Archive

Archive for June, 2012

A music moment

30 June 2012 3 comments

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Dedicated to Paula Bennett.

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Tui time, Dear Leader?

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“Over time, as they get to see the merits of the overall programme and recognise what the Government’s trying to do, which is basically to build more assets for New Zealanders but not put more debt on the balance sheet, and as they have an opportunity to invest, I think they will warm to that. I think it will take some time but I think they will get there.”

Source

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If  Dear Leader thinks that the public will “warm” to the idea of asset sales, then he is further out of touch than I ever thought possible,

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Unless Dear Leader is privy to research that the rest of us are not, every poll thus far shows steadfast public opposition to asset sales. Even two polls on politicians’ websites – one, Peter Dunne, and another belonging to  Bill English – showed a massive opposition tostate asset sales. (Neither polls are accessible on those websites, and have been taken down.

See:  Is Peter Dunne about to become the Man of the Year?

As the first sale nears, National will find public antipathy and pressure increasing. National’s own internal polling is probably showing anger increasing and support for National dropping.

The next public opinion polls will be crucial. If National stays steady in poll ratings – the sale process will proceed.

If National drops below 40% in those polls – expect the sale process to go the same way as Hekia Parata’s plans to increase class-room sizes.

In which case, John Key’s only “exit strategy” is to “post-pone” the sales indefinitely and put the blame on an increasingly uncertain global situation.

Why not? He’s used that excuse countless times before.

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Other blogs

Tumeke:  Why people hate John Key

 

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Campaign: Flood the Beehive!

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Flood the Beehive!

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The Million Mail Campaign!

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National’s plans to partially-privatise State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) continues to grind on – despite over-whelming public opposition.

It’s time for every New Zealander who opposes these sales to make their voice heard loud and clear, and to flood the Beehive  with a storm of protest mail!

One million-plus emails and letters will create a  loud message that will make politicians sit up and take notice.

Start writing now!

It costs nothing – and you may be saving $6 billion worth of assets that belong to you, your family, and other New Zealanders.

Messages don’t have to be long or involved or full of facts and figures. Messages can be simple. Eg,

Please do not sell my energy companies and Air New Zealand. They belong to  me and my family. “

Or,

I did not vote to sell my state enterprises. But I will vote against anyone who tries to sell them. Please stop your asset sales programme. I do not support it. “

Or,

I am one of the 60-70% of New Zealanders who oppose state asset sales. I will remember this at the next election. I do not give you permission to sell my assets. “

State assets up for partial sale: Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy (formerly Coal Corp), and Air New Zealand.

More information:  Asset sales bill down to the wire (Long link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10814141)

Send an email now. Or a paper-letter (no stamp required).  We can flood the Beehive with a Million Messages, and it will be messages that will make politicians pause and think.

In May, 2010, over 50,000 New Zealanders marched up Queen Street, Auckland, to stop mining in our Schedule 4 Conservation land.

More information:  Thousands march against mining (Long link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3647465/Thousands-march-against-mining)

The politicians backed off smartly. Imagine what 500,000 letters and emails can accomplish!

Eventually, John Key, Tony  Ryall, Peter Dunne, and Steven Joyce, et al,  will no longer be able to ignore our growing clamour.

It’s damned hard to ignore 1 million emails and letters.

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Write now! Write often! Keep writing!

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Contact Details

Snail Mail Addresses

Peter Dunne
Minister for Revenue
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

John Key
Prime Minister
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Steven Joyce
Minister for Economic Developement
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Tony Ryall
Minister for SOEs
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

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Parliamentary Email Addresses

Peter Dunne

Peter Dunne <peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz>

John Key

“John Key” <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>

Steven Joyce

“Steven Joyce” <steven.joyce@parliament.govt.nz>

Tony Ryall

“Tony Ryall” <tony.ryall@parliament.govt.nz>

Please note: make your letters/email polite, but firm.

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Media – Letters to the Editor

And if you want to send letters to the editor, here are some addresses,

“Dominion Post” <letters@dompost.co.nz>

“Listener” <letters@listener.co.nz>

“NZ Herald” <letters@herald.co.nz>

“Otago Daily Times” <odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz>

“The Press” <letters@press.co.nz>

“Southland Times” <editor@stl.co.nz>

“Sunday News” <editor@sunday-news.co.nz>

“Sunday Star Times” <letters@star-times.co.nz>

“Waikato Times” <editor@waikatotimes.co.nz>

(Make sure you include your full name & address when writing letters to the editor.)

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Flood the Beehive!

Please pass this Campaign on to others!

This will be our one and only chance to put the brakes on this government’s asset sales plans!

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Lots more we can do…

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Day of Action!

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And sign the petition!! Available here,

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Ho-hum, another National pledge ends up a failure *sighs*

27 June 2012 6 comments

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This is getting tedious…

Oh well, let’s get on with it.

*sighs*

The promise,

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The reality,

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Source

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Frank  Macskasy Blog  Frankly Speaking

Source

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National’s  grand plan to boost the economy appears to be somewhat… stuffed.

Question: who will John Key blame for this current crop of failures?

Answer: the usual scapegoats, whenever one of National’s policies ends up a flop,

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Full story

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National appears to be floundering with it’s plans, promises, and pledges to create 170,000 new jobs;  grow the economy by 4%; and to stem the flow of migration to Australia.

In fact, if I was the sort to believe in Conspiracy Theories, Gremlins, and Nostradamus – this blogger would be tempted to believe that the entire National caucus (along with their lap-dogs, John Banks and Peter Dunne) have been abducted and replaced by Grey alien replicants.

Though why aliens would travel 39 light years to Earth, just to screw our economy defies explanation.

Then again, it defies explanation why National is doing the same.

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Nick Hanauer – a devastating demolition of the Neo-liberal dogma of tax cuts!

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This is a Must Watch talk by a person who has cut-through the neo-liberal garbage of insane dogma. He is absolutely spot on.

I’ve made precisely the same points – especially about how the rich can’t really buy (consume) enough consumer goods, alone, to make an economy tick. As he said, he can only buy so many clothese; eat so much food. It’s the rest of the population that consumes and makes an economy tick. And creates jobs.

He’s sussed it pretty well, and has identified the great flaw (or lie, if you prefer) in neo-liberalist dogma; that the rich are “job creators”.

And this is pretty much what many others are most likely getting at, as well. (Considering there have been SEVEN tax cuts in NZ since 1986 – and unemployment and poverty is still growing in our society.)

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Acknowledgement

Caroline Win

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From July 1 onwards…

27 June 2012 6 comments

… TVNZ7 will be gone,

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New Zealand’s only public service, non-commercial TV broadcaster will be closed down – another casualty of National’s ideological mania for cost-cutting and gutting of our public services.

The National Party does not build social services – it cuts them. And where they can get away with it, National will close down or privatise  a social service.

This is what the public of New Zealand gets when they vote for a National government.

It is up to a Labour-led government to eventually re-build what National has wrecked.

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Additional

Save school jobs, mother asks Key

2500 jobs cut, but only $20m saved

Biosecurity cut backs leaves industry vulnerable

MFat cost-cutting plan in a shambles

Key backs cut-off for cheap homes plan

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Categories: Media, The Body Politic Tags: ,

You Have Mail…

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National, ACT, and Peter Dunne have passed legislation to enable the partial-privatisation of our property; Meridian, Genesis, Mighty Rive Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

I will not take this lying down. Neither should you.

Every New Zealander who believes, hand on heart, that what National is doing is just plain wrong must take  whatever (non-violent) action they can to make their anger known to our elected representatives,

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To the editors…

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from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>
date:     Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM
subject:     Letters

The Editor
SUNDAY STAR TIMES

If ever there was a government that has deliberately ignored the will of the people, it is this John Key-led National Party, along with it’s one-man band supporters, John Banks and Peter Dunne.

By passing legislation to enable asset sales, they have thumbed their noses at the entire country. This government is now so far out of touch with the public, that they are blind to what New Zealanders want for the future of their country.

Mr Key can smile and dress-up the proposed asset sales in any way he wants – but the people will revile him for selling what we alreadsy own.

Shame on you, John Key, and on you, Peter Dunne. Shame of you for taking what belongs to us – and then trying to sell it back to us, and any carpetbagger that pops up from overseas.

If I have one word of advice to this wretched government, it is this: resign.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date:     Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 7:08 PM
subject:     Letters

The Editor
NZ HERALD

One cannot help but be thoroughly disgusted at the actions of John Key and his wretched “government”, in passing asset-sale legislation.

The manner in which they have blatantly disregarded public opinion on this issue, is simply appalling.

This government has lost it’s legitamacy and should resign. Give the people a new election, and a fresh chance to determine the future of our country.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date:     Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM
subject:     Letters

The Editor
DOMINION POST

Peter Dunne – you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     Peter Dunne <peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz>
cc:     Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>,
 Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
 Jim Mora <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>,
 Nine To Noon RNZ <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:35 AM
subject:     State Assets

Peter Dunne
MP For Ohariu

Sir,

Congratulations for ignoring the will of the people, including those in your own electorate. Bravo!

The majority of New Zealanders wanted our state assets kept in public ownership – and you have steadfastly refused to  respect those wishes.

I wonder how you will be viewed by future historians? As a politician who stood against 3.8 million New Zealanders; that you were right and everyone else was wrong?

Or as another ‘Roger Douglas’ and ‘Max Bradford’ – politicians who also went against the will of the people, and are now scorned figures in our history?

Mr Dunne, you  could have stood against the tide of privatisation – seen as sheer theft by the rest of us – and gone down in history as the man who  made a difference. You could have been a stand-out figure in our history.

But you failed. You failed us, the people. And you failed yourself.

You have participated in an act of infamy and you will have to share a measure of the responsibility for your actions.

Right about now, a fair number of people throughout the country, and in your own electorate, want you gone from Parliament. But no doubt you will resist that demand as well, just as you resisted our calls not to sell our state assets.

The next two and a half years will not be happy for you, sir. And deservedly so.

Begone from Parliament.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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To the politicians…

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from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>
cc:     Dominion Post <editor@dompost.co.nz>,
 Jim Mora <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>,
 Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
 NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM
subject:     Asset Sales

John Key
Prime Minister

Sir,

Congratulations. You must be feeling quite a sense of victory and accomplishment;

Victory: over 80% of the people who opposed asset sales. You have ignored the vast majority of New Zealanders who do not believe that our power companies; Solid Energy; nor Air New Zealand should be sold. These are people who understand that (a) they make good profits for the State, (b) would not help the country if they were sold, and (c) they belong to us and our children.

The last point is especially pertinent; these are state assets that belong to each and every one of us.

At best you and your Parliamentary colleagues are guardians of these assets – not the owners.

But that hasn’t stopped you from passing legislation to part-sell these SOEs. That is our property you intend to sell.

Accomplishment: you took a slim electoral victory and have converted it into some kind of warped, over-hyped,  “mandate” to sell assets that you do not own and which the people do not want sold.

Right about now, you must be feeling a sense of relief that your Party has overseen this legislation passed. But I am guessing that you may also be sensing a fair measure of unease.

Well you should. You and 60 of your fellow Parliamentarians are facing three and a half million very pissed of New Zealanders. That’s quite a feat to have gone from being one of the most popular Prime Ministers – to someone who is now reviled up and down the country.

Sir, I suggest that these partial-asset sales is a mistake – probably the greatest mistake and miscalculation of your career.  If you think that New Zealanders will come to accept what you are doing, then you are wrong.
 
It is not too late. You can still post-pone any asset sale until after the referendum. If you truly believe that New Zealanders will come to support your plans, then you will give us a chance to express ourselves through the referendum ballot paper.

If you choose to ignore public opinion, then you have lost the support of a majority of New Zealanders. People are angry now. But wait until the first SOE is sold, and that anger will manifest itself in a myriad of ways.

You will have lost respect in the eyes of the country, and any legitamacy you have as our elected leader.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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David Shearer
Leader of the Labour Party

Russel Norman & Metiria Turei
Co-leaders of the Green Party

Winston Peters
Leader of NZ First

Hone Harawira
Leader of the Mana Party

Kia Ora to you all,

I am writing to you as a New Zealand citizen – one of many – who is apalled and disgusted at the passing of legislation, making way from the part-privatisation of Genesis, Meridian, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

Like 80% of other New Zealanders, I am utterly opposed to any partial sale of state assets – especially strategic state assets such as our energy companies.

As has been pointed out innumerable times, there is no sound commercial or social reason to sell-down any of these assets. As well as making sound returns for the State and us, the taxpayer, these are assets that belong to all New Zealanders – not just those who can afford 1,000 parcel-shares.

John Key and his colleagues have ignored public opinion; scorned public expressions of protest; and swept aside sound arguments against privatisation. They are resisting the will of some 70-80% of New Zealanders by proceeding with their actions.

Accordingly, I offer to you a proposal to undermine their ill-conconceived and undemocratic plans.

From a blog-post I made on this issue:

How to sabotage the asset sales…

Whilst all three parties are staunchly opposed to state asset sales, NZ First leader, Winston Peters went one step further,  promising that his Party would buy back the assets.

The Greens and Labour are luke-warm on the idea, quite rightly stating that there are simply too many variables involved in committing to a buy-back two and a half years out from the next election. There was simply no way of knowing what state National would leave the economy.

Considering National’s tragically incompetant economic mismanagement thus far, the outlook for New Zealand is not good. We can look forward to more of the usual,

  • More migration to Australia
  • More low growth
  • More high unemployment
  • More deficits
  • More skewed taxation/investment policies
  • Still more deficits
  • More cuts to state services
  • And did I mention more deficits?

By 2014, National will have frittered away most (if not all) of the proceeds from the sale of Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

In such an environment, it is difficult to sound plausible when promising to buy back multi-billion dollar corporations.

Not to be thwarted, Peters replied to a question by Rachel Smalley on Q+A, stating adamantly,

” The market needs to know that Winston Peters and a future government is going to take back  those assets. By that I mean pay no greater price than their first offering price. This is, if they transfer to seven or eight people, it doesn’t matter, we’ll pay the first price or less. “

Bold words.

When further questioned by Rachel Smalley, Peters offered specific  ideas how a buy-back might be funded,

” Why can’t we borrow from the super fund, for example? And pay that back over time?  And why can’t we borrow from Kiwisaver  for example, and pay that back over time…”

The answer is that governments are sovereign and can make whatever laws they deem fit. That includes buying back assets at market value; at original sale price; or simple expropriation without  compensation. (The latter would probably be unacceptable to 99% of New Zealanders and would play havoc with our economy.)

Peters is correct; funding per se is not an issue. In fact, money could be borrowed from any number of sources, including overseas lenders. The gains from all five SOEs – especially the power companies – would outweigh the cost of any borrowings.

The question is, can an incoming Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana government accomplish such a plan?

A plausible scenario would have the leadership of Labour, NZ First, the Greens, and Mana, meeting  for a high-level,  cross-party strategy conference.

At the conclusion of said conference, the Leaders emerge, with an “understanding”, of recognising each others’ differing policies,

  1. Winston Peters presents a plan to the public, promoting NZF policy to buy-back  the five SOEs. As per his  original proposals, all shares will be repurchased at original offer-price.
  2. The  Mana Party  buy-in  to NZ First’s plan and pledge their support.
  3. Labour and the Greens release the joint-Party declaration stating that  whilst they do not pledge support to NZ First/Mana’s proposal – neither do they discount it. At this point, say Labour and the Greens, all options are on the table.

That scenario creates considerable  uncertainty and anxiety  in the minds of potential share-purchasers. Whilst they know that they will be recompensed in any buy-back scheme – they are effectively stymied in on-selling the shares for gain. Because no new investor  in their right mind would want to buy  shares that (a) probably no one else will want to buy and (b) once the buy-back begins, they would lose out.

The certainty in any such grand strategy is that the asset sale would be effectively sabotaged. No individual or corporate buyer would want to become involved in this kind of uncertainty.

Of less certainty is how the public would perceive  a situation (even if Labour and the Greens remained staunchly adamant that they were not committed to any buy-back plan) of political Parties engaging in such a deliberate  scheme of de-stabilisation of a current government’s policies.

The asset sales programme would most likely fail, for sure.

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These are desperate times, calling for desperate measures. Bold measures.

If all four opposition parties can create a plan that will undermine National’s asset-sales programme, then that may be the only way to preserve what rightly belongs to us all.

I, and others, encourage and support you to work together on this critical matter. Without firm leadership from the four Opposition Parties, the public have little hope of stopping National.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

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And their responses…

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from:     David Shearer david.shearer@parliament.govt.nz
to:     Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 8:06 AM
subject:     RE: Stopping Asset Sales – A proposal
mailed-by:     parliament.govt.nz

Thank you for your email.

 I will pass it to David Shearer.

 Yours sincerely

Dinah Okeby
Office of David Shearer
labour.org.nz

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from:     Winston Peters Winston.Peters@parliament.govt.nz
to:     Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:18 AM
subject:     RE: Stopping Asset Sales – A proposal
mailed-by:     parliament.govt.nz

Good morning
 
Thank you for your email.  I will pass your message on to Mr Peters for his attention.
 
Kind regards

  Anne Moore
Executive Assistant
New Zealand First

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from:     Isabelle Lomax Isabelle.Lomax@parliament.govt.nz
to:     Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
date:     Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 4:25 PM
subject:     RE: Stopping Asset Sales – A proposal
mailed-by:     parliament.govt.nz

Kia ora Frank,

 Thank you for your email to Russel and Metiria. They have asked me to reply on their behalves. We appreciate you taking the time to send your idea through to us. You have obviously put a great deal of thought into this and seem to have a very thorough understanding of the issues involved. It’s an interesting idea. I have forwarded it to our advisors on the asset sales issue, and we will have a think about it!

 Thanks again for taking the time to write, and for your passion about this important issue.

 Nāku noa, nā
Isabelle

Isabelle Lomax
Executive Assistant
Office of Dr Russel Norman MP
Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
14.14 Bowen House
T (04) 817 6712

Authorised by Russel Norman, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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Related Blogposts

Is John Key showing desperation on asset sales?

How to sabotage the asset sales…

Campaign: Flood the Beehive!

Other Blogs

Aotearoa – a wider perspective: Asset sales and Nationalisation, Argentina leads the way!

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An Open Letter to Peter Dunne…

26 June 2012 7 comments

Shame on you.

 

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Categories: The Body Politic

Is John Key showing desperation on asset sales?

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From Dear Leader to Desperate Leader?

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John Key

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As pressure continues to grow on John Key to abandon the hugely unpopular state asset sales, his outbursts are becoming more farcical and shrill by the day.

On Newstalk ZB, Key criticised the Green Party for using $75,000 of its taxpayer-funded leaders’ budget to hire staff to collect signatures towards a citizens initiated referendum. He said,

These are the people that said they don’t have enough money to pay for (deaf MP) Mojo Mathers’ technology in Parliament but have enough money for a citizens initiated referendum.  This is a politically-motivated referendum.

See:  Mixed Ownership Model Bill’s final reading

Hear:  NewstalkZB – Prime Minister John Key: June 25

Three points;

  • If John Key wants to go head-to-head on the issue of wasting taxpayers’ money, this blogger is more than happy to supply a list of National’s track record in mis-using and/or wasting our taxes.
  • If what the Green Party is doing is illegal or contrary to Parliamentary Services rules, then why hasn’t John Key laid a formal complaint? If it breaks the rules, then by not taking action he is being complicit in any alleged “wrong doing”.
  • John Key has sunk to an all time low by linking a person’s disability  to attempting to paint an opposition Party as somehow acting “inappropriatley”.  Using a person’s disability to smear an opponant? Low blow, Mr Prime Minister.

This is the ghost of  Muldoonism rearing it’s ugly head from the 1970s.  But more importantly, as pressure continues to be exerted on Key, his true personality will become more apparent to the public.

As we saw in October last year, when a man  attempted to jump from the Parliamentary gallery, to the debating  floor below, Key’s “throat-slitting” gesture was an insight into his vindictiveness,

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[click on image for redirection to TV3 video]

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Following on, Dear Leader next appeared on TVNZ’s  “Breakfast TV” (25 June), where he uttered this extraordinary comment,

The Green Party… they were the people who led the smacking debate. “

See: John Key, TVNZ Breakfast TV

Why, yes indeed, Mr Prime Minister.

It was also the very same debate and ensuing legislation that was supported by Labour, The Greens, and – the National Party!! The National Party voted for that legislation to be passed through the House.

John Key should know this: he was the Leader of the National Party at the time!

Either Dear Leader’s memory is becoming unreliable, or this is another example of his uncanny talent for re-writing history and mis-representing facts. (Ie; lying.)

Keep it up, Dear Leader; it’s high time the public saw you, and your rotten Party, for what you really are.

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Related Blogposts

Campaign: Flood the Beehive!

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The law as a plaything…

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After three years, the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act (car crushing law) has netted it’s first (or rather, second – the first crushed the wrong car) casualty. A $9,000 Nissan Skyline was seized from a boy racer after his third offence; crushed by Macauley Metals in Seaview, Lower Hutt; and reduced to scrap metal in seconds last Thursday (21 June).

See:  Car crushing ‘discredits law’ – expert

Some thoughts on this issue…

1. This blogger has no issue with vehicles being seized from boy racers, drunk drivers, dangerous drivers, or people otherwise unfit to be behind the wheel of an automobile.  None. Nada. Nil.

Owning a firearm is not a “right”. Neither is driving a vehicle. It is a privilege that the community confers on its citizens, according to the needs of society, and to balance rights and responsibilities.

No responsible driving = no right to drive.

Regarding this issue,  the safety of the Many outweighs the self-indulgence of the Individual.

Simple.

2. When the law becomes a plaything for politicians; to present an image to the public as “tough on crime”; then the law is being brought into disrepute by the very people who swear an oath in Parliament to uphold it.

3. The crushing of a boyracer’s car on 21 June became an occassion that could rightly be called the 21st century version of the Stocks, and Police Minister, Anne Tolley, made a ‘meal’ out of it.

In this TV3 report, Mr Tolley figures prominently. First the intro from Mike McRoberts,

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Countdown by Minister Tolley.  Evidently she has no real work back at her Parliamentary office, and  ‘moonlights’ in her spare time in the scrap-metal-recycling industry,

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Tolley even had the ‘pleasure’ of activating the car-crushing machine,

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Notice the media ‘scrum’ behind her. Obviously it must’ve been a ‘slow news day’ last Thursday, and nothing else of any importance happened in New Zealand,

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Nice little pose for the camera. Note the Police-issue fluoro-vest.  Is it legal for non-sworn persons to wear a Police uniform?

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Warm smile of satisfaction from Tolley as she surveys her handiwork of destruction. Is it normal for a supposedly sane person to revel in destroying something?

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And yet more posing for the waiting media. One for the scrapbook, no doubt, for Tolley to show her grandchildren,

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Some tough-talking to the camera,

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The reporter makes the point that a further 116 drivers are on their second strike notice. One more offence, and their vehicles will be seized; impounded; and suffer the same fate: crushing and turned into scrap metal.

Ms Tolley responds with,

Bring it on!”

Pardon moi?!

Did the Police Minister just encourage 116 drivers to break the law; get their third strike; just so their vehicles could be destroyed?

Shouldn’t a responsible Minister of the Crown be advising those 116 drivers to drive carefully? To seek additional driver-training? To at least think carefully before getting behind the wheel so that they don’t drive irresponsibly and perhaps harm, maim, or kill someone?

You’d think so – right?

Instead, the Minister of Police, Anne Tolley, just  incited 116 drivers to break the law – so she could get off on reducing more vehicles to reduce to scrap!?

This woman is obviously not ‘firing on all spark-plugs’ !

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“Bring it on!”

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A nice, slow camera pan-up of Tolley, standing atop…

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… the crushed vehicle, in triumph! Xena, Warrior Princess, eat yer heart out!

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Victory! Over the Dark forces of Evil!!

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Although, as Murray Olsen pointed out on Facebook, isn’t Police Minister Tolley breaking umpteen safety laws and regulations by not wearing safety boots in a hazard-area?

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To be blunt, this was an asinine idea. It achieved nothing, except cheapen the law; antagonise people who are already rebellious in our community; and to present justice as a concept of revenge.  In what possible way would taking delight in someone’s misfortune – as Tolley has clearly done – make boy-racers and other anti-social drivers more socially responsible?!?!

This was not justice.

This was an exercise in state power; wanton destruction; and gloating.

Crushing a $9,000 car was a needless act. It could just as easily have been seized and either auctioned or given to a worthy cause.

Instead, we are left with a tonne of metal that is now worth a hundred (?) bucks. This was a shameful exercise,  serving little purpose.

Is this how we are to teach our young people to respect the law?

Well, it ain’t going to work.

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Additional

Editorial: Car crushing an undignified stunt

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= fs =

Citizen A – 21 June 2012 – Online now!

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Citizen A

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- 21 June 2012 -

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-  Efeso Collins & Phoebe Fletcher -

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Issue 1 : The Pacific Island communities marched up queen street last week in protest – what are their concerns and does NZ give the Pacific Island community enough political and cultural voice?

Issue 2: The Ports of Auckland dispute has been settled, but are there still moves to sell and move the Port? Should Local Councils be privatizing their assets?

Issue 3: Len Brown has organized a new task force to look into the drinking culture – what should he be doing?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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= fs =

Peter Dunne says…

23 June 2012 8 comments

On his Party website, Peter Dunne says this, about selling Kiwibank,

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“Kiwibank is in ..[abridged].. an increasingly fraught and troubled globe, it is both a symbolic and practical statement of our economic sovereignty. Collectively, it is ours pure and simple. It must stay that way.”

Source

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It appears that Peter Dunne, the MP for Ohariu, and one of National’s one-man band coalition partners, has taken a very ideological stand on refusing to sell Kiwibank.  (Not that John Key or the Nats ever campaigned on this issue last year. So it is, for all intents and purposes, a non-issue.)

The question here is simple; if Peter Dunne maintains that Kiwibank is “collectively…  ours pure and simple. It must stay that way” – then why is his stance different on even more important strategic state assets; power companies and an airline?! (Especially considering that Air New Zealand already went bankrupt once, and had to be bailed out by the taxpayer in October 2001.)

Isn’t it curious… Peter Dunne considers Kiwibank to be “ours pure and simple” and that “it must stay that way” – but he has not applied the same principle to Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air Air New Zealand.

Why is Kiwibank ” ours pure and simple. It must stay that way  ” – but not other State assets?

Especially when he says that Kiwibank must remain in public ownership because in “an increasingly fraught and troubled globe, it is both a symbolic and practical statement of our economic sovereignty“.

One would have thought that three power companies (at the very least); that power our homes, industustries, infra-structure, businesses, etc, would have even greater  ” symbolic and practical statement of our economic sovereignty “?

Or is this an example, yet again, of selective morality from one of our elected representatives?

Oh dear… People of Ohariu, is this really what you wanted when you cast your votes last year?!

If this annoys you as intensely as it annoys me and others, never fear – the Million Mail campaign (and a petition) is here!!

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Flood the Beehive!

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The Million Mail Campaign!

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National’s plans to partially-privatise State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) continues to grind on – despite over-whelming public opposition.

It’s time for every New Zealander who opposes these sales to make their voice heard loud and clear, and to flood the Beehive  with a storm of protest mail!

One million-plus emails and letters will create a  loud message that will make politicians sit up and take notice.

Start writing now!

It costs nothing – and you may be saving $6 billion worth of assets that belong to you, your family, and other New Zealanders.

Messages don’t have to be long or involved or full of facts and figures. Messages can be simple. Eg,

Please do not sell my energy companies and Air New Zealand. They belong to  me and my family. “

Or,

I did not vote to sell my state enterprises. But I will vote against anyone who tries to sell them. Please stop your asset sales programme. I do not support it. “

Or,

I am one of the 60-70% of New Zealanders who oppose state asset sales. I will remember this at the next election. I do not give you permission to sell my assets. “

State assets up for partial sale: Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy (formerly Coal Corp), and Air New Zealand.

More information:  Asset sales bill down to the wire (Long link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10814141)

Send an email now. Or a paper-letter (no stamp required).  We can flood the Beehive with a Million Messages, and it will be messages that will make politicians pause and think.

In May, 2010, over 50,000 New Zealanders marched up Queen Street, Auckland, to stop mining in our Schedule 4 Conservation land.

More information:  Thousands march against mining (Long link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3647465/Thousands-march-against-mining)

The politicians backed off smartly. Imagine what 500,000 letters and emails can accomplish!

Eventually, John Key, Tony  Ryall, Peter Dunne, and Steven Joyce, et al,  will no longer be able to ignore our growing clamour.

It’s damned hard to ignore 1 million emails and letters.

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Write now! Write often! Keep writing!

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Contact Details

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Snail Mail Addresses

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Peter Dunne
Minister for Revenue
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

John Key
Prime Minister
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Steven Joyce
Minister for Economic Developement
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Tony Ryall
Minister for SOEs
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

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Parliamentary Email forms

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Peter Dunne

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/Email.htm?id=014945ee-8499-40fd-8cc5-f43d11b3c01b

John Key

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/Email.htm?id=d01c1267-d76e-4734-a97a-9cd70224cbcd

Steven Joyce

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/Email.htm?id=873ed764-82bb-4193-851d-041831482571

Tony Ryall

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/Email.htm?id=2f3f9280-42de-453a-9840-d8394015b9e4

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Direct Email Addresses

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Peter Dunne

Peter Dunne <peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz>

John Key

“John Key” <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>

Steven Joyce

“Steven Joyce” <steven.joyce@parliament.govt.nz>

Tony Ryall

“Tony Ryall” <tony.ryall@parliament.govt.nz>

Please note: make your letters/email polite, but firm.

And if you want to send letters to the editor, here are some addresses,

“Dominion Post” <letters@dompost.co.nz>

“Listener” <letters@listener.co.nz>

“NZ Herald” <letters@herald.co.nz>

“Otago Daily Times” <odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz>

“The Press” <letters@press.co.nz>

“Southland Times” <editor@stl.co.nz>

“Sunday News” <editor@sunday-news.co.nz>

“Sunday Star Times” <letters@star-times.co.nz>

“Waikato Times” <editor@waikatotimes.co.nz>

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Flood the Beehive!

Please pass this Campaign on to others!

This will be our one and only chance to put the brakes on this government’s asset sales plans!

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Lots more we can do…

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Day of Action!

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And sign the petition!! Available here,

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= fs =

She Rides Again!

From Labour leader, David Shearer’s Facebook page,

This morning I went to read to the children at Owairaka Primary School in my electorate, and this was the book the teachers had chosen! ” – David Shearer

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And it soon became apparent why the teachers chose this book for David Shearer,

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Let’s hope that Mrs Parata’s ride doesn’t include going down the road of League Tables, Charter Schools, and other mind-numbingly silly New Right ideas.

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= fs =

ACC – A Complete Cock-up

22 June 2012 1 comment

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Revelations unearthed and made public by the Green Party, that ACC paid bonuses to their staff to ‘bump’ long-term clients from their books comes as no surprise. Only the most naive would still believe that everything was hunky-dory at ACC.

See:  ACC bonus pay for claimant cull

Faced with the revelations, ACC Minister, Judith “Hugs’n’Crushes” Collins belatedly admitted that ACC staff are paid bonuses, and tried to justify the payments as  “a good thing” because ‘it gets the clients back to work’.

Yeah, right.

Nice spin, Minister.

Then ACC’s departing chief executive Ralph Stewart chipped in, rejecting accusations that bonuses were made to bump clients of ACC’s books,

No one can leave ACC until they are rehabilitated. There are two clear steps. The rehabilitation step’s first, leaving the scheme second – it’s not the other way around.”

See:  ACC claimants removal motive denied

Let me put this as delicately as I can: bullshit.

This blogger is aware of at least one person in the late 1990s,  who was bumped from ACC’s books and onto a WINZ invalids benefit, after a work-related back-injury.  ACC actually paid for the client to be flown from Dunedin to Auckland, to be  “assessed” by one of ACC’s “independent” consultants.

Result; she was taken off ACC’s books and made a WINZ “client”.

If anyone wonders why the numbers of invalids and sickness beneficiaries have risen in past decade – whilst ACC’s long-term clients have reduced – wonder no more. This is where invalids/sickness beneficiaries have come from.

This is backed up by a  2007 report on ACC clients  removed from ACC’s books,  showing 46% were out of work, with nearly 25% on the unemployment benefit.

See:  Long-term ACC client list pruned

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WINZ Beneficiaries

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Actual MSD figures

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ACC long-term clients

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Source

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The woman in question received no rehabilitation and her back injury persists to this day.  “No one can leave ACC until they are rehabilitated” – therefore rings hollow in this blogger’s mind.

It is a bit rich for Ralph Stewart to be rejecting that bonuses were made to reduce long-term ACC clients – whilst at the same time   admitting,

Mr Stewart said long-term claimants have dropped by about 1200 since November, to about 10,400-10,500, but denied he was put in the job to move on claimants.

He said only 20 percent of staff incentives relate to rehabilitation.”

This is the same man who,

  • oversaw  ACC’s  accusations of extortion levelled against Ms Pullar and laid a complaint with the Police;
  • during the police investigation had listened to Bronwyn Pullar’s taped conversation of a meeting held between ACC staff; Michelle Boag; and herself;
  • and yet stayed silent at a subsequent media conference that the taped conversation actually proved Pullars innocence!

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ACC Chief Executive Ralph Stewart and Chairperson John Judge

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Aside from the very real possibility that ACC’s executives may be guilty of the crime of wasting Police time (see:  The Jackal: ACC’s false police complaint against Bronwyn Pullar), why on Earth should we believe anything that escapes Ralph Stewart’s mouth?

Ralph Stewart is not averse to mis-representing facts when his suits his agenda. He has already demonstrated that his word cannot be taken at face-value.

The evidence is compelling: ACC is mis-using Corporation funds to pay it’s staff bonuses to push long-term clients off its books.

Next question: what is Judith Collins going to do about it?

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Additional

ACC minister put pressure on bosses to make complaint – Labour

TV3 Sixty Minutes:  The Eye of the Storm

Gordon Campbell on the incentive payments at ACC

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= fs =

Another of John Key’s lies – sorry – “Dynamic Situations”

21 June 2012 2 comments

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An  email sent to Dear Leader, last year,

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from:    [email]
to:    john.key@parliament.govt.nz
date:    Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:32 AM
subject:Purchase of farmland

Sir,

At a recent public meeting in the Hutt Valley, in answer to a question from
the audience, you responded that purchases of farmland, by overseas buyers,  
would be restricted to ten farms per purchaser.

Can you confirm that this restriction is in place, and when the regulation was
enacted?

Regards,

- Frank Macskasy

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No response (or even acknowledgement)  was ever received from the Prime Ministers office.

The issue arose during a public meeting in Lower Hutt, organised by Hutt Grey Power,  on 24 May last year. People were concerned about the sale of 16 Crafar farms to overseas investors. The audience were most clearly unhappy at the prospect that foreign investiors were buying up vast tracts of our productive land.

Key made reassuring noises and said that his Party were “looking” at putting a limit at the number of farms a foreign investor could buy. He proposed a cap of ten farms. (Though even that  was not well received by the audience.)

In media reports though, he was somewhat less specific,

Prime Minister John Key says the Government would look at changing the law to limit foreign ownership of productive land if there is growing public concern.

However, he says such a change in response to the sale of the Crafar farms would a knee-jerk reaction.”

See:  Law change possible over foreign land buyers – Key

See:  PM: Change to foreign ownership law possible

Nothing ever happened, of course.

This was yet another example of John Key uttering vague reassurances with no intention of following through. And on 20 April, this year, Ministers Williamson and Coleman consented to foreign investor, Shanghai Pengxin, buying all 16 Crafar farms.

See:  Govt’s Crafar China sale decision slammed

No wonder that John Key’s reputation is becoming more tattered with each passing day. After a while, people start remembering these things.

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Guest Author: My thoughts on the Listener article on our Dear Leader

- Alan Benton

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THAT SKY CITY DEAL, AND DUE PROCESS

He’s impatient at progress to allow SkyCity more pokies in return for a new convention centre and more jobs. ‘Opponents would want to criticise it for lack of process. In fact the argument has probably been that there is too much process and it has been negotiated for two years”

Indeed, and it is still full of holes. That’s why you have process John. So we get to find out whether you’re selling us one more bile-ridden lie. And it appears that is indeed the case… too much process brings up difficult concepts such as due diligence, assessing the costs and benefits realistically, not ideologically, and putting it all on the table for the citizens who are going to have to pay for it in real terms see whether they actually do want to prostitute themselves to the forces of corporatism that have wrecked many a country before, and will continue to do so.

A SALESMAN, NOT A STATESMAN

His salesmanship can cause you to forget the appalling rates of child poverty, abuse and violence and have you believe he can actually solve it

Nope, not this guy. We haven’t seen real progress in the time they’ve been in. We’ve seen: declining wages, higher costs in food, taxation skewed toward the low end in order to prop up tax relief for the high end. To create what? More jobs? That dribble down theory? Gee it didn’t happen last time, won’t happen this time. How quickly people will forget. As Hitler once remarked, you can always rely on the people to have a short memory.

EVER THE OPTIMIST

The Government may still have reserves of political capital, but Key accepts it will never have any real money to spend

He then goes on to quote the woes of Europe. Woes created in large part by the former collegues of his, through financial tools that were labelled by the New York Lottery Board as so similar to Casino gambling they would have to step in and regulate it as such, unless the Fed fiddled some more. They did. Enter global economic meltdown.

ON AUSTRALIA AND OUR EVER INCREASING EMMIGRATION…

Key doesn’t blame them for leaving if they are low-skilled people who can massively increase their wages.”

Trouble is, it’s not only the low skilled. The highly skilled, the highly educated are also leaving in droves. And he’s going to increase that through his Governments complete mismanagement of the Education sector, in particular their attitude toward Graduates.

ON SELLING US TO THE WORLD (QUITE LITERALLY)

Anyone who thinks he is going to ‘abandon the view that trying to sell NZ to the world’ is misguided. ‘The future of NZ lies in selling more to the world than we buy from it and earning more than we spend’ In his eyes, it’s that simple

Trouble is: he is taking a simpleton’s approach. We could sell a crapload more to the world by retaining our own resources. We could therefore presumably earn more instead of hocking it off to the highest bidder and letting that earning potential sink totally. As it did last time we sold off our SOE’s and NZ earnt nothing. Actually some NZers earnt a lot, Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite spring to mind.

That is, after they’d excused themselves from the country to a tax haven, having gutted NZ rail and reduced it to a wreck – that the public had to clean up of course. Somehow, people think (although a lot less are convinced now) that selling your assets that are giving a good rate of return for the investment made … is going to *make* you more money. The brutally simple logic of “How about instead of earning 51% of possible returns we earn 100% of possible returns, like we are doing right now, is really intelligent.” Way to grow the economy John…

THE UNDERCLASS and WELFARE REFORM

The bad news is that there has been relatively low pay increases and you may have lost overtime and things like that, so the houshold income may have been more constrained than usual.”

Oh indeed they’re more constrained. Which is why foodbanks were running short, poverty is on the rise, more are unemployed than ever. And that line to Australia for actual real pay, and household income you can actually live on, is getting bigger.

‘At the end of the day a little more cash may or may not at the end of the margins help. Usually more money helps a little bit but it is much more deep-set than that’

Actually, a little more cash would FUCKEN HELP A LOT YOU BASTARD. But yeah I agree, it is more deep set than that.

It’s called being deep set enough at ensuring those at the margins are kept marginal by following outdated Neo Lib dogma and the Chicago school of Economics that has been shown to be the vile sham it is. It delivered us a global meltdown and took a wrecking ball to countries that were coping, and now, thanks to the derivatives bullshit that Key and his cronies presided over, the 99% as such is paying for. With massive, massive interest, and a debt burden for generations to come.

ON ATTITUDE, GETTING OUT THERE, GETTING A JOB! ANY JOB DAMN YOU!

He respects his mother for her attitude at getting out there and getting a job, as a cleaner.

Well good on ya, I’m sure she was a nice woman, but let’s again be honest. Attitude alone won’t create a job. It’ll help get the job… but not if there isn’t one to get. And forgive me for not aspiring to be a cleaner, as I’ve been told to, what with degrees and a work history of 15 years, I’m still aspiring to give something to this country.

Just not that enthused at aspiring to work in a depressed, low-wage, set-to-be-loaded-with-debt so we can subsidise these companies that aren’t creating jobs despite the passes they get kinda country.

So, are the sole parents cleaners of today voting for him? ‘Probably not,’ he concedes. ‘But some will, some do. And there are lots of people I meet that like the fact I am ambitious for their kids and for them.'”

Then get on with creating an economy and framework whereby people see, for real this time, that they’re valued as workers, where earnings keep up with inflation and we have a society that values community over aspiring to simply be rich. Instead, he’s set about creating a society that somehow is supposed to handle the idea that a 30% wage gap with Australia is a good thing, as Bill English opined, where workers aren’t changed in status overnight at the behest of a corporation and that some people just don’t aspire to be all about the money as a measurement of success.

ON HOMES

“‘We’ve done a lot more probably we have been given credit for,’ he claims, listing the 200,000 homes …”

Yes John, that policy was forced onto you by the Greens. It had to be, otherwise you wouldn’t have given a flying fuck about it, just be fucken honest about it for once.

AND ON BEING THE POSITIVE SMILEY GUY

“‘Yep, I’ve been positive in the last four years and will be positive till the day they drage me out, because I am fundamentally a really positive person.'”

Happy happy joy joy John. I’d rather you drop the smile, get real about things, and realise the hopeless optimism in the face of the crushing fact (dirty four letter word that it is) you have failed utterly in every single election promise you made first time round, let alone the second swindle.

ON WINNING IN 2014

If he wins again in 2014, will he guarantee to see the term out? ‘To be honest, I haven’t actually thought that through at this point,’ he stalls, before recalling his sales pitch. ‘I’m going to stay for as long as I think I can make a difference‘”

You have indeed made a difference John: you delivered us a country that was once producing well, and are now planning on selling our productive capacity / wealth to the highest bidder not for economic reasons of “growing the economy” and “wealth for all NZers” (because any look at the economics lays that lie out flat for the bollocks it is, even 5th Form maths will tell you that one) – surely what you sold most vehemently – but for the reason that it actually only increases the bottom line of your favourite mates, let’s be clear about that one, that’s where you’re going, so it is necessary to prove you’re still in the fold really.

It could never create wealth for NZ, because we won’t have a handle on that wealth creation. Not to mention that his mixed ownership model might run foul of the WTO anyway, favouring as it does certain parties and not others. Let’s not forget your hasty and intense negotiations on the FTT, which would hand corporations an even BIGGER rod to beat up countries economically by allowing them to sue governments where they think their bottom line is being unduly diluted by – shock horror – policies that might actually benefit citizens above the bottom line.

ON BEING A GREAT LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY

“‘Look around the world, Cameron is polling 29%, Merkel is in the 20s. THere isn’t an incumbent government in the world that is polling anything near like we are‘”

There is also no incumbant government in the world that has PR like you do to paper over all your shite. Cameron is coming unstuck because his PR machine is knee deep in shit, and the veil will soon be lifted on Fairfax’s overtly sycophantic drivel so more people will ultimately see that it has all been pretty one-sided cheermongering.

RICHARD PREBBLE CASTS HIS EYE ON OUR DEAR LEADER

I think he is possibly the most gifted politician in our lifetime, certainly the most popular

True. I’m sure people thought Hitler quite gifted too. Popular doesn’t equal substance, and Key lacks in spades the substance side. But popular works, so haul out Watkins for the lovefest to begin all over again when the going gets tough for the Dear Leader.

TROTTER ON KEY

There is a tremendous amount of intellectual snobbery in the Labour Party in particular, if not across the left in general, which regards someone who’s done very well in business as a lesser being than someone, perhaps, who’s won the Booker prize.’

Not really, I don’t consider myself a snob. But hey I lose my rag at people who claim they’re proud to be Right Wing, but don’t even know where it began, and what it has generally delivered since time began. The roll call of disasters on the right could certainly have some companions on the left side of the spectrum, but if people raise that Stalin was a communist line, yes I will lecture them on the difference between the types of communism, and totalitariansim, which is Stalin’s home.

Not to mention all the other mad, mad theories of the Right that have delivered financial markets that fail, corporations that fail, banks that fail, endless wars, and that nameless and unsee terror we need to fight in an endless battle between y’know, us and the “evil doers”

I consider that being informed and wanting to be a citizen who is aware of what impact he has one his fellow human beings and the planet we live in, not one who doggedly pursues the fatally flawed built-on-a-lie money is everything vibe.

The whole article left me a tad depressed about our future as a country, one that might not recapture the egalitarian, give everyone a fair suck of the sav country I think used to exist at one point.

We’ve been taken over by the corporatists globabally, and we’ve got one of the slimiest of them all in charge of sending us to our economic and social oblivion faster than he can make it to his holiday house in Hawaii…

It is a truly sad thing.

We need these people gone, if not by snap election, PLEASE by 2014!!!!!!!!!!!

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That was Then, This is Now #14

20 June 2012 1 comment

League Tables that really count!

20 June 2012 7 comments

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A Real League Table:

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New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2011

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1. Firefighters

2. Rescue volunteers

3. Paramedics

4. Pilots

5. Nurses

6. Medical specialists

7. Pharmacists

8. Veterinarians

9. Armed Forces

10. GPs

11. Police

12. Teachers

13. Scientists

14. Farmers

15. Childcare workers

16. Judges

17. Bus/train/tram drivers

18. Chefs

19. Dentists

20. Psychologists/counsellors

21. Hairdressers

22. Plumbers

23. Waiters

24. Mechanics

25. Builders

26. Cleaners

27. Shop assistants

28. Religious ministers

29. Charity collectors

30. Bankers

31. Accountants

32. Taxi drivers

33. Tow truck drivers

34. CEOs

35. Financial planners

36. Lawyers

37. Celebrities

38. Journalists

39. Real estate agents

——————————

40. Car Salesmen*

41. Sex workers*

42. Politicians*

43. Telemarketers*

* From 2010 Survey, appended to this list.

See:  Reader’s Digest New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2011

See:  Reader’s Digest New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2010

It seems a bit unfair that telemarketers are ranked below politicians.  Telemarketers are simply trying to earn money to put food on their families tables.

And interesting that sex-workers rank above politicians. At least with sex workers, you know when you’re being ‘screwed’*?

At the same time, whilst politicians are second from the bottom of this League Table – teachers rate at #12, between Police and Scientists!

This blogger makes the point that politicians should be looking at themselves and why they rate lower than prostitutes, in the public eye, rather than constantly attacking teachers and our education system.

The only system that is ‘broke’ is not in our schools – it is with our elected representatives.

John Key may crow that his party won the ‘biggest victory’ under MMP – but he’s missing a salient point. People only voted for him and/or National because a whole bunch of voters couldn’t be bothered fighting against misleadingly high poll ratings.

Ok – politicians are at the bottom of this League Table of professions.

So what do they intend to do about it?

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* No offence intended to sex workers.

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Acknowledgement for idea for this blogpost

Katherine Raue

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A bit of Bible-Bashing? Literally? (Part Rua)

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Frankly Speaking  Blog  Frank Macskasy

Full story

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Nice to see common sense prevailing.

Whilst employers have considerable authority to enact rules in the workplace, that power must be tempered with a measure of fairness and common sense.  Otherwise they run the risk of looking foolish in the public eye, and alienating their staff.

If history has shown us anything, it’s that rules and laws are not always a matter about what’s fair or just.

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Rosa Parks
(She broke a rule.)

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= fs =

Categories: Social Issues Tags: , ,

A bit of Bible-Bashing? Literally?

19 June 2012 3 comments

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Full Story

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You’ve got to be kidding us?!?!

Sky City management are taking discipinary action against a staff member because she had a small Bible in her uniform pocket??!!?  Have Sky City management taken leave of their senses?!

I have three things to say about this;

  1. Why have pockets in uniforms if they don’t want staff carrying things in them?
  2. As if we needed evidence, this proves that there is a place for Unions in our society.  Some employers need a reality check.
  3. Just because rules can be made doesn’t necessarily make them valid. Sometimes rules are unjust; discriminatory; or simply not well thought through.

SkyCity general manager group services, Grainne Troute, said,

Different roles have different uniform standards but as a general principle staff in customer service roles are in breach of SkyCity’s uniform standards if they carry items such as mobile phones, books and other items which might interfere with their full engagement with their customers.”

Ok, a mobile phone we can understand. They can be intrusive.

But a small book?! How is a small book in someone’s pocket going to “interfere with their full engagement with their customers“? Sky City management have yet to explain that somewhat peculiar claim.

This blogger is reminded of rules that used to be strictly enforced in the southern states of the USA – until people decided to deliberately ignore them,

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Disclaimer

This blogger has not one single religious belief or bone in his body. I do not believe in gods, spirits, ghosts, spooks, angels, demons, magic, Easter Bunny, Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy. (I am reasonably open-minded about time-travelling police boxes, though.)

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If this doesn’t make your stomach turn…

19 June 2012 8 comments

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… you are made of sterner stuff than I.

This, evidently is a priority;

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Full story

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This, evidently, is not a priority;

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Full story

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Bill English said, about the loan to the IMF,

As a small, open economy, we benefit significantly from a stable and prosperous global economy. “

This blogger wonders if Mr English would also agree with this,

As a small, open economy, we benefit significantly from healthy, well-fed, well-clothed, well-educated children, irrespective of what kind of parents or families they might come from?

Once upon a time, National made a big deal out of supporting children from low-income families,

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Full story

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In 2007, John Key voiced his concern at child poverty,

I am told Wesley Primary, like so many schools in New Zealand, has too many kids turning up hungry.

“We’re putting Tasti and Wesley Primary together. This is a fantastic first step. In addition to this, Tasti has indicated they may wish to expand their generous donation of food to other schools in need, and we’ll be looking to facilitate that.

“We all instinctively know that hungry kids aren’t happy and healthy kids.”

“I want this to be the first of many schools and businesses that we put together. I’m interested in what works and I am humbled by the support this idea has received already. We are going to put together the package while in Opposition. We are not waiting to be in Government, because all our kids deserve better.”

Unfortunately, there was a hitch,

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Full story

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It appears that Key’s food-in-schools plan was more of a publicity-stunt than a carefully-researched policy. As Phil  Goff (whose electorate it was), said.

“”If he had visited the area first he might have been better aware of the situation.

“To suggest this school needed a food programme before consulting them in the first instance really only suggests this is part of a political stunt.”

And Key’s response was perhaps the first  indication that he was not above ‘bending the truth’ to extricate himself from a tricky situation,

Mr Key said Ms Parkin’s attitude had changed since he spoke to her on Friday.

“I think what you can assume is that there’s been influence from the ministry, from the Labour Party,” he said. “

Yeah, right, Dear Leader. Everyone tells fibs except you?

Needless to say, once National took office a year later, the issue of hungry children in our schools disappeared from John Key’s consciousness. In fact, his attitude seemed to change 180 degrees,

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Full story

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Unfortunately, as countless media stories; government reports; international reports; NGO reports, etc, state – child poverty is still growing in New Zealand.

Calls for governmental  funding for school meals have fallen on deaf ears.

See:  Principal wants taxpayers to fund breakfast scheme

But National has the resources to offer $1.26 billion to the International Monetary Fund for bail-outs. And make no mistake – such bail-outs don’t go to ordinary Greek or Spanish citizens. They go to propping up failing banks. Or loans to governments.

Imagine – just for a moment – what we could achieve with $1.26 billion. Imagine, every child fed and well-clothed and with good healthcare. Imagine every child from a low-income family given the best education money could buy.

Imagine eliminating an entire under-class in one generation.

As John Lennon sang, “Imagine... “

Can you imagine it?

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Additional

NZ rich-poor gap widens faster than rest of world

Government policy impacting child poverty levels

Low income households less likely to move up scale – study

Hunger pains

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= fs =

TVNZ7 – value for money!

19 June 2012 9 comments

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At the end of this month, TVNZ7 will be switched off.

That will mean the end of New Zealand’s only currently, non-commercial, public  broadcasting TV.

It will mean the end of an hour-long, no-ads, news service at 8pm; science programmes; ‘Backbenches‘; documentaries; current affairs programmes such as ‘The Court Report‘; and many other excellent programmes.

And not a reality/make-over show; cooking-porn programme; grim US crime show; inane US sitcom; or soft-porn show such as ‘The GC‘  anywhere to be seen.

TVNZ7 cost taxpayers from between $15 to $17 million per year. Putting that into context, NZ had commercial-free, public TV broadcasting for $4.25 per every man, woman, and child a year.  Or, 8 cents a week per New Zealander.

Only the most ardent National/ACT-voting free-marketeer could grumble at that.

Adding insult to injury, Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said,

The Government values Kiwi content and invests $230m each year on public broadcasting and supporting New Zealand content on our screens.”

See:  TVNZ7 backers enlist Chen

If that’s true (and why should we disbelieve a National Minister?), TVNZ7’s budget is barely 7% of the $230 million that Craig Foss referred to.

Seven percent.

It is simply inconceivable that National can continue to claim that there is insufficient funding for TVNZ7. The money – $230 million – exists.

Only the will to  maintain funding for TVNZ7 is lacking.

Perhaps National’s  polling suggests that the majority of TVNZ7 viewers are critical thinkers who do not swallow the mindless, infantile pap of commercialised television? And these viewers are also likely to dare question National’s policies?

In which case this blogger can guess at the bloody-mindedness of  the National Party at steadfastly refusing to fund TVNZ7. One can only assume that Craig Foss and his National mates  are deliberately digging their toes in,  and their willingness to close down public television is also a form of vindictiveness.

Governments don’t like being questioned.

Governments prefer that after we do our three-yearly duty on Election Day. After that;  sit down; shut up; and watch tits’n’arse on “The GC” or umptyleven ways to cook a turnip on several dozen cooking programmes. Or watch yet another female victim’s corpse being dispassionately poked and prodded on another American cop-vs-killer crime show…

But public television that encourages the public to… think?

Oh no, we can’t have that, now, can we?

Especially if an ad-free broadcaster takes viewers away from a State-owned,  commercial TV broadcaster. This means less profit for the commercial broadcaster and less dividends paid to the government’s Consolidated Fund.

Commercial self interest mixed with political disdain for a TV network that informs the viewer is an unholy brew. Little wonder that National has every reason to oversee TVNZ7’s demise.

One can only hope that this will be remembered on Election Day in 2014 – if not earlier.

Let’t not forget one very simple fact; this is not about funding.  Minister Foss has already admitted that the money is there to save TVNZ7.

This is purely and simply about political will.  And the political will is to pull the plug on public broadcasting.

They just don’t have the balls to admit it.

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Email Address

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss, <craig.foss@parliament.govt.nz>

Related Blogposts

Inconvenient truths? No go, Fair Go!!

A public broadcaster for New Zealand?

The Worst Newspaper Editorial Since – – – Whenever?!

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

TVNZ7 – Picking at the body before it’s cold

Additional Reading

Scoop: Tom Frewen – NZ on Air Spooked by Political Interference

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.

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= fs =

Categories: Media, The Body Politic

Excuses, Excuses….Key is full of them!

19 June 2012 3 comments

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John Key has finally admitted what the rest of us already suspected;  National will not be returning to surplus in 2014-15.

See:  Key not sure of surplus goals

The economy is simply not generating enough taxable activity; incomes are low; and not enough jobs are being created.

It’s as simple as that.

In part, this is due to ongoing overseas economic problems in Europe, and the USA’s mind-numbing US$14 trillion dollar debt.

But most of our poor performance can be sheeted home to National’s own policies; cutting expenditure; not implementing job creation programmes; and unaffordable tax cuts in 2009 and 2010. Taken together, these are a toxic mix of free market “medicine” that is making the “patient” very sick, before we see any signs of improvement.

Last night (18 June), with one simple statement, Key admitted the blindingly obvious,

I’m now a little less confident of reaching a surplus.”

Well, der!!

It’s not like National’s past performance has given us reason for confidence in their economic planning and predictions!

See: Jobs, jobs, everywhere – but not a one for me? (Part Rua)

But perhaps the most derisable aspect of Key’s admission was when he added this comment,

In terms of what that means for New Zealand it doesn’t really change anything. The European debt crisis remains the biggest threat to the New Zealand economy by some margin. I’m a little less confident because of Europe in general but let’s see how things play out over the next three to six months

See:  PM: Euro crisis may delay surplus target date

Is John Key claiming that the crisis in Europe and the collapse of the Greek economy wasn’t evident only three and a half weeks ago, when Bill English released the 2012 Budget? And when all manner of predictions were made?

See:  Budget 2012: The main points

The Greek melt-down has been happening since 2008, when the global financial crisis began the collapse of that house of cards. It did not start yesterday.

So why is Key only now referring to Greece? And why is he using Greece as an excuse for National’s 2014/15 objective, to return to surplus, falling apart?

Because that objective was never tenable in the first place.

Like John Key’s constant  big job promises (170,000 new jobs; Sky City’s convention centre 1,800 new jobs, etc),  Budget 2012 was predicated on high economic growth (3%) which simply was never credible. It was a propaganda exercise.

National is simply using the Greek Crisis as an excuse for National’s own poor fiscal management.

Just as National has used the global financial crisis to excuse  New Zealand’s ongoing high unemployment; then welfare beneficiaries for their predicament;  and before that, blamed the previous Labour government for our stagnant economy.

See:  John Key, Statement to Parliament 2011,  8 February, 2011

See: Bill English, Parliamentary Questions And Answers – 30 July 2009

Now it’s the Greek’s turn to be National’s latest excuse for their economic mis-management.

Conservatives and right wingers made a big deal out of those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder taking responsibility for their actions and choices.

See:  Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

Unfortunately, those same conservatives and right wingers rarely seem to take responsibility for their own actions and choices.

How many more years will need to pass before Key and National run out of excuses; others to blame; and begin to take responsibility?

This blogger doubts that voters will wait that long.

For National, the clock is ticking.

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Jobs, jobs, everywhere – but not a one for me? (Part Rua)

18 June 2012 3 comments

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Isn’t it strange how Key and National have a funny habit of making promises about jobs and growth – promises that never, ever eventuate?

It’s fairly easy to keep track of our elected representatives and their utterances. Such a handy little gadget, the “In-ter-Net”. Just the handy tool needed to hold them to account for their promises.

Let’s check out Dear Leader’s track record, shall we?

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= 2008 – 2009 =

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Key’s Promise

More than 25,000 Kiwis aged 15-19 are not in any form of education, training or work – that’s despite Labour’s promise to get that number down to zero. Those young people are disengaged from education and are at a loose end…

… Today, I’m going to announce a new education entitlement – National’s Youth Guarantee.  It’s based on National’s expectation that all young people under the age of 18 should be in work, education, or training.  “

See:  2008  A Fresh Start for New Zealand

The Reality

Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett said the unemployment rise was a concern…

… She said young people were being affected more than any other age group with unemployment among 15 to 19 year olds rising 7.5 per cent compared to a year ago and 20 – 24 year-olds rising by 4.7 per cent

… We know how tough that’ll be – that’s why we’ve created the Youth Opportunities Package, to give them some experience in the labour market.

See:  Unemployment surges to 9 year high

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= 2011 – 2012 =

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Key’s Promise

”  We’ve grown eight out of nine quarters, we have low interest rates, unemployment is falling, we are on track to create 170,000 jobs…

… I believe we can,” he said. “We created 45,000 this year and we’re on track to create the 170,000 in the budget. “

See:  Key optimistic despite global economic fears

4% economic growth forecast in 2012.

170,000 new jobs forecast by 2015, with wages growing faster than inflation. “

See:  Budget 2011 – Building Our Future

The Reality

The Budget deficit is running $1.2 billion worse than forecast as tax revenue continues to lag.  Treasury today released the Government’s financial statements for the eight months to the end of February showing an operating deficit of $8.8 billion.

See: Budget deficit keeps getting worse

The unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 per cent in the three months ended March 31, from a revised 6.4 per cent in the prior quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand’s household labour force survey. That’s higher than the 6.3 per cent forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. “

See: Unemployment rate lifts to 6.7pc

Stronger food manufacturing is expected to lift economic growth to 0.6 per for the first three months of the year, economists say. “

See:  GDP growth likely to be slow, patchy

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= 2012 =

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Key’s Promise

The number of pokie machines in New Zealand will continue to fall despite a deal the government is negotiating which will give Sky City casino more of them, Prime Minister John Key says.

Opposition parties are accusing the government of selling legislation through an agreement that will see Auckland’s Sky City build a $350 million convention centre in return for more pokie machines.

Labour says Sky City wants an extra 500 and the government is offering 350.

But Mr Key says it’s a good deal for New Zealand.

It produces 1000 jobs to build a convention centre, about 900 jobs to run it, and overall the number of pokie machines will be falling although at a slightly lower rate,” he said on Monday on TV One.

See:  Key defends casino pokie machine deal

The Reality

Job numbers touted by Prime Minister John Key for a proposed international convention centre at SkyCity are much higher than official estimates.

Mr Key has said a deal allowing SkyCity more gambling facilities in exchange for funding the convention centre would provide 900 construction jobs and work for 800 people at the centre.

But the figures are much higher than those in a feasibility study done for the Government by hospitality and travel specialist analyst Horwath Ltd.

Horwath director Stephen Hamilton said he was concerned over reports the convention centre would employ 800 staff – a fulltime-equivalent total of 500.

He said the feasibility study put the number of people who would be hired at between 318 and 479. ” – Source

See:  Puzzle of Key’s extra casino jobs

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The Stats

Labour Government

Total Unemployment March 2008: 3.6%

Youth (15-19) Unemployment March 2008:  24,200 (13.9%)

Wage Growth to March 2008:  3.4% (adjusted LCI)

See:  Employment and Unemployment – March 2008 Quarter

See:  Wage Growth – March 2008 Quarter

See:  Youth Labour Market Factsheet – March 2008

National Government

Total Unemployment March 2012: 6.7%

Youth (15-19) Uemployment March 2012: 65,600 (17.1%)

Wage Growth to March 2012:  2% (adjusted LCI)

See:  Employment and Unemployment – March 2012 Quarter

See:  Wage Growth – March 2012 Quarter

See:  Youth Labour Market Factsheet – March 2012

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Conclusion

The term “mickey mouse” springs to mind, in describing National’s handling of the economy. Their promises for job creation and economic growth are a fantasy, predicated on religious-like faith in a failed free market ideology. (The same ideology that resulted in the global financial crisis in 2008, and the resulting Great Recession.)

The problem with National is that their blind  belief in the “Market” to create jobs is a trap of their own making. The  “Market” will not create jobs until the economy improves. And the economy will not improve until we have more jobs, so people can buy more goods and services. This kind of economic “Catch 22″ is fairly obvious to most people – hence why the French and Icelanders  have elected centre-left governments, and the Conservatives in the UK are polling badly.

With National leaving economic growth and job creation  to the “Market”, any budgetary predictions on their part are meaningless. Thus far practically every prediction made by Key and his Party has failed abysmally.

John Key, especially,  has a tendency to make hopelessly optimistic predictions.  Yet, as with his Sky City/Convention Centre pronouncements, promising around 1,800 jobs – reality soon catches up and shows his promises as little more than wishing-thinking.

Quite simply, Key is not to be trusted on any numbers he  conjures up.  They are Lotto numbers.

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Additional

Business NZ sees no economic plan

Key defends casino pokie machine deal

Unemployment surges to 9 year high

Puzzle of Key’s extra casino jobs

NZ rich-poor gap widens faster than rest of world

Government policy impacting child poverty levels

Low income households less likely to move up scale – study

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= fs =

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