Saturday, 1 October 2016

Students go bankrupt at a rapid rate.

Did Paula Bennett pay Student fees.

Questions: How much did Paula Bennett pay in student fees? How much did she received as a solo-mum? 

How much did Steven Joyce pay in student fees? 

How much did John Key pay in student fees and how much did his Mum get as a solo parent?

All of the above got a free education at the tax-payers expense…it was the ‘done’ thing back then, education was free and individuals paid it back via their future income earnings.

But we [NZ Voters] accepted with great gusto the Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson insane Ronald Regan Maggie Thatcher driven neoliberalist approach that encouraged greed expansion around capitalist nations.

The NZ Labour Party supported by National introduced ‘User pays’ for tertiary education and from there on its downhill, all the way to the bankruptcy court for thousands of NZ tertiary students. This latest report from Inland Revenue says it all.    

Student loan borrowers seeking bankruptcy as millions in debts wiped due to insolvency
Last updated 10:53, October 1 2016
NZ Union of Students' Associations president Linsey Higgins, left, says graduates abroad are struggling with interest-laden loans to the point of declaring bankruptcy.
Overseas graduates declaring them-selves penniless are among the 483 debtors whose $18 million in students loans have been wiped by bankruptcies.
Inland Revenue has revealed the latest figures as the amount owed by student loan defaulters’ tips over the $1 billion mark. The 10 biggest overseas debtors owe more than $300,000 each.
Some are dying in debt. Ministry of Education figures show that, in the year to June 2015, $19m of student loan debt was written off because of the death of the borrower. That compared with $16m written off because of bankruptcy.
One Auckland-based accountancy website advises graduates: "If you are living overseas, a New Zealand bankruptcy may have no negative impact on you at all."
Soon, information-sharing powers between Australia and New Zealand's tax departments will be boosted, after two student loan-related arrests at the border this year, and as overall student debt reaches $15b. 
The students best mate...yeah right!
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says Inland Revenue does not seek to bankrupt anyone solely because of their student debt.
But student leaders say the crackdown on defaulters is treating bright young Kiwis seeking careers overseas like "traitors".
It is not clear how many of the bankruptcies were overseas debtors applying specifically to wipe their student loan debt. IRD was not able to immediately provide the breakdown.
The bankruptcy figures include people owing creditors for other reasons, such as business failures.
However, New Zealand Union of Students' Associations president Linsey Higgins confirmed cases of Kiwis overseas going bankrupt as they faced mounting student loan debt.
She said the union received calls from one to two borrowers a month seeking advice on bankruptcy. 
"We know it's most often happening in circumstances where there's a consistent inflexibility by IRD to work with the overseas borrower and that has put them in a position where they have literally no other options."
"This is making the OE become a lot harder . . . Medical students used to graduate and work in British hospitals under the NHS. They want to do that because they want more experience and [access to] the facilities and technology.
"They would come back to New Zealand and pay most of their debt. But now, the interest accumulates on the loans.
"I think it's treating people like traitors to leave. This idea that if you leave New Zealand to go abroad, we're going to punish you."
IRD said its debt recovery initiatives included offering methods to make repayments from abroad easier, and installment options. Legal action and arrests at the border were a "last resort".
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said on Friday: "There is no evidence that significant numbers of people who have declared bankruptcy have done so because of student loans. Most people who declare bankruptcy do so because they owe money to a range of creditors and, as a result, their student debt is also written off.
"Inland Revenue doesn't seek to bankrupt anyone solely because of their student debt.
"Entering into bankruptcy is not a decision that should be taken lightly. There are significant negative consequences, including the effect on a person's credit rating, their ability to get a loan in the future, their possessions being sold, needing approval to travel overseas and being unable to be the director of a company."
Labour leader Andrew Little said he was personally against interest on loans for graduates abroad, but the party had not discussed policy on it.
"We do want people to get overseas experience and, ideally, most of them will come back and bring back their skills they've learned overseas."
About a third of the more than $1b of student loan debt in default has been racked up through penalties. Overseas-based debtors were the biggest culprits, making up just over $982m of the bad debt.
Latest IRD figures show that, of the 100,589 overseas and New Zealand-based debtors behind on their loans, $344.2m was made up of penalties. The late payment penalty rate is currently 8.8 per cent.
Overseas-based debtors
Default loans: 78,528
Penalty amount: $311.1m
TOTAL: $976.2m
NZ-based debtors
Default loans: 22,061
Penalty amount: $33.1m
TOTAL: $84.6m

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Two examples of Public Relations Spin gone mad.

National’s Loopy is Don Brash normal…behaviour.

National accused of cronyism over 'loopy rules' report
Benedict Collins Political Reporter @rnzbenedict
The National-led government paid tens of thousands of dollars to former National Party MPs, a former candidate and a financial donor to produce its 'loopy rules' report.
The Rules Reduction Taskforce was appointed by the Local Government Minister at the time, Paula Bennett. Photo: RNZ /Claire Eastham-Farrelly
The government taskforce was established in 2014 to rid New Zealand of rules that are unnecessarily bureaucratic and which stop people from getting things done.
The Rules Reduction Taskforce toured the country to hear New Zealanders' tales of ruled that were out of date, inconsistent, petty, inefficient, pointless or onerous.
Last year the taskforce released its report The Loopy Rules Report: New Zealanders Tell Their Stories.
The report cost $750,000 and one of its key findings was that many of the rules complained about did not actually exist.
Half the taskforce members were appointed by the Local Government Minister at the time, Paula Bennett, and had clear ties to the National Party.
On the taskforce were former National MPs Tau Henare and John Carter, former party candidate Mark Thomas and Ian Tulloch who helped fund a National MP's campaign.
Documents released to RNZ under the Official Information Act show they were each paid $500 a day to take part.
In total they were paid more than $25,000 in fees.
Labour MP Phil Twyford was disgusted with the situation.
Phil Twyford said the taskforce and report were an insult to the taxpayer. Photo: RNZ / Mei Heron
"It's an insult to the taxpayer that the National government should undertake a blatantly political exercise like this, blow $750,000 of taxpayers money and essentially provide a make-work scheme for National Party has-beens and apparatchiks."
Green Party MP Julie-Anne Genter said it was a clear case of cronyism.
"We're getting to that point where the National government is losing all perspective or sense of touch with reality - when they think it's okay to pay their former MPs or candidates and donors to undertake what's ostensibly some sort of taskforce work, it's really just an exercise in PR and spin."
But former National Party candidate Mark Thomas said the taskforce members were picked for their skills - not their party links.
"Having worked with everyone on the taskforce I could tell you that all of them had specific expertise, either local government expertise or in building and construction industry.
So from my point of view, having worked for several months on that taskforce, I think it was put together by people who were qualified and capable, and able to contribute to the task the minister had given us."
Mark Thomas was paid more than $10,000 for his work with the taskforce.
National Party MP Jacqui Dean chaired the taskforce but was not paid a fee.
One loopy rule - that lolly scrambles were illegal - was found to be a myth.
But a rule requiring hairdressers be registered and inspected annually by councils - because they were once a source of infection - was found to be loopy, given there's no such requirement for similar industries.
Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga said people selected for the taskforce were chosen for their strong understanding of the local government and business sectors.
In July, Mr Lotu-Iiga announced the Government would adopt 72 of the loopy rules taskforce's 75 recommendations.
Those recommendations included relaxing building laws and letting builders sign off on more of their own work, getting WorkSafe to do more myth busting, and most importantly stop making loopy rules.

An image from the Hobson's Pledge
2. Lobby group formed to oppose 'Māori favouritism'

The group, Hobson's Pledge, is fronted by former National Party leader Don Brash, and intends to pressure politicians into opposing race-based laws and preferential Māori seats in Parliament.
Dr Brash said for eight years the National-led government had been pandering to separatist demands.
He said everyone should be equal before the law.
"We've got a situation where those who have a Māori ancestor, and I say sometimes only one or two Māori ancestors out of many, are given some constitutional preference."
Don Brash is fronting the new Hobson's Pledge group. Photo: Supplied
"That is not helping most Māori and is engendering a great deal of ill will on the part of non-Māori."
Dr Brash said the group started after he was approached from a friend wanting to set up a political party to combat the trend.
"And I said look you're dreaming. Setting up a new political party doesn't work. They're very very hard to build."
"But instead we decided to form this Hobson's Pledge trust, named after chiefs [who] signed the treaty in 1840. Governor Hobson said in Māori 'we are now one people' and that's what we are advocating."
There were now more than 20 Māori MPs in Parliament and the Māori seats had outlived their usefulness, he said.
"It's patronising to suggest that Māori cannot put their own views in Parliament."
Broadcaster Willie Jackson told Morning Report the new group was "the sort of mad stuff that Don's been pushing for years".
"These types of things shouldn't even be talked about on national radio today - this is so out-of-date it's not funny."
Parliament and local councils should have Māori seats, Mr Jackson said.
"Māori have been shut of councils for years and years and years - they've had white councils everywhere."
There was still systemic inequality in New Zealand, he said.
"Every report and survey that's been put forward says that Māori have been treated differently.
"In the last few months we've seen reports ... that Māori, sadly, don't get a fair shot from police or when they go to court."
Labour Party leader Andrew Little said the campaign was racist. "This is really fringe stuff. This only works as an idea if you're prepared to overlook the first 100 years of New Zealand's history, ignored the fact that there were land confiscations, that there were unlawful detentions of Māori people, that there was discrimination and racism against Māori people in the early part of our history."
Metiria Turei.Greens Co-Leader.
Metiria Turei said it was an old campaign that had failed in the old days. Photo: RNZ / Elliot Childs
"I think it will be treated, by and large, by most people, with the contempt that it deserves," Mr Little said.
Dr Brash denied the group was racist, saying they were arguing for every New Zealander to have the same legal rights regardless of race.
But Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the group's ideas were backwards.
"It's an old campaign, which failed in the old days and is going to fail now. I don't know why he is wasting his time."
"New Zealanders are very concerned to make sure there is real justice in New Zealand."
The campaign will be running ads in community newspapers and making public speeches in the lead-up to next year's general election.

Here is a blog written a few years ago on this racist issue: Don Brash and his aging followers are still pushing their strange views… only these days they are attempting to get young people to front their idiotic ancient bigoted views…no doubt on the advice of a PR team…

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Daylight saving blues… Jeremy Corbyn Wins.

Real Housewives of Auckland...really!

Daylight saving cut in, and I missed my nine am programme because it was actual 10am, so I changed my fire alarm batteries, fed some stale bread to the birds on my back lawn and then came inside a switched on the computer.

The big news was that New Zealand’s only celebrity the PM, was making the news along with “The real housewives of Auckland”. The main stream media was full of murders, traffic accidents, death and renewed destruction in Syria as their mad leader recommenced bombing hospitals, schools. And while Australian Air Force jets bumped off 60 odd Syrian government troops in accordance with the US take over plans.

The PM quickly denied that NZ had anything to do with this mass killing; in fact he avoided using the word ‘Australia’ at all. He continues to keep up the pretence that the Australians don’t run prison camps off shore…jail Kiwis [and others] without trial, deport them and rip them off … while we turn a blind eye and look the other way at the inhuman behaviour of white Australians toward their native people…have they got the vote yet?

Key said nothing that would unsettle the feathers of the big boys on the UN Security Council. He mentioned the mischievous Russians a couple of times, and pecked the arse of the US a few times as he read his Foreign Affairs manufactured speech.

The Security Council did its usual thing and ignored the guest chairperson [Key] and went on their normal way of destroying peace and harmony by bombing innocent nations in the name of democracy, supplying the Saudi dictatorship with a billion dollars’ worth of arms, doing the same for Israel and a few other dictatorships around the world.
We are all now completely aware that what so-called leaders say in the UN bears no resemblance to their actions…they talk peace while they bomb, they talk freedom while the jail without trial, they talk sharing with others while the steal other nations wealth. And if those nations dispute this, they attack them economically and in some cases militarily…we know that the powerful are hypocrites, liars, crooks and thieves but what can we do…
who wants to die young. And it is the young and innocent who die in these conflicts, in New Zealand of course those affected may not die directly, they just get forced further and further down the poverty chain.
The evidence is mounting day on day here in NZ…did you know that the government is considering compensation for skinny people who have to sit next to overweight or obese persons of a flight…yet the same government will not compensate prisoners who have served more time than they should have.

What the hell is happening and why are we putting up with this really weird behaviour. Have we lost our sense of fairness, justice and humanity?
So it would seem that the Key parallels to ‘The real Housewives of Auckland’ is spot on, skeletal people out equal prisoners illegitimately jailed. Rich get richer while the others stand still or get poorer but somehow we’ve all got a brighter future, so long as we sell our sovereignty, give up our independence via the TPPA, privatise our schools, jail more Maori, bribe more Saudi millionaires, sell off state houses, give farmers more free water, run a tax-haven, send our troops to fight American wars…
2. Blair rightwingers hammered in UK Labour leadership vote:
Jeremy Corbyn wins...

8:05 am today
Jeremy Corbyn re-elected UK Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as leader of the UK's Labour Party, comfortably defeating his challenger Owen Smith.
He won 61.8 percent of the vote, a larger margin of victory than last year.
Mr Corbyn was re-elected in a leadership contest that was triggered by a motion of no confidence. Photo: AFP
Mr Corbyn vowed to bring Labour back together, saying, "We have much more in common than divides us", and insisting the party could win the next election as the "engine of progress" in the country.
More than half a million party members, trade unionists and registered supporters voted in the contest.
In a result announced on the eve of Labour's party conference in Liverpool, Mr Corbyn won 313,209 votes, compared with Mr Smith's 193,229.
Mr Corbyn said the debate about who led the party was "now over" and Labour needed to take its message on the economy, education and the NHS to the country.
Asked what steps he would take to reassure critical MPs, he said the return of shadow cabinet elections was "absolutely in the mix", although he declined to rule out the possible deselection of sitting MPs in the run-up to the next election.
"I think you will see a lot of changes over the next few weeks," he said.
"They [MPs] have no need to worry at all because it is all about democracy. We are all democratically accountable to our party and to our constituents. They have no need to worry at all. I am reaching out."
Victory will be sweet - not just because it is a confirmation of his remarkable support among thousands upon thousands of members around the country.
It is Mr Corbyn's second defeat of the Labour establishment, who many of his supporters believe have tried to undermine the leader consistently over the last 12 months.
They talk of a "surge in the purge" as the leadership contest progressed - party officials vetting and checking new supporters who had registered to vote.
There are claims that Labour headquarters deliberately threw Corbyn supporters off the voting lists to reduce the size of his victory.
Corbyn supporters believe many MPs have done nothing in the past year other than try to damage his leadership and today they will be shown to have failed badly in their attempt to oust him.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Corbyn said he was "honoured" to have been elected in a contest that followed months of tension with many Labour MPs and urged people to "respect the democratic choice that has been made".
Addressing supporters, Mr Corbyn said he and his opponents were part of the "same Labour family" and everyone needed to focus their energy "on exposing and defeating the Tories".
"We have much more in common than divides us," he said.
"Let us wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work that we have to do as a party."
Owen Smith, who had previously ruled out returning to the front bench, said he respected the result and the onus was on Mr Corbyn to "heal divisions and unite our movement".
"Jeremy has won the contest," he said. "He now has to win the country and he will have my support in trying to do so."
Despite winning the leadership in a vote of the wider membership and registered supporters last year, Mr Corbyn, who spent three decades as part of a marginalised leftwing group of Labour MPs in Parliament, has never had the support of more than about 20 percent of Labour's MPs.
And the contest came about after more than 170 MPs supported a motion of no confidence in their leader - that confidence vote came after dozens quit his shadow cabinet and other frontbench roles.
The Conservatives said Mr Corbyn's re-election would not end the "bitter power struggle" within the opposition.
"172 Labour MPs don't think Jeremy Corbyn can lead the Labour Party - so how can he lead the country?" Conservative Party chair Patrick McLoughlin said.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

A quite read on local body elections

Below is a letter to the editor of the Manawatu Standard, it wasn’t published: Nothing new with that for the paper has the right to publish or not publish: I thought the subject was important so I put out a more strongly worded blog on the subject: Firstly the letter:

Editor MS
This is an open letter to Candidates standing for more than one position in the local body elections.
“Life must be really tough for sitting Councillors who are now bidding for spots on the Mid-Central Health Board as well as the PNCC or other local body positions.
 It would appear that you simply are not busy enough with your council duties and that you have heaps of spare time to make a few bucks more by latching onto the salary availability with the Health Board.
You are all aware of the hard times that face many of our citizens as they struggle to pay the mortgage, ever increasing rate bills, the power bill, and the increasing education charges that now exist.
 Times are tough but you would think that councillor’s 34 to 41 thousand dollar salary would be ample compensation for a maximum of around 12 to twenty hours per week. Remember that if you are over sixty five you also receive national superannuation ranging from 24 thousand to 29 thousand per year. You may also have full or part time employment at various income levels”.
I and others await your answer so we can make public your response.    
Peter Wheeler”

The above letter was based on an item in a Wheelers Corner 33 dated 18th August 2016 which was as follows: This is an open letter to Candidates standing for more than one position in the local body elections.

“This week the subject is ‘doubling up’, what does it indicate and why is it taking place. Is it simply greed? Or is it some fundamental belief pattern that indicates wonderful community spirit.
The final paragraph in this item offers a way of proving that financial gain is not the main purpose, have a read and decide which could apply to your candidate choice before casting your vote. Is your choice a saint or a greedy job applicant?
“Life must be really tough for sitting councillors who are now bidding for spots on the Mid-Central Health Board as well as the PNCC or other local body positions.
It would appear that you simply are not busy enough with your council duties and that you have heaps of spare time to make a few bucks more by latching onto the salary availability with the Health Board.
You are all aware of the hard times that face many of our citizens as they struggle to pay the mortgage, ever increasing rate bills, the power bill, and the increasing education charges that now exist.
Times are tough but you would think that councillor’s 34 to 41 thousand dollar salary would be ample compensation for a maximum of around 12 to twenty hours per week. Remember that if you are over sixty five you also receive national superannuation ranging from 24 thousand to 29 thousand per year. You may also have full or part time employment at various income levels”.

To voters:
As voters it’s important to consider various factors in deciding to whom to give your vote. It’s what I call ‘intelligent choice’. Just imagine you’re a manager and are appointing or hiring new staff when you vote…because that is exactly what you are doing.
Firstly you could consider skills, then you might consider past performance you might also consider gender balance. There are of course heaps of skills and other factors, some will have higher priorities from your individual perspectives and that’s as it should be.

The following individuals are standing for two positions this year in our region,
Adrian Broad, Vaughan Dennison, Martin Egan, Lew Findlay, Duncan McCann, Karen Naylor, and lastly Michael Feyen are all vying for two appointments this election cycle. I have not included Mayor and Councillor because only one position can be taken up.
The natural question we should all ask is: are they doing so because they actually have something to offer the community DHB or simply to increase their tax payer funded incomes? 
If we now consider the skills required for the Mid Central Hospital Board, who amongst the above have the various skills required?
Only one to my mind fits the bill, and that is Karen Naylor who has a nursing background. So I’d vote for her for that role but not for council.

The DHB’s are according to most Medical Association representatives, absolutely full of highly paid [some would say over paid] managerial people who clearly lack the medical knowledge to actually advance the medical processes needed in this day and age.
In fact they, in the main, suggest and I would agree that the District Health Boards are nothing more than rubber stamps for the Minister of Health. A clear example, governments wanted user pays…MCH Board agrees and introduces massive +parking charges at the PN public hospital.
When was the last time you read about just exactly what the Board of the MCH actually said or did or even does? How long have you been waiting to see a specialist?
We need also to remember that Councillors and HB members receive automatic increases in salary based on the recommendations of the higher salaries Commission. When was the last time they [Councillors or Hospital Board members] rejected these automatic yearly increases.
Double dipping from the public purse is in New Zealand legal; in fact it has been developed into an art form by many individuals. The question for those who are standing for two or more positions this election is obvious; will you, if elected, turn down the lowest salary and still do the job? You need as well ask yourself the question, am I doing this for the money? If you answer yes to the first question publicly you will have answered the second question automatically.
I and others await your answer so we can make public your response”.

The MS produced this report, have a read and see what you think…I made an error in suggesting that their take home pay was around 34 to 41 thousand dollars, the MS stated: Those who succeed on both could collect upwards of $59,874 a year in remuneration…

Here is a ref to an earlier blog on the local body PN elections: