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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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    Greens | 30-10
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    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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