the money issue
contents weekly content 4. Letters 6. News 3 0 . C r e at i v e 35. VUWSA 38. Arts 43. Odds And Ends
columns 16. Bone Zone with Cupie Hoodwink 17. Sports Banter 3 2 . We i r d I n t e r n e t S h i t 32. Conspiracy Corner 33. Food 34. C B T 3 4 . M Ä o r i M at t e r s 3 6 . A rt i c u l at e d S p l i n e s 36. Bent 37. Shirt and Sweet with Eleanor Merton 3 7 . Fa s h i o n
features 14. A TPPAin the arse? 18. More like FUNancial Literacy 2 0 . Wo r k i n g H a r d o r H a r d l y Wo r k i n g 2 3 . I n c r e a s i n g I n t e r e s t / I n f l at i n g H o pe s 2 6 . A n I n t e r v i e w w i t h N e w Z e a l a n d â€™s C h i e f E c o n o m i s t 28. Inequality & Poverty
the money issue
Be a poor student. W
e have all our lives to care about money. There is no other time when we will have so few responsibilities and so much to enjoy than right now. Uni is a time where we get to be loose with our cash money. We learn what it is to have $160 rent owing with 23 cents in the bank. We learn ways to avoid that happening next time. We learn to budget. We learn uni. We graduate. We start making dollar dollar bills. We remember what it means to be bare-bones skint, flat broke. We spend within our means. We save. Money is a constant. Every week, we have to balance our measly budgets, knowing that if we fuck up we can be kicked out of our flats, starving. It’s a struggle. But there are heaps of ways to be financially saveloy. We learn to accept budget bread instead of Molenberg. Our eyes evolve to spot ‘Sale’ signs. StudyLink day/payday is heaven. Learning to live with less is a good experience for when our degrees get us reasonable paying jobs. We should be thankful that our time studying is the poorest we’ll ever be in our lives. We have to remember that some people weren’t so lucky to be poor students, and instead are poor all their lives. Cleaners at the Uni. The 40-year-old at the Macca’s counter. The homeless man on Courtenay Place at 4 am on a Saturday pleading, “Scuse me!” Inequality is an ugly blight on our society. Poverty is unacceptable. We know this, but somehow most of us go about our days without making a smidgen of difference to those worse off than us. Meanwhile, we complain that people richer than us should be giving us money.
Money is an emotional topic. Being poor is not nice. Being embarrassed by your parents’ excessive wealth is not nice. No one likes to be the guy whose dinner has to be paid for. No one likes to be the guy who paid for it and never got the money back. Money is a touchy subject. Does it buy happiness? No. And a bit, yes. After a hard week of work, doesn’t buying a beer just make you feel happy?! Don’t you feel happy looking good in your nice jeans? Aren’t you ever happy just sitting quietly in your room (that you pay rent for)? Isn’t a trip to the islands with the family some of the happiest times you could have? But so what? When our needs are met by money, we are happy. Money can buy us a setting to be happy in. But beyond that, our happiest moments come in our unpaid hours. Laughing with friends. Making love with our lovers. Achieving a personal development goal. Making others smile. This week, we interviewed the Chief Economist at the Treasury about the Budget and got some personal tips to help us save. Hilary Beattie takes a hilarious look at our woeful financial literacy and what we should do to change it. Penny looks at welfare policy and rejects the many bigoted views held about those on the benefit. Resident political commentator Jade D’Hack talks about monetary policy. It’s not as boring as it sounds. Finally, we take a look at the arguments about inequality and find that it’s not as simple an issue as it first seems. We’re always saying money doesn’t buy us happiness. We’re always complaining about how shit it is to be poor. We can’t have it both ways. Instead, we should be happy being poor students.
L ove ,
Du n can & Cam
salient takes the rap Dear Salient, I am sorry, but I cannot suppress my hip-hop nerd rage any further … I didn’t “Sleep on” that Nicki Minaj X Soulja Boy collaboration/abomination over the break. I didn’t listen to it on purpose because both rappers are garbage. You can’t guilt trip me on this one I’m afraid. Of course I realize that it is unrealistic for me to expect our tastes to be the same. Maybe the inclusion of that track on the Ten Songs You Slept on Over the Break column was supposed to be ironic in a ‘dweeb at a rap show wearing a bucket hat’- kind of way or something- I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that of all the artists being “slept on” right now Nicki Minaj is not one of them. And a Nicki Minaj verse being “fierce”? Fucking hell, those are some low standards. Have you fucks ever listened to a Kool G Rap verse? Now that man delivers FIERCE verses…. Please for the love of the God Rakim, step up your recommendations for hip-hop songs. Props for the Illmatic retrospective though. Sorry for raging. Actually, nah… f.a.y!
it’s our visual arts editor!
To the average-ish height hipster with the bright orange rain coat and black glasses. Your resemblance to Dan Croll is uncanny - please excuse me for staring. Muchas gracias! Maddie.
old man yells at cloud Dear Damnkidsthesedayslient, What the hell was with the Internet issue? Saving money on paper’s fine, but if I won’t stay on a page long enough to bother finishing the PDF for a reading, why the fuck would I hop online to read about Inter-gran or whatever it is my generation are uploading photos of food to this week? (Hint: food’s for eating, not photographing. Nobody cares how amazeballs your frog nads in blue cheese are.) Besides, the purpose of Salient is that it is printed: how else can I have a cheeky read below the desk during Monday morning lectures? It’s not half as fun without whatever articles on weed/sexism/queers/rich pricks that vaguely relate to the weekly topic there, to kill an extra five minutes. I will only read this travesty...3 more times. Yours curmudgeonly, Angry-old-man-in-an-18-year-old’s-body. PS: What the fuck’s with the trigger warnings? If I wanted that touchy-feely shit I’d go on Tumblr to watch the sad rich white girls tumble themselves. And a rock issue without Led Zep? You disgust me. 4
the money issue
letter of the
week This email is on the behalf of a friend. He saw Duncan at a gig and went for a highfive but was left hanging. He is really disappointed and was too embarrassed to tell anyone about. I’m pretty disgusted to be honest. I’m going to make especially sure not to read, accidentally or other wise, any upcoming issues of salient unless restitution is issued.
good idea: on paper To the previously okay student paper, I have ignored your minor flaws till now, such is my nature, but “The Internet Issue” was to ruin this. You cut down on paper (hurray, save the trees) and posted the most important issues on the internet as if you were trying to be “all cool” and with the times. The limp and dejected publication that remained was, to put it lightly, shitty. Furthermore the puzzles were at the front. Who the fuck does that? Even the worst middle aged women’s magazines don’t do that! And finally, the most abhorrent of your all too numerous crimes, the sudoku’s and crossword..... After being explicitly asked weeks ago you have yet to include the answers to crossword/sudoku in the subsequent issue which is plain wack. We ain’t doing them for shits ‘n’ gigs, akin to a stab wound, we need closure. You are pushing me to the edge Salient, and if I fall off, I’ll drag you with me. Sort yo’ shit, An extremely peeved reader.
the salient Dear Ed Man, I am so disappointed this week when I saw how thin the Salient was! Golly, what went wrong - I was utterly devistated and beside my self with anguish and worry and thought how was I going to survive my boring sociology lecture with only a small amount of reading material! Please, make the Salient thicker so I can enjoy your amazing magazine. Makes life at university so much more interesting believe you me! Gee, think I deserve to win letter of the
week and that yummy coffee voucher! Thank you and have a Happy Day! Boredom Busters!
at least it wasn’t a salient Wow, people are so open-minded at university #NOT. Seeing the ‘shit storm’ on Overheard@ Vic, as many of you are aware, a pro life group dropped pamphlets about pregnancy services in lecture theatres. ‘Their campaign’. A few issues arise about what is acceptable, what triggers or not… but questioned is freedom of speech and censorship. I don’t see the problem. These pamphlets are presented non-aggressively and respectfully by people who believe in the message. Shredding, binning them and encouraging that behaviour is pure hypocrisy. Why are you at university - a place packed with information and a multitude of different perspectives and voices - if you don’t have an open mind? The issue? Some people, it seems, get riled up at words and paper… If it’s made by a pro-life group, so what? Ironically it would be celebrated if a ‘pro-choice’ group were the publishers. To those who advocate ‘choice’ (especially if you’re Liberal/Progressive), so much ‘choice’ you would deny others choice over what information people see and read. Censorship? Let people make up their own minds. Don’t like it don’t read it. Feel so strongly about it, complain to VUWSA. We all have our beliefs. We all have passions. You wouldn’t want to be barred from speaking or publishing, don’t do it to others. Those who truly believe in free speech believe it for ALL. Be civil, discussion is good, but respect would be superb. Peace. Sincerely, Re-Fresher
down on upload Dear Salient Your internet issue was virtually terrible in every way. It was worse thought out than transcendence. This may seem harsh criticism but it needs to be said. We need to revise it now so the performance problems are not incorporated into future editions. The format for a publication is like code, it has to be perfectly put together or it won’t work. This issue was not put together properly, and consequently it didn’t work. In theory the premise was clever: put the full version online to show how paper has been replaced by pixels. Yet in practice all this did was confuse loyal readers who found themselves with a copy of Salient devoid of its usual charm and character, with key sections cut out and crosswords front and center for no apparent reason except to further confuse and bamboozle our brains. Regards A loyal reader
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PEOPLE OF LAST WEEK Last Monday, The New Zealand Herald named former all - rounder C hris C airns as the mysterious ‘P layer X’ who has been named by L ou V incent and B rendon M c C ullum as having fixed matches . T estimony given by V incent and McCullum to the International Cricket Council’s AntiCorruption and Security Unit (ACSU) has been leaked to the media , revealing the allegations . Lou Vincent’s ex-wife , Elly Riley, testified that fixing began at the I ndian C ricket L eague in 2008, and that V incent told her Player X was going to pay him $58,000 a game for the fixing . P layer X, who McCullum described as his hero , is also alleged to have met M c C ullum in a hotel lobby , where he explained spread betting and told M c C ullum he could get up to $210,000 a game . McCullum has refused to comment on whether Cairns was P layer X, but said he stood by his testimony . C airns has subsequently confirmed that he is the person being investigated .
C airns has denied the allegations of match-fixing, saying Lou Vincent is “in a desperate position”, and “in
BY THE NUMBERS
The amount of rain that fell on the Balkan region in three days in mid-May.
The amount of ice Antarctica loses each year, according to a team of scientists from the University of Leeds.
The amount Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev recently paid his ex-wife Elena in the largest known divorce settlement in history.
trying to negotiate a plea bargain he appears to be willing to falsely accuse me of wrongdoing .”
The percentage of New Zealand households that receive more in income support than they pay in income tax.
The number of Maui’s dolphins, native to NZ, that are left in the world.
The first time in history that the number of overweight people is higher than the number of people who are in need of food.
the money issue
NEWS COUNCIL DRAGGED FEET ON PATHWAY OIA SHEDS LIGHT ON BOYD-WILSON PATH ATTACKS by Sophie Boot and Mitch Keast
T R I G G E R WA R N I N G : This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.
he Wellington City Council had approved the installation of better lighting and CCTV on the Boyd-Wilson path prior to Easter’s attacks, after an earlier attack in March, but did neither. From information obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, Salient can reveal that lighting on the path was not improved for over a month after the first of three assaults earlier this year, despite the WCC agreeing to it. CCTV was also approved for installation, but was not installed. After the two attacks on consecutive nights over Easter, cameras were installed within three days.
eye for news ?
any tips , leads or gossip to news @ salient . org . nz
Glennie (lighting) is currently away but will be done on his return (has already been agreed to)”. On the action point of “installing CCTV”, she wrote that “permission… was signed off long ago so it can be fixed at any time… Only thing that cannot be done is a wire connecting the pole. However this can be worked around with use of a wireless system.” In the early hours of 19 April – A woman was sexually assaulted while using the path. On 20 April, a second woman was sexually assaulted while using the path. Both managed to escape, and gave similar descriptions of their attacker.
23 APRIL – Following media attention, lighting along the path was improved, and CCTV was installed. Salient has contacted the WCC for comment as to why CCTV and improved lighting was not installed, despite it having been approved. At this stage, we have been unable to reach them for comment.
This story was written as Salient went to print on Thursday night and is ongoing: look online for an updated version.
23 MARCH – A female student was assaulted on the pathway. 25 MARCH – Ian Hibma, Security Manager at the University, emailed Paul Glennie, the Team Leader of Strategic Planning at the WCC, saying he wanted to install security cameras along the path but would need technical assistance from the Council. Paul Glennie emailed back, supportive of installing CCTV. He said that the Council had replaced all the lighting along the path as VUWinstalled lighting had not been working. He also said he would “look at increasing the wattage of the light nearer to the handrail.” He then said he was away from Friday 28 March to Easter, but was “happy for VUW to proceed with installing a camera.”
8 APRIL – Emma McGill, Safety Advisor for the WCC, contacted Wellington Electricity seeking permission to install cameras along the path. She said that “there is some sense of urgency in this request as we are coming under some pressure to facilitate this on behalf of the university.”
10 APRIL – McGill was told by Wellington Electricity that the installation of cameras had been previously signed off, but that a private network between the existing camera on one pole and the proposed new camera on another pole was not permitted as “Chubb/VUW are not utility operators and are not party to any ongoing commercial relationship re pole.”
10 APRIL – McGill emailed Hibma, Rainsforth Dix, the Police, Chubb
184 Lambton Quay (opposite Midland Park)
security, Te Aro School, Jenny Bentley and others, updating them on security measures along the path. At the action point “boost current lighting”, which was the responsibility of the WCC, she wrote that “Paul
BUDGET 2014 13 All kids under 13 will receive free doctor’s visits and prescriptions.
18 weeks leave will be extended from 14 to 18 weeks.
$372 million surplus for the 12 months to 30 June 2015. This is the first surplus since 2008.
$60 billion current Crown debt. This is predicted to peak at $70.3 billion in 2017.
new spending in this budget.
HOW WILL THE UNIVERSITY USE THIS INCREASED FUNDING? Andrew Simpson, Victoria’s Chief Operating Officer, says: “Along with other tertiary institutions, Victoria has received additional STEM funding since 2013. Although inflation has not been high in recent years, inflation rates have reduced, in real terms, the additional money available. However, that money has allowed us to grow EFTS in engineering, employ additional staff, and expand and improve facilities for Engineering and Science students. It has also seen Victoria introduce cutting-edge and innovative programmes such as the Sonic Engineering project, where Engineering students are collaborating with students from the New Zealand School of Music to create robotic musical instruments. Additionally, the funding has supported a new research area at Victoria – that of fisheries science. No decisions have yet been made as to how the additional funding for 2015, announced in the Budget, will be spent. The University will follow its normal budgeting process, which will result in decisions being made later in the year. However, the additional funding will allow us to continue improving the student experience for those enrolled in Science and Engineering.”
for Auckland transport projects.
Universities will be able to set their fees for Australian undergraduate students as high as they like from 2016.
increase to health budget over four years.
6% – The percentage that student loans will be able to rise by
from 2016. They are currently capped at the rate of inflation.
for the Canterbury earthquake recovery.
26 weeks – Tony Abbott extended paid parental leave from
18 weeks at the minimum wage to 26 weeks on full previous pay up to A$50,000 in six months – equivalent to A$1923 (NZ$2077) a week.
of operating funding for new investments in tertiary education – of this, $85 million is targeted towards STEM subjects, with $68 million more funding for Science.
$50,638 – The new annual-income threshold for mandatory debt repayments, a drop of $3000.
WHAT DOES THE REPAYMENT THRESHOLD FREEZE MEAN? If you earn
If adjusted for inflation you would pay
Will pay (from this budget
Lower quartile: $28,719.36
Median quartile: $41,128.56
Upper quartile: $49,862.52
19% 7% 5%
the money issue
BUDGET 2014 STUDENT POLITICIANS RESPOND TO BUDGET Salient asked the young political hacks what they thought of the Budget and what it means for students. 1. What is the single best part of the Budget? 2. What is the single worst part of the Budget? 3. What do you see being the main impact on students from this Budget?
1. Free GP visits to under-13s. No one should miss out on healthcare because they don’t have money, especially children. Although, we will have to wait and see how it works. It’s voluntary and the Government hasn’t asked GPs whether the subsidy level means they can offer it. Fees might go up for others so GPs can cross-subsidise. It’s a great policy, but lacking in detail at this stage. 2. National’s ideological refusal to tackle the big issues of housing, inequality and child poverty is the worst part of this budget. Labour would have dealt with the housing crisis, and ensured all rental homes were insulated. Instead, we got cuts to home insulation, and children in poverty being completely left out of the “Families Package”. That’s a travesty. 3. This budget will be felt by students as poorer quality degrees, restricted choice and harsher repayments when you graduate. Tertiary-education funding has again been cut in real terms – with quite significant cuts to non-Science course funding – while the Government banks the ‘savings’ from deep cuts to student support. Universities face increased costs as they try to attract the best lecturers and academics. With the latest round of cuts, something is going to give. It’s sad to see Steven Joyce take a micromanaging approach to the sector, directing funding towards subjects and away from others. For Joyce, it doesn’t matter what you want to do with your life: he knows best. National has achieved a surplus by cutting student support, and increasing how much you have to repay when you can least afford it. All to make Bill English look good. That’s very short-sighted. Labour will recognise your education as an investment. Terri Gough
1. How much the opposition set the agenda. The extension of free GP visits to under-13s, increasing paid parental leave to 18 weeks and focussing on families are all Green Party policies and campaigns. But National didn’t go far enough to deliver the real reductions in inequality we need. 2. The $2.4 billion cuts in real terms to health and education over the next three years to pay for a false surplus, and $4.6 million in cuts from DOC to protect our environment. Ultimately, there was an overall lack of vision and no plans for a smarter, greener economy. 3. National delivered nothing in the Budget for students. Nothing on
fees, loans or allowances, nothing on rental accommodation or cost of living. Nothing on housing or cheaper transport. It shows if we want our issues to be addressed, we need to be enrolled and Party Vote Green on 20 September. Curwen Rolinson
1. NZ First Youth is really pleased that National’s taken a policy we came up with (extending NZ First’s free healthcare for under-6s all the way to all Kiwi kids under 13) and made it the centerpiece of its 2014 Budget. Too bad the Nats haven’t borrowed the *rest* of our good ideas! 2. Hard to pick just one “worst” bit! Where to start? The fact that essential services like health and policing have had, in real terms, funding cuts? The fact our state services are being trashed to fund an illusory ‘surplus’ created through massaging figures? The fact that the $327 million in ‘surplus’ is exactly equivalent to the $327 million of income per year we would have retained from not selling our assets...? 3. The main impact for students in this budget is that their concerns were simply ignored. Following on as it does from the Government’s sneaky increase of the student loan repayment rate from ten per cent to 12 per cent in 2013, as well as cancelling the ten per cent repayment bonus, I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised that the Government refuses to do more to help our young people. Don’t waste your time looking for help for students in this budget. Instead, look for it in the election manifesto of NZ First. We’re advocating a Universal Student Allowance, lowering fees, state assistance to pay off your loan faster, and adequate funding to ensure student on-campus representation. Nick Cross
1. The best part of the Budget is the return to surplus in 2014/15. Leading into the Global Financial Crisis, a decade of deficits was projected for the Government due to out-of-control spending. That this has been turned around in two terms is down to tight fiscal management by Bill English and his team. 2. The lack of tax cuts is disappointing. We would like to see cuts to personal income taxes by the 2017/18 budget at latest. These could be funded by eliminating middle-class welfare programmes like Working for Families. 3. The main thing students need to consider is that in future, they will also be wage-earners and taxpayers. Overall, the impact is very positive, because by turning around our economic fortunes there will be more high-paying jobs available for graduates. The last thing students as future taxpayers want to inherit is a mountain of debt run up by older generations to pay back. By keeping debt at more manageable levels, the Government is preserving freedom for future taxpayers and governments to make decisions about the direction of New Zealand without a millstone around their neck.
STUDENTS MARCH FOR BASIC RIGHTS LET US GO HOME By Sophie Boot More than 300 students marched along the Boyd-Wilson path last Tuesday in response to recent sexual attacks on the path. The ‘Let Me Go Home’ march was organised by VUWSA, the Women’s Group and Youth for UN Women. Students carried signs and chanted slogans like, “1, 2, 3, 4, we won’t take it anymore,” and, “When women’s rights are under attack, stand up, fight back.” The march comes after two women were sexually attacked on the path in 24 hours over Easter. Another woman was attacked two weeks prior, and women have reported the path as being unsafe and not well lit as far back as 2010. Students marched from outside the Hub, down the length of the path past the Boyd-Wilson Field to the Aro Valley Community Centre, where a forum was held. The forum included speakers from the University and Women’s Group, as well as local MPs Grant Robertson and Jan Logie. Workshops were also run, with attendants splitting up to identify areas they felt were unsafe in their own suburbs, and possible solutions. Students called for more frequent and later bus services to campus,
FOR VBC TBC
and an education campaign about consent and rape culture. Wellington Central’s MP, Grant Robertson, said that the University had a responsibility to ensure safety on the Boyd-Wilson path as it had built Te Puni Village, a first-year hostel of 400 students, next to the path. He also said that men should take responsibility for rape culture, and should intervene when they saw other men acting in an unacceptable manner. Jenny Bentley, Director of Campus Services at the University, said the University would continue to work with students, the City Council and Police to improve safety around campus. VUWSA President Sonya Clark said that another meeting would be held in about a month to discuss the findings of the forum. Clark earlier said that “while the physical environment does not cause rape, infrastructural improvements are a crucial part of making people feel safer in their communities.” “The response so far shows that this is an issue that students are concerned about, and more action is needed.”
More emphasis would be put on the online streaming function, and podcasts would be introduced. They want to discuss a collaboration with Radio New Zealand and By Emma Hurley partner with local high schools to give their students opportunities to VUWSA is regaining control of Victoria’s student radio, and the earn NCEA credits at the station. The proposal will be reviewed by the VUWSA Publications Salient Editors want it to become part of Salient. Committee, once VUWSA has officially taken control of the station. VUWSA President Sonya Clark has been made a trustee of the Salient has covered the VBC over the past few years, reporting on its VBC (Victoria Broadcasting Club), and control will be transferred to limited listenership and difficulties with management and finance. VUWSA from the soon-to-be-deregistered Victoria Broadcasting Trust. In VUWSA’s 2013 referendum, students voted to keep funding the The VBC owes around $3000 of IRD debt, but Clark says this is a station. “small price to pay” for VUWSA regaining control of the station. Most students listen online, and in 2012 The Editors, Cam Price and Duncan the VBC’s peak audience was 33 listeners. The McLachlan, have proposed that the VBC streaming service currently has capacity for be renamed SalientFM and become part of 250 listeners. In 2012, the station’s peak Salient, who would hire and pay a station Massey University’s Radio Control has an audience was 33 listeners. manager. estimated listenership of 6000. They say this would make the station’s Former VBC Station Manager Rhys 2013 VUWSA referendum saw 61 governance accountable and “streamline Morgan said last year that “apart from me per cent of votes in favour of student media, allowing Salient to provide a getting paid, nothing is being invested in the continuing to fund the VBC. cross-platform student-media experience.” station… The receptionist [at VUWSA] won’t Advertising revenue would be “vastly even play us.” 2014: $130,000 funding for increased with the ability to offer advertising The VBC’s studio is in the Student Union student media; $16,306.58 packages which are spread out across the Building, behind The Hunter Lounge and went to the VBC. different mediums”. beside Salient. Students can listen at vbc.org. Salient could offer a print magazine, website, nz or 88.3FM. SalientTV and SalientFM.
the money issue
WELLINGTON STUDENT RENTS WELLINGTON STUDENT RENT NATIONAL RENT PRICES ACCOMMODATION BENEFIT (STUDENT) FOR WELLINGTON 250
NZUSA and VUWSA have criticised the lack of financial support available to Wellington students, despite ever-increasing rents. Research released by the NZUSA reveals that current levels of governmental financial support are leaving students struggling to cope with rising rental costs, causing calls for restrictions on governmental allowances to be raised. Student Allowances do have an accommodation supplement, but this differs from that set aside for other low-income New Zealanders. In contrast to the Accommodation Supplement (which is not available to students) which provides up to $145 a week, housing support for students is restricted to a maximum of $40 per week, or $60 for single parents. NZUSA President Daniel Haines said that this disparity was unfair and a dissuasion from studying. “The fact is, every other low-income New Zealander qualifies for rent assistance based on the cost of their rent; students don’t.” VUWSA President Sonya Clark said: “It seems crazy that students in Dunedin and students in Wellington get the same amount of support for accommodation costs – when flats in North Dunedin are on average around $100 a room, compared to the rents in Wellington upwards of 160 a week.”
By Steph Trengrove
GOVT NOT ACCOMMODATING FOR INCREASING RENT
THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH
“The system needs a good overhaul so that students in Wellington are adequately supported through their study.” Earlier this year, the Minister for Tertiary Education Steven Joyce refuted claims that current levels of governmental support were insufficient, saying that the system in place is “one of the most generous support systems in the world”.
94 per cent of New Zealand homes failed a trial rental WoF assessment, but a mandatory rental WoF scheme is still a long way away. 144 state homes from across New Zealand failed the new Warrant of Fitness (WoF) assessment, according to home-assessment specialists. The properties were in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The checklist contains 31 specific criteria which include general safety, weather-tightness, insulation, ventilation, appliance health, heat and light. The 94 per cent that failed did not meet at least one of the required standards. Trial organisers said that around 36 per cent of tested homes required minor fixes of under $150 to pass the WoF. Smoke-alarm batteries and water-temperature adjustments were the most basic fixes. 40 per cent of houses did not pass the water-temperature check, and 30 per cent of bedrooms did not have a working smoke alarm within three metres of the bedroom. Minister of Housing Nick Smith announced the plan for state housing in New Zealand in February. There was no plan to include
By Simon Dennis
RENTALS FALLING SHORT OF WOF; NO CHANGE IN SIGHT
IMPROVEMENTS TO RENTAL PROPERTIES WARRANTED
private rentals in the WoF testing. “Our first duty is to ensure our own house is in order,” Smith said. Smith further said that the Government will attempt to assess every state home on a “rolling three-year basis”, which would ensure sufficient upkeep to meet acceptable standards. “This Government is committed to improving the quality of housing to help achieve our goals of better social, health and educational outcomes for New Zealanders.” Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is no longer proposing a local bill on rental WoFs, as there is a private member’s bill on the same issue. The local-bill proposal was announced by Wade-Brown at a Housing Forum held at Victoria during the run-up to last year’s mayoral election, with the support of VUWSA. A spokesperson for Mayor Wade-Brown said “there’s not likely to be a ‘local bill’ as such, because it’s a very resource-intensive path to follow.” They said the Healthy Homes Bill, which is before Parliament, “calls for very similar things to what we’re wanting to achieve with the rentalWoF initiative.” “We expect [the bill] will have first reading any time from July to October; however, it could be kicked to beyond the election.” Welfare Vice-President of VUWSA, Rick Zwaan, said that VUWSA was “working closely with Council on the project, and we’re keen to get student flats involved in the next phase of the trial.” “Too many students are currently paying way too much to live in frankly unsanitary conditions. Mandatory rental WoFs are vital in helping fix this.”
CAMPUS DIGEST METH: N O T EVEN ONCE
A Victoria graduate has found new ways in which methamphetamine use can alter the brain, as part of the PhD in Biomedical Science he was awarded last week. Dr Peter Bosch focussed his research on how the brain’s natural reward pathways are strongly stimulated following exposure to methamphetamine. “We tried to study as many genes and proteins as we could, and then see what changed the most significantly following methamphetamine. We saw a number of genes and proteins which had previously been associated with the drug, but also ones which hadn’t been associated with it before.” Dr Bosch says identifying these previously undescribed genetic and protein changes represents an exciting target for future drugbased therapies in the treatment of addiction, including relapses, which are a major challenge. “There’s something going on in terms of how the brain has responded to the drug, that sets the brain up to relapse at another stage in life. By identifying the genes that have been altered, we can explore possible reasons for why some people are more vulnerable to drug relapses.”
NEO-LIBRA ECON OMICS
Adam Smith, a student from Victoria Business School, accepted the 2014 Global Enterprise Experience ANZ Champion Team Award at a function at Parliament on Tuesday night on behalf of his seven team members from Argentina, Nepal, Malaysia and Australia. Adam’s team was one of 114 teams competing in the contest. Participants came from 62 countries and were all led by New Zealand students, mainly from Victoria and Otago universities. They had three weeks to communicate in cyberspace and develop a business concept proposal on a profitable product or service that addresses the needs of youth and/or children. “Chhaupadi is a social tradition, which is now illegal but prevalent in nearly all of rural Nepal, where women are prohibited from participating in normal family activities during menstruation and cast out of the house. Due to their low income, these women cannot afford expensive, but necessary, sanitary items, and use old rags, leaves and ash instead, leaving them embarrassed and susceptible to numerous health issues,” says Adam. “My team proposed providing affordable sanitary pads to promote adaptation of healthy hygiene habits, which would hopefully reduce the stigma of menstruation and enable higher school-attendance rates among girls.”
the money issue
NEWS OF THE WORLD BY ALICE PEACOCK
LO O K WHAT T HE C AT DR AG G E D IN DU NE DIN C AT K E E P S U P S C A R F Y WAY S , T R A DE S C AT NIP F O R C A NN A B IS
A cat hailing from Dunedin returned home one evening last week dragging a five-gram bag of cannabis. The moggy’s concerned owner phoned police last Sunday reporting the haul, which is worth about $100. Local sergeant Reece Munro expressed the station’s shock at the cat’s find: “You hear of cats bringing dead birds and rats home, but I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Police have acknowledged the possibility of cats as a drug-detection tool as something that “Police could explore in the future”. The drug-trafficking feline has not been charged. NE W YO R K E R DE M A NDS CO M P E NS AT IO N E XC E E DING T HE S U M O F M O NE Y ON EARTH LIF E ’ S A B IT C H, M A N LE A R NS
New York resident Anton Purisima has filed a lawsuit demanding two undecillion dollars (US $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000) for compensation after being bitten by a dog while commuting on a bus. His claim exceeds the amount of money on earth, and is believed to be the largest sum of money ever sought in a court case. Purisima’s 22-page lawsuit claims an infected middle finger and other related injuries, along with injustices such as the alleged photographing of his ordeal by a Chinese couple during treatment at a local hospital. For good measure, the 62 year-old includes within his often-incoherent lawsuit very unrelated details of his being overcharged for coffee at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. This is not the first claim filed by Anton, who also has a history of beef with the People’s Republic of China. S O L A NG E A ND J AY- Z XO A ND M A K E U P CELEB SQUABBLE C AUSES DEMAND FOR AUDIO ON SURVEILL ANCE C AMERAS
Beyoncé’s latest ‘happy family’ Instagram posts suggest that little sister Solange Knowles and Bey’s husband Jay-Z have put all recent elevator drama behind them. A leaked video from the Standard Hotel in New York City shows Solange physically attacking Jay-Z upon entering the Hotel’s elevator after a Met Gala afterparty. A violent display of kicks and punches was unleashed on an unassuming Jay-Z up until intervention from a bodyguard. Solange’s apparently unprovoked attack on her hubby-in-law has inspired a great deal of speculation surrounding the video, the leak of which is currently under investigation by the Hotel. Beyoncé herself did not appear to be running the world at the time of this incident. The ex- Destiny’s Child musician appeared bizarrely unfazed by the attack, provoking gossip that the butt-kicking caught by Jay-Z was consequent of Jay’s flirting with another woman. Snaps from the weekend following the yearly Met Gala act to authenticate a public statement from the threesome: “We’ve put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.” Guess Bey’s love really does come out on top.
iPREDICT, YouPREDICT, WeAllPREDICT BY MITCH KEAST
or the past two years, iPredict has graced the pages of this magazine with predictions, from whether or not David Cunliffe will shave his beard before the next caucus meeting to who will win the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for US President in 2016 (#hillary2016). Using the combined wisdom of over 7000 traders, iPredict works as a forecaster to predict the outcome of social, economic, and political events. Launched two months before the 2008 election for research purposes, iPredict remains New Zealand’s only prediction market. iPredict is wholly owned by Victoria University and is staffed by students of the University. With a record for accuracy surpassing traditional political polling, iPredict is an innovative tool for gauging public opinion. H O W D O ES I T W OR K ?
iPredict allows traders to buy stocks in contracts based on real-world events. The price of each of these stocks is between $0 and $1, and is dictated by how likely that event is to occur. For example, iPredict currently has a contract on the New Zealand Prime Minister following the next General Election being from the National Party. This contract is currently priced at $0.71, which means there is a 71 per cent probability that the Prime Minister after this year’s election will be from the National Party. If traders believe the probability of the event in the contract occurring is higher than its current price, they can buy shares in that contract for the price it is trading at, in this case $0.71, which would lift the price and thus the probability. If you have shares in that contract come election time and John Key is elected for a third term, each share in that contract will pay out $1. H O W D O ES iPR EDICT S TACK U P?
iPredict enjoys an impressive record of accuracy when compared to traditional political polls. In 2008, 19 polls were published in the 60 days between iPredict’s launch and Election Day. Of those polls, iPredict was more accurate 15 of 19 times (a 79 per cent success rate). In 2011, iPredict increased its accuracy over the 51
election polls carried out in the lead-up to the 2011 General Election. Of the 51 polls, iPredict proved more accurate in 42, which equates to a success rate of 82.4 per cent. Unlike traditional polling, iPredict traders are required to put their money where their mouth is, which works to increase the accuracy of iPredict predictions. C AN iPR E D I C T B E M AN IP U L AT E D?
An important question facing any claims of accuracy is whether these predictions can be manipulated by those who are set to gain from a specific outcome. Market manipulation on iPredict is not possible, as shown from evidence of previous attempts. Any trader who intentionally trades in such a way as to try to distort the prediction will actually just create an opportunity for another trader to profit. Attempts to manipulate iPredict’s predictions never last long and inevitably end up with the manipulator losing a lot of money.
RECESSION BEFORE NEXT NEW ZEALAND GENERAL ELECTION.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TO BE MORE THAN 5.5% FOR THE JUNE 2014 QUARTER.
I T’S E L E C TI ON Y E AR ; WHAT DO E S iP R E DIC T HAV E I N TH E PI PE L I N E ?
Already, iPredict has contracts on all 71 New Zealand electorates (including Kelston and Upper Harbour, which were created following the boundary changes). In addition to the electorates, iPredict has contracts on the next Prime Minister, the predicted turnout, major/ minor party vote share, and stacks of other election-related topics (you can find these under the ‘NZ Election 2014’ category). Last election, iPredict ran contracts on the probability of changing electorate vote majorities, as well as make-up of the government post-election, and these are likely to return this year. In the coming months, iPredict will be launching contracts on issues related to the election campaign, as well as contracts on electoral majorities. H OW D O I GE T I N V OLV E D?
It’s pretty easy to get involved on iPredict. Head along to www.ipredict.co.nz and click the bright orange ‘Sign Up’ button. Simply follow the steps to create an account, activate it, and then credit it with as little as $10 to get started. If after reading this you’re still a little bit confused, don’t panic. Visit www.ipredict.co.nz and check out the tutorials page. There you’ll find tutorials on the basics, from making your first trade, to an introduction on the foreverconfusing world of short selling. Alternatively, you can email iPredict on admin@ipredict. co.nz or tweet us @iPredictNZ with any other questions.
NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT TO ACHIEVE BUDGET SURPLUS IN 2015/16.
US ECONOMY TO BE IN RECESSION IN 2014.
NZ CPI INFLATION TO BE GREATER THAN 2.4% IN 2014/15.
? e s r A e h t n i n i A P A TP cCluskey by Jordan M
Jordan McCluskey takes a look at the hazards of the might not surprise you that the TPPA is not something being forced on New Zealand, but Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
ew Zealand is dependent on foreign trade to support our economy. Extractive industries came first for the kauri, gold, whale oil and seal furs. Following colonial wars of dispossession against Māori, the land was then terraformed into being suitable for the production of meat and dairy for the market of the British Empire. Britain took almost all our meat and dairy, until in 1973 it joined the European Economic Community. Aotearoa pivoted to 14
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Asia for trade from the 1970s and became highly respected around the world as tough but innovative trade enthusiasts. Following the Rogernomics reforms of agriculture, almost all tariffs and subsidies were removed from the New Zealand economy because the country could no longer afford them. New Zealand’s reputation in the area of free trade became purer than pure, the holy grail and the greatest example of free trade to the world. With this context in mind, it
was in fact the creation of New Zealand trade negotiators. Initially between the Pacific Rim countries of Brunei, Singapore, Chile and New Zealand, it piqued the interest of the United States, who expressed interest, leading to the current fit of excitement by our government. The TPPA isn’t the world’s first Regional Trade Agreement, not by a long shot. The European Union is a customs union, with a shared currency and no tariffs between member states (filthy subsidies, though;
“The benefits of free trade are so well known, they are almost a cliché. More trade, more jobs, more economic growth. If the TPPA was purely about the reduction of tariffs, and the elimination of subsidies (filthy subsidies), it would have my full support. But it is not, and the TPPA has a dark side.” filthy, filthy subsidies). NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) created a free trade zone between Canada, Mexico and the United States under Bill Clinton. Mercosur has created a free-trade zone incorporating most of South America. The problem with RTAs is that they tend to be dominated by the interests of the larger states. The EU is dominated by Germany, NAFTA by the United States, and Mercosur by Brazil. The WTO (World Trade Organisation) actually frowns on RTAs, and prefers that states work towards bilateral (state-to-state) trade agreements, in order to work towards the WTO’s overarching goal of a completely free-trade world. So a small, relatively niche RTA gained the interest of the United States, and following them, Australia, Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan and Canada entered negotiations. China also wants in on TPPA negotiations, but the United States is resisting. New Zealand has allowed the United States into the TPPA negotiations to try to gain the Hogwarts House Cup of our trade negotiators for four decades: Free Trade with the USA. Previous attempts have been scuttled by David Lange refusing to allow nuclear ships to enter our waters, and Helen Clark refusing to invade the Middle East with George W Bush. Essentially, the TPPA is our silver medal, a backdoor way to try to get free trade with the United States. The benefits of free trade are so well known, they are almost a cliché. More trade, more jobs, more economic growth. If the TPPA was purely about the reduction of
tariffs, and the elimination of subsidies (filthy subsidies), it would have my full support. But it is not, and the TPPA has a dark side. The TPPA contains provisions introduced by the United States relating to intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and investor–state arbitration. There are also complaints that as trade negotiations go, the TPPA has set new standards in terms of secrecy and lack of disclosure to the citizens of states who may enter into it. Intellectual-property changes would make it easier for members to sue each other in the other nation’s courts over issues in dispute. Multinational corporations could sue governments that disadvantage the corporation with legislation or regulations relating to intellectual property or copyright. The provisions relating to pharmaceuticals would require New Zealand to disestablish Pharmac. Pharmac purchases drugs on behalf of the New Zealand government as cheaply as possible, filtering down to you in the form of cheap, readily available drugs and medicines. This would be destroyed in favour of American drugs which may be more effective, but also far more expensive under the TPPA. Of the potential negatives of the TPPA, the investor–state arbitration is possibly the most damaging. If a government changes the law in a way that disadvantages a product, say for example tobacco, the tobacco company or its host government could then sue the offending country’s
government for hundreds of millions of dollars in that country’s own courts. This is, without a doubt, a damaging attack on the sovereignty of the nation state. The freedom to regulate and legislate for our own people would be seriously harmed by entering into the TPPA. The TPPA would also have a destructive effect on how New Zealand manages its environment, regarded as one of the most pristine biospheres left on the Earth. Water quality, energy usage and oil-drilling decisions could all be challenged under investor–state arbitration provisions. New Zealand is a nation of free traders, with an economy built on the lifeblood of international trade. Without it, our country would be a third-rate banana republic. We have, however, become so invested in our reputation as the world’s most ideologically pure free traders that we have lost sight of the reason our country pursues free trade: to make our country richer, not poorer. I would argue that the primary reason our country is pursuing the TPPA is to gain backdoor entry to free trade with the United States. There is no need to accept a trade agreement with the kind of fish-hooks the TPPA has in it. As of last month, China is now the world’s largest economy according to the IMF. We already have free trade with China. In the coming decades, the United States will come to us asking for a free-trade agreement; we need only wait. Only fools rush in to harmful Regional Trade Agreements. l
Jordan is a present and past politics columnist (Freddie who?) for Salient, retired student politician and free-trade zealot. He spends too much time on Twitter (@JordanMcCluskey).
Top 5 Bandwagons Being Jumped On
Sports banter BY OL L I E R I T C H I E
A DA M S ’ S
S E T
aybe the biggest and toughest basketball league in the world was exactly what Steven Adams needed. The Oklahoma City Thunder is certainly getting its money’s worth with Adams. Which, compared to some of its superstar roster, is not actually that much. Adams is quickly proving to be one of the finds of last year’s NBA Draft, averaging over three points and four rebounds per game, and his Kiwi charm is making him a very likeable figure throughout the NBA. Not with everyone, though. Adams has already seen himself involved in altercations, which have resulted in star players such as Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson being either ejected from the game or suspended. Maybe this is what helped the Thunder advance in Game Seven of the first round of the playoffs. Now his Oklahoma City Thunder team find themselves in the Western Conference Finals, and Adams is going to have an even bigger role to play than before. The Thunder have lost star centre-forward Serge Ibaka to a calf injury which has put a serious dent in the Thunder’s hopes of advancing to the NBA Finals.
the money issue
I NC R E A S E
And here’s the change: Adams has already been immense this post-season for the Thunder, playing a massive role in their Conference Semis win over the LA Clippers (damn you, Stevie). But this injury to Ibaka will see a massive increase in playing time for Adams. Nick Collison will most likely get the start; however, Adams will be playing big minutes off the bench to add to his 40 in Game Six against the Clippers. If OKC go small, then Adams’ defence will be critical against Tiago Splitter, or even the great Tim Duncan in the post. Adams’ shot-blocking ability will also be critical here, as Ibaka is the current league leader in blocked shots, something OKC will greatly miss against the Spurs. I don’t think anyone probably imagined Adams would have this great a role to play in his opening season in the NBA. But no one doubted how ready he is for the big stage. He’s been huge so far for OKC in the postseason, and expect that intensity to go up another level as they look to advance past the Spurs to head to their second NBA Finals in three years. I’m picking this series to go to seven, with OKC picking up the crucial away win to take the series.
5. A D A M S C O T T – After his amazing Masters win in 2013 and his recent world number-one ranking, I’m sure there are now a lot of Adam Scott fans out there. Or is back to Bubba Watson now? Who knows, but Adam Scott is sure to have acquired a whole lot of new ‘loyal’ fans. 4. M A N C H E S T E R C I T Y – Or was it Manchester United? Well it’s sure to be City now after their recent heroics in the Premier League. I’m sure these fans will stay loyal, but depending on how United go with their new manager next season, I’m sure there will be a few that jump back to renew their Old Trafford season tickets. 3. M I A M I H E AT – Back in 2010 when LeBron James joined the Miami Heat, I think a lot of fans came with him. Great for the Heat team, but you have to feel for the Cavs. Lost their superstar and probably a whole lot of fans too. The fact that the Heat keep on winning can’t be hurting them either. Go Miami/LeBron/ whichever team he joins next. 2. Q U E E N S L A N D M A R O O N S – Let’s be honest, NSW fans: things probably aren’t about to get any easier for you. With Queensland naming a squad that looks almost identical to their previous eight, now might be a great time to start claiming your allegiance to the mighty men in Maroon. Number nine on its way? Most likely. 1. C H I E F S – They win a couple of titles and suddenly they have the best fans in Super Rugby? Funny, these ‘fans’ were nowhere to be seen a few years ago when the Chiefs could hardly win a game. Even those who were born and bred in the Waikato have just started loving them again. And this ‘love’ is suddenly spreading the country. Interesting. The Crusaders haven’t won a title since 2008 and their fans continue to attend games week in week out. Real fans.
The Bone Zone W I T H C U P I E H O ODW I N K
“It’s just, ahhh, a little crush…”
o said Jennifer Paige in her opus on the human condition: 1998’s smash hit ‘Crush’. Everyone loves a crush. The loaded invitations for coffee. The butterflies in your stomach every time you see them. The tantalising hints of what could be… I had a crush once. He was beautiful. A moderately well-known Wellington personality, he was not so well-known so as to be out of my league, but well-known enough that it wasn’t weird that I knew his name and what he looked like with his shirt off despite our never having met. It started, as all crushes do, rather innocently. Single, bored, and lacking any other promising leads, I was on the lookout for someone to fill the gaping crush-shaped hole in my life. A crush, I reasoned, would give me a romantic raison d’être in the otherwise barren land of singledom. He was unattached, good friends with people I knew, and just happened to work locally too. There was, therefore, a small chance something could eventually happen, but given that I hadn’t even met him yet, I was safe to merely crush from afar for as long as I wanted. What began innocently, of course, soon spiralled out of control. I made strange excuses to pass by his workplace, spending more money there than was advisable, given my poor financial situation at the time. I fabricated personality traits for him that I had no idea whether he even possessed, but was sure – in my heart – that he did. What was meant to be a fun and flirty distraction had soon become a receptacle for all my hopes and dreams. In short, he was my perfect man, and yet, he didn’t even know my name. My crush had consumed me. It had taken over my life, and it
had to be stopped. And thankfully, it eventually did. Unfortunately, not before I had decided it would be a good idea to build a shrine for him inside my wardrobe, but fortunately, before I decided it would be a good idea to tell him I had built a shrine for him inside my wardrobe. I realise, dear readers, that at this point you’re probably thinking I am completely insane. And I absolutely was. So let this be a cautionary tale: crushes can be great, but they can also ruin you. Don’t get me wrong: those fleeting feelings of excitement at the start of a possible romance are exhilarating and completely natural. But they should be exactly that – fleeting. Left to linger, a crush can quickly turn into an unhealthy obsession. Slave to your unruly emotions, you will put your crush on an impossible pedestal of amazing; won’t be able to remember a time when your day wasn’t scheduled around talking to them, and will become blind to all the other (and probably better) potential romantic interests that are right before your very eyes. A crush on its own is useless. Sure, it’s fun to be infatuated for the first wee while, but infatuation on its own ain’t gonna get you anywhere. No matter how many times you draw their name in love hearts on your tutorial handouts, it won’t change your chances of turning this dream into a reality. If you like someone, the only way things will happen is if you actually do something about it – introduce yourself; get to know them; flirt with them; ask them out, or just tell them how you feel. If your crush is explicitly unrequited, however, then you just have accept that – for now at least – their mind is made up. That’s not to say this situation won’t ever change, but the chances of it changing when you’re still very much into them but think you’re playing it cool when the only difference between then and now is that you’ve dropped the ‘x’ from the end of your texts is very unlikely. If the life you’re living is one dedicated to making them change their mind or making them jealous, then it’s one barely lived at all. By all means, go out and pash all the hotties in da club, but do it because you want to, not because you want someone else to want you. Don’t let those crushes get you down, Cupie xx
Oh honey, you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about! Of all the things it’s done to the dating world, one really positive thing Tinder has achieved is destroying the notion that online dating is only for sad old people and weirdos. Put it down to its ease of use, its fun and friendly interface, or just how goddamn quick it is to set up an account, Tinder has made the whole process so chill it’s more drinking game than dating app. Half the fun is finding people you know and then using Tinder to chat them instead of wasting your txt allocation for the month. If you’re really that worried, you can always just say your mates made the profile for you when you were drunk. So go on, get swiping! Tip of the Week:
Whether it’s because you’re in the throes of a one-night stand you’re beginning to regret and just want to get it over and done with, or you’ve been going out with someone for so long that you’ve got sex down to a fixed routine, foreplay is far too often overlooked in the bedroom. Foreplay – whether it’s smooching, cuddling, stroking, hand jobs, oral, or a tasty combination thereof – is often considered merely a necessary entrée to be endured until you’re wet/hard enough to move on to the main course of banging. And this, my dears, is a travesty. Foreplay is fucking awesome, and is more than capable of being totally satisfying on its very own – but not if we treat it as merely going through the motions. Enjoying and making the most of whatever it is you like to do pre-coitus will ensure that you are both relaxed and fully turned on, which studies show makes for 69 per cent more-mind-blowing sex.
S E X UA L C O N TA C T S : G ot a burning question for C upie ? A sk her about all mat ters of the heart … and other rom antic organs , anonym ously at ask . fm /C upie H oodwi nk . G ot
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I want to try out tindr but at the same time I’m afraid someone I know will find me. What should I do?
or pop in to their clinics at
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Welcome to this non-interactive interaction aiming to equip you with some basic snippets of financial literacy. No! Walk back over here! It is important that you learn. I will try to make it entertaining. There will be a quiz at the end because I am self-indulgent to see if you have retained anything. As far as financial-literacy pieces go, this one will be bitingly honest. “I just found a pimple in one of my eyebrows” honest. But also financially honest. I will mention the time I spent a day’s worth of my Wholly Bagels wages on a first-year Classics textbook at Arty Bees despite (a) being in seventh form, (b) not studying classics, and (c) the internet existing. I ask you. Personal finance is a sensitive issue because people have differing amounts of money and differing amounts of knowledge about money. One doesn’t cause the other: whenever you read anything that says “people without money are just bad budgeters”, you 18
the money issue
should sound the liberal alarm (a seal noise, in memory of all the seals that Bob Jones has personally clubbed). It’s difficult to know where to pitch lessons about this stuff, too, because you don’t want to assume people know more or less than they do. I could try to get academic about this, and (in keeping with what I think being an academic would involve) go back to theories about money so no one can challenge me on the impracticality of my suggestion. The central concept in finance (which I learned from a Finance paper, so you are getting the knowledge for a fucking song) is that money has a time value. A dollar now can be worth more or less to you than a dollar in the future. To figure out whether it’s worth buying or selling something today, you add up the total income you will receive from it in the future. The textbooks use disgusting anatomical phrases like “income stream” and “cash flow”, which makes you think the Mooncup is the only real logical corollary
of corporate-finance theory. Anyway, when you’re adding up this income, you have to account for the interest you will earn if you buy it today, or will miss out on if you sell it today. Are you satisfied? I tell you, if Blinglish put it this simply, it’d be mansplaining. The central concept of economics gets us closer: trade-offs. Trade-offs are why you get mad at your friend for never coming to social events that require them to pay for food, and then—TWIST—that friend goes on a bitchin’ holiday and you are left on Ghuznee St bitchin’ over $15 muesli. (This example is way less fun when it’s more realistic.) I have exhausted all of my patience for properly explaining things, which means that all that is left is the humble emotional appeal. Here it goes. Do you ever get anxious and stressed and avoid thinking about things because you don’t know that much about them and you’ll never be an expert so why bother? And it’s like, “I haven’t done washing in three weeks and you’re asking me about whether I would notice if I added more to my KiwiSaver every week?” or, “I will make
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a budget as soon as I have completed this Facebook friend cull/run this bath/made this pasta bake.” This is pretty common. I think this is why a lot of us feel like we’re so bad with money. It’s a self-castigating line of reasoning, that whole “I am too far behind to ever catch up so why bother” thing. It’s stopped me from joining DebSoc and dating casually. I guess we’ll never know what I could have been like. I know it SOUNDS LIKE these are surface-level jokes with no solution or even relevance to financial literacy but— TWIST—I have identified something that I think you should take from this. You can get most financial advice from better places than me. But I am just as good a person as any to tell you to STOP BUYING FOOD AT UNI YOU KNOW THAT IS WHY YOU NEVER HAVE ANY MONEY DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH YOU WOULD SAVE IF YOU JUST MADE STUFF AT HOME AND TOOK IT TO UNI I KNOW KRISHNA IS CHEAP I KNOW HUNTER LOUNGE IS RELATIVELY
$ $ $
“Do you ever get anxious and stressed and avoid thinking about things because you don’t know that much about them and you’ll never be an expert so why bother? And it’s like, “I haven’t done washing in three weeks and you’re asking me about whether I would notice if I added more to my KiwiSaver every week?” or, “I will make a budget as soon as I have completed this Facebook friend cull/ run this bath/made this pasta bake.”“ CHEAP BUT YOU KNOW WHAT IS CHEAPER BRINGING FUCKING LENTIL SOUP THAT’S WHAT LOOK I’M NOT YELLING I’M JUST PASSIONATE. Being told that you are bad at stuff or need to try harder at stuff is difficult. That is why I am trying to couch this message in rainbows. Financial literacy is important, and it is not actually that funny that a lot of people have a poor understanding of their money. Start trying to learn about it now; you’ll get better faster than if you started later. Remember, we are all just trying to get to the next warp room in the game of life. Now, I promised you a quiz, and I am a woman of my (tangential, convoluted, overly embellished) word.
ONE: How do you stop your aunts and uncles fighting? A: Invent a time machine and stop your grandfather giving unsecured Bridgecorp securities an $120,000 hoon. TWO: This one is set out like an NCEA Level 1 Biology Merit question. You’re in
the club and someone starts grinding on you being all, “Mmm, you’re so intelligent, the Bechdel test is so rarely satisfied, can I borrow $8 and pay you back $10 later?” Identify the two different kinds of interest at play here and explain which is more likely to end in tears. THREE: Did you hear about the paternalist peak-hour conductor who kept nudging people off the train? FOUR: Who can you trust? A: No one. (TWIST (not actually a twist; I think you knew that already)). Markets assume you’re rational, and they take no responsibility for the consequences of your actions if they turn out badly for you. Governments have to take responsibility. There are lots of arguments over whether they are doing this well or even at all. FIVE: Okay, this isn’t a question, but if you have a solid-enough understanding of defamation law to help me out should Bob Jones deny having clubbed any seals, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line “BOB LOBLAW LOBS LAW BOMB”. l email@example.com
AS STUDENTS, WE COMPLAIN ABOUT WORK AND INCOME SUBJECTING US TO ENDLESS LOOPS OF DAVE DOBBYN WHILE WE WAIT TO UPDATE OUR STUDENT ALLOWANCE DETAILS. THE WINZ EXPERIENCE IS FAR WORSE FOR THOSE SOCIETY VIEWS LESS FAVOURABLY. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE’RE NO LONGER PROTECTED BY THE SAFETY NET OF A STUDENT LOAN?
ydia Stott was looking for work in the film and television industry. Lydia signed up with WINZ for Jobseeker Support – receiving a benefit of around $170 per week. She was, after all, a job-seeker. After a few weeks, Lydia was offered unpaid work experience on a film set. Excited, she informed her case manager of the opportunity. Lydia’s case manager told her that being on Jobseeker Support required her to be available for work at all times; working on this film would make her unavailable. WINZ made Lydia attend the same one-day course, five days in a row, to prove she was keeping herself available for work – preventing her from working on the film set during the day. Many of us take for granted that we have to work for a living. We assume everyone can, and wants to, work. Of course, there are alternatives. We could become communists. We could live off the land, grow vegetables, and warm our feet by a fire while warning our children of the mysterious beast called Capitalism. A society that works to live requires a social-security system to support those who become incapacitated from employment. The system must address recognised social contingencies – sickness, unemployment, maternity, employment injury, invalidity, old age, death, the need for medical care, and child rearing. The idea that the state has an obligation to provide support when a person is incapacitated by these contingencies is relatively new – our state welfare system has only been in place since the institution of the Social Security Act 1938. The founding principle of our system is simple: social security is the responsibility of the community, and the state’s role is to redistribute income to ensure everyone lives with dignity. The aim of our system is to sustain life and health, and empower everyone to participate in the community. Government welfare reforms and loud bigoted opinions are increasingly frustrating this goal. Welfare Law Lecturer at Victoria University, Māmari Stephens, writes 20
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test is for the job, not for the benefit, there are some obligations beneficiaries must satisfy to retain government support. Recipients of Jobseeker Support are obliged to ensure dependent children in their care have access to health services and education – WINZ decides whether they are parenting in the ‘right way’ or not. Jobseekers also have to attend any work training WINZ requests – whether they’re interested in that sort of work or not – as we saw with Lydia. Suddenly, the Government has the power to tell benefit recipients how to care for their children, and what kind of work they should do. The Government doesn’t have this kind of power over income-earners. They can do whatever work makes them happy, and make their own decisions about how to educate their children. It’s pretty disgusting that just because people need financial assistance, the Government starts taking control of their lives. Why should the Government dictate that paid employment trumps volunteering and parenting? This moral direction of beneficiaries is what a needs-based system enables. Our welfare system, and the way we think about it, suggests the Government is doing beneficiaries a ‘favour’ by supporting them, and beneficiaries should be grateful. This logic was articulated by J. K. Rowling, who agreed with Jon Stewart that she is “the perfect example of a good investment from the government.” Rowling said she chose to stay in the UK so that she could pay tax – she felt she “owed” the Government for their support. This rhetoric explains why we’re not outraged by the fact that people aged 65+ are paid $300 a week just for being old. Most social security goes to old people who have other sources of income. Why isn’t this allocation of state resources more contentious? Baby Boomers aren’t getting any younger; they’re about to cost us a whole lotta money. If they’ve been paying tax all their lives, aren’t they entitled firstname.lastname@example.org
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change to alter entrenched attitudes towards benefit recipients. But we should at least think of social security as a right. Rather than beneficiaries owing a debt to the Government, surely the Government owes its citizens the means to enjoy full participation in the community it controls, if people can’t achieve it themselves. Basic human welfare is not just something we need, but something we have a right to as citizens. The Green Party’s Income Support Policy proposes to investigate the institution of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), exemplifying the conception of social security as a human right. A UBI removes targeting and discrimination between people by transferring a basic income to everyone aged 18+. Citizens can then choose to work and earn money to supplement this, or can live comfortably while they study, parent, volunteer, or write the next Harry Potter. Under Gareth Morgan’s proposed UBI, the Big Kahuna, students would be paid $8500
per year – enough to live on, frugally. With some part-time work, there’d be no need for a student loan for living costs. Students over 20 would be paid $11,000. Tax rates on wages would go up, but it sounds worth it for eight grand in the hand, right? Lydia could have spent time completing work experience, rather than sitting through irrelevant seminars. It’s a contradiction that when it comes to participation in the marketplace, the Government promotes individual freedom, yet when the market fails to provide, the Government becomes paternalistic and dictates how people should live. Lydia had an opportunity to enter the working community she wanted, and WINZ said no because it didn’t meet their requirements. WINZ shoot themselves in the foot when they refuse to respect individuality and give people the social security that is rightfully theirs as a citizen of New Zealand. And they call it Jobseeker Support. l
E P O H E G P T N O S I H E T R A G E L T N T F S I E N N T I I R A E L G T F N I N N I I S A G E N I R S C IINNCREA
NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT MONETARY POLICY IS NOR DO WE UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS. RESIDENT POLITICAL COMMENTATOR JADE D’HACK EXPLAINS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT AND THE WAYS IT AFFECTS OUR LIVES.
e should never think that we cannot do better. 147,000 New Zealanders are currently unemployed – forced to rely on the scraps of government handouts, workless in a society where work is what we value most. We entertain far more struggle than we should. But dare mention
consumer price indices or official cash rates in friendly conversation, and you’ll be met with glazed-over eyes. Monetary policy may be the most important thing a government does, but we don’t care about it because we don’t understand. This week, I have abandoned my usual column space to figure out why.
A BY JADE D’H
A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF MONEY
The history of money is the history of the business cycle – the coming and going of good times and bad. Until the ‘30s, economists didn’t think money mattered. Economies could find their own equilibrium, supply create its own demand. While shifting economic realities could temporarily leave workers without work, there was no possibility of a general glut. One area of the economy could only have unallocated resources if another didn’t have enough. email@example.com
INFLATION: The reason you can’t buy five-cent lolly mixes. Prices and wages generally rise over time; something that cost $1 in 1970 would cost $14 now.
CPI: The Consumer Price Index, New Zealand’s main measure of inflation. INTEREST: The extra money you get if you leave your savings in a bank, or the extra money you have to pay if you borrow from a bank.
EXCHANGE RATE: The amount of one currency it costs to buy another. CENTRAL BANK: A government organisation that controls money and interest. We call ours the Reserve Bank. OCR: The Official Cash Rate, the interest rate that the central bank controls, allowing them to control all other interest rates.
MONETARY POLICY: Government policies that affect the quantity of money, interest rates and exchange rates.
Money was helpful – it’s a hassle bartering your cattle for a pint of your neighbour’s beer – but it had no role beyond lubrication. Unfortunately, reality didn’t abide. In late 1929, financial crisis struck the global economy. The Great Depression had arrived. Businesses closed. Men couldn’t find jobs. Families starved. The gross scale of the unemployment proved economic slowdowns were not just uneasy transitions, but the economic orthodoxy couldn’t understand. Enter John Maynard Keynes. In The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money he argued the Depression was caused by insufficient economic demand. People weren’t spending enough, and the solution had to involve governments reducing interest rates. For the first time, money mattered. Not long after the General Theory was published, World War Two began, and Keynes died in 1946. His theories were abandoned to the thinking of others. An awkward combination of Keynesian macroeconomics and classical microeconomics emerged, agreeing that governments should lower interest rates to encourage spending but without understanding why. In 1958, William Phillips discovered the Phillips curve, thus becoming the first and last Kiwi economist to ever discover anything. The Phillips curve showed economies tended to either have high inflation or high unemployment. Happy to sacrifice the former, Keynesians controlling the world’s central banks reduced interest rates, providing jobs for anybody willing to 24
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work. Milton Friedman was unimpressed. He and his Monetarist friends accepted that a lack of demand could induce depressions and that governments needed to fix help that. But they thought the study of money was crucial to understanding why. If the amount of money doubles but prices double too, nothing has really changed. Money shortages cause demand shortages only when prices and wages can’t shrink. But they always shrink eventually, so monetary stimulus cannot last forever. The Monetarists detested the Phillips curve because they thought it worked only through deceit. Unexpected inflation boosts employment by tricking people into thinking that their wages are higher than they actually are. But as soon as workers wise up, the Phillips curve would be lost. History proved them right. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, governments found the price of low unemployment was ever-higher inflation. The Monetarists were welcomed into the world’s central banks, soon implementing strict policy rules which – though imperfect even by their own analysis – reduced inflation and stabilised incomes. In some sense, the Monetarists strengthened the Keynesians; in another sense, they killed them altogether. We call the current paradigm ‘New Keynesianism’, but ‘New Monetarism’ would work just as well: macroeconomic models are built from microeconomic foundations, strict policy rules are favoured, and monetary policy has
been relegated to recession-avoidance, not permanently increasing employment. For three decades, the New Keynesians ruled in peace. But in 2008, the financial beast upon which we all rode was spooked, throwing us into sudden recession. Though the New Keynesians were shocked, they quickly rallied, drafting policy proposals to combat the panic. It was then that the greater shock hit. The proposals they drafted looked nothing alike.
THE QUESTION WITH A THOUSAND ANSWERS
New Keynesianism is not a tidy model or a policy agenda. It is a research project into how dynamic economies can permit occasions of deep suffering. Since 2009, the number of ways that question can be answered has become overwhelming. It would be nice to agree on how monetary policy actually works. When it wants to spur the economy, the Reserve Bank reduces interest rates through the Official Cash Rate. But why does that work? Do interest-rate reductions directly induce investment by making borrowing cheaper? Do lower interest rates mean more money printed, higher inflation and therefore lower real wages, allowing businesses to hire more people more cheaply? Or is it to do with exchange rates, with lower interest rates making our currency unappealing to speculators, reducing our dollar and making exports more valuable? This is a fairly basic question, but it’s one with many answers. And that answer matters. If monetary policy only works because it can lower interest rates, monetary policy won’t always work at all. It’s impossible for bank interest rates to be lower than zero per cent – if they were, we would use cash instead. In the current recession, many central banks have lowered their interest rates to zero. To do any more, they must rely on new tools like quantitative easing, where they print money to buy corporate bonds. But if monetary policy works only through interest rates, it’s unclear that quantitative easing will achieve anything. There are an infinity of other questions.
FREQUENT READERS OF MY COLUMN MIGHT HAVE DEDUCED A SUBTLE CYNICISM THAT PERVADES MY USUAL ANALYSIS, A PRESUMPTION THAT – WHETHER THEY KNOW IT OR NOT – THE THINGS OUR LEADERS CHASE AFTER ARE RARELY IN OUR INTEREST. YOU’LL BE RELIEVED TO KNOW THAT WHEN IT COMES TO MONEY, I DON’T BLAME THE POLITICIANS. WITH SO MUCH DISAGREEMENT EVEN AMONG THE GOVERNORS OF CENTRAL BANKS AND UNIVERSITY CHAIR PROFESSORS, THERE IS NO HOPE FOR POLITICIANS. AMID ALL THIS UNCERTAINTY, ANYTHING CAN BE JUSTIFIED. AND QUITE OFTEN IT IS.
How best can we think of confidence? If people expect the economy to grow, they’ll hire more workers in anticipation, fulfilling their own prophecy. But can we manufacture optimism? And then there’s the ‘credit channel’. There’s ‘efficiency wages’, ‘wealth channels’ and ‘labour market matching frictions’. There are methodological issues like whether markets should be used as forecasts. I could go on, but I won’t. I know you’re confused. The problem is the New Keynesians are too. And it gets worse. Snatching at the ankles of the New Keynesians are the others who claim to be monetary king. There are the Austrians who detest the central bank. According to them, governments perverting the interest rate are spreading lies about the benefits of investment. Whereas natural changes in interest correspond to changes in savings, forced changes let people borrow money that doesn’t exist. This encourages overinvestment and price bubbles, cysts filled with false money that must inevitably be lanced. When the bubble collapses, it brings the economy with it. In trying to prevent recessions, central banks create them. There are the post-Keynesians – they also hate bubbles, but they blame the banks. For all their sophistication, New Keynesians barely give much thought to the financial
sector. Post-Keynesians – Keynes’ apparent true successors – consider banks crucial. But the way banks work is complex. Failure to recognise this leads to bubbling and collapse. The Austrians and post-Keynesians haven’t convinced mainstream economists, but by talking about bubbles they’ve influenced public discourse nonetheless. (If you’re ever talking to an Austrian or a post-Keynesian, ensure you point out this similarity. Austrians are libertarians, postKeynesians generally leftists. They do not enjoy the comparison.) Then there are the Real Business Cycle Theorists – stalwarts of the same monetary apathy that fuelled the pre-Keynesian era, albeit now with more mathematical sophistication. They argue that if our problems are monetary, our recession should be over. It’s been six years: prices have had more than enough chance to adjust. Our real problems are structural. Perhaps the crash convinced employers to fire their worst workers who no one wants to hire. Perhaps it hastened the robotic automation of our economy. If that’s the case, then no amount of money can bring the jobs home. There are the Modern Monetary Theorists and the Marxians, the circuitists, neoRicardians and neo-mercantilists. There are a thousand vying theories. The only consensus among macroeconomists is that one of these
ideas is obviously right. It’s unfortunate that they disagree which.
NO HOPE FOR REASON
Frequent readers of my column might have deduced a subtle cynicism that pervades my usual analysis, a presumption that – whether they know it or not – the things our leaders chase after are rarely in our interest. You’ll be relieved to know that when it comes to money, I don’t blame the politicians. With so much disagreement even among the governors of central banks and university chair professors, there is no hope for politicians. Amid all this uncertainty, anything can be justified. And quite often it is. Perhaps by meddling with money, we risk distorting the very basis of our economy, causing the recessions we are trying to avoid. Perhaps we’re not meddling enough. It’s not just that we don’t know. It’s that we can’t. Macroeconomic models aim to predict the outcome of a million daily decisions. That’s impossible. We’ve got to get used to the idea that we don’t understand the most important forces in our society, that the social determinants of our happiness will be forever unknown. We shouldn’t think that we cannot do better. But it’s time to accept that we cannot know how. l firstname.lastname@example.org
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE
CHIEF ECONOMIST DUNCAN AND CAM CHATTED TO CHIEF ECONOMIST OF THE TREASURY, DR GIROL KARACAOGLU, THE MAN WHO CONTROLS THE LEVERS OF THE ECONOMY. ON THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY: We just completed our economic forecast. If you look at the timeline for this forecast, it is about five years. In the next two or three years we are definitely seeing a significant recovery in the economy, in fact even exceeding what we refer to in economics as our potential growth rate. The growth is going up to about three per cent, but stays there for only two or three years. The fundamental challenge, therefore, for the economy is: how do you increase that growth rate so that it is at a sustainable level and it does not peak and then come back? And during this phase, when it is actually pretty strong, what measures do you put in place to make sure it doesnâ€™t damage the possibility of getting to a higher plateau? And thatâ€™s why there is a lot of focus on controlling the level of government expenditure and its composition and repaying debt, because all these things put pressure on growth prospects.
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ON WHAT ALL THIS GROWTH MEANS FOR US: For young people like you, it is two or three things. Because I have children your age. One is obviously employment prospects. One of the things that is happening right now is, all of a sudden, instead of a lot of young people leaving to Australia, now net migration figures have started positively increasing. Young people are now finding prospects here better, relative to Australia. The other element is of course income. Because if the economy picks up, hopefully wages or real income should be higher. The third element is how it affects a New Zealander owning a home. Is it making homes more or less expensive? The fourth area is where do you want to live within NZ. I mean, there is a lot of movement to Auckland, and regional policy offers the prospect of people living a good life in all parts of NZ.
ON SUPERANNUATION: Is there equity between generations? Because the young pay and the old benefit. And if you have a population where the old relative to the young is exploding over the next few years, then you have huge challenges. How do you pay for that? Starting today, so it is not only can we afford it, but also, there is an intergenerational issue of fairness. [Current] Superannuation is absolutely fair, in the sense that everyone is aware of those long-term challenges. No one denies that when you look 50 years ahead, we have these pressures coming. The debate, which is a fairminded debate, is what do we do about it? And secondly, how urgent is it? Do we need to start facing it right now, or can we wait a bit longer? And the third element (which is the how): is there already natural behavioural dynamics which people are adjusting to? Do we need to play with any policy levers? Those are the issues.
“THIS IS VERY DEAR TO MY HEART BECAUSE I HAVE LIVED WITH THREE TEENAGERS AND ALL THEIR FRIENDS, BECAUSE OUR HOME WAS LIKE AN OPEN HOME FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE. AND MY OBSESSION WITH ALL THOSE KIDS WAS TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT SAVING. AND BECAUSE I USED TO DO IT TOWARDS THE END OF THE MEAL, THEY WOULD ALWAYS SAY, “THAT WAS A REALLY FANTASTIC MEAL, THANK YOU,” AND LEAVE THE TABLE.” ON THE LIVING STANDARDS FRAMEWORK WHICH TREASURY IS DEVELOPING: At this point, the Living Standards framework is nothing more than an encouragement to all our analysts across the Treasury, and also in our interactions with people from across the public sector, to think of the impact of policy as well as the way that we develop policy and its broader consequences. We are just encouraging you to think more broadly, and those dimensions you have are not going to be the be-all and end-all; this is just a suggestion. So, for example, some people put a culture dimension onto it. If you are using it in an economic sense, you may ask: can we afford it? In our environmental discussion: what is the impact on the environment? We have about ten teams in the Treasury who are trialling it. The other thing that it does which is very heartwarming is it surprises you with what you come up with. For example, when the defence team used it, the starting point was always to the risk-management side of the living standards, because defence is all about protecting. After a lot of conversations among themselves, they quickly came to the decision that if anyone seriously wanted to invade New Zealand, they will do it in two hours. So this defence thing is not about risk management and protecting us. It is all about social infrastructure in the wider Pacific, actually. Most of the effort goes into working with those communities: building bridges etc. The other thing is that it brings people who start from totally different corners in a discussion and say: okay, if we were to use this framework and have a rich discussion about this, what sort of policies may help us? ON WHETHER THE LIVING STANDARDS FRAMEWORK WILL MAKE TREASURY REPORTS MORE OF A POLITICAL TOOL: If there are trade-offs, then of course different governments will have different weighting put on those different dimensions. Some government might say they care more about
economic growth. Other governments will care more about the environment. The other thing we are trying to do is finding a way of asking the people how they will weight these things. We are trying by very clever questioning to reveal your preferences. So that would be another way of holding the mirror and going: okay, if we have a choice between a person having another ten dollars in their pockets or someone else not going home with food, then how would you, as a New Zealander, react to that, and trying to ascertain that. ON WHETHER THE LIVING STANDARDS FRAMEWORK WILL HELP DISPEL THE PERCEPTION THAT IT IS A RIGHT-WING THINK TANK: Well, there was that perception. I am hoping that in the last few years that has dissipated, because we have done a lot of talking about these. And yes, it will be because the Living Standards framework has been very well received. Both across the public sector and in the wider public arena. The challenge we face, however, [is] to actually be really informing and framing policy advice, and that is really difficult because as you can imagine, it is very easy to solve a problem if you are optimising one function versus trying to come up with an optimal policy solution when you have five dimensions. And that is very messy. It just relies on people’s acceptance that not everything will be solved quantitatively. It’s getting to a point where analysis doesn’t have to be purely technical analysis. ON STEM FUNDING FOR UNIVERSITIES: If you look at the Government’s Business Growth Agenda, there is a technology element, and within that there is funding for research. So, clearly, there is an awareness of funding that goes to encouraging research, and linking that up to universities that encourage that research is going to to be a serious investment in terms of generating economic growth. And
good economic growth because it creates jobs, higher real wages, sustainable, and connects us to the rest of the world. TOP BUDGETING TIPS FOR STUDENTS: This is very dear to my heart because I have lived with three teenagers and all their friends, because our home was like an open home for all those people. And my obsession with all those kids was to talk to them about saving. And because I used to do it towards the end of the meal, they would always say, “That was a really fantastic meal, thank you,” and leave the table. They knew that that lecture was coming. The basic wisdom is: whatever income you are earning, whether it is one dollar or a million dollars, try and put ten to 20 per cent into savings and don’t touch it. That’s my philosophy. Now what form that takes is your call. I am a very conservative person; I go into banks and all that. But if you want a share in the share market, that’s another thing. My advice is: be aware of the difference between saving and investing. Saving is building an estate that is protected. Investing is about growing wealth, and with investing comes its risks. The discipline of living within your means and saving is the main lesson I give people, and I apply it all the way in my life. This simple message seems to annoy young people. DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO THE SAME? Our advice now is to repay that debt, go into surplus and get back to a position where you have that cushion. Because when you need to borrow, imagine if you have borrowed to your tilt and then you can’t borrow when you are ill. It’s the same here. That’s what we always advise the Government, and draw parallels between the Government and individuals. Saving, investing: it’s all about the same thing. l
INEQUALITY & POVERTY
This year’s election campaign will focus on inequality in New Zealand, and which party will do best to address it. For all the noise, it doesn’t seem anyone in the debate is saying much apart from buzzwords. Duncan and Cam ask some questions to get to the heart of the issue.
n this year’s budget, the Government announced free doctor’s visits for every New Zealand child under 13. It made no changes to the current superannuation scheme which is available to every New Zealand aged over 65. Both of these policies seem great because they provide help to all people equally. In fact, these policies are unequal. Because all of Kim Dotcom’s kids can now get free doctor’s visits despite his exorbitant wealth. Because people in the top tax bracket who are over 65 28
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currently get over half a billion dollars that could have helped those who need it more. Inequality is a deeper issue than is portrayed. BUT INEQUALITY IS ALWAYS A BAD THING. ISN’T IT? The starting point of the debate is to make sure we are all on the same page. There are different types and measures of inequality and poverty.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THAT YOU THINK SOME INEQUALITY IS GOOD? Well, not necessarily good. But some inequality in society is natural and desirable. Like dynamic inequality. WHAT’S ‘DYNAMIC INEQUALITY’? As the Treasury’s Chief Economist explains it, it’s easiest to think of society like a multilevel building, with the rich on the top floors and the poor on the bottom. As students, we are relatively poor compared to everyone else in society. We are on the ground level. So there is inequality. But that’s okay, because getting a degree will allow us to make more money in the future and ride that elevator to the top.
Similarly, some people are born into very poor families that live in the basement. But as long as there’s nothing in the way of them moving up, it’s not so bad (so the argument goes). IS IT EASY TO MOVE UP THE FLOORS IN NEW ZEALAND? No. It’s possible – social mobility is relatively attainable here in Godzone. But lots of our policies trap people in the basement. More on that later. WHEN ELSE COULD INEQUALITY BE ACCEPTABLE? Some people say that there is nothing wrong with unequal outcome of income distribution, so long as the means by which the distribution occurred were just. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Well, it’s like this: if everyone had a dollar, and everyone in the world paid their dollar to Beyoncé to see her live in concert, she would become a lot richer than everyone else. Massive inequality would exist. But it would be unjust to take the money from her and give it back to everyone, some say, even though that would restore equality. Everyone gave their money of their own free will – they chose to give up equality so they could put a ring on it. If the means are fair, then the ends must be (or so the argument goes). IS THE DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME FAIR IN NEW ZEALAND? No. Some of it is. Paying for tickets for last year’s Beyonce concert was probably fair, even though her and Jay are worth a billion dollars. But there are some serious issues with other areas - more on that later. WHERE DOES POVERTY FIT IN IN ALL OF THIS? Good question. There are two types of poverty: abject and relative. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? ISN’T POVERTY THE SAME FOR EVERYONE? No, it’s not, and it’s important that we realise this. Abject poverty is a starving African child. Relative poverty is different, in that it is tied to the wages of people in the country in some way. Here in New Zealand, it is indexed to the average wage: if you earn less than 60 per cent of the average wage, you are considered to be living in poverty. That likely includes most students. Some people say this is a bad metric – a millionaire would be considered povertystricken if he lived in a place full of billionaires, like Monaco. It also means that if the average wage in New Zealand was a dollar a day, someone earning 75 cents a day wouldn’t be
considered poor. Others say it is bad because it conflates the two types of poverty. Another issue is that some measures of poverty, like the stats we hear about the “poorest 50 per cent of the world”, aren’t particularly accurate. For example, they would suggest that most students are actually poorer than African children, because we have debt where they don’t. Students are obviously poor, but not that poor. SO WHEN PEOPLE SAY THERE ARE 500,000 NEW ZEALAND KIDS LIVING IN POVERTY, THEY’RE BEING SENSATIONALIST? Not at all – the fact that these kids are better-off than people who are starving to death definitely doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy. Far from it. WHAT’S YOUR POINT THEN? The solution to the problem of starving African children is a very different solution to the types of poverty we have in New Zealand. By labelling them as the same, we make a huge mistake. We assume that the poor in New Zealand are helpless and need hand-outs. Actually, they’re not helpless, and they just need a hand-up. We assume that we can just throw money and food at them and everything will be better, when actually we need to make sure that the response is meaningful and long-lasting, like improving access to education and healthcare. OKAY, SO NOW I’M JUST MORE CONFUSED THAN I WAS TO START WITH. That’s okay. We’ve just talked about abstract theoretical ideas about inequality and poverty. Now we can get into the actual situation in New Zealand. IS THIS WHERE YOU SAY INEQUALITY AND POVERTY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED? Yep. Remember when we talked about moving up and down the building? YEAH, IT WAS JUST A COUPLE OF PARAGRAPHS AGO. Well, in New Zealand, there are a whole lot of rules which trap some in the basement, and allow others to keep adding top-floor penthouses. Sam Morgan, the guy who made Trade Me and sold it for hundreds of millions of dollars, pays hardly any tax. He says that the tax system is unfair to workers and the lower class. If you’re rich in New Zealand, you can avoid paying the tax that everyone else has to pay. New Zealand also doesn’t have a capital gains tax. That means that people who make their money by buying and selling houses don’t get taxed on the income they earn from the
sales. Who can afford to avoid tax in this way? The well-off. THAT BLOODY ONE PER CENT. Right. It wouldn’t be so bad that they were getting richer if everyone else was too. But that’s not the case. WHY NOT? Well, there are a lot of barriers to the poorest moving up in society. Some people born into poor areas have to go to the local school. If you’re born in South Auckland, you are forced to go to one of the dozen or so schools that have police officers stationed in them. Rich people can buy houses in the good school zones, or send their kids to private school. Education is identified by the Treasury as a key way to ensure people have the ability to break out of poverty. For a lot of young adults, the cost of university is prohibitively expensive. Even with allowances and loans, it’s hard for the poorest people to access university. THIS ALL SOUNDS TOO HARD. I’M KIND OF FINE AS A REASONABLY POOR STUDENT, AND SOON I’LL BE EARNING MONEY. WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT ALL OF THIS? Because there are children in Porirua getting Third World diseases like mumps and rubella, going to school without shoes and raincoats and food (if they get to school at all). Because 50 per cent of Māori males leave school without passing NCEA Level 1 English. Because poverty means more people experiencing homelessness, more people experiencing mental-health issues. BUT I’M NOT GOING TO BE POOR. WON’T I BE FINE? Well actually, an unequal society hurts everyone, not just the poor. Studies have shown that a more unequal society has higher rates of violence and crime. A hugely unequal society harms people in the middle and at the bottom, as the top are able to dominate politics and commerce. They may be coming for the poor now, but it will be us next. SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE OUT ALL OF THIS? That it’s difficult to find a solution to inequality and poverty because there are just so many people shouting their ideas at each other. It’s hard to talk about solutions because people are (rightly) so emotionally involved in it. We need to treat it as the complex issue that it is. We need to stop saying that those who disagree with us hate poor people and don’t want to help end inequality. That reductivism gets us nowhere. Society will continue to talk about inequality and poverty. Let’s make sure it’s the right conversation. l email@example.com
THE SCHOOL GHOST by Nina Powles
I wait in a black room of blown-out candles. I can hear the starlings’ beaks clicking on the oak just out there. The schoolgirl’s glass laugh sounds just like the brass bell above the blue door he said he would ring. The ships in port don’t fly red flags now, but from the rainspotted window at the top of the room, I can see them. Sometimes, little girls in blue pinafores push open my door, touch my floorboards with slippered feet.
STILL BREATHING by Allan Drew
Doctor Something, handshake full of tepid meat and ointment, says, How can I help? I tell him, while looking at the snap-lock spinal cord leaning against his desk, I need a new prescription. I watch the carpet, frayed at my feet through to hessian fibres; he watches his computer. Lorazepam? he asks. He makes slow circles with the mouse, says, I will give you ten. I think I am supposed to say thank you. I slip my hand, up to the wrist, through the hole in my jeans. He says, You know, instead of these, you could just have a few beers. I say, This prescription is three dollars, but a dozen beer is twenty bucks. He says, You’ve done the maths? and I say, You haven’t? His tongue pokes out between his lips, pink and wet, as he types. One keystroke per second. I use my breathing to measure time.
the money issue
It’s a strange tradition they have, to carve their names in the clean wooden curve under the spiral staircase on which I sit. “Maddie and Lucy were here.” My back to them, I shift slightly in my chair. A white cloud of dust erupts, just enough to make them scream. When the scream is done dashing its way around the room, before they shut the door, they giggle into their fingers like a teacup rattling in its saucer, like a bell ringing. I run. I crack my spine on the bottom step again. I am stuck behind a shut door, paralysed from the neck down until the next night’s moon glances into my window, when I and my nerves rise.
YOU USED TO LOVE ME ONCE by Courtney Brown
You used to sit in the blue armchair and I in the yellow. One cappuccino and one mocha with marshmallows. You would interlace your fingers through the cup’s handle, clutching with both hands. I used to wonder what it would feel like to have your hand in mine. Later on, you told me you thought about this too. In winter, the steam would fog up your glasses, and you would wipe them with the bottom of your shirt. Your tongue slightly poking out in concentration. You used to wear a lot of black then, and claimed that the Stones knew the meaning of life. That was when our hair was the same length. When you cut all of it off in summer, I almost didn’t recognise you. You would tell me your dreams, as if you were reliving memories. New York, London, Paris: just a few places that you wanted to meet. I would watch your eyes light up, permanent wrinkles by their sides. You used to use your hands to orchestrate your sentences. One time you forgot you were still holding your coffee cup and spilt it down my shirt, but I didn’t mind. When autumn visited, you had to wear shades to cover the black eye that he gave you. You never did talk about it. But it made my cheeks redden, because I knew why you had started it. I remember you saying that I deserved better. Your words mixed together and you kept saying my name, as to make sure I believed it. One day we sat in silence, and you actually finished your coffee. You tapped your foot, playing an uneven beat, your fingers running through your dark hair. It was quarter past four, when you told me that you loved me. Well it was more like ‘SarahIhoveew’. You wiped your hands on your jeans, grabbing onto mine. You tasted like coffee and sunshine. On your nineteenth birthday, you wished that things would never change. But you didn’t close your eyes when you blew out the candles, and told me your wish. I guess that’s why it didn’t come true. The next time we met, you showed up late, with some excuse. You drunk your coffee before mine was cool enough to sip. I watched you eye the clock with every passing minute. You said this was fun, I’ll see you soon, and left without a kiss. I sat alone finishing my coffee in silence, it felt as if you had never joined me. Two weeks later, you didn’t show. I waited for you, watching people come and go. In your absence, I made up their life stories. The girl dressed in blue, with the soy latte, was heading off home to watch crime shows with her cat. The man in the suit with the red tie, had coffee for two, he was heading home to surprise his wife. And the boy who sat with his coffee and read, dreamed of meeting his true love based on pure coincidence, perhaps running into them at a coffee shop. You told me you loved me after that, but your words were slow and you didn’t say my name. I asked about your music, and you said it didn’t matter anymore. The girl with the soy latte was there, I told you about her story and you sighed. I played with the necklace that you once gave me, wondering if I should keep wearing it. You went to leave, saying something came up. I kissed you goodbye and you tasted like coffee. Your eyes leaving mine as you said that you’d call me later. You made me cry for days and days, when I found out about her. Maybe closer to weeks, but that’s more than I would care to admit. One day I walked past our coffee place. You were there, and so was she. She took her coffee black and so did you. You sat in the blue armchair and she in the yellow.
WEIRD IN TER NE T S HIT B y H e n ry C o o k e
ould you like to feel old? Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ came out four years ago. 2010! Obama was still smiling. 480p was all the quality you could ever want. Justin’s hair was still all sweepy, and you hadn’t fucked it all up with that person yet. You know the one. Four years, over a billion views, and six and a half million comments. This is where things get fun. You see, people still comment on this video. They comment a lot. As I’ve written this, Random Gaming
Things has left his mark on the world, with “I just notice that only girls like this little fckin twat”. Five or six people have commented on the amount of dislikes. One person wrote an acrostic poem with the word “SWAG”. They come in every half minute or so, even four years later, at pretty much any time of the day. This actually marks a notable slowdown. A year or two back, when ‘Baby’ was still the mostviewed video in the world (‘Gangnam Style’ took its place), the comments section moved faster than you could refresh. It was a beautiful kind of ad hoc tween chatroom, with its own little ecosystem and community. Sometimes I would try to keep up, following the intricate conversations people would have about their days in between the people just dropping in to say “fag”. I checked out the remixes and covers and originals of those self-promoting in the comments section. I had assignments due, and I wanted to understand what kids did these days. Back when I was 13, YouTube was still exciting, still something you could do when people came over, each of you swapping funny videos like trading cards. What was it like to grow up in a
world where YouTube was boring? It got a little serious. I imagined someone waking up and starting their day by checking what was going on in the comments section for ‘Baby’. I imagined them rushing home from school to comment, or furtively typing out one in class. I imagined someone pressing enter on “hellow Belieber Sheep” and feeling satisfied with themselves. I imagined the reams and reams of ad dollars, falling from the sky in rubber-banded wads. Plus, I quite like the song. YouTube is great for reminding you how big the internet is. Facebook is huge, but feels tiny. Twitter is huge, but unless you care about unfunny trending hashtags, it can feel cosy. On YouTube, the view numbers are right there, the comments automatically refreshing below the video. Humanity has spent over 7350 years of our collective time watching the video for ‘Baby’. That’s amazing.
“punk” at the peak and “hippie” at the dip. The “punk” archetype is defined by a display of tighter clothes, shorter hairstyles, intense music, buzzy drugs and an interest in the material. The “hippie” archetype is the natural antithesis: loose clothes, let-it-all-out hair, mellow tunes, trippy drugs and spirituality. This polarity-switch of culture can be traced through the ages so easily that it’s downright spooky. Starting in 1966, we are at peak hippie; the age of LSD and psychedelics, free love and flowing locks. The punk fluctuation hits in 1977, when shaved hair and leather become the fashion and everybody does cocaine. We get to 1988 and we regress to hippie; except this time ecstasy, electronica and rave rule the day. After 1999, the arrival of The Matrix, My Chemical Romance, caffeine culture and the demand for realism in cinema served to define a punk scene that most of us are still trying to shake off. Currently, we’re surfing another
hippie wave post-2011, and won’t hit punk again until 2022. It’s not exactly agreed upon what defines this age as “hippie”. Most cite the trippy influence of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, but the growing irrelevance of those films doesn’t exactly help prove this hypothesis. Personally, I think a move from ‘gritty’ films like The Dark Knight to lighter, interconnected ‘mythic’ series like Marvel’s Avengers movies has more credence. An increased focus on mental health and ‘peace of mind’ has led to antidepressants being the drug du jour, and our confidence in ‘the cloud’ paints our internet age in transcendental flavour. Like any hypothesis, there are as many exceptions to this pattern as there are examples. That doesn’t stop corporations and artists using it to prime their success in the youth market. If you wish to remain unswayed, I recommend investing in a good tinfoil hat. Incognito out.
Weird Internet Shit would like to apologise for the lack of column last week, in the Internet issue of all things. It was Philip’s fault.
Conspiracy Corner “B i -S ol a r D isorders ” By Incognito Montoya
ollowing my foray into the future with Google Ultron, I started poring over my old casebooks in the hope of giving sense to the fragments of information I recalled. It wasn’t enough to guess anymore. I needed a future-predicting rigour, so I could know what was coming and then smugly rub it in people’s faces when it came to pass. My answer arrived in the form of Iain Spence’s Sekhmet Hypothesis. Every 22 years, sunspot activity peaks and dips between what is known as the solar maximum and the solar minimum. Envision a wave fluctuation, a peak and dip at 11-year intervals. The Sekhmet Hypothesis posits that this magnetic-field switch has an effect on the human nervous system, changing our behaviour and subsequently influencing our culture, namely youth culture where it is most observable. The pattern Spence sees is that we fluctuate between two archetypes of culture,
the money issue
IN REVIEW: K e lbur n M edi ter r ane an Fo od War e house B y J u l i a W e ll s
LOCAT ION : 8 9 U pl a n d R d CUISINE : M e d i t e r r a n e a n PRICE : M o d e r a t e BYO: N o ,
M EAL S AND F E E L S
With Eve Kennedy
Candied almond s
his time of the semester is crap for most people, it seems, but then again, I am writing this from under a dark cloud of two looming essays. It seems fitting that this week’s recipe is something that can help tide you over while you pore over notes and readings at the library late at night. I can also suggest drinking a bottle of cheap red and eating a whole round of camembert on a Sunday at the library while you study, and the Law Library is better than Kelburn for that – there are more enclosed rooms. Almonds are low-GI and high in protein and vitamin E. Buy them in bulk from Moore Wilson’s and store them in an airtight container – it’s much cheaper. Put the water, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a pot. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to boil. Pour the almonds into the mix and stir until the almonds are covered in a sticky syrup, but don’t let them burn. Pour out onto a lined and greased baking tray and allow to cool. Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon. If, like me, you accidentally made too much syrup, the almonds will be swimming in a tasty cinnamon-flavoured toffee. That’s okay. Toffee is delicious. You can replace the almonds with any other type of nut (*insert nut joke here ayyy LMAO*); if you’re feeling flush, macadamias would be delicious. Add 50 g of butter to the mixture once it’s reached boiling point and you have a nut brittle! Bad things happen in flatting kitchens. Bad things are served to flatmates. Pizza seems a great idea – but maybe not every night. So follow Margôt’s ‘Take 5 and Cook’ blog for fabulous food with just five ingredients. Find new recipes for Students on a Shoestring every week: margotunlimited . wordpress . com
2 cups unroasted, unsalted almonds ½ cup water 1 cup sugar (white or brown) 2 tablespoons cinnamon small pinch nutmeg icing sugar and cinnamon to dust
n an award ceremony of my favourite things, the Mediterranean Food Warehouse’s Margherita Bufala pizza would, if not actually come out on top, at least merit an honourable-mention certificate. Situated on Upland Rd in the heart of Kelburn, the Kelburn branch’s close proximity to campus makes it a tempting dinner option for students. Plus, they do two-for-one deals on pizza (Monday) and pasta (Wednesday). Such happiness. Unfortunately, on this visit, the service didn’t live up to expectations. After half an hour we were starving and drumming our fingers, watching the family who arrived after us devour their appetisers and then their mains, and enquiry elicited the information that our pizzas had been misplaced in the queue. Accidents happen; nevertheless, it was probably a mistake that should have been fixed sooner. However, I’ve been there before and service has been fine. I was thrilled when our pizzas finally arrived. The Margherita Bufala was perfection, good enough to be worth the wait. The Vegetarian was nice, but definitely the lesser of the two. It consisted mainly of zucchini and capsicum, with tomatoes, feta and olives. Although the feta and olives partly countered the blandness of the vegetables, it was not quite enough, and so the pizza came across as a little watery. To lift the Vegetarian to the quality of the other, it needed a little more of a salt component, either more cheese or more of a tomato-sauce base. Despite this, and despite an unfortunate service slip, the Kelburn Mediterranean Food Warehouse gives a great casual dining experience, with a nice atmosphere and impressive food. I’d definitely recommend trying it, particularly taking advantage of their special-deal nights.
CBT This instalment of CBT was brought to you by the shitty individual’s anxiety-response mechanism of choice; that is, worry. CBT tells us that for some people, worrying is a response to anxiety. CBT tells us that for some people who experience a lot of anxiety, worrying is comforting. CBT tells us that people who use worry as a comfort sometimes can try to challenge the value of these thoughts.
’m studying in the library and there is a loud drilling noise and then my body is just adrenal glands and sickness because worrying is a positive and thorough process which will ensure that you anticipate all dangers around you before they happen. That noise means anything because the world is dangerous. I’m scrolling some blog to calm down my seemingly pre-industrially socialised stomach and my friend texts me. My friend texts me and it looks like bad news. That text means everything. So I’m thinking they are probably annoyed at you for doing something, you know. That text means anything and you should anticipate all upcoming shitty scenarios. I’m walking through the Hub which smells a lot like a lot of bodies and think more please please save me, abolish uncertainty. I’m remembering, though, what I read in a book, a book about worry. I’m remembering that I shouldn’t just stop worrying thoughts, I should challenge the underlying assumptions of these thoughts and their value for me. And my thoughts are like but worry is a blanket and a knife. I’m thinking that Britney Spears went through so much and then sang‘Unusual You’ and this shows that it is hard to anticipate good things or neutral things from situations you’re unsure of, if you have been scared of them in the past. Because it is hard not to map out scenarios. Because this is protection. So I’m thinking that it would be weird for me to stop using worry to comfort myself and to be okay with some levels of uncertainty. I’m deciding that I will try this, though I am remembering that this is not possible for some who need worry as a knife. I’m thinking that maybe the assumptions I hold about my world now need to be like: the world is okay. I’m telling my thoughts to say everything is not potentially dangerous and uncertainty is heavy but it’s lighter than sick. I’m telling myself that even though Brit is singing about someone hot in the song I am going to decide to sing to this weird new thought pattern and be like: I could get used to unusual you. CBT tells us that people who use worry as a comfort sometimes can try to challenge the value of these thoughts. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talk therapy used to treat disruptive thinking as well as diagnosed mental illnesses. Each CBT client will use it in their own way, and students who think it could help them can visit Student Health.
by Jane T
the money issue
M AORI M AT T ERS Money Matters
nowledge is the tool that empowers. Nelson Mandela stated that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, yet there are so many obstacles to retrieving our education in the first place. When it comes to university, bills need to be paid, ridiculously over-priced books need to be bought, and the idea of being a poor student becomes a reality. Money holds a huge role in getting through to obtaining your tohu, and this is where scholarships help to ease that pain. But whānau (yes there is a but), scholarships are exclusive and only accept certain people. Surely that makes sense, doesn’t it? The people paying for these scholarships need to justify why they chose a certain applicant over another. When it comes to Māori-specific scholarships, many controversial arguments arise: Why are there more Māori scholarships? If I’m 1/16th Māori, I can apply, right? (#pureblood) The reasons behind why the scholarship is granted, or where the money comes from, is never considered. Courtesy of government funding, iwi are given the opportunity to help their own succeed in tertiary education, and in return only ask for their qualified rangatahi to come back and help in the community. This opportunity therefore becomes more than an easy way to help Māori get into university; for iwi, it is regarded as an investment that they seek to benefit from. In today’s society, Māori are forever trying to fight the stereotype of being reliant on state funding (kia ora to the dole), and for some, that could be their only income. When it comes to Māori-specific scholarships, many non-Māori hold a very harsh perspective and wonder what use it has, and just think that we get the typical ‘special treatment’. Is it wrong for every Māori to succeed in education for once? Is it wrong to break the cycle and make Māori a culture that is thriving, instead of just surviving? (#deep) Apart from learning how to perfectly time a ‘hashtag’ in conversations, tertiary education provides Māori students with an opportunity to determine their future. Scholarships should be seen as motivation for our rangatahi to strive for success. Money shouldn’t be seen as an issue. Ngāi Tauira, the Māori students’ association, represents the interests of tauira Māori studying at Victoria University. To get in touch, email NgaiTauira@vuw.ac.nz. By Tayla Cook Phone: (04) 463 9762 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Que st ion for the E xec Q. My bank account is empty and so is my pantry; what can I do to restock my shelves?
A. Being a student isn’t easy, and that is especially true in
SONYA S AYS Is Student Activism quieter than the old days? Time = money
t was incredible to see the turnout of students at the ‘Let Me Go Home’ Event last Tuesday. Around 200–300 students came out for the march, which advocated for a community against sexual violence. It is not good enough that the common response to sexual assault focusses on the level of intoxication, level of dress, or time of night that a victim was assaulted. Most students stayed on for the workshop part of it, where as small groups, we brainstormed ideas about how to change the attitudes of the community at large. It was encouraging to see a powerful response, and it was a powerful reminder that student activism is not dead. It was also awesome last week to speak at the ‘Do Something – How is your University Experience Shaping You?’ Event hosted by Human FM. This event questioned how university not just shapes our skills for a career, but our formation as people. Not long ago, every Wednesday there was a lunch hour, across the University, where no classes were scheduled. This was so that people could take part in clubs and student democracy. VUWSA held a weekly ‘Student Representative Council’ held in the old Quad (where the Hub is) where a scene of lively debate about a whole range of issues was discussed every single Wednesday. It’s hard to imagine that happening now. Funding pressures meant the lunch break was cut – and now there is no ‘free hour’ for everyone to be available to participate in such events. Discussion outside the classroom is a crucial part of how the university experience forms us as people. This week’s theme of Salient is money, and with more money comes more time. The amount of free time a student has will directly correlate to their ability to participate in student events outside the classroom. Back when university was free, those of our parents’ generation often said that they didn’t need to work during the university year to be able to afford to live. With exams at the end of the year, and no internal assessment, there wasn’t the constant pressure to perform. Fewer students attended university back then, so the pressure to complete internships, extracurricular work, and heaps of relevant work experience to compete in the job market meant there was more time to… be a student. Nowadays, with course living costs barely covering the average rent, lack of time and money is one the main reasons that the culture of student activism is less than what it used to be. Last week’s ‘Let Me Go Home’ event was really encouraging. However, it’s important to acknowledge the many more student voices who can’t participate because of a lack of time or money. Yours, Sonya Clark VUWSA President M: 027 563 6986 | DDI: (04) 463 6986 | E: sonya.clark@vuw. ac.nz | W: www.vuwsa.org.nz
a financial sense. Transport, flatting, bills and food take up big chunks of student budgets which are constantly being stretched and strained. While many students find part-time jobs to keep themselves afloat, sometimes this just isn’t enough: an unexpected expense jumps up, or there aren’t any jobs available. Fortunately, if you are finding yourself in the red and in need of aid, VUWSA is here to help. On Wednesdays and Fridays every week, we have free bread available for pick up from our reception. This bread goes quickly, so make sure to get in early! Another one of the services we provide to all students is access to our Food Bank, where students in need of some basics can get that top-up of canned food and much-needed carbs to get you through the next few days. All you need to do is rock up to our reception, fill out a short form with your details, and boom, food parcel. We also provide leaflets and information packs on budgeting. If you’re under serious financial stress, you can make an application to the Hardship Fund. This is a fund that comes from a levy you pay as a student, and grants are available to assist students in serious financial hardship. To apply, head to Student Financial Support and Advice, and one of their supportive staff will help you out with your budget and see whether an application to the fund is appropriate. They’re also super-helpful if you’re having battles with StudyLink. Being a student isn’t easy, but where we can, VUWSA is working hard to take a little bit of the load off your shoulders, and help our students get through difficult times. Kia kaha!
W hat ’s on this w e e k: Wednesday 28 May Free Bread at VUWSA Reception. Thursday 29 May Danny Boyd @ Bodega. Discount tickets for VUWSA members available from VUWSA Reception. Friday 30 May Free Bread at VUWSA Reception.
Progra m m e Re v ie w M edia St udie s : Every programme at Victoria is formally reviewed by an independent committee every seven years. Up for review at the moment is the Media Studies Programme. To have your own say, fill out the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/ s/5DLS3R8. VUWSA will compile a submission from these responses which will then be presented to the committee.
ARTICULAT ED SPL I NE S This column has an accompanying SalientTV video feature. Find it online at tinyurl.com/SalientTV. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? As this issue goes to print, rumours are swirling about the next big business move adjacent to the games industry. YouTube (so, Google), so the story goes, is poised to purchase video streaming service Twitch for a cool US$1 billion. Twitch (twitch.tv) operates as a platform for streaming live video, focussed on video games (your screen shows the streamer’s screen in real-time as they play). Perhaps more important is the powerful community that has sprung up around those streamers, with integrated chat functions and strong personalities lending themselves to huge popularity. And that popularity is growing. Tied, no doubt, to the rise of eSports and the power of titans like League of Legends and Starcraft, Twitch is pulling in big, big numbers. There are three times as many streamers as there were a year ago, and they are getting more average primetime viewers than MTV. There’s an undisputable growth in online livestreaming, and Twitch is at the forefront. The acquisition makes perfect sense. YouTube’s streaming service is fine, but it lacks that same level of chat and community integration – Twitch has the technology. It will be particularly interesting alongside Twitch integration for PS4 and Xbox One – that’s a fairly valuable userbase for YouTube to tap into. Twitch itself will benefit from more than just the payoff. It gets access to the staggeringly large YouTube userbase, giving it a broader appeal beyond gaming. Imagine physical sport, or TED talks. It’s a new paradigm of ‘broadcasting’, where the ‘caster’ can be anyone. But, of course, the internet is not exactly on board with the decision, and who could blame them? YouTube has a dubious track record when it comes to correctly enforcing intellectual-property law, and there’s a strong possibility that interference with Twitch could seriously harm the service. The legality of the service Twitch provides hasn’t been proven at this stage, and now that it’s entering the big leagues, you can expect things to change one way or another. I wouldn’t expect compulsory Google+ accounts for all, though. Half a decade ago, Google bought YouTube itself for US$1.65 billion, and look how well that went. The Great Powers are assembling – Google, Facebook, Apple – and so far, the results have been fairly positive for gaming. You may be concerned that they’ll turn evil at some stage (though xkcd 792 points out the futility of this), but I’m more frustrated by the sharks. Bigger owners with deeper pockets means that everyone with a possible legal claim against Twitch just got big dollar signs in their eyes, just like ZeniMax with the Oculus Rift. With legitimacy comes recognition, and don’t be too shocked if you see some lawsuits in the future – and then we’ll see how the ‘fair use’ defence stands up. by Carlo Salizzo 36
the money issue
BE N T
ey everyone, welcome to BENT, the column where the gender is made up and the sex doesn’t matter! Grindr, Tinder, Brenda. Lots of ‘R’s; welcome to the world of online and mobile dating! Perhaps ‘dating’ is too loose a word. So what are these sites? Most readers should be familiar with Tinder! Tinder is the app where you ‘meet’ people, and by ‘meet’ I mean ‘judge while you swipe through, occasionally clicking yes on a hottie and hoping they reply’. Tinder is great because unlike most other phone-based ‘meeting’ apps, it has a great variety of people in New Zealand in terms of both gender and sexuality. Grindr is a huge player in the gay (male) community. It’s basically a slutty version of Facebook because everyone has an account; you can message the closest 100-or-so guys to you in an area. Now while Grindr gets a terrible rep from most people, it is an incredibly important device in the modern-day gay male’s struggle against the patriarchy. Sure, it’s a good way to get sex if you’re bored, hungry or alone. But more importantly, being a minority that cannot be distinguished from other groups by appearance alone, it is hugely important to have a way to meet other people like you. You might not find your true love on Grindr, but meeting people with similar ‘interests’ is still important, yeah? Grindr is not just great for meeting people for relations; it’s also a great way to get help if you need it. Okay okay, that sounds bad, but I mean I have many friends who have bunked for free in town when they cannot get home (completely free), friends who met flatmates on Grindr, or even people who have bought and sold goods using this multi-purpose application! It’s pretty good, but you also have to remember that Grindr can be potentially dangerous. Not every guy is amazing and will make you feel safe, so you have to remember your safety. My top tips include always meeting them first in public; if you are going to theirs to do the dance with no pants with someone, make sure you let a friend know. If they come to yours, just keep some of your more valuables kept safe; it has never happened to me because I’m poor (and because escaping my flat is nearly impossible without my assistance), but he could help himself to your stuff while you’re sleeping. Lastly, use protection: I know this is dumb, and that it’s in nearly every BENT Column, but if he has slept with you, chances are he has done the same with a few other guys from Grindr. PS Brenda is the female version of Grindr, but apparently it’s boring. Sorry girls, but you will probably find nicer people offline anyway; more chemistry! Or Tinder ;) by Jonny Abbott UniQ Communications Officer
S h i rt & Sw e e t your weekly column on how to be annoyed but still cute.
tudent life is of course a thing at the forefront of many of our frontal lobes, seeing as how Wikipedia says that that’s the section of grey mush that deals with “reward, attention, short-term memory tasks, planning, and motivation.” What’s interesting about this though is that this part of our brain that’s dealing with student life stuff is also dealing with money. This is kind of a dinky (! the word) little zone where academia meets money in a way other than exchanging one for the other. There are many ways to be cute and shirty with money. We could just straight-up talk about how to be cute and shirty and dirt-fuckingpoor. But I’m a firm believer in the importance of macro-level structures, because they’re the cutest and the shirtiest, and that’s why we need to learn: How to Ignore Capitalism
f your comprehension of capitalism is a little subpar, I’ll just tell you now that it’s shit. It’s really shit. And it’s really hard to fight because people can’t imagine any other way of doing the money/ possessions thing. (And also we’re not even allowed to talk about it anymore because of that thing that happened with the people in the places. You know. *Whispers* Communism.) Capitalism is what is stressing us the fuck out and fucking us the fuck over. Unfortunately, because the idea is to ignore capitalism, you will be unable to talk to others about how shitty capitalism is. Instead, do this. Picture yourself, perhaps at uni, perhaps at a café, perhaps at work. Perhaps working at a café at uni. There’s a lot of background noise. But there is one word that is sticking out. You can’t fully hear it or even comprehend it, but you know it is bad. It stirs you somewhere deep inside. It awakens your dormant social aggression. You seek out the speakers of this vile word, this plague on society. And when you encounter them, you put an end to this violation of aural space. You empty a vessel of liquid on them. Or perhaps a bucket of manure. That seems proven to be effective. Animals are cute, so throwing their excrement at others must be cute too. These blights on society who uttered that word are now silent. You speak unto them now and you call them your comrades. (This has the added bonus of being a gender-neutral term so you can start eroding the patriarchy as well.) You move to Aro Valley together and you weave your shirts from hemp and embroider them with botanically correct flowers. You are cute and capitalism is not.
OVERS E E N AT VIC Ja me s Third-Year Geography and Earth Sciences What do you think is the biggest issue in this year’s election? “Whether or not the left coalition will work “ B R A NG E L I N A ” well together. The different parties, Green and Labour and Mana, have different goals, whereas National seems quite driven.”
By Eleanor Merton
If you want to write about the arts, or think there is something we should review, email arts @ salient . org . nz .
FIVE NEW SONGS YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT • •
Coldplay – Ghost Stories Album review by Evee Telfar
oldplay is a classic on my ‘Chill’ playlist, but I was uneasy about this album following the pop catastrophe of Mylo Xyloto in 2011. I was pleasantly surprised. With this album, Coldplay tried to make their music for the mass market, while also returning to their original style. You can hear the pop influences in the background of most of the songs, as electro ambience and beats swell through the choruses. The album is pretty depressing, which isn’t surprising after Chris Martin’s breakup with his wife of 11 years, Gwyneth Paltrow. Most of the songs reflect his heartbreak over the separation, and it is clear from the first song how Martin is
The Phoenix Foundation – Tom’s Lunch Album review by Elise Munden
his EP is surprising for two reasons. Firstly, no one expected The Phoenix Foundation to release new music so soon after Fandango (April 2013), especially since they have a tendency (like so many other New Zealand bands) to take years producing work. Secondly, the music is happy. Like, summer-road-trip-all-you-need-is-love happy. Admittedly, the first time I heard Tom’s Lunch I felt underwhelmed, but then I realised that I didn’t want to drown myself in a swimming pool of organic low-fat yoghurt, as I usually want to when listening to this band. Synthesisers and fast beats complement 38
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handling this sudden and bewildering change in his life, with lines like: “I think of you / I haven’t slept / I think I do love / I won’t forget.” ‘Midnight’ has a haunting beauty to it, with processed vocals and an ambient synth background that makes you want to curl up under the covers. As a big Coldplay fan, my heart goes out to the wreck of a man that Chris Martin seems to be right now. The whole album feels extremely intimate, but Martin keeps the lyrics vague on details, keeping it all easily relatable. Although the album is about devastating heartbreak, it ends with optimism in the form of ‘O’, showcasing Coldplay’s old acoustic style with Martin’s classic falsetto and the plea for unconditional love. This album feels like a turning point in Coldplay’s career and although it is not nearly as amazing as their early albums, I look forward to what the future brings for the band. quirky lyrics, suggesting that the musicians are wanting to alter their usually dreary sound. The new vibrancy of the EP might also be partly attributed to their new drummer, Chris O’Connor. Particularly on the track ‘Fiscal Pickle’, O’Connor displays special affection towards his snare drum, giving the song a distinctive ‘80s vibe. Even more exciting for the band (and for their music) is the fact that two of the tracks were produced by David Fridmann, most famous for his work with MGMT and Tame Impala. Fridmann’s love of vocal effects and reverb perfectly compliment The Phoenix Foundation ‘sound’, which already consisted of densely warped vocal lines. So far, so good, right? Well, no. Tom’s Lunch shows impressive versatility and experimentation from a group that is a bastion of contemporary New Zealand music. But within the global spectrum of experimental soft rock, this EP is disappointing. Essentially, it is a tamer, more cautious version of the niche currently occupied by Arcade Fire. While they might have a decent NZ hit with ‘Bob Lennon John Dylan’ (excellent title, I know), this selection of tracks will likely have little or no impact on the music world.
• • •
C am ’R on & A-T rak – ‘D ipshits ’ t U n E- y A r D s – ‘W ater F ountain ’ P arquet C ourts – ‘I nstant D isassembly ’ G rayson G ilmour – ‘I nfinite (R ace B anyon remix )’ V ic M ensa – ‘D own O n M y L uck ’
FIVE SONGS ABOUT MONEY •
• • • •
P anic ! A t the D isco – ‘L ondon B eckoned S ongs A bout M oney W ritten B y M achines ’ K anye W est x B ig S ean x J ay -Z – ‘C lique ’ Y eah Y eah Y eahs – ‘R ich ’ D ead K ennedys – ‘K ill the P oor ’ V ampire W eekend – ‘I T hink U r A C ontra ’
AVERAGE AMOUNT AN ARTIST MAKES FROM A SONG • • •
S potify ( per stream ) – $0.0060 R dio ( per stream ) – $0.0085 i T unes ( per song purchase ) – $0.80
ACTS YOU CAN BOOK FOR CHEAP • •
C ults – $12–15 k per show D anny B rown – $10 k + per show
K itty P ryde – $5 k per show T ame I mpala – $10 k + per show
T wista – $10–15 k per show I n US dollars . H ave fun paying for their airfares .
ST UDIO G H I BLI
by Charlotte Doyle
t is fascinatingly awkward when you realise you have fallen in love with an animated movie character. I’d like to say it was simply the husky allure of Christian Bale’s voice that created an obsession with the namesake of Howl’s Moving Castle. But it was everything. The brooding, the shirts, the stunningly beautiful hand-animation of director Hayao Miyazaki; the entire film is irresistible. Over the past 30 years, Studio Ghibli has created enchanting, immersive, fantastical animated films. However, the announcement accompanying the recent release of The Wind Rises, that it will be Miyazaki’s final directing endeavour as he approaches the age of 74, risks the studio becoming a historical phenomenon. This last film proves to be more political than normal, telling the story of a young aeroplane designer whose engineering designs are appropriated for military means. Audiences have been polarised by Miyazaki’s blatant promotion of pacifism; however, it proves to be a poignant reflection on ambition, love and sacrifice. Regardless of the plot, character development or soundtrack, the use of cel animation techniques make these films artworks. Visually refreshing and an alternative to Disney’s humans with disproportionately sized heads, hopefully Studio Ghibli will survive through the absence of its world-renowned director and founder.
5 Studio Ghibli films that must be part of your life:
C a n n e s F e s t i va l
the negative energy for the lacklustre Grace of Monaco. Regardless of quality, Ryan Gosling directed Lost River; therefore, it will be good on the basis of sheer attractiveness. The slow erosion of the festival’s boy-club traditions is, however, admirable, with a female majority on the jury for the first time in five years. The only female director to have won the ultimate Palme d’Or prize for The Piano, Jane Campion presides as President of the Jury, collaborating with Sofia Coppola and Leila Hatami. To abide by the trends in coverage of the festival and provide some fashion commentary, the blue suit is refreshing, while Coppola doesn’t apparently know how to smile. Yet the presence of these strong and outspoken women who aren’t afraid to hit up the patriarchy (see Campion’s press release) will hopefully strengthen and continue. In the meantime, hopefully more celebs lose interest for the sake of the festival’s integrity. Lindsay Lohan tweeted she was overwhelmed; a good start?
endall Jenner seems to think she is welcome at the 67th Cannes Film Festival. As the less-famous sibling of a family of reality-TV stars, who also thinks wearing Topshop to Met Gala is acceptable and who flunks a five-second introduction at the Billboards, the plentiful photos of the model taking photos and eating lunch along the south coast of France is somewhat tarnishing the Festival’s arthouse origins. This mainstream infiltration is appearing in the movies themselves. Channing Tatum’s attendance is surprising considering the last time he grabbed the public conscience seemed to be with no clothes on. Yet over the past few weeks, he has been radiating sophistication gliding down the red carpet for, not a Magic Mike sequel, but Foxcatcher, where he stars alongside a substantially darker-than-normal Steve Carell in a film which explores the tragedy of the beta-male. Still not sure if I should be disappointed at the presence of suit, or save
Howl’s Moving Castle – it’s literally magical. My Neighbour Totoro – there are Totoro soft toys everywhere. If you don’t recognise this fluffy character, you obviously don’t use your eyes. Spirited Away – won an Oscar. Ponyo – super-cute. Princess Mononoke – proves animation is not child’s play.
I N R E V I EW T HE TRAI N TO PARIS b y S e b a s t i a n H a mp s o n
Reviewed by Tom McLean
twentysomething Art History student at Vic, temporarily in Paris, writes his first novel about a 20-year old Art History student, on his way to Paris. Said student, Lawrence Williams, encounters a dazzlingly mysterious older woman who introduces him to the glamorous ways of the world with brutality and insouciance. That is, the fictional student does. The real one, we presume, was too busy writing a novel, and wishing to be swept off his feet by a dazzlingly mysterious etcetera. A general aura of wish-fulfilment hangs heavily about the text, made awkwardly obvious in the regular compliments of Élodie, the vaguely defined etcetera, to our charming naïf – or is that naff? – of a hero. And so on and so forth. Glamour is not what it seems. “His first tailored shirt” is described in detail, as are flowers and lots of alcoholic beverages. Our hero wills himself “not to let any tears show.” Other people’s credit cards go zip-zip. Cigarettes burn out in ashtrays. The virgin ceases to be a virgin. And so on and so forth.
to become real. Her omniscience deprives her of any interest, her devilries are dull, and her seductions are boring, though the dialogue has an occasional tautness. The prose falters: flat and heavy, it is overburdened with adjectives and light on the signification. As Élodie says, “Oh darling. You really do paint things so simplistically.” Here, for example, an elegantlyvaried cigarette – a very tame vice – has to stand in for all the glamorous wickednesses in Paris: “Resigned, I took the white stick and pressed it to my lips. It was as if I had inhaled a mixture of burnt tar and ashes. I coughed, but tried to subdue it. Élodie took the smouldering torture device back. It left a crude aftertaste.” Lawrence rejects something boring Élodie offers. The prose hangs as heavy as the cigarette smoke, then resorts to childish over-emphasis. And none of it really means a thing.
It was only occasionally that I found myself humming ‘This Charming Man’, but the general ambience of Morrissey circa 1983 abides. Ill-defined glamour and its rejection, solipsism, a general desire to see the good things in life but an inability to partake – but, unfortunately, to continue the Smiths theme, I was bored before I even began.
There is no central impetus to the novel, no certain spark. We all know how this story’s going to end. (Actual quote: “I can never stay in one place… rest assured that you are the only person who ever understood me.”) This might not be a bad thing; but nothing replaces it. The characters don’t manage to become independent of their plot functions. Lawrence perhaps has to be subservient to Élodie. But Élodie is thin, very thin, and never quite manages
*This is how all prestigious writers’ prizes are decided all over the world.
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L I T E R A RY N E W S ast week, two of Salient’s very own were nominated for the Monash University Emerging Writers’ Prize. Congrats Philip McSweeney and Simon Gennard! They are off to Melbourne soon to contest the top prize in an arena with ten other emerging writers. The last writer standing wins $4000.*
A IDS by
retend you haven’t been all year and indulge me for a second longer. I’m going to start with an anecdote. In the 1930s, there was a dog, an Airedale Terrier, who used to roam Wellington’s harbour. He was well known to the sailors: he would greet them when they docked, and sometimes accompany them as a stowaway. His name was Paddy the Wanderer. On the first floor of the museum I work in, there is a life-sized model of Paddy. He’s a real hit with kids. And kids, in their unending, insufferable curiosity, are always interested in finding out where Paddy is now. Paddy died on 17 July 1939. I guess what I’m trying to say could have been said another way, but children tend to respond to stimuli in an unmediated, visceral way. The museum is inextricably linked with death. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first New Zealander to die from AIDS-related complications. To commemorate, The Film Archive is displaying 30, a moving-image exhibition, until 14 June. Curated by Gareth Watkins, the exhibition comprises three hours of clips from the archive’s collection, played across several screens in the gallery space. The clips are divided into seven sections: Journeys, News, Artistic Response, Remembrance, Stigma, Self-Esteem, and Prevention. Maybe it’s easier to comprehend crisis from a certain remove. AIDS, it seems, belongs now to someone else, either long ago or far away; not eradicated, so to speak, but no longer worthy of our urgent attention. What the exhibition does best is to illuminate the insufficiency of this narrative. In the News section, AIDS between 1984 and 2006 transforms from dreaded unknown to cause for complacency. Most striking is the familiarity of the vernacular used towards the latter part of the presentation. In the last eight years, we seem to have reached a point of stasis. In terms of art history, we tend to associate AIDS with a certain fury, a kind of unity: according to artist Neil Barlett, “we knew who the enemy was.” In 30, this is manifest in Douglas Wright’s Elegy. In black-and-white, Wright mimes self-destruction, stumbling, shaking, disembowelling himself. His lithe figure an emblem of every young body made old in months. In Jordan Wolfson’s video Raspberry Poser, which was recently on display at David Zwirner gallery in New York, animated HIV viruses dance around the screen, hearts burst from condoms,
superimposed over images of SoHo – once the site of pandemic, not a gentrified idyll. An animated figure disembowels himself. Later, a disembodied voice (presumably Wolfson’s) speaking in dialogue: “Are you rich?” “Yes.” “Are you homosexual?” “No.” Jordan, as it happens, is not gay. His work, however, often adopts a particular queer aesthetic, towards which he adopts a consistently flippant attitude. “I’m just making these things,” Wolfson recently said in a recent interview with Helen Marten, in reference to a set of lobster claws decorated with gay porn. “But it’s funny because people will assume that I’m gay or that I’m secretly gay.” Wolfson, it seems, is attempting to operate in a post-identity context, in which these distinctions have become obsolete, and thus the iconography associated with them become common cultural property. Were I more generous, I’d describe Wolfson as anachronistic; for the sake of brevity, I’ll call him a shitstain and move swiftly on. John Walter’s response to this stasis is perhaps more nuanced. His installation Alien Sex Club will open at the University of Westminster’s Ambika P3 next year, and is an attempt to use architecture as a tool for HIV-transmission prevention. According to Hyperallergic, the project “looks to design a ‘cruise maze’ full of paintings, drawings, sculptures, performance pieces, music, video, hospitality, fortune-telling, and rapid-HIV-testing centers.” In a similar way to 30, Walter’s intent seems to be to reignite a stalled conversation through the proliferation of images. If the museum is where things, like Paddy, go to die, it can also provide a short reprieve. 30 is comprehensive, poignant, at times quaintly moralising – Health Department advertisements from the mid-1980s flagrantly endorse monogamy as a prevention tool. It doesn’t point towards any answers in terms of how we should deal with the question of AIDS as historical trauma, and what implications that has for how it should exist in the present. What it does is overwhelm, and in doing so it offers a holistic approach to how we have talked about AIDS, how we do now, where language has failed us in the past, and where language continues to fail us. In an interview with the sister of “New Zealand’s first AIDS victim”, a particular longing is discussed briefly: something often unsaid, she hesitates to say it at first, and stutters when she admits that she wishes AIDS “were as easy as cancer.”
FUNNY HAS A GENDER
by Rose Cann
t was a sunny day in first year when my Theatre tutor came into our rehearsal space fuming about an article released by Vanity Fair entitled ‘Why Women Aren’t Funny’. Written by Christopher Hitchens, the article outlines how, even from a biological standpoint, women are less humorous because they enjoy humour more, but are less likely to engage with it themselves, primarily because they don’t need it. To be blunt, he thinks men need the funnies to get laid and women are happy to chuckle along on their backs without ever actually taking the stage. He also outlines cultural pressures that have led women to have underdeveloped senses of humour; “Precisely because humor is a sign of intelligence (and many women believe, or were taught by their mothers, that they become threatening to men if they appear too bright), it could be that in some way men do not want women to be funny.” Dr Judith Baxter of Aston University in England actually found that women make the same number of jokes as men – when they’re children. “But around age six, something changes; the number of jokes girls make decreases, and it never evens out again.” As adults, she found that 80 per cent of jokes made by female bosses in boardrooms were met with silence, while 90 per cent of jokes made by male bosses received raucous laughter. This seems like a frame of mind that should’ve remained far far in the past, although Nora Ephron, a successful female comedian, agrees that the cultural pressures remain – “The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what’s more male than that?” Although Vanity Fair published a response article – surprise surprise, written by a woman, Alessandra Stanley – it did little to stick up for female comics outside of television, and still proclaimed that a woman usually has to be sexy in order to be funny. In short, there is still a cultural pressure for women to be receptive to, rather than productive of, humour… Or as Joan Rivers puts it, “Men find funny women threatening. They ask me, ‘Are you going to be funny in bed?’ ” As a female improviser, women in comedy, how they’re treated, and what the Wellington comedy scene has to say about this topic, all intrigue me. Speaking to Jennifer O’Sullivan, the organiser of the NZ Improv Fest, helped me gauge an estimate of our level of appreciation for the female jester. First of all, she crunched some numbers, outlining that in Auckland’s
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Comedy Fest this year, there were 70 shows starring men and ten starring women; in Wellington’s, 55 starring men and five starring women. It is obvious that women in comedy are the minority, but that isn’t because women aren’t funny. Jen also outlines that, “by saying it’s refreshing that this particular comedian doesn’t … (bore you with topics you don’t approve of), you are saying that all other female comedians DO. It’s the idea that when a female comedian does impress you, it’s because she’s not like all those other women. She is different. To be funny is to be the exception to this rule. Each of us is representative of our gender; unless we’re awesome, in which case we’re the special unique flower who has overcome the limitations of our vaginas.” Jen also highlights that the stigma is perpetuated by a variety of people – definitely not just men. Sometimes, “it comes from within the ranks of female comedians. It breaks my heart when I hear a women on stage make some variation of the comment: ‘Some women do XYZ, but not ME, ugh, aren’t those women a drag?’ This is not a phenomenon unique to the world of comedy; how often do we hear women saying things like, ‘Oh I just can’t stand the company of other women, we’re just so catty and bitchy, amirite? I’m just one of the guys.’ This is ingrained misogyny. This is a tactic to garner acceptance in arenas where female-ness is devalued.” Speaking to Christine Brooks, another successful female improviser and general lady-in-charge, she explains: “My latest response is to take action! I’m producing and directing (and self-funding) an all-women improv show in June called ‘Taking Off The Bird Suit’… [the] show is about exploring diverse characters and stories in improv for women. As a women on stage, there is often a lot of pressure to be beautiful and/or a tendency to be cast (or cast yourself) into supporting or one-dimensional roles like the maiden, the mother and the crone, if not vigilant. The day I learned how to be ugly on stage was a revelation and improved my craft no end! Being ugly or villainous onstage is incredibly liberating. There are incredibly talented and hilarious women in ‘Bird Suit’, and I am ridiculously excited about learning about our craft together.’ PlayShop, another Wellington improv troupe, will also be putting on a special one-night-only all-female improv show this year. Keep your ears open for further news. Note: A longer version of this article can be found online at salient.org.nz
Friday, Saturday, Sunday Puppies, $45 all-up
New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition Entries close 31 May Registrations open 31 May for Matariki Festival poetry slam at Te Papa, 19 June
Seung Yul Oh:MOAMOA A Decade City Gallery, opens 31 May
Lesbian Gala 1 June For screening times and ticket prices, see www.outtakes.org.nz.
Phoenix Foundation EP released Friday 30 May, 8 pm James Cabaret, $30
All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever 27 May to 31 May, 7 pm Full $20 Concession $15 BATS
The English Beat Friday 30 May, 8 pm Bodega, $59 The Sami Sisters Saturday 31 May, 8 pm Meow, $15
Nothing But Precious: Wendelien Bakker, Rebecca Fisher, James R Ford, and Mary Whalley Elbowroom Gallery, cnr Webb St and Torrens Tce, opens 26 May
Releases: 29 May: A Million Ways to Die in the West – Seth MacFarlane directs, writes and stars in this Western comedy with actors such as Neil Patrick Harris and Charlize Theron. Grace of Monaco – Nicole Kidman stars in this true story about a Hollywood star turned wife of a Prince. Maleficent – Retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the witch, played by Angelina Jolie. The Trip to Italy – Sequel to the The Trip, a British comedy where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel up the Italian coast.
Kim Pieters: what is a life? Adam Art Gallery, opens 27 May Peter Wareing: Stuggorings and Fijetterings Enjoy, until 7 June
New Mad Men and Game of Thrones every Monday, new Louie on Tuesdays.
Eye Tuesday 27 May, 6 pm Adam Art Gallery (on campus!)
Out Takes – Queer Film Festival Thursday 29 May to Thursday 12 June. Special events: Opening Night 29 May, and
Lawrence Arabia plays his albums in full
2b or not 2b / 4 billion likes Circa Theatre 27 May to 1 June, 7.30/6.30 Sundays Adult $30 Concession $25 Equivocation Circa Theatre 27 May to 3 June Various start times Full $46 Under 25s $25 Modern Drama Showcase 28 May 12.30 – 1.30 pm The Theatre Lab, Massey University FREE! SGCNZ National Shakespeare Festival Wellington College 31 May to 1 June, various times Adults $10 Students $5
VBC 88.3 GUIDE BREAKFAST 8 .10 A M
THE VBC BREAKFAST SHOW
10 A M NOON NOON 2.00PM
MUSIC, NEWS, INTERVIEWS, GIVEAWAYS JIVING JAMES & GROOVING GREG
2.00 4.00PM DRIVE 4 - 7PM
WITH DUNCAN & CAM
7. 0 0 9.00PM
WITH MOLLY & S TELL A
9.00 11 . 0 0 P M
DEAD MAN MONDAY
WITH CASEY & JOSS
WITH GEORGE ARMSTRONG
11 P M 1. 0 0 A M
WITH ELEANOR & SIMON
WITH SAM & HUGH
WITH PHILIP MCSWEENEY
2 4 1
THE SALIENT SHOW
TUNES WITH TAMBLY
WITH MR ROBATO
NORTHBOUND ON RAMP
THURSDAY DRIVE WITH A.D.D
DEAD BOYSʼ PIRATE RADIO
WITH TIM & ALEX
WITH HOLLY, S TUMBLE, GOOSEHEAD & VIC SERATONIN
WITH MATT & FRIENDS
WAKE N BAKE
WITH OLLIE & ASHER
WITH SEB & NIC
WITH CIARAN & SOPHIE
The VBC is the Victoria University student radio station. You can tune in on 88.3FM or stream it live at www . vbc . org . nz . If you want to get involved, email the Station Manager, Rob Barrett, at vbc 883 fm @ gmail . com .
THE B-SIDE REVOLUTION
WITH HAMISH & MILES
THE NIGHT SHIFT WITH CHRIS
Across 1. P.E. done and twisted, reasy for inspection. (6) 4. Gain note and get girl to bring something up. (8) 8. Encourage watch to produce perfectly cooked product. (3-5) 9. Offspring with a thank-you brings music. (6) 10. Trill like a joke, heard rising. (4,4,1,4) 12. Style of walking takes in gong but loses direction, making a ploy. (6) 14. Scares, and comes round to soothe feelings. (6) 17. Hesitate at nothing to find source of inspiration. (5) 18. Went about showing skill at soothing, we understand. (6) 20. Pick YourOwn at first, take aim and get muddled, having sight problem. (6) 22. Conservative, like precipitation, OK! (2,5,2,4) 26. Claim palace conceals animal. (6) 27. Speck comes round a container, to get things moving. (8) 28. Freely given info on Queen before promise notes lose beginning. (8) 29. Nerd is translated for people getting fed. (6)
0-15 words: aw :( 16-25 words: smaverage 26-35 words: learned 35+ words: SHOW OFF!!!!!
3 8 2
2 4 8
1 2 4
3 3 5
1 8 6 9
5 2 9
Down 1. Above place for building, we hear, bringing neglect. (9) 2. Has beautiful shepe, thus, no microphone is cut off. (9) 3. Faded comic comes before Edward, lacking marbles. (9) 4. Swore out and deteriorated. (5) 5. Sodium, Sulphur and aluminium for the nose. (5) 6. Hello, nerd, keeping one without friends. (5) 7. Good man takes picture to get going. (5) 11. Ho! A short laugh. (3) 13. Yes to German with Frenchman, causing problem. (3) 14. Non-selective school played a role and squashed things up. (9) 15. Take ways before flat surface hides notice inside to find place for a walk.(9) 16. Without guilt, receiving thanks and never getting marked. (9) 19. Make a mistake in terrorising. (3) 21. Chuck fine heather. (5) 23. Measure of chalk deposit? (5) 24. Claim a goat holds adult. (5) 25. Shout â€œMousse!â€? evenly for source of nutrient (5)
1 5 4
3 4 5
Looking for answers? Find them on our website www.salient.org.nz. Search: puzzles.
1. What did the people of the Micronesian island of Yap famously once use as currency? 2. In the 2013 film of the same name, who played the Wolf of Wall Street? 3. According to the most recent NBR Rich List, who is the richest person in New Zealand, with an estimated $6.4 billion fortune? 4. What does the acronym ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ stand for, made famous by the Wu-Tang Clan? 5. True or false: the US owes China over US$1 trillion. 6. Which African country was known as the ‘Gold Coast’ in colonial times, so named because of the large deposits of gold to be found there? 7. What kind of creatures primarily run Gringotts Wizarding Bank, in the Harry Potter series? 8. Which English football club pays its players the highest average salary in world sport (over £100,000 each per week)? 9. The currencies of Argentina, Cuba and the Philippines all share which name? 10. Which scientist features on the NZ$100 note?
Would you rather?
Would you rather lick an ice cream (classic Tip Top variety) or bite into it? Would you rather put too much ketchup on your chips or not enough? Would you rather have salted or honey roasted peanuts? Would you rather have a water bottle that always leaked (but you had to continue using as per), or a knife that was blunt but which you had to use for every meal?
A reliable cheap and convenient link between Lambton Quay and Victoria University’s Kelburn Campus. A Cable Car every 10 minutes and student fares from just 87 cents one way* *Student 30 trip concession.
Friday afternoons from 3pm - close email@example.com
1. Giant stones (called: rai) 2. Leonardo DiCaprio 3. Graeme Hart 4. ‘Cash rules everything around me’ 5. True 6. Ghana 7. Goblins 8. Manchester City 9. The peso 10. Ernest Rutherford
notices Korean Embassy Competition The events are Quiz on Korea & K-Pop Festival, and the winner of the semi-final round NZ will be given a trip to Korea, with the airfare and accommodation all provided: 1. Quiz on Korea - Preliminary round: 31 May (Wellington) -Application deadline: 28 May -Semi-final round: 5 July 10 a.m at Shed 6 Wellington (Together with K-Pop NZ Festival) 2. K-Pop NZ Festival: -Semi-final round: 5 July 10 a.m at Shed 6 Wellington Visit the Korean Embassy’s website for application details http://nzl-wellington. mofa.go.kr/
The Latin American and Spanish Club The Latin American and Spanish Club ‘s big boom event of the semester, La Bomba. We have hired out the Hunter Lounge for a night of Latino music, food and good vibes. An Afro-latino DJ will be playing all night and a live 8 piece band called Garage Latino will be playing from 8pm. Food such as empanadas, quesadillas and best of all ceviche will be served from 6.30pm included in the ticket price. A photographer will be there to catch all the great moments and excitement of La Bomba as well. Tickets are $10 pre sale at the VUWSA desk
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in Student Union or $15 door sales on the night. So grab your friends, enjoy a live band, a DJ and some food to end the semester on a high!
2014/15 Internships and Graduate Jobs! Applications closing soon: Organisations: Closing Date Shell: 30-May Murray & Co: 30-May Intergen: 31-May Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust (Maori): 1-Jun Scott Technology NZ: 1-Jun Methanex New Zealand: 6-Jun Xero: 6-Jun IBM: 13-Jun Shell Todd Oil Services: 18-Jul Deutsche Bank: 24-Jul Palantir Technologies: 13-Aug Upcoming Free Careers Events for all students Science Careers Expo – 7 Aug
by George Smith Back in the day, every flat would have a bench-top glass jar that everyone put money into and that all of the expenses were paid from. Nowadays, however, flats are far more savvy and have replaced the bench-top glass jar with internet banking and automatic payments. This is awesome for banks, but sucks for the poor flatmate now left to manage the flat account and to constantly stress about the state of the flat’s finances and whether rent will be paid that week. It also sucks for the rest of the flat who no longer have any idea what’s happening with their money or any visibility as to when/where it’s being spent. These are the exact problems Duncan and I faced when we flatted together a few years back. Whether it was one of our flatmates deciding not to pay rent for six weeks, another using the flat card to rent a car for two weeks, or another who bought a keg on it (granted, that turned out pretty awesome), we eventually snapped and wanted 46
the money issue
Victoria Business School: Executive Careers Expo – 11 Sept Check details/book on CareerHub: www. victoria.ac.nz/careerhub
Vic OE – Vic Student Exchange Programme Why not study overseas as part of your degree?! Study in English, Earn Vic credit, Get Studylink & grants, explore the world! Weekly seminars on Wednesdays, Level 2, Easterfield Building, 12.50pm NEXT DEADLINE: JULY 16th for Tri 1, 2015 exchanges! Website: http://victoria.ac.nz/exchange Visit us: Level 2, Easterfield Building Drop-in hours: Mon-Wed 1-3pm, Thurs & Fri 10-12pm
Toastmasters Pipitea students – communicate with confidence! Toastmasters helps you improve your communication and leadership skills in a supportive learn-by-doing environment. Now Toastmasters is coming to Pipitea Campus for the first time. Develop your skills along with fellow Pipitea students – increase your self-confidence, become a better speaker, learn to run effective meetings, and add that spark to your CV. Find out more at our inaugural meeting on Tuesday 27 May, GB 117, 5.45 to 7pm. All welcome.
a better way of doing things. So together we decided to bring back the glass jar, and after a decent spell of planning, we designed and built a simple-to-use software programme that we called Glassjar. This initial software took control of our flat account, interpreted the transactions, and showed a ledger of exactly which flatmates owed what to, or was owed what from, our central flat account. It allowed us to confirm everyone’s contributions, to start noticing when people didn’t pay rent or used the flat card for their own purchases. All of our flatmates could log on and see the state of the accounts, which gave great transparency; it was brilliant. So, we kept working on it. Glassjar is now in use by hundreds of flats throughout New Zealand and around the world. Anyone can sign up and create a profile of their flat for free. After that, simply sit back and let Glassjar take control of your flat’s finances. https://glassjar.co.nz/
contributors editors: Duncan McLachlan & Cameron Price d e s i g n e r : I m o g e n Te m m news editor: Sophie Boot c r e at i v e e d i t o r : C h l o e Dav i e s c h i e f s u b - e d i t o r : N i c k Fa r g h e r distributor: Joe Morris f e at u r e w r i t e r : P h i l i p M c S w e e n e y ( c h i e f ) , P e n n y G a u lt , Alex Hollis w e b e d i t o r : D e x t e r E d wa r d s n e w s i n t e r n s : S i m o n D e n n i s , S t e p h Tr e n g r o v e arts editors: Nina Powles (Books), Charlotte Doyle (Film), H e n r y C o o k e ( M u s i c ) , R o s e C a n n ( Th e a t r e ) , S i m o n G e n n a r d ( Vi s u a l A r t s ) , E l i s e M u n d e n ( Fa s h i o n ) , M i c h a e l G r a h a m ( Te l e v i s i o n ) I l lu s t r at i o n s : P h o e b e M o r r i s general contributors: Jo n n y A b b ot t, H i l a ry B e at t i e , C o u rt n e y B r ow n , S o n ya C l a r k , Ta y l a C o o k , D e c l a n D o h e r t y - R a m s a y , A l l a n D r e w , M o r g a n F i s h e r, M a d e l e i n e F o r e m a n , H u g h H aw o r t h , E m m a H u r l ey, M i tc h K e a s t, E v e K e n n e d y, M o l ly M c C a rt h y, Jo rd a n M c C l u s k e y , To m M c L e a n , E l e a n o r M e r t o n , G u s M i t c h e l l , A l i c e Peacock, Stephen Riddell, Rachel Riedel, Ollie Ritchie, Harri R o b i n s o n , C a r l o S a l i z z o , G e o r g e S m i t h , E v e e Te l f a r , J u l i a We l l s , D a n i e l W i l s o n , P l a y e r X
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the money issue