Here's my blogroll or the week. Have a good weekend all.
Hopefully a bit of sunshine.
I'm off to a dairy farm in the mighty Wairarapa (lots of cute calves at the mo - bit of a softie, me) for a bit of R&R before the pollies come back to Parliament next week after recess.
Peter is a libertarian, so is not too fond of policies that involve state intervention.
Fran has a plan. It’s not very complicated, or even very well thought out. Specifically, Fran demands the government:
- nationalise all the private land on the outskirts of Christchurch (i.e,, completing the job CERA have already largely done in the CBD);
- build houses on it (because the government does this so well); and
- raid the pocketbooks of everyone in the country able to afford a Rugby World Cup ticket to pay for it.
Simple as that. A plan that every barber, every taxi driver--every blowhard and Bernard Hickey in the country--could agree with and call their own.
2. Labour's youth jobs/skills policy seems like a good idea. Matt Nolan at TVHE likes the policy Labour announced yesterday that included the option of taking an under-20's dole payment and giving it to an employer as a subsidy for taking that person on as an apprentice (where the person would be paid an apprentices' wage - twice what they'd get on the dole).
I’ve long stated that tax, benefit, and training policies should be more highly integrated, and I see this as a step in the right direction.
I am surprised to see National’s reaction. For one, they suggested a similar thing prior to last election. Also, they seem to be going on that Labour keeps announcing this and never doing it – but if this is good policy (something National hasn’t disputed) then why does their policy differ? If its good its good – criticise policy on its merits right.
3. But David Farrar says Labour has given the same promises before. They may have said the same things David, but were they the same policies?
Now does this sound familiar? Let’s go back seven years:
A $56.9 million package of new and expanded initiatives in Budget 2004 will cement in the government’s commitment to provide all 15 to 19 year olds with a kick start to their working lives. …
In October 2002 we also signed a formal memorandum with the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs adopting the formal goal that by 2007, all 15-19 year olds will be engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other options which will lead to long term economic independence and well-being.
Budget 2003 contains a comprehensive package of initiatives to ensure all 15 to 19 year olds are involved in education, training or work or other options by 2007, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.
So Labour announced in 2003 the same goal and policies, and declared by 2007 they would have worked.
But hey this policy is even older than that. Go back to 2002:
Government plans to ensure all 15 to 19 year olds are in education, training or work by 2006 could save taxpayers more than $1 billion, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.
So the goal was 2006, then 2007 and now it is 2014. This is like Lucy v Charlie Brown.
But it gets even better. Let us go back to 2000:
No young person will leave school without options in education, training or employment within three years, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.
So in fact they promised they would achieve this by 2003!!
4. So what to do about the hike in quake costs? Idiot Savant at No Right Turn thinks Labour is in a position to seize the initiative over paying for the Christchurch quake costs, which more than doubled for EQC earlier this week.
As the Dim-Post pointed out yesterday, the options are basically tax-increases or more austerity (or a ratings downgrade, leading to the same). National's previous policy was austerity, using the earthquake as an excuse to pursue their nakedly ideological programme of shrinking the state. But they've gone about as far as they can go with that; any further and their spin that they're just cutting fat and that actual service delivery will not be affected will be unsustainable. Its hard to claim you're "protecting the frontline" when people are seeing their schoolteachers go on strike, their local hospital is being closed down, and you can't find a police officer because their numbers have been cut. And that's without even considering the macroeconomic effects of austerity prolonging the recession. If National stays true to form, the result, for all of us, will be very, very unpleasant. Sadly, that's probably not going to stop them.
The alternative, of course, is tax increases - either a special-purpose earthquake levy, or a rise in general taxation. Its the best-solution, one which avoids austerity-induced recessions, and which spreads the burden according to ability to pay rather than whether you live in an electorate which voted for the government or not (because lets be honest: the government is not going to cut services to its own voters if it can help it). Even uber-right winger Fran O'Sullivan can see that; the question is whether the government can
The idea of using money otherwise spent on the dole to subsidise employment is a pretty simple one.
It certainly beats National's genius plan to get youth working again by taking their booze and baccy off them.
That's not really a plan at all, unless the focus is on punishing rather than helping.
I predict that Labour's policy will be well-received, even if it doesn't push the emotional buttons like National's "punish the young" policy, which was designed not to address the problem of unemployment, but to appeal to older voters.
The price of milk and Fonterra’s role in setting it is the subject of on-going debate and will now be investigated by a Select Committee.
The ValueAdd Company has done a lot of the work for them and has beaten them to the unbundling.
They’ve used the information they’ve found to provide an on-line calculator which shows the cost components of milk production.
The calculations, which are based on some guesstimates, show the retail price includes mark-ups of 12% by Fonterra, 15% by wholesalers and 30% by retailers.
In a media release the company explains its calculations and concludes:
We built up other information from the referenced sources and our calculations came to the somewhat surprising conclusion that for the year ended 30 June 2011, a forecast payment to suppliers for milk of $8.00 per kg of milk solids (not yet finalised) would be $2.73 or 51.7% greater than the figure required to produce a break-even net margin on exported commodity products.
10. What a goal. Check this one out. Shocker from the keeper though. Have a good weekend all.