Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The digital switch-off

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  • Islander, in reply to Jan Farr,

    Jan, in a word, no – not in Big O.
    Which is why almost everyone – certainly all the permanant residents – have Sky.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Fisher & Paykll anyone?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But if you insist on always buying local by preference then you can easily get to the point where inefficient and sometime crap quality local suppliers are being favoured and efficient overseas suppliers (energy efficient, labour efficient and “good”) are being excluded. That situation has existed in my memory in NZ.

    Indeed, it nearly ran us into the ground as governments were obliged to employ increasingly creative means to encourage import substitution: tariffs, subsidies, import licensing. The Post Office used to build its own trucks, at considerable expense.

    Are we really going to build and market our own computers? Or dictate that only parts, not whole computers, can be imported, the way we used to do with cars? How much extra cost and wasteful diversion of resources away from things we’re good at making are we prepared to wear? How much money are we taking away from desirable policies in doing so?

    Another way of looking at it is: is it a good idea for industrialised countries to shun our (relatively) sustainable primary products in favour of producing their own via subsidies and grossly inefficient and unsustainable practices?

    So as an idea it’s cool. But there are times when I’d rather our local suppliers made something else and left overseas supplier to supply things they can make better.

    As a principle to be applied where it makes sense – and, dragging things back to the topic, cultural and media works are an example, because they add the kind of value that economists don’t understand – it has its place. But it’s not like we didn’t give it decades and a whole lot of economic theory to work. We loved the idea more than almost any other Western country. It just didn’t do what it said on the label.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    It’s pretty self-evident, I’d have thought. If the State is legally required to purchase from local suppliers, the locals can jack prices up because they have to be used.

    They don't even have to do that. They could simply be more expensive because they're not big enough or not good enough at producing the things we need to buy. This is all money that comes out of desirable policies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It just didn't do what it said on the label.

    Neither has the opposite. Spectacularly so, in fact.

    Another way of looking at it is: is it a good idea for industrialised countries to shun our (relatively) sustainable primary products in favour of producing their own via subsidies and grossly inefficient and unsustainable practices?

    They don't buy our produce because it's sustainable, they buy it because it's cheaper. One of the reasons why it's cheaper, is that we are so desperate to produce it and export it (since we killed pretty much all our other industries), that we are quite happy to let farmers pollute at will just so they ship said produce out.

    Am I in principle against governments recognising that their own primary producers represent a value to their economies (in terms of diversification, sustainability, protection of ecosystems and local economies, etc.), and enacting limited protections to defend them from the vagaries of the commodity markets or help them compete with overseas producers, including ours? No. Just like I think there is a place in tariffs in the industrial sector. It doesn't mean that we therefore must start producing our own circuit boards, that would be an unlikely limit case. On the other hand, if you're looking for extremes, we are in fact it: a country with no tariffs whatsoever. There aren't very many around I think you'll find. It's almost churlish to think we should subsidise our local TV programming and nothing else.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To use your analogy, if by getting your kids to mow the lawns you are preventing them from going to school and learning how to design buildings etc

    How big are your friggin' lawns?. You must be one of those rich pricks.
    ;-)

    Designing buildings? that would mean bringing in teachers from overseas I reckon, our record on that front is abysmal, if they don't leak they fall down.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4869 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    (Although in fact there is at least one other industry that we heavily subsidise: film. God forbid we should have done that with, I don't know, Feltex. Obviously Feltex workers weren't knowledge workers and therefore they were utterly worthless.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    They don’t buy our produce because it’s sustainable, they buy it because it’s cheaper. One of the reasons why it’s cheaper, is that we are so desperate to produce it and export it (since we killed pretty much all our other industries), that we are quite happy to let farmers pollute at will just so they ship said produce out.

    Another reason it's cheaper is that they're often obliged to keep their livestock in sheds heated via oil-fired power stations, with foods shipped in in trucks that burn fossil fuels.

    I am strongly in favour of Fonterra being held to account for its environmental impact. Our products would still be cheaper if it was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I am strongly in favour of Fonterra being held to account for its environmental impact. Our products would still be cheaper if it was.

    Because our land is cheap and plentiful. There is still no inherent relationship between low prices and sustainability.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    God forbid we should have done that with, I don’t know, Feltex. Obviously Feltex workers weren’t knowledge workers and therefore they were utterly worthless.)

    Feltex's problems weren't a consequence of a lack of government support. More terrible management, near-criminal investors and a collapse in the market for carpet. How much of that should we have spent money propping up?

    It also seems worth noting that Feltex gaily poured industrial effluent into our waterways for decades.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    How much of that should we have spent money propping up?

    I don't know. I know it was never really up for debate. Whereas certain Warner executives flew into the country and hey presto, here's a massive handout on top of a pile of existing massive handouts. But yes, at least Peter Jackson isn't poisoning the Manawatu river, I'll give you that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    @Steve yeah, thanks, darling - big bloody help you are! You should know that my technomological skills are somewhat lacking compared to yours. I'll tell you what - you pop down the road and do it for me!
    As for Sky etc - where did the Doco channel go?????

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Islander,

    Jan, in a word, no – not in Big O. Which is why almost everyone – certainly all the permanant residents – have Sky.

    Actually Islander you can get Freeview, just maybe not the terrestrial HD signal. The satellite service uses the same Optus D1 bird that Sky uses.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4869 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    where did the Doco channel go?????

    Now called BBC Knowledge, same library apparently and not tied up with BBC Global so theoretically more NZ content that their overseas offering.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4869 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Designing buildings? that would mean bringing in teachers from overseas I reckon

    As far as I can tell the easy way is to download the plans from teh intertubes and plonk it on the section the wrong way around like our neighbours did.

    And we have no grass at all, but you don't want to get into analogy fail discussions as well do you?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    So… Christ Trotter basically?

    Aheheheheheh.

    Do you know something we don't, Gio?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Do you know something we don't, Gio?

    My subconscious switches to blasphemy automatically whenever I think of the guy.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Andre, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I reckon Fonterra should give free dairy produce to kiwis as a response to their polluting ways... and have been boring peeps about it for about 3 years now. They deliver the product and stack the supermarket shelves themselves already, so the retailers don't lose much other than space. You would still have to buy boutique items like feta, cream, clarified butter and could still buy Mainland if you wanted a branded product. But basic unbranded milk, butter & cheese would be available with a ration card of some type for free. We only eat 3% of what is produced yet can't swim in most waterways as a result of dairying. They have been asked to change, promised to self-regulate and haven't bothered. I hit up the Fonterra exec at the filming of Media7 at the Classic about two years ago and he reckoned they were trialling a scheme involving 15000 low-income earners. I think it went the way of their promise to fence waterways...

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 277 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    One of the reasons why it’s cheaper

    Harsh Gio, very harsh. Our primary producers are really very good at what they do. Yes part of it is because we have lots of land, which is a good reason for having primary production as an industry. Another reason is lots of water, so sue me we use the water and land and sell the results overseas this is bad how?

    But a much bigger reason is that we spent a lot of time and effort developing farming practices from scratch rather than simply doing what great^10 grandaddy did. We have a very good set of skilled workers in the primary industries (milk/wool/trees/fruit).

    And as for the negatives of farming, run-off etc etc. Some of that has been a learning process and farm practices are a hell of lot better now than they were 20 years ago and getting better all the time.

    As for tariffs, it seems that in New Zealand we can't get our head around taking a middle ground. When we had tariffs and import restrictions we had them on everything and took it to the ridiculous extreme, so much so that it F'd our economy in terms of efficiency. Now we don't have any tariffs at all and we are F'd over buy any commodity speculator who has more money than us. Why the fuck can't we operate in the middle and make sensible case by case assessments?

    To return to the topic, why can't we fund NZ current affairs, local documentaries, local and relevant analysis of what it is to be kiwi and at the same time tell idiots who want to make yet another reality TV show to piss off and get some other idiot to pay for it. Note my personal bias may not be the best deciding factor but somewhere there is a middle ground, we don't have to have all or nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Harsh Gio, very harsh. Our primary producers are really very good at what they do.

    Whereas Italian farmers are idiots? Nah, sorry. Some of them are driven by subsidies into wasteful and nonsensical behaviours, but by and large they do good work, and the majority looks after their animals well, and cares about their waterways and ecosystems. Same as everywhere else. So I don't really buy the "great ingenuity of our wonderful farmers who must be resourceful because they're not subsidised" argument.

    But a much bigger reason is that we spent a lot of time and effort developing farming practices from scratch rather than simply doing what great^10 grandaddy did.

    Italian farming, at least in the north, was completely revolutionised after the war. To the extent that we do what great^10 grandaddy did, it's in order to produce things that the world still envies us (I don't see many Italians copying Kapiti cheeses - odd that), or to farm in areas that require traditional methods, such as the Tuscan hillsides.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Actually Islander you can get Freeview, just maybe not the terrestrial HD signal. The satellite service uses the same Optus D1 bird that Sky uses.

    Yup. Sky will leave their satellite dish behind when a subscription is cancelled as it is not worth the cost to them to send out a technician to remove it from the house (though theoretically they still own it). If a previous occupant had Sky (or if you did and have since cancelled it), all you need to do is plug in a Freeview satellite receiver (c$150 retail or substantially less than that on Trade Me) into the cable that was left behind and you're away. Those small beach communities with few permanent residents and large numbers of holiday homes may appear to be huge fans of Sky TV but you'll probably find that a fair proportion of homes are simply using the dishes to view Freeview.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Why the fuck can’t we operate in the middle and make sensible case by case assessments?

    Ideology. Next!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Um – and the occasional decent drama? Could we maybe add a small Culture category?

    It would probably have to be old drama. Drama’s effing expensive to produce.

    OK - just tennis then.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr, in reply to Jan Farr,

    Um – and the occasional decent drama? Could we maybe add a small Culture category?

    It would probably have to be old drama. Drama’s effing expensive to produce.

    OK – just tennis then.

    And the odd repeat of House.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    But a much bigger reason is that we spent a lot of time and effort developing farming practices from scratch rather than simply doing what great^10 grandaddy did. We have a very good set of skilled workers in the primary industries (milk/wool/trees/fruit).

    If anyone in NZ had that many ancestors who have been farming in NZ for the past 2000yrs, Our farming practices might have been sorted by now.
    Producing milk mmm, yes, I like a flat white like most. But I've always haboured reservations about dairy farms.
    Maybe when the cows get houses they will count as citizens. I wonder which cow family will get the peoplemeter? Will they be a mainstream cow family, or one of those wildly disparate families that ends up feuding with each other all their lives.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1227 posts Report Reply

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