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Archive for May, 2012

Citizen A – 31 May 2012 – Online now!

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Citizen A

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- 31 May 2012 -

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Matthew Hooton & Phoebe Fletcher -

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Issue 1 – Key senses danger and backs down on classroom sizes. Keen political instincts or self inflicted mutilation?

Issue 2 – Raising retirement. Economic sense or more baby boomer intergenerational theft?

Issue 3 – Tame Iti get’s two and a half years, Rena captain gets seven months . What have we learned from the Urewera terrorism trials?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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The Union Report – 28 May 2012 – Online now!

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The Union Report

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- 28 May 2012 -

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- Annie Newman & CTU Economist Dr Bill Rosenberg -

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Issue 1: How does a zero budget impact on workers and public servants.  Bill English claims we all liked it, really?

Issue 2: What will the living wage campaign do for social justice in NZ?

and Issue 3: How does Iwi involvement in the Affco industrial dispute change the wider dialogue for labour relations in NZ?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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Correction, minister?!

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It appears that there may be other hidden “fish hooks” in the 2012 Budget.

The Corrections 2012 Budget states several  lofty goals, such as,

  • 33,100 additional offenders receiving new and expanded drug and alcohol treatment in prisons and in the community (an increase of almost 500 per cent).
  • 7,855 additional prisoners and community offenders receiving new and expanded rehabilitation services (a 230 per cent increase).
  • 2,950 additional prisoners in education and employment training (a 30 per cent increase).
  • 7,500 prisoners and community offenders to be supported to find real jobs, in new partnerships with employers and industry.
  • 41,100 community offenders receiving new rehabilitation support provided directly by probation officers
  • 4,120 prisoners and community offenders in new rehabilitation services delivered in partnership with iwi and community groups.
  • 6,000 prisoners and community based offenders accessing new reintegration support programmes from iwi and community groups.

According to Minister of Corrections, Anne Tolley,

A 25 per cent reduction in reoffending is bold but achievable, and Budget 2012 delivers on our promise to make communities safer.

These schemes are be  funded by “reprioritising spending“, between    $65  million and $145 million  in operating expenditure over the next four years.

See:  Budget 2012: Reducing reoffending, victims of crime

A source has revealed to this blogger that part of that “reprioritised spending” will be cutting Dept of Corrections’ anti-corruption staff from their current eight investigators, to only four – a 50%  reduction.

All eight of the investigators will  be required to re-apply for their jobs by 24 June, and is part of a much larger ‘re-structuring’ of Corrections, where up to 150 prison officers and other staff will have to re-apply for their jobs.

It is this anti-corruption team that recently investigated allegations of corruption amongst Corrections staff at Rimutaka prison.

If true, this is yet another example of National breaking it’s committments to the public that no frontline staff will be affected  in National’s cuts to state sector workers. In effect,  another of National’s lies.

As parents and teachers are now discovering to their disgust and dismay, national will be cutting teaching numbers from various schools – mostly technology staff.

It is only a matter of time befire these cuts to social and state services will be begin to impact on our communities, and our quality of life.

This is not a “Brighter Future“.

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Email to the Minister

Date: Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 12:10 PM
From: “Frank Macskasy” <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
To:”Anne Tolley” <anne.tolley@parliament.govt.nz>
Subject: Cuts to corrections staff – please confirm

Dear Ms Tolley,

Can you please confirm  that part of that “reprioritised spending” will be cutting Dept of Corrections’s anti-corruption staff from their current eight investigators, to only four – a 50% in reduction.

According to my source, all eight of the investigators with be required to re-apply for their jobs by 24 June, along with 150 other Correctiions staff.

If this information is accurate, please explain how cutting corruption investigators and prison officers is not reducing front-line staff?

Regards,

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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Subject: Thank you for your email
Date: Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 12:31 PM
From: “Hon. Anne Tolley (MIN)” <Anne.Tolley@parliament.govt.nz>
To: “Frank Macskasy” <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
 
On behalf of Hon Anne Tolley, thank you for your email which has been received by this office.  Your correspondence has been noted and will be recorded.

Your email will be forwarded to the Minister for consideration, and a response will be sent as soon as possible.  However, if your email is bringing some information to the attention of the Minister, please regard this as a final response to your email.

Kind regards

The Office of Hon Anne Tolley

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“It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash”

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

Full story

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Kudos to Human Rights Commissioner,  Dr Judy McGregor, for getting out of her office  to  work  ‘undercover’ in a residential aged care hospital. She discovered, first hand, the incredible hard work that rest home care-workers do – for the obscenely pitiful sum of $13.61 – caring for our elderly parents, grandparents, other family members, spouses, and friends.

The media report referred to,

” Although there were hoists to pull people from beds, there was still a lot of heavy lifting, and she was constantly worried she would hurt or drop someone.   ” – Ibid

This blogger is aware of the risks to resthome workers from heavy lifting. I am aware of one young woman who was a worker for Presbyterian Support Services, in the late 1990s. She damaged her back and went on  ACC for rehabilitation. Within a few months, she had lost her job at PSS;  ACC used one of their corporate medical specialists in Auckland to “re-assess” her; and she was ‘transferred’ to WINZ and put on to a sickness benefit. No further rehab – she was now a beneficiary and someone elses’ problem.

New Zealanders should be very worried about the poor pay and support given to resthome careworkers.

We are all aging.  A growing number of us will end up in rest homes – to be cared for by these low-paid workers. And we’ve been lucky so far in that resthome workers are deeply dedicated to their clients. As Dr McGregor said,

The complexity of the job was actually a surprise for me. It’s quite physical work, and it’s emotionally draining because you are obliged to give of yourself to other people.   Saint-like women do it every day so that older New Zealanders can have a quality of lifeAt the end of the day, carers are being paid less than the minimum wage for work that is grossly undervalued.

The question we should be asking ourselves is; how much longer can we rely on the good will of these workers?

All New Zealand workers are getting older – and this includes those rest home workers currently caring for the aged and infirm. The number of workers paying taxes to support retirees will be dropping from now onwards  (a fact which National continues to ignore),

At present, there are about 18 elderly people (i.e., 65 years and over) per 100 people of ‘working age’ (i.e., 15-64 years). By 2051, this ratio is predicted to increase to 43 per 100. ” – Source

Which means that as we move closer to the middle of this century, there will be fewer and fewer people in the workforce. This will put pressure on labour demand. That will result in pressure on wages. That  will result in  a labour shortage, as we saw in the early 2000s, during the previous Labour government.

As we Baby Boomers and Gen Yers reach retirement – who will be caring for us? Who will be wiping our chins and butts?

CTU spokeswoman Eileen Brown said that pay and work conditions had been a concern since the 1990s, and had continued to worsen. She’s right,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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When this issue was presented to Dear Leader, he leapt into instant, immediate, action,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

Full Story

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As Key said,

It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash. As the country moves back to surplus it’s one of the areas we can look at but I think most people would accept this isn’t the time we have lots of extra cash.

“You could certainly change the proportion of where you spend money in health. We spend about $14.5 billion in the overall health sector.

“What’s going to go to pay the increase in this area? If you said all of the increase is going to go into this area, that would be roughly $600m over the forecast period which is four years… So that would have left us $1bn for other things.

“We put the money into cancer care and nursing and various other things. On balance, we think we got that about right. “

No, Mr Key, you did not “get this about right”.

How can you have “got it about right”, Mr Key,  when careworkers for our aged and infirm are paid rates that have been thoroughly condemned, by Dr McGregor, as  ” a form of modern-day slavery “?

It is interesting that John Key complains about a lack of funds,

It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash. As the country moves back to surplus it’s one of the areas we can look at but I think most people would accept this isn’t the time we have lots of extra cash.

Perhaps National would not have to wait until “ the country moves back to surplus ” – had they not cut taxes in 2009 nand 2010.

The 2009 tax cuts cost New Zealand $1 billion in lost revenue – there was no corresponding rise in GST,

New Zealand households will get a billion-dollar-a-year boost from tax cuts which take effect this week, Finance Minister Bill English and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said today.

See:  Government delivers April 1 tax cuts, SME changes

Despite a rise a GST, the 2010 tax cuts  resulted in a $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion drop in taxation revenue.

See: Government’s 2010 tax cuts costing $2 billion and counting

That’s roughly $3 billion in lost revenue. Which would have been ample cash to even double the wage rate for careworkers.

The  first round of tax cuts on 1 April 2009 defies any logic. Especially when one considers that Treasury was already predicting a massive Budget blow-out and deficit as the global financial crisis and recession impacted on our own economy. The looming deficit was already known, a month before,

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Full story

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Even the Opposition Labour party was supportive of a more rational, prudent fiscal approach,

Labour has recently said it would support the government if it deferred the April tax cuts because of the rapid deterioration of the global economy. Prime Minister John Key has said the cuts will go ahead. ” – Ibid

Madmen were in control of the country’s treasury, and were hell-bent of spraying tax-dollars around,  as if we were still in the booming mid-2000s.

Unfortunately, three years later, the tax-cut revellry was over; Treasury was empty; and we are living the consequences of the ‘Mother of All Fiscal Hangovers‘, owing billions in debt. (As an aside – it’s crazy how so  many New Zealanders still harbour delusions of National’s “prudent fiscal management”.)

Little wonder that John Key is adamant that we don’t have the cash to raise the wages of our lowest paid healthcare/resthome workers. He’s telling the truth.

Because Dear Leader and National ‘partied like drunken sailors’ and frittered $3 billion away in an orgy of profligate tax cuts.

That is why rest home workers are struggling to survive on $13.61 an hour.

I wonder… who’s going to look after us when we retire?

Because as more workers retire, and the labour market shrinks, we are  faced with only two stark choices,

  1. Reverse the taxcuts and/or User Pays to pay for rest home workers in the coming decades,
  2. Or learn to wipe your own chins and butts.

It’s our call.

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Postscript

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Full story

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Mainstream Media Reports

Resthome spy hails saint-like workers

PM: No money for aged care workers

MPs get pay rise package of $7000

Related blogposts

1 March – No Rest for Striking Workers!

No Rest for the Wicked

References

Facing an Ageing Workforce: Information for Public Service HR Managers

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Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice? (Part Wha)

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Continued from: Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice? (Part Toru)

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Police Commissioner, Peter Marshall appeared on TVNZ’s Q+A on 27 May, to front on the issue of the Urewera raids five years ago. There was a rather remarkable exchange between Mr Marshall and the interview, Shane Taurima,

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PETER MARSHALL – Police Commissioner
Well, I think it’s fair to say that there was no particular target or set of targets identified, but it was against a backdrop of a firearm, for instance, being dismantled and being set down to Wellington; against a backdrop of discussions about a sniper rifle and a silencer; discussions about destroying property and explosives; and, of course, there were the threats in relation to people – to actually kill people. It was against that chemistry built up over a number of weeks that there was growing alarm, and in fact the High Court judge who was signing the renewal warrants was making it quite clear that the police should be actually taking action as a result of the submissions – May, June – that process-

SHANE 
So you were confident at the time that they did actually have a target?

PETER 
Well, we were certainly very alarmed at the increasing number of discussions, the nature of those discussions. As I said, they dismantled a firearm, took it through to Wellington-

SHANE 
Did you know, though, at the time, Commissioner, what their target was?

PETER 
No, as I’ve said, we didn’t know their particular target. It’s a matter of balance. Do we actually wait until something happens, the unthinkable happens? And then, of course, you can imagine the commentary then. Or do we, at an appropriate time, take action because we need to take action-

SHANE 
So what did you expect them to do?

PETER 
Well, they were talking about causing damage, by way of explosives, to buildings. They were talking about killing people. They weren’t specific in relation to it. They actually talked about creating a lot of mayhem around the country. They talked about a revolutionary arm, if you like. We don’t know the specifics. But what we were convinced about, it wasn’t just idle talk. There was a lot of commentary that gave us as investigators and indeed, as I mentioned, the High Court judge also expressed alarm. We were, in a very considered way, very worried about what they might as a group or individually- They were getting themselves all psyched up, and we decided to take the action that you are well aware of.

SHANE 
Commissioner, if it was that serious, why, then, did you allow the leader of the opposition at the time, our current Prime Minister John Key, to visit the area two months before the raids took place?

PETER 
There was no suggestion that he was in any shape or form a target. He wasn’t the prime minister of the day. It was a very considered approach in terms of whether he should go there. He was invited there by senior iwi. We did a risk assessment in relation to that particular location. At that time there was no threat assessment against him-

SHANE 
But we understand that there were reports at the time of him being a target.

PETER 
Not that I’m specifically aware of. But be assured that we would not have let him as leader of the opposition go into that area if we, at that particular stage, thought he was at risk. So we covered that off.

SHANE 
But you didn’t know the target, though, Commissioner.

PETER 
No, that’s true, but we were very convinced that the security arrangements around him at that time were sufficient, and in relation to our threat assessment, there was no risk to him.

SHANE 
The other fact, too, that we’re told is that Mr Key had no cops. He had no police escort in the area.

PETER 
Well, I’m not telling the audience what he did and didn’t have, but suffice to say that there was appropriate security for him backed up by a threat assessment in relation to that one visit on that one day in that very specific area. We wouldn’t have taken any risks in that regard.

SHANE 
We’re also told that one of the targets was the president of the United States at the time, George W Bush, and that they were thinking of ways to assassinate him, if you like, was to catapult a bus on to him.

PETER
I’m not aware of that particular approach, but I’m certainly aware that President Bush’s name was mentioned in conversations. I don’t know what context. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that there were a number of remarks made about the use of explosives, about attacking institutions, and indeed killing people.

Full Transcript

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What the heck?!

So, let me see if I understand Commissioner Marshall;

  1. It’s fair to say that there was no particular target or set of targets identified.
  2. They were talking about killing people. They weren’t specific in relation to it.
  3. But what we were convinced about, it wasn’t just idle talk.
  4. John Key, visited  the area two months before the raids took place.
  5. Police did a risk assessment in relation to that particular location.
  6. There were alleged reports at the time of John Key being a target.
  7. Police were not specifically aware of  of  Key being a target,  “that’s true  “, but Police were very convinced that the security arrangements around him at that time were sufficient, and in relation to our threat assessment, there was no risk to him.

So to distill Mr Marshall’s comments down to the very basic essence; Police claim to have overheard talk of killing unspecified, targets, and despite believing it was not just “idle talk” – permitted John Key – the then-Leader of the Opposition – to venture into the area just two months before the raids took place???

And considering that Mr Marshall confirmed that the investigation took 18 months leading up to the raids – that means that the suspects were under surveillance for around 16 months.

In that period of time, they must have collected considerable quantities of information leading up to the raids and arrests on 15 October 2007 – and they still allowed the leader of the National Party – a centre-right political group that would have been an ideal target for so-called violent revolutionaries – to venture into an area of significant police operations?!

Police claim they  picked up talk of killings and destruction taking place at “terrorist training grounds” – and they allowed  John Key to visit the place?

On top of that is the suggestion that Key was allowed into the area without significant, or any,  police protection.

Does this sound remotely sensible or credible to anyone?

Furthermore, when Shane Taurima asked Mr Marshall, ” Do you think that Tame Iti is capable of killing a person? ” – the Police Commissioner replied, ” I have no idea “.

Really? He had “no idea”?  So who did all the talking about killing people?

Mr Marshall certainly couldn’t answer whether Tame Iti or Urs Signer, a pacifist, could kill any one – despite Police  closely monitoring, listening, surveilling, and watching all the suspects for a solid year and a half.

Mr Marshall’s credibility took a final ‘hit’ when Shane Taurima asked,

So would you, for example, take the same approach in other areas like Remuera or Parnell?

Mr Marshall replied,

Very much so. “

Bollocks. Total bollocks.

Ruatoki was closed down by police, and roads were blocked,

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking

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Entire families, including women and children, were forced at gunpoint from their homes and confined in garages for most of the day (over nine hours by many accounts), as the raids were undertaken. The entire village was in lock down.

Whilst properties were raided in Wellington, Auckland, and elsewhere, there was no lock-down of entire suburbs, and nor were entire streets blocked off. Middle Class Pakeha sensibilities were… treated with respect and consideration.

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Frankly Speaking Blog Frank Macskasy

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The same could not be said of a small village in the Ureweras, where the full power of the State was being unleashed.

No, Mr Marshall, you did not take the same approach in other areas like Remuera or Parnell.

Having watched the Q+A interview with Police Commissioner Marshall; having listened vary carefully to what he said; noting his tone, facial features, and body language; and trying to make sense out of his contradictory statements, I am left with the following impressions;

  1. There is more to this issue than Mr Marshal has told us. It makes no sense that John Key was permitted into an area where a 16 month-long (at that point) operation investigating potential “terrorist-activity” was being conducted.
  2. A full Royal Commission of Inquiry should be undertaken – preferably with Commission members appointed from other Commonwealth nations (UK,  Nigeria, Australia, India, Canada, etc).
  3. The Terrorism Suppression Act must be repealed immediatly. This law is a vile obscenity that has no place in a civilised society.

If history teachers us anything, it is that injustice like this cannot be left to fester.

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Contact

Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

Mainstream Media

Ureweras case ‘destroyed relationships’

Former solicitor-general ‘changed raids advice’

‘Urewera Four’ pair jailed

Protest against jailing of Urewera pair

Tame Iti to appeal jail sentence

‘Urewera four’ members join Budget protests

TVNZ Q+A: Transcript interview with Peter Marshall

Blogs

Aotearoa Independent Media Centre: Free Taame and Rangi – protests today and tomorrow across the country

Beyond Resistance:  Free the Urewera 4: CHCH solidarity picket this Saturday

Capitalism Bad Tree Pretty:  What can they do to you? Whatever they want

Kiwipolitico:  The Crown Gets Its Pound of Flesh

Workers Party:  Urewera four – fight the imprisonments of Iti and Kemara

Tumeke:   Urewera 4 sentencing underway [Updates] BREAKING: 2.5 Years prison :(

Tumeke:   Will Police Commissioner Peter Marshall still be so self-righteous after IPCA report into Urewera farce?

Mars 2 earth:  lighting a fuse

Redline:  Free the Urewera Four

Tangatawhenua.com:  Letter to the Editor – Hypocrisy at best?

Tangatawhenua.com:  May 24, 2012 Where is the Justice in all this?

Tangatawhenua.com:  Waiariki MP gutted at Urewera sentences

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Citizen A – 24 May 2012 – Online now!

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Citizen A

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- 24 May 2012 -

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Dr Wayne HopeSelwyn Manning -

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What are the economic, social and political ramifications of National’s zero budget?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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