International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Austerity


I feel like a fisk, it’s been a while.

Capital Coast District Health board has a problem: it is underfunded by central government, to the tune of $47 million last year. The situation is so bad that last year it was forced to shut down Wellington hospital for a weekin a desperate attempt to balance the books. They’ve even cut the staff’s coffee.

Wow, they shut down the hospital for a week. Um, no. Only elective surgery (as usual) and non-essential services were affected.

Wow, they cut the staff’s coffee. Um no. They still have coffee, it’s just the instant stuff.

But why do they really have such a deficit? Well, by consulting the Fox News of New Zealand*, I discover that the problems stem “in large part from the construction of the new Wellington regional hospital”. I guess that isn’t relevant, since it suggests that the problem is a one off, and we’d like to imply it’s an ongoing issue.

Meanwhile, they’ve been paying for their CEO to commute from Australia every week:

Capital & Coast District Health Board confirmed it paid for acting chief executive Shaun Drummond to fly to Townsville to visit family at weekends, but is refusing to say how much it cost. The board had a $47 million deficit last financial year.[…]

The Dominion Post has been told he was flying business class. A business-class ticket on Air New Zealand from Wellington to Townsville, via Auckland and Brisbane, costs about $2800 return, according to the airline’s website.

$2,800 a week for 52 weeks mean we’re talking almost $150,000 a year,

Meaning it’s hardly the cause of the overspending, but it sure doesn’t help.

all because the DHB does not believe in New Zealanders.

Either that, or the DHB needed someone with proven experience to fill in temporarily and all 5 people in this country with the relevant experience might have been… oh, I don’t know, running hospitals?

Some “austerity”. But then, austerity never seems to apply to those at the top, does it? Instead, its all about clamping down on those at the bottom, while the fat cats continue to swig champagne.

It’s well known that the fat cats always “swig” their champagne while sitting around looking like the monopoly guy.

This is easily proven.

See? It’s like they were separated at birth.

And its the same story in central government: massive tax handouts for the rich,

Such as the 63% of the tax take paid by the top richest 20% in 2007?

paid for with higher GST and slashed government services for everyone else.

A quick Google search reveals “john key” “slashing government services” yeilds 7 results, two of which are the same Herald story from 2008, one of which is a comment on Don Brash, one story on Alaska, a Kiwiblog comment from 2008 and two other very random pages.

I think it’s reasonably safe to say that John Key hasn’t been responsible for a whole lot of “slash and burn” on government expenditure.

And the Ministers doing it, with the $250,000 salaries, government limos, and taxpayer-funded travel, will never feel the impact it has on everyone else. Their wealth puts them above it all.

So after crying about non-existant service cuts Idiot goes on to describe work perks as “wealth”. Um, no. Wealth is when you can pay for a limo. And frankly, I’d rather have my MPs in limos where they can continue working than driving themselves around.

The irony is that if they lose touch with the people in the process of all that then they most certainly will feel the impact by being tossed out of government.

Austerity for some but not for others is neither equitable not sustainable. If it is to be politically credible, it must be applied fairly and equally. But National isn’t interested in that – instead, they’re all about screwing over the many for the benefit of the few, just like they did in the 90’s.

Gotta mention the 90’s somehow. Cos everyone knows that if we let National back into power, we’ll have slaughter on the streets and fat cats sipping champagne on the house floor. But Idiot missing several things his ilk claimed National would do, such as cutting benefits, Working for Families, Health and Education. Even GST has been offset but income tax reductions.

Bit I actually agree with several points that Idiot is making. Organisations wanting to balance their budgets should lead from the top. It makes a massive difference to an origination when leadership is practicing what they preach.

*Yes, this comment is 100% sarcasm.

 

I thought just for a change I’d do something different – rewrite Idiot’s post to remove some of his more egregious exaggerations. What I ended up with says basically the same thing, yet is a lot harder to argue with.

————-

Capital Coast District Health board has a problem: it is struggling to stay within budget. Partially thanks to the new hospital being built, they are now looking at a budgeted deficit for this year of $48m. The situation is so bad that last year it was forced to shut down non-critical services at Wellington hospital for a week. Even staff coffee has been cut back to bare bones – something that is bound to have a negative effect on morale.

Meanwhile, they’ve been paying for their acting CEO to commute from Australia every week:

Capital & Coast District Health Board confirmed it paid for acting chief executive Shaun Drummond to fly to Townsville to visit family at weekends, but is refusing to say how much it cost. The board had a $47 million deficit last financial year.[…]

The Dominion Post has been told he was flying business class. A business-class ticket on Air New Zealand from Wellington to Townsville, via Auckland and Brisbane, costs about $2800 return, according to the airline’s website.

$2,800 a week for 52 weeks mean we’re talking almost $150,000 a year. That’s a lot to pay to fly someone in each week. It also undermines other efforts to reduce costs. Note that all flights are business class – I’m sure that goes down real well in staff rooms cut back to instant coffee.

But then, austerity never seems to apply to those at the top, does it? Instead, its all about clamping down on those at the bottom, while the fat cats continue to swig figurative champagne. And its the same story in central government: cutting the top tax rate, while GST is increased and the public service is cut back. And the Ministers doing it, with the $250,000 salaries, government limos, and taxpayer-funded travel, simply won’t feel the impact it until they’re thrown out of office.

Austerity for some but not for others is neither equitable not sustainable. If it is to be politically credible, it must be applied at least as much at the top as at the bottom. But National isn’t interested in that.

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