Posts by Brendon Steen

  • OnPoint: Student Loans are Loans (Duh.),

    Keith! I can't believe you of all people have used Joyce's four-year line without comment. It's clear from his speech notes, and confirmed on Q+A on Sunday, that the limit is 200 weeks (which is five academic years, assuming you don't do summer school).

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • Legal Beagle: Semi-Random election law thoughts,


    Voting is not anonymous. It's time-consuming, but votes can be traced if necessary. That's why the rolls are compared after the election, so that dual-votes can be disregarded and referred to the police.

    Every ballot paper has a number (covered by a black sticker). The voter's place on the electoral roll (page & line number) is recorded on the ballot paper stub. If a dual-vote is found, the electoral commission can match the copies of the printed rolls to the ballot pads used by the same issuing officers to find the ballot paper number. Then remove all the black stickers from ballots counted at the affected polling place(s) until they find the right ones.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • Legal Beagle: 14 Pages of Democracy,

    This was a delight to read. Thank you very much for posting.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • Speaker: The Public Broadcasting Imperative,

    Have we grown a market which believes that offering different flavours of candy floss is real choice?

    Unfortunately, that's what markets are. Where the only imperative is commercial gain the natural tendency of the market is towards mass production and economies of scale. The greatest achievement of a commercial operator is to convince consumers that identical products are wildly different.

    Public broadcasting, in this respect, is a barometer for our society as a whole. The advance of the market into so many areas of social activity is powering a grinding and unstoppable standardisation: a slow and steady slide to the middle.

    The middle of anything is an awfully boring place to be.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • Legal Beagle: Referendum Fact Check #5:…,

    Are there no rules against deliberately misleading people about the way voting works? There should be. As you say, they could easily make their point without being misleading.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Fiscal Responsibility is the…, in reply to Morgan Nichol,

    I agree completely. GST-free fruit & veges is a populist gimmick.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Fiscal Responsibility is the…,

    My feeling is that they're trying not to talk too much about the tax cuts because they're planning to balance them with their CGT and higher personal income tax rate. Both of which they're having trouble building a story around.

    As for the CGT, they seem to be having a bit of trouble figuring out how much that will generate and when it will really start to kick in. Or at least communicating that in a meaningful way.

    And with the income tax changes, well, nobody wants to talk about raising tax rates. Plus National's argument about the benefits of keeping the top income tax rate, the trust rate, and the company rate all equal is hard to argue with.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • OnPoint: If Wishes Were Horses...,


    If people aren't comfortable with the kinds of KiwiSaver schemes that are currently available either because they're worried about risk or because they're that anti-capitalist, then Labour are talking about creating an alternative option where people can instead invest in government bonds instead of managed funds.

    It's also worth considering that as the number of KiwiSaver members and the amount of money under management increases the variety of schemes available is likely to increase.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Set it on fire, then,

    An admirably rational assessment of the hysteria around this issue. My only point is that I'm starting to tire of the label "ideological" being used as a derogatory term. There is nothing wrong with supporting something for ideological (or, we could say, principled) reasons. The fiasco over the Video Surveillance legislation is a perfect example of where ideology is exactly what is needed.

    For myself, I'm an increasingly-left-leaning student at Auckland Uni and notwithstanding the good work that our student association does I can't with any integrity oppose the VSM Bill. I'm not naive enough to think that ACT's motives are entirely pure, but the principle they invoke is a sound one: compulsory membership is simply wrong. If that's ideology, then so be it.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report