Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

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Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:32 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2019/1210.shtml

Surely we can do better than 14th, especially when even Hong Kong made 5th on the list for "quality of life" rankings.

Are decades of short-sighted policies by recent governments disadvantaging us in world rankings?

Was it the foresight and investments made by the governments of early last century that helped cement NZ's ranking at or near the top of that list back in the 1950s and 1960s?

How can we get back to the top?
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby Muz » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:59 am

Personally, my standard of living has slipped steadily for the past 20 years. Once I could, at the drop of a hat, head overseas for a month or two but now ....my last passport was used once and is now expired. We have a very small mortgage, no credit card, no other debt and between the two of us we work around 70 hrs a week and yet we are still existing week to week.

The government is in knee jerk mode, no clear plan at all. We need to clean up our streams but we cannot upset our farmers so we'll plant lots of pines to offset our carbon use. Trouble is, when the pines come down the erosion is extreme and the streams and bays are blocked with sediment and slash. Farmers are making little progress in keeping stock out of streams in our area, in fact I've seen one farmer doing it as it should be but up and downstream of him the stock wander about freely. It's all smoke and mirrors.
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby hagfish » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:08 am

New Zealand's infrastructure also avoided being bombed into oblivion. I'm of the opinion that a strong econonomy stems from a healthy society; and a healthy society relies on an healthy physical environment. Claiming it's the other way around seems absurd. It would be like a builder saying they can't afford to look after their lower back. They won't be getting much work done if they're flat on their back in bed, and by then it's too late. Gold rushes leave the land scarred and useless. We sold off our waterways for blankets and beads, for a double-cab ute and a two-week Caribbean cruise. The local stream might be a turgid cesspit, but the shopping trip to Melbourne was fab. The waterways were a resource to be exploited, just like any other. It's a bit rich to turn around and say, 'actually we'd quite like our rivers back, pls' - the deal is done.

A nice big financial crash - one that properly tanks the world economy, but stops short of social breakdown - might do us all a world of good. Suddenly there are lots of people freed up from their pointless, destructive 'work' who can do actual useful stuff. Do we really need the piles of glitter-covered polystyrene currently piled up at The Warehouse? Or maybe I'm just bitter because I never got my double-cab ute.
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:33 am

The Victorians knew how to build infrastructure: look at Vogel and the rail network he pushed for in the 1870s. That was to enable movement of goods when there was no other real infrastructure. Look at the 50s-70s (as above) for power infrastructure build. All long term planning.

The biggest change was unfortunately when 'User-pays' came in along with the idea of "Let the market decide" as bening the most efficient use of resources. What a load of crap! All that did was enable two things: an elite group to get very rich indeed, and for many businesses to rake in the profits without having to pay the true costs of production (yes, looking at dairy farmers here, especially all those who jumped on the bandwagon and converted sheep or ag. land with $ signs in their eyes). Now that the environmental costs have been identified (be it effulent, methane, water) they cry proverty and deserve to be excluded from regulation. Well, tough: if your business can't affort those true costs then it's not a viable business.

Sadly the current economic models are pushing up the cost of living for all but a small select few (here & overseas) who are raking it in. It would need 3-4 terms of a brave Labour/Greens govt to focus on social and environment policies and I cannot see the general population ever voting for such a continuous change even though that is what's best for future generations. We're too greedy in the short term.
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby Necrotic Kingdom » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:35 am

We did well when we were living off the sheep's back, but we haven't been the same since the wool crash. When the world goes post cow soon we will get hammered again. Too many eggs in too few baskets.
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby Malcolm » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:36 am

The trouble is any sort of crash will lead to a social breakdown. Also it is usually the people with the least who end up shouldering most of the burden. Sure the billionaires might see something like 30% of their wealth dissappear but they won't ever need to worry about where their next meal comes from or have to hold off on making a purchase. The people at the bottom will lose their jobs and then see benefits be cut in the name of balancing the government books. They will also see the cost of basic foods increase. It is shown that when a certain percentage of the population can't afford food is when societies collapse.
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby phill » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:25 am

so many points this creates

first the obvious .. a list of "quality of life" rankings .. made no doubt by accountants .. hong kong as #5 could only come from someone who has never lived there

we have not had an insightful political party in decades . we are just flooded with polies with no skill's other than pointing the finger at someone or anything but themselves

when you have successfully flogged off all the national assets to your mates there is not much left you can do to improve them
what used to be an investment in or for the future becomes an investment they want as large a dividend as they can get by choking the crap out of it while leaving it just alive
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiny things i have got
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Way Back When

Postby Perry » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:24 pm

I wonder if those who proffered comments on yesteryear (fities, etc.), would know what was the total national cost of the dole, DPB, the accommodation supplement and all the other mega-millions presently spent on such 'social' squandering of productive taxpayers' money?
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Re: Way Back When

Postby aardvark_admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:05 pm

Perry wrote:I wonder if those who proffered comments on yesteryear (fities, etc.), would know what was the total national cost of the dole, DPB, the accommodation supplement and all the other mega-millions presently spent on such 'social' squandering of productive taxpayers' money?

Well I gather that taxes were very high (and progressive) but at least that money was *invested* in things that paid social and financial dividends.

Today, we spend billions on supplementing the rents of people on welfare and that money simply falls into landlord's pockets. Back in the 1950s, that money was used to create the "state advances" loan system so that instead of people renting for their entire lives, they got a foot on the property ladder. The money created *new* houses rather than just fatter wallets for the owners of existing houses that were being rented.

Likewise, instead of just handing out money to the unemployed, the governments of the day created jobs through civil works, forestry plantations etc. This meant that there was a return on that "investment" in those who would otherwise not have jobs.

It seems that things are a great deal different today. Were they better back then? I don't know -- I'm always very cognisant of the fact that rearward facing glasses inevitably have a rose-coloured tint to them :-)
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Re: Is 14th the best we can do? (10 Dec, 2019)

Postby paulw » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:48 pm

GSVNoFixedAbode wrote:The Victorians knew how to build infrastructure: look at Vogel and the rail network he pushed for in the 1870s. That was to enable movement of goods when there was no other real infrastructure. .


Yep look at it. Designed like most NZ infrastructure to last say 20 years. He built a quick narrow gauge rail system that we are still suffering from. No off the shelf locos or rolling stock , small loading gauge.
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