Archive

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

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

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Political prisoners in New Zealand?

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Continued from Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice?

A protest held outside Wellington’s High Court today (25 May) highlighted the extreme sentences handed down to  Tame Iti and  Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, and statements made by the presiding judge, ‘Justice’ Hansen, which many found offensive and unjust.

The protestors began assembling at mid-day, along with media crews,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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With the outrageously extreme prison sentences meted out to Tame Iti and  Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, the statement below is no longer just rhetoric.  How can there be justice when armed, masked men, with the full authority of the State, terrorise a small village in our own country, under the guise of  “suppressing terrorism”?

The only terrorism that occurred on 15  October  2007, was households raided, and women and children frightened to death  by Darth Vader’s stormtroopers.

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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The more repressive the State becomes, the more that motivation will be strengthened in people fighting for Tino Rangatiratanga,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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And as more and more pakeha join Maori in a growing movement for sovereignty, it will become an irresistable movement,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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The protest was addressed by one of the organisors, who said,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Kia ora tatou, thanks for coming down today, to our very quickly, impromptu demonstration. There are a lot of different  reasons people could be protesting today. the reason I’m here is to stand in solidarity with emily and urs who got sentenced to nine months home detention and stand in solidarity with tame and rangi who were sentenced to two and a half years . we’re here to stand in solidarity with all the people who’ve been  affected over the last four and half years, by this case. And I’d like to pay respects to Tuhoi Lambert and his whanau. Obviously  Tuhoi passed on before the charges could be put before him. So it’s really important for us to remember him on this day.

I’d also like to remind everybody of the symbolic significance of this day. Today is 34 years ago, on the 25th of May 1978, police went in to Bastion Point and cleared the occupation on the 507th day.

These charges; this court case; and these sentences,  are just another example of  history of the Crown subjugating Maori, subjugating those who stand up and fight up.

So we’re here to stand up and fight back to.

Some of  us have been on the picket line since 2007, October 15, over at the District Court , and we’re going to keep fighting these charges. And we’re making the same demands we were making on the 15th of  October 2007; drop the charges!

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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The speaker continued,

It’s been noted since the years since the raids of October 15th, 2007, there are questions  about the degree of  political involvement in the operation, particularly in the political attempts by the then Labour-government to interfere with the subsequent judical process. There are questions that need to be answered about the racism of the operation. There are questions that need to be asked about the shocking  abuse and mistreatment of innocent people during operation.

For example, in the Maori community of Ruatoki, that was the only community that was locked down and blockaded in the course of the operation. It was only there that innocent people stopped, searched, and harrassed, going about their daily lives. When houses were raided  in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and elsewhere, the surrounding suburbs were not locked down and no innocent pakehas were stopped going about their daily lives.

Many of the actions in and around Ruatoki were taken outside of public scrutiny, and thus were more traumatising for people concerned, especially when they involved physical mishandling and detention. The Chief Justice, Sian Elias found that the police had collected their evidence illegally and allowed the Crown  to pursue charges against the urewera 4 only because of the criminal gang charge. The jury was hung on that charge and so the fight continues for the charges to be dropped.”

Meanwhile,  media recorded the protest,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Talking with some of the activists,

What your first thoughts when you heard about the sentencing of Tame and the other?”

”  I thought it was outrageous , I mean considering the fact they were not found guilty of anything relating to the terrorism charges, or anything relating to the actual forming of a private militia as the judge said. I think it was a personal, political agenda that was being pushed. It was just the pound of flesh that the government wanted. “

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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” Can I just ask you, what’d you think when you heard about the sentencing? “

” What do I think? I think it’s  political. I think it’s political that Tame and Rangi particularly are being punished for asserting Te Mana Motuhake for Tuhoi. I think the arms charges are pretty minor, they weren’t able to get them on terrorism charges or on organised crime charges, so they’ve just escalated the sentences for some actually quite minor ones, and that’s political in nature. “

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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As the protestors stood in dignity, passing cars and trucks were tooting their horns in support. Public support was surprisingly  very much in evidence.

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Some beautifully-drawn footpath-art, drawn by one of the protestors,

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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And with another of the activists,

” What did you think when you heard the sentencing? “

” Oh, absolute disgrace. An injustice. Racist and politically motivated. “

” What do you think the government should be doing about this? “

” Dropping the charges. And an apology also for the people of Tuhoi, because it’s not just Tame Iti and the four that’ve have been sentenced unjustly, it’s their whanau and the people of Tuhoi that they’re ignoring.”

” So you think that the sentencing was of a racist nature? “

” I do. And politically motivated. And the sentencing judge was a single person, and I think he over-rode the findings of the jury and was driven by his own perspective on things.”

” He seemed to be making comments that weren’t even really related to the charges that they were found  guilty of. “

“That’s right. It was excessive, and it should  be thrown out. It’s going to waste more money. It was just a continuation of State oppression and excessive, State bullying and the the injustice of the whole situation. So, yes,  when I found out I was absolutely gutted and mortified. “

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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What was your first thought when you heard about Tame and the others being sentenced? “

” I was really shocked, I wasn’t expecting that. I guess I should have been, it was naive of me… I think that everyone in Ruatoki should get an apology and monetary compensation. I think Tame and Urs and all should be aquitted.  “

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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What was your first imediate reaction when you heard about the prison sentences?”

That they’re perpetuating the hurt… I think that the charges were bought using illegal evidence and I they shouldn’t be sentenced on the basis of illegal evidence. How can the government, the crown expect us to operate legally when they’re operating illegally?

They have no right to do that, they should be setting the standard, not lowering it.”

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Police officer moving protestors of the street, and back onto the footpath. Supposedly for “safety” reasons, the same policeman moved this blogger off the street, and back onto the footpath as well. His reasoning was that we were causing a potential traffic hazard.

The police could just as easily used their police vehicle (partially visible between policeman and protestor with loud-hailer) to block part of  the two-lane street. Traffic was low-to-moderate, as it was not yet rush-hour traffice.

However, he was courteous and readily explained the reasoning behind his actions.

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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Thinking out loud, and thoughts many will share,

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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

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Contact

Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking  Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking   25 May Urewera 4 Protest Wellington High Court

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

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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When the mask slips

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Politicians take utmost care when the media are anywhere within cooee. They understand that a slip of the tongue or the wrong facial expression can be recorded, and reported, for the rest of the population to witness firsthand.

The “tea party” between John Banks and John Key was  a conversation they believed to be private; was recorded;  and subsequently made public.  With thirty-plus media within a metre of the two politicians, what were the chances of holding a ‘private conversation‘ separated by a few millimetres of glass?  Slightly better than wining 1st division Lotto Powerball, one would have thought.

So politicians choose their words carefully and present their best possible image to the voters.

Every so often, though, their guard drops and we glimpse their real personas.  Once their  public mask slips, we discover what they really think – especially of us, the voting public…

4 May – The Prime Minister’s blokey facade is momentarily displaced by his obvious disdain for New Zealanders who oppose him, and oppose his planned state asset sales.  With mocking dismissiveness, he said,

How many people did they have?  Where was it? Nope wasn’t aware of it.

Well over a million New Zealanders voted for National in the full knowledge we were going to undertake the mixed ownership model.  So look, a few thousand people walking down the streets of Wellington isn’t going to change my mind.” – Source

The words were bad enough, but look at the expression on his face and vocal tone, @ 2:14,

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His arrogance was laid bare for all to see. He was laughing  at us.

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25 May – Following the release of Budget 2012, University students showed their displeasure and protested on the streets of Auckland. The protestors blockaded streets; over-turned rubbish skip-bins; and vented their frustrations at guests who attended a post-Budget-related function where Dear Leader was giving a speech.

English responded with breathtaking, derisory, arrogance,

Yes, there’s a protest movement out there but who’s really listening to them?   They get on TV and they can make a bit of a racket … dragging a few rubbish bins around, they need some Greeks to show them how to do it.

It gets reported, mainly because it blocked the traffic, [but] who’s listening? Most people actually think the students got a pretty fair go and they should count themselves lucky that they’ve still got interest free loans and get on with it because, you know, get your training finished and get a job and start contributing. ” – Source

Aside from the fact that politicians like Bill English and John Key took advantaged of free tertiary education (prior to fees being introduced in 1992), and others like Paula Bennett had their tertiary fees paid by WINZ – it is staggering that English could respond with a comment inciting protestors to riot !?

When English said that ” they need some Greeks to show them how to do it  “, what else could it be called, except incitement? See video @ 1:19,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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It seems fairly clear as to the contempt that National politicians have for the rest of us. But that’s ok. Many of us feel precisely the same contempt for John Key, Bill English, Paula Bennett, et al.

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Media sources

TVNZ:  English suggests jobless move to Christchurch

TVNZ:  Key unfazed as protesters descend on Parliament

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Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice?

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

Full Story

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Let’s re-cap; Tame Iti,  Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer,  and Emily Bailey, were not found guilty of any terrorism-related charges. In fact, the Solicitor General, David Collins, refused permission to lay charges against any of the original “Urewera 18″, under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Instead, as the case dragged on,

  • Thirteen of the original 18 had all charges against them dropped (one passed away),
  • The remaining four had to wait  five years  to have their day in Court,
  • Those four were found guilty of firearms charges,
  • The jury came to no decision regarding the more serious charge of participating in an organised criminal group,
  • Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were sentenced to jail for two and a half years,
  • Urs Signer and Emily Bailey may be sentenced to home detention.

In summing up, Judge Hansen ripped into all four with a sentencing summation that has angered many, and  defies  belief,

A private militia was being established. That is a frightening prospect to our society…  What possible other explanation could there be for what the participants were demonstrably doing?

Pardon me?!?!

Iti, Kemara, Signer, and Bailey, were found guilty of firearms charges – nothing else. They were not found guilty of terrorism, nor of belonging to an  “organised criminal group”.

Since when is a judge justified in making sweeping pronouncements regarding matters that none of the defendents were tried on?

This beggars belief, and  is a gross violation of basic principles of justice.

It is clear that Judge Hansen  exceeded his role in judging and sentencing the ‘Urewera 4′.

Sentencing Tami Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara to prison for two and half years for firearms offences that were committed in isolated areas; with no possible threat to the public; and no charges proven on more serious matters,  indicates that this was not a matter of justice – it was one of  punitive revenge by the State.

Like the original raids in 2007, conducted using para-military force, in full battle-regalia, and armed with high-powered, lethal  weapons, the sentencing of the ‘Urewera 4′ was an expression of the full coercive power of the State.

The movie ‘Sleeping Dogs’ became reality on 15  October  2007,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Which, of the above is from a fictional movie and which is from a real event? Is there any  difference at all?

This blogger condemns, in no uncertain terms, the comments made by Judge Hansen and the excessive sentence handed down to the defendents. This is not justice – this is abuse of power.

This blogger further calls for the following,

  1. The convictions against Tame Iti,  Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer,  and Emily Bailey, to be quashed.
  2. Judge Hansen to resign.
  3. An apology to be made to the Tuhoi people.

Nothing less will suffice.

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

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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

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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Frankly speaking on Budget 2012…

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On Twitter, from John Key,

John Key ‏@johnkeypm

We’re delivering our fourth Budget at 2pm today – it builds on our plan for a brighter future for NZ.

9:38 AM – 24 May 12

This blogger’s response,

fmacskasy ‏@fmacskasy

@johnkeypm – Um, yeahhhh, right.Tui time.We’re still waiting for the 170,000 new jobs you promised us LAST year.Waiting…Waiting…waiting

9:41 AM – 24 May 12
More commentary to come as the Budget is released…
Judgement Time
  • Increasing cost of prescription items from $3 to $5 each

This one is perhaps the most pernicious of the budgetary measures. It may not affect middle and affluent New Zealand – but it will impact harshly on the poorest people in our communities; the unemployed; those on minimum wage; superannuitants; solo-parents, etc…

Tony Ryall has stated that the increased revenue will go towards more cancer treatment.

Nice spin.

I mean, who can possibly argue with spending more on “cancer treatment”?? *cue camera on children at Starship hospital, suffering leukemia*

Of course, National could have left prescription charges untouched and funded cancer treatment by using extra revenue  from higher tobacco taxes. Or put new taxes on other carcinogenic products.

Probably just as well. There are many medical condititions that, left untreated, may eventually lead to cancer. So in effect, National is scrimping $2 for a bottle of pills, and having to pay $20,000  later on for cancer-therapy a few years later down the track.

But by then, if National is still in power, they will have introduced user-pays in our healthcare, including mandatory health insurance – so it won’t be their problem.

Verdict:

Any Benefit to  society:     nil
Rat cunning by National:  10/10

  • Increasing student loan repayment rate from 10%  to 12%

Aside from the belief that it must be illegal for National to arbitrarily raise interest rates on any contracts they’ve signed with students when they took out their loans (where interest was set at 10%) – this blogger wonders why the Nats hate students so much?

If John Key was looking at new incentives for our young graduates to leave New Zealand, in search of higher salaries, then they are on the right track. Expect emmigration to double over the next few years.

Verdict:

Any Benefit to  society: nil
Benefit to Australia:      yes
National’s common sense:  -1/10

  • 154,000 new jobs over the next four years, unemployment to below 5% by 2015

Three points;

1. who will remember this committment in three years’ time? Considering that half the country appears to have significant amnesia over Labour’s prudent management of the economy, where Michael Cullen posted surplus after surplus, and paid down the country’s debt – will New Zealanders remember this particular promise in 2015? Do pigs fly? Is the Pope jewish? Does Key smile?

2. Last year Bill English and John Key were predicting 170,000 new jobs in their 2011 Budget. Since then, not only have we not seen 170,000 new jobs – but unemployment has actually  increased.

3. Recycling is a good thing. But does that extend to governments recyclying failed promises from one Budget to the next?  National can count itself fortunate that a pandemic of amnesia is sweeping the country, otherwise they could never get away with this kind of BS.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit  to   society: nil
National’s economic management: fail

  • Future Investment Fund established to use proceeds of SOE selldowns

This is National’s slush fund that will collect the sale proceeds from the partial sale of our state assets. The proceeds are ‘estimated’ to be $7 billion. Or $5 billion. Or… John Key and Bill English doen’t  actually know. They’ve admitted to be guessing.

English claims that the partial-privatisation of Genesis, Mighty River Power, Genesis, Solid Energy, and a further sell-down of Air New Zealand and spending it on schools and hospitals “changes the mix” of our state assets.

It does no such things.

Whilst schools and hospitals are indeed assets – they are non-revenue earning.  Genesis, Mighty River Power, Genesis, Solid Energy, and  Air New Zealand are revenue-earners. In fact, when coal is exported and foreign tourists fly around New Zealand, these assets actually earn foreign revenue.

What National is doing is selling bits of our state businesses to pay for “housekeeping”.  (It would be like a courier driver selling his/her van to pay for his/her house to be painted and other bills.)

Upgrading our schools and hospitals should be infrastructure maintenance pay for out of  our taxation. If National hasn’t enough revenue from taxation to pay for day-to-day operations – then this is further evidence that the 2009 and 2010 tax cuts were unaffordable.

Question:  how will National fund infra-structure maintenance next year, and the year after? Will they sell more state assets?

Potential  Benefit  to   society: nil
National’s economic management: unsustainable

  • New KiwiSaver rules requiring more disclosure from fund managers.

Good move. Anything that makes investment companies more transparent is to be applauded, and Nationasl is to be commended and supported on this policy.

Potential  Benefit  to  society: high
National’s common sense: 9/10

  • Keeping retirement at 65, instead of raising to 67

It can only be described as inter-generational theft that retiring baby-boomers will be able to retire at age 65.  These are the same baby boomers who,

1. Had access to  free tertiary education

2. Free prescriptions

3. Low-cost medical care

4. Cheap government charges

5. And then enjoyed 7 taxcuts from 1986, whilst following generations got lumbered with user pays in education, healthcare, prescriptions, etc.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit  to  society: none
National’s sense of fairness: low

  • Closing a tax loophole for those who rent out their bach and boat, saving $109 million over four years

Whether this works remains to be seen.It falls far short of a Capital Gains Tax, and the “closure” of this loophole could be nothing more than a PR exercise and National appearing to be “sharing the pain with affluent New Zealanders“.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit  to  society: tbc
National’s sense of fairness: tbc

  • An excise tax hike on tobacco, taking the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes to more than $20 by 2016

Whilst it’s easy to “sock” it to smokers, there remains the question as to why National does not apply the same excise tax hike on alcohol.  After all, if raising the price on tobacco products reduces smoking – then raising the price on alcohol should reduce consumption of that product as well.

This is not a matter of ‘wowserism’. Alcohol abuse costs our economy $4 billion-plus per annum. It causes social problems. It fills our A&E Wards with drunks’ self-inflicted alcohol-poisoning and injuries. What part of any of this makes sense to anyone?

But then again, we all know that the alcohol industry has ‘friends in high places‘.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit  to   society: 9/10
National’s economic management: 5/10

  • $275 million spent on “Welfare Reforms”

Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest $275 million in job creation programmes?!

Welfare ain’t ‘broke’.

It’s the job market that’s seriously under-performing

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit  to   society: nil
National’s economic management: nil

  • Removel of the childcare allowance

And this is supposed to assist women (and men) back into the workforce?! This was a petty budgetary move, and when contrasted with tax cuts for the rich, shows that National is truly a friend of the rich – and bugger everyone else.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit  to   society: nil
National’s economic management: nil

  • Scrapping the annual inflationary increase to early education funding

Is this really going to help early childhood education?

Is this what middle New Zealand had in mind when they readily accepted tax cuts in 2009 and 2010?

Are people starting to wake up now  to the simple truism that you cannot have tax cuts without cutting services. It’s not difficult, my fellow New Zealanders; less taxes equals less state services equals (eventually) more User Pays.

As New Zealanders end up paying more and more for services they used to enjoy more cheaply through taxpayer funded services (because the cost was spread widely through society), they will eventuially come to realise that their taxcuts have evaporated like a snow flake on a hot tin roof.

Did all you people who voted National really think you’d come out of it better of?

Suckers.

Verdict:

Any Benefit to taxpayers:  nil
Any Benefit to our children:   nil
National laughing at us:   You betcha.

  • 25% reduction in prison population  by 2017

Another  long-term goal that,

A. May or may not be achieved

B. Will never be remembered

C. National will not be held to account on this promise

D. And if the prison population is expected to drop – just why is National building a new prison at Wiri, at a mind-blowing cost of $900 million?!

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit to society: very high
National’s potential to fulfill: very low

  •  Deferring KiwiSaver auto enrolment

At a time when we need more New Zealanders to save for their retirement, and when those savings can be invested in productive sectors of our economy – National is postponing auto-enrollent for new entrants into KiwiSaver?

How clever is that? Not very.

More than anything else, this aspect of the 2012 Budget is revealing; it tells us that even the Nats don’t believe their own numbers.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit to society: very poor
National’s economic management:  We should be worried!

  • Government debt to rise from $50b to more than $70b before return to surplus of $197 million

Is anyone surprised at this?

Did anyone expect any different after two tax cuts, which reduced government revenue?

What else should we expect if a government makes cuts to expenditure, instead of initiating job creation programmes?

This Blogger believes that National’s expectation of a surplus in 1014/15 is absolute rubbish. In fact, I give National’s expectation of a return to surplus the same odds as me winning Lotto and Elvis beaming down into my lounge.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit to society:  non-existant
National’s economic management:  Pure, steaming 100% BS.

  • New spending totals $26.5 million to 2015/16

$26 million?!

Out of total government revenue of $57.6 billion?!?! Isn’t $26 million something like 0.0000000000000000000000001% out of  $57.6 billion?!?!

Jaw-dropping in it’s ridiculousness. Perhaps Key, English, et al, should look behind their Beehive sofas for loose change?

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit to society:  pitiful
National’s economic management:  pathetic

  • National claims to be committed to supporting affordable housing and the growth of non-government housing providers. Housing Minister Phil Heatley says. “We’re committed to delivering the right houses to the right people in the right places,” he says.

Is that why National dumped the Gateways Scheme  which promised to build 1,000 new homes at Hobsonville Point, in Auckland – after building just 17?! Mind you, that promise was made during the October  2010 Mana by-election.

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit to society:  Excellent
Actual achievement by Nats: Another truckload of pure, steaming 100% BS.

  • Courts Minister Chester Borrows says. “This Government is committed to a modern and accessible justice system as part of our wider drive for better public services,” he says. “For the courts, this means delivering the services people demand, while also being responsible with taxpayers’ dollars.”

Why the hell does that statement send chills down my back?

Verdict:

Potential  Benefit to society:  Unknown
Actual achievement by Nats: Unknown

  • Budget forecasts also show economic growth picking up from 2% this calendar year to more than 3% in 2014 and 2015

Really? Well, roger me rigid and slap me with a wet haddock – how did last years’ Budget work out for us?

What grand predictions did National  make last year, in it’s 2011 Budget? Let me refresh the reader’s memory (especially for those amnesiacs who voted for National, last November),

The economy is set to pick up strongly next year, growing 4 per cent after treading water for a couple of years, with the Government expecting 170,000 new jobs to be created in the next four years.  Budget forecasts suggest the unemployment rate will fall from 6.8 per cent this year to 4.6 per cent by 2015. ” – Source

Prediction: 4% growth
Actual: 1.4% (2011-12)

Prediction: 170,000 new jobs
Actual: 16,000 new jobs (June 2011April 2012)

Prediction: Unemployment will fall from 6.8%
Actual: Down to 6.3% in December 2011. Back up to 6.7% April 2012.

Verdict: fail

  • Three tax credits are being removed childcare / housekeeper, income under $9,880 and the children’s income credit. These will save the Govt $117m over 4 yrs.

This one is one of the worst parts of the Budget. “Income under $9.880″ includes children with after schools jobs. So the kids earning $50 a week now has to pay tax on it???

At the meantime, millionaire speculators who buy and sell houses – pay not one frickin’ cent in capitakl gains tax.

This has to be the meanest tax ever levied. To quote a poster on ‘The Standard‘ blog,

Children will now have to pay income tax on their after-school jobs but will have a limited exemption for cash-in-hand earnings such as babysitting.”

What absolute fucking wankers National are. Putting tax on kids who are working to get a bit of independence, save for uni or help out their families.

This is National’s vision for the future of NZ.

Top tax rate of 33% for billionaires, no CGT and kids earning pocket money get stung.

I can’t even begin to contemplate the thought process that led to that stunner. How does someone go through the books and decide that the best way to ‘broaden the tax base’ is to hit kids with after school jobs?

“Damn, it’s those little bludgers with paper rounds who’re wrecking the country! They must be stopped!

Conclusion

This year’s Budget can be summed up;

  • Shuffling money around, to create the illusion of “new money”.
  • The opposition Parties are correct when they state that the 2009 and 2010 tax cuts left a gaping hole in government revenue.
  • National has no job creation programme – instead preferring to leave job creation to “the market”.
  • In lieu of job creation, and with stubbornly high unemployment, National is engaging in “welfare reforms” – the subtext being that beneficiaries are to blame for not having jobs. (Despite Paula Bennett admitting on 29 April that “there’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do“.(Source)
  • Many of National’s programmes are many years into the future and people will have forgotten them by target dates. (Bless the public and their RealityTV-sodden, amnesiac little brains.)
  • Many of last year’s Budget 2011 predictions have been abject failures.
  • This blogger sees no reason to disbelieve that the same will apply to Budget 2012.

If, after this dog’s-breakfast-of-a-budge, a number of  New Zealanders still believe that National is a “prudent fiscal manager” – then yea verily, they truly deserve this government.

Unfortunately, the rest of us don’t.

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Categories: The Body Politic Tags:

Guaranteed Jobs? Big bloody ‘Tui’ to that!

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

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National appears to be up to it’s old tricks, promising gold at the end of the rainbow,

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

Full Story

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So let’s get this straight; Energy and Resources minister Phil Heatley is promising  that if locals submit to National’s proposals to dig bloody great holes throughout the Northland countryside, that jobs will be “guaranteed” to New Zealanders?!

Oh… really?

Is this a Real Promise?

Or is it one of National’s “promises” – along the lines of,

  • 170,000 new jobs? (Source)
  • stemming rising migration to Australia? (Source)
  • raising wages to parity with Australia? (Wage rises lowest since 2001)
  • not raising GST? (Source)
  • that cutting taxes and raising gst are “fiscally neutral”? (Source)
  • that tax cuts are “affordable”? (Source)
  • to “cap” the state sector and not cut jobs? (Source)
  • to recover the bodies of the 29 Pike River miners?
  • “National’s rebalancing of the tax system is self-funding and requires no cuts to public services or additional borrowing.” (Source) (Source)
  • “If we ended up as tenants in our own country, then I can’t see how that would be in our best interests.” (Source)
  • “We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.” (Source)
  • National promised not to cut or change any aspect of Kiwisaver. (Source)
  • There is no housing crisis in Christchurch? (Source)

The reader will excuse my cynicism, but this blogger has heard it all before from the Nats and their right wing allies. To be blunt, I wouldn’t believe a single word that came out of their mouths.

If Heatley is promising “guaranteed jobs for locals”, I’ll put my money on precisely the opposite.  As is happening in Christchurch, and elsewhere,

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

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I rest my case.

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Three Jokers and an Ace

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This has been one of those strange weeks that only a National-led government can give us. Part of that strangeness has been described in a previous blog, with the antics of  Paula Bennett, Pita Sharples, and a slow train-wreck called ACT.

See: 20 May: End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails

But before the weekend was over, there was more neo-liberal nonsense to follow. One thing you can always count on with the Nats – they’re good for a facepalm on a regular basis…

First Joker: David Carter

Local Government Minister, David Carter’s performance on TVNZ’s  Q+A, on  20 May,  was an exercise in National’s  ‘Daddy State‘ policies revving up several notches.

Not content with forcing assets sales, fracking, and deep sea drilling on us – the NPPB (National Party Politburo of Bunnies)  is now issuing diktats from on-high to local body councils.

Firstly, Kommissar Karter instructed local bodies what was  acceptable “core services” by local body councils,

GREG

Okay, core services – what on earth are core services? Because there seems to be a lot of scope in what a core service is and what a council should be taking care of.

DAVID

Well, it’s certainly clear what core services are, and they are rates and rubbish and water, et cetera. But this legislation’s not about saying to councils, ‘You can only embark on core services.’ It is still the responsibility of the council to engage with its community and find out what services that community wants. But we want that debate to be far more transparent than it has been in the past.

GREG

Well, hold on. It sounds like the Government’s wanting a bob each way in this. They’re wanting to say they keep in touch with what’s happening with the rates, but they’re only to go and do core services at a local level or not. Which way is it to go?

DAVID

We are not saying that councils can only do core services. If you take my Christchurch City Council, for example, and it runs the Ellerslie Flower Show in Hagley Park. You could argue that’s not a core service. The council has determined that there is value in delivering that show for the people of Christchurch, and, frankly, I meet a lot of people on planes who are travelling from all over New Zealand to come to that. The council’s decision is to run the Ellerslie Flower Show, and that is a decision for the council to make. It’s certainly not a decision for central government to make or for myself as minister.  “

Then the Minister advised the Great Unwashed what was not acceptable “core services”,

”  DAVID

We’re certainly going to get local government to be far more focused on what activities it undertakes. In the past, some councils have stepped too far and undertaken activities, Hamilton city, for example, with the Grand Prix racing. I think that was an activity that went far beyond where local government should have gone. It cost local government in that area a lot of money. We’re not saying you cannot run race cars; we’re saying you need to think very very carefully before undertaking that activity. And by putting these financial management tests in place, I think councils will think more carefully about some of those longer-term extraneous activities they’re undertaking than they did in the past.  “

So according to Kommissar Karter,

  • V8 car races – out
  • Flower shows - in
  • Asset sales – in
  • local democracy to choose our own expenditure: out
  • centralised, National Party control over expenditure: in
  • core service by councils – tba

The Minister then added, for good measure in case the proles had not understood his Diktat from On High,

”  DAVID

You’re hitting on the essence of the relationship that should be between local government and central government. It has to be truly a partnership, but it’s not on for local government then to step into the space which is clearly central government’s role. And it is central government’s role to establish the education system in this country. It is central government’s role to establish parameters of measuring the success of that. We can then work with Len Brown and his council, particularly as he tries to develop solutions to some of the social problems in South Auckland, and we’re happy to work with him in a partnership. But the core responsibility still remains with central government.

Which, if implemented, would mean that Otorohanga’s Council-led  and community-based initiatives – which has seen unemployment and youth problems plummet – would not be a core Council responsibility?

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

Full story

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Had National’s policy of curtailing Council activities been in full-force, youth unemployment and associated problems would remain unchanged, or probably much worse in that small town.

See also:  Youth unemployment a growing problem

Or was the Minister expecting Otorohanga to wait for Central Government to address the worsening crisis of youth unemployment? Youth unemployment which has rocketed from 58,000 to 87,000 this year?

How would National’s policy, to “reign in” local Councils,  impact on other towns and cities that attempted to take steps to address our growing social problems? Would Auckland prohibited from pursuing a programme similar to Otorohanga?

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Frankly Speaking Frank Macskasy Blog

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David Carter’s performance on Q+A was simply breath-taking. If anyone thought that Labour was guilty of  creating a “Nanny State” – they had to watch Carter to see National go several steps further. In effect, central government will be dictating to local bodies what they can or can’t do.

Democracy? Not in our towns or cities, according to Minister Carter.

National is taking over. Curfew at 7PM.

See transcript: Q+ALocal Government Minister David Carter interview

See video:   Q+A: Local Government Minister David Carter (15:28)

The irony here is that whilst National stands by and watches unemployment soar, local communities, through their elected representatives,  are taking steps to address this growing problem.

Meanwhile, National’s response to unemployment is not to implement job creation programmes – their  response is to fiddle with welfare.

Which leads us to the next issue…

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Second Joker: Paula Rebstock

Q+A’s interview with Paula Rebstock – appointed by Welfare Minister Paula Bennett to head a board to oversee the implementation of National’s welfare “reforms” – is continuing National’s mission to demonise the unemployed; widows; solo-mums (but never solo-dads), and others who rely on social welfare to survive.

Since National has no job-creation plan,  Dear Leader and Paula Bennett are shifting responsibility for lack of jobs onto welfare beneficiaries. (Because we know that welfare pays for the mansion, limousine in the drive-way, and the beach house in Hawaii. Oh, wait, no, that’s John Key.)

It is a most pernicious form of scape-goating.

It is shameful, and panders to the nasty prejudices that reside in the dark depths of our vestigial reptilian hind-brain. For the Working and Middle Classes, who have always had the sneaking suspicion that welfare offers an opulent lifestyle – until they themselves are made redundant – only to then discover the true nature of just how paltry welfare actually is.

To put this issue into some context, New Zealand’s unemployment doubled after the global financial crisis and resulting recession,

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking Blog

Source

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Rebstock headed the infamous “Welfare Working Group” in 2010. Some of the  recommendations of the WWG were so punitive and inhumane as to return to the Victorian Era. Even John Key was moved to reject many of Rebstock’s extreme proposals.

In November 2010, Rebstock was interviewed by Paul Holmes on Q+A,

”  PAUL

So that means a bit of government intervention, that means government providing these [jobs], presumably.

PAULA

Well, I don’t know if it does, and I think this is a really important point. If we look at how the labour market in New Zealand has performed, it is true we’ve been in a recession and we’re now moving into a slow recovery and jobs have been an issue, but since 1986 this economy has created more than 500,000 jobs. Now, it responded as well as almost any economy in the world to the economic environment. We had one of the highest employment rates in the OECD. I think that it is a little bit of a cop-out to say that we can’t deal to some of the issues around long-term benefit dependency because of the job market.

PAUL

Oh, come on, Paula, the jobs simply aren’t there. I mean, if you look at 2006, there was a 30,000 net gain of jobs. In 2008 it had gone down a bit – 9,000 net gain. God knows what it is this year.

PAULA

We actually are experiencing a gain in jobs. The labour statistics that came out last week show that. I’m not saying that we haven’t been in a recession, Paul, but this is the time right now to prepare people for the recovery. They need to be ready to take the jobs that are there.  “

See:  Holmes interviews Paula Rebstock (15 November 2010)

Unfortunately for everyone, the jobs were not “out there”.  With the recession is full swing, exports were down, and companies were laying off staff in their hundreds.

Unemployment in November 2010 was 6.4%. By January 2011, it had reach 6.8%. The rate moved up and down, and currently sits on 6.7%.

See:  Unemployment rate lifts to 6.7pc

Fast forward 18 months, and despite the economy continuing to stagnate, National is pursuing it’s scape-goating of unemployed and solo-mothers (but never solo-dads), and Rebstock and Bennett are both  still ‘singing the same song’.

On 16 May, Bennett said,

The cost of today’s total number of beneficiaries is estimated at $45 billion. It makes good economic and social sense to provide targeted support up front to get more people into work sooner.

This new approach will be embedded at all levels of the welfare system and the board will be responsible for ensuring accountability and overseeing the delivery of reforms that will see fewer people on welfare for long periods.

See:  Minister defends new welfare board

Not. One. Word. About. Job. Creation.

National is displaying an almost Obsessive-Compulsive antipathy on welfare issues.  Their sole focus is on welfare and welfare beneficiaries.

As if 80,000+ New Zealanders decided to chuck in their jobs in the last few years, and instead live the life of luxury on $204.96 a week (net).

See:   WINZ  Unemployment Benefit (current)

Yet, not too long ago (29 April), Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett actually admitted,

PAULA         
No. There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do.

See:  TVNZ Q+A: Transcript of Paula Bennett interview (29 April)

So why is National spending $1.1 million on Rebstock’s ‘Work and Income Board’ to oversee WINZ – when it ain’t welfare that’s broke. It’s the job market that is 160,000 jobs short?!

See:  Rebstock to head welfare watchdog panel

Bennett goes on to say,

”  I’ve got fantastic frontline staff, I’ve got fantastic upper and middle management that are working hands on with policy changes and implementing that frontline.  “

“Fantastic front line staff”.

“Fantastic upper and middle management”.

“Working hands on with policy changes”.

But no jobs.

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Third Joker: John Key

National’s “Gateway” scheme had its origins during the Mana by-election, in 2010. As some will recall, it was National’s grand plan to beat the Labour candidate, Kris Faafoi.

National’s candidate was… Hekia Parata – the current Minister for Education.

Ms Parata lost by 1,406 votes to Labour’s candidate. (The margin widens when adding centre-left votes for the Greens and Matt McCarten.)

See: Mana By-election 2010

It appears that the “Gateway” scheme was little more than an election bribe for Mana voters; a “lolly” to entice people to vote for Parata.  National lost, and were stuck with fulfilling their policy pledge.

(Damned inconvenient when that happens, I guess.)

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Full Story

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Heatley touted the scheme, grandly proclaiming,

It is important the government provides opportunities for people to move into home ownership. Affordable homes schemes such as Gateway is another way we can assist more people into a home of their own.”

But by May of this year, it seems that it was ‘no longer important the government provides opportunities for people to move into home ownership’.

John Key announced it’s cancellation last week.

For a man who was raised in a taxpayer funded, and subsidised, state home with his siblings and widowed mum, and who benefitted from a societal  value that decent housing was a basic human right – John Key has some very strange attitudes toward providing shelter for the poor and vulnerable,

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Full story

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The Gateway scheme details,

GATEWAY SCHEME
* For first home buyers earning under $100,000 a year
* They can get a mortgage to build or buy a house on state land
* Must have at least a 10% deposit
* Have 10 years to buy the land

It’s interesting to note that Key is unable to deliver “low cost” housing for couples earning under$100,000 and says,

The Government has looked at that programme and decided that’s now not the most effective way of going forward.

So we think the capacity for lower income New Zealanders to own their own home is greatly enhanced by the fact interest rates are lower.

“If you have a look at the average home owner in New Zealand, they are paying about $200 a week less in interest than they were under the previous Labour Government.” – Ibid

His comments raises several issues,

  1. It says a lot about Key’s impression of what constitutes “lower income New Zealanders” when the threshold is up to $100,000 per couple. Perhaps by his multi-million dollar standards, a couple on $100,000 is “poor”?
  2. Derides the previous Labour government and claims credit for lower interest rates, by stating “they are paying about $200 a week less in interest than they were under the previous Labour Government“. As if current low interest rates are a result of National’s intervention? (Interest rates are determined by the Reserve Bank, and are currently low because our economy is stagnant. National can take credit for the latter, but not the former.)
  3. How can  providing decent, affordable housing for low income earners  be “not the most effective way of going forward” ?
  4. Key is living in a millionaire’s fantasyland if he seriously believes that “ the capacity for lower income New Zealanders to own their own home is greatly enhanced by the fact interest rates are lower“.  Dear Leader doesn’t understand that the interest rate can be irrelevant if people can’t afford to buy a home in the first place.

If ever there was ever an instance of the Silver Spoon mentality – look no further than our current Prime Minister, the Rt Honourable John Key.

New Zealanders are deluded if they think this man can relate to their ordinary, everyday, lives.

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The Ace: John Tamihere

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, John Tamihere is hosting an excellent, low-key, intelligent, current affairs chat show on TV3 (Sunday mornings) called “Think Tank“.  Last Sunday’s (20 May) episode focused on child poverty in New Zealand and what practical steps were required to address this growing social crisis.

Last week, it was pokie machines and their effects on communities.

As the show’s name suggests, the goal is not just to look into critical social issues – but to come up with solutions.  The show’s panel of four people offers solutions; and the guests scrutinises each suggestion.

It’s a chat show for sure – but instead of superficial inanities, the conversation is serious and fit for adult consumption.

This is good television. This treats the viewer as   intelligent and capable of considering complex issues.

This blogger can only live in hope that this is the turning point of 21st century television, and we are seeing an end (or at least slow reduction) of the execrable rubbish we have been served up, since  commercialisation and dumbing down became the norm for broadcasting in this country.

John Tamihere is perfect for the role of host for the show. Not a polished or trained media front-person, John Tamihere has walked the hard yards in life and has moved from the tough neighbourhoods of South Auckland to the halls of power in Parliament. He’s lived life. He’s seen things that Middle Class New Zealand has no wish to see or experience, outside of comfortable television shows.

This blogger’s only criticisms revolve around scheduling and lack of promotion.

Scheduling “Think Tank” on Sunday mornings ghettoises the show. It relegates it almost as an ‘after thought’.  It would be an act of naked political subversion to broadcast it during prime time viewing. (That should give National’s/NZ on Air’s,   Stephen McElrea something to howl about!)

The show also needs more promo on TV3. This blogger discovered it only by sheer fluke. Not promoting it leaves us wondering if TV3 doesn’t really want to draw attention to it? Perhaps doesn’t want to draw the ire of certain National Party ministers?

One hopes not.

TV3, as your print-media colleagues used to say, Publish and be damned !

It’s a good show.

Be proud of it.

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Media sources

Loans for housing on crown land

Holmes interviews Paula Rebstock (15 November 2010)

Otorohanga’s success story

Council goes solo to help young jobless

Key backs cut-off for cheap homes plan

Minister defends new welfare board

TVNZ  Q+A: Local Government Minister David Carter (video)

Reserve Bank to keep OCR unchanged though hikes flicker on horizon

References

Official Cash Rate (OCR) decisions and current rate

Previous blogposts

Fear and loathing in the Fascist State of New Zealand

Bennett confirms: there are not enough jobs!

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A Slave by any other name (Part Toru)

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Foreign Chartered Vessels (FCVs) have been  in the media recently for a whole host of reasons – all bad. Shocking working conditions; wages held back by employers; sexual abuse; violence; threats to crews’ families; illegal fish dumping… the list goes on and on.

These abuses were happening in our territorial waters by fishing vessels under contract to New Zealand companies. Whichever way one look at it, responsibility for these shocking abuses and practices has been sheeted home firmly to our country.

After a ministerial inquiry came out with a damning report, and TV3 showed video images of fish being illegally dumped – the problem could no longer be hidden or ignored any longer.

Even right wing blogger, David Farrar, recognised the implications to our internation reputation and our fishing industry, if these abuses were allowed to continue. (Though Mr Farrar did not extend his concerns for foreign fishing crews to Ports of Auckland workers, unfortunately.)

See:  Slavery on our seas

I suspect the Nats were between a rock and a hard place on this one. Our American cuzzies were starting to sit up and take notice that we were using slave labour to produce our fishing exports, and some of our clients in the US of A were none too happy.

See: Slaves Put Squid on Dining Tables From South Pacific

When even a business news-site like Bloomberg gets a tad anxious about our behaviour, you know things are getting bad.

If this blogger was the conspiracy-theorist type, I’d be guessing that somewhere along the way, someone from the US Embassy had a ‘quiet word’ in David Carter’s ear – and told him to knock off the slave-galley thing or risk U.S. State Department naming & shaming.

Not exactly a good look for li’l ole New Zealand…

Cynical? Maybe. But National ain’t exactly well known for being on the vanguard of workers’ rights. Not unless I’ve tumbled into a Parallel Universe without noticing.

Reflagging FCVs as New Zealand vessels and according foreign crews the same rights and working conditions as our own workers is long overdue.  Substandard pay and working conditions were an outrageous obscenity that should never have been permitted in the first place. Any fool could have foreseen the inevitable consequences.

This blogger welcomes National finally adopting a common sense approach to this mess.

This blogger, however, questions why foreign companies will be allowed four years to re-flag!? Twelve months should be ample time.

National has come up with the solution (and it’s a good solution) – so why delay implementing it?

Four years simply allows these abuses to continue, and pushes the solution to this problem into the distant future. It also takes the heat off the government.

Cynical? Not at all. National has ‘form‘  on issues like these.

An incoming Labour-led government must, as a priority for a new Minister of Fisheries, bring the date forward to twelves months. The world is watching us, and we cannot afford to muck around and attract further criticisms from the international community, our customers, and those who take an interest in human rights issues.

Slavery – it’s not a good look. And it’s not the Kiwi way.

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Prevous blogposts

Is this where New Zealand is heading?

Foreign fishing boats, Hobbits, and the National Guvmint

A Slave by any other name

A Slave by any other name (Part Rua)

References

NZ Govt: Ministerial inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels

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Immovable and Irresistable forces – combined!!

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Full Story

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Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant result. And for the first time, we have publicly witnessed Iwi power being flexed on behalf of the working class.

This blogger believes  we are seeing the birth of a new political force to be reckoned with – Iwi and Workers joining forces to fight excessive corporate and employer power.

It probably also didn’t help Talleys that;

  • social networking websites such as Facebook were being utilised to mount a boycott of Talley’s products, and if this took hold in the public consciousness, it could cause irreparable harm to their brand-name
  • centre-left bloggers were mobilising to assist locked out workers, outnumbering the few rightwing blogs  that were becoming increasingly drowned out by a clamour of pro-union voices
  • and David Shearer making an impromptu visit to support Talley’s workers,

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In a move that many people seemed to overlook – but in this bloggers opinion constitutes a major shift in Labour’s strategy – Shearer actually came out in full, unequivocal support for the locked out workers,

I’m very supportive of collective agreements. I think the issue here is they [union workers] are willing to negotiate but now what’s happening is they are being locked out. What we don’t want to see is those workers being locked out and not being given a real fair go.

Talleys have always had a strong opposition to union labour. Other meatworks we’ve gone to which have had unions and they’ve worked very effectively.”

Them’s pretty powerful fightin’ words, Jethro!

In effect, Shearer has put certain elements in the employers’ camp on notice: Labour is back in the game, and firmly on the side of workers. The message is clear; do not mess with us, or we will remember you when we get back into power.

Any employer that doesn’t heed the simple message that Labour Leader, David Shearer, made at Horotiu – may have it spelled out in terms they will not miss.

The power balance is shifting. It may be part of the quantum shift away from the mad neoliberal  experiment that  overtook the world in the 1980s  onwards. Whether the signs are in the Occupy Movement; the election of centre-left governments; and mounting public protest at  austerity economics – we are witnessing  the beginnings of the decline of neo-liberalism.

Historical times, people; historical times.

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The Union Report – 21 May 2012 – Online now!

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The Union Report

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- 21 May 2012 -

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- CANZ President Beven Hanlon & PPTA’s Angela Roberts -

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Issue 1: National promised not to cut back frontline services, how much more frontline are teachers? Are larger class sizes the answer?

Issue 2: Who should have the power to incarcerate – The state or a private company. What is the real cost of prison privatization?

Issue 3: Are the new labour law announcements a negative for workers and unions?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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21 May – Public meeting: TVNZ7 gets the big tick!

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21 May – Public meeting: TVNZ7 gets the big tick!

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400+ People pack Wesley Church Hall tonight!

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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A chilly Monday night in downtown Wellington, and people were steadily filing in, to fill  a reasonably sized hall in Taranaki Street’s Wesley Church Hall,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking Save TVNZ7

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The Goodnight Kiwi was on hand to greet people, as they filed into the hall,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Within another half hour, and the hall was full, with people standing around the walls, in the doorway, and out into the foyer.

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 Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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The crowd numbered 400+ and seemed to represent a wide spectrum  middle  New Zealand, young and old,

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 Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Completing a panormaic view of the packed hall, which kept filling even as the guest speakers were addressing the audience,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

Note: From this point onward, a fault in my camera results in a degraded image-quality.

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Soon after 7pm,  Wellington Central MP and deputy leader of the Labour Party, Grant Robertson opened the meeting;  welcomed the audience; and introduced the guest speakers; moderator, Wallace Chapman (broadcaster); Clare Curran (Labour spokesperson on Broadcasting); Sue Kedgley (ex Green MP);  Dr Peter Thompson  (Victoria University, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies ); and Tom Frewen  (Journalist & Media Commentator),

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

 

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Wallace Chapman is better known in his role as host for TVNZ7’s popular “Backbenches” – though Robertson was at pains to point out to the audience that Chapman was present in a personal capacity only, and not as a representative for TVNZ7 or any other body.

Wallace Chapman welcomed the audience and commented that no public service TV channel was immune from political interfence, whether the BBC and Radio New Zealand.  He said that  TVNZ7 and its’ supporters were often dismissed  by critics as supporting “minority viewing”. Chapman said that 1.4 million viewers per month was not minority viewing, and quoted Noam Chomsky regarding minorities.

Chapman then read out a selection of letters and emails from people who supported TVNZ7. He quoted one young viewer who said,

I don’t feel left out of society with TVNZ7. I feel included.”

Chapman then introduced Labour’s spokesperson on Broadcasting, Clare Curran.

Clare Curran

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Ms Curran began by asking the audience,

Who remembers ‘Goodnight Kiwi’?”

A sea of arms shot up – probably 99% of the audience raised their arms.

Ms Curran said that ‘Goodnight Kiwi’ was out in the foyer (see photo above) and the costume was the same that had been used by TV2 in it’s public promotion of itself.

She then asked,

Who remembers Fred Dagg?”

Perhaps not as many hands went up this time, but still the vast majority indicated that they knew the name.

Ms Curran explained that the actor who played the popular ‘Fred Dagg’ character, John Clarke, was a well -known comedian and satirist on Australian TV. Clarke did short, satirical skits each evening on Australia’s public channel, lampooning some aspect of politics in Australian society.

She said,

We need ‘Backbenches’ to take the piss out of politicians.”

Curran said that ‘Backbenches’ was the only show on television that took a light-hearted, often satirical view of politicansm and this would be lost when TVNZ7 was closed down. She added that “we have already lost TVNZ6 and government was about to lose TVNZ7“.

She reminded the audience that Australia’s government invested $912 million on their public service ABC and SBS channels.

By comparison, TVNZ7 cost New Zealand only $16 million.

Ms Curran  then asked the audience,

Remember what happened when they threatened to take the bird call off Radio New Zealand?

She said that public outrage had stopped that from happening and we needed the same to happen to stop politicians from pulling the plug on TVNZ7.  Ms Curran added that we needed a proper debate on public broadcasting in this country. Curran said that it was government that was killing TVNZ7, just as it had frozen all funding for Radio NZ and had not increased its’ budget for the last three years.

Ms Curran added that this was the same government that had appointed National Party functionary, Stephen McElrea, to NZ on Air’s Board of Directors. McElrea is John Key’s electorate secretary. She said NZ on Air was now funding commercial tv projects such as “The GC”, and added,

Labour believes that public TV is essential and it must be resurrected if TVNZ7 is killed offWhen we get  a Labour-led government soon, let’s put it in[public TV] place. Let’s make a decision now that we do value public TV.   “

Ms Curran said that all other Opposition parties were supporting this issue and not just the Labour Party. She said,

We think Peter Dunne supports public TV.

Today Grey Power issued a media release supporting retention of TVNZ7 and  were appalled at it’s [impending] closure. “

Ms Curran then read out a few emails she had received, supporting TVNZ7,

It was inexpensive. “

In its’ absence, we’ll just get more junkfood telly. “

TVNZ7 is an incubator of ideas.

Ms Curran then concluded her talk with a passionate plea,

This is an opprtunity  for us to get mad and get involved. We must fight to keep it. And if it’s killed off, we must bring it back. “

Sue Kedgley

Wallace Chapman then introduced the next speaker, ex-Green MP, Sue Kedgely,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Ms Kedgley went straight for the government’s “jugular”, stating that it was fatuous that National can’t find $16 million to fund TVNZ7 when other countries can afford public TV.  She said that even Russia  could afford public TV.

Ms Kedgeley suggested that if government was so cash-strapped that there were options to raise money to fund TVNZ7. She suggested,

  • Funding TVNZ7 from a levy on Sky TV. Sky TV already pays to have TVNZ channels Kidzone and Heartland  on their channels.
  • Sell off spare spectrum and use a $200 million windfall for public TV.

She said there were many other options but the reason National wasn’t exploring them was,

National doesn’t believe in public TV because it’s outside the ‘market’. “

Ms Kedgeley was adamant that it was important that some broadcasters,  “were not beholding to corporations and could ask the hard questions.”

She suggested that National was keen to get rid of TVNZ7 because of a perceived “left wing perspective”, and said,

We have the most de-regulated media in the world.  There’s no regulation for local content. No controls on cross-ownership. No rules around pay-TV at all.

Ms Kedgeley said that as corporations were buying up our print and electronic media, that there were fewer and fewer independent sources of news other than the internet.  There was nothing to stop Rupert Murdoch from buying other TV channels in this country and he could buy TVNZ if the government decided to  sell it if they’re re-elected in 2014.

She said there would be less and less current affairs on TV if TVNZ7 was closed down. Ms Kedgeley referred to current affairs programmes on TV1 and TV3 being relegated to Sunday mornings and contrasted that with current affairs shows broadcast on TVNZ7 during prime-time .

Ms Kedgeley added that if we lose public TV, “our children will grow up learning more about Los Angeles than our own communities“.  She decried the situation that it seemed that TVNZ’s “main growth area was making TV channels  for Sky’s pay-tv business“.

She told the audience that the previous broadcasting minister, Jonathan Coleman, had once said,

New Zealanders don’t give a toss about public service TV. “

Ms Kedgeley replied, “How wrong he is!

So what can we do? ” Ms Kedgeley asked,

We can mobilise to support TVNZ7!

We can support Clare’s  Private Member’s Bill promoting public TV!

But we may have to wait for the next Labour-led government to set up a new public TV. I think this is the beginning of grass-roots public support for public TV. “

As Ms Kedgeley spoke, this blogger noticed more and more people entering the hall. There was standing room only,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Tom Frewen

Next to speak was radio journalist and commentator, Tom Frewen. Mr Frewen has hosted the excellent  ‘Focus on Politics‘ on Radio NZ and is possibly one of the finest investigative journalists and commentators we have in this country.

Mr Frewen started of with a challenging statement to the audience,

I come not to save TVNZ7, I come to bury it.”

He added that if this meeting was being held in Invercargill or Christchurch, tv cameras from local television stations would be present to report the event. Mr Frewen said that a lack of television cameras was noticeable because Wellington had no regional public TV, and other networks were not interested in reporting this event.

He said that he was under no illusion that TVNZ7  would not be saved by this government, or by TVNZ,

We can’t have it unless politicians want to spend money on it. Labour and the Greens will have to break with the idea that TVNZ will support public TV. It will not.

On a lighter note, Mr Frewen that he did not  like calling it TVNZ7,

It should be ‘One’.”

There was clapping from the audience at that simple statement.

Mr Frewen remarked on how bad our commercialised TV had become in the last 20 years. He said that it is up to politicians to sort this out,

“We can’t have public meetings every month I’m mad as hell, but there’s no point in being angry. I want you [pointing at politicians seated at guests table] to fix it“.

He also called for an investigation by the Auditor-General regarding NZ on Air’s funding for “The GC”.  Mr Frewen wanted to know why funding was going to a Dutch production company. He suspected that NZ on Air had been “taken for a ride“.

Mr Frewen said he wanted a proper public discussion on this issue and wanted a framework of public TV presented to the public,  to determine if people liked a proposal.

His final comment was short and succinct,

And that’s it.”

The next speaker to be introduced was Dr Peter Thompson, a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Victoria University,

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Dr Peter Thompson

Dr Thompson accompanied his talk with  a power-point presentation that summarised his comments point-by-point.

He began by stating that it was a like wishing for a ‘digital tooth fairy’ to assume that once TVNZ7 is “buried”, then public-interest  programmes would be broadcast elsewhere.  He cited the ghettoisation of current affairs programmes (‘Q+A‘,’ Think Tank ‘, ‘The Nation‘, etc) on Sunday mornings, instead of prime-time viewing. He said that the lack of funding for TVNZ7 was a purely political decision by National, and nothing else.

Dr Thompson said that despite  appearances, government  does not “speak with one voice”. He said that government departments have different priorities and do not always want the same thing.  He said Cabinet had looked at TVNZ7  but that it did not meet their criteria to be “fiscally neutral”, so handed it back to TVNZ.

Dr Thompson said that eventually we could have a situation where people could have any channel, as long as it was Sky. He added,

But viewers can only choose what they watch if it’s available.

He added that free-to-air commercial TV isn’t free,

You pay for it through the ads you see on TV. The cost of those ads is part of the stuff you buy.”

Dr Thompson then broke his talk down into three broad areas,

1. Costs

He said that the cost of Sky for subscribers was approximately $1 per day.

He contrasted that with the cost of TVNZ7 to taxpayers – 1 cent per day.

Every household could pay $10 per year to fund and save TVNZ7.

2. Re-reregulate Sky and pay-TV.

3. A levy on Pay TV.

Dr Thompson offered several funding models that would pay for TVNZ7.  These ranged from a small levy of pay TV, telcos, and internet providers, to other options such as subscriptions to public TV. He said subscriptions might work for public TV, but not public radio.

He suggested another option of returning to a form of TV licensing.

Dr Thompson said that it was a right of citizens in society to have access to a non-commercial, public TV.  He added that levying Sky TV would be putting some of their profits back to the public. Dr Thompson called it a “polluter pays principle”, to which their was laughter  from the audience.

Dr Thompson revealed that he was both optimistic and pessimistic in his feelings about TVNZ7.

He said that he believed TVNZ7 will be canned by the government.

But he also believed that, in the end,  something bigger in public TV would arise. He was confident that the public would reclaim their right to have public TV.

Dr Thompson concluded his talk by offering copies of his speech to those who were interested. He received good applause from the audience.

Audience Participation

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Wallace Chapman then welcomed questions from the audience and posed the first question himself to Tom Frewen,

NZ on Air says they are in the ‘diversity game’. They say they have ‘something for everyone’. What do you say to that?

Tom Frewen replied that it’s not always about diversity. He said it’s about “who the programmes are made for“.  He said it’s about whether the programmes are made for the viewer – or for advertisers.

He raised the example of the recent ‘Strongman‘ mine-disaster documentary, that had been shown on TV3. Mr Frewen said it was a fine documentary,and had obvious relevance to the Pike River mine disaster. He said the closing commentary, shown immediately before the end-credits, made it obvious that the doco referred to current mining issues.

He then questioned, ” but where was the panel discussion afterwards? The government got off very lightly “.

Mr Frewen said that NZ on Air had been taken for a ride on “The GC”. The producers had noticed that there was “spare money sloshing around” and had presented “The GC” as a documentary for NZ on Air funding.  He said the final product “was for advertisers, not for us“.  He said programmes had to be made for the viewer, and not for advertisers, otherwise it was a commercial exercise and not public  TV.

A question from the audience;  “There were no votes in this. How do we get the public onboard?

Clare  Curran said she had a couple of suggestions.

Firstly, she said, we needed a public discussion on this. It won’t happen overnight, she said, but we needed a public conversation on this issue. She asked people to talk to friends, family, and workmates, to make this an issue.

Secondly, she invited people to vote for Labour, so that a Labour-led government could re-introduce a stronger public TV system, with guaranteed, ring-fenced funding and at arms-length from political interference.

Another question from the audience; “How do they calculate ratings for TVNZ7, especially for arts programmes?

One of the panellists replied that Nielson collects data from 500 households, using an electronic box mounted on TV sets. The box collects information on when a TV is switch on and what channels and programmes are being watched.

However, the box does not monitor actual watching by the viewer, and does not record if the viewer stops watching to go make a cup of tea during the ad breaks, or if the viewer has left the room, or fallen asleep on the couch.

Another question; “How are the 500 households chosen? “

Answer; Households were chosen by their demographics, to ‘roughly represent’ the composition of New Zealand society. However, that demographics would not take into account small minorities,

You won’t see Armenian programming on television “, one of the panellists remarked.

Another question; “Referencing the Leveson Inquiry [investigating Murdoch's corporate activities and corruption in the UK], should we be having a Royal Commission of Inquiry into media ownership in New Zealand ?”

Ms Curran answered the question by saying,

  1. We needed a public debate on media ownership in this country.
  2. The Commerce Commission was  engaged in an investigation into media contracts and content.

Next question came from Tom Frewen, and pointedly asked Wallace Chapman,

Why do you think there is no discission or reporting of this on other television networks?

Mr Chapman relied that aside from ‘Media7‘ [media commentary programme on TVNZ7] broaching the subject, no other television channel wanted to be seen referencing this issue. He said it was not an issue that benefitted coverage by other television stations.

Dr Thompson asked the audience a question of his own; “If public TV was administered by a foundation, what should it look like?  There were considerable infrastructure issues to work out with a fully independent public TV broadcaster, if it was to be separate from TVNZ.  What sort of public TV do we want? “

One audience member offered a suggestion that an independent  trust could be modelled on the charitable trust  that owned the ‘Guardian‘ newspaper in the UK. He said it was important to remove TVNZ7 out of the hands of politicians.

Another audience member said that a charitable trust could be funded by the Lotteries Commission, and agreed that it was important to keep public TV out of the hands of politicians.

Another audience member suggested a subscription-style funding model, such as the PBS Network in the United States.

Dr Thompson replied that there were problems with that system in terms of ‘economies of scale’. New Zealand needed 270 million people to make a fully-funded subscription model work. There were simply not enough people in this country to make a voluntary subscription system work.

Tom Frewen added that a subscription model was  another form of pay-TV. It would work only if there was no other available alternative model. He agreed with Dr Thompson that the population was too small to make it work properly.

Sue Kedgeley said she was not in favour of subscriptions either and would rather see at least one commercial-free, free-to-air TV channel.

Ms Curran said that NZ on Air needs to be looked at to see how they are spending their [taxpayers] money. She added,

TVNZ7 should have been growing, so our children do not grow up with American accents. We need to have public TV  independent of government, and funding ring-fenced. Labour is committed to public TV.”

One member of the audience stood, and was obviously passionate – if somewhat misguided in his criticisms – when he seemed to attack the politicians on the panel, demanding to know, over and over again,

What are you doing about it?

Ms Curran attempted to placate the obviously agitated man, and Grant Robertson stepped in to explain that the Opposition were the opposition because the public had not voted for opposition parties in sufficient numbers. He said that if the public wanted public TV, they have to support it at the ballot box,

Sue Kedgeley added that the public has not had a passionate debate on the issue, and that we needed a group to fight for public TV, much like ‘Greenpeace’ fought on behalf of the environment. “We need a Greenpeace-style body campaigning passionately for public TV and to carry it through “, she said.

Mr Chapman agreed that there was considerable public frustration on this issue.

This blogger then had an opportunity to address the audience and panel,

I’ve no doubt that TVNZ7 will not be saved by this government. Unless 50,000 people take to the streets, National’s record of listening to the public is not great.

I suggest two ways that a future public TV channel could be kept out of politicians hands, because that, to me, is the greatest threat.

Firstly,  funding should be independent. I suggest a body such as the Remuneration Authority which decides the pay and conditions of politicians and which is independent of their control. Such an independent body could be legislated to fund public TV and Radio NZ, and make funding  automatically inflation adjusted. That takes control awqay from politicians.

Secondly, we need to use the power of contracts, which the New Right use to good effect,  to bind governments to maintain public TV. A contract could be for a term of 7 years which would be two parliamentary terms plus one year. That should take it well out of the hands of  any National government.”

The next member of the audience asked how many peple in the audience had Sky TV, and suggested that Sky customers suspend their subscriptions for one month, as protest against the demise of TVNZ7.

Another member of the public demanded to know, “Can we get Dr Thompson on TV?

Wallace Chapman replied,

I don’t know how we can do that. “

Dr Thompson added that his appearance on TV [to speak on behalf on TVNZ7] would be unlikely,

State TV is to shy of upsetting government.

He said that Jim Blackman, who ran ‘Stratos TV‘ until earlier this year, tried to link up with TVNZ7, and there were some talks on the issue, but nothing came of it.  He suggested that people should get in touch with Mr Blackman and support him.

Grant Robertson then stood and said that he was promising to commit to forming a Campaign for Public Broadcasting  and would work through the Save TVNZ7 website to keep people informed on progress.

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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He seemed determined that this would happen, and suggested that members of the audience should volunteer to participate.

Mr Robertson thanked the audience for turning up on a chilly Monday night, and thanked Wallace Chapman, for flying down from Auckland to attend and host this public meeting.

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking  Save TVNZ7

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Grant Robertson also paid tribute to Wallace Chapman for his role in fronting ‘Backbenches’, and for making politics fun for viewers to watch.

There was a loud, enthusiastic round of applause from the audience, and the meeting concluded.

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Postscript

This blogger met the blogger from  ‘Kumara Republic‘, and we chatted about our respective bloggings.

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Previous Blogposts

NZ on Air funding soft-core porn garbage? Since when? Since now!!

Fear and loathing in the Fascist State of New Zealand

Fear and loathing in the Fascist State of New Zealand – Part Deux

Fear and loathing in the Fascist State of New Zealand – Part Trois

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National’s numpty numbers

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Source

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National’s latest budget promise,

Ms Tolley says that’ll go towards the aim of a 25 percent reduction in re-offending by 2017.”

By 2017? Five years away?!

Who will remember National’s promise in five years’ time?

Just as, how many people remember this budgetary promise, made only last year,

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Full story

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One year ago, National’s promises included,

  • 170,000 new jobs
  • wages growing 4% each year, for the next three years
  • 4% growth by 2013

Let’s put National’s 2011 Budget to the test,

1. 170,000 new jobs

In June 2011, employment and unemployment stats showed the following,

Employed: 2,214,000

Unemployed: 154,000

Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Source

By March 2012, employment and unemployment stats showed the following,

Employed: 2,230,000

Unemployed: 160,000

Unemployment rate:6.7%

Source

Summary:

  1. Increase in employment: 16,000
  2. Rise in unemployed: 6,000
  3. Rise in unemployment rate: 0.2%
  4. Verdict: fail

Instead of 170,000 new jobs, there have been only 16,000 – and unemployment has risen at the same time.

2. Wage Growth

Promised: Budget 2011;

4%

Actual:  In the year-to-March 2012 Quarter;

Salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased by 2%

Overtime wage rates increased 2.5%

Private sector  salary and ordinary time wage wages increased 2.1%

Source

Verdict: fail

Growth in wages has been half of that predicted by National.

3. Annual Growth

Promised: Budget 2011;

4% by 2013

Actual: in the year-to-March 2011 Quarter;

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.5%

Source

Actual:  In the year-to-December 2011*  Quarter;

For the year ended December 2011, gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.4%

Economic activity increased 0.3% in the December 2011 Quarter

Source

(* March 2012 Quarter figures not available until 21 June 2012.)

Verdict:  At 1.4% to December last year, GDP growth is unlike to have  reached 4%  by March this year. Probable fail.

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Moral of the story; take National’s Budget predictions with  several very large grains of salt. They are likely to be more propaganda than precision.

After all, will Anne Tolley even be around in five years to be held accountable for her wish list?

We’re still waiting for the 170,000 new jobs.

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National Party Supporters and their Empathy for a woman with a terminal disease

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National supporters seem somewhat antagonistic – especially if someone dares criticise their Dear Leader.

In another insight into the psyche of the National supporter’s mind, this Blog presens this post from John Key’s  Facebook page. It starts of with an image from National’s regional conference, held at the up-market Wairakei Resort.

Another Facebook User, Ms Allyson Lock, was not impressed. And she made her feelings known in a somewhat innocuous  post.

It drew an instant, venomous response from National groupies and John Key sycophants.

Even after they discovered that Ms Lock was suffering from a terminal disease; that she and her fellow sufferer’s of Pompe’s Disease had been consistently ignored by this government; John Key has not shown the same concerns he expressed to breast cancer sufferers in 2008; and that her disease was terminal – many of the National supports showed an utter lack of empathy and caring. Many were contemptuous of Ms Lock and her condition.

Is this the core culture of  National – an extreme selfishness and uncaring with is borderline sociopathic?

I let the reader decide.

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John Key

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I’ve just updated our Central North Island supporters on National’s plan for a Brighter Future, getting a great reception
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  • 58 people like this.
    • Max TweedieThat sentence is an oxymoron.

    • Allyson LockWairakei resort eh, pretty flash! I guess us Kiwis are paying for that? No wonder there’s no money for Kiwis who have Pompe disease and need treatment! Brighter future? What a crock!

    • Jonathan AllenChip on your shoulder much Allyson?

    • Tyrone BarughAllyson, it’s a party conference. The party’s donors and supporters itself pay for conferences and events like this. Not parliamentary services, not the taxpayer.

    • Sean Harleygod save the queen.

    • Tim ShielsAllyson, National Party regional conferences are paid for by National Party members, not that taxpayer.

    • Mark Stephen TerryBrighter future? John, are you finally installing skylights in the Beehive?

    • Campbell Downiebright future… if your in the top 10 percent… shame new zealand will only have rich and poor in its future and no middle ground… the middle ground is leaving John… cant you see that ??????

    • Allyson LockOne on yours Jonathon? You might want to ask WHY i made that comment before you take a swing at me.

    • Allyson LockWell i’m glad to hear that Tyrone. I’m sick of my taxes being spent on soirees for the government!

    • Matt PaullOMG people, do you really think for one that he reads these comments, and secondly that he personally runs this Facebook page and uploads photo’s? Jesus christ

    • Allyson LockJohn Key only reads and reacts to what suits him Matt.

    • Ailsa UreWhy should one man, who with many others, is tryingto do his best for our country under difficult world conditions, be held responsible for my or your individual success or failure? Try to build up, not tear down!

    • Tyrone BarughClearly not. The PM has more important and less delegable things to do with his time. Does that matter? No – people are still engaging, which is good.

    • Jonathan AllenWhy would I ask why? Couldn’t care less.

    • Stephen KeastWhat a bunch of idiots. Take your hate somewhere else, no one wants to hear it. If you have no money then do us all a favour stop paying for your internet subscription.

    • Stephen KeastAlisa is right. He’s the leader of the country. He’s not responsible for personally fixing all of your problems. Your attitude is appalling Allyson. Build up, not tear down…. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Margi Nutmeg Huzzah MacMurdoYes Stephen, Freedom of speech and lively discourse is most certainly not welcome in the ideologue sausage mill!

    • Chris CampbellSome people will complain regardless of the party leading the country and their political orientation. Only when they are handed a quality of life to those ‘above’ them will they ever appear satisfied – they are prime candidates for illustrating New Zealand’s epidemic of tall-poppy syndrome. However, class equality is very much infeasible (if you agree with the concept so much, take a look at Soviet Russia or China). John and his party are doing a stellar job, and those knocking them typically do not understand the rationale behind decisions made, expect instant results, and/or are delusional left-wingers.

    • Marc BaileyOr are still all up on Uncle Helen’s D to see that the best man for the job right now is doing a pretty stellar job.

    • Di Bottchergr8 statement chris :)

    • Allyson LockStephen, my attitude is appalling? How dare you! I have a fatal disease which has a treatment available, John Key won’t even reply to my to my letters begging for this treatment to be funded. This treatment has been approved for use in NZ, but NOT funded! There are 5 of us in this country condemned to death because of John Key and his cronies! So, Stephen, WHICH is most appalling? My ATTITUDE, or John Key’s lack of care? A brighter future for ME? I DON’T THINK SO! And before you slate me even further, if it was your son, daughter, Mum or Dad, sister or brother with this disease, would you have the same attitude?

    • Allyson LockAnd if you couldn’t care less Jonathon, why make your petty statement in the first place?

    • Les RobinsonSounds like the 5 of you Allyson need to get down to Parliment and stand your ground and prove to them you need the medicines to survive..if in front of him he wont ignore..

    • Chris CampbellLetters directly to John Key? That’s what your local MP is for.

    • Di BlackAllyson Lock, your attitude is appalling. I have a nasty illness too but I don’t blame John Key for it.

    • Allyson LockWe’ve done that Les, got escorted out by security.

    • Allyson LockHave done that Chris, no go there either.

    • Allyson LockDi, i don’t blame John Key for my illness at all. Why on earth do you think that? What I need is medication to help me. Do you get medication for your nasty illness? I hope there is a medication to help you. There is for me, John Key won’t make money available through Pharmac to fund it. That’s my beef!

    • Mark GrayAllyson bugger off to the whinging labour facebook page, plenty of negative losers over their with the “poor me”, “give me everything for free” syndrome. And no I dont care about your illness, everyones got problems. Some of us just choose to get on with it. This page about the great things JK and national are doing. Keep up the great work Mr Key.

    • Allyson LockGee Mark, i sure hope you never get an illness that you need treatment for. And i’m not a labour voter, i actually voted for Key. And i don’t ask for “everything”. My husband works full time in the military and works more hours than most people do in a week. So why don’t you bugger off Mark? I’m not a negative loser, but you certainly know how to put the boot into someone when they need help. Yaay for you, hope you feel really good about yourself.

    • Rachel LodewykThanks Allyson for standing up for,those who have medical conditions for,which there is treatment but no funding. Inherited conditions can strike anyone at anytime… Especially rare ones. So for all of you commenting on Allyson’s remarks, this could be your child, grandchild or any family member. She is not asking for any special treatment just a chance at obtaining drug therapy that is available. NZ gives cancer treatment to smokers and drug treatment to diabetics who are obese… Smoking and over eating are by choice. Drunk drivers are cared for in our hospitals… I could go on… Those of us living with inherited conditions that are not our fault live,with the knowledge that governments promise assistance to get into power then do not follow through.

    • Allyson LockThank you Rachel, i know you understand our plight. I tell you, it gets hard to keep standing up to be counted when you receive so much negativity. I cannot beleive there are so many nasty people out there who absolutely do not give a toss about their fellow human beings. You’re right though, it can happen to ANYONE! God help them when it does, because this government won’t. I bet most of the people on this thread have been helped by medication or have a family member who has, and they take it without even thinking twice. Imagine if they knew this medication was out there, which could save their life, or the life of a loved one, but John Key said…NO! For those of you who have said my attitude is appalling, shame on you.

    • Rachel LodewykEveryone is one new born away from being in a situation where they need access to medicines that will save a babies life…. It is a shame it takes devastating news to bring them around.

    • Allyson LockYes it is a shame. I guess mans inhumanity to man is alive and well in NZ, right from John Key down. I also wonder how many mothers are reading this. How would they feel if it was one of their kids? How would they feel if they knew they would not live to see their kids finish high school? I wonder if just ONE person on this thread will think about it and feel ashamed enough of their nastiness to want to make a change and gain an understanding? I sure hope so. I think I can guess the ones that won’t. Sad.

    • Rachel LodewykThey live in a different world where the biggest problem is what to serve for dinner. I don’t understand why my life is the way it is… I just wish I could live in new Zealand AND my child could receive the medicines that are saving his life. But as long as some one some where is paying the bill… What does NZ care? We are no longer a burden on the government after 20years of paying taxes..

    • Allyson LockYes exactly Rachel! I actually am even surprised that some people in this thread actually admit to not giving a dam. Or maybe I should not be surprised? Shame on them. I bet not one of them will say “hey, let’s here your story, let’s see what we can all do to make NZ a better place for all Kiwis”.

    • Allyson Lockthat would be “hear” your story…

    • Steve LockAs usual the ignorant are willing to put the boot into someone who has made a negative comment about John Key. Mark Gray, Di Black and Jonathan Allen (who isnt even in NZ) are quite happy to slam someone for raising a valid issue without even understanding it themselves. John Key is great at having his photo taken – he never misses an opportunity, but he wont stand up and do anything to help the people who actually need assistance. His MP’s are just as ineffective – there are over 50 other countries in the world that support people with the rare disease that Allyson has and that Rachels son is getting treatment for but John and his cronies like Tony Ryall continue to ignore our repeated request. Maybe there just arent enough votes in rare diseases to make them care

    • Stephen KeastAllyson, your first comment was “Wairakei resort eh, pretty flash! I guess us Kiwis are paying for that? No wonder there’s no money for Kiwis who have Pompe disease and need treatment! Brighter future? What a crock!”That sounds like a snobby little stuck up idiot with a bad attitude who is just an anti-government broken record.Perhaps you could pitch what is actually wrong with you and what you have done to try and get support before using your situation as flack against me? That would be much appreciated and you’d probably get a better reaction from others

    • Stephen KeastYou need to go to their door, either that of your local MP or the beehive and advocate for it if you want it funded for you. Otherwise private care is probably the only way. All the best for your future.

    • Stephen KeastThat or a good idea would be to write on the news pages’ walls… They would probably bite and do something useful for a change

    • Allyson LockStephen, I have been to the doors of parliament, and to the doors for my local (National) MP, no one is interested. I’m not a snobby little stuck up idiot, and I have not previously been an anti-government broken record. As previously mentioned, i voted for John Key. If you would like me to “pitch what is wrong with me” I will. I have a disease called “Pompe”. It is a fatal disease without treatment. Treatment for this disease is funded in nearly 60 countries worldwide. New Zealand, Australia and Wales seem to be the only “first world” countries dragging their heels on funding treatment even though enough evidence exists to show that treatment works. I have fundraised to get myself overseas to get on an experimental treatment because our government refuses to fund treatment for me and the other 4 people here in NZ with this disease. One of those people is my twin brother.

    • Allyson LockAlso Stephen, where is my attitude towards you appalling?

    • Stephen KeastWhat I’m getting as is that before you explained anything, you came across as just another person who seemed to think that party meetings should be held in some mud hut somewhere and that anyone that spent any sort of money was some kind of deranged dick. That to me is an appalling attitude.

    • Allyson LockI’m not going to make an apology for that considering the fact it’s not what I meant at all. And that said, do you find it “appalling” that the National government spend around $8million per year on cheauffeurs but ignore people with rare diseases who need treatment to survive?
    • 12 minutes ago

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To those folk who support National and John Key – that is your democtratic right, and let no one take that away from you.

It is worthwhile, though, to pause for a moment and consider that political parties and their leaders are no infallible.  They can make mistakes.

When folk like Allyson Lock take time to share their feelings about the way our own government has treated someone (or, in this case, totally ignored her) – then it is worthwhile listening and trying to understand where she’s coming from.

If a business ignores their customer’s needs – those customers will go somewhere else. That business will suffer accordimngly.

If a Party in power ignores it’s constituents – the same principle can apply.

What is the point of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, at election time, to attract voter-support – when in the intervening three years, your Party ignored the needs of constituents?

Ponder that, next time National drops in the polls.

And ponder that a modicum of compassion to one of your fellow Kiwis, who is facing an uncertain future, will not go amiss.

Ms Lock is simply  seeking her own “bright future”.

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Related blogposts

Priorities?

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20 May: End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails

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- End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails -

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Frank Macskasy - blog - Frankly Speaking

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Think Tank

TV3’s current affairs “chat” show,  “Think Tank” is  hosted by John Tamihere, on Sunday mornings. This half hour programme discusses critical issues confronting our nation, but in a low-key, constructive manner. There are no flashy graphics; no distracting backgrounds; and the guests are encouraged to offer their views without being talked over by other guests or the host.

The only slight criticism? that this excellent show is “ghettoised” on Sunday mornings (alongside TVs’s “The Nation” and TVNZ’s “Q+A”).

It would be a radical moment in our media history if “Think Tank” (as well as “Q+A” and “The Nation”) were re-scheduled for prime-time evening viewing. The public might actually be exposed to intelligent viewing for a change.

Shayne Currie (Editor, New Zealand Herald)

Who tweeted   (@ShayneCurrieNZH), ‘We wouldn’t want to be populist now would we Mr Key‘, after Dear Leader whinged on Newstalk ZB that  “the media are in a more aggressive and hostile mood towards us” . Key singled out the Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald  for special criticism.

Nice one, Shayne.  Sometimes it takes a gentle reminder for politicians to understand that the Herald is not Pravda, nor is  Sunday Star Times New Zealand’s own Izveztia.

AFFCO workers

Locked out by their employers, the Talley Brothers – millionaire businessmen  – who are hell-bent on driving down  staff’s wages and destroying the Meatworkers Union.

The AFFCO meatworkers are ordinary New Zealanders – they could be any one of us – who have been harrassed and persecuted by the Talleys.

In a display of sheer courage that our ANZAC forebears would be proud of, the workers have faced up to the bullies who are their employers.

These brave men and women should be hailed as true Kiwi battlers.

An incoming Labour-led government should not forget the AFFCO workers when they next review employment legislation.

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Frank Macskasy - blog - Frankly Speaking

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Paula Bennett (National MP

For planning to force welfare recipients to immunise their children for no other reason than they are receiving welfare assistance from the State. This has to be the worst case of State coercion since military conscription.

If National wants everyone immunised, by law, then make it compulsory for everyone. Yeah, right! There would be rioting in the streets, and this rotten government would fall within a week.

But it’s fairly obvious that Key, Bennett, and their  misguided mates are exploiting the vulnerability of New Zealanders who happen to be on welfare, for their own political ends.

This country’s economy is in dire straits; we are stagnating; unemployment is on the up; and kids are starving and going through pig-slop buckets to get a feed. Plus on top of that numerous scandals and dodgy deals, and National is desperate to focus public attention elsewhere.

In the 1930s, the nazi government used gypsies and jews as scapegoats.  We can’t use jews – Israel would kick Key’s sorry arse to the curb. And we don’t have gypsies.

But we do have welfare beneficiaries, and the public doesn’t mind if they’re ‘bashed’ around a bit.They are the 1930s “jews”  of our society.

This is shameful. For a New Zealand government to demonise a sector of the population in such a  cynical manner  is unforgivable.

Pita Sharples (Maori Party)

For citing that there had been a number of gains for Maori the upcoming budget, such as  “funding for treatment of cancer, funding for tackling rheumatic fever…”

Yes, Mr Sharples – but at the expense of raising prescription charges from $3 to $5, which will hurt welfare beneficiaries, superannuitants, and low income earners the hardest. Many of whom already have to make hard choices whether to pay the rent and electricity bill, or cut back on food, medicines, etc.

Many of those low-income earners are the Maori Party’s constituents.

By any definition, that is not a “gain”, Mr Sharples. This is robbing Pita to pay Paul.

Wally.

ACT Party

For not distancing itself from racist bigot, Louis Crimp, and returning his $125,520 donation.  Is ACT so desperate for funds that it willingly accepts money from a person who believes,

I don’t give a stuff what I’m called. You have to look at the facts and figures. This is the problem with New Zealanders. Most of them dislike the Maoris intensely – I won’t say hate – but they don’t like to say so.”

At what point does a Party draw a line and refuse to accept financial support because the donor is just so repugnant?

Act’s president, Chris Simmons, said he disagreed with Mr Crimp but respected his right to have a view,

One of the beauties of the Act Party is we believe everyone should have their say.”

That may be, Mr Simmons. But by accepting a racist’s money, you are giving tacit approval to their abhorrent prejudice.

It’s called tarred by association.

Think about it.

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And for the final category, the Epic Fail of the Week,

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Louis Crimp

Businessman and bigot.   Unfortunately, he may not be alone is holding such racist views.

We have a long way to go, in this country.

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This will end in tears…

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Union upset at new meat inspection rules

Newstalk ZB May 19, 2012, 10:17 am

The union for public servants is unhappy at new rules allowing meat companies to inspect their own produce.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is going ahead with the scheme, after consulting our main trading partners.

Until now, meat inspections have been done by government officials employed by AsureQuality.

The PSA’s Richard Wagstaff says inspectors are telling him there’s already pressure on them to speed the process up.

“They think that if they didn’t have an independent warrant and didn’t work for a separate company, the pressure that would come to bear on them would be impossible to resist.”

The union is also worried about the inspectors’ jobs.

Source

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Self-inspection?!

Where have we heard this before…?

As it happened: Pike River Mine Inquiry day four

Published: 8:35AM Thursday July 14, 2011 Source: ONE News

12.47pm: A letter written to the Ministry of Energy by [Harry Bell - Former Chief Inspector of coal mines ] Bell in 1997 is bought up as evidence. He confirms that he still holds the views expressed in the letter. He wanted the Mining Inspection Group (MIG) to stay within the Ministry Of Commerce. Marine and aviation industries had been left out of the new Occupational Safety and Health regulations, and he believe that mining also should be left out. “Mining is an entirely different industry to shops and factories.” That letter came at the end of the transition process, but Bell says it was a view that had been expressed from the beginning. “All the inspectors did, but nobody listened, they had already made their minds ups.”

12.45pm: Bell says that mines cannot be audited ‘on paper’ – mines need to be physcally inspected. He says that a lack of regular inspections was a “Recipe for disaster”.

12.42pm: Bell says he has had concerns about the closure of dedicated mine training through polytechs with regular standards set by the Board of Examiners, made up by experienced miners. He has concerns that students are not orally examined, with students not checked that they understand any work that they have completed.

12.39 pm: He says that under the new regime there was only one inspection in one year at a mine he managed. “A reactive response is not appropriate for the underground coal mine industry.”

12.34 pm: Bell says, “The Pike River plans should never have been approved, and in my opinion would not have been approved in the prior regulatory environment.” He says he believes the Pike River disaster can be attributed in some part to human error, lack of inspector experience, and lack of inspections.

12.32 pm: He says that since 1993 calibre of the OSH (Department of Labour) inspectors has slipped dramatically, and that management and the miners are left to self regulate. Today the inspectors are not experienced with gassy mines or the management of roles. He says a factor in this was that salaries were cut – experienced miners would no longer take the role.

See: TVNZ – As it happened: Pike River Mine Inquiry day four

In 2010, New Zealand’s meat industry earned $5.7 billion in exports.

Our entire reputation as a reliable, dependable, and safe source of food has been based not just on our relatively clean and mostly unpolluted environment – but also on our strict inspection regime.  Up until now, meat inspectors have been independent and impartial, giving fear nor favour to no one.

History has shown that where an industry is left to self-regulate, that problems will occur.

Self-regulation is not a bright idea. In fact, it stinks like meat offal left out in the noon-day sun.

Next, the multi-billion dollar leaking-homes scandal,

”  I think that is important that we accept that we have a Government—not just this Government—and a whole lot of people who have the mantra of deregulation and self-regulation. We are being told, everywhere we turn, that self-regulation and deregulation will work. We do not need all this onerous regulation. This leaky home disaster is an abject lesson in what happens in the huge cost of deregulation.

What did this 1991 Act do?

The aim of it was to encourage competition in the market, to boost the building industry, to reduce building costs, and to save money. Everyone whipped themselves into a fervour about the wonderful things that would happen with the passage of the Building Act and deregulation. They wiped out all the previous regulations and controls, they loosened councils’ inspection procedures, and they allowed the introduction of private council inspectors, so that there would be competition with council inspectors. 

See: Green Party –  Leaky Homes caused by deregulation

It does interest me that the building sector has, indeed, self regulated since 1821 (when New Zealand’s first house was built — Kemp House — nearly 200 years ago).

Self regulation is where an industry has Codes of Practice — eg, training standards, self monitoring and/or voluntary accreditation systems — like the Registered Master Builders Federation which imposes entry standards and criteria upon membership.

Yet, it is only now that the Government has deemed it necessary to regulate the building occupation, and then, only the residential sector due primarily to the leaky homes saga

Mind you, we don’t start being “regulated” until March 1, 2012, so we are, indeed, still self-regulating.

See: Building Today – What is the actual Licensed Building Practitioner scheme?

Self-regulation in a commercial environment is not a good idea. There are simply too many pressures brought to bear on Inspectors, and eventually a culture of short-cuts and turning a blind eye develops.

As usual, this daft proposal emanates from  National – a party in power that penny-pinches and cost-cuts, and exposes New Zealand’s economy to dire risks.

Unfortunately, as with the ministerial architects of the 1991 Building Act “reforms”, those who legislate; de-regulate; and self-regulate are not the ones who will be held to account when something goes horribly wrong.

As usual, the politicians responsible will not shoulder responsibility – and it will be the taxpayer who foots the bill to fix whatever mess eventuates.

Self-regulation in the meat industry. Not a good idea. In fact, it’s a dumb idea.

This will end in tears. Again.

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Related blogposts

Bugs and balls-ups!

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The National Party, common sense, and sausage sizzles

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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I’ve been involved in politics, in one form or another, for much of my life. I think I have a fairly good ‘handle’ regarding politicians; their ideologies; and their Parties.

I’ve seen Muldoon come and go; Bolger and Richardson; Shipley and English; and now Key and English, try their hand at managing our economy and spending our tax dollars.

Without exception, folks, every single National Government, from Robery Muldoon onwards, has been an apallingly bad fiscal manager.

National’s modus operandi,

  1. Cuts short term spending, worsening long-term social problems, which will become more expensive eventually, as social ills remain unaddressed,
  2. Cuts state sector employees and services, then realises that essential issues still remain,
  3. Cuts taxes when we can least afford it,
  4. Implements fiscal, political, and social policies that impact negatively on economic and social indicators,
  5. Borrows from overseas lenders when it was never necessary in the first place (or reduced borrowing, had tax cuts not been implemented)
  6. And generally makes bad choices that, long term, will cost the taxpayer more.

So – how on Earth has National ever built up a reputation of being a “sound fiscal manager” of our economy?!?!

Because every time National has been in office, it has left the country in an absolute economic shambles.

From Ruth Richardson’s “Mother of All Budgets”, to Jenny Shipley’s and Bill English’s “slash and burn” of the health sector,  state housing, Police force, and other essential state services in the late 1990s – National  has proven time and again it’s ineptness.

This Party is utterly clueless when it comes to simple matters of cause-and-effect.

One thing, though, has escaped me utterly.

How have they  sucked in the public to effect a (undeserved) reputation of sound fiscal management?

Whilst National runs deficits,  Labour, in the 2000s, ran surpluses. (A fact National attempts to hide by clumsily  persisting in re-writing history.)

See previous blogpost: Labour: the Economic Record 2000 – 2008

Case in point; Dear Leader and his minions has made a great deal about slashing the state sector. National has made deep cuts into state sector services and sacked over 2,500 much-needed employees,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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As 2,500 people were sacked from their jobs – all for a grand saving of $20 million,  National belatedly realised that their slash-and-burn was little more than a false economy.

It soon became apparent that many of the sacked workers were much-needed experts in their field, and essential personnel to make the State function smoothly.

National took “appropriate action”,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Two thousand, five hundred of our fellow kiwis lost their jobs for “savings” of $20 million.

The Economic Development Ministry alone  increased spending on consultants, contractors, etc,  from $6.7 million in 2008-09 to $19.2 million in 2010-11. Other ministries most likely spent several million on their consultants, contractors, advisors, and Uncle Tom Cobbly.

See: ‘Consultancy culture’ cost $525m last year – Labour

So much for “savings” of $20 million.

One can only try to imagine what those 2,500 people who were sacked by National, must be feeling right now.

So the question remains; how has National managed to paint itself as a “responsible steward” of the country’s economy? Especially when a cursory study of their real performance reveals otherwise?

Tracey Watkins, writing in today’s (19 May)  ‘Dominion Post‘, may have  offered a clue,

But while these sorts of measures might be an annoyance, they do not cause widespread pain.

And in a perverse way, Europe helps Bill English’s cause. It maintains a sense of crisis while the sight of workers marching in the streets only underscores the gentle and low-fuss nature of our own austerity drive.

This is why Labour has struggled so far to run a coherent argument against National’s management of the books – the danger has always been that protesting any cuts to date look not only shrill, but profligate. To voters, less is more at the moment.

See: Kiwis are tolerating moderate austerity

A sense of crisis “. It may well be that the Middle Classes have been panicked by overseas events. There may be an under-lying fear that – like households in tough times – the country needs to cut back on spending, to avert a Greece-like melt-down in our own economy.

There may be an underlying belief  within the collective consciousness of New Zealanders that, in “tough times”, National is better at cutting than Labour. In “tough economic times”, cutting expenditure may appear to the public as more of a priority than, say, job creation.

Such feelings are not necessarily based on any reality or logical analysis of the country’s true economic situation; nor of the side-effects of cutting back on State expenditure. These may be deep-seated feelings based on how people may view the economy.

Generally speaking, people have very little experience with macro-economics; Keynesian-vs-Friedmanite economic systems; nor any real understand of how government economic policies work.

For most folk, their only experience is running the finances of their own households. Doing a household budget; paying bills;  and balancing the chequebook is the extent to most peoples’ exposure to finances.

And yet, government finances is not like household finances at all. The former is more complex, with control over fiscal and taxation policy; revenue streams;  and policies that can work to generate income for the state. The State has access to borrowings (if necessary) not open to ordinary households. By widening the tax-base, the State can increase its revenue – no easy task for ordinary households.

In short, the State has options not readily available to households.

But  through a dumbed-down media which focuses mostly on superficial political issues; mindless entertainment; and on the Here-And-Now, the public have become low-information voters.

By not being aware of the true extent of the State’s abilities, the public are trapped in a narrow paradigm of  the State being akin to “household budgets”.

So when National cuts expenditure, services, and jobs – it appears to the public to be a “common sense” plan to follow.

The public are not so aware that austerity measures can have negatives impacts on our economy and society, even in the short-term. Cutting back on government economic activity means a drop in all-round economic activity.

It is no coincidence that following Ruth Richardson’s “Mother of all Budgets“, that unemployment, company liquidations, economic growth, and other indicators worsened.

This is a Party that I would barely trust to run a sausage sizzle. They’d get rid of the volunteers; sell the barbeque; pay themselves a hefty fee; and claim success,

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The ‘mother of all budgets’

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking Mother of all budgets

Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Finance Minister Ruth Richardson make their way to the House of Representatives for the presentation of the 1991 budget. Richardson was from the radical wing of the National Party, which promoted individual liberty and small government. This was reflected in the budget, which severely cut government spending, including on welfare. Richardson proudly proclaimed her plan as the ‘mother of all budgets’, but such was its unpopularity among voters that it – along with high levels of unemployment – nearly cost National the next election.

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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In the above graph, note the two ‘spikes’ in unemployment. The first in the early 1990s, after cuts (through the “Mother of all Budgets”)  created a rise in unemployment. The second rise occurred in the late 1990s, when the Shipley/English government again cut government services.

However, unemployment fell after the election of a Labour-led government in late 1999.

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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The implications of austerity policies should be crystal clear to everyone:  reducing government expenditure and activity in the economy dampens overall economic activity.  Everyone is affected – no one escapes the inevitable downturn.

Hence why the new French President, Francois Hollande, has rejected austerity policies for his country. President Hollande understands full well that cutting government expenditure will result in reduced state services; more unemployment; and a drop in economic activity and  growth.

As long as the public are aware of these facts, then they can make decisions accordingly.

Ignorance of these facts will be painful, as anyone with memories of the 1990s will attest to.

In this case, ignorance is not most definitely not ‘bliss’. And no one will be exempt.

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Additional

Dominion Post: Public service cuts get deeper

Bloomberg:  Hollande Vows to Fight Austerity After Beating Sarkozy

References

Te Ara: Story – Business failures and corporate fraud

Te Ara: Story – National Party

Trading Economics: New Zealand

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National – The End is Nigh (Part #Rua)

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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As this blogger has been predicting over the last few months, National is continuing to slide in the polls, and will most likely face electoral defeat at the next elections.

National’s drop in popularity can be attributed to several, distinct factors,

  1. Economic factors continuing to worsen; rising unemployment; stagnant economy; ballooning government debt
  2. No obvious plan from National to create jobs and get the economy moving again
  3. Constant cuts which seem to achieve nothing, and which are beginning to impact of social services
  4. Unpopular policies such as asset sales
  5. A growing perception that National is demonising unemployed workers and solo-mothers, and treating them as scapegoats for government-failures
  6. Scandal after scandal after scandal – with the John Banks-Dotcom affair being the worst example of political pragmatism trumping ethical decision-making by Key

All of which happened in the late 1990s, with the previous Bolger/Shipley-led National governments,

See previous blogpost:  Learning from history?

See previous blogpost:  Learning from history?

See previous blogpost:  History Lesson – Toru – Jobs

See previous blogpost:  History Lesson – Rua – Police

A Roy Morgan poll released today (Friday 18 May)  shows a distinct drop for National and rise for Labour.

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2011 Election Results

National: 47.31%

Labour: 27.48%

Greens: 11.06%

Mana: 1.08%

Maori Party: 1.43%

United Future: 0.60%

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Roy Morgan Poll for 2 April 2012 – 15 April 2012

National: 49.5%

Labour:  26.5%

Greens: 12.5%

NZ First: 6.5%

United Future: 1%

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Current: Roy Morgan Poll for 30 April  – 13 May 2012

National: 44.5%

Labour:  30%

Greens: 15%

NZ First: 5.5%

Maori Party: 1%

Mana Party: 0.5%

ACT: 0%

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A Labour-Green-NZ First Coalition would equal 50.5%, giving 61 seats in a 120 seat Parliament (no allowance made for potential overhangs). With Hone Harawira winning Te Tai Tokerau, and giving his vote for Supply & Confidence to a Labour-led, government, a possible coalition would have a two seat majority.

This blogger believes that National will continue to trend down in further polling, and a Labour-led coalition will increase it’s majority.

Furthermore, this blogger predicts,

  • ACT will not return in the next election
  • Colin Craig’s Conservative Party will not break the 5% threshold
  • Peter Dunne has a less than 50/50 chance of  holding his Ohariu electorate if he votes with National to privatise state owned corporations

We are seeing the decline of National, and the last term of John Key as Prime Minister.

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References

NZ Herald: Key says he’ll quit politics if National loses election

NZ Herald: National support slips further – poll

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Dear Leader: I’m so Ronery…

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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In the last week, John Key has shown  tell-tale signs that he’s losing it.  At the very least, he appears to be somewhat frazzled and it is this blogger’s contention that the pressure and stress from the last few months are beginning to take their toll on Dear Leader.

More importantly, there is a definite chill in the air. The media and the public are not quite as adoring as they were during National’s previous term in office.

How else to explain this incident, a week ago on 10 May, when Key was doing one of his  repetitious Smile & Wave photo-ops at the Holy Family School in Porirua East,

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Two things jump out at the reader straight away,

  1. Look at the expression on Key’s face. Unless the camera caught him at an awkward moment, his face appears to  be expressing a feeling of… disdain? Discomfort? As if he didn’t really want to be there?
  2. When the Prime Minister asks a group of children if they have dreamed of being the Prime Minister – and then retorts with, “Frankly, the way it’s going at the moment you can have the job” –  that is a man who is not in a Good Place.

Aside from indicating that something is obviously   ‘bugging’ Dear Leader, that comment was utterly inappropriate.  You don’t ‘shoot down‘ children’s bright-eyed, youthful enthusiasm with such a cynical come-back. If John Key has a problem with his job, he needs to address it – not take his stress out on a bunch of kids, who, judging by the image above, were excited to see him.

His comment, a day earlier, on a radio show, seemed to further illustrate his growing frustration.  When he was questioned about the Sky City piokies-for-concention-centre deal, his annoyance was obvious,

I’m out there trying to promote a convention centre which we don’t put any money in and all I get is grief. OK? That’s what I get is grief. “

Wow! Talk about ‘wired‘. To quote our American cuzzies, “Dude! You need to chill!”

One further thing that comment reveals is that John Key doesn’t seem to get it. He doesn’t seem to comprehend community concerns with problem gambling and the fact that pokie machines are heavily implicated as the worst possible  form of gambling. They certainly appear to be the most profitable, despite declining numbers.

For good reason. Problem gamblem affects not just one individual, it can tear apart families and impact severely on businesses where gamblers may be working. Company embezzlment is often motivated by the culprits’ addiction and uncontrolled access to gambling machines.

People have lost their family home due to a gambling addict in their midst.

That is why Key is “getting grief”.

And he should expect more of the same.

That was followed, five days later by an extraordinary ‘whinge’ on NewstalkZB, with rightwing radio talkback host, Leighton Smith. When Smith questioned Key on the media’s increased willingness to be more critical when scrutinising National,  Key tore into the media,

The second point is that… what is true, is the media are in a more aggressive and hostile mood towards us…

… despite contrary to their opinions, I’m not that bent out of shape about that. “

Strangely, he then ‘channelled’ Helen Clark, and referred to a comment she made to him about her term as Prime Minister. As if Key was trying to use Clark’s standing as some kind of attempt to legitimise or justify his own performance.

Helen Clark came up to me at the swearing in of the Government in 2011 and said to me, ‘I remember what it was like, the first term was sort of okay, the second term was disastrous and the third term was diabolical.”

He also referred specifically to the NZ Herald and Sunday Star Times, saying,

  The Herald has turned more tabloid – that is an absolute statement of fact.  It was trying to lift circulation, especially casual sales at dairies, and had brought over David Fisher (from the Herald on Sunday) as “an investigative journalist, so-called“. “

Hear:  John Key with Leighton Smith (P1)

By that afternoon, Key resorted to form and denied he had ever made those critical comments. When questioned  by journalists, who referred to his remarks naming the Herald and Sunday Star Times, Key grinned his usual vacuous grin and responded,

“… Don’t think I did. (Journalist interjecting; “Yeah, you did“) Not specifically. Just said their headlines were wrong…”

Key said a damned sight more than just “their headlines were wrong“!

Snapped, Dear Leader. That was an outright lie.

See:     Key bemoans ‘hostile’ media (video)

See:     Key bemoans ‘hostile’ media (report)

The pressure is now on John Key and National. They sleep-walked through their  first three years in office, despite unemployment rising; growing debt that would’ve made Muldoon blush; a stagnating economy; and thousands more Kiwis voting with their feet and leaving the country.

As this Facebook User described the event,

Not content with having New Zealand’s so-called journalists follow him around like lost puppies eager to lick up whatever verbal vomit he puked their way during his first term, our venerable leader expressed his exasperation that some of the pups have grown into wolves and now seem intent on going for his jugular.

Well i say good job- it’s about time the media in this country got real where Key is concerned and started to ask some serious questions about his background, his motives and his real agenda for this country and whether that agenda is going to be to the great detriment of the vast majority of New Zealanders.
Did Mr Key think he could just carry on running the country as though policy, legislation and inter-party deals were just another series of currency trades?

Perhaps he thinks the media should just stand idly by and provide tacit approval for his backroom deals with big business donors and cronies- because for a while there they did- without question. Maybe the increasingly wonky John Key thought we’d all just turn a blind eye to his massive hypocrisy over the John Banks donation scandal and his inability to comprehend the ethical considerations raised by Banks actions and their incompatibility with his position as a Cabinet Minister. Not to mention the morally bankrupt deal that gifted the unpopular Banks the Epsom seat in the first place. ”  –  Newstalkzb is a Right-wing Propaganda Machine

Now, in their second term, the public are expecting a heckuva lot more than  bashing solo-mothers and raising charges on  prescription medicines. “Reforming” welfare is not going to create any meaningful new jobs (does 150 extra staff for WINZ really count?).

Especially when Paula Bennett herself admitted on 29 April, on TVNZ’s Q+A,

No. There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do.

See:   Q+A: Paula Bennett interview

Not enough jobs for everyone. But plenty of money to throw around on welfare “reforms”, hiring more WINZ staff, and giving solo-mothers free contraception (which seems a bit of a case of  slamming the barn door shut after the baby has bolted…).

Here’s a thought – job creation!! Damn, I bet no one in National has come up with this bold new idea! (Holy Common Sense, Batman,  I’m a fricken genius!)

If John Key is stressed now, six months into his second term, he has no idea what’s in store for him. As a Green co-leader said, Key needs to toughen up. Whinging to rightwing talkback hosts and venting at schoolkids is not a meaningful response to the critical problems faced by this country.

If John Key has a problem with understanding this – call a snap election, and be done with it. Let the people decide his fate.

Who knows – he might not have to worry about being PM any longer.

He might even get a decent nights’ sleep.


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Additional

You can have my job, John Key tells kids

Key bemoans ‘hostile’ media

Key denies slamming NZ media

Key backs off comments on ‘Herald’ in media gripe

Other Blogposts

Fearfactsexposed:  Key attacks media for doing its job

Kiwipolitico:  Whining John

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