Thursday, September 05, 2019

Another Leftist housing scheme fails

Leftist governments are always pledging to "solve" the housing shortage and build lots of "affordable" housing.  It is always a fiasco, with little housing built and virtually none of it affordable.  The latest example below.

Why are the Left so clueless about housing?  There was even a drastic shortage of it in the old Soviet Union, where they had their hands on all the levers.

It's because housing is intrinsically expensive so cost minimization is vital.  And only private enterprise can cut costs to the bone.  Once government gets involved everybody relaxes and does everything the bureaucratic way, which is slow, inefficient and costly.  Time is money -- but not to bureaucrats

And all sorts of Leftist policies add to the costs -- environmental and safety mandates for a start.  Leftist governments  CREATE high costs for housing.  It is only where government mandates and regulations are minimized that costs can be slashed.  It's the difference in regulations that makes housing in Texas half the price of housing in California

See also here for how NIMBYs use the laws to keep housing prices up

The New Zealand government has performed a spectacular mea culpa on one of Labour's signature election policies, walking away from a pledge to build 100,000 affordable new homes within a decade.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's government insists their commitment to low-cost housing remains, announcing on Wednesday a raft of changes to their "KiwiBuild" policy suite.

"KiwiBuild isn't working so we are changing it," Housing Minister Megan Woods said. "As a government, we have a commitment to not bloody-mindedly pursuing a policy because we said it a few years ago. "We're actually having the courage to call time on it, say it hasn't worked, and make the necessary changes. "When policies aren't working we are honest about that and fix them."

KiwiBuild is one of the Ardern government's flagship policies, and the prime minister is hopeful that today's "KiwiBuild reset", first announced in January, will change the course of the ailing $2 billion housing programme.

The ambitious goal-setting and spending, in partnership with developers, was aimed at helping first homebuyers crack the property market - as well as providing an economic stimulus and apprenticeships.

One year into the planned decade of house-building, just 141 houses had been constructed, well short of the first benchmark of 1,000

Targets of 5,000 by June 2020 and 10,000 by June 2021 have now been discarded.

"When I lifted up the hood and had a look at what was happening with Kiwibuild, the targets were providing some perverse outcomes," Ms Woods said. That included unsold properties and developers ignoring the needs of larger families.

Opposition Housing spokesperson Judith Collins lashed the changes as "a massive retreat".

While Ms Ardern embraced the KiwiBuild policy, the plan preceded her leadership by five years; first announced in 2012 by then-leader David Shearer.

Four Labour leaders and two elections later, Ms Ardern found herself in the position to implement it after building a coalition government with NZ First and the Greens.

Her first Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, was moved on from the role in June, leaving Ms Woods with the patch-up job.

Other changes announced on Wednesday include a reduction of the deposit needed for a government-backed mortgage and a requirement for small home buyers to live in those properties for just one year.

The Greens have also succeeded in shifting $NZ400 million of KiwiBuild funding into a progressive home ownership scheme.


More than 13,000 people in the UK have been born out of 'extreme inbreeding' and the illegal incestuous trysts of close relatives, study claims

We must not of course mention the religion of most of the people involved -- a religion that makes cousin marriage largely mandatory.  Abnormal births are frequent among them, creating a great burden on the health services

Scientists believe that more than 13,000 people in the UK have DNA which indicates they are the result of 'extreme inbreeding'. 

Analysis of the UK Biobank data-bank by researchers at the University of Queensland uncovered evidence of people with whose parents are considered to be first- or second-degree relatives.

This includes children created when parents and their offspring (first degree) have a child.

It also assessed children born from the intercourse of half-siblings (second degree).

The researchers say scaling up the research is difficult due to the limitations of the data-set, but claim the real number may be even higher than the extrapolated 13,200 figure from the paper.

People born out of such extreme inbreeding often suffer myriad health concerns, the researchers confirm. 

This includes reduced lung function, fertility, cognitive function and a 44 per cent higher risk of all diseases.

In many countries, mating between close relatives is forbidden by law.

For example, mating between first- or second-degree relatives is explicitly prohibited by the Sexual Offences Act (2003) in the UK.

Nevertheless, law enforcement records in the UK and other countries show that EI does occur.

These few cases are likely under-reported because of the social stigma attached to them, experts say.

The analysis into inbreeding and its potential effects on health are published in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr Loic Yengo led the research and estimated the prevalence of extreme inbreeding using anonymous data from 456,414 individuals in the UK Biobank.

It looked for an unusually high amount of homozygosity, the term given to stretches of the genetic code that are identical and therefore must have been inherited from both the mother, and the father.

If this is significantly higher than normal, it can indicate a person's parents are closely related.

'These runs of homozygosity are identical sections of DNA and can be used by geneticists to study the association between the proportion of a person's genome that is homozygous and measurements on that individual.

'This is the first time that ten per cent or more homozygosity in the genome has been quantified in a sample of nearly half a million people,' said Dr Yengo.

The authors chose the threshold of ten per cent because, according to the guidelines from the American College of Medical Genetics, extreme inbreeding can be suspected if over ten per cent of the DNA sequence in an individual has runs of homozygosity.

They then looked at whether this was associated with a number of health outcomes.

Among the participants included in the study, the authors found 125 individuals whose genetic data suggested that they were offspring of first- or second-degree relatives.

However, the researchers warn that this percentage of approximately 0.02 per cent may not be comparable to the entire population, and could well be higher.

The researchers were unavailable for interview, but said in a statement: 'The extent to which our estimate reflects the true prevalence of [extreme inbreeding] in the entire UK population is a difficult question.

'The UK Biobank is known to have over-representation from healthy and highly educated individuals which likely biases our estimates.

'Highly inbred individuals who suffer severe health consequences may be less likely to participate in a study such as the UK Biobank. 'Therefore, our estimate of the prevalence might be too low.' 

It also found that these people have rather a bleak health outlook, and the study confirms previous research on the impact of incest.

The authors write: 'We confirmed previous findings suggesting that inbreeding leads to reduced stature, cognitive ability, lung function and fertility.

'Moreover, we found that these 125 participants were approximately 44 per cent more at risk of any kind of disease, as compared to the rest of the study participants.

'We also found that the effect of EI on these traits can be predicted using observations from less extreme forms of inbreeding (e.g. between first-cousins).'


Vegan activists separate chickens from cockerels on Spanish farm 'so the hens aren't raped' because they do not give 'consent

Vegans were once just sad people who ate a lot of nuts.  Now they seem to have become the nuts

The video was released by the Spanish vegan group Almas Veganas (Vegan Souls), based in Girona in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia. They published the video on Twitter where it has been viewed 570,000 times.

On their Twitter page, the activists describe themselves as 'anti-speciesist' and 'transfeminist.' Anti-speciesists believe that judging types of animals as different to each other, or humans, is wrong. They also believe that humans favour and treat some species better, like dogs, which we shouldn't do.

Transfeminism is created by and aimed at transgender women and says that the freedom of trans women is coupled with the liberation of all women.

It also says that any individual should be able to express and define themselves in whichever way they choose without fear of retaliation. 

In the footage, the two activists can be seen smashing eggs on the ground because 'they belong to the hens.'

The vegans then reveal that 'we separated the cocks because we don't want the hens to get raped.'

In another video, the activists said that they based their decision on 'the notion of consent.'

The vegans add: 'The hens do not want to be mounted and always try to escape. They are sometimes seriously injured by the cocks' claws as well.'

They also say the hens 'are genetically modified to make them lay more eggs' and they want to 'prevent them from reproducing.'

'Either you are vegan or you help to finance animal slavery. Eating animals is fascist,' they added.

According to reports, the vegan group has recently appeared on several Spanish television shows including the popular talk show 'Todo Es Una Mentira' ('Everything Is A Lie') where they believed they were 'ridiculed' by the presenter.

The footage prompted comments on social media such as 'is this a joke?,' 'there is no room for more morons' and 'you have to be frigging crazy.'

They said afterwards: 'We knew they would make fun of us, but we wanted to use the platform to spread our message anyway.'


Tattoos mark people as hasty and reckless, economists find

People who have a visible tattoo are more likely to act in haste and to fail to think through the consequences of their actions, according to a study of more than 1,000 people.

The research was conducted because of an apparent paradox. Numerous studies have shown that employers and society at large discriminate against tattooed people. Yet the tattoo, once “largely reserved for criminals, sailors and circus freaks”, has undergone a rise in popularity that “constitutes one of the most significant cultural trends in the West”, the economists behind the research write.

Nearly a third of 25 to 39-year-olds in Britain have a tattoo, and a fifth of the population as a whole have one. Why, the researchers said in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, would so many people willingly “affix a visible stigma to one’s identity”?

“I’m an economist. From an economic perspective this decision to have a tattoo is puzzling,” Bradley Ruffle, from McMaster University, Canada, said. “Tattoos are about making some kind of statement. But why not just dye your hair or get a personalised T-shirt you can remove?”

In his research he found that people who got tattoos, especially visible ones, were precisely those less likely to consider the implications of their decision.

The researchers subjected 781 people without tattoos and 255 with tattoos, 68 of which were still visible when clothed, to tests to measure how “future-oriented” or short-sighted they were.

These included an economic game, in which people were given two options: receiving a dollar in 18 hours or a larger sum, steadily increasing from $1.05 to $2.50, in three weeks. The researchers were interested in when the second option, involving deferred gratification, became more attractive to people.

People without a tattoo switched to this larger sum sooner, stalling until they received $1.55 to decide that it was worth waiting. People with a visible tattoo required $2 to make the same decision and also behaved more irrationally afterwards — sometimes switching back to the first option at higher amounts.

Another test looked at impulsivity. The same group of people were asked simple questions in which the obvious answer was incorrect, such as: “You’re competing in a five-mile run. In the last mile of the race you pass the person in 96th position. In which position did you finish?” The correct answer is 96th, but tattooed people were more likely to answer without thinking and say “95”.

People with visible tattoos have been shown to be 13 per cent less likely to be called back for a second job interview, are offered lower salaries if they are hired and are generally viewed as less well qualified. One implication of the findings is that this may not be a wholly irrational prejudice.

Professor Ruffle said he hoped the findings “might give pause” to people considering getting a tattoo. However, he added that it was important to realise that impulsivity was not always a negative trait.

“Sometimes it’s good to make decisions fast. If you’re a professional basketball player and you need to decide whether to shoot or pass, you don’t want someone who stands there and deliberates,” he said.

Henrik Hogh-Olesen, a psychology professor from Aarhus University in Denmark, has studied the social history of tattoos, which have been used by humans since the Stone Age. He said: “In business and commerce tattoos may be negative stigmas. In other areas such as film, sports, music, bar tending where ‘edginess’ may be positively valued, the stigma may be positive.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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