,

    How will these tax breaks for research and development bring prosperity to people

    It's not an entirely bad policy. One of the big problems we have in the NZ R&D investment balance is an almost complete lack of investment in R&D by business.

    The main problem is that companies big enough to invest are also big enough to have an office in Aus where they can do exactly the same R&D AND get a tax break.

    BUT and it's a big but, there is no real evidence that shows that direct stimulus to business investment (i.e. tax breaks) does much to increase business R&D. Instead what seems to be the case is that businesses invest if they see Universities and/or govt institutes with really strong academic performance. In essence businesses use the same measure of quality as scientists when choosing where to spend their R&D money. The consequence is that countries with strong govt investment develop good govt funded research centres that then attract business investment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    there is no real evidence that shows that direct stimulus to business investment (i.e. tax breaks) does much to increase business R&D

    Anecdotally (ie, the company I work for), the tax breaks are what make it worth keeping operations in Australia. We have a small assembly and shipping operation, and a repair/rebuild shop that exists almost entirely to service the R&D team. Basically, without them R&D would involve a lot of "wait for that to come back from China" which we can avoid by going downstairs and bugging the assembly/repair team to do stuff right now. So we get circuit boards made offsite (sometimes offshore), then SMD's put onto them in house. That's five "bonus" jobs from the R&D tax break, on top of 6 or 7 engineers actually doing the R&D. That plus two admin people (and a director who does design/marketing/production management) is it for the company, BTW, everything else is outsourced, some of it offshore. That seems to be a common model for high-tech firms, BTW.

    I know people doing similar things in NZ, but it's very tempting for them to come to Oz and they don't have to get very big before it's costing them serious money to stay in NZ.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Have The Greens actually committed to any "clean politics" policies and actions? I recall No Right Turn asking them to declare all donations over the threshold they want, and promptly, then complaining that they didn't want to. Have they decided to do that yet? And ideally, to restrict political donations to voters (ie, not just ban corporate and trust donations, but donations from all non-voters).

    Similarly, I'd like them to be asking for mandatory disclosures that would make the whaleleaks problem impossible, in some way. I'm not sure how, but I'd really like to hear their ideas.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    You can stop the whole OIA guessing-game and leaks system by pro-actively publishing everything that can normally be requested. Just make it part of briefing Ministers and such that a properly redacted copy is put on the public server.

    There's still data compilation stuff that could be requested, but if departments routinely did the sort of raw data dumps that, say, the census people put together, where the privacy concerns are all removed ahead of time, it should be workable.

    That gets pretty expensive of course, and anything else I can imagine would reveal the requests, which is a privacy issue again. You can't actually know if someone's queue-jumped without seeing everyone's requests, after all.

    Just getting the bastards to actually fill requests ASAP, that would be a big start. A lot of the departments delay until the last allowed minute, especially when they're cheating, to start the process of dragging out any complaints as long as possible. It's not supposed to work like that at all.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    Have The Greens actually committed to any "clean politics" policies and actions?

    They've been publically calling for a clean-up every few months for years. Haven't checked their policies but I'd be surprised if it isn't in there somewhere.

    They also lodged immediate complaints to the relevant authorities as soon as #dirtypolitics was published, you'll recall.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Okay some questions on education.

    Depending on how you see it, the Student Green card is a nod or bribe to the student vote. However it is no substitute for a teritiary policy. The value of the graduate premium is going down, the individual debt burden for students is going up, bulk funding for Universities/Tertiary has dropped in real terms and the growth caps on Universities have left a number of instuitutions with large debts accrued through underfunded infrastructure expansion. So what is the future for the HE sector? Where will the money come from and is the current model sustainable or indeed desirable?

    The current fixation on league tables and ineffective zoning rules have led to an extensive growth in pupils being driven from some distance to so called "good schools". This would seem to be a green issue; is the only answer more public transport?

    Oh and while we're at it, what's the policy on standards/testing?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    Anecdotally (ie, the company I work for), the tax breaks are what make it worth keeping operations in Australia.

    And that is the reason I don't think it's a terrible policy, particularly given the proximity and ease of shifting operations to Australia.

    Just adopting parity with Aus on R&D tax breaks is probably a bottom line. But beyond that I just don't want to see any new funding tools, what I want to see from The Greens is an acknowledgment that The Marsden fund works really really well and even if they didn't invent it they could fund it better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Two related questions for the Greens (which I'm asking on behalf of a family member):

    1. What is the Party's preferred party vote threshold?

    2. Would the Green's support moving to STV for electorate votes?

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Q: How will the Greens better involve patients and consumer organisations in developing and implementing health policy and services?

    I've accepted an invitation to attend, so will see you all there/online.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    @Oh, God

    "The Green Party supports an inclusive education system. When families have to opt out of religious education it risks a child feeling excluded and their values or beliefs undermined. Education about religions is legitimate but not as “instruction”. A first step should be families who want RI to “opt in” at state schools, not the other way around."

    - Catherine Delahunty, Green party


    i.e. preserving this use of the state primary sector as a venue and vehicle for nonsecular activity.



    2 months ago on reddit Russel was presented with the wider implications of this.

    In its downloadable 2013-14 Annual Report, the CEC’s Chairperson Mitch Jordan wrote:

    I believe CEC needs to continue to strategically develop curriculum, teachers and programmes that maintain a Christian presence in every school in our nation. I believe that CEC needs to continue to explore alternatives to the traditional bible in schools classes, and continue to grow the work of Champions and other large-group formats.

    Lunchtime, Before and After School programmes need to be developed and marketed to schools, particularly those who are considering closing their traditional programmes.

    Question(s)

    A.Given the high stakes organisations such as the CEC have in maintaining the status quo, what follow up steps are the Green Party be prepared to take?


    (as applicable)

    B.What is the Green Party’s position on eliminating this provision for nonsecular activity by repealing Sections 78-80 of the Education Act 1964?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I am a Green Party member and activist, and have stood for election several times (but not this election).

    Here's my question:

    The stability of a multi-party government can rest on the stability of the minor parties (e.g. Labour/Alliance). Assuming you achieve roles in Cabinet, and are therefore subject to collective responsibility, how will you overcome the tensions between Cabinet and the Green's famous grassroots-driven consensus decision-making.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I thought the concept worked well, albeit a few extant technical issues. The contrast between Cunliffe/Key soundbites and Metiria/Russel expansive policy points was telling.

    Nice work, Russell, I think you did a good job challenging M&R :)

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    Nice work, Russell, I think you did a good job challenging M&R :)

    Cheers. And thanks for the question!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I blogged about last night including some useful supporting links. Scroll to the bottom to watch the 15m clip of Hager’s masterful speech the previous day, even if you ignore the rest.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to tussock,

    I think you’ll find the New Zealand situation fairly unique in our potential for massive growth in renewable energy, at least compared to Europe.

    Have you considered the effect of the next earthquke on the alpine fault (sitting at the top of the probability curve about now)?

    With an expected magnitude of 8+ this will be considered a "great earthquake" not simply a strong one. The force will result in a horizontal earth shift of up to 8 metres, and a vertical displacement of 4 metres. The effects will be worst in West Otago, diminishing eastward.

    Landslide dams with breakout flash flooding are very likely. Aggradation will deposit high sediment volumes in riverbeds lasting for many months. Huge sediment and gravel deposits will have downstream effects for years. Areas such as the Shotover River may be radically transformed.

    Rock avalanches falling into the water bodies may cause tsunami in lakes, rivers, and fiords. Areas such as Lakes Wakatipu, Wanaka, Hawea, Te Anau, Manapouri, Tekapo, Milford Sound Doubtful Sound are at risk from tsunami induced by massive landslips into the water.
    Electricity supply

    Damage to hydro electrical generation plants and transmission lines will result in an immediate shutdown of South Island power generation and widespread disruption of reticulation. Electricity supply is likely to be unavailable for many weeks or even months in some remote areas.

    http://www.orc.govt.nz/Information-and-Services/Natural-Hazards/Great-Alpine-Fault-Earthquake/

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Exactly. And there’s an argument that by growing sustainably and taking a reasonable number of immigrants, we are easing the burden on more populous and strained ecosystems, like Europe and China

    Blinded by enthusiasm for social change? "Progressives of the internationalist tradition"? Not true to label? Wolf in sheeps clothing? Watermelon?

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to jh,

    Have you considered the effect of the next earthquke on the alpine fault

    Surely they will have updated theEQC system to encompass this event - they wouldn't dare miss the opportunity to base the process in realities rather than hopes - as they did back in 2008 - by not increasing the numbers of claims they might have to handle (and securing the funds as well)...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • jh,

    In 2008

    Anti-immigration feeling has no place in the Green party Immigration and Population policies released today, Green MP Keith Locke says.
    "Our policy is the opposite of Winston Peters'," the Party's Immigration Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

    https://home.greens.org.nz/press-releases/greens-counter-peters-welcoming-immigration-policy
    In 2011 the Governments own Savings Working Group said:

    On other government policy issues, SWG recommendations include:
    - A much more strategic and integrated approach to policy generally.
    - Serious consideration of the impact of the level and variability of immigration on national saving, and the impact that this might have on the living standards of New Zealanders. There are indications that our high immigration rate has pushed up government spending, house prices and business borrowing.

    Also

    “The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/pdfs/swg-report-jan11.pdf

    No points Green Party? Shouldn't a Green appreciate limits to growth? Or is diversity more important than the well-being of New Zealanders?

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

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