Paula Bennett must be congratulated for a groundbreaking, earth-shattering development in the treatment of beneficiaries:
More than 700 beneficiaries have sought out and landed jobs despite having no requirement to work since the new Work Bonus became available.
Operational since July 15, the latest welfare reforms include the new Work Bonus, which allows the benefit to be phased out incrementally so people keep a proportion of it as they transition to a wage.
“Even just six weeks into the policy, 706 people had gone off benefit into work and were getting the Work Bonus,” says Mrs Bennett.
It’s almost like before, when people tried to move from a benefit into work but were literally financially punished for it, it was really hard for them to move into work. And now that they can move into work without having their income reduced to $1 an hour, they’re doing it!
MIND. FUCKING. BLOWN.
Maybe next Paula can figure out that people who have babies while they’re on a benefit are just as worthy of social support as anyone else! Or, shockingly, that it might make sense for benefits to actually cover the costs of existing!
… then again, given that her media release was entitled “Beneficiaries seek out emerging jobs” – which misses the point about as far as it’s possible to while still using the words “beneficiaries” and “jobs” – I suspect not.
I don’t care :
Where Len Brown sticks his cock
I do care :
That our media seemingly were on the edge of their seats waiting for a just-credible-enough story to appear on W****O** so they could breathlessly report it.
That it took approximately three nanoseconds for our media to decide that what their coverage really needed was the most infantilising, racist lens possible.
That anyone with a good idea how these stories work knew from the word go that it will be Bevan Chuang who ultimately pays the price in terms of reputation – in five years Len Brown will be “the first Mayor of the Auckland supercity” and she’ll still be his “mistress” – and that Cameron “Wankstain” Slater and Stephen “Woman found dead” Cook absolutely knew this and didn’t care.
That a lot of people being sanctimonious about this story right now are cheating on their spouses, and we may never know – and it wouldn’t be any of our business anyway, but it certainly puts their criticism in a different light.
That plenty of liberal men seemingly were on the edge of their seats waiting for an excuse to use the phrase “honey trap” and feel fully justified in doing so because “well she was“.
That once again if you’re a shitheel rightwinger throwing mud you still get called a “journalist”.
It’s sex-work-panic season again, and this year’s lucky suburb to get the spotlight as its well-to-do residents clutch their pearls is Epsom, where, horror of horrors:
A cluster of premises offering commercial sex are operating within a kilometre of one another in an upmarket Auckland city-fringe suburb, irking residents and businesses in an area where house prices average over $820,000.
A cluster of premises! Three places doing the same kind of thing within a kilometre! Unheard of!
It’s the usual complaints: not near the children! We’re a god-fearing community!
Te Unga Waka Marae even blames the three brothels for their parking issues.
Paula Hakaraia, a marae office volunteer worker, said she had noticed an increase in traffic and parking problems between 11am and 3pm.
“These are definitely not cars belonging to mothers picking kids up from school.”
Yes. Hordes of out-of-zone sex-work clients are clearly the answer. It cannot have anything to do with the marae sitting on the intersection of Clyde Road and Manukau Road, i.e. a few minutes’ walk from Broadway, Newmarket, a hub of shopping and commerce, business meetings, and good buses for the university students who could only afford rent in the “city-fringe suburbs” if they had a flat kidney-selling roster.
The possibility that Epsom is a good location for brothels because the wealthy dudes of Epsom occasionally like to pay for sex is completely ignored, because they are good people. You can tell by the way they can afford $820,000 homes.
Let’s face it, there are two “problems” here: one is that the Concerned Residents of Epsom are, just like Cameron Brewer and Asenati Lole-Taylor and John McCracken, in complete denial about the absolute normalcy of sex work. The second is that it must seriously offend their sensibilities – and the Herald’s – that lowly brothel-keepers are able to afford Epsom properties.
I say unto the people of Epsom as I have said before to the people of Sandringham and Papatoetoe: maybe if y’all stopped creating DEMAND there wouldn’t be any fucking SUPPLY.
(Also, as discussed on Twitter, how common can it really be for people to door-knock the wrong place and out themselves as sex-word clients? Who knocks on a door and says “Is this where I get rimmed for a mutually agreed sum?”)
(Also also, there are some “victims” in this story: the massage spas which are actually massage spas. But guess what: brothels labelling themselves as “massage clinics” has nothing to do with liberalism and everything to do with the same anti-sex-work attitudes on display in this story.)
Alasdair Thompson is back, like a nasty, self-centred rich white zombie, seeking brains.
And boy oh boy is he unable to let things go.
In 2011 he was the subject of an international media furore for saying that some women’s productivity and income is affected by difficult menstruation; a truth he was internationally pilloried for speaking about.
It was a Life Changing experience for him, about which he’s written a book due for publication in October 2013.
And as Toby Manhire in the Listener notes
In four of the five blog posts that he’s published in the site’s first four days, Thompson makes reference to the circumstances of his departure from his post at the EMA – in two of them, he talks explicitly about Mihingarangi Forbes and Campbell Live.
Let’s revisit that beautiful, beautiful furore, shall we? Here’s Mihingarangi Forbes’ fucking amazing interview with Alasdair. Seriously, a high point of modern NZ television journalism. I will never not piss myself laughing when he complains about being under the weather due to a very early monthly meeting.
Here’s Rachel Morton’s unedited interview with Alasdair (sadly marred by microphone gremlins).
Here’s my posts on the subject.
For ongoing lulz, he’s on Twitter too!
H/T: Toby Manhire
Following a piece in the Herald on “high-wealth individuals” who pay fuck-all tax, John Minto has declared at The Daily Blog that he’s had a gutsful of low-life bludgers. And I think he makes a bloody good point.
Wage and salary earners pay tax on every dollar we earn and every dollar we spend but these layabouts hide their money in trusts, overseas bank accounts and tax havens of all kinds and leave the rest of us to keep the country running. Most of them have never done an honest day’s work in their lives. Miserable pricks.
But let’s just look back at that Herald article, shall we? At the multiple quotes given to act like people worth over $50 million paying less tax than a construction site foreman in Auckland is somehow not a problem:
“They do it because if there’s a way you can pay less tax, why wouldn’t you? I think they are a small minority though. The average person has got relatively little opportunity to avoid tax other than by reducing their liability, for example buying duty free.”
Oh, it’s okay because they’re a small minority! A small minority whose combined wealth is worth at least eight billion dollars. And note the assumption – made by a fucking academic at the University of Auckland – that everyone would pay less tax if they could, and thus it can’t be a bad thing.
Or how about Andrew Ryan – yes, it’s almost too perfect, isn’t it? – who thinks that actually rich people – people who have the resources to arrange their wealth into nearly two hundred separate legal entities – are totally paying their fair share of tax:
“These high-net-wealth individuals will most probably be paying more GST than most individuals. In order to get a true reflection of the tax paid by the wealthiest individuals, it is necessary to include the tax paid by their companies and trusts.
“Not paying personal tax on income at the top tax rate does not mean that an individual is not paying a fair share of tax, once tax paid by their associates is factored in.”
Gee. Wouldn’t it be nice if you or I could be arm-twisted into “paying more GST” because we’ve hidden our incomes and have lots of lolly to spend on super-yachts and designer clothing? What a terrible burden rich people bear.
It’s simple logic: if there were no financial benefit to fiddling with their income, rich people would’t have lawyers from Minter Ellison Rudd Watts on standby to fiddle with their income for them. Of course they’re not “paying their fair share”.
Let’s be fucking blunt here, shall we? We have an income tax to tax income. If you’re deliberately obfuscating your income in complex financial and legal arrangements so you pay less of that tax than a person on standard PAYE? You’re fucking scum. You’re a cheating, lying, dishonest, unethical shitheel. Sure, the law may draw fancy lines between “avoidance” and “evasion” and our political masters may continue to prop up a really complex tax system to help you on your way, but at the end of the day, you are profiting off New Zealand and refusing to pay your fair share.
(32 of you fucks aren’t even filing tax returns!)
You’re a dick. And please, please fuck off to somewhere where it’s “easier to do business”. You ain’t going to be missed.
And this brings me back to That Roofpainting Anecdote. Because sure, if you, as a party/leader of the left, want to try to adopt the inherently-individualistic Personal Responsibility message, go right ahead. But can’t you at least be consistent? Yeah, side with Random Guy Who Totally Exists about his evil bludging beneficiary neighbour. But then maybe you could also say something like,
Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.
He said: “see that guy over there, he’s a multi-millionaire, yet he pays less tax than I do. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”
From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t give back to the society which has provided them and their business huge amounts of support like tax breaks, investment incentives, infrastructure, and basic law and order and social welfare which may not go directly in their pockets, but is integral to being able to operate a business secure in the knowledge mobs of disaffected starving peasants aren’t burning your Auckland head office down.
In a recent speech to Grey Power, Winston was back to his old tricks, threatening Grey Power that The Yellow Peril is coming for their superannuation cheques (I have merged a lot of the paragraphs together because it was waaaaaaay long):
You will hear the media scream about xenophobia because we mention China but China’s domestic policies have a huge effect on this country. Here is why.
When an immigrant from India or the UK comes to New Zealand, any application they might make for family reunification is treated identically.
But with China, for the most obvious reason, it is different. Say we get one immigrant from China. Say he comes with his wife and child. China has had a one child policy for decades. What does this mean?
It’s clear as daylight, isn’t it. If you’ve only got one child, and that child becomes an immigrant to New Zealand, he can bring his parents and his wife can bring her parents. So we get the wife, child and four parents all from one immigrant under the ‘centre of gravity’ policy.
People are telling me that they think it’s wrong, that it’s not fair, and it’s unfair to the New Zealand taxpayer and the remaining immigrant community. Even Chinese journalists and academics have referred to this as being wrong.
Fifty per cent of healthcare spending and resources in New Zealand are on people aged over 65 years. The waiting lists for elective surgery are getting longer and longer. So any artificial spike in the numbers affects everyone. The biggest hits are on New Zealand Superannuation.
On our figures, there are tens of thousands of immigrants who have acquired Superannuation this way. Instead of addressing these anomalies, there’s talk of raising the age and means testing.
The problem is who we are giving Superannuation to. A migrant only has to be resident for 10 years, and from age 65, they are entitled to full New Zealand Super without any prior requirement to work.
Of course, the media may also “scream xenophobia” because China’s one-child policy neither technically limits every family to a single child, nor practically, as China’s continued population growth might suggest.
The media may also “scream xenophobia” because it is kind of xenophobic to single out elderly Chinese migrants for exclusion from superannuation.
But as far as I can tell, the media hasn’t given a fuck about Winston yet again trying to stir up populist racism. So I just thought I’d put it out there in case his utterly obnoxious performance during the marriage equality debate wasn’t enough of a reminder that he’s a disingenuous shitheel who will say and do whatever it takes to get 5% of the population to vote him and a few of his peons back into Parliament.
What a pity he won’t be one of the panellists on The Vote’s upcoming debate on “Is New Zealand a racist country?” though. It would be the only thing which could make that utter farce any more of a must-not-watch.
So Earth Hour has been and gone and dammit, I was so hopeful that my carefully-managed Twitter and Facebook feeds would be free of fucking rightwhingers/lolbertarians having a cry about it. I was disappointed.
But at least this allowed me to formulate in my head the perfect analogy for this type of Earth Hour hater.
Before I get into it, though, the disclaimer: I don’t think Earth Hour is perfect, even in its wider goal of raising awareness and motivating larger longer-term changes. I totally expect that there are a lot of very privileged people out there who do turn off the lights and light romantic candles and pat themselves on the back and then go straight back to commuting to work every day in separate SUVs.
I also think it’s pretty wanky for western countries who have already done way more than their fair share of resource-plundering and fuel-burning to get to their current “modern” states to suddenly turn around and say “oh, fuck you, all you little countries who we’ve oppressed and kept down, you don’t get to enjoy “modern” comforts because now we’ve had our fun we’ve realised it’s bad for the environment.”
So Earth Hour: not perfect. Critiques of Earth Hour and general global inequities and western slacktivism: totally interesting.
Then there’s the guys you see (and sorry dudes, but for some reason it is always dudes) who are like toddlers. And these toddlers have millions of toys, many probably stolen from kindy, and Mummy or Daddy have said “honey, you have millions of toys, do you really need all of them? Couldn’t we share your toys with some other children?”
And the toddler is sitting in the middle of his room, surrounded by toys, toys piled higher than his head, and even though he literally cannot play with more than one or two at a time, and he’ll be a swaggering cynical five-year-old who has no time for babyish Tonka trucks long before he can wear them all out.
And he’s (very advance for his age) screaming “NO, MUMMY. ALL THE TOYS ARE MINE AND I’M GOING TO PLAY WITH ALL OF THEM RIGHT NOW.”
And – to step out of the analogy – it would be really pathetic-funny if it weren’t for the fact that, unlike that toddler, these people are doing real damage to collective efforts to help our planet, and invariably are in positions where they won’t feel the sharp edges of climate change – at least, not until it’s so bad that most of us are dead or living Survivor-style and thus unable to scream “WE FUCKING TOLD YOU SO” at them on Twitter.
So I wrote a post about 3News’ racist coverage of the whole should-non-New-Zealanders-be-allowed-to-buy-land issue. This was retweeted by @Ellipsister. Cool! I like being retweeted.
Enter Mark Hubbard, who replies:
Whoa! Did you see that, dear readers? If I didn’t know better, I’d think Mark hadn’t even bothered to read my post! The clue is where he says “Not racist, but xenophobic”, which is kind of exactly what I had said and then links to his thoughts on the issue, which have nothing to do with how issues of nationalism and sovereignty are framed in racist terms, nothing to do with anti-Asian prejudice, really just nothing to do with anything I was talking about.
So I asked Mark,
@MarkHubbard33 So … Not one to bother reading the post before linkspamming?
And oh lord, dear readers. I’d gone and done it, hadn’t I? I’d questioned the big powerful libertarian dude about his bizarre need to hawk his unrelated point of view at people who had shown not a single jot of interest in the topic he was talking about. I’d challenged the idea that he had a right to butt in and completely ignore the fact that I’d already expressed some silly little opinions on Topic A, because dammit, I needed to understand his perspective on Topic B!!!
Hell, I’d basically invited his linkspam because that’s totally how the internet works.
Also, it is 100% my fault that he’s earned a lifetime ban from The Standard, because, you know, we’re a leftwing hivemind and dammit we need to understand his perspective and it’s illiberal (apparently Mark’s favourite word) to ban him.
(For fun, I had a look at his comment history at TS, apparently under the handle “Tribeless“: who knew sprout wouldn’t take kindly to being compared to a mass murderer after giving repeated warnings about derailing posts? What an injustice! Five hours after the fact, Mark came up with a hilarious Stalin reference which he also felt the need to share.)
Also, I’m foul-mouthed! Fuck! Why the fuck did none of you shitwanks bloody well tell me?
Here’s the deep sexy analysis bit: Mark is a dude. A white dude. With white dudely privilege. So for his entire life, he’s been absorbing societal narratives which are pretty clear on the fact that his opinion should always count, his voice should always be heard, and when women have the audacity to talk, and retweet each other, he has every right to insert his 2 cents on a completely different topic.
And by doing so, he is of course being completely civil - because any behaviour on his part must be acceptable if it doesn’t actively involve physically attacking people with swords while screaming “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck”.
White male privilege: I think Mark Hubbard haz it.
So, Ngati Tuwharetoa want to charge Ironman NZ for the privilege of holding an event on Tuwharetoa land.
Cue the usual rightwingers-who-would-normally-defend-property-rights-to-the-death suddenly whinging that some natural landscapes and features should belong to ~the community~ (not-subtext: “and not those greedy brown people”).
Property rights are always sanctified when possessed and exercised by the right sort of people – read non-Maori. Where Maori are attempting to protect and exercise their property rights the goal posts are shifted. Property rights are great, but you Maori must make exceptions for sporting events, fishing competitions and anything else we decide. Apparently, property rights enjoy a shifting definition.
The answer – and we can all see this coming – is racism.
But another aspect which I want to highlight is the sports-as-religion aspect.
All the criticisms of this which I’ve seen have said “oh well if it were a commercial operation, of course we wouldn’t have a problem with the landowners charging a fee, but this is different.”
Newsflash: It’s not.
Ironman New Zealand is as much a commercial venture as a jet-ski hire business would be. The entry fee – if you get an early-bird registration – is $785 per entrant. Apparently an extra $40 a head makes this totally untenable, if you go by this Dominion Post story which just happens to not mention the former figure.
But somehow, in the Kiwi psyche, it’s different because we like to pretend that sport is all about the love of the game and the pinnacle of human physiology and, well, sportsmanship. We really, really love to close our eyes to the notion that professional sports are professional. That sport is a career choice (note: generally if you are a dude, less so if you’re a team of multiple-world-champion women). That sporting bodies are, frankly, in it for the money.
We see this every single time the NZRFU tries to whip up nationalistic fervor for the All Blacks (usually with a degree of success, because a lot of people still buy this bullshit). Suddenly it’s all about Our Boys In Black.
It’s the reason our news media spins every story of Dan-Carter-signs-with-provincial-French-team as a Great Betrayal Of The Nation, as though Dan Carter is bussing tables in Ponsonby in the off-season and plays purely for The Love of The Game. (I have no doubt Dan Carter loves rugby, I just think he may also love a big juicy paycheck, like most of us do.)
The racism against Maaori in this story works especially well because it plays on this meme. Because it means that Ngati Tuwharetoa aren’t just greedy bastards, they’re greedy bastards who aren’t going along with patriotic sports culture. It emphasises the idea that Maaori aren’t “Kiwis”, aren’t like us, aren’t part of our society, aren’t playing their part.
All I can suggest is that if Ironman have an issue with paying Maaori landowners for use of their land, they could try hosting the event on Gibbs Farm for free. Because apparently the right would be totally okay with that.
Another week, another homophobic crywank by Bob McCoskrie – wait, no, that’s Garth McVicar! Saying marriage equality will lead to a gay crime wave! This isn’t predictable and boring, this is fantastic!
Anyway, to continue: … another pointless, copy-pasted “but what about POLYGAMY?????” derail on probably every blog post covering the topic.
Coley Tangerina did a really good post on why marriage equality activists should stop (a) taking anything the bigot brigade takes seriously (b) instantly publishing denials of any intention to discuss polygamy ever. I especially love this bit:
When activists fervently deny any support for poly marriage, they’re bringing it onto the agenda, when previously the only person doing that was a dude who ran a nationwide campaign in support of assaulting children.
I just want to add one thing, per my comment to whinging unoriginal manchild par excellence, kiwi_prometheus:
Sure, there’s a really interesting conversation to be had about family structure and alternative relationship styles, but the simple fact is this: you don’t give a fuck about alternative relationship structures. You’re exploiting them to derail the current moves towards marriage equality.
You want to derail this entire societal debate away from the simple fact that there are loving, committed same-sex couples in this world who deserve the same legal recognition as two hetero flatmates getting hitched for the student allowance benefits.
You’re only bringing up polygamy because your team’s previous arguments, i.e. “why can’t I marry my dog”, have been definitely laughed off stage.
That’s why I’m not answering your piece of shit “question”, k_p. Because I’m not playing your sad little homophobic game.
This “but what about THREE people getting married? Huh? HUH?” derail is simply exploitative. It’s exactly the same technique used by exactly the same crowd to derail conversations about violence against women – “but what about men who are victims of sexual violence? Why don’t you care about them?”
It’s really not funny how, the minute White Ribbon Week or No Diet Day or Womensfest ends, those guys apparently forget all about how much men suffer from sexual violence or body image issues or whatever it was they were trying to get you to shut up about.
Seriously, folks. We’re not dealing with a group of people who just sincerely believe that gay people cause hurricanes, and can be convinced otherwise with enough gentle discussion.
We’re not in a civilised little debate against opponents who just don’t understand how human rights work.
We are dealing with scary, controlling, unethical douchebags who will say literally anything if they think it has a chance of scaring the middle classes, the “ordinary Kiwis”, the people who aren’t necessarily anti- or pro-gay-marriage – just people without the time, energy, interest or inclination to be particularly political, and who might just believe Pillar of the Community Bobgarth McVicskrie if he swears very solemnly that un-cited research totally shows a correlation between gay people and weather patterns.
Don’t play their games. And especially don’t crap on other people’s relationships to do it.