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Bill English’s groundhog decades

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, July 6th, 2015 - 44 comments

Bill English is a strange denizen of National’s Wellington groundhog set. He keeps repeating the wet dreams that have been tried three times now and come up as failures each time. On Q&A yesterday he played with some silly numbers about dairy, ignoring the damage that it and National’s obsessive focus on the past has done on the resilience of our  export economy.

Nick Smith; Thick as a Short Plank?

Written By: - Date published: 9:56 am, July 3rd, 2015 - 25 comments

National’s Nick Smith appears to have misled Parliament over the illegal export of Kauri logs. Thankfully for Smith, it’s nothing to do with the rumours swirling around who is responsible for the loss of our irreplaceable heritage timber, but more to do with the Minister’s inability to understand a clear and explicit piece of legislation.

Money for nothing and the sheep are for free

Written By: - Date published: 8:36 am, May 29th, 2015 - 35 comments

The legal suit offered as part justification for the Government paying $11 million to a Saudi businessman was apparently “off the table” at the time that Cabinet agreed to the payment.  So why was the payment made?  And why didn’t Murray McCully tell this to Cabinet or to Parliament earlier?

Sheepgate

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, May 28th, 2015 - 102 comments

It has emerged that the New Zealand Government has paid money to a Saudi businessman allegedly to settle a legal dispute that does not exist but more probably to persuade the Saudi Government to enter into a free trade agreement.  Update – and maybe there was a threat of legal action but because of the actions of National, not Labour.

Dollar Parity

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, April 7th, 2015 - 308 comments

As New Zealand’s dollar approaches parity with Australia’s a responsible Government should be pondering the implications and acting in the country’s best interests.  No such luck in Aotearoa …

Screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist shocked at spying on Diplomats

Written By: - Date published: 7:47 am, March 24th, 2015 - 84 comments

In the NZ herald today, Terence O’Brien has been questioned about the recent revelations of spying to get Minister’s jobs after politics. Despite a Press Corp being with the PM in ROK, none has yet bothered to as the Koreans, or the former Foreign Minister GCSB spied upon, for their comment, instead relying on Honest […]

Written in a deep summer haze

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, January 5th, 2015 - 94 comments

I was astonished by an anonymous NZ Herald editorial on New Years day – “NZ economy is in a good place and thriving”. Obviously an inferior intellect was slow cooked in the warm holiday weather. It turned to mush and regurgitated one of Bill English’s wet dreams. Dairy prices are unlikely to rebound any time soon.

Losing money

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 am, December 2nd, 2014 - 26 comments

exports trading partners 2012

The economic news is depressing for NZ at present. After riding a dairy commodity boom for the last few years, the payout for farmers looks like it will drop from a high of $8.50/kg last season to $4.85/kg this coming season. Meanwhile National has neglected our most sustainable resource – people. So expect a busted economy for the next few years.

“Marching in the streets”

Written By: - Date published: 5:15 pm, November 8th, 2014 - 128 comments

Thousands of people protested and marched around the country against the secret and anti-democratic TPPA negotiations. Reports & pics. Updated

NZ Inc

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, September 14th, 2014 - 119 comments

David Cunliffe has announced his final big policy. It’s called NZ Inc and it’s a bloody smart move.

Parker nails English on economic policy

Written By: - Date published: 2:25 pm, August 25th, 2014 - 32 comments

Labour has the bold set of policies to take New Zealand forward into the 21st century – National’s “same old same old” tinkering will see the Kiwi skiff swamped. That was the clear conclusion from the debate between David Parker and Bill English on National Radio this morning.

Greens: Falling milk prices highlight danger of National’s economic strategy

Written By: - Date published: 7:11 pm, August 6th, 2014 - 39 comments

This press release from the Greens pretty well sums up the situation that National have left the economy in. Once you remove the rebuild effects from the Christchurch earthquakes, our increasingly undiversified economy is looking in pretty poor shape for the decade ahead.

Positive Labour policy for meat industry

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 pm, July 27th, 2014 - 4 comments

In the late 1980’s I worked on the establishment of the Meat Industry Tradesmens Agreement, bringing eight  awards into one. My lasting memory is how the meat companies hated each other more than they hated the unions, and they were no union-lovers. 25 years later, the companies still can’t get their act together, and it is the country as well as the farmers who are hurting. It may surprise some, but it’s the Labour party who is putting forward policy to bring in the necessary change to the $8billion industry. Good work from Damien O’Connor and the Labour leadership.

Phil Goff: Contemporary China Research Centre

Written By: - Date published: 6:25 pm, July 2nd, 2014 - 9 comments

It isn’t that often that we put up speeches by politicians. They’re usually aimed at the general public and don’t really get into the guts of the issues in the way that our activist commenters like to argue at – they tend to be political and in this site preaching to the converted.  However this speech by Phil Goff is exceptional. It was made at a centre looking at China, and looks at the benefits and risks of our current and future relationships with that country. Worth reading

Dairy prices keep dropping

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 am, July 2nd, 2014 - 90 comments

Dairy prices have resumed their slide, falling 4.9 per cent at the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction overnight. The drop was the ninth fall out of the last 10 auctions. It looks to me like the boom is over. Looking at the rise in production for whole milk powder in China, and increased exports from other countries, I think that it will continue to decline. In the meantime National have been allowing our other export industries to stagnate.

Polity: Free trade fundies

Written By: - Date published: 12:17 pm, June 19th, 2014 - 2 comments

The great tragedy in New Zealand trade policy came in the 1990s when we almost literally gave away the farm, dismantling most of our tariffs unilaterally to “demonstrate” how much fun life is with no tariffs. You can’t get much more fundie than that.  And now – quelle surprise – we have basically no cards to play when negotiating with other countries. Who would have thought it?

National’s exports – how to lose value and jobs

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, April 30th, 2014 - 77 comments

Manufacturing exports dropped by 3.3% over the last year. Manufacturing businesses and their jobs disappeared with them. Meanwhile the National MP’s with dairy farms and interests will today be proclaiming a buoyant economy based on them selling barely processed milk-powder to China. It is good for them but as they gut the manufacturing jobs few other kiwis will reap any benefits.

Obama’s TPPA bid to over-ride democracy

Written By: - Date published: 6:47 pm, January 10th, 2014 - 16 comments

There’s a tussle going on as Obama pushes to seal the deal and to limit Congress’s say on TPPA deals.  But, Congress would still have more say about the deals than NZ MPs. It’s about democracy & sovereignty.  It could slip under the radar over summer.

All hail RBNZ independence! – Armstrong

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, October 5th, 2013 - 94 comments

Old man Armstrong’s out on the Herald’s front lawn this morning, shaking his fist and telling those bloody kids in Labour to stop questioning whether the Reserve Bank is doing the right thing. They should sit quietly and accept whatever the Bank decides to do. This is called ‘consensus’, apparently. Problem is, Armstrong provides no justification for complete RB independence.

Doing what we’re best at

Written By: - Date published: 2:37 pm, September 24th, 2013 - 53 comments

National is a very traditional party. They think that NZ is good at clearing land and raising animals, with a bit of mining on the side. The population is there to service farmers and miners on low wages. That may have been the case in the 1950’s. But as usual they’re hopelessly dated. Sometimes in recent years it has appeared to me that Labour thinks that way as well. But it looks like David Cunliffe is intent on refocusing us back on the burgeoning hi-wage and hi-growth hi-tech sector.

The neoliberalisation of Universities

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, May 12th, 2013 - 42 comments

An article in today’s Sunday Star Times, provides evidence of an organised business in providing students with assignments for their tertiary education courses.  The focus is on Chinese ethnicity.  Ultimately, the blame for such rorts lies with the neoliberalisation of universities: the undermining of the critical endeavour of education.

Sums it up, really

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, April 12th, 2013 - 134 comments

National’s 3 quarters of the way through its time at the crease now. And what has it achieved? A record debt pile. 300,000 jobless. 100,000 underemployed. Rising poverty. 1,000 a week fleeing to Australia. A new housing bubble. A record high dollar that’s killing our businesses. And falling household incomes. A list of articles on Stuff sums it up.

One day older and deeper in debt

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, March 21st, 2013 - 103 comments

There’s this almost puritan kind of myth that we’ve got so much international debt as punishment for our spendthrift ways. We ‘live beyond our means’, apparently. But it’s not true. If ‘our means’ is the money we make in exports, then most of the time, they exceed what we spend on imports. Yet, we run a $10 billion deficit as a country. Why? Because of the profit outflow.

Akl Unitary Plan: the good, the bad & the debatable

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, March 17th, 2013 - 39 comments

The Draft Auckland Unitary Plan has much to commend it.  It focuses on resource management, responds to the reality of climate change & aims for a more dense but ‘liveable’ city.  It has weaknesses, embraces destructive “growth” and raises questions: e.g. about affordable housing & environmental management.

John Key: High dollar works for me

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, February 28th, 2013 - 24 comments

As a Canadian currency dealer dubs the NZ$ the “new gold”, John Key sings the praises of a high dollar

Missive to a parasite

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, February 11th, 2013 - 25 comments

Convicted fraudster and Herald columnist Damien Grant says ‘good riddance’ to manufacturing in his latest piece. A lower dollar would make his next smartphone more expensive, he says. When not in jail, Grant’s a receiver. Things are good for him at the moment. But, I’ll tell him this: even carrion birds ultimately need a healthy herd to scavenge off.

Reserve Bank admits problem, sits on hands

Written By: - Date published: 1:27 pm, January 31st, 2013 - 14 comments

Inflation is still below the Reserve Bank’s  target band of 1-3%. It says: “ This mainly reflects the impact of the overvalued New Zealand dollar.” The high and overvalued dollar keeps import prices down , but kills exporters who must provide for our economy’s future. The Reserve Bank’s obsession with the very different problems of the 1980’s means that as a country we are eating our seed corn.

Jobs & Manufacturing

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, January 31st, 2013 - 75 comments

National is failing to resolve the lack of jobs as they provide a 14-year high in unemployment – even after exporting 180,000 Kiwis to Australia. If we add them in the unemployment rate doubles to 13.8%. More than 40,000 of those job losses have been in manufacturing.  Research says that manufacturing jobs have a multiplier of 2.9, that means about 80,000 other indirect job losses.  Combined that’s 2/3rds of our unemployment rate, just by getting back to where we were when National took office.

Think big & embrace the rot

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, January 20th, 2013 - 43 comments

The World Bank has recently issued a report saying NZ needs to focus more on being friendly to multinational corporations. Matt McCarten argues that some multinationals are bad for our health.  And sugary food and drinks are rotting Kiwi children’s teeth.

The beggared neighbour

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 am, December 20th, 2012 - 12 comments

Japan just elected a Liberal Democrat government promising more jobs through a huge quantitative easing programme. The US has stated it’ll continue QE until unemployment drops below 6.5%. The effect has been to send our dollar to new highs, killing exporters and import-exposed local businesses. Contrary to media belief, Japan and the US aren’t in worse positions than us.

The spinmeister of Planet Key: Retrospective

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, December 18th, 2012 - 35 comments

On TV3 this morning, John Key was soothing and slick.  All is well on Planet Key, and critics are delusional.  He reeled of numbers and facts, but material realities of daily lives, and the suffering of people on low incomes aren’t mentioned. And asset sales?

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