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Open mike 07/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 7th, 2016 - 150 comments
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150 comments on “Open mike 07/01/2016”

  1. DH 1

    This has to be one of the more cynical acts I’ve seen for a while….

    Why Dick Smith’s banks pulled the pin this week

    It seems the secured creditors let the business continue trading over Xmas so they could loot the unsecured creditors. Every person who bought a gift voucher, every supplier who supplied Xmas stock or services on credit; they were never going to redeem their vouchers or get paid for their goods.

    I expect this would be difficult to prove, the banks would deny it of course, but surely it’s time this nonsense was stopped. This act of unsecured creditors funding the secured creditors debts has been played out for as long as I remember and it makes a complete mockery of the principles of justice & fairness.

    At the very least the Govt should be forbidding interest on loans to be securitesed.

    • savenz 1.1

      +1 DH, You have to wonder how it was legal to buy the company for under $100 million but then ‘value’ it at $500 million for the IPO? What is wrong with the current state of the world?

      The obscenely rich are getting richer doing this type of conduct and the poor are getting poorer as they spend their small amount of cash at Christmas only to find out they have been screwed again by finance companies and ‘the market’.

      In the US Bernie is going to ‘clean up’ the big banks. Very interesting.

      “Bernie, Hillary go to war over Wall Street: Sanders gets upper hand as he pitches fix for financial industry
      Sanders says Clinton lacks “courage” to stand up to Wall Street as he outlines plan to shape up financial industry”


      • Chooky 1.1.1

        +100 savenz…I do so hope Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton…he is the only real hope for the USA imo…the Clintons have a very murky background

        Ambrose Evans-Pritchard , ‘The Secret Life of Bill Clinton – the unreported stories’

      • David H 1.1.2

        Fixe m??? He should lock up all the CEO’s and other criminals that were responsible for the crash that again screwed the little man and the banks were supposedly too big to fail.. Bullshit look at what Iceland did.

        “New banks were founded to take over the domestic operations of Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir. The old banks were put into receivership and liquidation, resulting in losses for their shareholders and foreign creditors.”


      • Brutus Iscariot 1.1.3

        AS far as the valuation goes, it’s a case of buyer beware. No-one was forced into supporting the IPO.

        The rest is just mismanagement.

        • Lanthanide

          Yip. The price of anything is merely what someone is willing to pay for that product/service at that particular time.

          They bought it for less than $100M because no one else saw the value or wanted to take on the risk.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And now it’s worth nothing because of the people who bought it for <$100m decided that they could milk ~$500m out of it.

            We really do need to be looking at this to determine if there's any criminal liability.

            • James

              “We” do, do “We”.

              There is no hint of anything criminal – Nobody forced the idiots to buy the shares.

              I love it when “lefties” just assume that its criminal.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I didn’t assume that it was criminal – I said it needed to be investigated.

                Then there’s the fact that just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it’s right. Considering the outcomes it probably shouldn’t be legal if it is. It’s not just the shareholders that are losing out.

              • One Two

                Mark Zuckerberg could explain techniques in pre IPO/IPO fraud

      • Smilin 1.1.4

        Its the old ltd liability trick thats been milked to the max by these shyster finance arseholes for years , theyve just got better at it and they say ISIS are the problem.

    • tc 1.2

      An old trick, I’ve seen banks asset strip using this trick then hand back a debt filled shell to receivers after they’d got their monies back with the debt included employee leave, super etc.

      Banks mostly always win as they get to dictate terms and they rarely go near any venture they can’t get their dosh back on. They’re actually killing quite a few businesses with this no risk approach and many individuals as they raise criteria to quite ridiculous levels.

      • DH 1.2.1

        “+1 DH, You have to wonder how it was legal to buy the company for under $100 million but then ‘value’ it at $500 million for the IPO? What is wrong with the current state of the world? ”

        The IPO is a different issue and since it occurred in Aus (I think) I haven’t bothered mentioning it. Ultimately the IPO would have failed if buyers didn’t think the shares were worth $500 million. The valuation was possibly (probably) falsely inflated but I don’t know how they’d do that and get away with it.

        • savenz

          I’d think that an extra $400 million would be considered falsely inflated and now surprise surprise the company is in receivership after it. Sounds fishy to me.

          • DH

            From what i read the IPO valued the shares largely on the earnings of the business. It made $43million profit, a $500 million price gave a yield of 8.6% which in today’s low interest climate is a reasonable return for a safe investment. It’s a very poor yield for a risky investment though and I assume buyers were led to believe the business was sound else they would not have bought the shares at that price.

            I suspect buyers were conned about the risks and perhaps the profits were inflated as well.

            • Naturesong

              So the high rate of return was likely* because they were stripping it out, putting off plant maintenance, increasing the number of days between when they demanded payment from debtors and payment to creditors, letting stock levels bleed out, driving down wages, not hiring staff to replace those who left etc.

              All the usual bollocks when a business is being groomed for sale.

              I wonder how much debt they were carrying when they first bought it, and the size it had increased to when they floated?

              * pure conjecture. I haven’t looked at the books.

              edit. started reading the forager funds article. wow, what I wrote above doesn’t even scratch the surface.

              • DH

                That’s pretty much how I read it too. It’s a mystery to me why the share market keeps falling for these scams, they’re old hat now and you’d think everyone would be savvy enough to give them a wide berth.

                Btw apparently the original purchase of $94 million was funded largely by stripping cash out the business after they bought it so you nailed that one too.

                • Aye, just finished reading the forager funds article BM linked.

                  There is a perverse technical beauty to it.
                  But to actually implement it, you have to ignore your conscience telling you that what you’re doing will destroy people’s lives.

              • greywarshark

                That forager funds article sounds as if it would be educational to those of us bemusedly watching business go on its merry way making hay while the sum shines! How about a link.

          • Naturesong

            Just started reading the article.

            Holy shit thats brazen.

          • reason

            Another example of vultures at work and why the share market is rigged is the New Zealand railways privitzation/swindle.

            This right wing theft and infrastructure vandalisim played out like this …………

            Our national railways were privatised and sold to a consortium prominantly featuring Fay richwhite and co for the low price of $328 million……. They quickly sold railways land and buildings pulling out over $100 million effectivly lowering the buy price to 228 million …………and then they listed on the sharemarket as tranz rail ……..

            They continued their merry asset stripping ways by not investing in maintance and using these false ‘lowered costs’ to plunder the bussiness further.

            They call it private sector efficency ……..

            Then when the shit was about to hit the fan they used their inside knowledge to sell out and make a $87 million profit + $10 million in fees ……

            There was a SFO investigation into their insider knowledge and selling their shares before the information of just how much they’d run down and fucked the bussiness became public ……… Tranz rail share prices crashed and your average investor lost money.

            I think Richwhite paid a 20 or 30 million fee to the Govt/SFO out of their $97 million railways profit and avoided prosecution.

            Presently John Keys Govt lead by his merchant banker methods have closed the Dunedin railyards, closed the Gisborne line ……and brought chinese trains.

            It’s hard to know if they are stupid because they are greedy ………….. or greedy because they are stupid.

            The rich steal the most ………………..

            • Draco T Bastard

              What we’ve been seeing over the last few decades is the inherent corruption of the capitalist model coming to light.

      • Neil 1.2.2

        Asset stripping would be something Key is probably very knowledgeable about & no doubt might have been involved in it when he was working for Bank of America & Merrill-Lynch.

        • Magisterium

          You do realise Key worked in foreign exchange, right? Or is this just a case of “something something money, John Key is rich, therefore fuck John Key”?

    • dv 1.3

      I notice that the dick smith website is still running and seems to allow you to purchase items.
      Is that legal?

      • DH 1.3.1

        I’m pretty sure the receiver becomes legally liable for any debts incurred after they take over so that’s probably on the level although it could be they just haven’t gotten around to pulling the website.

    • mickysavage 1.4

      I suspect that DSE went rather close to the mark. There is this section of the Companies Act 1993 which may or may not be relevant:

      135 Reckless trading
      A director of a company must not—
      (a). agree to the business of the company being carried on in a manner likely to create a substantial risk of serious loss to the company’s creditors; or
      (b). cause or allow the business of the company to be carried on in a manner likely to create a substantial risk of serious loss to the company’s creditors.

      • DH 1.4.1

        What these people know Mickey is that proving illegal conduct is very time consuming & difficult and the chances of it happening are almost non-existent

        They also know further that NZ’s regulatory & enforcement bodies will, except in exceptional circumstances, only act on complaints when they have enough evidence to prove wrongdoing. And since they’re the only bodies with the authority & power to collect that evidence they never get the evidence and thus they never launch investigations. Joseph Heller is nothing compared to the bureaucrats.

        • Naturesong

          Not to mention that these guys now have half a billion dollars to spend on lawyers …

          • Brutus Iscariot

            What are you talking about?

            • Naturesong

              Proving illegal conduct by Anchorage Capital will be even harder since they (Anchorage) made half a billion dollars out of the Dick Smith deal.

              Half a billion dollars that can now be considered a war chest to head off any legal challenges.

      • Lanthanide 1.4.2

        Actually those two points can be used to defend their actions.

        Had they announced, prior to Christmas, the biggest trading period of the year, that gift cards would no longer be sold (and even if they stopped there), that action in itself would cause a massive drop in sales over xmas. The press would report that DSE was in trouble, customers would stay away because they’d be worried about their warranties and after-sales support not being there when they needed it.

        That in itself would damage the company and create a substantial risk of serious loss to the company’s creditors.

        They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t: doing anything that tarnishes their trading before Christmas will definitely result in the company going under. Holding on over Christmas at leave gives them a slim chance of having a very good xmas and giving them breathing room to carry on for longer.

      • Craig H 1.4.3

        Section 380 is also relevant IMO – one could argue that selling gift cards/vouchers when receivership is on the cards is taking on liabilities (the gift cards/vouchers) that the company will not be able to honour.

    • Smilin 1.5

      And the fact that they should have had the pin pulled on them
      about a year ago -user pays in every way

  2. savenz 2

    “Noam Chomsky: The problem with US politics is the spectrum is “center to extreme — way off the spectrum — right”


    We have the same problem with National and Labour – the spectrum has moved way off the spectrum to the right and that is why Labour is at war with itself and it’s former and current supporters.

    What Labour need to realise is that with growing inequality the centre right and centre (i.e. middle class) is getting smaller and actually their Labour polices are meaningless.

    Jobs jobs jobs (what is the point of a job if it is insecure and you struggle to afford a house/mortgage (can’t get a mortgage as your job is too insecure) or to pay your power bill and food, as your wages are so low compared to the fixed costs of living? Now the middle class like in the US are at the mercy of the banks too, even if you own your own house.

    Farmers were told that we have ‘white gold’ but somehow 80% of farmers are now producing milk at a loss even though we have these so called gold plated trade agreements with China. What is the point of producing more product at a loss – you are just losing more money! Then we are told we need to lower wages, bring in cheap labour, down grade environmental standards etc so keep this farce up? Surely the idea would be to get a higher value milk products going and create jobs. Instead they are cutting jobs and trying to produce more milk and selling off their farms and China are creating their own supply chains.

    Neoliberalism at work.

    Now they want to accelerate the process with TPP.

  3. Peter 3

    agnotology – the study of deliberate propagation of ignorance


  4. John Shears 4

    So playing the stock market is not a form of gambling?
    Yeah!! Right.

  5. fisiani 5

    The TPPA will apparently be signed in Auckland on February 4th. Welcome to your prosperous future. The sky will not fall no matter what Chicken Little says. We are heading for great trading times ahead on multiple fronts. People are flocking to live here in record numbers. The welfare reforms are paying off and the unions will not prevent Avatar 2,3 and 4 to be made. All in all let the good times roll.

    • mauif 5.1

      Kiwis are flocking back from over the ditch because things aren’t looking so great there, added to that the government are wanting as many migrants as it can get its hands on to keep economic growth going. How’s that for an economic plan, welcome to the ponzi scheme.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Yeah, we’re fucked courtesy of a failed political system that does as the rich want.

    • fender 5.3

      Hope you take time out to giggle like a school girl as you type that tr0lling rubbish fissi-fused-anus

      • fisiani 5.3.1

        Is this infantile scatological comment typical of you or of the Left in general. I ask because no matter how much it happens it does not get called out or moderated. I make a six sentence comment. Every sentence was true. Can you not handle the truth? Can you at least be civil? You can surely disagree without being disagreeable.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Actually everyone of your sentences, except the first, was a lie. We just need to look at the last thirty years of neo-liberalism in NZ to see how more of it is just going to fuck us over even more. A few rich people will get richer though which is, of course, why we’re seeing ever more poverty in NZ.

          The rich are the problem and we need to get rid of them.

          • fisiani

            You say “The rich are the problem and we have to get rid of them.”
            Care to elucidate what that means? I take you mean expel the very rich, such that the average income drops and hey presto so called “poverty” is gone. Are you being serious?

          • James

            “The rich are the problem and we need to get rid of them”.

            thats beyond stupid. Whats Rich? Andrew Little falls in the 1% for NZ. Lets start with him.

            The country needs the rich – they pay for most things.


            • weka

              Not they don’t. For instance they don’t pay the true costs of production and consumption that their wealth is based on (that’s a subsidy that the environment and the rest of us wear).

            • millsy

              With the income from their rental properties that are tenanted by the poor.

              It will be a cold day in hell before I start doffing my cap to someone because they have more money than I.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The country needs the rich – they pay for most things.

              No we don’t and they don’t pay for a damn thing as this video clearly shows.

              The poor pay for everything including for the rich to be rich.

            • Anne

              Andrew Little falls in the 1% for NZ.


              • Draco T Bastard

                Probably not actually. The average of the top 1% will probably be higher than his income but I wouldn’t be surprised if his total income is high enough to be in the bottom of the 1%.

                • ropata

                  Little might be in the 1% by his current income, but almost certainly not in the 1% by *wealth*.

                  Unless he has a few mansions in Parnell, Omaha, Hawaii that we don’t know about?

        • North

          Honest John !!!!!! That’s all. Honest John !!!!!!

        • fisiani

          After two hours on display—obviously typical of the Left

          • McFlock

            There’s a reason that the WWF logo is a panda, not a carnivorous worm. People naturally want to defend cute pandas. Worms aren’t cute, they’re a bit gross.

            Don’t think of it as an indictment on the Left, consider it evidence of why private charity will always have shortcomings over government fundng. People don’t queue up to help gross things.

        • Mark

          Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. You want to come on here and mouth meaningless twaddle and expect people to be reasonable. In my experience the bigger the right winger, the bigger the wanker as you confirm every time you comment here.

    • reason 5.4

      prosperous future where our kids can not swim in the rivers as it will make them sick …………….. guess you dont swim fisi ?

      And is avatar Nationals latest economic plan??

      …. it sounds great after cycle ways, rugby world cups, casinos and a few million more cows shitting the place up ……. Did you know about the world cup for domestic violence that JK helped win for us ????

      The TPPA is just the iceing on the cake ……………. I’ve always wanted american laws.

    • millsy 5.5

      …and crowding New Zealanders out of work, and housing.

      Great times.

      TPPA will simply give corporations the power of veto over our laws – we might as well live in a privately owned libertarian city state.

      If the goal is to leave as many people as destitute as possible, then I guess you are right about welfare reforms paying off (but there will be a glut of hookers in K’Road).

      And it aint the unions stopping the Avatar sequels being made, its Cameron himself, pushing them back all the time.

    • Pat 5.6


      “We are heading for great trading times ahead on multiple fronts.”

      you truly are delusional

  6. mac1 6

    This is a very interesting article by an American Professor of International Affairs, Sophia McClennen, published two days ago.


    Her question is whether “political polarization has gotten so severe that our democracy is at risk.”

    She writes about ‘outgroup homogeneity bias’, a device used in Trump’s campaign, whereby a range of groups are lumped together and demonised. This can lead to an intolerant reaction from usually tolerant people when confronted by massive intolerance.

    She argues that liberals need to take back control of the political agenda away from such issues and not just react to them.

    This article this morning meshes with a book I finished last night. “In Search of Stones” by M. Scott Peck in which he wrote of the need to not move into despair when faced with where humanity is at but rather to embrace a theology of hope.

    There is a ‘bright side’ requiring our positive support.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Yo’all may have caught up with this egregious result from Auckland’s housing disaster.
    On RADIONZ yesterday.
    Rising Auckland rents separating families, say budget advisors (but they have chosen the pretty pic of harbour, yachts, soaring apartment and hotel buildings, not South Auckland poor streets. Perhaps there aren’t any of such images in their library – not good viewing, so no takers.)

    Increased rents had also been matched by increasing demand, with 30 to 40 people competing for each rental.
    The level of competition meant landlords were unlikely to choose those on the minimum wage or unemployment benefit as tenants, he said.

    Mr Evans (budget advisor) knew of two families who, unable to pay their rent, were forced from their homes.
    The first, who had three children, lost their home and while the parents moved to a boarding house, they didn’t think it was an appropriate place for their children.
    “Mum and Dad are very keen to get a job in Auckland so they are now living in the boarding house and the three children have gone to live with grandparents down the line,” he said.

    “In another case, exactly the same scenario, the husband lost his job and about three months later was unable to secure a job, so unfortunately they fell into rental arrears.
    They’re actually staying on the sofa of a friend and their two children are staying with the husband’s sister in Whanganui,” he said.

    I was referring to homelessness in another comment and I quoted a line from a book
    by Mark Billingham written round that and other social decline, which said that most of us were living near the edge and two or three months of unemployment would likely mean loss of home and security and probably abject poverty. The above is an example of how this can be the truth.

    • Chooky 7.1

      +100 greywarshark…thanks for that…housing is indeed a crisis for New Zealanders and their families!

      ….the sooner we throw out this corrupt nact government the better

      …housing should be for New Zealanders first!

    • millsy 7.2

      And we still have Andrew King of the Property Investor’s Federation complaining that rents are still too low.

  8. Michael 8

    Bernie Sanders needs to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

    Hillary Clinton’s lies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGC2vg27bFI

    • Andre 8.1

      Yep. A Hillary presidency would be a complete meh, nothing but business as usual. Gawd it hurt to write that about the first woman with a realistic shot at the presidency, and a nominal progressive at that.

      But if she does become the nominee, it’s still important that Sanders supporters swing in behind her. Because whatever the eventual choice is, the Republican line-up really is nuttier than the buffet at a squirrel convention.

    • alwyn 8.2

      According to one of the US sites that actually checks out the statements made by politicians there isn’t a great difference between Sanders, Clinton and Jeb Bush on their truthfulness. Looking at the people here, which shows Sanders, (you can find the others under people) on this site
      we find that, looking at True and Mostly True vs Mostly False, False and Pants on Fire that the ratios are Sanders 53:29, Clinton 50:28 and Bush 48:31.
      Just looking at True vs False and Pants on Fire they were Sanders 20:13, Clinton 27:12 and Bush 19:9.

      Trump is, as you would expect, away with the fairies. Any true statements he makes are probably because, like Winston Peters seems to do, he misread his speech. Trump was 7:76. On the True vs False and P on F he was 1:61. The only one he got a True on was saying that Putin had an 80% approval rating in Russia.

      What a shame that no-one in New Zealand has the inclination, and resources to do the same checking here.

  9. weka 9

    Has anyone been following this? There’s been a major methane leak from a gas plant in California, for the past 2 months. As expected, the company knew there were problems with the pipes but didn’t act to prevent the disaster.

    Now it is the source of the largest recorded natural gas leak in California’s history, expelling an estimated 110,000lbs of methane into the atmosphere every hour: about a quarter of the state’s daily methane gas emissions. Its climate impact will be “humongous”, said Tim O’Connor, California director for the Environmental Defence Fund’s (EDF) oil and gas programme. “In terms of aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, it is far greater than the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

    The methane leak has received increased attention since an aerial infrared video of the perpetually spouting gas plume was released by EDF on 20 December. The clip has since been viewed almost a million times on YouTube.

    Until the video and unlike an oil spill, this was an invisible environmental disaster. But now people have been able to see the devastating leak, not just smell it. “At first, the story was just about a small community smelling foul odours,” said Mr O’Connor. “But now that people can see this volcano of man-made methane pollution, they can’t help but pay attention.”

    The clip is expected to raise awareness not only of the Aliso Canyon crisis, but also of the wider problem of methane gas pollution. A recent EDF report found more than 3,000 methane wells in Los Angeles alone. Almost 40 per cent of the pipes under SoCalGas jurisdiction are more than 50 years old – and in excess of 15 per cent of them are made from leak-prone materials.




    • Andre 9.1

      Corroding, leaking gas distribution networks are a worldwide problem. The amount of leakage is huge, much of it undocumented until somebody blows the whistle. Realistically as far as US methane emissions go, it’s probably just a tiny blip in the graph. That kind of shit even happens here. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/75586081/whistleblower-alleges-coverup-of-gas-leak

      There’s so much leakage it’s a genuine question whether gas actually is better than coal from a climate point of view.

      • weka 9.1.1

        That doesn’t surprise me. However the California leak is making people sick and they’ve just declared a state of emergency.

        I haven’t made sense yet of the amounts in CC emissions terms yet, but if it’s considered normal then doesn’t this throw out all the CC predictions?

        • Andre

          It’s making people sick because it’s a huge point source so the local concentrations are much higher than you get from the “normal” diffuse leakage, and the locals can smell it because of the odorant added to the natural gas. I don’t have the numbers or the expertise to comment on whether the local concentrations are actually high enough to genuinely cause health problems or whether it’s people misattributing ailments to the obvious “this isn’t right” cause and/or psychosomatic. In any case, locals feeling the effects and getting loud about it certainly helps draw attention to the problem.

          Sorry, I haven’t dug into the various reports and models to comment on where the numbers for methane emissions come from and how realistic they are likely to be, ie whether industry supplied numbers are directly used as “good enough for modelling purposes”, or whether industry plus a liar factor is used, or whether other measurements such as satellite are used. There have been plenty of articles in the likes of New Scientist, Scientific American showing that industry and gas distributors dramatically understate fugitive emissions.

          In general, scientists and modellers are pretty conservative in their assumptions and only use numbers they can back up. I feel pretty confident in speculating that unreliability in measuring methane emissions is a source of the reported uncertainties in CC predictions. So yes, things are likely to be worse than the “official predictions”.

          • weka

            I was wondering more how the quantity in California compares to overall yearly emissions.

            • Andre

              One of the articles said this one leak is as large as a quarter of California’s current aggregate emissions. So fkn huge for a point source, when considered against the aggregate of a massive population, not so much.

              If you need more detail, I’m sure your google skills are at least as good as mine.

              • Pat

                a strong case for those promoting technological “fixes” to climate change…no?

                • Andre

                  Well, as an engineer, to me the problems in getting to zero (and even negative) net greenhouse gas emissions look a lot smaller and more easily resolved than the problems associated with an ever-increasing population.

                  • Pat

                    the two are related….as an example of a well used method failing AND the associated problems with repair it says to me that , as with all man made solutions, if it can go wrong it will…… and how many months has the leak gone unresolved due to difficulties with repair solutions?….this by a factor of how many?

              • weka

                I tried google the other day, but haven’t got passed the maths and huge variation in numbers when comparing methane to carbon.

                • Andre

                  If you’ve got specific physics, math or maybe chemistry questions and can’t make sense of what you find on google, I’m happy to try to clarify. The more specific the question, the better.

    • Murray Simmonds 9.2

      “In terms of aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, it is far greater than the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

      Yep, this is exactly the kind of mentality that we buy into by signing up to the TPPA rort.

      That, along with the Dick Smith disgrace.

      These are two very good examples of the kind of future we are signing up to.

      Sorry to disagree with your mentality Fisiani (and all Neolib trolls of similar ilk) – but here’s a penny for your thoughts. You will need it by this time next year.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Getting by on a student budget

    McCourt says the idea that it’s fair for students to live in a degree of poverty because they’ll go on to earn money when they graduate, exposes the troubling attitude of the government towards its student population.

    “I think it sends a really corrosive message to the next generation that actually your country doesn’t value you. This country does not care for you. This country will not ensure that you’ve got opportunity. So are we surprised when students head overseas, when students say, ‘actually, this country has done nothing for me?’”

    As a student I find that this article hits the spot. As for getting a job to help support yourself through uni? Well, the high unemployment that we have puts paid to that idea for, I suspect, the majority of students.

    It’s a few months old but well worth the read.

    • millsy 10.1

      The government a couple of years back, allowed international students to work while they study, crowding New Zealand students out of the job market.

      My advise to a young school leaver is: Forget tertiary study, try and get a job somewhere.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        The government a couple of years back, allowed international students to work while they study, crowding New Zealand students out of the job market.

        That’s been happening for well over a decade now.

  11. NZSage 11

    If you’re looking for proof that those on the right life in a parallel universe, look no further than Jamie Whyte’s “Opinion” piece in The Herald (Warning those with a high blood pressure best not read it!)


    How does such a total f***wit get air time!

    • weka 11.1

      Good grief. Couldn’t get past the first paragraph. Since when has there been free ‘medical’ care in NZ? What a dick.

      And Herald, what’s with that photo? A crowd of mainly brown people standing on the street, wtf?

      • BM 11.1.1

        That picture is the people queuing for the Auckland city mission Christmas event.

        • maui

          An organisation practising jounalism would have put your description in as a photo caption. Instead they said these people aren’t poor, they’re just queuing up for shits and giggles.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Apparently, because he’s such a total fuckwit.

    • Lanthanide 11.3

      Looks like a pretty reasonable article, to me. He eventually does at the end say the statistic is measuring inequality, not poverty, which I think he should have mentioned much earlier (short attention spans and all that). Also his sudden overuse of the word ‘pauper’ was strange.

      The counterpoint is that people expounding this as a problem need to say something like “poverty of opportunity”, not just “poverty”.

      He’s right that if the incomes all doubled, there would be no change in ‘poverty’, which he claims is preposterous. And he’s correct – assuming all costs in the country stayed the same, but incomes doubled, then those in ‘poverty’ would have much less problems buying food and paying for housing and entertainment than they do now.

      But they would still be as disadvantaged compared to others in the country when it comes to opportunity. They might go from eating rice and bread to eating proper fulfilling meals and being able to afford takeaways as a treat once a month; but those who were already in that situation can now afford to have meals out at restaurants most nights a week since their incomes have also doubled. What the campaigners against poverty are really talking about is poverty of the opportunities afforded to other in society, and not absolute poverty.

      Until their language reflects what they’re actually trying to argue, you’re going to get counter-arguments such as Jamie Whyte has just presented.

      Of course the next point is that many people think that if you’re on a benefit (or stuck in a crummy low-paid job), that you don’t deserve to get the opportunities that are afforded to others in society, because it’s “your fault” for not getting a good education / good job and so you “don’t deserve” the fruits of society. I ultimately don’t know what the solution is to that mindset, except possibly to make all of those people live in someone else’s shoes for 6 months and see how much they enjoy it.

      • Andre 11.3.1

        There’s plenty of objective measures of poverty, such as the frequency of eating meat, having shoes in good repair to wear to school, number of occupants to a bedroom, frequency of illness with “diseases of poverty… By those measures, New Zealand’s performance is pretty crap. So I’d really prefer it if poverty campaigners used objective measures of the actual effects of poverty, rather than a flawed income measurement. Since the likes of Whyte will pick apart a flawed measurement to obscure the fact that there’s real problems..

        • Lanthanide

          I agree.

        • McFlock

          All measures are flawed. If everyone suddenly went to dep13, whyte would still be making his bullshit up.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            What makes you think he had anything to do with authoring the shit he dribbles? Being able to paraphrase pre-existing lies doesn’t qualify.

          • Andre

            Agree that Whyte will spout shit like this no matter what.

            But if the definition of poverty is on some apparently arbitrary point on the income curve, it really doesn’t say anything about the lives of the people in poverty. It’s merely a comment on the shape of that curve. And it makes it easy for Whyte to obscure the problem by pushing out irrelevant comparisons.

            Whereas a measure that looks at the effects of poverty : has been hospitalised for bronchiolitis, has had repeated treatment for skin infections, lives in a car, sleeps in a shared bed, shares bedroom with two or more others, bedroom temp goes below 15 degrees regularly, does not have shoes in good repair for school, does not participate in extracurricular activities because of cost, does not have internet access….tells me a lot about how people live and how opportunities are denied. And makes it much more obvious what kind of clueless heartless turds the likes of Whyte really are when they start bloviating.

            • Incognito

              But if the definition of poverty is on some apparently arbitrary point on the income curve, it really doesn’t say anything about the lives of the people in poverty. It’s merely a comment on the shape of that curve. And it makes it easy for Whyte to obscure the problem by pushing out irrelevant comparisons.

              No, it is not ”some apparently arbitrary point on the income curve” and it is most definitely not determined by ” the shape of that curve”!

              See comment 11.3.4.

              Whyte is clever because he’s erected a windmill argument and we’re all tilting at it. It seems to have lost nothing of its ‘lustre’ since he first published it in 2005 in the UK.

      • maui 11.3.2

        What the campaigners against poverty are really talking about is poverty of the opportunities afforded to other in society, and not absolute poverty.

        I think what the poverty campaigners are trying to highlight is the people going without proper housing and proper food (amount and quality). In the 1st and 3rd world’s I would say this is a pretty good definition of poverty.

        • Lanthanide

          Then they should talk about that, instead of talking about the number of people who live in a household with less than 50% of the median household income.

      • Andre 11.3.3

        Funnily enough for an argument built entirely out of pedantry about the definition of poverty, I’m fairly sure “depravity” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means in his second sentence….

        • Lanthanide

          Hah, you’re right!

          I don’t think Jamie Whyte is as smart as he thinks he is, if he makes a very basic error like that.

        • In Vino

          Agree. It looks like he imagines that depravity is related to the word ‘deprived’. If so, it is a shocking lapse of articulacy in one who is supposedly so highly educated. He often spouts nonsense in an apparently articulate manner….

      • Incognito 11.3.4

        He’s right that if the incomes all doubled, there would be no change in ‘poverty’, which he claims is preposterous. And he’s correct – assuming all costs in the country stayed the same, but incomes doubled, then those in ‘poverty’ would have much less problems buying food and paying for housing and entertainment than they do now.

        No, both you and Dr Whyte are wrong.

        The definition of poverty wasn’t just derived from a simple numbers game and drawing a line at 50% of the median or whatever; it was originally derived from establishing how much income would be sufficient to afford the essential living requirements below which the quality of life would be negatively affected. This income level was then determined to be at 50% of the national median.

        So, if all incomes were doubled, ceteris paribus, poverty would reduce and not stay the same as you and Dr Whyte argue. At the same time, ceteris paribus, the absolute essential income would remain the same as before, i.e. unchanged, but it would now be 25% of the new national median income.

        You and Dr Whyte fail to acknowledge (and I assume here that at least one of you does realise this) that the so-called definition is dependent on the defining context, which includes the real & true and absolute costs of living, etc., as well as income levels.

        • Andre

          My problem (and the flaw that Whyte has leveraged into a massive smokescreen) is that if all income doubled and everything else remained the same, poverty as defined by material hardship would indeed reduce dramatically. But the reported poverty by the definition used would remain exactly the same. There is no indication that the crude single-variable income based “poverty line” is subject to regular review, even if it was originally derived from a widespread consideration of material living standards. If it is regularly reviewed, link please. I strongly suspect the required income to stay out of material hardship is currently climbing at the same time median incomes are essentially static or even dropping.

          As it turns out, the more sophisticated measures of material deprivation are monitored and reported https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/monitoring/living-standards/index.html (hat tip Kay in the comments at dim-post). So now I have an even lower opinion of simply using a single income-based measure of defining poverty.

          • Incognito

            All true and these and other criticisms have been repeatedly raised over the years.

            I cannot link to the poverty line being reviewed regularly – please note that I did not say that – because, to my knowledge, this is not (yet) done. However, there are links in which this exact point has been suggested, e.g. review and evaluate on a 10-yr cycle.

            So, although the single measure may not be ‘optimal’ it is not necessarily completely wrong either. In fact, for complex issues a single measure or index always loses or ignores important information. Recent examples that I’ve seen here on TS are BMI and mortality rates. Another well-known one is GDP. Especially journalists (and politicians!) like these ‘simple’ measures to reduce complex issues down to simple singular messages instead of multi-factorial and multi-dimensional stories. This is one of the drivers behind the ‘dumbing down’ in/by MSM. None of this lets Dr Whyte of the hook with his disingenuous comments.

        • Lanthanide

          If it is true that the 50% of median wage was determined in the past by looking at the income required to have a good quality of life, then again the people who are expounding this as a measure of poverty are failing.

          Not only should they call it a poverty of opportunity, as I described it, but they should say “the current measure of the poverty of opportunity is 50% of the country’s current median wage”.

          They don’t do that. That’s how people like Jamie Whyte can mis-represent their argument – because they themselves are misrepresenting it.

          And, just because the statistic was originally created in a fair and even manner, if it is no longer being assessed or updated, then it may or may not be relevant any more, and yet it is *still* being used.

          It’s like if we judged the success of the economy based on how many horse-drawn carriages were on our roads. At once time, that would have been a useful metric that told you something. But if one clings to an out-dated metric without re-confirming that it is still relevant, then there is no reason to assume it is still an accurate measure of anything.

          • Incognito


            Please don’t take my word for it; I’m happy to be corrected if it turns out that I got it wrong. However, this meme is strong, as are all memes, and it is hard to get to the bottom of it.

            I am no Social Scientist – some commenters say this is an oxymoron anyway. Dr Susan St John should know the rationale for establishing the current poverty line. However, she does not set policy or rules.

          • Andre

            I’ll try another angle on this.

            Hopefully it’s clear that I can muster a bit of empathy for those that don’t have the advantages and opportunities I got, at least in an intellectual sense. But when I read something “30% of kids live in poverty with less than 60% of median income” it’s kind of a meh. Right now I’m unemployed, so the idea of trying to get by on low income doesn’t separate my experience from theirs. It’s easy for me to forget I’m living on a cushion of wealth from my past employment and family wealth going back generations. Just about everybody can point to times in their life when they’ve “made do on low income” or at least kid themselves they have.

            However, if I were to read (pulling numbers out of thin air) “3% of kids live in cars, 8% of kids share a bed, 35% of kids don’t have internet access at home,…” my reaction is “fuck me that’s wrong”. It highlights the separation in life experience between these kids and mine.

            • Lanthanide


              And actually, the point about “I was unemployed once but I didn’t starve, and then I found a job, so all those “poor” people should do the same” is another cushion that people use to denigrate the people in poverty. It’s once again a case of “I did it, it wasn’t hard, so you should be able to do it too”.

              But it is generally completely wrong: having gone from a decent paying job to no job is significantly different than having had no job for 5+ years. Someone who just lost their job should have (at least some) savings in the bank, as well as a lot of built up material goods such as good clothes, shoes, a car that’s been maintained with WoF and registration (so no danger of receiving massive fines from the police), are likely to be living in a nice rental or home they own. That’s very different from someone who has never had the excess money to build up that sort of cushion, nevermind the psychological impact of being poor for a prolonged period of time (and therefore not expecting to ever get a high paying job and having nothing to look forward to) being quite different from what someone who is recently unemployed (who should expect to be able to find another job within 6 months or less).

    • Reddelusion 11.4

      Typical attitude of left here , free speech unless you disagree with the left wing narrative, then it’s personal abuse, no debate, demands for censorship etc maybe Sage you should deconstruct whytes argument and tell us where he is wrong

      Stalin and Mao displayed similar traits, hence to biggest experiment of socialism murdered
      100s of million

      • Lanthanide 11.4.1

        I’m on the left and I de-constructed Whyte’s “argument”, without calling for censorship.

      • Grant 11.4.2

        If mentioning H***** in an online debate is a ‘Godwin’, perhaps we need another Law to cover the referencing of Stalin and Mao.
        Maybe we should have some kind of deal where for each mention of Stalin by Redboy, someone else gets a free pass (no Godwins) to throw N**z* back in his face.

      • In Vino 11.4.3

        Reddelusion: you neglect to mention that when trolls like you ‘disagree with the left wing narrative’ you invariably use hostile scorn to do so, along with false history. I suspect you know well that neither Stalin nor Mao are seen by the left as enlightened socialists. And you keep babbling that socialism failed. When was it ever given a fair chance to succeed? Name me one heavily industrialised country with a democratic tradition that has seriously tried socialism.

        Russia is by and large a poor country, just so big that its industrial sector could become a world power for a while, but only when ruled by a traditional cruel, harsh dictator with a rod of iron. Stalin was not a socialist – he was the most recent of the great, cruel Czars. Putin is forced by the nature of his country to try the same methods. Mao was much the same for China – the most recent of the demagogic emperors. And Argentina – often quoted as a failure of socialism by Righties was never heavily industrialised: it was doomed to failure because, like NZ in its best days, it relied upon primary industries, and no country has succeeded in staying rich with primary industries.

        The Scandinavian countries probably represent the healthiest, happiest societies nowadays. Strange that of all the rich countries, they practise policies well to the left of the crap that you preach.

        And whenever some unfortunate little country tries socialism, the oligarchy of the West makes certain that it will fail. Cuba… Venezuela..

        • millsy

          Most people in the USSR lived in communal apartments that were seperated by curtains. Something that the right are probably relaxed about here.]

          Belarus, the country that still has USSR style methods and institutions have implemented a policy that will see those unable to find a job, fined. Something else the right would see put in place here.

      • Incognito 11.4.4

        Whyte’s argument has been destroyed @ 11.3.4.

        You’re welcome.

    • millsy 11.5

      I stopped reading after “Jamie Whyte”.

      One half of New Zealanders is completely out of touch with the other half. Like Mapp, he probably has $100,000 sitting in his bank account, so paying the power bill would be like going to the shop and getting a stick of chewing gum/

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 11.5.1

        8:15 PM Thursday Jan 7, 2016
        “Jamie Whyte defends ‘self-plagiarism’ claim
        Former Act Party leader Jamie Whyte has defended himself against accusations of “self-plagiarism” after it emerged an opinion piece he wrote on poverty in New Zealand was largely the same as one he penned in Britain a decade ago.

        The piece, which claimed “there is no poverty in New Zealand”, was published in the New Zealand Herald today.

        However, canny readers spotted many similarities between the piece and a work Dr Whyte published in the UK for the Times newspaper in April 2005.

        One reader complained that the piece was “about Britain, with the countries reworked … This is the same article he had published about the UK.”

        On Twitter, user @LI — politico posted: “Jamie Whyte 2005 v 2016. He literally copied a previous thing he wrote about Britain.”


        • Wainwright

          “Many similarities” is journalese for “exactly the same article with the word “Britain” replaced with “NZ” where appropriate”.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    Our democracy can learn from China’s meritocracy

    Specifically, Australian citizens and politicians can take away two lessons from China.

    First, it’s not enough for politicians to be popular. They must continually demonstrate their merits to lead. More governmental and institutional measures are required to ensure political representatives are virtuous, experienced and knowledgeable enough to be our country’s chief political leaders – before they reach this position.

    Second, citizens need to learn to have more faith in politicians who can demonstrate their leadership merits. Politics is hard and it takes time. Citizens need to realise that.

    As for the first one about the politicians being tested for merit I would definitely support testing for socio/psychopathic traits. IMO, a fairly large chunk of our present MPs would never get anywhere near the ballot box.

    The second I have conditions on. If the politicians were tested and shown to be good at the job then, yes, we could have more trust in them. But most importantly we do need to realise that politics takes time for every individual to participate. It shouldn’t be left just to a small clique.

    • alwyn 12.1

      Isn’t it amazing how the position of someone in the Chinese “Meritocracy” ladder seems to depend on how far daddy was up the hierarchy in Mao’s list of allies?
      They don’t call the current people rising up the ladder, or in some cases now at the top, “Princelings” for nothing.
      On the other hand you may believe that the current leader Xi Jinping made it to the top quite independently of who his father was.
      It isn’t unique to China itself of course. Singapore’s PM is the son of Lee Kwan Yew.
      We have the same system with respect to our head of state of course. There we have the advantage that they don’t have any real power.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1

        How many rich US families dominate US politics?

        And, yes, I did consider that the idea of the Chinese political system being a meritocracy was complete BS. It really does sound more like a few Westerners looking for another means of dominating Western politics.

        • alwyn

          I thought of adding in the US but I wouldn’t have known where to stop.

          The second president started it. The Adams family.
          Nowadays? Bushs and Clintons of course. The Kennedys and Rockefellers have pretty much gone though, at least as active politicians. The Longs and Byrds went a long time ago, and the Roosevelts before that.
          Actually the Tafts were probably the most successful. Three generations there.

          Lower down I don’t know, although there are almost certainly a lot in State politics. The Browns in California count as do the Daleys in Chicago.
          You see what I meant about stopping being hard?

  13. Penny Bright 13

    Seen this latest press release by Jane Kelsey on the TPPA?

    Jane Kelsey: Offshore confirmation: Ministers to sign TPPA in NZ on 4 February 2016

    By Evening Report – January 7, 2016 0 143

    The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Image: US Trade.
    Source: Professor Jane Kelsey.

    The ministers from the twelve countries who negotiated the the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will sign it in New Zealand on 4 February, a government spokesperson from Chile has confirmed.[1]

    The New Zealand government has made no formal announcement, despite reports that it would host the meeting since the APEC summit last November.

    ‘Consistent with the government’s obsessively secrecy throughout the TPPA process, we have to get confirmation of what is happening in our own country from offshore’, says Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey, who has led legal action to challenge the government’s failure to release information on the TPPA.

    ‘Polls have shown the government doesn’t have popular support for the deal. Presumably it wants to limit the chance for New Zealanders to make their opposition heard’, Kelsey said. ‘We were reliably told by offshore sources some time ago that the meeting is in Auckland, but we expect the government to try to keep the actual venue secret until much closer to the day’.

    A series of high profile public meetings has been planned for the main cities at the end of January, starting with Auckland Town Hall on the evening of 26th January, followed by Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

    The star attraction will be Lori Wallach, director of Washington based Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, the organisation founded by Ralph Nader. She last toured New Zealand when the TPPA ministerial meeting was held here in late 2010.

    ‘The US holds the key to the fate of the TPPA. Lori Wallach probably knows more than anyone about what is really happening in the US Congress and across the corporate lobbies and civil society groups in America. Her insights will provide a reality check in advance of the pr spin that is bound to surround the signing’, Kelsey said.

    [1] http://www.bna.com/tpp-countries-sign-n57982065797/


    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    Who does NOT support New Zealand signing the TPPA.

  14. joe90 14

    Not terrorists incite violence, desecrate sacred sites, photograph the homes of federal employees and stalk them and their families.

    JJ MacNab

    The trio to watch in Oregon: Ryan Payne, Blaine Cooper, and Brian “Booda” Cavalier.


    JJ MacNab ‏@jjmacnab 7h7 hours ago

    @JohnLGC They were the trio pitching aggressive violence at Bundy Ranch. Militants who disagreed were chased away.

    Amanda Peacher Verified account

    Burns-Paiute Tribe denounces #bundymilitia occupation: “They are endangering one of our sacred sites



  15. North 15

    OK Jamie Whyte……let’s never use the word “poverty” again. Wow……all the problems in New Zealand today have gone away, all of a sudden ! Have they Jamie ? What a worthless article by a worthless self-vaunted “philosopher”.


  16. Smilin 17

    4 million nz population and look at how out of control the country is with wonder boys management
    Absentee PM/ landlord pommee state squatter – all the plums and not have to pay from day one what gives people are we all fuckin blind
    Collins gets her hands on Hagers case when she is discredited in Dirty Politics der wake up
    Big Gerbear still King of Canterbury
    Rebstock the yank, Hanna Montana knighted for screwing the poor right up to max poverty future outlook on their lives
    And now our target level goes up with the ISIS BULLSHIT thanks to NZ being allowed to have its day in the sun on the UN security council with an idiot in charge of NZds mouthpiece
    How about they just stop makin weapons that would fix it, too easy ?impossible? How are they ever goin to to explain the fraud since Vietnam or 1964 to be precise , that’s right ask Dick Cheney he knows how its done
    Get rid of the space programme and fix this planet u FC
    My quick fix for 2016 we’re goun to be broke by the end of the year and Key will be in Hawaii why doesn’t he just stay there and do us all a favour and resign and then we can put him on the list of banned entrants to the country or do it now

  17. weka 18

    hmm, so the bug that meant clicking on a same post link in the replies list reloaded the page instead of just dropping down the page has resolved itself. Anyone else notice that? I don’t think I’ve done anything at my end.

    Am very glad about it though.

    • ropata 18.1

      Yeah it’s a good fix, probably dropped the server load significantly.
      More likely an update to the comments widget than lprent’s js skillz 🙂

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    2 weeks ago

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