Friday, October 4, 2013

Bring On The Americas Cup Challenge

It is fantastic news that state support for Team New Zealand has been announced. The America's Cup is  far more than a rich man's yacht race for New Zealand.

Owning The Great Ponsonby ArtHotel and hosting  America's Cup fans, boat buyers and investors we are well qualified to comment on the real value of the America's Cup.

It is far, far more important. The original America's Cup defence was a transformation for the New Zealand marine industry and continues to be so today.  It also was a positive step in our nation's character development . Our confidence surged and again this serves us well today.

The Fonterra debacle which is heading to European courts and has the potential to damage New Zealand Inc. would have thrown us once and our media would be full of doom and gloom.

With the confidence we developed with the America's Cup victory and successful defence we as  people are better able to cope with these challenges.

Rod Oram's column below celebrates this  It is also the part of the narrative of our industrialism and our innovation.

Rod Oram’s Sunday Star column of September 22, 2013  The Year of the Cat has made a 21st century clarion call for nation building.  He writes “an even bigger challenge for Emirates Team New Zealand is to make New Zealand the global epicentre for its powerful technologies and skills”.

“The science and commercial benefits for New Zealand would flow far beyond sailing. The technologies have wide applications across the economy in hi-tech manufacturing energy infrastructure, construction and many other fields.”

In 1936 Michael Joseph Savage said, “Our objective is to turn New Zealand into a nations of buyers as well as consumers and to make science, machinery and money the servants rather than the masters of the people.”

Oram’s column is a 21 century  statement of our potential as championed by Savage. W.B Sutch and Norman Kirk were people of great vision who have shaped New Zealand. All would no doubt agree with Oram.

Oram in this most thoughtful and analytical of his columns wrote, “Auckland must play the same global role in high tech yacht racing not just for the sake of the America's Cup but to drive science business and wealth generation in our economy”.

Oram is correct. The challenge for New Zealand Inc is to come to an understanding, a consensus, and to commit. Government cannot be hands off, but must champion these industries and have a vision and take Kiwis with them as Norman Kirk did.  The government’s challenge is to maximise the benefits that these technologies can deliver and the industry that can be built. 

In 1939 Michael Joseph Savage said “We cannot leave our economic and social standards to the fluctuations of overseas trade conditions. New Zealand must establish our own standards and with these thoughts in our minds we set out to establish a nation in these southern seas”.
These are the foundations that  built our nation.  If our leaders champion what Oram has written we can lift our standards and  once again have the potential to provide have a security that once we all felt.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pity The Poor Who are Forced To Rent

The announcement of the Weymouth  affordable  housing plan  is a overdue but a major  step in improving the housing  needs in south Auckland and should be applauded .

 The sale of State housing in depopulating areas is confusing and may be a lost opportunity . We do have an increasing number of people in need of housing.  Many are highly skilled . These people could well have made a real contribution  to these communities may of them have lost much social capital  and by enticing these skilled folk wound  have been  of addressing this issue.

A long term durable bi partisan policy is what is lacking and the options for increasing number of our citizens are far from attractive and no one i know wold like this insecurity.

The life for rental tenants is variable. I have been a landlord. Our tenancy laws provide minimal security and our tax regimes provide an investment option based not on growth but on tax deductions.
The withdrawal of the state from providing income related rents and pensioner housing is impacting on all tenants.
There have always been people whose incomes are so low that home ownership is not  a realistic option, and whose housing needs were provided for. New Zealand is in a minority of western countries where the state is devolving responsibility for these people. Where do we think our nurses, bus drivers, fire fighters, pensioners and essential service folk are going to live?
 The shortage of affordable pensioner housing is critical. Many of the folk who are volunteers and provide the human infrastructure at our museums  and events are living on fixed incomes with rent consuming most of their pension.
 This situation has been exacerbated with the closing of public health facilities which means these people are first in the queue for public housing and compete with the working poor and pensioners. Address these needs by increasing the public housing stock and the housing problem will largely disappear.