Wednesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Auckland rates bombshell (for me at least); China expands property tax trial; Should NZ grow to 15 mln people in 50 years?; 'Super' Mario vs Grumpy Jens; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at Midday in association with NZ Mint.

I welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to

I'll pop the extras into the comment stream. See all previous Top 10s here.

My must read today is #9. It's wonky about Europe's payment system, but convinced me Europe's debt problems are far from solved. They are deeply structural and even the Germans know this.

1. My personal rates bombshell - There's a great new tool on the Auckland City Council website that allows you to caculate your likely rates bill for next year (2012/13) compared with this year.

It shows how that amalgamation of the various councils into the Super City is now being reflected in rates.

Some areas are seeing big rates increases, while others may see falls or flat rates..

Everyone's rates are different and the number quoted is before 'transitional' arrangements, which could include a 10% cap on rates increases.

But I just got my own personal bill for our house in Epsom.

My rates bill is up 18% from last year to around NZ$3,400.


Let's do a bit of crowdsourcing. Could readers who are Auckland property owners please go to the link and check out your rates change. Then put your change in the comments. So far my twitter followers are reporting 30% and 18% respectively.

2. China is not relaxing yet - Despite falling house prices in China, the authorities there are determined to put a lid on prices with new property taxes. Wish our central government would do the same... Some Wag might say they already are via the Super City changes...

Bloomberg reports China is saying it will expand its current trial of property taxes beyond Shanghai and Chongqing.

Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren said the nation may expand property-tax trials, as the government prolongs efforts to cool the real-estate market, make housing affordable and limit asset bubbles.

Taxes can guide housing demand, Xie said at a press briefing in Beijing today during the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, without saying where more tests could take place. So far, the government has pilot projects in Shanghai and Chongqing.

3. The crackdown goes on - Switzerland is now helping the likes of America to hunt down tax exiles.

Tax crackdowns by cash-strapped governments will be one of the themes of our age. Can't say I'm too sad.

Expatica reports the Swiss Upper House of Parliament has voted for a higher income tax rate on Switzerland's 5,000 wealthiest residents.

The text will now be put to the lower chamber, where Socialists are however expected to try to block the adoption of the bill, as they want preferential tax treatment for foreigners scrapped completely.

Switzerland has come under pressure from its neighbours -- many of which have depleted state coffers -- as well as from some of its own citizens over its flat rate tax system that has attracted the wealthiest to claim residency here.

4. How the 0.1% live - The Daily Mail has a bunch of photos of luxury tree houses that cost around 250,000 pounds a pop. There's something wrong when this stuff is happening.

At £250,000 each, these fairytale treetop palaces are the latest in a global trend for bespoke garden living, claims their English designer.

They include a James Bond style safe-house with CCTV and biometric security systems, fairytale castles and forest-getaways for home county executives.

5. Grow for it - The NZIER has issued a working paper detailing how population growth could promote economic growth in New Zealand. HT Eric Crampton. Here's the thinking. (Corrected to 15 mln in 50 years in headline from 50 mln. My apols and thanks Gummy for spotting. Yikes)

It is feasible to adopt a population policy with the aim of the population reaching 15 million in the next 50 years – an annual growth rate of 2.5% per annum. This would bring the size and density of the population to levels closer to more prosperous European countries. Fifteen million – two and a half times current projections – is a good target, too, as it allows for several large cities, fostering competition within New Zealand.

The benefits of such a policy come from increasing scale, where high fixed costs including infrastructure are spread across a larger population. Network effects provide other benefits. With the right selection parameters, more liberal immigration policies could also assist New Zealand with its looming fiscal challenges of an ageing population.

6. The problem with bank dividends - Jesse Eisinger from ProPublica reports on how the US Federal Reserve ignored calls from other regulators in late 2010 to stop the Too Big To Fail Banks from resuming dividend payments.

“We remain concerned over their ability to withstand stress in an uncertain economic environment,” wrote Sheila Bair, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., in a previously unreported letter obtained by ProPublica.

The letter came as the Fed was launching a “stress test” to decide whether the biggest U.S. financial firms could pay out dividends and buy back their shares instead of putting aside that money as capital. It was one of the central bank’s most critical oversight decisions in the wake of the financial crisis.

“We strongly encourage” that the Fed “delay any dividends or compensation increases until they can show” that their earnings are strong and their assets sound, she wrote. Given the continued uncertainty in the markets, “we do not believe it is the right time to allow transactions that will weaken their capital and liquidity positions.”

Four months later, the Federal Reserve rejected Bair’s appeal.

In March 2011, the Federal Reserve green-lighted most of the top 19 financial institutions to deliver tens of billions of dollars to shareholders, including many of their own top executives. The 19 paid out $33 billion in the first nine months of 2011 in dividends and stock buy-backs.

7. Super Mario vs Grumpy Jens - Der Spiegel reports on the growing rifts within the European Central Bank (ECB) between the free-lending (Italian) President 'Super' Mario Draghi and the (German) Bundesbank's increasingly grumpy representative Jens Weidmann.

'Super' Mario may have calmed things down and bought some time for now with his €1.3 trillion money dump in less than three months, but none of the real problems with too much debt have been fixed.

Essentially the Europeans, the Americans, the Japanese and the Chinese have printed a bunch of money to try and make the problem of too much debt go away with a bit (but not too much) inflation. They are essentially punishing savers to avoid a catastrophic meltdown that forces a mass nationalisation of banks and massive housing debt restructuring.

Everyone is tip-toeing around the essential need for some sort of debt jubilee, partly because that will force someone to choose who will pay the price. Will it be bank shareholders, taxpayers, bank bond holders, future savers, borrowers or all of the above?  The powers-that-be are all betting that growth will fix the problem.

Trouble is, growth may not come in an era where technological innovation simply shuffles income from the masses in the developed world to the 0.1% and accelerates a contraction in the consumer economy. Also, the huge debt load is also weighing on growth.

Here's Der Spiegel (luckily for us in English):

There is a rift among top-ranking officials at the ECB, and it also extends between the majority of the ECB's Governing Council and the Bundesbank. First, two leading German ECB officials -- chief economist Jürgen Stark and Bundesbank President Axel Weber -- resigned because the monetary authority was buying up sovereign bonds from Greece and Portugal. Then Weber's successor Weidmann objected to the ECB's purchase of government bonds from heavily indebted Italy.

Now, Weidmann is rebelling against the manner in which Draghi is giving European banks one new cash injection after another. Although Weidmann admits that the measures are basically correct, their conditions are "very generous," he complains -- and expresses his total opposition to this policy in the jargon of the central bankers: "This can particularly become a problem if banks are discouraged from taking action to restructure their balance sheets and strengthen their capital base."

8. Wall St's deepest fear - An Upper East Side 'ahem' Madam has been arrested and may have a black book full of big names from the investment banking world, the New York Post reports.

Here's John Carney with the best excuse I've heard in a while:

When alleged Manhattan madam Anna Gristina was arrested in late February, she was meeting with a banker from Morgan Stanley, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The Morgan Stanley banker hasn't been charged. The two were meeting to discuss ways she could expand her business online, according to the source.

9. The TARGET2 problem - The Der Spiegel article above looked in detail at a particular problem inside the European monetary system whereby central banks lend each other money in 'TARGET2' balances.

Part of the reason for all this intra-Europe lending is the huge current account balances within Europe, as shown in this chart below. The TARGET2 blowouts are in the charts below. HT Zerohedge.

Here's Der Spiegel pointing out the Bundesbank has crossed the Rubicon of European thinking and is wondering what might happen if the euro breaks up (shudder):

Weidmann complained in a letter to ECB President Draghi that the central bank was accepting increasingly lower-grade collateral in exchange for its cash injections. This poses a danger, he warned, as the central banks in the north of the euro zone are owed ever growing amounts of money by their counterparts in the south. If the euro zone broke apart, the Bundesbank would be left holding a good deal of its bad debt from so-called TARGET2 loans, which currently amount to some €500 billion ($660 billion), he warned.

This may sound somewhat technical to most laypeople, but among leading ECB officials the letter was seen as violating a taboo. TARGET2 refers to the central banks' internal payment system, which has accumulated massive imbalances during the course of the euro crisis. These inequalities aren't problematic as long as the monetary union remains intact. So far, the Bundesbank has always played down this risk. But Weidmann's about-face is a "disastrous signal," say ECB executives because, for the first time ever, the Bundesbank "is no longer ruling out a break-up of the euro zone."

And here's Zerohedge's interpretation:

The problem, as we noted last year, is that the system may have crossed a threshold where Germany's explicit funding of the CA deficit transgressors is now far too large for it to be sustainable (as Jens Weidmann has now confirmed).

Alternatively, should the status quo continue, and it very well may with just bailout after bailout in store - in other words the same defection-encouraging game theory stance - the only way it can work is if Germany continues to recycle the CA surplus right back into the European periphery. There is, however, no ceiling to this activity, and in several years, the German TARGET2 "receivable" will be in the trillions, or well greater than its entire GDP.

And that, in a nutshell, is what is happening in Europe.

Everything else is merely noise masking the expansion of the relationship whereby Germany pretends its increasing losses, in the form of recycled sunk Current Account "costs" as a victory.

10. Totally Jon Stewart on 'Human cold shower' Rush Limbaugh's ugly comments. Stewart's in good form today.


We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment or click on the "Register" link below a comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.


Here we go - enough is enough !
1) Bernard - and the rest of Auckland you should be not sitting in your office in the 3rd floor by now, but marching on the streets - protesting. For how much longer can we pay the ever increasing bills, because of mismanaging of NZ's economy by the central/ local governments ?
Stop megalomania in this country !

5. PPl away with the fairies....
However a great example of expotential growth....

re 5 - away with the fairies is one way of putting it. I'd say that at this stage, there's no excuse for such ignorance, not any more. At some stage, someone has to come out and say 'that's a lie'.
I sense that time is upon us.

Did my rates and I live on North Shore so waster water needs to be taken out.
Change going forward based on taking out waste water is a 16-17% increase. Now, what was the last inflation rate? This is an extra $10PW for no increase in service.

So you have Rodney to thank for it!

I bet since Labour started this process off, it would have been just as worse.

My most recent valuation came in on the low end even though I live in an area where homes are valued >$1million. So my rates are <$2600. So I'm not seeing any increase at all. Maybe its time to go on the California system where your rates are calculated based solely on the sale price of the home instead of an arbitrary and subjective one-size-fits-all "area" valuation determination.
Edit: Full disclosure. When I purchased my house i was shocked just how low the rates where. For a city the size of Auckland is the rates were far too cheap for too long. Most cites the same size around the globe charge far more in rates. I honestly can’t see local government functioning properly keep rates as low as they currently are. I’m in favor of a rates increase but anything over 5% is obnoxious.

but also just about any other city around the world see's a higher salary........just think if you paid more those useless council workers could be paid more!
Be careful what you wish for, 5% annual increase is a doubling every 14 years...for one Ive never had a salary increase of that size except for swapping jobs.....

When I said 5% I never said “per year”.  If we switch to a sale price rates model then the city wouldn’t; have to worry about further increases since everyone in NZ is convinced property pries only go up. So it’s a win-win.
Also, it’s not managements’ job to stumble by your desk and give you a raise. If you feel you need a cost of living increase as opposed to a performance increase then simply go ask for it! Most people will never ask for a cost of living increase which is why unions are so popular.

5% every year is almost intrinisic in your comment I cant see how you can have a one off....
Sales model, and we can see how badly that's doing in the USA with councils collapsing under reduced prices down 30%, income down proprtionally.....our present system where they say we need $X so divide that by Y  properties makes sense.
"Management's job" oh I agree, well sort of it depends on how well management functions. In the past it was met with no, so I moved every 2 or 3 years and everytime it was for 10~20% a new employer thinks Im worth more....bye.....the number of employers who were upset I left for more duh.  My present employer is far more reasonable but Im paid market rate more or Im not being say the Auckalnd dockers...

We dont have to go that far.....but an orderly, legal protest to show our displeasure is reasonable...

Good luck with your rates Bernard....whoever said the new Auckland City Council will save you money is a liar and you are stupid enough to believe them !!
Goverment cost NEVER GOES DOWN !!
The Chinese of course is seeing the same chance (as all goverment) to ripoff the population and has started to impose Property Taxes, first as a tool to stop house price speculation (with much support of the people) but in the end will just become another end in become another source of revenue for further spending.

And when we have "grown for it" they will be demanding we keep growing for it, as happens in the U.K.
Is this NZIER a think tank? Is their job to justify policies which directly benefits groups like the Property Council??
Ashburton has more spending power than Napier yet has 1/3rd its population.

There is also a huge assumption on income generation.....for instance Saudi's population was richer in the past per head than it is today due to its population explosion...I think from memory it was 12kUSD then and $7kUSD today....

What a terrible shame this would be. Under population is one of the charms NZ has left. 
Be interested to know what NZs carrying capacity is in a low-energy future...

Hugely less....pre WW1 all farming was organic....
There are quite a few unknowns,
resulting land area left....
For instance farming in regions that is only viable with a fossil based system....
We have probably lost quite a bit of good land to housing....
The energy costs v output difference is quite "horrific"
So some numbers.....a ten fold increase in man hours needed per hectare, without machinery and 25% production per hectare from what we see today....but thats 1940s to today not back 100 years....when no fertilizer was 10% per hectare output for organic?
"The total fossil energy used in U.S. conventional crop
production is approximately 1,000 liters per hectare (107
gallons per acre) (Pimentel et al., 2002). Of this, about
one-third is for fertilizers, another third is for mechanization
to reduce labor, and about a third covers all other activities
and inputs, including pesticides."
"The availability of ample quantities of fossil energy and new farm
technologies has reduced the human labor required to grow and harvest a
hectare (2.47 acres) of row crops like corn and soybeans from approximately
1,200 hours per hectare prior to the introduction of farm machinery, to about 11
hours now (Pimentel and Pimentel, 1996; Pimentel and Patzek, 2005)."

"......the estimated 30 hours of labor are significantly less than the average 1,200
hours expended when corn is raised by hand (Pimentel and Pimentel, 1996)."

Good reply, ta

About a million, max, is the calculation I have heard about (somewhere).

"This would bring the size and density of the population to levels closer to more prosperous European countries."
Have these morons at NZIER never heard of Greece,Portugal, Spain & Italy.  Probably the greatest attraction of NZ to everyone else in the world is its small population.  There need to be a national debate on this issue so that we can put an end to this nonsense forever.

Before it gets ugly.
Time for young, enthusiastic Kiwis with a vision to take on the idiots increasing fast, mismanaging our economy with stupid megalomaniac ambitions destroying the country daily, racing into insolvency in 2013.

House in Waitakere stays the same rates-wise.
Commercial buidling in South Auckland going up by 18%.
Which is pretty much what I expected.  Len Brown's voters do not own commercial properties. 

FYI from a reader via email:
Hi Bernard,

Your suspicions about the rate increase are correct.
Here's a chart that was part of a presentation to Strategy & Finance - it's from Minutes attachment item 11 (slide 21)

It shows the distribution of increases and decreases for the 470,000 odd residential ratepayers. About 200,000 are due for an increase of more than 10%, 1 in 5 will be up for 15% or more and 1 in 8 will be asked for more than 20%.

Most people seem to think the revenue from people whose rates have gone up by 10%+ will be used for something productive.

In fact, most of it is going to reduce rates elsewhere.

Here is a summary of modelling output that was presented to Strategy & Finance - I have attached the original page as a pdf.

The figures below exclude business (presumably that's why it's out of balance by $367,409) but you can see that there are significant $ moving from Albert-Eden, Orakei, Howick, North Shore & Maungakiekie to Manurewa, Rodney and Waitakere.





Row Labels



Grand Total

Albert - Eden - Roskill












North Shore




Maungakiekie - Tamaki




Waitemata and Gulf
























Manurewa - Papakura













The other point is that people's rates will go up by the increases proposed, whatever transition option is chosen. Len Brown keeps talking about a 10% cap but what will actually happen is that many people will get a 10% rate increase for 3 years in a row! Kind regards, Mike

What % of the council's budget is for essential services ( water / septic systems / rubbish & recycle ) , and how much goes to fluff ...... such as community well-ness programmes , all that touchy feel-good nonsense ......
....... and what % of the budget lands in the wallets of the fine salaried folk at city hall ?

Couldn't say for sure for ACC - but I'd take a stab and say around 20% for depreciation on capital assets, 30% for capital works associated with the three Ws (waste, water, wastewater), 20% for roading/transport, 6% for interest on borrowings, 6% for salaries - leaving the balance (around 18%) for "fluff" (the non-salary components of recreation, parks, economic development, democracy etc.) 

About 1/3rd of it is Gummy. According to the Auckland City council the expenditure breakdown for every $1 of rates spent, 2012/2013 is:-
Communtiy 9.9%
Lifestyle and Culture 21.6%
The largest single item of expenditure is transport at 33.8%

That pie chart is interesting but it's the classic way LG present their expenditure to the public - which doesn't answer the most common public questions about how they run the business - that being this breakdown:
Personnel (salaries, wages, benefits)
Operating costs (broken down by major service-type headings: 3W's, roading/transport etc.)
Capital Expenditure (broken down by as above)
Debt servicing
And given its LG, I'd add "democracy" or machinery of government as a separate heading - the costs associated with running a representative system and this should include legal costs as a separate entry.
Within operating costs it would be good to know the amount spent on external consultancy (not incuding legal) and under capex it would be good to have the major capital works projects itemised.
Haven't read their whole document - some of this info is likely buried in the volumes but much of it won't be easily "extracted".

It seems the city council is pulling a page form the US republican play book. Spread a rumor that some extreme changes are about to happen then when the rumor becomes the news ask for far less. People will be so grateful that the actual proposal is so much smaller then then the rumor people will be happy and go with it. In fact, they will be so happy that it will never occur to them to ask if the change was even necessary in the first place. This has been the Republican MO since 1996.  

Right, Troy.
The so-called door in the face technique:
Perhaps it's at work here.

I prefer to refer to it as “anchoring”. Also, I refer to it as “Roving” since Karl Rove first used it to concentrate GOP power in the late 90’s.  He developed the method of using a scalpel and taking out small game that would affect the greater power block rather than using a sledgehammer to win it all. If you get a large enough power block you can use that critical mass to effect policy discussions. The key is to obstruct the process as much as possible and for as long as possible all the while demanding for unrealistic policy decisions. It’s a siege mentality designed for effect. It’s all about attrition.   Then when your opponents’ are completely drained and exacerbated you concede to your original request.  Rinse-Repeat for the last 15 years.

I wonder what proportion of our rates go to the salaries of council staff. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of what proportion of total salaries go to the Mayor, councillors and CEO of the supercity.

Salaries are a very small percentage of overall Council expenditure - even more so small since they started contracting out services such as water reticulation.
The BIG ticket items are depreciation charges and interest costs.

Kate - Interesting observation.  I thought that Council salaries/wages were approx. 70% of expenditure.

Heavens, no - I'd guess more like less than 10%.  Local government is a major capital intensive (as opposed to labour intensive) spend.  Depreciation costs, for example, run around 20% of total expenditure.

C'mon Bernie, you should be ecstatic about paying  more to the governing authorities for the privilege of owning a property. You've been advocating it for years. Even in todays top 10 (#2 you say you wish central government would impose new taxes and ta dahhh... I quote
"Despite falling house prices in China, the authorities there are determined to put a lid on prices with new property taxes. Wish our central government would do the same... "
You see folks, dear Bernie reckons that if the gubmint makes owning property really really expensive then no one will be able to afford to live in them and everyone will have to sell them meaning the price will plummet and everyone will be able to afford them.

You've figured me out ;)

Hi Bernard
A wee while ago you went to great lengths to publicise the fact that property investors drained  $ xx (cant recall the exact figure) out of the tax base in FY 2008. Can you please publish the figures for 2009, 10 ,11 and 12 (when they are available).
My understanding is the LAQC/LTC and depreciation changes were worth about $ 1bn to the tax base so its not as though the Govt has done nothing with respect to taxation of property.
The bigger elephant in the room has always been Local Govt. I recall reading somewhere that since the enacting of the Local Govt Act 2002 rates as a % of GDP have gone from 2% to 4%.
The inefficiency, ineffectiveness and general drain on the wallets of NZ is one of the biggest things holding this country back.

panem et circenses

Hah, you got it.

quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

oderint dum metuant

corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

Nicolas Sarkozy says France has too many Foreigners
The president said while immigration could be a boon for France, it needed to be controlled more tightly through tougher qualification rules for residency.
The West cannot get any growth so it relies on immigration. As most of its citizens can't borrow because of too much debt. Then bring in immigrants with no debt so they can do all the borrowing and so grow the economy.
As for competition of cities. All that will happen in NZ is Auckland with eventually take up most of the North Island.

But as long as you have a house it's OK aye Mike?

Hi robby,
don't understand your point.
My point is that the West have been, and continue to rely on debt and immigration for growth.
That is just kicking the can down the road. We need real growth.

So you're expecting Auckland to grow to more than 50 million people are you Mike?  That's a bit ambitious...

Hi Kleefer, where did you get the 50 million from?
The point i was making is that the vast majority of immigrants end up in Auckland.
item #5 states
"as it allows for several large cities, fostering competition within New Zealand."
I say "but will it, or will we just end up with an ever expanding Auckland?

Sorry I wasn't clearer Mike, you said Auckland would eventually take up most of the North Island and in order for that to happen it would have to have at least 50 million people, even at its current density.

ah, the blissful ignorance of linear thinking.
How much support area do the expected citizens need? I suppose that's coming from 'somewhere else'? Conveniently, those folk 'somewhere else' won't mind not expanding in the same manner then? Excellent.
We can't double what we're doing on the planet, we're in deficit mode as it is. That gives you a handle on how much Auckland will grow - less than double. After which the question is: Is it sustainable? Supplementary question: Should we attempt to grow it, in light of what's coming?

#1 - Bernard - that means your rates last year were just under $2,800 pa - which seems on par with your average house/section in many provincial towns.  The old Auckland City had a larger income per capita from ownership/investments (e.g. the Port) - and of course now that 'benefit' is 'spread' amongst the less asset rich cousins who brought no income (aside from ratepayers) to the table.

FYI Grant from Pt Chev says by email his rates bill would go up 25.5%

Same increase in Grey lynn/Westmere.
Some of those old Samoan ladies are gonna have to fork out $3500 a year for the house they have lived in for 50 years.
Can we at least have a fast train to the airport for our $3500 a year?

Len Brown a one term mayor?

Bernard, you should be ecstatic about your bigger rates bill: you're able to give more of your money for the good of the people. Just think of it as being 18% happier.
... Or don't you trust bureaucrats spending your money, that you're so shocked? And if that's the case, why have you enrolled this site as a promotional vehicle for more tax to fund a more intrusive State?
Did you know Judith Collins wants to end the free press and lurch us straight into the police state? I hope you look after your sources.

Tribeless. Please put a warning next time you link to NBR, just strayed on by misake a very scary comments section.
Stuff like.
innocent people will have nothing to hide.
But it did have this which was very interesting- (appologies for grabbing the whole entry)

So how come the SFO didn't use its powers to charge John Banks and Don Brash for signing Huljich Kiwisaver Prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009 which contained untrue statements?
How dodgy is THAT?
Looking forward to the Commerce Select Committee conducting an urgent inquiry into the prosecutions (OR LACK THEREOF?) relating to Huljich Kiwisaver Prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009.
Let's see it apply to those who most loudly trumpeted for it?
The current (and former) ACT Party Leaders, John Banks and Don Brash?
The former, former ACT Party Leader Rodney Hide believes in 'one law for all' and confirmed on Radio Live Friday 20 January 2012 that he agreed that both John Banks and Don Brash should be charged.
So - what is the position of all other political party leaders and MPs?
Which MP is going to state for the public record that they DON'T believe in 'one law for all', and that John Banks and Don Brash shouldn't be charged, when two previous National Ministers of Justice have just been convicted for essentially the same offence?
Penny Bright
(For more information -


Hey Tribeless - havent you see the links here:
Nothing to say about the revelation that your heroine Ayn Rand sucked avidly on the US social welfare teat towards the end of her life (and tried to cover it up)?

yadda yadda .. Ayn on welfare. Yes, andy, clever. You're the first person whose ever come up with this fact! Not.
Doesn't change any of my premises. And the point is hookum, but I'm over that. It's as dumb as the Somalia argument ... do you want to bring up that?
Believe me, with the amount I've paid in tax, I'll be taking my state pension if it's ever there when I retire. No principles broken there.
What about Collins attack on the free press: you worried about that?

I would put 'LOL'down a hundred times Tribeless but it doesnt really do justice to your response.
Whats this about Somalia then, are you planning a trip there? Fact finding?

So you think if I am forced to pay tax to fund a system I have no agreement with, I am not entitled to get some of my money back when I can, and under the same circumstances those who I've been funding take my money? And that taking such money back is breaking my principles?
It's libertarianism, Andy, not martyrdom.
What is your point, if you have one?

Libertarianism?  It was just plain selfishness when I was a kid. When did it get such a highfalutin' name?

Oh yeah, intelligent comment powerdown, really intelligent.
Freedom. And you hate it. What does that say about you?
Judith Collins is about to legislate away the ability of a free press to protect its sources: and you're fine with that? Would rather make your snarky little comments? Seems you're still a kid.

Attaching the label 'free' to everything is not the same as advocating freedom enhancement. All the American Libertarians I have spoken to believe in the concept of the 'tyrany of the majority', which is anti-freedom, it means you should limit the freedom of self determination of the majority. Thats the highest level of freedom, and its violated right there.
Others like Irwin Schiff went further to protect the opulant minority, and wanted people to have to pay to vote in a representative democracy.
In a democratic society then one of the alternatives available to this society is to share resources and co-operate together. You can start using rhetoric purporting to support freedom when you believe in that being an alternative.
The American army claims to bring freedom when it invades other countries and installs military bases against the populations wishes. Maybe you should justify why the freedom of Americas military to do this is any different to the freedom you support before questioning other peoples motivations.

I just want to protect, by constitution and with the rule of law, the smallist minority in the world: the individual. Protect that, and atrocity is not possible. Freedom, based on the non-initiation of force principle. Call me a hippy, but in that lies peace. Not in any other system; only in true classical liberalism. And the minute you go outside laissez faire markets, then the State has a gun at the head of every single participant.
Voluntarism and volunteerism: yet you deride it. I can't think of evil greater than that.
And don't judge me by the United Police States of America. Fuck off.

You do realise that the American form of constitutional representative democracy was setup specifically to protect the most wealthy and privileged members of society, the wealth of the nation, as Madison called it. Their idea was freedom for them, but not for anybody who they represented and made laws for, the others were not entitled to freedom and had to follow the laws as made for them. America has followed this principal pretty consistently since, with obvious consequences.
Thats part of the freedom of the individual too. The freedom to create rules, to apply rules un-universally. Its not freedom at all.

I just want to protect the smallest minority of all: the individual.
The individual can do whatever the hell they like with other consenting individual adults, so long as no individual initiates force on another.
Why do you keep bringing up America, moron? It's nothing to do with me.

I bring up America because its relevant. Its based on a constitutional democracy, with a similar constitution to what most American Libertarians advocate. Thats why its relevant, and the consequences are clear. You can't simply say its nothing to do with me, when the basis for their country is so similar to the basis for what you want to setup.
The constitution of America doesn't stop it initiating force against other states on whatever pretenses it chooses. The constitution of America doesn't prevent members of their society from initiating force, even lethal force, against other members of their society.

This libertarian doesn't want a democracy, which as you've said, is a tyranny of the majority. No individual freedom to be found there.
I want a libertarian minarchy styled constitutional republic.
Bugger off with your United Police States of America. If that's your preconception of freedom, fine, but it's not freedom.

Hehe, I think you forgot the o in minarchy.
My pre-conception of freedom is that the US is good at saying it, but not very good at doing it. But I prefer to actually look at how a system behaves before claiming its enhancing anything.

Save your breath Tribey, this person will wear you down, bigger fish to fry!

No the USA is not a democracy. The USA  is a Republic! Or at least it was.
The USA  as a soveriegn nation ceased in 1933.

You are right of course, the constitution supports a form of representative democracy. My comment was far from clear about this. Its not in fact a democracy, and the degree to which it functions as a democracy is questionable. Thats important because if there was a real democracy then they decided in the US to 'cease to be a sovereign nation' with measures setup in 1933, that is what real freedom is, freedom to choose not some limited enshrined freedom which was constructed several hundred years ago. Freedom is real self governance. If they are today a democracy then they can reclaim their 'sovereign nation' status in fact, with whatever measures are decided democratically. You should be starting to see how this 'tyrrany of the majority' thing works?

Ah none of what you have posted makes sense. The UN Banking elites and shadow world government bodies  are dismantling nation states, Greece to NZ etc are all excellent examples of this process in action...
The USA in 1933 was taken over by a private banking cartel...

Yes, obviously much more convincing when all your real world problems can be blamed on a secret society out to get you. Its probably the Freemasons behind it again as well? Those guys give a bad name to the word free. Don't bother working out how anything works, just blame all your problems on the bad guys. No need to think about laws, ethics or justice just identify the 'obvious' bad guys, hang them and insist that their replacements must try harder. Simple...

Dont know but heres some facts of law for you to chew on...

The IMF is an Agency of the UN. (Blacks Law Dictionary 6th Ed. Pg. 816)

The U.S. has not had a Treasury since 1921. (41 Stat. Ch.214 pg. 654)

The United States does not have any employees because there is no
longer a United States.(Executive Order 12803) Do not personate one of
the creditors or share holders or you will go to Prison. 18 U.S.C. 914

You quote laws then invent a fantasy to why you think they exist....

Nice one. You are really onto something there,

Thank you - I try and use what I've got.    :)
It's not about freedom - you don't drive on the right hand side of the road in NZ.  Should we have the freedon to choose? I'd suggest  not. Now extrapolate. (Notice I'm being extrapolite).
Yes, you'd expect this Govt to repress the media - they've got a dishonest agenda, and folk with those always seek to muzzle. Yes, it's a worry, but not half as much worry as not owning our hydro-generation any more, and of ending up Nigeria-type slaves/prisoners in our own land.
Besides, our media is consistently dropping the ball. Sorry, Jim Mora excuses lack of reaching-a-reasonable-conclusion-via-investigation by describing it as 'keeping an open mind'. Well, there's open and then there's so open it's empty. There's not a senior scribe in the country, saying anything about the major issue facing us, despite prodding. Where's the loss?

It's not about freedom - you don't drive on the right hand side of the road in NZ.  Should we have the freedon to choose? I'd suggest  not. Now extrapolate. (Notice I'm being extrapolite).
The old rubic of driving on the right hand side of the road. Right. Okay. It just gets better. First, that would get me killed, so why would I? Second, that would mean I would kill someone else, via the initiation of force, illegal in a libertarian society. There is still the rule of law.
What year do you expect to morph into some sort of adult then?

Tribeless - ah, there is still the rule of law, but you don't want government.
Join the dots.
The real problem with no govt, though, is that it's a state ripe for dictatrs to take hold of. It's not hard to see why; a quick study of personality types gives the answer. To keep the Stalin, Khan types at bay, the best answer has been to spread the power across the folk they would repress. The best - it's not perfect - form of that is democracy, but as Banks proves, it can be skewed in favour of a small elite.
Again, I don't/wouldn't care, if I was one who said 'he died driving on the right, so what?". I'm not one of those personality types. Sooner or later, someone I like/love, will be that statistic, and I'd like us to be able to stop that happening.
The car-crash is the 2nd graph down:
"Over the last hundred years, life on earth was dominated by growth. Growth of population, of production, of income and capital formation, of exhaustion and pollution. This growth is going to stop and must stop, and the only question is by what means? Voluntarily, by government and free will, or through natural processes, which means collapse and disaster?"
Have a nice day, Tribeless.             :)   

Tribeless and his ilk cant join the dots, he is incapable of doing so as his political outlook stops him.
Its quite simple, to do so would mean he has to accept there is a finite limit on our planet and his entire outlook is wrong, he cant or wont do that....instead really he's a scored earther / pillager....a champion can kicker....except previous libertarians, god squadies and Industrial society in general has all done the very same thing for 200 years he wants to carry on doing.  Trouble is he cannot, can kicking is at its limit here and now....but like Philbest reality wont be accepted, mind you he isnt alone....
As it says,
"As its third and final conclusion, the study suggests that overshoot and collapse can be avoided only by an immediate limit on <B>population and pollution, as well as a cessation of economic growth</B>. The portrait painted shows only two possible outcomes: the termination of growth by self-restraint and conscious policy—an approach that avoids the collapse—or the termination of growth by a collision with the natural limits, resulting in societal collapse. Thus, according to this study, one way or the other, growth will cease. The only issue is whether the conditions under which it will cease will be congenial or hostile."

It is a common misconception that government=rule of law and that without government there can be no law.  In fact, the concept of the rule of law predates the state, and in any territory states are the biggest law-breakers (in New Zealand the politicians just re-write the rules whenever the courts find they have breached them). 
If we didn't have a state do you think all your currently peaceful, friendly neighbours would become Mad Max-type violent psychopaths?  Do we need a state-monopolised "justice" system to inform us that theft, murder etc are unlawful?   Why was the murder rate in the supposedly "Wild" West lower than it is in present-day, police-state America? 
Perhaps most people don't need the state to tell right from wrong, and those that can't tell right from wrong tend to end up working for the state (or gangs, which operate like mini-states).  Why do people insist on supporting a platform that allows the most immoral people in our society to control us?

"In fact, the concept of the rule of law predates the state", That sounds likely given the definition doesn't it.
Got any other made up facts to argue with?

Can't say I disagree with you regards Collins:
I wouldn't let a person this stupid walk my dog.

Population growth COULD promote economic growth?  Far better to say "will" so its safe to infer that population growth may not promote economic growth.
Seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one.  If you want to be rich you need to be productive.  Owning minerals makes you rich, selling them makes you poor.  Make some stuff, and sell it, thats what countries that have a surplus do.
There seems to be a flood of nutty ideas for economic growth at the moment.  I liked the "field of dreams" university idea the best, but it seemed like a non starter.  The scary thing is that printing and flooding the country with new immigrants seem all to likely to be implemented by an increasingly reckless govt.
I don't mind immigration, we are all immigrants, but a policy of immigration for economic growth is even worse then the policy of 2-3% currency debasement.

More of the same from a failing orthodoxy...

"As its third and final conclusion, the study suggests that overshoot and collapse can be avoided only by an immediate limit on population and pollution, as well as a cessation of economic growth. The portrait painted shows only two possible outcomes: the termination of growth by self-restraint and conscious policy—an approach that avoids the collapse—or the termination of growth by a collision with the natural limits, resulting in societal collapse. Thus, according to this study, one way or the other, growth will cease. The only issue is whether the conditions under which it will cease will be congenial or hostile.
so they are simply nuts.

Seems to be a trend of nutty ideas, TBTB are checking out how dumb people really are.

How lnng is it since we started pointing out that rates would continue to outpace incomes, Bernard?
We even pointed out that triage was inevitable, and that reduction of wages/salaries was a good start, but not enough.
Perhaps we knew something.

I wonder how long before triage starts, 5 years? 10? At the moment it seems an easy income stream, 4%+ per annum every while I have work or are of working age, OK....what abut OAPs today? their incomes are small.......I find it really mind boggling that councils think that not only are increases OK but more debt as well a double whammy for the future.....crazy...

Rates going up 18% in Epsom? Seems only fair when you idiots inflicted John Banks and the ACT party on us yet again, when you had the chance to put him and it out of its misery forever.  
Should be 200%!!

My rates appear to be going down 20%  !!
I checked and then checked again, and yes they appear to be having a 20% reduction in the coming year.
House is in East Coast Bays area, North Shore.
Is a rather small 35yr old (but sound) house on a 1,000 sqm section.

Dont worry Bernard is going to pay the %20 for you, he's happy  :-)

I'm thrilled...

Can I ask from what to what, Optimist?  Will be intersting to compare to Bernard's past and present charges.

From around 2,250, down to around 1,800.
It was a pleasant surprise!

  • The very last thing the world needs is more people, lets lead the way with population stability,anyone thinking that 10's of millions of people in NZ is a good thing is looking through their binoculars from the wrong end. It absolutely must stop somewhere and I'm voting for us to make it here

Agree...tyhey are stupid in the extreme IMHO.

I know that Hickey is prone to exaggeration , particularly on the side of gloomsterising ...... but he's added 200 % to NZIER's theory about the NZ population .
........ They say a 15 million population in 50 years is OK ...  Bernie blows that out to a 50 million population , in the banner headline to Wednesday's top 10 stories ....

Gummy!!! Yer back. What happened to you? On second thought don't say.

..... I'll send you free tickets to the premiere , when they make the movie , of " Gummy's Grand Miss-Adventures in the Fleshpots of Bangkok " .......

Gummy!!! Yer back. What happened to you? On second thought don't say.

Gosh Amanda...we had no idea....Gummy's caused you to have some fat finger problems!!!

They say a 15 million population in 50 years is OK ...  Bernie blows that out to a 50 million population , in the banner headline to Wednesday's top 10 stories ....
The term you are looking for is 'pdk bait'.

Nope , I'd reckon that Murray Grimshaw is good with the idea of the NZ population growing to 50 million .....
..... he'd agree that's sustainable ..... sure of it , yup .....

Yikes Gummy. My fault. Will correct in headline. Should have been 15 million in 50 years...
My apols

Hello GBH...just back myself, good to see you around the traps, I need a giggle( really) will of course forgive Bernard his minor extrapolated embellishment...he now specializes in property posts......well if you can't beat em join em eh..?
 anyhoo...a welcome  return from the Gumster is like a laxitive made from fine chocolate....tastes good n still gets the job done!

Hello Count : Where you been at , old bean ?
The Gummster is limited to one hour per day at the local library , since I told the good folk at Telstra to jam their idiotic broadband package up where the flag never flies ......
..... not enough Aussies over here ..... too many white fellas & fellatios ........

local library...hmmmmm......sssssshhhhh!, Still 1 hour is better than nothing.....and then there's always the chance of the textbook librarian with her hair up n those cute glasses making her look all smart like.....ahem , yes well good show  old chap.
 I been ah nursing some broken portfolios back to some sort of health...seems to have taken a lot more of my time than imagined....or maybe it just put things into perspective a bit  more and a wee jaunt to Dubai to see the daughter n her fiance'......I said "he don't look like no Prince to me"  she said "Daddy..! he's standing right here"......anyhoo he seems nice n good but sounds exactly like Borat when in English mode....yes a much I think this is good yes I think so .

I shouldn't worry too much Gummy, you will not be called upon to produce one every 9 months for the next thirty years....twins and quads will reduce your time...

Rates...the peasant burden...there's much to be said for eveyone in the street dumping a few old car bodies on the front paddock of weeds and spraying the fences with doodles.kicking over some letter boxes and chaining stray dogs to lamp posts.. clean up day post the rate setting farce.

Hey, if the Swiss don't want the rich and aflat tax system...maybe Bill and John can fill the void..! I detect the start of the immigration spin aimed at Joe public but designed to fatten Mr Banker ....was it three years ago that I posted some blather about the govt eventually coming round to rolling out the same old, good old immigration scam policies!
It's been the mainstay of every NZ idiot govt hasn't it....soon as the pain begins we get a hoard of migrants and bucket loads of why it's going to be sooooo good for us...
What a load of ...........

Seems like Aus's economists are as good as NZ's. GDP growth for Dec 11 quarter came in at at measly 0.4%, versus consensus of 0.7%  

Matt - of what?, compared with what?
We've been pointing out here - for some time and pretty unequivocally - that 'growth' (in real terms, GDP is essentially meaningless) can only be had from here on, via efficiencies, or via displacement of others. Effiiencies will dwindle, displacement is the selling of state assets, or depletion of others resources. (If you account properly for the depletion of your own resources, they never appear in the income column).

Of course, BH, you should be submitting to the Annual Plan (a subset of the LTP) which has a compulsory public consultation period.
And for those who want to know the relative spend on the Four well-beings (economic, environmental, social, cultural), the LTP and Annual Plan give some quite precise figures.
And Facts outweigh blather, generalisations, and hearsay, folks.
Get some!

#5  yeah lets do it -  far too few people a present,from memory only 10% paying any or  most of taxes so whole scale of things is non viable at present

Nic the NZer  good comment back a bit about America . Just a small correction if I may America is not a constitutional  Democracy   but it is A Constitutional  Republic which is the best form of Goverment .  Democracy will always end in tyranny .

The USA ceased to be a soveriegn nation or Republic in 1933.

It went bankrupt and got taken over by the recievers (Banksters). its assets (gold in particular) were seized, and the labour of its citizens (and US$ holders) have been used to repay its  (unrepayable) debt ever since.

Its the least worse type of government thats for sure, pity they lost it to the special interests that control the place.

I think you should read my 'good' comment again. A constitutional republic is as good as its ability to enhance democracy. The US system does a poor job of this.
Maybe you should suggest an example of a democracy ending in tyranny before making such bold claims. There are always constraints put onto the democracy, like I showed to be the case with Madison and the American constitution. This usually results in the opulant few putting limits onto the democratic majority to protect their wealth and power. Its very clear that has happened in the US. Equally this was the basis for the Bolshevik party control of the Soviet Union, in fact the Bolsheviks were more honest in that Stalin stated why he had to do this.
If democracy was functional in the US then it would not have undertaken many of its recent actions.

Quote: Maybe you should suggest an example of a democracy ending in tyranny before making such bold claims.
Weimar Republic Germany 1932
Nic the Nzer your view of history is rather ummm distorted, follow the money!

Please, you want to make a silly argument like that? The Nazis abolished Germanies representative democracy in 1933. Why did they do that? It was because they could never have carried out the second world war and genocide under a democracy. Obviously they were extremely popular, but this was hardly an inevitable result of letting Germans exercise, government by the people,
Obviously the biggest issue with the Weimar Republic was the massive first world war reparations (under the treaty of Versailles) which Germany was required to pay,
You call that a democracy? e.g government by the people. Does that follow the money clearly enough for you? If you are going to have a view of history, you ought to include some of the relevant historical events.
You seem to argue that there is some kind of automatic process determining the future, but in fact individuals are responsible for their actions, and decisions.

Theres the example you asked for.
President Hindenburg the Reichstag Fire Decree, signed into law by Hindenburg using Article 48
Financing for Hitler's rise to power was handled through the Warburg-controlled Mendelsohn Bank of Amsterdam and later by the J. Henry Schroeder Bank with branches in Frankfurt, London and New York
US companies intimately involved with the devolopment of Nazi Germany - General Motors, Ford, General Electric, DuPont ... controlled by the Wall Street elite," such as "the J.P. Morgan firm, the Rockefeller Chase Bank and to a lesser extent the Warburg Manhattan bank

I will let you undermine your own argument. Clearly not an example of government by the people was it.

All governments are bought and paid for and have been for along time.
labour national greens and the rest, in all countries - same party the globalist party. If you are not on board you seem to get invaded...
NZ  choice UN mandates  or Banking cartel, this time around its the bankers last time it was the UN both are one in the same more or less...Key a banker boy Helen the UN lacky
When you vote in NZ you are voting for a Crown Corporate representative.
NZInc is listed on the NYSE.

Yes, I think I can see the scope of the problem.

Just looking at the USA that happened some decades ago....

hi Bernard
re 1 ----  i am seeing a 17% DROP in my rates next year -- just goes to show that us Westies have been financing the central aucklanders infrastrucutre for years as well as our own Super City that was Waitakere!
Intersting its only those expensive central suburbs who have enjoyed yet another rort as everyone else pays for Central Auckland property owners  - When the majority of us avoid the plae like the plague.
Yipee - $700 off the rates bill and many of us out west are looking at very similar changes!

Or it just means that Waitakere Council were even more competent at mismanaging money than the current Super City.
20% decrease in rates for Henderson property (according to council website - yet to see official) but that's excluding wastewater charges so overall no change?

Thank goodness the US housing market is......what's the BS say?.!
"The LPS HPI national average home price for transactions during December 2011 reached a price level not seen since September 2002. This is the sixth consecutive month of price decreases."

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” Aldous Huxley

 I live in Bayswater.
To mid 2011   $2116.06
To mid 2012   $2513.96  an 18.8% increase
To mid 2013   $2050.00  an 18.5% decrease  (according to the Council site worst case)    
All over the place but recent trend is encouraging :)

Oneroa Waiheke Island 
2011/2012 Rates Assessment Total Rates $1576 
2012/2013 Projected Total Rates: $2050
Year on year increase 30.76%

Oneroa Waiheke Island Rates Increases from 2003 to 2013
2003 $650 per year
2013 $2,050 per year
Percentage Increase in 10 years: 215% or 21% per year. Now that's inflation!

Actually it's pretty much 8% annual increase over that time.  Over ten years that is massive.

Mt Eden
2011 = $2262
2012 = $3020
Roughly 35% increase.

Regarding #3 treehouses - love the one with the slide.  Something for Kim Dotcom?  "Wheeee!!!"
Regarding #5 growing to 15 million people in NZ...
"This would bring the size and density of the population to levels closer to more prosperous European countries."
Like Greece and Portugal?  You have got to be kidding.

Finally someone did the research on local government debt per capita for each of our city and district councils;
And scroll down to the bottom to check out which council's have $0 debt per capita.

-10% (north shore) excluding unknown additional charge for waste water
+9.5% (remuera) for guy next to me in office.