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Farrar joins call for SOE reform

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, December 24th, 2010 - 93 comments
Categories: assets, business, dpf - Tags: , ,

Say you run a large company. Say the manager of a division in your company chose do a deal that improves the division’s own profitability instead of one that would have made the division less profitable but the company as a whole more profitable. You would be angry. So why are the people who run our SOEs required to act like that?

It doesn’t make sense for parts of the government called SOEs to act as if they are independent entities and ignore the impacts of their decisions on the the rest of the government. Twice this year, Kiwirail has made the choice to save small amounts of money by buying rolling-stock overseas when it could have bought them from its own workshop creating hundreds of jobs and big tax flows to its owner, the government, which would have meant more services or lower debt for less tax you for and me.

We’ve been hitting this topic for a while on The Standard and even David Farrar now sees this is madness. He re-posted a long post about it yesterday and I’m going to do it again here.

This isn’t about protectionism. This isn’t about trade barriers. This is just the government acting sensibly to get the most bang for its buck for us, its owners:

I have always found it remarkably easy not to get all het’ up about other people’s problems. However, over the past couple of years I have been doing a lot of thinking about ‘the economy’ and I have slowly come to realise that individual and group woes have a tendency to compound over time into big globs of ‘economic ugly’ that inevitably effect almost all of us working class shlubs, particularly in a country as small as NZ.

KiwiRail’s recently announced decision to outsource the purchase of 300 container wagons to Chinese manufacturing concern CNR has not just het’ me up – it’s got me positively incendiary.

This decision is bollocks – there is no other way to put it. Actually there are several better ways to put it – but hey, this is a family friendly blog…..

The Southland Daily Times reports KiwiRail’s CEO, Jim Quinn, as saying that this decision does not imperil jobs at it’s own Hillside and Hutt Valley workshops. He proceeds to reinforce this carved-in-wet-sand assurance by further stating that he cannot guarantee that there will always be enough work for them…..[unless, of course, he did something like, lets see...award them Kiwi-Rail's own contracts].

I have had personal dealings with Hillside. Back in 2005/06 Sarah & I photographed the ‘Men & Women of Hillside’ for the Toll NZ calendar – that’s where the photo comes from. I gained a great deal of respect for the operation – and it’s workers during these photo shoots.

Hillside is not inhabited by a bunch of over-entitled, Teamster style union shirkers tossing handfuls of bolts in the general direction of a locomotive. The carpark is not chocka with $60,000 SUVs and I never spotted a lunch room filled with workers taking 2 hour seniority breaks.

They are a highly skilled, workforce building remarkable products on a scale that I have not seen previously in NZ. Quite simply, they are bloody good at building big heavy stuff and they do it all – from foundry to paint shop to high tech electrical controls – in about the most Dickensian agglomeration of buildings still standing in the Southern Hemisphere.

The bottom line is this – Hillside Engineering is about as competive and lean as a manufacturer can be in New Zealand. In 10 years time when China is no longer cheap we will need these skills again in NZ, so we had better not lose them in the interim.

The reason for Hillside’s failed bid on this project was surprise, surprise – cost. To my knowledge, CNR have not promised to deliver a 40% lighter, self-loading, web-savvy super-wagon that comes complete with it’s own facebook and twitter accounts. Nope, CNR are 25% cheaper than Hillside on this $29 million contract and that’s it. By my calculations that equates to about $7.25 million – so for expediency I’ll call it an even $7M between friends which, admittedly, seems like a lot of money – but is it in the scheme of things?

Now, I don’t fully understand the operating rationale behind SOE’s – I would naively assume that it would be to utilise and safeguard state owned assets for the betterment of the broader New Zealand economy. What I do understand is that the previous Labour Government stumped up at least $665 million to purchase what is quite possibly the least successful monopoly in commercial history. If we had three privately owned railroad competitors in NZ, I could understand that the imperative to cut costs would exist – but we don’t** and we as the taxpayer are stuck with Kiwi-Rail (at least until after the next election) whether we like it or not – I for one do like it.

So if we own a monopoly why don’t we just do what all good monopolies do best – pass the extra costs on to the end user in order to deliver a more holistic package of benefits to the NZ economy?

If we are already at least $665 million plus in the hole, what the hell is another $7m to keep New Zealanders working at a time like this? Bernard Hickey summed it up beautifully when he said that we need to be much more nationalistic about these issues – damned right we do.

Like most of the developed world, manufacturing is more expensive here because we live in a country where we expect a living wage, social safety nets and a safe working environment. Inevitably we operate under A LOT of Government penned legislation that safeguards these expectations and adds A LOT of costs in the process. If an SOE cannot afford to pay the true cost of manufacturing in NZ using it’s own workers, who else can? We might as well just shut up shop tomorrow.

Let’s face it. Hillside will never be able to beat the Chinese on price. Everything is cheaper in China – in fact Kiwi Rail might like to consider outsourcing it’s CEO role to China, I am sure they could easily exceed a 25% saving on that.

So the question has to be what do we stand to lose from this deal? Are we really saving $7 million?

I would argue that from the get-go the New Zealand loses at least 12 million dollars by sending this deal to China. (apples for apples – The Hillside deal has a $7 million ‘buy NZ’ premium and I am assuming $10m imported materials which is a capital outflow from NZ – meaning an additional $12 million leaves NZ under the CNR deal). I am a macro-economics gumby*, but as far as I can see, The CNR deal ensures that this additional $12m is off to China, and unless someone in the CNR Mansion*** is in the market for a few thousand tonne of kiwifruit or a nice package deal holiday to NZ it ain’t coming back except as part of Bill English’s weekly $300 million loan package.

Which segues rather neatly to my next point – let’s look at that $7 million in context – as we have previously established $7 million is a shed load of money to most of us (though up until last week $7 million was probably Mark Hotchin’s monthly living costs). But $7 million is a mere 2.3% of the aforementioned weekly rogering that we are already taking as a country – I can’t be bothered looking it up, but I suspect that $7 million pays for about 6 hours of dole and DPB payments at present.

Continuation of this accounting-centric purchasing at Kiwi Rail could well ensure that the dole, DPB, or worse, Australia, is where a large portion the 180 skilled workers of Hillside could soon be headed. What is the downstream cost of that? Is it worth the risk for a measly $7 million? I for one don’t think so and I would be happy to foot my portion of that bill as a taxpayer.

But do we really have to foot the bill?

I always like to chunk business problems down to the smallest denominator – it brings perspective and big problems often look a lot more resolvable.

Firstly, lets spread the $7m extra cost over the 300 carriages. That’s about $23,000 extra per carriage – significant yes, but wagons don’t curl up and die after a year – though it is entirely possible that they could be tagged to death in South Auckland within their first week of service.

I am no train spotter, but looking at Kiwi Rail’s current rolling stock it would appear that a wagon can ride the rails for at least 97 years and survive two world wars – but I’ll adopt a more economically palatable 10 year timeframe. That’s a paltry $2,300 per annum across their life span – we’ll apply some snazzy time value of money guess-timation and make that $2500 per annum to give the bean-counters a return on investment. That’s less than $7 a day – or the equivalent of a Big Mac combo a day we have to recover to keep 180 Kiwis in work.

I have no idea how rail container freight is charged out (volume, time, or weight) but trucking 2.5 cubic metres from Alexandra to Auckland return cost us $750 return last month so I am guessing a container would cost thousands for the same trip. Will Fonterra**** really balk at the equivalent of $7 or even $25 dollars a day in charges? I doubt it.

So what to do? It’s simple really – CANCEL THE CONTRACT maybe pay some penalties to keep the diplomatic corp from squirming at embassy dinners and bring the jobs home. We all know that the Chinese Government would have few qualms reciprocating if their manufacturing sector looked like ours.

Do the right thing, CANCEL THE CONTRACT.

93 comments on “Farrar joins call for SOE reform”

  1. jbanks 1

    “even David Farrar now sees this is madness.”

    Wow David Farrar! Impressive benchmark. That guy tells it how it is. Hope to hear more from this ‘David Farrar’ guy.

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      He tells it how you think it is.

      A not so subtle difference. But at least we can find common ground.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    http://www.berl.co.nz/1166a1.page

    The Berl Report on the making of trains in NZ compared with anywhere else estimated that, once the wider economic benefits were taken into account, the foreign built trains would have to have a 66% discount on the NZ$ price. 25% cheaper doesn’t cut it.

    NACT: Being real bloody stupid with our economy and, by extension, our society.

    (Copied my comment from last nights OpenMike across)

    • Swampy 2.1

      Dont think much of the lobbysits have a clue, this guy is talking rubbish suggesting Kiwirail is a monoply. They compete against road transport which has all thecards in its favour so saying they can jhust load the extra costs onto their freight charges is bulldust.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Tell you what, we’ll just put all the costs that truckers cause to the roads on to RUCs and things should be about right. In fact, I think you’ll find that there won’t be that much competition from the truckies after that.

        • Swampy 2.1.1.1

          Sure then there won’t be any economy left how does the stuff get from the Manufacturers plant to the ship or train or wharever LOL

          • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.1.1

            That’s a bit simplistic, swampy.
            The way the RUC and petrol tax is operated at present results in a subsidy from smaller vehicle operators (cars, motorbikes and very light trucks – under 4.5t) to heavy vehicle operators (vehicles that require a class 2, 3, 4 or 5 licence to drive). Rail and sea modes don’t receive this subsidy.
            From what I recall of previous comments, Draco is merely suggesting trucking companies pay their fair share, and forego the subsidy. You might call it competing on a level playing field.
            So it’s not a call for a large increase in costs, just a call for the costs to be redistributed and paid by the people that actually incur them. Sound fair to you?

            • Swampy 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry you have it the wrong way around
              The MOTs latest RUC study concluded most cathegories of truck are overcharged RUC’s except the 5 tonners.
              http://www.transport.govt.nz/news/newsevents/Documents/RUC-Final-Report.pdf

              in other words
              light trucks get subsidised by heavy trucks RUCS
              what you claim is the opposite & not supported by the facts

              • Colonial Viper

                WHERE in the report does it say that, thanks.

                Just so we don’t have to wade through all 135 pages worth to find the passage you are referring to.

                Furthermore, the CAM (Cost Allocation Model) does not seek to recognise the group of costs which are customarily referred to as externalities. These would typically include costs associated with such matters as road related accidents and adverse environmental impacts. The ultimate and ideal cost recovery mechanism would be that which recoups from all road users the long run marginal social cost of maintaining the network.

                And after having said that they recommend this:

                That the Government investigates alternative funding for non-road related costs in light of our conclusion that costs recovered through the road user charging system should, in general, be confined to the costs associated with road use only.

              • Armchair Critic

                what you claim is the opposite & not supported by the facts
                What a load of crap you write.
                The report you use to support your claims is flawed.
                1. The title states that the report is an “independent review”. Yet:
                None of the authors is a roading or rail engineer, thus none of the authors has significant practical experience in the engineering of roads or railways.
                One of the authors is a shareholder in and director of a company with a significant interest in the RUC system, and has a vested interested in increasing the use of that system. This is best achieved by getting more trucks on the road.
                Appendix 4 of the report is an advertisement for this company.
                2. The report refers repeatedly to a Cost Allocation Model (CAM). The CAM is not appended to the report and is not available through http://www.transport.govt.nz so it can not be reviewed.
                However, the report identifies that the fourth power relationship and weight distribution assumptions should continue to be used, for now. It recommends two openly pro-truck actions. A review of the power factor, to reduce the proportion of the wear that can be assigned to heavy vehicles, and a review of the average loading factor from 55% to 45%.
                Most critically, it does not mention anything about the design standard requirements that are imposed by heavy vehicles. To accomodate heavy vehicles, roads not only need to built with thicker pavements and more complex seals, but they also must be built wider (more materials) and flatter (more earthworks). It goes without saying that bigger, thicker pavements and more complex seals have higher maintenance costs. IMO all the costs imposed by heavy vehicles should be borne by their operators. I want to know whether this was considered and, assuming it was, why it is not discussed.
                The MOTs latest RUC study concluded most cathegories of truck are overcharged RUC’s except the 5 tonner
                No, it doesn’t. It concludes that “Option A” in the study would result in a reduction in RUCs for everything except 5t trucks. Coincidentally Option A also requires the technological solution offer by the aforementioned company with which one of the report’s author’s has an interest. And none of the other Options require it. Even more coincidentally, Option A is the recommended option. Who would have guessed??
                The basis of comparison is unfair too. While it looks at all types of vehicle, it assumes they all average 15,000km per year. This is reasonable for privately-owned cars, but most heavy vehicles do many times this distance. I’m surprised no one picked this up during the pre-release review.

                On a kind of related subject, I’m still extremely angry that National retrospectively confiscated my RUCs, forced me to buy new ones at a higher cost and charged me extra GST on them. Bunch of fucking thieves.

        • Swampy 2.1.1.2

          Already the case so nothing new there, no change.

  3. LynW 3

    Great article! CANCEL THE CONTRACT! Support New Zealand and New Zealanders! It’s as simple as that!

    • Eddie 3.1

      and so sensible. you know – not tariffs or artificial things like that just ‘if you’re part of the government, consider the impacts of your actions on the whole government’

      • jcuknz 3.1.1

        I’ve been saying that for years, long before we had SOE and the like. But people live in their little boxes of thought and either are incapable or don’t see the need to take a holistic approach to what they do. It happens under both left and right wing governments … it is the closed box mentality … all so sad.
        Great first para Eddie .. sums it up well.

    • Swampy 3.2

      No its not that simple.

      The locomotive contract would have been 70% dearer and starting from scratch a massive disadvanagte against existing factories already in operation.
      Now these argumenets are not neew. they were being had decades back even the 1970s when there were much more rail workshops than are now. yet all the major locmotives now running were built over seas.

  4. RedLogix 4

    I keep getting a whiff from these CNR contracts. They make no economic sense and everyone involved knows this.

    So why are they happening?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Follow the money is usually good advice when something is happening that really shouldn’t be. In cases like this it’ll be “hidden” money – the information that we’re prevented from seeing due to commercial sensitivity and the information that we actually need to know. It is, after all, our money and our society that National and the Kiwirail CEO are selling out.

      • Swampy 4.1.1

        Oh so youre implying some sort of kickback or hidden political comeback for the Nats

        But if the boot is on the other foot Labours key affiliate union adding to their millons of assets with more union fees from increased membership etc

        Its quite wrong to be advocating Kiwirail should get some favours from the goverment as owner when it competes in the market place against road transport operators which are privately owned

    • Bright Red 4.2

      Sammy Wong was over there apparently, making these deals for Kiwirail…

    • felix 4.3

      I agree RedLogix, something is wong here. Very, very wong.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Actually if you include the ‘total lifecycle costs’ these ‘cheap’ wagons and DL locos from CNR will turn out to be very expensive indeed.

    A friend of mine is a very experienced engineer at Woburn; listening to him give all the exact technical reasons why these Chinese imports are a bad idea makes my ears bleed. The initial purchase price is only a small fraction of the costs involved… the real price is maintenance and repairs. Building them here in the first place achieves three main things:

    1. It creates the skilled work-force, who know the equipment intimately …because they built it.

    2. It ensures that you get the right design, with all the components specified exactly as you want.

    3. It engages the wider commercial community as suppliers and sub-contractors… and energises the manufacturing customer base who will respond to seeing new efficient, kiwi-made rolling stock.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Yep, the wider economic benefits far outweighed the small savings achieved from importing.

    • Swampy 5.2

      The fact is they will be maintained in NZ so workshops will be in work for years to come
      There is no sane reason why they would be better if they have been put together here out of the components made in China.

      when you talk about 1 2 3 there is no gurantee any of these things and there is no existing locomotive manufacturing industry in NZ so Kiwirail would also be paying the costs of building this industry up from scratch then it woild be winding down again at the end of the contracts so all the skilled people would have to leave again because Theres no way any other business would be found

      And saying that NZ has never found a reason to have such industry before Not even in the glory dayes of the NZR Railways Dept has anyone ever seriously got any credenace given to making main line locos in NZ only shunting engines

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        Building diesel locos is more of an assembly process than making it all from scratch. The engines, the alternators, traction motors, the control systems and electrics are all sourced from various global suppliers. This is true regardless of whether they are made by CNR or Hillside.

        The frame, bogies and most of the rest (excluding the actual wheel castings which come from Aussie) could be readily made here in NZ by the existing skilled workforce. Building them in a short time-frame would put some pressure on them, but nothing that could not be resolved by bringing in some short-term sub-contractors to deal with specific tasks. There are plenty of kiwi engineering firms out there gagging for such work right now.

        This is not idle speculation, it is informed comment direct from one of Kiwirail’s own production managers.

        • Swampy 5.2.1.1

          May be so but its much more expensive as Kiwirail points out, they have not got cash to spare, wagon buildings on a different level .

  6. ak 6

    Good God. First Hickey, now Farrar inching their way towards sanity. Take some credit all you Standardistas, for your sound and dogged reasoning over the last 3 years, and keep it up you good things.

  7. Ed 7

    It won’t happen – John Key is ambitious for……? John Key? …. Hawaii? …. China?

  8. Brett 8

    Wouldn’t the free trade deal with China be the main reason behind the CNR contracts?
    We buy their trains, they buy our dairy products?

    • Bright Red 8.1

      um… no.

      as we didn’t have any tariffs on trains before, the FTA changes nothing.

      And an FTA doesn’t compell us to buy trains, or anything else, from them

  9. felix 9

    Farrar is such a fucking troll he even trolls his own forum. As usual he appends it with a nudge & a wink, this time about the evils of trade “barriers” and as usual all the commenters take the bait and pretend that the post was about banning SOEs from dealing with overseas companies.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Yeah, saw that but the post itself was a good one. It wasn’t actually written by DPF but some relation.

      • jcuknz 9.1.1

        His sister-in-law’s brother-in-law :-) and I thought some of my explanations were involved :-)

        Yes the liwiblog thread comments do really miss the point but what can you expect from RWNJs

  10. deWithiel 10

    It would appear that KiwiRail under its new NACT appointed board have been doing a number of slightly whiffy things with CNR. Aside from this particular tender, CNR was recently added to an existing short list for the $500million contract for the new Auckland EMUs, causing the withdrawal of the original 4 shortlisted companies and yet another ministerially-caused delay to the introduction of electric trains to Auckland. Then there are all sort of unexplained bits to this jigsaw puzzle, such as the activities of Pacific Power Development (NZ) Ltd who apparently acted on behalf of CNR on the container wagon contract; they have a partial English language website and a contact address via a Pakuranga post office box but no listed personnel. And then there are the recent revelations concerning the ubiquitous Sammy Wong who was involved with Toll some years back and, more recently, made an as yet unexplained trip to Dalian (where CNR have a major subsidiary) on the taxpayer dollar.

  11. Nick C 11

    Here’s what you have missed: There are two ways we can make trains. We can manafacture them in Dunedin, or we can farm them on the Cantabury plains ;)

    Sounds crazy? It’s not. Read this:

    http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/dfunderburk/428/readings/The%20Iowa%20Car%20Crop.htm

    • RedLogix 11.1

      The obvious dumbass fallacy of the ‘Iowa Car Crop’ is this…. the only people who could afford to buy them would be Iowa farmers. In this simplistic model everyone else would be under or unemployed… and so therefore cannot afford to buy them..

      Even Henry Ford knew that the he could only be successful if his workers could afford to buy his products.

      • Nick C 11.1.1

        “In this simplistic model everyone else would be under or unemployed… and so therefore cannot afford to buy them..”

        And yet in the real world people who do not manafacture cars can afford imported cars, this is just a model with only 2 goods to show the logic of trade.

        Surely then if the Iowa car crop model is flawed on the grounds that only the corn farmers can afford cars, then your model is flawed on then grounds that only the people who manafacture the trains can afford to ride them? Either way that is a fallacy that you are arguing.

        The Iowa car crop simply shows that we dont lose domestic jobs by importing a good. It shows that in reality kiwirail isnt competing with chinese train factories, it’s actually competing with cantabury farms.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.1

          The quaint little story you link describes what is called a ‘toy economy’. In other words it hugely simplifies the real economy down to a very simple model that is easy to talk about….and then uses that tale to draw conclusions that it then claims would be valid if projected onto the real economy.

          In this toy economy there is only ONE class of people in the USA making an income… the farmers. No mention of how anyone else could possibly afford to buy a car. Therefore it fails on it own logic.

          Toy economies are a useful teaching tool, but are not a substitute for real world analysis.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think that they’re a useful teaching tool either as idiots take them as being real.

        • jcuknz 11.1.1.2

          But they are buying the cars with borrowed money at the rate of $350 million a week. What suckers we all are and have been for decades … ever since Britain closed off our exports way back when? when? and we had to stop living in a fools paradise… but we didn’t…

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      More free-market bollocks. How so?

      Because we also mine and produce the steel here so exporting food to re-import the exported steel is inefficient and massively ramps up real (physical) costs.

      • Nick C 11.2.1

        Surely the price system is the best way to determine who can keep real costs down the most? And the Chinese had the lowest bid, so they would probably be able to complete the project with the lowest cost, no?

        • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1

          …so they would probably be able to complete the project with the lowest cost, no?

          Nope. Making them in China actually increases real costs. More fuel used (transport and coal fired power stations), more people used pushing costs (food, houses, transport etc) there up as well and the fact that they’re likely to be importing the steel from us anyway. It would, in real physical terms, be cheaper to make them here. The only way it could look cheaper is because the price system is corrupted through things like exchange rate manipulation and high interest rates. And even if the price system wasn’t corrupted, which it is, the lowest bid wasn’t the best bid as the wider economic benefits of making them here vastly outweighed the savings achieved by importing them.

          • Nick C 11.2.1.1.1

            I dont think you read the link I posted. The question isnt ‘is it cheaper to make the trains here or in China’, the question is ‘is it cheaper to make trains here, or to grow cows here and send them off to China in exchange for trains’. Even if New Zealand does have an absolute advantage in the production of trains (which is essentially what you are arguing), we do not have a comparitive advantage in the production of them.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1.1.1

              In a highly mechanised industry comparative advantage is meaningless as it’s something that any society can do. All it needs to do is train the people to have the skills (done) and build the factory (also done). Also, it’s not proven that we have such an advantage – the pollution in our rivers from farming would indicate that we don’t (the price of food is far lower than the price of trains so we have to grow far more food to pay for the trains meaning more pollution which we then have to pay to clean up).

              So, we’re left with absolute advantage and what’s best for our society as a whole. The absolute advantage is that it’s cheaper to make them ourselves and it’s better for our society if we do so as well because it pushes the bounds of our knowledge and skills which pushes our culture to develop.

              And, no, I didn’t read more than the first two lines of the article. I’ve studied economics for the better part of ten years now so that was more than enough to understand the simplified (for RWNJs) version of BS that it was selling.

              • jcuknz

                Trouble with you guys is you have no thought for the poor chinese workers who will be out of work and starving … no UB in China I suspect … if we don’t buy Chinese.
                Sorry moderators … that’s trollish … but its Christmas and I am a little drunk :-)

          • Swampy 11.2.1.1.2

            NZ bought locomotves from many countries like Britain UK and Us in past
            Never worried about any economic benefits lost to NZ because the benefits of having them put together by experienced firms that make them all the time is superior.

            • jcuknz 11.2.1.1.2.1

              Yes they did Swampy but think of the industrial base we could have built in addition to our agricultural base if we had built those locos in New Zealand. But of course the British industrial power ruled the world then with the States tagging along … but quite quickly of course we DID build our own locos … so somebody had brains back in those days and Hillside, Addington and the other workshops came into being.. Yes in this field we did have an industrial base which has been let run down by foolish limited thinking economics rather than proper holistic assessments.
              So often in so many different fields …. it makes me cry.

              • Swampy

                That was to buld steam locos much less technology involved. When the end of steam came in NZ so to did come the end of locomotive building except very simple ones.
                The clear benefits were seen then of buying from experienced builders because of leap intechnology needed. and being geared up to make them meant they could be made a lot quiicker (sound familiar>)

                Look at the poms experience. a lot of locos having very short lives because the builders didnot have a clue.

                There are a few private builders established in Aust if there was an advantage to building in NZ they would have come over by now.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1.2.2

              Yep, we did – until we started making them ourselves.

              A Colonial Viewpoint

              As with many of the 1980s projects, the early approach to the railways had been essentially a colonial one, with total imports of the technology, but the paucity of overseas exchange resulting from Vogel’s Public Works programme led to the decision to build locomotives locally. The expertise built up in the workshops, which had been established to carry out maintenance, provided the base for this move. Large numbers of workers, including many craftsmen, were employed in these workshops, which were the largest workshops of any industry in the colony.

              It seems that they did, as a matter of fact, take into account wider economic benefits. They didn’t call them that but they did take them into account.

          • Swampy 11.2.1.1.3

            Kiwi rail has the benefits from spending the money that was saved on these locos – wagons on something else
            Still has economic benefit.

    • Bright Red 11.3

      of, Nick C, we can just make sure government subsidiaries consider the impacts of their decisions on the whole government.

      It’s not revolutionary, it’s not anti-trade. You wouldn’t expect a division of Microsoft to ignore impacts on the whole company when making its decisions, why should the government be different?

      the fact that you’re resorting to anti-trade misdirection suggests you don’t have an answer.

      • Nick C 11.3.1

        No, kiwirail should act in the interests of the country, which is exactly what it is doing here by taking the cheapest contract

        As I said, there are two ways we can make trains: We can build them in Dunedin or grow them in Cantabury (that is to say, export something and get trains as an import in return). If we build trains in Dunedin then the Cantabury farmer goes out of business. If we grow the trains in Cantabury then the Dunedin factory goes out of business.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.1

          And no matter how many times you repeat it it still isn’t true. The wider economic benefits of making the trains here far outweighed importing them. Go read the Berl report.

          • Nick C 11.3.1.1.1

            Of course it’s true. What do you think the chinese want in return for building these trains for us? Green pieces of paper with pictures of the Queen on them?

            No, they want dairy products, and various other things that New Zealand can export. So when we buy goods from China we give them the NZ$ to buy goods from here, thus helping our export industries. If the chinese never got the $NZ they would never buy the NZ milk and therefore the export would never happen.

            Point me to where in the Berl report that is taken into account. If its not, then it isnt worth the paper it is written on.

            • SPC 11.3.1.1.1.1

              If your argument was true – the Chinese had a trade surplus with New Zealand before this deal.

              Otherwise

              1. Nations don’t barter.

              2. They have the foreign currency reserves (trade surpluses with many other nations) to buy New Zealand, not just our dairy products.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.1.1.2

              Typical RWNJ – just doesn’t fucking listen.

              The cost/benefit analysis, taking into account the wider economic benefits of making the trains here, show that it’s better for NZ to make the trains here rather than exporting dead cows and importing trains.

              Get it?

            • Colonial Viper 11.3.1.1.1.3

              If the chinese never got the $NZ they would never buy the NZ milk and therefore the export would never happen.

              This is so fraking stupid your RWNJ certificate is hereby revoked.

              (PS as long as Fonterra accepts USD, which the Chinese happen to be sitting on hundreds of billions of, our dairy trade will be just fine. You’re hereby also downgraded to Financial n00b.)

          • Swampy 11.3.1.1.2

            The Berl case assumes a gravy train approach
            Its 1970s Muldoon in power The railways get told to mop up unemployment by making work for peop,e on the dole queue etx
            Railways show a huge loss in the govermment accounts at the end of the year

            That used to happen but does not any more. We live in the real world now. N one in their right mind is going to suggerst we start a locomotive building industry from scratch by throwing pots of money into the railway workshops that will be lost on the costs of setting up from scratch.

            • jcuknz 11.3.1.1.2.1

              But we already have the nucleous of a railway building industrry and we had one until the RWNJs sold it out from our control. You guys just don’t know your history. The stupidity of the RWNJs is un believable. Such limited thinking and concept of reality which should be obvious to them as it is to me with my limited brain power.
              I’m drunk remember and going for another …..

              • Swampy

                NO we did not the rail workshops are about the capacity they were late 80s well before Privatisation was guessed at
                A tiny number of very simple locos put together one at a time or assembled from kit sets made overseas in the last 40 years. not a locomotive building indstry.

                The shops do have the capacity to overhaul & have been doing so many years but its all spread out so they are working continuoulsy. gearing up extra capacity for short period of contract then laying pple off at the end is wasteful.

                • Colonial Viper

                  gearing up extra capacity for short period of contract then laying pple off at the end is wasteful.

                  yeah, according to National giving talented NZ’ers work for a year or two is wasteful, as is building up our industrial capacity to be able to bid on more work overseas.

                  I think National needs to start wearing an L on its forehead.

                  A tiny number of very simple locos put together one at a time or assembled from kit sets made overseas in the last 40 years. not a locomotive building indstry.

                  Yeah but we could obtain that capacity. And we are proficient at building modern rail cars.

                  • Swampy

                    No. We are proficient at refurbihsing carriages and units. There is a difference in designing them fromm scratch and rebuilding existing ones which is what the work shops have been doing for years. using some one else’s design and reparing the carriage or wagons according to the manufactureres spec is quite different to starting from scratch.

                    The notion the unions put out that the shops could compete with other manufactureres overseas is quite ridiculous especially with Asian manufactureres. most larger countries have their own railway builders already established without the dis advantgae of the large distance we are by sea from any export martket.

  12. B 12

    Refresh my memory. Who was the NZ sales agent for this deal? How much was the commission?

    • Bright Red 12.1

      Sammy Wong was working for Kiwirail … http://pansyfacts.co.nz/category/questions-arising/

      • deWithiel 12.1.1

        According to KiwiRail he was working for PPD (NZ) Ltd. See: http://www.blueskynz.net/index.php?styleid=2). The website states that PPD ‘serves as a duly authorized representative and an amiable ambassador for major leading enterprises of China’s railway industry.’ Pansy has contradicted the KiwiRail statement. PPD were the agents, again the website states, in Mandarin (Google translation, sorry) that: ‘ PPD team success with the New Zealand design, manufacture and supply of the 100 container trucks, the vehicle is currently in New Zealand railway line has been fully operational. The container truck designed to fit the meter gauge railway line in New Zealand transport and design, is the first time New Zealand rail vehicles vehicle market, but also received the New Zealand Government Railways assets, for the first time all the vehicles in overseas orders.’

  13. B 13

    Which means he wasn’t working for Kiwirail, but for an ‘authorized representative and an amiable ambassador for major leading enterprises of China’s railway industry’. So how much was PPD’s commission and who are their shareholders?

  14. randal 14

    it might be madness but in the long run all foreign currency has to be paid for and usually in trinagular offsets.
    kiwi rolling stock is only a goer if we can export surplus production.
    that is the nub and not just the short term effects here.
    the government knows it cant engineer that sort of capacity without treading on significant toes overseas and making the situation worse.

    • Swampy 14.1

      Sure. kiwirail compete against establihed builders with track record like all the AUssie ones to say the least. never happen

  15. Adrian 15

    Why did Key need to be kept appraised of Wongs interests in the hovercraft company? Why was Wong with Key on several ? business trips to China ? Did Key know about Wong being an agent for CNR interests ? Does the Key/ Wong connection go a lot deeper than we know about? Can you really believe that Key is not still trading/dealing ( WTF does he do all the time in Hawaii considering that he has a beach house here in NZ ?) Is it a good cover for who knows what ?. And finally if you think all of the above is unlikely, ask yourself , “Do I really trust him?”

    • marsman 15.1

      Of course Key is still trading. Before he was trading NZ currency. Now the whole of NZ is his trade currency.

  16. Deadly_NZ 16

    Yeah follow the money trail…

    From Sammy Wong to Pansy Wong to John Key to Bill English Hmmm 7 million saved split 4 ways not a bad bit of wedge for them just for ripping off the NZ workers and tax Payers..

    Let em come after me with a law suit (I got no money it’s all been stolen by the NATS) So I’ll say it again They are ALL CORRUPT!

  17. Swampy 17

    The amount of time that left wing blogs have spent attacking Kiwirail over its tendering decisions is grossly disproportionate. It is really just the advance wave of next years election campaign being fought by Laour and one of its key afialiate unions.

    There’s not going to be any return to the day of massive government subsidies to the rail network so get used to it

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Apparently stripping capability enhancement and product development opportunities from NZ industry (not even mentioning putting jobs at risk), while giving those same opportunities to foreigners, is not worth too much of a second thought to you.

      Well it is to Labour, and you will hear about it day after day next year.

      There’s not going to be any return to the day of massive government subsidies to the rail network so get used to it

      Just massive National Government subsidies for failed investors and highways to no where?

      Yeah your crew are clueless, planless, and a team full of missed opportunities.

      Roll on 2011, can’t wait.

      • Swampy 17.1.1

        Labour Government spent $660 million of OUR money buying rail workers votes last election and still lost. Eat that.

      • Swampy 17.1.2

        And that would be because the Labour Party stands to benefit financialy wouldn’t it

        Just like antoher example $1000 bonus to union memmbers in certain State sector awards, effectively free union membership paid by the taxpayer.

  18. Swampy 18

    If the othe decision was the building of locomotives it is very wrong to say its about small amount of money

    70% more expensive to build the locos in NZ = substantial amount.

    Its also quite wrong to say Farrar issupporting this cause, he has not expressed anything that suggests that he just let his mate post on his blog.

    Now what is being asked? government subsidies to kiwirail so that it must buy in NZ well this is really old hat and it should not amount to the goverment giving money to its own company to be favoured over competitoors in the marketplace

    Its not surprising to me to see this sort of political lobbying that Kiwirail (whose employees just happen to make up the membership of one of the Labour partys key union affialites) should be granted aprivileged status over and above just because its goverment owned and the fact this sort of lobbying is going on is a good reason why the goverment should not own a rail operator or any business that competes against the private sector as rail actually does.

    • jcuknz 18.1

      He didn’t let his mate post on his blog as he has done in the past year with several contributors but he copied and pasted this personal blog onto his own blog. And I thought the lefties were the conspiracy maniacs but you are just as bad..
      I’m off to bed now … you can guess why :-)

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      Nope, CNR are 25% cheaper than Hillside…

      Seems to be a bit less than the 70% that you’re saying.

  19. ak 20

    From deWith’s link:

    “Therefore, the New Zealand specifies that before the imported locomotive contract is placed the Trade Unions shall take charge of the last procedure to decide whether it is signed after its investigation. On February 9th, 2009, the New Zealand Trade Unions made an on-the-spot investigation to Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co, Ltd and took a ride on HXD3 electric locomotive, during which time they were highly satisfied by what they had reviewed”

    Velly intelering…….anyone know who exactly was in this “New Zealand Trade Unions” delegation?

  20. Colonial Viper 21

    CNR China takes and uses German Train Tech (then throws the Germans out)

    China knows how to do it, this National Government does not.

    Read and weep RWNJ’s: active govt procurement is crucial in the development of an advanced, high value industrial economy.

    The NATs just bumble along with their anti real economy agenda.

  21. Swampy 22

    “It doesn’t make sense for parts of the government called SOEs to act as if they are independent entities and ignore the impacts of their decisions on the the rest of the government. ”

    Actually, it does. SOEs are set up to be at arms’ length from the goverment. The reason why this is important is SOEs are engaged in commercial activties which often compete with private sector companies. Therefore their operation has to be totally transpoarent and free of political interferece.

    What doesnt make sense is for a government to direct an SOE to make a poliitcal decision which is what you are advocating. Savings made from these contracts will go into some other part of Kiwirails operation rather than buying political favours.

    • lprent 22.1

      Agree and disagree. We retain ownership of SOE’s for strategic reasons and the hands off approach is to allow for transparency on strategic investments rather than the hidden social subsidies common in the Muldoon era.

      The imperatives of a fully private enterprise are always towards short term profit. The state retains ownership stakes to ensure that longer term ‘infrastructure’ decisions with longer paybacks can be made. It means that if the state wants to make them then it needs to pay for them.

      In this case, the question about being able to maintain our ability to maintain our ability to repair and build our on rolling stock over the long term is a political decision not a short term commercial one. It is the same type of decision as bailing out air nz to maintain a air freight link for nz required by our exporters.

      In my view we need to be able to build and maintain our rolling stock over the longer term. The government should invest in making sure that happens.

  22. Frank Macskasy 23

    “Is it worth the risk for a measly $7 million? I for one don’t think so and I would be happy to foot my portion of that bill as a taxpayer.”

    Which comes to just under $2 per every person in New Zealand.

    $2.

    You can buy about 15 minutes carparking in downtown Wellington for that price.

    Or a newspaper.

    Or a packet of chewing gum.

    But not much else. Yet, for just under $2, we could have provided New Zealanders with jobs. I’m with David Farrar on this; the decision by Kiwirail flies in the face of common sense.

    Cancel the contract. And while we’re on cancelling contracts – let’s look at Jim Quinn’s.

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    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA SEEKS TAI TOKERAU RECOUNT
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA to fight mass privatisation of state housing
    Announcements over the past 12 hours from the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand, Bill English, and Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, make clear the government’s intention for the mass privatisation of state housing. This comes during the middle...
    Mana | 07-10
  • Journalists have right to protect sources
    Legal authorities must respect the right of journalist Nicky Hager to protect the source of his material for his Dirty Politics book under Section 68 of the Evidence Act, Acting Labour Leader David Parker says. “It is crucial in an...
    Labour | 06-10
  • It shouldn’t take the Army to house the homeless
    National’s move to speed up its state house sell-off shows it is bankrupt of new ideas, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National has been in office for six years, yet the housing crisis has got worse every month and...
    Labour | 06-10
  • We need more houses, not Ministers
    The Government’s decision to have three housing Ministers will create a dog’s breakfast of the portfolio and doesn’t bode well for fixing the country’s housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New Zealanders need more houses, not more Ministers....
    Labour | 05-10
  • MANA’S CHALLENGE TO THE 51st PARLIAMENT
    Ten years ago I led 50,000 Maori on the historic FORESHORE AND SEABED MARCH from Te Rerenga Wairua to the very steps of this parliament, in a march against the greatest land grab in the history of this country –...
    Mana | 03-10
  • Is this really necessary?
    No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience, but it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits, Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker says. “Salaries paid to chief executives come at...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Lyttelton Port workers also deserve pay rises
    Hard slog by Lyttelton Port workers contributed to strong financial growth for the company and they deserve to be rewarded for their work as much as its chief executive, says Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker. “Lyttelton Port chief executive Peter...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Māori Party must seek guarantees on Māori seats
    Labour is calling on the Māori Party to ensure protection of the Māori seats is part of its coalition deal with National which is being considering this weekend, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “For the third consecutive term,...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Donaghys job losses another blow to Dunedin
    The loss of 30 jobs from Donaghys rope and twine factory is yet another blow to the people and economy of Dunedin, says Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran. “Donaghys was founded in 1876; the company has survived two world...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Dairy price fall shows urgent need to diversify
    The overnight drop in milk prices shows New Zealand’s overreliance on the dairy industry puts our economy in a vulnerable position, says Acting Labour Leader David Parker. “Dairy prices fell 7.3 per cent overnight and have almost halved since February....
    Labour | 02-10
  • Tasks aplenty for new Health Minister
    One of the first jobs for the new Minister of Health must be to provide an honest and transparent report into surgery waiting times and exactly how many Kiwis are not having their health needs met, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Labour and ‘special interests’
    The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves. The next Labour...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Ru...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi) . National’s housing development project: ‘Gateway’ to confusion . Perhaps nothing better illustrates National’s lack of a coherent housing programme than the ‘circus’ that is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they ...
    Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.”...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • David Shearer’s ‘no feminist chicks’ mentality highlights all that is...
    Mr Nasty pays a visit Shearer’s extraordinary outburst last night on NZs favourite redneck TV, The Paul Henry Show, is a reminder of all that is wrong within the Labour Caucus right now… He said the current calls for a female or...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0
    Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – A Tale Of Two Cities
    Sunday was surreal. I went for a drive and ended up in a different country. It wasn’t intentional but those days of too many literally intertextual references seldom are. There is no doubt that the Sunday drive this week had...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Key raises terror threat level to justify war in Iraq and now the SIS need ...
    Have we learned nothing from rushing into war? It’s embarrassing Key has raised our terror threat from ‘very low’ to ‘low’ so he can justify military action in Iraq. Watching him pimp for an American war is as sick as...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Socialism? in France; Austerity in Europe
    On Sunday I stumbled upon this recent New York Times column The Fall of France by Paul Krugman. Then I caught BBC’s Newsnight interview with France’s ‘Socialist’ Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Krugman notes that the Socialists came to power on an anti-austerity mandate, but completely squandered their opportunity...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • So Snowden and Greenwald were right – again – NZ Embassies spying for A...
    Well, well, well. What do we have here… NZ embassies involved in covert intelligence work for US – reportsNew Zealand’s embassies have been involved in covert intelligence gathering work on behalf of the United States, a fresh batch of classified...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Why David Parker *isn’t* a credible choic...
    The one electoral contest this year that a Labour leader is sure to win heated up over the weekend with the late entry of Finance Spokesman (and interim caretaker leader) David Parker into Labour’s leadership race. I’d blogged late last...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Fran O’Sullivan’s extraordinary column
    Note how the carefully constructed flow chart above ignores the mainstream media’s complicity with Slater and Dirty Politics    I am no fan of Fran O’Sullivan’s politics and would argue long into the day against her on many of the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Final salute to Cunliffe
    Final salute to Cunliffe...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • David Cunliffe’s statement
    I am today announcing that I have decided not to nominate for the 2014 Labour Party leadership contest. It has been a hard decision to make but it is one that I believe is in the best interests of the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Cunliffe to quit leadership race – the losers are the Labour Party member...
    That’s all folks   And so ends the first ever Labour Party member/affiliates choice for leadership. David Cunliffe is standing down at 2pm and is supporting Andrew Little instead. What a perverse turn of events. Cunliffe was punished by an angry Labour leadership forced...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Want to see new Nu Zilind? Read the comments section of Andrea Vance’s co...
    Andrea Vance is no stooge. She is one of the few mainstream media voices who has challenged power and authority, her latest column on the outrageous attempts by Key to use fear mongering to  spook the sleepy hobbits into war...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Humanity calling Government – anyone with empathy home?
    On Friday night groups of Invercargill activists and plain ole people who care took part in the 14 Hours Homeless event – sleeping out in the balmy southern climate on cardboard and couches at our Salvation Army Citadel. It’s a...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Labour, leadership and White blokes
    David Shearer said on TV3’s The Nation this weekend that he appreciated the support Labour’s received from Maori and Pacific communities over the last few elections, but that it was important to again, secure the votes of ordinary white blokes...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Wrong priorities in media coverage of Ebola crisis
    The experts have told us that there is very little likelihood of a serious Ebola outbreak in any Western nation – unless the virus changes so that it can be spread through the air rather than just via bodily fluids....
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • John Key uses the same old warmongering recipe
    Less than three weeks after the election Prime Minister John Key wants New Zealand to join a war in the Middle East and extend the powers of our US-focused spy agencies the SIS (Security Intelligence Service) and the GCSB (Government...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – shifting focus: towards building an effective ...
    It has now been three weeks since the election, and we on the left are still in the phase of trying to figure out what went wrong.  That can be a useful exercise depending on how it’s done, especially if...
    The Daily Blog | 11-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • RainbowYOUTH: 25 Years, 25 More
    In 1989, a group of young people in Auckland got together to form a support group for LGBTIQ youth. They called it Auckland Lesbian And Gay Youth (ALGY). After 25 years, several location changes, a name change, a brand reboot...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Outdated Oath shows need for Kiwi Head of State
    MPs are sworn in today and New Zealand Republic has written to MPs asking them to talk about why 121 New Zealanders elected by the people of New Zealand and standing in the New Zealand Parliament swear allegiance to another...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Council shouldn’t revenue grab from windfall valuations
    Auckland Council should state clearly they will not try and capture revenue as a result of the latest valuations and needs reminding that the City’s skyrocketing property values doesn’t change the level or cost of Council’s services, says...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • EPMU endorses Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    The National Executive of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union unanimously endorsed Andrew Little for the role of Labour leader, at a meeting held yesterday. “I have been speaking to our workplace delegates at forums across the country over...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • World Food Day promotes Agroecology not GE technology
    The UN has stated that agroecology is a major solution to feeding the world and caring for the earth....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Labour Names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Contenders for Labour leadership debate for first time
    The contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party debated for the first time on TV One’s Q+A programme today....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • UN Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme
    New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully
    Murray McCully says New Zealanders can expect a 5-10 year engagement against Islamic State if we join military action in Iraq and the government will take that “very carefully into account”...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Julia Gillard
    Julia Gillard says there is “sufficient evidence” to fight Islamic State and does not think it will increase the risk of a domestic attack...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • NZ businesses to make child abuse a priority conversation
    Many leading New Zealand businesses have partnered with national child advocacy organisation Child Matters to participate in the fourth annual ‘Buddy Day’ - New Zealand’s only child abuse prevention awareness day....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Tribunal decision significant for SMEs
    The Human Rights Review Tribunal decided this week in favour of an employee’s right not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons. The decision may still be appealed but the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, Robert Kee,...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… New Zealand has been elected to the United Nations Security Council, but what happens next? Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully from New York about our goals for reform, what America wants from us...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • 1000+ supported by Te Arawa Whanau Ora
    Over 1000 individual whānau members are leading happier, healthier, more successful lives as a result of eight passionate and committed Māori organisations working at the coalface to help whānau find success....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Nomination for Board Members Now Open
    CRF’s objective is to create opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to every area of New Zealand society. It is an organisation that undertakes advocacy work using the strengths-based approach,...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Anglican Family Care Otago staff to take industrial action
    Social workers, family workers and support staff working for Anglican Family Care in Dunedin and South Otago will take industrial action after their employer refused a pay increase that would keep up with the rising cost of living....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Use UN Security Council role to overcome inaction and injust
    Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the UN Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use the role to ensure the body lives up to its role of safeguarding global peace and security....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant
    World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk
    On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks ....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • New Zealand awarded UN Security Council seat
    International aid agency Oxfam New Zealand welcomes New Zealand’s election to the United Nations Security Council, saying it gives an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting contribution to international peace and security and improve the lives...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • 40 more jobs lost to cheap imports
    40 more jobs lost to cheap imports Another New Zealand manufacturer is closing its doors, giving the lie to the idea that we have a “rock star” economy or any strategy for jobs growth. Wellpack is a paper bag manufacturer...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs
    Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs 29 roles are to be cut at the Christchurch manufacturing facility of Tasman Insulation, the company which manufacturers the iconic Pink Batts brand of products. The company is proposing to consolidate its...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Kellogg cereal donations help the Sallies feed those in need
    Kellogg New Zealand commits 64,000 serves of breakfast cereal during World Food Day Coinciding with World Food Day this year, Kellogg New Zealand and The Salvation Army are reaching out to less fortunate Kiwis with the donation of 64,000 serves...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • National Slips, Labour Hits Lows
    National fail to get post-election bounce but leaderless Labour Party crash to lowest ever support...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZ parents hope for more than just happy and healthy babies
    Auckland, 16 October 2014 – What do expectant mums and dads hope for their children? According to new research from Growing Up in New Zealand , a baby’s health and happiness may be high up on the list, but today’s...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZPI backs Minister’s affordable housing stance
    NZPI backs Minister’s affordable housing stance NZPI is supportive of Hon. Dr Nick Smith’s, efforts to use the RMA as a mechanism for taking the heat out of the housing affordability challenge in New Zealand. “As Minister for Environment...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Prime Minister’s OIA Admision Disturbing
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling for answers after it was revealed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report that the Prime Minister’s office routinely flouts its obligations under the Official Information Act. Taxpayers’ Union spokesman, Ben...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZDIA forum press release
    NZDIA forum press release Wellington - The New Zealand Defence Industry Association, with the support of the NZ Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence, will be holding a two-day international forum on October 21-22 at the Michael Fowler Centre...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • BPW NZ calls fashion industry to account
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) joins the call for action on the use of skinny models and mannequins as it is directly affecting the self-esteem and health of many of our young people....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Electoral Commission introduces Extra Touch for Blind NZers
    The Electoral Commission was presented with the Extra Touch Award by the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand (Blind Citizens NZ), in recognition of its successful implementation of Telephone Dictation Voting ahead of its commitment to do so by...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Auckland move for KiwiRail health and safety team questioned
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Redundancies a result of putting profit over good business
    Heinz Watties redundancies a result of putting profit over good business Heinz Watties workers are shocked by the announcement made late last night that up to 100 jobs are being cut from the company’s New Zealand operations. No information was...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Injuries at work show many sectors are too dangerous
    Workers are deeply concerned about the research Statistics New Zealand have released today showing that almost one-quarter of agriculture, forestry, and fishery workers had a work-related injury claim accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Chatham Rise seabed hearing: the absence of evidence
    The phosphate on the seabed, 450m down on the Chatham Rise, has a particular quality that other phosphate doesn’t have: uranium....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Office of Ombudsman making sure people treated fairly in NZ
    The Office of Ombudsman has told Parliament that it has made significant progress in effectively managing its work to make sure people are treated fairly in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Food Matters Aotearoa Conference Press release
    This year the UN World food day theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”, chosen to highlight and raise awareness of the problems worldwide and the solutions to food security and ridding the world of hunger. The...
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Support from Production, Recreation and Environment.
    When it comes to water quality not many organisations can claim to have the support of major bodies representing production, recreation and the environment, yet this is exactly what NZ Landcare Trust has achieved. The Trust's upcoming 'Communities...
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Law Society supports Malaysian Bar Peace and Freedom Walk
    The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its support for a planned Walk for Peace and Freedom by Malaysian lawyers protesting against continued use of the Sedition Act 1948 by the Malaysian government....
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Bunnies Offered Protection With New Technology
    SAFE is announcing the spring launch of its “bunny protector” – a new mobile phone app that will help shoppers on the go avoid animal-tested cosmetics products. Suitable for both iPhone and android, the ‘SAFEshopper Cruelty-free NZ’ app will...
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Maori Wellbeing – Defying the Oxymoron
    When Mother Teresa was asked how do you achieve world peace, she said, go home and love your family....
    Scoop politics | 14-10
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