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Archive for July, 2008

The Standard Week: 18-25 July

Written By: - Date published: 2:48 pm, July 25th, 2008 - 56 comments

The big story of the week is National’s work rights policy that does nothing to further workers’ rights and actually undermines them in a number of subtle ways. There is no policy for increasing wages, none at all. In fact, the policies are likely to cut wages by taking bargaining power away from workers. Turns […]

Seeking better work rights

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, July 25th, 2008 - 10 comments

Seek has released analysis of the pay-rates offered by employers advertising on its site. It’s not a perfect measure and the figures are for the last quarter of 2007 but they still make illuminating reading. The average salary rose from $55,583 to $57,664 in the quarter but low-skilled pay-rates went backwards. Kitchen staff from $29,625 […]

Like McDonalds, the same all over the world

Written By: - Date published: 12:41 pm, July 25th, 2008 - 16 comments

This is from 2005 in Britain but we saw the same script played out here last month: When SpinWatch asked Tory central press office to clarify the roles being played by Crosby and Textor the conversation was as follows: SpinWatch: ‘I was wondering if you could clarify the role that Lyndon Crosby and Mark Textor […]

Reaction roundup: Nats’ work rights policy

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 am, July 25th, 2008 - 39 comments

Democratic, voluntary organisations of workers: Finsec: “Within the current framework, many workers have been able to achieve real wage increases like the 5% increase from Westpac our members have been offered this week…These pay rises have come as a result of staff being able to bargain collectively through their own independent union. National’s policies undermining […]

Pride in your work

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, July 25th, 2008 - 22 comments

Some of our rightwing commentators are rejecting the argument that National’s ‘workplace policy’ strips workers of their rights. Problem is, every workers’ rights organisation thinks that it does and John Key does too. Think about it, if you think people will welcome your policy do you slip it out with as little fanfare as possible? […]

Take the money and run

Written By: - Date published: 4:23 pm, July 24th, 2008 - 37 comments

I just read Gordon Campbell’s latest Scoop column about the omnibus tax bill and quickly followed it with Frog’s piece on the matter and I am not impressed. The first reading of the government’s bill took place last night and within its myriad of dull tax stuff was a hidden barb for the quarter of […]

Finance companies – a graphic explanation

Written By: - Date published: 2:48 pm, July 24th, 2008 - 54 comments

With the collapse of Hanover Finance, the 25th finance company to go under, Hanover co-owner Mark Hotchin has declared ‘the finance companies’ model is broken’. Here’s an illustration of that model: I think they went wrong at step 1. Of course, as always, it’s the schmucks who lent Hotchin and Watson the money who lose out. […]

Between the lines: Nats’ work rights policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:52 pm, July 24th, 2008 - 87 comments

You know you’re in for a treat when a political party’s ‘policy’ (I still refuse to consider half a dozen bullet points a policy) concerning the rights of New Zealanders at work the place most of us spend a good part of our days nearly avoids any mention of the word ‘rights’. On its surface, […]

Bollard cuts the OCR

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, July 24th, 2008 - 20 comments

The Reserve Bank has dropped the Official Cash Rate from 8.25% to 8%. Inflation is well outside the Bank’s 1-3% target range but there appears to be a recognition that there’s no point strangling our economy with high interest rates when that can’t bring down international oil and food prices. Don’t expect mortgage rates to […]

Open up the trusts

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, July 24th, 2008 - 55 comments

Bob Jones confirmed on Morning Report that he gave $25,000 in 2005 to New Zealand First. The money was to be funnelled to NZF through the Spencer Trust but, according to the party’s declaration of donations the money was not passed on (parties’ declarations of donations are supposed to include any donations from a legal […]

EMA Kiwisaver campaign in breach of EFA?

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 pm, July 23rd, 2008 - 55 comments

The Employers and Manufacturers Association’s advertising campaign to defend the ability of employers to make workers pay their own Kiwisaver employer contribution while pocketing the taxpayer subsidy is the most hamfisted and transparently cynical piece of PR I’ve seen in some time. It’s outragous that the EMA should claim it’s standing up for workers’ rights […]

Previewing National’s employment policy

Written By: - Date published: 2:33 pm, July 23rd, 2008 - 33 comments

Word around the traps is that National is going to be releasing its industrial relations policy this afternoon. My prediction is the policy will be sold as relatively moderate, but in reality will differ only slightly from their rather extreme 2005 plan. We can be sure that every single change will have the effect of […]

Drinking Liberally – Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, July 23rd, 2008 - 11 comments

WHAT: Regular event for Drinking Liberally’s Auckland City chapter WHEN: 7:30pm, Wed 23 July (TONIGHT) WHERE: London Bar, corner Queen and Wellesley Streets, Auckland City. WHO: You and any of your friends who may be interested THIS MONTH: Mix and mingle, a great chance to meet fab new people, have a beverage or two, and […]

Between the lines: Nats’ outdoor rec policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, July 23rd, 2008 - 28 comments

The ‘policies’ National is releasing are nothing more than bullet points but we know from a number of slips that these vague one-pagers only scrape the surface. When they’re talking to friendly audiences without the media around, National’s MPs tend to be more forthcoming and rightwing when discussing policy. Clues can also be found in […]

Landlords: youse are better off renting

Written By: - Date published: 8:43 am, July 23rd, 2008 - 31 comments

The graphic to the left was produced by the Property Investors’ Federation and was printed unquestioned in the Herald yesterday. The PIF uses the figures to claim Kiwis are better off renting. Here’s what’s wrong with them. First, it’s comparing the average rent to the cost of buying a median house. Rental properties tend to be lower […]

The Peters saga, a summary

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, July 23rd, 2008 - 35 comments

1 – In 2005, Owen Glenn paid $100,000 towards a legal defence fund for a case in Peters’ name. 2 – Peters was not told that Glenn had been a donor to that fund until last week according to both Peters and the lawyer Brian Henry. There is no evidence to the contrary. Neither Clark […]

Personality cult

Written By: - Date published: 3:18 pm, July 22nd, 2008 - 41 comments

Some of our friends on the National Party end of the blogosphere have developed a rather odd habit over the years of referring to Helen Clark as ‘Dear Leader’. Well fellas, I hate to break it to you, but if it’s a personality cult you’re after then look no further than the National Party’s new website. […]

The War on P

Written By: - Date published: 12:53 pm, July 22nd, 2008 - 9 comments

National Party strategist and Dominion Post columnist Richard Long declared war on “P” today. The “P’” word that is. Privatisation. Labour and the unions have attacked the proposed ACC changes by using the scare word “privatisation”, whereas the policy is actually aimed at providing choice in an area which is at present a monopoly.’ Actually […]

Unauthorised, unimpressive, unquestioning

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, July 22nd, 2008 - 94 comments

I’ve finally got through part 1 of the Herald’s deification of John Key and it’s surprising how boring and mediocre he comes across. Impressive contortions too. How three senior reporters with six months to write an article managed to avoid asking how Key could have both talked politics over the dinner table and not have […]

Chasing Peters, it’s easier than examining policy

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, July 22nd, 2008 - 97 comments

For my part, I don’t see the big deal in all this Peters donation stuff. Transparency in election funding is important (and it’s something that National and ACT have constantly opposed) but there is no evidence of Peters has been purposely secretive. A legal defence fund set up for a court case involving Peters received […]

Kiwis love their rail

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 pm, July 21st, 2008 - 57 comments

A poll on TV1 shows that Kiwis overwhelmingly support the Government move to bring rail back into public ownership. Despite a question that explicitly states the cost of Kiwirail but none of the benefits, respondents still voiced very strong support for the purchase- 68% in favour vs 24% against. The Government has acted in a […]

Will you vote for higher levies?

Written By: - Date published: 4:17 pm, July 21st, 2008 - 20 comments

If National wins the election, it will privatise the Work Account of ACC (and maybe other ‘profitable’ accounts). We know that this may have negative effects on coverage for workers but the problems go further taking out the Work Account may compromise the whole ACC system. Every year, ACC needs to run a surplus so […]

Taxing choices

Written By: - Date published: 12:40 pm, July 21st, 2008 - 85 comments

There are four options open to National regarding the tax expectations it will deliver large tax cuts ($20+ per person a week = $3 billion+ a year) additional to Labour’s. a) fail to meet those expectations by offering small cuts. Who would vote for a one-trick pony that won’t do its trick? b) cut taxes […]

Would Nats introduce work-for-the-dole?

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 am, July 21st, 2008 - 291 comments

Judith Collins, who has made it her mission in life to attack benefits at every turn, has been meeting with Mission Australia, the largest private ‘work-for-the-dole’ scheme provider in Australia. This is a clear indication that, in contrast to the moderate, modern approach Key says he espouses, National will be returning to the failed policy […]

Oram’s Ides of March

Written By: - Date published: 5:32 pm, July 20th, 2008 - 53 comments

Rod Oram can nearly always be relied upon for insightful analysis that takes debate a step further. In the SSTimes today he asks: “are we being realistic about the current state of the nation? Each person will have his or her own view. But if, as individuals and a society, we’re gloomier than the facts […]

So what is a subprime then?

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 pm, July 19th, 2008 - 23 comments

The phrase “subprime” seems to have become part of our universal vocabulary – reflecting global uncertainty, events beyond our control, and financial complexities. A subject of great importance and seriousness – until I saw this clip from Bird and Fortune…perfect Sunday viewing.

Painting a portrait of Mr Key

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 pm, July 19th, 2008 - 47 comments

I read with interest the NZ Herald’s “In Search of John Key“. I know at least some commentors on this blog have questioned our continued examination of the National party leader – so it was reassuring to see the Herald statement that “he remains relatively unknown. Who really is John Key? Where did he come […]

False idol

Written By: - Date published: 6:38 am, July 19th, 2008 - 30 comments

We’ve said this before but, seeing as BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander is in the Herald this morning saying ‘the October 1 tax cuts won’t cover inflation’, it’s worth restating: tax cuts are not and can not be the method by which people’s incomes are risen for inflation. Tax cuts cannot be cut year on […]

Culture of secrecy

Written By: - Date published: 6:31 pm, July 18th, 2008 - 59 comments

It’s 4.45 on a Friday afternoon and National has just released its Outdoor Recreation policy. It’s another one page wonder, only this time they haven’t even managed to fill the page. But that’s not what interests me. What interests me is the manner in which National has chosen to release it. See, if you’re trying […]

The Standard Week: July 11-18

Written By: - Date published: 2:34 pm, July 18th, 2008 - 38 comments

Finally, policy. National has two policies which, by all rights, ought to be election losers: the 90 day no rights policy and the privatisation of ACC policy. If any proof were needed that Key’s self-definition as a moderate is just a facade for the same old National, these policies are it. Over 200,000 Kiwis start […]

Nats unable to justify ACC policy

Written By: - Date published: 1:40 pm, July 18th, 2008 - 46 comments

Unlike some of our counterparts, the Standardistas aren’t into vanity posts. So, in this clip from TVNZ7’s Back Benches on Wednesday, ignore who’s asking the question and watch National’s Chris Tremain try to justify his party’s ACC policy. Reaches for his cliches but they don’t fit the question so he resorts to attacking the question. […]

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