Friday, May 28, 2004

Budget smudget 

Good news for families, no problem with that. The Ockers are actually paying their lot breed. But it was true to form Labour; we will take more than we actually neeed of your income and drip feed it back to some you (voters) as we see fit. The childless academic brigade know best after all.

I think Katherine Rich summed it up nicely when see said that this budget turned many hard working low to middle income earners into beneficiaries. Would the average person prefer to be taxed a little less and get on with it themselves - or be robbed by Labour and have Doc Sullen feel sorry you and throw you a wee bone to tide you over?? That can hardly be good for the soul.

No need to comment on the election bribe aspect, if people can't pick that up without having to be told, that might explain how we got landed with this lot in the first place.

As for My Right, I got exactly what I expected - nowt. I will continue to pay my share, my student loan and I will do so happily. Do I think we are all over taxed - hell yes, but at times you just have to be thankful for your lot in life and get on with it. But one favour, please stop putting me in that ghastly group that the lefty types call, "the rich" - because that, I am not.

Rodney has a nice summary of the broken promises aspect here.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

This could be very good, or very very bad 

A live 'debate' between ordinary Pakeha and Maori is going to take place next month, is this a worthy exercise, or easy to make and guaranteed to rate television opportunism?
The nation is going under the spotlight and New Plymouth is going to be centre stage.

Next month a hundred ordinary kiwis – 50 Maori and 50 pakeha – will take part in a live televised show, broadcast from Puke Ariki, and tell each other what bugs them about race relations in this country.

There will be no politicians and no radicals, from either side, just "middle New Zealand" facing off.

Called State of the Nation, the two-hour TVNZ show will broadcast live on TV One from the Puke Ariki foyer on June 10.
One thing they have already done well is the choice of presenter, Anita McNaught, who is now fronting BBC World and is a very professional and capable choice of host.

However, two things concern me. "Debate" by definition asserts that people disagree before dialogue has already commenced. A fair assumption, possibly, but it may speak to the pre-determined 'angle' of the program.

The second concern is the demographic, the show is between middle New Zealander's and apparently the Taranaki has this entire demographic covered. No disrespect to the hearty souls of the 'Naki - but although they and many other New Zealanders own four wheel drives - the majority of NZ's four wheel drives have never seen mud.

Anyways - it should be an interesting watch, and if treated responsibly, could be informative and entertaining. If done badly, it will probably rate through the roof as it manages deepens the discomfort between Maori and 'others' in the 'Naki and the rest of NZ.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Michael Moore and his relationship with the truth... 

In short, Michael Moore and the truth are estranged at best. As everyone falls over themselves to praise him for his award for his latest anti-Bush piece, "Fahrenheit 9/11", maybe it is time to have a look at the way his last ground breaking work stood up to some scrutiny.

Below is a link to one of the many sites that point out in detail that Moore used very selective editing, mis-quoted and misrepresented his way to a moderately entertaining piece of drama, "Bowling for Columbine". That fact that this tripe won an Academy Award as a documentary still grates.

Michael Moore - Liar

Does anyone miss the arrogance? 

Apparently Labour accept that they may no longer know best. It has gotten so bad I almost feel sorry for them. Not long ago the flicked the Privy Council despite widespread and fairly well backed opposition, now days any hint of a lost vote can trigger a u turn.
Justice Minister Phil Goff has backed away from law changes taking a more permissive approach to sex between consenting children aged between 12 and 16.

He says the Government will take its lead from the public, and has suggested that retaining the status quo is now the most likely outcome.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Goff was quoted as firmly favouring the law taking a more tolerant approach to teenage sex.

He said the law as it stood risked turning teenagers into criminals and had to be changed.

National's law and order spokesman, Tony Ryall, accused the Government of trying to sneak through the legislation and doing an about-turn in the face of negative reactions.
So telling all 12 year olds to go for it, just because a small number do now is a bad idea? Well - you got there eventually Phil, even if it wasn't quite on your own.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Herald goes feral 

I could almost start to enjoy The Herald, if they keep this sort of thing up;
Foreign Affairs officials are said to be upset by the Government's use of the report of Dr Brash's meeting. So they should be. They have every right to expect that reports written on a classified basis will not be used for cheap political gain. In one swoop, Helen Clark has soiled an important tool of their trade. No matter how great the temptation for a Government on the backfoot, it had to be resisted. A Prime Minister should never put a party's interests ahead of principle.
Helen's halo has well and truly slipped, her judgement has been shot to ribbons and even the lefty media are looking on her with a critical eye. To my mind, Helen has been quite consistently arrogant, painfully dismissive when trouble shooting and snide to her detractors, but with the halo at half mast, it is only now she is being properly exposed. Long may it continue.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Cry me a river 

Phil Harrington is a bag boy for Helen and he won't hear a bad word said against her. Read this if you think you can stomach some lefty righteous indignation in response to someone else's indignation.

Phil Harrington: Indignation from 'ardent supporter' a cheap shot

Ye Gods - good sense from The Herald 

A good editorial in The Herald today - one can only hope it makes its way to Level 9. The highlight was pointing out Labour's obsession with tinkering and redistribution - totally unnecessary. What odds of the Government listening? Zero sadly.
When the Government is raking in $7.4 billion more than it needs it is time to look at tax reductions more generally. The promised relief in the coming Budget for low- and middle-income earners could, and should, take the form of income tax cuts, except that this Government seems to have a philosophical objection to them. It prefers to reimburse taxpayers through benefits and public service spending, which keeps state servants employed and wastes money on the way around.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Hoping for the best might be a tad optimistic 

Let's just hope we don't get the worst. Hikoi time, and Jonathan Hunt has already, and quite rightly, declared Parliaments steps off limits.

If today goes off without major incident, other than being well surprised, My Right will also be very pleased. There is enough heat in this debate already without one or two seasoned activists (or haters and wreckers as Helen baited them - nice one) pouring petrol over it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Missed the point, or just a different focus? 

Michael at No Right Turn believes that I have missed the point. I may have taken a different angle on his 'if you can't feed'em - don't have'em' post - but I don't believe that blaming the student loan system (of which I am currently a significant contributor to) is enough.

My point is, the student loan fund is made up of Government borrowing from overseas, the $7 billion can not just be written off. So where to from here? I paid for my education to the tune of $38,000 and am now paying it back. I would accept that, if every other area of my life was not being overwhelmed by taxes.

The incentive to earn more, more particularly, to stay in NZ and earn more is dramatically reduced when only half of the increased earnings find their way into the bank account - this is true. But is the student loan 10% the crux of the issue? Take the SST article and eliminate the student loan from the equation - that same scenario improves by circa $100 per week, still not a lot of slack when the Government is grabbing a little more here and even more there.

I will post some of today's Q & (no) A from Parliament later to highlight this argument. In the meantime I would espouse that the fairest change to the student loan scheme would be to freeze any increase to the total loan balance once a person is paying back 10% of their wages, but not paying back enough to cover the interest charges themselves. To be paying back what you are obliged to when working full time as a graduate (as is the intention of the scheme) and watching the total loan balance climb steadily is indeed soul destroying.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Death of the middle class? Solution: stop them from being born 

Michael at No Right Turn has added an optimistic commentary on the solution to the fall of the middle class. Apparently these people should not have breed in the first place.
Although Idiot is bang on in his analysis of the predicament that the middle class find themselves in, the "struggling middle class family" in question's problems are largely of their own making. At the end of the day they chose to have children that they couldn't afford...its no use whinging to Helen Clarke about it.
So if a family earning slightly less than the average household income are limited to less than four children, where does that leave us? Three, two, 2.4 if you earn $70,000 plus??

Perhaps we should have to apply to the Government, mortgage style, before having kids? Simplistic bollocks Mikey boy, and for a thinker such as yourself, could you not address the issue at root cause and acknowledge that there is enough wealth to be had in the world to allow New Zealand to return to the quarter acre pavalova paradise scenario we once treasured. Don't get me started on the number of families on benefits that are encouraged to have kids for additional government 'support'.

This argument clearly defines the difference between self determination on a personal level (less Government interference - and tax) and vote winning populism (unsustainable and tax heavy). If that is the difference between left and right then I am not ambidextrous.

Not to mention the fact that one of biggest problems facing the country at the moment is the fact that we can barely afford to support the aging population - then where does this sort of thinking leave us? Start saving Mike, and when you find a wife - get used to cold showers...

Sunday, May 02, 2004

To die with dignity, not for someone else's crusade 

To enter the Lesley Martin debate is to enter delicate and emotional territory, and for My Right, very personal territory. For those reasons there has been no posting on this topic to date. However it was question marks raised over the care provided by the Wanganui Hospice that finally convinced me to do so.

Let me start by saying that I have complete sympathy and understanding of Lesley Martin went through. A terminal illness is a tragic thing that can rip a heart and mind apart, and this may explain some of the actions of Lesley Martin, however the following extract disturbs me greatly;
She elected not to have treatment and to be nursed by her daughter, an experienced intensive care nurse, so she could die at home.

In her book, To Die Like a Dog, Lesley Martin described how her mother asked her: "Don't let me lie there, not alive and not dead ... Please help me ... Be quick."

In the book, written as a screenplay, Martin quotes herself as saying: "I'll know ... I'll know when it's time ... I won't leave you like that ... I promise."

Hospice nurse Wiki Alward told the jury that Martin told her she gave her mother 60mg of morphine on the night of May 26-27, 1999.

Mrs Alward said Martin told her the morphine was not because her mother had increased pain but because "my mum had indicated she didn't want a slow painful death, and I did not want that either".

The Crown alleged Martin had refused help to care for her mother, as she wanted to be alone to administer the morphine.

The defence said Martin was stressed, under "intolerable pressure" and exhausted because of a lack of back-up, and that her book could not be relied on for evidence.
The parallels to My Right's situation, involving the same Hospice, are many. When it became clear that Dad's cancer was in the final stages of robbing us all of him, and his situation got to the point where he was clearly distressed and it was so painful that he no longer wanted to fight, My Right's family was called together. That to me is one key difference - there was no autonomous decision making over the life of a dearly loved family member. My family made the hardest decision imaginable, together, supporting each other. Having two nurses in the family, we too were allowed to take dad home, knowing what that would mean.

That is where the Hospice comes in. They were simply incredible in their support, completely available in the middle of the night, and totally understanding and ready to increase the morphine levels when Dad became more uncomfortable. During the worst time of my life, the Hospice service made Dad's death as comfortable, and dignified, as it could have been.

The implication that the Hospice were unresponsive and left Lesley Martin isolated must break the staff's hearts. I do not pretend to know all the specifics of the Martin situation - but can see clear similarities with the one I recently faced. The Hospice made it possible for us to take Dad home, and allow him to pass on in his own bed in peace. My family and I can only imagine Dad in particular, are all so grateful to the Hospice. It is hard to believe that they would be remiss and unresponsive given our experience.

There are ways of doing things properly, within the law and involving all the people that should be involved when making such a decision - and that is where I take issue with the actions and subsequent statements of Lesley Martin.

Perhaps if you take a little less that might help... 

There is a good and long overdue article in the SST emphasising that a earned dollar is worth less under Labour. This article is bound to cause a lot of discussion, and so it should. Steve 'let me create the problem and tinker to fix it' Maharey's response did more to outline the problem than it did put forward a solution;
Maharey said a start had been made to improve the lot of families but "no one is saying we are finished yet in terms of trying to transfer the prosperity of the country into the pockets of middle-income families like this".
Who exactly are the current holders of this so called 'prosperity' that can be so readily 'transfered'? His answer I imagine would be 'the rich' - i.e. those in the upper tax bracket No Right Turn might say? That is a poultry $5,000 more than this battling family is currently earning.

Let's say that Mr Gilbert's income raised to $65,000 and he had a student loan. Many would consider him to be well off, clearly they are not currently, so how much difference would that extra $10,000 make? I estimate about $6,000 in the bank. My point is that of his last $5,000 of income, what does he get? 51% of it (and he get's to pay more for a few social services on account of this new found 'wealth'). $65,000 per annum does not make a family rich - they should not be taxed as if they are. Labour once set a limit for the number of people in the top tax bracket, it is now more than double the number they stipulated.

Steve, stop playing monopoly with our cash, give the social engineering a break, and just leave a little more in our pockets. Does everyone being equally poor represent social justice? More to follow...

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Confessions of a blog addict... 

And to think My Right didn't rate a mention - how rude.

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