Home' The Wellingtonian : July 28th 2011 Contents 11
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JULY 28, 2011
For my brain to grow in my
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When it doesn't hurt to be ignored
Despite the photo
opportunities Prime Min-
ister John Key enjoyed
last week at the White House,
little progress has yet been made
with the Americans on the
important matters of defence and
When it comes to whether our
SAS forces will actually leave
Afghanistan as planned next
March, hints were dropped by
Key that no final decisions had
been made -- thus leaving the
door open for a further extension.
Later, Key invoked the
Norway massacre to argue that
because terrorism can evidently
happen anywhere, this serves to
justify our military presence in
How a far right Christian fun-
damentalist in Norway might
conceivably be deterred by our
forces fighting against jihadists
in Kabul was left unexplained.
Before and after Key s visit, it
has been hard to identify any
tangible benefits to New Zealand
from its support of the American
military effort in Afghanistan.
On the trade front, we are cer-
tainly not winning any favours.
Currently, the multi-member
Trans Pacific Partnership is the
closest thing to a free trade deal
with the United States that New
Zealand is ever likely to achieve
-- and yet it, too, seems more of a
pipedream than a reality.
At best, the nations involved
will have agreed by year s end
merely to keep on talking, rather
than sign any commitments.
What then, did Key earn from
his abbreviated half-hour meet-
ing with President Barack
Obama? Nothing of substance, it
Apparently, a small contingent
of American Marines will arrive
here next year to mark the 70th
anniversary of the Marines
arrival in New Zealand during
World War II.
However, the Boston Globe
noted that in Key s meeting with
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,
New Zealand had also invited the
Coast Guard to send a ship to
Obviously, any American ship
visit would carry vast symbolic
weight in New Zealand, and be
widely read as a sign that the
Anzus dispute had been resolved,
on our terms.
Perhaps that explains why the
Americans were reportedly sur-
prised when Key issued the
Coast Guard ship invitation, and
why they have politely declined
to respond, so far.
As always, the Americans have
bigger fish to fry. To date, Obama
has been unable to get even the
trade deals he inherited from the
George W Bush administration
Even if Obama ever did nego-
tiate a Trans Pacific Partnership
deal in future, his chances of get-
ting it ratified by Congress (in
the face of Republican oppo-
sition) seem almost non-existent.
We should perhaps be counting
our blessings on that score.
Already, several American farm
states have called for the Trans
Pacific Partnership to exclude
trade in dairy produce from such
a deal, thus denying New Zea-
land any greater market access
for one of the key elements in our
At the same time, New Zea-
land will be under pressure from
the American negotiators and
their pharmaceutical industry
lobbyists to alter or scrap the
way our Pharmac agency
purchases drugs cheaply for our
Any future Trans Pacific Part-
nership free trade deal may
well mean costlier drugs for sick
In the circumstances, being
virtually ignored and patronised
by the Americans -- Obama kept
calling our PM John Keys --
may well be better than looming
large on their policy radar.
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So you think the city council bent
over backwards to ensure local
residents views were heard (July
Oh really? What council
planning officers did, when faced
with a lot of people who felt they
were affected and should have
been notified was to allow us to
write to them with reasons why
we should have been notified,
which they said they would
This is not the same as allowing
submissions on the resource
consent application and none of
our submissions can be considered
in that process.
Ultimately they decided that
they could not re-notify.
In the words of council officer
Warren Ulusele: Once the
decision has been made there is no
legal mechanism under the
resource Management Act that
allows the council to re-make the
Whatever that charade was in
aid of, it wasn t about paying
attention to our views.
I can t work out whether your
take on it reveals a naive and
credulous nature or something
more deeply cynical.
I am not upset because I didn t
get my own way as you
patronisingly put it.
I am deeply distressed that I
have been completely
disenfranchised by this resource
consent process and by the non-
consultation on the District Plan
change that made the consent
application possible in the first
In defence of
capital gains tax
Most of us are by now well aware
that New Zealand is having
trouble balancing its finances.
As Gordon Campbell (July 14)
outlined, we are being offered two
distinct solutions to our country s
debt problems when we vote in
this year s election.
If we support National, the
Maori Party or United Future s
Peter Dunne we will be
supporting the partial sale of
state assets to balance the
Government s books.
This is an unpopular option, not
surprising given the history of
state asset sales in this country.
Let s keep our assets to grow New
Zealand s economy.
Labour and the Greens propose
introducing a broad-based capital
gains tax to solve the country s
It s good to see that the family
home is exempt and that you can t
be taxed tomorrow on assets
Most other OECD countries
have found a capital gains tax
works, providing a fairer tax
system and freeing up capital for
In addition, a capital gains tax
should provide a brake on
residential housing prices and
make them more affordable for
first-home buyers.HELEN GLASGOW
What will Key's
Gordon Campbell is spot on with
his summary (July 21) of John
Key s trip to the United States.
With $50-odd million in the
bank, Key has more in common
with the Republican/Tea Party
members than with his
constituency in New Zealand.
He is a conservative politician
who masks that conservatism
He has committed our forces in
Afghanistan to staying there
much longer than was ever
envisaged; brought back titular
titles to reward many with
heraldical symbolism, and shifted
the tax system to favour the
In the meantime, the
Government has passed a swathe
of legislation that impinges on the
lives of most New Zealanders. Yet
at the last election he accused the
then Government of running a
nanny state .
John Key has always said he
wants to leave New Zealand a
better place than when he took
over. Sadly, it would appear his
legacy will be a nation more
On one side will be a very
predominantly white society and
then there will be the rest:
impoverished, dispossessed and
without hope. PETER KENNEDY
Labour s new tax plans are the
fairest and most sensible way to
deal with our current fiscal
A capital gains tax is long
overdue, and is needed to move
investment away from property
speculation and into the
productive sectors of our economy.
The policy is fair -- the family
home is exempt, and it will not be
Government debt is a serious
issue, but we can deal with it
fairly, and make sure everyone
pays their fair share.
Taking GST off fresh fruit and
veges, and making the first $5000
tax free will help everyone who is
currently feeling the pinch of
rising food prices.
I certainly believe this new tax
package is a far better option than
National s plan to sell down our
stake in our state assets. We
should learn from our past
mistakes in this area.
News, Views and Letters
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