For a while, the news seemed dire for the Left, and impressively positive for National;
- A recent Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll put National on 49.4% versus 31.8% and 10% respectively for Labour and the Greens.
- The latest Roy Morgan Poll had National at 48%, compared to 30% and 12% for Labour and the Greens respectively.
- Annual average economic growth was 2.6% to September 2013.
- The Household Labour Force Survey for the December 2013 Quarter showed a drop in unemployment, from 6.2% to 6%.
- Dairy prices (and thusly export reciepts) continued to rise.
- The trade deficit continued to slowly improve.
- And there was just enough ambiguity around recent child poverty statistics to allow National, and its drooling sycophants, to claim that it was no longer a growing problem (it was simply a constant problem).
However, is everything as it really seems? Is the news all rosy and are we rushing head-first toward the “promised land“, the much heralded, Neo-liberal Nirvana?
Or, are dark clouds beginning to appear on the horizon?
New Zealand’s economic recovery is predicated mostly on the Christchurch re-build, and piggy-backing on the global economic situation picking up. As Treasury reported in 2012;
The Canterbury rebuild is expected to be a significant driver of economic growth over the next five to ten years. The timing and speed of the rebuild is uncertain, in part due to ongoing aftershocks, but the New Zealand Treasury expects it to commence around mid-to-late 2012.
As predicted, the ASB/Main Report Regional Economic Scoreboard recently revealed that Canterbury had over-taken Auckland as the country’s main center for economic growth.
Meanwhile, the same report outlines that Auckland’s “growth” is predicated on rising house prices. Economic “growth” based on property speculation is not growth – it is a bubble waiting to burst.
The other causal factor for our recovery is international. The IMF reported only last month;
Global activity strengthened during the second half of 2013, as anticipated in the October 2013 World Economic Outlook (WEO). Activity is expected to improve further in 2014–15, largely on account of recovery in the advanced economies. Global growth is now projected to be slightly higher in 2014, at around 3.7 percent, rising to 3.9 percent in 2015, a broadly unchanged outlook from the October 2013 WEO. But downward revisions to growth forecasts in some economies highlight continued fragilities, and downside risks remain...
Being mostly an exporter of commodities (meat, dairy products, unprocessed timber, etc), New Zealand cannot but help ride the wave of an upturn in the global economy as increasing economic activity creates a demand for our products.
Any economic recovery, as such, has little to do with the incumbent government – just as the incumbent governments in 2008 and 2009 had little to do with the GFC and resulting recession (though National’s tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 were irresponsible in the extreme, reliant as they were on heavy borrowings from overseas). We are simply “riding the economic wave”.
As the global up-turn generates growth in New Zealand’s economy, paradoxically that leaves us vulnerable to new, negative, economic factors;
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. As Bernard Hickey reported in Interest.co.nz;
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.
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.
Even the fear-threat of higher mortgage interest rates may already be pushing home owners to lock-in fixed mortgages. Kiwibank for example, currently has a Fixed Five year rate at 6.9%. ANZ has a five year rate at 7.2%. Expect these rates to rise after March.
If home owners are already fixing their mortgages at these higher rates, this may explain the fall in consumer confidence, as the Herald wrote on 20 February,
New Zealand consumer confidence fell from its highest level in seven years this month, while remaining elevated, amid a pickup in inflation expectations and the prospect of interest rate increases.
It may also explain, in part, this curious anomaly which recently featured in the news cycle,
The Herald report goes on to state,
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.
Treasury officials said some of the lower GST take was due to earthquake related refunds, and that the shortfall in Pay As You Earn might be short-lived. The corporate tax take shortfall was smaller than in the previous month…
- A drop in GST would be utterly predictable if consumer spending was falling.
- Personal income tax would be falling if employers were cutting back on part-time work available. Which indeed seems to be the case, according to the latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) Poll on unemployment,
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.
Less wages equals less spent in the economy and less PAYE and GST collected by the government.
- This would also account for the drop in corporate tax take falling by 4.9%.
The effect of the Reserve Bank’s decision to begin raising interest rates will be to dampen economic activity and consumer demand. This will be bad news for National.
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. If we cannot pay our way in the world through exports, that will worsen our Balance of Trade; in turn risking our international credit rating; which in turn can impact negatively on the cost of borrowing from off-shore (the lower our credit-rating, the higher interest we pay to borrow, as we are considered a higher lending risk).
This, too, will affect what we pay for our mortgages and capital for business investment.
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.
Less people employed or a reduction on work hours for part-time employees will also result in a lower tax take.
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.
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.
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?
8. Expect one or more credit rating agencies (Fitch, Moodies, Standard and Poors) to put New Zealand on a negative credit watch.
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.
Interestingly, the “Economy” category also included the social issue of “Poverty / The gap between the rich and the poor”. 16% believed that “Poverty / The gap between the rich and the poor”was a major factor within the economic situation – a significant sub-set of the 42%.
Add that 16% to the 21% considering social issues to be the number one priority, and we see the number of respondents in this category increasing to 37%. That is core Labour/Green/Mana territory.
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.”
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.
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.
Since 2008, New Zealand’s sovereign debt has increased six-fold – made worse in part by two ill-conceived and ultimately unaffordable tax cuts. Those tax cuts were, in essence, electoral bribes made by John Key to win the 2008 general election. (Labour’s paying down of massive debts it had inherited from National in the 1990s, plus posting nine consecutive surpluses, had come around to bite Cullen on his bum. Taxpayers were demanding “a slice the action” by way of tax cuts.)
That debt will eventually have to be repaid. Especially if, as some believe, another global financial shock is possible – even inevitable. With a $60 billion dollar debt hanging over our heads, we are not well-placed to weather another global economic shock. In fact, coupled with private debt, New Zealand is badly exposed in this area (as the OECD stated, in the quote below).
So the “good news” currently hitting the headlines is not so “good” after all, and many of the positive indicators have a nasty ‘sting in the tail’. As the OECD recently reported,
The New Zealand economy is beginning to gain some momentum, with post‑earthquake reconstruction, business investment and household spending gathering pace. Risks to growth remain, however, stemming from high private debt levels, weak foreign demand, large external imbalances, volatile terms of trade, a severe drought and an exchange rate that appears overvalued. The main structural challenge will be to create the conditions that encourage resources to shift towards more sustainable sources of prosperity. Incomes per head are well below the OECD average, and productivity growth has been sluggish for a long time. Lifting living standards sustainably and equitably will require structural reforms to improve productivity performance and the quality of human capital.
As the election campaign heats up, expect the following;
- Greater media scrutiny on National’s track record,
- The public to become more disenchanted with Key’s governance as economic indicators worsen and impact on their wallets and purses,
- National (and its sycophantic supporters) continue to blame welfare beneficiaries; the previous Labour government; the GFC and resulting recession; and other “external factors” for their lack-lustre performance,
- Key and various business figures to become more strident in their attacks on Labour and the Greens,
- A dirty election campaign , including a well-known extremist right-wing blogger releasing personal information on political opponants, which will backfire badly on National,
- National to fall in the polls; NZ First will cross the 5% threshold; and Labour/Greens/Mana to form the next government, with Peters either sitting on the cross benches, or taking on a ministerial portfolio outside Cabinet.
So it’s not the Left that should be worried.
National is on shakier ground than many realise.
Fairfax Media: National on wave of optimism – poll
NZ Herald: Economic growth hits 4-year high
Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey: December 2013 quarter
Fairfax Media: Dairy prices squash trade deficit
Fairfax Media: Inequality: Is it growing or not?
NZ Treasury: Recent Economic Performance and Outlook
Fairfax media: Canterbury overtakes Auckland in economic survey
Reserve Bank: Price stability promotes a sustainable expansion
Statistics NZ: Unemployment December 2013 Quarter
Fairfax media: Public debt climbs by $27m a day
NZ Herald: Govt debt – it’s the trend that’s the worry
NZ Herald: Cullen – Tax cuts but strict conditions
Previous related blogposts
The Daily Blog: Latest Roy Morgan Poll shows the Labour funk
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 February 2014.
= fs =
Sometimes, being a mischief-maker can have it’s pit-falls…
Case in point – Kiwiblog administrator, David Farrar, who at the end of January, posted a story on a “leaked” Green Party draft Party List for this year’s election. David wrote,
“I’ve been leaked a copy of
the draftan unoffical Green Party List. This is the version done by the hierarchy and leadership. The initial draft list is done by the hierarchy and then members then get to vote on this, and tweak it. They often do make some changes, but the bulk of the rankings don’t change much.” [sic]
David Farrar then published the List rankings, complete with promotions and demotions. (Though his blogpost wasn’t entitled “Two Greens MPs facing demotion with Green Party List”. The more sensationalist, oily heading of “Two Greens MPs facing sacking with Green Party List” was used instead.)
Only trouble is – none of it was true. Someone was either playing silly-buggers or David Farrar was telling porkies.
My ten cents plus 15% GST is on the former; this was someone playing David Farrar for their unknown agenda. Why do I believe that the Kiwiblog editor wasn’t deliberately spreading lies (despite the mis-leading headline to the original blogpost)?
Because David Farrar is no Cameron Slater.
When a right wing blogger publishes a damning piece demolishing another right wing activist’s (Luigi Wewege) reputation for telling outright lies;
- then that speaks well for his credibility. (That’s not to say David won’t present a story biased according to his own experiences, beliefs, and worldview – but then, what right or left wing blogger doesn’t? And yes, that includes me.)
On 10 February, David Farrar published an updated blogpost on this story, stating,
“I published last week a draft Green Party list. The Greens said it was an entirely unofficial list, and was not the list that the hierarchy and electorate delegates put together for members to vote on. That is correct, as that list is yet to be drawn up. But in political parties it is not unusual for different factions to start circulating what they see as their desired list.”
This bit is pretty much on the nail. I recall my own participation in Alliance List Ranking meetings. Various factions would draw up their own lists; discuss them; pass them around; lobby for support… Until the day of Regional List Ranking selection and it came down to delegates voting according to their electorate wishes. Some of the “pre-determined” list rankings were successful – but most were not. (After all, only one person can sit in each ranked slot.)
David Farrar should have known this because the Green Party selection is even more direct, transparent, and democratic than the Alliance. Or the new Labour Party voting process for leadership contests.
In fact, the Green Party is probably the most open and democratic of this country’s political parties. At the other end of the spectrum is ACT, where Leaders and candidates are selected by the Party’s Board of Directors. ACT members have zero say in the selection process.
So it was hardly surprising that David Farrar offered up this explanation,
“A manager with the parliamentary party has said on the record that the parliamentary leadership and senior staff have not had any involvement with the unofficial list that was sent to me. They can’t rule out that someone at Parliament hasn’t compiled their own wish list, and been pushing it – but they are unaware of any activity like that and do not sanction it. I believe those assurances.”
The Green Party confirmed to me, in writing that “pre-selected lists” do not exist,
"Our party is proud of our committment to our internal democracy. Appropriate decision-making is one of the pillars our our party's charter. We take this committment seriously as Co-Convenors and elected representatives of the party. Recently a blog site, and reports by the mainstream media, claimed to have a copy of our draft list - the ranked list of MP's that the party devises that informs which candidates are elected into parliament once the party vote is counted after the election. The draft list is a fiction - the party list formation has not yet begun. Our party uses a participatory approach to develop our party list. [...] We can expect an unprecedented level of scrutiny, interest, and, from some, attack on our internal democracy and the party in general this year. The media, commentators, bloggers, and other political parties are all interested in our party list. Given this interest, we can expect some misreporting of our party processes and list-ranking processes..."
One part of that statement leaps out at me; “We can expect an unprecedented level of scrutiny, interest, and, from some, attack on our internal democracy and the party in general this year…”
What an odd world we live in when the political Party with the most democratic and transparent candidate selection process is heavily scrutinised (and often criticised) – whilst other Parties – where a culture of transparency and democratic involvement by rank-and-file members is not so well developed – do not suffer the same level of scrutiny and criticism.
In fact, this blogger has not read one single MSM story or commentatory criticising ACT’s closed candidate selection process. It seems almost an accepted feature of our political system that this kind of secretiveness is “the norm” and the Green’s willingness to be open is “unnatural“.
If such be the case, and I have to choose between “the norm” and “unnatural” – I’ll take “unnatural“, any day.
David Farrar concluded by stating,
“I have no reason however to doubt the source [of the leaked "draft Party List] has said anything untrue, and that they did not receive the list from someone in Parliament. I won’t print anything I believe to be untrue. The source has been reliable in the past. Also I do apply my own judgement to a degree and the rankings in the unofficial list do meld with general consensus around the beltway around individual MPs.”
David Farrar may insist that he will not “print anything I believe to be untrue”.
But he certainly didn’t bother checking the facts first and foremost with the Green Party prior to committing to publication.
If anyone should understand the Green’s almost fetish-like observance for democratic and transparent participation, it should be David Farrar. God knows he’s been around “the beltway” long enough.
Perhaps Mr Farrar should start questioning “ the source” of the leaked “draft”. Because it looks like he’s been ‘played’ by someone with their own agenda.
Yup, it must be election year…
[Disclosure: this blogger supported the Green Party at the 2011 Election]
Radio NZ: ACT Party elects new leader
Kiwiblog: Not in a relationship! (5 Nov 2013)
Kiwiblog: Two Greens MPs facing sacking with Green Party List (31 Jan 2014)
Kiwiblog: More on the Greens list (10 Feb 2014)
Previous related blogpost
2013 – The Year that Was (Scroll down to: Honest Blogging by a Rightwing Blogger Award)
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 February 2014.
= fs =
- Politics on Nine To Noon -
- Monday 3 February 2014 -
- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -
Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,
Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams ( 19′ 46″ )
- The latest TV3 poll says the gap between National and Labour/Green is too close to call.
- ACT party elect a new leader and a new candidate for Epsom.
= fs =
The Green Party is considering further action on the problematic issue of deep-sea drilling of our coasts. Environmental spokesperson on Mining and Toxics, Gareth Hughes writes,
The Government is currently taking bids from oil companies to explore 189,000 square kilometres of our coastal waters.
The Government should know that Kiwis don’t want their beaches threatened by the risks of oil drilling, so we’ve set up a competing bid, the Kiwibid to allow Kiwis to voice their opposition to these plans.
If you’re ready to take action on deep sea oil drilling, join me for a live online Q and A session about what’s happening and how you can help. Join the Q and A session to discuss ways to encourage New Zealanders to sign up to the Kiwibid, and find out other ways we can work together to stop oil drilling.
When: Next Wednesday, 26 June at 8:00pm
Where: At your computer, live and online
Watch the livestream online: Here
If you have questions about deep sea oil drilling and how you can help, I would love to hear them.
Email me your questions (email@example.com) then tune in to see the answers.
Thanks, and I hope you can join me next Wednesday.
Deep sea drilling is an issue – and potential crisis – that I believe has not yet filtered into the public consciousness (too much bloody X Factor, Seven Sharp, and cooking porn on TV). Should a worst case scenario come to pass, our coastline could end up facing a crisis surpassing that of the Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010.
Consider for a moment that it took the most technologically advanced nation on this planet; with almost unlimited resources and wealth; nearly three months to cap the oil gush.
This was my suggestion to the Green Party on this problematic issue,
Like many New Zealanders, I’ve taken the stranding of the m.v. Rena on 11 October 2011, and the subsequent oil spill, as a clear warning that New Zealand is incapable of containing such a disaster. Regardless of the mealy-mouthed reassurances by National ministers (none of whom have soiled their own hands to help clean the East Coast beaches of Rena’s oil), it’s fairly evident that if we couldn’t cope with the Rena – then a Deepwater Horizon type disaster would be utterly beyond our resources.
An oil spill of Deepwater Horizon proportions – which took the Americans EIGHTYSEVEN days to contain – would be an immense enviromental disaster of our coast.
So how to prevent National from implementing it’s policy of permitting deep sea drilling/prospecting?
1. Put all oil companies on notice that any contracts will be cancelled by an incoming Labour-Green-Mana government and that there will be no compensation.
This gives them fair warning of potential change of government policy.
After all, if National can change legislation such as labour laws, which previous governments have implemented, then a progressive government has the same sovereign right.
2. Set up a Crown-owned entity which will have all off-shore leases transferred into their ownership. This crown company should be independent; funded through the Remuneration Authority (so that political interference can’t choke of funding for company directors); and a contract made between Government and this Crown company to hold all leases in perpetuity. The Board of Directors should comprise of Iwi, environmental groups, local bodies, and representatives of other groups. If National can attempt to commit future governments to a contract with Skycity to build a new conference centre, then a center-left government should be able to do likewise.
If Option 2 is unworkable, then option 3,
3. Demand a US$1 billion bond per oil drilling facility; demand that each company commit to long-term corporate-entity representation in New Zealand (so legal papers can be served locally, if necessary); demand that all disputes be covered under NZ jurisdiction; demand that fully staffed, state-of-the-art oil containment technology be held in each distinct area where deep sea drilling is being undertaken. And any other safety, legal, financial matters not covered here.
4. Hold accountable every Minister of the Crown who signs a deep-water oil drilling consent. Accountability to include being charged with negligence, malfeasance, and contributing to any resulting oil spill. Prison terms to be considered.
Option 4 is particularly relevant. Considering that the Pike River Mine disaster was a direct consequence of National’s “reforms” to the Mines Inspectorate in the early 1990s; and considering that none of the Ministers responsible were ever help accountable (Kate Wilkinson’s token resignation being only a sacrificial goat); and considering that 29 men lost their lives as a result of National’s policies, it is evident that government ministers need to be held to account for their actions .
I especially have a fondness for Option 4: Hold accountable every Minister of the Crown who signs a deep-water oil drilling consent… Prison terms to be considered.
It is high time that government ministers who enact legislation that eventuate in dire consequences, should be help to account.
If government Ministers were held personally responsible it might slow down the process of so-called “reforms” and reduce Bills passed under “Urgency”.
After all, National demands the same responsibility from the rest of us.
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 June 2013.
= fs =
In January this year, Labour, Green, NZ First, and Mana parties held an inquiry (after the Parliamentary Finance Select committee rejected a request for a similar investigation) into the loss of 40,000 jobs from the manufacturing sector in the past four years.
Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Exporters tell inquiry of threat from high dollar
In case anyone believes National’s claim that this was a “political stunt” (see: Opposition determined to manufacture a crisis), the comments from manufacturers who participated in the Inquiry took it deadly seriously. Whilst politicians like Joyce suckle on the tax-payer’s teat, exporters and manufacturers actually have to earn a living.
They were not impressed and made their feelings known;
“We’re told to get smarter and I find that irritating and insulting. I’m about as smart as they get in my little field. How the hell do these people get smarter? For a politician to tell somebody else to get smarter – he’s risking his life.”
A W Fraser;
“We know that – we’ve known that for a very, very long time. Of course we get efficient, of course we try and work as hard as we can to be efficient – it’s the only way we can exist. It drives me insane when people say, ‘Get efficient’. What do you think we are – idiots? We’re not.”
The Inquiry made its findings known;
Recommendation 1: The government adopt macroeconomic settings that are
supportive of manufacturing and exporting, including:
- a fairer and less volatile exchange rate through reforms to monetary
- refocusing capital investment into the productive economy, rather
than housing speculation;
- and lowering structural costs in the economy, such as electricity prices.
Recommendation 2: New Zealand businesses are encouraged to innovate.
Research and Development tax credits, with a stronger emphasis on
development, should be introduced as part of a package for innovative
manufacturing, supporting exports and quality jobs.
Recommendation 3: The Government adopt a national procurement policy
that favours Kiwi-made and ensures that New Zealand manufacturers enjoy
the same advantages as their international competitors.
Recommendation 4: The tax system is used to boost investment in new
technology and machinery. An accelerated depreciation regime should be
implemented for the manufacturing sector.
Recommendation 5: A wide range of funding is available for manufacturers to
invest in their business and employees. Measures to encourage the availability
of venture capital and mezzanine funding should be continued, including
government funds through commercial-managers.
Recommendation 6: Businesses are supported to achieve 21st Century
organisation and practices. Policies such as NZTE’s focus on Lean
Management, and the work of the High Performance Work Initiative should
be extended. Apprenticeship training support for the sector should be
Recommendation 7: Manufacturers are given a voice in FTA negotiations.
From the outset of FTA negotiations the interests of manufacturing must be
explicitly addressed. Negotiating teams must keep the sector informed.
Recommendation 8: Measures to encourage foreign direct investment in
manufacturers should be consistent with the strategic direction of New
Zealand’s manufacturing and exports.
Recommendation 9: Government should lower compliance costs wherever
they can be consistent with maintaining New Zealand’s values including
workers’ rights, environmental standards, and product quality assurance.
Recommendation 10: Manufacturing’s ability to create jobs and boost exports
should be recognised in national, regional and industry policies.
Recommendation 11: Taskforces of government local government,
businesses and unions, be established to assess and act on new business
and job opportunities in the wake of major closures or restructuring in the
For full details of each Recommendation, read the full report.
Source: Manufacturing Inquiry Report
Joyce’s response? There was no crisis.
“Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and Mana are determined to manufacture a crisis in manufacturing. The massive problem for them is that while individual firms face real challenges at different times, no crisis exists.”
Acknowledgement: Scoop – Opposition determined to manufacture a crisis
Dear Leader also made the same astounding assertion,
“Quite honestly there is no manufacturing crisis in New Zealand; there are challenges for some manufacturers. ”
Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Opposition manufacturing inquiry report released
There we have it: no crisis exists.
40,000 jobs lost since 2008 – but Key and Joyce insist, no crisis exists.
It is the measure of this shonkey, incompetant, self-serving government that National ministers can deny the existence of a crisis when companies are folding and 40,000 people have lost their jobs.
I wonder if Key and Joyce’s attitude would be different if Labour were in power and 40,000 jobs had been lost in the last four years under theitr watch? Would they still insist there was no crisis exists ?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
= fs =
- Citizen A -
- 13 June 2013 -
- Chris Trotter & David Slack -
Citizen A: With Martyn Bradbury, Chris Trotter, and David Slack discuss the following issues:
- Why are Labour and the Greens clobbering Peter Dunne as hard as they can – shouldn’t Dunne be given some slack for assisting a journalist to report on a matter of huge public interest?
- Also discussed, has the GCSB been interacting with the United States spy system PRISM?
- And what’s the state of Auckland’s Unitary Plan and are evictions being planned for state house tenants in Glenn Innes?
Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)
= fs =
A letter to the editor from an obvious National Party supporter, published in the Dominion Post, on 30 April,
The body language says it all
I wouldn’t mind betting that it was the Greenies who hatched the power price policy stunt and the Labourites who swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. The body language at the announcement was telling. Though this matter was under discussion for some time, the announcement’s timing was pure coincidence, so they said. Pull the other one. The announcement of this economic sabotage was timed to create maximum confusion in the market. Methinks the perpetrators underestimate the populace’s intelligence. This stunt, if it were ever implemented, will have serious consequences throughout the economy, including power outages and higher taxes. It can’t be compared to Pharmac. New Zealanders can tell a red herring when they see one and this red herring might yet turn and bite its parents.
My response, emailed to the editor, today,
from: Frank M <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to: Dominion Post <email@example.com>
date: Wed, May 1, 2013 at 10:54 AM
subject: Letters to the Editor
Martin Stern rails against the Labour-Green proposal for NZ Power, a single-buyer desk for electricity, which would bulk-buy from generators and sell at a cheaper rate to domestic consumers.
Why is Mr Stern opposed to cheaper electricity – when commercial users have enjoyed cheaper power since 2000 – subsidised by domestic users?
Instead of railing against “Greenies” and fear-mongering with silly references to “economic sabotage” – he should ask why power prices are still rising for domestic users when the wholesale electricity price was at $73 per MWh, less than the $131/MWh last year?
His idolisation and concern for “the market” is misplaced. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to anything/everything Green and Labour, and actually understood that he might benefit from a single-buyer desk for electricity – he might be less inclined to pointless jingoism.
Does Mr Stern really think that big business; electricity oligopolies; share broking firms; and merchant bankers are as concerned for his well-being as he is for theirs?
Mr Stern sez this cannot be likened to Pharmac. Why not? Can it be likened to other single buyer-desks such as Fonterra and Zespri?
Funny how it seems to work for business – yet Mr Stern would deny the same purchasing power for domestic users.
(address & phone number supplied)
Isn’t it amazing that National Party supporters are so wedded to their political tribalism that they’d rather pay for higher power prices than challenge the existing system?
= fs =
In politics, there are several ways to discredit your opponant or critic;
David Lange was the past-master of the one-liner riposte. His classic, “I can smell the uranium on your breath”, is now firmly ingrained in our culture.
- Attack Reputations
A favourite of Robert Muldoon, who had little reservation in undermining, or even destroying, a person’s reputation if they crossed him.
- Buy them off
Our best and most experienced journalists gave up their professions to join the Dark Side of politics, and become Press Secretaries and spin doctors for politicians, government departments, SOEs, and corporations.
Some of the most well-known media names from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s now work for employers who do not want the public truthfully informed on certain matters.
- Deride & Dismiss
If you can successfully paint your critic or political opponant as a “loony”, incompetant, naive, or possessing some other faulty character-trait, then you may persuade the public not to listen to them.
The Right deride the Greens as “tree hugging socialists” – and other epithets – when attacking their policies. Even when said policies are clearly delineated and sheer common sense – the derision and dismissive retorts are by now an automatic kneejerk from the Right. No thought required.
- Off to the Gulag!
Very popular with the old USSR, and still in heavy usage in the last remaining Stalinist regime in North Korea. The Chinese have their own Labour Camps (prisons) for their political prisoners. And even the United States – the Land of the Free – has their own dirty little ‘secret’ at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Probably not feasible for dear little New Zealand… yet.
National’s tax-payer funded spin doctors have been working overtime this year on new angles for their Ministerial Masters to use to dismiss the growing clamour of criticism against their policies, and more increasingly, criticism of John Key’s style of leadership.
With National dropping in the polls and Key’s popularity not what it once was, it is fairly obvious that critics are starting to hit home – and the Tory hierarchy is worried.
One response has been the Deride & Dismiss tactic.
Increasingly, Dear Leader and his ministers have taken to referring to critics and political opponants as “conspiracy theorists” – a jibe designed to make someone appear to be on the fringe of politics; slightly unstable; not thinking rationally; and espousing ideas unsupported by facts.
It’s like suggesting that your opponant or critics believes in fairy tales. And it’s becoming more and more common,
“Mr Key is rejecting all their allegations.
“It went through the normal tendering process, Sky City was the only bidder prepared to look at a deal that didn’t involve government resources. They can run around as much as they like looking for conspiracies but they’re never going to find one”. ” – John Key, MSN News, 19 April, 2012
“ But despite the paper, he denied there was any connection between him calling off the business case and SkyCity indicating it was considering extending its centre. “Not despite your wildest conspiracies, no,” he said. ” – Dominion Post, 24 April 2012
“But I would say it’s a really positive thing to do. You can make a difference. And it’s like the convention centre. People want to chase their tails in conspiracies. There is no conspiracy. The conspiracy is we haven’t had a convention centre for decades. We will get 160,000 visitor-nights. They will spend roughly twice as much as everybody else. The Government has got no money to pour into it.” – John Key, The Listener, 23 June 2012
“There is no conspiracy here. There’s a failure by an individual, there’s a cock-up, but there’s not a conspiracy.” [re, GCSB] – John Key, TV3, 29 September 2012
“Yeah the conspiracy theorists won’t like it they’ll be on TV tonight saying ‘yeah you know Dotcom’ and all this sort of carry on but they live in fantasy land.” – John Key, TV3, 1 October 2012
“There’ll always be conspiracy theorists out there but I’m interested in jobs, not people who live in Fantasyland and want to make things up.” – John Key, Fairfax media, 2 October 2012
” Meanwhile Mr Key is writing off the concerns around Dotcom as “conspiracy theories”.
“I’d caution New Zealanders not to buy into conspiracy theories too much,” he says. ” – John Key, TV3, 4 October 2012
Even Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald columnist and bearer of the Honorary Captain Key De-Coder Ring, joined in to support National’s spin-dictoring.
“The conspiracy allegations against Key are over-egged.” – Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald, 3 October 2011
As these quotes show, Key has been using the “conspiracy” pejorative as often as he can get away with it.
Without indulging in conspiracy theories, one could almost come to the conclusion that “Conspiracy” and “conspiracy theorists” are the magic words in 2012 – as determined by National’s back-room spin doctors. These guys have been racking up serious over-time to create the right things for Key and other National ministers to say.
Anyone criticising Dear Leader is engaging in “conspiracies” and accusations against National are “conspiracy theories”.
Otherwise it’s off to the Gulag for you!
Meanwhile, here is one example of pre-scripted spin being delivered incompetantly, by an incompetant Minister. Listen and weep, for our taxes are paying for this woman’s salary,
= fs =
A contributor to The Standard blog, ‘Jenny’, made a very simple – but insightful post, detailing National’s track record in the last three and a half years,
“ This is a government determined to gift everything they could possibly wish to the rich and powerful, and on behalf of this greedy sector force onto the rest of New Zealanders.
More junk food
A fire sale of public assets
Less civil liberty
More toadying to foreign powers
More toadying to foreign corporates
More spying snooping and videoing of New Zealand citizens
More tax cuts
More job cuts
More benefit cuts
Have they actually done anything worthwhile or positive? “
Jenny posits the question, “Have they actually done anything worthwhile or positive? “
Try as one might, despite inane rhetoric and vague promises, no National Party MP, functionary, or groupie could possibly point to any success achieved by John Key and his colleagues.
Not . One.
National’s “Master Plan” for economic growth and job creation seems to revolve around four events – none of which have been particularly successful,
- The rebuild of Christchurch. Despite being an opportunity to upskill 160,000 unemployed and a major boost to the economy – nothing much is happening. Instead, National is content to allow tradespeople from overseas to come into the country and carry out the work. With few apprenticeships, we are woefully unprepared for the looming demand for tradespeople – a damning lack of planning by National and it’s naive reliance on the “free market” to provide skilled workers.
- The Rugby World Cup – far from being a major boost, seems to have contributed very little to our economy. In the last three months of 2011, GDP grew just 0.3% – half that predicted by economists. It seems that Dr Sam Richardson’s prediction, that $700 million was a hopelessly unrealistic expectation proved to be unerringly correct. Who is ultimately responsible for National throwing $200-plus million of our tax dollars at this exercise in outrageous extravagance? Murray McCully? Steven Joyce? John Key?
- The Sky City/Convention Centre deal. Our illustrious Dear Leader promised 1,800 jobs from this planned project, in return for re-writing gambling legislation and permitting Sky City to increase pokie machine and gaming tables by up to 500. Potential social fall-out surrounding increased problem gambling was casually dismissed by both John Key and Sky City’s CEO Nigel Morrison. Unfortunately, as with most of John Key’s figures and promises, the expectation of 1,800 jobs was as fictitious as much of what he says.
- Asset sales. With weak growth; a stagnant economy; high unemployment; and New Zealanders continuing to escape to Australia, National’s one (and only) trump card appears to be the partial-privatisation of five state owned corporations. As has been pointed out, ad infinitum, floating shares in these SOEs will not contribute to economic growth; nor create new jobs (in fact, it is likely to result in redunancies, if past privatisations are any guide); nor create real wealth. It simply shuffles bits of paper (shares) around from investor-to-investor-to-investor. And if investors need to borrow to buy these shares, we are using overseas funds for speculative purposes. Which sounds suspiciously like our love-affair with speculative housing-”investments”.
As Business NZ has stated, our economic growth has been ‘unspectacular’. And that’s coming from one of National’s own business allies. (Just as Business NZ seemed somewhat unimpressed as National’s lack of planning and direction last year, just prior to the election.)
Otherwise, National’s Grand Plan can be summed up as a reliance on a “two pronged” approach to growing the economy; a hands-off “free market” approach, and tax cuts. Not only have neither worked terribly well, but these measures have been counter-productive.
Tax-cuts gave massive increases in income to the richest 10% of New Zealanders – whilst the GST increase has made life harder for the poorest and lowest-paid in this country.
Right wing cheer-leaders who bleat on about their rich masters “working hard and deserving increased wealth” may be aspirationists who one day hope to become one of the Master Class – but I hope they’re not holding their breath. That day will be a long time coming.
Tax cuts have also resulted in a government budget blow-out. Borrowing $380 million a week, whilst claiming that National is “not borrowing for tax cuts is credible only to National; their salivating sycophants; and low-information voters (for whom “The GC” is the height of documentary-making).
Tax cuts have also not delivered the promised boost to the economy by increasing spending and consumption. This is not surprising, as the tax cuts were given to the wrong sector of society.
High income, wealthy, asset-rich families tend to use their tax-cuts to reduce debt or spend on investments (shares, kiwisaver, etc) that do not directly help small businesses.
Low income, poor, families spend everything. These are the the people who will buy more food to put on their tables; clothes; shoes; medication; and other consumables. These are the people that small businesses rely on on for their custom. And the retail supermarket sector is suffering a massive drop accordingly.
Middle income families continue to stuggle not to fall behind. Any tax increase they may have gained has been swallowed up by increased gst, government charges, increased user-pays, etc.
I think most people have since ‘twigged’ that National has indeed borrowed for tax cuts. And we’re having to pay back those massive borrowings by cutting services; slashing the state sector; and selling our state assets.
2. Asset Sales
National’s asset sales programme has been an unmitigated disaster from Day One.
Since National first announced their decision to partially privatise Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand, this issue has been opposed by the public.
National has used it’s so-called “mandate” from last year’s election to proceed with their policy, and passed enabling legislation only last Tuesday (26 June).
Any notion of a “mandate” is shaky and open to interpretation.
Whilst the National-ACT-Peter Dunne Coalition has 61 seats, and Labour, NZ First, Greens, Mana, and Maori Party have 60 seats – the number of Party votes cast tells a different story.
|National , ACT, United Future Party Votes||Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori Party, Mana, and Conservative Party votes|
National – 1,058,636
Labour – 614,937
ACT – 23,889
Greens – 247,372
United Future – 13,443
NZ First – 147,544
Maori Party – 31,982
Mana – 24,168
Conservative Party* – 59,237
TOTAL – 1,095,968
Total – 1,125,240
The irony of the Conservative Party gaining more Party Votes than ACT and United Future combined – yet winning no seats in Parliament – will not escape most fair-minded people. Adding the Conservative’s 59,237 party votes to the anti-asset sale bloc, yields a majority of voters opposed to National’s programme.
It is only the current rules of MMP (now under review) that allows this quirk to take place.
Add to that, opinion poll after opinion poll showing 60% to 80% of respondents opposed to asset sales, and National’s mantra that “We have a Mandate” becomes patently untenable.
A recent NZ Herald poll, where respondents were asked to leave a comment, as well as a “Yay” or “Nay” vote yielded results that were thoroughly predictable,
The National Party understands this only too well. Hence their desperate, ad hoc schemes to bribe the public with all manner of ‘sweeteners’,
- giving first option to buy shares to “mum and dad” investors
- a bribe of “loyalty” shares
- promise of “affordable” shares for investors
There is a considerable degree of arrogance in National’s pursuing of their asset sales, despite considerable public anger.
” They don’t fully understand what we’re doing. My experience is when I take audiences through it, like I did just before, no-one actually put up their hand and asked a question. “
On 3 May, as a 5,000 person march wound it’s way through Wellington, John Key grinned to reporters and cheekily said,
” How many people did they have? Where was it? Nope wasn’t aware of it. So look, a few thousand people walking down the streets of Wellington isn’t going to change my mind. “
” No, um, and with the greatest respect to your financial literacy, you’ve proven that you don’t actually have any. “
Key said pretty much the same about Greens co-leader, Russel Norman,
” With the greatest respect to [Green Party co-leader Russel Norman], I’m sure he’s a great bloke, he doesn’t know much about economics. “
It is fairly obvious that Key has very little time for anyone who opposes his views. In fact, he gets downright belligerent and derisive.
Who does he remind me of? Someone else who used to belittle and deride anyone who dared disagree with him – especially in economic matters. Who else was famous for his arrogance? Another Prime Minister,
Despite public opposition and several valid commercial reasons made clear that these sales will be financially disadvantageous to our economy, National carries on, oblivious to all but it’s own ideological fanaticism.
This is a Party totally out of touch with the rest of the country.
In 2008, the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) hit the world with a social and economic recession not seen since the 1920s/30s. Coporations like Lehmann Bros collapsed. General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection. Others had to be bailed out with billions of taxpayers’ dollars. Millions lost their jobs and homes, and unemployment skyrocketed. Europe is tottering on the brink of a domino-like collapse of their currency.
When criticism is levelled at National’s inability to address our stagnating economy, John Key and Bill English point to the GFC, stating it’s not their fault,
“We did inherit a pretty bad situation with the global financial crisis.” – Source
“This is a global debt crisis and you certainly wouldn’t want to add more debt at that time unnecessarily.” – Source
“The economic downturn that may occur on a pronounced basis in Europe is factored into our books.” – Source
But when it comes to those who are the casualties of the economic downturn; the unemployed, National suddenly sings a different tune when it comes to Cause-and-Effect,
“The Government is considering requiring beneficiaries to immunise their children.” – Source
“Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday said contraception would eventually be fully funded for female beneficiaries and their 16 to 19-year-old daughters. ” – Source
“Prime Minister John Key says beneficiaries who resort to food banks do so out of their own “poor choices” rather than because they cannot afford food.” – Source
“Under the Government’s new youth welfare policy, announced by Prime Minister John Key at the weekend, 16- and 17-year-old beneficiaries would receive a payment card for food and clothes from approved stores.” – Source
And perhaps – worst of all – was this piece of vileness from Finance Minister, Bill English,
[click on image to go to TV3 website]
English’s smirking disdain, for all those New Zealanders who have lost their jobs due to the global financial crisis, was plain to see. Shame on him; his revolting attitude; and shame on every person in his electorate who voted for this arrogant little man.
The National Creed
1. The Global Financial Crisis – a handy excuse for poor economic policies and mismanagement.
2. The Unemployed – a handy scapegoat for National’s inability to grow the economy and create new jobs.
3. If in doubt, never take responsibilty; refer to #1 and #2.
- Hakes Marine; 15 redundancies
- Telecom; 400 redundancies
- Brightwater Engineering; 40 redundancies
- Pernod Ricard New Zealand; 13 redundancies
- Depart of Corrections; 130 redundancies
- Summit Wool Spinners; 80 redundancies
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; 80 redundancies
- Norman Ellison Carpets; 70 redundancies
- IRD; 51 redundancies
- Flotech; 70 redundancies
- NZ Police; 125 redundancies
- CRI Plant and Food; 25 redundancies
- Te Papa; 16 redundancies (?)
- PrimePort Timaru; 50 redundancies (?)
- Kiwirail; 220 redundancies
- Fisher & Paykel; 29 redundancies
- Goulds Fine Foods; 60 redundancies
- Canterbury University; 150 redundancies (over three years)
Will drug testing be used to “sort this lot out smartly”, Mr English?
And more bizarre is Paula Bennet’s admission that National “has ruled out universal drug testing of all beneficiaries, with drug and alcohol addicts being exempted from sanctions for refusing or failing a drug test when applying for a job“.
Which means that if addicts and alcoholics are not tested – that leaves only those workers who’ve been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs through New Zealand’s ongoing stagnating economy.
Adding insult to injury doesn’t begin to cover the humiliation which National intends to thrust upon workers who’ve lost their jobs.
And all because National has no job creation policies.
4. Sky City/Convention Centre
This is perhaps one of John Key’s shonkiest deals. It is no wonder that the Auditor General is investigating the Sky City “arrangement” – so I have little faith that the investigation will yield much that is incriminating of Dear Leader.
As Key stated with utter confidence, on TV3′s ‘The Nation‘ on 17 June,
” KEY: The involvement I had, as Minister of Tourism was to go and talk to a number of critical players, and as part of a general conversation say to them, “Hey, look, New Zealand’s interested in building a convention centre. Did that with Sky City. I did that with people out at ASB Centre The Edge. I did that with Ngati Whatua. That’s not unusual. I mean, and to argue that that would be unusual would be to say, well, look I have discussions with people in Whangarei about building a museum there. And I have discussions with people in Auckland about building a cycleway.
So now what we’re talking about about is, ok, was there undue influence or was the process correctly handled, that’s what the auditor general will say.
So let me tell you this, for a start off, ok, in terms of the expression of interest process, my office had absolutely no involvement, no correspondence, [ interuption by Rachel Smalley] no phone calls, absolutely nothing. So when the auditor general comes in there will be no correspondence, no phone calls, no discussions, zero. “ - Source (@ 6.37)
That statement does not instill confidence in me. Dear Leader has just stated, on record, that no evidence exists of his meeting(s) with Sky City management. Key admitted meeting with Sky City’s Board in late 2009,
“I attended a dinner with the Sky City board 4 November 2009 where we discussed a possible national convention centre and they raised issues relating to the Gambling Act 2003“. – Source
But what was said or agreed on, we don’t know. As Key has stated, “when the auditor general comes in there will be no correspondence, no phone calls, no discussions, zero”.
This is not a very good example of transparency. It is certainly not the “transparency in government” that Key has promised this country on several occassions.
In fact, it’s dodgy as hell.
In the same blogpost ( Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How ) dated 23 April, this blogger outlined John Key’s somewhat dubious tactics for pushing through dubious policies,
“ Promise Big Numbers. It doesn’t matter if the numbers never eventuate because they were fictitious to start with. By the time the media and public realise the true facts, the issue will be all but forgotten. A week may be a long time in politics – but a year positively guarantees collective amnesia for 99% of the public.
From December, 2010,
Cycleway jobs fall short
“6:00 AM Wednesday Dec 8, 2010
The national cycleway has so far generated just 215 jobs – well short of Prime Minister John Key’s expectation of 4000.
In May, Mr Key said he expected the $50 million project, which involves building 18 cycleways throughout the country, to generate 4000 jobs.” – Source
Who can remember the initial cycleway project and the promise of 4,000 new jobs?
From March, this year,
Key defends casino pokie machine deal
.“08:23 Mon Mar 5 2012 – AAP
Opposition parties are accusing the government of selling legislation through an agreement that will see Auckland’s Sky City build a $350 million convention centre in return for more pokie machines…
… But Mr Key says it’s a good deal for New Zealand.
“It produces 1000 jobs to build a convention centre, about 900 jobs to run it… ” – Source
In a year’s time, who will recall the promise of 900 new Convention centre jobs?
Who will care that only a hundred-plus eventuate?
Well, it didn’t take one year. It took only a matter of months. On 5 March, John Key asserted,
”It produces 1000 jobs to build a convention centre, about 900 jobs to run it, and overall the number of pokie machines will be falling although at a slightly lower rate.”
But then, on 5 June, the NZ Herald reported,
” Job numbers touted by Prime Minister John Key for a proposed international convention centre at SkyCity are much higher than official estimates.
Mr Key has said a deal allowing SkyCity more gambling facilities in exchange for funding the convention centre would provide 900 construction jobs and work for 800 people at the centre.
But the figures are much higher than those in a feasibility study done for the Government by hospitality and travel specialist analyst Horwath Ltd.
Horwath director Stephen Hamilton said he was concerned over reports the convention centre would employ 800 staff – a fulltime-equivalent total of 500.
He said the feasibility study put the number of people who would be hired at between 318 and 479. “
Sprung! Another of Dear Leader’s “little white lies” uncovered.
Next ‘cast iron guarantee’ from Dear Leader, who said on his website,
” SkyCity has agreed to pay the full construction costs of the centre – estimated at $350 million. The company has asked the Government to consider some alterations to gambling regulations and legislation.”
Yeah, I’ll bet that Sky City has “asked the Government to consider some alterations to gambling regulations and legislation“…
In business, it’s called a ‘contra-deal‘.
But it’s seems that even this deal is not as “free” for tax-payers as Key has made out. In fact, it has been uncovered that taxpayers are definitely ‘stumping up’ some of their hard-earned cash,
” Budget documents reveal that if the plan goes ahead, taxpayers will contribute up to $2.1 million to ensure its design and facilities meet Government expectations... The Prime Minister, however, is defending the budget allocation of millions of dollars towards a potential Sky City convention centre.
John Key says he has always said his preferred position is that no taxpayer money would be spent – and that if it does go ahead, it will have economic spinoffs. “
So… Key has (once again) mis-led the public, and his stock-standard explanation is that “if it does go ahead, it will have economic spinoffs .”
John Key claims that “a new convention centre would bring 144,000 additional nights of Auckland stays for business tourists, who generally spent twice as much as other tourists“.
But as Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, said somewhat more convincingly,
” Tourists come to see the country and the culture – not the casinos. If tourists were really focused on gambling, they would be going to Las Vegas – not the Sky City casino venue in Auckland. “
What’s the bet that the forecast for “economic spinoffs” will be as accurate as National’s predictions for spin-offs from the Rugby World Cup or national cycleway?!
How many times have we heard Prime Minister John Key make all sorts of promises that this or that will deliver jobs and economic growth – only to see the promise fail. Which is then usually followed by an excuse relating to the global economic slowdown?
It’s getting rather predictable and tedious.
What Dear Leader has tried to gloss over and dismiss is the inevitable consequence of increasing pokie machines: more problem gambling. Both John Key and Sky City CEO, Nigel Morrison, have tried to trivialise this growing social problem,
” The incidence of harm cited from Lotto is greater than that from pokie machines in casinos. Getting those facts across is difficult. We’re not just on about growing our gaming machines. We would like to grow our table games product and expand our operations to meet the growth of Auckland. “
Gambling addiction in many way is as pernicious – if not worse – than alcohol and drug additions. A compulsive gambler can damage not only his/her own life – but those around them. Houses have been lost; businesses crippled or closed down; families torn apart, as problem gamblers suck others down into a whirlpool of uncontrollable gambling.
From a Ministry of Health report,
” Overall, the prevalence of problem gambling in New Zealand adults was 0.4% (about 13,100 adults). Additionally, the prevalence of moderate-risk gambling was 1.3% (representing a further 40,900 people). In total, 1 in 58 adults (1.7%, or 54,000 adults) were experiencing either problem or moderate-risk gambling.
Other key findings of this study include:
- Maori and Pacific people experience more gambling-related harm than other people
- people living in more socioeconomically deprived areas are more affected by gambling-related harm.
- this study may help to inform the provision of problem gambling intervention services and public health activity, as the study showed that:
- problem gamblers can be found in both urban and rural areas
- Maori and Pacific people appear to be under-represented in intervention services
- people experiencing gambling problems are more likely than other people to be current smokers, have hazardous drinking patterns, have worse self-rated health, and have a high or very high probability of a mood or anxiety disorder. “
Interestingly, the above report, using 2006/07 data, and posted online in 2009, is the most recent Ministry of Health report available. Nothing more recent – and perhaps more damning of current gambling policies – is apparent on the Ministry of Health website.
Why is that?
On a more personal level, this blogger is aware of an elderly couple who were both addicted to pokie machines. Badly in debt, they were forced to down-size their family home and buy a smaller, more modest, property. One of the couple died soon after, leaving the other who continued her gambling habit.
Not only has this elderly woman lost her surplus cash from the house-sale, but has gambled using equity in her current home. She often ‘borrows’ money from her grown up children.
Her modest house is deteriorating through lack of maintenance.
Not only has this woman lost all equity in her home, she is now more reliant on both the State and her family.
Meanwhile, this article on Sky City’s most recent posted profits should be cause for concern,
“ Sky City Entertainment, one of the biggest gambling operators in the country, has seen a significant rise in profits over the course of the last year. The company attributes this growth to the earnings generated by the Sky City Casino in Auckland.
Over the course of 2011, profits for Sky City rose by over $10 million to $78 for the year. The company believes that the changes made to Sky City Auckland are to thank for this impressive profit increase over the course of the past year.
$50 million was spent on renovating the gambling facilities available the casino, but the company still managed to offset the costs with improved profits. In addition to building a new VIP lounge, Sky City also renovated other areas of the casino to make them more attractive to players.
Slots [pokies] brought in the amount of increased revenue, seeing a rise by 17%. Non-gaming elements also helped to boost profits. Auckland’s recently-revamped hotels and restaurants garnered a great deal of attention from patrons.
It seems that the adage “you have to spend money to make money” is true for Sky City. “
If the convention centre is National’s only scheme to grow the economy and to create 170,000 new jobs – we are in deep trouble.
Nothing best illustrates National’s narrow vision of the role of government than the demise of TVNZ7. Nothing.
Whether the previous Broadcasting Minister, Jonathan Coleman, or the current Minister, Craig Foss – their attitude has been the same; market forces shall prevail – and public-interest programming shall be the responsibity of NZ On Air, who shall contract such programmes to current commercial broadcasters.
Except that this is a cop-out.
The beauty of TVNZ7 is that public broadcasting was, in the main, focused on a single broadcasting platform. The public knew where to go to watch certain types of programming.
Just as the public now go to supermarkets to buy their meat, fish, veg & fruit, and bread – instead of going to a butchers; a fish shop; a fruit & veg produce store; and a bakery. Imagine the uproar if John Key told us we must go to five different food retailers to buy five different sorts of foodstuffs?! Dear Leader would have a size 9 boot imprinted on his backside.
TVNZ7 fulfilled the same public demand; niche programming on a niche broadcaster.
Just as, currently we have racing on the TAB channel; Chinese programming on CTV; parliament on Parliament TV, etc.
Ironic that politicians have no problem broadcasting their “debates” (inverted commas used deliberately), deeming their squabbles and shrill screams a must have - but not public, non-commercial TV.
Or, that we can have non-stop horse racing on a free-to-air TV channel.
But we are not entitled to have access to non-commercial public TV.
Whatever concept National has of public television, it is clear that Broadcasting Minister, Craig Foss’s vision is different to the rest of New Zealand,
“… the government was ‘committed’ to supporting local content through NZ on Air, instead of directly funding single broadcasters. “
Having public TV through NZ On Air is akin to selling vegetarian/vegan food products in butcher shops. You have to go looking for it. It’s not easy to find. And it’s buried amongst ‘crap’ you’d rather not have to put up with.
And what makes NZ On Air funding of ‘Media7/Media3‘ “public television” – when it will have advertisements peppered throughout?
Take out the advertising of underarm deodorants; cat/dog food; toilet ducks; panty shields; the latest 4WD monstrosity from Korea; promos for the latest US crime/cop shows; reality TV shows; home improvement shows; US sitcoms; and voyeuristic, soft-core porn like “The GC”, and a 30 minute current affairs programme from TVNZ7 becomes a 20 minute show on TV3.
There goes our chance to focus on critical social issues, as commercial advertisers compete for our attention.
What next? Advertising in Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”? Shakepeare’s “Macbeth”? Anne Frank’s Diary?
We are being ripped off in more ways than one. We deserve better than this.
But not, it seems, according to National; there is more than an element of vindictiveness in their decision to can TVNZ7. As if it was their opportunity to “stick it to us” after their embarrassing backdowns on mining in conservation schedule four estates; their attempt to cut teacher numbers and increase classroom sizes; and ongoing resistance to state asset sales.
The closure of TVNZ7 is a clue what National thinks of us. And it ain’t very pleasant.
See: Pundit – TVNZ kills ad-free channels to grow profits
Current cutbacks to state and social services is a re-run of the 1990s. National’s cuts now, mirror those of last century.
Bolger, Richardson, Shipley, and Bill English ran amok – slashing health, education, police, military, and anything else they could lay their cold, clammy, neo-liberal hands on.
At one stage, in the late 1990s, the health system was so badly run down that patients requiring critical surgery were not receiving it – and were dying on waiting lists.
This year, as part of National’s on-going agenda to cut government services; reduce the size of the State; and to pass on savings as tax cuts to the rich, National has cut staffing levels; departmental budgets; and services.
The New Zealand middle class tolerates this – until it affects them, personally.
Enter: 24 June – Minister Parata and her plans to slash teacher numbers and increase class sizes. That was a step too far, and a teacher-parent-principal-Boards alliance fought back. Hard.
Bill English – a bloodied veteran of the Bolger-cum-Shipley administration of the late 1990s - recognised the signs that a revolt of the middle classes was in the offing. National’s merciless cuts to social and government services in the ’90s had resulted in an electoral thrashing in the November 1999 elections.
Upshot: 7 July – Government u-turn on cost-cutting policy.
This is now the second major policy u-turn by National. Their previous bloodied-nose, in July 2010, when Gerry Brownlee was forced to announce a back-down on National’s proposals to mine schedule 4 conservation land, was a stunning exercise in people-power.
In my previous blogpost (Why Hekia Parata should not be sacked), I argued that Educational Minister, Hekia Parata should not be forced to step down from her ministerial role. As I pointed out, “sacking Parata for policies that every other Minister has been implementing seems pointless. Especially when National’s essential policy of cutting expenditure and services would remain unchanged”.
However, recent revelations from OIA-released document have revealed,
” The papers for the education budget reveal class size funding ratio changes went even further than what was announced.
Education Minister Hekia Parata originally urged changes that would seen 1300 fewer teachers hired over the next four years than would have happened under the existing funding formula.
That plan to curb growth in teacher numbers would have seen a “a minimal net reduction” in staffing of about 260 after four years.
The Government eventually decided on a less aggressive plan to cap teacher numbers, with almost the same number proposed to be employed in 2016 as now.
That plan to save $174m over four years was agreed and written in to the Budget but Parata was forced in to an embarrassing backdown earlier this month, which cancelled the plan and returned to the status quo.
However Parata’s original plan was to cut $217m. “
It appears that Ms Parata’s inclination was for even deeper cuts to Education services than, (a) the public was initially aware of and (b) that her National ministerial colleagues could stomach.
This explains, in part, why Key torpedoed Parata’s plans to cut education services; he was thoroughly exasperated with an an incompetant Minister who badly overestimated her abilities and could not “sell” even a watered down version of her plans. He must have been spitting tacks that, had Parata’s initial plans to cut $217 million (instead of $174 million) gone ahead, she would have found herself in a much deeper hole, and the fallout to National would have been much worse.
This blogger has come to the conclusion that Hekia Parata is way over her head, and should step down as Education Minister forthwith.
At any rate, she will be gone at the next cabinet re-shuffle.
Tea-lady might be a good, safe role for her?
7. ETS – Another of Key’s broken promises
John Key is adamant that National will not consider slowly raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, because it is a committment he has promised to keep,
“I’ve made it quite clear it would be my intention to resign from parliament if I broke that promise to New Zealanders.”
This blogger finds it hard to understand Key’s reticence to “breaking” an election promise. After all, he’s broken promises not to raise GST; to retrieve the bodies of the Pike River miners; to address growing youth unemployment; stem the flow of migration to Australia; grow the economy; and now, to implement an ETS.
In May 2008, Key stated,
” Key outlined a series of principles an ETS should have, including…
… It should be closely aligned with Australia’s ETS.
… It should not discriminate against small and medium businesses in allocating emissions credits and purposes. “
At the time, Key also stated,
” This not about National walking away from an ETS, we support that. . . we just simply want to get it right and we now have the time to get it right. “
That was four years ago.
Since then Australia has implemented it’s own carbon tax that will lead in to a full ETS by 2015,
” The A$23-a-tonne price on carbon emissions started yesterday [1 July 2012] , directly affecting 294 electricity generators and other companies.
The federal Government is aiming to cut carbon emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, with the carbon tax shifting to an emissions trading scheme in 2015. “
By contrast, National has been delaying implementing New Zealand’s own version of an ETS, and has now “postponed” it until 2015.
And yet, four years ago, Key stated that New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme should “ be closely aligned with Australia’s ETS “.
Our Aussie cuzzies have already started their carbon tax/ETS.
With National postponing the ETS for farmers, industrial and commercial polluters, until 2015 – that means that Dear Leader’s “postponement” will have lasted seven years – over two Parliamentary terms. How long does Key need to ‘get it right’ ?
Perhaps the turn of the 22nd century?
Let’s cut through the BS here. John Key is not “postponing” the ETS – he is postponing it indefinitely. National has no intention of ever implementing it. So much for Key’s statement,
“Ours is not a political agenda here, we want a good ETS that works.”
That deserves to be immortalised,
The sooner the Nats admit this deception, the better for the entire country. Until then, the only sector paying the ETS is… us, the public.
Which leads on to…
8. Tax Cuts & Government charges
In 2009 and 2010, National cut taxes. The rationale, as National explained in their 2008 document,
” In the short term, National’s tax package will give households confidence and some cash in their back pockets to keep the economy going and to pay down debt.
In the longer term, our tax package encourages people to invest in their own skills and make best use of their abilities, because they get to keep more of any higher wages they earn. It encourages them to look for and to take up better and higher-paying jobs that make more use of their skills. “
However, what National giveth with one hand; National taketh with the other.
Any benefits from the ’09 and ’10 taxcuts have been more than swallowed up (for low and middle income earners) by increases in a myriad of government and SOE charges.
The most recent have been Family Courts fees, which have risen astronomically.
From July 1 2012, services which used to be free to couples in dispute, now incur considerable court fees,
- Child custody disputes: $220
- Property disputes: $700
- Hearing of any application for each half-day, or part half-day: $906
Of all National’s user-pays regimes, charging couples who are separating; highly stressed; and where violence may be involved, is mind-boggling. We thought it was miserly when National decided to tax children in the last budget – but these user-pays Family Court fees hit people who are vulnerable in the extreme,
” But Family Law Specialists director Catriona Doyle says most families try to avoid handing custody and property decisions to a judge and only use the Family Court as a last resort in irresolvable conflicts.
The few people who waste the court’s time by filing repeatedly or unnecessarily won’t be put off by the fees because they’ll either be wealthy enough to afford it or earning little enough to have the fees waived, she says.
“It’s going to hit the middle class and lower income families where $220 is a lot of money.”
Women especially will be hit hard, as they are often financially disadvantaged when a relationship breaks up, Ms Doyle says.
Rather than trying to keep children out of court, the ministry should be aiming to resolve conflicts before children are affected by them, she says.
“Leaving children in a conflict situation where the parents are at war is neglect and abuse. The kids who live in that situation are damaged.”
A judge should be the person to decide if a case is genuine or flippant, especially when children are involved, she says.
“It’s not something that should be addressed by Parliament or a court registrar”. “
Minister of Courts, Chester Borrows, stated plainly,
” What we are trying to do here is have a disincentive for people to be able to bring these matters before the court. “
(Note: As a matter of interest, Chester Borrows is the very same Minister who stated he would be buying shares in SOEs, when they were partially-privatised. See: Conflicts of Interest? )
National complains that court costs have risen from $84 million in 2004/2005 to $142m in 2010/2011 – hence Family Court fees must be imposed.
This is faulty logic, and is penalising people who are attempting to sort out damaging relationship breakdowns. Using Family Courts is preferable to taking the law into one’s own hands. Disincentiving people from using the law – which Parliament put in place to protect us all – is like disincentivising people from calling the Police if you’ve been burgled.
Instead, if we are being “encouraged to resolve issues ourselves”, find the burglar; beat the crap out of him; and retrieve our stolen property ourselves. That is what Borrows is advocating.
Further using Borrows’ “logic”, National should implement high user-pays charges in public hospitals, as “ a disincentive for people ” to use hospitals.
It sounds ridiculous? It is ridiculous.
It is also dangerous. Borrows and his idiotic fellow ministers are playing with peoples’ lives. Putting expensive, punitive barriers up at a time when families most need society’s help defies logic, common sense, and most of all, compassion.
But then – when did anyone ever accuse the National Party of being compassionate?
And will the Dear Leader, John Key, take responsibility if something goes horribly wrong, and an emotionally-stressed family explodes into violence because they had no way out through the Family Court? Like hell he will.
This is a death waiting to happen.
On your miserable head be it, Mr Borrows.
9. More on those tax cuts
As an aside, National’s 2008 Tax document makes this derisable claim,
“ This makes it absolutely clear that to fund National’s tax package there is no requirement for additional borrowing and there is no requirement to cut public services. “
Jeez. No wonder people don’t trust politicians.
10. Alcohol law reforms
The latest offerings of irrationality from John Key’s Universe; evidently Dear Leader does not believe that minimum pricing for alcohol would work. He suggests (with a straight face, no doubt) that minimum pricing for booze would not work because it could drive people to drink lower quality liquor instead of reducing consumption,
“What typically happens is people move down the quality curve and still get access to alcohol.”
Mr Key, how do I mock thee? Let me count the ways… (with apologies to Elizabeth Browning)
How do I mock thee? Let me count the ways.
I ridicule thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when laughing at you hard
For the ends of Banality and Idiotic Government.
I mock thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and ecobulb-light.
I deride thee freely, as men strive for human rights.
I caricature thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I jeer at thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my voter’s faith.
I scorn thee with a scorn I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I sneer at thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if The People choose,
I shall but take the piss better after you are voted out.
Why so contemptuous, you ask?
Because raising the price of tobacco has been the number one tool of both Labour and National governments.
As recently as 12 June, John Key stated on a Fairfax online interview,
” The Government is unashamedly trying to deter people from smoking through price, particularly young people who are very sensitive to rising tobacco prices. I know this is difficult for those that have smoked for quite some time, but for your long term health I can only encourage you to try and give up. “
So high-pricing for tobacco is useful for ” the Government is unashamedly trying to deter people from smoking ” – but not for alcohol?
Raising prices to deter smoking works. But raising prices to deter binge-drinking doesn’t?
It boggles the mind how Dear Leader can hold two conflicting viewpoints, simultaneously, without suffering a brain explosion.
Or is it simply that the liquor industry is a generous donor of funds for National’s election campaigns?
In the meantime, life goes on,
See previous blogpost: A kronically inept government
11. Government Cost cutting = Economic suicide
On 12 May, this blogger posted a piece on National’s slashing of our MAF biosecurity.
In part, I posted this dire warning,
Now, we have the prospect of having entire suburbs in Auckland being contained in some kind of loose “quarantine”, after a Queensland fruit fly was caught in a pest surveillance trap,
Considering that the Queensland fruit fly costs the Australian economy approximately $160 million a year, this is a very real threat to New Zealand’s own $5 billion annual horticultural industry.
Five billion dollars, per year, every year. All under threat because this government wanted to save a few million bucks by employing fewer biosecurity staff.
As if the discovery of a painted apple moth in 1999; the varroa mite infestation of our honey hives in 2000; and other isolated instances of pests found in this country did not serve as a warning to us – National proceeded to cut back on biosecurity staffing.
This blogger wonders sometimes (actually, all the time) what goes through the minds of our esteemed Honourable Ministers of Her Majesty’s Government. These are supposedly well-educated men and women, with support from thousands of University-educated advisors – and yet they still manage to accomplish the most incredibly moronic decisions conceivable.
National has put at risk this country’s $5 billion industry – simply to save a few million dollars.
They have risked horticulturalist’s businesses; workers their jobs; and all the down-stream economic activity – to save a small percentage of billions.
This blogger has three pieces of advice for all concerned,
- John Key must accept the resignation of David Carter, Minister for Bio-security immediatly.
- National must reinstate biosecurity services to pre-2009 levels.
- Horticulturalists (and others who own farms and other agricultural businesses) should carefully consider whether National is working on their behalf – or for the sake of implementing false economies. What is the point of an orchardist voting for National – if National is going to screw his/her business by cutting back on essential government services such as biosecurity?!?!
Hopefully, this fruit fly is a lone bug; perhaps a stowaway in someone’s bag or in a container offloaded at Ports of Auckland.
If so, once again we’ve been lucky.
But how long will our luck hold out?
See previous blogpost: Bugs and balls-ups!
It seems our luck ran out some years ago,
” The kiwifruit growers’ association is considering legal action over the outbreak of the vine disease PSA and says it can’t rule out seeking compensation.
An independent review released on Wednesday into how the bacterium came into New Zealand has found there were shortcomings with biosecurity systems, but it does not say that caused the entry.
The disease was first confirmed near Te Puke in 2010 and has infected 40% of the country’s kiwifruit orchards. It is expected to cost the industry $410 million dollars in the next five years.
Ministry for Primary Industries director general Wayne McNee asid the review did not determine how PSA came into the country but does show where improvements can be made.
NZ Kiwifruit Growers president Neil Trebilco says he can’t rule out that compensation will be sought by growers. “
” A damning report into the outbreak of kiwifruit virus PSA is another in a series of warnings over the biosecurity system that the Government has failed to act on, Labour’s biosecurity spokesman Damien O’Connor says.
The independent report was commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) following the devastation caused by the virus in the Bay of Plenty orchards with an estimated cost of $400 million.
The report, released yesterday, found “shortcomings” in New Zealand’s biosecurity system although it could not say how the incursion had occurred.
It said MPI could improve protections and must work more closely with industry groups.
The report also suggested resources be moved from low-risk industries to high-risk ones such as the kiwifruit sector.
O’Connor said there needed to be a complete overhaul of the biosecurity system.
The National Government cut biosecurity funding in 2009 and had accepted the growing risk caused by faults in the system, he said. “
Anyone with two inter-connecting neurons would’ve figured out very quickly that if a government cuts biosecurity then we put ourselves at dire risk of pests entering our country. Like the varroa mite. Or PSA bacterium.
With approximately 550,000 shipping containers and 4.5 million people entering New Zealand each year, it stands to reason that we are at extreme risk of unwanted organisms being brought into the country.
National was warned as far back as 2009, when 60 Biosecurity jobs were “dis-established”. It therefore defies understanding as to why National believed that cuts could be made to frontline MAF Biosecurity without serious consequences.
Spelling out those consequences,
- Millions – even hundreds of millions of dollars of valuable export dollars lost,
- Jobs lost,
- Businesses ruined,
- And not one single government minister taking responsibility.
The only question now remaining to be asked: how many farmers and horticulturalists will vote for National at the next election?
Remember: you get the government you deserve.
This time, it is farmers and horticulturalists who have been warned.
12. The Terminally Ill
During the 2008 general election, Prime Minister John Key adopted the Herceptin campaign.
Pharmac was funding herceptin treatment for women suffering from breast cancer only up to a nine week period. Breast cancer patients wanted treatment extended to twelve months. Pharmac refused, stating there was no evidence that an extended treatment period would prove beneficial,
Pharmac CEO, Matthew Brougham, said,
“A fresh review of the science and other information has failed to convince us that 12-month treatments offer any additional benefits over the concurrent nine week treatment.”
Enter, John Key. As the 2008 election campaign swung into full force, Key leapt upon the issue,
“National recognises that many Kiwis have limited access to modern medicines. We will improve that access.
“We will boost overall funding for medicines and speed up the registration of new medicines, with final approval remaining in New Zealand.
“These initiatives will be funded within the indicative health spending allocations in the Prefu [Pre-election Fiscal and economic Update].
“They are also further examples of our determination to shift spending into frontline services for patients, rather than backroom costs.”
The election promise was one of many that Key made (along with tax cuts and the perennial “getting tough on crime), and on 10 December 2008, the Prime Minister-elect announced,
“I am proud to lead a government that has honoured such a commitment to the women of New Zealand.
“The commitment was part of National’s first 100-days action plan. I am pleased that the Herceptin funding policy effectively applies from the swearing in of the Government on 19 November.”
Unfortunately, John Key’s belief that ” National recognises that many Kiwis have limited access to modern medicines. We will improve that access. We will boost overall funding for medicines and speed up the registration of new medicines, with final approval remaining in New Zealand “ - seems only to apply during election campaigns.
At other times, Key does not seem to want to know.
Allyson Lock is one of five New Zealanders who suffers from Pompe Disease. It is a terminal condition.
There is medication available (called Myozyme ), but it currently receives no funding from Pharmac agency Pharmac. It is an expensive drug, but without that medication, Allyson and her fellow sufferers will not survive.
Allyson and her group have appealed to John Key for funding for their medication – without success. In fact, Key wants nothing to do with Allyson and other Pompe sufferers.
At a recent “on-line chat” with John Key, hosted by Fairfax Media, several people including this blogger attempted to put a question to the Prime Minister; why was National not prepared to fund medicine for Pompe as they had for breast cancer sufferers?
See previous blogpost: Fairfax; An hour with Dear Leader
After all, Pharmac had expressed the same reservations regarding the efficacy of Myozyme as they did with long-term herceptin treatment. Yet, that did not stop Key from ensuring breast cancer sufferers had full access to a year-long course of herceptin.
John Key and Health Minister Tony Ryall have wiped their hands of Allyson.
It is not election year.
So there are no political points to be scored in saving the lives of five fellow New Zealanders.
I look forward to John Key proving me wrong; a link to this blogpost will be sent to media as will as the Prime Minister’s office. The rest is in his hands.
To Prime Minister, John Key;
Fund treatment for Allyson and others, Mr Key. They deserve no less than breast cancer sufferers. You can either oversee funding for their treatment – or attend their funerals.
Your call, Mr Prime Minister.
See previous blogpost: Priorities?
Thanks to ‘S’ for proof-reading.
= fs =
Searching for details on a previous blogpost, this blogger came across this interesting poll result on stuff.co.nz,
Making my vote, the Poll showed me the following results,
Interestingly, the poll results for Labour, Greens, National, Mana, Maori Party, and United Future more or less mirror the 2011 election results.
2011 Election Results
Maori Party: 1.43%
United Future: 0.60%
No surprises with those figures.
NZ First polled higher than their Election Result of 6.59%.
The figures for NZ First may be easily understand as a nationalistic response to the current government’s policies on partial asset sales and the sale of farmland to offshore investors. (Though whether the Stuff poll translates into success at the Ballot box is another matter entirely.)
The real surprise is ACT’s result on the Stuff poll; 6.4%.
No, I don’t think, so, my fellow Kiwis.
ACT’s election result was a meagre 1.07%. Recent polls by Roy Morgan and News Reid has ACT barely registering,
Roy Morgan: 0.3%
News Reid: 0.2%
Which indicates to this blogger that some naughty ACT apparatchiks have been “stuffing Stuff’s electronic ballot box”, by voting multiple times. Naughty boys. Off to the naughty mat with you – and don’t come out until Election Day!
= fs =
Election Eleven – Saturday
National has won the election, and, seemingly increased it’s Party vote from 44% to 48%.
Despite running a policy-based campaign based on important issues, Labour has suffered a major setback.
The Greens, meanwhile, have done stunningly well.
And Winston Peters was the sole beneficiary of the “cuppa tea” meeting in Epsom.
Some initial observations…
The “cuppa tea” meeting between the Two Johns has proven to be a futile exercise. The sole gain for ACT was to return John Banks (a former National MP) to Parliament – but with no extra MPs “riding on his coat-tails”.
In effect, there was no profit for National to support ACT. National might as well not bothered and simply supported Paul Goldsmith.
ACT’s continuing existence is now at the pleasure of Dear Leader, John Key.
By 2014, ACT will most likely disappear.
Green Party Voters – Ohariu
Green Party members in the Ohariu electorate – you people need to learn to count and to understand the concept of tactical voting.
By giving your electorate vote to the local Green candidate, Gareth Hughes, instead of Charles Chauvel, you have allowed Peter Dunne to return to Parliament and give National an extra coalition partner.
National wishes to thank you for your assistance in returning a centre-right government to power.
Similar results have occurred in other electorates, where Green supporters voted for their Electorate candidate, instead of voting strategically, with a Labour/Green split.
For example; Waitakere:
Paula Bennett (N): 12,310
Carmel Sepulone (L): 11,961
Steve Tollestrup (G): 1,582
1,582 wasted electorate votes for the Green candidate could have helped the Labour cadidate defeat Paula Bennett. Instead, Carmel Sepulone – a very talented Labour candidate – has lost her seat in Parliament.
Similar instances abound in other electorates.
Next time, Green Voters, ease up on the wacky-bakky before you vote.
By voting National, New Zealanders have given National the mandate to sell state assets. That’s our assets. Or rather, they used to be our assets. Pretty shortly, they will belong to Americans, Germans, Chinese, Australians.
Congratulations, fellow New Zealanders, you’ve succeeded in giving away our best performing; most profitable publicly-owned; assets.
After our electricity companies are sold off, wait till you get you next power bills. When power prices begin to rise, as overseas owners demand higher and higher returns on their investments, you will be reminded that we did this to ourselves. No one forced us to sell.
Aren’t we a clever bunch?
Pita Sharples has stated that the Maori Party will oppose asset sales as National’s coalition partner.
Oh dear lord…
Sharples needs to look at the rules of Supply & Confidence. Specifically, if National makes asset sales a part of their budget; and the Maori Party votes down that budget; they will have denied the National-led government Supply, which in turn will force a snap election.
Does the Maori Party want to force a snap election and suffer the wrath of the voting public?
Do they want to risk electoral annihilation at the hands of annoyed voters? I doubt it.
The biggest loser of the night, few will take Horizon Polling seriously after tonight’s election results.
The BIG winner of the night; New Zealanders have voted to retain MMP. This was due in part to “Vote for Change” mounting the most pathetic, incompetant, and and mostly invisible campaign in this country’s history.
And Jordan Williams had the cheek to blame the media for “not having a debate” on the issue?
Jordan Williams needs to take responsibility for his Claytons-campaign. Blaming the media may work for Winston Peters – but coming from others, it is not a good look.
MMP won because,
- It is relatively simple to understand,
- The alternatives were unfair; unworkable; or hellishly complex to understand,
- New Zealanders simply didn’t feel inclined to change.
Was this a defeat for Labour?
No. I see it as a postponement of a victory.
In the next three years, as National’s policies really start to bite low and middle income earners, and those at the top increase their wealth, Labour’s time will come in 2014 (if not earlier – see Maori Party above).
I am picking a snap election in a years’ time, or mid-term.
And this time, National will lose.
As for Phil Goff – I hope he doesn’t step down. I think he’s actually grown in stature over the last few weeks. He won two of the three Leader’s Debates handsomely, and is able to pin down John Key on issues.
With the media/Key honeymoon well and truly over, Goff now has a chance to show up National’s weaknesses to the public.
The campaign for the next election starts on Monday.
The following is a critique of the Labour Party from “Kimbo”, originally published on Brian Edward’s Blog, Brian Edward’s Media. Whilst highly critical of Labour, and whilst I do not necessarily accept all of his/his premises, I believe the arguments are well constructed, and ‘Kimbo’ has presented some coherent ideas for Labour (and other leftwing) supporters, to consider.
The following is a slighly edited version of Kimbo’s original post.
For years Labour struggled in vain to defeat Muldoon. They had tried confronting him directly, and got mauled. They tried ignoring him, but that didn’t work either, because he dominated the landscape in the same way Helen Clark did from 1999 to 2008, and Key does now. Instead, they killed the old tusker with kindness. Defining moment and point of the 1984 campaign: Muldoon’s sarcastic response to Lange, after being told there was still a place for him in the new post-election NZ – “I love you too, Mr Lange”.
Lessons from the past: Don’t attack a political opponent at the point that is their direct source of public popularity, because when you do, you are directly implying to the majority who decide elections that they are wrong. And people, especially when they are being wooed for their vote, don’t like to be told they are wrong!
How Labour and the Greens may be able to dent John Key’s popularity (because criticising him for “shallow smile and wave” is not working!):
Embrace the man’s “successful” image, career, and self-made millions. It sends two messages: We are not nasty or playing the “politics of envy” – we are bigger and better than that. Instead, John Key is an advertisement of what the welfare state, which Labour will protect, can do for anyone. John Key’s success is a product of Labour policy.
“We acknowledge John Key’s expertise in the field of currency trading. It is the high stakes end of the unrestrained deregulation roller-coaster of changing fortunes that we’ve tried to ride as a country from 1984 onwards. Ultimately, John Key is banking on an economic recovery taking place elsewhere in the world, and then, in line with the skills he used to make his millions, he is expecting to position us to exploit that. That’s what he knows, and that’s what he’s good at. Which is why he’s been trying to keep up public morale and confidence with his “good news” approach. Just like Muldoon tried to keeps all those balls in the air with what he knew until it all came unstuck…
The problem with Key’s plan is that since 2008 the world financial situation has changed. The nature of capitalism that drives economic growth has been forever altered. We now actually need to be proactive with job creation, with up-skilling, by directing the resources available to government alone. This is another depression in the making, and Labour knows how to solve those! We need the knowledge of how to generate economic recovery, rather than waiting and hoping for it to happen elsewhere and then maybe wash up on our shores. Things are getting worse overseas, not better. It is time for people with Labour’s expertise in the management of political and economic detail.
John Key has tried his best with the “hands-off” approach. We are grateful that an incoming Labour-Green government inherits a country that is relatively united and in good morale despite the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes, courtesy of Key’s ability to be a good figurehead in a time of crisis. But we now need more than a figurehead with obsolete speculation trading skills. We need practical action.
Thankyou to Brian Edwards, Judy Callingham, and Kimbo, for permission to re-publish.
I’ve been thinking…
That National is higher in the opinion polls than Labour is undeniable. Even the Horizon Poll – which has supposedly more accurate methodology than the other polling companies – has National at 36.8% and Labour at 25.7%. (Source)
Other polls have National at an unfeasibly high 56% – unheard of in an MMP environment, where up till now the highest Party Vote was National’s 44.9% in 2008.
If National is anywhere near 50%-51% of the Party Vote – enabling it to barely form a government – then it will have made history in MMP elections.
Assuming that National’s vote on 26 November will be somewhere in the high 40s – it will not have sufficient seats in the House to govern alone. It will need a coalition partner.
Which is where things start to get interesting…
It is apparent to all but the but die-hard fan of ACT that Don Brash’s coup d’état in April has not achieved a single desired outcome for that Party. Brash’s toppling of Rogney Hide was done on the premise that Brash would re-focus ACT on economic matters and change it’s “brand” from a “chapter” of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, to it’s more traditional role of a neo-liberal party, espousing free market ‘reforms’; user-pays; asset sales; minimalist government; and the Cult of the Individual.
Brash has achieved none of those policy-goals.
ACT is polling well under the 5% MMP threshold (5%). It’s 1% – 3% poll rating rating is not sufficient to win seats in Parliament. It must therefore rely on winning an Electorate Seat, at which point the 5% threshold is set aside.
John Banks’ candidacy in Epsom has also seemingly failed to ‘fire’. Banks is trailing well behind the National Party’s candidate, Paul Goldsmith. Banks’ position is not helped by John Key stating publicly,
“I’m going to vote for Goldsmith. I am the National Party leader and I am going to vote for the National Party candidate and give my party vote to National.” – John Key
Which makes a mockery of the unspoken “arrangement” between National and ACT, and seems to be an insult to Epsom voters that whilst they are expected to give their vote to John Banks – the Prime Minister refuses to lead by example. Charming.
If, as seems likely, John Banks does not win in Epsom then, like Winston Peters losing Tauranga, ACT is out of Parliament.
Strike 1 for National.
Since the height of United Future’s popularity in 2002, their electoral support has declined to margin-of-error polling,
United Future, as a political entity, is all but dead except in name. Peter Dunne is essentially now a one-person band – and even in his electorate of Ohariu-Belmont, is experiencing waning support with each election,
Peter Dunne, Electorate Votes 1996 – 2008
1996 – 15,915
1999 – 20,240
2002 – 19,355
2005 – 16,844
2008 – 12,303
In 2008, Dunne’s electorate majority over his nearest opponant, Charles Chauvel (L), was a bare 1,006 votes. At the rate that Dunne has been losing electoral support, and if even half the Green electorate vote shifts to Chauvel, then Peter Dunne will lose his seat in Parliament.
Strike 2 for National.
National’s only remaining life-line; the Maori Party. Polls indicate that Maori Party co-leader, Pita Sharples, will most likely win his seat, Tamaki Makaurau. Whether he is join by other successful candidates from the Maori Party is anyone’s guess, and with their low overall ranking in the polls, the Maori Party is unlikely to approach the 5% threshold, much less cross over it.
In 2008, the Maori Party won five out of the seven Maori Seats. With the advent of the Mana Party, formed by breakaway MP Hone Harawira, and supported by many disaffected Maori Party members/activists, these seats are now contested in a three-way battle; Mana, Maori, and Labour.
As an indicator, Hone Harawira won his seat Te Tai Tokerau in a by-election, earlier this year,
If the Maori Party beat Mana’s challenge and win sufficient seats; and if they enter into coalition with National, then John Key is faced with the real prospect of having no counter-balancing Party on the Right. Unlike the 2008 election result which gave him ACT and Peter Dunne on the right, National will be governing at the “pleasure” of just one coalition partner.
Considering that the Maori Party has stated it’s opposition to asset sales (albeit lukewarm opposition), the partial-privatisation agenda may not go ahead as John Key and Bill English anticipated. (*whew!* The ‘family silver’ is saved till another day!)
John Key recently stated,
“I think it is important to understand if the Greens hold the balance of power it would be a Phil Goff Labour-led government and I think they would be quite upfront about that.“ Source
The same could be said of the Maori Party. National’s re-election prospects now depend solely on the success of their Coalition partner.
National’s strike 3? We will have to wait till 26 November for the final result.
The issue of country-of-origin labelling on food is one of my pet-peeves (along with those horrid little sticky labels on apples,oranges, pears, etc – yes, we know they are apples, oranges, pears, etc!) when I do my grocery shopping.
When I buy food, I look at several factors; fat/salt/sugar content; price-per-kilo; and country-of-origin. All three hold equally high priority for me. Though I will usually always lean toward locally-produced items. At the very least, I prefer to support local manucturers who employ local workers and I can be (reasonably) assured of good quality ingredients and high standards of production.
In short, I am a fussy b*stard when it comes to grocery shopping.
As a consumer, I demand the right to know the source of my food.
So when John Key’s spokesperson sez,
“”The primary reason for not adopting mandatory labelling is that the costs to consumers, industry and government outweigh the benefits…“” Source
… then I highly unimpressed.
I’m sorry, Mr Key, but as an elected representative of the people of this country, it is not up to you to determine that something will be a “cost to consumers, industry and government outweigh the benefits“! You are neither my Nanny nor my Daddy to tell me that.
Your job, Dear Leader, is to ensure that the needs of the public are met on such issues – not to tell us what we do or don’t need.
Jeezus H, it’s not Labour that was a “Nanny State” – it’s this current government that keeps telling us what is/isn’t “beneficial” for us.
Thank god the election is only 25 days away.
Green Party – you get the big Green tick from this blog! It’s refreshing to see politicians looking after the needs of the folk who elected them into office!
Silliest country-of-origin label seen on a food item: “Made from local and imported ingredients”. Said item was a leg of ham. *facepalm*
Ir seems quite likely that New Zealand will soon be joining the ranks of Japan and San Francisco, where earthquake insurance is either highly expensive, or unavailable to home owners,
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee may chest-thump and bellow till the cows come home, but if insurance companies – as Chris Ryan is suggesting – no longer consider New Zealand property a safe risk to insure against earthquakes, then he had better start taking notice.
Internationally, the insurance industry has been hard-hit after the severe floods in Queensland; two major quakes in Christchurch; and a triple-whammy in Japan; earthquake, tsunami, and atomic reactor disaster. Insurance companies have been hard hit, as Reuters reported in March,
“Some analysts said the disaster, combined with heavy losses already suffered this year from floods in Australia and last month’s New Zealand earthquake, could push up global insurance prices, boosting insurers’ shares.
“In our view the loss will be so large that it will probably provide the trigger to ensure a re-rating of the non-life sector,” Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes wrote in a note.” Source
Climate-related disasters were also impacting on the insurance industry,
“Climate change is largely to blame for Australasia putting in almost a quarter of the world’s natural disaster insurance claims last year.
Data from major reinsurance provider Munich Re, shows that from 1980 to 2009, Australasia was responsible for 3% of natural disaster insurance claims in dollar terms. But after the Christchurch earthquake, floods in Queensland, and enormous hailstones in Melbourne and Perth, that skyrocketed to 22% last year.
Munich Re, in its own report on the deluge of natural disasters, said climate change “is real and continuing” and cited floods in Pakistan and wildfires caused by a heatwave in Russia. The Christchurch quake was not climate-change related.
Munich Re said 2010 was one of the warmest years since 1850 and featured the second-highest number of loss-related weather catastrophes since 1980, when it started keeping data.
Niwa principal climate scientist Dr James Renwick agreed that weather events like heavy rain were linked to global warming. “It’s possible part of the change since the 1980s is natural variation, but I’m sure there’s a climate change component. We know the globe has warmed and it’s well-documented that the occurrence of extreme rainfalls around the world has increased in a way that’s consistent with the climate models,” he says.
“It’s just what you’d expect – you warm things up, more moisture, more energy, more rain falls. There’s definitely a climate change component in extreme rainfalls around the world.” ” Source
So it seems a little strange that Gerry Brownlee is (a) attempting to dismiss Chris Ryan’s warnings as “scaremongering” and (b) is in denial that re-insuring properties in this country will not be a major problem in future. Of course it will be a problem! How can it not?
Insurance companies and their re-insurers have suffered billions of dollars worth of claims over the last year – $34 billion estimated for the Japanese ‘quake and tsunami, alone, according to a Bloomberg report.
Mr Brownlee should know how the free market works. After all, his party – National – espouses the doctrine of the free market as part of it’s core-philosophy.
Even as we face the prospect of the insurance industry abandoning New Zealand households – we may be left to our own devices when it comes to insurance. Which may be the EQC.
Whilst the EQC is not a full-insurance company in the sense of Tower, AMI, AMP, etc, it has provided a level of protection to New Zealanders since it’s inception in 1945.
The only thing is – it’s broke. Two calamitous earthquakes in Christchurch have effectively emptied the Commission’s ‘war-chest’. Source. As John Key said in February of this year,
“”The good news part of the story is that EQC had about $6 billion before that (quake), that’s going to be exhausted, but we pay in on a continuous basis and we had significant re-insurance in the order of $5b, that will be exhausted.”" Source
Irrespective of Mr Brownlee’s futile rantings against the Insurance Council, it should be abundantly clear that in the near future we will not have the insurance cover that we once enjoyed. Those days are over.
We will have to rely on our own resources and our own ingenuity, whether we like it or not. (Most likely ‘not’, going by past experiences of Baby Boomers who like to Spend Now, Pay Later (or Never, preferably – let the kids pay). To that end, the Greens – as usual – have once again realised what must be done,
“So, it seems, the Greens were right all along – a special levy to fund the costs involved with the Christchurch earthquake still makes good sense, if only (this time around) to replenish the funds available to the Earthquake Commission. Yesterday, it became apparent that the likely cost of the Christchurch rebuild had risen by a massive $4 billion.
This blowout means the EQC couldn’t cope with an additional major disaster (ie anything costing over $2.5 billion) and the government would have to pick up the tab, directly. There are three options on the table : (a) a special levy on all taxpayers (b) a further additional charge attached to insurance premiums already expected to rise significantly, or (c) a rise in income taxes.” – Gordon Campbell, Source
However, in the light of Chris Ryan’s warnings, we may have to reconsider the role of the EQC to adopt a more wide-ranging, pragmatic role in earthquake and flood insurance. The EQC may have to step in where private insurers once provided a service – or else face the prospect of uninsured properties. That would have serious consequences for current and prospective building owners. (Banks currently insist on full insurance cover before they will consider extending a mortgage over a property.)
Once upon a time, we owned an insurance company called – quite simply – State Insurance. State Insurance was sold in June 1990 by the Bolger-led, National government of the day.
It now seems that may have been a mistake (as most asset sales were). The people of this country may yet discover that the Free Market is a Fair Weather friend and when times are tough, we will have to step up and put in place our own, Very Kiwi Solution(s).
The time for a new State-owned insurance company – “EQC-Plus” - has come.
2011 Party Lists:
- Green Party
- Mana Party
- NZ First
- United Future
Announced: 28 August 2011
1. Dr Don Brash
2. Catherine Isaac (replaces John Boscawen)
3. Don Nicolson
4. Hon John Banks
5. David Seymour
6. Chris Simmons
7. Stephen Whittington
8. Kath McCabe
9. Robyn Stent
10. John Thompson
11. John Ormond
12. Lyn Murphy
13. Kevin Moratti
14. Robin Grieve
15. Pratima Nand
16. Dominic Costello
17. Toni Severen
18. Richard Evans
19. Ian Cummings
20. Gareth Veale
21. Toby Hutton
22. Dan Stratton
23. Robert Burnside
24. Hayden Fitzgerald
25. Alex Spiers
26. Peter McCaffrey
Announced: 29 May 2011
1. Metiria Turei
2. Russel Norman
3. Kevin Hague
4. Catherine Delahunty
5. Kennedy Graham
6. Eugenie Sage
7. Gareth Hughes
8. David Clendon
9. Jan Logie
10. Steffan Browning
11. Denise Roche
12. Holly Walker
13. Julie Anne Genter
14. Mojo Mathers
15. James Shaw
16. David Hay
17. Richard Leckinger
18. Aaryn Barlow
19. Jeanette Elley
20. Sea Rotmann
21. Michael Gilchrist
22. Dora Langsbury
23. David Kennedy
24. Tane Woodley
25. Joseph Burston
26. Mikaere Curtis
27. Shane Gallagher
28. Saffron Toms
29. Steve Tollestrup
30. Jack McDonald
Announced: 10 April 2011
1. Phil Goff
2. Annette King
3. David Cunliffe
4. David Parker
5. Ruth Dyson
6. Parekura Horomia
7. Maryan Street
8. Clayton Cosgrove
9. Trevor Mallard
10. Sue Moroney
11. Charles Chauvel
12. Nanaia Mahuta
13. Jacinda Ardern
14. Grant Robertson
15. Andrew Little
16. Shane Jones
17. Su’a William Sio
18. Darien Fenton
19. Moana Mackey
20. Rajen Prasad
21. Raymond Huo
22. Carol Beaumont
23. Kelvin Davis
24. Carmel Sepuloni
25. Rick Barker
26. Deborah Mahuta-Coyle
27. Stuart Nash
28. Clare Curran
29. Brendon Burns
30. Chris Hipkins
31. David Shearer
32. Michael Wood
33. Phil Twyford
34. Stephanie (Steve) Chadwick
35. Kate Sutton
36. Jerome Mika
37. Iain Lees-Galloway
38. Josie Pagani
39. Lynette Stewart
40. Jordan Carter
41. Kris Faafoi
42. Christine Rose
43. Glenda Alexander
44. Susan Zhu
45. Rino Tirikatene
46. Sehai Orgad
47. Megan Woods
48. Mea’ole Keil
49. David Clark
50. Richard Hills
51. Anahila Suisuiki
52. Hamish McDouall
53. Louis Te Kani
54. Tat Loo
55. Soraya Peke-Mason
56. Julian Blanchard
57. Peter Foster
58. Pat Newman
59. Julia Haydon-Carr
60. Michael Bott
61. Vivienne Goldsmith
62. Nick Bakulich
63. Chris Yoo
64. Barry Monks
65. Hugh Kininmonth
66. Jo Kim
67. Paula Gillon
68. Carol Devoy-Heena
Announced: 1 November 2011
- Hone Harawira
- Annette Sykes
- John Minto
- Sue Bradford
- Misty Harrison
- James Papali’i
- Tawhai McClutchie
- Angeline Greensill
- Jayson Gardiner
- Dr Richard S Cooper
- Dr Peter Cleave
- Val Irwin
- Sharon Stevens
- Keriana Reedy
- Pat O’Dea
- Roderick Paul
- Grant Rogers
- Nguha Patuwai
- Barry Tumai
- Ngawai Herewini
Announced:29 October 2011
1. Waihoroi Shortland
2. Kaapua Smith
3. Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata
4. Tina Porou
5. Awanui Black
6. Davina Murray
7. Tariana Turia
8. Pita Sharples
9. Te Ururoa Flavell
10. Josie Peita
11. Paora Te Hurihanganui
12. Fallyn Flavell
13. Daryl Christie
14. Tom Phillips
15. Tim Morrison
16. Tamai Nicholson
17. Aroha Rickus
Announced: 4 September 2011
1. John Key (1)
2. Bill English (2)
3. Lockwood Smith (12)
4. Gerry Brownlee (3)
5. Tony Ryall (6)
6. Nick Smith (5)
7. Judith Collins (7)
8. Anne Tolley (10)
9. Chris Finlayson (14)
10. David Carter (9)
11. Murray McCully (11)
12. Tim Groser (15)
13. Steven Joyce (16)
14. Paula Bennett (41)
15. Phil Heatley (22)
16. Jonathan Coleman (29)
17. Kate Wilkinson (30)
18. Hekia Parata (36)
19. Maurice Williamson (8)
20. Nathan Guy (18)
21. Craig Foss (33)
22. Chris Tremain (31)
23. Jo Goodhew (39)
24. Lindsay Tisch (19)
25. Eric Roy (28)
26. Paul Hutchison (23)
27. Shane Ardern (24)
28. Amy Adams (52)
29. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga (35)
30. Simon Bridges (51)
31. Michael Woodhouse (49)
32. Chester Borrows (32)
33. Nikki Kaye (57)
34. Melissa Lee (37)
35. Kanwaljit Bakshi (38)
36. Jian Yang (-)
37. Alfred Ngaro (-)
38. Katrina Shanks (46)
39. Paul Goldsmith (-)
40. Tau Henare (26)
41. Jacqui Dean (40)
42. Nicky Wagner (43)
43. Chris Auchinvole (42)
44. Louise Upston (53)
45. Jonathan Young (66)
46. Jackie Blue (45)
47. Todd McClay (54)
48. Alan Peachey (34)
49. David Bennett (44)
50. Tim Macindoe (55)
51. Cam Calder (58)
52. John Hayes (50)
53. Colin King (47)
54. Aaron Gilmore (56)
55. Jami-Lee Ross (-)
56. Paul Quinn (48)
57. Paul Foster-Bell (-)
58. Maggie Barry (-)
59. Ian McKelvie (-)
60. Mark Mitchell (-)
61. Mike Sabin (-)
62. Scott Simpson (-)
63. Claudette Hauiti (-)
64. Joanne Hayes (-)
65. Leonie Hapeta (-)
66. Sam Collins (-)
67. Jonathan Fletcher (-)
68. Heather Tanner (-)
69. Denise Krum (-)
70. Carolyn O’Fallon (-)
71. Viv Gurrey (71)
72. Karen Rolleston (-)
New Zealand First
Announced 12 November 2011
1. PETERS, Winston
2. MARTIN, Tracey Rodney
3. WILLIAMS, Andrew North Shore
4. PROSSER, Richard Waimakariri
5. STEWART Barbara Waikato
6. HORAN, Brendan Tauranga
7. O’ROURKE, Denis Port Hills
8. TAYLOR, Asenati Manukau East
9. MULFORD, Helen Pakuranga
10. BARR, Hugh Ohariu
11. TABUTEAU, Fletcher Rotorua
12. PARAONE, Pita Whangarei
13. CATCHPOLE, Brent Papakura
14. CRAVEN, Ben Wellington Central
15. HO, Jerry Maungakiekie
16. GUDGEON, Bill Hamilton West
17. GARDENER, Kevin Nelson
18. DOLMAN, Ray BOP
19. SCOTT, David Otaki
20. RATANA, Randall Dunedin Sth
21. BINDRA, Mahesh Mt Roskill
22. PERRY, Edwin Taupo
23. JELLEY, Dion Northcote
24. HALL, John Manurewa
25. STONE, Kevin Coromandel
26. NABBS, Doug Hunua
27. PIERSON, Brent Rongotai
28. ILALIO, Oliva Mangere
29. STEWART, Gordon Hamilton East
30. REID, Tamati East Coast
31. BROUGHAM, Ian Whanganui
32. WOODS, Bill Selwyn
33. DAVIES, Allen Auckland Central
United Future Party
Announced: 20 October 2011
1. Peter Dunne
2. Doug Stevens
3. Rob Eaddy
4. Sultan Eusoff
5. Alan Simmons
6. Bryan Mockridge
7. Vanessa Roberts
8. Pete George
9. Ram Prakash
10. Martin Gibson
11. Clyde Graf
12. Damian Light
13. Andrew McMillan
14. Diane Brown
15. Brian Carter
A neo-liberal is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. In this case, this National government are slowly strangling good, quality broadcasters like RNZ and TVNZ7 – whilst feeding us a daily diet of brain-cell deadening, pseudo-news on TV1 and TV3 and apalling programming that consists mostly of American sitcoms, cooking programmes, and bleak crime shows.
If only New Zealanders were as passionate about the lack of governmental support for quality broadcasting as we were about stranded penguins; “Wellywood” signs; and books by Ian Wishart.
Oh, but that would mean thinking about complex issues, wouldn’t it? Jerking the knee with superficial, emotion-tugging, issues is much easier: no effort required.
The state-owned broadcaster registered itself as the Radio New Zealand Charitable Trust with the Charities Commission last month.
Some of its charitable purposes, which were listed on the commission’s website, included education, research, fundraising and providing grants to a number of individuals and groups.
A spokesperson for Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman said the broadcaster still received $34 million a year but couldn’t say how long it had been receiving that amount.
A financial review of Radio NZ for the 2009/10 financial year showed it had a net deficit of $498,000 after tax, compared to a surplus of $13,000 the year before.
The review said RNZ had been too cash-strapped to participate in the 2010 New Zealand Radio Awards or put in a bid for the Rugby World Cup 2011 coverage.
Kedgley said she first thought the charity registration was a joke.
“I am appalled to discover that it is serious proposition and that the Board of Radio New Zealand has been forced by the Government’s funding freeze on Radio New Zealand to set up a trust so that it can go out with a begging bowl to the public,” she said.
“The move suggests there is quiet desperation at Radio New Zealand. The broadcaster simply cannot make ends meet under the Government’s funding freeze.”
Curran said the move raised some “serious questions”.
“Not the least of which is why the whole of RNZ has been registered as a charity, and what the long-term intention is,” she said.
“Radio NZ’s survival should not be dependent on it having to solicit donations. It is our state radio broadcaster and holds a special place in New Zealand.”
Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman couldn’t be reached for comment and neither could RNZ chairman Richard Griffin.
Griffin told Fairfax earlier this year that RNZ could only survive a funding freeze for another two years.
He said the current freeze put the public broadcaster in a “more than difficult” financial position.
“If we’re left in a position where every year costs increase and funding remains static, we’re going to wither.”
It was believed that the charity was mainly to fund its concert station.
It is an unbelievable, bizarre state-of -affairs when a public service such as Radio New Zealand , has to register itself as a charity. If this doesn’t ring alarm bells with us, then we are truly asleep.
It should also give us cause for concern that National will be closing down TVNZ7. This free-to-air; advertising free; public network is a wealth of news, documentaries, and offers an un-commercialised look at ourselves and the world around us.
TVNZ7 treats the viewer with intelligence and respect. It is television as it should be – and not the mindless rubbish that we are now served up every day on other channels. (Parliament TV excepted – that contains very mature, erudite debate from our Honourable Members of Parliament.)
It is a great shame that two quality public services – TVNZ7 and Radio New Zealand – can be put in jeopardy through the lack of political support from the government-of-the-day, and because of public apathy. If New Zealanders were as passionate about their own public broadcasting system, as they were about wayward penguins, oh what a much more mature society we would be.
But we are like children, it seems, and easily enthralled by the latest distracting trinket.
New Zealand has often been described as a “young country”.
That is truer than we realised.
So the Commerce Commission decided not to hold an inquiry into milk pricing in New Zealand?
But Minister of Agriculture, David Carter, still wants a Parliamentary inquiry to investigate the matter?
Hmmmm… it’s not because the election is only three months away, and National is fearful that Labour and the Greens will be making this an election issue? Surely, politicians can’t be that cynical and manipulative?
Of course not.
What was I thinking.
Perhaps if I might be so bold, and offer Mr Carter a word of explanation as to milk pricing. The price of milk is determined by the free market. The same free market that National endorses, advocates, and embraces with all it’s manly ‘love’. The same free market that National has ordered TVNZ to pursue, by cancelling it’s Public Charter. The same free market it chases with the Trans Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations.
Yes, National is the party of the Free Market. As John Key told our American cuzzies on 22 July,
“At the most basic level, we share a commitment to the democratic, capitalist system.”
So there you have it, folks. In a nut-sell. Or milk bottle, if you prefer. We are a capitalist system,which means that the price of milk is determined by what you, the public, are willing to pay for it.
Something to consider of 26 November – Election Day.
As for Mr Carter’s call for a Parliamentary Inquiry – my money is on nothing ever coming off it. Much like National’s much-vaunted Jobs Summit in February, 2009.
Remember that little farce?
On TVNZ’s Q + A, David Carter was interviewed by Guyon Espiner, who asked the Minister if two supermarket chains offered enough competition at the retail end of milk distribution. Carter replied that there was competition and said,
“Well, if people want to buy the expensive brands, they can pay $4.80 up to $5.40. They can buy a cheaper brand at that supermarket for $3.30. They can go round the corner to a dairy, quite often, depending on where they live, and perhaps buy that for $2.90. What I’m saying is there’s a big variation on the retail price of milk.”
Milk is cheaper at corner dairy’s, and on sale for $2.90?!?!
Pray tell, Mr Carter – what colour is the sky on your planet? Because on our world, corner dairy-stores are the more expensive option to buy goods.
National members of parliament – out of touch with reality since 1936.
*sighs* I didn’t have to be Ken Ring to know this was going to happen (though Ken would’ve been a month wrong in his predictions). It’s Election Year. This is when politicians play silly buggers up to November 26th…