Greece and the Euro crisis

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 am, June 30th, 2015 - 162 comments
Categories: capitalism, Europe - Tags: , , ,

The invisible hand of the market is busy punching itself in the face today. Some observations on Greece and the Euro crisis, from the factual to the fun, courtesy of Twitter this morning.

162 comments on “Greece and the Euro crisis”

  1. Ad 1

    Just to argue against myself from yesterday, I have to admire the Greek Prime Minister. His referendum will leave the Greek people with either misery externally imposed, or a self-determined type.

    The crap will rain down on Syriza whatever happens in the next few days. They are not responsible for 40 years of poor decisions and 80 years of unstable post-WW2 government. Tsipras is being a bold leader catalysing events to a decisive end.

    Maybe this is beginning to look like Cuba after the collapse of sugar exports and of the Soviet Union. Maybe – as in Cuba – the nation will be held together largely by its grass roots. I’ve no romanticised nationalism at work when I say that.

    It could be argued that Syriza’s efforts should encourage all other anti-austerity movements across Europe. At minimum, and win or lose, I can’t help but admire their Prime Minister.

    • Colonial Rawshark 1.1

      It could be argued that Syriza’s efforts should encourage all other anti-austerity movements across Europe.

      This is the precise political reason that Germany, the ECB and the IMF wanted to see Syriza fold on its negotiating stance and accept further cuts to pensions, wages and an increase in VAT: to discourage similar popular anti-austerity parties across Europe.

  2. There is no invisible hand of the market. There is no free market. The Libor rates, silver and gold prices are all manipulated. Greece has an economy of 0.2 % of Global GDP so why not let it go bankrupt and start again? Because a bankruptcy would trigger the collapse of the derivatives market of $ 1.5 quadrillion annihilating the too big to fail banks exposing the biggest financial scam in history!

    • Sabine 2.1

      this!

      +1 and then some

    • Gosman 2.2

      The markets for Futures and Options for commodities will collapse as a result of a Greek default will they? Pray tell how this will happen.

      • Mike S 2.2.1

        It’s a possibility, because people get nervous when there is instability and do things they might not otherwise do. These can trigger downward trends which can quickly snowball. For example, the Australian sharemarket today had one of it’s biggest downward slides ever with millions being wiped off share values. They say it was triggered by the Greek crisis. Also, people tend to save more when they think a financial crisis might be looming. This off course might affect demand for NZ goods like dairy products in Europe and elsewhere, which in turn could trigger a slide in the NZX

    • Chooky 2.3

      +100 travellerev

      …and this morning radionz had on the most pathetic panicked establishment Englishman whinging and denigrating the Greeks!…I almost turned it off…pure propaganda and racism…no mention of Goldman Sachs and the banksters who got Greece and its people into this situation so they could rip them off!

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201760453/greek-crisis-what's-likely-to-happen

      “There’re 24 hours till a deadline for a Greek debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund – or the country risks bankruptcy. But rather than accept an austere new bailout deal, the prime minister Alexis Tsipras has defied the deadline, closed the banks, and called a referendum on the deal, for July the 6th. Meanwhile, Macedonia has ordered its banks to pull their money from Greece, the first sign of an immediate neighbour moving to protect itself from potential contagion. Dr James Ker-Lindsay is a Senior Research Fellow, European Institute, London School of Economics.”

      Thank goodness for RT…

      ‘Greek pain’

      http://rt.com/shows/crosstalk/269752-greek-pain-eurozone-creditors/

      “Again Athens finds itself at loggerheads with its creditors, particularly the IMF. The Greeks appear to be willing to do only enough to stay in the Eurozone, while the rest of Europe is willing to offer it just enough support to stay afloat – all awhile making the Greek economy almost impossible to grow. Is the Euro a failure?

      CrossTalking with Mitch Feierstein, Stephen Haseler, and Scheherazade Rehman.”

      ( of course things have moved on since this discussion but it is still relevant)

      • Rodel 2.3.1

        I;d like to read an in depth analysis explaining the Greek issue. I suspect there are clandestine agendas and conspiracies that I don’t know about. Does anyone have a good link?..Something with facts would be nice so probably not Gosman theories.

      • Liberal Realist 2.3.2

        “Englishman whinging and denigrating the Greeks!”

        I also heard this on morning report. The thought that sprung to mind is ‘this guy has taken up residence deep inside christine lagarde’s arse (someone with artistic talent could do well with this one?). What a tool!

        Greek creditors have taken zero responsibility for their unsustainable ‘investments’.

        Methinks the EU is now doomed and Merkel will have to own it. The modern pax germanica export market dream is almost over.

    • Jones 2.4

      Spot on!

    • Smilin 2.5

      A game of House of Cards anyone?

  3. Save NZ 3

    Please free us from the Slavery of the ‘Free Markets’.

    And the wicked Neo Liberals who are scamming us.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    Tracey got it right in OM when she said that all the MSM cares about with regards to this “crisis” is the impact on financial markets. The Greek people who can’t access money to live on and small Greek businesses going under unable to pay their rent – who cares.

    • Gosman 4.1

      they can leave the Euro and print their own currency if they want. Of course syriza is trying to convince the Greek people that voting no won’t lead to that situation. Such a dishonest party.

      • thatguynz 4.1.1

        Such a disingenuous commenter… 🙄

      • Sable 4.1.2

        Yes Gossie, they need some good conservative jackboots on their neck and a bunch of corporate parasites telling them what to do….oh that’s right already tried that and here we are…

        • Gosman 4.1.2.1

          Noone forced the Greeks to spend more than they earned in tax and to borrow the difference.

          • Sable 4.1.2.1.1

            Ah Gossie but it wasn’t the current government who caused this mess was it old son.It was a bunch of right wing losers who couldn’t run an olive farm let alone a country….

            • Gosman 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Quite possibly correct. However the Greeks voted for that old government and benefitted from the spending that old government made and from the taxes that old government failed to collect. They are still responsible for the decisions made.

              • Charles

                So the Greeks are responsible for a government that “spent too much”, but they are also responsible to people they didn’t vote for – unknown people more powerful than a legitmate government?

                Apart from the problem of divided votes issue, and that people cannot be responsible for something that they could not foresee (Rumsfeld’s “Unknown unknowns”?), democracy in your world view doesn’t exist, voting is pointless, and there are just just robber barons?

                Under those conditions, no nation could exercise responsible decisions and the robber barons would know that, having done due dilligence before lending, so they have no rightful claim – the game is without rules, no one owes anyone anything. Let the barons fail.

          • Wayne 4.1.2.1.2

            The Greeks just need to do what Ireland, Spain, and Portugal have done. Stop whinging, and getting on with facing up to their responsibilities. That is if they want to stay in the Euro, but is that really the best thing for Greece?

            I note Angela Merkel has been noticeably silent in the last few days. That should worry Syrzia. She must have decided to ditch Greece from the Euro. Most Germans are probably saying “The Greeks don’t have to accept our offer, but then we don’t have to give them any money, which won’t get paid back.”

            In any event, apart from the short term pain, Greeks will be better off with a devalued drachma. That will get their economy going. A “no” this Sunday will deliver that result.

            After all, Greek holidays will look 100% better than Tunisian holidays for most Europeans.

            The Greek government will then be able to have a realistic discussion about the level of write down of the debt. They won’t be able to write the whole thing off, but a discount of say 50%, then restoration of normal terms would be real progress for Greece.

            • Tracey 4.1.2.1.2.1

              borrowers often default. It’s part of the capitalist banking system. Accountants and lawyers actually give advice about when to utilise this “tool”.

              Greece are damned if thy do and damned if they don’t.

              Greece needs the space to negotiate more FTAs aye Wayne, that will turn the country around, especially at the unemployment/low wage end, right Wayne?

              😉

              • Colonial Viper

                Wayne’s not a true capitalist. If he was, he would be supporting a growth programme in Greece – like what Syriza has been proposing for months – so that Greece can actually pay back its loans. Instead, Wayne says nothing about the Troika insisting on more years of fiscal waterboarding of the most vulnerable Greek citizens.

                The fact that tens of billions of irresponsible and odious lending by the major powers to Greece has occurred also seems to have sailed by him.

                • Tracey

                  Just as the bankers and politicians on high prefer to ignore how the greek society broadly worked until the 80’s.

                  Most people (rurally and many in the cities) owned their own home, it was passed down from generation to generation, so they had little or no accommodation costs… parents of daughters would add on tot heir home to accommodate the married daughter or whatever…they also had no credit cards. To say that most people were not financially sophisticated is an understatement (and not an insult). Banks, CC companies did their PR onslaught making it all seem so easy, almost like free money… we are seeing some of what happens in those circumstances 30-40 years on.

                  Of course there are other factors, but this is part of it and that means banks and countries lending money as a product to be touted, advertised and sold, are reaping some of what they sow.

            • Bill 4.1.2.1.2.2

              Over 90% of the 252 Billion Euros ‘lent’ to Greece went, more or less, straight back into the pockets of those who had forced through dodgy loans in the first place.

              All that’s happened is that the debt has been shifted from the private sector to the public sector – ie, the banks got their bail-out using a two step process this time around. And just like ’08, it’s the citizens of Europe and elsewhere who will be picking up the tab for mendacious banking activities.

              There aren’t enough lamp-posts in this world.

              • Tracey

                Yup, many Greeks realise that in times of rising unemployment and lowering of wages, fewer people are working harder to repay just the interest, which flows out of the economy instantly.

                It’s a kind of PONZI scheme frankly.

              • Liberal Realist

                +1000

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.2.1.2.3

              There are two sides to any debt. The creditors seem to have taken the view that Greece would not default and lent on that assumption.

              Why on Earth they would take such a view, given, for example, US history, or the more recent Argentine default, is beyond me, although I suspect it may have something to do with the “too big to fail” fallacy.

              In any event, business is business. Sometimes loans don’t get repaid.

          • thatguynz 4.1.2.1.3

            Actually Gosman, yes they did. Read some fucking facts instead of your myopic bullshit.

            • Switts 4.1.2.1.3.1

              Can you elaborate?

              • thatguynz

                Start with what Chooky has linked at 1.3 and go from there. It’s been discussed ad nauseum in the various threads we’ve had to date here over the past few months however Comrade Gos refuses to believe it.

          • Tracey 4.1.2.1.4

            I agree, and no one forced the IMF and others to lend to a country that didn’t spend the money as they would want. They factored this risk in when they lent, presumably So the argument works both ways.

            • travellerev 4.1.2.1.4.1

              Greece can dump all debt it has as odious debt because they were scammed into taking it on in the first place! Go the Iceland route. Arrest the bankers and the oligarchs that got them there in the first place.

          • Pat 4.1.2.1.5

            have you any concept of what has (and continues) occurred with regard to Greece Gosman or have you simply read a few headlines in the right wing press?

            • Gosman 4.1.2.1.5.1

              You mean like the Guardian? Yes very right wing paper that one.

              • Pat

                If your perusing the Guardian I think your confusing the comments by the trolls with informed articles

  5. Bill 5

    The 2008 crash was ‘our fault’ innit? It wasn’t the fault of bankers gambling on weird shit and losing everything. The evidence for this is that the poor banks had to clamber to their feet over the backs of us and our society being broken down under austerity.

    Now 2015 is going to be the fault of the Greeks, innit? And the poor banks are going to be forced to clamber all over us again. Still. Like I say, unlike last time when we just couldn’t face up to our responsibilities and so rather shamelessly tried to blame the banks and the bankers, this time we can point the accusing finger at the feckless, tax dodging Greeks.

    In fact, I’ve no doubt the corporate world will help us hone our anti-Greek narratives .

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    Outstanding RT interview with IMF Executive Director, Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr

    (who is leaving the IMF at the end of June to become Vice President of the new BRICS development bank).

    ‘Greece is one of the least successful episodes in IMF history’

    ‘Countries are very reluctant to give up their sovereignty to out of touch IMF bureaucrats’

    ‘powerful stakeholders in the IMF subordinate the activities of the IMF to their own short term political goals’

    ‘countries are prone to abusing their powers…some countries are used to ruling and are not used to a quickly changing world’

    ‘Ukraine can be seen as a second Greece for the IMF…very problematic…Ukraine may be receiving preferential treatment for both economic and political reasons’

    http://rt.com/shows/worlds-apart-oksana-boyko/270217-greece-ukraine-debt-crises/

  7. AmaKiwi 7

    In the past 30 years Greece has not had a single year when it had a positive balance of payments. Every year Greece and its people spent more abroad than they earned from overseas sources.

    Only two other countries in the OECD have such an appalling 30 year record of credit abuse: Australia and New Zealand.

    You don’t like foreigners buying up our assets? Then pay we must pay them what we owe them. But we can’t.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      The solution is for NZ just to print our own money. We definitely won’t suffer the same fate as Greece, or Zimbawbe. This time it’ll be different, because it’s plucky English-speaking NZ that is printing the money, and we’re the world’s darlings.

      {/sarcasm}

      • Tracey 7.1.1

        chuckle

        joking aside, IF NZ were in Greece’s position I am confidant our government would be bobbing its head up and down and doing hat ever it was asked in terms of what it would be imposing on its people (well some/most of them). Under its new government Greece is pushing back, and despite predictions that it would be gone or whatever 5 months ago, they have wrestled some concessions by pushing back.

        Now the people get the chance to decide their own fate, and to live by their collective decision.

        What Greece needs is a FTA or a TPP, that solves everything

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        The solution is for NZ just to print our own money. We definitely won’t suffer the same fate as Greece, or Zimbawbe. This time it’ll be different, because it’s plucky English-speaking NZ that is printing the money, and we’re the world’s darlings.

        Shall we go through this again, Lanth?

        NZ should NOT print its own money if its political and civil service class aren’t smart enough to invest that money in building up NZ industries, service capabilities and economic competitiveness.

        In the case of Greece and Zimbabwe, currency was created but not turned into economic capital. Of course, in a situation like that, there will be severe economic damage done.

        Now Lanth, if you don’t happen to have any ideas for how NZ can print and invest $500M in itself to greatly and productively increase its human and economic capital, please get out of the way of the people who do.

      • Mike S 7.1.3

        Why sarcasm? We should create our own money supply. What on earth is the benefit to us from allowing private, for profit , foreign owned banks to create our money supply and ‘lend’ it to us at interest when we, as a sovereign nation could create our own money supply?

        Why on earth does the government borrow 1 billion, with taxpayers lumped with outrageous interest to pay back, when they could just create it themselves by ‘borrowing’ off a truly publicly owned reserve bank?

        There’s no difference in inflationary terms of government borrowing 1 billion or creating it themselves, Either way, 1 billion is added to the overall money supply. so why do we borrow it and get lumped with interest?

        Scam.

      • Would that be worse than privately owned banking cartels printing it out of thin air lending it to us with interest?

    • Chooky 7.2

      and just like the Greeks we have been having Goldman Sachs advise us on what to do

      …. Treasury got Goldman Sachs to ‘review’ KiwiBank !

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/treasury-hires-goldman-sachs-run-ruler-over-kiwibank-bd-136461

      http://www.interest.co.nz/bonds/63488/treasury-says-no-official-information-act-request-goldman-sachs-report-kiwibanks-capital

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11262662

      …and God knows what else Goldman Sachs has been ‘reviewing’ and advising on in New Zealand

      • Wayne 7.2.1

        Well, as everyone can see Australia and New Zealand are just like Greece. Fortunately, we resisted the temptations of Hone Harawira and Mana.

        • thatguynz 7.2.1.1

          Wayne, now you’re being disingenuous. As a former member of Parliament I’m sure you can explain the role of the IMF in New Zealand’s politics and finances since 1961 can’t you? Particularly culminating in the recent change whereby Govt can enact IMF doctrine without having to table legislative change.

          Please, tell us more.

        • Olwyn 7.2.1.2

          Fortunately, we resisted the temptations of Hone Harawira and Mana.

          So by your world view Wayne, it seems that it is only common sense to rob the poor and the defenseless, among whom rickets has returned, of representation, so that the market will smile on the nice upper middle class, with their nice property portfolios and their nice government contracts.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.3

          Wayne, Goldman Sachs was pivotal in designing the series of transactions which hid Greece’s true debt/deficit situation, falsifying the country’s entry into the Eurozone.

          The Greek oligarchic class was entirely complicit in this scheme.

          Wayne, why are you not fingering Goldman Sachs and the 0.1% oligarchic class as being the real roots of Greece’s problems.

        • marty mars 7.2.1.4

          “Fortunately, we resisted the temptations of Hone Harawira and Mana.”

          for the temptations of liarkey and his mappy-minions – quick get the handcuffs…

  8. The lost sheep 8

    Greece should just default on it’s loans, tell the European Neo Lib idiots to fuck off, and then align themselves with like-minded Marxist oriented countries that are willing to fund Greece’s recovery in a manner consistent with Far Left economic orthodoxy.

    Simple.

    • Alan 8.1

      Which like-minded, Marxist oriented, cashed up and thriving countries would that be Lost Sheep?

      • I believe Lost Sheep was being sarcastic, Alan! But Greece will remain in the EU, so will have a trading relationship on a similar basis to the UK. ie In Europe, but out of the Eurozone.

        • Jones 8.1.1.1

          I think it will be more like the EFTA countries… out of the EU ( or at least out of the Eurozone) but still in the EEA. UK is very much part of the EU, just with their own currency.

    • Wayne 8.2

      The lost sheep,

      They can, but they will be out of the Euro.

      However, to some extent I agree with you. They do need debt relief.

      But they will not be able to write off the whole debt if they want to borrow on international markets again anytime soon. Russia is simply no substitute for Europe. And China will not lend unless they get repaid.

      • Ad 8.2.1

        If Greece remains within the EU but with separate currency, like UK, their economy will start to look like New Zealand’s:

        – Very little to export other than some basics, but great for tourism

        I’m sure Wayne’s government could sit the Greek Prime Minister down and give them lessons on how to get through a currency crisis by doing nothing other than sit on their hands and watch.

        • Daveinireland 8.2.1.1

          “If Greece remains within the EU but with separate currency, like UK, their economy will start to look like New Zealand’s:”

          That would be good for Greece, NZ is much wealthier than Greece.

      • Tracey 8.2.2

        A number of the countries which have lent to them are NOT charging interest. A few of the loans are not due to mature for 10, 20 and 30 years.

    • Ron 8.3

      Are you serious?
      If Greece defaults they are effectively leaving the EEA Single Market
      That would require to have their own currency good luck with that trying to get an effective exchange rate with other countries.
      Secondly it will lose free access to all the other countries in the Union which would mean that Greeks would have to apply for Visa’s to visit other countries and also that all the Greek people currently residing in other EEA countries would have to leave or obtain visa and work permits etc. It’s exports would find it difficult to export to other Market countries as they would be treated as General Tariff and attract duties etc.
      That is as I see it I am open to correction.

      Greece should just default on it’s loans, tell the European Neo Lib idiots to fuck off

      • The lost sheep 8.3.1

        “Are you serious?”

        I would be if I thought there really was any wealthy Marxist oriented Country that would be willing to help Greece.

        The lack of such a benefactor is a serious problem for Syriza, and I reckon it’s leads them right back to having no choice but to confront the realities you have pointed out.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.3.1.1

          🙄

          No Capitalist investor will see any opportunities in Greece ever again, no sirree.

      • Daveinireland 8.3.2

        Greece will leave the Eurozone, it will not be leaving the EU.

      • Jones 8.3.3

        The way I understand it: Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland are all part of the EEA and have an economic relationship with the EU through the EFTA. All four maintain their own currencies. EU passports enable you to live and work in all EEA countries (I once worked in Norway on a British passport and had no problems travelling in and out of the country).

        Why could Greece not be a fifth member of the EFTA?

      • Tracey 8.3.4

        a low currency will make their products really affordable in other countries 😉

      • Tracey 8.3.5

        a low currency will make their products really affordable in other countries 😉

      • Kiwiri 8.3.6

        Hi Ron.
        Mmm, not sure where to start but the various arrangements and agreements such as those related to EU, EZ, Schengen need not necessarily be conflated or seen as inevitably identical.

    • Tracey 8.4

      Greece should default because that is the prudent thing to do in a market driven capitalist system.

      This is known as liquidation or bankruptcy and is used as a specific remedy” for over stretching and not being able to repay. Banks build this risk in when lending.

      Paying, not paying, both have dire consequences but the notion that defaulting on a loan is a foreign concept to the capitalist system is laughable.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.5

      Read some US history and then tell me again how debt default is “Marxism”.

      If Greece does default, bear in mind the histories of the countries that’ve taken similar measures.

      Marxism? Pfft.

  9. Tracey 9

    Hosting the 2004 Olympics cost almost €9 billion ($11 billion at today’s exchange rate). They should go to the IOC for a loan

  10. infused 10

    Heh, these comments are so stupid. Especially the twitter ones. It’s not even about this 1.9bn repayment.

    This was known for years and caused by the Greek govt hiding debt caused by the Greeks govt being fucking retarded.

    They should default as there is no way they are coming back from that debt. In saying that, defaulting is going to be pretty destructive to the country, but it’s inevitable.

    • Jones 10.1

      I don’t think you can talk about the Greek Government hiding debt without including “…with the full collusion of Goldman Sachs” and also note that Goldman Sachs subsequently bet on Greek insolvency.

      This cannot be pinned on the Greek’s in their entirety. Goldman Sachs pocketed over $400 million in fees for that deal.

  11. Kiwiri 11

    Adding another piece here from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11705199/Greece-debt-crisis-Greek-banks-pension-cuts-live.html (yes, it is from The Torygraph but this is worth noting):

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has an exclusive interview with Yanis Varoufakis, who has said that Greece has threatened to seek a court injuction against EU institutions.

    He told the Daily Telegraph, “We are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable.“

    Any request for an injunction against EU bodies at the European Court would be an unprecedented development, further complicating the crisis.

    • miravox 11.1

      I find it hard to believe how badly the troika have handled these negotiations. They seem to have split the Greek economy from the society it serves and take no account of humanitarian problems that have been increasing.

      A good example of this is Junker’s badly worded plea to the Greeks to vote ‘yes’ to the deal – people in a country where thousands have committed suicide due to their financial situations, he says they shouldn’t commit suicide (vote no) for fear of death (austerity – which he says isn’t what this deal is, when clearly it is). His whole speech was self-serving and distasteful.

      Maybe negotiations should have taken place in Greece instead of Brussels so the negotiators could see and hear the effects of their deals.

      Pretty lucky the authors and administrators of the Marshall Plan weren’t as ‘hard-headed’. If some of these negotiators remembered how their countries were revived post-WWII managing the Greek crisis may have gone a whole lot better.

      http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/greece-eurozone-austerity-reform-by-joseph-e–stiglitz-2015-02#v7FDJ6qHFU5plkIP.99

      Seventy years ago, at the end of World War II, the Allies recognized that Germany must be given a fresh start. They understood that Hitler’s rise had much to do with the unemployment (not the inflation) that resulted from imposing more debt on Germany at the end of World War I. The Allies did not take into account the foolishness with which the debts had been accumulated or talk about the costs that Germany had imposed on others. Instead, they not only forgave the debts; they actually provided aid, and the Allied troops stationed in Germany provided a further fiscal stimulus.

      When companies go bankrupt, a debt-equity swap is a fair and efficient solution. The analogous approach for Greece is to convert its current bonds into GDP-linked bonds. If Greece does well, its creditors will receive more of their money; if it does not, they will get less. Both sides would then have a powerful incentive to pursue pro-growth policies.

      • Colonial Rawshark 11.1.1

        I find it hard to believe how badly the troika have handled these negotiations. They seem to have split the Greek economy from the society it serves and take no account of humanitarian problems that have been increasing.

        It doesn’t make sense unless you see that the Troika have EU wide political goals for which they intend to make Greece an example for.

  12. Bill 12

    Joseph Stiglitz’s opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the Greeks should vote ‘No’.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/29/joseph-stiglitz-how-i-would-vote-in-the-greek-referendum

  13. Ergo Robertina 13

    Economist Joseph Stiglitz (a former World Bank chief economist) on the choice facing Greece:

    ”It is hard to advise Greeks how to vote on 5 July. Neither alternative – approval or rejection of the troika’s terms – will be easy, and both carry huge risks. A yes vote would mean depression almost without end. Perhaps a depleted country – one that has sold off all of its assets, and whose bright young people have emigrated – might finally get debt forgiveness; —
    ”By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.
    I know how I would vote.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/29/joseph-stiglitz-how-i-would-vote-in-the-greek-referendum

    EDIT – hadn’t seen Bill’s comment before posting.

    • Olwyn 13.1

      I agree with Stiglitz In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

      In the print copy of the Dom (doesn’t seem to be online), this: Making it clear that he hoped the Greek parliament would take a vote of no confidence in Alexis Tsipras…a stony-faced Dijsselbloem let it slip that whatever the outcome of the referendum, Syriza must go. Dijsselbloem, incidentally, is a Dutch Labour politician. The arrogance and presumption of these people just sickens me. In fact if the Euro-zone was living up to its original claims, they would have sorted out their problems between themselves, as Europeans and laid down their terms to the IMF – not ganged up with the IMF on one of their own.

  14. Tracey 14

    “Top 5 Products exported by Greece Refined Petroleum (35%), Packaged Medicaments (3.1%), Aluminium Plating (1.9%), Non-fillet Fresh Fish (1.7%), and Raw Cotton (1.7%)

    Top 5 Products imported by Greece Crude Petroleum (24%), Refined Petroleum (6.9%), Packaged Medicaments (5.1%), Passenger and Cargo Ships (4.0%), and Petroleum Gas (3.1%)

    Top 5 Export destinations of Greece Turkey (11%), Italy (8.0%), Germany (6.4%), Bunkers (6.0%), and Bulgaria (5.0%)

    Top 5 Import origins of Greece Russia (11%), Germany (9.5%), Italy (8.0%), Saudi Arabia (5.1%), and China (5.0%)”

    So, Greece’s top export country is not in the EU and Bunkers (from what I can tell ) is Iran… 12% to US, Cyprus and UK (not EU countries as such – UK has a bob each way) BUT 20% is definitely EU countries…

    https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/explore/tree_map/hs/export/grc/show/all/2012/

    • Chooky 14.1

      +100…interesting points ….and as well as Russian support via the gas line

      http://rt.com/op-edge/257505-greece-turkish-stream-russia-investment/

      …..Greece may do very well outside the EU…particularly if it reverts to its own currency and tourism resumes to support the grassroots local economy…certainly get many sympathetic tourists from around the world

      • Tracey 14.1.1

        I am not sure if they will do very well but my sense is that the average Greek is pretty fucked so why not have it in your own hands and see if you can find a way out…

        And then there is China…

    • Anno1701 14.2

      Bunkerage is maritime slang for filling tanks on cargo ships

  15. The Other Mike 15

    Joseph Stiglitz to Greece’s Creditors: Abandon Austerity Or Face Global Fallout:

    A few years ago, when Greece was still at the start of its slide into an economic depression, the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz remembers discussing the crisis with Greek officials. What they wanted was a stimulus package to boost growth and create jobs, and Stiglitz, who had just produced an influential report for the United Nations on how to deal with the global financial crisis, agreed that this would be the best way forward. Instead, Greece’s foreign creditors imposed a strict program of austerity. The Greek economy has shrunk by about 25% since 2010. The cost-cutting was an enormous mistake, Stiglitz says, and it’s time for the creditors to admit it.
    *
    “They have criminal responsibility,” he says of the so-called troika of financial institutions that bailed out the Greek economy in 2010, namely the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. “It’s a kind of criminal responsibility for causing a major recession,” Stiglitz tells TIME in a phone interview.
    *
    Along with a growing number of the world’s most influential economists, Stiglitz has begun to urge the troika to forgive Greece’s debt – estimated to be worth close to $300 billion in bailouts – and to offer the stimulus money that two successive Greek governments have been requesting.
    *
    Failure to do so, Stiglitz argues, would not only worsen the recession in Greece – already deeper and more prolonged than the Great Depression in the U.S. – it would also wreck the credibility of Europe’s common currency, the euro, and put the global economy at risk of contagion.

    At http://time.com/3939621/stiglitz-greece/
    Maybe I should send this to JK & Bill as well….

  16. Karen 16

    The Greek word for ‘no’ is ‘ochi.’

    Ochi Day is celebrated every 28th October to commemorate the day the Greek Government said no to Mussolini.

    Time to say no to another bunch of facists.

  17. Skinny 17

    The problem is the Nation’s people are spooked by the uncertainty so will most likely revert to type and vote YES. Tragic because they will go to the polls again and vote a pro austerity measures-Right Wing regime back into power. Good to see their Leader is holding his nerve and advocating a vote NO or he resigns, of course he is expecting an 11_hour offer to stay in with alot more wriggle room on offer. Good luck to him he is causing quite the roller coaster ride on world exchanges. The money men will be just as nervous as him.

    • The Other Mike 17.1

      Umm, maybe. Greeks, especially pensioners, are heartily sick and tired of “austerity” :
      TRNN: Greek Pensioners Protest Cuts to Pensions – https://youtu.be/n4XByl1X3rc

      And… Greece has threatened to seek a court injunction against the EU institutions, both to block the country’s expulsion from the euro and to halt asphyxiation of the banking system.

      “The Greek government will make use of all our legal rights,” said the finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

      “We are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable,“ he told the Telegraph.

      The defiant stand came as Europe’s major powers warned in the bluntest terms that Greece will be forced out of monetary union if voters reject austerity demands in a shock referendum on Sunday.

      Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11707092/Greece-threatens-top-court-action-to-block-Grexit.html

  18. Chooky 18

    ‘Support debt cancellation for Greece,’ MPs, economists & campaigners tell Cameron’

    http://rt.com/uk/270349-greece-debt-cancellation-cameron/

    “MPs, trade unionists, economists and campaigners have called upon David Cameron to support debt cancellation for Greece, saying it could be funded by seizing capital from speculators and banks that were the true beneficiaries of Athens’ bailouts.

    In an open letter to the prime minister, some 25 Labour and Green Party MPs demanded the government back the organization of a European summit to agree upon a debt write-down for Greece.

    Published by the Guardian on Sunday, the letter called for an end to destructive austerity policies that have wrought poverty and injustice across Europe….

  19. Gosman 19

    Hilarious considering the UK doesn’t own much Greek debt. It would be like New Zealanders demanding debt relief for Sri Lanka.

    • Tracey 19.1

      Do you ever notice how few of your posts address actually human impacts, you know, people?

      • Gosman 19.1.1

        A key difference between Left wing and Right wing economic thinking is that left wingers think that you can keep spending other people’s money indefinately and right wingers suggest there is a limit that will be eventually reached and then there will have to be at a reckoning. We are at that reckoning stage now. The reason we got there was because of people like you tracey who thought they were helping people but inreality they were setting them up for an almighty fall. I laugh when someone like you says someone like me should care about the plight of people hurt by policies you support when I have been warning all along about where those policies will lead to avoid such hurt.

        • KB 19.1.1.1

          Hi Gosman

          Do you mean right wing economic thinking that led to the banks in America and elsewhere receiving enormous bailouts paid for by ‘other people’s money’ in the wake of the 2008 GFC so that the CEO’s etc wouldn’t suffer the hardship of missing out on their huge bonuses?

          • Gosman 19.1.1.1.1

            How is that right wing? More left wing if you ask me.

            • KB 19.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m sure the people running the banks etc in America are not known for their left wing ideas, yet were more than happy to have their hands out to receive ‘other people’s money’ to bail them out of a mess of their own making.

        • Colonial Rawshark 19.1.1.2

          You have some pretty fucked up and incorrect ideas Gosman. Firstly you have no idea of what “left wing” and “right wing” even means.

          Tell me, out of Germany, the ECB, the IMF and Goldman Sachs, which of them are left wing, in your estimation?

          Because all I see are the Bankster 0.1% class against everyone else. That’s not a Left vs RIght dichotomy.

          Goldman Sachs helped Greece cook their books (with the knowledge of the European elite) in order to get Greece into the Eurozone. Is Goldman Sachs ‘left’ or ‘right’ wing in your estimation? In my estimation they simply are part of the bankster class pushing Greece into debt peonage.

          Germany, the ECB and the IMF, for the last several years have been pressuring Greece to borrow tens of billions of Euros that it could not afford. Are these parties Left or Right, in your estimation? In my estimation, in their dealings with Greece they are nothing more than the Bankster class, pushing Greece into debt peonage.

          Greece under Syriza have finally found some backbone to tell the truth – that the country cannot afford to pay back these loans and does not want the citizens of the EU to give it more money which will only turn into more bad debts.

          I am surprised you continue to push an obsolete ‘left’ vs ‘right’ political economic viewpoint, while leaving out discussion of the parasitic Bankster class altogether.

          • Gosman 19.1.1.2.1

            Pressuring??? The Greeks had the ability to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks”. They could also have used the Billions they did borrow to invest in their economy thus enabling them to increase their woeful productivity rates and allow them to pay off the loans. What did they spend the money on instead C.V?

            • Colonial Rawshark 19.1.1.2.1.1

              Pressuring??? The Greeks had the ability to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks”. They could also have used the Billions they did borrow to invest in their economy

              Yeah and what do you say to the creditors who kept lending Greece more and more EU tax payers money even though it was clear that Greece could never pay it back?

          • Tracey 19.1.1.2.2

            sounds to me like the new Greek Government is almost a pure Capitalist government.

            “Fuck your loans, we paid as long as we could and now can’t afford it anymore so we are defaulting and trying a different way”.

            • Gosman 19.1.1.2.2.1

              And yet they have gone back to the Eurozone members to ask for more money. So much for the ‘Fuck your loans’ idea.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Varoufakis has put plenty of alternatives on the table Gosman, including lines of credit through the European Stability Fund, reformulating loans to delay repayments, and other growth oriented options. But more loans are the only option the Troika will agree to. Why don’t you criticise the Troika.

        • Tracey 19.1.1.3

          hat I wrote was “you ever notice how few of your posts address actually human impacts, you know, people”..

          Your response was a kind of pseudo intellectual “I told you so so don’t expect me to care”.

          Good O.

    • Colonial Rawshark 19.2

      Hilarious considering the UK doesn’t own much Greek debt. It would be like New Zealanders demanding debt relief for Sri Lanka.

      The City of London is one of the largest financial centres in the World. The last thing that they want is for the EU to fuck up Greece at this point and cause a meltdown into GFC 2. So the UK should call for a change in how Greece is managed.

  20. The troika know that their own plan for Greece won’t work anyway, according to a leaked document.

    “Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-troika-analysis-says-significant-concessions-still-needed

    • Gosman 20.1

      Yes, they will likely require debt relief at some stage. However given the fact it was the Greece’s structural issues that lead them in to this problem in the first place it is better to get them to make the necessary structural changes now rather than give them debt relief first and remove any incentive for them doing so.

      • Colonial Rawshark 20.1.1

        Fuck your euphemisms “structural changes” = selling off Greek assets to foreign privateers for cents on the dollar, as well as punishing pensioners and wage earners more. 4 years of Troika led reforms and Greece’s economy has declined by 25% and here you are pushing for more. Talk about an utter inability to spot a failing strategy, Gossie.

        • Tracey 20.1.1.1

          This is all just a big maths equation to Gosman. he uses the word “greeks” as a catch-all but that is as close as he gets to talking at a human level. BUT he has the certainty of being right on his side. How he swells with pride

        • Gosman 20.1.1.2

          The Greeks have hardly sold a single State owned asset since the start of the crisis. They have been stalling. Not implementing a policy is no indication that the policy has failed.

          • Colonial Rawshark 20.1.1.2.1

            Transferring public wealth into private hands for cents in the dollar has failed everywhere else, dipshit. Great for the bankster class and the management consulting class who make huge fees of the transactions though.

  21. Gosman 21

    Interestesting to see that the Greek government has gone back to the EU requesting further loans of almost 30 billion Euros. The chutzpah of Syriza is incredible. Do they not realise they can’t get more money unless they follow the policies that the creditors have asked them to?

    • Colonial Rawshark 21.1

      LOL its a game of chicken now Gossie, the chutzpah of unelected IMF and ECB bankster officials telling democracy to fuck off is what is truly unbelievable.

      • Tracey 21.1.1

        It will be interesting to see if they can get concessions, cos Gosman says they can’t… they just have to man-up and hand over the money, according tot he spreadsheet and the “rules” he has in his head…

        • Colonial Rawshark 21.1.1.1

          An economic commentator remarked that this stage is a game of chicken where both sides have ripped out their steering wheels and brakes. Could be ugly.

          • Tracey 21.1.1.1.1

            I have no doubt it is going to be messy and ugly, but some here, who choose to only address the human factor by way of blaming all Greeks for where they find themselves, ignore the figures, the deterioration (not improvement) from austerity. So, say some Greeks, if we are going to live without jobs, low wages, and so on, why not do it on our terms, and we will take the consequences (which are serious, medications and the health systems are one) BUT austerity hasn’t improved Greece, unemployment continues to rise, pensions (so maligned) are below the poverty line for some countries, unemployment in the over 60’s is now at 60%… they can’t get jobs even if they want them instead of a pension.

            This is so much more complex and human than people like Gosman are making it with his self righteous holier than thou “they made their bed, each and every one of them, now they must slowly starve”

            • Gosman 21.1.1.1.1.1

              The problem is the Greeks haven’t really implemented any major structural reforms yet. The State still owns many supposedly commercial enterprises that should be privatised and the Labour rules and other regulations still make it a very difficult place to do business. The only areas they have touched upon is government spending and that is because they haven’t got as much revenue to spend anymore. The reason for this is they can’t borrow to fund massive deficits and need to start looking at paying back the debt. That seems more like facing up to reality than austerity.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                The problem is the Greeks haven’t really implemented any major structural reforms yet.

                More utter bullshit from Gosman.

                Anyone who wants the truth, don’t listen to Gosman for starters.

                Then, look up the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth austerity packages that the Greece government implemented. These included privatisations, slashing of pensions, increasing the retirement age, cutting of government jobs, wage freezes and wage cuts, loss of employee benefits and bonuses, increased taxes and a raft of other austerity measures.

                All of which have contributed to a 25% destruction of GDP in Greece and a 1/3 rise in suicides.

                And pro vampire bankster fuckers like Gosman want more of the same.

  22. Big Al 22

    With all the talk of Greek Austerity it seems prudent to actually look more closely as how the Greeks live. What the Europeans want is for some of this to change : Did you Know : there are approx. 20% of trades and professions in Greece which are classified as “hazardous”, and which allows the individual to retire at 50? WITH FULL PENSION! (Believe it or not, this includes teachers). ALso, there is no PAYE in Greece, so a tax inspector visits you once a year and reaches agreement with you on what your earnings were, and the tax rate is set accordingly. So, 20% of the workforce retires at 50 years of age with full pension, and the taxable intake is determined over a cup of tea with the tax inspector. Obviously the tax inspector is himself pretty well off, as a bit of grease comes his way on agreeing your taxable income for the year!
    It’s no wonder the economy is a basket case, and no wonder the European powers want that to change. Greece spends more than it earns, and has borrowed to continue to pay for it. But it doesn’t last forever, and the day of reckoning has arrived. The Greeks refuse to admit they can’t continue this way, and the Greek Govt continues to avoid the elephant in the room : Showdown.

    • Sylvia 22.1

      The only reason you want censorship, you are afraid I might succeed, and this will make you look useless…..big time!

      Back off loser and let the bitch do her thing!

    • Colonial Rawshark 22.2

      Big Al you are full of shit; Tspiras and Varoufakis have fully acknowledged that Greece cannot pay its debts yet Germany, the ECB and the IMF want Greece to take on even more loans!!!

      Where sir, are you not criticising the conduct of the big power lenders in pushing more bad debts on to Greece???

      • tinfoilhat 22.2.1

        If a deal is done, Syriza will no doubt claim some sort of a victory, and the eurozone will congratulate itself on saving the single currency, but for most ordinary Greek people the underlying reality will be that of the same old penury as before.

        • Colonial Rawshark 22.2.1.1

          Tspiras has already said that if the Greek people vote to implement the Troika proposals it will mean further austerity, and he will not lead the government which will run that agenda.

    • Colonial Rawshark 22.3

      With all the talk of Greek Austerity it seems prudent to actually look more closely as how the Greeks live.

      Hey dickhead, I’ll tell you how the Greeks “live”: their economy has collapsed by 25% in the last 4 years thanks to the Troika, youth unemployment is up to 60%, and suicides have increased by a third.

      Bankster loving fuckers like you make me sick.

      • Tracey 22.3.1

        but, but, but CR this is a spreadsheet problem, stop involving humans aye.

        • Colonial Rawshark 22.3.1.1

          indeed

          and TPTB would love us to think of this as a technical and spreadsheet problem

          In fact the whole thing reeks of the exertion of political power over a small country

          NB Italy has a public debt 7x bigger than Greece…see what the Eurozone might really be afraid of if they let Greece ‘get away with it.’

          • Tracey 22.3.1.1.1

            Yup Gosman seems to omit the entry into gReece of Bankers through mortgage and credit cards and how they “sold” them, and who sits behind those banks… it’s all the fault of every single person in Greece, even those not born when the SHTF. Now they must suffer til they understand that Libertarianism is their saviour.

            • Gosman 22.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes those insidious organisations allowing people to choose to take up a mortgage or a credit card but not forcing them to do so. Free choice is so evil.

              Btw the debt problem in Greece is Sovereign not private. People taking up mortgages and Credit cards had little impact on them. In fact the banks offering these financial products would have suffered the most as the Greek people who held them and couldn’t pay could simply default and the lenders have little recourse.

    • Tracey 22.4

      could you post sources for all of this Al. I ask because even before the crisis in late 2007 privately employed Greeks could not receive a pension at 50 and one of the first things to go post GFC was the pension at 50 for those in public service (made somewhat problematic by the cOort ruling in 2012 however)

      If you go here and look at all the stats you will see some myths dispelled

      http://www.businessinsider.com.au/greece-germany-pensions-2010-4#average-pension-entrance-age-greece-624-germany-632-11

      “Average pension entrance age; Greece: 62.4 Germany: 63.2”

      “Minimum pension age for women; Greece: 60 Germany: 65-67”

      “Minimum pension age for men; Greece: 65 Germany: 65-67”

      Some other analysis here

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/15/unsustainable-futures-greece-pensions-dilemma-explained-financial-crisis-default-eurozone

      • Tracey 22.4.1

        “Fourth, although there can be no doubt that many Greeks will have jumped on early retirement possibilities, exploited loopholes and claimed pensions when they weren’t allowed to, one needs to only look at the change in the unemployment rate among 55-64 year olds – it now stands at 20%, up from 6% five years ago – to realise that many will have opted for early retirement not because they wanted to, but because they were unable to find work – and a pension is often the only safety net. “

        • Gosman 22.4.1.1

          Perhaps if they were more productive and used some of the billions they borrowed to invest in their economy they would be able to create businesses to provide the jobs for those people. Instead they sunk those billions in to wasteful non-productive areas. The people receiving the money certainly got wealthier but it was a mere illusion. An illusion they are suddenly coming to the realisation over.

          • Tracey 22.4.1.1.1

            is there a side B to your record?

            “Perhaps if they were more productive and used some of the billions they borrowed to invest in their economy they would be able to create businesses to provide the jobs ”

            who is “they”?

            • Gosman 22.4.1.1.1.1

              The Greek government. It is a Sovereign debt issue after all. You are aware that the issue is with the size of the Government debt in Greece not total debt aren’t you?

          • Colonial Rawshark 22.4.1.1.2

            Instead they sunk those billions in to wasteful non-productive areas.

            Huh? Like buying military arms from the USA and Germany? That’s kind of unproductive, you must agree.

            • Bill 22.4.1.1.2.1

              You do know that a ‘conditionality’ of loans was that defense spending (including the purchase of expensive military hardware from abroad) was not to be cut, yes?

            • Gosman 22.4.1.1.2.2

              Entirely wasteful I would agree, especially considering Greece is in NATO and thus has the added protection of having the US military guarranteeing their defence. I don’t believe the US or the Germans forced the Greeks to spend this money on defence though. Certainly other European nations didn’t have a problem controlling defence expenditure. The Greeks chose to spend this money on their military when they couldn’t afford it.

          • Bill 22.4.1.1.3

            “Instead they sunk those billions in to wasteful non-productive areas.”

            Yeah Gosman, that’s right. 90% of the loans went straight back to the lenders. A complete waste. The banks and other lenders should have been compelled to take the hit, instead of being allowed to transfer the debt they created onto the public through a process of bullying that has definitely killed people and impoverished many, many more.

      • Gosman 22.4.2

        The difference is the Germans earn enough in their economy at the moment to afford the pension at 60 odd. The Greeks don’t hance why they have to borrow money to pay for it.

        • Tracey 22.4.2.1

          Do you know the source/s for this information?

          “Did you Know : there are approx. 20% of trades and professions in Greece which are classified as “hazardous”, and which allows the individual to retire at 50? WITH FULL PENSION! (Believe it or not, this includes teachers). ALso, there is no PAYE in Greece, so a tax inspector visits you once a year and reaches agreement with you on what your earnings were, and the tax rate is set accordingly. So, 20% of the workforce retires at 50 years of age with full pension, and the taxable intake is determined over a cup of tea with the tax inspector. Obviously the tax inspector is himself pretty well off, as a bit of grease comes his way on agreeing your taxable income for the year!”

          • Big Al 22.4.2.1.1

            First source : If you spend some time on google you can get to the lists of protected or hazardous professions. Took me about 1/2 an hour. (suggest you start with “Greek Pensions”).
            Second source : Greek son in law who “negotiated” the income levels for his father with the tax inspector. (Or would this be classified as hearsay ??) He has been in NZ for just over 5 years, but with talking to his Father appears nothing has changed since. The Greeks refuse to change their lifestyle rights, and the Greek Govt choose to protect them. Like all financial situations, if you spend more than you earn then at some time to have to pay the piper. Exactly the same within any home in NZ : reduce your outgoings or improve your income to balance the books. You can only borrow, or load the credit card, until you reach your limit.

        • Colonial Rawshark 22.4.2.2

          The difference is the Germans earn enough in their economy at the moment to afford the pension at 60 odd.

          Bullshit. Germany runs a huge trade surplus (what you call “earning”). Problem is that Germany wouldn’t have this trade surplus unless other countries in the EU were stuck in a trade deficit.

          And as usual you avoid mentioning a core issue that is central to the problems of a common currency without a common treasury.

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