Posts by mattgeeknz

  • Cracker: Dinner and a Show (Everybody’s…,

    With Radiohead's Auckland tickets going on sale tomorrow, it feels appropriate to link to their cover of Ceremony.

    Radiohead - Ceremony (YouTube)

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Sacha,

    Government already had an asset base as well as revenue flows. Spending (including superannuation) is leveraged on that asset base as well. All working generations helped build those assets – which is a form of collective ‘saving’.

    I'm not expecting many of those savings to be left in twenty years. When we had our first baby boomer government in 1984, a programme of selling those assets, built up over generations, began, and has continued to the present day. If things continue as they are, what can be sold will be and what can't will be used to secure debt that future generations will have to pay back. Previous generations had paid for their parent's super by tax, the baby boomers decided to pay for super and everything else by raiding the piggy bank of collective savings, and the next generation is going to have to go back to paying by high taxation again, unless we make some reasonable changes.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement,

    I'm not Maori, but from a short-lived line, both grandfathers copped it before 60. It brings home the disparity of this kind of benefit, yet another one skewed towards people who have the good fortune and treatment to actually live that long. No need to skew it even further.

    Any retirement age - 60, 65, 70 - is going to upset someone. Even a retirement age of 50 is unhelpful to someone in their 30s, say, who is given 10 years to live. However, I say moving the age doesn't make it less fair. It just makes some people less, as you say, fortunate, which is a different thing, and if the slow deterioration of mind and body can be described as good fortune. I don't think anyone can argue that they have a right to good fortune, as nice as that would be.

    I have some sympathy for inter-generational arguments but really we all pay to support people in various ways, including superannuation. The current scheme's premises seem outdated and will need to be revisited but it's misleading to talk only about younger people paying to support older ones. There's more to it than that.

    I disagree. When the government introduced superannuation, and the first to retire got welfare, which is what superannuation is, that was paid for out of the taxes collected from the workforce. They didn't save up for it first. There was no break-even point where the people working had paid off the superannuation bill for those retiring and started paying for themselves. So I don't accept the 'we paid for it' argument. Taxes collected were immediately spent to pay for our schools, hospitals and roads, our participation in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Vietnam, all of which NZers voted for or did not vote for, but which politicians nevertheless did, and the myth of 'having paid for it' lasted as long as the workforce was growing to cover the number retiring. For the first time the number of people in the workforce is shrinking relative to those retiring, and the Ponzi-like nature of the scheme is becoming apparent. We either make it affordable, or it will collapse.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • Cracker: Spotted, in reply to NBH,

    I'm wondering if the Libz have adopted an unorthodox electoral strategy that involves every party member renaming themselves after their favourite celebrity and hoping that voters get confused.

    I may not agree with their strategy, but I'll fight to the death for their right to execute it.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • OnPoint: If Wishes Were Horses...,

    I trust a well-regulated KiwiSaver provider that properly discloses its fees and investment strategy to look after my retirement savings than I do the government. After all, aside from 17b or so the government has in the Cullen fund (equivalent to two full years of super, and that's it) there are no savings to pay for current retirees let alone future ones. Our taxes have all been spent on roads, schools, hospitals and - unfortunately - election bribes like interest-free student loans. With no government in power for long it's just not a safe place to keep savings. Compulsory super has worked in Australia and elsewhere, both the soft and hard versions. There's no reason it won't work for us.

    If capitalism collapses, as Rich ponders, we'll have bigger problems to worry about than savings. But I'll tell you what: without a change in attitude to national savings and retirement affordability, a debt-related collapse has a much greater prospect of happening. Personally, I think we've got an opportunity to tackle this stuff now, hard, and come out in the front pack of the OECD. We have a great advantage in that we're not greatly exposed to the profligacy of the European banks like the rest of the world. I think that's a head start, and it seems to me like we're at great risk of squandering it if we just muddle through. I don't care which party takes us forward as long as we are indeed moving forward. I do think Labour deserves credit for starting an important debate today. We need to have it.

    DexterX: there's no way I'd invest in a KiwiSaver fund that was up to its eyeballs in punts on commercial real estate. If you do your research you don't have to either.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Easy as 1, 2, 22.8 billion,

    Something I don’t understand: why a capital gains tax on the sale of an investment property incentivises people to invest in the productive sector, when the sale of shares or a successful business would be subject to a capital gains tax also. Seems like your capital gains are taxed at the same rate no matter where you invest, whether it’s 15% or 0%. If you were an kiwi investor and there were no difference in the rate at which capital gains were taxed, wouldn’t you just stick to what you know, i.e. property?

    Ignore me. This was thrashed out on one of Keith's earlier posts.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Easy as 1, 2, 22.8 billion, in reply to Che Tibby,

    What does anyone over 67 have to lose (at least those without assets or income)? It’s a narrow band of people that will be affected.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Easy as 1, 2, 22.8 billion,

    I don't understand why we need to sell assets or create new taxes so we can afford to top up the income of wealthy or working over-65s. That generation has most of the wealth and a capital gains tax is just going to be another way to tax younger generations to support an unsustainable superannuation policy.

    Superannuation spend is going to 9.5 billion in 2012, and it will continue to grow. If you could shave off a fifth of that by raising the retirement age to 67, means-testing over-67s, and suspending payments to over-67s who are still working you could save more than 15b in 5 years.

    It's an accepted truth that changing the retirement age quickly would be too much of a shock: but people in the transition phase of 65-67 could receive a special unemployment benefit that didn't force them to look for work if they were unable to or didn't want to. The unemployment benefit isn't that much less than the pension, particularly if you're married.

    I think most people would choose to stay in work. Right now it makes sense to stay in work over 65 if you can: you get two incomes, one of which the under-65s pay for with their income tax and potentially a CGT. That doesn't seem fair to me.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • Muse: Hooray for Wellywood (Really!),

    I’m really sorry if this sounds condescending, and it’s not mean to be, but doesn’t it all boil down to I don’t like it?

    Oh yeah, absolutely. Which is why I’m not arguing that the airport doesn’t have the right to do this. All we can do is tell the airport we don’t like it, as loudly and as insistently as we can. I imagine most civic disputes like this spring from nimbyism. What make this different, as Conal pointed out, is the scale of this thing, which in my view is greater than any of the examples you mention. Not as a sign (I’d be fine with it somewhere less visible), but as an artwork. We’re all neighbours to this, and our neighbour is being an asshole.

    I’m very sorry if you got the impression I’m trying to crush anyone’s dissent.

    At worse, it’s verging on the downright creepy and offensive.

    I agree with you, Craig, I think you’re right about the nature of some of the dissent, particularly where it threatens property rights or anyone’s physical wellbeing. But to borrow a phrase from a local wit: “The small learn to shout the loudest because they have to.” This arrogant and outsized artwork has drawn an outsized response. The airport has reaped what they have sown.


    Another reason I don’t like it is that there’s something really obnoxious about enormous letters. They frustrate abstraction. With, for example, a giant weta sculpture, people can give it any name they like: the insect, the bug, PJ’s puppy, Monty etc., and those names can connote whatever the utterer feels about the artwork. But Wellywood is always going to read Wellywood: it’s so overt. People won’t believe you when you tell them it’s pronounced “Steve is a muppet (the d is silent).”

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

  • Muse: Hooray for Wellywood (Really!), in reply to BenWilson,

    The difference between this and a billboard (and most public art) is that the borders of this sign's canvas extend far beyond the physical dimensions of the sign itself. This can be done with with wit: as with Banksy's graffiti on the Berlin Wall, with billboards altering the visual shape of the buildings they're on using optical effects, or with billboards talking to each other (Hell Pizza have done this several times). But the scale of this is much, much larger, and this isn't witty, no matter how many times Steve Fitzgerald mugs for the camera and explains the joke.

    The sign is on airport land and is probably within Council rules, but the canvas is massive and encompasses a big chunk of Wellington. Do we have the right to vandalise a sign on private land, or to physically stop them from putting whatever they like on that land? No. Do we have the right to voice displeasure at a corporate artwork that purports to say something about Wellington as a whole? Absolutely.

    Also advertising is transient. If you don't like a billboard you can take solace in the fact that it won't be there for more than a few months. This is permanent.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report

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