In This Edition: Pepper Pots – Angry of Mayfair
With the forthcoming election there is really little, except for ideological thinking, to differentiate between any of the major parties.
All tinker with the key issues such as health, education, welfare, Treaty obligations and, to a lesser extent, immigration.
Whatever their focus, the end result is determined by the availability of taxpayer funding.
It is here that one wonders how long the 1.8 million taxpayers can continue to fund the burgeoning welfare demands produced by the Labour government as it bulldozes the country down the path of redistribution of wealth, closing the gaps or reducing inequality (call it what you will).
Typical of the plundering of the nations wealth to fund this ideological nonsense is reducing inequality.
One of the ways through which this is currently being "achieved" is through the activities of Housing New Zealand Corporation (HCNZ) in the form of its little advertised social engineering strategy of dispersal of tenants or "pepper potting".
Sprinkling state housing throughout the general residential market place goes a long way to achieving the stated objective of "letting state house tenants experience the kind of lifestyle their low incomes won't buy". But, it does absolutely nothing toward the other stated objective of "assisting those same tenants in closing the gaps between the haves and the have-nots". It is simply proliferating resentment across both sectors.
The only people making any gains out of this experiment are the developers of these sites, and that is at the expense of the taxpayer.
A typical example of this is in an area where the market rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $270 a week, but HCNZ tenants only pay $60-$80 per week with the government making up the difference. If the tenant is a beneficiary the government pays the lot.
The developer of the property leases it to the government at the market rate which is guaranteed for the period of the lease. This is usually for 10 years and they do not have to pay for the maintenance, this is also courtesy of the taxpayer.
How this sort of activity can be considered fiscally responsible or socially advantageous defies all logic.
Angry Of Mayfair
At the risk of sounding like another armchair military nut I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Mirek Marcanik's comments on the LAV III purchase. (See… http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0206/S00105.htm) The LAV III (AKA Mowag Pihrana III) does not achieve strategic mobility in a C-130. Moreover I do not understand why we are paying $750m for 105 of these vehicles when Ireland is paying 40m pounds for 40 of them.
Tanks normally come with US$3m price tags so I'm not sure why we are spending that much on a light armoured APC. The LAV III purchase was the direct result of petty squabbling between the three services which had, until that time, seen the Army as the Cinderella service. We never deploy a whole brigade at a time anywhere and are most unlikely to. To buy 105 of them is outrageous extravagence.
In my own view I believe we need to completely rethink our military structures. To date all of these structures have been based on our experience of WW2 where NZ services were attached to other commands. This is typical of the military who are always trying to fight the previous war. Instead what we really need to focus on is a dual purpose civilian-military all-arms force that is as much equipped for civil defence and aid as it is for low intensity warfare and peacekeeping. For such a force we do not need high-spec'ed military equipment like frigates, LAV IIIs or a combat airforce.
What we do need are all-services units which are designed and equipped from the ground-up to provide: 1) fast strategic transport by air and sea to 6,000nm 2) a widespread maritime/fisheries patrol for our EEZ 3) well equipped fast civil defence/ disaster response 4) low intensity warfare/peacekeeping forces 5) a small but hard-hitting parachute deployable military force. I would also suggest that in equipping such units that more attention be paid to building New Zealand's own industrial capability up to military standards particularly in hovercraft (Pacific Hovercraft), light aircraft (Pacific Aerospace), 4-wheel drive ATVs (Wormald Technology), inshore patrol vessels (yacht manufacturers), radios (Taits), and laser-training and designation (Oscmar). The tendency to idolise gold-plated American equipment is not shared by the Americans who use it and also needs serious reconsideration. While the Americans lead the world in helicopters in other equipment Russian, South African and Brazilian manufacturers provide very high quality and are much cheaper. The LAV III purchase proves that taxpayers are being held to ransom by military specifiers whose allegience is more to their service than to their country. They refuse to accept that geology and biocontaminents pose a much greater threat to this nation than any armed force and waste our money on American style military toys that have extremely limited civil defence application.