Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Speaker: How StuffMe looked from the regions,

    Fairfax's CEO has already signalled shutdowns and divestments in response to the decision, but I think it could be positively healthy if the newspaper business deconsolidated.

    One of the reasons local papers struggle at the moment is the way the two big chains funnel money out of them with steep internal chargebacks for services. They're being used as cash cows and some of them would literally be better off on their own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: We need to talk…,

    Oh, and here's A life of its own: The truth about medical marijuana, which screened on Choice on Sunday night.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: We need to talk…, in reply to steven crawford,

    The best case for medical marijuana that I’ve seen, is in California. It’s better to just allow people who want to use it, to use it, just as long as they know the side effects. And just like any medication, there are side effects.

    I think there are problems with very loose medical regimes. I found the episode of Weediquette looking at parents in Oregon who give their cancer-stricken kids massive doses of THC oil – on a very flimsy basis – a bit troubling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: We need to talk…, in reply to steven crawford,

    That’s just magic thinking. These are completely different substances that do entirely different things to human beings.

    Its just as good to argue that a shot of whisky would do the trick at a car accident.

    No, it's real. People are doing it and there are promising studies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: We need to talk…, in reply to andrew r,

    What’s a hippy? Is that a Dad rock thing?

    You got it. Man.

    Labour seem very politically shy on this issue. It really is time to make the law match the populace view. So slow coming.

    Two things behind it:

    1. A conservative political strategy in election year. They’re happy for the Greens to run with it, but determined to go no further than medical cannabis, lest they be attacked by National.

    2. The genuinely-held views of Andrew Little – who’s not exactly up with the research – and others. They simply see any “liberalisation” as likely to increase use. (Fun fact: depending on which study you look at, teen cannabis use has either not changed or actually fallen since legalisation in Colorado.)

    It’s a shame for the likes of Jacinda Ardern, Greg O’Connor (yes, really) and others, who have a bit more understanding of the issues. I’m pretty sure more than half the caucus would favour reform.

    One thing the Māori Party’s shift does is ease the pressure on the Greens, who are extremely anxious about being seen as the crazy druggie party. Props to Julie Anne Genter there – I gather some other Green MPs supported their policy but weren’t willing to front it, so she did.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…,

    Video: Cassia owner Chand Saharawat accepts the Metro Restaurant of the Year award for the second year running – and slams the government’s new policy on “low-skilled” workers from from the stage.

    "You love the naan bread, right? The man who’s cooking this bread won’t be around if immigration [rules change]… I’d rather hire a Kiwi, but you know what, I can’t find them.”

    She called on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who was on stage at the awards, to take the message back to the Government that restaurants like theirs needed people with specific skills.

    Her husband earlier told RNZ that out of the 40 staff he employed, just four were from New Zealand.

    Mr Sahrawat said the pool of local talent was already low as highly trained New Zealand chefs and other hospitality workers were opting to work overseas.

    “We just can’t find enough people for front of house, or kitchen. It’s a constant battle to get people who are driven and passionate about hospitality,” he told RNZ’s Checkpoint programme.

    The government should be making it easier for business owners to hire and keep migrants on staff, Mr Sahrawat said.

    Under the proposed changes low-skilled migrants would be made to leave the country after three years and then wait at least a year before they could re-apply.

    “It’s already hard enough for us to try and renew someone’s visa … and to make it even harder, [the changes are] going to be challenging for any restaurant or cafe owner in the country."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Talking to people who own bars and the like, it’s often a similar thing here. People who aren’t lifers are more likely to have a positive attitude to the job, precisely because they wont be doing it forever.

    Yeah, that's exactly what I was getting at in the post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…,

    And from RNZ: Foreign student numbers jump

    A jump in enrolments from China and the Americas will push the number of foreign students in New Zealand past 130,000 this year, Education New Zealand says.

    The government agency responsible for the international education sector said the students would spend about $4.5 billion on fees and living costs this year, making it New Zealand's fourth largest export earner.

    Education New Zealand analysis of study visa figures showed universities, schools and polytechnics had more students at the start of April than at the same time last year, but private institutions had fewer.

    It said there were 18 percent more Chinese students than at the start of April last year - an extra 3700 .

    The number of students from Latin American nations was up 31 percent, and the number from south-east Asia was up six percent.

    However, there were 4199 fewer Indian students at the start of April, a drop of 24 percent.

    Education New Zealand chief executive Grant McPherson said the increases more than offset the decline, which had happened in the private tertiary sector as a result of changes to the rules for testing students' English.

    There had been big increases in the number of new visas issued to first-time students from some of the smaller source countries.

    "These are off relatively small bases, but the United States in terms of student visas grew by 46 percent, Vietnam 115 percent, Brazil at 40 percent and Chile at 100 percent," he said.

    $4.5bn is a lot of money.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…,

    Attachment

    Bloomberg gets onto the story: Kiwis Get Twitchy as Foreigners Flock to New Zealand and Don't Leave.

    An unprecedented influx of immigrants is exacerbating a housing shortage and stretching infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, sparking heated political debate around the issue ahead of this year's general election.

    "Now, more than ever, we need to pause and rethink our current settings," said Andrew Little, leader of the Labour Party, the main opposition, who noted that half of the new arrivals decide to live in Auckland. "We can’t continue to bring so many people into our biggest city, which is already suffering from traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and soaring house prices."

    Migration statistics continue to defy forecasts of a slowdown, having climbed continuously over the past four years. A record 129,518 people moved to New Zealand in the year through March. That coincided with the lowest number of Kiwis relocating abroad in more than 30 years, resulting in a record 71,932 net gain.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…, in reply to Peter Davis,

    (1) What has really changed on the migration stats? The key thing is people (rightly) mention "net migration". We are not necessarily getting a whole lot more people flooding in. The big change is that fewer NZers are leaving and many more are returning. So, the net figures are up. The target is therefore not necessarily those coming in (e.g. "foreigners"), but rather the fewer who are leaving (or returning).

    That's not really what the Herald figures on permanent long-term arrivals and departures show. For all countries, arrivals from NZ citizens have risen slightly in the past few years, while long-term arrivals from non-NZ citizens are trending up sharply. NZ citizen departures are down significantly though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21915 posts Report Reply

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