Archive

Archive for the ‘The Body Politic’ Category

That was Then, This is Now #24 – Key challenges Cunliffe – then doesn’t!

When in trouble – blame the “filthy benes”!

21 April 2014 6 comments

.

I love a good switch hunt - beneficiary bashing

.

A recent Roy Morgan poll had some very disturbing news for National and it’s shrinking support-base;

.

 

National down as NZ First gains

.

The poll results;

Right Bloc

National: 43% (down 2.5%)

Maori Party: 1.5% (down 0.5%)

ACT NZ: (0.5%, unchanged)

United Future: 0.5% (unchanged)

Conservative Party of NZ:  2.5% (up 1%)

Left Bloc

Labour Party: 32% (up 0.5%)

Greens: 13% (down 1%)

Mana Party: 0.5% (up 0.5%)

Internet Party: (0.5%, up 0.5%)

Wild Card

New Zealand First: 5.5% (up 2%)

The polling – which includes phoning respondents on cellphones – shows party/bloc support much more evenly divided than other polls. Any election night result is simply too close to call, and will depend on “wild cards” such as NZ First; how many Maori electorate seats will be won by Mana, at the expense of the Maori Party; and will the Nats cede an electorate seat to the CCCP (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party).

(Despite the closeness of the Left/Right bloc, this blogger still maintains that we will see a change in government post 20 September.)

No doubt all this information was already available to National’s own party strategists, and, rather predictably, they were prepared to distract public attention with Default Strategy #2;

.

 

Travelling beneficiaries' payments cut

.

Note the dates on the two stories above; 3 April. Coincidence? Not very likely. All political parties are aware of when Roy Morgan polling results are made public and this particular result would have come as no surprise to  National’s back room strategists and spin doctors.

National and Labour both conduct their own internal polling and are acutely aware that public opinion of decided voters is evenly balanced between the Left and Right blocs.

To rebuild flagging public support, the Nats are focused on reclaiming “soft”, low-information,  swing voters – especially those susceptible to dog-whistle politics. And you can’t get more “dog whistle” than beating up on welfare beneficiaries, as Bennett did;

“The new rules recognise beneficiaries should be ready and available for work – not prioritising travel.  Every day we hear stories of how people cannot live on the benefit. Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.”

This is precisely the despicable tactic used by ex-National leader, Don Brash, during his infamous Orewa Rotary Club Speech in 2004, when he railed against a  “government-funded culture of welfare dependency“, “racial separatism in New Zealand“, and the  “development of the now entrenched Treaty grievance industry“.

Considering that the Maori Party is one of National’s few remaining coalition partners, and rely on their support for Supply and Confidence, slagging of at Maori and the “entrenched Treaty grievance industry” is a no-go area.

Which leave… beneficiaries. They are the “New Jews” of 21st Century New Zealand – blamed for an alleged “poor work-ethic”;  “wasting tax-dollars”; and living the “high life” whilst the rest of us have to work for a crust.

It is noteworthy that, in the main, the mainstream media published Bennett’s media release without question. There was no in-depth analysis by journos wanting to know who these “21,000 beneficiaries” were, or their circumstances. No questions were asked. No delving behind the reported statistics was carried out.

In fact, not one single journalist, newspaper, TV current affairs programme, etc, actually even bothered to report what the unemployment benefit was ($210 per week, net).

Instead, the Herald – which seemed to be the main media outlet for this “story” -  published an editorial five days later, supporting and endorsing the official Party Line.

Never since the days of the Soviet state-organs, Pravda, Izveztia, etc, have news media been so utterly and completely compliant as mouth-pieces for government policies, statements, and naked propaganda.

If this is what the msm such as the NZ Herald call “freedom of the press“, then I suggest to them that their much-vaunted independence is a fiction. When government ministers’ media releases are reported almost verbatim, then  any pretence of media independence , press freedom, and investigative journalism flies out the window.

Interestingly, when James Coleman on RadioLive interviewed Labour’s Sue Moroney on this issue, he started of by asking;

“Well I wonder how you can afford to travel overseas while on a benefit?”

Unfortunately, except for Julie Moffett on NewstalkZB, who made some effort to present an alternative to the official “Party line”,  that line of questioning was not followed through.

Ms Moroney did, however, make this interesting point;

“I think that people will have questions about why there so many people travelling overseas. And I think it tells us a story about how bad the job market is in New Zealand. I think that quite a number of these people, and many of them are travelling to Australia in desperation, because they’ve run out of the opportunity in New Zealand to get a job. They’re sick of sitting on the scrap heap here, and getting rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter and are going to Australia and are trying their luck over there instead.”

Ms Moroney’s assertion would seem to be confirmed by Paula Bennett, when she stated,

“Since the changes 4,880 peoples’ benefits were cancelled because they failed to reconnect with Work and Income eight weeks after their departure from New Zealand.”

If someone on an unemployment benefit (now referred to as “Jobseeker”) has left New Zealand for longer than  eight weeks, that implies they have left this country for reasons other than a so-called “holiday” or family bereavement. As Sue Moroney suggested, they have left this country for good.

So why not phone WINZ’s 0800 number to inform them that they are travelling overseas?

Anyone who has recently had cause to phone WINZ (0800 559 009) will have their question provided. Waiting to speak to an operator on that line can take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. Sometimes longer. And there is no guarantee that the information provided by a welfare recipient will be accurately recorded or passed on to the relevant WINZ Branch, or acted on.

This blogger is aware of at least one beneficiary who followed proper procedures to  advise WINZ of a change in his/her circumstances – only to have that information disregarded and their benefit cut. Only when WINZ was contacted on subsequent occassions and questions asked why that information (earning an income through a casual job) was not accepted, was the recipient’s benefit eventually reinstated. S/he had done everything right; carried out their obligations; made full disclosures – and was still penalised.

How often is this happening to others?

And if a beneficiary is leaving New Zealand (often paid by loans, friends, or family) to seek work in Australia – why should someone utterly frustrated with the system bother to contact WINZ, which is time-consuming, stressful, and when that information is not always passed on?

Who would bother?

I submit to the reader that most would simply give the one or two  fingered salute to this country as they departed.

.

evansknowlegewave

.

However, such questionable “statistics” serve this government’s interests very well. They have a ready-made scape-goat to point the finger at – meanwhile distracting the public from the very obvious fact that there are simply not enough jobs to go around for everyone. Certainly not the 170,000 new jobs promised by National in 2011;

.

Budget 2011 - Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs

.

In turn, the media has ready-made, simplistic, tabloid-style headlines provided to it on a plate, to sell their advertising.

Whilst the majority (hopefully) of New Zealanders understand that this is red-neck, dog-whistle politicking in action, National need only  appeal to one or two percentage points of voters who unquestioningly digest this kind of prejudice -  and John Key is assured of a third term in office.

Unemployment is working – for National’s re-election.

Postscript #1

A bit of background into Paula Bennett’s life before she came to Parliament…

  • Paula Bennet was a solo-mother, at age 17
  • Just two years later, she got a Housing Corporation loan to buy a $56,000 house in Taupo.
  • All of this while on the domestic purposes benefit.
  • Paula Bennet was a recipient of the WINZ Training Incentive Allowance, which she scrapped in 2009
  • Paula Bennet obtained her degree at Massey University, through the TIA – a taxpayer-funded benefit

More

Postscript #2

Perhaps I spoke too soon. There appears one journalist willing to buck the National Party Line, it seems. Colin Espiner stands out from the maddened crowd of media sycophants…


 

References

NZ Herald: Travelling beneficiaries’ payments cut

Roy Morgan: 3 April 2014 Poll

NZ Herald: National down as NZ First gains

Scoop media: “Nationhood – Don Brash Speech Orewa Rotary Club”

NZ Herald: Editorial – Travel is not a right for those taking welfare

National Party: Benefits cut for 21,000 overseas travellers

RadioLive: Sue Moroney: Beneficiaries and overseas travel

NewstalkZB: Whip-rounds and debt paying for beneficiaries’ trips

TVNZ: Budget 2011: Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs

NZ Herald: Fran O’Sullivan – Bennett knows about life on Struggle St

Fairfax media: Beneficiary bashing just too easy

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: Is National in trouble in the polls?

National under attack – defaults to Deflection #2

Once upon a time there was a solo-mum

Hypocrisy – thy name be National

Benefit fraud? Is Chester Borrows being totally upfront with us?!

Other blogs/blogposts

Against The Current: Mike Hosking says Bash A Beneficiary Day!

The Daily Blog: Paula Bennett’s racist beneficiary flying hatefest

The Little Pakeha: Wrestling with the narrative

The Standard: Poverty denial – NZ Herald editorial

 

 


 .

Paula Bennet.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 April 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Not all photo ops are welcomed events…

20 April 2014 10 comments

.

From Facebook

.

John Key and Cameron Slater

Seen on Police 10-7…

 

.

Nasty.

[Hat-tip: Kris]

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: The power of the vote

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879.

FROM: "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:38:19 +1200
TO: "Sunday Star Times" <letters@star-times.co.nz> 

.
The Editor
SUNDAY STAR TIMES

.

This year, if every Labour, Green, Mana, and Internet Party
supporter finds just one person who didn’t vote in 2011,
and supports them to go to the ballot booth on 20 September
– we will have a new government as our Christmas present.

Then we can have a government that focuses on more jobs;
building homes for young New Zealanders; alleviating child
poverty; protecting the environment, and all the other
critical problems confronting our nation.

Those should be our priorities - not endless scandals;
corporate welfare; tax breaks for the rich; dodgy deals
behind closed doors; rising inequality; falling home
ownership whilst speculators profit; farms sold of to
foreign investors; threats to our coastline through
unconstrained deep sea drilling; polluted rivers and lakes;
and not enough jobs for the 168,000 unemployed in this
country whilst National allows cheap foreign labour for the
Christchurch re-build.

To every Labour, Green, Mana, Internet Party supporter; find
one person who did not vote in 2011 and encourage him/her to
vote for change. The power of the Vote is greater than many
realise - which is why so many dictators around the world
fear it.

We can have the country we want. But we're going to have to
work hard to achieve it.

-Frank Macskasy

.

(Address & phone number supplied)

.

 


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

.

.

= fs =

A message from Greenpeace about Simon Bridges

17 April 2014 1 comment

I received this email today, from Greenpeace;

.

Hi Frank,

GREENPEACE

PHOTO: Simon Bridges

We’ve called for Simon Bridges to be sacked over his incompetent mishandling of the Energy and Resources portfolio. The final straw was him opening the Victoria Forest Park up for mining without even knowing it existed.

Within days over 15,000 people have joined the call but we’re missing your name!
 
CLICK HERE NOW TO TAKE<br /><br />
ACTION” width=”171″ height=”33″ border=”0″ hspace=”10″ /></a></strong></span></em></p>
<p><span style= Last time the Government did something this stupid 50,000 people marched up Queen Street and the decision to mine New Zealand’s best ‘Schedule 4’ conservation land was overturned. But it seems they’ve forgotten how strongly we feel about our wild places.

Under the Minister’s watch the Government has opened vast areas of New Zealand’s oceans to risky deep sea drilling, and now he’s opened our largest forest park to new mining and drilling.

The Minister’s obsession with oil at any cost is robbing New Zealanders of the cleaner smarter economy that could create tens of thousands of jobs and provide real prosperity.

The decisions we make about our energy choices today will determine the prosperity of our children’s future. It’s clear that Bridges is not up to the job. He’s making the wrong decisions on really important stuff and New Zealand deserves better. It’s time for him to go.

Use our quick easy form to send a message to the Prime Minister now

- Nick and the whole crew at Greenpeace

 

 

.

I was only too happy to oblige, and added my name to the on-line petition.

I encourage you, reading this, to do likewise. (And pass it on to others!)

Simon Bridges’ incompetance is such that he is too dangerous to remain as a Minister of the Crown.

 

.

 

National dance to corporate interests

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: John Key and State-sanctioned murder

17 April 2014 5 comments

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879.

FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:56:14 +1200
TO:     "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz> 

.

The Editor
DOMINION POST

.

A New Zealand citizen is killed - murdered, to be more
precise - by a US drone attack in Yemen, and our esteemed
Prime Minister responds; 

"I think they are legitimate, at certain times, where
countries are trying to contend with very dangerous
situations and they are trying to deal with those terrorists
without putting their own people in harm's way... I think
all that shows is the things that I have been saying for
quite some time that we need our intelligence agencies to
track our people, that there are New Zealanders who go and
put themselves in harm's way have all been proven to be
correct".

The New Zealander concerned has not been convicted of any
offence. We don't even know the extent of his involvement
(if any) in any so-called "terrorist" organisation. 

His fate was simply signed and sealed by some unknown
person(s) in Washington.

This is what is known as an extra-judicial killing; where a
person is summarily executed by the State, without any due
process of the law.

This was not justice, it was murder.

And for John Key to wash his hands of this terrorist act
with sophistry shows the lengths to which he has abandoned
any pretense of justice and surrendered to faceless killers
in Washington.

God help us - who is next? And is this what we can expect in
the 21st Century?


-Frank Macskasy

.

(Address & phone number supplied)

.


 

References

NZ Herald: New Zealand, Australian men killed in Yemen strike


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

.

.

= fs =

2014 – Ongoing jobless talley

14 April 2014 7 comments

.

Unemployment logo

.

Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless talley

So by the numbers, for this year,

January

February

March

April

.

*

.

See also

Reported Job Losses

.

*

.

Current unemployment statistics

September 2013 Quarter

September 2013 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
(000) (Percent)
Employed* 2,272 +1.2 +2.4
Unemployed 150 -2.6 -13.1
Not in the labour force 1,109 -1.5 +0.5
Working-age population 3,531 +0.2 +1.1
(Percent) (Percentage points)
Employment rate 64.4 +0.7 +0.9
Unemployment rate 6.2 -0.2 -1.0
Labour force participation rate 68.6 +0.5 +0.2

All figures are seasonally adjusted.  Source: Statistics New Zealand

* Employed: Includes people who worked one hour (or more) per week, whether paid or unpaid.

.

December 2013 Quarter

December 2013 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
(000) (Percent)
Employed* 2,297 +1.1 +3.0
Unemployed    147  -1.3  -8.9
Not in the labour force 1,103  -0.5  -1.0
Working-age population 3,547 +0.5 +1.2
(Percent) (Percentage points)
Employment rate  64.7 +0.3  +1.1
Unemployment rate    6.0  -0.2   -0.8
Labour force participation rate  68.9 +0.3  +0.7

All figures are seasonally adjusted. Source: Statistics New Zealand

* Employed: Includes people who worked one hour (or more) per week, whether paid or unpaid.

.

Additional statistics

Officially unemployed stats;

The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter, down 0.2 percentage points to 6.0 percent. This decrease reflected 2,000 fewer people being unemployed [147,000]. The fall in unemployment was from fewer men unemployed.

Official unemployment: down

The  under-employment stats;

Over the year, the total number of under-employed people increased by 27,200 to 122,600. As a result, the under-employment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 5.3 percent.

Official under-employment: up

The HLFS Jobless  stats;

In the year to December 2013, the number of people in the jobless category fell 27,400 to 257,100. Alongside the 15,000 fall in the number of people unemployed, there was also a 10,200 fall in the number of people without a job who were available for work but not actively seeking.

Official Jobless: down

Source

Definitions

Jobless: people who are either officially unemployed, available but not seeking work, or actively seeking but not available for work. The ‘available but not seeking work’ category is made up of the ‘seeking through newspaper only’, ‘discouraged’, and ‘other’ categories.

Under-employment: employed people who work part time (ie usually work less than 30 hours in all jobs) and are willing and available to work more hours than they usually do.

Employed: people in the working-age population who, during the reference week, did one of the following:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment 

  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative 

  • had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.

Source

.

.

[To  be periodically up-dated]

.

.

= fs =

From the mouth of Dear Leader…

11 April 2014 1 comment

.

National Party leader

 

.

Every so often, I dip into my files and use one of Dear Leader John Key’s quotes. They are highly useful to illustrate his flip-flops, broken promises, exaggerations, and fibbing, over the years.

They may prove equally useful to the reader. You never quite know when you feel the need to remind a faithful, loyal National Party sycophant that their Leader’s utterances can be quite revealing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, and the good folk on the LGBT spectrum, I present, from the National Party Politburo and Ministry of Truth,

.

the Thoughts of (Board) Chairman Key

.

 

 


 

re: ASSET SALES – WATER – MAORI

7 February 2012

“In my view no one owns the water. It’s like air, no one owns the air.”

http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/legal-threat-over-asset-sales-4713323

 


 

re: ASSET SALES – WATER – MAORI

9 July 2012

“We don’t believe anybody owns water. What we do accept is that people own water rights. We don’t think the sale of 49 per cent of Mighty River Power in any way impinges on those water rights.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10818360


 

re: ASSET SALES – LIES – EXAGGERATION

26 January 2011

“If we could do that with those five entities … if we can make some savings in terms of what were looking at in the budget and maybe a little on the upside you’re talking about somewhere in the order of $7 to $10 billion less borrowing that the Government could undertake.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4582922/John-Key-reveals-plan-for-asset-sales


 

re: ASSET SALES – LIES – EXAGGERATION
2 January  2011

“I know the polling indicates people don’t necessarily like the concept, but do they like the concept of interest rates going up? Do they like the concept of the economy all of a sudden being controlled by bailout?”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10702285

 


re: ASSET SALES – BUYING “NEW” ASSETS

19 July 2012

“Those points around companies operating more efficiently and effectively have been well made by the Government, as has the view that we’d like to see New Zealanders investing more in their country and the fact that we want to buy new assets without having to incur more debt. I think those points have been made.”

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbpol/730281858-key-defends-asset-sales-policy-promotion

 


 

re: ASSET SALES – MUMS & DADS FIRST IN QUEUE

6 March 2012

“That’s what we are working our way through at the moment. But the intention is for that retail distribution, that opportunity for mums and dads to buy, to be absolutely front of the queue. They’re my number one priority.”
“We’ve made it absolutely crystal clear what our intentions are..If it comes to mum and dad, and they want to buy 1000 shares or whatever…I want to make sure they get their allocation, they’re not scaled and they’re at the front of the queue.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6530777/Key-No-referendum-on-asset-sales


 

re: ASSET SALES – INVESTMENTS – SHARE MARKETS

23 July 2012

“My view is that the debt element, which allows us to buy other assets without having to put more debt on the balance sheet, is a compelling argument in its own right. But it’s only ever been one of a small number of other factors – making the companies perform better, giving people places to invest, transparency.You’ve got all this money pouring into your KiwiSaver account but where do you invest it? There’s $12 billion there at the moment and it’s the same with mum and dad with their money in the bank.”

http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/push-soe-shares-worries-finance-experts-4979780


 

re: ASSET SALES – ON-SELLING SHARES TO FOREIGNERS

26 June 2012

“You can’t and wouldn’t want to stop them – but the question you have to ask yourself is why would they go and do that? The question comes down to, why would a foreigner find an investment in Mighty River Power to be far more attractive on the long run than a retail investor sitting in Karori? And there’s no logic that they would.”

http://www.3news.co.nz/Cant-stop-asset-shares-being-sold-overseas—John-Key/tabid/817/articleID/259174/Default.aspx#ixzz20Jj4nIKL


 

re: ASSET SALES – AIR NEW ZEALAND MODEL – SAME WITH OTHER SOES

26 June 2012

“They have Government control, but they also are on the market, they have continuous disclosure, they are at arm’s length from the Government, they make commercial decisions, they try and maximise their returns. The same can apply to Mighty River Power, Genesis, Meridian, Solid Energy.”

http://www.3news.co.nz/Cant-stop-asset-shares-being-sold-overseas—John-Key/tabid/817/articleID/259174/Default.aspx#ixzz20Jj4nIKL

 


 

re: ASSET SALES – WATER- MAORI – REJECT WAITANGI DECISION

July 10, 2012

“We could choose to ignore what findings they might have – I’m not saying we would, but we could.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10818534


 

re: ASSET SALES – $7-$10 BILLION

26 January 2011

“If we could do that with those five entities … if we can make some savings in terms of what were looking at in the budget and maybe a little on the upside you’re talking about somewhere in the order of $7 to $10 billion less borrowing that the Government could undertake.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4582922/John-Key-reveals-plan-for-asset-sales


 

re: ASSET SALES – PROPERTY – FINANCE COMPANIES

22 July 2012

“But for a number of reasons, New Zealanders have tended to put their savings into property, term deposits and finance companies. We own relatively low levels of financial assets like shares, compared to people in other countries. “

http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/national-news/7325745/Kiwis-encouraged-to-take-up-SOE-shares

 


 

re: ASSET SALES – WATER- MAORI – REJECT WAITANGI DECISION

10 July 2012

“In the same way we don’t think anyone owns the sea and we don’t think anyone owns air.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/7254329/Harawira-criticises-Key-over-Maori-water-claim?

 


 

re: ASSET SALES – STOCK MARKET

23 July 2012

Key said one of his motivators for selling assets is growing the stock market in New Zealand, which is currently 25% of the country’s GDP, while in Australia it is 80% of its GDP.

“You’ve got all this money pouring into your KiwiSaver account but where do you invest it? There’s $12 billion there at the moment and it’s the same with mum and dad with their money in the bank.”

http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/push-soe-shares-worries-finance-experts-4979780

 


 

re: CHARTER SCHOOLS

3 August 2012

“If they don’t work then the Government will close them down very quickly – if they do work then it will be great for the children involved.”

 

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/220109/pm-vows-charter-schools-out-door-if-they-fail


 

re: COMPANIES GONE OFFSHORE

1 July 2011

“Basically it’s about using innovation to drive our economy. We have some of these companies already – the likes of Fisher and Paykel*, Tait and Rakon*. Our world-leading dairy industry also owes much of its success to innovation.”

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?articleId=36398

Fisher & Paykel is now Chinese-owned, and Rakon shifted half  it’s manufacturing to China in 2011/12.

 


 

re: CRIME – TAKING CREDIT

3 July 2012

“The Government is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe – on our streets and in our communities. We’ve delivered the lowest crime rate in 30 years, but we want to continue to keep driving the crime rate down.” 

http://johnkey.co.nz/archives/1473-Prime-Minister-welcomes-first-action-plan.html

 


re: DEBT – LABOUR’S SURPLUS – ASSET SALES

4 March 2005

“Firstly let me start by saying that New Zealand does not face the balance sheet crisis of 1984, or even of the early 1990s. Far from having dangerously high debt levels, gross debt to GDP is around a modest 25 percent and net debt may well be zero by 2008.”
“In other words, there is no longer any balance sheet reason to justify an aggressive privatisation programme of the kind associated with the 1980s Labour Government.”

 

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0503/S00102.htm

 


 

re: DEBT – LABOUR’S SURPLUS

[undated]

“The level of public debt in New Zealand was $8 billion when National came into office in 2008. It’s now $53 billion, and it’s forecast to rise to $72 billion in 2016. Without selling minority shares in five companies, it would rise to $78 billion. Our total investment liabilities, which cover both public and private liabilities, are $150 billion – one of the worst in the world because of the high levels of private debt in New Zealand.”

 

http://www.national.org.nz/mixed-ownership.aspx


 

re: DEBT – LABOUR’S SURPLUS

 

9 December 2013

“If you go back to 2005, when the previous government were in office, they had a number, you know, a little bit less than ours, but not a lot less, there was a 180,000 children in poverty, I think this shows 240,000 on that measure.

Back then, New Zealand recorded the biggest surplus in New Zealand’s history…”

@ 2.45

http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/mind-gap-key-tackles-child-poverty-video-5766147


 

re: EDUCATION – FREE EDUCATION

29 January 2008

 

“Because we don’t think it’s fair that a 16- or 17-year-old can get a free education at their local high school, but is asked to front up with as much as $4,000 in fees for a work-skills course at their local polytechnic. ” 

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=11772


 

re: ENVIRONMENT – GLOBAL WARMING

28 November 2006

“When I left university, if anyone had heard of global warming they were keeping it to themselves. Now, no one with any awareness of the world can be ignorant of it. It is a mystery to me why the political Left acts as if it has a monopoly on environmental policies, when it is obvious to anyone who cares to look that all of us, across the political spectrum, with the exception perhaps of the Greens, have taken too long to put the protection of our environment at the forefront of our thinking. That needs to change. In the National Party we have taken steps to do this, and we will be taking more steps.”

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=8778

 

 


 

re: ENVIRONMENT – GLOBAL WARMING

6 September 2008

“What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand. We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.

And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.” 

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=28477


re: EXCUSES FOR POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE – GFC – RECESSION

16 September 2012

“The point here is we can’t magic away the European recession or the US recession or the issues the world faces. “

TVNZ Q+A

http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/interview-prime-minister-john-key-5085886

 

 


 

re: EXCUSES FOR POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE – GFC

11 September 2011

“We did inherit a pretty bad situation with the global financial crisis. We have had three terrible earthquakes in Christchurch. We have had the collapse of finance companies. We have had to bail out what is, in terms of the earthquakes, the single biggest economic impact on a developed economy as the result of a disaster. The public don’t agree with every decision… but I think they believe on balance it’s been a tough three years and we’ve handled most things well. The second thing is it’s all relative. Yes, our unemployment went to 7 per cent and now it’s 6.5, but in America it’s 9 per cent officially and 14 per cent unofficially and in Spain it’s 20 per cent… “

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5602953/View-from-the-top


re: EXCUSES FOR POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE – GFC

17 November 2011

“While I think we have to acknowledge that the last three years have been pretty tough with the Global Financial Crisis, on a relative basisNew Zealand’s been doing a better than a lot of other countries.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/readers-reporter/5977596/Key-and-Goff-Q-A-Creating-jobs

 


 

re: FARM SALES

27 July 2010

“If we ended up in a position where New Zealanders are tenants in their own country, I can’t see how that would be in New Zealand’s best interests.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10661724

 

2 February 2012

“No where is that better illustrated than in the Crafar farm deal where the tenant will be a Government state-owned enterprise, Landcorp.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6352464/Investors-should-not-have-to-live-here-Key-says

 


 

re: FAMILIES

28 November 2006

 

“As a husband and father, the things I value most in life are not anything you’ll see listed on the Stock Exchange. I think all New Zealanders would agree that the security, happiness and welfare of their family, which is also dependent on the security and welfare of their community and country, is the most precious thing to them.

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=8778

 


 

re: FAMILIES – JUDGING OTHER FAMILIES

28 November 2006

 

“I support families. In modern New Zealand they come in many shapes and sizes, so let me tell you that I for one will not pre-judge the construction of them. They are in my view the most important institution in our society, and any government I have the privilege of leading will do what it can to support them. “

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=8778

 


 

re: FINLAND – NZ INCOME DECLINE

1 July 2011

 

“Finland is another example of our relative decline. In 1979 our per capita income lines crossed – New Zealand going down and Finland going up. The Finns are now about 20 percent ahead of us.”

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?articleId=36398

 


 

re: GOVERNMENT – ELECTIONS – MMP

2 July 2013

“But it’s been a funny thing. Ever since we’ve had MMP in 1996 the public have had a way of finding the Government that they want.”

“If National was to go out there and poll 46% or 47% – very similar to the result in 2011 – and not form the Government I think there would be outrage in NZ.”

 

http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/key-rethinks-options-form-next-govt-5484600


 

re: HEALTH – PRESCRIPTIONS

14 May 2012

“This is the first increase in any prescription charges in 20 years and New Zealand will continue to have low prescription charges compared to almost every other developed country. We could have chosen to leave prescription charges at $3 and had less money to spend on health or said to New Zealanders ‘look, we think you paying a small increase more will give you much more peace of mind.’”

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/rise-in-prescription-charges-not-fair-labour-4887239

 


 

re: HOUSING BUBBLE

 

22 November 2008

“For well over a decade a glut of global credit created an illusion of almost limitless liquidity that in turn fuelled an unsustainable credit boom. This capital was mainly sourced from offshore.

The result of these seemingly unlimited foreign-capital flows was that New Zealanders were able to rely on cheap fixed-rate debt, which in turn drove house prices ever higher.

While the Reserve Bank worked hard to lean against these trends, the credit glut weighed against our Reserve Bank’s power to contain demand through monetary policy adjustments. “

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/580-Address-to-the-CEO-Summit,-APEC-Business-Advisory-Council-ABAC.html

 

 


 

re: INCOME INEQUALITY – LIE
2 August 2011

Hon PHIL GOFF (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “I think we all have to accept that there is a degree of inequality in New Zealand”; if so, has he read any recent reports on the growing gap between rich and poor in New Zealand?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes, I do stand by that statement, and I have excellent news for the member: a very detailed scientific report on income equality actually went up on the Ministry of Social Development’s website at 2 o’clock today. It is titled Household Incomes in New Zealand. The report shows that the degree of income inequality in New Zealand, under standard measures like the Gini coefficient or the 80:20 ratio, has actually fallen in recent years. I go on to say that in fact the report shows that the distribution of income in New Zealand is more even now than it was at any time under the previous Labour Government. So I point out to the member that he is quite wrong to say the gap between the rich and the poor has been growing; in fact, it has been reducing. I urge the member to read the report.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1108/S00041/questions-and-answers-august-2.htm


 

re: INTEREST RATE RISES

13 March 2014

“It’s true we are the only developed country in the world that’s currently raising interest rates, but that’s because we are growing at a faster rate than most other countries around the world and we’ve got a very robust outlook. So while I think there will be some disappointment and frustration from homeowners, on the other side of the coin they can take real confidence that the strong economy will underpin good job opportunities and probably wage growth over time.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/9822918/Mortgage-pain-time-OCR-rises-to-2-75-per-cent

 


 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES – TAXES

27 May 2007

“We think Kiwis deserve higher wages and lower taxes during their working lives, as well as a good retirement.”

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/135-SPEECH-National-Tough-on-Crime.html


 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES – MIGRATION

 

6 September 2008

“We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand.”

 

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=28477


 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES

29 January 2008

“We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.”

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/306-SPEECH-2008-A-Fresh-Start-for-New-Zealand.html


 

 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES

15 July 2009

I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves.”

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0907/S00173/speech-key-business-breakfast-150709.htm


 

 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES

12 March 2010

Science and innovation are important. They’re one of the keys to growing our economy, raising wages, and providing the world-class public services that Kiwi families need.”

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/905-Boosting-Science-and-Innovation.html


 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES

21 December 2011

“The driving goal of my Government is to build a more competitive and internationally-focused economy with less debt, more jobs and higher incomes.” – John Key,

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=37752


re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES

8 February 2011

“We will also continue our work to increase the incomes New Zealanders earn. That is a fundamental objective of our plan to build a stronger economy.”

http://www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/statement-parliament-2011


 

re: JOBS – INCOMES – WAGES

19 April 2012

“We want to increase the level of earnings and the level of incomes of the average New Zealander and we think we have a quality product with which we can do that.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6769026/Key-wants-a-high-wage-NZ?

 

 


 

re: JOBS – UNEMPLOYMENT – WANT A JOB

25 November 2012

“Because at a high level, my belief is every single New Zealander wants to work, wants to provide for their family, wants independence and wants the comfort that comes from the knowledge that you can pay the bills and look after your family in the way that you want to. That’s the ambition of New Zealanders. “

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1211/S00355/shane-taurima-interviews-john-key.htm


 

re: JOBS – UNEMPLOYMENT – WANT A JOB

17 November 2011

“We salute your willingness to want to go get a job, ‘cos we believe that’s what most New Zealanders want to do.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/readers-reporter/5977596/Key-and-Goff-Q-A-Creating-jobs


 

re: JOBS – UNEMPLOYMENT – GOVT’s RESPONSIBILITY

17 November 2011

“We agree with you, it’s the government’s responsibility to do everything within it’s powers to try to get people jobs.” – John Key,

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/readers-reporter/5977596/Key-and-Goff-Q-A-Creating-jobs


 

re: JOBS – 170,000 NEW JOBS

“National’s Brighter Future Plan will help businesses create 170,000 new jobs over the next four years.”

(election flyer)

http://www.national.org.nz/OOF/flyer.pdf


 

re: JOBS – AUSTRALIA – LABOUR

22 July 2012

“They say no to jobs that are coming from Australia and they even said no to those cute, furry, fluffy little hobbits. And the latest thing is they want the unions to help elect their leader – well good luck with that one”.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/111289/joyce-hits-out-at-labour-%27hypocrisy%27


 

re: JOBS – JOB CREATION BY BUSINESS

24 August 2012

“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need more innovative companies out there selling their products on the world stage.”  

http://johnkey.co.nz/archives/1507-Key-Notes-Honouring-our-fallen-soldiers.html


 

re: JOBS – JOB CREATION BY BUSINESS – NOT ENOUGH JOBS

28 February 2012

“It’s true, ultimately if every one was to get off welfare we’d need to create even more jobs, but that’s the Government’s whole agenda is to have a vibrant economy that does produce jobs. I certainly accept there’s not a job for every single person, but I don’t accept there aren’t some jobs out there.” 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6489372/Welfare-changes-just-the-start

 


 

re: JOBS – LOST JOBS

8 February 2011

“Under the last Labour Government the economy got way out of balance. Since 2004, almost 60 per cent of new jobs have been in heavily government-dominated sectors, while jobs were lost in the export-focused agricultural and manufacturing sectors.”

http://www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/statement-parliament-2011


re: MIGRATION TO AUSTRALIA – POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE

15 July 2009

“I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves. That’s why this Government is focused squarely on improving New Zealand’s economic performance. And to be frank, New Zealand’s economic performance over a number of years has been disappointing. “

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0907/S00173/speech-key-business-breakfast-150709.htm


 

re: MIGRATION TO AUSTRALIA – HIGHER WAGES

6 September 2008

“One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas. We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand. We must cut taxes and grow our economy, and National will have policies to ensure both occur.” 

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/454-SPEECH-Environment-Policy-Launch.html

 


 

re: MINIMUM WAGE

10 November 2011

“Look, I think it would be very difficult for anyone to do that.”

http://www.3news.co.nz/Raising-minimum-wage-wont-cost-jobs—Treasury/tabid/419/articleID/232338/Default.aspx


 

re: NATIONAL MPS

27 May 2007

“New Zealanders chose National MPs to replace them because National MPs can be trusted to listen and work hard for the causes their constituents care about.” 

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/135-SPEECH-National-Tough-on-Crime.html


 

re: OUT ON PAROLE – COMMITTING CRIME

13 May 2007

“Karl Kuchenbecker – a good man, a father of two young boys – was tragically killed by a man on parole. A man who should have been locked up for life. A Government I lead will not put up with that. “

http://johnkey.co.nz/categories/9-Key-Notes/pages/connect/%20http/%20http/index.php?/archives/115-SPEECH-50-by-50-New-Zealands-Climate-Change-Target.html


 

re: POVERTY

9 December 2013

 

“If you go back to 2005, when the previous government were in office, they had a number, you know, a little bit less than ours, but not a lot less, there was a 180,000 children in poverty, I think this shows 240,000 on that measure.

Back then, New Zealand recorded the biggest surplus in New Zealand’s history…”

@ 2.45

http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/mind-gap-key-tackles-child-poverty-video-5766147


 

re: RESPONSIBILITY

27 May 2007

“The National Party is built on age-tested principles that reflect what is best about New Zealand. We are a party of enterprise; a party of personal freedom and individual responsibility; a party of family; an inclusive party; a party of ambition.”

 

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/135-SPEECH-National-Tough-on-Crime.html


 

re: RESPONSIBILITY

30 January 2007

“We also need to remember the enduring principles on which the National Party is based – individual responsibility, support for families and communities, and a belief that the State can’t and shouldn’t do everything.”

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?articleId=9215


 

re: TAX CUTS – RAISING TAXES – GST – LIE

10 February 2010/2008

“National is not going to be raising GST. National wants to cut taxes not raise taxes.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3311679/Key-no-GST-rise-video-emerges


 

re: TAX CUTS – LIE

19 November 2011

“We actually cancelled the first round of personal tax cuts in 2009/10,” he says. But Key is wrong. Despite calls from many commentators to cancel them, National passed its first round of tax cuts into law by December 2008, forgoing $1 billion a year in government revenue from April 2009, even though it was apparent tax revenue was about to take a dive in the wake the global recession. What National did do was defer its second round of tax cuts, worth $900 million a year, and instead rolled them into a 2010 tax package that included raising GST. Key cites the 2010 tax package, which raised GST to 15% while cutting personal tax rates, as another tough-minded decision…”

http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/can-john-key-lead-us-through-the-global-debt-crisis/

 


 

re: TAX CUTS – COST OF 2009 TAX CUTS

1 April 2009

“…The tax cuts we have delivered today will inject an extra $1 billion into the economy over the coming year, thereby helping to stimulate the economy during this recession. More important, over the longer term these tax cuts will reward hard work and help to encourage people to invest in their own skills, in order to earn and keep more money.”

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/d/d/a/49HansQ_20090401_00000001-1-Tax-Cuts-Implementation.htm

 


 

re: TAX CUTS JUSTIFICATION

1 April 2009

“… The reason why we are having tax cuts at this time is that if we look at most of the stimulatory packages in countries around the world and not just in New Zealand, we see they have a tax cut component as part of those packages, and that is an important stimulatory part of those economies. In my view, if we were not to do that, then we would drive our economy into a much deeper recession… “

http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/portfolios/prime_minister/2009/apr/01/tax_cuts_1

 

 


 

re: TAXPAYERS BAILING OUT CORPORATIONS

22 November 2008

“So now the party is over and the taxpayers of the world are left to underwrite – in one form or another – the liabilities and obligations of banks and, by extension, their hedge-fund clientele. “

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/580-Address-to-the-CEO-Summit,-APEC-Business-Advisory-Council-ABAC.html


 

re: THIRTY YEARS AGO – LIFE DIFFERENT THAN BACK THEN

30 January 2007

“However, things are different now than they were 30 years ago. It used to be that any street in any community could be the launching pad for a happy and fulfilling life. That’s not the case anymore. Today many are being left behind.

There are streets in our country where helplessness has become ingrained. There are streets of people who believe they are locked out of everyday New Zealand the way most of us experience it, and are locked into a way of life for which the exit signs and the road maps have long since been discarded. These streets have become dead ends for those who live in them.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10421543


re: THIS IS OUR COUNTRY

30 January 2007

“We are not four million spectators, having a passing interest in someone else’s game. This is our country; we make the rules and we should decide its direction.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10421543


 

re: TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP – AUSTRALIA

15 June 2012

“I would be very surprised. I think we’re all in or all out. An exclusion solely for Australia and not for everybody else is unlikely to be something we would support.”

TPP: Australia odd man out over disputes

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10813233

 


 

re: WELFARE STATE – JOHN KEY – BENEFICIARY BACKING

27 August 2011

“I’m a product of the welfare state – there hasn’t been any great secret about that.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5516068/Socialist-streak-just-means-we-have-a-heart-says-Key

“My father died when I was young. My mother was, for a time, on the Widow’s Benefit, and also worked as a cleaner. But the State ensured that I had a roof over my head and money for my mother to put food on the table. It also gave me the opportunity to have a good education. My mother made sure I took that opportunity, and the rest was up to me.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10421543

30 January 2007

” I have said before that I believe in the welfare state and that I will never turn my back on it.

We should be proud to be a country that looks after its most vulnerable citizens. We should be proud to be a country that supports people when they can’t find work, are ill, or aren’t able to work. “

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10421543

28 November 2006

“You can measure a society by how it looks after its most vunerable, once I was one of them. I will never turn my back on that.” 

http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/44-Speech-to-North-Shore-National-Party-luncheon.html

 


 

re: WELFARE STATE – JOHN KEY – BENEFICIARY BASHING

17 February 2011

“But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills. And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.” 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10706851

 


 

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 4 April 2014.

.

.

*

 

.

.

= fs =

 

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part rua)

9 April 2014 1 comment

.

Continued from: They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part tahi)

 

.

no-tppa

.

The New Zealand government is negotiating an international agreement that could have a huge effect on the lives of ordinary kiwis. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), and it involves eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries, including the United States. If it goes ahead, we risk damage to our innovative economy, our pristine environment, our health, and the ability to shape our own future.

Because the negotiations are being conducted in secret, what we know about the TPPA comes from leaked documents and detective work. We live in a democracy, which means we have the right to know what is done in our name and to have a say. “It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Wellington, NZ, 29 March 2014 – Over three hundred people in Wellington took to the streets on a fine Saturday afternoon, to protest at secret TPPA negotiations and the threats to our national sovereignty.

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (94).

The marchers took off…

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (166).

Some symbolism here?

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (164).

An eagle-eyed reader will notice… no police presence!

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (167).

At first, marchers  stuck to the footpaths to keep out of the way of traffic. But as on-lookers joined in, numbers swelled, and they took to the road;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (168).

Along the “Golden Mile” – Lambton Quay – the march of citizens made an impressive sight;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (105).

As the marchers reached the Cenotaph, a lone police vehicle appeared, to control traffic;

 .

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (106).

The protestors moved past the Cenotaph, toward Parliament’s gates;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (169).

In Parliament’s grounds, protestors made their way up the driveway;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (170) - Copy.

Standing before the People’s Parliament – behind steel barricades and a contingent of private security guards (off camera) -  Claire Bleakley, from the  GE Free Network.  Steel barriers. (Steel barriers. Obviously, National are terrified that 300+ anti-TPPA protesters might storm Parliament and seize control of the entire country.)

Claire gave a short, but ‘punchy’ speech on the link between the TPPA and genetically modified organisms entering our country through unfettered “trade”;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (125).

“…One of the biggest things that’s happening America is the advent of genetically modified crops. Which are coming into our country. With the TPPA we will will be trading away our right to know what we are eating…

… We have to protect our seeds. We have to protect our sovereignty. And we have to protect our food.”

Meanwhile, in a sign of some irony, anti-TPPA protesters  stood beneath the fluttering flags of other nations – several of which are participants in TPPA negotiations;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (117).

Green Party MP, Gareth Huges, (clockwise, from top left) being interviewed by a TV1 camera crew; Green Party supporters; Gareth and a young potential future Green voter; and Gareth addressing the gathering.

.anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (171) - Copy.

Chris McKenzie, from the Maori Party, voiced his opposition to the TPPA, saying it would harm Maori interests;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (144).

A couple of people in the crowd took exception to Chris’ comments and, after being handed a bullhorn, began to chant,

“Cross the floor!

Cross the floor!!”

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (146).

When Chris responded that he would pay no heed to “a couple of haters”, others in the crowd immediately took up the chant,

“Cross the floor!

Cross the floor!!”

 

Chris and his fellow Maori Party activists responded with a stirring haka, but the damage had been done – they had likely lost the support of most of the protesters. They are, after all, members of the Maori Party, which supports the National-led government with Supply and Confidence votes in the House. So what did they expect?

Kudos to them, at least, for having the balls to participate in the protest. That is courage of a magnitude several times greater than any Maori Party MPs – who could not be bothered to front.

Next up – Tim Jones, from the anti-coal-mining group, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, aka,  “Keep the Coal in the Hole”;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (133).

” We’re working to stop new and expanded coal mining because mining and burning coal is the single biggest threat to the world’s climate. This government is very keen to mine and burn coal, along with all the other mining, drilling, and fracking it wants to do.

We need a government that cares about climate change and we need a government that’s willing to take action on it. We also need a government that is actually able to take action on it. As you’ve heard, if the TPPA is passed, foreign corporations will be able to sue any New Zealand government that brings in tougher rules on the environment [and]  that brings in tougher rules against greenhouse gas emissions.

That means even a government that wants to act on climate change, and that certainly isn’t the current government, might have it’s hands tied.

Do you want overseas companies to have the last word on Aotearoa’s environment and climate change policies?

… So let’s stop the TPPA, and let’s get rid of this government, and it’s mining company mates, and let’s start taking real action on climate change.”

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (173).

Perhaps one of the longest banners ever at a protest rally, this one measured well over 20 metres, and the message read,

“TPPA: Taking Aotearoa’s sovereignty away! TPPA: No mandate. Stop gambling with our future! People B4 profits. Stop foreign corporate takeover! TPPA = selling out NZ. Signing the TPPA is treachery!!!”

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (172)

.

NZEI members leaving the  International Summit on the Teaching Profession, holding their “Living Wage” placards;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (154).

When Iwi leaders condemned the protest, Mana’s Hone Harawira was none-to-happy at what he called  “iwi leaders becom[ing] so servile and sycophantic” to the National government.

Hone spoke from the heart and said some things that – for a politician – was quite extraordinary! In all my years listening to politicians speak, I have never heard any say the things he did;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (148).

“Whatever happens, whatever happens, don’t kid yourself that because you’re all standing that side of the fence, you’re all friends with each other. Know this, if you’re not fighting for the sovereignty of this nation, then you’re on the wrong bloody side, that side, or this side, of the fence.

If the TPPA is aimed at taking away the sovereignty outlined in the Treaty of the Waitangi and replacing it with an economic sovereignty owned by people from far, far, away, and unless we do something to stop it, all of us, those on that side of the fence and those on this of the fence that you can trust, then we ain’t going to change it. Be up for struggle, and be up for a fight.

And know that unless we stand strong on this, these bastards are going to win.

There’s no reason why anybody in this country should accept our sovereignty being negotiated [away] in secret, in Singapore, in New York, and in London. There is no reason, why anybody in this country should accept that this country, and this country’s own government, cannot legislate in the interests of New Zealand citizens only to have those decisions overturned by big tobacco in the World [Bank] Court. There is no reason why anybody here should accept that big drug companies can overthrow the right of PHARMAC to let all citizens in this country to get low cost medicines.

And there no reason to accept the reason why [...background noise...] Maori and alternative medicines should be pushed out and made illegal simply to keep international drug lords in big fat profits.

So, I don’t really care about this being a Mana thing or a Green thing or a Labour thing or an anybody thing. Because this thing here is about all us standing together. Come the election 2014,  look only… to the parties that are absolutely dedicated to changing the government we have now. Look only to those parties that are absolutely dedicated to changing this government we’ve got now, and put your vote in any one of them.

And honestly, I don’t really care if you’re not going to vote for Mana, but vote only for those who will change the government. Don’t vote for those, don’t vote for those, who’ve got a dollar over here and a dollar over here.

This Agreement is not a win-win deal. Any party that signals their willingness to go with this government, or may go this way , or that way, is not a friend of what we’re trying to achieve on this stage…

… There are no deals on our sovereignty.”

It was  startling to hear Hone Harawira utter those words – made all the more amazing because it is not the usual thing one expects from politicians. I cannot recall a single politician ever, anywhere, calling on people to vote on an issue first, and not for themselves or their Party!

Finally, to remind ourselves,

” There are no deals on our sovereignty.”

 .

*

.

References

NZEI: Living Wage for Learning events to call for a fair go

TV3: Iwi leaders slam NZEI protests

Scoop media: No prestige In Trying To Hide Poverty

Additional

NewstalkZB: Thousands march against TPPA

Support groups

Facebook: It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Facebook: Aotearoa is Not for Sale

Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Copyright

All images stamped ‘fmacskasy.wordpress.com’ are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Acknowledgement

This blogger wishes to thank Mana Party organisor, Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati, for kindly lending me her camera. Mine finally gave up the mechanical ghost and I would not have been able to complete this blogpost without her timely assistance. I am deeply appreciative of her kindness and trust.

- Frank Macskasy

 

 

.

*

.

vote mana labnour green

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 3 April 2014.

.

.

= fs =

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part tahi)

8 April 2014 3 comments

.

no-tppa

.

The New Zealand government is negotiating an international agreement that could have a huge effect on the lives of ordinary kiwis. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), and it involves eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries, including the United States. If it goes ahead, we risk damage to our innovative economy, our pristine environment, our health, and the ability to shape our own future.

Because the negotiations are being conducted in secret, what we know about the TPPA comes from leaked documents and detective work. We live in a democracy, which means we have the right to know what is done in our name and to have a say. “It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Wellington, NZ, 29 March 2014 – Over 300 people gathered on a sunny, breezy day in downtown Wellington’s Cuba Mall, as party of a nation-wide protest against the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA);

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (17)

.

James Nokise, Comedian/Performer, MC’d the event, and spoke with just the right ‘mix’ of humour and  seriousness to the people;

 

.

James Nokise - Comedian - Performer

.

Though an  estimated 300 people attended the protest,  at times there seemed far more, as Cuba Mall was packed;

.

 

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (46)

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (68).

The TPPA is currently being negotiated in secret, a point of fact which many find anti-democratic; threatening; and just plain unfair;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (161)

.

Others understand the reality that the TPPA is not concerned with our welfare – but of the welfare of corporates to do as they wish, with minimal democratic oversight;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (42)

.

Tom Rippon, Vice President for New Zealand Actors Equity, addressed the people and  had this to say on implications for the TPPA;

“Some of you may be aware that New Zealand gave up nearly all of its ability to regulate local content on our televisions in 1994. Under the General Agreement for Terms and Trade, or GATT for short, Jim Bolger’s National government, promised unlimited market access to any foreign broadcast service and their products if they were a signatory to the The World Trade Organization. In other words any moves to introduce regulation for local content including a compulsory television quota, similar to those seen in most if not all western countries, would breach our WTO obligations.

Subsequently, when Helen Clark’s government sought to introduce ways to support the production of local content they were completely hamstrung by this agreement and were rendered powerless to turn back the clock.

I should note here that the government did make one reservation relating to Maori broadcasting. And we’re very glad they did, or we wouldn’t have the successful and culturally vital Maori Television Service — which to this day continues to screen the highest proportion of locally produced content compared to all the other broadcasters.

In 2011, New Zealand content accounted for a measly 31% of all programming from 6am to midnight. This compares to a much healthier 60% in Europe and 55% in Australia. New Zealand performers are the living embodiment of our culture. Every time we step in front of the camera, every time we perform, we tell a story articulating our nation’s hopes, dreams and experiences. This ability to speak to one another with our own voice must be maintained into the future.

[...]

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the GATT agreement on steroids. A corporate power grab on a scale never before seen in human history. This treaty is so repugnant that if a full text of the negotiations were released to the public tomorrow it would cease to exist by the end of the week because anyone with a brain and a gag reflex would reject it outright and the politicians involved in the negotiations, in our case John Key and his Trade Minister Tim Groser, would be forced to pull out due to overwhelming public pressure and condemnation.

Let’s not forget, this is an election year. As performers we have been stymied and constrained for two decades but this is where we draw the line, for the sake of our future generations our government must ensure that our culture is protected and reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And you must let them know that if they don’t, come Sept. they will pay the price and together we will vote them out.”

(For full text of his speech, please click here.)

In case Dear Leader believes that the hundreds who turned up on Saturday afternoon were “professional protesters”, the abundance of home-made signs indicated otherwise. These were ordinary Wellingtonians turning up, to show their opposition to the TPPA;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (158)

.

Young and old, all cultures and races, and the ubiquitous Every Man and his dog;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (159)

.

Some of the many signs expressing peoples’ views;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (160)

.

Bolivian  Indigenous Rights activist,  Mayra Gomez, addressed the people, telling them how so-called “free” trade agreements had opened countries up to lawsuits by corporations. Ms Gomez said that the  the TPPA  would likewise allow foreign corporations to sue New Zealand for perceived “loss of profits;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (4)

.

Ms Gomez gave three examples of how corporations had used “free” trade agreements to sue sovereign governments.

In her first example, she cited the case of  US-based Occidental Petroleum winning a US2.4 billion lawsuit against Ecuador, at a World Bank Court, under the US-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty, when the Ecuadorian government terminated its contract with Occidental citing breaches of licensing conditions and   environmental concerns.

In a second and even more bizarre example,   RENCO Group sued  Peru for $800 million because the Peruvian government had ordered the corporation to clean up lead pollution which had severely affected the children of La Oroya -  one of ten most polluted places on earth, according to Friends of Earth. RENCO used the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement to undertake it’s lawsuit.

And lastly, Ms Gomez revealed how US-based company, Lone Pine Resources, sought $250 million in “damages”,  claiming that  Canada had violated its North  America Free Trade Agreement committments – because it had imposed a moratorium on fracking in 2012, to conduct  environmental-impact assessments on the impacts of leached fracking chemicals and gases.

Ms Gomez concluded with a short, simple statement that drew heavy applause from the people;

“Until self-determination of indigenous people is not respected, there will not be sustainable goals achieved! Genuine sustainable goals! Lastly we call on the repeal of all existing agreements; a moratorium on all new agreements!”

Interesting to note that none of the problems caused by free trade agreements have ever been reported by any mainstream media in this country. It is up to overseas new media, bloggers, etc, and special interest groups to report on these events.

Because of the mainstream media “blackout” on these stories, very few New Zealanders are aware of what has happened in Ecuador, Peru, and even Canada – a fellow First World, Commonwealth state. Had these issues been properly reported, most New Zealanders would be horrified at the prospect of joining yet another free trade agreement that could leave us exposed to corporate lawsuits in offshore, secret tribunals.

The trivialisation of the media is so complete, that it is utterly derelict in it’s duty to report on issues that will have far-ranging consequences for all New Zealanders, for the foreseeable future.

As an example of media laziness, I refer the reader to this screenshot of NewstalkZB reporting on the nationwide protests;

.

newstalkzb article - thousands march against tppa

.

As the reader will notice, NewstalkZB could not even bring itself to post a photo of any of the actual protests, from any of the cities. Instead, it used a stock footage image of police, lined up against a building, from a totally unrelated event.

Ms Gomez was followed by  Victoria University economist, Geoff Bertram;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (163)

.

“Following up the placard that’s to my right, that says “TPPA is not free trade”. Economists have put a lot of effort and time over the last century, into making the case that free trade can be a good idea from which all can benefit. And ndeed, any of you can go down and buy a flat screen tv and computer down at Tory Street will be familiar with the benefits you can get from free trade. But this deal is not about that. It’s being sold with two terms that you should not be taken in by. One is free trade. The other one is partnership. This is not really about partnership. It’s not really about free trade.

The sort things that are central to the so-called trade trade part of the agenda are in the area of non-tariff barriers. That is to say, restrictions on the ability of certain companies or agents to gain access to markets on terms thatr are favourable to them. So things like copyright,intellectual property, regulatory arrangements, and so on are central to negotiations agenda and it’s important to note that economic theory does not give the sort sort of support for removing non-tariff barriers.”

Geoff  explained about the “partnership” aspects of the TPPA,

“… About partnerships. Partnerships can come in various forms… in actual fact partnerships can also be extremely unequal and exploitative. And this one is not an equal partnership. This one is part of a geo-political project which has in the Pacific has the United States aghainst China, in a contest over influence and power and economic control across a wide area of the world. And New Zealand is stuck in the middle of this conflict because China is our biggest trading partner [and] the United States is a very major part-player in both our history and current economy and politics.”

Geoff Bertram pointed out a story in the Dominion Post where the United States was seeking to extend it’s influence by offering to help the European Union reduce it’s dependence  on Russian gas supplies by selling them gas instead. He said the US would first demand that Europe sign a Trans Atlantic partnership agreement. The Europeans, he said, “were  particularly anxious about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement arrangements” in the Partnership Agreement. Germany had refused to participate. There was strong resistance in Europe to signing the agreement.

Geoff said that the US pressuring of the Europe Union to join the partnership agreement “is what you’re looking at there is the exercise of power – it’s not the working out of economic theory, it’s the exercise of power“.  He read out a statement from President Obama, from a recent media story, that he said explained precisely was “free” trade agreements were all about,

“Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licenses for projects — for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe — would be much easier, something that’s obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical climate.”

He warned that power was “asymmetric in the modern world” and that New Zealand stood to be primarily on the losing side of any “power exercising that comes into play”. He further warned that we should be “very careful about stories” that the TPPA was supposedly about free trade.

His speech was simple, easy to understand by those of us who are not trained in the esoteric “arts” of economics, and had a ring of truth to it. He was warmly received by those listening.

As the afternoon progressed, numbers swelled, as more people arrived to join in with the protest and listen to speakers;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (30)

.

Men and women, maori and pakeha, standing together in solidarity, on an issue that will affect us for generations to come;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (58)

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (12)

.

These are the faces of ‘ordinary’ (maybe not-so-ordinary – actually extraordinary!) New Zealanders who are concerned at the secrecy of the TPPA and the negative impact it will have on our sovereignty, as  New Zealand opens itself up to the threat of multi-billion dollar lawsuits by trans-national corporations;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (35)

 

.

Eileen Brown, Policy and Programme Organiser from the CTU (Council of Trade Unions) spoke to the people;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (15)

.

 

“The Trans Pacific Partnership contains threats to our health system; to our public services; to public enterprises; and our ability to use government purchasing to develop our economy and to our improve environment; the working conditions of New Zealanders, and our right to make laws and regulations that are in the interests of most New Zealanders.

…This agreement could have governments preventing employers to meet conditions such as paying a living wage. It could prevent governments requiring suppliers  to meet health and safety conditions that are currently being developed to improve our apalling health and safety statistics in New Zealand workplaces.

Each of these is a major concern.

So, to, is the absence of consultation. The secrecy in which negotiations are being held, and the fact that it is being adopted by governments without full public examination and opportunity for comment.

But perhaps the greatest threat and the greatest concern in the long run is what this represents. This kind of agreement increases the power of international  corporations and it reduces the power of elected governments and it’s citizens to resist corporate demands. It fails to learn the lessons of the Global Financial Crisis which demonstrated the enormous damage that irresponsible corporations can do to the world economy.”

.

This was an issue that cut across generations;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (51)

.

Many faces, one message;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (165)

.

The Nurses Organisation was represented at the protest, and was at the fore-front when the march to Parliament began;

.

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (80)

.

To be concluded: They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part rua)

.

*

.

References

Fairfax media: Hundreds join TPPA protest in capital

It’s Our Future:  What is the TPPA

Scoop media: Gordon Campbell on the leaks about the Trans Pacific Partnership

South Centre: When Foreign Investors Sue the State

Friends of the Earth: Pay the polluter $800 million! Trade deal injustice for the children of La Oroya

Friends Committee on National Legislation: Exposing Biggest Trade Deal in U.S. History

NewstalkZB: Thousands march against TPPA

ABC News: Obama Highlights Need for US-EU Energy Cooperation

Support groups

Facebook: It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Facebook: Aotearoa is Not for Sale

Copyright

All images stamped ‘fmacskasy.wordpress.com’ are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Acknowledgement

This blogger wishes to thank Mana Party organisor, Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati, for kindly lending me her camera. Mine finally gave up the mechanical ghost and I would not have been able to complete this blogpost without her timely assistance. I am deeply appreciative of her kindness and trust.

- Frank Macskasy

 

 

.

*

.

vote mana labnour green

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 April 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: Is National in trouble in the polls?

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

 

.

The latest bout of bene-bashing from Bennett and the rotten National government;

.

Travelling beneficiaries' payments cut

.

Bennett said;

“The new rules recognise beneficiaries should be ready and available for work – not prioritising travel.

Every day we hear stories of how people cannot live on the benefit. Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.”

My response;

.

FROM:    Frank Macskasy
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Sun, 06 Apr 2014 23:16:21 +1200
TO:      NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>

.

The Editor
NZ Herald
.


Paula Bennett's recent attack on welfare beneficiaries,
where she claimed that "21,000 beneficiaries have had their
benefits cut for going on unapproved overseas trips in the
last nine months" is simply too fantastical to be believed.

For one thing, how on earth does one fund a trip overseas on
an unemployment benefit of $210 a week (net) and pay rent,
power, food, clothing, medical expenses, school fees,
transport, phone, etc, etc?

This doesn't make sense. The arithmetic simply doesn't add
up.

One thing is for certain; National must be in trouble. They
have defaulted to Deflection #2;

1. Blame previous Labour government
2. Release story on ‘welfare abuse’
3. Blame Global Financial Crisis or similar overseas event

Perhaps National's own internal polling has them falling in
public support and Labour/Greens doing better than public
polling is suggesting?

How else would one explain Bennett's latest foray into
Fairytale Land?

-Frank Macskasy
[address & phone number supplied]

.

It is interesting to note that the Herald story, written by  deputy political editor, Claire Trevett, does not question anything that Bennett has said.

Not. One. Word.

I remember that this is what the media looked like when I lived briefly in Eastern Europe in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

This is what a media mouthpiece for an autocratic government looks like; faithful; reliable;  committed to the Party (in this case, National); and unquestioning.

This is what our media has become. They have been tamed.


 

References

NZ Herald: National down as NZ First gains

NZ Herald: Travelling beneficiaries’ payments cut

Previous related blogposts

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy


.

.

= fs =

In remembrance of Ernie Abbott

5 April 2014 1 comment

.

 

Ernie Abbott

Ernie Abbott, Vice President, Caretakers and Cleaners Union, d. March 27, 1984

 

.

Wellington, NZ, 27 March 2014: Over a hundred people packed the lobby of Trades Hall, at 126 Vivian Street, in downtown Wellington, to commemorate the terrorist attack on the Wellington Trades Hall, thirty years ago;

.

Wellington_trades-hall_ernie-abbott

.

The bombing, by an unidentified person, instantly killed Ernie Abbott, Vice President, Caretakers and Cleaners Union, and caretaker of the  Wellington Trades Hall.

Live music, provided by the good folk of the  Brass Razoo Solidarity Band (in vibrant, socialist-red);

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

A diverse mix of people filled the lobby,

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

Numbers swelling through the late afternoon;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

(Note: problem with camera-setting caused some unexpected blurring in images.)

Some of the rooms leading from the ground-floor lobby were opened up to make room for swelling numbers, as those who were not even born at the time mixed with those who lived through that bloody event in our recent history;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

A rose between two thorns (love that cliche!), left-to-right (not necessarily a political description),  Grant Robertson, MP for Wellington Central; former Labour MP for “Island Bay” (now Rongotai) Electorate, Liz Tennett; and current MP for Hutt South, Trevor Mallard;

.

Grant Robertson_Liz Tennett_Trevor Mallard

.

From left-to-right, Henry; SFWU organiser, Daele O’Connor; and Rod;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbot

.

As the time approached 5.19 pm – when the suitcase-bomb detonated  on 27  March  1984,  Paul Tolich called for everyone’s attention, and addressed the crowd;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

Former Labour MP, Graham Kelly,  amongst the crowd, listening to speakers;

.

Graham Kelly_New Zealand trade unionist

.

As the clock neared 5.19pm, Paul Tolich, called for a minute of respectful silence, and the lobby and side-rooms fell quiet;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

Wellington Trades Hall secretary, Graeme Clarke,   who was Wellington District Secretary of the Federation of Labour in 1984,  was the next person to speak;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbot

.

“In the 1970s, I wasn’t familiar with the idea that kids went to school hungry. I used to socialise with my workmates and people had enough money to put food on the table, to look after  their kids. But from the 1970, a campaign was organised against the Union movement and it’s been going on, off and on, ever since.

That campaign has been to weaken the Union movement, to divide it, to undermine it, and today we have a situation where 200,000 kids go to school hungry. And that is the legacy of that campaign… of which the bombing here was a part.

And I reflect on that, that as trade unionists, we need to re-double our efforts , to revive and rebuild the movement so that we can actually restore dignity and justice to working people.

My memory of the day was that we were in that room behind us, which in those days room room 2. Before that was that was the Harbour Board Workers Union rooms, and I was at the time the Secretary of the Wellington District Council of the Federation of Labour. We had a wage freeze on, because “wages were the cause of rising prices”, and so Muldoon had frozen wages and there was to be no wage increase whatsoever, while he squeezed rising prices out of the system.

As unionists we didn’t like that. We didn’t think that that was just or reasonable because prices were still going up. And so met in this room to plan ongoing steps in our campaign against the wage freeze. The print room was just around the corner, and our printer, George Thompson, was busy churning out the leaflets. And while we sat in that room, on the other side of the wall, just around the corner, a bomb was sitting.

If it had gone of earlier, it could have taken away the whole of the management committee of the Wellington Trades Council. It was some good fortune that I’m here today, because when we  left, I left with Pat Kelly. And we walked out that door with arms full of leaflets. Pat saw the suitcase, but our arms were too full to actually be bothered with picking up a suitcase that had nothing to do with us.

So we walked out and went to our meeting, and we heard a few minutes after we got to the meeting that there had been some kind of incident at Trades Hall. We came back, rushed back, to find out what had happened…

It was a bomb. There was one victim of that bomb, and that’s what has brought us all here today.”

.

Graeme was followed by Richard Wagstaff, National Secretary for the PSA and Vice President of the CTU;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

“Today we think back 30 years to the day when Trades Hall was bombed. 27 March of 1984.

Thirty years since Ernie Abbott was instantly killed when he picked up the booby-trapped suitcase lying in the foyer. Doing his job as building caretaker. The violence of his death shocked the nation.

Ernie was a working man. Like so many others, he had come to New Zealand for a better life. He was a union man and vice president of the Cleaners and Caretakers Union. He was a friend of Pat Kelly, the union secretary.

Nobody has been brought to account for the bombing. We don’t know who killed Ernie, though some amongst us have their suspicions.

We do know that it was an ugly time in New Zealand politics. The nation had been polarised by the intimidation and divisive tactics of a domineering prime minister.

Unions were amongst the few to challenge Muldoon’s increasingly dictatorial approach. As he tried to cling on to power, he set out to demonise unions and their leaders. That was the climate of the times.

The bombing was an attempt to kill people who worked for unions. Trades Hall was where the staff of several unions worked. Ernie was the unwitting victim. It could have been so many more.
As we remember that terrible event, let us not forget the other victims of anti-union aggression in New Zealand.

Frederick Evans, batoned to death by a police officer on the 12th of November 1912, during the Waihi strike. Like Ernie, he wasn’t someone in the public eye, but a union member who happened to be there.

Christine Clarke who died on the 31th of December 1999, two days after being bowled over by a angry driver as she stood on a picket-line at Lyttelton Port. Christine was there to show her support for workers in her community who were fighting to keep their jobs.

None of these people – Fred, Ernie and Christine – sought public attention. But we will always remember them.

As we also remember those who went to work and did not return.

This year we have set up a new fund to help the families who have lost a loved one, killed at work.

This Workers’ Memorial Day – Monday 28 April – we will be having a street collection. If you can give an hour or two between 7.30 and 9.30 in the morning, please give your name to Rebecca Matthews.

Let us now take a minute to think about Ernie Abbott and unionists everywhere who have been killed because of their beliefs.”

 

The last speaker, was Peter Cranney, who in 1984 was Vice President of the Wellington Cleaner’s Union, and is currently a lawyer specialising in workers’ advocacy;

.

Peter Cranney

.

“Our job is to continue the work that Ernie Abbott was doing. Our dear brother Ernie is not here, but what he suffered, and what he lost, is an important part of working class history and it must never be forgotten; his name must never be forgotten…”

Listening to the speakers, Cath Wallace (L) from ECO, and  Catherine Delahunty, from the Green Party;

.

Cath Wallace_Catherine Delahunty

.

Green MPs Denise Roche and Catherine Delahunty;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott_Denise Roche_Catherine Delahunty

.

Former Alliance activist, Carrick Lewis (L) and Martin (R);

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

As the commemorative service drew to a close, people filed out of the Hall, with some continuing to chat, catching up, and sharing memories of past times;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

If we take one thing from this event, it is this…

The nameless individual who, through a vile, cowardly, criminal act, took an innocent man’s life will be forever unknown – much like society’s detritus that lies unmarked and forgotten in land fills dotted around the country.

But the name of Ernie Abbott will live on – remembered as a part of our history.

 

.

  “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.” – William Shakespeare

.

*

.

References

Fairfax Media: 30 years on: Wellington’s unsolved Trades Hall mystery

NZ History: Trades Hall bombing

Other Blogs

Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty : In Memorium: Ernie Abbott

G.Blog: Sorry Ruth, there is a more evil New Zealander than you after all

The Standard: 30th anniversary of the Trades Hall bombing

Copyright (c) Notice

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

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 March 2014.

 

 

 

 

.

.

= fs =

Winston Peters recycles pledge to “buy back state assets” – where have we heard that before?

31 March 2014 1 comment

.

no

.

Over the last two years (give or take), NZ First leader, Winston Peters, has stated on numerous occassions that buying back shares in the three energy SOEs (Meridian, Genesis, and Mighty River Power) will be a “bottom line” in any post-election coalition deal.

On 20 June 2012, NZ First posted this statement on their website,

New Zealand First will use its influence on the next coalition Government to buy back our state-owned power companies which are being flogged off by National.

Rt Hon Winston Peters says New Zealand First is committed to buying back the shares at no greater price than paid by the first purchaser.

“State-owned assets rightfully belong to all New Zealanders but National is intent on handing them over to rich foreign investors.

“It is simply lining the pockets of the wealthy by selling off well-performing assets that already provide the Government with extremely healthy dividends.”

Mr Peters says it is only fair to alert potential investors that New Zealand First’s intention to buy back the shares will be part of any coalition negotiations.

“As things stand now, the assets will end up in foreign ownership which is an outright attack on our sovereignty. We are committed to repelling that attack.”

The pledge was repeated on 29 November 2013;

New Zealand First is the only political party that has said since the beginning that if the Government did go ahead with this idiotic decision, then when we are in a position to influence the next Government, we would buy back the shares at a price no more than that initially paid for them.

On ‘The Nation‘, on 15/16 March, interviewed by Patrick Gower, Peters repeated NZ First policy that a share buy-back, at a cost no greater than the original purchase-price, was a bottom line policy for his Party;

Gower: So that means buying Genesis back?

Peters: That’s right. At no greater price than they paid for it.

Gower: And does that mean buying back the other power companies as well?

Peters: It means exactly that. That’s what our position has been for some time.

Gower: So that’s a priority for you in any negotiations?

Peters: It is a priority, and it also has the blessings in terms of economic calculations from Treasury.

Taken at face value, Peters’ committment to buy back shares in the powercos seems more comprehensive and radical than either the Greens or Labour. Neither have committed to buying back shares in Meridian, Genesis, and Mighty River Power until the government books allow it.

But, can Peters’ pledge be taken at face value?

Can he be trusted to make good on his word to (a) make a share buy-back a bottom-line in any coalition deal and (b) actually follow through?

His track record on such matters is not good.

On 27 September 1996,  the then-Bolger-led National government sold the Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Ltd cutting rights to a private  consortium (Fletcher Challenge Forests, 37.5%, Brierley Investments Ltd, 25%, and Chinese state-owned company,  Citifor Inc, 37.5%)

This became a major election issue in  the lead-up to the first MMP election in  1996, with the Alliance organising a CIR petition to halt the sale.

NZ First leader, Winston Peters, pledged to buy back the cutting rights, stating on several occasions that any government he was part of would “hand back the cheque“;

.

The game plan - what we're all playing for - NZ First buy back forest corp

.

During the election campaign, Peters stated unequivocally his intentions that the privatisation of Forestry Corp would not stand under any government he was part of;

“I want to tell the Chinese buyers and I want to tell Brierleys that they had better not make any long-range plans because the day after the election is over we will be sending them an emissary to them them exactly what is going to happen, that is, that we are going to keep out promise, they can give back the asset and we will give the money back.” – Winston Peters,  Otago Daily Times, 1 Feb 1997 (on pre-election statement/promise)

.

http://fmacskasy2.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/otago-daily-times-1-february-1997-winston-peters-asset-sales-forestry-corp-buy-back-hand-back-the-cheque.jpg?w=605&h=729

.

On 11 December 1996, Peters announced that he would be entering into a formal coalition arrangement with the National Party, to form the first MMP coalition government.

Subsequently, Peters’ pledge to “hand back the cheque” and buy back the forestry cutting rights, was ‘quietly’ dropped;

.

NZ First ignored chance to implement own policy

.

“… NZ First did not make any attempt to include  in the [Coalition] agreement its policy of placing a 24.9% limit on foreign ownership of strategic assets.

Neither did they raise the NZ First promise to buy-back Forestry Corp, which was sold earlier this year to a consortium including Fletcher Challenge.” - Otago Daily Times, 16 Dec 1996

As Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in the National-NZ First government, Peters had ample opportunity to implement his Party’s buy-back policy. It was a promise he could have kept. And should have kept.

Instead, NZ First opted to implement National’s policy of tax cuts on 1 July 1998. With even more tax cuts promised by then-Finance Minister, Bill Birch.

This was money that Peters could have allocated and spent of re-nationalising our forests – but was instead wasted on cutting taxes, thereby reducing the ability of the coalition government to implement a buy-back, as Winston Peters had promised.

If Peters holds the balance of power after 20 September, and if he forms a coalition with either bloc, he may well carry out his promise to buy back shares in our energy utilities.

Or then again, he might not.

.

*

.

References

NZ First: NZ First Committed To Buying Back State-Owned Assets

NZ First: Our asset sales buyback promise – Radio Live Column

TV3: Winston Peters: Asset buy-back ‘a priority’

FAO.org:  Devolving Forest Ownership in New Zealand: Processes, Issues and Outcomes

Treasury: Income from State Asset Sales as at 30 September 1999

Wikipedia: CITIC Group [Citifor]

Wikipedia: Referendums in New Zealand

Otago Daily Times: Alliance quits quest for forestry petition

Otago Daily Times: NZ First ignored chance to implement own policy

Otago Daily Times: NZ First opts for National

Otago Daily Times: Further tax cuts unlikely before next century

NZPA: Birch pledges more tax cuts

.

*

.

Be careful what you wish for - Key and Peters

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Nine To Noon – Election year interviews – Jamie Whyte

.

- Radio NZ, Nine To Noon -

.

- Wednesday 26 March 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan -

.

On  Nine To Noon, Kathyrn Ryan interviewed ACT leader Jamie Whyte, and asked him about coalition negotiations, policies, polls, and other issues…

.

Radio NZ logo -  nine to noon

.

Click to Listen: Election year interviews  ( 22′ 24″ )

 

.

.

= fs =

A Query to the Taxpayers Union – ***UP DATE ***

27 March 2014 2 comments

.

Taxpayers Union website banner

.

Further to an earlier blogpost where I emailed Jordan Williams, at the Taxpayers Union, regarding Judith Collins’ taxpayer-funded trip to China, where she visited a milk importer (Oravida) of which  her husband is the sole Director…

.

FROM:   "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Judith Collins
DATE:    Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:39:48 +1300
TO:     "Taxpayers Union" <tipline@taxpayers.org.nz> 

.

Kia ora,

I am aware that your Union recently condemned the cost
incurred by Green MP, Ms Mojo Mathers, in a trip she made to
Masterton to participate in a radio interview on
disabilities.

Accordingly, will you be investigating and commenting on the
trip made by National MP and Minister, Judith Collins, for
her recent taxpayer-funded trip to China? 

Ms Collins' portfolios include  Minister for Ethnic Affairs;
  Minister of Justice; and Minister for ACC.

It is unclear what purpose was served by a trip to China as
none of her portfolios relate directly  to foreign affairs
or trade.

Will you also be investigating and commenting on the
conflict of interest posed by her visit to Orivida - a
Chinese company of which her husband is a Director?

This appears to be little more than a tax-payer funded
'junket' and I await your response to this in the light of
your critical stance taken regarding Ms Mathers' trip to
Masterton.

Regards,
-Frank Macskasy

.

Mr Williams, from the so-called Taxpayers Union, responded on the same day;

.

National puppet organisation

.

Several commentators on my previous blogpost suggested that blogs are a part of the media (or “new media”) and that Mr Williams should, accordingly, be responding to my query as if the NZ Herald had contacted him for a comment.

I took note of the suggestions and wrote back to Mr Williams,

.

FROM:    "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT:  Re: Judith Collins
DATE:     Sun, 16 Mar 2014 12:37:51 +1300
TO:      "Jordan Williams" <jordan@taxpayers.org.nz>
.
Kia ora Jordan!

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my query, and in
such a timely fashion. That was greatly appreciated.

Regarding your point on the Mojo Mathers issue; I understand
that you stated you did not initiate contact with the
Herald, and that you responded to their query.

As you may be aware, I blog on various issues, including
covering public activities such as Select Committee
hearings; protests; etc. 

I am therefore part of the so-called "new media" of citizen
journalists/bloggers, as your colleague, Cameron Slater also
maintains.

Accordingly, I seek a response from you, on behalf of the
Taxpayers Union, on  National MP and Minister, Judith
Collins'  recent taxpayer-funded trip to China.

It is unclear what purpose was served by a trip to China as
none of her portfolios relate directly  to foreign  affairs
or trade. Ms Collins' portfolios include  Minister for
Ethnic  Affairs; Minister of Justice; and  Minister for ACC.

Considering that none of her portfolios relate to foreign 
affairs or trade, was this trip necessary? What purpose did
it serve, and for who?

What is the Taxpayers Union's response on the
perceived/actual conflict of interest posed by her visit to
Orivida - a  Chinese company of which her husband is a
Director?

Does the Taxpayers Union view Collins' trip as little more
than a tax-payer funded  'junket'?

Does the Taxpayers Union consider the $36,000 spent by
Collins on this trip "value for money"?

I look forward to the Taxpayers Union's statement on this
issue.

Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger

.

As at 11.59PM, on 18 March, I have received no further correspondence from Mr Williams, nor from any other representative of the Taxpayers Union. Not even a simple acknowledgement of having received my 16 March email.

It is interesting to note the circumstances surrounding this issue.

I emailed the Taxpayers Union because it had commented – and roundly condemned – Mojo Mathers’ flight from Christchurch to Masterton, to attend a radio interview on the issue of disabilities.

On 2 March, Jordan Williams made this statement on the resulting furore surrounding his remarks on Ms Mathers’ travel;

.

This morning there has been some criticism of my comments in a story on the Herald website about a trip Mojo Mathers took to Masterton from Christchurch apparently just for a short interview on a community radio station.

For clarification:

  • The Taxpayers’ Union did not seek media attention on this story. There is no associated press release. The Herald called yesterday evening asking for comment, as happens often.
  • The Taxpayers’ Union operate 24 hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Yesterday’s call came through to me and I was asked whether it was value for money for an MP to fly 800km for a radio interview on a small community station. I said it was not value for money when the interview could have been done on Skype as well as the comments that are quoted in the story.
  • I’ve made no comment about Ms Mathers disability. In fact, if the travel was necessary I would not criticise the spending. But answering questions posed by the Herald, on matter which as far as I know are completely unrelated to her disability, is legitimate.
  • Accusations that I (or the Union) sought to go after Mathers are ridiculous. To repeat, we were asked for comment by the Herald who were running the story. The comments would have been the same whoever the MP.
  • Accusations that the Taxpayers’ Union are partisan are also silly. I am proud that the Union has gone after National MPs and the current government for expenses, wasteful expenditure and corporate welfare. Seehttp://info.scoop.co.nz/New_Zealand_Taxpayers’_Union 

On reflection, I wonder why an MP from a party that prides itself for having a low environmental footprint choose to fly to a radio interview that could have been done on Skype. Perhaps Ms Mathers had other engagements in Masterton. If so, that was not the information provided to me at the time by the Herald reporter.

Jordan Williams.

Jordan Williams
Jordan Williams
Author

Note Mr Williams’ statement;

Accusations that the Taxpayers’ Union are partisan are also silly. I am proud that the Union has gone after National MPs and the current government for expenses, wasteful expenditure and corporate welfare

Aside from a handful  of press releases aimed at National Minister, Steven Joyce, most of the Taxpayers Unions public comments seemed to target Auckland mayor Len Brown; government departments (whilst not mentioning their Ministers); and strangely, the Labour Party – which is not even in government.

The Taxpayers Union has not commented on Judith Collins’ trip to China, despite there being glaring questions which demand to be asked. Questions such as why a Minister of Justice/Ethnic Affairs/ACC felt the need to spend $36,000 of taxpayers’ money on a junket overseas.

Mr Williams has not deigned to respond to my queries with a comment.

Yet, he was only too happy to launch into a savage excoriation of Green MP, Mojo Mathers, for spending an estimated $500 to speak on an issue that was actually her portfolio – and which, because of her disability, is  a matter she is intimately familiar to speak on.

One can only assume that Mr Williams does not wish to be drawn into this issue.  The reason is quite apparent.

Jordan Williams is closely connected to the likes of David Farrar, Cameron Slater, and Simon Lusk – all of whom are hard-Right National/ACT supporters and apparatchiks.

Right-wing blogger, David Farrar, is one of the  Board members of the Taxpayers Union. His ‘bio‘, however, mentions nothing about his close links to the National Party,

“David is a well known political blogger and commentator. David also owns and manages the specialist polling agency Curia Market Research and has an active involvement in Internet issues. He is an experienced political campaigner and former parliamentary staffer.

“I helped form the New Zealand Taxpayers Union because I believe that New Zealand needs a lobby group to stand up for the rights of taxpayers and ratepayers, and fight against those who treat them as a never ending source of funds”.”

David Farrar’s Disclosure Statement on Kiwiblog;

“Since I joined Young Nationals in 1986, I have been affiliated to, and a member of, the National Party. I do not regard National as always right, but it is the party which I believe gives me the greatest opportunity to achieve the New Zealand I want.

As a volunteer, I established National’s initial Internet presence in 1996 and have held various roles in the party up until 2005. I have three times been a temporary contractor to National HQ, helping out with the campaign in 1999, and also between staff appointments – in 2004 and 2007 for a total of ten months.”

Other Board Members are;

John Bishop; businessman; columnist for the right-leaning NBR; and authored a “puff piece” on National’s Deputy Leader, Bill English; Constituency Services Manager,  ACT Parliamentary Office, April 2000 – August 2002, “developing relationships with key target groups and organising events”.

Gabrielle O’Brien; businesswoman; National Party office holder, 2000-2009.

Jordan McCluskey; University student; member of the Young Nationals.

Jono (Jonathan) Brown; Administrator/Accounts Clerk at the Apostolic Equippers [Church] Wellington, which, amongst other conservative policies,  opposed the marriage equality Bill.

None of this is mentioned even in passing on the Taxpayers Union ‘Who We Are‘ page.

By now, it should be patently obvious that the Taxpayers Union is little more than a thinly-disguised, right-wing, front organisation for the National Party.

In which case, it would be “counter-productive” of the Taxpayers Union to be criticising Judith Collins’ trip to China. It would be a case of  attacking one of their own.

.

*

.

References

Taxpayers Union:  A question of value for taxpayer money

TV1: Key puts Collins on warning, opposition calls for sacking

Fairfax Media: Anti-MMP plan leaked

Taxpayers Union: Who we are

Kiwiblog: Disclosure Statement

Finda.co.nz: John Bishop Communicator

Johnbishop.co.nz: Bill English – Minister of Infrastructure

Advisoryboards.co.nz:  Curriculum Vitae: John Bishop – Advisory Boards NZ

LinkedIn: Gabrielle O’Brien

LinkedIn: Jordan McCluskey

LinkedIn: Jonathan ["Jono"] Brown

Newswire.co.nz:  ‘Not up to church to dictate on gay marriage’

See Also

NZ Herald:  John Drinnan – High-risk PR strategy flies

Sciblogs: Jesus heals — but not cancer! [Equippers Church]

Previous related blogposts

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

A Query to the Taxpayers Union

.

*

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 24 March 2014

.

- Politics on Nine To Noon -

.

- Monday 24 March 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -

.

Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Will The Mana party and The Internet party form an alliance?

.

radio-nz-logo-politics-on-nine-to-noon

.

Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (25′ 54″ )

  • Mana Party
  • Internet Party
  • Hone Harawira
  • Kim Dotcom
  • The Alliance
  • Sue Bradford
  • Roy Morgan Poll
  • Shane Jones, Winston Peters, NZ First, The Green Parrot Restaurant
  • Hekia Parata, Kohanga Reo National Trust, performance pay for teachers
  • Ernst Young, Serious Fraud Office, PISA Education Ratings
  • Judith Collins, Oravida
  • John Key, China, Fran O’Sullivan, Rod Oram
  • Labour Party, Forestry policy, Red Stag Timber, government procurement

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Focus on Politics for 21 March 2014

23 March 2014 2 comments

.

- Focus on Politics -

.

- Friday 21 March 2014  -

.

- Jane Patterson -

.

A weekly analysis of significant political issues.

Friday after 6:30pm and Saturday at 5:10pm

The Education Minister has once again found herself at the centre of a political storm, after allegations relating to the Kohanga Trust Board’s commercial arm, have ended up with the Serious Fraud Office.

The question is; when does public money cease to be public?

.

Radio NZ logo - Focus on Politics

.

Click to listen: Focus on Politics for 21 March 2014 ( 17′  28″ )

  • Hekia Parata, Pita Sharples
  • Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board, Te Pataka Ohanga
  • Ernst & Young report
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Derek Fox

.

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ

.

.

= fs =

National, The Economy, and coming Speed Wobbles – March Update

23 March 2014 1 comment

.

The Nationalmobile

.

On 1 March, in a previous blogpost, I raised the following issues;

1. The Reserve Bank has indicated that  it will begin to increase the OCR (Official Cash Rate) this year. Most economists  are expecting the OCR to rise a quarter of a percentage point on March 13.

Confirmed. True to it’s word and as clearly signalled, on 13 March the Reserve Bank  raised the Official Cash Rate (OCR) from 2.5% to 2.75%.

2. An increase in the OCR will inevitably flow through to mortgage rates, increasing repayments.  As mortgaged home owners pay more in repayments, this will impact on discretionary spending; reducing consumer activity, and flow through to lower business turn-over.

Confirmed. The ANZ Bank  has already  announced it will increase its floating and flexible home loan rates .25 percentage points to 5.99% on 17 March. Expect other banks to follow suit. Other bank rate rises will be signalled here.

This will inevitably dampen consumer spending and reduce economic activity.

3. An increase in the OCR will inevitably also mean a higher dollar, as currency speculators rush to buy the Kiwi. Whilst this may be good for importers – it is not so good for exporters.

Confirmed, as the NZ Herald reported;

The New Zealand dollar jumped to a five-month high after the Reserve Bank raised the benchmark interest rate as expected and signalled further hikes are on the way.

The kiwi rose as high as 85.26 US cents, from 84.73 cents immediately before the Reserve Bank’s 9am statement. The local currency recently traded at 85.20 cents.”

And in another Herald story,

By raising rates, the Reserve Bank aims to tame both inflationary pressures and house price increases but also runs the risk of elevating an exchange rate it already considers too high, making exports less competitive.”

For a nation that bases it’s economy on exporting, a rising Kiwi Dollar will bring inevitable problems of higher debt and greater trade imbalance. It means we are not paying our way in the world and inevitably there will be a “Crunch Day” of tragi-Greek proportions.

On that day, the public will blame politicians.

Politicians will blame each other.

And the Left will shake it’s head in exasperation – it’s admonitions that this was all predictable as a natural consequence of unconstrained consumerism coupled with rampant capitalism -  lost in the shrill clamour of pointless blame-gaming.

As BERL economist, Ganesh Nana, said on The Nation on 15 March, we’ve been down this road before and not learned a single lesson  from these experiences.

4. As economic activity and consumer demand falls, expect businesses not to hire more staff and for fresh  redundancies to add to the unemployment rate. Unemployment will either stay steady later this year, or even increase.

On-going…

5. As interest rates rise, in tandem with the Reserve Bank’s policy on restricting low-home deposits, expect home ownership to fall even further. This will increase demand for rentals, which, in turn will push up rents. Higher rents will also dampen consumer spending.

Confirmed. The Reserve Bank  has reported that there has “been some moderation in the housing market. Restrictions on high loan-to-value ratio mortgage lending are starting to ease pressure, and rising interest rates will have a further moderating influence...”

Expect home ownership levels to fall even further as interest rates rise further; rents increase (thereby making it harder for low income families to save); and mortgagee sales to rise as well.

Interestingly, when in Opposition, National Party leader, John Key lambasted the Labour Government for a high OCR leading to high interest rates. In a desk-thumping speech, on 29 January 2008, he railed,

Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?

[...]

Why can’t our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?…

[...]

Mortgage rates are rocketing upwards…

[...]

We know Kiwis are suffocating under the burden of rising mortgage payments and interest rates…”

It seems that Mr Key should now begin to be answering his own questions.

6. As the global economy picks up and demand for oil increases, expect petrol prices to increase. This will have a flow-through effect within our local economy; higher fuel prices will lead to higher prices for consumer goods and services. This, in turn, will force the Reserve Bank to ratchet up interest rates (the OCR) even further.

Whilst fuel prices remained steady during the worst of the GFC, they have begun edging upward again as the global economy improves and demand for energy grows.

Our high Kiwi Dollar will mitigate the worst of rising crude-oil prices – but only temporarily. Once other Central Banks begin to rise their OCRs, expect the value of the Kiwi Dollar to fall as speculators sell the Kiwi in preference to harder currencies.

This will be good for exporters.

But will be a negative impact on imports – such as oil. Prices will rise as the Kiwi Dollar falls. Count on it.

7. As businesses face ongoing pressures (described above), there will be continuing  pressure to dampen down wage increases (except for a minority of job skills, in the Christchurch area). For many businesses, the choice they offer their staff will be stark; pay rise or redundancies?

Data suggests that wages are not keeping pace with GDP Growth;

.

Wages

.

NZ average hourly wages 2012 - 2014

.

GDP

.

NZ GDP Growth Rate 2012 - 2014

.

8. Expect one or more credit rating agencies (Fitch, Moodies, Standard and Poors) to put New Zealand on a negative credit watch.

On-going…

9. According to a recent (21 February) Roy Morgan poll, 42%  of respondents still considered the economy their main priority of concern. 21% considered social issues as their main concern.This should serve as a stark warning to National that people will “vote with their hip wallets or purses” and if a significant number of voters believe that they are not benefitting from any supposed economic recovery, they will be grumpy voters that walk into the ballot booth.

There is no reason to think otherwise on this issue. Voters who are spending more on mortgage or rent are less inclined to be happy consumers.Especially as mortgage rates are expected to rise even further, according to Bernard Hickey’s assessment of Governor Graeme Wheeler’s statement,

Wheeler said in early December he expected to raise the OCR by 2.25% by early 2016, which would lift variable mortgage rates to around 8% by then. The bank forecast interest rate rises of around 1% this year and a similar amount next year.”

Home owners paying 7% to 8% on their mortgage will not be happy-chappies and chapettes. They will be grumpy. The 2009 and 2010 tax cuts will be a dim memory and any attempt by Key to remind voters of those cuts will not be warmly received. Especially as any minute gain for workers was more than swallowed up by the rise in GST, ACC, government user-pays charges, and now their mortgages and rents.

If only a small percentage of grumpy voters change their voting away from National (or stay home) – that will mean a critical drop in support for a right-wing bloc. One or two percentage points is all that is required to change the government.

10. National has predicated its reputation as a “prudent fiscal manager”  on returning the government’s books to surplus by 2014/15. As Bill English stated  just late last year,

We remain on track to surplus in 2014/15, although it will still be a challenge to actually reach surplus in that financial year.”

[...]

On top of which is the $61 billion dollar Elephant in the room; the government debt racked up by National since taking office in 2008. As Brian Fallow wrote in the Herald in 2011,

The concern about government debt is not so much about its level, but the pace at which it is increasing. In June 2008 net government debt was $10 billion, or 5.6 per cent of GDP, and gross debt $31 billon, or 17.2 per cent of GDP.”

A lower tax-take, reported by Treasury on 11 March puts serious doubt on National’s ability to return to “remain on track to surplus in 2014/15″;

  • Total unconsolidated tax receipts for the seven months ended January 2014,  $143 million (0.4%) below the 2013 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (2013 HYEFU) forecast…
  • Total unconsolidated tax revenue for the seven months ended January 2014,  $459 million (1.1%) below the 2013 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (2013 HYEFU) forecast…
  • GST $250 million below forecast,
  • Net individuals’ taxes $191 million below forecast,
  • Customs and excise duties $156 million below forecast

The March Treasury report follows from a February report showing a similar “smaller than forecast tax take across the board“,

The Crown’s operating balance before gains and losses (obegal) was a deficit of $1.79 billion in the six months ended December 31, $380 million wider than forecast in its Dec. 17 half-year economic and fiscal update, and down from a shortfall of $3.19 billion a year earlier. Core tax revenue was $602 million below forecast at $29.18 billion.

[...]

The smaller tax take was across the board, with GST 2.3 per cent below forecast at $7.5 billion, source deductions for personal income tax 1.2 per cent below forecast at $11.71 billion, and total corporate tax 4.9 per cent below expectations at $3.56 billion.

As I wrote on 1 March, should National fail in that single-minded obsession, the public will not take kindly to any excuses from Key, English, et al. Not when tax payer’s money has been sprayed around with largesse by way of corporate welfarism. Throwing millions at Rio Tinto, Warner Bros, China Southern Airlines, Canterbury Finance, etc, will be hard to justify when National has to borrow further to balance the books.

Any economic “recovery” is fragile; dependent on overseas factors; and will bring new problems. Little wonder that Key brought the election date forward by two months. Mortgage rates by the end of the year will be nudging 7%.

Not much of a Christmas present for New Zealanders.

As such, Labour must begin to attack Key’s government in this area. This will be a grand opportunity for the Left to finally drive a stake through the “heart” of National’s undeserved reputation as  being a “responsible economic manager”.

National remains utterly vulnerable during this year’s election.

.

*

.

References

Interest.co.nz:  Bernard Hickey looks at what the Reserve Bank’s OCR decision means for mortgage rates and house prices

Radio NZ: Reserve Bank warns of more interest rate rises

Interest.co.nz: Mortgages

NZ Herald: Dollar jumps on OCR hike + video

NZ Herald: New Zealand raises interest rate to 2.75 percent

Reserve Bank: Reserve Bank raises OCR to 2.75 percent

John Key: SPEECH: 2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand

Interest.co.nz: Oil and Petrol

tradingeconomics.com: Wages

tradingeconomics.com: GDP

Roy Morgan: Economic Issues down but still easily the most important problems facing New Zealand (42%) and facing the World (36%) according to New Zealanders

NBR: Govt sees wider deficit in 2014 on ACC levy cut, lower SOE profits

Fairfax media: Public debt climbs by $27m a day

NZ Herald: Govt debt – it’s the trend that’s the worry

NZ Treasury: Tax Outturn Data

NZ Herald: Govt deficit bigger than expected as tax trickles in

Previous related blogposts

TV3 Polling and some crystal-ball gazing

National, The Economy, and coming Speed Wobbles

.

*

.

http://fmacskasy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/the-cost-of-living1.jpg?w=722&h=510

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Political Identification Chart for the upcoming Election

MEMO TO SOME LABOUR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

Evidently, some folk in the Labour Party have difficulty in recognising who the real enemy are.

Accordingly, I have taken the step of borrowing from the World War 2 era, where the British War Office produced Enemy Plane Identification Charts to easily recognise British warplanes and not confuse them with their Nazi counterparts;

.

enemy idenification chart

.

To assist some Labour MPs, who seem to have comprehension and eyesight difficulties, I have designed an  easy-to-understand wallchart, to differentiate between the enemy (National, ACT, Peter Dunne, et al) and the Good Guys (their allies, the Greens and Mana).

It helps when you know who to ‘shoot’ at, and who to welcome as a potential Parliamentary ally. Accordingly, I present  the Friends & Foes Political Spotter Chart;

.

political friends and foes spotter chart

.

It helps the Cause not to shoot your friends.

Anyone who cannot tell the difference should not be on the political battlefield.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

A Query to the Taxpayers Union

20 March 2014 4 comments

.

Oravida - Cartoon-Rod-Emmerson-GIF

.

A comment by Sally Randell, on The Daily Blog, raised this interesting point;

Why was Judith Collins in China anyway?

She is justice Minister, not trade minister.

Cheers, coz I can’t find it via google

Which is intriguing. Ms Randell is quite correct; Collins has no portfolios that would necessitate an expensive tax-payer funded trip – complete with a coterie of staffers – to travel thousand of kilometres to China. Airline fares. Plus hotel accomodation. Plus meals.

This would have cost thousands of taxpayer’s dollars.

How many hungry children; endangered species protection;   or hip operations could this money have paid for?

Accordingly, I wrote to the Taxpayers Union on this matter;

.

FROM:   "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Judith Collins
DATE:    Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:39:48 +1300
TO:     "Taxpayers Union" <tipline@taxpayers.org.nz> 

.

Kia ora,

I am aware that your Union recently condemned the cost
incurred by Green MP, Ms Mojo Mathers, in a trip she made to
Masterton to participate in a radio interview on
disabilities.

Accordingly, will you be investigating and commenting on the
trip made by National MP and Minister, Judith Collins, for
her recent taxpayer-funded trip to China? 

Ms Collins' portfolios include  Minister for Ethnic Affairs;
  Minister of Justice; and Minister for ACC.

It is unclear what purpose was served by a trip to China as
none of her portfolios relate directly  to foreign affairs
or trade.

Will you also be investigating and commenting on the
conflict of interest posed by her visit to Orivida - a
Chinese company of which her husband is a Director?

This appears to be little more than a tax-payer funded
'junket' and I await your response to this in the light of
your critical stance taken regarding Ms Mathers' trip to
Masterton.

Regards,
-Frank Macskasy

.

Ms Mathers’ trip cost taxpayers an estimated $500-$600.

Collins’ junket reportedly cost us $36,000.

It’ll be interesting if Jordan Williams lays into Judith Collins with the same gusto he did with Green MP, Mojo Mathers.

What are my chances?!

.

*** Up date ***

.

Evidently my “chances” weren’t too flash.

This was Jordan Williams’ response to my query to him;

.

Jordan Williams - 12.2.14

.

Hi Frank,

We commented on Mojo as a result of the Herald calling us and 
asking for such.  Of course we will do the same if asked.

Regards

Jordan Williams

Executive Director  |  New Zealand Taxpayers' Union Inc.

.

So… I take it from Mr Williams’ reply that we will not be hearing from the Taxpayers’ Union unless the media asks them to comment?  And if the media doesn’t make any requests for comment – we’ll never hear from them at all, ever again?

I do believe Jordan Williams has just demonstrated – with crystal clarity – the pro-National partisanship of his “Taxpayers Union”.

.

*

.

References

TV1 News:  Key puts Collins on warning, opposition calls for sacking

Related

The Daily Blog – Chris Trotter: Dispelling The Negatives: Judith Collins refuses to cry over spilt milk

Previous related blogposts

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

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

.

*

.

Op Shopping by Tolley and Collins

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 13 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 17 March 2014

.

- Politics on Nine To Noon -

.

- Monday 17 March 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -

.

Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Winston Peters and the possible make-up of the next government. Moves to link school funding to performance.

.

radio-nz-logo-politics-on-nine-to-noon

.

Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (23′ 51″ )

  • Winston Peters, NZ First
  • Judith Collins, Orivida,
  • Helen Clark
  • Green Party transport policy
  • Hekia Parata, education policy, school fundsing system

.

= fs =

More “tricky” business – National’s election strategy now apparent?

18 March 2014 1 comment

. Dirt Unit .

On 1 March (2014), in a previous blogpost, I made the following predictions regarding the coming election campaign,

5. A dirty election campaign , including a well-known extremist right-wing blogger releasing personal information on political opponants, which will backfire badly on National,

It seems that National’s (tax-payer funded) spin doctors/media minders/political strategists have already begun their dirty-campaign to discredit their political opponants in the Labour Party. Note the common theme emerging in these media stories and public statement by National Party politicians;

. Tricky issues facing Cunliffe .

In Parliament, Craig Foss used the “tricky” phrase four times (in case anyone missed it the first time;

.

Foss, Craig - Debate on Prime Minister’s Statement .

John Key was well schooled by his media minders to drop the term into his public statements;

. 'Tricky' Cunliffe has priorities wrong - Key .

National minister, Amy Adams, used it in her press statement twice; once in the headline, and once in her text;

.

Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead

.

… but her press statement was widely released on other media, such as Scoop;

.

Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead - scoop media

.

… and here;

.

Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead - wn website

.

“Tricky”, eh?

With his usual casualness, Key began dropping it into his everyday statements,  hinting that his Party was not as “tricky” as ‘the Other lot‘;

.

Secret fundraising meals not 'tricky' - Key

.

And to really push the point home, National’s strategists made certain to  employ right wing bloggers – from the feral/psychotic (Whale Oil) to the slavishly loyal (Kiwiblog) – to keep pushing the meme.

Kiwiblog

.

kiwiblog

.

Keeping Stock

.

keeping stock blog

.

Whalesoil

.

whale shit blog

.

Homepaddock

.

home paddock blog

.

Good little foot-soldiers, doing their masters’ bidding.

Just in case anyone is thinking that this blogger is either a tad paranoid or been supping on the Blackberry Nip once too often – I’m not the only one who has been noticing National’s game-playing.

On 7 March, writing for NewstalkZB, Mike Hosking perceptively realised the political spin that was being played out in the media, and that  David Cunliffe’s reputation was firmly in the Tory’s cross-hairs;

This could not have played better for the Government. They wanted to label Cunliffe and they came up with ‘tricky’. Its short, it’s sharp, it’s effective. They came up with tricky after the baby bonus, which not only gave money to people who didn’t need money but actually didn’t give money to as many as they said it would. This was Cunliffe’s first major blow.”

The rationale for National’s strategy is fairly obvious: John Key is wholly vulnerable on issues relating to trust and truth. Dear Leader has a fairly lengthy record of broken promises; dodgy dealings; mis-representation of events; selective use of facts; convenient ‘brain fades’; and some outright lies.

So the Nats simply decided to pre-empt any potential attack on Key’s (somewhat tarnished) reputation, by  Labour’s own strategists, and got in the  first blow.

Expect the Nats to keep pounding this message – and for new, even dirtier attacks of Cunliffe, Norman, Turei, and anyone else who stands in their way for re-election.

A dirty election campaign; mixed with fear mongering and dis-information,  coupled with Key’s obvious (and somewhat bizarre) deflection with his proposed flag referendum are National’s main strategies for re-election. They have very little else to fall back on.

Certainly not their track record, over the last five-and-a-bit years.  That’s the last thing they want the public and media to focus on.

That would be embarrassing.

.

*

.

References

Manawatu Standard: Tricky issues facing Cunliffe

Parliament: Foss, Craig: Debate on Prime Minister’s Statement

TV3:  ‘Tricky’ Cunliffe has priorities wrong – Key

Beehive: Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead

Scoop media:  Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead

Wn.com: Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead

NZ City: Secret fundraising meals not ‘tricky’: Key

Newstalk ZB:  Mike’s Editorial: ‘Tricky’ Cunliffe needs to break the reputation

NBR: More tricky – Cunliffe’s role in $4m house purchase

Previous related blogposts

National, The Economy, and coming Speed Wobbles .

Other blogs

The Standard: An honest man?

.

*

.

Waiting to serve the Nats a vote of disgust

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 12 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

National’s fund-raising at Antoine’s – was GST paid?

17 March 2014 4 comments

.

Key not talking about fundraising dinner

.

On TV3′s The Nation, Key steadfastly refused to make public  the names of donors to various fund-raising events (or pay back) at Antoine’s restaurant in Parnell, Auckland.

Instead of using a Trust, where the names of donors are kept hidden, in this case Antoine’s Restaurant – whose owner is a well-known National Party supporter, Tony Astle – was the “bag man” who took the money; banked it; and then passed it on to the National Party as a donation. These donations were recorded with the Electoral Commission for 2010*and 2011*.

However – and here’s an interesting questing question that few (if any) have asked; was GST paid  by Mr Astle on any of the monies ($60,000 and $105,000) received in payment for the meals?

A donation made directly to a political Party does not incur GST. But  Inland Revenue (IRD) is quite clear of what constitutes a donation;

A donation is an unconditional gift only if the giver receives nothing in return.

But these monies were received from people attending the dinner and who paid for their meals accordingly. They received a ‘goods’ and ‘service’ in return for payment.

It is no longer an “unconditional gift”.

So those meals should have incurred GST.

(What Mr Astle then does with those monies, excluding GST,  is his business, and he subsequently gifted it to the National Party as a donation.)

Accordingly, I have made an inquiry with Inland Revenue on this matter;

.

Inland Revenue - Te Tari Taake.

Information about a business

Business or trade name: Antoine’s Restaurant
Business IRD/GST number: Not provided
Address – business: Street: 333 Parnell Road
Suburb, city or town: Parnell, Auckland
Phone number: (09) 379 8756
Mobile number: Not provided
Description of the business: restaurant
Provide your detailed information:

Kia ora Mr Taxman, It has recently been revealed in the media that Antoine’s Restaurant in Parnell, Auckland, hosted a series of fund-raising dinners on behalf of the National Party.

One dinner event, in 2010, was attended by 21 people, where each person paid $5,000 to participate in the meal. The restaurant collected $105,000 from attendees.

Another event, in 2010, a sum of $60,000 was paid to the restaurant for a similar event. Considering that the monies paid was for a meal; paid to Antoine’s directly; this appears to have been a good and service provided to paying members of the public.

Was GST paid on these transactions?

Regards,

-Frank Macskasy

.

You’ve successfully submitted your information.

Your information was received on Sunday, 9 March 2014 2:24:30 PM NZDT. This form is now completed.

Your reference number is: 208194.

It remains to be seen if Mr Astle paid GST on payments received for those meals. If 21 people paid $5,000 each, that comes to $105,000.

GST on that sum (in 2010), at 12.5%, would have amounted to $13,125.

Yet, the Donations Return for 2010 clearly shows that the full amount of $105,000 was transferred from Antoine’s/Astle to the National Party. No deduction has been made for GST.

.

*

.

* Interesting Note:

The 2011 Party Donations Return for National also includes two payment by Oravida;

.

Antoines Oravida donations 2011

.

This is the same Oravida that National Minister, Judith Collins, recently visited in China – and of which her husband is a Director. Other donors on this Return also have links to Oravida.

The 2010 National_Party_donations Return also included a donation by one, Susan Chou, who is also connected to Oravida,

.

Susan Chou donation 2010

.

When it comes to ‘tricky’ – National excels with undisputed mastery of Big Time Tricky.

.

*

.

References

TV3: Key not talking about fundraising dinner

NBR:  Key under fire for Antoine’s donations

Electoral Commission:  New Zealand National Party donations 2011.pdf

Electoral Commission: National_Party_donations_2010.pdf

IRD: Business income tax

TVNZ:  Judith Collins defiant amid claims of conflict of interest

Previous related blogposts

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

Other blogs

No Right Turn:  “Out of the blue”

.

*

.

John Key - merril lynch

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor: An idea regarding a new(ish) flag

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

.

FROM:     "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT:   Letters to the editor
DATE:      Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:42:43 +1300
TO:       "NZ Herald"  <letters@herald.co.nz> 

.

The Editor
NZ Herald

.

John Key suggests that the black and white silver fern
should be our new flag.

I have a better idea.

Why not sell the rights to re-brand our flag? That would
work in well with National's corporatisation of New Zealand
quite nicely.

Perhaps Oravida could be persuaded to sponsor our flag by
incorporating their company logo on it? That would tie in
quite nicely with Judith Collins' passionate desire to
promote our milk internationally, via her husband's company.

The tragic thing is that some hardcore National/ACT
supporters would probably think this was a great idea. It is
not.

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)

 

.

*

.

References

NZ Herald:  Should the silver fern be NZ’s new flag?

 

 

.

*

 

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Focus on Politics for 14 March 2014

.

- Focus on Politics -

.

- Friday 14 March 2014  -

.

- Brent Edwards -

.

A weekly analysis of significant political issues.

Friday after 6:30pm and Saturday at 5:10pm

This week the Prime Minister announced the election date and his plan for a referendum on the New Zealand flag. Meanwhile, Judith Collins got a roasting in the media over perceptions of conflict of interest, and from the Prime Minister in withholding information from him.

.

Radio NZ logo - Focus on Politics

.

Click to listen: Focus on Politics for 7 March 2014 ( 15′  30″ )

  • NZ flag
  • Judith Collins
  • Oravida
  • Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson
  • Cabinet Office
  • conflicts of interest
  • David Cunliffe
  • trusts

.

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ

.

.

= fs =

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 594 other followers