Editorials 17 March 2010

The Herald is not a fan of money for the All Whites:

John Key said the money given to New Zealand Football would help it capitalise on the All Whites’ qualification for the World Cup finals and promote the game domestically.

More specifically, he mentioned the hiring of a temporary media manager, the revamping of the NZF’s website, a series of soccer fun days, and the identification and training of talented 17 and 18-year-olds.

None of this bears a skerrick of analysis, not least because NZF will receive a $10 million windfall payment from Fifa, the game’s governing body because of thanks to the All Whites’ qualification for the finals.

That will be supplemented by the host of sponsorship opportunities opened by New Zealand’s second appearance on football’s biggest stage. It also follows close on the heels of a US$1 million ($1.4 million) payout from Fifa for the All Whites’ participation in last year’s Confederations Cup. In sum, that money has put NZF’s previously shaky finances on an even keel.

Have to say I agree more with the Herald.

The Press looks Trans-Tasman:

Although former deputy prime minister Sir Don McKinnon has said that at some point a merger is inevitable, current Prime Minister John Key says the debate is pointless, as a merger is simply not going to happen.

Clearly, opposition to New Zealand losing its status and identity as an independent sovereign nation would be a formidable barrier to merging with Australia in the short to medium term.

It is more likely that this prospect will be seriously debated when both nations consider whether to move from being constitutional monarchies to republics – and there appears no huge groundswell for this to occur in the near future in either country.

In the meantime, the priority should be continued efforts to harmonise the two economies, including further developments that will bring a common border, a common currency and more consistency in our tax systems. On the latter front, there could, of course, be developments in this year’s New Zealand Budget.

I commented on Radio NZ that I might support NZ joining Australia, if each of our islands could e recognised as a state. This would allow us to gain control of the Australian Senate 🙂

The Dom Post opposes funding elderly daytrippers:

By all accounts the SuperGold Card has been a godsend for the elderly. Pensioners who have not ventured far from their homes for years are using the free public transport component of the card to visit family and friends and generally get out and about.

The card has proved particularly attractive to elderly residents of Auckland’s Waiheke Island and their contemporaries in Auckland who fancy a harbour cruise. Pensioners, or rather the Government on their behalf, spent $2 million on Waiheke Island ferry travel in a 12-month period. That’s 11 per cent of the $18m spent on the scheme in total.

Undoubtedly the scheme has been good for the elderly, not to mention Fullers, the ferry company that operates the Waiheke service. It is effectively receiving a $2m subsidy from the Government for services that were already running.

The transport operators have been the real beneficiaries. Because it is for off peak travel only, it means that they have merely soaked up unused capacity, and not led to any extra services.

In other words, the transport operators are getting $18 million a year for providing the same services at much the same cost. The subsidy level of 75% is ridiculously generous, and I can only presume that whomever negotiated it, also negotiated the KiwiRail sale.

However, there is a question to be asked about whether the Government should be subsidising the discretionary travel of elderly daytrippers while it is rationing healthcare, stinting on teacher pay and putting the squeeze on Government departments.

Of course not. It’s obscene we spend $2 million a year on the wealthiest elderly people in Auckland to go to and from Waiheke etc. But once a subsidy is in place, it is politically lethal to remove it.

Quotable Value puts the median value of a three-bedroom house on Waiheke Island at $650,000. Just because the owner of such a home wishes eventually to pass that property on mortgage-free to his or her heirs is not a reason for a Porirua mum, living in rented accommodation and working nights to put food on the table for her children, to subsidise the pensioner’s discretionary travel.

The Government has aptly read the political winds. Working New Zealanders and their children are the losers.


The ODT looks at youth offending:

While the 156 offences involving shoplifting might be considered nothing out of the ordinary, what should the community think of the nine assaults with a weapon, the single instance of threatening to kill, the five caught in possession of cannabis, the 34 arsonists? These all involved older – but still primary school-aged – children, and there were among them those with severe behavioural problems.

Yet efforts by the police youth services, schools, Child, Youth and Family and parents have led to a decrease in the number of very young offenders.

Ten years ago the numbers were twice those of the past year, which surely reflects the subsequent success of co-ordinated intervention.

Even so, it is a disturbing reflection of modern society that more than 700 young children were considered sufficiently delinquent to justify police apprehension for criminal offences.

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