It is appalling enough that Mr Bridges tried to suppress the release of the Wiri to Westfield rail line business case, particularly given that we are all shareholders in KiwiRail. This is yet another example of Establishment Parties slowly bending the public service to their own ends, instead of doing what they should do; serve the public.
We all think New Zealand is a great place to raise a family. However, a new global report card from UNICEF shows that for many New Zealanders this isn’t the case. We are failing our children, and one of the key reasons is because we give so much of our money to the elderly.
The Greens’ private members bill on legalising medicinal cannabis has been drawn from the ballot in Parliament. It sounds like a great idea, but in reality it just opens up a huge can of worms that would be better solved by legalising cannabis entirely. What the bill shows though is that even the Greens aren’t above putting political opportunism ahead of evidence.
Most Kiwis are aware of the speculation in our housing market. It is the demand for housing and land as a tax-favoured investment over and above the demand simply for shelter or comfortable housing. This sends prices spiraling ever upwards, making house prices and even rents unaffordable for many, driving up our debt (most of it foreign), and starving our businesses of the money they need to grow.
It’s a problem that is all too obvious to people now. But it doesn’t just apply to housing, it also applies to our largest industry; farming. And this is, in turn, stuffing our rivers.
Labour have reignited the immigration debate with their new policy, which is broadly similar to ours. The most interesting aspect of the debate has been the response of the National Government. None of their justifications for the current situation seem to stack up, so the question is what is the real reason behind their policy? The only explanation we can think of is that they are trying to build a low wage economy.
The state of our freshwater has got so bad that scientists, tourism operators, health experts and environmental organisations have come together to speak out. What has brought this group together in an unprecedented stance? Their concerns are shared because clean water is the backbone of our economy, our environment and our society. Tourism is our number one export earner, and our 100% Pure brand is under threat. Even more worrying are the problems with contaminated drinking water that we are seeing in Canterbury (with rising nitrogen levels) and the Hawkes Bay (with bacteria).
As predicted, the Reserve Bank has asked for Debt to Income Ratios to help dampen down the housing market. That would mean that borrowers can’t borrow more than 5 times their income. This would shut about 2,000 first home buyers and 9,000 investors out of the market. The trouble is that it won’t stop the truly rich, because they don’t need debt anyway.
Playing backyard cricket with my brothers we used to say that cheats never prosper. In other words if you lie or break the rules, you’ll only end up hurting yourself. That is certainly the case with the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and something that our own Government is also familiar with.