Inadvertant Policy Changes.

This is what happens when I read the newspaper. Some background, but primarily from today’s news, some examples of how policies go sideways, governmental or international. Firstly, the Labour party has decided to revert to form and tax their remaining voting class, the professional salary earners.

Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson has unveiled the party’s long-awaited tax policy, announcing a return of the 39 per cent tax bracket.

But Robertson sweetened what would otherwise be a bitter pill by saying the top rate would only apply to income earned above $180,000 – meaning that only 2 per cent of taxpayers would actually pay it. Everyone else’s tax rates remain the same.

He justified the additional bracket by saying the country needed to keep debt under control, while continuing to spend on health and education. He said the new rate would generate roughly $550 million a year in revenue.

“This policy is about maintaining investment in important services that are so crucial for New Zealanders like health and education, while keeping tax rates exactly the same as they are now for 98 per cent of people,” Robertson said.

What Robertson does not understand is that — although Australia has higher marginal tax rates — the salaries in Australia are higher and the dollar goes further. The second the ‘Rona is over, he’ll be facing an exodus of middle and late career professionals. And in the meantime, this will be a crunch on what matters — one’s after tax income. It is less money circulating. If he is lucky, he will be able to inflate his way out of it, but much more likely is a deflationary depression because there will be less people working, less paying taxes, and those businesses and firms left will have to decrease, not increase prices.

The social welfare party is coming to an end: you cannot have a social welfare system and a multiculturalism.

Rental is a failing Business

The government, now seeking election, has changed the rules for rental properties. Back in November 2019 they promoted this as such.

This was driven by the Greens, who want healthy homes and safe tenancies. Who see landlords as bastards. Who don’t see that the landlord has to pay the mortgage on the property.

The new rules would include limiting rent rises to once every 12 months and banning landlords from soliciting rental bidding.

Landlords are currently entitled to evict tenants for no reason, provided they give 90 days’ notice.

Under the proposed changes they would have to explain why – and prove it to the Tenancy Tribunal by giving three examples to justify eviction.

The Associate Housing Minister, Kris Faafoi, said the changes would benefit both landlords and tenants.

“I’m confident we’re delivering the right balance to make real and significant change while acknowledging the need to protect landlords interests too,” he said.

Radio NZ

The law is coming in and people are adapting. Primarily by getting out of the rental business, or requiring pristine references, and now (before the law comes into force) dumping marginal tenants.

An Otago landlords group is telling its members to move on difficult tenants now, before tenancy law changes take effect in February.
Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act were passed into law last month.

From February 11, landlords will not be able to end periodic tenancies without cause, and fixed tenancies will change to periodic at the end of the period unless agreed otherwise.

Reasons a landlord will be able to end a periodic tenancy will be made clear closer to February and are likely to include provisions around “antisocial behaviour”.

“I’ve told my landlords … from when the changes come into effect you can no longer give tenants notice,” Otago Property Investors Association president Kathryn Seque said yesterday.

“If you are wanting to give any of your tenants notice for any particular reason you need to do it now.”

She was “educating” association landlords about the changes.

Otago Daily Times

Masks are litter

Every time I get onto a bus or shuttle — which is too often — I am told that I should wear a mask or I will not be allowed onto this form of tranportation. I throw out the masks afterwards. So do many people, causing a litter problem.

Auckland Council contractors are picking hundreds of used facemasks off the ground every day, discarded by locals who can’t be bothered putting them in a bin.

“Our contractors are picking up a couple of hundred masks a day out there in the community, in the streets and in our reserves and parks,” Councillor Richard Hills, chair of the council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee, told The AM Show on Wednesday.

“It’s just not that sanitary obviously, or nice for them to be doing that. We’re just asking people to respect our environment.”

Contractors have reported a “noticeable increase” in recent weeks, finding them in parks, reserves, beaches and on the streets.

Previously a rare sight, many Kiwis have taken up wearing facemasks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, after it reemerged in the community about a month ago.

Early in the pandemic it wasn’t clear if the virus which causes the disease was airborne or not, or if people who weren’t coughing and sneezing were infectious, so masks weren’t considered a necessity. It’s since become clear the virus can spread in the air, and people who don’t even know they’re infected can spread it just through talking and breathing.

Masks have since been made mandatory on public transport, and highly recommended in public places, particularly indoors.

As they catch particles which could be carrying the disease, having them lying about in the streets is not ideal. Hills said in this instance, people should resist the temptation to be a tidy Kiwi.

Now of course, I could get something like this… but OPSEC.

Tik Tok is a suicide vector?

I don’t have social media, though when Kea shows me the current worship of St Jacinda of the Faceborg I have this temptation to join so I can tell them where to go. Not wise. OPSEC is OPSEC. But Social media is not merely normalizing p0rn. It is doing the same for suicide.

St Clair School is for primary age school children. They definately should not have social media accounts. St Hilda is a private girls’ high school: most of those girls are clever enough to engineer their own accounts.

Dunedin schools and the Mental Health Foundation are sending out warnings after a video surfaced on social media platform TikTok showing a violent suicide.

St Clair School was one of several schools to email parents and warn them of the graphic content on social media yesterday.

Principal Jen Rodgers said she was “mortified” to hear about the video clip and had quickly sent a note out to parents advising them to keep pupils off social media.

“It’s horrifying. I thought it was important families were aware, so they could be particularly vigilant with their children’s social media.”

She was recommending parents heavily supervised their children’s social media interactions or did not allow them on social media for the time being.

“If kids see this they’ll never unsee it … We have to give them [social media platforms] a chance to get it down, get it away, get it hidden.”

It served as a reminder of why young children should not have social media accounts, she said.

“This is the extreme end of it but kids can be exposed to anything on social media.”

St Hilda’s Collegiate School also sent a note warning parents and caregivers.

“Check with your children to determine if they have viewed this clip, they are likely to be extremely distressed.

“We are also receiving reports that trolls are using videos of puppies and kittens to lure kids into seeing the video. It is also being inserted into videos of kittens on TikTok.”

A TikTok spokesman said the clips were livestreamed on Facebook and circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.

“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide,” he said.

“We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips.”

The Mental Health Foundation issued a public advisory yesterday saying viewers of the video may be extremely distressed.

Chief executive Shaun Robinson said not to share the video under any circumstance.

He was concerned young people were becoming increasingly aware of the video; many well-meaning attempts to caution followers not to share the video inadvertently raised awareness of the footage’s existence, and some comment sections shared links to websites where the video could still be found.

“It puts vulnerable people at an extremely high risk of real harm. There is no reason whatsoever to share it.”

Young people used social media differently from adults and would almost inevitably encounter material related to mental health, self-harm and suicide, he said.

“We need to ensure young people feel they can safely talk to the adults in their lives about distressing things they have seen or heard without fear of punishment or losing access to social media.”

Chief censor David Shanks said parents needed to be aware of the video so they could support their children to be safe and avoid watching it.

“Social media platforms are working to delete this harmful and upsetting video, but some individuals are intentionally uploading it and spreading it,” he said.

“Popular videos can appear on people’s homepages without being searched for and with no warning.

“We all have a role to play to not amplify and spread this harmful video further. Even well-meaning posts expressing sadness give it more traction. Some people are posting the video in the comments of these posts.”

Otago Daily Times

Please note that NZ does have a censor, who can ban things. He did this with Brendon Tarrant’s manifesto. But he can’t ban things that come on from overseas.