Author Archive

Guest Author: An Open Letter to John Key – Why should the PM be any different?

– Tim O’Shea



Up Yours, New Zealand




Dear John

This is a message for you – please refer to the attached photo.

I just wanted to make it clear that this is from me personally, as an individual, as a person, as someone’s brother, cousin, father and uncle. I’m not going to hide behind a weak excuse that I am instead doing this as an employee, as a professional, or any other weak as piss argument.

We are all accountable for our words and actions – we can not, with any credibility or integrity, even half-reasonably suggest that we can somehow separate or distance ourselves from inappropriate actions and behaviour on the basis that we did it as an individual, or “in the line of duty”, or vice versa!

We expect high standards from our All Blacks, or for that matter, anyone representing New Zealand. Would we accept the excuse that “I got pissed the night before a test match as an individual, not as an AB”?

Why should the PM be any different? This is the most important and prestigious (and in theory, most honourable and respected) position in the country. Why should we accept such low standards of behaviour and integrity from you, Mr Key?

I’m quite surprised that Bill Clinton didn’t just say “I put my willy where I shouldn’t have as an individual, and not as the President”. Of course, no one would have accepted this as a reasonable defence, and Bill Clinton wouldn’t dare to insult people’s intelligence with such a farcical argument.

However, Mr Key, you expect us all to accept much lower standards. You treat all New Zealanders like idiots.

What goes round comes around. Your time will come.


– Tim O’Shea

Guest Author: The Rock Fuels NZ Roastbuster Rape Culture

– by Jessie Hume




This is making me feel pretty uncomfortable.

Here we have an instance of Jono and Ben posing like “exposed celebrities”. But do you know what I’m seeing? I’m seeing two dudes who basically “roasted” a woman online (exposed pictures of her without her consent) just like the Roastbusters did, who are then making fun of the situation, just like the Roastbusters did. I know they are not condoning rape. They are, however, knowingly condoning this kind of without-consent behaviour toward women, specifically, posting photos of women online without permission.



The Rock, like many other Radio Network and Media Works radio stations yesterday posted illegally stolen and explicit photographs of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities. They did so with full knowledge that lawsuits were under way, they did so knowing that Jennifer granted NO CONSENT. The original photos were very obviously private and completely inappropriate for public distribution. They were stolen, and it is not her fault they were stolen, she had reasonable expectations of privacy.

Consent. It’s simple.

Despite complaints and rapidly increasing public concern The Rock continues to publish the images and laugh about how funny this kind of without-consent behaviour is. The rock alludes to masturbating to the images. I spoke with Leon from Media Works who assured me the images would be removed from other Media Works sites, but The Rock appear to be updating their links. What is interesting is not only publishing the images a without-consent act, it is considered amusing.

People here we have it. If you ever thought rape culture wasn’t a thing it’s right here, in action. Is doing stuff to chicks without consent funny? Are women “asking for it” if they take photos of themselves naked with their partners and store that on private, password-protected spaces? No. People are actually using that phrase “asking for it” including the radio DJs. Do you realise how that sounds? Can we stop it? A woman taking private photos of herself, for her partner, is not asking for global humiliation. She is not “asking” for anything.

Remember, these organisations have been contacted by the public, some of them removed photos, some tried to post “tamer” photos or link to hosts elsewhere, some continued to laugh about posting the images because ratings are money and money is cool. It would be nice, if we did something, to stop men who have no concept of consent controlling New Zealand news media. It is 2014. The time to act is now, let’s do something. Your action matters.

Action Alert (Please share this blog): 

The Rock are still publishing the images on their website and updating links. Let them know what you think. School them on consent and that acting without consent isn’t actually a laugh: You can also do so on their Facebook page:

You can email Jennifer’s representative and report anyone who has distributed the images here: attention Liz Mahoney.

– Jesse Hume

(Re-pubublished by kind permission.)




= fs =

Guest Author: A Cry of desperation from Christchurch

–  Sarah O’Brien




I spoke to my father (84 yrs old) and asked.. ‘are you going to watch Hope & Wire”?

His response… ‘No, it hardly represents what the people here are still going through. It misrepresents Christchurch all together, and the language is unacceptable.  All this intermittant rubbish the writer has crammed into it… represents us as a group of badly educated, sex driven white supremists’!!!

YES.. I couldn’t agree more…

Having now lived through over 13000 earthquakes, and dealing on a daily basis with my own paper war to have my insurance contract with IAG (via the ASB) honoured, living with black mold in the ceilings, no carpet, gib off bedroom & living room walls and having had raw sewerage in the house for 2 years as EQC refused to fix this under ’emergency repairs’ (while my insurers didnt want to know until I was deemed ‘Over cap with EQC, not able to get it fixed myself or ‘I’d loose my insurance claim’!!!)’.

Now I witness see daily ‘fletchered cosmetic repairs failing’, and elderly / disable persons having to shift from their homes for the 2nd or 3rd time, as their floor boards were ‘propped up’ (Jack and Packed) with bits of MDF / Malamine / Gib board and even an old chair leg!!!

Entry doors and windows still cannot be secured, water ingress every time it rains, and drive / pathways inaccessible to those who are elderly or disabled in small ways.

Why?? Because Gerry & his army of twats has decided its OK for up to 20% of structural repairs (replacement of piles) under houses , are able to be completed without consent!!!!! Therefore, we have cowboys being paid millions and their work is not requiring council building inspection!!!! Is this what our insurance is paying for???

YES: the government led (CERA) Fletcher repair scheme has cost the taxpayers three times more than it ever should, caused hundreds of deaths, illness (mental and physical), and this whole Government orchistrated genocide and complete ignoring of the plight of the Christchurch people is criminal….

But do YOU know how I felt at the end of Hope & Wire??

I shed a blubbery tear and felt…



Because I have pleaded with you all to listen, protest, become involved and support us.. You get out there to save the dolphins. You rally to stop fracking. You rally to have emergency houses built in Auckland. You rally to help North Island flood victims or Wellington storm / earthquake victims.. you rally to stop wars in other countries.

Yet you leave the victims of this city for four years to survive sub-zer0 degree nights, relentless floods, living in 3rd world conditions. Many still living in tents and garages…. and STILL STUCK WITH EQC / FLETCHERS AND INSURERS STAFF WHO RELENTLESSLY BULLY AND THREATEN ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE VICTIMS OF THIS. OUR NATIONS TRAVESTY.

Yes… BUGGER YOU. If this was rugby… another springbok event.. would you take a day off work and protest??? THIS IS GENOCIDE HERE!! WAKE UP!!!

Sarah O’Brien
Christchurch resident, July 2014



Previous related blogposts

Interview: Angie, the Earthquake Angel

A tale of two tragedies


Fairfax media: Christchurch rent crisis ‘best left to market’

The Christchurch Fiasco : the Insurance Aftershock and its Implications for New Zealand and Beyond



National's trickle down policy is a frozen tap

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



= fs =


Guest Author: So John Key, a man can’t be a feminist?

Bennett Morgan



Comedian Louis C.K. John Key, David Cunliffe. 

The hillbilly minority in this country has entered another week in wasted anger over David Cunliffe’s “sorry for being a man” quote. A new Facebook page has risen from the depths of hate as “Labour’s war on men” – attracting close to 700 lost rednecks to join up in a matter of days. It includes, from the observation of the naked eye, truckers expressing their distaste in Cunliffe’s use of words.

Those who know me will know; this is something I just can’t stand. Men, insisting they are an oppressed minority.

OK, for goodness sakes – you are a WHITE MAN! Let me use Louis C.K’s scenario; if you had a time machine, you, as a white man could go anywhere, at any point in time, and be welcomed with open arms and rights. If you are a woman – that’s not the case. Anywhere before 1970 and you’ll get Women saying – “No thanks, don’t feel like being patted on the backside in the workplace” or “I have better things to do than staying at home all day, doing the ironing”.

Men have it great. I know this. And every man knows this. What no man understands is the despicable discrimination and hatred which still exists against Women in our modern, supposedly liberal society. Women are still underrepresented in boardrooms, council rooms and offices of high power. We still have existing stereotypes that Men do one thing and Women do the other. We still use phrases like ‘are you man enough?’ as if Women are lesser when it comes to bravery.

So, Men aren’t discriminated against in our society. Men are incredibly focused on in popular culture; for example, why are we so interested in the All Blacks and not the Blackferns? Do you even know who the Blackferns are?

Then there’s violence. Violence against women. Whenever someone tries to raise the point of this completely ignored and horrifyingly common violence, you’ll always get someone saying “It’s not OK to hit a man too!”. Oh poop. Are you man enough?

We are discussing Women’s violence. You know, the one we ignore but counts for 85% of all violence at home? Yeah, that’s the violence we are trying to discuss here. This is the violence the media has ignored every time a politician has tried to address this serious problem. Then there’s the audacity from our manliest beast of a man John Key, who laughs off Cunliffe’s comments.

This is not a joke. One woman calling a helpline or the police every nine minutes because she is being beaten by a man she loves is not a joke. It could hardly be interpreted as such, and I’m sorry men, but for once – this isn’t all about you. This is about saving lives, relationships and families. This is about saving young women from being scarred for life – this is about being defenders of the vulnerable  and a voice for the voiceless.

What the media should have focused on is what Cunliffe said after “I’m sorry for being a man”. But we didn’t hear a word. Had we heard a word, and had New Zealanders been willing to listen and willing to care, David Cunliffe would not only be respected, but would be labeled a hero for speaking out.

The fact the media was up to it’s old tricks, trying to spot a gaffe, the fact our Prime Minister and various other politicians used his comments for their gain is disgusting. They used it without even checking nor accepting the crisis which exists within the country they govern. The country they could fix.

Key laughed offed the comments and gained reputation for being the voice of ‘oppressed men’  – all the while, he watched as the Christchurch Rape Crisis Centre closed it’s doors, leaving dozens in a broken city without hope.

$30,000 to leave that open. The next day he spent $80,000 on re-designing bank notes.

That is how our government values women. That is how our government values abuse.  That is how our government values rape. A joke, and less important than a banknote. $50,000 less important than a banknote. Keep going Mr. Key, you’re doing Abbott proud…

So if men can’t be feminists, I guess there never should have been whites speaking out against apartheid. I guess there shouldn’t be Jewish people right now fighting the actions of a Zionist government in Palestine. And I guess no straight person should celebrate a gay couple being happy.

And if men never act on issues which help Women; then there would never be the right for Women to vote.

So in that respect, laughing off Cunliffe’s comments as ‘feminist bullshit’ is un-Kiwi. It goes against who we are and why we are all here; to fight for the equality of all our people.

B. Morgan, 2014. 

Re-printed by kind permission from Bennett’s blog, InsightNZ


Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



= fs =

Metiria Turei’s Waitangi Day speech on Te Tii Marae at the powhiri for party leaders

– Metiria Turei, Green Party Co-Leader

Metiria Turei.


Tēnēi au e tū whakaiti nei i raro i a Ranginui, i runga i a Papatuānuku, e titiro kau ana ki ngā maunga whakahi me ngā tini uri o Tane.

Ki a koutou o Ngati Rahiri, o Ngā Puhi-nui-tonu, e rere haere ngā mihi o mātou Te Rōpū Kākāriki ki a koutou mō tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi wiki.

Kua tae mai mātou ki te mahara, ki te maumahara, ki te whakanui i tēnēi taonga o a tātou, Te Tiriti o Waitangi me He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga.

Ko te whakahonoretanga o Te Tiriti tētahi wāhanga whakahirahira rawa atu o te kawenata o ngā Kākāriki.

Mihi mai i runga i te kaupapa e whakakōtahi nei i a tātou, arā te oranga o a tātou whānau me te whenua o a tātou tūpuna.

Kua tatanga ahau me tōku pāti ki te noho ki te tepu o te kāwanatanga mō te huanga o tātou te iwi Māori.

Kāore e mutu ngā mihi ki a koutou i tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi rā.

He honore nui mōku ki te korero ki a koutou i tēnēi rā ki te whakanui i tēnēi rā.

It is an extraordinary honour to speak here today.

This is an historic opportunity for me, as a Māori woman and political leader and for the Green Party, the most consistent voice in parliament for the interests of Maori over the past 15 years.

Getting our kids out of poverty; protecting the moana from deep sea oil drilling; warm healthy homes for every whānau; honouring te tiriti o waitangi; this is the Green kaupapa, my kaupapa.

And it’s urgent. For every day that goes by more of our kids are being robbed of their future.

Deep sea oil drilling robs our kids. It robs them of a clean ocean, of safe food, of sustainable jobs when they grow up.

The Greens are the leading political voice in the fight to protect our oceans.

The Treaty guarantees our children the right to clean and oil free seas.

The education system still denies rangatahi an education and traps them in poverty, robbing them of a fair future.

The international results showed that only 4.5 per cent of Māori 15 year olds achieved in the top two levels in 2012.

We could gather up the first hundred kids we see running around this atea; we take just five and say “you will achieve and do well”.

The rest, well, some will struggle through. And many will not make it at all.

And it’s getting worse. Our kids are now much less likely to achieve at the top levels of school than they were before National came to power.

National refuses to do anything about the reasons for educational underachievement: inequality and poverty.

And when they are challenged on this failure, they make personal attacks.

But offer no solutions for our kids.

The Treaty guarantees our children the right to an education.

The Greens put kids at the heart of everything we do. And that’s the difference we bring.

We know that if the most vulnerable kids have what they need to do well, like healthcare, free lunch, after school care, then every single one of our kids will have the best chance to be the best they can be.
We will protect our workers, increasing the minimum wage and making industries like forestry safer, so men stop dying trying to make ends meet for their whānau.

We are committed to honouring the treaty, honouring our people and honouring our whenua.

The Green Party will sit at the heart of the next progressive government.

We will have a big role to play in that government.

For Maori, it’s worth remembering that a party vote for the Green Party is the best opportunity you have to have a say at that table and change the government on behalf of our kids.
A vote for the Green Party will not be a wasted vote, like it could be for some of those other parties.

Soon, I will be the only Māori woman leader in parliament.

I help lead a whole team of MPs who are all committed to addressing inequality, righting the wrongs of the past, fighting for clean water and fighting for all our whānau to lead good lives and have a fair future.

The message this election year is clear.
National’s time is up. The time of the radical right making laws for their rich mates is over.

This is the message the country is sending, that Maori are sending.
My presence here today is evidence of that.
The time for our children, for our whānau, for our whenua is here.

National may not like it. They will lash out with venom and bitterness.

They will reduce the most pressing issues our kids face to being about the colour of my suits, but to do so they let all New Zealanders down, particularly Maori, and particularly kids.

But whether the message is delivered by a Maori woman standing in jandals or a Maori woman in a suit, make no mistake, change is coming.

And that change is Green.

Kāore e mutu ngā mihi ki a koutou i tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi rā.

He honore nui mōku ki te korero ki a koutou I tēnēi rā. Tena koutou katoa.





= fs =

Guest Author: A Citizen’s Submission on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme

– Paula Fern


milk prices-pollution


Plan Change 6 and RWSS Submission


Paula Fern


My name is Paula Fern and I am a resident of Waipawa, where I’ve lived with my family since December 2011. My family ties to this area go back to my great great grandparents, James Davey and Susan Stubbs who originally settled in Dannevirke after the birth of their first child, my great grandmother Minnie, in Havelock North. This is my 9 year old daughter Marni who wanted to come along today so she could see for herself who would be responsible for deciding the fate of our river, the Waipawa. Your decision directly impacts the future of my children, and all the other kids in our community.

“Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au – I am the river, the river is me” is a true description as our water is daily a part of us; our townships water supply comes from two shallow bores adjacent to the Waipawa River. As such maintaining a healthy river is essential for our community.

According to the latest published compliance (1) our water supply is ungraded, and it doesn’t comply for E.coli or Protozoa, and no official P2’s, such as nitrates, are even tested for. In light of the current situation in Canterbury it would be appropriate to know what else we’re actually drinking.

As a family we spend a lot of time in and with our river, whether it’s walking with our dog, swimming, or fishing. Marni’s older brother is becoming quite the expert at enticing trout onto his line, and releasing them afterwards.

We realise how fortunate we are, being able to walk just down the road to what is a vital asset. It gives so much to us, and we believe that it should be protected and enhanced, not turned into a toxic dumping ground and over allocated for irrigation, which has been the fate of so many of our waterways. It will be the fate of many more if we don’t stand up and say no, and that’s the message I want to convey to you all; the risks of this particular proposal outweigh any perceived benefit.

Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme

The first part of my submission I’d like to speak about concerns the RWSS.

I am opposed to the dam in its entirety because of the unacceptable risk it exposes my community to, and other matters.

The first time this scheme impacted on me was when I went to see a local business to see if they had any part time work available and within 5 minutes I was told that if I didn’t support the dam then I wouldn’t be employed, and that the dam would be the saviour of businesses and retail in Waipukurau township. I was then shown a large map of the dam site. To say that I was left a little perplexed by the experience is an understatement. Apart from knowing that I couldn’t work there, I also knew that I would have to find out more about this golden goose.

It’s been a slow process as information hasn’t been overly forthcoming.

I was reading the Assessment for Environmental Effect in July 2013 when I read about the risk assessment for the dam. It made me take notice, and then I found the final draft of the Dam Break Analysis dated March 2013. Some facts that I instantly grasped were the Potential Impact Category (PIC) is High, the Population At Risk (PAR) is approximately 1000, so roughly half the population of Waipawa. But of course the location of those at risk isn’t exclusive to Waipawa, it includes those that are in the potential inundation path directly below the dam who wouldn’t have any warning or time to evacuate, and includes people in the Lindsay Road area of Waipukurau, and other low lying areas which are pointed out in the maps. It would affect the lower part of Waipawa, with depths up to 5 metres in some parts; there is no real difference between the Sunny Day failure as opposed to the Rainy Day.

There have been lots of words bandied about since, like the chances of failure are small, they build on fault lines all the time. From one now ex regional councillor when I asked his opinion of the potential dam failure, and pointed out the population at risk and that there is actually a fairly good chance that it will fail, his response was,

Well I guess they’d be dead, but we need the water.”

There are several questions that need to be asked; how would insurance be affected for those that own property in the zone? Will premiums go through the roof, or could insurance companies refuse to cover properties completely? Will house values fall, and will homeowners be able to sell with the potential risk hanging over their property? These are all unknowns because QVNZ and insurers won’t comment until a decision is made.

However I did contact a cousin who has been working in insurance on the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery. He asked if this will be noted on the district plan in the future, and noted against the property titles as being in a hazard zone. He also noted that a low-level flood would cause more damage from sewerage overflow and spread.

So why would it fail?


The Dam is being built approximately 800m from the Mohaka Fault, which according to Kyle Bland of GNS is a “very, very active fault”. For a geologist charged with looking for oil and gas deposits that is probably a very good thing, but for building a major piece of infrastructure that can potentially kill a thousand people or more it’s not such a fantastic prospect. The Mohaka Fault, which is what the Makaroro reservoir would sit directly on top of, is classed as a 1 on the Recurrence Interval Class along with the Alpine and Wellington faults, which means a recurrence of under 2000years. The scale goes down to 6 which is a RI of between 20,000-125,000years.(2&3)

On the Civil Defence Hawkes Bay page there’s also some very clear information on potential earthquakes on the Mohaka fault(4) situated in the proposed dam site area over a 475yr return period, and 5000yr return. The 5000yr return represents the Maximum Credible Earthquake which has a Modified Mercalli Intensity(MMI) of 11, and a peak ground acceleration(PGA) of 1.1.

The description of a MMI 11 is that it’s Extreme. Few if any structures remain standing. There would be numerous landslides, with cracks and deformation of the ground.

A PGA of 1.1 is violent shaking and the potential damage is very heavy.

I’ve read the evidence of Trevor Matuschka, Philip Carter and Maria Villamor Perez. The specifications that they are quoting don’t appear to be of the degree of MCE that we are expecting. In Mr Carter’s evidence, 3.3

(a) The dam site is located around 750 m from the primary active Mohaka Fault which has an average recurrence of fault movement of around 1300 years and this together with other active faults in the vicinity, pose a credible shaking hazard to the dam site. GNS has recommended a maximum credible earthquake (MCE) of magnitude Mw 7.5, equivalent to 7.1 on the Richter scale. This would produce an estimated 84th percentile peak ground acceleration at the dam site of 0.77 g.

(b)The MCE is defined as the largest earthquake that can reasonably be expected to be generated by a specific source on the basis of the available seismological and geological evidence. It represents the earthquake hazard level used for design and evaluation of critical features of high hazard projects.

(c)Modern dam design guidelines, including the New Zealand Society on Large Dams (NZSOLD), adopt a two level design approach. A dam must be able to withstand the effects of earthquake shaking that could reasonably be expected to occur in the life of the dam with none or minimal, easily repairable damage. This level is known as the Operational Basis Earthquake (OBE) and is taken equal to earthquake shaking with an average return period of 150 years. The dam must also be able to withstand, without uncontrolled release of the reservoir, earthquake shaking associated with the earthquake source capable of generating the highest level of ground shaking at the site (in this case the Mohaka Fault). This is known as the Maximum Design Earthquake (MDE).

As the 5000yr return is considerably larger than this and could occur within the life of the dam then surely that is what should be the MDE, not what Mr Carter is quoting that GNS have recommended?

Can a dam be built to withstand an earthquake of this size?

How can the dam designers be confident their finalised design would survive such a catastrophic event?

As far as I know, there are no examples of a dam in this fault scenario surviving an earthquake of the magnitude expected. In fact I found a paper penned by the current and two former chairs of ICOLD, Martin Wieland, A. Bozovic and R.P Brenner (Mr Wieland is someone that Mr Matuschka refers to in his evidence several times) that also supports my assumption. In it they state,

As a general guideline, if significant movement along a fault crossing the dam site is accepted as a reasonable possibility during the lifetime of the dam, the best advice is to select an alternative site, less exposed to geodynamic hazard. Such standpoint is supported by the fact that no dam, foreseen to successfully survive the shearing action of a fault slip in its foundation, has ever been exposed to actual test under such event(10).”

This appears to contradict the evidence of Mr Matuschka, 2.2(iii) I consider a CFRD is a good option for the site. This type of dam is inherently capable of withstanding high levels of earthquake ground motion, the design can accommodate displacements, and even if the upstream concrete facing is damaged the embankment will not fail. Also in his evidence it is stated in a letter to Tonkin and Taylor under site selection, “there are no ideal dam sites in the project area.

There seems to be contradictions at every turn.

There has been an attempt by HBRC to show the effects on Waipawa should the dam fail and breach in the kind of earthquake which comes along once per century in these parts, but their downplaying publicly of the risk is irresponsible in my opinion. In the event of an earthquake we’re fortunate that our townships are small in that we have no high-rise buildings, and the majority of dwellings are wooden structures on raised foundations.

They crack but don’t tend to collapse like brick or concrete buildings. An EQC research paper I read from Dec 1995 reaffirms this,

Fortunately, except for the Wellington area these faults lie mostly on the eastern margin and within axial ranges. They pass mainly through farmland, areas of forestry and the Ruahine Range. It is possible that some farm houses in close proximity to the faults will receive damage but structures built on the fault may be ruptured or buried if in the path of any earthquake triggered landslides (7).”

The chances are that those in the identified inundation zone would survive, some may be trapped and/or injured in collapsed buildings, but they’d be alive. Add a wall of water to the scenario and the chances of survival lessen.

A more likely scenario than dam failure and inundation is that Reservoir Triggered Seismicity will cause an earthquake. Mr Carter, and Mr Matuschka refer to the Zipingpu Dam as being an example of a CFRD that has withstood a catastrophic earthquake. What they both failed to mention was that the Zipingpu, or specifically its reservoir, is held by many to be the cause of the Wenchuan Earthquake that it survived (5&6). Over 69,000 people were confirmed dead and over 18,000 were never accounted for as a result of the Mw7.9 earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008.

It wasn’t the dam failing that killed these people; the area that the Reservoir Triggered Seismicity destroyed was far wider than a projected inundation path and as a consequence far more deadly and destructive.

The effects of this go much wider than just people in the way of a rush of dam water.

An earthquake from RTS is certain to be very shallow because of the way the fracture is triggered, so the surface shaking would be very intense and will certainly kill people.

Living in fear of a random dam break is one thing – why should we live in fear of an earthquake caused by the dam as well? It’s not right. I don’t think the risk has been investigated at all, and the risk is very real, no matter how much the promoters of the dam wish to downplay it. Who are these people to say we have to have it? Even if they are ok to be personally at risk they don’t speak for me, and for the sake of my family and my community, I’m not okay with this. Many of the people involved with this process do not have to physically live with the consequences, and I wonder how their perspective would alter if they did.

Why are we being used as guinea pigs?

Other Issues

Emergency Action Plan:

It hasn’t been written yet. Are there going to be sirens along the river? Is it going to be the volunteer fire fighters that would be expected to take on this duty too?

Final Design:

The fact that the design wouldn’t be completed until after consent was granted, and that HBRC and CHBDC would have the final say adds to my total lack of confidence that the design would come under enough scrutiny.

Creating a Low Wage Economy:

John Hayes National MP for Wairarapa column from June 5th,

Australian workers will get a 2.6 per cent rise to $A622.20 a week or $NZ750.50 at the prevailing exchange rate. That’s $A16.37 ($NZ19.75) an hour for Aussies’ 38-hour working week compared with $NZ13.75 an hour or $NZ550 for Kiwis’ 40-hour working week. I note that the Labour Party spokesperson on Labour issues is wringing her hands in despair at this news.

I think we should celebrate because a rise in the minimum wage in Australia makes our labour force more competitive and will be helpful in attracting investment and jobs to New Zealand. About 18 months ago CHB Mayor Peter Butler and I approached Australian based food processors with the suggestion of moving across the Tasman to establish plants in New Zealand to process food produced under newly irrigated areas.

We established that Australian food processors are interested to do this when our new irrigation is in place. A driver from the Australian perspective is that the New Zealand labour force is well educated, more productive and less unionised than their Australian counterparts. Getting our new irrigation schemes up and running is vital for our collective wellbeing. Irrigation and energy development will be real game changers for New Zealand.”

My interpretation of this column is that the local Mayor and the current MP both are promoting a low wage economy for Central Hawke’s Bay. If they were looking to the best interests of the community and wanted to revitalise retail then they should be encouraging innovative businesses here that pay their employees at the bare minimum a living wage. People on the minimum wage of $13.75 an hour are struggling to afford even the basics, there is no discretionary income, so supporting the flagging retail in Waipukurau definitely wouldn’t be on the agenda.

Other issues that concern me are the following, but have been covered extensively and very well by others so I’ll keep it brief:

Flushing Flows

Flushing flows imply to me that it’s moving the problem downstream, but it won’t make it magically disappear. Would the algae be carried all the way to the coastline, or would it end up being pushed into the bends in the river along the way?

I can see the increased amount of flow will create a danger for recreational users of the river, the swimmers and anglers. I’m also concerned about the birds like the Banded Dotterel that nest on the gravel islands.

Loss of Forest and threat to terrestrial ecology

Losing another piece of lowland forest and its biodiversity, which Central Hawke’s Bay is pretty much devoid of, is a tragedy. One of the things that I noticed when we moved to CHB was a lack of native bird life. When we lived in Napier, a stone’s throw from the city centre, it was a common occurrence to have several Kereru in the backyard at once, Bellbirds, Tui etc. I had a bellbird that used to land outside our home office window everyday when the Echium was in flower which to me was special as I’d never been that close before. Here we see Tui and fantails very occasionally because of a lack of habitat.

Dam Decommissioning

The cost of decommissioning a dam is more than the cost of construction, so if you allow this to be built you’re not only burdening this generation with the cost, you’re inflicting a bigger debt on Marni’s children and grandkids. The life expectancy of a CFRD is 50 to 100 years, depending on silt and gravel build up, maintenance, earth movement from seismic movement etc. So if you allow this to proceed it will return to public ownership just in time for it to be decommissioned.

Increasing Debt and the Associated Risk

With land values on the increase, and the added pressure of paying high prices for irrigated water, traditional farming is becoming unaffordable. According to an article from Stuff 14-11-2013,

Loans by registered banks to dairy farmers this year totalled $32.37 billion. Total agriculture on farm loans $49.2 billion and agriculture as a whole owed banks $50.5 billion.”

That’s a lot of risk being carried by dairy, and what happens when it falls over, because it will eventually. It’s only a matter of time that a “scare” becomes a reality, and that will decimate the industry. Bringing in supplementary feed from countries with foot and mouth for example increases that likelihood, not to mention financing the decimation of another countries ecology, but that’s another story. It’ll be the small guys with the big loans that get hit first, and the corporates will walk away.

One last thing which may seem really trivial to some, but if Dairying increases in this area there’s another side effect, increased danger on our country roads from tankers. I had actually forgotten what it was like to see so many milk tankers until recently when I was in the Manawatu, and from Dannevirke, suddenly they’re everywhere.

Plan Change 6

The second part of my submission that I would like to speak about is Plan Change 6. I am opposed because nitrate levels are set too high and other matters.

In my opinion this is a management plan that ignores a major contributor of degrading water quality in our rivers. With levels of Nitrogen, or nitrates exceeding safe drinking water standards in Canterbury and Waimea(8), and to learn that this is an accumulative problem should raise alarm bells with everyone. HBRC’s admission that site’s they have tested in the Ruataniwha catchment will exceed safe drinking standards by 2052 should also make everyone realise that existing practices need to halted, and farming intensification will speed up the degradation of our water.

Why are levels being set at the bottom-line? Why are they not being set instead at the optimum health for the whole aquatic system? I understand that allowable Nitrogen levels will be increased by almost 500% from what they are currently. I’m not a scientist, and I’ll leave the experts to their qualified explanations, but what I can say is what I’ve witnessed for myself.

During last summers drought we were frequent visitors to the river. We swim upstream of Waipawa, well upstream of the town sewerage treatment plant. The water levels were very low and green algal growth covered large parts of the remaining water in the slower flowing parts of the river. I heard an interview with someone from Federated Farmers blaming townships, and sewerage outfall specifically and its phosphorus content, as being a major cause of algal blooms. North of Waipawa, to my knowledge, there is no township that discharges anything into the water, so where do you think the nutrients are coming from? Green algae isn’t the problem though; Cyanobacteria is the main concern when you have children and dogs in or around the river. We were unaware that it was in the Waipawa as the signs were beside the Tukituki at Waipukurau, but we’ve since found out it is here too.

Last summer provided perfect conditions for algal growth; high temperatures, low water levels and the high nutrient levels. Climate change, bringing higher temperatures and increasing the frequency of drought and flood events will only make this worse.

The way water is allocated needs to be addressed, which means looking at land usage (9).

In 2010, 78% of allocated water was used for irrigation, 11% for Industrial use, 8% for drinking water and 3% for stock, which I perceive to mean drinking water for livestock.

Out of that 78% for irrigation, 76% was used for pasture, 13% Horticulture, 4% for both Arable farming and Viticulture, 2% was other and not specified, and 1% Recreational.

Estimated actual water use from consented takes in Hawkes Bay from 1999 to 2010, went from approximately 23,000 hectares to 47,000 hectares. Canterbury in the same period went from 400,000 hectares, to just under 700,000. Irrigation is a greedy consumer of water, and especially pasture irrigation. For areas that will experience drought in ever increasing cycles is it really the best choice for our finite resources?

When it comes to producing effluent cows are extremely gifted; 1 cow equals 15 people, so with 6.5 million cows approximately that’s the equivalent of 90 million people. That’s a rather mountainous pile. What sort of impact do you think unrestricted increases of dairy herds are going to have on this areas water catchment? If we want to care for our water then we definitely do not want intensification, and we need far better controls in place to handle what we do have.

We do need a comprehensive water plan that protects water quality for the ecological health of the river; unfortunately Plan Change 6 as it stands is not it. We need proven, robust science in place that puts the environment first, not measures that put commercial interests above the health of our river.

It’s interesting to me that Iain Maxwell has changed his opinion from the days when he was employed by Fish and Game. From an article that he wrote concerning the Taharua river at the headwaters of the Mohaka, that appeared in the August 2009 issue of BayBuzz he stated,

In the late 90’s large areas of the valley were converted from light pastoral farming and forestry to intensive dairy platforms. Since the conversion of land to dairy farming, the quality of water flowing down the Taharua River has declined, with increasing levels of nutrient (mainly nitrogen) in the water. The initial evidence suggests that this is not a coincidence and the changes are related.”


It’s always a good thing to try and identify a positive from any situation you find yourself in, and mine from all of this is it has started me on a journey. I’ve learned a huge amount over the last few months, met some wonderful people, and discovered this discussion has raged in other parts of the country for quite some years while I, like others, have been blissfully unaware.

So what specific outcomes would I like to see happen for the good of my community and district? Plan Change 6: I would like the health of the river and its ecology put to the forefront, optimum levels set, rather than just bottom lines which if detected have already been crossed.

I would like our water protected and enhanced, so dual management of both Phosphorus and Nitrogen.

Riparian planting has to be wide enough, and this along with the fencing of waterways needs to be actioned without delay; we also need more wetland areas.

Planning and resource consent need to be looked at so a broad mix of agriculture is encouraged and implemented. Large tracts of farm land being sold to corporate
concerns for intensive farming needs to be discouraged as it will not benefit this area economically, socially or environmentally.

Our changing climate and the strain it will put the river and aquifers under needs to be recognised.

My request for the dam is that you do not allow it to proceed. The risk is too great.

There are other alternatives for water storage, and they are small scale and locally controlled without the huge risk involved. They also don’t involve transferring what is held in commons for all being privatised for the financial benefit of a very small minority.

I have heard certain people say that this is a fait accompli, although I believe that you, the board, are approaching this with an open mind, and once you have heard all opinions you will come to a very different conclusion, that this isn’t the magic pill to cure all ills, or a golden goose. It’s more of a dead duck. There are other options without the negative impacts.

Works Cited













= fs =

Another “satisfied” WINZ client…

– Peter


I ran a blog called Aotearoawolfing, but stopped posting after I ran out of things to say. Obviously I did it anonymously, as like everyone I have things to hide i.e. my life off the internet.

Basically have left New Zealand for good to the United States (where I also have citizenship – though my family live here). I got out while I still could.

In my case I was depressed and I could no longer could work at my job like I used to, and I couldn’t get a job again at a decent wage. By the time I got through the W&I process I had full-scale clinical depression. No support exists, and the whole experience made me think the sole focus of W&I right now is make young people homeless (which aren’t counted on unemployment statistics) or force the burden of care onto the family.

Hopefully National gets turfed out next election, but if it doesn’t then I am no longer in New Zealand – even if I have to pay off a big student loan with interest (no thanks to the cut to the student loan holiday while overseas). But on that story, most don’t pay it off as John Key has no jurisdiction in places like Canada or the US – only in Australia. In fact most never want to go back to New Zealand, John Key threatening them with prison if they return will only ensure that the best and brightest never return.

Really I don’t understand the government’s paranoid obsession about the unemployed, and student loan borrowers. As the reason there is a shortfall in the budget is due to stagnant wage growth, the richest 10% avoiding tax, and everyone with qualifications leaving the country as they can’t get work in New Zealand. It is the worst crisis since the 1980s-1990s and the government isn’t doing anything to fix it.

Hope I didn’t go on too long, hopefully I can find the time to start blogging again – even if it is from the other side of the world.




Previous related blogpost

Student Defaulters – to be arrested on sight at all borders



= fs =

Guest Author: Dunedin election – my guide to who’s left and who’s not

Mark Baxter


Sick of vacuous DCC/etc candidate blurbs that don’t even tell you if most candidates are left or right leaning?

I am. I take local representation seriously – I want to know how Councillors will vote on important issues on Council before they get my vote.

So here’s my list of who’s left and who’s not. V1.1


DCC – Mayor

 I will be voting for

 Aaron Hawkins – will be my number 1 ranked vote for mayor as his policies are the ones I most support. Also, voting for Cull as number 1 risks being interpreted as support for the status quo. 

  • Dave Cull – will be my number 2. He hasn’t been totally shite, and is possibly the best of the rest. Even if you don’t like him that much, it’d pay to have him ranked somewhere on your list as insurance against the only 2 other potential contenders (ie Calvert or Vandervis – see below) sneaking in.

Mayoral Candidates to Avoid:

 Hilary Calvert – former ACT MP (was demoted by ACT, which is quite an achievement), free market, cut community support, sell assets, etc dogma. Like most ACT folk she isn’t above making presenting opinion as fact. Oh, and even righties in the know will be quietly avoiding her as she seems quite barmy – I’ve had more than one conversation with her where she’ll contradict herself, sometimes in the same sentence, and appear not to notice.

  • Lee Vandervis – a buddy of mine, but we’re on opposites of many things political. He was useful in fighting unnecessary spending, but some of what he considers unnecessary likely are things the traditional left call social services. Plus he probably is too divisive to be an effective mayor. That said, I’ll rank him no. 3 (ie right below Cull) on my mayoral vote – as insurance against Calvert (ie this vote would only be counted if Cull doesn’t win).
  • Oliver Lequeux – seems businessy but hard to say exactly where he sits as he makes Calvert look like a rank amateur in the ability to contradict oneself in the same sentence stakes. Probably mostly a righty. FYI he cited a French Trotskyite party as the party he most identified with, as above, it’s hard to know if he was taking the piss, or if he somehow believes that stance was  in any way Trotskyite. Also arrogant beyond simply being any cultural misunderstanding.
  • Andrew Whiley – very right-wing at the forum.
  • Pete George – has some ok-ish sounding stuff and keen on DCC being more democratic, but gave a couple of dodgy answers to Gyro in their mayoral interview re students. And is a United Future supporter.   

 DCC – Central Ward

 Central Ward – Worth a Look Lefties & Left-leaners:

 These people will be in my top rankings for Central Ward votes.

 Teresa Stephenson – arguably the most left of current councillors, has been helpful working on getting OPSA’s concerns to Council. Haven’t had much to do with her lately so I have no idea if she deserved the mauling she got by the ODT’s report cards (I can’t imagine so, as she’s always button-holing me about Council business whenever she sees me). Applause for her was well down at candidates meeting, so perhaps she needs votes more than ever (for this reason I might rank her #1 on my list).

  • Aaron Hawkins – Green candidate, left, previously has his own good ideas for civic development etc. Will be ranked near the top of my list; certainly will be an asset on Council.
  • Jinty McTavish – incumbent, young leftyish. Good responses at forum. Will be near the top of my list.
  • Neville Peat unsure of his exact politics but he was always one of the more helpful councillors when I’ve submitted to ORC on student needs. His answers were reasonably lefty and sensible at the forum (left, realistic, and not being shafted for short-term or fantasy gains). Eco focused outlook.
  • Francesco Hernandez – left and some potentially good initiatives, but can be wacky and sometimes out of touch with others. I share concerns over his ability to recognise his own competence limits, but he’d be more of a positive influence than a negative one, especially in what he’d vote for and against, and certainly a good in for student/education issues, so he’ll be somewhere on my list. 
  • Richard Thompson – leftish, gave all the right answers at candidates’ forum and seemed genuine and competent. Background with anti-smelter at Aromana movement and manages Acquisitions. Some with unspecific negative comment about him from previous employees. He’ll be on my list, but probably at the bottom of this group as needs my vote less than those above.
  • David Benson-Pope – Unbelievably I’ll likely have him in this top ranking group, he gave all the right answers at candidates meeting, and seemed to be genuine about the why (as opposed to a skilled politician saying what people want – which he made indeed be).

Central Ward – Buffer Group:

In my rankings list these people will go below the group of people above, in that I prefer the people above primarily, but I’d prefer these people below instead of the righties.

  • Kim Mitchell – gave some good answers at the forum, but came late (she had to work) so not a full range of evidence to judge. Probably leftish. She will be near the top of this buffer group of votes – and probably should be higher.
  • Tat Loo – also gave ok answers, but hard to know exactly how he’d actually vote. Clearly states that he is against asset sales. Labour ideals. Also towards the top of this buffer votes group – and possibly higher.
  • Nicholas, Letisha – young, some good lefty answers, but careful not to go off her Greater Dunedin script.
  • Irene Mosley – gave ok answers, but hard to say for sure how she’d vote. Probably leftish. Also Greater Dunedin. Buffer.
  • Chris Staynes – from his answers at the forum I initially classed him as a rightie, but after some further clarifications he is more left-leaning than right (eg no infrastructure asset sales), and certainly sympathetic to the left whilst keeping an eye on the city’s finances. Greater Dunedin.
  • Kevin Neil – hard to say, his blurb sounds standard pretty right-wing fare (eg cut consents red-tape, Council just do core work, etc) and he has that smug conservative Christian zealot look you feel you’d like to punch in the face – but he but gave mostly good answers in the forum (and when he explained his points above they were less right ideologue that they sound) leaving one thinking “shite, actually I might like to have a beer with him instead of punching him”. I suspect he’s certainly not as right as he’s come across, and could even be a bit left in some areas. I’ll likely put him towards the bottom of my buffer votes as even if he is a righty I’d rather him than the dyed-in-the-wool righties.
  • Dave Cull – on the remote chance he doesn’t win mayor he’d still be useful on council, so I’ll be ranking him around here.

Central Ward – Unknown Possibly Left or Left-leaning:

  • Christine Garey – Makes specific reference amongst her generic statements to “I want to live in a city where public transport is affordable” and also notes the importance of cycling safety. Potentially leftish. May be worth ranking low in one of the groups above.
  • Julian Crawford – ALCP. Single issue of little relevance to local bodies imho. Seems to offer little else. But maybe worth adding somewhere as a protest vote if ACLP are your thing.
  • Kevin Dwyer – almost completely lacking in detail and fairly uninspiring in most of the available literature. Possibly well intentioned but hard to establish his political leanings.

 Central Ward – Unknown Possibly Right-leaning:

 Pete George – has some ok-ish sounding stuff and keen on DCC being more democratic, but gave a couple of dodgy answers to Gyro in their mayoral interview re students. And is a United Future supporter.  

  • Nigel Harwood – civil engineering background. Another candidate lacking in detail, other than saying he wants more jobs for Dunedin. No sign of him being left-leaning.
  • Phillip Cole –focus on improving public transport options but not a fan of spending money. Wants to cut all non-core projects to reduce Council debt – hard to determine what non-core is code for (he gives South D library and Mosgiel pool as examples). Has a few potentially interesting ideas, but probably right-leaning.
  • Lindsay Harrison – Mister Minit. Supports oil exploration and stupidly high hotel more or less unconditionally. Probably a right-leaner.
  • John Evans – has a theme of smaller government and personal responsibility, pointing to right-leaning. Also Nazi comment made to Critic.
  • Malcolm Dixon – literature is all generic statements. Owner of Terry’s Beggs. At the last election he wanted to introduce 30 minute free parking, quite on cycling and buses though. Possibly safe to assume he is right-leaning.

Central Ward – People to Avoid:

 I will not be ranking any of these candidates

 Hilary Calvert – former ACT MP (was demoted by ACT, which is quite an achievement), free market, cut community support, sell assets, etc dogma. Like most ACT folk she isn’t above making presenting opinion as fact. Oh, and even righties in the know will be quietly avoiding her as she seems quite barmy – I’ve had more than one conversation with her where she’ll contradict herself, sometimes in the same sentence, and appear not to notice.

  • Oliver Lequeux – see above in mayoral candidates.
  • Rachel Elder – right wing with right-wing rhetoric.
  • Warren Voight – right-wing at the forum and in his rants. Stood for Democrat Party 2011.
  • Andrew Whiley – also very right-wing at the forum.
  • Tom Ross – mostly right-wing ideas and outlook. Seemed an affable old chap, but was unaware of the facts behind many of the issues he commented on at the forum.
  • Conrad Steadmen – right leaning, real-estate agent and ex-policeman (and Sally Army iirc) so draw your own conclusions). Boring, conservative, and mostly right focused.
  • Ali Copeman – right-wing; “very happy” with the status quo. Her most important requirement for council structure is that it is “business friendly”. She’s the Director of the Otago Chamber of Commerce.
  • Paul Hudson – nice old-school conservative (the sort that acknowledges welfare is needed unlike these new-school ACT folk). Right, but with a heart – but will vote with the old boys at the end of the day.


 I will be ranking the following group in my ORC vote

 Michael Deaker – incumbent, been somewhat a supporter when I’ve submitted on cheaper/better buses. He genuinely seems to want a working bus network rather than some other incumbents who give the impression it’s a job they’ve been lumped with and don’t care that much about.

  • Marc Schallenberg – competent, nice guy, green interests (important to have on ORC) and offers a background in evidence-based decision making.
  • Gretchen Robertson – green interests (important to have on ORC)
  • Trevor Kempton – maybe, like Deaker, he at least mentions public transport (if not access equity issues).

ORC – Noteworthy:

  • Stephen Woodhead – not a lefty at all, but not an unreasonable righty ideologue (ie he will actually listen to arguments).

 ORC -People to Probably Avoid:

  • Bryan Scott – thinks the limit on public subsidies on bus fares is about right at only 50% but can’t give any logic for why 50% is about right.

SD Health Board

I will be ranking the following in my SDHBvote

  • Donna Matahaere-Atariki – a passionate advocate for the right to health, especially for the most vulnerable members of society. No visible campaign so probably desperately needs number 1 votes.
  • Richard Thompson – experienced, strong advocating for Otago focus. See Central Ward comments above.
  • John Chambers – “100% committed to the public system”, and mentions that all staff including cleaners need to be consulted in developing strategic plans. Sounds left-leaning.

SDHB –Maybes

I’ll consider ranking the following as they seem the better of the rest of a non-descript bunch

  • Graham Roper – seems to attack the “it’s all about the money” focus.
  • Mary Gamble – questioned high IT costs in the face of cuts to health services (ie what eventually rumbled Sawn).


  • Peter Barron – had an advertising complaint upheld against his Huntsman Steakhouse that “used sexual appeal to draw attention and degraded women in general”. The ad, published in the community paper, showed a woman holding a slab of raw steak in front of each of her bare breasts.
  • Paul Douglas – “land disposals to reduce deficit”, potentially right-wing (not sure, maybe they have land that is genuinely not needed?).

About this list

These are my personal opinions, which I’ll be basing my local body votes on. They are based on information from:

  • Candidate’s own comments at forums & media
  • Official candidate info booklet
  • Candidate profiles published in ODT, Critic, Star, & Gyro
  • Profiles on website
  • Profiles on Greater Dunedin website
  • Random Facebook & Google searches
  • DCC Councillor’s pages
  • My personal & professional experience with candidates
  • Opinions from trustworthy sources

I encourage you to contact candidates directly and ask them how they’ll vote on issues and concerns you have.



= fs =

Mark Baxter

Guest Author: Resistance 101 (Action #1)

– Linda Miller


Rally for Democracy


Over the last few days, we have seen the Dictator Key oppose the will of the People yet again.

We have fought a dozen “single issue” campaigns, fighting asset sales, the undermining of the social safety net, and fighting attacks on quality education. Now, we see John Key attempting to ram through legislation approving blanket spying on all New Zealanders at the behest of the United States Government. This is the last straw.

It is now clear, we are dealing with a rogue government, and a rogue political party.

It is the government, and the National Party itself which is the issue.

At last, we realise, as important as protests are, they are not enough. That in a Democracy, Dictators must be thrown out by the People, campaigning against them in every electorate, while it is still possible, in order to avoid worse.

We realise we must now organise in every one of New Zealand’s national electorates to campaign against the MP’s who are ignoring us. We must get them out of office.

Our strategy: to begin fighting the 2014 election now, by putting up posters, handing out fliers, creating banners, organise rallies, doing door-knocking, and speaking to our sleepy neighbors, explaining to them what is going on.

You may find yourself alone in your electorate. The task may seem overwhelming. But it is not, if you make it your first task to find like-minded friends to help you.

Schedule a meeting in your house and invite all of your friends. Pledge to keep meeting once a week, and grow your group, till you need to meet in local halls.

Make it your goal to keep campaigning against your MP in your electorate until everyone you know is opposed to them. Keep this up until the election.

Know your local political geography. Support your neighbouring electorates in their struggle. Combine efforts. Determine to win everywhere, and throw out ever MP who is in any way soft on these issues.

If you do this, you will certainly win. But we need to ask, what will we win, if all we plan to do is throw out our local sitting MP?

If that is all we aim for, we may win this battle, only to discover that another unaccountable MP is elected instead. What good is it if we simply replace one rubber-stamp party-politician with another rubber-stamp party-politician?

Unless we create some kind of permanent democratic organisation in our electorates, which hold all politicians accountable, it will be no time at all before we are back in the situation of needing to organise more protests, more campaigns and so on. Nothing will have changed at all.

There is only one permanent solution to this dilemma; we must form local Democratic Councils in every electorate.

A Democratic Council is made up of local residents in an electorate who meet fortnightly in an open forum to decide political matters affecting the electorate and the nation. Local Democratic Councils are non-partisan, meaning that party politics is not allowed. Any legal resident of the electorate can participate, and if you don’t show up, you have no voice.

A local Democratic Council is a People’s governing body. It “shadows” local government, by being parallel but separate to it, and by keeping it honest and accountable. LDC’s are in fact the source of all power in a true democracy, where the people are awake.

A local Democratic Council is empowered to make decisions, based on the number of citizens and residents who actively support it. If it is strong, it can make wise decisions, and those decisions will be listened to by other bodies and by the MP. If its decisions are not respected by an MP, the MP will know that the Democratic Council can always vote to organise against them. Eventually, the MP will learn that their power is derived from the People, and the voice of the People in every electorate is the voice of the Local Democratic Council.

This is pure Democracy. It doesn’t get any better than this.

It is easier to create and support a Local Democratic Council and keep it running smoothly, than it is to keep organising protest after protest after protest. Local Democratic Councils are the solution to the problem of being ignored.

If you want true democracy, and a say in what happens to you and your children in this country, you, we, all need to realise, protesting is never enough, and petitions are never enough.

I for one am sick of being ignored, and sick of begging. Our rights and our futures will never be safe until we begin to form Local Democratic Councils.

– Linda Miller

Facebook Page




Wanted: Your Ideas

Do you have useful ideas what people can do to mount peaceful resistance against this increasingly fascist government, and it’s patently dishonest leader?

Why not share them far and wide.

Email me with your thoughts as to practical (or non-practical!) ways to mount resistance to this current regime.

The only provisos being,

  1. They must be non-violent.
  2. Nothing overtly destructive or dangerous to human life (or our animal friends). We want to resist – not strengthen – this rotten government.
  3. Stuff that people can do, either individually or in groups.

It is time for peaceful resistance – because despite what the words in our anthem says, ‘god’ will not defend our free land. We have to do that ourselves.

Email me at or contact me on Facebook. (If you can write your own piece – all the better, so I can post it quickly, rather than me putting it together.)

-Frank Macskasy




= fs =

Categories: The Body Politic Tags:

Guest Author: David Shearer, Leader of the Labour Party

– David Shearer, Leader of the Labour Party



Speech: New Zealand – A new direction  |  Sunday, November 18, 2012


Today I want to talk about two paths that lie before us as a country.

Each offers very different directions and different choices.

One path leads to disappointment, decline and constant struggle.

That’s our country’s current path, the one National is taking.

The other path is about change.

It’s about a new direction for Labour and a new direction for New Zealand.

A new direction where we fight back, create opportunity and build a world class New Zealand that we’re proud of.

A new direction that’s about what is best for the long term, not just the short term.

A new direction that’s about all New Zealanders daring to dream and having the opportunity to get there.

Not just accepting second best and managing decline.

We’ve always been a creative, innovative people with a ‘can do’ attitude.

Respected and admired across the globe.

Down to earth. Willing to give it a go.

We need that new direction now more than ever.

It’s about building a smart, new and powerful economy that delivers a fairer society.

That’s what I stand for.

That’s what we can achieve together.

For most of the last 20 years, I lived in parts of the world where life was bleak.

Every time I came home, I counted my blessings.

I counted my good fortune that I had grown up in a country like this.

But we are losing what we once held dear.

Kiwis just want the chance to succeed, to be the best they can be and to build a great life.

It’s not too much to ask.

I got my fair chance growing up in Papatoetoe. My father was a teacher. My mum worked at the local school.

They gave us the kind of Presbyterian upbringing where you saved for what you needed, and made the most of what you had.

I remember Dad wanted a boat to take us kids out sailing but he didn’t have the money to buy it.

So he rolled up his sleeves, went to night classes and learned how to build one.

Over 4 months, he and I built that boat together in the garage.

That was the way things worked. The State backed you so you could realise your dream.

I grew up in a time when there were plenty of part-time jobs for kids and – thanks to penal rates – some of them were quite well-paid.

I had a paper round that earned me the money to pay for my own bike. I pumped gas at the Puhinui petrol station and learned the value of a dollar.

That’s what it was like back then, growing up in New Zealand.

I know it wasn’t perfect for everyone but for most Kiwi families, life gave you a fair go.

And, free, to everyone, was an education that could match any in the world.

A nation flourishes when it gives every person a fair chance.

When it looks after its own.

And when it prizes fairness and humanity.

It was when I went out into world that I discovered just how much that means.

I also learnt something about myself.

That if you’ve grown up with the values this country gave me, you can’t turn away. You just can’t.

So my life has been about making a difference.

Lifting people up when they need it the most. Making their lives better.

Giving them the opportunity to take the next step.

This world can be hugely indifferent to suffering.

For me, that came into stark relief when I went to Somalia. War and famine was overtaking the country.

A small group of us working there realised that unless something changed, thousands would die from hunger.

With daily gun battles being fought in the streets, we were faced with a choice.

Take a risk and make a change. Or shrug our shoulders and say the job’s too big, let’s get out of here.

We stayed. We made a change.

I worked with a dedicated team of Somali doctors and others. We fought to keep supply lines open to bring in food.

We fed around 30,000 children who would have died otherwise.

We evacuated our staff three times. I lost a colleague on that operation.

But I was never in any doubt. Standing up for what was right – what would make a difference – that was the right decision.

Looking back I feel immense satisfaction.

But I can tell you it also makes it very clear to me where my priorities lie.

I am in politics to make lives better.

I’m not here to cross something off my bucket list. Or to indulge in some sense of celebrity.

I went out into the world to help improve people’s lives and I’ve chosen to enter politics for the same reason.

It’s why I want to lead this country and it’s why I need your support to get there.

Together we can make a difference. A big difference.

The values I bring with me are the ones that I was raised with.

They are the ones that I took with me out into the world.

They are Labour values. They’re our values: that everyone should have a fair chance and the opportunity to get ahead.

And if you agree people are not being given that fair chance right now then I’m asking you to join me in making the changes we need.

Change can make people uneasy.

But change has always been what has saved us in times of trouble, and it can save us again.

The first Labour government made the big changes that mattered:

affordable housing,

free schooling,

free health care,

a fair start for every child.

Don’t let anyone tell you a government can’t do big things to change lives.

Those big changes led New Zealand out of the Depression and it was this party that made them.

We are the party that is brave about change.

I think about Norman Kirk’s government establishing the Waitangi Tribunal that has helped reconcile Māori and Pakeha. And his commitment to New Zealand’s independent place in the world.

I think of David Lange standing up for our independence at the Oxford Union debate:  “hold your breath for just a moment – I can smell the uranium on it.”

It’s not just a great line, it’s about a great idea. Today we’re still nuclear free and I’m proud of that.

And the thousands of children lifted out of poverty under Helen Clark. The icons of Kiwisaver and KiwiBank were put in place.

Don’t let anyone tell you a government can’t do big things to change lives.

We made big changes and New Zealand flourished.

But where is our country today?

Where is the sense of possibility?

Where, I ask our Prime Minister, are the jobs?

It should never have come to this.

Imagine this scenario, for just a moment.

If we had kept Norman Kirk’s Superannuation Scheme – that Muldoon scrapped – it would be worth more than $240 billion today.

We would probably still own some of our banks and many other major companies.

Our entrepreneurs would be thriving because we’d have so much capital to invest in their ideas.

The Kirk Labour government could see the future. The National government saw political opportunism.

When our opponents say they want to grow our economy, I don’t doubt their sincerity.

But I doubt their method. I doubt it fundamentally.

How have they done in the last 4 years? Measure the results any way you want:

the cost of your groceries,

the money you’re earning,

the affordability of houses

1,000 Kiwis a week give up hope and go to Australia despite John Key promising he’d turn those numbers around.

That’s the population of Hamilton leaving since National was elected. It’s never been higher.

This government simply hasn’t delivered.

Our unemployment rate is 7.3%. Can you remember who was in power the last time it was this bad? Let me remind you it was the last National Government.

Right now there’s 175,000 people looking for work.

Māori and Pasifika unemployment is at 15%. One in four of our young people are unemployed.

And week after week, the losses just keep on coming.

Behind those numbers are real people, real families and real communities.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with miners who’ve lost their jobs at Spring Creek.

Darryl Sweetman is a miner. His future should be bright.

He has a lovely family, a partner, a daughter and a new-born son. But Darryl’s been laid off.

He’s worried he’ll lose the home they’ve been renovating and have to leave the town he’s lived in his entire life.

Paris Brady came back from Australia to raise his young family in Greymouth. He’s the kind of guy we need here.

Keen, motivated and used to hard graft. But just 10 weeks into his mining apprenticeship, he’s had the rug pulled out from under him and he’s out of work.

All over the country that’s the human face of losing jobs.

When this Government rests its entire hopes for future economic growth on the rebuild of Christchurch – our biggest natural disaster – you know it has no ideas.

What will it take for National to admit its hands-off policies aren’t working?

They know in their hearts that selling Mighty River Power will not make our power bills cheaper.

That selling Meridian won’t create a single job.

That selling Genesis won’t grow the economy.

Yet they knock us for being a party that can’t deliver growth.

Let me tell you. The evidence tells a different story.

If we compare all National and Labour Governments, back through history, the average GDP growth under National is 2.9%.

Under Labour, it’s 3.7%.

Who are the best economic managers?

But this government takes the prize. It has the worst economic performance in 50 years.

And we should remind ourselves of this:

In 2008, this National government inherited one of the world’s best government books after 9 budget surpluses.

And in 2 years’ time, no doubt, they’ll hand them back to us in bad shape.

The problem is that in order to pull us out of this hole they’re turning to the very ideas that put us there in the first place.

You know and I know: it’s not going to work.

And that’s why we need big change.


We need a different path.

We need to fight for the future we want.

One where we make a real difference to people’s lives.

We have always been the Party of new ideas.

When it mattered throughout our history, we’ve been willing to use the power of government to give the country what it needs to move ahead.

New Zealand needs to use that power once more. And under my leadership, we will.

Five years ago, that might have been seen as economic heresy in many places.

But not today.

Governments all around the world are intervening in their economies to dig themselves out of a vast Global Financial hole.

And they’ve got it right.

Hugh Fletcher is not what you’d call a radical.

But just a couple of weeks ago he was on the radio saying the laissez-faire status quo position is not acceptable.

He said our exporters were finding it hard to compete and we would have to come up with a new approach.

The Manufacturers and Exporters Association is saying the same thing.

So too is the EPMU.

And so are we.

There is a meeting of minds around a new direction.

The hands-off approach has failed and it’s left the world badly off balance.

Government has at its disposal levers that only it can pull.

Levers to change the settings that stimulate growth and opportunity.

As Prime Minister, I’ll use the power of government to change this country.

Let me be clear, it’s not about big government.

It’s about common sense.

It’s about using government intelligently, so it can transform the economy for everyone.

In a small country like New Zealand competing against the world’s economic giants, we need the government to pitch in together, not step back.

If you are willing to do your bit, the government should do its bit too.

It needs to be a player, not a spectator.

We need to get the country firing on all cylinders again.

I know we need to grow the economic pie – not just be expert in dividing it.

That means prudent financial management. It means balancing our budgets.

It means making the tough decisions to reduce our current account deficit.

This government hopes we can get there by cutting costs, selling assets and driving down the cost of labour.

It won’t work. It never has.

If you want to run the economy like they do, this is what you’ll get:

A few very wealthy people at the top,

No decent jobs in the middle

And a whole lot of low-skill, low wage families barely managing to hold on.

That’s a strategy that is as short sighted as it is heartless.

I have no interest in building an economy where only a few get rich, and everyone else gets left behind.

I lived in too many ruined countries where that happened to want to ever see it happen here.

My vision for New Zealand is fundamentally different from the one National is following.

New Zealand should be a place where people know they can get ahead, a place where the world wants to live and a place we can all be proud of.

A place that rewards talent and hard work, that puts a premium on innovation. Where our environment is a driver of our economic success and our economy keeps our environment clean.

A place which grows skilled, well-paid jobs and keeps our kids in New Zealand.

I want to lead that transformation.

I want a fair society where everyone gets a chance.

Where we look after those who need it, but where everyone has a responsibility to do their bit too.

Rights and responsibilities – a society based on that simple social contract.

I want to lead a country that is independent and confident in the world.

Where our values dictate what we say and do, not the persuasions of other nations.

That’s the kind of country we all want.

A few months ago, I spoke of that vision.

I received an email from Paul Callaghan thanking me. Because of course, his thinking had inspired me.

I phoned him back to thank him. For devoting his life to making New Zealand a better place.

He died 3 days later.

His inspiration is still with me.

He argued New Zealand cannot grow wealthy on agriculture alone. Valuable as it will always be, we must add to it and diversify our economy.

We must get behind our new smart, innovative businesses – that are growing faster than any other sector.

They are doing their bit. The Government should do its bit. Under Labour it will.

To realise that vision I promise that from the day we take office, you will see big change.

Right across the economy we will make fundamental changes.

We will replace a simplistic hands-off approach with a smart hands-on one.

Monetary policy will change.

So when the high dollar is killing our exporters we will give the Reserve Bank tools to act on the exchange rate.

Our manufacturers are our job generators.

If they’re doing their bit, we should do ours with intelligent government.

The R&D policy will change.

Most of what New Zealand exports today was known to the world before the industrial revolution.

This government treats Research & Development as ‘nice to have’.

We will treat it as absolutely vital to grow our smart businesses so they can take their products to the world.

We’ll change our tax system for the better.

We will bring in what this economy desperately needs:  a capital gains tax.

We want people to invest in houses because they need a place to live, not because they get a tax free investment.

To shift investment instead into productive businesses to grow jobs.

The savings policy will change.

We’ll enrol everyone into KiwiSaver. That will support our retirement, but also build an investment pool to power our best businesses.

That means companies like F&P Appliances can be owned here, not sold off-shore.

We’ll change the approach to productivity.

Kiwis work longer hours than just about anywhere else in the world. But you wouldn’t know it looking at our pay packets.

That’s because the hands-off approach says: “pay low wages, cut back on conditions and ramp up casualization”.

That has to end. We’ll be hands-on. The Minimum Wage will go up. A Living Wage must be our goal.

And Labour laws will be reformed to restore decency.

We are proud of our unions and our origins. We thank them for what they do in standing up for workers’ rights, but we need to be in government to back you up.

The procurement policy will change.

The government spends $30 billion a year on contracting goods and services.

The simplistic hands-off approach says “forget about Hillside Railway workshops, forget about local jobs. Go for the cheapest offshore price.”

The intelligent hands-on approach says: “we get much more from each government dollar by investing in a Kiwi company”.

So wherever it’s the smart thing to do, we’ll prioritise the local supplier.

The approach to education will change.

I started my working life as a teacher. So I have an appreciation of the valuable job teachers do.

And I know a gimmick when I see one.

Bigger classes, unqualified teachers, charter schools and performance pay will achieve nothing.

The intelligent approach, the one I will follow is the one that asks:  what will it take to make this education system the best in the world?

Our teachers are demoralised. Yet we all know they are critical to equipping our kids for the modern world.

We know too that shutting schools in Christchurch destroys communities and causes heartache for already distressed families.

I went to a public meeting there after receiving a moving letter from Christchurch mum Sonya Boyd.  She’s devastated that her local school will close and is worried about the impact on her son Ben, his friends and in fact the whole community.

At that meeting a parent told me: Hekia Parata is doing what 10,000 earthquakes couldn’t do – destroying our school.

I say to the people of Christchurch: we are committed to helping you rebuild your city from the grassroots up – not the Beehive down.

You want, more than anything, to get your lives back, and on your own terms.

It’s time you had a government that stood alongside you.


So those are the big changes we’ve already committed to.

To lift the economy. To grow jobs.

Today we add another important item: housing.

Owning your own home is a Kiwi ambition but for tens of thousands of New Zealanders it’s a dream that’s out of reach.

If there is one thing your newspaper tells you every day about life in New Zealand it’s this:

We have a housing problem. And it’s a deep seated problem.

If you’re a young person today, you look at the cost of houses and you despair.

For the first time, home ownership in Auckland has dropped below 60%.

It’s one of the reasons so many of our young people are giving up and going to Australia.

The National government’s answer fell woefully short of what is needed.

They don’t understand that the market has failed first-home buyers.

The simple fact is we need more affordable houses.

It’s time for Government to step up.

And we will.

Today I’m announcing that we will put 100,000 Kiwi families into their first home.

That’s the sort of big change we need to make a big difference to people’s lives.

We’ll oversee and invest in a large scale 10 year building programme of entry-level houses that Kiwis are crying out for.

Yes, it’s a big commitment and it’ll take a couple of years to ramp up, but we can do it.

I won’t stand by while the dream of home ownership slips away from future generations.

At the peak of last decade, about 30,000 new homes were built a year. Now it’s less than half that.

These are the missing rungs on the housing ladder. And it shows what an active and responsible government can do to help.

The start-up cost of the building programme will be financed through issuing government stock called Home Ownership Bonds.

The money we make from selling the houses will go back into the pot for building more.

The houses will be compact in size. Some will be stand-alone dwellings and others apartments. All of them will be good quality and energy efficient.

The homes will be sold to first home buyers who’ve saved their own deposit, like with KiwiSaver.

We estimate that the maximum needed to be raised for a kick-start will be $1.5 billion.

It will quickly become self-funding though. And because it’s a capital investment, it won’t affect our commitment to balance the books and return to surplus.

I can already hear our opponents complaining that this is too bold. That the problem’s too big and there’s nothing we can do.

I won’t accept that. I won’t give up on the Kiwi dream of an affordable home.

I have spoken to Auckland Mayor Len Brown to take up his offer of a partnership with Auckland council to make land available.

In addition, we will introduce a National Policy Statement under the RMA to ensure that planning rules and consenting decisions support affordable housing.

We want to make a difference.

Building 100,000 new houses will create training opportunities for apprenticeships, more jobs and give a $2 billion dollar a year boost to the economy.

This will make a big difference but alone, it’s not enough.


Too many Kiwi families are living in cold, damp and mouldy homes.

This affects their health and their quality of life.

Because of this, we’re seeing the sort of third world diseases that I was battling in Somalia in our own communities here. That’s not right.

Child poverty is a scourge that robs hundreds of thousands of kids of their future.

This cannot continue.

Let me be clear, we are not prepared to have families, particularly children, living in these conditions.

Eradicating poverty will be a top priority for the next Labour Government.

That’s why we’ll introduce a Healthy Homes Guarantee so landlords have to ensure every rental property is a healthy home that’s insulated and has efficient heating.

It’s time for poor quality houses to be brought up to scratch with minimum standards.

The crucial point is: this is about smart government pulling the levers to make New Zealand a better place.

We will take action where the market has failed for the benefit of thousands of Kiwis.


We have done the work we needed to do to change ourselves at this conference.

Now it’s time to lift our sights and to come together to change New Zealand.

Our Labour movement has always relied on the hard work of volunteers.

I thank you for everything that you do to support our cause and to support our country.

And now I ask you to join me.

Norman Kirk once famously said: New Zealanders don’t ask for much: someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.

As much I’d like to, I can’t provide everyone with someone to love.

But everyone should have a job, a home – and a country we can all have hope in.

But we won’t on National’s track. It’s full of disappointment and is taking us nowhere.

We need to change.

We need a new direction.

One that’s about using our Kiwi ‘can do’ attitude to create new wealth.

One that encourages Kiwis to dream of what can be.

One that offers opportunities to realise that dream.

One where everyone who plays their part shares the rewards.

And, one where the government gets stuck in too.

I promise you this: from the day we take office, we will turn over a new page for this country and continue Labour’s proud tradition of progressive government.

We won’t be taking office to tinker, we’ll be taking office to remake New Zealand.

So I am asking you.

To rise up.

To take a message of hope to New Zealanders.

To fight for our future.

To say loud and clear that there is a better way. There is a Labour way.

We can do it, standing strong together.

We can make the change.

And we’ll do that in 2014.



= fs =


Guest Author: MSD. WINZ. IT. OMG!

– Alan Benton


I wonder who is handling the hiring of staff for the IT side of MSD. I highly suspect it is a private firm, such as Addecco who I know have a concrete and firmly locked up contract for instance at StudyLink, and adminster all their temps and contractors. Some of those staff have been rolled over for years my flatmate tells me, one person he works with had been rolled over for more than 6 years.

That means, to me, there is possibly a whacking great sum of budgeting that is just used as straight out corporate subsidy. This simply means in turn that there is a whacking great some of money that is not and cannot every be put into operational budgets, it’s literally flying out the door in “costs” to have an outside private firm do the work that internal management ought to probably be handling themselves.

My last contract at MOH was handled by an outside firm. I worked out they made just short of $15K off me on one stint there, even though the only work they did was sourcing me, and that was it. Absolutely nothing more. I was interviewed by internal staff, my workload was set by internal staff, my performance was monitored by internal staff and payments came from within the MOH’s system, not the Agency, YET the Agency actually still made money off me every single hour I worked there.

I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if this sort of thing was dropped, and the budget that gets set aside for such “management” using these outside companies actually went into operational matters.

And I was just one of many there at the time who got brought in to help oversee the next iteration of one of one of the systems there … multiply that by more staff and more departments across the Government, and you’re probably looking easily at millions and millions going to these private companies instead of the systems themselves.

And in one of my older roles as mentioned, when staffing was cut, it was still a case of crank out even better and “more efficient” systems but with a steadily diminishing ability to do it properly to start with. It seemed complete madness to demand that sort of thing. Kind of like MSD demanding people get off their butts to work and berating them for not having the ability to cope when they’ve gone and cut the programs that were helping people in the past get OFF the bloody thing in the first place – including one Ms Paula Bennett of all people!!!

I was constantly told that we couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that, didn’t have the money. And yet it never seemed to stop pay rises for the CEO, never seemed to stop splashing out on decor, never seemed to stop demands for the latest and greatest flashing lights and gizmos … but if I as Manager tried arguing for server investment, security investment, it was uphill all the bloody time. Yes, there was capital outlay involved. But it was banging my head against a concrete wall to make them see that if they did right first time, we wouldn’t constantly be mired in patchup jobs, make do workarounds and the threat of chronic system failure dangling above our heads. And I just got very apprehensive when this was happening in the security area. “Can we get a student to do that?”, always looking for the cheapest solution to fix highly complex problems. I’ve nothing against students, but we were laying off some real gun workers. As I said, we just ended up with burnouts and layoffs. Including myself.

I guess being insistant and not afraid to get up the noses of people who had no clue on what they were managing didn’t make me appeal to the Managers, but I happened to view critical infrastructure as a bloody important investment, especially when we would have rural Dr’s going mental because we couldn’t give them the appropriate technology resources to help them get on with their jobs in difficult to reach areas and the like. And I always viewed people who didn’t have a clue about it as the last people to be making the critical decisions on the support thereof of such technology and systems.



= fs =

Guest Author: David Cunliffe on Scandinavian Economic Development

– Hon David Cunliffe, Labour Economic Development and Associate Finance Spokesperson, Clean-tech Cluster Chair

Published 30 September 2012



Scandinavian Economic Development Speech: Fast Forward – Growing Good Jobs


Speech to Laingholm District Citizens Association, Laingholm, 30 September 2012


Robert Louis Stevenson, the man who wrote ‘Treasure Island’, once said: “Everybody lives by selling something”.

In these days of economic treachery, this sounds like a very negative statement.

Everybody lives, today, by selling something.

But actually, the phrase: ‘Everybody lives by selling something’ is merely stating a simple truth.

In order to survive I must breathe air.

In order for me to breathe air, there need to be green plants producing oxygen.

So, when I breathe in, I’m breathing in air that was mostly made in the green plants.

But this is not a one-sided trade.  I don’t just breath in air, I breathe out carbon dioxide, which is in return breathed in by the green plants, and converted back into oxygen, for me to breathe once more.

The green plants and I need each other. We trade what we produce, and both sides survive and prosper as a result of our necessary partnership.

Ecologists call this process of mutually-beneficial trading ‘symbiosis’.


Motivational speakers have a simpler term: they call this process ‘win-win’. There’s no winner and loser when I trade my carbon dioxide to the green plants and get oxygen in return. I need the oxygen; the plants need my carbon dioxide in order to convert sunlight into food.

Provided both sides play fair, this is truly a win-win situation.

The problem is, too often over the last 30 years, and some would say for much longer, the world’s economic system has not been win-win for the average person, indeed for most of us. It’s been win-lose: they win and you lose.

The rich speculators and traders get richer, while the rest of us get poorer. Like it or not, our country is going backwards.

What happened? This widening gap isn’t the Kiwi way. What’s changed over the last thirty years?

Let’s have a quick recap of history. As a result of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the New Zealand Labour Party – like its counterparts around the world – legislated to rein in speculation, to protect jobs and to protect human rights.

Most of New Zealand’s great economic assets, such as our farms, our roads and our forests, grew and prospered as a direct result of these policies. As our nation grew more prosperous, the wealth was widely shared. No children needed to starve in the New Zealand I grew up in.

However, the 1980s and ’90s saw the rise of a philosophy developed by the rich, for the rich. It was called Neo-Liberalism.

Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that greed is good, that we’re all locked in an economic life-and-death-struggle with each other. Neo-Liberalism says that compassion is for suckers. Neo-Liberalism says that if the world is going to the dogs, it might as well be the top dogs. Indeed, to borrow from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, not only is greed good, “it’s legal.”[i]

When the British Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher was asked about the effects that her Neo-liberal policies would have on society, she replied:

There is no such thing as society… There are individual men and women.[ii]

The amazing thing about the Neo-Liberals is their wilful blindness to how badly their ideas have failed. Not just once, but repeatedly. Neo-Liberal policies directly caused two of the largest financial crashes in history. Did they apologise? No way. Like some mad doctor, when the first dose of medicine didn’t work, they wanted to double the dose.

And so, the Neo-Liberal bandwagon rolls on. Right here in New Zealand, the National Party is still trotting out the same discredited economic policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

I have just returned from Denmark and Finland, and I am convinced there are lessons for us all in how these Scandinavian countries run their economies. In particular, we need to take note of why the Scandinavian countries are slowly winning while many other European countries are rapidly losing.

Let’s take a quick look at the ‘Scandinavian model.’

The ‘Scandinavian model’ isn’t really Scandinavian at all. It could also be called the traditional New Zealand model. A model based on the idea that the economy is like a farm or garden. If you want a garden to grow, then you have to dig the soil and plant the seeds. You have to feed and nurture the plants and you have deal to the weeds when they grow up amongst the crop.

If this sounds like simple common sense: it is.

Any farmer will tell you that you get back from a farm what you put in. If you let weeds grow, you get a farm full of weeds. If you nurture your soil, livestock and crops, you have a good chance of a healthy farm, and a healthy return on your investment.

Which countries are currently surviving the recession best? The ones with the Scandinavian economic model.

According to Neo-Liberal economic theory, the Scandinavian countries should have collapsed by now. After all, they have large numbers of public employees on decent wages. Large trade unions. Very high taxation. A huge amount of government spending. I’m not arguing for a carbon-copy, but it has worked for them.

While the Neo-Liberals in America, Britain and New Zealand have been targeting those on welfare, blaming them for the world’s problems, the Scandinavian countries have been doing the opposite. That is, they’ve been helping those on welfare to get jobs, not blaming them for being poor.

After taking a big hit from the global financial crisis in 2009, the Scandinavian economies have bounced back strongly, while most of the rest of Europe seems stuck in reverse.

What’s the Scandinavian secret? The Scandinavian people have mastered the art of win-win.

For example, on my recent visit, I saw the Danish approach to economic development.

Denmark doesn’t tell its businesspeople what to do. Instead, Denmark sees its businesspeople as partners. The Danish government sits down with its key business groups. The two sides plan a workable strategy. After listening to its voters, workers and business partners, the Danish government doesn’t muck around. Incentives, sector plans, skills training, research and development, industry investment, targets and timetables are all actively used to get the economy moving and to keep it moving.

There is real symbiosis; it’s a win-win partnership, and the whole country benefits.

No surprise then, that Finland and Sweden came third and fourth respectively in the latest World Economic Forum competitiveness survey.[iii]

This competitiveness is driven by a government that understands how to invest in its people. According to the World Economic Forum, the key to the Scandinavians’ success is largely the result of a high level investment by the government and industry in education and training.[iv] The Scandinavians understand that ignorance is poison.

The Scandinavians know they cannot compete with China for low labour costs. They don’t bother to try. Instead, the Scandinavians have learned the value of working smarter instead of merely working harder.

Scandinavian bosses and workers don’t see each other as natural enemies. They may not always get along and they may not always agree, but they understand clearly that bosses and workers need each other.

I wish our government understood this.


So what would a good farmer do to grow the farm called New Zealand? What practical tools and lessons can we take from the small, smart countries of Scandinavia?

Good soil

A good farmer ploughs the soil to create the conditions for healthy growth.

Getting the economic basics right is important.

The first economic basic that we need to get right is trust. Whether it’s with respect to John Banks skirting around the truth or John Key burying his head in the sand over the Dotcom saga, New Zealand’s reputation as an honest country in which to do business is under serious threat.

We have to restore trust, both in New Zealand and overseas. Investors won’t come to New Zealand if they think we’re a banana republic.

And make no mistake about it: Labour welcomes investors to New Zealand. However, we welcome investors who come as partners, not masters. Our country is not for sale. New Zealanders do not wish to become tenants in their own country.

We also need to stabilise our currency, so that businesses have some certainty. We need to keep the New Zealand dollar from continually rising, because if the dollar is too high then our exported goods become too expensive. Other countries do this – so should we. The high New Zealand dollar is making life hard for exporters and it’s simply ruining manufacturing in New Zealand.

As my colleague David Parker has said recently, targeting inflation alone is an old orthodoxy that few countries support[v]. We need more balanced objectives, and a broader range of tools to achieve them.

We also need to stop the housing market from spinning out of control. Not only do high housing prices make homes unaffordable for many ordinary families, but housing booms are usually followed by housing busts. We’ve had quite enough economic train wrecks in recent years, thanks very much.

But economic and financial stability is about more than just keeping prices stable.

Watering the soil

Good farmers don’t just dig the soil, they keep it watered.

The lifeblood of business is capital, but many private investors have taken flight since the crash of 2008. A business community without investment is like a field without irrigation: without some water, the crops will wither and die.

I’m not advocating the government dolling out taxpayer funds to big business. There’s been too much of that already. Taxpayers are sick of it. I’m sick of it.

However, there’s no reason that the government can’t help those who are helping themselves.

For example, suppose a private company needs to do some expensive research and development, and this research and development benefits the whole country.

As another example, suppose a private company is researching a cure for Kiwifruit disease? Labour’s research and development tax credits would help that company find a solution.

Accelerated tax depreciation for short-life technology, and other measures soon to be announced, would also assist the innovation process.

Those kinds of policies could be part of a broader win-win approach. That’s how things work in the Scandinavian countries. That’s how the Scandinavians gets results.

Investment also comes from savings. For those who don’t know it, New Zealanders in recent times has had some of the lowest levels of savings in the developed world.[vi] This is wrong for two reasons: one, without savings, our citizens have no fall-back position if something goes wrong. Two, because when people save these savings can be invested wisely.

That’s why Labour’s universal KiwiSaver plan lifted our savings rate four times faster than National’s alternative. Under Labour’s policy, New Zealand would have more capital available for local investment, rather than relying so heavily on foreign-owned banks.

That’s a lesson the Scandinavians have learned and that our Aussie mates have also got right. We need to get it right as well.

Another area in which Labour is streets ahead of National is in the area of capital gains tax. Let me explain this very briefly: many New Zealand businesses have given up investing in useful and productive areas. Why? Because the New Zealand tax system encourages business to invest in the wrong places. That’s because many of the richest New Zealanders have grown rich from capital gains. They buy a piece of land for a million and sell it for three million. That’s a cool two million dollar profit, much of it tax-free. Regardless of how they earn their income, everyone should pay the same rate of tax.

Investing in property for capital gains not only makes home buying unaffordable for many families, it sucks billions away from productive investments.[vii]

Worse still, history has shown that what goes up generally comes down, and often with a crash.

What a capital gains tax does is encourage all investors to put their money into areas that produce something.  This will have the effect of dampening the current property bubble, while freeing up billions for investment in areas like computer technology or energy production.

This is not some freak theory; it’s acknowledged internationally. That’s why there are only two other developed countries that don’t have a capital gains tax.

Pro-growth tax reform, including a capital gains tax and the restoration of tax credits for research and development, is needed to water the soils: feeding real Kiwi businesses and creating real Kiwi jobs.

Planting the seeds

Good farmers carefully sow and nurture the seeds and tend the crops as they grow to maturity.

The seeds of our economy are the innovation and ideas that can be raised in our universities, businesses, garages and garden sheds.

Kiwis are an innovative, creative people. Our capacity for working wonders with reduced resources has led us to developing the world’s first electric fences, jet boats and so on. The list is almost endless and the ideas are often brilliant. But too often, unless the inventor has deep pockets, too many good ideas don’t get off the shelf. Once the seed capital from ‘friends, fools and family’ runs out, often, so does the business. The sad fact is that – even during the economic good times, four out of five Kiwi business start-ups withered and died in the first two years.

In Japan and Korea, four out of five new businesses survive past two years[viii]. The difference is that in Japan and Korea, there is comprehensive government support for small business development. Support with budgeting. Support with obtaining investment. Support with business plans. Support with taking successful products and showing them to the world.

Last week, the New Zealand Herald told the sad story of how 32 of New Zealand’s biggest high-tech companies have been sold off overseas at an early stage[ix]. That’s like ripping out a crop when it’s half-grown. It’s madness.

Labour welcomes positive investment, but we want to avoid the best and brightest of our young companies being continually hollowed-out from Kiwi ownership.

We need policies that will help young Kiwi companies grow for longer, and become stronger, right here in New Zealand. We know the main problems: a lack of capital to support growth, a lack of experience in trading outside of New Zealand, difficulty communicating with overseas customers and a difficulty delivering the product or service around the world. David Shearer, who is also our Innovation Spokesperson, will be speaking more on our ideas in this area shortly.

Labour also believes that government should try to buy Kiwi-made products where possible and appropriate, and ensure that Kiwi companies have a fair chance to sell to their own government. Taking a hard look at government procurement is also a part of Labour’s policy mix.

The government should also have a strong policy of avoiding products that cause significant environmental harm and those that rely on the cynical exploitation of workers, especially women and children.

Rebuilding manufacturing, sectors and regions

Good farmers have a plan for every paddock on the farm. We need a sustainable growth strategy for every industry sector and region.

Sadly, however, since National took over many regions have slipped backwards, and this is no accident. The East Coast and Northland have skyrocketing youth unemployment. Wasting a generation of young Kiwis in our regions is not good enough. Take forestry for example. We don’t build enough quality products with our own wood. Instead we cut down the trees and ship the logs to ‘sweatshops’ overseas. Under the current New Zealand government policy, there’s simply no incentive to do otherwise.

A similar thing happens in dairy. Our milk is mainly shipped overseas as commodity products like milk powder, while too often those that develop these ingredients into branded products get most of the benefit.

It’s even worse with our seafood. Did you know that for the next four years it is legal for New Zealand companies to catch fish in our waters using Korean boats manned by Filipino sailors who are treated like slaves?[x] This fish, in some cases, is then sent to Asia for processing, then shipped back to New Zealand for sale in our supermarkets. This is madness.

Both the International Monetary Fund and the credit rating agencies have said New Zealand’s biggest weakness is that too great a share of our total exports is selling raw commodities like milk and logs at low prices. Instead, we need to be making something more valuable out of our milk and timber before we export them[xi]. That’s the Scandinavian way.

In case anyone has missed the headlines of the last few weeks about massive layoffs at Tiwai Point, Norske Skog’s Kawerau mill, Solid Energy’s Huntly and Spring Creek mines, Nuplex and APN in Auckland, and many, many others – manufacturing is in crisis in New Zealand.

40,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2008 when National came to government and there are more layoffs to come[xii].  Some 65,000 more New Zealanders are unemployed[xiii] and that’s not counting what Bill English now calls the “safety valve”[xiv] of 54,000 other New Zealanders giving up and moving permanently to Australia in the last year alone – an all-time record.

So we desperately need a high-value manufacturing strategy in this country. Gone are the days when manufacturing was just some unskilled worker bolting two parts together. That style of manufacturing is now inevitably done in low-wage countries. In most cases, we simply can’t compete with Asia when it comes to large-scale, low-cost manufacturing.

However, we’re not out of the race, by any means. According to Statistics New Zealand, there are about 22,700 manufacturing businesses in New Zealand[xv], which together produce about $20 billion of sales[xvi]. $20 billion.

I believe we could triple that, not by lowering our environmental standards or paying our workers less, but doing what we do so well.

New Zealand is very good at thinking small and thinking smart. We can do small production runs of specialist items. We can process raw materials that were gathered nearby. We can produce products on demand for our local market or international markets.

Above all, we can think smart. We can take an idea from concept to manufacture, often on a budget that wouldn’t pay for lunch in America or Germany.

Should the government be backing the manufacturing sector? Absolutely. Just look to the Scandinavian example.

Prof Göran Roos, a leading Scandinavian industrial economist, points out that every dollar in manufacturing business leads directly to $1.74 in turnover elsewhere in the economy[xvii].  And he and others point out that with increasing linkage between manufacturing and high value services in global trade, you can’t win without manufacturing capability. Buy a new car, get a regular servicing package.

The Scandinavians understand that a successful manufacturing strategy provides high-value jobs, good incomes, and helps reduce our overseas debt.

Labour will work with unions and businesses to enhance skills training to help support a strong manufacturing heart. The heart of a high-performance manufacturing sector is highly-productive workplaces with excellent training and decent living wages.

Like in the Scandinavian countries, we want workers to have the training and support to adapt to changing jobs with ‘flexicurity’ throughout their lives. Flexicurity: it means ‘flexible security’[xviii].

This is important. Look at what’s happening with the West Coast coal miners. After a lifetime of hard work in the coalmines, these miners are now facing the economic scrapheap[xix] thanks to National’s plans to railroad the sale of Solid Energy. The miners must now adapt to a changing world.  Can they do this overnight? Of course not.

That’s where the government can help, not with a handout, and not by lowering environmental standards or strip-mining national parks, but with an investment in the future of those workers and an investment in the future of our entire country. It’s time to recognise that our most valuable resource is not just our land, but our people.

Clean and green

Another crucial sector is clean-tech. Labour leader David Shearer has called for a clean, green and clever economy for good reason – there are almost seven billion people on the planet[xx].

It’s obvious now to most governments, including not only the Scandinavians but also most of Europe, China, Korea and Japan, that we simply can’t keep living the wasteful and destructive ways of the past. As government regulations around the world get tougher, there’s a huge global market for clean technology. That is, technology that makes more effective use of our precious resources while reducing pollution and wastage.

You may rest assured; our competitors are investing heavily in clean technology. Why is New Zealand not doing more to win in the global green race – the $6 trillion export market for clean-tech[xxi]?

There are already some great ideas being developed, but building a strong clean-tech sector will only happen if the government sends the right signals. For example, the more we require our power generators to act responsibly, the more we are encouraging the development of alternative ways of generating electricity.

But the National government is going the other way – scrapping Labour’s biofuels obligations and effectively wiping out the infant biofuels industry.  Now they have the gall to say biofuels will save Kawerau[xxii]. Shameful.

Labour believes there is no inherent conflict between positive business and the environment.

Labour is not opposed to environmentally responsible mineral and energy exploration. However, Labour never forgets that most of New Zealand’s export dollars come from living things. A wise government, like a good farmer, needs to protect and nurture the source of our wealth.

We are interested in investments that have a win-win outcome. Investments that create jobs and exports, balanced with appropriate responsibilities to our communities and the environment.

Nobody in Parliament, and nobody in this room, will still be here in 100 years. However, those who follow us will enjoy the gifts we give and will endure the mistakes we make. That thought alone should make us pause.


We need better from our government. We need a comprehensive strategy that includes planning, research, financial incentives and assistance with helping local companies sell their products overseas.

It’s not rocket science; it’s common sense.

Kiwis are very decent people.  They know they’ve been conned by Neo-liberalism and its National-Act acolytes. They want to do something about it. They want to reclaim that wonderful sense of fairness, safety and honesty that used to be the hallmark of this country.

In my remarks today I have stressed three key things:

First, contrary to the failed Neo-liberal policies that got the world into this mess, it’s really clear to you, to me and to the incoming Labour government, that we all do better together when we all win together. Think Scandinavia. Think symbiosis.

Second, it’s in Kiwi DNA to understand farming – the role of government in helping to create an innovative, job rich economy should be like a good farmer.

  • Tending the soil to get the fundamentals right.  Irrigating it with capital and fertilizing it with skills and technology.
  • Planting the seeds of future success through a step change in innovation.
  • Having a plan for each paddock – our industry sectors and regions – so we can be the best we can be.  Understanding that it is crucial to have high value manufacturing and clean technology developed alongside making the best sustainable use from our resources.
  • And never forgetting that our most valuable asset is always our people. Investing in education, skills and lifelong learning; building decent high performance workplaces, and using the power of government to reward good business practices.

Third, we need a government that listens, that works in partnership, then takes action. We can rebuild this economy. We can make this country the envy of the world again. But we need a government that acts, like a good farmer, not one that just sits on the fence, watching the weeds grow, and letting the farm go to ruin.



[i] Internet Movie Database, Gordon Gekko quotes, available at

[ii] Keay, D. (1987, September 23), Margaret Thatcher interview, Women’s Own.

[iii] Schwab, K. (ed.), ‘The Global Competitiveness Report 2008–2009’, World Economic Forum, available at:

[iv] ibid.

[v] Hon David Parker’s recent Finance portfolio statements are available at

[vi] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2012, June 7). Household saving rates – forecasts: Percentage of disposable household income, DOI: 10.1787/2074384x-table7.

[vii] New Zealand Labour Party (2011), David Cunliffe talks about the debt propelled economy (video), available at

[viii] Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. Briefing note.

[ix] Wishart, S. (2012, September 24), ‘Kiwi high tech for sale’, New Zealand Herald, available at

[x] Ministry for Primary Industries (2012, February), Ministerial Inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels, available at

[xi] International Monetary Fund (2012, June 7 and prior), New Zealand and the IMF series, available at

[xii] Newson, B. (2012, September 12), ‘Nothing ‘inevitable’ about mass redundancies’, EPMU statement, available at

[xiv] Cited by Tarrant, A. (2012, September 21), ‘Record loss of migrants to Australia in year to August, Stats NZ says; Nearly net 40,000 cross Tasman to the ‘lucky country’’,, available at

[xv] Statistics New Zealand (2012, September 10), Survey and methods section, ‘Quarterly economic survey of manufacturing’, available at

[xvi] Statistics New Zealand (2012, September 10), Table 1: All Manufacturing section, ‘Economic Survey of Manufacturing: June 2012 quarter’, available from

[xvii] Roos, G., (2012, June 29), Is Manufacturing in Decline?, special presentation.

[xviii] One European interpretation of ‘Flexicurity’ is detailed at European Commission – Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion section (n.d.), Flexicurity, available at:

[xix] Sabin, B. (2012, September 25), ‘Spring Creek miner’s 5th redundancy’, 3news, available at

[xx] World Bank estimate cited in Google Public Data set. Granular global population analysis is available from the WolframAlpha knowledgebase (2012), available at

[xxi] Innovas, cited in Pure Advantage (2012, May), New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race, p. 2.

[xxii] Hon Steven Joyce, National Party MP and Economic Development Minister, cited by Radio New Zealand (2012, September 11).




Previous related blogposts

Guest Author: David Cunliffe, Get your invisible hand off our assets

Guest Author: David Cunliffe, A Bold New Direction?

Charter Schools – Another lie from John Banks!

Finland, some thoughts



= fs =

Guest Author: responding to Michael Laws

– Bryan Bruce, Inside Child Poverty



Michael Laws. I don’t really want to start a chain of debate on this man’s opinion about child poverty because I have traversed all he has to say before. Nor do I want to fuel his talk show. But because he has attracted some attention recently on the child poverty issue here are my comments.

Yes there are SOME parents in New Zealand who are not as good as they should be.

Yes there are SOME parents who drink too much or take drugs .

Yes there is also a child abuse problem in New Zealand we need to address which is not the sole province of the poor.

But blaming and finger pointing and ” what parents ought to do” does not help the child who turns up hungry and cold to school.

A child does not get to choose its parents.

It is my view that our community has a responsibility to the well being of ALL of our children . That’s why I want to see healthy school meals in ALL of our schools so that our children enjoy the same right to healthy living that Swedish children get everyday.

I have not published Mr Laws piece or supplied the link to it because it is my policy as the editor of this page that I will not publish anyone who wants to shout ” Bad parent” over the head of a hungry child.

There are many,many parents who ( thanks to the economic decisions made by almost 30 years of Neo-Liberal driven governments) are just finding it very, very tough at the moment.

We need to ring fence our kids in these cruel times – not betray them by turning our backs on their most basic needs and closing their schools.

Yes parents should behave responsibly.

But so should we – they are OUR children, OUR future, OUR responsibility.





Other Blogs

Chris Trotter: Not So Great Expectations

Important links

Campbell Live and KidsCan present Lunchbox Day

Campbell Live raises $300,591 for KidsCan

Child Poverty Action Group

Documentary: Inside Child Poverty



NZ Herald: UN urges Govt reforms to not target beneficiaries

Fairfax Media: Inequality is now at its highest level

Fairfax Media: Hungry kids scavenge pig slops



= fs =

Guest Author: Where’s National’s ‘corporate welfare’ reform?

– Penny Bright



“How many billion$ of public monies could be saved by ‘CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS’?

Where’s National’s ‘corporate welfare’ reform?

Which of the major political parties are pushing for ‘corporate welfare’ reform and shrinking the long-term dependency of the private sector on our public monies?

Where is the ‘devilish detail’ at both local and central government level – which shows EXACTLY where our public rates and taxes are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors?

Why aren’t the names of the consultant(s)/ contrators(s) – the scope, term and value of these contracts, published in Council or central government Annual Reports – so this information on the spending of OUR public monies is available for public scrutiny?

Where are the publicly-available ‘Registers of Interests’ for those local government elected representatives, and staff responsible for property and procurement, in order to help guard against possible ‘conflicts of interest’ between those who ‘give’ the contracts and those who ‘get’ the contracts?

Where’s the ‘transparency’?

Given that New Zealand is ‘perceived’ to be the least corrupt country in the world – along with Denmark and Singapore, according to Transparency International’s 2010 ‘Corruption Perception Index – shouldn’t we arguably be the most transparent?

Going back a step – where are the New Zealand ‘cost-benefit’ analyses which prove that the old ‘Rogernomic$ mantra – public is bad – private (contracting) is good’ can be substantiated by FACTS and EVIDENCE?

At last – someone – somewhere has actually done some substantial research – which proves the opposite.

That ‘contracting out’ services that were once provided ‘in-house’ is actually TWICE as expensive.

“USA Project On Government Oversight (POGO)[1] decided to take on the task of doing what others have not—comparing total annual compensation for federal and private sector employees with federal contractor billing rates in order to determine whether the current costs of federal service contracting serves the public interest.
Executive Summary

Based on the current public debate regarding the salary comparisons of federal and private sector employees, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO)[1] decided to take on the task of doing what others have not—comparing total annual compensation for federal and private sector employees with federal contractor billing rates in order to determine whether the current costs of federal service contracting serves the public interest.

The current debate over pay differentials largely relies on the theory that the government pays private sector compensation rates when it outsources services. This report proves otherwise: in fact, it shows that the government actually pays service contractors at rates far exceeding the cost of employing federal employees to perform comparable functions.

POGO’s study analyzed the total compensation paid to federal and private sector employees, and annual billing rates for contractor employees across 35 occupational classifications covering over 550 service activities. Our findings were shocking—POGO estimates the government pays billions more annually in taxpayer dollars to hire contractors than it would to hire federal employees to perform comparable services. Specifically, POGO’s study shows that the federal government approves service contract billing rates—deemed fair and reasonable—that pay contractors 1.83 times more than the government pays federal employees in total compensation, and more than 2 times the total compensation paid in the private sector for comparable services. ”

The implications of this both nationally and internationally are HUGE.

If NZ central government figures are comparable with those of USA Federal Government – could the current NZ $82 billion central government spend be sliced in half by $40 billion ‘CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS’?
Which political parties / candidates are focussing on the SPENDING of public monies, rather than debt and borrowing?

If central and local govt departments /SOEs / CCOs / Crown Research Institutes are all defined as ‘PUBLIC- BENEFIT ENTITIES’ as defined under NZ Equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards (“NZ IFRS”) – then their primary objective is to provide services and facilities for the community as a social benefit rather than make a financial return.

So – how come so many services that USED to be provided ‘in-house’ are now contracted out to the private sector – whose primary objective is most certainly to ‘make a financial return’?

What magic is this that transforms public (ratepayer and taxpayer) monies into private profit?

WHERE IS THE NZ EQUIVALENT OF ‘POGO’ the USA ‘Project On Government Oversight ‘ which has just completed first-ever research which proves that private contractors cost twice as much as ‘in-house’ providers of Federal Government services?

HOW MUCH MONEY could be saved in NZ at central and local government by cutting out all the private ‘piggies in the middle’ with their greedy snouts in our public troughs?

Why aren’t the statutory ‘third party’ Public Watchdogs, as well as other major political parties demanding this accountability?

How much public money at central and local government level could be saved by ‘CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS’?

Who else is even asking this question?





Govt depts clock up $1bn in consultant fees

Government’s spending on consultants skyrockets

PM’s ‘special’ movie studio meeting

Government denies MediaWorks loan

Emitters get ‘$1.4b corporate welfare’



= fs =

Guest Author: Open Letter to the Prime Minister, by Hone Harawira

– Hone Harawira,
MP for Te Tai Tokerau
Leader, Mana Party



Kia ora John

I’m down at Turangawaewae for the water hui, and I just wanted to clear up a few things before I go in.

You see John, there’s quite a bit of confusion about how Maori are being pushed to help you with your asset sales problem, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a push from your side to help Maori with any of our problems – like poverty, low wages, massive unemployment, poor housing, benefit cuts … you know the rest.

We know things are hard for your government right now, what with trying to sell off power companies when you don’t own the water that drives them – but really John, that’s something your officials should have sorted out a long time ago.

The consultation hui earlier this year showed clearly that Maori don’t support asset sales, there was that huge march on parliament against it, and there’s that petition on the street right now with 250,000 signatures and growing, opposing asset sales as well.

And you must have known John, that Maori would take action to protect their water rights under the Treaty of Waitangi.

That’s why Maori were so upset when you ridiculed the idea of a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, then belittled the New Zealand Maori Council for daring to take the claim in the first place, and then said that the Tribunal wasn’t worth listening to anyway.

You see John, the Tribunal is one of the only avenues we have to present our claims in our own way. In fact it’s the only place where what our kaumatua and kuia have to say has any meaning. It’s deeply flawed of course, but it has a special place as the nation’s only specialist judicial body on Treaty issues.

That’s why when the Tribunal said that “government would be in breach of the Treaty if it proceeded with its asset sales programme before Maori water rights had been settled”, we really hoped that you might do the right thing and step back, take a deep breath, and let the judicial process run its course.

So when you decided to simply defer the sale, and engage in behind-closed-door deals with selected iwi leaders, you can imagine how … upset … we got.

Because this is an important issue John, to all of us.

This is about water, and in particular Maori interests in that water.

And water really is a taonga to us John, a treasure. It’s hard to explain in English but water is something to cherish, to care for, to respect and to protect for future generations. Moana Jackson says “every tribe has a river” and the people of Whanganui have a saying “I am the river and the river is me”. Water is part of who we are.

And Maori water rights need to be understood in that context John. Not as a tradeable commodity, but as part and parcel of our very existence. Even Pakeha people get that; I think that might be why so many of them oppose your asset sales too.

The Tribunal has confirmed those rights (with the support I might add, of a number of your own Crown witnesses), and the Council has quite rightly asked the Tribunal to consider the extent of those rights and how best to recognise them in stage two of the hearings.

That’s not to deny hapu and iwi their rightful claims to waterways in their territories, but the issue of Maori water rights calls for a nationwide discussion and commitment to standards and expectations far greater than what can be achieved by small groups meeting behind closed doors.

John, this is one of the biggest decisions Maori will ever make, and 5 weeks just isn’t enough time to do it justice.

So where do we go from here?

Well … if I were the Prime Minister John, I think I’d:

§ Set aside the asset sales programme for a while;

§ Give the Tribunal time to complete stage two of the hearings;

§ Give Maori time to go back and share all that information with our kaumatua and our kuia, our cousins, our kids, and yes even our mokos as well, because the decisions we make today will affect them and their mokos too. And time too for hapu and iwi to consider the wider implications for them as well;

§ Give the rest of the country time to give their views too; because on this issue, every New Zealander should have a say;

§ And then I’d call everyone back to the table in 12 months, and see if we could come up with a solution that works for all.

Anyway, gimme a bell some time and let’s have a cup of tea and a chat.

Yours sincerely,
Hone Harawira



= fs =

Guest Author: Stop me if you’ve already heard this one

– Rob, The Standard blog

21 May 2011


Time for a bit of in depth analysis of some of the key phrases in Bill English’s budget speech:

This Budget restricts the increase in public debt to manageable levels. Treasury’s December forecasts showed a dramatic and indefinite rise in debt levels. This is unacceptable to this Government because we do not want to saddle future generations with the cost of short term policies.

We will initiate a programme to lift productivity, improve competitiveness and sharpen New Zealand’s future economic performance.

We will consolidate the Government’s fiscal position, keep debt under control and ensure that Crown finances are properly managed.

This Government came into office with a plan to lift New Zealand’s economic performance.

I move on to our plan to balance the Government’s books. … This Budget will begin to restore the Crown balance sheet to its previous health.

The measures I have outlined will form key elements of our strategy to ensure that New Zealand emerges from the downturn stronger than it entered it.

The Government is determined that future taxpayers will not be burdened with higher debt which is unmatched by increases in productive assets.

To achieve this, the Government has made some difficult decisions.

The measures outlined this afternoon, the expenditure restraint shown by this Government, deferment of the tax cuts and deferment of Super Fund contributions, will keep the increase in public debt within acceptable levels. …

[This Budget] marks a turning point for New Zealand. Ten years of economic growth and expansive appetites for debt and Government spending have ended. Today we have outlined the challenge to rebalance the economy from debt and consumption to investment and exports.

The Budget will improve New Zealand’s international competitiveness.

It will get our debt under control and turning down.

It starts to create a government sector that provides better services and delivers better value for taxpayers.

It will help create new and sustainable jobs.

It will begin to build a platform for a much more ambitious New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Budget to the House.

Ooops – Dammit! Sorry, my mistake. Wrong speech. That’s the budget speech from 2009. This is the one I meant:

The worst of the global crisis has for now passed and the economy has begun to grow again. In fact, New Zealand has weathered the economic storm better than many other developed economies.

Government policy struck the right balance between blunting the sharp edges of recession and maintaining control of public finances.

The Government is committed to policies that will reduce our vulnerabilities by tilting our economy away from debt and consumption toward savings, investment and exports.

These policies underpin the updated Treasury forecasts showing steady growth of around 3 per cent over each of the next four years.

The forecasts also show that this growth will raise real incomes of the average household by about $7,000 over the next four years, and create 170,000 jobs.

I now turn to the Government’s fourth objective, that of maintaining firm control of the government’s finances, so we can return the budget to surplus and reduce our rising debt.

The fiscal outlook has improved from last year, due to the economy returning to growth and the positive impact of Budget 2009 decisions.

The projected operating deficit for the next financial year is $8.6 billion or 4.2 per cent of GDP.

It is projected to improve steadily in each subsequent year, and to reach surplus in 2015/16, three years ahead of last year’s projection.

As a result of this improved outlook the debt projections have also become more favourable

We now have our debt under control and unemployment is beginning to fall.

We will emerge as one of the countries that other nations aspire to be more like.

There are risks to the recovery. A mountain of debt hangs over a number of our export destinations, and will also influence the markets that lend to New Zealand.

We cannot take for granted the contribution that the Australian and Chinese economies have made to our growth.

However, we are on track to a position most developed economies will envy.

This includes more new jobs, falling unemployment, rising family incomes,
quality public services and sound public finances.

Mr Speaker, This Budget continues to build a platform for a much more ambitious New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Budget to the House.

Oh My. I really don’t know what’s wrong with me today. That’s the wrong speech again! That was the 2010 speech. This is the 2011 speech. Really this time:

Today I introduce a Budget that will further strengthen the long-term performance of the economy.

It supports economic forecasts that show growth returning to its highest in over five years and 170,000 net new jobs being created by 2015.

Our main task remains to return New Zealand to sustained prosperity. The economy has been underperforming since before the global financial crisis. Indeed, per capita GDP has not grown since 2004.

The OECD, the Savings Working Group and others have pointed out that we need to make the economy more competitive and lift national savings.

Currently, most businesses and households have successfully lifted their own savings. While that has hurt retailers for now, in the long term it is a good thing.

The main sector not saving is the Government.

The deficit in 2010/11 will be large, at $16.7 billion or 8.4 per cent of GDP. This includes a range of one-off costs, including the earthquakes.

The measures announced in this Budget will put both the Government’s finances and the economy on a much sounder footing despite a series of adverse events and a slower economic recovery.

The projected operating deficit will fall dramatically over the next three years. It will be in significant surplus from 2014/15.

This is a year sooner than the position forecast last year.

Budget 2011 shows how, from the depths of the global financial crisis when a decade of red ink was in prospect, and despite the devastating Canterbury earthquakes and other setbacks, the Government has laid the basis for future prosperity.

It is within sight of budget surpluses and falling public debt.

It has funded reconstruction of Christchurch, our second largest city.

It has in prospect the strongest growth for a decade.

It has materially improved the tax system.

It has placed KiwiSaver onto a sounder, more sustainable footing, and instilled a culture built on savings rather than debt.

And it will provide future New Zealanders with real choices about further lowering taxes, adding quality public services, or both.

We set a path for responsible government spending from the start of our term, and we maintain that path in this Budget.

This Budget continues to build a platform for a much stronger, more ambitious New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Budget to the House.

Sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it. Right down to the recycled prediction of 170,000 new jobs. Why are the promises and predictions of 2011 any more realistic or believable than the failed promises and predictions of 2010 and 2009? How can anyone listen to Bill English, John Key and the Nats making these abundantly meaningless claims time after time without laughing? Know what they say eh. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…







Reprinted with kind permission by Lprent, The Standard



= fs =

Guest Author: Reactionary distractions hide NZ’s 9.1% unemployment

– Neil Watts,  Blogger, Fearfactsexposed

28 August 2012


Shocking new unemployment figures hidden by hard-Right red herrings.

Damning new unemployment statistics released by Roy Morgan Research yesterday reveal that the true rate of unemployment in New Zealand is much greater than the official 6.9% claimed by the Government.

According to Roy Morgan’s figures, unemployment is sitting at 9.1%, with a further 9.6% under-employed and looking for work.  That’s almost 20% of New Zealanders not achieving their productive potential and not contributing to the economy.  These figures are an economic disaster, and point to the single worst management of the economy in New Zealand’s history.  Little wonder the Government were busy rolling out Paula Bennett’s latest poor-hate policy this week, to give their friends in the mainstream media something else to talk about.

And, of course, John Key’s favourite Rightwing propagandists at Fairfax Media were more than happy to ignore the shocking new figures and concentrate instead on National’s latest initiative to demonise the poor;  forcing beneficieries to take complulsary drug tests.

Here we go yet again.  It’s as predictable as the sunrise – as soon as National are likely to be tarnished by bad news, they simply get Herr Paula to pull out another piece of dog-whistle poor-hate to remind the rest of the proletariat that all of our problems are caused by the dirty, filthy, lazy, unemployed, and not by the failed free market dogma that crashed the world’s economy, and is now being touted as the only way to fix it.

There isn’t a single word on Stuff about the Roy Morgan report, which is interesting, considering that when their polls show National doing well with voters, Fairfax struggle to find a font big enough.  Instead, they do National the usual courtesy of focussing on the distraction, with the bold headline “Beneficiery drug testing plans unveiled”.  They are effectively making scapegoats of the most vulnerable to justify the unthinkable. Now, in what kind of historical regimes have we seen this strategy before?  It’s a dangerous and morally bankrupt Government that attempts to blame soaring unemployment on the unemployed themselves.

While unemployment is an increasingly worrying issue for struggling New Zealanders, Fairfax revealed their abject contempt for our concerns, by making a facetious joke out of the Opposition’s attempts to save jobs at Dunedin’s Hillside manufacturing plant.  Labour Leader David Shearer’s visit to the plant yesterday and his calls to save New Zealand’s manufacturing industry might be serious to ordinary Kiwis, but Fairfax didn’t even bother reporting his comments, instead publishing the following maliscious, poor taste comments:


Office sceptics are wondering . . . would productivity rise at Dunedin’s Hillside engineering workshops and would they get more contracts if Labour MPs would just leave them alone to do their jobs? Labour leader David Shearer was the latest to visit yesterday, and our reporters can recall two visits by former leader Phil Goff and one by David Cunliffe in the past year.

Mr Shearer said the workshops were “a national asset” and their future had to be secured to protect skilled jobs and flow-on economic benefits to other businesses.”

Clearly, New Zealanders losing their jobs is something of a big joke to Fairfax.  It certainly isn’t a big deal to their mega-wealthy shareholders, like climate change denying serial polluter Gina Rinehart, who owns most of the corporation’s shares.  Perhaps that’s why big news today of a record Arctic ice melt, resembling a giant slushie, hasn’t been reported by Ms Rinehart’s own personal propaganda company.   According to the story published on the more reliable New Zealand Herald’s website:

“Michael E. Mann, a lead author of a major UN report in 2001 on climate change, said the latest data reflected that scientists who were criticised as alarmists may have shown “perhaps too great a degree of reticence.”

“I think, unfortunately, this is an example that points more to the worst-case scenario side of things,” said Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.   “There are a number of areas where in fact climate change seems to be proceeding faster and with a greater magnitude than what the models predicted,” Mann told AFP.  “The sea ice decline is perhaps the most profound of those cautionary tales because the models have basically predicted that we shouldn’t see what we’re seeing now for several decades,” he added.”

Outrageous isn’t it?  But, what can you do about it?  Well, you can share this page, you can join our ever-growing protest on Facebook , you can boycott Fairfax’s publications, and you can avoid  Oh, and please tell your friends!   Kia ora New Zealand.





Roy Morgan: New Zealand unemployment was 9.1% with a further 9.6% of workforce under-employed  New Zealand Real Unemployment at 9.1%

Tumeke: NZ real unemployment rate 9.1%?

NZ Herald: Record Arctic ice melt ‘like a giant slushie’

Fairfax Media: Today in politics: Tuesday, August 28

Fairfax Media: Beneficiary drug testing plans unveiled

Radio NZ: Hillside shouldn’t be broken up – Labour

ODT: ‘Crying shame’ if Hillside closed





= fs =

Guest Author: Bennett’s child poverty shocker ignored by Stuff

– Neil Watts,  Blogger, Fearfactsexposed

July 16, 2012


Fairfax avoid today’s leading political news, again.

Fairfax Media have yet again applied their eerie “1984″ technique of ignoring big news when it is likely to cost the National Party votes.

Yesterday’s outbursts in Parliament from “Social Development” Minister Paula Bennett, in which she made flippant remarks about child poverty, was leading the political news at other, more moderate media today, but there wasn’t a word about it from Gina Rinehart’s Fairfaxian double-thinkers at

The New Zealand Herald ran the story under the headline, “Bennett slammed over child poverty claim”, while Radio New Zealand used Speaker Lockwood Smith’s assessment that “Bennett’s behaviour was worse than a three-year-old”.  Such newsworthy fair would delight any real news editor, and is indeed the sort of hard-edged information that has traditionally sold newspapers.  But, over at Fairfax – where news values takes a back seat to partisan loyalty to the National Party – readers were denied anything at all on Bennett’s latest lapse of judgement.

In fact, avoiding the worst of Paula Bennett’s ourageous, reactionary bile over the years, has effectively made this Minister a one-woman credibility disaster for Fairfax Media, who appear to simply groan and then bury their Rightwing heads in the sand every time a National Party member makes an embarassing gaff.

I won’t pretend otherwise; Paula Bennett truly disgusts me.   That’s the only way I can describe the feeling that fills my stomach every time I’m reminded of her existence.  Aside from being a despicable bully and a nasty little fascist, her role in cultivating policies that contribute to child poverty is abhorrent. Denying child poverty is even worse.  She makes ‘Ministry of Social Development’ sound nothing short of Orwellian, and embodies all that is vulgar and immoral about the current Government.   To see a major news corporation avoid the worst of her faux pas is simpy offensive to fair-minded and thinking New Zealanders.

Fairfax’s coverage of Bennett’s bullying of beneficiaries three years ago was woefully inadequate at the time, and they seem to be deflecting any criticism this time around by distracting readers with one of those dodgy, un-scrutinized on-line polls about whether beneficieries should be drug testesd; cue their army of brainwashed, redneck readers, dog-whistled into beneficiery bashing action.

Come on New Zealand!  We need NEWS from our news media, not daily doses of Rightwing propaganda.  Please help make a difference by sharing this blog, boycotting Fairfax’s publications, avoiding, joining us on facebook (Fearfacts) and telling your friends to do the same.  Kia ora.


NZ Herald:  Bennett slammed over child poverty claim

Radio NZ:  Bennett’s behaviour worse than 3 year old speaker

Tumeke:  Paula Bennett sees no child poverty

Tumeke: Paula Bennett misleads country on drug







Reprinted with kind permission from Fearfactsexposed



= fs =

Guest Author: Open letter to Eugene Bingham or would you have voted for John Key if you had known

– Evelyn Gilbert,  Aotearoa a wider perspective



If you find this informative may I suggest you send the link to your John Key voting palls!!!

Eugene Bingham is a journalist for the New Zealand Herald and he has been the writer of most of the articles about John Key and has repeatedly interviewed him. He wrote amongst others the Unauthorised biography which appeared in the 19 July 2008 New Zealand Herald edition and is well worth reading.


“You have sold your soul to the Devil and wrote the article as a PR stunt for the man who is now our Prime Minister but who is in fact one of the Arsonists of the perfect firestorm about to hit this poor small Nation.” Evelyn Gilbert


Dear Eugene,

I have been thinking about writing this open letter to you for a while and today I felt was the right moment to tell you what I think about you and the way you have helped John Key get elected.

I will not beat around the bush. I’m not build that way, so here goes.

You are an insult to what was once a noble and very necessary profession in order to take our politicians to task if found wanting (thanks to the internet people like me can do our own research and we are no longer depending on frauds like you for our information).

You are either incredibly bad at your job because it appears that either you did not double check John Key’s story, something every self respecting journalist should do, or you have slipped over to the dark side and you willingly lied and allowed John Key to lie to your readers.

Either way you ought to be ashamed of yourself and resign today.

Why, you ask, is this blogger so crass in her accusations?

We have a government in which John Key is the Prime Minister. He has been elected based on information available and let’s not forget the much hyped need for “Change”.

In a functioning Democracy the press as the fourth estate is responsible for making sure that all the relevant information is available for the public to be able to vote in their best interest.

In the run up to an important election it is of the utmost importance that the public knows all about their politicians there is to know and if it means that a politician is not voted in because it turns out that said politician is a liar or a criminal than so be it.

In a time such as this when the entire global economy is crashing because of Wall street manipulations it is of the utmost importance to know everything there is to know of the most important opposition leader especially if that politician has made his money through parasitical speculation in the international finance world. That same world which is now collapsing due to it’s own irresponsible financial speculations.

Eugene, you failed to do that job so spectacularly and in doing so you helped put in power a man who has no business governing us in these times and the future will tell that you were instrumental in keeping information away from us that would have surely changed the out come of this election.

Let me give you but three examples of your failure to supply us with real information.

  1. The true relationship John Key had with Andrew Krieger and the attack on the NZ dollar in late 1987.
  2. The role John Key had in the Asian Crisis, the Russian collapse and the collapse of the LTCM hedgefund.
  3. The role John Key had in the Subprime trade and the real timeline of the Subprime crisis and the subsequent collapse of the global economy.

1. The true relationship John Key had with Andrew Krieger and the attack on the NZ dollar in late 1987.

You have in multiple articles told us that John Key only went to work with Andrew Krieger after Andrew Krieger in 1988. In fact you even give a specific date in this article. In it you state that John Key starts to work for the Bankers Trust on 29 August 1988. If this is true than John Key could not have worked with Andrew Krieger. Not for the bankers trust or any other bank. Because Andrew Krieger left Forex on 30 June 1988 and did not return to that trade until September 1990.

How do I know? Because Eugene, I did what you should have done.

I googled the name Andrew Krieger and Bankers Trust and found 3, that is three, (here, here and here) articles in the New York Times online archive (Especially put on line for journalists like you Eugene) written by three different journalists at three different times and each of those articles Chronicles Andrew Krieger’s career at that very crucial time. It turns out that Andrew Krieger (who because of his spectacular attack on the NZ dollar was a bit of a Wall street celeb) left the Bankers Trust in as early as December 1987 but no later than February 1988. He then went to work for George Soros as a senior manager from sometime March or April and left that position in June 1988. An interview with him in September 1990 reveals that he didn’t trade in the Foreign Exchange business beyond some very limited trading conducted solely for himself.

Other than that, the trade that made Andrew Krieger famous was conducted in mere hours only seven days after Black Monday (while New Zealand was still reeling from the worst crash in recent history) and if John Key was the sole manager of the hundreds of millions of dollars he traded in for Andrew Krieger as you state in your 19 July “Unauthorised” biography, it can only have been during that famous attack.

Eugene, if  John Key traded with Andrew Krieger during what was the first speculative attack on a currency ever and which was followed by several world crisis provoking super attacks in which John Key partook don’t you think it would have been essential for us to know?

If John Key willingly engaged in behaviour that risked his country’s economy and  he is prepared to lie or let you lie about it 20 years after the event I thought it would have been paramount that you let the public know especially in an “Unauthorised” biography. It sets after all a precedent. If he was prepared to collapse his own countries currency in a speculative raid than he would have no qualms about doing it to other countries either.

2. The role John Key had in the Asian Crisis, the Russian collapse and the collapse of the LTCM hedgefund.

Totally lacking in your “Unauthorised” biography is one of the most important periods in recent banking history other than the mere mention of how John Key came through the Asian crisis relatively unscathed and how John Key had to fire hundreds of colleagues earning him the nickname “the Smiling Assassin”.

Whether that is because John Key just fluttered over it while he spoke to you or you choose not to go into the subject it is never the less another gross dereliction of duty on you part.

The Asian crisis 1997 and the collapse of the Russian currency in 1998 were closely connected.
They were both the result of the actions of several hedgefunds. One of them being George Soros’s hedgefund and the other the Long Term Credit Management hedge fund also known as LTCM.

This hedgefund collapsed so spectacularly as a result of speculative Forex and derivatives trading it had to be bailed out by the Federal Reserve of New York in order to protect the entire global system from collapsing. John Key may or may not have been involved in the trading that lead to the collapse of the fund but you picture him as firing hundreds of his colleagues at Merrill Lynch, earning him the endearing nickname of the “Smiling Assassin” but the only time Merrill Lynch was forced to fire that many people was in the aftermath of the LTCM scandal putting John Key right in the middle of yet another major Forex scandal. In fact in 1999 John Key is introduced as the managing director of Debt in 1999 in this article.

How do I know? Because unlike you I did the research and a couple of simple google searches wielded al this information. So once again Eugene you either are bad at your job or you and John Key willingly lied to us, the punters.

3. The role John Key had in the Subprime trade and the real timeline of the Subprime crisis and the subsequent collapse of the global economy.

In what is perhaps either the most blatant show of ignorance on your part or perhaps the most blatant lie you state unequivocally in your “Unauthorised” biography  that the subprime products were only hatched in 2004 and 2005.

That is outrageous.  In fact it’s so outrageous that for this remark alone you should resign.

Why is this outrageous? Because it is common knowledge that house prices started to rise in the late nineties.
Not just in the US but around the world, including New Zealand.

This rise had nothing to do with higher wages, more prosperity or more production. In fact jobs in the entire Western world had been disappearing for years  to China, wages were either stagnant or falling and more and more people had to take on debt to make ends meet.

That alone is a sign of bubble building.

But once again if you had taken the trouble Eugene to google subprime timeline you would have found this interesting Subprime timeline (just one of many) and this little graph telling you that as early as the beginning of 1998 the subprime markets exploded from less than 1% market share to a whopping 14%.



The years 2004 and 2005 was merely the time the bubble started to show it’s first cracks.

And if you had done your job and you would have spend another 5 minutes googling you would have found this graph as well.



And to top it off you would have found what enabled the subprime crisis and why it will inevitably collapse our economy together with the entire world’s economy, thanks to scumbags like John Key and his ilk aided and abetted by people like you.

What enabled the subprime crisis were three factors

  1. Easy CreditProvided by the Federal Reserve bank of New York and the City of London.
  2. The order given by the US Congress to Fanny mae and Freddy mac to give mortgages to every Tom, Dick and Harry and their dog. Yep, the US congress actually started the subprime mortgage selling. I suggest you read the timeline I linked to above.
  3. The repeal of the Glass Steagall act, unofficially in 1997 and officially in November 1999.This act put in place in 1933 to prevent Commercial banks from merging with investment banks to stop them from acting like the right side of the second graph had been promoted by Alan Greenspan since 1987 and had cost the Wall street investment bankers between $ 100 to $ 200 million dollars.It would have been inconceivable for John Key not to have known about the 1997 beginning of the subprime housing bubble build up because the repeal of this law was literally like giving the fox the key to the hen house and was greatly anticipated by every single Wall street/ City of London banker because it would strip every single bit of regulation away.In fact it was signed the same month John Key was invited to become one of only four advisors to the Federal Reserve bank of New York.  He represented Merrill Lynch. The others represented Citibank, Lehman Brothers and UBSWahrburg.  All those banks are either gone or in the process of going as a result of the subprime crisis.

These three items alone are enough to expose John Key as at least a liar and as the financial collapse progresses he will perhaps even be called a criminal as the mechanisms of the crisis will be exposed for what they are; The wilful manipulation of the money market by a small group of private banksters.

I said I would only take three issues on which you have been either ignorant or wilfully dishonest and I have shown comprehensively that you could have given us all the relevant information but you didn’t.

I could have added to that the derivative trade which has been building up another bubble about to collapse and in which John Key was a Key operator for Merrill Lynch or the collapse of the Bankers trust bank as a result of fraudulent Derivative trading or the fact that Andrew Krieger traded not in actual currency but in a Derivative called “options” connecting John Key to the Forex derivatives trade in as early as 1987. In fact in 2006 the Chinese government suspended the Forex Derivatives trade on the grounds that it was way to dangerous. The list is simply too long but rest assured Eugene, the information you refused us is out there and available to us.

In ending this open letter to you Eugene, I have to conclude that either you are staggeringly ignorant and therefore undeserving of your job as a journalist for a major newspaper in such a position to be tasked to investigate and write an “Unauthorised” (let’s face it there was nothing Unauthorised about the whole stinking article) biography of the man poised to become the next Prime Minister or you have sold your soul to the Devil and wrote the article as a PR stunt for the man who is now our Prime Minister but who is in fact one of the Arsonists of the perfect firestorm about to hit this poor small Nation.Either way the only honourable thing to do is to resign.

If you sold your soul to the Devil I hope he paid you handsomely because you are going to need every cent in the next 10 years as you find that less and less people can buy the rag you call home.

Evelyn Gilbert





Reprinted with kind permission from



= fs =

Guest Author: I came home from a protest today…

Linda Miller



Source: NZ students protest outside PM’s conference


I came home from a protest today. It was a small one, at SkyCity, about 200 students. The police poured it on, as if they were all-out to impress the elites who will soon be privatising them with how on-the-job they really are. The street was blocked off far enough away that the delegates were at no risk of being exposed to any political reality. However I could see some of them watching surreptitiously from the skywalk above. I’m beginning to believe that vicarious police violence is the only form of gratification available to some Angry White Men after a certain age. They were disappointed today. The students were peaceful as always – they had their say and left.

When I got home though, I was a little bit sad. Having the flu always makes me sad. But I was also sad that we even had to argue about the value of universal education at all.

I checked my messages, then I saw this video link and realised today was the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.



It seems like a dream now, but yes, it really happened, and these days, amazingly, you can actually see their leftover gear on the Moon.

I watched the video. It reminded me of the days and nights I spent watching it all live in 1969. When Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the surface, I sat in our tiny house in California with my mother and my brothers glued to the TV. I can still see their faces, lit by the flickering grey images as if it only happened last night. It was a glorious time.

But when I watched the video, I was suddenly overcome with grief. Seeing those bright, shiny Kodachrome faces, I recalled how no one had any idea that July 20, 1969 would be the high-water mark of American Civilisation. We took everything for granted. We should have fought to keep what we had. We should have kept the Promise of the American Century – the promise to extend the American Dream of freedom, peace, prosperity and civil rights to everyone.

Naive? Less so than you might imagine. We had just landed a man on the Moon after all. We could do anything. And what we wanted to do was help the world. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. We lost our way. Or rather, our way was subverted.

As I recall the faces of the students I saw today, they can’t know how keenly I feel that my generation has betrayed them. Today, we fight just to hold onto what we have. The promise of the American Century, real as it was, and close as we were to achieving it, is as dead as the tragic Kennedy brothers who first conceived it.

Today, I am an expat, and an activist, living in New Zealand. I campaign for New Zealanders because I love them, and because this fight is winnable, far more so than the struggle going on now in the United States. New Zealand is small enough, and her people are still brave enough that it can be won. We can have our democracy and our sense of community back. The government has not yet managed to frighten and terrorise New Zealand into submission. Victory is still possible.

Of course, nobody is going to just hand it to us. If we are to stop our slide into the Global Slum the Neo-Liberals are preparing for us all, we have to dig in hard. We have to lose our fear. Non-violent struggle is not pacifism. It is not for cowards. It takes courage to stand up for your rights, to keep coming out, in the rain, even when you are sick, and you don’t exactly feel like it. You have to take risks. You have to harden up. You have to resist.

Had we done that when Reagan and Thatcher first began undermining the Great Society, after I left university, I admit, we would not be in this mess today. Had the first generation of students hit with fees fought as hard as they fight in Quebec now, education would still be free. Had Kiwis resisted to the bitter end the first time a public utility was put on the block, we would not be fighting Asset Sales today.

I hope that a future generation will not say of us, “Had our parents really fought all out when they wanted to sell the last of our assets, we would still be able to afford electricity now.” That would break my heart.

We fight, because we must. Because what you are not prepared to fight for can and will be taken away from you by those who are prepared to steal. Nothing ever turns out fine by itself.

We should remember that when we commit irrevocably to seeing something through, in spite of the risks and uncertainties, as we did on Apollo, miracles are indeed possible. Nothing is ever really beyond us.




Related Link

Facebook Page: Kiwi Expats Against Asset Sales



= fs =

Guest Author: This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Occupy NZ Media #BTB #ShowAndTell Coverage

Occupy Savvy

21 July 2012



(This post is now complete. Please share far and wide. Thank you so much for supporting citizen journalism. All credit to Occupy New Zealand Media team. Redstar’s livestream footage of this event is available here.)

Saturday 21st July 2012 was another awesome day for NZ students; who used the opportunity of the ruling National Party Conference hosted at SkyCity Casino (yes, THAT Sky City…) to push their message that education cuts, privatisation and forced austerity measures were NOT going to be taken lying down.

They did a brilliant job of organising this public event, which had many new features including NLG-style Legal Observers, free ‘Red Square’ pins for everyone and a welcoming crew that approached & chatted with members of the public throughout the day. The level of thought that had gone into the event really impressed us.

Below is a People’s Media mash-up of photos, tweets & our experiences on the ground. Non-commercial organisations (ie. other Occupy pages, citizen journalists, charities, organisations who openly endorse/support Occupy) are welcome to reprint/reblog/download/share any of the images below but we ask that you please credit Occupy New Zealand Media Team/Occupy Savvy. As usual the “big crowd” photos are about halfway down the post.

Kia ora koutou. It is a privilege to present this to you Aotearoa.



These guys were the first thing I saw heading into Britomart. The mat was roll-up & they would jump into the intersection when the pedestrian crossing turned green – roll out the mat – drop a freestyle to some old school b-boy blaring from their beatbox and then roll it back up & jump back out when the lights turned green. So cool.


These girls came straight up to me with big smiles and a free red square pin before I could even get to where the march was assembling.

Having such a friendly welcoming/outreach crew definitely made the difference, as I saw more and more members of the public enticed off the sidewalks and into the march proper.



The sound truck from last Saturday’s Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march made a reappearance, except instead of King Kapisi on the back, it was bearing a coffin!



Initially the police presence appeared minimal – probably a dozen cops. We found out later why so few were at Britomart… when we got to Sky City Convention Centre.



Looking towards the port, where the beleaguered MUNZ workers spent much of the last year fighting for basic work conditions and respect from their well-heeled employers.



They had this road truck follow them around dropping road cones opening & closing roads.



The march begins to form – with the familiar BLOCKADE THE BUDGET banner from the last Blockade The Budget student protest, which suffered mass arrests and police assaults on peacefully protesting students and faculty at Auckland University.



Our Occu-Mama & Occupy Media member Lyn repping Socialist Aotearoa. She is an inspirational wahine toa who is one of the 8 arbitrarily-selected members of Occupy Auckland to be personally persecuted and mercilessly prosecuted (at ridiculous ratepayer expense) by Auckland Council. (Who we prefer to refer to as Auckland Corporatouncil!)



^^^ Take a good look at the above photo. It was one of the most telling & hilarious parts of the event. We slipped in behind the Socialist Aotearoa banner with Lyn (despite the fact I’m actually not a socialist, S.A. have done a lot to support Occupy in NZ) and was immediately descended upon by the above reporter & cameraman for TV1 News. “Can we interview you?” They asked. “Sure” we said. “But we’re just going to grab a quick pic of you first.” Camera already out, within a microsecond the shot was taken. The reporter surprised & amused – the cameraman not even slightly amused. They asked us a few questions and we answered eloquently and fluidly enough that the reporter was surprised and exclaimed, “thanks, that was great!” while the cameraman scowled bitterly at us. They disappeared off for a quick huddle and then reappeared. The dinosaur cameraman demanded that we re-shoot the piece due to having had sunglasses on (it was 1pm). We politely refused and got told that the footage “wouldn’t be used then”. Why is this significant? Wait and see what happens with these two further down this post.



People begin to move onto the street as the march begins to fill up.



It soon becomes apparent that there are vastly more people in the middle of the street than there are on the pavement.



A lone motorbike cop in front of the march assembly.



People turn to face a small stage where speakers address the crowd and the street theatre commences.



School children hold up signs representing different types of employees and students effected by austerity measures and education cuts, then a man with a huge pair of fake scissors jumps out and literally cuts their signs in half. Pre-planned, they all laugh.



Naomi – performed a passionate piece of spoken word poetry, beautifully.



Jai Bentley-Payne spoke on behalf of the students, warning us “Austerity is a SCAM!!!”. We quoted him on livetweet on #BTB and #Showandtell hashtags as well as the Canadian student movement hashtags #ggi #casseroles #manifecours and within minutes, his quote was retweeted around the world by students in solidarity globally.



And finally – we were off. The march up from the bottom of Queen Street begins.



There was all different kinds of New Zealanders marching; of every colour, shape and background.



“They Take Our Education – We Take The Streets!”



The giant red solidarity square was out again – which the kids loved playing under.



John Key….. is a duck? LOL.



One of the greatest things about today was the brand spanking new student-provided legal observers. This is something sorely lacking at previous protests mainly due to the lack of NLG-type organisation in New Zealand to support democratic peaceful protesters. Looks like thanks to the students, this is changing. Kia ora students!



This iconic Auckland intersection (Victoria & Queen) once again occupied by the public – for the second time in eight days.



5000 post-grad students are estimated to be unable to continue study due to changes made by the ruling National Party and the austerity measures they are imposing upon education (and other public sectors).



The “Fuck The Rich” guy was back and very pleased when we told him our photo of his sign at last Saturday’s Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march was picked up by a Spanish-language online newspaper with 94,000 likes on their page. Pretty impressive.



I guess this is what they call civil disobedience! Though really, its exercise. The exercising of our democratic rights!



The mood quickly turns from jubilant to appropriately solemn as students bear the coffin all the way up Victoria Street from Queen Street as a funeral march plays.



Protesters observe a minute of silence but their signs speak on regardless.



We finally make it to Sky City Conference Centre….. and arrive at a shocking sight. Police officers wall the inside of the entrance two deep. People stand around with literally mouths hanging open at the wanton display of force. Yet still it is only a fraction of what will later greet us outside the casino itself.



Despite the police presence, protesters put signs and stickers up on the glass and the coffin is carried up to the entrance.


Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking Occupy Savvy 21 July 2012 Auckland  National Party Conference 2012 Skycity


Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking Occupy Savvy 21 July 2012 Auckland  National Party Conference 2012 Skycity


The crowd begin to chant enthusiastically. Most of the chants are recorded on the livetweet which can be found on Twitter



At first we thought they might be there to enforce the No Smoking policy…



Until we saw these guys.



As we clearly were not going to be able to enter the convention centre, off we went around the block, the long way to Sky City Casino. Completely unawares of what awaited us.



As we hit Federal Street, we realised the bottom over-street Skywalk was filled with Casino executives and the top Skywalk was filled with cops. Being towards the back, it took a few minutes to realise what was blocking the march at the front line…



It was awesome to see random members of the public out walking their dogs join the march… wonder what he thought of what was in front of him…



Tried to get closer to the front to find out why no one was able to move any further…



Passing ASB bank on Federal Street the cops were shoulder to shoulder but we still had no idea what lay ahead of the march…



As we reached this point the jackets in front of the march gave us some indication of what was ahead..



The police were walling off the road in Federal Street which explained why the march had ceased moving – however – we were not at all prepared for the sight of what was behind that first wall of police… take note of the far right cop in the above picture for a reference point…



The woman pictured to the bottom right wasn’t a cop or a protester. She was actually a member of the public who found herself stuck and couldn’t get through. We politely asked the police if they could please let her through as she wasn’t with us and was genuinely being prevented from accessing public space. They initially refused outright but after we insisted they should have an officer escort her through they relented and did so. Then – to our shock – remember Mr. grumpy dinosaur mainstream media cameraman? Well he showed up to our immediate left and says to the cops “let me through for a shot.” To our utter astonishment the police immediately stand aside and allow him through the line.



We were flabbergasted and immediately request to also be allowed through to take some shots to which we were told “that is for media only”. When we identified ourselves as media, the police supervisor told us “STAY WHERE YOU ARE” in an extremely rude and abrupt manner. We were puzzled – wondering why mainstream media could access the blocked area but not citizen journalists? Then we realise what the mainstream media camera was seeing from back there. Or more importantly – what it wasn’t.



From where they filmed – they couldn’t see the cops above them. They couldn’t see the cops behind them. They couldn’t see the barricaded forcibly closed street nor that all of the aforementioned collectively stopped the march from proceeding, ending and dissipating as quickly as planned by organisers. It soon became clear that they were tailoring their vantagepoint.



Apparently it wasn’t only MSM that got free access to behind police lines. There were also Sky City staff – assumedly supervisors – taking holiday snaps behind the front line. Not sure why they have more rights than the citizen journalists who were prevented from entering – would love to put in an official letter to the NZ Police to find out why corporate staff have greater access and rights when in the middle of a public street photographing a democratic protest, than our public independent media do? Ridiculous.



Perhaps blinded by the sight of so many flourescent vests, after some spirited chanting of “Army of the rich, enemy of the poor!” at the hundreds of police present, the march turns around and heads back to the Convention Centre; where there had seemed so many cops; but now seemed few by comparison!!



Even though by that point we were all using the sidewalk… the police preferred the road and trailed us all the way back to the convention centre…



…helpfully again lining the streets all the way around…



…and again blocking the entrance. Awesome.



The protest was officially called and we were really happy to meet this cheery lady and get this great pic of her Aotearoa Is Not For Sale t-shirt. Shout out to everyone who attended and supported today. Good on you for braving the intimidation tactics and having your say.





Leaving the site of the protest we had one last bizarre experience – we noticed a huge blacked out SUV parked across the pavement with two Sky City employees guarding it. As it is an unusual sight to see a vehicle parked on the pavement, with not a single police officer ticketing it, we stopped and took a photo. At which point the supervisor on the right hand side started to have a complete fit at us, demanding “NO PHOTOS, NO PHOTOS”. Before we could even begin to respond several members of the public interjected, with one screaming at him that he had no right to prevent the public taking photographs on public streets and essentially, who did he think he was for attempting to interfere with us. We asked him whose car it was and he snapped “it’s MY car”… because quite obviously Sky City supervisors park blacked out SUV’s across the pavement then guard them personally, with staff security guards also present? We don’t think so, buddy :)




We spotted some pretty awesome signs throughout the day. Below is a collection of them. Thank you to everyone for being so friendly and happily having your signs photographed.



Auckland Action Against Poverty are hosting tomorrow’s protest at the same location – click here for the Facebook event details.



Unite Union have been a big supporter of Occupy, Aotearoa Is Not For Sale, and the student movement.



Socialist Aotearoa, another huge supporter of Occupy and other protest movements in NZ.



Taking the piss out of the National slogan: “Shit policies = Shit edacation. National 4 a Brighta Futur”



Students have scrawled micro-messages to John Key all over their main “Blockade The Budget” banner.



Some of the language is pretty colourful and spirited but the message is clear. Invest in the future of New Zealand. Not finance companies and privatisation of public assets.



A pissed-off parent has their say.



A serious question…



Are you listening, “Mr” Key? No doubt your lackeys are…



Students are often under-appreciated by our government, who like to depict them as lazy.







This entry was posted in Occupy Auckland, Occupy Citizen Journalists, Occupy Events, Occupy Facebook, Occupy Journalism, Occupy Legal, Occupy Media, Occupy MSM Propoganda, Occupy New Zealand, Occupy Pics, Occupy Police, Occupy Social Media, Occupy Solidarity, Occupy Testimony, Occupy Twitter.





All images on this page are used by permission from Occupy Savvy. For permission, please contact   Occupy Savvy at


Reprinted with kind permission from  Occupy Savvy



= fs =

Guest Author: Fairfaxian denial, yet again

– Neil Watts,  Blogger, Fearfactsexposed

July 16, 2012


How is an “eye-watering” $200m blown on roading consultants NOT news?

It was New Zealand’s leading political story this morning; the National-led Government have spent around $200m on roading consultants since coming into office.

Radio New Zealand broke it, the New Zealand Herald picked it up straight away and led the politics section online with it.  But, it seems that John Key’s mates at Fairfax just didn’t have the heart for such embarrassing news about their favourite political party, so according to, it simply didn’t happen.  Not a word.

Of course, regular readers of this blog know that this is nothing new, with Fairfax Media regularly avoiding stories – no matter how newsworthy – that are damaging to their chums in the National Government.  And, this blowout is extremely damaging, coming as it does as the Government preach austerity, cut public services, and within a week of annoucing massive job cuts at Kiwirail.  Yes, it seems that the National-led Government can’t find anything in the budget to invest in public transport and state-owned rail, but they are happy to provide jobs for the boys when it comes to their pet roading projects.  Could it have anything to do with the strong association between the National Party and the road transport lobby?  Could it be the dirty covert hand of big oil at play?  Or, is it simply a matter of National doing what they do best – making their rich mates richer at the expense of New Zealand.  In truth, it’s probably a combination of all of this, plus a little pressure from their mining billionaire owner Gina Rinehart thrown in for good measure.

With all of these powerful backs getting scratched, one would think that any real journalist would be itching to get into this story, but it seems that Fairfax are happy just to join in the back scratching, and ignore National’s dodgy accounting altogether.

According to the New Zealand Herald:

“Labour transport spokesperson Phil Twyford told Radio New Zealand it was an “eye-watering amount of money” to be spending on consultants in the current economic climate.

“It really puts a big question mark over the roads of national significance and how much money is being ploughed into these gold-plated projects.

“$200m could buy a lot of useful transport infrastructure and services,” Mr Twyford said.

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter questioned the impartiality of the advice given to NZTA by consultants.

“In does beg the question of whether the transport consultants’ industry is actually giving advice that’s totally neutral or whether they’re recommending projects they know are going to result in more work for them,” she told Radio New Zealand.”

Great story eh?  But, Fairfax Media don’t really do the Opposition, especially when their arguments are harmful to the National Party.  So, the issue got the old Fairfaxian denial treatment, just like so many others noted by this blog over the past three years.

If you’ve had enough of corporate Rightwing propaganda posing as news, or of politically partisan reporting controlling the message, boycott Fairfax, join us on Facebook, and tell your friends.


Road consultants paid ‘eye-watering’ $200m

Facebook – Neil Watts

Consultants receive $200 million for roading work








= fs =

Categories: Media, The Body Politic

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

Alan Benton




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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a truly sad thing.

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



= fs =

Guest Author: Judith Collins Says From Bright Red Vintage Convertible, “They want to portray me as a rich little white woman”

Occupy New Zealand media team

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



Full story


The recent NZ Listener article about ACC Minister Judith Collins is off the charts. Their profile of her (May 5-11 2012 edition) features a one and a half page colour photo of her driving a bright red vintage convertible. Shocking quotes in the article include;

I am not there to make their lives easy.” (of her opponents)

“They want to portray me as a rich little white woman from middle-class New Zealand” – this from a Minister posing in a sports car like some kind of deranged model for the quintessential mid-life crisis. Guyon Espiner describes her residence as an “immaculate Maraetai home she has scrubbed spotless”. Later in the article Guyon observes “…beyond the ranch slider and the spacious deck, the sea sparkles invitingly like the diamonds on her fingers.”


The Listener says she denies there is ‘internecine warfare within the National Party… then quotes her as saying “It’s sort of like friendly fire”, making it clear that behind the scenes things aren’t quite so peachy as they’d have us believe.

The most shocking quote in this article though, is when it refers to a previous Listener interview with Collins in 2006, in which she claimed her tactic of leaking stories to the media required no apology. They quote her as saying;, “I do ring people up and give them stories, because, gee, I guess I think that’s my job…”. She bragged of her “friendly and open” relationships with the media.

WHAT. THE. F$%&.

Since when is it a Ministers JOB to leak stories to the media? Can someone please explain this insanity? Doesn’t that defy everything we expect of a Minister? If we’re wrong and it’s totally cool, don’t they at least have some PR lackeys that can sit around ringing morally corrupt journos, feeding them pre-set agendas masked as ‘stories’??

The deeper we get into the article, the more we despair. Especially when Collins broaches the subject of poverty. “We do have poverty but attitude is really important..” she says. “The poverty of which I speak is a poverty of responsibility. A poverty of courage, a poverty of truth, a poverty of love, a poverty of faith.”

Which makes us want to stand her in front of a hungry child & see how many of the aforementioned words fill its mouth with food.

We suspect none.

The article repeatedly brings up her willingness to have a QC sue anyone who crosses her. To the extent that Guyon writes; “You can’t call politicians liars, especially ones who might hire a QC in response.”

Well guess what Ms Collins. We are calling you on your bullshit. You want to grin $10,000 worth of teeth into a camera from a bright red sports car then wax lyrical about being misunderstood as middle-class – well perhaps you are right.

We think, Ms Collins, that you are not middle class. How do we know that? Because the real middle class is currently fighting to stay in existence.

You are in fact: the 1%. Wholly complicit in the fleecing of our country, currently underway by National.

We, the tangata, will not forget.




Occupy Saavy


Fairfax: ACC saga: Opposition divided over Collins’ future

TV3:  Collins’ taxpayer-funded petrol bills top $11,000



= fs =

Guest Author: David Cunliffe, A Bold New Direction?

– David Cunliffe, MP for New Lynn, Labour Economic Development Spokesperson



Speech to annual Kensington Swan insolvency function, Auckland, 11 June 2012

Tēnā Koutou

Thank you for inviting me into the lion’s den.

As this is a group of insolvency and receivership lawyers and accountants, it’s a fair guess that your businesses will be booming right now.

If I was speaking to a group of exporters and manufacturers, it’s a fair bet the opposite would be true.

And if this was a group of blue collar workers from my electorate in west Auckland, you can bet your boots the mood would be grim.

So many Kiwis are really struggling to make ends meet. After the 2008 crash they were just getting along. A year later this had turned to anger, a year later to despair. This year, many of them are heading for the departure gate: 50,000 a year in the last year alone. A quarter of New Zealanders no longer live here.

So for their sake, and everyone’s sake, let’s begin this conversation by being frank and up-front.

We all know that much of the business community generally favours National.

Unfortunately, New Zealand is still a democracy, so Labour gets voted back in from time to time. That’s “tiresome”! I know, but that’s the way it is.

So, what “evil plans” does Labour have in store for the business community this time? The answer might be welcome news for all but the insolvency team

Anyone who seriously believes that the economy can somehow heal itself by being left alone, hasn’t read a newspaper for the last 12 months.

Looking at world markets over the last few months, I would have to agree that we are “back at the precipice – with a frayed rope” (Brian Fallow, NZ Herald).

Greece may still reject its bailout package; Spanish banks are still in deep trouble; and Italy is too big to bail, or to let fail.

The Beehive spin doctors are all too ready to blame anyone but themselves for New Zealand’s repeated undershooting of growth forecasts. None of it washes.

The Canterbury earthquake rebuild should by now be a source of positive growth – but it is well behind schedule and the government is squarely to blame.

Commodity prices can’t be the problem. They have only just come off record highs, reminding us that putting all our cows in one basket is way too risky.

The results under the Key Government make depressing reading.

No one these days seriously believes that a totally unregulated economy will work. Just as important, no one seriously believes that a totally regulated economy will work. It’s a question of getting the balance right.

Do I want to return to the days when you needed a letter from your doctor before you could buy margarine? Absolutely not. Do I want to return to the days when people had a sense of security and trusted their leaders? Absolutely.


It is said that “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana); or in plain language… “History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time.”

One of the things that gets me up in the morning is the sentiment expressed in the media and in the current government that “nothing can be done so we may as well take it.”

That we may as well accept appalling emigration levels, high unemployment and record high youth unemployment, an accelerating increase in poverty, and debt that leads to regular international credit downgrades.

We should expect more from each other than that.

There is absolutely no inevitability about economic decline.

We do face utterly fundamental choices about our economic future. Effective change will occur when tens of thousands of us behave differently in our firms and unions, boardrooms and Ministries, classrooms and farm sheds.

Of course it is easier to say what we should not do, than what we should do. So in these remarks I want to draw some lessons for what we should do differently:

1. Regulate Financial Markets

The Great Depression, for those who haven’t studied history, was caused by a lack of government regulation. Then, just like now, the vast majority of businessmen strongly resisted any attempt at government regulation.

Then, after the banks sent themselves bankrupt through unregulated speculation with their clients’ funds, the bankers tried to pretend that it wasn’t their fault.

The 1929 stock market crash triggered an economic tsunami that all but flattened America. Just like now, it was the ordinary people that bore the brunt of the crash and the depression that followed it.

And, as if the crash itself wasn’t bad enough, the government still refused to intervene, so the situation got worse. Bank after bank collapsed, along with the millions of families who had entrusted those bankers with their life savings.

By 1933, 11,000 of the United States’ 25,000 banks had failed. That’s nearly half.

People had no money, so they couldn’t buy manufactured goods. Because people stopped buying manufactured goods, factories closed down. Because factories closed down, workers got fired. Because workers got fired, they couldn’t buy manufactured goods.

And so it went on, and on, and on, until, by 1933, nearly 13 million Americans were unemployed. That was a quarter of the total workforce.

And what was the government’s response: nothing. Why? Because the government was intensely opposed to any kind of regulation of big business – the same view as many of the people in this room.

The then US Secretary of the Treasury was Andrew W. Mellon, who was, by curious coincidence, one of the wealthiest men in America.

Mellon strongly opposed government regulation of the banking sector. However, he strongly pushed for austerity measures to balance the budget. Does this sound familiar?

Mellon advised President Herbert Hoover to:

“liquidate labour, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate… it will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up from less competent people.”

Alas, no. What happened in America was exactly the same as is currently happening in Europe. The austerity measures, which were supposed to turn the economy around, instead sent it into a nosedive.

You know, one of the wonderful things about democracy, is that voters sometimes show a good deal more sanity than the politicians or the vested interests.

In America’s case, the voters threw out Herbert Hoover and voted in Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt heavily intervened in the economy, regulated the banks and the stockbrokers, and set America on the path of its longest period of economic growth in history.

I mention all this, because we are currently looking over the economic precipice once more. The world’s three largest economic zones: America, the European Union and Japan/China are already in decline.

And, amazingly, the economic purists in the West are still advocating exactly the same policies as the ones that caused the Great Depression. Really? Have we learned nothing from history?

Who carried the can when the whole house of cards came tumbling down? Certainly not the bankers that set up the house of cards in the first place. As usual, it’s the ordinary people, who pay taxes and naively expect politicians to look after their interests, who are paying the price.

Despite all the promises that the European economic austerity measures would turn this tragic situation around, the opposite is occurring.

When you start firing all your workers and closing down your government departments, those people have no money to spend. Because the workers have no money to spend, the local businesses suffer. So they start firing staff. So the economy goes into deep recession, with no easy way out.

The Labour team believes this is lunacy. If New Zealand goes into a recessionary spiral, what we are close to, we will have to be expansive too.

An increasing number of journalists and politicians are saying what ordinary people already know: that many of the economic policies of the last 30 years have ended in disaster.

You hear the National government taking about the need to sell assets because we have so little money in this country. Do you know why we have so little money in this country? It’s because a large percentage of our economic assets are overseas-owned.

For example, when the Australian-owned banks make billions in profits here, that money isn’t returned to New Zealanders. The money goes straight back overseas.

That financial drain is one of the main reasons we are not paying our way in the world – our external deficit is getting bigger and bigger.

2. Keep and build our assets

And, as if that were not bad enough, the government now wants to sell our major state assets, which is simply going to mean higher power prices for ordinary New Zealanders and still more profits disappearing overseas.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this is nuts. The economic consultants BERL, concluded that the asset sales programme would leave the public accounts looking worse, not better.

BERL’s chief economist, Dr Ganesh Nana, concluded the effect of asset sales on the wider economy would be even worse because the dividends lost to the state would quite likely go to foreign shareholders, adding to the country’s external deficit and national debt.

So why is National proceeding? Is it partly because of its promises to big business? It is partly because many National Party politicians may have links to the very people who will profit from these asset sales? Or partly because the National Party is simply blind?

No matter how many independent analysts report that the asset sales will be an economic disaster that will further increase our national debt, John Key simply looks the other way.

For how much longer, I’m not so sure. I think it’s increasingly obvious that the National government will be dog tucker at the next election. National is hoping that by then, the assets will have been sold and there’ll be nothing we can do about it.

Be that as it may, don’t get me started on the risks of selling off a major stake in our energy system at a time when the world is entering unparalleled energy scarcity and skyrocketing fossil fuel prices – that is the subject of another speech!

3. Get people back to work

If the last Great Depression provides some chilling lessons of what went wrong, it also provides hope for what can be done better.

Much of New Zealand’s response to the Depression in the 1930s and early 40’s is still working for us:

• Around 50% of the state houses still around now were built in the 1930s and 1940s
• Around 40% of all schools still in use were built in this era
• Almost all the North Island dams, and the same of the pylons and substations
• Thousands of rural bridges
• Most of Auckland’s water supply dams and systems
• The core of the Crown Research Agencies, in the form of the DSIR
• Around half of New Zealand’s still-existing hospitals,
• The great North Island pine forests, and
• Most of our government departments now existing were formed, all in that era

Eighty years ago we saw an economic development plan rolled out that turned us all from Depression to development. Like the United States New Deal, the Savage government’s plan altered the course of the country.

For at least 30 years after the end of World War II until the oil shocks of the 1970s, the Government response to the Great Depression still dominated political and commercial life.

In the 1960s, business and the public sector continued this partnership with the great Kinleith Mill near Taupo, and New Zealand Steel at Glenbrook.

Private capital was making money at the same time as the public sector achieved its policy goals.

By the 1980s, the whole system was in need of reform. However, in place of reform, we got a system that closed down productive industries, encouraged energy wastage, created massive unemployment and, above all handed most of the wealth and power to a small elite who the so-called ‘free’ market.

It was this unregulated market that lead to the twin meltdowns; first the 1987 stock market crash, then the 2008 meltdown. Since 2008, the scale of our decline has been substantial.

Throughout the world, pro-business governments have imposed austerity measures and throughout the world, these austerity measures have been an unmitigated disaster.

We need to think with that degree of boldness and clarity, while carefully managing our financial resources, to truly turn back the degree of risk and decline that we now face.

4. Rewrite the invisible plan

By contrast, National is nothing if not predictable in its policies and in its results. From 1990 to 1999, and from 2008 to 2012, the same economic leadership and same result:

• Almost no economic growth
• Public sector cost-cutting that drove recession ever-deeper
• A state that is weaker year after year, and
• A country where wealth transferred from the many to the few, to the point where law firms find it harder and harder to get clients, except in the Receivership Team.

Business is bad. And it was bad the last time National was in, and it’s no coincidence.

Let’s project the same policies after another three years. Here’s how it runs. Treasury again over-predicts GDP growth and hence tax-base income. Private debt remains high and focused on rental housing. The population stagnates and starts to decline even in Auckland.

Respectfully, a buoyant insolvency and mortgagee sector is not the economic sign we want. On the track we are on, it’s what we will get.

When the credit ratings agencies downgraded New Zealand last year, they told us that our biggest problem was not public debt, which is relatively small by world standards, but total private debt and our inability to pay our way in the world.

A new direction is needed.

Let’s not fool ourselves that just doing a little more or a little less of what we have been doing before will save us


Small smart countries around the world are grappling with the same issues – how to sustainably grow jobs and incomes in an open, export-oriented economy amid a turbulent world market.

As part of my Economic Development portfolio work, I have commissioned a study of six such countries: Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, Ireland and Israel.

The most obvious conclusion of this study so far is that none of them leave their future to chance. The weakest, Ireland, was the one that lowered taxes, opened up to unrestrained foreign investment, and trusted the invisible hand of the market to bring future prosperity.

But whether they have governments of the centre-left or centre-right, all these countries have set a clear vision for where they want to get to, what they want to be, and how they will get there. All set policy targets and timetables and measure their progress.

Take Denmark. It wants to be among the top 10 richest, most innovative countries in the world. It wants to be top 10 for quality labour supply and top three for renewable energy.

They have a 10 year plan to achieve that.

They manage their interest rates, control their housing market, and peg their exchange rate to the Euro.

They manage productivity growth by setting hard targets for education, research and innovation performance, for example:

They invest 3% of their national income in research and development: 2% from the private sector and 1% from the public. That is still dwarfed by neighbour Finland with nearly 4%. New Zealand’s total is less than 1%.

Their innovation strategy is led by the Danish Economic Council, a broad-based top level group including key government agencies, business and labour representatives, and labour experts.

They are careful with their money, and they understand the value of investment.

They invest in research and development, they invest in their infrastructure, they invest in their forests and their environment, but most of all they invest in their people.

To the Danes, investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, is not a liability but an asset. Because without all three, their economy cannot survive.

Is it working? You be the judge – they have fewer natural resources than us, higher population density, and a rubbish climate.

But their income per person is US$40,169 compared to our US$29,882.

Even more importantly, their exports per person are around NZ$ 26,000, compared to our NZ$9,000.

They gain about the same amount from agriculture as us, but many times more from niche manufacturing, environmental services and high technology.

Let’s acknowledge that Denmark is a member of the largest economic union on the planet and has the captive market that comes with that.

Labour under the leadership of both Phil Goff and Helen Clark had a proud record of responsibly improving our trade access. Labour also pushed for environment and labour standards in trade agreements, something we will need to continue to advocate in future.


We need to learn from small smart economies like Denmark. We cannot just leave it to chance, or to the market forces that have got us into this mess.

So Labour went into the last election campaigning for new and better ways to grow our economy.

At the core of our economy-wide measures were big changes to boost capital for business investment, technology and skills. These are the fundamental drivers of productivity.

Our Leader, David Shearer, and Finance Spokesperson, David Parker, have both recently reaffirmed the importance of these changes.

While John Key was hard at work lining his own pockets, David Shearer was getting his hands dirty, feeding and sheltering the people in some of the most depressing and dangerous places on earth. He managed billions of dollars of tax-payers funds with consummate skill, fought corruption and faced down warlords.

Which party leader do you think is better suited to lead us through this time of crisis?

So what will Labour do that shows we have learned the lessons of history?

Number one, we will have to stop the sort of speculation that got us into this mess in the first place.

We have to get investment flowing where it can do the most good – into productive businesses and exports, rather than unproductive financial or property speculation. Like both Treasury and the Reserve Bank, Labour supports a capital gains tax.

Now, nobody in this room, myself included, likes paying tax. And nobody in this room, myself included, likes seeing their hard-earned tax revenue wasted.

I think we all agree that the tax system has to be simple, transparent and achievable.

For example France and Germany are now looking at simplified forms of indirect taxation, such as a financial transactions levy.

It would be so small that most bank users would never even notice it, would be simple to collect, and would raise enough revenue to fund lowering other taxes while fully funding infrastructure development without incurring further public debt. I am delighted that our revenue Spokesperson, David Clark, is keeping a weather eye on these developments.

Another tragic result of the so-called free market is that, the country is now saddled with the multibillion dollar liability of supporting the casualties of this economic religion – the long term unemployed, the single parent families, the pensioners who can no longer afford to warm their houses.

Any economic policy that does not put the unemployed back to work, rebuild the productive sector and help us to pay our way in the world is doomed to failure, and very expensive failure at that.

The current government said they wanted New Zealand to catch up to Australia.

Well it’s working: every week, thousands of Kiwis leave the country in search of a better life across the Tasman.

Why? Because they get paid so much more in Australia. Why are wages higher in Australia? Because the Australian government sees it’s working people as an asset, not a liability.

What’s the National Government’s solution to this – to lower wages still further while doing nothing to improve productivity. Genius.

Clearly no-one told Steven Joyce that Germany, one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, has both high wages and high productivity.

National has again walked away from common sense. One of the key ingredients to Australia’s success has been its compulsory, employment based savings scheme.

Because New Zealand’s workers don’t earn enough to save, the country’s vital savings pool is alarmingly small.

So our second major policy is to lift sustainable local savings and investment is a universal Kiwisaver scheme. This would hike our savings rate four times faster than National’s pallid plan and give every working Kiwi a huge nest egg for their retirement.

To make matters worse, National’s approach to superannuation resembles a man on an iceberg in the sun. He thinks he is on solid ground, but he has built his future on some tragically false assumptions.

The third big policy change from Labour is getting our innovation engine revving. At the moment it is hardly even idling. Total research and development investment in NZ is less than 1% . In Denmark it is 3%. In Finland they are targeting 4% .

Our innovators deserve a break – there are huge public benefits from a vibrant innovation system, and our proposed R and D tax credits reflect that.

By supporting research and development in our business community, we invest in the pillars of economic growth, innovation, education and innovation.

As Economic Development spokesperson, I will be pushing for much higher levels of investment in research and development in both the public and private sector and for a serious overhaul of our innovation ecosystem.

Remember that infrastructure is not just bricks and mortar. Our future depends on having a world class information backbone.

It is a crying shame that it took the current government nearly three years to even begin rolling out its so-called ultra-fast broadband plan. If three years delay is ultra-fast, I’d hate to see ultra-slow.

Fourth, we never forget that our best resource is our people. Education and skills must be a top priority and it must be for all – not just those who can afford them. These three pillars of skills are education skills, physical skills and life skills.

It disgusts me that the National cabinet was prepared to maintain subsidies for their own private schools while firing teachers in everyone else’s schools.

How would Labour fund further investment in education? The answer is simple: stop investing in failure. It is social and economic insanity to be paying people the dole while there are forests to be planted and infrastructure to be built.

Labour will get school leavers off the dole by ensuring a seamless transition into work. We will fund thousands of new apprenticeships by redirecting dole money to job creation with real skills. We will ensure that every young New Zealander under 20 is either earning or learning.

In the twenty first century no-one should expect to be in one job for their whole working life. That’s why learning must be life-long. Denmark invests billions each year into adult and community education, in New Zealand we invest pocket money.


Our economy, under National, is like an oil tanker with the captain asleep at the wheel.

Robert Wade, a New Zealand professor at The London School of Economics, summed up how governments should work with their economies. I’ve paraphrased his views:

When the economy is working well, leave it alone.

When the economy has problems or failures that can be fixed, fix them.

And when an economic policy fails altogether, do something else.

Sounds like common sense to me.

A key lesson of the Great Depression is that unregulated financial markets invariably suffer catastrophic failure. The recent Global Financial Crisis is a classic example.

From New Zealand’s economic development perspective, we can turn around the failed policies of the past.

So that means working with individual industries, regions, businesses and communities to help make good things happen.

You have a build a wall one brick at a time.

You have to build a business one customer at a time.

We have to build our economy one region and one industry at a time.

And we must rebuild our community one family at a time.

So we could have all the fine ideas in the world about economic growth, but if it does not put one unemployed worker into a job, or put one more high value product into an export market, then it will not turn our economic boat around.

Renewing our commitment to industry sectors, regions and communities, will be a key part of Labour’s economic development agenda…

I know it’s trendy to talk about recycling. But we’ve overlooked something here. What about “recycling” human beings? There isn’t a person in this room that isn’t deeply concerned at the numbers of young people, especially young Māori and Pasifika who are not only unemployed, but in some cases, currently considered by some to be “unemployable”.

We also have vast tracts of public and private land that is currently badly under-utilised.

Can we please, please, learn some lessons from history. Where did New Zealand’s great commercial forests come from? Where did America’s great commercial forests come from? They were both planted in the Great Depression by the unemployed.

The American Civilian Conservation Corps is a textbook case of turning the economy around by turning people’s lives around.

Throughout America, these groups planted trees, built roads and improved both their lives and the lives of their descendants.

Labour embraced the Conservation Corp idea in our last manifesto. For Labour, the Conservation Corp has always been about skills and training, with the community benefitting. I’ll bet someone will claim that National’s already proposed this. Nonsense. What National wants is to punish the poor and prepare them for a life of dead-end jobs as lowly servants of the rich and powerful.

Instead of merely paying the dole to fit young people, Labour’s Conservation Corps plan includes education and training that will take them on to sustainable employment. I’d like to see them earning a living wage in return for a fair day’s work.

They could learn structure, discipline and life skills. They could then be sent out to do the work that’s currently not being done, from planting trees to disaster relief. Imagine, for example, the difference it would have made if we had had 5000 fit young people available for disaster relief after the Christchurch quake.

New Zealanders loved the Student Volunteer Army and the Farmy Army that helped clean up Christchurch. However, the famers and the students soon had to go back to work. Imagine the difference a full time group would have made?

It’s not just the country that would have benefited, either. Hard work is a great healer for unemployed lives. With training, this same army could now be rebuilding the houses that the Christchurch people so desperately need.

But for now, New Zealand needs more forests. If we could replant some of our unproductive land into forests, we could create one of the world’s greatest carbon sinks. We could create thousands of jobs planting trees, and thousands more processing the timber in a few years.

These new forests could be placed in trust for the benefit of future generations, and New Zealand could be on its way towards becoming carbon neutral.

However, there’s a deeper problem with our current forestry sector: most of the timber simply gets shipped overseas for processing. This robs New Zealanders of jobs and export revenue.

Because many of our best forests are overseas owned, by companies that have absolutely no interest in New Zealand jobs.

Labour is keen to see higher levels of value added in our primary sector, and as Economic Development Spokesperson I am going to be pushing to get New Zealand logs processed in New Zealand mills.


While politicians squabble about balancing the government’s books, our ship is in dangerous waters.

The Labour Party is not your enemy.

Your enemy is inefficiency, corruption, and the wastage of both public and private wealth.

Your enemy is a cosy corruption that helps a few friends of the government get very rich at the expense of the community, including most of the business community.

The three pillars of our survival are investment, innovation and education.

An educated population that earns decent wages will work in your factories and offices, will buy your products, and invest in your shares.

Even as we speak, the global crisis deepens. We cannot solve the crisis of the present by repeating the failures of the past.

New Zealand rose to the challenge of the Great Depression and emerged as a prosperous and functional democracy that was the envy of the world.

There are no winning sides on a sinking ship. While we squabble on the deck, our situation grows graver every day.

Our ship cannot sail itself. We can’t wait for the crisis to overwhelm us before we respond.

A global economic tsunami could sink us. We have to work as a team; rather, we have to work as a crew, remembering that we’re all in this together. We all prosper together or we all sink together.

Thank you.




Blogger’s Analysis

Cunliffe’s   sums it up nicely,

“No one these days seriously believes that a totally unregulated economy will work. Just as important, no one seriously believes that a totally regulated economy will work. It’s a question of getting the balance right.”


One word to sum up the need to do away with the  cock-eyed extremism of neo-liberalism.

One day, in the far distant future, voters will understand, and laugh, at Parties like National. Until then, we will see-saw between National stuffing things up, and a centre-left government  having to fix it…

Can’t we just eliminate the Stuff-up Phase and just keep a balanced economy?!

As things stand at present, every six years or so, a sizeable chunk of voters experience a rush of blood to their head and vote for National. Even despite knowing that National’s policies will destructive and will impact on our social services – voters still tick that ‘National’ box.


Electing National for a second term will prove to be an expensive exercise for us all. Once National privatises our energy companies, expect power prices to rise as investors expect to maximise returns on their investment,


Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

Hikes defended – Otago Daily Times – 30 July 1999


Trans Alta was formerly Capital Power, 100% owned by Wellington City Council up until 1994. In that year, by a narrow majority, WCC voted to privatise 49% of the power company.

As usual, Wellingtonians were promised the usual; lower energy prices; greater efficiencies; blah, blah, ad infinitum-blah.

Wellingtonians swallowed the BS, and re-elected those City Councillors (led by then-mayor, Fran Wilde) who had supported the privatisation of the first half of Capital Power.

In 1995, soon after local body elections, the remainder 51% was sold to Canadian energy company, Trans Alta.

Then the power price rises started.

This blogger has said it before, and will keep saying it again; no one does this to us; we do it to ourselves.

Thankfully, National’s use-by date has passed, and voters’ fascination with John Key  is rapidly waning.






= fs =