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The Standard

The real crims wear white collars

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, February 25th, 2012 - 74 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class, crime, scoundrels - Tags:

Directorships are the golden ticket in the world of the business elite. You attend maybe 10 meetings a year, sign whatever’s put in front of you, typically get paid $3-4K a pop, and do it over again half a dozen times or more for various companies. It’s a gravy train for managers past their use by date. But customers and shareholders have to trust what directors sign off on.

So, it’s good to see the Lombard directors being held to account for signing off on statements that were untrue. If you paid me $4,000 per meeting and were asking me to lend my name, and in Doug Graham’s case his prestige, to the reputation of your firm, I would know those documents intimately. I would want to double-check every fact. For $4,000 per meeting, that’s the kind of service the shareholders and customers deserve.

Liam Dann sums it up:

His crime – and these are criminal convictions with the potential for a jail term – is that he did not take the role seriously enough.

He signed up to a set of promises to investors and then failed to ensure those promises were kept.

Graham won’t go to jail as a ordinary person would if their actions had cost other millions of dollars through laziness or carelessness. Jail is for the poor. The elite still get treated with kid gloves in our justice system. But this case is a start. Let’s see more of the business elite swing for pocketing the money and letting the people who trusted them pick up the pieces when it all goes to crap.

74 comments on “The real crims wear white collars”

  1. marsman 1

    The prosecution has called for a jail term but the judge has already indicated that ‘community service would be more appropriate’. You are right ZETETIC our justice system ( or is it our judges? ) favours the well off. Is it the old boys network or can the well off afford ‘better’ legal representation?

    • bbfloyd 1.1

      if the sentences handed down conform to the judges direction, then the prosecution have obvious recourse to challenge on the basis that the judge had no right to dictate terms regarding the type of sentence the court deems appropriate before due deliberation has taken place….

      if this isn’t just a cosy little “nudge nudge, wink wink” between peers, then the prosecution has an obligation to appeal on the above grounds….

      we will soon see just how “neutral” our “justice” system is…

  2. John Day 2

    Why do we have Professional Directors. They are like greedy children. ” When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I believed as a child. When I became a man I put away childish things.” So many adults still speak as a child. They are still greedy. They are not competent.

    • Vicky32 2.1

      Why do we have Professional Directors. They are like greedy children. ” When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I believed as a child. When I became a man I put away childish things.” So many adults still speak as a child. They are still greedy. They are not competent.

      Seconded! :)

  3. IrishBill 3

    Indeed. It will be interesting to see what the penalty for the “runaway millionaire” will be. I suspect it will be more than community service. Mind you he stole from a big Australian bank rather than a bunch of small kiwi investors so jail is probably on the cards.

  4. chris73 4

    If it was up to me the directors would sharing a cell with big bubba

    • thatguynz 4.1

      +1

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.2

      If it was up to me Big Bubba would never have been brutalised into becoming the monster he is today, and would be happily and gainfully employed on a decent wage in a healthy community with low crime rates. Just saying…

      • IrishBill 4.2.1

        Yep. I’d add to that that idea that rape is simply part of the prison penalty is fucking disgraceful. As is the fact prison rape-jokes are prevalent in popular culture.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.2.1.1

          +1

        • chris73 4.2.1.2

          Not sure I mentioned rape but my main point was they should do jail time and go to maximum security

          • felix 4.2.1.2.1

            Just out of curiosity, what was the reference to sharing a cell with Big Bubba intended to convey?

            Also why maximum security? Surely that’s to protect the community from extremely violent prisoners who pose an escape risk.

            • chris73 4.2.1.2.1.1

              Be nice for them to share some time with less well-off members of society for a change don’t you think

              maximum security to send a message

              • felix

                Ah, so “sharing a cell with big bubba” is code for “spending time with less well-off members of society”.

                Sorry I was confused but that’s only because every other time that phrase has ever been used in the history of ever, it’s been code for “being subjugated by a powerful & violent rapist”.

                My bad.

                • chris73

                  So you think they shouldn’t go to prison? Community service or detention be a good enough for you? Maybe a fine…

                  • KJT

                    No. Just there should be equality of punishment.

                    How long has the Captain of the Rena been held. For what was most likely a mistake, not negligence.

                    How much jail time is the person who stole $1000 going to get.
                    Compared to those who are stealing millions.

                    I am not an advocate of the effectiveness of jail for most ordinary criminals. Who have mental, drug or educational problems, in most cases, and would be less likely to re-offend after rehabilitation rather than jail.

                    These people are well educated and responsible sociopaths and serious punishment such as jail, or confiscation of assets, relative to the crime, are probably the only a deterrents that will work with them..

                  • felix

                    “So you think they shouldn’t go to prison?”

                    wtf, chris?

                    This isn’t about whether they go to prison, it’s about your belief that rape can be thought of as a kind of punishment.

                  • Rich

                    I wouldn’t send them to jail. Criminal bankruptcy. All their assets, including any trusts they might be a beneficiary of, confiscated to pay the people they ripped off. Never allowed to own a penny again.

                    There’s a spare space on Courtenay Place where they could live.

  5. prism 5

    His crime – and these are criminal convictions with the potential for a jail term – is that he did not take the role seriously enough.

    Good point here – taken from Lian Dann comment referred to. It seems to me that many of the business people don’t take their role seriously. and carry this lax attitude into their directorships. There are growing numbers of career politicians whose main interest seems to be – first finding out how the game is played, and then making sure that they appear to be on-side . Serving the people comes lowest as their social class is the one they look to, and scorn the rest when they suffer downturns with a quip ‘it’s the way the cookie crumbles mate’. Then it’s a fool who hasn’t got a position sewn up for their post-political career.

    It could be a serious consideration as I believe submissions are being asked for as to whether complicated NZ business cases should be held before judge alone, or a small panel, rather than have a jury.

    There is already cronyism in NZ and even in the States which is big enough to have a good selection, there are examples of careful manipulation of officials such as judges.. There they are chosen and remain in office till they die, supposedly always of Mahon-like probity, but getting the right political flavour from the first ensures that the way the chips will fall can be almost guaranteed.

    • johnm 5.1

      Prism
      “His crime – and these are criminal convictions with the potential for a jail term – is that he did not take the role seriously enough.”

      That’s not good enough! It amounts to constructive fraud!

      Some definitions of fraud:

      Definition of Fraud

      Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th edition, 1979 defines fraud as follows:

      “All mutifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get an advantage over another by false suggestions or suppression of the truth. It includes all surprises, tricks, cunning or dissembling, and any unfair way which another is cheated.”
      Being deliberately thick counts here as well!

      The legal-dictionary.the free dictionary.com/fraud calls it:

      “A false representation of a matter of fact – whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed – that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.”

      Criminal and civil frauds differ in the level of proof required – the former needs a “preponderance of evidence;” the latter must prove intent and be “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      These guys will go to a white collar prison ,more like a holiday camp they’ll survive ok,

  6. KJT 6

    When are the two politicians who were Directors of Huljich going to be charged.

    And the insider traders who bought into SCF just before it was bailed out. Despite the Managers, National and Directors, and I do not mean Hubbard, knowing it was in breach of the guarantee agreement.

    Not to mention Douglas and co selling us out to the tune of 14 billion a year..

    Key’s gaming of our currency to make his money. Which should be illegal. It is just as much stealing as the one who ran of with the banks money.

    At what level of blatant theft are you exempt from prosecution?

    Just make your theft big enough and you will get away with it!

    • starlight 6.1

      With regard to scf, treasury told english he wasn’t acting under the terms of the retail
      deposit scheme,so english changed the terms and conditions and called a meeting with
      the investors and told them ‘they now had the crown guarantee’ there was a subsequent
      rush on deposits and english was questioned in parliament about it and all he could say
      was ‘well it was labour who introduced it’,the wezel blaming labour when he changed
      the terms and conditions to allow it,under labour’s terms and conditions the rort would
      not have happpened.
      Just look at how key and english are going to shaft the maori party over the asset sales,the maori
      party need a kick in the proverbial.

      • starlight 6.1.1

        Bill english announced that he will change terms and conditions of labours retail deposit scheme on the 25th august 09, this is on the beehive.govt.nz site.

  7. keith ross 7

    if I had of swindled a bunch of people out of millions I would be going to jail right now. I saw the look that the judge gave these ” upstanding gentlemen” when talking about the sentencing, it was “yea, no worries boys,I got your back”. Being the ex justice minister should be an aggravating factor.
    It makes me feel sick that these greedy ,already rich criminals will not get what they deserve. The same jail time that you or I would get for a crime of this magnitude.

  8. Kotahi Tane Huna 8

    With this in mind, let’s hope the judge’s decision comes in just before lunch.

  9. Nick K 9

    As a centre-right voter, I tend to agree with most of what you’ve written. Sure, there might not have been any intent by Graham to mislead investors and I’m willing to accept his actions were almost certainly *not* deliberate in any way. But simply because you were a former MP and Minister doesn’t mean you are a leading candidate to be a company director for a company that took millions off elderly investors. To me this comes down to one thing that I think is lacking in New Zealand’s leaders (and directors it seems) in spades – courage. At least Luxton and Creech told Mark Bryers to foxtrot oscar when he wouldn’t tell them what the feck was happening at Blue Chip, but they are now facing investigation. Any director who rubber stamps Disclosure Statements deserves all they get. Graham should have known better. I don’t subscribe to the view that elites don’t go to jail. The SFO has been putting white collar crims in jail for years.

  10. It’s interesting that Zetetic has chosen not to mention William Patrick “Bill” Jefferies; Labour MP for the Heretaunga electorate from 1981 to 1990, and Graham’s predecessor as Minister of Justice from 1989 to the 1990 election. He’s been found guilty of exactly the same charges as Graham and other directors.

    DPF described this yesterday a “a sad verdict”; I disagree completely. It’s a sign that any New Zealander, even a Knight will be found guilty if they break the law, and that they will have to live with any consequences of a conviction. It’s also a salutory lesson to company directors that they are as cuplable for bad decisions made as are the people who make the decisions. It may be a sad exit from public life for Graham and Jefferies, but both ought to have been able to see the consequences of the decisions they were making.

    • felix 10.1

      “It’s a sign that any New Zealander, even a Knight will be found guilty if they break the law, and that they will have to live with any consequences of a conviction.”

      Meh. These guys didn’t do anything different to what most directors do – sit on their chuffs getting fat and old, rubber stamping things they mostly couldn’t give a fuck about.

      The message being sent is “Carry on with business as usual, that the worst thing that’ll ever happen is a bit of community service”.

      And it’s not the end of their careers or any such drama. It’ll all be forgiven and forgotten and they’ll be hired to keep the seats warm on another bunch of boards as soon as you can say “See you at the northern club old boy”.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 10.1.1

        Depends what sort of a mood the judge is in I guess.

        • felix 10.1.1.1

          Yeah there’s the possibility, but I had the impression that the judge had already indicated community service would be appropriate in this case.

          Maybe I have my wires crossed.

          EDIT: Oh sorry I see the bit you meant now. Yes I wonder how that’ll go.

    • Zetetic 10.2

      I wrote “in Doug Graham’s case his prestige”

      Since I write on a political blog and I’ve never heard of Jefferies, I don’t think he has any prestige to lend to Lombard. Graham does and did.

      • Inventory2 10.2.1

        Then you’re pretty poorly informed Zet; most media has referred to both Graham and Jeffries being former Justice ministers.

        And FWIW, if there’s no appeal from Graham, I think that serious consideration should be given to his knighthood.

  11. Leopold 11

    Where’s the Sensible Sentencing Trust when you need them?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      They’re part of the Old Boys club and so they’ll be busy making up excuses for them – same as they did for the upstanding business fellow who killed a kid for graffiti.

  12. Leopold 12

    And while I about it, to quote Mr Guthrie:

    Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
    I’ve seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    And some with a fountain pen.

    And as through your life you travel,
    Yes, as through your life you roam,
    You won’t never see an outlaw
    Drive a family from their home.

  13. ChrisH 13

    From an article by Chrystia Freeland on the revolutions of 2011:

    “The unifying complaint is crony capitalism. That’s a broad term, to be sure, and its bloody Libyan manifestation bears little resemblance to complaints about the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the United States or allegations of corrupt auctions for telecommunications licenses in India. But the notion that the rules of the economic game are rigged to benefit the elites at the expense of the middle class has had remarkable resonance this year around the world and across the political spectrum. Could the failure of the experts to anticipate this anger be connected to the fact that the analysts are usually part of the 1 percent, or at least the 10 percent, at the top?”

    http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2011/12/29/in-2011-the-revolution-was-tweeted/

    So, a revolt against crony capitalism couldn’t happen here either?

  14. ianmac 14

    Good to see that the Lombard directors at least facing Court. (Didn’t National work hard to keep the Serious Fraud Office going and now might rue the day when their mates get clobbered?)
    If the Directors are guilty, what happened to the CEO and his staff for surely they must have been even more guilty?

  15. Peter Marshall 15

    I hope they go to jail myself .
    Also, I hope when they come out their arseholes are a lot larger after sharing a cell with big bubba.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    Not trying to minimize what they have been found guilty at all, and I tend to echo many of the sentiments expressed above.

    However, as I understand it, there has been no suggestion they deliberately went out to deceive investors. It appears to be a lack of care and scrutiny on their part, rather than deliberate deception. This distinction may be why they don’t get jail terms.

    • marsman 16.1

      It seems to me though that through their lack of care and scrutiny they caused many people to lose much money therefore are culpable whether that lack of care was deliberate or not. After all if someone crashes a car and causes much damage a lack of care while driving would not be a mitigating circumstance. Care is fundamental to the director’s job and to the driver’s job.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 16.2

      Bruce Sheppard used to bang on (probably still does for all I’ve been paying attention) about the consequences of diversified portfolio theory being a major problem in this regard – since you invest in everything and take the overall return as good enough, shareholder scrutiny of directors simply disappears from the equation.

      I am also reminded of Steve Eisman’s “say that again in English!” challenge in boardrooms, as a way to find out whether the talking heads had a clue one way or another. Mostly they didn’t.

      Court cases like this are one way directors can be forcibly reminded of their responsibilities, but what happened to ethics? Perhaps I’m being unnecessarily Dickensian but basic principles are kind of important – like don’t sign shit you haven’t read and don’t endorse stuff you haven’t fact checked. Yeah whatever, rant over. :/

      • burt 16.2.1

        Kotahi Tane Huna

        since you invest in everything and take the overall return as good enough, shareholder scrutiny of directors simply disappears from the equation.

        Exactly, highly paid incompetent managers of a sausage factory.

    • Inventory2 16.3

      That’s as maybe TS, but it’s a wake-up call to company directors that the buck stops with them if they sign off on decisions made by staff.

      • Billy Fish 16.3.1

        Doug Graham stood up in meetings and catagorically assured investors that the money was there and there were no issues and to keep on investing – so either he is
        1: A cretin (unlikely),
        2: A liar (possible) or
        3: Trusted Liars (most likely) in which case he failed in his job and has shown himself to be incompetent in his role(s). He was paid a goodly amount to act as the guardian / gatekeeper of a lot of peoples money and showed, via action or inaction, an inability to fufil his role. Pay back the directors fees please with penalty rates applied as we, judicial system to sort out the rest.

  17. lefty 17

    I don’t believe in imprisonment for crimes against property but if we are going to do it we should be consistent and lock these guys up with the dozens of others who are convicted for stealing far less every week.

    There is a reason why lawyers advise their clients to wear suits at their trials, and especially during sentencing.

    Its because most men in suits are thieves but few end up in jail.

    Sometimes its because their crimes against the rest of us are legal.

    Sometimes its because the judge sees a mirror image of him/herself when a man in a suit stands before them.

    Of course the supposed victimes in this particular case are not so innocent either.

    They wanted to make a lot of money for doing nothing and handed over their savings (or the surplus value they had stolen from workers they employed over the years) to these guys to do whatever dodgy sort of thing is needed to make that happen.

    They must have known these guys were crooks – some of them have knighthoods and, apart from the odd sportsperson, you have to be a pretty nasty piece of work to get one of them.

    And of course they all wear suits ,which is like carrying a flashing neon sign that says, “I am going to rip you off if I can.”

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 17.1

      No bollocks! Bondage up yours! If the whole notion of “harsh punishment” is bnuk it applies equally well to Tories as law abiding member of society.

      They are the worst kind of lowlife: those that abuse serendipity. How should their ethics inform ours?

  18. coolas 18

    ‘Sir’ should loose his knighthood when he goes to prison with the rest of these crooks.

    These guys are typical of the pale, stale, lazy males who infest NZ boardrooms because of the status or gravitas they’re perceived to contribute. It’s elitist crap. They signed off propaganda and lies that robbed people.

    I’m not suggesting they come to Mangaroa as Mongrel Mob bitches – but they should do time.

    ‘We were only getting a few beers,’ gets you time if you rob a liquor store in Flaxmere.

  19. Kotahi Tane Huna 19

    Yes! Lazy male elitists are the problem. Sigh…

  20. DH 20

    Carrying on the theme…

    When the HBDHB fiasco blew up the subsequent investigation sent a message to NZ that everyone pretty much ignored or were simply not perceptive enough to see. A number of HBDHB board members were revealed to have been using their (trusted) position to protect or further their personal business interests. That flew under the political radar because they weren’t Hausmann but others should have noticed and few did.

    It’s what the findings portend that are important. While the circumstances that led to the investigation were a little unusual the HBDHB was just another publicly elected board; no different to thousands of elected boards around the country. Local councils are publicly elected boards.

    The message everyone should have received was that if one board picked at random had members on the make then a whole lot more out there have them too. The door to the corruption room was opened for a brief moment & then slammed shut again, no-one wants to know. Pity really.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      Corruption seems to be systemic to all hierarchical social structures. The occult nature of those hierarchy, where what is decided/enacted is done behind closed doors, makes it inevitable.

    • burt 20.2

      DH

      A number of HBDHB board members were revealed to have been using their (trusted) position to protect or further their personal business interests.

      Yes… indeed. Now who’s husband was given a job in who’s company ???? Oh, that’s right. The husband of the minister of health at that time was given a job in the company that was awarded a $50m contract that never went to public tender…. The director of that company actually worked on the RFI document for the HBDHB.

      Politics slammed that door closed DH and the whole time the party apologists just kept saying move on to protect the best interests of the party.

      Like I said earlier, at least the Lombard crooks actually stood in court ! It’s amazing how justice works best when there is a separation between the judiciary and parliament.

      • DH 20.2.1

        You’re like the rest of the lemmings Burt. The investigation uncovered other issues of conflicts of interest that were unrelated to the Annette King story and which had far more serious implications. All you can do is vent your spite over Hausmann being exonerated. Can’t see the wood for the trees.

    • Descendant Of Smith 20.3

      Really – here’s the report.
      https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/…/hbdhb-report-mar08-2.pdf
      In general I understood it found that the DHB had really poor processes for handling conflicts of interest.

      • DH 20.3.1

        That’s a rather benign way of putting it but yes that’s pretty much what they found. The burning question is how many other publicly elected boards have poor processes for handling conflicts of interest.

        The report should have led to the formation of a small team of random auditors.

      • Descendant Of Smith 20.3.2

        Here’s the other bit I was looking for.
        www.baybuzz.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/…/AtkinsonAffidavit2.pdf
        Of course some of things not revealed here are other conflicts of interests from the people raising these issues e.g. Diana Kirton would have liked the funding to go to EIT where she also works – and presumably rather that have these women paid while they learn would prefer they take out student loans. More funding for EIT.
        The end result of all this fuss and bullshit was that women who were sole-parents in low socio-economic communities who were being trained to have meaningful employment in the health sector and paid a decent wage while doing this lost this opportunity.
        I know a couple of people who were on this program and it completely turned their lives around and they are now gainfully employed.
        I took some interest at the time because it seemed to me that what was actually being done was lost in the whole picture.
        At the end of the day no-one seemed to give a shit about these women while they played politics.
         

        • DH 20.3.2.1

          That I don’t know anything about. I just followed the media reporting, read the draft & final reports etc & noted the issues of conflicts of interest from board members.

          There’s nothing difficult about handling conflicts of interest when you’re in a position of trust. The default position is that if you’re conflicted on an issue you stand down from it.

          Whether there was any actual corruption or not is unknown but the potential was there & they should never have put themselves in such a position.

          • burt 20.3.2.1.1

            You’re like the rest of the lemmings Burt.

            nek minnit….

            That I don’t know anything about. I just followed the media reporting…

            Laugh a minute DH !!!!!!!

            • DH 20.3.2.1.1.1

              You forgot the last bit Burt… I read the official reports. I bet you didn’t.

              • burt

                DH

                I’m not going to inflame the site moderators accepting that bet. Under duress I decline.

                Interesting though reading the Affidavit linked above in how it clearly highlights that conflicts of interest were an ongoing concern when you noted;

                There’s nothing difficult about handling conflicts of interest when you’re in a position of trust. The default position is that if you’re conflicted on an issue you stand down from it.

                The board member appointed was known to be conflicted at the time of appointment…. how viable is that default position now? How general can we discuss this to completely avoid the core issue.

                These official reports “you” had, was there a yellow brick road mentioned here and there?

                Why would you expect any different outcome today compared to one that you seem comfortable with from this previous outburst of ‘Hello hello what’s going on here then?’ activity?

                • DH

                  There’s no conflict in being a board member Burt, that role is merely the general oversight of the public organisation concerned. Conflicts arise when you’re involved in making decisions on individual issues you have a personal interest in. The conflict is exascerbated further if you have a financial interest in the issue.

                  One of the reasons for having a board rather than just a chair is to provide enough non-conflicted persons to cover every issue that arises in the process of running the organisation. That’s pretty basic I’d have thought.

                  What the investigation revealed was a dire need for random auditing of all publicly elected boards to see how they were handling conflicts of interest.

  21. vto 21

    Some people are banging on in a defence of Graham and the others as if they had no criminal intent and that because of that there should be no jail time…

    There are many many offences which are deemed crimes and deserving of jail time despite the lack of intent. Society and the centuries-old justice system has come to this conclusion and set these in place They generally turn on the actions or inactions of the person being of such negligence that it must be deemed a crime – in other words, people have duty of a type of care to fellow humans that cannot be ignored. The best example of this is manslaughter.

    Given the scores of investors who lost money due to the complete and utter negligence of Graham and others, and given the significant and devastating amounts involved, it seems clear that society expects jail terms for these actions.

    And on another note – I recall very specifically the time when these events unfolded. It was obvious to everyone in and around the financa companies that they were in freefall. Doug Graham and Bill Jeffries are genuine fools if their claims of innocence are the truth.

    • burt 21.1

      X-Politicians. They probably assumed that all they would need to do was pay the money back and say the [insert-authority-here] changed the rules then denigrate the accusers and move on….

      • marsman 21.1.1

        Unfortunately these kind of crooks hide their money behind Family Trusts and courts still seem reluctant to have a good look at some of these Trusts.

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    Some people label ideas like a junk food tax as ‘nanny state’, but ultimately such soundbites are overly simplistic, because we already have a situation where the state interferes in our lives. Are unhealthy people such as smokers or people… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    16 hours ago
  • Productivity Commission sends worrying signal ahead of Budget 2015
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says today’s release of the Productivity Commission’s draft Report Into Social Services sends a worrying signal of the Government’s intentions ahead of Budget 2015. ...
    17 hours ago
  • Power and ponytails
    From the ongoing unfolding issue about the Prime Minister's ponytail pulling, specifically in the case of Amanda Bailey, there's one little bit I want to write about a bit more, and it comes back to this quote from The Nation… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Dunedin talk: After the 1916 Rebellion – the Irish war for independence a...
    Speaker: Dr Philip Ferguson (Phil was a Sinn Fein activist in Dublin from 1986-1994, when he left because he disagreed with the direction the leadership of SF/IRA were taking. He is currently a member of Clann éirígí and he blogs… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    17 hours ago
  • “Get some guts”
    I will not—will not—stand by while... people are out there being beheaded. I am sorry, but this is the time to stand up and be counted. Get some guts and join the right side. That was John Key in February,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    18 hours ago
  • Me on QT
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    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    18 hours ago
  • Submit to the power of authority
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    Rebuilding ChristchurchBy rebuildingchristchurch
    18 hours ago
  • “Casual”
    Key is, of course, right. He really is the most casual PM we’ve ever had. (Maybe if the Lamburglar had more than 9 weeks in the job he could have challenged for the title, but that didn’t happen so it… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    18 hours ago
  • Nepal aid effort intensifies
    Humanitarian agencies are preparing large-scale aid operations to earthquake-ravaged Nepal, with tonnes of supplies being flown into the country. Photo: AFP More than 4000 people are known to have died in the 7.8 quake on Saturday and more… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Cave Creek tragedy marked 20 years on
    Commemorations are taking place today to mark 20 years since the Cave Creek disaster that claimed 14 lives. Thirteen Tai Poutini Polytechnic outdoor recreation students and a Department of Conservation officer died when a DoC viewing platform collapsed into a… ...
    19 hours ago
  • The X Factor NZ: Back to black
    This week was yet another reminder that beneath a thin veneer of order, chaos still reigns at X Factor NZ. X Factor's Steve Broad. Photo: The X Factor NZ With the announcement this week that Dominic Bowden… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why National will Never Act on Climate Cha...
    Californians, withering in the worst drought in the state’s history, are being exhorted to leave their urine standing in the toilet, to keep their showers shorter than five minutes and to replace their lawns with rocks and cacti. Meanwhile, figures… ...
    20 hours ago
  • More thoughts on Light Rail details
    On the closed session agenda for tomorrow’s Auckland Transport board meeting is an item asking for a decision about Light Rail. Hopefully this will see the project move forward and the public provided with more information. With that in mind… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Questions and Answers – April 28
    Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. CHRIS BISHOP (National) to the Minister of Finance : What reports has he received about lower than expected inflation in New Zealand?Questions to Ministers Inflation—Reports 1. CHRIS BISHOP (National) to the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    21 hours ago
  • The “I” factor in political practice
    When is a Prime Minister a political person and when the voice of the nation? Opening the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington on April 18, John Key said: “I feel proud of the decision to make Pukeahu… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    23 hours ago
  • A Programme of Phased Cuts in Company Tax
    Column – ACT New Zealand Over-taxing mobile capital is not a good idea not if you want jobs and higher wages anyway. Last week the ACT Leader announced a plan for a programme of phased reductions in the company… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Trade Minister Cheers Big Corporation Over Ordinary People
    Press Release – New Zealand First Party Trade Minister Tim Grosers cheerleader role for the United States to speed up the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is worrying, says New Zealand First Trade Spokesperson Fletcher Tabuteau.Trade Minister Cheers Big Corporation Over… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • My other grandfather
    I have been stuck at home for several days, and so the build-up to Anzac day has been reduced for me to a series of media impressions. Fragmentary ones at that, as I actively tried to avoid the coverage. The… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    1 day ago
  • US: the state’s systematic violence kills another young black man
    Freddie Gray: brutally murdered by Baltimore cops by The Spark A young man is dead in Baltimore, killed by six murdering cops. In the same week, a murdering cop goes free in Chicago when a prosecutor and a judge tie… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Questions For Oral Answer April 28
    Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. CHRIS BISHOP to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received about lower than expected inflation in New Zealand? QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS 1. CHRIS BISHOP to the Minister of Finance: What… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Hobbling Democracy: TPPA and The Covenant of Secrecy
    Opinion – Binoy Kampmark The TTIP and TPPA, both sounding like ominous injections of political disaster, continue their march towards belittling, and corroding the democratic content of its participating countries. The holder of the needle remains US President Barack Obama,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • The Decline and Fall of the United States | David Swanson
    Opinion – David Swanson After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Fearing the loss of Hegemony: The Concept of US Retreat
    Opinion – Binoy Kampmark Nothing upsets those drunk on imperialist virtue than the fact it might end. Such romances with power do have a use-by-date, going off like old fruit. Eventually, the crippling contradictions will win through in the end.… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Strong Support for Clarification of GMO Council Jurisdiction
    Press Release – GE Free NZ On Friday, 24 April GE Free Northland and the Soil & Health Association of NZ with 19 other 274 parties sought clarification in the Environment Court on whether there is jurisdiction in the Resource… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Should Environmentalists Care About Poverty?
    Perhaps heightened by the leadership contest in the Green Party, there appears to be a debate going on about where environmentalism fits into the political spectrum. I am not a member of the Green Party (nor any other, for that… ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Inoculating against science denial
    Science denial has real, societal consequences. Denial of the link between HIV and AIDS led to more than 330,000 premature deaths in South Africa. Denial of the link between smoking and cancer has caused millions of premature deaths. Thanks to… ...
    1 day ago
  • A year ago today – Auckland’s first electric trains
    A year ago today transport in Auckland was forever changed as the first electric trains started carrying passengers – although they didn’t start running in normal service till the following day. Electrifying Auckland’s rail network is something that had been… ...
    2 days ago
  • Media Link: Anzac Day panel on future conflicts.
    Commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated assault at Gallipoli prompted Radio New Zealand to convene a special panel on the evolution and future of conflict since those tragic and futile days in 1915. I was invited to participate… ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Australian cops shut down Aboriginal Anzac Day march
    The article below deals with the erasing of the Frontier Wars in Australia.  Something similar has happened in relation to the Land Wars in New Zealand.  The wars of conquest and confiscation of Maori land are totally eclipsed by carefully-constructed… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • After World War 1: the horrors of peace at home (Australia)
    The small number of people involved in Redline means we simply don’t have the possibility to cover everything we’d like to.  This includes some very important stuff.  For instance, an article about what NZ soldiers came home to, an equivalent… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Anzac Day II
    I spent a couple of hours at our local RSA on Saturday. It was well past the traditional solemnity of the morning, well into the drinking. The old fellows drank like soldiers and the soldiers, there in their uniforms, with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Pony-tails, panic and PR spin.
    How Crosby-Textor propose to rescue Key from the fall out over his casual Pony-Tail stroking.Rumour has it that the Crosby-Textor spin machine that elevated John Key to the leadership of the National Party and thence to Prime Minister of NZ… ...
    the Irascible CurmudgeonBy Alan Papprill
    2 days ago
  • Poor peer review – and its consequences
    See below for citations used The diagram above displays links between the journal, editors and reviewers in the case of the paper Malin & Till (2015). I discussed these links before in Poor peer-review – a case study  but thought… ...
    2 days ago
  • Capture: April Come She Will
    Over the month of April I've started a number of threads, but not quite found the time or inspiration to reach a critical mass.Looking back though, it was a fairly packed month, as we ease our way into autumn.So here's… ...
    2 days ago
  • Has John Key tugged off more than he realises?
    John Key's pony-tail-gate controversy seems to have divided people into two camps. The vast bulk of New Zealanders (to purloin a Key-ism) can agree on the fact that it's weird... and out of order. But then there are those who… ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Rodney Hide: They’re all after me, man…
    The state apparently has me under covert investigation. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was followed home by some guy in a long coat and dark glasses. It was 27 degrees and cloudy. My friends have… ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    2 days ago
  • The road to Mike Hosking, vilifier of young women
    Some of us have always seen radio announcer Mike Hosking as a puffed-up little prat. I was there at Broadcasting House when this shortish young guy with a big voice and a very strange manner arrived in the Network Newsroom.… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Hey RaboDirect, if Mike Hosking’s selling you, I’m not buying.
    A nasty side of radio announcer Mike Hosking spilled out into view last week as he ‘bashed’ the victim of John Key’s serial bullying. Hosking, supported by TVNZ’s OneNews, sponsored by RaboDirect, vilified the waitress whom the Prime Minister admits… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Is Auckland boring enough?
    Via Jarrett Walker, I recently ran across a provocative article by Aaron Renn in the Guardian: “In praise of boring cities“. Renn takes his fellow urbanists to task for the narrowness of their vision about what makes a good city:… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago

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

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