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John Key’s State of the Nation speech – post mortem

25 January 2013 28 comments

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John Key today delivered his State of the Nation speech. This is my appraisal of the contents of his address to the people of New Zealand…

Whether it’s welfare reform, law and order, education, the rebuild of Christchurch, or continuing our improvements in public services, it’s full steam ahead.

But no mention of jobs?

We’ve made a huge turnaround in the government’s books, we’ve brought in the biggest changes to the tax system in a generation, and we’re making significant changes to reform the welfare system and strengthen work obligations.”

Still no mention of jobs!

Among other things, we’ve introduced 90-day trials; set time limits for the consenting of large projects under the RMA; introduced a competitive new system for awarding oil and gas exploration permits; got ACC back into good financial shape; and kick-started a multi-billion dollar programme of infrastructure investment.”

Where are the jobs?

” …an economy that was left unbalanced, and in poor shape, by the previous government.

Bullshit. Aside from being National’s “Big Lie“, Labour posted several Budget Surpluses, and payed down debt.  How long can National keep blaming Labour for non-existant ‘mis-management’?

“…  the impact of the Global Financial Crisis

That was FOUR years ago – what has National been doing in the meantime – aside from banging on about welfare “reforms” and adding to unemployment by cutting back on the State sector and under-mining the export sector by not addressing the high Dollar?!

Since the bottom of the recession, in mid-2009, the economy has grown at an average of just under 2 per cent a year, and economists are expecting that to strengthen further.”

Yeah? Reallllly???

Which economists? These ones; Rodney Dickens finds economists consistently over-estimated growth?

And how can it be ‘strengthening’ when unemployment is rising; the export sector is being knackered by our high dollar; and government austerity is dampening growth?

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Govt austerity slows growth, keeps rates low - RBNZ

Source

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Key is practicing more of his “vacant optimism”, and bugger all else.

Our employment rate is very high in comparison to other countries, with over three-quarters of all New Zealanders aged 20 to 64 in work. There are still too many people looking for work who can’t find it.  But forecasts show employment continuing to increase and unemployment falling.

Bullshit. Unemployment has risen in the last four Quarters,

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New Zealand Unemployment Rate jan 2012 - dec 2012

Source: Trading Economics – Unemployment

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By what stretch of his money-addled brain is he expecting it to fall? Especially when the 170,000 new jobs predicted in 2011 by a vacantly optimistic Key, have yet to materialise.

Interest rates are at 50-year lows.

Oh, puh-leeese.

Interest rates are not determined by government. They are set by the Reserve Bank. And current interest rates are low only because the economy is weak.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: “New Zealand’s economic outlook has weakened a little since the March Monetary Policy Statement.

“Political and economic stresses in Europe, along with a run of weaker-than-expected data, have seen New Zealand’s trading partner outlook worsen. Furthermore, there is a small but growing risk that conditions in the euro area deteriorate more markedly than is projected in the June Statement.

The Bank is monitoring euro-area developments carefully given the potential for rapid change.“Increased agricultural production and the weakened global outlook have driven New Zealand’s export commodity prices lower.

The resulting moderation in export incomes, although partially offset by depreciation in the exchange rate, will weigh on economic activity in New Zealand. Fiscal consolidation is also likely to constrain demand growth going forward.

See: Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Statement June  2012

Is Key taking credit for a weak economy?! Go on, Dear Leader, I dare you to do it!

Prices for primary exports are holding up, and our terms of trade remain high.

Say whut? Has Key been caught out fibbing – again?  Terms of  trade are not “remaining high”. Quite the opposite,

New Zealand’s terms of trade fell to a three-year low in the September quarter as the country’s strong currency ate into returns from an increasing volume of dairy exports.

The terms of trade, which measures how much imports can be bought with a fixed quantity of exports, fell 3.2 per cent in the three months ended September 30, according to Statistics New Zealand. That’s more than the 1.8 per cent forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. Export prices sank 6.3 per cent, ahead of the 3.6 per cent expected, while import prices declined 3.3 per cent versus an anticipated 2 per cent fall.

See: New Zealand Herald – Terms of trade hit three-year low

Primary export prices are not “holding up”. They are falling,

Dairy, which accounts for about a quarter of New Zealand’s exports, was the biggest contributor to the falling export prices and rising volumes, with volumes surging 32 per cent in the quarter, even as prices sank 13 per cent.

See: IBID

This isn’t a “State of the Nation” report – it’s a work of goddamn  fiction.

That will be centred, of course, on Christchurch, where the spend is now estimated to be around $30 billion. But construction is also expected to pick up in other areas, and manufacturers across the country will be gearing up to supply materials.”

Again, more vacant optimism from Key.

If two major earthquakes had not trashed Christchurch, where would the “growth”  come from? What would be driving economic growth and employment? Faith in the Free Market?!

Volumes

Total manufacturing rose 2.6 percent.
Excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing, sales fell 1.4 percent.
Meat and dairy product manufacturing rose 13 percent.

Values

Total manufacturing rose 1.6 percent.
Excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing, sales fell 1.1 percent.
Meat and dairy product manufacturing rose 9.3 percent.

See: Statistics NZ Economic Survey of Manufacturing: September 2012 quarter

In any three-month period in New Zealand, between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs disappear, and between 100,000 and 200,000 new jobs are created, as businesses start up, expand, contract and close altogether.”

Is Key suggesting that there are “100,000 to 200,000 new jobs” created within a three month period?!

The man is in la-la land.

Statistics NZ revealed that for the Setember 2012 Quarter,

The number of people unemployed increased by 13,000 people.
The employment rate fell 0.4 percentage points, to 63.4 percent.
The number of people employed decreased by 8,000.
The labour force participation rate remained unchanged, at 68.4 percent.

See: Household Labour Force Survey: September 2012 quarter

I see no evidence of 100,000 or 200,000 new jobs anywhere. Unemployment, however, rose from 6.8% in the June 2012 Quarter  to 7.3% in the September 2012 Quarter.

Key’s speech mentions none of this, and is as vacantly optimistic as he was last year, or 2011, or 2010, or 2009…

Because the truth is, you only get jobs and growth in the economy when people invest money, at their own risk, in setting up a business or expanding an existing business.

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But the only way net new jobs can be created is by private investors putting their money into businesses in New Zealand.”

Which brings us to the matter of Market failure. We simply are not seeing the number of new jobs required to soak up any of the 175,000 unemployed.

Since 2009, a net total of 114,200 Kiwis left for Australia and elsewhere (see: Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012: migration ). One could only imagine the staggering level  of  unemployment if Australia  wasn’t an economic “safety-valve” just across the ditch.

” Governments can encourage investment but they can also discourage investment.

A government can load up big costs and uncertainties onto business.

It can make people unwelcome because they are considered to be the wrong nationality to invest here, or in the wrong industry.

And it can lock up the resources of the country.

That would certainly discourage investment.

But as I said, we have to be a magnet for investment.

That’s why my Government is working hard to reduce costs and uncertainties for business.

That’s why we welcome investment that benefits New Zealand.

That’s why we are keeping our own costs down.

That’s why we are ensuring people have the right skills to contribute to the workforce.

That’s why we are ensuring the country has the infrastructure it needs to grow.

And that’s why we’re focused on opportunities to use our natural resources productively and sustainably.”

Ok. So again – where are the jobs?!

After four years of National’s “working hard to reduce costs and uncertainties for business”, “welcoming investment that benefits New Zealand”, “keeping our own costs down”, “ensuring people have the right skills to contribute to the workforce”, “ensuring the country has the infrastructure it needs to grow”, and “focused on opportunities to use our natural resources productively and sustainably” – why are we not seeing this translated into more jobs?

Instead we are seeing unemployment GROWING – not reducing.

Something is terribly wrong here.

” This year we are launching five new vocational pathways that clearly signpost the subjects young people should take to prepare for vocational careers in construction, manufacturing, the primary sector, the service sector and social services.

This year there will be over 4000 places available in trades and services academies, allowing young people to explore vocational career opportunities while still at school.

And there will be around 8700 Youth Guarantee places for young people to study fees-free outside the school environment.”

Two years after the earthquakes that levelled Christchurch?! National has belatedly realised that Market failure is not delivering the number of skilled tradespeople required, and government intervention is needed?

Oh well, better late than never. At least they didn’t wait till after the 2014 elections… Or the turn of the next century… Or the Second Coming…

“Under Labour’s wasteful management, up to 100,000 people a year listed as being in industry training were in fact “phantom trainees” who achieved no credits and in some cases were no longer alive.”

Oh, how original – more Labour-blaming!!

I suspect that figure of  “100,000” is pure Key bullshit. But regardless, how long is National going to use Labour as a scapegoat?! Especially since, I suspect, that had National kept Labour’s apprenticeships scheme, we’d have the necessary numbers of tradespeople to help re-build Christchurch.

But I guess it’s easier for the Nats to do nothing; wait for the Market to deliver results – and then blame Labour when that nutty idea crashes and burns.

I hope Key realises that the finger-pointing of Labour-blaming is wearing rather thin? People are wondering when the Nats will start taking responsibility for their actions. Especially since National is the Party of personal responsibility,

We also need to remember the enduring principles on which the National Party is based – individual responsibility, support for families and communities, and a belief that the State can’t and shouldn’t do everything.” – John Key, 30 January 2007

Source: National Party

“That has freed up some very significant funding to re-invest in expanding apprenticeships.”

Oh? How much?

Is this “new” money?

Or money stolen from other budgets such as Vote  Health, eg;   for grommet operations for kids with glue ear? (see:   Grommet cuts fear )

One will excuse my cynicism, but with National’s current maniacal obsession with balancing their books, they are constantly robbing Peter to pay Pauline. The net result is that state services are being cut back and no  part of our community is safe from National’s cost-cutting slash-and-burn activities.

One thing is for sure – some other part of the community may find their services wound back to pay for National’s “expanding apprenticeships”.

” So today I am announcing a new initiative to expand and improve apprenticeship training.

This has a number of parts to it:

1. From 1 January next year, we are…”

“Next year”?!?!

Well, never let it be said that National moves with decisive speed when confronted with critical economic and social problems.

Initiating their “new” apprenticeships scheme will mean another year that Christchurch suffers a shortage of trained workers; another year we could have been training some of the 85,000 unemployed youth in this country. Another year – wasted.

This isn’t a government “on top of things”. This is procrastination by deliberate design. Perhaps Key is hoping that the Market will do the job in the next twelve months, giving National an excuse to quietly forget and drop this scheme?

“…we estimate that around 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast.”

This sounds remarkably familiar… Didn’t we get a similar promise in 2011,

Treasury say in the Budget, as a result of this platform on what we’ve delivered, 170,000 jobs created and 4% wage growth over the next three to four years.” – John Key, 19 May 2011

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

Which was backed up on their 2011 election flyer,

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

Source: National Party

That one didn’t work out very well either.

Key went on to say,

“The whole idea is to kick-start new apprenticeship opportunities ahead of the curve, so that thousands of New Zealanders get to learn a new trade that will last them a lifetime.”

I have a simple question for our smile and wave Dear Leader; why didn’t they do this immediatly after the 2008 election? Why didn’t this come out of the Jobs Summit in 2009?

And why, as he’s said above, are they now leaving this critical problem to be addressed next year???

All in all – there is little here to create new jobs, now, when we need it the most. Even his comments regarding infrastructure are just so much ‘fluff’,

“Moving on to infrastructure, the Government will this year continue its significant programme of investment, which supports thousands of jobs across the country.”

Well that “support for thousands of jobs across the country” hasn’t worked out so well. Unemployment has risen four quarters in a row. Redundancies were happening across the board, up and down the country. 175,000 New Zealanders are now out of work. Three months prior, that number was 162,000.Before that, 160,000. (see previous blogpost: Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012: employment/unemployment ) The numbers are going the wrong way.

“In terms of housing, the Government is itself planning to build more than 2000 houses over the next two financial years…”

Two thousand?

That number is derisable and falls woefully short of the 20,000 new houses  required to be built each year to keep up with demand. As Warwick Quinn, from the Registered Master Builders Federation, said last October,

New Zealand had fallen way behind the required build rates of 20,000 homes a year, hit by the global financial downturn that began in 2008...”

See:  20,000 houses for Chch in next five years

Two thousand new houses over the next TWO years?

That doesn’t cut it, Mr Key. Not even close. In effect, what Dear Leader has done is acknowledge that a critical housing problem exists – but that National is unable/unwilling to address it in any meaningful way.  Their ideological attachment to free market dogma binds their actions at every turn.

Two thousand new houses over two years is a joke. Not a particularly funny one at that.

” We need more houses built in New Zealand, at a lower cost. That means we need more land available for building, more streamlined processes and less costly red tape.”

Now THAT comment worries me.

Didn’t we go through a de-regulation of the building industry in 1991? And didn’t we end up with billions of dollars of poorly built homes that leaked and rotted?

And wasn’t the end result of that disaster a situation where  liability ended up with local body councils paying 25% for repairs; central government 25%; and  home owners were lumped with 50%?! Oh indeed that IS the case!

Up to 89,000 home owners were affected by the “red tape” de-regulation of the early 1990s – and Key appears to be staggering drunkenly  down the same route. (see: Leaky home payouts start tomorrow )

Will this be a  repeat of the same errors of history all over again?!

Key went on,

” It’s ridiculous that we allow councils to demand almost anything as a condition for the consent.

And it’s ridiculous that we allow them to charge whatever fees they want.”

Why not? After all, National demands whatever taxes and government fees they want. Eg; rising petrol taxes; increased early childhood costs; increased ACC fees; raised GST, etc.

But when backed into a corner, default to Strategy #1 – blame Labour. As Key then said,

” Labour’s so-called ‘plan’ to build 100,000 houses doesn’t do anything to fix the actual cost of building – so will either fail miserably, deliver dwellings that people don’t want to live in, or require massive taxpayer subsidies. It’s dishonest and it doesn’t stack up.”

Well, Key would know about dishonesty: John Banks. Raising GST when promising not to. Mystery email regarding Standard & Poors. Clandestine meetings with Skycity executives. Pledging meals in schools, then recanting.

Key derides Labour’s plans to build 100,000 new houses, proclaiming it will “fail miserably”.

This from the smile and wave man who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion; has a holiday home in Hawaii; and god knows what other property – while young New Zealanders are desperate to buy their own homes. (See: Frustrated home buyers want investors to be discouraged)

This from the same smile and wave man who offers New Zealanders 2,000 new homes over TWO YEARS.

It beggars belief how anyone can take John Key seriously these days. The man is a joke.

Key then took the stick to local body councils,

“But if councils aren’t able to change their planning processes, then the Government would have to get a lot more proactive, because we are very serious about resolving this issue.”

Oh really? “Very serious”, eh? So serious that in four years National has done nothing about our housing shortage?

Moving from blaming Labour, Key now seems to be beating up on  local body councils.

Does National ever take responsibility for anything?!

On the environment…

” New Zealand is rich, for example, in minerals. The Greens and Labour oppose it, but we are going to continue to encourage development of our country’s oil, gas and mineral resources.

Looking across our resource base as a whole, what’s clear is that we need a much better system of planning and resource management – one that enables growth and provides strong environmental outcomes, and does so in a timely and cost-effective way.”

National’s ‘devotion’ to “strong environmental outcomes” is amply illustrated by their abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol; watering down the ETS,  and scrapping the five yearly State of the Environment Reports, despite John Key having endorsed it in September 2008 as one of National’s own policies. (See: National scraps crucial environmental report , Government shuns second Kyoto committment )

Anything Key, or one of his ministerial muppets, utters about environmental concerns can be safely dismissed as empty platitudes.

On the TPPA,

“The Greens and their fellow travellers say the TPP is anti-democratic. That is nonsense.”

Interestingly, Key does not say why claims that  the “TPP is anti-democratic” are “nonsense”.

Nor does he acknowledge that the TPPA negotiations are currently held in secret. The public and media are excluded from proceedings. Eventually, the TPPA presented to Parliament will  be a done deal, with no chance for media analysis and public oversight. If that’s not anti-democratic then I fear that Dear Leader has no concept of the principles of democractic participation.

Considering Key’s penchant for secretiveness when it comes to deals with corporates such as Mediaworks, Skycity, et al, It’s not clear to me why we should take him at his word.

On asset sales…

” Subject to the Supreme Court’s decision, this will start in the first half of the year with our offer of up to 49 per cent of the shares in Mighty River Power.

We also want to proceed with another IPO later this year.

The whole share offer programme will be a shot in the arm for New Zealand’s capital markets.”

Really? So National is flogging of half of Meridian, Genersis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and further down-selling Air New Zealand… to satisfy “New Zealand’s capital markets”?!

Key’s background as a money-trader appears to have besotted him. The Big Sell-off has begun, and he’s positively salivating at the prospect.

Meanwhile, over 75% of New Zealanders don’t want a bar of state asset sales. But hey, so what? Anyone would think this was a democracy?

“At the same time, the Government will maintain majority ownership of the companies, and will use the proceeds to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals.”

Rubbish. National will use the proceeds to balance their books. Any other suggestion to the contrary is patent nonsense.

“That’s because overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own.”

?!?!

That makes no sense… Typo? Brain-fade? A drunk speech writer?

“It creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow.”

*sighs*

So much bullshit…

Let’s remind ourselves  for the zillionth time that,

  • unemployment is up
  • the income gaps between New Zealand and Australia continues to widen
  • the economy is “growing” at a snail’s pace and as it does, our Current Account deficit grows. Why? Because increasing economic activity boosts profits for foreign owned companies, which means more  profits remitted overseas, which results in a worsening Current Account deficit. That, in turn, impacts on the interest rate we pay for our own capital (borrowings for mortgages, etc),

John Key knows all this – but he ain’t sayin, Billy-Bob boy.

And businesses aren’t so happy either,

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The axe falls - Industry boss blames cuts on Govt

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On Science & Innovation…

” Finally, despite tight times, the Government is continuing to put a real priority on science and innovation. Research funding will be greater this year than it ever has been, because new ideas are a key driver for a modern economy.”

Didn’t National remove the 15% R&D tax credit soon after winning the 2008 election? If that’s putting “a real priority on science and innovation” – I’d hate to see the Nats in full-flight when they positively hate something. (Oh yeah, kinda like beneficiary bashing.)

So back to default Strategy #1,

“But I can guarantee you one thing – Labour will oppose almost all of it.”

Yeah. Piss poor of Labour not to support National when Key demands absolute fealty. In fact, Labour, Greens, and NZ First should just bugger off and leave National to govern on it’s own… and we know what that’s called, don’t we?
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dancing cossacks
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Perhaps  New Zealand would be better served if – instead of constantly deriding and blaming Labour, the Greens, NZ First, local body councils, and Uncle Tom Cobbly – that National focused on the problems confronting our nation; our economy; and our society.  Fixating  on  Opposition Parties for eighteen  paragraphs is not a good look. Defensive, much, Mr Key?

John Key’s constant reference to Labour makes him look fearful – and perhaps so he should be.

By 2014, National will have been in office for six years, with very little to show for it. If Key goes to the election with nothing more except playing a bitter blame-game against Labour, voters will desert him in droves. Voters want results; something reassuring to make them feel better –  not excuses. Certainly not high unemployment, a stagnant economy, growing child poverty, lagging wages, more and more people taking flight to Australia, etc.

” As for the National-led Government, our plan will encourage investment, strengthen the economy and boost jobs.

People know what that plan is, we have stuck to it and we will continue to stick to it.”

Well, I’m happy-as-larry that National has a plan. Because most people haven’t got a clue what Dear Leader and his Nat mates are up to. Aside from cutting state and social services,  asset sales, and subsidising multi-billion dollar film companies, most New Zealanders are scratching their heads wondering precisely what this wonderful “Plan” is.

In 2011, business leaders were asking precisely the same thing,

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Business NZ sees no economic plan

See: Business NZ sees no economic plan

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Key’s speech can be summed up threefold;

1. Consisting mainly of wishful fantasy – with facts and the last four years disproving almost everything he claimed as a “success”,

2. Constantly blaming others for his own Party’s policy-failings. Grow a pair, Mr Key; man up and own your failings.

3. National’s faith in the ability of the Market to produce economic growth, jobs, and higher wages has been sadly misplaced. His announcement on 2,000 new homes over two years is an insult, and National’s new apprenticeship scheme is two years too late, and too little.

National’s neo-liberal policies are more faith-based dogma than anything rooted in Real Life – and the chooks are coming home to roost.

This wasn’t a State of the Nation speech – it was a Statement of  National failure. A Hekia Parata-style own-goal.

If this is National’s idea of a “bright new future”, they’ve just sent Labour and the Greens a very long concession speech for the next election.

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References

NZ Herald: Full text: John Key’s state of the nation speech

Other blogs

Pundit: Mom, apple pie, apprenticeships & not much else

Idle thoughts of an Idle Fellow: The Ruminations of Robert Winter: The Negative Mr Key

The Dim Post: All part of the service

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Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland (Part Rua)

3 October 2012 12 comments

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From previous related blogpost,

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NZ First Leader, Winston Peters, managed to extract this gem from Dear Leader during Question Time in Parliament,

Government Communications Security Bureau—Briefings Since November 2008

3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: How many times has he been formally briefed by the Government Communications Security Bureau, by year, since November 2008?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : My diary indicates that I have been formally briefed by the Government Communications Security Bureau the following number of times, by year, since 2008: twice in 2008, 15 times in 2009, 11 times in 2010, 10 times in 2011, and 15 times in 2012.

Source: Parliamentary Hansards, 25 September 2012

Key’s response is extraordinary for two reasons,

  1. He gave a serious answer and not the flippant, juvenile wise-cracks he normally indulges in (which, we, the taxpayer, have to pay for as he wastes Parliamentary time)
  2. The answer he gave revealed that Key had met with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) fifteen times this year alone – and the subject of GCSB surveillance on Kim Dotcom – possibly one of the most colourful, controversial, and contentious people in the country – was never raised once?!?!

John Key. Met. With. The. GCSB. Fifteen. times.

See: Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland (1 October)

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Key was definitely in the country – in part –  whilst the GCSB was spying on Dotcom. (See: Prime Minister John Key’s Address in Reply Debate – 21st December, 2011)

At some point between 21 December and 27 January, Key holidayed in Hawaii. (See:  John Key Video Journal No.50)

On 27 January 2012, Key attended the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting and  joint meeting of senior Cabinet Ministers. (See: PM to visit Australia with Ministers)

Second question: Was surveillance of Dotcom discussed at any meeting around that time period by the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC)? If not, why not? Considering that ODESC is responsible for “oversight and policy guidance of the Bureau, if the Dotcom cases and cross-organisational liaison did not merit discussion – what then,  is ODESC overseeing?

See: Spy VS Politician

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And now today;  3 October,

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Full story

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As this blogger wrote two days ago (1 Oct),

The answer he gave revealed that Key had met with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) fifteen times this year alone – and the subject of GCSB surveillance on Kim Dotcom – possibly one of the most colourful, controversial, and contentious people in the country – was never raised once?!?!”

It now appears that my disbelief was well-warranted.

The issue of Kim Dotcom did arise at a GCSB meeting on 29 February, this year.

That 29 Feb meeting with GCSB took place only forty days after the raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in Coastville (Jan 20).

And Key still maintains he can’t recall being briefed?

It appears that this is not the first time Key’s memory of  events has ‘failed’ him,

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Full story

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The Prime Minister has not been upfront with the people of New Zealand. This blogger believes there is more to come out, and furthermore that we will see some damning revelations disclosed to the public.

In fact, if it is proven that John Key knew more about the GCSB-Dotcom Affair than has been revealed thus far, and if links to overseas interests are shown to be correct – then this government will fall.

National has been on borrowed time since the John Banks-Teapot Tape Affair, and this issue will be the final straw.

Addendum 1

This blogger endorses full citizenship to Kim Dotcom; his family; and his mates. Anyone that can show up a government to be as corrupt/inept as National deserves full citizenship.

Addendum 2

It appears that the public already had an inkling in November last year as to “who was more likely to bend the truth”.  See: John Key: Safe hands, forked tongue?

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Fiji, Canterbury, and deferred elections

7 September 2012 1 comment

Announced in July 2010,

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Full story

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So let’s see if this blogger has sussed this correctly…

Postponing an election in Fiji is a bad thing, with Dear Leader demanding that the Fijians tow the line,

Nothing I’ve seen would mean that Mr Bainimarama would have any reason other than to hold elections in 2014 if he’s a man of his word.”

“Man of his word”! Good! Well said, Dear Leader, well said. Coup  leaders who over-turn democratically-elected institutions need to be held to account.

Uh oh…

Announced today (7 September),

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Source

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But… but…  Prime Minister John Key said that pledges to hold an election should be honoured!?

What’s going on here?

Surely, Dear Leader is not having one standard for our Fijian cuzzies, and one for himself? That would be… hypocritical.

Let me say one last thing – Nothing I’ve seen would mean that Mr Key would have any reason other than to hold elections in 2013 if he’s a man of his word.

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Christchurch a guinea pig for National’s absurd idea’s

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“Dopey is as dopey does”, according to Dear Leader

31 August 2012 20 comments

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For a man who was raised in a state house; in a single-parent family; and who had all the benefits of a free tertiary education, John Key’s attitude towards those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale leaves a lot to be desired.

Let’s re-cap,

  • John Key’s father died, leaving his mother a solo-mum, to raise children by herself,
  • She would have received the DPB or widow’s benefit (and quite rightly so)
  • She would most likely have been eligible for the Family Benefit, paid to families with children until Ruth Richardson scrapped it in her  1991 “Mother of all Budgets”
  • John Key’s family  enjoyed a state house, with low-rent and security of tenure
  • And lastly, John Key was given a free, tax-payer funded University education (no student fees or debt)

When the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group (EAG) report was released, it’s recommendations included,

First, the group will call for a Warrant of Fitness for landlords. Given John Key has this weekend stressing the success of the Green-inspired home insulation scheme, but the disappointing uptake from landlords, it’s a timely bit of advice.

A WOF on rental homes would ensure poor kids don’t grow up in leaky, cold and unhealthy homes. Really, a safe, warm house should be a basic requirement if you’re going to charge rent. Who can argue with that?

Second, it’ll call for meals to be provided more widely in schools. Some, such as Deborah Morris-Travers from Every Child Counts says that’s a no-brainer. Children need food if they’re to learn and deal with the social demands of school. Some are less keen, however, arguing it takes the onus off parents and puts more pressure on teachers to feed as well as teach our children.

But another study shows this could just be the thin end of the school wedge. Every Child Counts’ Netherlands study this week talked about schools becoming a community hub, with not only meals but before and after school care, nurses, social workers and clubs.

It’s a bold prescription, but one that works overseas by helping working parents and keeping families connected to their schools.

Third, the EAG is expected to call for some form of long-term and universal state assistance for kids – maybe a Universal Child Benefit, or some money every week for every child born. Until 1991 we had such a thing – a Family Benefit. That went in the Bolger/Richardson years.

See: Tim Watkin: It’s time to talk about child poverty again

These three options could put a serious dent into child poverty. A Universal Child Benefit – along the lines of  the old Family Benefit – could add an extra $150  and  extra food on the tables of low-income families.

John Key’s response? In Parliament, responding to a point made by Greens co-leader, Metiria Turei [error correction], he bellowed with great gusto,

We are in an unequal society in New Zealand in her view because the rich are getting richer. And now she is on her feet telling me ‘give the rich families even more for their kids’. What a dopey idea that is.”

See: Key dismisses payment for all parents as ‘dopey’

What a mean-spirited, shallow-thinking man we have as a leader of our nation.

without a  doubt, John Key has a constituency of many other selfish, mean-spirited, short-sighted people in this country. There are a fair number of ill-educated and self-centered who think that the only solution to poverty is to do nothing, and let the poor struggle on. These people have no compassion.

That is the kind of  shallow-thinking that will eventually  doom a society to growing income-disparity; increasing gap between the Haves and Have Nots; and eventual social dislocation and violence.

Such people who think that the poor are poor because they deserve it are a far greater menace to the fabric of our social cohesion, than all the patched gang-members in our community.

For John Key to dismiss a proposed  Universal Child Benefit as “dopey” shows us only one thing; he has forgotten his roots. He has forgotten where he came from. He has forgotten not just the sacrifices of his family – but the strong community support that he benefitted from, and gave him the opportunity to make himself rich.

John Key is where he is because other taxpayers contributed to his housing, education, healthcare, and well-being.

He did not do it by himself.

This blogger does not begrudge Dear Leader’s bulging bank account of $50 million.

What I find reprehensible  is that he would deny other families the chance to access similar support to give their children a decent start in life.

Paula Bennett did the same with the Training Incentive Allowance. Bennett used the TIA to gain a free tertiary education for herself – and then cut the Allowance in 2009. Other solo-mothers can no longer use the same TIA to put themselves through University, and get of the DPB.

See: Bennett rejects ‘hypocrite’ claims

This blogger wonders at the like of John Key and Paula Bennett,  and  how they can deny others the same state-funded assistance that they themselves benefitted from.

What kind of human beings are these people?

How can they forget the assistance that they received when in need?

And what possible satisfaction  do they get when they deny state assistance to their fellow New Zealanders? Especially the same assistance that Key and Bennett personally benefitted from?

The greatest poverty that a society can endure is not monetary. It is a paucity of leadership. It is a lack of hope. And it is a disconnect in social compassion.

When we allow cruelty over compassion, then we are in deep trouble.

It is said that when facing a problem, the three challenges are,

  1. Identify the problem,
  2. Come up with solutions,
  3. Have the Will to implement those solution.

We know the problem.

We have the solutions.

Our leaders are still looking for #3.

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Previous related blogposts

Once upon a time there was a solo-mum

Hypocrisy – thy name be National

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy

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What’s up with the Nats? (Part tahi)

19 August 2012 3 comments

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If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood

Who ya gonna call?

Natbusters!

If it’s somethin’ weird an it won’t look good

Who ya gonna call?

Natbusters!

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Intro

Ever since the National Party conference at the end of July, the National Party has been strutting the political stage like a bunch of patched gang-members, strutting about the main street of some small town in the back-blocks.

Key, Bennett, Joyce, Collins, Parata, Banks – even lowly backbenchers like Maggie Barry – have been obnoxiously aggressive in policy announcements and dealing with the media and critics.

The Nats have been unrelentingly in our faces ever since John Key uttered the threat,

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Full story

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This is not just about confidence.

This is something new. This is about a new, hyped-up, aggressive style of taking criticisms and failings, and turning it back on the critic.

Steven Joyce was on-style on TV3’s “The Nation” (19 August), when he belittled and badgered two journalists (John Hartevelt and Alex Tarrant)  who asked him pointedly about National’s short-comings. Joyce’s response was typical Muldoon-style pugnacity.

This interview with Joyce is charachteristic of how National Ministers have been belligerent in their responses.  It is singularly  instructive,

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Full story

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Interestingly, Joyce has a “go” at Labour; then the Greens; and even Hone Harawira throughout the course of the interview.  He even blames the global financial crisis and throws that in the face of Alex Tarrant, as he responds to a point.

Everyone gets a dose of blame – except the one party that is currently in power. So much for National’s creed that we should all take personal responsibility for our actions.

It appears that  National’s back-room Party strategists have been analysing the first few months of this year and have realised that when things go horribly wrong, or the latest string of economic indicators reveal more bad news, the relevant Minister(s) responds  with  aggression and with defiance.

If the old say “explaining-is-losing” is a truism, then any explanation offered automatically puts a Minister on the back-foot.

The best way out of such a sticky moment; take a page out of Rob Muldoon’s book, ‘How To Win Friends/Enemies and Influence the Media‘.

And National’s Ministers have been playing this ‘new’ game perfectly…

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John Key

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Key has always played the part of the arrogant, born-to-rule Tory well.

Despite trying to put across the meme that he has never forgotten his “working class/beneficiary” roots (See:  Reflections from New Zealand: Address to the Menzies Research Centre John Howard Lecture), his obvious disdain for those who are the  most deprived and powerless in our community occassionally slips out, as when he derided the poor for being… well, poor,

But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills.

And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.”

See: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

That attitude came to the fore recently when Key decided that attending his son’s baseball game in the United States was a more pressing engagement than attending the funerals of two Kiwi servicemen killed in Afghanistan,

See: Key to miss soldiers’ military service

Key gave an explanation that, well, frankly astounded most New Zealanders,

In the end it’s a very, very difficult decision. I’ve got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job and, in the final analysis, I’ve just decided it’s probably the right thing to do – to go and support him.”

See:  Commitment to son will keep PM from funerals

“Sacrifice”?!

It’s hard to see how Key’s son has made a “sacrifice” that is more “huge” than two soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country.

For good measure, Key then had a ‘go’ at our Hungarian allies – also serving in Afghanistan – and who have lost seven of their own troops in the neighbouring Baghlan province,

As far as I’m aware, the Hungarians don’t go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway – they might in Budapest.”

See: Hungarians condemn Key’s jibe about troops in Afghanistan

A nice bit of deflection there, from Dear Leader. What better way to evade his responsibilities in an apalling decision not to attend the two funerals, than to point the finger at somone else.

It’s not often that one of our Prime Ministers has successfully disrespected the fallen soldiers of not one – but two nations. Quite a feat – even by arrogant right wing stands.

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Postscript 1:

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SIDELINE SUPPORT: Bronagh and John Key on the first day of the Senior Little League World Series at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, Maine.

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It seems that Dear Leader is not above a bit of “embroidery” when it comes to singing the praises of his son’s involvement in the game of baseball,

Prime Minister John Key has told United States media his son’s baseball team’s appearance at an international little league  tournament is “big news back home”…

[abridged]

His support for his son caught the attention of the local Bangor Daily News. He told the paper his son’s team making the tournament was big news back home, and might spur growth in a sport that was already “growing reasonably rapidly”.

“I think over time there’s a chance baseball might be a much bigger sport relative to softball in New Zealand,” he said.

“But competing with big sports like rugby I think is a long way down the road.” About 4000 people are involved in the sport in New Zealand and Baseball New Zealand said it was the “fastest growing summer team sport” in the country. “

See: Little leaguers ‘big news’, says proud Key

Postscript 2:

The deaths of three more New Zealand soldiers was announced on the morning of  Monday, 20 August.

On Radio NZ, John Key stated that he would be attending their funerals. Apparently he has no other pressing engagements coming up.

Listen: Radio NZ Prime Minister John Key on Morning Report (@  8.10 )

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Continued at: What’s up with the Nats? (Part rua: Paula Bennett)

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Identifying a hypocrite in three easy steps.

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Source

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Full story

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Full story

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So poverty is a result of  “poor choices”?

I guess that justifies Dear Leader John Key turning his back on society’s most vulnerable. After all,  “poor choices” justifies blaming the poor for being poor, instead of having $50 million in their bank account.

So Mr Key, how did that free tertiary education and subsidised state house work out for you?

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Categories: Social Issues Tags: , ,

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

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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.

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“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

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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%.

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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.

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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

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Acknowledgement

Reprinted with kind permission from aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com

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