The Daily Blog Open Mic – Sunday – 2nd May 2021

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Some Daily Blog readers may be interested in reports from China Labor Watch
    http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/reports
    The latest reports deal with the situation of Chinese overseas workers as victims of exploitation by Chinese Employers in foreign countries and the complete indifference of Chinese Communist Party( Information is from the International Labor Organisation)
    ‘We conducted in-depth interviews with 22 Chinese workers who worked or currently work on various BRI projects located in Indonesia, Algeria, Singapore, Jordan, Pakistan, Serbia and other countries. Among the workers we interviewed, we found widespread rights infringements involving: passport detention, restrictions on freedom of movement, excessive work hours up to 12 hours a day and 7 days a week, zero holiday allowance, unpaid wages, issuance of illegal visas, deceptive recruitment and false promises, isolation from the local community, intimidation and threats, high penalties for quitting, lack of sufficient medical treatment, poor living and working conditions, insufficient labor protection and safety equipments, no reasonable complaint channels or grievance mechanism, restricted freedom of speech, and harsh punishment of workers who protest. ‘
    They were promised a job with good pay to support their families back in China. Upon arriving in the host countries, however, Chinese employers confiscated their passports, and told them that if they wanted to leave early, they had to pay a penalty for breach of contract, which is often equivalent to several months’ worth of their salary. Many workers who do not obtain a work visa are afraid of speaking out about the labor rights abuses they suffered. Even workers who obtain a work visa usually cannot change employers freely, and rarely have any rights to organize unions or strikes. Their basic human rights have been severely violated, but because they are abroad, it is difficult to seek protection under Chinese law, and the Chinese companies that force these workers to work often get away with it.

    While millions of Chinese citizens with valid passports were stranded overseas at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government introduced the strictest travel restrictions in the world – the so-called “Five-One” policy and the “circuit breaker” mechanism to limit the number of international flights coming into China. Such policies have caused airfares to skyrocket with very limited flights available to China. Overseas Chinese workers in BRI stranded abroad have been suffering from endless lockdowns, job loss, poverty, and little hope of returning home. Many of them cannot pass both the Covid-19 nucleic acid PCR test and Covid-19 IgM antibody test that Chinese government requires. Chinese companies also frequently use the excuse of the lack of new laborers from China to stop them from returning home. In our research, we have found that some workers were permanently disabled from untreated work-related injuries due to restriction of movement and lack of medical care, and many workers suffered disproportionate losses to covid-19 when their workplaces and dormitories became coronavirus hotbeds.’

    • This is super interesting and sign of the times.

      Russian man ‘trapped’ on Chinese reality TV show finally voted out after three months
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/27/russian-man-trapped-chinese-reality-tv-show-voted-out-lelush-vladislav-ivanov-produce-camp

      “A Russian man who joined a boyband competition show on Chinese TV on a whim but quickly regretted his decision has finally been released from his ordeal after making it all the way to the final.

      Using the stage name Lelush, Ivanov told viewers “don’t love me, you’ll get no results”, and repeatedly pleaded with people not to vote for him. His first song was a half-hearted Russian rap, in stark contrast to the high-pop of his competitors. “Please don’t make me go to the finals, I’m tired,” he said in a later episode.

      “I hope the judges won’t support me. While the others want to get an A, I want to get an F as it stands for freedom,” the South China Morning Post reported him as saying.

      His pleas went unanswered, however, and he was propelled through three months of competition and 10 episodes, plus supplemental digital content. A fanbase which had taken to his grumpy, anti-celebrity persona, or were perhaps driven by schadenfreude, urged each other to vote for him and “let him 996!” in reference to China’s digital industry culture of chronic overwork – 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

      Others called him “the most miserable wage slave”, and celebrated him as an icon of “Sang culture”, a Chinese millennial concept of having a defeatist attitude toward life.

      After making it to the final, Ivanov grumpily ate a lemon on camera, and said he hoped people would not support him again. “I’m not kidding,” he said, deadpan.

      He was eventually voted out in the final episode, which aired on Saturday. “I’m finally getting off work,” he posted on his Weibo account the next day.

      A Weibo hashtag related to his departure was viewed more than 180m times and reposted more than 59,000 times, including by the Russian embassy. “Congrats, have a good rest,” the embassy said.

      Russian media reported that Ivanov had been mobbed at Beijing airport as he left the country, defying rumours he would stay to build a modelling career.

      Reports of a captive Russian from Vladivostok being held prisoner on a Chinese reality show had led to an online campaign at home for Ivanov to be released from his contract, which bloggers coined #FreeLelush or #СвободуЛелушу.

      State media began reporting on Ivanov’s predicament about a week ago after popular Russian bloggers posted about the interpreter’s unlikely run. “It’s not funny any more, let Vlad go home!” wrote one.“I am very sad and disturbed. It might have been amusing for some time, but the situation is becoming absurd.”

      Popular blogger Ruslan Usachev said Ivanov’s high profile, if reticent, participation had boosted Produce Camp’s aura of an international competition – no doubt pleasing Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that runs it.

      “Suddenly a real live person appeared on this show and people started to vote for him,” Usachev said. “Partially because he stands out [from the other contestants.] But mainly because it’s just kek” – a term, adopted by gamers, that refers to an amusing incident.”

  2. House prices: Landlord sells rental to tenant below market value
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/house-prices-landlord-sells-rental-to-tenant-below-market-value/ZD52P5P2HRUAKFZSBO5BTOHA2M/

    Government help for first home buyers increasingly seems to be taking a rental property away in deprived area to be sold to families that arrive in NZ, take up low skilled jobs and have money with them to buy the house.

    While many of the people arriving in NZ might be lovely people, it is perpetuating and escalating existing problems of low NZ wages, higher council rates and taxes to pay for infrastructure for more people (Someone told me that their council rates in Northland were going up 20% and they get nothing, (she said not even a library apparently) and more schools, health care and resources needed.

    When government says they want to help first home buyers, it does not seem to be existing NZ citizens but first home buyers on low incomes from overseas.

    It is also taking a low skilled jobs from someone in Northland with higher unemployment who could be working in the supermarket but does not have that opportunity now.

    It seems all roads are leading to more burden and less attractiveness to be a skilled worker in NZ, while increasing the burden of taxpayers whose income is so low through more and more small businesses with low paid employees everywhere.

    Small number of taxpayers bear the brunt of New Zealand tax bill
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81429047/small-number-of-taxpayers-bear-the-brunt-of-new-zealand-tax-bill

    That is not even tapping into the frauds going on when workers pay back their income or pay for the job, increasing the ‘ghost jobs and businesses’ popping up around NZ. They also get topped up with wage subsidies , win, win.

    This Wellington family managed to pop off for a lovely holiday to China for 6 weeks from their fish and chip shop, and after abandoning their child in China during the pandemic, now have bought back Grandma and the (according to them), psychologically damaged son. Apparently it’s NZ’s fault it all happened and now their business might be failing too!

    Couple worry about 6-year-old son, who was stuck in China over lockdown due to border restrictions
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/our-truth/124757620/couple-worry-about-6yearold-son-who-was-stuck-in-china-over-lockdown-due-to-border-restrictions

    It’s not hard to see why there is a housing shortage and Government debt is ballooning and social services are falling apart with demand.

    More and more new migrant families seem to be getting a lot of hand outs and media attention from NZ while at the other end of the spectrum things are getting worse and worse.

    Apparently an example of a safe, warm, dry house according to government, but this social housing tenant is now considering willingly moving to his car.

    ‘I told you someone would get killed’ – Christchurch man angry after complaints about social housing problems ‘fell on deaf ears’
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/i-told-you-someone-would-get-killed-christchurch-man-angry-after-complaints-about-social-housing-problems-fell-on-deaf-ears/OQEZ4OSINXDVNVJM43PEV7CK4U/

    “In just the past week alone, I have had my front door kicked in twice with threats of having my home burned down.

    “I have had people intruding on my property; last night my property was attacked with an axe to which police responded with rifles drawn.

    “I have had motorcycle gang members terrorising myself and the neighbourhood. My complaints to social housing providers fall on complete deaf ears.”

    He turned to Woods for help, hopeful that she would step in.

    He felt there was not enough support or supervision of the tenants.

    “I have been left in constant fear of my life and my property,” he said.

    “I am now about to cancel my agreement with this property to live in my car until I can find a more suitable property to live.”

    In the letter he quoted six police callouts from the week with file reference numbers.

    He felt authorities were “turning a blind eye” and implored Woods to act.

    Woods’ spokeswoman acknowledged Hawkins’ death.

    “Our sympathies go out to the victim’s friends and family, and the local community,” she said.

    “The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Kāinga Ora and community housing providers are committed to ensuring that public housing tenants have a safe, warm and dry place to call home.”

    Tale of two tenants!

  3. Apartments are not this ‘silver bullet’ as like our roads, NZ’s profit mentality, with our lack of expertise and love of cheap workers, dis interest in quality combined with a lack of liability for the worst offenders and interest in high paid lawyers for the rich, can’t seem to design and build apartments to last.

    Auckland’s Connaught apartment building repairs $25m and climbing
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/aucklands-connaught-apartment-building-repairs-25m-and-climbing/WDVRG56LUHUARMBPJ37MZHVUVQ/

    Price gouging is extensive in construction with the government giving that industry free reign to help themselves to taxpayers funds in subsidies.

  4. Judith reckons NZ on path to totally separatist system. No proof of course…but more red meat for the conspiracy theorists. Obviously making a play for ACT voters after seeing Seymours mea culpa this morning. ACT supporters not happy that Seymours halo has slipped. After all the anti National rhetoric coming from ACT lately (ie National is the problem) lets hope that Judith sharpens the knife at Epsom and cuts him loose. Alex Brae has interesting article about one of ACT’s ‘freedom’ events getting hijacked by the covid deniers. Hilarious.

    • Remember 2 Chinese are more valuable than 2 Indians in the Natz party.

      As for ACT (and the rest of NZ political parties) we don’t just have fake news, we have fake political policy. No wonder people are tired.

      I mean if you can’t solve housing shortages in NZ after nearly 15 years of all political parties providing fake political policy on the subject that ignored the 1 million new residents who need housing (and health care etc) then it’s a kin to fake news.

      Sadly the political parties are still banging on the same drums, aka NZ can somehow continue with adding millions more chefs and supermarket families and unpaid construction workers, and like magic for every house costing a fortune for the taxpayers to be built, we have bought in 20 additional people to bid on it and it will eventually solve the housing shortage. Must be the new Maths they teach the children in NZ who are now are in the bottom 20% of the OECD of Maths knowledge at work.

      Meanwhile the middle class in their apartments have to trump up 25million+ every few years for remedial work for their housing and have their rates go up 20% to fund the infrastructure, and the 10% fuel charge to fund the roads, and the wages that somehow reduce 20% around that time and the redundancy around the corner at the latest restructure (another way to legally get rid of employees) …. getting harder and harder to get ahead.

      Why bother, get a shipload of Meth in and join the party.

  5. Clearly the governments plan to get the landlords to sell up (to first home buyers entering the country in many cases) didn’t involve much thought about the tenants who then lose their rental property……

    Hmm set up a situation to encourage landlords to sell and the only people with the money are those entering the country – and driving up the prices. Sounds like a winner for social disruption. Then blame the landlords for both renting the properties (and driving up prices) then when they sell (blame them for selling and kicking the tenant out) or keep the property (and blame them for price gouging while even the social housing providers are becoming insolvent https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/a-capital-letter-wellington-council-social-housing-arm-will-be-insolvent-by-2023/IAIQVC6E2T2LATT55VURUUJJPU/ ).

    Landlords face rhetoric of abuse as rents continue to soar
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/landlords-face-rhetoric-of-abuse-as-rents-continue-to-soar/WUK3HLZZUTUIZ7UG67VPHASM4Q/

    The Marie Antoinette approach that NZ tenants (many with zero deposits and poor credit rating or with a deposit but in now precariat work) can just suddenly pop out and purchase a property themselves on NZ’s slave wages when you could be made redundant at the drop of a restructure.

    NZ is galloping to the European rental model where, someone from the Netherlands came to NZ because ‘it is a 7 year wait for a rental property there’.

    With neoliberalism, if something is not working in your own country, it has become easy to just migrate somewhere else… whether not having free superannuation and health care and schooling in your own country go to NZ, to not being able to wait 7 years for a home to live in, come to NZ!

    Must be the Neokindness where in NZ were encourage richer folks with problems around the world to come to NZ, and then we deprive our own nationals of jobs, housing and incomes to accomodate the massive foreign demand for NZ’s free and cheap social services and available housing to buy and rent and then scapegoat groups that actually made it all work 20 years ago in favour of international business practise at double the housing costs for 1/2 the housing quality.

  6. Looks like the government is ‘too busy’ to find out how much taxpayer funded emergency housing is costing, too busy to do inspections for emergency housing to check it is value for money and fit for purpose and not willing or competent to work out how much money has been spent on repairs for damage to emergency housing or not willing or competent to work out how much money for damage to emergency housing has been recovered from the tenants…

    Gosh sounds like the Natz are in charge of the country again…

    Kerre McIvor: Government leaving taxpayers in the cold over emergency housing
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/kerre-mcivor-government-leaving-taxpayers-in-the-cold-over-emergency-housing/UMZ6CAEK4KGBOWEQKC5HVOBR7Q/

  7. More taxpayers dollars hard at work from Auckland Transport and the Police.

    Auckland Transport to report pothole penis painter to police
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300290088/auckland-transport-to-report-pothole-penis-painter-to-police

    How about the police file a report against AT for their dangerous pot holes everywhere that can cause accidents and wasting police time, rather than investigating this citizen who seems to be helping AT detect their poor workmanship?

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