Archive

Archive for April, 2013

Blogger lays complaint with Commerce Commission – *UP-DATE*

30 April 2013 5 comments

.

Continued from: Blogger lays complaint with Commerce Commission

.

Commerce commission logo

.

On 1 April (not an April Fools Joke) this year, this blogger laid a complaint with the NZ Commerce Commission, regarding National’s dealings with Mighty River Power and Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter.

The complain was as follows,

.

Tony Ryall has recently announced that the NZ Government is intervening directly in negotiations between Meridian Energy and Rio Tinto (which is 80% owner of Tiwai Aluminium Smelter).

Mr Ryall has said,

“With this in mind, the Government has been in contact with Pacific Aluminium’s international parent company Rio Tinto this week to discuss helping to bridge the gap in their positions over the short to medium term, if this could be of assistance in concluding an agreement.

“In the meantime, we understand Meridian’s existing contract with Pacific Aluminium remains in place at least until 1 January 2016 with significant financial and other obligations beyond that.”

Ryall added that “all relevant information – including about the smelter electricity contract – will be reflected in the Mighty River Power offer document which is currently being finalised”.

Source: NZ Herald, Govt steps in to sort out stalled Tiwai power deal ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10874174)

I therefore submit the following;

(1) This appears to be a prima facie case of the NZ Government manipulating the future stock price of Mighty River Power (and other state owned powercos), by offering a subsidy to Rio Tinto.

(2) This subsidy is not available to any other company nor individual.

(3) As such, I submit that the NZ Government’s intention to subsidise electricity that is provided to Rio Tinto is done with a view to reduce competition in the market.

Specifically, I draw the Commission’s attention to the Commerce Act 1986; sections 27, 30, and related clauses.

(4) Furthermore, I submit that if any other corporation, company, institution, or individual attempted such an act, that they would be deemed to be guilty of price fixing and manipulation of the market.

I await your response and thank you for your consideration of my complaint.

-Frank Macskasy

.

Being somewhat naive, I believed that attempting to  instigate events, that would keep the price of shares for a specific company at an inflated value,  would constitute a form of manipulation of  the share market.

Silly me.

What was I thinking?!

The Commerce Commission replied four weeks later,

.

from:     Contact <contact@comcom.govt.nz>
to:     “fmacskasy@gmail.com” <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
date:     Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:56 AM
subject:     282199 Meridian Energy Limited and the government

Thank you for the information you provided the Commission regarding the Government’s announcement that it will intervene directly in the negotiations between Meridian Energy and Rio Tinto (owners of Tiwai Aluminium Smelter).  You suggest that this intervention would amount to price fixing

 We assessed the information you have provided and we are satisfied that the Commerce Act is unlikely to have been breached in this instance. Although it owns one of the parties to these negotiations, Meridian Energy, the Crown appears to have tried to meditate in this dispute on an “honest broker” basis. As such, the Crown probably would not have been in trade for the purposes of this exercise.

 The above is merely our view that no prima facie breach of the Commerce Act has occurred. Such a view is not a ruling of law, as only the courts can decide whether there is a breach of the Act. The Commission’s decision not to pursue this matter does not prevent an individual from initiating their own action.

 We have closed the file in regard to your complaint enquiry number 282199.

 Yours sincerely

 Katey Salmond

Commerce Commission |Senior Contact Centre Adviser
44 The Terrace |PO Box 2351 |Wellington 6140 |New Zealand
Free phone 0800 943 600 |Fax +64 (04) 924 3700
Follow us on Twitter @NZComCom

.

One would have thought that by providing subsidised (cheaper) electricity to Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelter; for a short term period (as Dear Leader has stated:  PM John Key says fresh Mighty River Float detail due on Friday; may include detail on risks around Tiwai Pt closure);  for the purpose of maintaining a high price for Mighty River Power’s shares – would constitute a form of share-market manipulation.

After all, the point of the whole exercise was to maintain Mighty River Power’s share-value. As Key himself pointed out on 2 April,

“But obviously, for the number of people involved, the jobs, the impact on the local community and the impact in the short term on the electricity markets, the government would like to see the orderly exit of the smelter, or a long term agreement between the companies.”

Acknowledgment: Interest.co.nz – PM John Key says fresh Mighty River Float detail due on Friday; may include detail on risks around Tiwai Pt closure

In an ironic side-issue, it’s interesting to note that merchant bankers, share-brokers, Federated Farmers, etc, haven’t raised merry hell on this issue – as they did with the Labour-Green proposal for a single electricity buyer-desk, NZ Power.

I think we can see all manner of vested interests involved here.

Last point, Ms Salmond writes in her 29 April email to me,

The Commission’s decision not to pursue this matter does not prevent an individual from initiating their own action.”

That almost comes across as a sly hint…

.

.

= fs =

Advertisements

Peter Mazany: We don’t Need No Edukashun!

30 April 2013 3 comments

From the NZ Herald, on 26 April, Peter Mazany makes his case for running a Charter School;

.

Peter Mazany - Charter schools 'vital' for some students

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Peter Mazany: Charter schools ‘vital’ for some students

.

This op-ed piece sounds more like a self-promotional advertisement than anything truly news-worthy,

Our company Schoolsims NZ has submitted an application to start a Partnership School/Kura Hourua.

I and some of my colleagues have taught or have positions at tertiary institutions in New Zealand. I have received prizes for my work when teaching at the University of Auckland as the most distinguished teacher and as the MBA teacher of the year. I do not and will never have a teaching degree and without the partnership schools initiative, this opportunity to start a school and prove the value of our teaching and learning methods would never have been available. I am sure that some of the other applicants are in the same position.

We are working with about 50 schools and provide them with an effective form of simulation-based learning for NCEA accounting with a large computer-based component.

Our target is to double the effectiveness of teaching and learning in half the time and half the cost over a range of standards in NCEA accounting, business studies, and maths.”

Of particular mirth/derision, is Mazany’s statement,

I do not and will never have a teaching degree…”

He sounds positively proud of the fact he has no formal training/education in teaching!?

One wonders if he’ll be de-motivating his Charter School students to likewise not  seek further, higher education?

Why should children in Mazany’s Charter Schools seek higher education? Aftrer all, Mazany has set himself up as a role model.

But more chilling was this statement in his promo;

Our method can produce huge benefits in results, efficiency, flexibility, speed and cost.”

One can imagine the outcome of a regime that focuses on “results, efficiency, flexibility, speed and cost“,

.

regimented school children

.

This is education for our children. “Results, efficiency, flexibility, speed and cost” sounds more like an assembly line for pre-programmed automatons.

It will be a primary issue for an incoming Labour-Green government to remove all funding from  Charter Schools and to eliminate this bastardised, dumbed-down, profit-generating version of “education” from our society.

As an aside, I wonder if Mazany paid NZ Herald to publish what is, in effect, an advertorial.

.

*

.

Hat-Tip

“Burnt out Teacher”, Man expanding business seeks wealthy partner(-ship school)

.

.

= fs =

Parekura Horomia

30 April 2013 2 comments

.

Parekura Horomia 1950 - 2013

Parekura Horomia
1950 – 2013

.

~ Our condolences to his friends & whanau ~

.

Karl Du Fresne has a public baby waa-waa cry-session – part rua

29 April 2013 8 comments

.

Continued from: Karl Du Fresne has a public baby waa-waa cry-session

On 27 march, Karl Du Fresne had a bit of a public melt-down over Radio NZ, complaining,

.

RNZ's bias needs to be tackled

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – RNZ’s bias needs to be tackled

.

He accused Radio NZ on being a left wing organisation;

But on some programmes, a stubborn Left-wing bias persists.

Kim Hill is the worst offender. This is a problem for whoever runs RNZ, because she’s also its biggest name.

Chris Laidlaw lists to the Left too, as does Jeremy Rose, a journalist who frequently crops up on Laidlaw’s Sunday morning show. Rose appears to be on a lifelong mission to convince people that there are humane alternatives to nasty, heartless capitalism.

Acknowledgement: IBID

Part of the problem is that National Ministers regularly refuse to front on Radio NZ to explain government policy.  An example this morning was typical of National ministers ducking for cover whenever negative stories hit the media.

The Salvation Army will be closing services and making staff redundant, as government funding is cut for critical  social services;

.

Salvation Army warns of cuts to budgeting services

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Salvation Army warns of cuts to budgeting services

.

Cuts to services – such as provided by the Salvation Army – will hit the poorest; most down-trodden; people and their families, in our society. It would be like stealing coins from a blind beggar on the footpath.

All the while, National spends-up large on Tim Groser’s job-hunt at the WTO;

.

NZ First calls on Groser to refund travel costs

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – NZ First calls on Groser to refund travel costs

.

And National’s colossal spend-up on consultants and witch-hunts is now legendary;

.

Consultancy culture' cost $525m last year - Labour

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – ‘Consultancy culture’ cost $525m last year – Labour

PM defends money spent on MFAT leak

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – PM defends money spent on MFAT leak

.

The above stories all reflect badly on National. But is it the fault of state-owned, Radio NZ? Is the broadcaster “left-leaning”, as Du Fresne charges?

Or, is the reason somewhat more prosaic?

So, Minister for Social Development, Paula Bennett, was invited to appear on Radio NZ’s “Checkpoint” this morning (29 April) to explain why funding for social services for organisations such as the Salvation Army, will be cut.

When Bennett was invited to front on “Checkpoint” – she refused. Instead she provided a written statement. (Well, wasn’t that ‘big’ of her?)

Hear: Radio NZ – Checkpoint – Labour speaks out against recession funding cuts

.

Paula Bennett - not prepared to front on RNZ.

Paula Bennett – too un-nerved to front on Radio NZ?

.

This is not the first (nor last) time that National Ministers have refused to front on Radio NZ. It happens with annoying regularity (with Dear Leader John Key being the worst offender).

On the other hand, Labour’s spokesperson on social issues, Jacinda Ardern, accepted an invitation to take part in the story.

.

Jacinda Ardern - accepted RNZ's invitation to take part in interview.

Jacinda Ardern – accepted Radio NZ’s invitation to take part in interview.

.

If Ministers like Bennett, Ket, et al, – whose salaries are paid by taxpayers – do not have the courage of their convictions to appear on TV, radio, or other media to explain their policies – then they are not worthy of our electoral support nor attention. They are a waste of space.

And right wing munters like Karl Du Fresne should have nothing to whinge about.

.

.

= fs =

27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Rua)

28 April 2013 14 comments

Continued from: 27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Tahi)

.

27-april-no-asset-sales

.

NZ, Wellington, 27 April – Under a clear, sunny sky and only a slight breeze,  the march pushed off  at around 2.45pm, with a police escort;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Following the police vehicle, the lead marchers, proudly grasping a message aimed at all National ministers;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

The marchers were in good spirit – knowing that they were on the side of the angels on this issue;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Labour and Mana  standing side by side. A portent of things to come after the 2014 election? (Or earlier, if this rotten government collapses, or Key has a Muldoon-“moment” and calls for a snap election.)

If the sale of Mighty River Power goes badly for the thieving Nats; or Ohariu MP, Peter Dunne realises that the government he is a part of is on a hiding to nowhere,  a snap election may be on the cards.

We can only hope/pray…

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Lots of smiling faces; lots of hope and optimism for the future of this country;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

A bit of humour from one of the protesters;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Aside from a couple of clowns who thought they were being clever (see dickhead on the left), we received good support from by-standers. Several joined the protest march – note the lady in the pink jersey on the right, who stepped off the footpath, and walked with us;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Bringing up the rear of the protest march;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Where there were smart-arses yelling desparaging comments, they were generally inarticulate boofheads. These four young ‘gentlemen’ yelled abuse, and in the process showed us the calibre of  right wing fools. No doubt they’ll become typical National Party (or ACT, if it survives) politicians;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Ngarie had so much energy, as she took part in the chants and had some highly critical comments of her own to shout. People were left in no doubt what she thought of National and our illustrious Dear Leader;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Near the end of the march; these guys may be at the bottom of the socio-economic heap, but they had a huge amount of positive, good nature and were staunch in their condemnation of National’s thieving of our state assets. When the poorest of the poor are politicised, the end is nigh for  neo-liberals and their fellow-travellers;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

The march eveventually wound it’s way up the entrance-way to Parliament. Note the senior citizens leading the way!

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

By the time the protesters had reached the Parliamentary fore-court, their numbers had swelled to around 500-700 (estimated);

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Some street theatre by Aroha Priest, giving us a glimpse of a chilling  future, where poverty has increased and homeless  street-life is the  ‘norm’;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Howard Phillips – Vice President of the Rail, Transport and Maritime Union – gave a rousing speech to the crowd, reminding us how many thousands of jobs had been lost over the last four years;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Peter Hicks – Tasmanian singer-song writer – and Marama Te Kira – local performer/songwriter  – entertained the crowd with good music, assisted by an excellent sound-system.

A fine sunny day; good music; and “giving the fingers” to the Nats – what could be a better day?

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

And Marilyn Head – from the NZ Nurses Organisation – expressed an excellent appraisal of how the s TPPA – currently being negotiated in secret –  will affect this country’s economic sovereignty.  Marilyn pointed out that, in the past, we were able to re-nationalise stressed  former-SOEs (KiwiRail and Air New Zealand).

Marilyn pointed out that the TPPA would no longer allow a New Zealand government the option of bailing out and re-nationalising a stressed ex-SOE (eg; Mighty River Power) and would tie it’s hands considerably. She raised the issue of trans-nationals suing our government; the loss of PHARMAC’s effectiveness; and secret overseas tribunals deciding disputes between coroporations and governments.

Marilyn said that the Australian government had refused to be a party to permitting corporations to sue them in  Investor-Government disputes – but that National was prepared to sign up to that accord.

Held in secret tribunals, it puts New Zealand in a very dangerous position. More foolishness from National.

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

And meanwhile, lurking in the background, was this character.  Perhaps waiting for the death of our economic sovereignty?

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Not if we don’t let it happen.

Aotearoa – it’s NOT for sale!

.

*

.

Copyright (c)  Notice

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

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

= fs =

27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Tahi)

27 April 2013 19 comments

.

27-april-no-asset-sales

.

NZ, Wellington, 27 April – On a crisp, summery day, citizens of Wellington (and some from further afield), began to assemble at Te Aro (“Pigeon”) Park, in Manners Street, to send (another) message to National ministers: Aotearoa is not for sale!

TV1 cameraman, with Police and protest organisers, together planning the march route and other  measures to keep people safe during the event. There was excellent co-operation between both parties. ANFS has a solid record for peaceful, non-violent, law-abiding protest;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

From about 2pm, the crowd quickly swelled from a few dozen, to several hundred. Ages ranged from young children, to the elderly.  It was interesting to note that over half the assembled people were in their 20s or 30s.

The issue of state assets belonging to the people, has become an inter-generational matter of concern and deeply-held beliefs;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Question. Will all our assets be gone – flogged off to investors from Beijing, Berlin, or Boston – by the time this young fellow grows up?  Will he be a tenant-worker in his own country – a country that was sold out from under his feet by venal, ignorant  politicians and a distracted middle-class?

Answer? Not if we have anything to say about it!

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

From the young, to the older. This is an issue that cuts across generations, race, gender, class, etc;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Some good sounds from the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Good representation from the young people of the Mana Party;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Plenty of good humour evident amongst the protest group. I wonder if Dear Leader would like this piece of art?Perhaps for a small sum donated to a worthy charity?

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

ANFS (Aotearoa Not For Sale) organiser, Ariana, addressing the crowd,

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Young New Zealanders who want what we took for granted as children ourselves; clean rivers and clean seas. Is this too much to ask from a consumerist generation?

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Simple messages on home-made placards;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Once Key and his cronies sell of our assets, what will be left for this young lady? And will she and her young generation curse us for letting it happen?

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Another simple, home-made message from a New Zealander to the government;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

A young socialist in the making? The struggle does not end here, nor will neo-liberalism triumph. Not whilst the young continue to bear the banner;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Another view of the crowd, listening to ANFS co-organiser, Francis, barely visible in the background (holding bullhorn);

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

I think a good number of people in this country would agree with these messages;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

A good message – and one all governments  should  consider;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Three staunch MANA Party supporters. Note the message on the placard. Aside from simple-minded Tory supporters, who really believes that power prices will fall, once Mighty River Power, Meridian, and Genesis are partially-privatised?

Will investors really settle for a drop in returns on their share investments? Yeah, right, of course they will… *pfffft!!*

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

A very clear message. This banner will lead the march;

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Valerie, addressing the crowd about the protocols of the march,

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Two cars  painted to promote the day of action. Using corporate-style vehicle-advertising – how cool is that?

.

27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

.

Continued at: 27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Rua) – Where the march heads for Parliament grounds!

.

*

.

Copyright (c)  Notice

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

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

= fs =

Breakfasts, Brain-fades, and Bullshit

26 April 2013 2 comments

.

Key met spy candidate for breakfast

.

Acknowledgement: Dominion Post –  Key met spy candidate for breakfast

.

The best response amongst the comments posted was this one, in response to a right winger trying to deflect on to Shearer and Norman,

.

Key met spy candidate for breakfast - comment by Rodger Red

Acknowledgement: Dominion Post –  IBID

.

Brilliant reposte.

’nuff said.

.

.

= fs =