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Open mike 01/01/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 1st, 2013 - 95 comments
Categories: open mike, uncategorized - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

95 comments on “Open mike 01/01/2013”

  1. Jenny 1

    Will 2013 be the year serious action against climate change begins in this country?

    Though it is not widely known, or admitted, even by themselves, the Green party has backed off raising the issue of climate change.
    It is not, that the reality of the danger has passed, far from it.
    It is because they are seeking a political accommodation with the Labour party.

    In exchange for cabinet positions in the next government the Greens are preparing to give away their opposition to government policies that contribute to climate change.

    Russel Norman “wants the Minister of Finance job and his MPs to get a third of the seats in cabinet.” TV3 News

    In her post commenting on the Green Party retrospective delivered by Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, TS author Karol writes:

    I was particularly impressed with Turei’s focus on child poverty, and the need for a more fair and equal society.

    However, on the debit side. Turei did not once mention the urgent matter of climate change.

    In my opinion, for an environmental party this is unacceptable. This is not an oversight, this is a deliberate and glaring omission.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Green-Party-continues-to-push-Government/tabid/370/articleID/280880/Default.aspx

    Coal has been identified as the number 1 causative factor in climate change by James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate scientist. Hansen says that if we are to have any chance of arresting runaway climate change, coal use must be seriously curtailed. Despite this fact, the Labour Party are fully committed to expanding the coal industry in this country.

    In contrast, it is Green Party policy to oppose any new coal mines.

    However, in practice the Greens are giving up their opposition to new coal mines.

    It is Green Party policy to make New Zealand coal free by 2020. However without any clear strategy for proceeding from where we are now, to achieving this goal, the policy from Greens to make New Zealand “Coal Free”, can only be said to be, “Aspirational”. (In the John Key sense of the word).

    I my opinion, as a concrete step to achieving a “Coal Free” New Zealand by 2020, the Green Party should give up their lobbying for cabinet positions, instead they should concentrate their efforts on lobbying the Labour Party to give up their support for new coal mines. This should be the number one condition for any coalition agreement with Labour.

    Yes the glittering career path of some Green MPs may be affected, and yes this may even cost the Green Party some votes.

    But what is more important?

    Cabinet Positions, or concrete concessions to take action against climate change?

    2013 – Time for the Green Party to decide.

    • bad12 1.1

      Yes, Information from TV3 news, the same people that brought you ‘the Cunliffe coup at Conference’,

      When will you learn that 3 news is not speaking on behalf of the Green Party…

    • muzza 1.2

      James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate scientist. Hansen says that if we are to have any chance of arresting runaway climate change, coal use must be seriously curtailed.

      That would be the same James Hanson who derided Germany for abandoning its new Nuclear programme following the Fukushima disaster!

      Maybe have a look at the motivations (lobbying money flow) behind these people Jenny, then ask yourself if they are clean!

      I guess that Nuclear catastrophies are seen as not so bad eh!

      • OneTrackViper 1.2.1

        I guess that climate change isn’t the most serious issue facing the world then. Nuclear power -really bad. Catastrophic climate change – not so bad. Thanks for clearing that up for us.

        • felixviper 1.2.1.1

          Ooooorrrrrr….. Nuclear disasters: bad.
          Catastrophic climate change: bad
          You: incredibly dense.

  2. Marty 2

    Morning Everyone. A fresh year to do with what we please.

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    and never brought to mind ?;

    I don’t bloody think so. Let’s rip Key a new one this year.

    My wish is for the Left to come together to start building momentum towards 2014. Time for us to stop looking inwards and start looking outwards.

  3. KhandallaViper 3

    Happy New Year to All?

    The changes that occurred in our society over the past three decades have made the “kiwi dream” a sham. The huge widening of the gap between richer and poorer and the massive increase in emigration are the obvious and easily measured ones. More insidious is that far more members of each household are working longer hours and years in less secure and poorer paid employment. Kiwis are doing it hard, so hard that 800,000 did not vote.

    This now requires an early and fundamental set of new policies for a new-deal society.

    That 800,000 does not show up in the marketing strategist’s reports. They don’t come into the reckoning when the analysts are calculating whether the left vote of A+B+C will surpass the right vote of D+E. Nor do they articulate themselves well in “focus ” groups”.

    No, the voice of the 800,000 can be heard through the supporters/members of the Labour Party. The upside to the Conference is that Labour has won the opportunity to brand itself at the most democratic Party with the constitution and structure to act as a grass-roots-up one.
    We can win the next election only with the help of the 800,000. We have to be genuinely part of them to be their voice. When we have policies and leadership that makes us relevant to them, they will believe that we can make that fundamental change towards a new fair-deal society.

    • Another Viper 3.1

      Election Cycles! An excuse for laziness and also a sense of entitlement. My turn to Rule! National ain’t going to hand power on a plate.
      The Left Vote? Boll•cks. The Greens are not about the 800,000. That is Labour’s space and we must make them central to ALL of our policies, strategies and tactics.

      2013 has to be a new start for Labour.

      No more innocuous palp that ignores the 800,000 and alienates the active members.

      • bad12 3.1.1

        ”The Greens are not about the 800,000”, really???, if the previous 2 elections were to be used as a gauge Labour’s past and present policies have failed sensationally to move the 800,000,

        My view is that voting every 3 years is a right and a DUTY, i see no valid reason why voting every 3 years should not be compulsory…

        • OneTrackViper 3.1.1.1

          Good to see that compulsion default setting coming through. The party will be proud.

        • muzza 3.1.1.2

          What, other than the obvious removal of the right to exercise free will you mean, whats left of it!

          Sounds like you may believe voting makes a difference, in case you missed, it makes no difference in the greater scheme of things!

          Perhaps it makes a little differnce to some along the journey, but the outcomes are the same, so why the hell would it be acceptable to force people to vote for their own demise!

          Note: I can understand why people might see benefit in forced voting, deperation for change comes to mind, but FORCING, is not the answer!

          • marty mars 3.1.1.2.1

            do you vote muzza?

            for me Mana IS an alternative party to vote for as I agree with their kaupapa and values. Some say it is a waste – look at the polls and so on but they are wrong IMO. People make the difference, individuals working collectivelly.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.1.1

              +1

              If people don’t like a party then they can, and should, vote for another party.

          • bad12 3.1.1.2.2

            Given your reply it would then be ‘pointless’ to be discussing politics and policy here on the Standard, because by your reasoning if voting changes nothing commenting on-line would change even less and we all should subscribe to ‘home and garden’ and discuss issues relevant to present and past issues of that…

          • muzza 3.1.1.2.3

            Hi Marty – Its about having the choice to vote, or not – The question was nothing to do with voting/not, or who for.
            I agree with your sentiment about people making the difference, working collectively etc. If there was a framework for change to better NZ, I would seriously consider putting my support/energy behind it, as I have said on here many times previously. Mana may or may not be that, too soon to tell for me, but some encouragement can be had from the movement so far.

            B12 – Agree completely, the discussion around policy is mostly pointless, albeit interesting, as we see that the policies which further denegrate NZ are implemented/forced through etc anyway, against the best interests of NZ, and its peoples
            .
            That is why my comments around policy are limited to comments about addressing the *core issue*, which is the monetary supply/control by the NZ government/treasury, and audit/investigation into the *independence* of the RBNZ/OoDM.
            Until the issue of monetary/debt control is addressed, policy discussions/directions are moot, and little good can come from even beneficial policy regardless, as it will always have the equivilant opposite policy to off-set any overall longer term positive benefit, hence continuing the negative trending in the NZ inc statistics!
            While policy is driven by monetary/debt position as under current conditions., without addressing monetary control, NZ will continue to slide at increasing velocity!

            In any case my response was around your statement that you can *see no valid reason why voting every 3 years should not be compulsory* – Which I disagreed with!

    • lprent 3.2

      The upside to the Conference is that Labour has won the opportunity to brand itself at the most democratic Party with the constitution and structure to act as a grass-roots-up one.

      Watching it from the sidelines for a change, that was what impressed the hell out of me. It was rather overtaken in the media by whoever the silly arse in caucus decided to use it to take out Cunliffe in a tediously juvenile power play*. But it was definitely the best conference I have attended in terms of getting some work done.

      * It was almost as stupid as the similar play in 2007/8 to try to take out NZF. That didn’t work either. Quite simply you cannot externally destroy constituencies or patterns of political thought in a MMP environment with dumbarse power plays. It simply doesn’t work because people will move their votes to counter such game plays. The only effective way to destroy political factions is for them to fall apart internally – Act being te most recent example.

      • karol 3.2.1

        Lynn, Chris Trotter’s latest post, The Lazarus Option says something similar.

        “POLITICS IS ALMOST as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.” This pithy Churchillian aphorism should be framed and prominently displayed in every politician’s office. It wouldn’t hurt if one or two political journalists did the same. We might then, perhaps, read fewer political obituaries of Members of Parliament who, having suffered a temporary set-back, are declared officially, politically dead….

        The wounds inflicted upon Mr Cunliffe by Mr Shearer and his allies are, therefore, readily survivable. The Parliamentary Press Gallery – so easily stampeded by Mr Shearer’s backers at the Labour Party Conference in November – are slowly and shame-facedly backing away from their earlier, supremely confident, assertions of an imminent Cunliffe-led leadership coup. But, if there was no “plot” to unseat Mr Shearer, then for what “crime” – exactly – was Mr Cunliffe demoted? The answer appears to be: “For refusing to rule out the possibility of a leadership challenge at some point in the future.”

        But, as Mickysavage points out on the Year in review thread, it’s worth considering why such violent metaphors are used to describe politics.

        • lprent 3.2.1.1

          I will go and have a read of it.

          Whilst musing over the last year in the last few days, that was the thing in the local political world that stood out for me as being the weirdess. This was in a remarkably politially weird year. A tactically well implemented play, it was so utterly inept at a strategic level.

          All it really did for me was to highlight the lack of clear direction inside the Labour caucus, who instead seemed to be pissing about with such silly games. While literally at the same time that the party organisation was busy with the largest and most productive renewal I have ever seen. The political contrast between the two main parts of Labour could not have been starker.

          Not to mention the contrast in the effective utilization of resources. The party organisation was literally doing this on a shoestring. Meanwhile the caucus with all of the support of parliamentary services appeared to be quite limited on what they could achieve in connecting to that massive constituency of unenrolled and enrolled non-voters lost to elections since 2005. That group have a pretty typical response when asked why they don’t vote any more – it is because they don’t see any real hope arising from the act of voting.

          • just saying 3.2.1.1.1

            LPrent, am I imagining things, or have your views moved to the left in the past few years since the beginning of The Standard?

            • lprent 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Not really. As I have mentioned a few times previously, I’m a political pragmatist who looks at the longer term rather than the short term. What I’m looking for are things that are likely to work efficiently to solve or at least alleviate current or future problems. Most of that is simply providing routes of opportunity for people and especially their kids to use. Providing services like mostly free adult education were extremely efficient providers. Creating motorways in an era of increasing fuel costs and falling road usage for the taxpayer support of contributors is not.

              I want to see the tens of thousands of dollars I contribute to the commonweal to be used effectively. Frittering them away on trivialities like the Labour caucus appears to be doing just offends me. It also gives me little confidience that they will be more effective if on the treasury benches. So I’ll shift my vote to a partner that looks more effective.

          • Anne 3.2.1.1.2

            Perhaps this is an appropriate time to resurrect that Duncan Garner blog. The one which started the ball rolling…

            http://www.3news.co.nz/Opinion-Why-does-Labour-hate-David-Cunliffe-so-much/tabid/1135/articleID/264472/Default.aspx

            Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was following those ‘revelations’, that David Shearer was asked if he planned to demote Cunliffe. He laughed it off and made reference to Cunliffe being far too valuable. His response struck me as being genuine and, at that point anyway, I have to wonder how much he had known of the covert ABC club activities. It almost seems to me that the publishing of the Garner article – together with a concentrated campaign by Cunliffe’s caucus enemies – is what convinced Shearer that Cunliffe was planning a coup.

            The set-up of Cunliffe at the Conference (aided and abetted by an eager MSM) would have sealed the suspicion for him. If I’m right, then Shearer may have learned a very valuable political lesson. His actions in the coming 2 to 3 months will give us the answers we seek.

            • karol 3.2.1.1.2.1

              I’m not convinced that Shearer wasn’t part of the turn against Cunliffe as signaled by the Garner blog you linked to, Anne. The leak to Garner seems to have come right from the top. There’s this bit in the blog post:

              Sources have told me Shearer was advised to demote him when he became Labour’s leader, but Shearer resisted and said he wanted to work with Cunliffe.

              That hasn’t worked apparently – my sources tell me Shearer is deeply disappointed with Cunliffe and he feels let down. This relationship cannot last.

              According to Shearer’s sources, the Labour leader no longer trusts Cunliffe. That view is shared by the majority of the caucus.

              • Anne

                Hi karol,

                I’m not saying he wasn’t part of the turn against Cunliffe. I just wonder whether he was fully conversant with what was going on behind the scenes. It might have caused him to be a bit suspicious of the ABC club’s modus operandi – or at least some of those within it.

                Sources have told me Shearer was advised to demote him when he became Labour’s leader, but Shearer resisted and said he wanted to work with Cunliffe.

                Not quite correct.
                Yes, he was encouraged to demote him when he became Labour’s leader, and he came within a hair-breadth of doing so. In other words, he had ‘fallen in behind’ what he was being told by Cunliffe’s caucus enemies. Commonsense did prevail in the end. We will have to wait and see if it prevails again.

                • karol

                  You may be right, Anne, but, on the other hand your quote suggests that all along, Shearer has made his own decisions. There is a use of ruthless tactics that seem to have started under Shearer. He is after all someone who, with little parliamentary experience, backed himself to be leader. This suggests a certain amount of strength.

                  Team Shearer only turned against Cunliffe when he continued to get support from the membership, while Shearer continued to get criticised. The strategies became particularly ruthless when the membership voted for democratisation. The strategy against Cunliffe was to reinforce Shearer’s power, and, along the way, make him look decisive to the public, via the MSM.

                  Now that the opposition, including within the membership, still can’t be silenced, it looks like the ABC leaders are the ones to be sacrificed. There’s quite a ruthless pattern there, and, my trust having been dented by the above happenings, I am not convinced Shearer is that blameless.

                  • Anne

                    I agree with your analysis. There is certainly an element of ruthlessness that I find abhorrent and I agree Shearer has been part of it. Don’t think for a moment
                    that it only started under Shearer. It has been there since the 1980s but Helen Clark kept it well under control.

                    The key word in that quote of Duncan Garner’s is resisted. Actually he didn’t resist. My understanding from what I heard at the time is: Shearer was all set to demote Cunliffe but at the last minute wiser counsel (and I don’t know who it was, or what was said) reached Shearer and he changed his mind.

                    It puts a slightly different complexion on Garner’s take of what happened, which (of course) came from the mallarfia and associates.

                    I can’t say more except to say my source for the above is likely to be more accurate than Garner’s sources.

                    • karol

                      My views on Shearer have changed a bit having looked at his CV and his involvement in being a consultant, researcher, and adviser of intelligence and military strategy. So, while he may be a novice in NZ’s parliament, he is a strategic thinker, and one prepared to suggest coercion in certain circumstances.

                      It looks to me that the most recent moves are in the form of a charm offensive re-the membership.

                      But, I still don’t know what Shearer’s political values are. That gives me pause. Especially as he might negotiate some policies with membership now, in order to get them onside for the election campaign. But, as Clark did on closing the gaps, he could be just as likely to change tack when a PM.

        • xtasy 3.2.1.2

          Karol: I just read it!

          Trotter is absolutely onto it with his new blog posting of today. The early part of this year will be the very last chance for possibly years to come, for Labour – and especially it’s caucus – to sort itself out once and for all by February 2013.

          Shearer has shown that he is not a smart, strong, competent leader by demoting Cunliffe the way he did, and by stripping him off all spokespersons’ responsibilities, banning him to the back bench.

          Shearer panicked and made a stupid, in principal also undemocratic decision, out of fear for the media’s reporting, which was without real basis.

          The very last chance for Shearer will be to get Cunliffe back into a top role through a re-shuffle, to engage him and to bind him into the team, so that he will improve team skills. Of course the other – less likely – chance chance will be, that Shearer will call a vote on leadership and any likely challenger anyway, to face the challenge.

          As I do not at all expect that the not so confident, weak Shearer will feel safe and happy to go for that second last chance, only the last one can be hoped for.

          All else will likely mean that Labour will continue to sit around 30 to 35 per cent support for years, given Shearers scandalous stuff up after the conference. Wasting economic knowledge, experience and talent Cunliffe has (besides of other areas) is completely irresponsible and idiotic.

          But DS is enjoying the beach up north, taking it easy, surfing, playing guitar, grilling some chops and saussies, so prepare yourselves for more disappointments, as February is just a month away!

    • Fortran 3.3

      Should we make voting in New Zealand like Australia – Compulsory,
      and listen to the Greens to make the voting age 16 ?

      • OneTrackViper 3.3.1

        Why should you discriminate against those intelligent 15/14/13/12/10…. year olds. They have rights too you know.

        • Napkins 3.3.1.1

          Are you seriously advocating for the voting age to go down to 15 then? Or are you just waving red herrings around?

          • McFliper 3.3.1.1.1

            I dunno about red herrings. I’ve never seen why any age cutoff is not simply an arbitrary point between rationality (all capable people should vote) and absurdity (all 6-month-olds should vote).

  4. Ad 4

    Khandalla you have got to be one of the most on-message people I know. May you ever raise The Standard.

    For me, contemplating the earth running my side of the lake this morning, there were two things that gave me hope last year.

    The first was this site. It grew in strength and stature, and I met hundreds of simpatico voices. basic solidarity.

    The second was the Asset Sales petitions. Just required me and many thousands to talk and talk and talk with many hundreds of people on a simple issue that most people agreed with.

    Neither required any contact with caucus, or a single leader, or Parliament as a whole, or any faction, or constitutional rules, or anything like that, just needed volunteer time and basic commitment. Or polls or fictions or factions.

    And both were the best outreach to the 800,000 non-vote that anyone mustered, anywhere. I can cope with doing more of those.

    They, not caucus, will me on this year.

    • Benghazi 4.1

      Sorry Ad but while the petition and marches have the feel good factor they haven’t stopped National’s plans to sell those assets.

      The most effective way to kill the asset sales programme is to have a strong Opposition that makes it clear that they will consider reversing those sales. It will undermine the value imputed by the merchant bankers, the risk will be too high for investors and the costs of sale will be too high relative to the rewards. But you have to have an Opposition who believes in that approach and an Opposition leader able to communicate that astutely in economic terms. Unfortunately, Labour doesn’t have that so we must rely on the Greens for such messages/policies.

      • KhandallaViper 4.1.1

        Yes, Benghazi, a simple statement by the leader of the opposition that the re-nationalisation of unique or monopoly class assets like the hydro-dams and electricity infrastructure will be a major red-flag highlight of he risk analysis by the Australian, US and Asian investment analysts.

        The Labour Party had previously made a similar statement in respect of the ACC.

        There is nothing wrong with someone bidding: the wrong is in the selling.
        All potential buyers should be fully informed of the risks.
        A clear statement by the major opposition party that any buy-back price will be market value capped at the sale price and CoF of 10% will be adequate.
        Q.E.D.

      • Ad 4.1.2

        I am not expecting a strong market-focussed signal of anything of Labour with Shearer leading and Robertson driving policy. Certainly no bold statements. Nor feom the Greens either on asset sales. So I expect the sales to continue and not a market murmur.

        That was not, of course, my point.

        I think Labour’s activist core are generally disheartened and want positive things to do, whatever the leadership does. So my inferred question was pointed only at why the hell anyone would continue in this godforsaken game when there is no detectable spine, soul, or heart in Labour.

        Any MP I think who engaged on this site with any substance would harvest thousands of activists.
        Disagree?

        • Benghazi 4.1.2.1

          Ad I think that many on this site are disillusioned with Labour and, just as you have previously expressed yourself, are now looking closely at the Greens or others to see if there is a fit. Many are waiting till February to see if the trigger for a membership vote will happen. So in that sense they are hoping.

          I think a February membership vote would be energising for the Party in a healthy cathartic way, drive good policy debate, and would give everyone the opportunity to unite around the membership’s choice of Leader. But I don’t see Shearer and his King/Mallard cohorts being prepared to open themselves to that or do anything except run their swords through any MPs not following their edicts.

          What to do? If the members want a vote then they need to put real pressure on their relevant MPs and the Party hierachy.That means writing letters, copying those letters widely, even perhaps publishing them openly on this site, and an electronic petition for those members willing to publish their names? Do others have additional ideas?

          It only takes 12 MPs to think that initiating the member vote is the best process to unite us all so Labour can win strongly in 2014. We are not asking MPs to select a Leader, we don’t even know at this stage who might put their name forward. Rather, we’re asking them to support the launch of the newly, democratic Labour Party. I’m a member of many varied organisations and my experience is that a healthy, robust organisation emerges following contested democratic elections, as opposed to back room deals done by a few office holders.

          Isn’t this something more purposeful for disheartened members to strive for in the next 34 days till the first February caucus?

          • Crimson Nile 4.1.2.1.1

            I think you might find that the requirement is 40% of the Labour caucus which translates as 14 MPs.

          • Ad 4.1.2.1.2

            Only in the sense of watching a car-wreck in slow motion.

            Its like whistle-blower legislation. Great for everyone else, and refreshing, but always ruinous for the whistleblower.

            National should be politically dead now, and Labour mocking on their graves. Instead, belonging to Labour feels like belonging to the Cathloic church: you still go, but only out of the sense that those bastards running it do not touch my faith. And some of those bastards are evil.

            I hope that communicates the level of disgust I have in them and their “renewal processes”.

    • Rogue Trooper 4.2

      amen to all three of you-honourable mentions in despatches

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    My New Year wish? That I could block certain commentors. Wondering if anyone can modify the adblocking plugin in Firefox to do this or create one Troll blocker plugin specifically for the purpose?

    Yea, sure….I could just scroll down. The thing is they tend to create strings of nasty responses back and forth using up my scrolling time and besides, I really don’t care what they think.

  6. muzza 6

    The below was a response by Auckland Council, about the $167m (loss) , stemming from the derivatives portfolio, bolds are my emphasis.

    Firstly it needs to put into perspective against the scale of the Auckland region and Auckland Council.
    · The Auckland region comprises 37% of National GDP and 34% of population.
    · The role of Council is to provide infrastructure and other services to the region under the Local Government Act. As we plan to accommodate the large increase in population and the vision of making Auckland the most liveable city in the world we need to invest in infrastructure assets.
    · Our approach to investing in infrastructure is to debt fund this investment and repay the debt back over the life of the asset.
    · Council net assets at the Group level are currently $28.3 billion comprising assets of $35.7 billion and liabilities of $7.4 billion. Net Assets are expected to grow by $14.2 billion over the 10 year Long Term Plan period to June 2022 to $42.5 billion.
    · Group revenue is currently $3.5 billion and forecast to grow to $5.12 billion p.a.
    · Group finance costs are currently $268 million p.a. and forecast to grow to $745 million p.a.

    A non-cash mark to market revaluation loss of $167 million on a derivatives portfolio of approximately $5 billion in size and borrowing requirement (including refinancing) over the next ten years of approximately $8.75 billion is not in the opinion of most finance professionals, either material or relevant.

    Investors, credit rating agencies, auditors, advisors and banks are not concerned by this because of a number of factors that we have explained to them including;

    · The forecast additional debt and associated interest expense needs to be managed in a prudent and conservative manner. Council has a Treasury Management Policy that outlines our approach to managing assets and liabilities. Furthermore, we have internal processes, procedures, governance and management controls to ensure our exposures are managed to best practice. Council receives external Treasury advice and engages with the major New Zealand banks. The government appointed auditor, Audit New Zealand has reviewed our approach to the use of derivatives and is very comfortable with the approach taken as it is in line with what other major organizations (both private sector and public sector) undertake.

    · We believe that our Treasury team are resourced, experienced and capable of managing the exposures – the team were a finalist in the INFINZ awards for Excellence in Treasury in 2011 and our Treasurer was awarded the Kanga News Treasurer of the Year award in late 2011. Furthermore, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) in an unusual statement last week commented “In our view, Auckland Council’s own financial strength is evidenced by its strong treasury team and its approach to liquidity and debt management”. S&P rarely makes these types of public comments.

    · Interest rate derivative products were first created in the 1980’s and it is true that some of these products have been used incorrectly, primarily for purposes they were not originally intended for – speculation. Auckland Council (and the predecessor councils) has always used these instruments only for hedging purposes (not for speculation) and within the parameters of its risk management policies. Council (like all other private and public sector borrowers) uses interest rate swaps primarily to lock in future borrowing rates and to provide certainty for forecasting purposes. This approach is prudent given the forecast borrowing programme of Council and its objective of maintaining a balanced operating budget annually. If interest rates were to rise and Council had not hedged its debt, the consequential increase in borrowing costs is considered to be riskier than the interest cost certainty that hedging gives, even if there is an “opportunity cost” should interest rates reduce.

  7. Fortran 7

    S&P make their comments on Auckland City’s finance because they know that any deficits are guaranteed by the Ratepayers = 34% of the population.
    QED

  8. And Chris Trotter poses an interesting question, why should David Shearer have the right to demand unflattering loyalty?

    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/the-lazarus-option.html?m=1

    • karol 8.1

      Snap, micky. Just referred to the same post above in reply to Lynn.

      This bit by Trotter is also spot on:

      Mr Shearer seems to believe that having once been elected to the leadership of the Parliamentary Labour Party he is entitled to hold that position until he decides to relinquish it. In other words, Labour’s new constitutional procedures for confirming or changing the parliamentary leadership must now be set aside. Mr Shearer has signalled that any caucus member who even thinks (let alone suggests) that someone else might do a better job of leading the Opposition will be publicly disparaged and demoted.

      Such authoritarian notions should be anathema to all political parties – especially social-democratic ones. …
      The attitudes evinced by Mr Shearer and his backers have no place in such a democratic political organisation. They belong in princes’ courts: spawning courtiers not comrades; factionalism not solidarity.

      • Mickysavage 8.1.1

        Thanks Karol. I meant to say “unfaltering” but my iPad decided to change it …

      • Dr Terry 8.1.2

        karol – am relieved to see you back on track re Shearer, you had me worried for a bit! (I am sure you have looked up Cunliffe’s fantastic credentials, including Minister of Health). Labour members should be very, very worried by what could be descending upon them.

        • karol 8.1.2.1

          I don’t think I’ve changed my position that much. I just focus on the evidence available or that I am aware of at the time.

          I’ve always said I think Cunliffe is very well qualified and skilled and should be on Labour’s front bench. I don’t know if he’d be a good caucus leader. But I also have many questions about Shearer and have continued to question what exactly his politics are. My biggest concern is not whether or not he has leadership abilities, but what his political views actually are.

    • QoTViper 8.2

      Gods, I’m starting off 2013 in complete air-punching agreement with Chris Trotter. I feel wrong.

      • karol 8.2.1

        I’ve always agreed with trotter on some, if not many things. It’s when he gets on to gender and ‘race’ or Maori politics that I disagree with him.

      • David H 8.2.2

        Thats okay, he will get back to his regular service soon.

      • Rogue Trooper 8.2.3

        at least you are not head full of air Medusa

  9. bad12 9

    News media or news massagers???, here’s the same news item viewed through the lens of 2 entirely different news organizations,

    Early last week RadioNZ National broadcast a news item about a London fish seller who had made up a song he sang at the fish market in an attempt to sell fish,

    As happens with these things, he got videoed, uploaded to Utube and the song immediately went viral, British immigration then took an interest in the fish seller and found He was not a legal immigrant and were going to deport Him,

    A few days later TV1 News told the exact same story, except their fish seller had become such a celebrity after having His song go viral on Utube that He had given up selling fish so as to concentrate on His new music career,

    One of the news organizations is obviously not telling the truth, there is no apparent reason why one of the news organizations would lie about such a minor story that has no direct bearing on anything that occurs in New Zealand,

    Would ‘they’ lie to you???, you bet,continuously even when there is no ‘need’ just to condition you all to accept such lies as the truth…

    • karol 9.1

      And I see this morning’s NZ Herald editorial has bit of Shearer cheer-leading embedded in it, based on no evidence whatsoever.

    • muzza 9.2

      Not just massaging or lying, flat out making stuff up!

      Reality TV, has of course played its part is assisting with the widening gap in peoples ability to disseminate fact from fiction!

      People need to stop watching tv, reading the glossies, and the *news*, its all 100% designed to remove your ability to think!

      • Rogue Trooper 9.2.1

        RNZ, credible newspapers and online sources are Standard fare for this canines teeth to get stuck into. (I’ve negotiated an affordable rate and am going Unlimited from today, sooo, I’m gonna play
        in the sand pit and throw some castles in the air) 🙂

        -She sells sea shells on the sea shore

  10. bad12 10

    National’s Happy New Year to you all = prescriptions at the chemist’s will change from 3 dollars an item to 5 dollars an item from today,

    Slippery’s New Years gift to one and all….

    • The Al1en 10.1

      He was on tv the other night, saying the jobless figures were his parties only bad mark.
      Knowing that’s all bollocks, my mind wandered.

      Is he still on holiday? Why did he dress in a suit and tie and pretend he was in an office?
      If that is his office, given the ‘victory’ frame behind him, what a vain twat.
      If that’s his holiday home, given the ‘victory’ frame behind him, what a vain twat.

      Would have been less disingenuous and subliminal if he’d been there with his muffin top poking over his diplomatically protected speedos.

      • bad12 10.1.1

        The tax on tobacco products also goes up today, Happy New years all you smokers from Slippery, the National Government, and how could we forget the Maori Party,(just because everyone else including their voters have),

        2% of smokers will ‘give up’ using the product after such a price rise, 3 months after having given up use of the product an unmeasured but large % of that 2% will be back smoking as hard out as ever,(such is the nature of addiction),

        98% of those using the product, unable to ‘give up’ such use will in the case of those with restricted low incomes have to ‘make savings’ elsewhere and as their ‘food budget’ is the only part of their income that has any discretionary spending in it then their ‘choice’ becomes one of an even ‘poorer diet’ or ‘the addiction’ and i would suggest you all find someone that is ‘addicted’ to anything and ask them given such a choice ‘addiction’ or ‘good food choices’ wins in such an equation,

        Poor diet brought about by financial constraint will kill a lot more of the nations users of tobacco products one hell of a lot faster than the use of tobacco products will…

        • clashmanviper 10.1.1.1

          “98% of those using the product, unable to ‘give up’ ”
          Link please.

          • McFliper 10.1.1.1.1

            Well, it is the old assumption that everyone who smokes wants to give up.

            But this link reckons a 4-7% success rate of cessation on any given attempt, so essentially the government’s predicting that half to a third of smokers will try to quit because of the tax hike.

            The rest just put up with subsidisng the government’s economic incompetence while being treated like paedophilic lepers.

          • bad12 10.1.1.1.2

            Here you go,

            ”Fewer than 10% of those who try manage to quit smoking”,

            The Google = Number of quit smoking attempts key to success/ Scoop news.

            http://www.scoop.co.nz>health

            ”Our service is reaching nearly 9% of the smoking population”.

            Google = Quitline annual review 2011 (PDF)-Quitline New Zealand

            http://www.quit.org.nz/file/quit-ar2011-lo-pdf

            By Quitlines own admission from the first line of the Chairman’s report they reach fewer than 9% of the smoking population, i am sure you can then work out from Professor whats-his-faces figure of a 10% success rate the actual numbers of those who manage to quit what has been a product with addictive qualities as strong or stronger than Heroin,

            What i cannot find figures for is the actual number of young people who despite all the INFORMATION still take up smoking and become the next generation of addicts, and, as i can find no figures for such i am going to suggest that (a), for every person that has quit a young person has become addicted, and (b), the Government knows this, chooses to be blind to it and refuses to collect and publish such data as to do so would reveal it’s taxation of tobacco products as a failure to incentivize people not to use tobacco products and simply a revenue grabbing exercise which takes the food off of the tables of those addicted,

            There is only one means to stop the use of tobacco products and that is to register all those who are presently addicted to the product with their doctors as addicts and then ban anyone else from access to the product…

            • McFliper 10.1.1.1.2.1

              ASH do school surveys, for whatever they’re worth.

              As for banning tobacco, piss off. I might go to hell early, but I’ll pick my own damned method, ta very much. Oh, and before you bring up passive smoking, I remind you that given there is pretty much nowhere outside my own home that I can smoke indoors, it’s now a bullshit factor. Play me a violin.

              • bad12

                Shall i clarify the last paragraph of my previous comment???, there is only way to stop mass tobacco use into the future, that is to have all present users register as addicts with their doctors so as to allow them to continue their use and ban all those not registered at a cut-off date the purchase of the product,

                Have we been on the turps a touch too much Mac, why would i bother mentioning passive smoking which seems to me as being an attempt to demonize those who smoke as a health initiative, and, if your memory can be stretched to a point past 5 minutes it has been me that has taken to (at times)picking holes in what the anti-smoking zealots and the media put out there as the gospel on smoking,

                It is a FACT that the majority of us when our time comes to snuff it will in fact succumb to one form of cancer or another, something that mostly goes unmentioned by the anti-smoking zealots and at best considering that ‘averages’ can have wild fluctuations in-built in the ‘averaging’, those who have smoked will die of cancers at much the same rate as the rest of the population but averages would have that death on ‘average’ occur 5 years earlier than those who have never smoked…

                • McFliper

                  Why stop tobacco use?

                  • bad12

                    Why stop tobacco use indeed, of course you mean why have i put up an alternative to the obvious FAILURE of the Governments supposed means of stopping tobacco use, simply to show the utter bullshit inherent in using the pricing mechanism as a means to stop the mass of those who smoke from doing so,

                    My favorite piece of shock horror from the anti-smoking zealots has to be the yearly deaths from lung cancer, 10% of lung cancer deaths every year are from smokers, betcha the other 90% of those who die of that particular cancer ever year wish now they had smoked like friggin chimneys…

                    • bad12

                      Or the other ‘goody’ that was fashionable among the anti-smokers for a while, ‘tobacco is a product that kills half it’s users’,

                      Considering the numbers of those who do not and have never used the product who will die of one form of cancer or another the exact same thing could be said about ‘air’…

        • Oscar 10.1.1.2

          Theoretically, the prices should only go up on NEW stock. Not on existing stock.

          Both British American and Phillip Morris delivered the last of their stock on december 24. The next deliveries take place on the 4th January.

          So prices shouldn’t rise as a result of the excise tax until January 4th at the earliest.

          It’s all set out in legislation. New stock delivered after January 1 must have the increased excise tax applied.

          Of course, it’s all just too difficult so just bump up the prices across the board on January 1 and make a little extra money in the meantime.

        • David H 10.1.1.3

          I knocked em off when Slippery announced the increase. And I feel so much better since I kicked the filthy, expensive, coffin nails.

    • felixviper 10.2

      Yay, more tax increases under National.

      Is anyone keeping a list of all John Key’s rising levies, fees, duties, charges and taxes since 2008?

      • bad12 10.2.1

        That would be way too depressing, the most recent tho include:

        Fuel tax rises,

        road user charges/registration for SUV’s.

        Prescription charges,

        Tobacco taxes,

        Gotta keep the peasants paying for the hole blown in the Government revenue stream by giving the upper echelons of income earners tax cuts…

  11. marsman 11

    In Stuff this morning a short article ” Give Hekia Parata the sack’ Some good comments but one by ‘collhug’ was very interesting, mentioning the Charter School Scam and John Banks’ involvement but also this:

    “NOVAPAY (fair & proper tender??????)

    The Hon John Banks Family Trust has not held shares in Talent2 International Limited since 28 May 2012 when Talent2 moved to privatise the company and de-list from the Australian stock exchange. Mr Banks advised the Cabinet Office of the sale of his Family Trust’s shares on 29 May 2012.(press release J B )”

  12. bad12 12

    You have to begin to wonder, and this has been mentioned on the Standard befor, whether or not the abysmal cluster-f**k that National have made of Education hasn’t been a deliberate series of chaotic coincidence designed to destabilize the Education sector,

    Setting up ‘charter schools’ in the minds of the nut jobs, the likes of Banks et al, possibly has at it’s heart not the actual building of schools, more than likely the thinking is that if ‘they’ can get schools to ‘fail’ to the point of having a Commissioner installed then ‘they’ could turn such schools into ‘charter schools’ having use of the buildings and the budgets by default…

  13. Rose 13

    Good point. All the government negativity about education is demoralising teachers. Principals have to spend more time supporting teachers because of it. All this time and energy could have otherwise been spent by teachers and principals enjoying their jobs.

  14. RedLogix 15

    Kim Hill is interviewing Steven Keen again this coming Saturday morning.

    In the meantime there’s lot to be had from his latest lecture on econophysics:

    http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/11/16/energy-production-and-entropy/

  15. Rogue Trooper 16

    Exegesis

    Tension
    -pulling together (no, not soggy biscuit)
    -pressure in vapours
    -Electro-motive force
    -(state of barely suppressed e-motion; excitement, surprise, and a few less helpful ones too)

    -strain-with resultant symptoms (psych.)
    -strained relations between persons
    -opposition between conflicting ideas or forces

    Tensile
    -stretching (not the foreskin or labia) foreward

    Tensible
    -capable of being stretched (or exaggerated in some sites’ case) 😉

    Tension Rod-a structural member subjected to tensile stress only

    Tense; present, Future, or, Living In The Past (which does have some great tracks though)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_in_the_Past_%28album%29

    -Jef free
    (off for a vee, then some more waffle in the iron)

  16. AsleepWhileWalking 17

    Minister says she can live on the dole. Currently she earns $6321 AUD a week, c/w the dole $246.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/i-could-live-on-the-dole-says-families-minister-jenny-macklin/story-fndo4dzn-1226546184170

    • Rogue Trooper 17.1

      AWW Shucks, and here was me anticipating nightmares (self-doubt is an Achilles Last Stand)

      -Pegasus (In Flight)

  17. Rogue Trooper 18

    First the news,
    -More fires
    -Script subsidy increases
    -Drugged drivers (the stories i could tell ;))

    Pi’s Life
    Parker Richard a clerical error. Product Placement; Camus L’Etranger and Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground (thats what i think). “Lord, Thank You for my Life.The carnivorous island that Day and Night took away. Day destroys the night, night divides the day. Which story do you prefer? mankind or island in your arms, country in your eyes. Kingdom.”wise men seek peace, history is war”

    RNZ-analysts are still not optimistic looking over the cliff; may bunji back to where they lept from
    sooner rather than later; ratifications from the Republicans is a Slow Train Coming (more than technicalities) Five days is forever, forever and a day, gotta go to work on Monday (scheming to change the world). I hear slander, libel, I hear words I never heard in the bible, just one step ahead of the shoeshines.Fishermans’ Blues (The Water Boys) wish I was a fisherman, sailed beyond the past, these chains will be loosened and fall away at last. We live in a wheel where everyone steals but when we rise it’s like Strawberry Fields. Camping New Zealand; Do not pass Go. Community Chest the Monopoly, divide the Duopoly. Time spent shopping around is money saved. Think I’m going to Katmandu, thats really really what I’m going to do, If I ever get out of here, thats what I’m gonna do. You tell one person and they tell one person, thats the Faberge organic connection.

    RNZ-people emotionally motivated by “expectations” of tomorrow. Worry not.Each day has enough troubles of it’s own. Natural, healthy disgust is manipulated into social exclusion.Well, conservatism can be disgusting and some avoid it like the plague. He’s got Gary Cooper’s eyes, He’ll “believe” you, He’ll deceive you. Anything Could Happen by The Clean. They’re accounting to cheat 2 3 4 5…Just keeping things “neat” to be Alive.I’m lookin’ at you, you’re lookin at me. Bee a Stealthy Bomber. So you think you can tell, Heaven from Hell, Blue Skies from Pain, can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail, Cold Comfort from change. That was my Mistake, that was my miss Stake ache, that was my missed steak. As falls Wichita, so falls Wichita falls-Pat Metheny Group Falls Into You-Mazzy Star-Amen (Did ya get healed?) off Poetic Champions Compose. Let go into the mystery…just let yourself go.

    On the Horizon research; one half of households believe their income will drop (some significantly) in 013. Hey There Mr Blue Sky, how’s that “bright future” coming along? The sun is eclipsed by the Moon; the Key is not to lie too soon. Rainman pisses on amerika. Takin’ The Bible “literally” need ya head read. Fall of the house of Ussher. Poe-faced the swinging pendulum. The Harder They Come the harder they fall, one and all. Nothin like the chase to sweet decline, no ones gettin’ out of here alive this time. It’s a shame we have to die so dear, what a way to go, but have no fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. The beginning of Wisdom…? In Isolation, where are the young men, away from these shores, where are the young men, economic casualties, playthings in fat cats paws, a weight on their shoulders. Minesheads revisited. Decline and Fall.
    Warne out. Vineyard Choppers chop Pink Frost. They’re so scared. Alcohol Reform, as if anyone cared. Dead duck, Cold in the water. For Now. For Today, I remember your smile Schizophrenic uncle smothered by maternal infection. The Divided Self. History of The Bicameral Mind. A R D
    Fairburn, burn baby burn. Seasons don’t Fear The Reaper, Nor’ do The Wind, The Son or The Rain (we can be like they are) Then the door was opened and the wind appeared. New Blood joins this earth and quickly they’re subdued through constant pained disgrace The Young Ones learn their rules.

    New Year Dissolution; of Southland water catchments. Liar Liar, pants on fire. Babylons Burning.
    The Ruts are well worn out. Side with amerika, side with amerika, Where The Streets Have No Name. L.A Confidential. Mr Bronze, Mr Green and Mr In-Between.

    11.6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful ones are trapped by evil desires..

    11.8 With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbour, but through knowledge the righteous escape.

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  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
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    21 hours ago
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    1 day ago
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  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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    5 days ago
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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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    7 days ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
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    7 days ago
  • PGF funds tourism boost in Northland
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  • Four new projects announced as part of the biggest ever national school rebuild programme
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  • COVID-19: Support to improve student attendance and wellbeing
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  • Fast-track consenting law boosts jobs and economic recovery
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  • Whanganui Port gets PGF boost
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  • More support for Sarjeant Gallery
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  • Funding for training and upskilling
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  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
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  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
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