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English drained Solid

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, March 14th, 2013 - 57 comments
Categories: accountability, assets, bill english - Tags:

Some great work from Labour yesterday as they got the documents showing Bill English in 2009 being advised about Solid Energy’s predicted lower profits from a lower coal price  – and asking for a bigger dividend anyway.

English seemed only concerned about getting debt off the central Government books (to make National look good), even if it just meant loading that debt on the SOE.

John Key commented a few weeks ago about how high Solid’s debt was and how commodity companies didn’t usually carry so much debt – but these documents show it was English pushing for and approving that debt, which tripled in the 2 years after 2009 to nearly 42% (debt to equity).  They were borrowing $13 million in 2009, but $313 million in 2012 as they were trying to keep up with English’s demands.

English had said today that he did not know coal prices were going to decline, “but documents obtained by Labour show that he did”, Shearer said.

Coal prices were always likely to drop from record highs, particularly as large parts of the world are trying to move away from dirty climate-change-causing fuels, and in the aftermath of the GFC – it made sense, even before the evidence that English received the advice from Solid Energy.

This is more incompetence from English, and more fiddling of the books.

It’ll be interesting to see what Don Elder has to say about this today… (particularly as National have largely hung him out to dry…)

57 comments on “English drained Solid”

  1. Ad 1

    Don has nothing to lose, banked the cheque, and will spread the manure far and wide.

    “Soiled Energy”

    • tc 1.1

      Don will play the game as he’s been paid to do so, he’ll attempt to take the heat as there’s other troughs awaiting which he’ll miss out on if he doesn’t cop it sweet.

      Palmer’s the same.

    • aerobubble 1.2

      I blame Labour.

      Labour in order to avoid the tag line no tax cuts in a generation,
      rushed in a tax cut before the election. National would
      have a problem, the pot was empty. Whose going to believe
      they were competent arguing for even greater taxcuts now
      that Labour had given tax cuts away.

      Now we see the outcome. National borrowed, national
      got SOE’s to borrow, National cut services, National
      raised GST, National is going to sell assets (whose
      profits have been inflated by companies taking on debt???).

      All to pay for a windfall tax to the richest.

      ChCh, SCF, Drought, why are the books not bare by now?
      because there was a windfall from high coal, from milk, from
      China holding up the economy. The tax cuts were paid for,
      damnit, National didn’t need to cut etc???? National doesn’t
      need to borrow like there’s no tomorrow….

      Aside. Buyer beware. Earthquakes do happen. Dams can be
      destroyed by sideways shakes like so many buildings in ChCh.
      Energy use is dropping, as people are forced to cut back and/or
      insulate and get more energy efficient. So where’s the growth
      in the energy sector?

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    English had said today that he did not know coal prices were going to decline, “but documents obtained by Labour show that he did”, Shearer said.

    So that would be English lying? Is the leader of Labour going to come out and call it that?

  3. Utter incompetence is the only description that can be applied to Blinglish. And I thought these guys were meant to be good economic managers.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    And I just re-tweeted Winston:

    This Government has micro-meddled Solid Energy into bankruptcy.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      What’s funny is the government got SOE’s to borrow, and keep dividends up, SOE’s used the money to purchase and invest. Some lost. Solid Energy lost the most. But the book value of Solid Energy is back where it started, its just the debt that it took on to hand dividends to government that’s the problem, so all government need to do is give back the dividend excess and Solid Energy will be Solid again.

      Another thought, when biodisael subsides were pulled do you think Key’s government thought through the consequences to Solid Energy of pulling from both legs of the stool?

  5. vto 5

    So, simple deceptive and misleading conduct by the Finance of Minister of New Zealand.

    I look forward to charges being brought under the Fair Trading (in Politics) Act 2012 for misleading and deceptive conduct in politics.

    • JonL 5.1

      “I look forward to charges being brought under the Fair Trading (in Politics) Act 2012 for misleading and deceptive conduct in politics.”

      cue Tui’s ad……..

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Of course, this provides a compelling argument as to why governments shouldn’t own companies. Too much opportunity for governments to try and milk the companies for political ends. Thus, said companies might not be able to function effectively as a commercial entity.

    So far as Solid Energy is concerned, I don’t have a problem with them borrowing to diversify. Borrowing commercially means the tax-payer isn’t (theoretically) on the hook for the money. Also, diversifying wisely can help protect organisations from slumps in specific areas such as with the coal prices. However, I think the problem is more to do with how Solid Energy diversified, not so much the general strategy of diversifying.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 6.1

      No it provides compelling evidence for having better politicians and greater protection for state assets and for not having a fake competitive model in areas like electricity and so on.

      The massive amounts of money siphoned off in Telecom’s operation, including the admission that pricing was deliberately confusing, is a much more compelling arguement for keeping private enterprise away from energy and infrastructure.

      As a public transport usern I also really appreciate the much improved rail service that the private sector gave me, the abandonment of places to catch the bus they aren’t the side of the street in the pouring rain.

      Better service lower cost my backside.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Of course, this provides a compelling argument as to why governments shouldn’t own companies.

      No, it doesn’t. What it shows is that the actions of the politicians needs to be open so that we, the people, can hold the arse-holes to account.

      • SpaceMonkey 6.2.1

        Agreed. We need to relegislate and expand our definition of “treason” under the Crimes Act to include economic and financial treason. Then the banksters, politicians and finance company sharks might actually see some jail time and not just get wet-bus-ticket fines that they’re able to pay out of their petty cash.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      The National Govt fucked up by trying to extract out of SOEs what they couldn’t afford.

      This private sector profit making model should be ended now.

    • Rich 6.4

      opportunity for governments to try and milk the companies for political ends.

      private shareholders would, of course, never do such a thing.

    • I think it is a compelling argument for not allowing National to manage the country’s economy.

      Remember all those surplusses under Helen ts?

    • bad12 6.6

      I will disagree with you on the point of ‘how’ Solid Energy diversified, from any point of view this National Government has put Solid energy in an untenable situation,

      Point one to remember is that at the time of the 2008 election prices for Solid Energy’s coal dropped by one third,

      In 2009 English and Ryall wrote to the Solid energy Board demanding an increase in the dividends paid to the Government as the sole shareholder in Solid Energy, this Solid Energy did and in 2 years delivered 160 million dollars of dividends to the Government,

      Later in 2009-2010 the price Solid Energy received for it’s coal dropped by yet another third, English and Ryall wrote to the Solid Energy Board as the shareholding Ministers advising Solid Energy to raise the level of it’s borrowing,

      This Solid Energy did going from $13 million of debt in 2008 to $300 million of debt by the end of 2011,

      The kneecapping of Solid Energy’s diversification also began in 2009 when the Government removed the requirement for all diesel fuel to have at least 5% bio-diesel by volume,

      This the National Government replaced with a direct subsidy for bio-fuel manufacture of up to 45 cents a liter, and then in 2010 without warning it cancelled this direct subsidy,

      In taking both of these actions, the canning of the 5% bio-fuels requirement and later canning the specific bio-fuels subsidy this National Government has rendered ALL of Solid Energy’s diversifications financially untenable,

      From here the actions taken by Ryall and English look like a deliberate attempt to financially destroy Solid Energy and at the least show that neither Minister is competent to act in Governance of any commercial enterprise…

  7. @ Ben Clark
    Thanks for covering this.

    I was terrifically disenchanted by this revelation.

    Are the ministers of this Government incompetent, or entirely devoid of holding the best interests of NZ uppermost in their minds?

    The answers provided by Mr English yesterday is a clear revelation of one of the above, and neither fill me with confidence.

    Are NZ parliamentarians required to hold the best interests of New Zealanders uppermost in their hearts and minds? Is there any mechanism for protecting New Zealand interests when this is clearly not occurring?

    These are the questions I wish answered.

    I wish for New Zealanders to pull their finger out of their trusting-cum–apathetic ways and start demanding that our politicians hold some* type of accountability for their actions.

    It is historically accurate to say that there have been numerous politicians whose actions create massive problems for large numbers of our population.
    Where is our protection?

    I’ve had enough.
    These people are clearly not acting in the best interests of their fellow New Zealanders.
    What can we do?

    * I realize the purpose behind protecting politicians from personal litigation is due to the amount and scale of the decisions they make. I’m calling for some measure to protect NZers from the moral hazard caused by this protection measure (of politicians), and that is being so very clearly illustrated by our current smirking bunch of loons making up the current Selfinterestment, (commonly referred to as “Government”).

    • freedom 7.1

      “Are NZ parliamentarians required to hold the best interests of New Zealanders uppermost in their hearts and minds? ”
      umm that would be a no.

      “I, [name], swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

      http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/AboutParl/HowPWorks/PPNZ/3/7/5/00HOOOCPPNZ_121-Chapter-12-The-Opening-of-Parliament.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28New_Zealand%29

      • freedom 7.1.1

        Putting the whole NZ as a Republic argument aside for a moment, I for one would rather see something more akin to this:

        I [insert name] pledge true allegiance to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand. I [ insert name] will repsect and bear allegiance to the Crown of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law or until the actions of the Crown deny or subvert the wishes of the People.

        • muzza 7.1.1.1

          Well picked up Freedom – Any public servant, elected member, police officer, judge etc who swears an oath to *The Crown*, or other foreign entity, is not serving Aoteroa/NZ.

          *The Crown* , does not serve our country, nor do its agents!

          The penny will drop eventually, you can hear the clogs grinding away.

        • blue leopard 7.1.1.2

          Pledging allegiance to the Queen doesn’t discount a requirement to treat her subjects well. These creatures are governing in her name; one would hope she’d be ashamed, or even cross, if she were to find out what they were up to….

          …On second thoughts, she just just knighted Holmes….

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.3

          As if swearing on one figurehead or another, on one book or another, is going to stop the Tories from serving their constituencies.

    • Rich 7.2

      The politicians are just the creatures of the people who vote for them. Maybe there ought to be some recourse for voting for an incompetent government, like fines or prison.

        • RedBaronCV 7.2.1.1

          If you are asking whether they are “thieves or idiots” I think the answer is “both”

      • AmaKiwi 7.2.2

        @ Rich

        So you are blaming the voters!

        That’s as bad as blaming the woman for causing her own rape.

        We were lied to.

        • blue leopard 7.2.2.1

          @ AmaKiwi
          Isn’t there a bit of “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me” involved?

          …and how about the case that we have in NZ: fool me countless times-and blatantly-.

          Relating being endlessly gullible to being raped isn’t very accurate at all.

  8. fender 8

    Maybe this will wake the sleepy hobbits from their slumber. It’s about time one of the many unethical goings on of this treacherous John Key wide boy Govt. attracts the attention of voters and is reflected in the polls. I’m sick and tired of these pricks getting away with their crimes and can only hope that like a teflon coated frying pan once the teflon starts deteriorating it comes off progressively faster.

  9. DH 9

    Something Labour & Greens need to watch for is the disposal of all the diversification projects Solid Energy were involved in. They look to be flogged off for nothing without a genuine appraisal of their future value.

    A lower coal price hurts only the coal business. Some of the diversification projects were converting coal into other resources like fuel & fertiliser. The price of those resources hasn’t fallen so a cheaper coal price should make those businesses more viable. Are they getting rid of those too hastily just to improve the books again?

  10. Rogue Trooper 10

    Breaking News on Stuff (up) NAct govt ignored former Solid Energy’s Chairman opposition to a larger dividend.

  11. Descendant Of Sssmith 12

    Hopefully they will also ask about the commercial decision to buy Pike River and what due diligence was carried out and whether this purchase was influenced or directed by Ministers.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10790914

  12. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    Remembering also that they made the books look better for the government by $300 million here also:

    http://www.investinnz.co.nz/investmentNZ/2011/03/genesis-energy-expected-to-announce-300-500-million-capital-bond-program-to-pay-for-tekapo-investment/

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    So English asked Solid Energy to borrow money and make that money look like profit (dividends) to the Government.

    What a frakkin Ponzi scheme (paying returns to investors which aren’t really there), English should have known better, he gets what is coming to him now.

    • Rogue Trooper 14.1

      the lizards will attempt to slide round and over the rock

    • tc 14.2

      Then move onto the draining of funds from Meridian after they received proceeds from Genesis for the power station swap forced on them by Csar Gerry B.

      Debt is sitting in Genesis that offests this questionable piece of money shuffling.

    • SpaceMonkey 14.3

      “[English] gets what’s coming to him now”

      But will he? They’ll spin this one round and round… a dutiful Chairman and CEO won’t deviate from the already agreed line and a compliant MSM will slavishly report as always. If it all gets too hot, some other “crisis” will appear out of left-field for the MSM to whip up the little Hobbits into a frenzy.

      • muzza 14.3.1

        SM – Spot on, its a rinse and repeat approach now, which operated at ever increasing frquency, as the *crimes* are committed.

        But the blogs will continue provide a commentary/record of the destruction, while NZ becomes eroded to 3rd world status, via fraud/corruption.

        Argh, NZ – The preceieved least corrupt country in the world!

      • muzza 14.3.2

        SM – Spot on, its a rinse and repeat approach now, which operates at ever increasing frequency, as the *crimes* are committed.

        But the blogs will continue provide a commentary/record of the destruction, while NZ becomes eroded to 3rd world status, via fraud/corruption.

        Argh, NZ – The preceieved least corrupt country in the world!

    • AmaKiwi 14.4

      CV, what makes you think he didn’t know it was a Ponzi scheme?

  14. vto 15

    So Don Elder of Solid Energy says this according to Stuff…
    “During the proceedings Elder said in the second half of 2012, the coal industry around the world suffered a “stunning blow”, with coal prices falling faster and further than anyone expected.

    Prices dropped back to 2004 levels, but the coal was three times deeper and four times more costly. This made all mines “cash negative”.

    “This was the perfect storm.””

    The perfect storm? Such that nobody could ever possibly avoid type of perfect storm? Yet other coal businesses are still alive. And yet further, the coal price seems to have only moved within a range that is entirely normal given coal price swings over medium timeframes, and not suffered a stunning drop. In evidence see this historic coal price chart http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/coal/all/

    So what on earth is Don Elder talking about I wonder?

    • Armchair Critic 15.1

      So what on earth is Don Elder talking about…
      He’s talking about being the fall guy, the scapegoat, so the serious scrutiny of the government’s meddling receives less exposure to sunlight. And for the money he will receive as severance pay I’d be tempted to do it too. In fact, If Don cares to contact me, I’ll take full responsibility for the whole omnishambles in exchange for the cash. :)
      National can’t afford to let this one get out, because it exposes the “arms length relationship between government and SOEs” and the “no interference from ministers” myths as the total shams they are under this present government.

    • bad12 15.2

      Yes Don Elder still at the taxpayer teat collecting His multi-million dollar annual salary is running the same line of Bovine Defecation as SOE Minister Tony Ryall was when answering questions on the financial gutting of Solid Energy in the House today,

      ‘Brand Slippery’ not wanting to have the ‘truth modifications’ He has tried to hoodwink us all with in His previous utterances on the Solid Energy debacle rubbed in His face was noticeably, along with Bill the Member from Dipton, absent from Quetion time in the House, presumably in hiding until the heat from Solid Energy dies down,

      Why Ryall continues to openly bulls**t everyone about the price of coal having collapsed in 2012 is anyone’s guess, perhaps He is hoping that the media will pick up upon this glaring example of a Government Minister repeatedly and deliberately misleading the Parliament so as to take the heat off both Slippery and English who have previously been less than forthcoming with the truth when answering questions in the House on the financial woes of the States miner Solid Energy,

      http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/market-amp-transportation/coal-price/

      Ryall continually claiming the coal prices fell radically in 2012 is clearly a load of BS, it is clear that coal prices during 2012 to today have been reasonably stable…

    • Rich 15.3

      The reason coal prices were so high was that China was (and ostensibly still is) growing at an unsustainable rate and buying huge amounts of coal and steel for construction projects like these ghost cities.

      While it might be obvious to most of us that sort of thing couldn’t continue, it obviously isn’t when you earn $1.5million a year.

  15. Ed 16

    John Key talked about Solid Energy diversifying to try to become an NZ version of Petrobrass. I suspect that was a National Vision for setting the company up for sale by making it less reliant on a single product – that Key attributes it to others does not necessarily mean anything; the idea was clearly in his mind as preparation for sale.

    Solid Energy is an illustration of why some strategic assets should be kept under government control . . .

  16. Te Reo Putake 17

    Poor Peter Whittall, he’s the real victim here:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10871255

  17. Craig Glen viper 18

    If Elder is sorry he can give back all his Pay to the miners who have lost their jobs. I reckon if you are really sorry you would do everything in your power to help Trevor and the boys on the coast out Don. Talks cheap you leach.

  18. BLiP 19

    And, another one for the list. Is there anything John Key hasn’t lied abiout?

    – We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. 50 by 50. We will write the target into law.

    – National Ltd™ will provide a consistent incentive for both biofuel and biodiesel by exempting them from excise tax or road user charges

    – I didn’t know about The Bretheren election tactics

    – If they came to us now with that proposal [re trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime], we will sign it

    – 1981

    – Tranzrail shares

    – Lord Ashcroft

    – National Ltd™ would have sent troops into Iraq

    – Standard & Poors credit downgrade

    – I didn’t say I want wages to drop

    – the real figure of inflation is 3.3 percent.

    – the tourism sector has not lost 7,000 jobs

    – I won’t raise GST

    – the purchase of farmland, by overseas buyers will be restricted to ten farms per purchase

    – capping, not cutting the public service,

    – north of $50 a week

    – privatisation won’t significantly help the economy

    – wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones

    – I never offered Brash a diplomatic job in London

    – Tariana Turia is “totally fine” with the Tuhoe Treaty Claim deal

    – Kiwisaver

    – National Ltd™ is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector

    – tax cuts won’t require additional borrowing

    – 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast

    – Our amendments to the ETS ensure we will continue to do our fair share internationally

    – we are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations

    – any changes to the ETS will be fiscally neutral

    – we [NZ} have grown for eight of the last nine quarters”

    – National Ltd™ will tender out the government banking contract

    – we will be back in surplus by 2014-15

    – unemployment is starting to fall

    – we have created 45,000 jobs

    – we are likely to create 170,000 jobs in the next 4 years

    – I don’t know if I own a vineyard

    – the Isreali spy killed in the Christchurch quake had “only one” passport

    – the Police will not need to make savings by losing jobs

    – GCSB re Kim Dotcom x 3 (that we know about)

    – I voted to keep the drinking age at 20

    – New Zealand is 100% Pure

    – I will resign if found to be lying

    – I’ve been prime minister for four years, and it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year

    – baseball in New Zealand is attracting more government support

    – the public demanded that we change the labour laws for The Hobbit

    – “The Hobbit” created 3000 new jobs

    – we have delivered 1000 extra doctors in the public service

    – I wasn’t working at Elders when the sham foreign exchange deals took place

    – I was starting School Certificate exams in 1978

    – cutting consent fees and times and opening up land to developers will create affordable housing

    – Labour left the economy in poor shape

    – forecasts show unemployment will fall

    – our [NZ’s] terms of trade remain high

    – the TPP is an example of democracy

    – National Ltd™ will use the proceeds of state asset sales to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals

    – New Zealand troops will be out of Afghanistan by September 2014

    – overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own

    – overseas investment in New Zealand creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow

    – National Ltd™ will build 2000 houses over the next two years

    – my officers had no correspondence, no discussion, and no involvement in this [SkyCity] matter

    – SkyCity will only get “a few more” pokie machines at the margins

    – Sky City has approached TVNZ about the purchase/use of government-owned land

    – the Hobbit is going off shore unless we do something

    – Solid Energy asked the government for a $1 billion capital investment

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    Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. CHRIS BISHOP (National) to the Minister of Finance : What reports has he received about lower than expected inflation in New Zealand?Questions to Ministers Inflation—Reports 1. CHRIS BISHOP (National) to the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    20 hours ago
  • The “I” factor in political practice
    When is a Prime Minister a political person and when the voice of the nation? Opening the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington on April 18, John Key said: “I feel proud of the decision to make Pukeahu… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    22 hours ago
  • A Programme of Phased Cuts in Company Tax
    Column – ACT New Zealand Over-taxing mobile capital is not a good idea not if you want jobs and higher wages anyway. Last week the ACT Leader announced a plan for a programme of phased reductions in the company… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    23 hours ago
  • Trade Minister Cheers Big Corporation Over Ordinary People
    Press Release – New Zealand First Party Trade Minister Tim Grosers cheerleader role for the United States to speed up the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is worrying, says New Zealand First Trade Spokesperson Fletcher Tabuteau.Trade Minister Cheers Big Corporation Over… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • My other grandfather
    I have been stuck at home for several days, and so the build-up to Anzac day has been reduced for me to a series of media impressions. Fragmentary ones at that, as I actively tried to avoid the coverage. The… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    1 day ago
  • US: the state’s systematic violence kills another young black man
    Freddie Gray: brutally murdered by Baltimore cops by The Spark A young man is dead in Baltimore, killed by six murdering cops. In the same week, a murdering cop goes free in Chicago when a prosecutor and a judge tie… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Questions For Oral Answer April 28
    Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. CHRIS BISHOP to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received about lower than expected inflation in New Zealand? QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS 1. CHRIS BISHOP to the Minister of Finance: What… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Hobbling Democracy: TPPA and The Covenant of Secrecy
    Opinion – Binoy Kampmark The TTIP and TPPA, both sounding like ominous injections of political disaster, continue their march towards belittling, and corroding the democratic content of its participating countries. The holder of the needle remains US President Barack Obama,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • The Decline and Fall of the United States | David Swanson
    Opinion – David Swanson After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Fearing the loss of Hegemony: The Concept of US Retreat
    Opinion – Binoy Kampmark Nothing upsets those drunk on imperialist virtue than the fact it might end. Such romances with power do have a use-by-date, going off like old fruit. Eventually, the crippling contradictions will win through in the end.… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Strong Support for Clarification of GMO Council Jurisdiction
    Press Release – GE Free NZ On Friday, 24 April GE Free Northland and the Soil & Health Association of NZ with 19 other 274 parties sought clarification in the Environment Court on whether there is jurisdiction in the Resource… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Should Environmentalists Care About Poverty?
    Perhaps heightened by the leadership contest in the Green Party, there appears to be a debate going on about where environmentalism fits into the political spectrum. I am not a member of the Green Party (nor any other, for that… ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Inoculating against science denial
    Science denial has real, societal consequences. Denial of the link between HIV and AIDS led to more than 330,000 premature deaths in South Africa. Denial of the link between smoking and cancer has caused millions of premature deaths. Thanks to… ...
    1 day ago
  • A year ago today – Auckland’s first electric trains
    A year ago today transport in Auckland was forever changed as the first electric trains started carrying passengers – although they didn’t start running in normal service till the following day. Electrifying Auckland’s rail network is something that had been… ...
    1 day ago
  • Media Link: Anzac Day panel on future conflicts.
    Commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated assault at Gallipoli prompted Radio New Zealand to convene a special panel on the evolution and future of conflict since those tragic and futile days in 1915. I was invited to participate… ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Australian cops shut down Aboriginal Anzac Day march
    The article below deals with the erasing of the Frontier Wars in Australia.  Something similar has happened in relation to the Land Wars in New Zealand.  The wars of conquest and confiscation of Maori land are totally eclipsed by carefully-constructed… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • After World War 1: the horrors of peace at home (Australia)
    The small number of people involved in Redline means we simply don’t have the possibility to cover everything we’d like to.  This includes some very important stuff.  For instance, an article about what NZ soldiers came home to, an equivalent… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Anzac Day II
    I spent a couple of hours at our local RSA on Saturday. It was well past the traditional solemnity of the morning, well into the drinking. The old fellows drank like soldiers and the soldiers, there in their uniforms, with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Pony-tails, panic and PR spin.
    How Crosby-Textor propose to rescue Key from the fall out over his casual Pony-Tail stroking.Rumour has it that the Crosby-Textor spin machine that elevated John Key to the leadership of the National Party and thence to Prime Minister of NZ… ...
    the Irascible CurmudgeonBy Alan Papprill
    2 days ago
  • Poor peer review – and its consequences
    See below for citations used The diagram above displays links between the journal, editors and reviewers in the case of the paper Malin & Till (2015). I discussed these links before in Poor peer-review – a case study  but thought… ...
    2 days ago
  • Capture: April Come She Will
    Over the month of April I've started a number of threads, but not quite found the time or inspiration to reach a critical mass.Looking back though, it was a fairly packed month, as we ease our way into autumn.So here's… ...
    2 days ago
  • Has John Key tugged off more than he realises?
    John Key's pony-tail-gate controversy seems to have divided people into two camps. The vast bulk of New Zealanders (to purloin a Key-ism) can agree on the fact that it's weird... and out of order. But then there are those who… ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Rodney Hide: They’re all after me, man…
    The state apparently has me under covert investigation. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was followed home by some guy in a long coat and dark glasses. It was 27 degrees and cloudy. My friends have… ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    2 days ago
  • The road to Mike Hosking, vilifier of young women
    Some of us have always seen radio announcer Mike Hosking as a puffed-up little prat. I was there at Broadcasting House when this shortish young guy with a big voice and a very strange manner arrived in the Network Newsroom.… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Hey RaboDirect, if Mike Hosking’s selling you, I’m not buying.
    A nasty side of radio announcer Mike Hosking spilled out into view last week as he ‘bashed’ the victim of John Key’s serial bullying. Hosking, supported by TVNZ’s OneNews, sponsored by RaboDirect, vilified the waitress whom the Prime Minister admits… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Is Auckland boring enough?
    Via Jarrett Walker, I recently ran across a provocative article by Aaron Renn in the Guardian: “In praise of boring cities“. Renn takes his fellow urbanists to task for the narrowness of their vision about what makes a good city:… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago

  • More hype and half-truths from Coleman
    The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Regional air routes must be maintained
    The Government must use its majority shareholding to make sure Air New Zealand cooperates with second tier airlines stepping into the regional routes it has abandoned, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Air New Zealand’s cancellation of its Kaitaia, Whakatane,… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Action needed on decades old arms promise
    Nuclear weapons states must honour the unequivocal promise they made 45 years ago to disarm, says Labour’s Disarmament Spokesperson Phil Goff. Mr Goff is attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York. ...
    14 hours ago
  • Worker safety top of mind tomorrow and beyond
    Workers’ Memorial Day, commemorated tomorrow, is both a time to reflect and to encourage a better safety culture in all workplaces, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway.“On Worker’s Memorial Day, working people across New Zealand will remember those… ...
    1 day ago
  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    2 days ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    2 days ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    4 days ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    5 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    6 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    6 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    6 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    6 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    7 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    7 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    7 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    1 week ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago

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