Archive

Archive for August, 2015

Letter to the editor – When 41% of houses are bought by speculators

26 August 2015 6 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Mon, Aug 24, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The editor
Dominion Post

.
If what Deputy Governor, Grant Spencer, says is true that investor-speculators are buying up to 41% of Auckland house purchases – then we have a major problem on our hands.

No matter how many houses are built; no matter how far Auckland spawls; no matter how many parks are swallowed up; no matter what kind of LVR restrictions the Reserve Bank implements; no matter how much money is thrown at the problem – nearly half of all houses will be snapped up by speculators.

Whether those speculators come from Berlin, Boston, or Beijing – or even just north of the Bombay Hills – does not matter one jot.

This government has shown itself to be utterly hopeless at controlling speculation, and the horrendous fact that housing prices have risen 24% over the last year in Auckland is evidence of their incompetance.

Meanwhile young couples wanting to buy their first home are locked out of the market because of the relentless greed of a few.

This is not what I thought New Zealand would look like in the 21st century.

It is not the flag we should be looking at changing – but our blase attitude to something very wrong with our society.

.

-Frank Macskasy

[address and phone number supplied]

.

.

.

References

TVNZ News: The Reserve Bank has again raised concerns about investors driving up the Auckland housing market

.

.

= fs =

Advertisements

Public opposition grows against TPPA – Wellington

22 August 2015 5 comments

.

wellington-tppa-walk-away-15-august

.

NZ, Wellington, 15 August – In an otherwise grey, gloomy sky, much-heralded  rain made only a brief appearance with a few drops of moisture, as Wellingtonians and citizens from further afar congregated at Midland Park in the heart of the city. The first sign was held aloft on the footpath, just outside the park proper – an indication of what lay ahead;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Some artistry adorning poster roundels;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

A damned good question posed on this placard;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

A wide variety of other placards awaited bearers;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

John Key has said that even if the medicines that Pharmac buys “cost a little bit more“, that government will pay for it and citizens will not have to pay a cent extra;

“If it did pay a little bit more, then the Government would fund that and New Zealanders would pay the same amount.”

Firstly – where does Key think the money comes from that Government would use to top up Pharmac’s drugs-bill in the event that the TPPA pushed up the costs of medication?  From the bloody tax-payer, you Tory Twat!

Secondly, having to pay for increased costs of medicines would mean that other areas of healthcare would inevitably  have their budgets cut.

And thirdly, Key is in no position to promise anything on keeping the cost of medicines down. His government has already  increased the cost of Pharmac medicines in 2012 from $3  to $5.

Who on Earth would trust Key not to do it again?

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

The ‘Brass Razoo‘ band entertained the crowd, with “Uncle Scam” danced to the ominous sounding “Star Wars Imperial Theme“;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

New Zealanders voicing their concerns over the secrecy over the TPPA;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

If the deal is so good – why is the National Government keeping it secret from us? Negotiators from all participating counties know exactly what is in the texts. Only the public are not privy to the same information.

From a phrase that TPPA negotiator, Minister  Tim Groser, has been known to use;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

“Obama” being “arrested” by “pirates”, and charged with “treason”;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

The media was well represented, and both TV channels gave good coverage of the protests up and down the country;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

From younger to older generations;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

The Park quickly filled. Numbers swelled well beyond previous anti-TPPA protests;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Marchers moved through Wellington’s CBD, growing in number along the way;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Traffic came to a standstill, as the procession wound along the length of Lambton Quay, toward Parliament;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Past the Cenotaph, where we commemorate fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our sovereignty;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Once again, as with past protest marches,  the main gates to Parliament were firmly locked…

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

… forcing thousands of citizens to squeeze through two narrow side gates. The contempt shown by those in ‘Authority’, to the New Zealand people exercising their lawful right to protest,  is unmistakeable.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

With young citizens leading the way…

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

– the grounds rapidly filled with people;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Numbers ranged from   Radio NZ’s 3,000 to Fairfax’s 5,000 in attendance. The northward view;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

The southward view;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

It was interesting (and refreshing) to  see the large numbers of families and young people present. This was not simply a turn-out of the usual, committed, anti-TPPA activists – these were citizens expressing their disquiet (and outright opposition) over a deal being negotiated in secret, and which would have far-reaching ramifications for our society.

Tangata Whenua showed their concerns at the secret TPPA deal-making that was going on in our name, behind closed doors;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Secretary of the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Sam Huggard, explained why the TPPA would be bad for workers rights. He gave the example of trans-national corporations suing the Egyptian government for merely trying to implement a minimum wage;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

The big corporations, when they were cooking up this agreement in their high rises in Wall Street and Washington DC, and the politicians like John Key and Tim Groser who do their bidding, were hoping that the agreement would go through without this level of dissent.  We weren’t meant to have a say, that wasn’t in their model.
They weren’t counting on the health sector mobilising over access to medicines.  They didn’t want Maori mobilising to question how Treaty of Waitangi protections were being affected by this secret agreement.  They were hoping the tech sector wouldn’t get organised around the impact on copyright laws.   And they didn’t want to see unions critiquing the anti-worker provisions in the TPPA, like the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, provisions that were recently used against the government of Egypt – sued by French multinational Veolia Group in response to Egypt increasing the minimum wage.
None of this was part of the plan.  They wanted the agreement to go through quietly.  But we wont let that happen.

Gay Keating, from Doctors for Healthy Trade, explaining why the TPPA will harm healthcare in New Zealand;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Someone did the sums that its going to cost a billion over ten years if they stretch out the costs for the length of patents.

[…]

One of the things that’s pushed so many people in the health sector into being absolutely furious about this agreement is that is the wayit’s going to push people who are healthy, into sickness.

And it’s the processes which make it more difficult for countries to bring in controls on unhealthy products.

You’ve all heard about the $50 million pricetag that Australia’s facing in terms of Stage One of the fightback [by] the tobacco companies.

That’s what we’re signing up to in this agreement.

[…]

The biggest health threat of our century and our children’s century and our moko’s century is climate change.

We need to be able to control greenhouse gases and we need not be handcuffed.

Our government must not be handcuffed for health.

Todd Rippon, from Actors Equity NZ, detailed how a previous “free trade” agreement had reduced the amount of locally produced drama on our television screens. He said the TPPA would be even worse;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Performer’s lives are directly affected by trade policy. We have been hit hard with the blunt end of a big stick by that World Trade Organisation deal.

We know what it feels like to be cast aside to make way for extremely rich US corporations. I think you know what I’m talking about, yeah?

Signing the TPPA will not only make a bad situation worse for us performers, but it’ll make it worse for virtually every aspect our beautiful country.

Every aspect of our beautiful, tiny, vulnerable country.

Nothing will be untouched.

You name it; health, environment, education, Treaty obligations – no way. They will be wiped out in the name of international profiteering.

Don’t let that happen!

Documentary producer, Bryan Bruce, was well-received by the crowd and spoke well about the nature and problems of the TPPA. He condemned the potential eight to ten year extension of patents for medicines, saying that this would inevitably lead to people dying needlessly for want of treatment;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

What’s on the table is human misery. The poor have as much right to health as the rich.

Bryan  concluded with this warning for National if they went ahead and passed the TPPA;

We will not forget and we will not forgive them.

To  listen to Bryan’s thought-provoking speech, go to  Mick McCrohon’s video on Youtube.

Blues singer, Darren Watson and Delia Shanly on drums entertained the assembly with a rendition of  ‘Planet Key’. The  words were slightly amended to reflect on the issue-of-the-day. He also sang another of his original songs, ‘I Got Your Office Right Here‘, full of satire and good natured poking-fun-at-John Key.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

One lone female protestor managed to evade the barriers and Parliamentary security. She made her way to the top of the steps and sat down, adopting a peaceful meditating-position;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Other protestors also jumped or skirted the barriers to dance on the Parliamentary forecourt, as Mick McCrohon’s video on Youtube  shows.

It should be pointed out that though protestors “breached the security cordon”, they did not – as the Police and Mainstream Media have reported – try to “storm the steps of Parliament”. That never happened. (In fact, if any mainstream media were present when this occurred, I did not witness their presence.)

A video-recording in my possession clearly shows young people rushing to the steps, and then sitting down on the first half dozen steps  – before police arrived to reinforce the half-dozen Parliamentary security guards standing over the protestors. The handful of protestors made no effort to “storm” the steps, as some have mistakenly claimed. They stopped and sat down before Police arrived (which my video also clearly shows).

See: Citizens face Police armed with tasers at Wellington TPPA protest march

Eventually, the protest ended and the good people of Wellington (and further afield) dispersed;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

As they arrived, they departed; in peace.

Let us hope that this National government has received the message they left.

.

.

.

References

Parliament: Little, Andrew – Oral Questions — Questions to Ministers

Fairfax media: Prescription cost to rise to help pay for Budget

Parliament: 7. Trans-Pacific Partnership—Scope of Negotiations and Release of Information

Huffington Post: Corporate Courts – A Big Red Flag on ‘Trade’ Agreements

Youtube: TPPA PROTEST Wellington 15th.August 2015 Speaker Bryan Bruce

Youtube: TPPA Protest – Dancers Storm The Barricades At NZ Parliament Building

Acknowledgement

Appreciation to Mick McCrohons Youtube video’s, to complete this report.

Main Stream Media

Fairfax media: Thousands march against TPP trade agreement

NZ Herald: Thousands rally against TPP across New Zealand

Otago Daily Times: Thousands turn up to rally against TPP

RadioLive: Thousands urge govt. to ditch TPPA

Radio NZ: Thousands turn out to protest TPP

TV3 News: Thousands march against TPPA deal

TVNZ News: TPP protesters push through barriers at Parliament

Previous related blogposts

Roosting chickens

Citizen A – 29 Nov 2012 – TPPA Special

TPPA: Business launches propaganda campaign

TPPA: Doomsday scenarios, Critics, and flights of fancy

Open message to the Middle Classes about the threat of the TPPA

Nationwide Rally Against the TPPA – Day of Action!

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part tahi)

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part rua)

The Mendacities of Mr Key #5: Has Tim Groser shown the P.M. to be a liar on the TPPA?

Nationwide Day of Protest Captures Public Attention on TPPA

Opposing the TPPA – the Heavens hold their deluge ’till the People speak

Citizens face Police armed with tasers at Wellington TPPA protest march

Other blogs

No Right Turn: Help end TPP secrecy

Theocracidal: Thousands Protest TPPA, Cthulhu’s office minions hide under desks

The Standard: Groser – an arrogant git with a tin ear

The Standard: TPPA Protest review

Support groups

Facebook: Oil Free Wellington

Facebook: It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Website:  It’s Our Future

Facebook: Aotearoa is Not for Sale

Action Stations: A Secret Trade Deal So Terrifying That Parliament Isn’t Even Allowed To Know What It Says

Facebook: TPPA Action Group – Wellington

OraTaiao New Zealand Climate and Health Council

Copyright (c) Notice

All images stamped ‘fmacskasy.wordpress.com’ are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-30-at-6.08.04-am

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 17 August 2015.

.

.

= fs =

 

Citizens face Police armed with tasers at Wellington TPPA protest march

21 August 2015 3 comments

.

wellington-tppa-walk-away-15-august

.

NZ, Wellington, 15  August – Anti-TPPA protesters, many of them young people in their teens and early 20s, faced off against police armed with tasers on the steps of Parliament.

Believed to be the first time that armed police have deployed tasers in a non-violent, non-threatening situation, at least five police officers were visibly carrying the potentially lethal devices on their belts;

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

At least five  weapons were clearly visible, with other policemen and woman wearing bulky jackets that may or may not have concealed more of the devices.

Though there was some minor jostling between one protester and a Parliamentary security guard, there was no violence or any other physical contact between police and members of the public.

The confrontation began when a lone protester made her way to the top of the Parliamentary steps, and seated herself, adopting a meditating position. For a short time, three police attempted to persuade her to move, though no force was used.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

She was followed by others, who also jumped or skirted around the security fence separating the grassy area from the paved Parliamentary forecourt.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

As their numbers swelled to approximately a hundred, extra police arrived quickly and with Parliamentary Security, formed a cordon across the steps leading up to Parliament.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

March organisors and Marshalls attempted to quell the situation by asking people to move back from the steps, without much success.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

Eventually,  jostling and shouting gave way to a calmer atmosphere as March organisors encouraged a constant stream of speakers to address the crowd. The tiny volatile minority, numbering perhaps half a dozen, joined others seated on the steps. One activist played his guitar and sang songs, though at one point he declined a request for “anything by Dave Dobbin“.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

After about a hour, the crowd on the Parliamentary forecourt dispersed of their own volition. Police numbers also reduced, with officers leaving the scene.

.

TPPA - trans pacific partnership agreement - protest march - wellington - 15 august 2015

.

There was no apparent reason for tasers to be deployed on this occasion. The sight of these weapons incited many in the crowd to angry outbursts toward the police.

More than one person was overheard asking what possible use  four or five tasers would have been against a crowd numbering in the hundreds.

One person, who requested anonymity,  said to this blogger;

“Whoever authorised these guns to be brought out needs their head read. It’s a grim day when cops feel the need to show these things when they’re faced with ordinary New Zealanders engaged in lawful protest. It’s like something out of ‘Sleeping Dogs’.  Really, is this where we’ve ended up, armed cops facing off against women and kids? God help us.”

On this occasion, a tense situation was prevented from escalation not by show of force, but by the wit of organisors who distracted the ‘hot heads’ and encouraged dialogue and engagement.

The best strategy in this stand-off was patience.

.

.

.

Previous related blogposts

Citizen A – 29 Nov 2012 – TPPA Special

TPPA: Business launches propaganda campaign

TPPA: Doomsday scenarios, Critics, and flights of fancy

Open message to the Middle Classes about the threat of the TPPA

Nationwide Rally Against the TPPA – Day of Action!

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part tahi)

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part rua)

The Mendacities of Mr Key #5: Has Tim Groser shown the P.M. to be a liar on the TPPA?

Nationwide Day of Protest Captures Public Attention on TPPA

Opposing the TPPA – the Heavens hold their deluge ’till the People speak

Citizens face Police armed with tasers at Wellington TPPA protest march

Support groups

Facebook: Oil Free Wellington

Facebook: It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Website:  It’s Our Future

Facebook: Aotearoa is Not for Sale

Action Stations: A Secret Trade Deal So Terrifying That Parliament Isn’t Even Allowed To Know What It Says

Facebook: TPPA Action Group – Wellington

OraTaiao New Zealand Climate and Health Council

Copyright (c) Notice

All images stamped ‘fmacskasy.wordpress.com’ are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

.

TPPA-cartoon-trans pacific partnership

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 August 2015.

.

.

= fs =

Socially-sanctioned psychopathy harnessed for good

13 August 2015 2 comments

.

screenshot-lrg-09

“Smile!”

 

Killing people en-masse is frowned upon in most parts of the world. Serial killing is a definite no-no.

Instead, psychopaths satiate their bloodlust by more legal means.

One option is to participate as a combatant in one of several officially designated War Zones around the planet (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, several parts of West Africa, Texas, etc). The down-side is that you can be sure that several hundred other combatants will be shooting back at you. Not good.

Another option is a much safer bet for our friendly, neighbourhood psychopath;

.

 

Giraffes are dangerous -  another trophy hunter under fire after defending hobby

.

Corgatelli’s killing of the giraffe follows Minnesota dentist, Walter Palmer’s, slaughter of Zimbabwe’s iconic lion, Cecil;

.

Cecil the lion hunter Walter Palmer faces calls for prosecution

.

An unknown number of other hunters are also shooting and slaughtering their way across the African continent and other parts of the world.  In their sights; animals that are not armed with high-tech killing gear. It is hardly an equal “sport”, if one can remotely call it that.

There is definitely a reduced Occupational Hazard of returned fire that combatants in War Zones have to face.

Trying to peer into the psyche of these so-called “hunters”, some of Corgatelli’s remarks gave a chilling insight. From her Facebook page;

Everybody thinks we’re cold-hearted killers and it’s not that.There is a connection to the animal and just because we hunt them doesn’t mean we don’t have a respect for them.”

Day #2 I got a amazing old Giraffe. Such a amazing animal!! I couldn’t be any happier!! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!!!

“ 13 inch wart hog!! What a fun hunt!!!

Yesterday was day 1 an amazing day!!! Got my beautiful beautiful Kudu!! It was my #1 want on my list and I got him on the first day!!! Loving it there!!

Corgatelli’s undisguised joy at killing is disturbing. In some instances, her pleasure seems almost  sexual in nature.

Also worrying is the number of messages on her facebook page highly critical of her destructive behaviour – and to which she appears totally oblivious. This is clearly someone out of touch with social norms, including public odium of  her public revelling in killing wild animals.

Not only does she lack any empathy with the creatures she targets – but seems thoroughly unphased by the torrent of criticism directed at her. There seems to be  a distinct disconnect with her emotions.

People like Palmer and Corgatelli are, unfortunately, not alone in the world. There are plenty like them. People who cannot empathise with others, whether human or non-human.

Some become serial killers. Some become despotic leaders (think Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, Pol Pot, et al). Others, who are wary of a date with the executioner or spending their lives in a cell, look to other prey.

Same psycopathy. Different victims. And like the killers who murdered their victims at a  movie theater or a school, they prefer their targets to be defenceless. Preferably at a distance, so the targetted animal – or humans in at least one instance – cannot hope to fight back.

Psycopaths; cowards, as well as comfortable around lethal weapons.

Well, I have a solution that protects defenceless animals but meets the inate homicidal needs of psychopaths-cloaked-as-hunters: Survivor Hunter Island!

.

survivor island

.

That’s right – we set aside an island devoted to hunters. Real hunters. Hunters who pit themselves against each other. Hunters who take on the ultimate quarry: other human beings!

We put a dozen hunters in and they indulge their passion to seek out their prey and blast away to their hearts’ content. No rules; twelve go in; one comes out.

Last man (or woman, in Ms Corgatelli’s case) standing wins a prize. (A KFC voucher?)

Fitting into our current craze for Reality TV (you can see where this is heading), the hunt could be televised using carefully secreted cameras and Autonomous Flying Vehicles, and broadcast throughout the world. (We can put television sets on the African veldt, in case any lions or giraffes want to watch proceedings.)

The revenue from advertising and sponsorship (the NRA would surely be lining up as a bell-weather sponsor) for Survivor Hunter Island could be used for conservation projects around the world. Hunters, after all,  are staunch supporters of conservation, as Ms Corgatelli claimed.

Hunters and billionaire libertarians could even share their islands as libertarians plan their little tax-free havens somewhere out in the middle of the ocean;

.

AndrasGyorfi

.

Bag a brace of hunters and a couple of  billionaires?

I’d pay good money to watch that.

.

.

.

References

The Guardian:  ‘Giraffes are dangerous’: another trophy hunter under fire after defending hobby

The Guardian: Cecil the lion hunter Walter Palmer faces calls for prosecution

Facebook: Sabrina Corgatelli

CNN: James Holmes found guilty of murder in Colorado theater shooting

CNN: Sandy Hook shooting – What happened?

Washington Post: Lee Boyd Malvo, 10 years after D.C. area sniper shootings – ‘I was a monster’

Utopianist.com: Tech Billionaire Donates $1.25 Million to Create Libertarian Islands

Disclosure

The author confesses to being a meat-eater;

I pay homage to my carnivorous ancestors,” admitted Frank Macskasy, “But I don’t kill for pleasure. Even when a tele-marketer calls or Jehovah’s Witness comes to the door during ‘Dr Who’, I resist the urge. Killing for food is part of Nature’s less-glamorous ‘circle-of-life’. Killing for pure pleasure indicates a deep need for psychiatric care. Apologies to vegetarians, Vegans, and all the chooks, sheep, and cows, I’ve eaten in my life.

In my next life I’ll probably come back as a chicken in a Tegel barn.

Or celery. I hate celery.

 

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 8 August 2015.

 

.

.

= fs =

Is this the defining quote for the 21st Century?

10 August 2015 1 comment

.

615 rich poor Gina Sanders shutterstock

.

Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.” –  Andrew Maxwell, Irish comedian

.

If it’s not, it must come pretty damn close.

.

 

.

= fs =

Categories: Social Issues Tags:

Letter to the editor – let’s hear it for really, really, daft ideas

9 August 2015 3 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

From a recent letter to the editor;

.

letters to editor - dominion post - bruce welsh

.

My response;

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Thu, Aug 6, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The Editor
Dominion Post

.

It’s all very good for Bruce Welsh to be offering impractical suggestions that “people need to open windows daily and ventilate a house” – but having a well ventilated house is pointless if the occupants are going to freeze solid in the middle of a Wellington winter. (Letters, 4 August)

It may be balmy and tropical in Kilbirnie, but the rest of New Zealand has been enjoying more traditional cold, frosts, and horizontal rain.

So taking Mr Welsh’s barmy (not balmy) suggestion might give us well-ventilated houses – but the tenants wouldn’t thaw out till spring.

Any other bright ideas?

Here’s an off-the-wall thought; why not heat the houses? In fact, I hear they’ve recently invented something called a “heater”.

Heating a house reduces mould and cold-related illnesses. And we don’t end up with tenants in some science fiction scenario of cold-induced suspended animation.

Radical, I know. And best of all, it doesn’t involve “ethnic cleansing” of poor folk in this country simply because certain individuals have a penchant for impractical “solutions”.

.

-Frank Macskasy

[address and phone number supplied]

.

In reality, what this was, was a prime example of victim-bashing; blaming the poor for being poor, and ending up in sub-standard housing. Right-wingers, moralistic conservatives, and bigots do it all the time.

It means they don’t have to think too deeply about real problems and coming up with real solutions.

.

.

 

 

.

.

 

= fs =

To Annette King – we’ll hold you to that!

7 August 2015 1 comment

 

.

no-tppa

.

Right up until last week, National’s ‘spin’ on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was that it would not be permitted to impact on Pharmac or it’s ability to buy cheap, generic medicines.

Four years ago;

We have laid down the fundamentals of a position which says our public health system is not up for negotiation, not part of any trade negotiation, and I can’t conceive of any New Zealand government that would change that view.

Pharmac is an incredibly valuable institution that provides high quality medicines to many New Zealanders at very, very highly subsidised, reasonable prices. The fundamentals of that model are not up for negotiation. ” – Tim Groser, 16 November 2011

Three years ago;

If the Government agreed completely with the demands of American pharmaceutical companies, the negotiation would probably be over. It is not. It is a long, complex negotiation, and the New Zealand Government’s position is to preserve the role and effectiveness of Pharmac. ” – Bill English, 6 December 2012

Two years ago;

I think it’ll have a very marginal impact, at the end of the day.  It certainly won’t result in higher prices for pharmaceutical products for New Zealanders.  This is really about protecting the model of Pharmac to ensure that they’re in a tough negotiating position with international pharmaceutical companies, and we’ve got some very good negotiators who are doing just that. ” – Tim Groser, 

Last year;

There will be no fundamental change in Pharmac’s operations as a result of the trade agreement.”

You’ll have to wait to see the final agreement but any decisions we take in terms of trade-offs will protect the essential public health system of this country.” – Tim Groser, 22 October 2014

And this year, only a week ago;

“…yes, I can guarantee that we’ve made it absolutely clear that we are not going to dismantle the fundamental of Pharmac. The provisions that guarantee affordable medicines – we don’t want to change the system of health we’ve got in our country so that people can get medicines only if they can afford it. We’ve got a very good system, and we’re not going to let any trade agreement interfere with that.” – Tim Groser, 25 July 2015

Barely three days later, there was this startling admission from our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key,  that all was not quite so ‘rosy’ in the Land of Free Trade Deals;

That means the Government will have to pay for the original drug rather than the generic for a little bit longer. But for consumers that won’t make any difference because, you know, on subsidised drugs you pay $5 for your prescription so the Government may incur slightly more costs there.

Which vividly illustrates how, for the past four years, National has been lying to us, the New Zealand public.

It was only as TPPA negotiations drew to a close, that Key had to finally concede that there would be an impact on Pharmac and it’s ability to purchase low-cost generic medicines. The same TPPA will also impact on non-subsidised medicines purchased by New Zealanders, as not all attract subsidies by Pharmac.

On 29 July, Labour’s response was damning of the TPPA, and Health Spokesperson, Annette King stated matter-of factly;

Some people are going to pay with their lives because if they extend the patent, particularly on drugs for cancer and heart disease, and we can’t get access to the generic drugs for longer, then people are not going to get that access and they won’t have the opportunity to extend their lives.

.

“Some people are going to pay with their lives.” - Labour's Health Spokesperson, Annette King

“Some people are going to pay with their lives.” – Labour’s Health Spokesperson, Annette King

.

In which case, an incoming Labour Government has two options;

1. Raise taxes for those New Zealanders who voted National last year.

This is their responsibility, and should foot the bill for any increases to Pharmac’s purchasing budget. After all, National maintains itself as the “Party of Personal Responsibility“, so National voters should bear the costs of this mess; ie, ‘You voted for it, you pay for it’.

But since it is difficult to ascertain who voted for National last year, this option may not be practical.

2. Withdraw from the TPPA.

We simply cannot be party to an international trade agreement (or any other agreement for that matter) where “some people are going to pay with their lives”. That is simply untenable – especially for a Labourled government.

The seriousness of the TPPA’s effects on Pharmac (and non-subsidised medicines) is such that Labour must not be allowed to back-track on it’s criticisms, and has a duty to  withdraw from this appalling “trade” agreement.

If “some people are going to pay with their lives because … they extend the patent, particularly on drugs for cancer and heart disease”, then the TPPA must go. No New Zealander’s life is worth a “trade” agreement, no matter how much milk-powder we might sell overseas.

National ministers such as John Key, Tim Groser, Bill English, et al, have consistently, unashamedly, lied to us over the years. I do not expect Labour to follow in those footsteps.

This will be an issue I will be following, and I will be relentless in pursuing it, post-2017 (or earlier).

.

.

.

TPPA action 8 august 2015

.

Wednesday, August 12
at 12:00pm
New Zealand Parliament Buildings
.
Friday, August 14
at 5:00pm
Palmerston North City Library
.
Saturday, August 15
at 1:00pm
Midland Park, Lambton Quay
.
Saturday, August 15
at 1:00pm
Napier
.
Saturday, August 15
at 1:00pm
Timaru
.

Saturday, August 15
at 11:00am
Kohukohu Village Green

.
Saturday, August 15
at 1:00pm
School of Dentistry, Great King Street, Dunedin (near the Museum)
.
.

 

.

References

Interest.co.nz: Pharmac fundamentals not on TPP table, Trade Minister Groser

Parliament: Hansards – 5. Trans-Pacific Partnership – Forecast Economic Benefits, Potential Effect on Pharmac, and Investor-State Dispute Provisions

Scoop media/TV1: Tim Groser adamant Trans-Pacific Partnership good for NZ

Radio NZ: Medicines ‘won’t cost more under TPP’

TV3: The Nation – Transcript – Trade Minister Tim Groser

Radio NZ:  TPP – Key admits medicine costs will rise

Radio NZ: Govt warned TPP could put lives at risk

National Party: About National

Previous related blogposts

Citizen A – 29 Nov 2012 – TPPA Special

TPPA: Business launches propaganda campaign

TPPA: Doomsday scenarios, Critics, and flights of fancy

Open message to the Middle Classes about the threat of the TPPA

Nationwide Rally Against the TPPA – Day of Action!

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part tahi)

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part rua)

The Mendacities of Mr Key #5: Has Tim Groser shown the P.M. to be a liar on the TPPA?

Nationwide Day of Protest Captures Public Attention on TPPA

Opposing the TPPA – the Heavens hold their deluge ’till the People speak

Letter to the editor – More reassurances from our esteemed Dear Leader?

Action

Facebook: Lunchtime rally against TPPA WELLINGTON

Facebook: It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

.

.

.

Trust me fellow kiwis - John Key

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 August 2015.

.

.

= fs =