Not good enough

Written By: - Date published: 2:26 pm, September 3rd, 2008 - 114 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

For any of you who thought the sharp end of capitalism was a nice place to be, the front page story in today’s Dom Post should change your mind. It’s about the lending practices of the loan sharks that have flourished in the twenty years since New Zealand had neo-liberalism foisted on it.

And it’s not pretty. According to the article Super Loans in Porirua is lending money to people at a rate of 8% per week. That’s 416% per annum. And it’s right across from the Work & Income office.

Of course this situation isn’t new. Porirua has six such ‘money lenders’ listed in its yellow pages alone. Manukau has 12.

Helensville has none.

Ponsonby has none.

Mt Victoria has none.

Fendalton has none.

So you’d expect this not to be an issue for those who represent upper middle New Zealand but when Judith Tizard and the Labour party palm the issue off:

Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard said the Government was monitoring the situation – especially in Australia – and planned a discussion paper, but ruled out a cap on interest rates.

You’ve got to wonder if they remember what side their bread is buttered on. It’s part of the folk law of the 2005 election campaign that it was the turnout in Manukau and Porirua and all the other places ‘Labour’s people’ live that gave them their third term. It would pay for them not to forget that.

So Labour put up legislation regulating loan shark parasites and see who opposes it. At the very least it will let your ‘people’ know who still stands for them.

114 comments on “Not good enough”

  1. Billy 1

    You mean in addition to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003? What specific provisions not included in that legislation do you advocate IrishBill?

    IrishBill: Capping rates or tying them to mortgage rates might be a start. Zoning them might be a good idea as well. Extending W&I’s ability to provide interest free loans might be another.

  2. Joe Blogger 2

    This is a major part of the problem for Labour, they’ve stopped caring about the people and are more interested in their personal social agendas like anti smacking, gay marriage, global warming etc.

    In South Auckland Labour Leaders like Dave Lange stood tall with the community and lead from the front. The current Labour leaders are noticibly absent and the only time we see them is when they think they can get a photo op. Meanwhile the homicides keep occurring and even the local cops are throwing their hands up is despair.

    While nobody expects to see National win seats like Mangere (even though their candiate made seemed to be a bloody nice guy when he came knocking on my door) and doubt we’re going to see such one sided support in the area either.

  3. yl 3

    this is an issue that was created in the late 80’s and early 90’s and is still live today.

    There is an article out about the increase in the use of the food banks in New Zealand that started in the 1990’s and still has not gone away

    http://www.times.co.nz/cms/news/2008/08/art100021397.php

  4. Tane 4

    David Lange did more damage to South Auckland than any Labour leader in history. The answers to the disconnection of some Labour MPs from their working class base isn’t in a swing to the right – that’s the source of the problem. The answer is for Labour to be true to its roots.

    It might help if next time they worked out their list they made sure their much heralded diversity took class into account as well as ethnicity and gender.

  5. Santi 5

    What can you do in a situation like this? If people are illiterate (and stupid) enough to fall for this scam, let them go for it.

    You cannot expect nanny state do everything for you, can you?

  6. Daveski 6

    You can’t legislate to cover every situation otherwise you will simply push it underground and the situation will be worse. It’s the same issue with prostitution and other demand based services which have a social negative or at least a perceived one.

    Actually, in fairness, I realise that this is one of those rare threads that is actually attacking Labour. It’s also one of those rare threads where I will defend Labour to the extent that you cannot legislate the problem to go away – it will simply go under ground with even more severe consequences.

  7. burt 7

    So Labour put up legislation regulating loan shark parasites and see who opposes it. At the very least it will let your “people’ know who still stands for them.

    Na, the ETS is sooo much more important. Why stop companies from lending at insane interest rates when you can remove peoples ability to make any repayments and therefore stop them from borrowing at all. The money lenders will be out of business and on the benefits as well and the progression toward full “state employment” is advanced.

  8. monkey-boy 8

    I completely agree with your post IB. Great to see some leadership on this. It is a tragic irony that the bedrock of support tht Labour have relied upon to keep their own snouts in the trough have been thrown to the wolves. But it doesn’t just end there, does it?

  9. Billy 9

    Testing…testing…can anyone hear me?

    We already have such legislation

    The answer to any problem is more legislation: even if we already have perfectly good (and recent) legislation covering the exact evil complained of.

  10. ropata 10

    Daveski, surely driving loansharks underground will reduce their ability to sucker people?

    Gambling, especially pokies, are a worse problem for low-income communities. Yet successive governments have presided over the growth of this parasite.

  11. Billy 11

    Sorry, IB, I didn’t see your comment on my comment. I find I often miss those as I track activity through the side bar. Wouldn’t it be better for the authors to comment in their own comment rather than in the commenters?

  12. Billy 12

    And I still say we already have perfectly workable legislation dealing with the problem.

  13. Bill 13

    Did a wee bit of comparing. So I had a swatch at the warehouse catalogue.

    In the Dom Post story, $300 was borrowed and the repayments came to $636. (The sign clearly says 8% p/w)

    Meanwhile. At the Warehouse you can buy a TV for $349.99 and (so the advert would have our financially illiterate punter believe) pay it off at $3.53 p/w. http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/advert/MailerTwo.aspx?AdvertID=635&PageNo=14

    Now, because our punter took the advert at face value he didn’t read the small print. ( Maybe didn’t know what the † symbol meant?)

    The $3.53 assumes repayments over 36 months. There is a $40 booking fee. And then there is interest charged over the final 24 months of repayment. I couldn’t find the rate of interest, but allowing for 0% interest, the $349.99 becomes $590.68.

    Not too far removed from the loan shark’s scenario. True, the time scale for repayments is greater, but the same rip applies as far as I can see.

    Now why wont Labour move on loan sharks?

  14. MikeE 14

    So should we deny the ability to lend to those who are percieved to be high risk?

    Should we deny, I don’t know recent immigrants with no credit history loans to start up small businesses?

    YEs I know that these loan sharks are by and large, terrible individuals, but what you fail to understand is that people demand their services. If there wasn’t demand for them, they would cease to exist.

    The reason their interest rates are high is because their clients are either

    a) ridiculously high risk
    b) stupid
    c) both

    Its like the people wanting to regulate/ban sub prime lending. If this was stopped, I wouldn’t be in my first home right now. I’m a perfect example of high risk lending. Sure I pay a higher interest rate, I know I do – but I choose to do so. Noone forced me to buy said property. Just like noone forces Manu in Porirua to purchase a fully modded subaru WRX, or a brand new home theatre system. They don’t need them, but they want them – and if they are dumb enough to get themselves in that sort of financial strife, why on earth should the rest of us have to bail them out/cross subsdise them. Then again, who are we to deny those who can (barely afford it) but want it and are prepared to pay the price.

    NB: This doesn’t mean I agree with those who deliberately take advantage of those who can’t understand the contracts due to language difficulties, those who don’t have capacity, or where they are cooerced into these situations…

    and yes.. people who borrow at 416% per annum are stupid…unfortunately not too stupid to breed, or vote for Taito Phillip Field in the upcoming election

  15. Billy 15

    I do not know why that link didn’t work. Here it is in full:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0052/latest/DLM213510.html

    Also, in relation to weekly interest:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0052/latest/DLM212783.html

    We already have tyhe best solution legislation can provide.

  16. I thought things were going great in NZ?
    Nine years of labour and the crowd at the bottom have not improved their lot.
    Cue the “it’s national’s fault” line of defense, seasoned with a couple of ad hominem attacks on me.
    Where is labour’s incentive to fix this problem? The bottom will vote labour anyway and if they do try to fix things the middle will resent more cash being poured into the bottom for intangible results.
    I have some sympathy for labour, but it is a problem of their own making.
    It may be time to abandon this generation and concentrate all our efforts into Educating their kids. A circuit breaker is required, I defy anybody to demonstrate how these areas can be fixed.
    I visit kaikohe weekly and have seen first hand the hopelessness that is the bulk of the population of this town. It would be a complete waste of our limited resources to even try and fix the adults.

  17. Matthew Pilott 17

    Why is it that everyone thinks what they are going through, BarnsleyBill, is the worst time in History, Ever? Get some perspective, man, you’d think we’re entering the dark ages.

    MikeE, if a mechanism could be created to provide an equivalent service that was shown to be better for society, or potentially less damaging, would you support it?

  18. Daveski 18

    Ropata

    I agree that the moneylenders are a pox on humanity.

    The issue I was raising is similar to MikeE’s – you simply can’t legislate for the problem to go away.

    Prohibition has proven to be a failure in every area its been tried (gross generalisation, accepted).

  19. higherstandard 19

    IB

    Don’t just blame capitalism – there are bottom feeders who will take advantage of the dim or desperate on all sides of the political spectrum.

    I doubt WINZ interest free loans is a solution but I agree that some legislation limiting the level of interest chargeable (linked to x % points above a business loan from a trading bank) would seem to be both relatively simple and a point on which all political parties could agree ?

  20. Bill 20

    Mike E.

    The reason their interest rates are high is because

    a) they are scum
    b) they are scum
    or
    c) they are scum

    As are the ‘everyone gets a bargain’ scum, scum.

    More constructively. I couldn’t work out the Warehouse interest stuff and I’m not remarkably stupid.

    It strikes me that astounding as it might seem, there exists a scenario whereby it would save you money to get the money from the loan shark to pay the Warehouse cash.

    Anybody not think that is totally fucked?

  21. Fuckin aye it isn’t good enough.

    “shop around” says Judith Tizard. We’ll put out a discussion paper, and not do anything about it for quite some time.

    This is why I support the Greens. Sue Bradford gives a shit. She wouldn’t give a bullshit response like that. Look at what the Greens are doing on gambling, an equally abhorrent form of preying on the poor/stupid/impulsive. It’s ruining families and communities, but the Government refuses to do anything about it.

  22. higherstandard 22

    Bill

    If that is the case you are correct it would be fornicated.

  23. Phil 23

    MikeE makes a good point, albeit in a crude kind of way.

    Our education system needs to take a leading role in encouraging fiscal literacy. Sadly, the economic courses that SHOULD be taught are seemingly viewed as being part of a vast neo-con new-world-order conspiracy…

  24. higherstandard 24

    George

    I disagree with the vast amount of Green Policy but I do agree with you that they do care, act on their principles and speak up and for that I respect them and believe they deserve their place in parliament.

  25. yl 25

    Daveski,

    “you simply can’t legislate for the problem to go away”

    i agree, this isnt the problem that we need to address, we need to address the problem of why people are using them in the first place,

    why do they not have money to top up their phone?
    why do they need to borrow the money to pay their bills?

    these are the problems that need to be addressed.

    Labour has worked at helping out the low income families, we now have 50000 less children in poverty.

    The damage of the 90’s is going to take longer to go away then 9 years.

    the problem is idiots like Santi who are happy to blame the individual rather then looking at the bigger picture.

  26. Billy 26

    It’s ruining families and communities, but the Government refuses to do anything about it.

    Oh for fcuks sake. Are my comments invisible? They have done something about it. It is called the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 and it has all the remedies anyone needs.[beats head repeatedly against keybords while drooling and humming the theme tune to the Twighlight ZOne]

  27. r0b 27

    Nine years of labour and the crowd at the bottom have not improved their lot.

    Wrong on so many dimensions: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2823

    Cue the “it’s national’s fault’ line of defense, seasoned with a couple of ad hominem attacks on me.

    The fact that things are improving under Labour is not the Nats fault, and as for you you pretty much get the attacks that you deserve eh.

    Where is labour’s incentive to fix this problem?

    Because it’s the right thing to do.

    The bottom will vote labour anyway

    Wrong, a huge percentage of them don’t vote at all.

  28. Ben R 28

    “The damage of the 90?s is going to take longer to go away then 9 years.”

    And the 80’s. A lot of people without qualifications used to be employed in forestry & freezing works. In the 80’s there were massive job cuts in these industries & it was devastating for many communities.

  29. Bill 29

    HS

    $350 for a TV from the Warehouse and I wind up paying north of $600.

    $350 from loan shark over 10 weeks or 9 week at 8%? Dunno, my ability with figures fall over, but there is a point where the loan shark is cheaper.

    IB Interest free loans from WINZ wont work. They work out debt repayments on a two year period. Given the amount of money in a benefit each week and how little of it is disposable….it’s all digging holes.

    Ramp up benefit levels. Ramp up wages. And as somebody commented earlier, educate people. Re-instil the mind set that says if you can’t afford it: don’t buy it. Save. And although education won’t help when money is short for necessities…(oh, already dealt with that one, higher benefits and wages.)

  30. Excellent post IB – this is an issue that goes way beyond partisan politics. Of similar concern are the “trucks” that ply their trade in low-income areas, hooking people into high-interest HP’s on clothing and household items. They are parasites, and every bit as bad as the Blue Chips and Bridgecorps of the world that have failed so spectacularly. Identifying this problem is the easy part – cleaning this industry up will, I suspect, be a far harder task.

  31. yl 31

    Ben R,

    “The damage of the 90?s is going to take longer to go away then 9 years.’

    And the 80’s. A lot of people without qualifications used to be employed in forestry & freezing works. In the 80’s there were massive job cuts in these industries & it was devastating for many communities.”

    right you are Ben R, i should have said, since the introduction of neoliberlism

  32. lprent 32

    Billy: Do you have a link to it?

    The old Credit Contracts Act wasn’t useful for this because it basically said that the true interest rate had to be shown. What recourse is in this Act?

  33. Stop talking about the 80s and 90s already. That was decades ago. Labour has improved things dramatically for many people, for others much less so (as was the conclusion of the Children’s Commissioner’s report a few weeks ago – http://www.occ.org.nz/home/childpoverty/the_report – at least the Minister didn’t try and deny the conclusions this time). Things like high interest loans can have a huge impact on a family or individual’s ability to get out of poverty. I see the haunting impacts of this debt every time I go home to Mangere.

    Oh, Billy I was saying that the Govt. was ignoring pokies. I’m sure they’re aware of the issue, they may even be concerned about it, but they aren’t addressing the issue. They also continue to run lotteries that take hundreds of millions from those in need of hope.

  34. Bill 34

    Billy.
    What would constitute ‘oppressive’ in the legislation you linked? Seems way too vague to be of much use.

    Also, presenting interest rates in annual terms doesn’t help if the person taking the loan is a) innumerate or b) illiterate.

    And a) and b) are frighteningly widespread.

  35. Billy 35

    Yes:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0052/latest/DLM213510.html

    The Act will work fine. I do not think it takes Lord Cooke of Thorndon to see that an interest rate of 800% is oppressive. The answer is not more legislation.

  36. Bill 37

    18 Meaning of oppressive

    In this Act, oppressive means oppressive, harsh, unjustly burdensome, unconscionable, or in breach of reasonable standards of commercial practice.

    Compare: 1981 No 27 s 9

    Standard commercial practice to charge over $600 for a $350 TV!

    I do like the ‘oppressive mean oppressive’ Dead helpful that.

    The culture of ripping people off is fairly well entrenched. Re-payment times are longer is all

  37. Billy 38

    Let’s hear your argument why an 800% annual interest rate is not oppressive.

  38. Bill 39

    Billy.
    Not sure if your last comment was angled over here or not. Anyway. No argument from me on that point at all.

    What really doesn’t help matters from where I’m sitting is that (yet again) the likes of the Warehouse charge people double the cash price (before interest). Yes, it’s over a longer period of time.

    And the point I tried to make some way back up yonder was that it can be cheaper to go to the loan shark charging 8% p/w and pay cash at the Warehouse as long as you can repay the loan shark inside a couple of months.

    Bottom line. Too many people are poor. Higher benefits. Higher wages. Better education. (Christ! I remember at primary school being taught all about HP versus cash price etc. It can be done)

  39. Daveski 40

    What should worry everyone is that we have this situation after what has been trumpeted as the best economic period since Adam was gainfully employed.

    My point is that as appalling as it is, the underlying issue may not be macro economic factors – what people are paid, whether they are employed – but micro factors and particularly the decisions people make.

    I don’t know enough about current legislation but surely 800% interest is oppressive in the least.

    IB – hats off to you to – a political post without taking cartoon-character positions at the start.

    Lynn – please note my earlier support for the Labour gummit the next time Tane tries to delete my comment for implying the standard is a Labour stooge 😉 Congrats on the stats too – it must be all us righties coming here that’s resulting in the records!

  40. Daveski 41

    LOL – I just made a compliment to the Standardistas and got modded as a result – that will teach me 🙂

  41. randal 42

    save up and buy it. you dont need anything you cant pay for. if yu cant learn that then you will never be rich.

  42. insider 43

    I thought this was the reason the great white hope of Kiwibank was set up? Shouldn’t it be offering free money?

    I love Irish Bill’s idea of tying rates to mortgages. No more 22% interest on my credit card. WHoo hoo.

    are you going to get rid of pawn shops too? I spent an interesting few hours in one recently. An awful lot of playstations and TVs came across the counter. What’s the bet the customers got a fraction of their worth? How is that morally different to no questions asked high interest rates?

    How about making dairies and convenience stores charge no more for groceries than Pak n Save? I bet there are a lot more dairies in Porirua than Khandallah.

  43. lprent 44

    😆 I think you have just found a moderation trap for common misspellings. I tossed a number of them in the moderation trap to encourage a “higher standard” of english a while ago.

    I don’t mind you saying that a particular author is a Labour stooges based on what they write. On that people can make up their own minds eg this post and others.

    What I dislike (intensely) is people saying that the site is run by Labour or the 9th floor or the EPMU or the SWFU or any organisation. I’m into permanent banning as a reward for that (but the other moderators are more charitable). At this point I think it is a case of “evolution in action” – ie stupidity deserves its own reward. Did I ever mention that I’m usually associated with being on the hard right of the NZLP?

    The group writing here is a diverse a group of ‘lefties’ as you can imagine, and it operates as a completely informal coalition sharing a site. I’m not sure that anyone knows who all of the other bods are, because people have come on in a string fashion.

    Amongst other reasons having a rep as being a party site makes it bloody hard to get good writers from the left. For this site to survive past the election and all of the associated excitement, we need to have quite a few more good posters. Just at present we’re probably leaning too heavily on Steve.

    That means that the site can remain dynamic without putting too high a burden on any author.

    Traffic is down a lot today. I think the excitement was the large number of posts, plus people reading those ‘adjusted’ billboards, plus people looking to see what they were.

  44. Bill 45

    insider.

    Pawn shops have ‘always’ existed. However, they were never viewed with the degree of acceptability they enjoy today.

    I see no difference in the morality of pawn shops, loan sharks or the Warehouse exploiting poverty and or ignorance.

    However, the loan shark has an added dimension insofar as things can spiral out of control for the borrower. Then ‘the boys’ come round.

    Dairies don’t have the buying power of Pak n Slave. They pay more for their stock in the first place.

  45. vto 46

    lordy knows the solution to this type of blight. Squash it down in one place and like pus it will ooze out in another. good luck you fullas. I’m off tomorrow to fill the chest freezer to the brim with whitebait…. mmmmmmm the good things in life

  46. Draco TB 47

    Interest free loans from WINZ wont work.

    Actually, it could work. You’d need to put in some other conditions on the loan itself such as 1) Can’t take out any other financial arrangements while on the loan and 2) Compulsory budgeting course.

  47. Paul Robeson 48

    Some people are happy to pay higher amounts over all if they can pay lower amounts per week. Even if they pay more overall it means they can have their tv and watch it too, cos they can pay the power bill. If there is a large risk on the loan and it is unsecured then higher interest rates are fair.

    This may compare favourably to renting things as an option.

    Also it depends what they are taking out that kind of loan for. Plenty of families have done the hand me downs, scrimp and save, put parents through retraining etc etc and not taken out that kind of finance to get tvs.

    I think there are already packages through WINZ for some useful things.

    I know I was always ropeable and F*&$KD off when my live-at-home-rich-parented student acquaintances who had done a period on the summer dole got loaned money to buy new clothes to go to interviews.

    Perhaps there are other similarly laudable schemes available?

  48. T-Rex 49

    “If there is a large risk on the loan and it is unsecured then higher interest rates are fair.”

    Technically, yes, but not really.

    Anything that justifies 8%/week shouldn’t be borrowed for. It is essentially preying on stupidity, which laws should protect against. The problem is that you can’t protect stupid people from unfair credit without them complaining that the law is denying them access to credit, and, as is mentioned above, getting the same credit illegally.

    Irish – exactly how do you see the mortgage rate approach working? You’re going to require that the lending on a house for someone who already has another house shoud be at the same rate as that on a Impreza WRX for someone who’s defaulted on their previous two loans? That is ridiculous.

    Credit rate is basically proportional to risk – there are just some risks that should not be taken. But people play russian roulette. Educate, legislate, and pray that eventually the concentration of morons reduces slightly.

  49. burt 50

    Using high interest finance to buy things like TV’s is clearly economic folly. Bill mentiones above “Standard commercial practice to charge over $600 for a $350 TV!”. The real cost of anything with interest rates circa 400%/pa would just be unbelievable. Yet people do it, they borrow expensive money to buy quickly deprecating assets.

    Quick cash to get a bill paid, well – OK so why is it necessary? How will the cycle be changed once it’s got to that? What other finance costs are soaking up the cashflow so that it has come to this? Where are the budgeting skills?

    I think more generous welfare is the answer, if people have trouble being responsible with their income and expenditure then they just need more cash. Simple as that. Put it on the tax payers tab – let the rich pricks pay for it – they can afford it.

  50. T-Rex 51

    “I think more generous welfare is the answer, if people have trouble being responsible with their income and expenditure then they just need more cash. Simple as that. Put it on the tax payers tab – let the rich pricks pay for it – they can afford it.”

    Are you f*cking kidding me?

    That is your solution?!?

    That is possibly the most retarded suggestion I’ve ever heard. Aren’t you generally an advocate of sustainability Burt? How do you see your brilliant scheme progressing into the future?

    Christ I hope that was a stunningly accurate parody of a left wing retard, but I’ve got a horrible feeling you’re serious.

  51. vto 52

    ha ha burt, yeah lets vote for the party thats gonna stick it to the rich pricks.

    but seriously seriously where on earth does it start and end – I mean the state apparently now needs to tell people what to eat (never used to), to exercise (never used to), how to manage money (ditto), how to raise their children, … It really is cradle to grave and is becoming more so.

    Is it becoming more so because of the very fact of state interference in the first place? I mean, the gummint is responsible for everything (with the correlation that the people are responsible for nothing).

    This topic exposes this rather large conundrum.

  52. Caustic Cullen thinks a rich prick bonked his blow up doll.

  53. vto 54

    Having said that though, the moneylender has, down through the centuries, been the one most in need of control.

    It used to be that the bank did not just take a mortgage over your home if you borrowed money but they took actual ownership. It took the authorities to stop that practice.

    Similarly the right of early repayment.

    Both of these practices, prior to intervention, were justified by the banks as ‘standard practice’ and ‘those are our rules’ (i.e. take it or leave it).

    I personally consider there are further practices of banks today that could do with pulling in – examples, changing lending policies on people at the drop of a hat, the ability to call up a loan at any time and for no reason.

    So despite my earlier post just up above, the moneylender is perhaps exempt from that rant due to their own past practices. If they can get away with it they will, and caveat emptor is not entirely applicable. Control is necessary.

  54. T-Rex 55

    That’s true with most things vto. Cigarette companies, fast foods etc are all just as good at suckering the consumer as money lenders.

    Parenting is different in terms of the motivations (laziness, shortsightedness, bad upbringing), but most people can agree on what good and bad parents do and that bad parents should be stopped from doing bad things. The whole “how to raise our kids” thing is crap – the people protesting are not complaining that there are standards on how to raise kids, just that those standards have now been changed to disallow hitting them.

    People still have vast freedoms to do pretty much whatever they want. They just regularly choose stupid things. And good things. And sometimes the state prevents them from doing good things with stupid rules, but I’d say in general the bias is heavily in the other direction.

  55. Dean 56

    “So despite my earlier post just up above, the moneylender is perhaps exempt from that rant due to their own past practices. If they can get away with it they will, and caveat emptor is not entirely applicable. Control is necessary.”

    If it was just about moneylenders and ridiculously high interest rates I’d agree with government intervention.

    However, as you pointed out, Labour has been concentrating on telling kids how to eat and everyone how to exercise and raise their children. Meanwhile, the education system has been played around with by successive governments to nobody’s benefit. When I was in primary school we were taught percentages and how to calculate them but nowadays the government is far too interested in politicising public servants to care about that.

    IBs call for a government interevention on this is just a natural progression on Labour and especially the Greens to regulate or ban anything they consider might cause people harm. By taking away personal responsibility for how much you pay on a loan they’re just catering to a lowest common demoninator – one they’re actually happy to keep poor. Instead of educating people about basic mathematics and interest rates, they’re happier to send out leaflets threatening them with eviction should National ever control the treasure benches.

    They are trading on fear, and IB is only too happy to play up to this. It suits his political agenda.

  56. Quoth the Raven 57

    So what Dean you’re going to vote for a bunch of conservatives to legislate away anything they see as immoral or perverse. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this here: National doesn’t bleive in personal responsibility. When National starts saying we’re going to end the prohibition on drugs, we’re going to allow euthanasia, we’re going to allow abortions on demand, we’re going allow polygamy and gay marriage, etc, etc, then you can start saying they believe in personal responsiblity. Until that time they’re still a bunch of conservatives willing to pander to christian extremists who don’t give a damn about freedom.

  57. burt 58

    T-Rex

    Yes it was intended an attempt at a parody of a left wing retard.

    I could speak for days on the issues of borrowing, welfare levels and their impact on lifestyle expectations etc. But really – if people are stupid enough (or cornered enough) to borrow at circa 400%/pa then they really need to take a good hard look at their spending to determine WTF went wrong.

    It’s valid to borrow for a house, an education, building a motorway, building a hospital or a power station. There are times it might be valid to borrow for a car, but do the maths on the full price paid vs the resale value at the end of it and it’s clearly economic folly. General rule of thumb – Toys should be paid for with cash – simple as that.

    Big screen TV’s are toys but how many low income or beneficiary families have them? What have the children gone without so the parents can play ‘keep up with the neighbours’ ?

  58. Dean 59

    “So what Dean you’re going to vote for a bunch of conservatives to legislate away anything they see as immoral or perverse. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this here: National doesn’t bleive in personal responsibility. When National starts saying we’re going to end the prohibition on drugs, we’re going to allow euthanasia, we’re going to allow abortions on demand, we’re going allow polygamy and gay marriage, etc, etc, then you can start saying they believe in personal responsiblity. Until that time they’re still a bunch of conservatives willing to pander to christian extremists who don’t give a damn about freedom.”

    I never said I was going to vote for National.

    Why is is an automatic reaction for you to assume that because someone has a problem with the way Labour and the Greens like to regulate people’s lives that they must automatically be right wing?

  59. T-Rex 60

    Burt – I apologise then. You did a good job 🙂

    Has anyone read the article on stuff?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4678589a11.html

    Worse still is the implication of the opinion poll:

    How do you make ends meet between paydays?

    1) If I run out of money I go without
    2) I borrow from friends or family
    3) My overdraft will cover it
    4) I borrow on credit cards
    5) I go to a money lender

    Uhhh…. where is the option for “I have a budget, and savings for emergencies” or more coloquially “I’m not completely inept”?

    Worst of all, is the poll result. 45% of people borrow on credit cards. 45% of people? Take a fail grade.

  60. Christopher Nimmo 61

    Dean – “When I was in primary school we were taught percentages and how to calculate them but nowadays the government is far too interested in politicising public servants to care about that.”

    If you’d been to a school recently, you’d know that that’s rubbish. As is most of the other crap about NCEA and schools in general. Incorrect marking? In which other system would you even find out?

    I could go on.

  61. burt 62

    Dean

    I agree with you 100% on that. Left and right is such a basic division, it fails to explain peoples attitudes across the spectrum or monetary policy, welfare, employment laws, personal responsibility, agreement or disagreement with the death penalty etc.

    This problem is perpetuated by the two party system. One must be left and one must be right eh… must be that way – how else can we easily categorise them? If the major parties were not so ‘major’ and only had about 35 seats each we would seem more education away from the simple ‘left vs right’ mentality that so suits the status quo of two big dominant parties. Two major parties with annoying minor parties forcing them to make occasional concessions to their respective secret agendas.

  62. Quoth the Raven 63

    Fair enough Dean. I just assumed based on your defense of Key in the other thread and use of the National party cliche ‘personal responsibility.’ I was talking about conservatives you can be right wing and not conservative by the way. Telling someone what’s best is not the same as regulating their lives. Telling people to exercise and eat well is not coming from some need of Labour’s to control people’s lives. It’s caring for the health of the people they represent. People weren’t told to eat well and exercise fifty years ago because most people did anyway. You want people to be taught about interest rates, by your logic about healthy lifestyle education, teaching people about interest rates is a way of trying to regulate their lives.

  63. Quoth the Raven 64

    burt – Dean said right. I said conservative. I wasn’t talking about the right left divide.

  64. burt 65

    Quoth the Raven

    Indeed, you are correct.

    I was actually only addressing the;

    “I never said I was going to vote for National.

    Why is is an automatic reaction for you to assume that because someone has a problem with the way Labour and the Greens like to regulate people’s lives that they must automatically be right wing?”

    Portion of his comment.

    So it appears I completely agree with you, and Dean, about the flimsiness of the Labour/National parliament domination. The one size fits all major party thing being a poor proxy to represent the people.

  65. Dean 66

    Raven:

    “Fair enough Dean. I just assumed based on your defense of Key in the other thread and use of the National party cliche ‘personal responsibility.’ I was talking about conservatives you can be right wing and not conservative by the way. Telling someone what’s best is not the same as regulating their lives. Telling people to exercise and eat well is not coming from some need of Labour’s to control people’s lives. It’s caring for the health of the people they represent. People weren’t told to eat well and exercise fifty years ago because most people did anyway. You want people to be taught about interest rates, by your logic about healthy lifestyle education, teaching people about interest rates is a way of trying to regulate their lives.”

    Well Quoth I think you’ll find people exercised a lot more and had a much worse diet by today’s standards. What I question is why it is a governments job to tell people how to do either. If it were simple guidelines and recommendations it would be fine, but banning certain foods in school tuckshops is, quite frankly, control freakishness.

    Teaching is not at all the same as banning or regulating.

    Christopher:

    “If you’d been to a school recently, you’d know that that’s rubbish. As is most of the other crap about NCEA and schools in general. Incorrect marking? In which other system would you even find out?”

    If you’d been around recent school leavers, you’d know very well how many could calculate say an 8 per cent interest rate, with or without a calculator.

  66. Swampy 67

    There’s a simple answer, and that is to not borrow money off loan sharks.

    If a restriction is put in place, where are people going to borrow money from? They are not going to get it off banks. And you and I know that Work and Income have strict criteria for making loans available.

  67. Swampy 68

    Labour’s roots were in the trade union movement, but since unionists are just a small part of the electorate, they now represent a wider range of people.

    The Greens and Jim Anderton claiming to represent those roots never get more than 5% of the vote these days, and all the unions still turn out for Labour.

  68. r0b 69

    If it were simple guidelines and recommendations it would be fine, but banning certain foods in school tuckshops is, quite frankly, control freakishness.

    Guidelines and recommendations have been around for decades. Obesity is increasing, obesity on the young is increasing.

    So given that guidelines and recommendations don’t work – which is worse, banning crap food in tuck shops, or doing nothing to tackle a health problem which is debilitating for individuals and very expensive for society (or if you prefer Dean, for the tax payer). Serious question Dean, guidelines and recommendations don’t work, so (phrasing it in terms that you understand) should the tax payer be footing the bill?

  69. Swampy 70

    Gambling addiction problems like anything of that nature only affects a small percentage of the irresponsible. Even those people are capable of keeping away from gambling, the problem is that they spend endless amounts of effort blaming everyone else. It’s like drug addicts who will blame not being able to get on the methadone programme as an excuse for committing burglaries,

    You’d have us have legislation to protect people from themselves. Yet if we locked them up on a remote island to do this, there’d be a huge protest.

    Who was it that in Australia yelled and screamed the loudest when John Howard proposed exactly that, measures to make sure Aboriginal people were spending their welfare money properly?

  70. burt 71

    rOb

    Please state all the things you think should be banned. You can’t just say ‘bad’ things. Unless of course there is a referendum where we all get to name 10 ‘bad things’ and the countries most unpopular 10 ‘bad things’ are banned. What is ‘bad’ for you might be just great for me, and I do like my pies and I’m pissed my kids can’t have the occasional one at school.

  71. Swampy 72

    “if a mechanism could be created to provide an equivalent service that was shown to be better for society, or potentially less damaging, would you support it?”

    What kind of mechanism would that be?

    I don’t borrow money myself because even if it was an interest free loan from Winz the repayments still have to be factored in. I don’t buy stuff I don’t need with money I don’t have.

    I think some of the people in this predicament have got their priorities wrong, why do they need to borrow the money in the first place?

  72. r0b 73

    Please state all the things you think should be banned.

    I’d like to ban stupidity Burt. Or at least make it painful!

    Goodnight.

  73. Swampy 74

    “Look at what the Greens are doing on gambling, an equally abhorrent form of preying on the poor/stupid/impulsive. It’s ruining families and communities, but the Government refuses to do anything about it.”

    The Greens are a bunch of neo-wowsers who are trying to create their new feelgood morality that says “private money is evil” and want to either force all the pokie money to be handed over to the state (this was rumoured to be the big plan a little while back) or shut down those evil gambling dens outright. Most of Greens policy is extreme left due to where the party and most of their MPs sit politically and as such it reflects a position that is very anti-business, anti-private.

    Let’s face it, a comparative few people who can’t control themselves are a good reason to shut down any sort of gambling? Or just about any hobby or recreation for that matter.

    Labour just wants to impose food controls in schools in order to give another excuse to employ even more bureacrats and give them even more control over things because that’s what Labour stands for. The school tuck shops will just close and all the kids will go to the fish n chip shop up the road.

  74. Felix 75

    swampy I was going to raise a couple of points with you but by the time I got to the end of your “thoughts” it was pretty clear that there’s no point. You’re as ridiculous as burt or d4j.

    Go to bed and stop wasting electricity.

  75. T-Rex 76

    “I’d like to ban stupidity Burt. Or at least make it painful!”

    Ironically enough, that’s exactly what 8%/week does…

    Perhaps it’s not fast enough feedback. Like you actually need each of these places to have a can of mace under the counter, and whenever anyone comes in to ask for a loan at 8%/week interest they give them a blast in the face.

    I mean christ knows nothing else will work. Did you read in the article the woman who borrowed $50 to top up her phone? But he, don’t worry, coz if she can’t pay it back she can just extend it! Phew. And then? That kind of stupid can clearly only be corrected using an “ow ow ow hot!” kind of response.

  76. Rob 77

    I hate loan sharks with a passion. Believe it or not I also hate the very sloppy rules we have around Finance companies and how they can gamble away the life savings of Investors.

    I also detest political interference in our Police Force did anyone see Close up TV 1 Project Equity
    Report written in 2003 on the South Auckland crime scene and what needed to be done to fix it. Forecasting the dire consequences if it wasn’t done.

    Then the message came from on High get every copy of those reports back we don’t want the public to know how bad the situation is and will be.

    Everything that it said would happen is happening I wonder how you would feel if you were a parent of one of those murdered since 2003 in South Auckland. I really hate political interference in our Police force!!

  77. IrishBill 78

    Rob, are you capable of making a comment without trying to veer the thread into another topic? I suggest you start your own blog so you can get all these things that trouble you off your chest.

    On the matter of the post I will say that the best way to deal with these sharks in the medium term is to increase benefits and wages (especially the minimum wage) but in the short term they need to be heavily regulated. Of course I would prefer if they were banned outright but I doubt that is a politically viable option.

  78. coge 79

    Cash loans as such have always been around. Probably the worlds second or third oldest profession are the providers of these services. Of course it seems shocking to the sensibilities of those of us who choose not to use them. But they are needed by many of the less fortunate, for many diverse reasons including basic necessity. So now the Govt considers legislating against such arrangements, what are these people supposed to do? I contend
    that a broadbrushed approach to this would be an oppressive move by any govt.

    Of course the fees and rates are high, this all makes sense as the greater the risk the higher the reward. Make no mistake these are very high risk lending arrangements for the lender. Without the prospect of reward, they would not undertake the work. Remember a good deal of the costs go towards underwriting the bad loans, chasing the debtors, & vast administrative costs on small unsecured lending. Broadbrushed Govt legislation would likely see the rise of criminal blackmarket lending, which nobody wants to see.

  79. IrishBill says: Dad. You were banned for a week and warned about breaking that ban twice. Now you are banned for two weeks.

  80. randal 81

    what is winz there for? these people should be being helped by winz and not being gouged by these predators. oh thats right. national is going to privatise winz and then they will get all the interest to add to their bonuses. the bonusses they get for not giving beneficiarys their full entitlement.

  81. coge 82

    Randal. Do yourself some credit & undertake some reasoned debate.
    I await with anticipation.

  82. burt 83

    T-rex

    randal picks up where my comment @ 7:49pm last night left off.

  83. Bill 84

    My personal favourite solution to loan sharks would be to knee cap them without the option of rolling up their trouser legs first.

    However, that’s not going to happen. Effective regulation probably won’t happen either.

    What if the victimised communities started having a spate of fires in the neighbourhood? Say, loan shark offices got burned in a kind of grass roots poetic justice thing?

    Insurance premiums for them would sky rocket and they would ‘disappear’.

    Meanwhile, raise the benefit levels and extend wff to include unemployed parents.

    For anyone delusional enough to believe you can effectively budget on the benefit, please, get real. The benefit is meant to be a safety net. If large numbers of people are frequenting loan sharks, then it is surely a sign that the time for some net repairs is way over due.

    I’m a wee bit disappointed that no-one has picked up on the fact that large retailers are also preying on poverty to increase profit margins. Oh well.

  84. IrishBill 85

    I’m a wee bit disappointed that no-one has picked up on the fact that large retailers are also preying on poverty to increase profit margins. Oh well.

    Bill, if you want to write a post on this and send it to us we may consider it.

  85. Billy 86

    Legislation will not stop people making stupid decisions, underground loan sharks anyone?

  86. oldhippy 87

    I don’t think people criticising the interest rates per se have really thought this through. These businesses mostly operate on very small loans, $50 here, $100 there. While as a percentage the interest rate seems crazy, as an absolute amount on a small short-term loan it’s not a lot. To use the example from the article of a $50 loan over 10 weeks, they only get $40 for the overhead of setting up and taking weekly cash payments for a $50 loan and taking the very high risk of not recovering it.

    If there is a cap on interest rates of say 50% pa then the interest on the $50 loan for 10 weeks is roughly $5. No-one is going to do it for that. The lenders will either go out of business or find a loophole, and the customers will go to the leg-breaking kind of loansharks instead.

  87. Billy 88

    Oi, Billy. We have a passing off problem. Get another nick.

  88. oldhippy 89

    And for the hilarious collection of loopholes already uncovered by the Queensland legislation mentioned in the Dom Post article see http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24187752-3102,00.html

    Fast Access Finance, a chain with 31 Queensland stores, offered a loan arrangement where it was selling “real diamonds” through $250 no-interest loans.

    The customer immediately on-sold the diamond to a “completely unrelated” company for $125 cash.

  89. randal 90

    coge dont hold your breath. I dont flap my gums debating with fools who wont see the nub of the problem. if you want debate go and stand outside cash advances in porirua and talk to the peopel going in there about what they need the money for.

  90. IrishBill 91

    OH, every law gets worked around or broken to some extent. The idea we shouldn’t regulate this industry because some people might find a way around it is absurd. At the very least stronger regulation would make it harder for these lenders to access their victims (like not having them across the road from W&I).

    I walked down Courtney Place the other day and saw one of these agencies advertising:

    “Need some quick cash for a big night out on Courtney Place? Come see us”

    You can’t advertise cigarettes like that.

  91. coge 92

    Randal, if things were hunky-dory in Labour land, there would be no need for these cash loans. But that will never happen, regardless of the administration. The businesses go where they are needed. They always have. Maybe you could stand outside WINZ & offer a solution to those who have been turned down additional help for basic living needs. One that doesn’t involve law breaking.
    I’m not as far removed from folk in these situations as you might imagine.

  92. burt 93

    coge

    The only people who are far removed from these people are the people who think welfare will solve the problem. Que randal’s next comment.

  93. Burt – it’s “cue” not “que”. “Que” isn’t even a word. And you’re calling Randal stupid? Stones. Glasshouses. Live in.

  94. Tane 95

    “Que’ isn’t even a word

    It is in Spanish, and it’s my general response whenever I read one of burt’s comments.

  95. I’m more of a WTF??? guy when it comes to Burt’s comments…

  96. bill brown 97

    I’m sorry, he’s from Barcelona.

  97. Paul Williams 98

    Tane said:

    David Lange did more damage to South Auckland than any Labour leader in history.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, perhaps you could elaborate so that then I can disagree with precision rather than in general (I spent the first 17 years of my life in Mangere during which Lange was the local member).

  98. Dean 99

    r0b:

    “Guidelines and recommendations have been around for decades. Obesity is increasing, obesity on the young is increasing.

    So given that guidelines and recommendations don’t work – which is worse, banning crap food in tuck shops, or doing nothing to tackle a health problem which is debilitating for individuals and very expensive for society (or if you prefer Dean, for the tax payer). Serious question Dean, guidelines and recommendations don’t work, so (phrasing it in terms that you understand) should the tax payer be footing the bill?”

    So, if education on the matter fails then instead of looking at why it’s not working – given that it’s pretty obvious what overeating or eating the wrong kinds of foods in excess does to someone – we should simply move on to banning?

    We shouldn’t look at why the education isn’t working and improve it?

    r0b, I think you just enjoy the control aspect.

    Imagine if the same kind of energy, education and advertising that smoking recieves was applied to the obesity epidemic. But I think we both know why this isn’t being done.

    Anti-smoking promotion is clearly negative, and demonstrates the health issues involved. It does not seek to pull any punches. The most we see on obesity is positive reinforcement, because people are too scared to offend anyone. Of course there are a small percentage of people who are overweight despite an excellent diet and plenty of exercise, but these are very much in the minority, despite what some homeopaths or other quacks have to say. I would put it to you that the majority of obese people choose to be so because they are not being properly educated, because they know the taxpayer will have to foot the bill and – dare I say it – because of cultural influences.

    Banning food in school tuckshops is not going to stop this, or even make much of a dent in it.

  99. Swampy 100

    Pity you didn’t respond Felix cos I’ll just have to assume you are unaware the Greens are communists and assorted fellow travellers from way back. It’s no surprise at all they want to ban so many things, especially many things to do with business activity.

    Most of what they are harping on with food and smoking and what have you is codeword stuff for attacking “greedy corporates” and what not which in turn is pretty much just communists/socialists who hate private business.

    Now, if there was anything else you meant by that rejoinder, feel free to elaborate…

  100. MikeE 101

    “I walked down Courtney Place the other day and saw one of these agencies advertising:

    “Need some quick cash for a big night out on Courtney Place? Come see us’

    You can’t advertise cigarettes like that.”

    If you are dumb enough tto take a loan out to go drinking, you deserve a bloody high interest rate.

    You can’t legislate stupidity

  101. Swampy 102

    “vto
    September 3, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    but seriously seriously where on earth does it start and end – I mean the state apparently now needs to tell people what to eat (never used to), to exercise (never used to), how to manage money (ditto), how to raise their children, It really is cradle to grave and is becoming more so.

    Is it becoming more so because of the very fact of state interference in the first place? I mean, the gummint is responsible for everything (with the correlation that the people are responsible for nothing).”

    Where the rot has set in is the state telling parents how/how not to bring up their kids and other not so subtle ways of undermining parental authority. Once that’s well established then the way is open for all this other stuff, the state telling people what to eat, exercise and so on. Parents are just breeding and financial support units who don’t have a primary role in teaching their children the things of life any more. The state can now take over all the educational stuff and churn out kids attuned to their ideology.

    The fact is that the education system is a poor way of delivering these lessons in life because it is less than one third of a child’s life. They spend a helluva lot more time in their families learning stuff there than they do at school. The other problem with using the education system to deliver these messages is that it crowds out the stuff the education system is supposed to do, like the 3 Rs.

    Back to topic… if you think the government should regulate just about everything that moves just to protect poor people from their own inability to function properly in society, then go for the obvious solutions, like giving people food vouchers, electricity vouchers or whatever for their basic needs each week. So far as I can tell, practically everyone on the left of politics is vehemently opposed to any such idea. But you are seeking to ban everything in sight for the sake of an irresponsible minority. Why not just deal with the irresponsibility directly instead of punishing everyone else.

  102. Hawkeye 103

    RE:-
    When National starts saying we’re going to end the prohibition on drugs, we’re going to allow euthanasia, we’re going to allow abortions on demand, we’re going allow polygamy and gay marriage, etc, etc, then you can start saying they believe in personal responsiblity.

    Reading along I was struck by this comment. Can you tell me which party is saying this please. I want to make sure no one I know votes for them!

  103. Robinsod 104

    Oh Christ its the libertarians. I hope you don’t walk on my footpaths or drive on my roads ‘cos that’s theft bro. And that would make you a thief.

    cap: “rambling mission” – pretty much sums the rightie trolls up perfectly.

  104. Dean 105

    Robinsod”

    “Oh Christ its the libertarians. I hope you don’t walk on my footpaths or drive on my roads ‘cos that’s theft bro. And that would make you a thief.”

    Oh dear, it’s the communists. I hope you don’t earn more than your neighbour or drive a better car than somebody in Otara ‘cos that’s being a top hat wearing capitalist bro. And that would make you a hypocrite.

  105. lenore 106

    The media grabs a trivia reason for borrowing money, no surprise really from them. I have worked with clients who have been crippled in debt, one whose children was going to inherit his debt to his dispair. Why did they borrow?

    Funerals was often a reason and I think myself the cost of a funeral can be expensive to anyone as most of us want to provide a good send off for our loved ones. Funerals are a sudden one off huge expense and coming up with the cash when the banks are not interested – leads on to the money lenders.

  106. T-Rex 107

    Lenore – You can’t “inherit” debt.

    I’d hope my loved ones would feel no compulsion to have an expensive funeral if I died. I’ll be dead, and the last thing I’d want is for them to wind up with a large financial burden on top of everything else. Burn me up and throw me off the top of a mountain and I’ll be happy. Anyone who is goign to be dissapointed because they were just turning up for beers and cake isn’t particularly valuable to me anyway.

    Whatever the reason is, money lenders lend to people who shouldn’t be lent to – it’s not in the best interests of a borrower open to exploitation.

    Borrowing without a realistic plan to repay is financial suicide. There is no way you can possibly not end up f*cked. I think most of the problem is that people get into debts with repayment periods of several years, while their personal financial horizon is usually about 6 days.

  107. Bill 108

    Just heard wind of a case where a person bought a car priced at $8000. Entered into a five year deal….$27 000. But here’s the clincher. They were somehow persuaded to give over $1000 so that a ‘kill switch’ could be installed to be used if they missed payments.

    Now, that’s not loan sharks, just commercial traders.

  108. Bill 109

    T-Rex

    Although you can’t inherit debt in a generational sense you can certainly inherit debt from a former partner. It pretty common for a pile of debts to become apparent (because the ex was a gambler for example)

    And the repo guys are beating a path to the front door and………

  109. Matthew Pilott 110

    Bill – was the switch for the car, or the person? If the latter, I think that might be illegal.

  110. Bill 111

    Tempted to say it should have been…or maybe no point ’cause the switch was thrown way back.

  111. Felix 112

    Swampy you’re a retard. I said there was no point engaging with you and you’ve demonstrated that beautifully.

    If only there were a blog dedicated to right-wing Act-style libertarian bullshit that you freaks could all piss off to.

    Oh hang on, there are heaps of them but no-one’s the slightest bit interested in them. Gee I wonder why…

  112. T-Rex 113

    Bill – Fair point, though Lenore did say children.

    Your example isn’t inheritance of debt anyway. That’s being party to a debt you’re not aware of!

    And I’m not actually sure how that works legally. I’m pretty sure the debt is void if the person signing the borrowing agreement didn’t have sole signing authority for the security being used.

    Of course, most people aren’t that fussy about signing authority with commonly held relationship assets. I probably wouldn’t be…

    Sad thing to happen.

  113. Swampy 114

    Well that’s your problem Felix. You may not agree with what I write but there is a lot more substance to it than just flaming because you don’t like my politics.

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