If there were any recourse – any I’m not convinced there would be – I would expect it to be against the Ministry of Health, and/or Standards NZ; the former for not acting to dispel the misconception that the lab decontamination target was a threshold to trigger smoke residue "decontamination"; and the latter for including on their standard-setting panel people with a vested interest in a low threshold.
If you demand that government step out of the way of business and you insist that, if there is a market then the product is good, then this is where we end up.
So much this.
The $11.1m doesn’t come solely from removal of the subsidy. It also comes from health (hospitalisation) and justice system cost differences between home owners and tenants. It underestimates health savings because it doesn’t include GP visits or prescriptions, nor (as far as I recall) ACC claims.
However, the data the economic modelling was based on came from the Housing Foundation Waimahia development, and did not include the effective subsidy provided to the home buyers, in the form of below-market purchase prices due to what I understand was a subsidised land deal, and not-for-profit building model.
The real flaw in the analysis, though, is the underlying assumption that the advantages of home ownership are somehow attached to the tenure type itself, rather than the things that in New Zealand go with home ownership – eg security of tenure, a capital base.
A more useful comparison for BERL’s study would be between home-ownership, and giving people entirely secure tenancies (only endable by the landlord if rent not paid or property damaged – though tenants could still have the right to give notice) along with the heavy budgeting, social and community-strengthening interventions provided at Waimahia.
Yes, we should be aiming to put home-ownership in reach of those who want it. But there are a whole lot of fixes we could do for people renting as well, which we would expect to bring a fair chunk of the economic (health and justice) benefits counted by BERL, and we could make those fixes now, rather than having to wait until enough houses are built for prices to come down.
I’m no expert (calling all experts!) but I think the particular problem here is the size of the baby-boomer cohort, which has basically reshaped society around itself by sheer force of numbers. Which is independent of arguments about the privilege that cohort has enjoyed.
I hear lots of people saying that the problem is the size of the baby-boomer cohort. But the date proposed for the eligibility increase won't affect any baby boomers at all - which does make it hard to separate the argument from that cohort's privilege.
Another thing that I think is not often mentioned in this debate:
Although people recognise that life-expectancy is increasing, it's usually in the context of "superannuation will cost us more money", rather than looking at what we think superannuation is for.
In 1938, when the pension age was 60, those 60-year olds could expect to live about another 17 years after they qualified.
In 2001, when the pension age reached 65, the additional life expectancy of a 65-year old was 17 (male) or 20 (female) years.
Life expectancy has increased further since then. A 65-year old in 2013 could expect to live another 19 (male) to 21 (female) years, and four years later I would expect that to be higher again.
If we think that "about 17 years" seems a fair expectation for the length of retirement, then we should be raising the age now, not dithering about it for another 20 years.
Perhaps if we increased the age now, we could also look at raising benefit rates for those under 65 years. For many 64-year olds, turning 65 means suddenly they can afford to live with something approaching dignity. I really don't see how a 65-year old in good health has greater need for a livable income than a 64-year old on a sickness benefit.
MInd you, I'd personally prefer to see some sort of actuarial approach. If life insurance companies can make an educated guess at how much longer someone is going to live, why can't the state? For me, with my parents still alive and my grandparents mostly having lived a long time, I probably wouldn't get to draw on the state until I was 73, while my husband would probably become eligible at 61 - but how is that unreasonable?
The retraction is nobly done. It is also noble of you to take the blame on yourself ("I am sorry that you have been misled by something I have written"), but I don't personally feel that it was what you wrote that misled me. I think it was reasonable for you to expect that the information the MInistry of Justice supplied was the information you asked for.
If you ask someone for a carton of chicken eggs, telling them you want to see if chicken eggs make as good a sponge as goose eggs, and they hand you an egg carton, it's not unreasonable to assume the carton has chicken eggs in it. When someone else goes back to them, and they say "oh, actually they were duck eggs"... is it really your fault you said a chicken egg sponge was almost as good as a goose egg sponge?
I thought Public Address had a policy of never direct linking to Mr Slater's site? Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part.
The alternative view is that National sees this as a possible outcome, and also sees it as a win, their view being that since private school children all pay separately for the "extras", why should public school children get a free ride for things that aren't core curriculum?
there just isn't enough news generated locally to meet the need
By "news generated", do you mean "newsworthy things happening", or "newsworthy things written up into stories"?
If you mean the latter, then yes, definitely. If you mean the former, I suspect that it's more that our too few paid journalists are expected to produce too many items per day to have time to look for things that are actually newsworthy, or investigate them properly when they find them.
Someone might like to enquire how much Housing NZ money has been wasted on unnecessary refits/cleanup operations. I suspect it is many millions. Obviously the human cost of turfing people on the street is pretty terrible, but there is also the cost of houses not built or repaired because money was wasted on the meth scare.
To cut HNZ a little slack, the debate about the relative dangers of smoking vs baking, and in particular whether the 0.5ug level is appropriate for the former as well as the latter, is a pretty new one. If I were an HNZ tenant, and my child had developed respiratory illness after I’d moved in, as, alas, so many HNZ children do (though less than those who don’t get to move into HNZ houses), and the neighbours said the previous tenants of my home had been drug users, and HNZ said “oh yes, we tested and it was above the Ministry of Health guideline, but that’s just for labs, you’ll be fine…”, well, I don’t think I’d find that very reassuring.
In short: I blame the MoH health guidelines for not being more specific and thus allowing the whole issue to arise, more than I blame HNZ for following the only guidance they had in the matter on whether properties needed cleaning or not.
N.B. I allow that slack in regard to decisions about cleanup, not putting people out of their homes.
Also, people do still bake in NZ (albeit less than in the past), and HNZ has a lot of tenants, so they will require a meth cleanup budget even if they’re only cleaning up after labs.