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2018 mental flossing: Power

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, December 28th, 2017 - 33 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Politics - Tags:

You can figure the shape of power with these few questions:

– who really runs this town?

– who benefits right now?

– who really resists?

– who needs to do the least to win?

– Why are they lying?

Now, name them.

33 comments on “2018 mental flossing: Power ”

  1. Bill 2

    Bankers – run the joint.
    Bankers – reap the benefits.
    Bankers – resist reform and change..
    Bankers – win by doing nothing..
    Bankers – lie about money and power.

    You could substitute “bankers” for “financial institutions” or “corporations”; essentially then, “capitalists”.

    • Ad 2.1

      If that is your view you will enjoy this one coming up:

      • David Mac 2.1.1

        How much weight do you place in the claims made in the trailer Ad? It highlights a situation I wasn’t even aware of. 300 bogus companies floating on US stock exchanges? If so, I’d imagine it’s too big to be Triads or consortium of crook bankers, surely the Chinese govt would need to be in on it. Trump will spew….wouldn’t he need to know about it?

        Same producers as: Enron – The smartest guys in the room. They seemed to do a pretty good job of dissecting that scam.

        • Ad

          Chinese private commercial debt is one of the biggest economic risks still standing for 2018, and would thoroughly shake our own Australian-domiciled banks – and our own ridiculously exposed debt markets – if it deflated quickly.

          I don’t view that as a strong possibility because the political economy of China has been shown to be highly responsive. But the risk is still there.

          Good to be skeptical about straight anti-Chinese propaganda like this, and I will be waiting for the journals to review the film in depth.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I don’t view that as a strong possibility because the political economy of China has been shown to be highly responsive.

            Their politicians do step in fairly quickly to prevent their economy collapsing. They force their currency down against the US$ to improve exports, they print money as needed and generally maintain excessive subsidies.

            If that commercial debt is looking to cause problems for the Chinese economy you can be assured that the Chinese government will simply write it off and keep the economy going.

            • David Mac

              Yeah, but the engine room is making and selling a whole lot of stuff the world wants to buy. It’s a seething orgy of capitalism Draco!

              • A whole lot of stuff that the rest of the world can make itself. Hell, most of what they make was developed and produced in other countries first. The industry in those other countries disappearing as China produced the same stuff for those other countries.

                This would not be happening if China wasn’t manipulating the market for their own benefit in what can only be called mercantilism.

                This beggar-thy-neighbour policy is encouraged by the greed of the capitalists in those other countries because they’re doing ok by impoverishing the rest of their country.

          • David Mac

            The Chinese have a philosophical connection to long-term planning. While we’re jerking along in 3 year bite size pieces they think in generations. I think this has much to do with their fiscal stability.

            OK re: the movie trailer. China has so much legitimate financial leverage over the US I struggle to find the reasoning behind running adjacent blatant scams.

    • Stunned Mullet 2.2

      I agree somewhat with Bill.

      The question is how do countries and individuals wean themselves off debt which so many are addicted to as if it’s crack cocaine.

  2. patricia bremner 3

    Bill, that is why they questioned the changes Robertson brought in.

    They have to consider employment issues along with “financial stability”

    Great to see the OIA turning down ANZ’s sale of UDC. Would have been just another name for derivatives, as they divided it up to sell the debt.

    Bankers must spend their days trying to rort the system.

  3. Antoine 4

    > You can figure the shape of power with these few questions:
    > – who really runs this town?
    > – who benefits right now?
    > – who really resists?
    > – who needs to do the least to win?
    > – Why are they lying?
    > Now, name them.

    It doesn’t seem like anybody here knows the answers to your questions – do you?


    • Ad 4.1

      Agree bit of a sad effort so far.

      I’ll stick my own thoughts down at the end of the day once I’ve got to Hawkes Bay.

      Go ahead. Give it a go.

      • Antoine 4.1.1

        I could try and answer the questions re the Standard website, if that would be helpful?


        • Ad

          Go right ahead.
          Nothing defamatory, but it’s a good exercise to plot a constellation.

          Back in the day, Bruce Jesson did a map of New Zealand companies in the 1970s and showed which board Chairs and members were related which other boards.

          It was tidy.

  4. Ad 5

    I was hoping people would actually answer the questions, about their own town.

    Give it a go.

    • David Mac 5.1

      Ahh yes, I’m partly responsible for the detour, sorry.

      On a national scale, I end up with 3 score of faceless silver foxes nattering over expensive Scotch in hand-cut crystal glasses.

      I’ll scale it down and think about the power plays going down on the Peninsula as I mow.

  5. Stuart Munro 6

    Who really runs this town?
    A group who seem to think we want to increase our rates to build a weird bunch of Sydney Opera House like structures.
    Who benefits?
    No-one – even the architect should be ashamed.
    Who resists?
    It’s a flaccid town – exhausted by debt and decades of misgovernance.
    Who needs to do the least to win?
    The usual suspects.

  6. gsays 7

    They may not wield ultimate power but they do have inordinate influence on the pollies.
    How likely is this mob to reform lobbying?
    Highly unlikely as the pollies benefit from lobbying.
    Transparent lobbying register for EVERY contact with a lobbyist.
    Edit: ahhh, after rereading, I see you meant local rather than national politics.
    A bit quick to leap on my hobby horse.

  7. Goodshepherd 8

    I’m going to refer to a small provincial town we once lived in. I am unsure whether it applies to the village I live in now and rather think it doesn’t altogether.

    * Farmers/ property/business owners – the bigger the portfolio the more power – they stacked the council too.
    * They benefit.
    * Very few – they also own your job and your house.
    * Them; they simply need to maintain the status quo.
    * They lie because it’s what they do. They even believe some of their lies. If they didn’t lie, if everyone knew and cared how the 1% and the 20% operate, the system would break down.

    In that town 1 man owned upwards of 50 rental houses plus several business premises. A couple of real estate agents own much the same numbers of properties between them. Funny that. They’re also town councillors. Funny that too.

    As a known Labour supporter I couldn’t get a job locally for love or money despite my excellent references and experience and I was told it was because of my politics … “our clients wouldn’t like it’.

    • Ad 8.1

      Good work GoodShepherd.

      You are progressive and live in a small town and make this views known, you are in serious jeopardy for as long as you live there. Your history tells me a long, hard and pessimistic story.

      It’s not hard to remember that we have been living for 9 years under a government and under all local governments except Auckland and Dunedin and a few others in which it is almost illegal to express progressive thought with your actual name attached – or else you will be hunted down.

    • SPC 8.2

      It is an interesting point that people are more vulnerable politically when dependent on private landlord supplied housing. Unless of course there is more security to tenants.

      Little wonder the term property owning democracy is of longstanding.

      The same issue may develop with the social media profile being used by employers to screen potential employees for being too free-thinking/whistle-blowers.

      • It is an interesting point that people are more vulnerable politically when dependent on private landlord supplied housing.

        But not surprising when you think about it. It’s just another abuse of power that comes with capitalism and probably the worst aspect of it. It allows the rich to control everyone else through the fear of not having a job.

        Of course, that’s what’s behind National’s ongoing attacks on beneficiaries. Power over everyone else for the capitalists.

  8. SPC 9

    Capital, and access to finance, is a dominant factor in every town. This can be divided between the established and new. The established will want favour (irrigation projects and lack of regulation of waterway purity – New Zealand), and most towns are seeking fresh capital, renewal/growth in their economy.

    Those of the business community benefit.

    Community activists who place value on other things.

    Those who are established in office, or in their wealth.

    They do not always need to lie, and for the most part the lie is inherent in the idea that growth is essential for the town to be successful and growth can only occur by not getting in the way of business.

    • Capital, and access to finance, is a dominant factor in every town.

      And the government could provide that with 0% interest. Do that and the councils would only have to take into account availability of workers and sustainability.

      Rule out irrigation and look to high tech development instead. It would be in the countries interest for the government to fund the development and building of some IC fabrication plants. Tie then into a couple of universities for ongoing development and maintenance. Just like the US did in fact.

      For a small place like NZ it really needs to be coordinated across the country along with supply chains both internal and offshore.

  9. adam 10

    Auckland : A small clique, it’s a series of fiefdoms of one faction versus every other faction. They do what they want, and every now and again someone will add their name to it. Most of the time, it’s people like you AD and lprent who desperately trying stop the stupid, that is the major by-production of this chaos.

    Those with money benefit, because that is the system we have.

    The media – killing any voice which opposes the liberal economic dominance.

    Working people – just stop! (win for socialism that is 🙂 )

    The media – they have a economic system to up hold.

    • Ed 10.1

      “The media – killing any voice which opposes the liberal economic dominance.“

      Spot on.
      Look how many of the media are on the list.

      Richardson is my vote.
      A truly obnoxious person.

    • cleangreen 10.2

      True words Adam,

      Same graft here in HB and in Napier the realestate industry control the City Council planning; – and are buying up everywhere, and bulldozing what they want now.

      So real estate is soaring, like Auckland did.

      So we are all screwed again here too.

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.3

      I dunno. Auckland is arguably a clique, but it’s the very opposite of small. Urban Auckland has a population of over 1.5 million, out of an estimated 4.8 million kiwis. That’s pretty close to a third of the country living in Auckland alone. When you add Wellington and Christchurch to that, we easily have a straight up majority of New Zealanders living in our largest cities.

      The interests of the (other) regions are valid, but let’s not pretend that Auckland is ascendant with no challenger- Wellington gets its own share of the power, and Christchurch eats its own share of the national debate with local issues, not that I think anyone would disagree that they deserve the attention still. (ironically, local Wellington issues are largely ignored in national politics. Good luck discussing public transport to the southern suburbs on National tv, but we frequently talk about issues in as much depth regarding Auckland, Christchurch, or the regions)

      Auckland has its own underclasses, its own issues, its own problems, even if certain debates within Auckland, like transport, sometimes sway the conversation on national politics, that is again because they are a large clique. When you think of an elite Aucklander, you are likely thinking of someone on a large salary that lives in central Auckland, not necessarily a pacific person living in southern Auckland who can’t get a job.

      The absolute bonkers thing about the effective set-up we have is that although those with extremely large amounts of money absolutely do enjoy a megaphone, they still largely don’t get listened to if they’d like to talk about things that disrupt the paradigm of them getting more money. Gareth Morgan is a rich guy, for instance, but look what happened to TOP after taking on a very similar policy platform to the Greens: it’s languishing in electoral failure, its deputy doesn’t want to step up and be leader, and it has no viable electorate candidate to push it into parliament. The thing about being an elite is that you can’t actually buy your way all the way into it- if you start upsetting things you’re out of favour in a matter of months.

      As for the media- I think it’s really worth distinguishing between the highly-paid presenters, especially when they don’t actually challenge anything much like on TV, and the staff that support them doing the actual hard work for at best a middle-class salary. Again, those at the core of the industry are absolutely insufferable, but there are great individuals there doing real work that actually helps people, especially if you look at more alternative media like RNZ, where even the presenters are actually great people even if you disagree with them.

  10. Gristle 11

    In some smaller towns it’s very easy to see who pulls the strings.

    Go to Wanaka and the name Allan Dippie crop up quite quickly. He and Bob Robertson – who has since died – where they are/were the major property developers there and had a special status with the District Council. Look at a town that is doubling in size as all these new subdivisions are bulldozed into shape.

  11. David Mac 12

    My take is on the Karikari Peninsula, a finger of land in the Far North. About half of it is retained by Ngati Kahu (a branch of Nga Puhi). They trace their occupancy back to Kupe landing at the mouth of the Taipa River. A large portion is a Land Corp farm. This is earmarked to be returned to Nga Puhi in their treaty settlement. The Carrington Resort is on a large piece of coastal land, golf course, working vineyard/winery, 100’s of stagnant subdivided sections. A few farmers with smaller holdings and about 300 sections with dwellings on them: 40% permanents, 60% holiday houses.

    Outside of the crazy 3 weeks we’re in the midst of it’s a sleepy, nothing much changes, beautiful beach laden backwater.

    About 2 years ago the resort was purchased by the 2nd largest real estate company on the Chinese stock exchange: Shanghai Cred. They drew up plans to build about 600 villas on their property and developed a plan to sell golfing package tours to blossoming Chinese incomes.

    No probs with the government and the OIO. No probs with the Far North Council. They’ve encountered a mega hurdle with Ngati Kahu. The 2 parties have been in negotiations for about 2 years. It’s very unclear whether we are going to see strings of tour buses running out the Peninsula or not.

    1. I think the 2 Ngati Kahu hapu have the most power on Karikari Peninsula. The council and local businesses can be lobbied, persuaded. As can Ngati Kahu but they’re a much tougher sell. They’re not swayed by flash in the pan profits or another 3 years in office. They’re pondering, ‘What would Kupe have us do?’

    2. The hapu benefit right now. They retain their home pretty much as it has been for 700 years. They are having blankets and beads dangled en masse. There are benefits in their letting Shanghai Cred proceed with their plans.

    3. Collectively I feel the majority of Ngati Kahu are against it. They fear change that can’t be reversed that alters their way of life forever.

    4. I think Ngati Kahu have to do the least to win. They can stand firm with “No” or negotiate an outcome that outweighs a “No” position.

    5. I don’t think they’re lying. They’re on a search for clarity and truth. The Chinese company stand to gain the most from gilding the lily. There are few jobs in the region, Shanghai Cred are pumping up the creation of many jobs. Personally, I find it easy to imagine Ngati Kahu filling min wage jobs, under a layer of whip cracking Chinese middle management.

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