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Geoff Simmons of New Zealand's new 'The Opportunities Party' (TOP) mentions the Unconditional Basic Income in an AMA on Reddit here... In fact he mentioned it three times...

"I should also say that the long term goal for us to create an Unconditional Basic Income. That way people would get a stipend from the Govt, and wouldn't lose it if they moved into work."

"Massive issue which is why we want to close the loopholes on the taxation of assets (including robots and algorithms!) and use that money ultimately to create an Unconditional Basic Income."

"The long term goal for us to create an Unconditional Basic Income. That way people would get a stipend from the Govt, and wouldn't lose it if they moved into work. We have an economic policy on the way, but the biggest part is honestly tax reform. NZ's economy would be transformed if our investment went into business not housing. Just look at Germany."


So, as I speculated about it here, a UBI is part of TOP's thinking, and I see it gets a mention in their tax FAQ...

"7. What about the UBI (Unconditional Basic Income – giving all citizens a regular modest payment, no strings attached)?"

"Our work there suggests that once we have closed the loopholes in the tax system then we have the ability to start to phase in a modest UBI, and reduce our reliance on targeted welfare benefits which are dehumanising and evidence tells us, makes poverty worse.

"But we must plug the major loopholes in our tax regime first. As you can see, this policy needs to be phased in over time, and the same will be needed for the UBI.

"As part of this package we will ask the Government of the day to have a holistic review of the tax and welfare system to develop possible pathways to implement the UBI. I am a huge fan of a UBI because it acknowledges the contribution to society from the 1 million people who work but don’t get paid. Without those folk caring for children, the elderly and our communities our society would collapse. The UBI is modest recognition of their existence."

The Reddit AMA was due to Geoff Simmons contesting the Mt Albert bi-election. It's a very quite affair apparently, but will be the first chance to see if TOP's getting any traction. That election's this weekend
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http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/national/89223394/Rocket-Lab-wants-to-stop-you-taking-photos-if-a-rocket-crashes

Compare with SpaceX, which asked for people's videos of their last explosion which they'd overlooked to record themselves (as far as I know).

Trying to get this into law is a great way to lose any public goodwill they may have. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
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I spotted a few comments in Hacker News about Rebol being used in the wild, which is a rare thing to read...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13610318
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The New Zealand Prime Minister on Waitangi Day this year.

And a description of the 1970s Bastion Point protests mentioned in that article.

It was the National Party under Muldoon that carried out the heavy-handed eviction of the protestors - only to then lose in the courts.
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But not by me, but by the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister...

http://thespinoff.co.nz/music/07-02-2017/guns-n-roses-live-review-paula-bennett-our-deputy-pm-reports-from-bogan-heaven/

A bit light on opinion though, so I don't think she's ready to give up her day job quite yet.
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Back to American politics: This is a well-thought-out conspiracy theory...

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/trial-balloon-for-a-coup-e024990891d5

And this is an equally well-thought-out response to that article...

https://tompepinsky.com/2017/01/30/weak-and-incompetent-leaders-act-like-strong-leaders/

My own feeling is Trump didn't really have a plan for what he'd do if he became President, but those supporting him and now making up his inner-circle probably did. As with Bush II, but on steroids.
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Although originally intending to be a list-only party, The Opportunities Party has decided to contest electoral seats after all, starting with the Mt Albert bi-election...



With both the Greens and Labour candidates already being list members in parliament and neither National or New Zealand First standing a candidate, TOP may actually do well here. It's certainly going to be a weird election!
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"Don't waste your time trying to prove that this grand idea is better than that one. Ditch all the big words. The problem, remember, is not the message but the messenger. It's not that Trump supporters are too stupid to see right from wrong, it's that you're more valuable to them as an enemy than as a compatriot. Your challenge is to prove that you belong in the same tribe as them - that you are American in exactly the same way they are."

That's from here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/27/in-venezuela-we-couldnt-stop-chavez-dont-make-the-same-mistakes-we-did/?utm_term=.f95b098b29db

Which is "A version of this article"...

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/01/20/culturejam/

In a democracy, you don't win by defeating your enemy but by persuading them to join you.
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Easy to remember and could be drawn by anyone in 10 seconds...

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/28/national/japanese-graffiti-artist-takes-aim-trump/

Hard part: Having red, white, blue, orange, gold and black colours to hand...

TOP Topped

Dec. 18th, 2016 12:30 pm
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Rodney Hide, former leader of ACT, nicely skewers Gareth Morgan, leader of recently launched TOP...

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11766693

TOP's greatest liability is probably Morgan himself, as he doesn't seem to have a clue about how he comes across.
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These are some wonderful maps of the US made from people's daily commutes...

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=info%3Adoi/10.1371/journal.pone.0166083

It's a reasonable assumption you care about where you live AND where you work, so these are probably a better indication of population demographics than just where people live, which is usually all a census asks. (If I remember correctly.)
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The guy's not very impressed...

http://sciblogs.co.nz/the-dismal-science/2016/12/06/keys-legacy-economists-view/

"It has been eight largely wasted years – building on at least the previous nine largely wasted years – in which none of the big structural economic challenges New Zealand faced has been even seriously addressed."

There's an interesting graph there showing "Real GDP per hour worked", with NZ flat-lining by that measure when Key's government took office while Australia continued to improve. Tax-cuts were partly what got National into office, so maybe they worked against productivity.

Key I think was mostly just unlucky. The GFC began to bite just as he took office and then the Christchurch earthquake happened in his first term too. Not a good time to make large course corrections.
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With NZ's prime minister John Key resigning because his tank is empty, there's now a leadership challenge underway for his job as leader of the National Party. There's three contenders so far, and these are short interviews with each of them...

Judith Collins: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201826665/judith-collins-why-i-want-to-be-pm

Bill English: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201826666/bill-english-puts-bid-in-to-be-nz's-next-pm

Jonathan Coleman: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201826667/health-minister-jonathan-coleman-throws-hat-in-ring-for-pm's-job

As NZ's electoral system is MMP and the National Party is two seats short of a majority, they will need the support of at least two parties given the other parties in the house, and preferably more. You can see the current makeup of the parliament in the right panel here...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Parliament

National's current support is ACT (1), United Future (1) and Maori (2).

Of those, United Future will support them for sure, as their policy is to support the party with the most seats. ACT, (which stands for the Association of Concerned Taxpayers), are a right-wing party, while the Maori Party could be considered center-right. (They hold two of the seven Maori seats, Labour holding the other five.)

So, depending on who the new National leader is and how they're perceived, ACT or the Maori Party may not support them. Which would leave them with a razor-edged majority of one to two seats. However, of the current opposition parties, the New Zealand First Party (with 12 seats) might be able to be encouraged to support them, which would give them a very stable majority.

NZ is due for an election near the end of next year, but it's possible National would prefer an early election, in which case they'd probably be happy with just a one-seat majority, the better to engineer a good reason to call a snap election.

One reason for National to do this is the formation of The Opportunities Party: http://www.top.org.nz/ They apparently were planning to release their first policy tomorrow, which if they do probably won't make as big a splash now as they might be hoping. More worrying for them though would be the thought they may only have a month or three to set up their party before the next election, as apposed to about a year.

Finally, there's the possibility a faction in the National Party may perceive TOP a better fit for them as a coalition party than any of the other current parties, in which case giving them as much time as possible before the election would be the sensible thing to do.

Next year is shaping up as an interesting year politically for NZ!

A day later: Top did release their first policy today. It's on taxation reform: http://www.top.org.nz/top1
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One of the more interesting statistics to come out of the US election...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/22/donald-trump-lost-most-of-the-american-economy-in-this-election/

"The divide is economic, and it is massive. According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America's economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country's economic activity last year."
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'tis lovely...

https://www.catarse.me/mola2

There's English descriptions to be found there, including in the video. And it's already passed its (Brazilian) crowdfunding minimum.

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