Can we ban the currency speculators already? I'm actually quite serious about this.
The dollar bounces unpredictably in a USD .40 - .85 range and it hurts the economy in serious ways. Exporters and importers can't plan ahead properly (unless they're able to hedge currency - another expense, and one that's difficult for small businesses). It means that people are more cautious about investing, because what they're about to spend on might suddenly become dramatically cheaper or more expensive, and they would have wasted large amounts of money.
The NZD is one of the 12 most traded currencies in the world - far in excess of the size of NZ economically. Basically, rich men are using our dollar to make money. And we pay the price.
There's been talk above about how Sky City and casinos are just harmless fun. You pays your money, you haves your fun, and you walk out at the end of the night.
I don't think that the pokies, and the rest of Sky City would be much of a moral hazard if there weren't real consequences however. That is real money that people are handing over, and for too many it is the loss of money that means suffering in other areas of their lives. And that, essentially is the problem. Hundreds of dollars. You'd have to drink a lot of alcohol, or start taking regular hits of P to get that far into your finances - and society would recognise that as a problem.
The problem for Sky City and the places that rely on pokies is that their entire business model revolves around people spending lots of money - if they ran things so people felt good after only spending $20-30 they'd go bankrupt. Compare that to a bar, where most people are having a good time after spending the same amount, and there is no comparison.
This isn't about wowserism. This is about the fact that there's comparatively so little pleasure derived for such a lot of social harm.
I don't think the Prime Minister has gone far enough. These are radical times, and we are a nation of DOers.
I want him to suggest a 2 day working week, with the other 3 days paid for by the Government. That way, we could reduce productive capacity and no-one would be worse off.
It takes a bold man to say these things. And that man is John Key. Can you imagine Helen Clark introducing the 2 day working week, for example? There is no comparison.
Here's an idea. The Government nationalises all housing. That way, people will be able to take cuts of 2-3 days per week, not having to pay rent or mortgages.
Problem solved, right?
Jeebus Cyst, George... Is there a Godwin's Law of Klan References?
That was a Godwinable offence. I'm pleading guilty in the hope of diversion.
I hear that everyone other than rich white men are woefully underrepresented. Is this in fact true, and did you have to disguise yourself by donning a white hood to enter the room?
but surely the subject matter has nothing to do with "dramatic fiction"?
Given that it's about the work of tabloid "news"papers, it has everything to do with dramatic fiction.
Fictional forms infect all sorts of material for better or worse, and use the same narrative devices and characters. Some argue that we're wired that way, others simply that adapting non-fiction to these forms reads better, and others that it is just laziness on part of the author.
Not bad coverage for a small club.
The NZ CTU represents around 300,000 members, so it's certainly representing some people, even if it can't claim to represent all. The unions are doing ok, as well as you'd expect given the circumstances (they didn't exactly all their wishes given in the last 9 years).
But as Graeme notes, they're well down on their heydays.
I'm not a small business person and this doesn't normally excite my attention, but I will congratulate you for hosting this. It's just the kind of debate we need right now.
Well that's not true. Apart from the fact that we didn't have prisons 200 years ago.
Prisons are very different, and in some areas NZ Corrections have programmes of international standards in terms of recidivism.
You're right, I did overstate things a little. While prisons as an institution are largely the same, there have been efforts made at reform, some significant and some minor. Those programmes are worthwhile and have changed the prison environment somewhat, and Corrections do make use of them. Unfortunately, they're only a small part of what Corrections does.
A large part of this is that Corrections is tragically underresourced, and putting the prison population up by 60% in just a few years has strained them and their ability to offer these programs even further. In this kind of environment, maintaining security must be their first concern, and everything else relegated.
But it's also the fault of the "law and order" lobby, who bitterly oppose spending on such travesties, and politicians who would rather put money elsewhere. Giving prisoners decent food has been shown to radically improve behaviour, for example. But do that and you'll get even more reACTionary responses.
And, it needs to be said, this is an issue of race. Half of NZ's prison population is Māori, who are imprisoned at almost 7 times the rate of the rest of the population. "Getting tough on criminals" means getting tough on Māori... easy to see why it's a popular game in NZ.