Monday, 3 August 2020

Free Press, 3 August 2020


Half Empty Planes

Free Press is an avid reader of statistics. We noticed 18,193 passengers departed New Zealand by air last month, while 9,032 arrived. The planes are arriving half empty and leaving full. In January, by comparison, around 740,000 arrived and around 700,000 left. When did the change happen? Business as usual numbers were in full flow until 15 March of this year.

The Take Outs?

The border closure is devastating, with traffic down by over 95 percent. The effect on economic activity cannot be ignored. People are trickling out of New Zealand but they are not trickling in. We are more closed than the rest of the world. We did not go hard and early. The change happened when COVID-19 cases were already ramping up.

A Question

The Prime Minister says projects such as Auckland’s City Rail Link have exemptions for skilled workers to enter New Zealand. But do they get any of the limited quarantine capacity? If they do, are New Zealand passport holders queued up waiting because the Government is letting in foreigners with special exemptions? What is the correct balance? Who decides? ACT says we need clear rules for private enterprise to operate isolation so we do not have these constraints.

A Simple, Elegant Solution

Free Press readers got it first, but ACT’s simple elegant solution to saving Tiwai has now been published by Stuff. We can save heavy industry in New Zealand without wild government intervention.

A Cack-Handed Destructive Solution

The Government is threatening to force the remaining stages Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill through Parliament under urgency. The law is a shocker. Its various provisions add up to making a landlord’s property partly a tenant’s property. However, the landlords will not be the only losers.

Neighbours

There is nothing worse than bad neighbours and sometimes the worst are tenants. If you are lucky, their landlord will have a sense of community mindedness and want to protect neighbours of their property from their tenants. Under this law, long-term low-level bad behaviour is extremely difficult to police, requiring three written warnings in a rolling 90-day period. Neighbours of bad tenants will be the big loser here.

People Without Good Networks

As the risk of getting a bad tenant you can’t get rid of grows, tenants will become more circumspect about who they rent to. If you’re, say, a white guy who went to a good school with the landlord’s kids, you won’t have much of a problem. If you’re a solo mother with few networks, you are going to be treated with greater suspicion. The Labour Government is promoting prejudice. Idiots.

Tenants

Tenants, by definition, need to rent off landlords. Their alternatives are couch-surfing, motels, and homelessness. Landlords, on the other hand, have other investment opportunities. They can invest in things that do not require them to answer maintenance calls on the weekend and chase late rent. Making it harder to be a landlord means there will either be fewer landlords of higher rents.

The Law That Should Be Passed Urgently

The Government announced 618 days ago that it would regulate vaping. Unbelievably, it still has not done so. All the Government had to do was say ‘we accept the Ministry of Health’s position that vaping is saving lives. We do not wish to discourage it, but children should not use it to become addicted to nicotine. Therefore, we are banning sales of vaping products to under 18s.’ 618 days later, kids can still legally buy vaping products.

Tax Fairness?

Poll tells us the obvious, 50 percent want higher taxes. But is it surprising? 16 percent per cent pay no tax. What’s interesting is that far more people oppose the tax increase than would pay it. New Zealanders actually do believe in fairness more than they believe in voting themselves a helping of other people’s money.