The Jackal
 


17 Aug 2017

Just how bad is the Aussie NZ relationship?

As the finger wagging continues both here and over the ditch about Australian MP Barnaby Joyce being outed as a New Zealand citizen (oh the horror!) it's probably work pointing out just how bad our political relationship with our closest allies and neighbours has actually become.

Here's The Project's Jesse Mulligan summing up the Trans-Tasman relationship:


What I find most strange about all this is that the NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee, apparently failed to inform the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, about the top secret information concerning a Liberal party MP being in breach of the Australian constitution. Under their rules he can no longer remain in Parliament.

Weirdly enough, Bishop and Brownlee were both in Fiji at a meeting of Pacific Forum foreign ministers together (after Brownlee had been briefed about Barnaby's dual citizenship), so either the right wing government's of both countries view each other with complete disdain or somebody is telling porkies!

16 Aug 2017

National fails miserably on housing


I don’t know about you, but I’m not very happy with all the homeless people wandering the streets and sleeping rough in the cold, some of whom are dying on park benches. But instead of blaming the victims, I think we need to look at the root cause of homelessness, being the government’s abject failure to properly account for the need to increase social housing.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Salvation Army report calls for increased social housing building programme

A new report authored by the Army's senior policy advisor Alan Johnson states 2000-2500 social houses need to be built around the country each year for the next decade.

That figure is the minimum needed to fix a situation that has "left Kiwi families ... in unsanitary, unsafe and unhealthy living conditions", it says.

Of course the National led government isn’t coming anywhere near that figure.

Social housing is "underfunded" and will be a "massive challenge" to address, he says.

"What we are saying is people are being displaced by other people coming into Auckland.

Immigration at current levels is clearly unsustainable.

The report says the Government's social housing building programme has allocated $36 million a year for the next four years.

That spending will provide just 90 additional houses a year at most, it says.

2000-2500 is a lot of houses to build each year and would be difficult to achieve even with government support. But only building 90 houses is simply a joke! Why even bother?

Obviously National needs some sort of excuse to show they acknowledge that the housing crisis exists, because they can no longer ignore it. The problem is they simply don’t care because it's kept house prices over-inflated and added to their false economy.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

20,000 homes needed to stop relentless rise of homelessness

Johnson said an analysis of Government statistics showed an "enduring number of people living on working-age welfare benefits" and those with limited means aged 65-plus that would only see more people in need of a home.

Data obtained through the Official Information Act showed the number of people on the social housing register had almost doubled in the past decade, and 5353 were on the Ministry of Social Development list in June this year, up from 2737 in the 2006-07 financial year.

Meanwhile the number of houses in HNZ stock had declined by 4582 across the same time period - from 67,063 in the 2007-08 year, to 62,481 in March this year.

Keep in mind that the National led government brought in measures to make even getting onto the social housing register more difficult. But that's not National's only failure concerning New Zealand's housing crisis. They're also ignoring the social pressures increased migration cause.

On Saturday, Stuff reported:

Record migration sees New Zealand population record largest ever increase

Booming migration means New Zealand's population has seen the biggest increase of all time.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand on Friday showed the population grew by 97,300 in the year to June 30, to 4.69 million.

"This is the largest annual increase ever," Statistics New Zealand said.

It appears that for every ten new migrants, one person is displaced from a house in New Zealand. As well as problems with overcrowding, this has meant a huge increase in homelessness, where there are now an estimated 40,000 Kiwis with no fixed abode, which is the worst rate in the OECD.

Another driver of the housing crisis is also being ignored by the National led government. Foreign investment, with capital gains providing a large incentive for speculation, has hindered the ability of Kiwis to buy their first home because they are being priced out of the market.

Last month, Newshub reported:

Housing capital gains are soaring in New Zealand

Analysis by Newshub has revealed just how much the housing market has risen since the last election.

The median capital gain for a New Zealand home in that time is just over $65,000. But that figure gets much, much higher when zooming into certain areas.

The Labour party has proposed a number of good measures that will tackle overseas speculators and help increase the rate of home ownership in New Zealand… important because strong communities are founded on families having a vested interest in their local areas.

This is undoubtedly a far better driver for the economy than having foreign speculators investing in housing with the expectation that Kiwis will one day be able to pay overinflated prices, especially when you compare the cost of living with incomes.

It's not just new housing and affordability that is the problems though. New Zealand's existing housing stock is badly dilapidated, particularly in the rental market.

On Thursday, Radio NZ reported:

Doctors demand action on NZ's unhealthy housing

Thousands of children are being re-admitted to hospital every year because of poor living conditions, a child health specialist says.

In a 50-page paper released today, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has called on politicians to do more to address the causes of health inequity in New Zealand.

Too many people were living in cold, mouldy and over-crowded homes and it was ruining the health of children in particular, the college said.

The National party has utterly failed to develop policy that would remedy the housing crisis. For them, the large increase in preventable diseases and homelessness are acceptable consequences of the capital gains they and their property speculator mates are enjoying. However that gravy train looks set to end.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Focus: NZ's housing bubble officially deflating

Figures released by Westpac show New Zealand's housing market is deflating as calls grow for LVRs to be relaxed

Unfortunately most of the analysis by market insiders doesn’t account for the actual amount of foreign speculation in the property market, because the government has been careful not to release such figures. Speculators simply won’t stick around if there are no longer large capital gains to be made, because they can make more money in other investments.

The housing market cannot continue to be propped up by foreign speculators and real estate agents misrepresenting the potential of their listings. It's a false economy that can either be systematically deflated though government intervention or crash along with the neoliberal dream that free-market ideology actually works in New Zealand.

The last National led government has utterly failed us on housing. It’s time to look towards Labour and the Greens for solutions that will actually work.

Barnaby Joyce - Asshole of the Week


It came as somewhat of a shock when the Australian government attacked the New Zealand Labour party and its leader Jacinda Ardern yesterday, a personally attack over the fact that their Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has dual citizenship and therefore under Australian law cannot remain in office.

They're even banging on like we aren’t all bloody related.

Rather than step down like the previous Australian MP's who hold dual citizenship, the swamp dwelling Barnaby bunyip is clinging to the lie that he didn’t know his father was a New Zealander. But if that wasn't bad enough, the Australian government is unbelievably blaming the Labor and Labour parties for their own incompetence, and using the word Kiwi to denigrate and spit tacks at us from over the ditch.

Yesterday, the Guardian reported:

Australia accuses New Zealand opposition of trying to bring down government

Australian government minister Christopher Pyne accused the ALP of being part of a conspiracy to bring down the government.

“Clearly the Labor party are involved in a conspiracy using a foreign government, in this case New Zealand, to try and bring down the Australian government,” he said.

“How many other foreign governments, or foreign political parties in other countries, has the Labor party been colluding with to try to undermine the Australian government?

If this brings down the Australian government, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Despite their accusations of treason, the Australian Liberal party trying to re-attribute blame by levelling their attacks against the opposition and the next Prime Minister of New Zealand has backfired, with the truth of the matter quickly being revealed.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Australian media enquiries led to Joyce citizenship discovery

Enquiries by Australian media - not the New Zealand Labour Party - led to Internal Affairs discovering Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is a New Zealand citizen.



Mr Joyce told the Australian Parliament he was alerted to the situation after enquiries were made by the New Zealand Labour Party to the New Zealand government.

But Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said Australian media had asked the department about Mr Joyce before Labour MP Chris Hipkins filed written questions on citizenship.

Clearly Australian journalists were simply doing their jobs.

The Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, must have known this before going on the attack to try to falsely attribute blame and influence the New Zealand election... and if she didn’t she’s entirely incompetent.



In constant contact with her colleges in New Zealand eh! You've got to wonder if the Australian Liberal party colluded with the National party to try and undermine Labour's new leader Jacinda Ardern. It certainly looks that way.

The real stupid thing is Barnaby Joyce thinking he can just renounce his New Zealand citizenship by making a public statement. Perhaps he thinks his father suddenly stops being a Kiwi simply through the sheer weight of his unparalleled arrogance.

Here's Channel 9's Laurie Oakes reporting:


The deluded Liberal party cannot be allowed to retain Joyce after he personally campaigned against opposition MP’s who have dual citizenship, campaigning that resulted in them stepping down.

If the Australian Liberal party thought the law shouldn't apply, they had the opportunity to move to amend the constitution when the disqualification clause was revealed. Instead they used it to leverage perfectly good politicians out of the house in an attempt to undermine the opposition.

Joyce has New Zealand citizenship and under the Australian constitution he must resign. In my opinion he should take Julie Bishop with him. There is no question of law or confusion over section 44, and by ignoring the constitution the desperate Liberal Party is in breach of Australia’s Supreme Law. There can be no other interpretation just because Barnaby is a tory.

In the mean time, because they believe the rules don’t apply to them, the dishonest Barnaby Joyce wins this week’s Asshole Award. It appears he's the first Australian to do so.

15 Aug 2017

Editors put the boot into National


There is no question that a resurgent Labour party has closed the National party out of the media limelight. What else could Bill English do but pander to his ageist supporters by proposing boot camps and spot fines for the families of wayward youth?

The National party, bereft of policy ideas, is even being criticised by the countries leading newspapers for their latest policy flop. Often the last bastion of right wing fundamentalism, the editorials often signal to voters where their allegiance should lie, and based on that who will likely become the next government.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

NZ Herald editorial: Boot camps and parent fines are 'red meat' for National

Not much new can be credibly proposed by a three-term government. National's military "boot camp" detention for young serious offenders is not even new. It is reminiscent of the party's showpiece policy on law and order when bidding for power in 2008. The policy did not come to fruition then and its revival now looks like desperation in the National camp. With all the attention on Labour's new leader, and so much discussion of policies she has announced, National will be anxious to change the subject.

Unfortunately that’s about as hard hitting as the NZ Herald ever gets against the National party. Thankfully they’re not the only widely read publication in New Zealand.

Today, Stuff reported:

Editorial: Compulsory military service as a punishment has never worked and never will

Sometimes politicians have daft ideas. The National Party is proposing to round up New Zealand's worst young criminals and train them to think and act like soldiers.

The overwhelming weight of research into military-styled corrections programmes shows that they don't reduce reoffending rates. So, the end result of the proposed scheme will probably be fighting-fit offenders with a set of new skills they can use to further their lives of crime.

Instead of cutting through the Jacinda effect, National’s ill-advised policy has fallen well short of the mark, and will soon be hurriedly buried like so many of their other lame duck policy ideas.

It’s likely that the dog whistle boot camp proposal was reheated because of the insulated nature of politics in New Zealand. National are perhaps the worst offenders when it comes to being shut off from reality. In the real world youth are actual people who shouldn’t be discriminated against just because they’re an easy non-voting target.

National's policy hardly Christian

It’s often amazing to see the ill-conceived political arguments that make it to print in New Zealand sometimes. Perhaps one of the least canvassed areas of voting preference is that of religious beliefs, and where those beliefs coincide with a political party.

It’s no secret that the unelected PM Bill English is a practicing Roman Catholic. He was recently on the news with a lovely choir, however that’s about as far as his promotion of Christianity goes within mainstream media.

But what about the people who will vote for a political party based on religious beliefs… what do they have to say about who best promotes Christianity?

On Saturday, the Gisbourne Herald reported:

Left-wing parties anti-God

ANTI-GOD: This coprrespondent writes that he doesn't want left-wing, socialist, communist, anti-God parties in New Zealand, and will accordingly vote National.

LETTER

There are a lot of political comings and goings at the moment. Labour and the Greens will tax the pants off us. Do we want that? Absolutely not!

Right-wing parties have been strongly influenced by Christian values. That worked very well, until they started moving away from that base.

Labour used to have a Christian base, but has drifted too far to the left, so now it has lost direction. Under Helen Clark, Labour led New Zealand to the nanny mentality. Left-wing parties tend to go for control and dictatorship, like the majority of communist parties (which are also anti-God).

I went to a National Party meeting a while ago and I heard Anne Tolley speaking. There was nothing that she said that rang alarm bells. I thought she was very good.

I would encourage all Christians to vote for the right-wing National party. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the rest!

But don’t worry Kiwis, she’ll be right! (It’s good to stick to the right. We don’t want left-wing, socialist, communist, anti-God parties in New Zealand).

David Florance

The reality is that the National led government has caused a large increase in people’s suffering in New Zealand. An actual Christian organisation, The Salvation Army, has been working hard to try and fix the government’s horrendous failure in many social policy areas. Their work has been getting progressively harder while National has been in power.

You only have to look at the large increase over the last few years in homelessness and the steady decline in people’s health across the board to see that the current government doesn’t hold very well to Christian values at all. If they did, the economic growth they continue to espouse would have helped those most in need, and not just those at the top who are already well off.

Christian’s should vote for a political party that believes in helping people, and unfortunately that currently isn’t the National party.


UPDATE: This fanatic also believes God is disciplining the world. Why the Gisbourne Herald has allowed him to write such religiously prejudiced articles is beyond me. How embarrassing for New Zealand.

Treating young people differently

The Labour party has hit the ground running with Jacinda Ardern. Not only has she shown immense capability as leader, the Labour party has clearly got its game on and returned to its core values, values that once made New Zealand a great place to live.


The National party on the other hand is looking a bit stale. Bill English has returned to a set of values that caused New Zealand's great decline on most international rankings. Surrounded only by people who parody his archaic belief system, the unelected PM has no real plan to make New Zealand a fair and decent society again.

However it's not just campaign styles where the two major parties differ, it's their policy direction for young people as well. Labour appears to have a more inclusive approach while National wants further discrimination and punitive measures imposed on the young.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Labour proposes free driving lessons for all students

All senior high-school students will be offered free driving lessons and driver's licence tests if Labour wins next month's election.

Labour's new leader Jacinda Ardern says the free lessons would be part of a $50 million-a-year "school leaver's toolkit" that would also include compulsory lessons in "civics" and options in budgeting, work experience and practical certificates such as first aid and hospitality.

A good bit of positive social engineering right there folks, and apart from some whinging from the right wing trolls on twitter, it has received wide spread acclaim. But how does this progressive policy compare with National’s recent announcement.

On Sunday, Stuff reported:

Special bootcamp for youth offenders at Waiouru army camp, under National

National is promising to create a new bootcamp for youth offenders at the Waiouru Army camp, training alongside New Zealand's soldiers.

Making the announcement in Auckland, Prime Minister Bill English said National would crack down on the most serious young offenders and hold "negligent parents" to account.

"It's become clear that there is a small group of around 150 very serious young offenders for whom our Youth Justice System in it's current form just doesn't work," English said.

This policy hasn’t gone down well, even among some in the National party. It’s been tried and failed before and appears to be nothing more than an appeal to National's core youth hating voters. Even the PM couldn’t get his argument straight, so it’s little wonder that it received widespread condemnation.

But what ideology will win out? The more inclusive top of the cliff one where Ardern is looking to empower young people by giving them the skills they need to survive independently, or the more punitive tough on crime one where the old man wants to send young people to boot camps to become better criminals while at the same time building more jail cells for them to live in?

The contrast between these policy directions couldn’t be greater, and both have serious ramifications for society long-term.

There is no question that the cost of the lock-em-up approach far outweighs implementing preventative measures earlier in a persons life. However it’s not just a financial cost that people should be considering when casting their vote this coming election.