In This Edition: Take Our Eyes, Curse Our Blindness - Tramp The Farms, But Not Tongariro - Bill English is right about Maori Seats - Dear Helen. Are We A Secular Nation Or Aren't We?- The Great Government Roading Rort - Dr Paul Hutchinsons Press Release.
Scoop welcomes reader feedback and posts it irregularly. Please send news and views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Our Eyes, Curse Our Blindness
The proposal by free marketeer Don Brash, of scrapping the dole, brings to mind the Greek quote, "first you take our eyes then you curse us for our blindness".
Brash cites a shortage of orchard workers as reason to scrap the dole, however if his market theories prevailed, the demand for orchard workers should result in higher wages.
Rather than suggest orchardists pay higher wages, Dr Brash advocates the unemployed be put to subsidised work.
I daresay Brash would expect these workers to do as instructed by their employer to keep their jobs. IE If they were instructed to trim the hedge up to the cabbage tree, one would expect them not to cut off the cabbage tree and move it back down the hedge.
Unlike Dr Brash when his contract at the Reserve Bank was based upon his maintaining 0-2% inflation.
I would like him to explain how in good conscience he kept taking the money for his job when in 1999 he effectively cut off the cabbage tree and moved it down the hedge, by removing mortgage interest costs, land costs and second hand housing from the Consumer Price Index - the main measure of inflation.
Stephen Tindall - the woman
Founder of MADENZ
Tramp The Farms, But Not Tongariro
As a Kiwi overseas I am having some difficulty explaining, to those not blessed with more than a romantic 'Lord of the Rings' picture of New Zealand, how we reconcile the Government's latest move to increase public access to rural parts of the country with the Department of Conservation's draft plan to ban filming of the Tongariro National Park peaks.
Regretfully I can only suggest to questioners that the vast majority of New Zealanders live in urban situations and often don't understand why their dogs shouldn't be allowed to roam free, often dangerously so to livestock on neighbouring rural paddocks.
While on the other hand, over-cautious bureaucrats will push the boundaries of so called 'cultural property rights' to extraordinarily sensitive lengths.
It still leaves outsiders with the question: just what property rights are now, or will be in future, recognised in New Zealand law?
One thing most people do recognise overseas of course is the propensity for so called public servants, often with the connivance of political masters, to whittle away at individual rights.
It is tempting to ask what kind of special licensing system, at what cost and with how many hui, a future film maker would have to deal, in order to use New Zealand's three major physically active on-shore volcanoes as a backdrop.
Also, who would the no doubt substantial fees be paid to (in light of the legal fiasco of sharing out the assets of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission to iwi or the vast majority of urban dwelling Maori).
Of course I cannot suggest to foreign tourists that the reason why they may not be allowed to take pictures when on an expensive trek into a New Zealand National Park, may be somewhat akin to isolated tribes-people not wanting their picture taken because it somehow 'stole' part of their inner being!
Bill English is right about Maori Seats
When my great, great, great grandfather Te Wiremu, Henry Williams arrived in New Zealand in 1823, he set about building strong, lasting relationships with Maori. By 1840, such was their trust and confidence in Williams and others that Maori consented to become one people with Pakeha in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The treaty, translated by Williams, was a simple one, conferring protection and property rights on Maori in exchange for sovereignty.
The later ill-treatment of Maori by evil and greedy men was an affront not just to Maori but to my family and the Baby-boom generation will be remembered in history for settling these grievances while they were in power.
What I hope my generation, Generation-X, will be remembered for after we come to power is becoming one nation, one people and one culture, drawing on our rich diversity, bringing about, once more, strong and lasting relationships of trust and confidence between Maori and Pakeha.
However politically incorrect it may seem to Helen Clark, I think Bill English is right to question the future of separate Maori seats at this time when we remember the commitment of two peoples to become one.
Dear Helen. Are We A Secular Nation Or Aren't We?
I wish the Prime Minister would make up her mind. Are we a secular nation or aren't we? Helen Clark says "No" to saying Grace, and "Yes" to the Taniwha; "Kau" to Christianity, and "Ai" to the Ratana faith; "Haere atu" to Hospital Chaplains, and "Haere mai" to Maori spirituality; dishonour to God, and honour to Atua (gods). Am I the only one who has noticed this pandering, inconsistent, politically correct subterfuge? Surely Maori as a whole aren't being taken in by our leaders self-serving spiritual meanderings? Wouldn't it be an interesting observation to see how she might conduct herself in the company of Maori Christians? Is Waitangi Day a secular or a spiritual celebration these days Helen - and under which banner will you be attending the 2003 event? Actually, don't bother answering that last question, I'll do what you do - I'll ask Titiwhai.
The Great Government Roading Rort
Transit New Zealand hopes to persuade the government to let it borrow up to $1 billion in order to address a road funding shortage (23 Jan).
Noting that government is going to have to address this shortage, Transit NZ Chief Executive, Robin Dunlop, also suggests, "regions, too, are going to have to look at alternative ways of funding projects... through rates and regional loans."
I wonder if people have ever sat down and seriously considered the layers of tax they already contribute by purchasing and operating a motor vehicle and where this tax goes if not on the roads.
I estimate there to be at least 15.
1. Income tax on salary and wages.
2. RWT on savings put aside to purchase a car.
3. GST on fees for learning to drive.
4. GST on test for drivers licence.
5. GST on issue of Divers Licence.
6. GST on vehicle purchase.
7. GST on registration of vehicle
8. GST on annual re-licensing of vehicle.
9. Excise tax on petrol per litre.
10. Road user levies.
11. GST on combined excise tax, road user levies and petrol cost per litre.
12. GST on vehicle maintenance.
13. GST on annual WOF.
14. GST on vehicle Certificate of Compliance when modifications are undertaken.
15. GST on annual motor vehicle insurance.
On top of all this there is the spectre of road tolls and now Robin Dunlop suggests funding through rates and regional loans, both of which would incur a tax on a tax by way of the actual levy and the GST on the total rates bill.
When are we going to wake up to this gargantuan rort and take the government to task over its total mismanagement of both the funding and management of our roading system?
Dr Paul Hutchinsons Press Release.
Dr Paul Hutchison stated "The research is focused on human health and therapeutics and it has already been rigorously tested by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA)". this statement is not correct ERMA has not tested any therapeutic products it is not their job.
The application that is up for judicial review to ERMA did not specify any therapeutic construct it only stated that a variety of genes, including human, would be included in the making of a transgenic cow. The application was so generic that at no time could it be defined that therapeutic products would be made. It is the media who have drawn that understanding to create emotional pressure.
In my understanding, the Judicial Review at no point will stop the progress of research into any laboratory-based experiments. Contained research in laboratories is applauded. The action will look at the application as it has crossed many legal boundaries.
The decision to allow the field trial method to produce the proteins in the moratorium is illegal. And AgResearch specifically wrote the monitoring of environmental effects out of the application. This is highly dangerous to New Zealands biosecurity as there will be a variety of transgenic cows all grazing together over 112 acres with no precautions as to the
a.. Effluent leach into the ground water.
b.. The faecal matter taken in and out of the facility on shoes, (AIDS take years to show up )
c.. Cross contamination with the other cows and horizontal gene transfer possibilities.
d.. the suffering of severe immune system problems in the animals,
e.. Efficacy of the method for the production of therapeutic proteins. These should be evaluated and addressed in the current experiments before any further unspecified experiments can be created or carried on outdoors.
For safe science to occur there is normally peer reviewed published information on the efficacy and hazards of the process. The MBP experiments still have 2 years to run before any data can be evaluated. The CF sheep milk has never had the requirment to conduct environmental monitoring and the clinical trials on the milk from the sheep at Whakamaru carrying a cystic fibrosis hAAT gene (PPL) have failed on patients with emphysema due to adverse effects (PPL Annual report 2001). To date there is no published information on the therapeutic viability of any GE milks.
There are many alternative medicines and therapies that are benefiting patients at the moment that are not transgenic and are safe and proven.
References of interest,
PPL Annual Report 2001
Application GMD 02028
Application GMF 98009
Annual report 2000, 2001,GMF 98009 December 20th,
Pharming Group NV Press releases.
Gene Therapy Trials Halted, By ANDREW POLLACK,New York Times, January 15, 2003