Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Deadly Exuberance

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    The Dom Post has a story this morning in which commentators marvel over the size of yesterday's OCR cut -- and predict another of the same size next year in response to the crazy business unfolding on foreign shores.

    Still, nice to see the media finally getting their heads around the notion that not all of us have mortgages -- and for some (like my late grandmother) low interest rates are actually a damn bad thing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Still, nice to see the media finally getting their heads around the notion that not all of us have mortgages -- and for some (like my late grandmother) low interest rates are actually a damn bad thing.

    Quite. My mum depends on investment income. And she and others like her also have money stuck with unreliable finance companies. Not so great.

    OTOH, as a homeowner who will actually have to borrow money to extend the house soon, I'm starting to feel guilty about the windfall ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think a video game where the participants run amok in a shopping mall stealing household implements and using them to kill rivals would be lots of fun.

    Getting a Flymo for the win!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    OTOH, as a homeowner who will actually have to borrow money to extend the house soon, I'm starting to feel guilty about the windfall ...

    Me too. And I'm now wondering why I bothered growing tomatoes this year.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Awwwww, Rick Astley. Still hard to believe that fab voice came out of that skinny white ginga. Made me go all nostalgic gooey for nightclubs in London, shoulder pads (for the boys), Frankie Going to Holly, etc. etc. Listening to ABC loud on the speakers while I sat on my teeny balcony and watched Princess Di drive out of the gates at Kensington Palace. Sorry . . .

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    And I'm now wondering why I bothered growing tomatoes this year.

    You too? And all the bamboo stakes are breaking so I'll have to cut more before I transplant them into the big planter... sigh. The horrors of sustainable living.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1569 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And you really cannot miss this.

    Still not as scary as Richie Benaud in HD. Nothing may ever be.

    I think a video game where the participants run amok in a shopping mall stealing household implements and using them to kill rivals would be lots of fun.

    Every year, I want to cross this concept with something Call of Cthulu-ish, where you battle Elder Gods in a shopping mall while trying to avoid Christmas Music San Damage. One Mistletoe and Wine equals ten Snoopy's Christmases equals a hundred Fairytale of New Yorks.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Maybe the end of the world in not nigh after all.

    Unemployment claims have fallen for 2 weeks and retail shopping is strong, not indicative of a headlong plunge into a deep recession.

    http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2008/12/4/velocity_watch

    All they need to do now is stop the bailout and stimulus circus.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    One of the things I don't get is that the US wants people to borrow yet more money on credit cards to get them out of the financial crisis. If anyone has seen the documentary Maxed Out this just seems like a really bad idea. I also think that NZ could be hitting some major problems with short term credit soon as well. All those flat screen TV's, mag wheels and the like that people purchased when times were good on 3 years no interest, no repayments, no money down must be getting near the point where they need to start paying those loans back. Me thinks with unemployment rising the s#$t could start hitting the fan.

    I've been saying since the beginning, this financial crisis is a long, long way from the end. It could get a lot worse in 2009.

    PS: Think you're pretty funny don't you Mr Brown...I haven't been Rick Rolled for quite a while.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Of course they're all Winston's constituents so I guess no one cares .... :-)

    My mother is in the same boat - and, come our retirement, all our Kiwisaver income that we'll all be living off will behave the same way whenever there's a downturn - it's the way of the world

    I've paid off my mortgage, and don't live of investment income so in some sense I'm unaffected by it either way - but there are other effects on our daily lives - primarily because of the effect that the low interest rates have had on the exchange rates:

    - exporters (that's me - I consult in the US) are looking good - they are making more NZ$ per sale and are more competitive (my income had gone down by ~30% over the past couple of years, now it's back)
    - importers are in trouble, overseas stuff costs more - I'm told that the buy up of stuff to sell at xmas mostly happened before the exchange rate changed - expect price rises in the new year
    - the carry trade is fleeing us - maybe not a bad thing - except that it's probably reducing liquidity here even more
    - farmers may vaguely break even (between reduced demand and better currency results) - maybe it will help us keep a more mixed farming economy rather than continue the rush to dairying - a monoculture is never good - their BMWs will cost more though

    Heaven help anyone (cough cough, sigh) trying to do a startup in NZ right - it's the right time to try and catch the next business cycle but the money's just not there, and the R&D credits are going - right at a time when we should be investing in ourselves

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2188 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    You too? And all the bamboo stakes are breaking so I'll have to cut more before I transplant them into the big planter... sigh. The horrors of sustainable living.

    Wow, you grow your own bamboo stakes! I'm impressed. And thinking some one-upmanship might be in order... ideas welcome.

    Maybe I'll build a forge & make my own climbing frames.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Thrash Cardiom,

    And I'm now wondering why I bothered growing tomatoes this year.

    The flavour of freshly picked tomatoes tends to be better than that of those bought from shops plus you get your choice of a much wider range. This year I'm growing beefsteaks roma, sweet 100s, and another I can't recall the name of.

    CHB • Since Nov 2006 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The story about the trampled Wal-Mart worker made me desperately sad when I first came across it. And what about the shoppers who complained when management decided to close down for the day?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7404 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    The flavour of freshly picked tomatoes tends to be better than that of those bought from shops plus you get your choice of a much wider range.

    Yeah, you're right. I've got them growing in black 25 litre PVC bags against a fence in full sun - some of them are starting to behave like vines & growing along the fence. It looks cool.

    Planting potatoes in bags this weekend.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    One of the things I don't get is that the US wants people to borrow yet more money on credit cards to get them out of the financial crisis.

    That's what some might say will be the saviour, but fortunately not all. There is currently cash sitting in bank accounts in the US equivalent to about 50% of the (somewhat reduced) value of the entire stock market. What really needs to happen is that cash needs to get moving, not just pissed up against a wall on consumer goods, but buying assets, making investments and creating jobs. Each shock or downturn is different, this one has been all about reduced velocity of money, get the money moving, the gets economy moving again. But then there is the nasty inflation that will be next due to all the frantic monetary creation of the last few months.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    We fixed our mortgage for another 2 years just a couple of months ago...suddenly 7.95% doesn't look like a decent rate.

    Talk about bad timing, Trev...

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • andrew r,

    oh yeah that kol lykke Li is really good ...niiice .

    auckland • Since May 2007 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    As a saver (I'll ignore my student loan. Everyone else ignores theirs!), this cut is yet more shitty news for me. The only upside is that I've just arranged to loan my brother his way out of his large credit card debt, at an interest rate that is advantageous to both parties. More so to him than to me, obviously (I can't loan-shark my brother!), but still more than the bank will be paying me.

    It's yet another reminder that our economy revolves around houses as the currency of the realm, to the detriment of real investment - which, as I said in an argument with friends last night, I consider to be money put into things that stimulate economic production. The RBA is long overdue for a refocussing from inflation in isolation, because it's harming our economy in the process.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    On the topic of the trampling, OverLawyered has a couple of pieces about that most American of reactions to such an event, the lawsuits.

    One hopes that the claimants are charged, and sued, for their part in the unlawful death. After all, they're making statutory declarations that they took part in the fatal stampede. Sounds like a total slam-dunk to me.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I must admit I do like the RB's idea of reducing income taxes and replacing part of that with a capital gains tax (not so much the raising GST bit) - we need a capital gains tax to move our 'currency of the realm' out of real estate and into investments that create wealth.

    Just taxing capital gains is not enough though - we need to tax long term capital gains less than short term ones (like flipping a house for the profit) - we want to encourage money going to productive use and staying put for a while

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2188 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I do hope the market principles will come to forth and rents will drop for the 1/3 of NZ who don't own. Naieve or what.

    Side Show Bob has thrown his toys down in Christchurch. CCC is the second largest assisted housing provider after Housing NZ.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4780227a6009.html

    Just to recap Bob Parker bailed out Henderson to the tune of $17M, Henderson is a memder of ZAP.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4667246a19753.html

    Hendersons failed ventue 5 Mile in Queenstown has a photo op with Rodney Hide - surely the kiss of death.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    we need to tax long term capital gains less than short term ones (like flipping a house for the profit)

    The provision for taxing capital gains on property that has increased in value due to a zoning change has a 10%-per-year abatement (sDB28 Income Tax Act 2007), allowing that after 10 years the gain will be tax-free. A wider application of that principle would achieve what you're after, though 10 years is a long time to have to hold onto your primary dwelling.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    They're calling it Shopocaplypse

    Russell, I don't mean to be picky (yes I do!). I looked at that word Shopocaplypse for a long time and couldn't get my plypse around it.

    Also I can get HD after following your instructions - but all I get is one HD picture and a sound track. If I want to see the video I have to go back to normal view - which is Krarp. Who do I blame? Telecom? My Mac? My mother?

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    It's not quite American holiday sales, and there's no deathcount, but I've seen kind of similar consumer frenzies happen here.

    About 10 years ago I worked at the casino in Auckland while I was studying (I worked grave - midnight til 8 - and went to uni after I'd finished). There were two days the casino was required to shut: Good Friday and Xmas Day. For those of us on grave, it meant we had the Thursday Night/Friday Morning shift off, and were ready to open at midnight on Friday night.

    At midnight, there would have been around a hundred people waiting to enter the casino. When it did open, people were running to take their places at the slot machines. I've never been so disgusted at human nature in my life - that these people couldn't go 24 hours without gambling.

    It was the same when I did my time in retail. We'd always be really busy after a public holiday cos people couldn't wait to go shopping. Maybe it was more enjoyable than spending time with the in-laws, who knows?

    Thankfully nothing as terrible happened here when I was in retail. Chances are no-one will be held responsible for Jdimytai Damour's death, I feel for him & his family.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 565 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    As a saver (I'll ignore my student loan. Everyone else ignores theirs!), this cut is yet more shitty news for me.

    Seconded. I was really enjoying my 8.2% interest rate, thank you very much. At least on the gardening front I won on broccoli (harvested and eaten while it was still $3+/head in shops. Score.)

    Every year, I want to cross this concept with something Call of Cthulu-ish, where you battle Elder Gods in a shopping mall while trying to avoid Christmas Music San Damage. One Mistletoe and Wine equals ten Snoopy's Christmases equals a hundred Fairytale of New Yorks.

    I feel this has great cross-over potential with that part of Pratchett's Reaper Man where the shopping mall is a living organism that defends itself with vicious soldier trolleys. Add in some mind-controlled zombie-shoppers, and you've got yourself a great computer game.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

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