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$1.80 petrol = recession

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, March 14th, 2011 - 53 comments

The other day I was arguing $100 a barrel oil equals a global recession. I wanted be more precise: is there a certain price of petrol, above which the economy goes into recession? There is, and we’re way above it. The political upshot: the best way to promote growth is decreasing our oil dependence.

Meltdown

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 am, March 13th, 2011 - 186 comments

The Sendai Earthquake cut the power supply to the pumps at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. With no cooling water being pumped through the reactors, the nuclear fuel rods heated themselves until reactor 1 melted. But it should have been OK. The containment building should have kept the radiation from escaping. Then an explosion blew the containment building apart.

Disaster in Japan

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 pm, March 11th, 2011 - 111 comments

A 8.9 Richter-scale earthquake has struck just off the coast of northeastern Japan. At a depth of just 24km and only 60km offshore, it released 8,000 times more energy than the second Christchurch earthquake. The Kurihara seismic station recorded a 7 on the destructiveness scale, the maximum reading. Swathes of 70K city of Kesennuma ablaze. Death toll unknown. $100 billion to $1 trillion damage. 20+ aftershocks over 5.5 are reported so far. Tsunami warnings across the Pacific.

$100 oil spells recession

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, March 11th, 2011 - 19 comments

As we wait to see what Saudi Arabia’s ‘Day of Rage’ will bring and if it will send oil prices into the stratosphere, some economists, including our Reserve Bank Governor, are trying to pretend we’re not in the midst of an oil shock and there is no threat to the economy. They’re dead wrong.

Building our future

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, March 10th, 2011 - 69 comments

Facing a housing shortage in Auckland now and a massive rebuilding programme in Christchurch to come, the Government has announced the biggest public building initiative since World War 2. Thousands of unemployed young people will be paid to train as apprentices in building trades and contribute to their country’s future.

Beyond a joke

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, March 9th, 2011 - 60 comments

John Key and Gerry Brownlee are the two most powerful men in the country right now. In their actions and in their words they hold the hopes of tens of thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down and the future of a major city. We really need these men to do a good job. So, this Laurel and Hardy impersonation has to stop.

Blame it on the quake

Written By: - Date published: 9:16 am, March 9th, 2011 - 23 comments

Last week, John Key said that, due to the earthquakes, “from June to June, my guess is that we’ve lost $12 billion in GDP”. Later, he said it was $15b over 4 years due to the quakes. Now, Treasury says most of that $15b is from the recession Key and English had led us into before the quakes. The Nats are trying to use the quakes to hide their failings.

How to put half a billion into working families’ pockets

Written By: - Date published: 6:18 am, March 9th, 2011 - 58 comments

I/S at No Right Turn has done more excellent work. He’s revealed the official advice Kate Wilkinson was given on the minimum wage. The advice says there is a trade-off between jobs and the minimum wage, but even a rise to $15 an hour would cause an increase wages for low-income earners well above the cost in jobs.

For God’s sake, be straight with us

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, March 7th, 2011 - 115 comments

John Key and Gerry Brownlee made extremely foolish comments attacking the coronal staff trying to identify the dead and about knocking down all the historic buildings. Now, they’re lying about those statements. This crisis is too big for this childish bullshit. John, you need to be a real leader, not a naughty schoolboy lying to cover your mistakes.

Farrar fluffs food figures

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, March 7th, 2011 - 51 comments

I thought that with a devastating earthquake, a record oil/food price spike, an unemployment tsunami, and a double-dip recession that the Nats’ apologists might have realised it was time for honest discussion of the issues and solutions. Instead, they’re still trying to bury our heads in the sand.

Day of rage

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, March 7th, 2011 - 24 comments

You know things are bad when the AA is saying that high petrol prices are here to stay and there needs to be more investment in public transport. Global supply and demand is so tight that tiny disruptions are causing massive spikes. What if Saudi Arabia erupts?

Why I’m not a millennialist

Written By: - Date published: 11:16 am, March 6th, 2011 - 81 comments

Peak oil, peak food, peak metals, climate change. By over-exploiting the world, we have enjoyed tremendous improvements in the standard of living. And now the payback is coming. We’re clearly on a downward economic slope. Things have been going backwards for 3 years and the outlook is worse, not better. But it’s not the end of the world.

Embarrassing result for Nats in Botany

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 pm, March 5th, 2011 - 78 comments

So another corrupt Nat minister has gone and Jami-Lee Ross has taken her seat in Botany. What an embarrassing resulting. The majority reduced by 7,000 and Michael Wood reduced the gap from 36% to 28%. Nat strategists will be crapping themselves over the New Citizens’ Party’s result. Considering that Wood had acknowledged from the start […]

Unemployment tsunami hits Chch

Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, March 5th, 2011 - 28 comments

3065 people have already claimed the special benefit for people left unemployed due to the Christchurch earthquake. Once that payment expires in a few weeks they’ll be on the dole, if they’re eligible. The quake killed and did physical damage in seconds but, without action, it will keep strangling the economy and taking jobs for […]

Farrar illustrates WfF folly

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, March 4th, 2011 - 46 comments

John Key has tidied up the confusion he caused yesterday and says that the quakes will cost the government $5 billion in rebuilding and $5 billion in lost revenue over the next 4 years. Big bikkies but easily covered by an emergency levy and canning the white elephant motorways. So, why are the Nats obsessed with tinkering with Working for Families?

Key: quakes to cost 125,000 jobs

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, March 3rd, 2011 - 70 comments

We’ve heard figures of $20 billion damage from the Christchurch quakes, $5 billion uninsured for the government to cover. Now, Key has given an estimate of the lost economic output this year – $12 billion, 6% of GDP. He says that will mean $5 billion less government revenue – a hole the size of the defence and law and order budgets combined. updated

The knife edge

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, March 2nd, 2011 - 43 comments

To get enough oil for global demand requires expensive technologies, and expending more energy. If the price is too low those investments won’t be feasible, meaning not enough production. But too high and the world can’t afford it and we enter global recession. The ‘goldilocks’ in the middle is shrinking, to a knife edge. It’s the same story with food and metals.

The Shock Doctrine

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 pm, March 1st, 2011 - 147 comments

I’m really pissed off that politics has come into the Christchurch earthquake so quickly. But make no mistake, the Nats are pursuing a strongly ideological agenda. They’re using the quake as cover for radically cutting important policies and making other extreme decisions, while preserving the tax cuts for the rich. It’s called the Shock Doctrine.

Govt must lead Chch rebuild

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, March 1st, 2011 - 44 comments

The government’s wage subsidy and universal redundancy for quake-affected workers is a start. But with 750 red-stickered buildings in the CBD alone and 200+ jobs already lost, it is just a start. The private sector won’t rebuild without demand, that will have to be supplied by the government upping its spending, and that needs to be paid for.

The Domino recessions

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, February 25th, 2011 - 67 comments

I read a book a while back that was set in the near future after what it called the ‘Domino recessions’ – successive oil shocks had created a series of economic and political crises, each one before the world had recovered from the previous recession. As the second oil shock in three years hits, that scenario looks to be coming to true.

Rebuilding

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 am, February 24th, 2011 - 76 comments

Frustration had rightly been growing at the lacklustre leadership of the recovery from Christchurch’s September earthquake. Obviously, this new quake is going to require a whole new level of energy and resource. I don’t think the government will be so negligent as to go at this half-arsed or half-cocked. Here’s some things it can do.

Welfare Working Group promotes eugenics

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 183 comments

The Welfare Working Group wants to get poor women to breed less by giving them free long-term contraception. Sure, this is all an ‘Overton window‘ exercise but eugenics? Seriously? Trying to stop one ‘undesirable’ strata of society from breeding is one step from forced sterilisations. Has the Right reverted 80 years?

Gaddafi not going quietly

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 36 comments

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has appeared on TV saying he will die a martyr in Libya, rather than flee into exile in the face of gathering protesters. The scale of the loyalist military’s attacks on protesters seems to be intensifying, while evidence of more troops refusing orders and defecting is also coming out. NATO may need to intervene.

Bashing benes no solution to joblessness

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, February 22nd, 2011 - 26 comments

National’s grand plan for the economy in the age of peak, peak food, and climate change: give tax cuts to the rich and take from the poor. It’s classic Nat class war. They want to force 100,000 people off the benefit in the ludicrously long time-frame of 10 years. But they won’t be creating any jobs so other workers will be displaced and wages will be forced down.

Trends good for Left, much work to do

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, February 21st, 2011 - 80 comments

It can be depressing to see a week of the government on the ropes and then polls showing National with an apparently commanding lead. But lets go beyond the shallow analysis offered by the talking heads and look at the trends. The Left has more than halved the Right’s lead since its peak. The question is: can the Left close the remaining gap in time?

Key out of touch on food & poverty

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, February 20th, 2011 - 67 comments

Hunger and malnutrition are stalking New Zealand families. Hundreds of thousands are just one shock – whether an illness, or a large bill – from not being able to afford basic food. This is not good enough in our land of plenty. Multi-millionaire John Key doesn’t empathise. To him poverty is a moral failing but he’s seriously out of touch.

Cullen Fund cuts cost $334m

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, February 19th, 2011 - 24 comments

The limo issue reveals everything wrong with the Key government in microcosm: greedy, elitist, hypocritical, liars. Against the background of the failing economy, it’s one hell of a bad look. But in monetary terms, it pales in to comparison beside their decision to cancel Cullen Fund contributions, which has now cost $334 million.

Decline & fall of the odd-spot PM

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, February 18th, 2011 - 57 comments

Yesterday, the Nats panicked. Under fire for failing to deliver jobs, for planning to sell assets to pay for tax cuts for the rich, and the gross hypocrisy of the BMW debacle, they put out 5 press releases less than 2 hours trying to spin their way out of trouble. It didn’t work. Nor does smile and wave anymore. The NBR calls this John Key’s ‘Wile E Coyote moment’.

2 to 1 against privatisation

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, February 18th, 2011 - 52 comments

Kiwis are strongly against selling our public assets. National’s policy is opposed by 60% and supported by just 30%. That’s more opposition than the mining proposal. There’ll be no back-down from the Nats – pillaging the State is a core reason for them wanting power. On these numbers, it may lose them the election.

More Wong lies uncovered

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, February 17th, 2011 - 10 comments

Remember all those unanswered questions over the abuse of public money by Pansy Wong and her husband? So does Campbell Live, which has uncovered the story of Sammy’s former business partner Steven Priest, who claims that Sammy ripped him off with Pansy’s help. It was Pansy’s signature on Priest’s contract that first got her in trouble.

The Nats’ useful bludger myth

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, February 16th, 2011 - 14 comments

Under Labour, when there was effectively full employment, there were still 1,700 people who had been continuously on the dole for over 4 years. I was prepared to accept most of these were ‘bludgers’. Turns out I was too cynical. Paula Bennett found only 658 were ineligible. Werewolf has an excellent article busting more benefit myths.

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