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It’s outrageous

Written By: - Date published: 3:39 pm, September 3rd, 2010 - 45 comments
Categories: Economy, national/act government, public services - Tags:

Whatever flimsy and tattered remains of Labour-lite which National used to disguise itself at the 2008 election has well and truly disappeared. Thank goodness we can now call a spade a spade. National is making its priorities crystal clear to the public.

On a week when up to 500 elderly or disabled people in the Wellington district are going to have their home help cut and new patients referred for home help won’t get any assistance with shopping, cleaning, meals or heavy lifting unless they are so disabled that they can’t go to the bathroom by themselves (this will save Capital Coast DHB about $500,000) we have the government bailing out South Canterbury Finance with $1.6 billion of tax payer money. Including the interest on the money at the rates that South Canterbury Finance was offering when they made their deposits – in some cases 8%.

I’m sorry. This is just outrageous.

Just to get a sense of perspective here, let’s look at what else you get for this kind of money:

  • $1.2b is what the government is spending on early childhood education. They would have spent more but they couldn’t afford it which means many parents don’t get the full benefit 20 hours a week free preschool Labour introduced.
  • $135m is the entire budget for maternity services for the whole country.

And on another note, where is the shrill chorus of voices from the Business Round Table and ACT and Don Brash demanding smaller government and personal responsibility?

45 comments on “It’s outrageous ”

  1. Sean 1

    It’s the interest that is the real kick in the guts. The investors didn’t put their money into a bank, they chose risk for a chance at higher interest.

    The investors took a chance, it didn’t pan out, but thanks to Bill English, apparently they didn’t take a chance at all. Interest guaranteed!

    Yeah – where is the moaning from the Business Round Table? Come on Hide, get your yellow jacket on about this one – at least demonstrate some sort of principles.

  2. the sprout 2

    phew, thank goodness.
    now we just have Labour being Labour-lite.

  3. outofbed 3

    So lite they are gently floating into the ether, never to be seen again

  4. just saying 4

    Talking to my swing-National voting kin, this is the issue most likely to topple the government. Msm is failing to take the sting out of the issue, and sweep it under the carpet. This is just too big and rotten a rat for the public to swallow.

    If so,what might take National’s place is anyone’s guess. I guess once the focus-group results are in Labour will have something to say. Just hope they can get in before Winston gets his act together.

  5. outofbed 5

    EVERYONE VOTE GREEN please

    captcha … Values….. its alive I tell you

  6. Mike 6

    Labour should be out demagoging this issue as hard as they can, instead they have said nothing apart from issuing a weak press release. Look at Red Alert, there is nothing about SCF there.

    Sure, you can say it wouldn’t be logically consistent for Labour to make hay out of this being the party that introduced the deposit scheme in the first place, but when has that ever mattered in politics? National was swept to power whinging about energy efficient light bulbs even though the previous National government were the ones to first introduce energy efficient standards for consumer goods.

    Instead it seems the only party that’s going to be going hard on this issue is NZ First.
    There’s a time and a place for mindless populism and it’s right now.
    .

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      They should but they have a slight problem – they’re the ones that put Government Guarantee in in the first place.

  7. outofbed 7

    Red Alert? more like Red Asleep!

    • felix 7.1

      Dead Alert?

      • outofbed 7.1.1

        dead ahead ?

      • Herodotus 7.1.2

        But they make their own amusement with their “Silly Idea #” mini series by Pete Hodgson. Unfortunately there is a lack of consistent depth within Labour at the moment, there are some who appear to be doing their best i.e. Finance but wher eis the No1, no2 etc no profile. Yet I did notice that Phil had been taken out of cold stoarage in Close Up re New Chums, but then that land was available for sale in 99, 01 and 04. Not worth protecting when Lab were in power but it is now. This location is special today and worth protecting, it was yesterday and last century it was a magic place to visit. Only when Labour achieve the position of “Party in Opposition” do they start to think again, when in power the brain goes to sleep (But that could be said towards another party in power currently somewhere in the world … close by perhaps !!!) On reflection perhaps we shold have an election term on a annual basis then we would get a good turnover of ideas, just like Italy amost a new govt every year since the war.

    • BLiP 7.2

      Heh! I’ve just been slung into auto-moderation. Yeah, little ole innocuous me!! My alleged “off topic” comment which resulted in the (I’m going to assume) cautious approach to further BLiP comments was something like:

      What will it take to sort out the radiographers’ pay dispute – would $1.8 billion just about cover it?

      OpenLabour – my fat arse.

      • bbfloyd 7.2.1

        blip… do you not understand the difference between a real debate with real issues and simply indulging in reactionary posturing?

        am i to believe that the sort of support this government enjoys amounts to nothing more than a cult of personality?

        • BLiP 7.2.1.1

          Real debate – what a quaint notion. Didn’t you know its been replaced with focus-group driven policy initiatives so as to obtain power, and then its winner takes all. Just have a listen to some of the debates in Parliament recently. If making law is about ideas, the strength of which is sustained through logic and real world evidence, most, if not all, of what’s been rammed through our Parliament would never have left the policy wonks’ brainstorming notebooks.

          And, yes, sort of. The support enjoyed by National Ltd™ could be loosely described as a cult of personality, but the proper term is “brand loyalty”.

  8. Aristarchus 8

    Herodotus, old chap .. it might be an idea to
    throw some cold water in your face to wake up
    before engaging the keyboard. Awfully new-fangled, I know. In our day a clay tablet or a sand-pit would do but the discussion was just as keen. They have still not figured out how Archimedes did it ..

    • bbfloyd 8.1

      And the award for … “longest completely incomprehensible paragraph” goes to….. Herodotus!!!!

      he couldn’t be here to pick it up, so he sent a video of john key to relate some of his own award stories..

  9. RedLogix 9

    Labour’s reticence on this topic is good tactics. National is doing a fine job of crapping in their own nest; and for the time being there’s little point in Labour sticking it’s neck above the ramparts.

    Besides our msm has a neat old way of reflecting the shite leftwards.

    There is reason to suspect that there is something deeply corrupt going on here. But until there is hard evidence to support that contention…. best to keep the ammo dry.

    • the sprout 9.1

      there’s some wisdom in your point RL, but when it comes to Labour “keeping the powder dry”, well… i’m very over that particular justification for chronic inaction and gutlessness.

      all we ever hear is “keeping the powder dry”. the powder is so fcuking dry it’s long since turned to dust. there’s nothing there, no drive, no talent, no ideas, no leadership, and fewer active supporters by the day.

      anyone hear Goff screw this up at today’s Press Conference? he had a journalist explain to him what Labour’s policy on the guarantee scheme was.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Agreed. The real worry will be if there is some dirt to dig here and Labour lack the talent, contacts or ability to find it; and the govt gets away with it. Or they do have a clue, but lack the balls to run with it.

        Alternatively the whole SCF affair is just govt incompetence writ large; the cock-up theory usually taking precedence over conspiracy theory… until proven otherwise.

      • just saying 9.1.2

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choke_(sports)

        Choking under pressure. The more important the issue the worse Goff seems to perform.

        If he must remain as leader he needs to get some help with this IMHO. There are treatments available. Truly not taking a cheap shot here.

    • Craig Glen Eden 9.2

      Exactly Red Logic stop and think people,why jump in at present? Would it not be best to have all the facts before you take this rort apart. As for the Greens having a plan, please give me strength.

      Begging for people to vote Green is pretty sad Outofbed, how about the Greens actually work out who the enemy is instead of bagging Labour because one thing is as sure as eggs the Greens will never get into Government without Labour. So next time you get Outofbed trying waking up first.

      • Willie Maley 9.2.1

        Craig, unfortunately you are an Egyptian fish, living in denial.
        Labour are clueless, this Government can do what it likes and laugh at Labours responses (or lack of them)
        Outofbed is right, if we want a party from the Left, then, at present the Greens are that party.
        I do live in hope that Labour will come back to its roots, but my patience is wearing thin.
        Every election since I have lived here I have voted for Labour, I am seriously thinking of voting Green next year, and I cannot abide thier leadership!

        • outofbed 9.2.1.1

          Willie M You might not like the Greens leadership , for whatever reason, but at least they have never been Roger Douglas Supporters that can’t be said for the current Labour Leader why would you vote for them ?

          Craig glen Eden I would love to support the Labour Party I really would When we actually get one then I probably will, until then i will support the only party that stands for true progressive principals and actually has a plan . Blindly following labour just cos they are called Labour is not a plan

      • the sprout 9.2.2

        well Craig, i’m Labour – i’ve given the party a lot of my time and money.
        and i no longer have any confidence that Labour would or could mount an effective attack on this issue no matter how many facts it had at its disposal.
        RL’s point may be tactically prudent, i don’t deny it. my point is that Labour have lost all spine regardless of the issue, regardless of the facts. and many of its supporters have lost faith in the current line-up.

        capcha: lack

      • toad 9.2.3

        Craig – which would you prefer to be in Government – on a policy basis? A Labour-Green government in which Labour have four times the MPs the Greens have, or a Labour-Green government in which the numbers were a bit closer.

        If Labour would finally rediscover its roots and shut the door on the policies that Roger Douglas implemented 25 years ago, I would agree with you. But, unfortunately, Labour in supporting FTAs and foreign investment and doing nothing during their 9 years in power to facilitate multi-employer collective agreements and strong unionism, are still, like National, in the malevolent grip of the neo-liberal economics Douglas espouses.

        Goff was a willing, even enthusiastic, party to that in the 1980s, you might want to recall, Craig. I would have a lot more respect for him if he were to stand up and renounce where the fourth Labour Government went economically as wrong. But he won’t, so I’ll continue to champion the Greens.

        Edit: Oh, and the Green have far better policy on environmental issues, BTW.

        • Pascal's bookie 9.2.3.1

          This. Or at least bits of it.

          Craig, the Greens shouldn’t try to hard to get votes from Labour’s right flank. having the greens attack Labour from the left does two things.

          Firstly, it makes any future Green/Lab govt more leftwing via toad’s point about more Green mps equalling a more left wing coalition. To get those mps they need to take voters from labour’s left flank. To take them from anywhere else, they would need to become more centrist. In a green party context that would mean compromising (read abandoning) the social justice issues which would make them blue green and useless to progressives.

          Secondly, having the greens attacking labour from the left, all by itself, makes Labour more appealing to centrists. Just as having ACT call National ‘Labour lite’ makes National more appealing to centrists.

          Secondly

        • Craig Glen Eden 9.2.3.2

          Right Toad so the fact that the Greens policy got such a small percentage of the vote last time was who,s fault Toad? What many of you forget who like to trumpet how left wing you are is its the center swing votes that have to be won in order to govern.
          So who can appeal to this large section of society. Lets see the Greens not just preach but start actually doing something. Lets see the Greens win the center voter ground. Remember your policy though, be staunch left wingers and don’t leave your roots. I wanna see Green Candidates in the working class pubs talking to people who actually do make stuff that keeps this country running and win that voter ground. Fat bloody chance.

          Green supporters on so many issues are all theory! Do you really think we can live in the current world and not trade with others? Do we really want no foreign investment at all? Lets see the Green Party put up credible candidates at the next election that could win a few election seats.
          Lets see the Greens actually run a few decent electorate campaigns. If the Greens have all the answers and are so smart why do they struggle to convince others of this? Yup the Greens win they are more left wing than Labour and the Greens have achieved jack shit on their own.

          For the Greens and their supporters to constantly attack Labour is politically stupid. Labour are not perfect far from it and yup Douglas and Prebble are scum of the worst kind, Labour have made mistakes and so will the Greens should they ever form part of the next Government. But I will tell you all this for free, a bad Labour Green Government will be better for NZ( its people) than any Government involving National. Now lets convince as many voters as we can that that is the case because Greens attacking Labour is never going to help the poor or improve our Nations Health and Education.
          The Greens need to create good workable practical policy and convince voters its worth voting for. Attacking Labour is not going to get National/Act out! If trying to get Labours left wing to vote for the Greens (and that this is good for the left )at the next election is your political strategy you are dead in the water.

  10. Carol 10

    Well, not all of Red Alert is asleep on this. Mallard has blogged this morning, quoting Cactus Kate on SCF, and saying that English seems to have made a wrong decision:

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2010/09/04/will-english-survive-the-hubbard-scandal/

    It seems that English knew that SCF did not meet the criteria when its guarantee was renewed. If that is the case he is gone.

    • just saying 10.1

      What Labour needs to do to preempt Peters:

      Call a press conference to:

      Call for an immediate independent inquiry into whether taxpayers were liable for the bail-out ie had SCF breached the terms of the guarantee and:

      The grounds for the extension for the guarantee and who knew what, when;

      The lending behaviour of the SCF before and after the guarantee was extended;

      A list of shareholders covered by the guarantee and the amounts and dates of their deposits.

      I believe a lot of mileage could be made, expecially if Goff could refrain from grinning like a buffoon at all times.

      Please Labour, pick up the ball before someone else does.

  11. Bob Stanforth 11

    At the risk of facts getting in the way again, C&CDHB is the LAST DHB in the country to do this. The others, all of them, have been doing it for years. But, by all means, yeah, pin this on the Nats, wow, unbelievable!!

    Oh, I wonder under which government the other DHB’s did this? Any one care to take a guess?

    Go on, first one right gets a prize 🙂

    captcha: recognition – that facts get in the way of a good bit of mud throwing

    • Akldnut 11.1

      Bob “that facts get in the way of a good bit of mud throwing”
      Was that you complaining about Nact doing exactly this thing while they were in opposition?
      Nah thought not!
      Do as I say not as I do….. aye BOB

      • Bob Stanforth 11.1.1

        Um, why would I complain about it? I don’t oppose it. Did you? Or was it ‘different’ back then?

        If its ‘outrageous’ for the last DHB to do it, what was it when all the others did it? Successful? Abhorrent? Kept quiet? Ignored? Good policy?

        Ah, the fetid air of hypocrisy…

  12. Red Rosa 12

    The whole sorry SCF saga deserves a full-scale enquiry. Here is a link to a prescient blogger who has been on Alan Hubbard’s case for the best part of two years. Full credit to him.

    http://www.lostsoulblog.com/2010/08/let-finger-pointing-begin.html

    The scale of the crash – $1.7bn committed, possibly a $600m net loss to govt- and the complexity of the whole SCF/Hubbard empire make any enquiry a serious task. But the government owes taxpayers a better explanation of its actions in April.

    Bill English then could simply have refused then to roll over the guarantee to SCF, or modified it to ease the taxpayer pain, given that serious breaches by SCF were already apparent.

    For Key and English to talk now about ‘minimizing the losses to the taxpayer’ seems a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

  13. Jum 13

    Don’t be ‘sorry’, Tammy. Stay angry and spread it around.

    Let New Zealanders NEVER (captcha) allow these people to damage our lives again.
    Their faces should be on digital spikes on every news item “These cretins are dangerous to your health’. If spotted send them back to their ‘laundromat’ in the Cayman Islands.

  14. Karen 14

    ” Do we really want no foreign investment at all? Lets see the Green Party put up credible candidates at the next election that could win a few election seats.”

    Sorry but the worlds elites “International Bankers/Big Oil” are crashing the world economy piece by piece to accumulate more and more of countries land etc into what will eventually be a few elites hands.

    Low wages due to cheap imports mean

    – Small business have to borrow up to their necks becuase the local workers don’t have enough money to spend.
    – High rents due to rampant and continuos increases in population keep more money out of the local economy. High rents and house prices help banks even more with colossall mortgages. They are bad for small business as they pull money out of the local economy.

    – Low wages mean that when those tenous businesses fold most kiwis cannot afford to buy them so wealthy international interest step in and take everything.

    – This scenario is being repeated globally and the only players who don’t engage in this sort of activity I.E. India and China are the only countries with growth.

    – This scenario is destroying workers and countries worldwide and seeing the rise of massive corporations. We are seeing large corporations dictating to countries, including NZ

    – There might be a lot of pain adjusting to a new regime like the green party promote but its better than the long/short? term result of Globalisation and loosing our rights.

    – I think labour needs to be shredded. They are hoping to get back into office due to the fact that National is much worse but either way we are fast loosing our country to the worlds wealthy elites and it is Iintentional. A stronger Green party would be a better combination with Labour.

    – I am not anti-immigrant but we have been increasing our population in a way that is putting major stress on all our infrastructure and making it difficult for those on the bottom of the heap in NZ to get jobs. Maori have suffered disproportionately with some families trapped in the unemployment cycle and then being blamed for being long term unemployed. This and the fact that you cannot really live on a benefit has seen the rise in crime amoung Maori and now the private prison scheme stands to make real good money from putting those long term Maori unemployed in prison. NICE. This recession right now is a racially based one with Pakeha not really affected by it. It may of course grow.

    – We need to keep our Land in NZ hands so that If Kiwis need food and houses we don’t wind up to poor to buy our own produce.

    – It looks like the markets are being deliberatly mismanaged and seesawd so that those with enough capital and inside information can make even more via massive fluctualations in prices etc.

    -This ongoing gain by the worlds elites means over the next few years they will gain more and more capital and use it to buy more and more of the worlds assetts in the open global economy.

    Globalisation is a Giant con with the rich winning everything. If we allow it to continue we will end up with nothing. If we challenge it now we will suffer a major hit and have to really rework NZ to be self sustaining. We have the resources.
    The problem is most of us are too scared of that hit and we just keep holding on out of fear that we will loose what we have. We are going to loose it anyway unless we do something now. Once gone we will never get it back.

    If we close the gates now bankrupt companies cannot command high prices from offshore vultures thus the price driops and Kiwis can afford to buy them. lets d that then Lets use that 15 billion in super to buy our own land. You can bet the corrupt elite have their thieving eye on our pension fund. They cannot take mortage free title.
    mes of new Zealanders. They might be able to try to take it from our government So lets put it in the names of all newzealnders. Lets create onde massive dead of title to NZ assetts and put all ourt names on it.

    • Craig Glen Eden 14.1

      So does that mean you want no foreign investment Karen in Land/ Capital/ Plant in NZ?

  15. Karen 15

    Sorry 🙁
    I tried to edit that post then ran out of time so nothing was fixed.

    [lprent: It is currently set for 7 minutes (from memory). I don’t really want to make it too high because then people respond to the origional versions and everything gets confusing. ]

  16. Karen 16

    The state of North Dakota puts a large part of its public revenues into its own bank and lends to business from that. It is the only state in the US not on the verg of financial collapse. They are doing very nicely thankyou. And other states in the US are now looking at doing the same thing.

    It may be possible for us to fund investment in NZ via this method. Take our tax take and multiply it by 8-10 via the banking formula. Thats a fair bit of cash to finance our industry.

    If closing our doors creates a crash in the values of NZ assets then atleast if the doors are closed to foreign capital then the prices to purchase and run those enterprises is vastly reduced. If a business has a lower capital value then the debt needed to finance it is considerably less making that business more competitive.

    And why do we need to ramp up production in NZ. For export to increase our earnings to pay foreign debt. The problem is those setting the rules are entirely corrupt and have no intention of us ever getting out of debt. Putting failed companies on the taxppayer beneficiary list is a guarentee we will never get our heads above water.

    And without the slave labour goods we are currently swiming in, we would have new business springing up all over the place. The reduced rentals and property prices along with our own taxpayer bank would hopefully help stimulate this. By making a lot of stuff ourselves we would see a rapid increase in prices and wages. Higher wages means more tax revenue, means more ability to service overseas debt from our local economy.

    So by closing our boarders we get a rapid shock and deflation that is then resolved. But we must look at individual failures and assess wether their failures were due to their own mismanagement or the rapid transition. Then those unfairly affected could be loaned money by our government bank to buy back the assets lost at a greatly reduced market rate. There would need to be a transition plan to ensure no Kiwis were left without. We would need to all pull together with our armed forces and public services coordinating people to ensure we all keep a roof over our head during that time etc.

    Right now China is installing solar hot water systems in millions of their homes. Its costing them about $200 US per system. Govt could look at what they are doing to see if we could get solar going cheaply, safely and efficiently. Some stuff like that which would normally be private sector could be done by government to give NZ an initial boost and cut living costs but not quality of life.

    • Craig Glen Eden 16.1

      You failed to answer the question Karen a American state is not a Nation it does not sit in isolation, NZ has to earn overseas currency.If we don’t we cant buy any overseas goods! Nor could we build much because we will need equipment/ machinery/ components/technology that is only made by other Nations.

      I am currently helping develop a product with three Guys from the states I cant say to much but this is new technology. It will help secure my existing employees future and hopefully lead to more jobs.
      No sale of NZ land or capital and it will bring help to thousands of people hopefully.

      Not all overseas investment is bad! All going well this product will bring profit back to NZ and help humanity.

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